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were shụt, where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst of them.". John xx. 19. This. for any thing that appears in the account, might as to the day, have been accidental: but in the 26th verse of the same chapier ve read, “that after eight days," that is, on the first day of the week following, "again the disciples were withiu," which second meeting upon the same day of the week looks like an appointment and design to meet on that particular day. In the twentieth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, we find the same custom in a Christian church at a great distance from Jerusalem: “And we came unto them to Troas in five days, where we abode seven days; and upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them." Acts xx. 6; 7. The manner in which the historian mentions the disciples coming together to break bread on the first day of the week,shews, I think that the practice by this time was familiar and established. St. Paul to the Coriothians writes thus: “Concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the church. es of Galatia, even so do ye; upon the first day of the week, let every one of you lay by him in store as God hath prospered him, ihat there be no gatherings when I come."
I Cor. xvi. 1, 2. Which direction affords a probable proof, that the first day of the week was already amongst the Christians, both of Corinth and Galatia, distinguished from the rest, by some religious applica. tion or other. At the time that St. John wrote the book of his revelation, the first day of the week had obtained the name of the Loril's day: "I was in the spirit,” says he, "on the Lord's day.” Rev. i. 10. Which name, and St. John's use of it, sufficiently denote the appro. priation of this day to the service of religion, and ihat this appropriation was perfectly known to the churches of Asia. I make no doubt but that hy the Loril's day was meant the first day of the week; for we find no footsteps of any distinction of days, which could entitle any other to that appellation. The subsequent history
of Christianity corresponds with the accounts delivered on this sul:ject in scripture.
It will be remembereil, that we are contending, by these proofs, for no oiher duty upon the first day of the week, than that of holding and frequenting religious assemblies. A Cissation upon that day from labor beyond the time of atteiniance upon public worship, is not intimated in any pass 'ge of the New Testament, nor did Christ or his posiles deliver, that we know of, any command to their disciples for a discontinuance, upon that day, of the common offices of their professions. A reserve wbich none will see reason to wonder at, or to blame as a defect in the institution, who consider that in the primitive condition of Christianity, the uservation of a new sabbath would have been useless, or inconvenient, or impracticable. During Christ's personal ministry, his religion was preached to the Jews alone. They already had a sabhath, which, as citizens and subjects of that economy, they were obliged to keep, and did keep. It was not therefore probable that Christ would enjoin another day of rest in conjunction with this, When the new religion came fortb into the Gentile world, converts to it were, for the most part, made from those classes of society, who have not their time and labor at their own disposal, and it was scarcely to be expected, that unbelieving masters and magistrates, and they who directed the employment of others would permit their slaves and laborers to rest from their work every seventh day; or that civil government,indeed, would have submitted to the loss of a seventh part of the puh. lic industry, and that too in addition to the numerous festivals which, the national religions indulged to tlie people: at least, this would have been an incumbrance which might have greatly retarded the reception of Christianity in the world. In reality, the institution of a weekly sabbath is so connected with the functions of civil lise, and requires so much of the concorrenre of civil laws in its regulation and support, that it cannot, perhaps, properly be made the ordinance of any rekgion, till that religion be received as the religion of the state.
The opinion, that Christ and his Apostles meant to retain the duties of the Jewish sabbath, shifting only the day from the seventh to the first, seems to prevail without sufficient proof; nor does any evidence remain in scripture (of what, however, is not improbable) that the first day of the week was thus distinguished in com'memoration of our Lord's resurrection.
The conclusion from the whole inquiry (for it is our business to follow the arguments to whatever probability they conduct us) is this: the assembling upon the first day of the week, for the purpose of public worship and religious instruction, is a law of Christianity, of divine appointment; the resting on that day from our em. ployments longer than we are detained from them by attendance upon these assemblies, is to Christians ao ordinance of human institution : binding nevertheless upon the conscience of every inuividual of a country in which a weekly sabbath is established, for the sake of beneficial purposes which the public and regular observance of it promotes; and recommended perhaps in some degree to the divine approbation, by the resemblance it bears to what God was pleased to make a solemn part of the law which he delivered to the people of Israel, and by its subserviercy to many of the same "uses.
For the Repository. TO TOE EDITOR OF THE "CHRISTIAN MESSENGER."
Dear Sir,- 1 take the liberty to address you this letter, contaiving a few remarks upon the notice you have taken of my communications in the Repository. Sir, you are sensible that a difference of opivion ontains among those who believe in Universal Salvation. think you will have the candor to ackuowledge, those
may be sincere, who differ from you in sentiment. Now, our opinion is as dear to us, as yours is to you And if you wish to enjoy your opinion, without having its consistency called in question, why are you not willing to grant us the same privilege ? You, Sir, and those of your sentiment, are constantly calling our sentiment in question. Not satisfied with this, not content with preaching your particular views to your own congregations ; have not your sentiments been introduced into the desks of your brethren, who entertain different opinions, when an opportunity offered itself? And when our fraternity have convened to consult upon measures, conducive to the promotion of universal benevolence and brotherly affection, have not your particular views been there introduced in opposition to the rest of the brotherhood, and insisted upon with vehemence? In addition to this, your opinions have been advocated from the press. Periodical publications have made their appearance weekly, and in them your views find many abettors. Volumes of Lectures are issued from Boston and Philadelphia in support of your tenets. But this is all very well. There is no occasion of alarm. You are only discharging your incumbent duty; and this you must do, “come life, or come death.
But no sooner is a word offered in support of our views, than the alarm is given! When my communication of less than three pages, made its appearance in Vermont, the alarm-bell was immediately rang on the banks of the Delaware! The writer is charged with disingenuousness, and sowing discord among brethren! Thus, when you publish your opinions, it is well ; when we publish ours, it is sowing "discord among brethren!” When you teach your sentiments, you
declare before God, that you do it from principle ;t when we teach ours, sincerity is very remote, if not entirely out of our
• See “Lectures," page 98. + See “Series of Lectures," printed at Philadelphia, 1818,
minds! When you come forward with arguments to disprove our views, all is candor; but when we show the futility of such arguments, it is disingenuousness! Now, my dear Sir, is not this a little extraordinary? -If discord has sprung up, who committed the seed to the earth ? Have you dissented from us, or have we separated from you? If, war exists between us, you commenced hostilities. And are we to remain in security, whilst you are upon the alert? Are we to rest quietly by our fire-sides, when your forces are in martial array, and have long been ordered to the field: If you complain of resistance, why do you make the attack? If you are desirous of an accommodation, put your sword into its scabbard. If this dispute is to be put at rest, let those desist,who first commen: ced it; this will do it effectually,
Were a pope at the head of our churches, we should expect to yield to his infallibility; were a bishop placed in the chair, we should acquiesce in his opinions in some degree. But as we profess to stand in the liberty of the gospel, we call no man master, on earth. We wish to enjoy our own opinions, and are willing others should enjoy theirs. We are willing, however, to discuss the subject in dispute between us, if you will meet us on equal ground. When you invite us to this discussion, you request us to lead in the dispute. We are sensible, that it is easier to pull down, than to build up; to destroy, than to make alive. The one who leads in a dispute, therefore, may and frequently does labor under many disadvantages. Which should lead in a dispute or discussion of this kind, ought to be determined by the subject. And this subject seems to suggest, that the proof should be upon your part. The scriptures assert that every man shall be punished according to his deeds, and that without holiness, no man can see the Lord. Now as many die immediately after perpetrating the most atrocious crimes; what evidence have we that such persons, either received according to their deeds in this world, or that they arrived at state of holiness The