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end, as to the former, which is indeed inseparably united with this, the Sabbath is indispensable.
The Sabbath is eminently moral, also, as the indispensable means of preserving in the world a real and voluntary obedience of all the other commands in the Decalogue. Wherever the Sabbath is not, Religion dies of course; and Morality of every kind, except so far as convenience and selfishness may keep the forms of it alive, is forgotten. But all those means, which are indispensable to the existence of Morality, or, in better language, Religion, are themselves of a moral nature, and of universal obligation; since without them, nothing moral could exist.
It makes no difference, here, whether we could have known, without information from God; that one day in seven would be the best time; and furnish the best manner of performing these things, or not. It is sufficient, that we know it now.
Thus the fourth Command is of a really moral nature, no less than the others; and as truly of incalculable importance, and indispensable obligation, to all the children of Adam. Its place in the decalogue, therefore, was given it with consummate propriety and what God hath joined together let not man put
If it were intended to abolish a command, given so plainly, and with circumstances of such amazing solemnity; the abrogation would, undoubtedly, have been communicated in a manner, equally clear with that, in which the command itself was originally given. But the Scriptures contain nothing, which resembles an abrogation of it, communicated either clearly, or obscurely. When Christ abolished the ceremonial and civil laws of the Jews, so far as they might be thought to extend to the Gentiles; and taught the true moral system of the Old Testament, and when the Apostles afterwards completed the Evangelical account of this subject: it is, I think, incredible, that, if this precept were to be abolished at all, neither he, nor they, should give a single hint concerning the abolition. As both have left it just where they found it, without even intimating, that it was at all to be annulled; we may reasonably conclude, that its obligation has never been lessened.
In the mean time, it ought to be observed, that many other precepts, comprised in the Mosaic law, which are universally aċknowledged to be of a moral nature, were nevertheless not introduced into the Decalogue; were not spoken by the voice of God; nor written with his finger; nor placed on the tables of stone, fashioned by himself. Why was this supreme distinction made in favour of the precept, now under discussion? This question I may perhaps answer more particularly hereafter. It is sufficient to observe at present, that it arose solely from the superior importance of the precept itself.
2. The Perpetual Establishment of the Sabbath is evident from its Original Institution.
Of this we have the following account in Genesis ii. 1-3. Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work, which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it; because that in it he had rested from all his work, which God created and made. The proofs, which this passage affords for the perpetuity of the sabbath, respect the time, and the end, of the Institution.
The time of the Institution was the seventh day, after the crea tion was begun, and the first day, after it was ended. At this time, none of the human race were in being, but our first parents. For them the sabbath was instituted; and clearly, therefore, for all their posterity also. If it was not instituted for all their posterity, it was not instituted for any of them: for, certainly, there can be no reason given, why it was instituted for one more than another. The Jews, particularly, were no more nearly connected with Adam, than we are; and no more interested in any thing, commanded to him, than are the Gentiles. Accordingly, it is, so far as I know, universally conceded, that, if the Sabbath was instituted at this time, it is obligatory on all men to the end of the world.
The resting of God on this day, alleged in the text as a primary and authoritative reason, why the Sabbath should be kept holy, is a reason extending to all men alike. In my own view it is incredible, that God should rest on this day, to furnish an example, to the Jewish nation merely, of observing the Sabbath i, VOL. IV.
or that so solemn a transaction, as this, in its own nature affecting the whole human race alike, should be intentionally confined in its influence to a ten thousandth part of mankind. The example of God, so far as it is imitable, is in its very nature authoritative, and obligatory on every Intelligent creature; and in the present case, plainly, on the whole human race. For man to limit it, where God himself has not been pleased to limit it, is evidently unwarrantable, and indefensible.
The End of the institution plainly holds out the same universality of obligation. I have already observed, that this is two-fold; viz. to commemorate the glory of God, displayed in the creation; and to attain, and increase, holiness in the soul of man. I have also observed, that all men are alike interested in both these objects. Nor can there be a single pretence, that any nation, or any person, is more interested in either, than any other person, or nation. Every individual stands in exactly the same relations to God; is under exactly the same obligations; and is bound, in this case, to duties exactly the same.
3. The Perpetuity of the Sabbath is clearly taught in Isaiah Ivi.
Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the Lord, to serve him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be his servants ; every one, that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt-offerings and their sacrifices shall be acceptable on my altar: for my house shall be called, An house of prayer for all people. The Lord God, who gathereth the outcasts of Israel, saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him.
From this passage it is evident, that, when the house of God shall become a house of prayer for all people, and when the outcasts of Israel, and others beside them, shall be gathered unto him, that is, Christ; then the Sabbath shall continue a divine institution; that it shall be a duty to keep it from polluting it; and that those who keep it, particularly the sons of the stranger; or the Gentile nations; shall be accepted, and blessed, in thus keeping it, and shall be made joyful in God's house of prayer.
But the house of God was never, in any sense, called An house of prayer for all people, until after the dispensation of the Gospel began: viz. until the house of God was found wherever two or three met together in the name of Christ; until the period, when mankind were to worship God, neither in Jerusalem, nor in the mountain of Samaria, but wherever they worshipped in spirit and in truth. Under this dispensation, therefore, the Sabbath was still to continue a divine institution; was to be kept free from pollution; and the keeping of it was to be blessed, according to the declarations of the unerring Spirit of prophecy.
This prediction is a part of the unchangeable counsels of JEHOVAH. It could not have been written, unless it had been true. It could not have been true, unless fulfilled by this very observation of the Sabbath. The Sabbath could not have been thus observed, and men could not have been thus blessed in observing it, unless, at the very time of this observance, it had still remained an Institution of God. For God himself has declared, that mankind shall not add to his words, nor diminish ought from them; and that, instead of blessing those, who add to the words written in the Scriptures, he will add to them the plagues, which are written in the Scriptures. But to add to the Institutions of God is to add to his Word, in the most arrogant and guilty manner. If the Sabbath be not now a divine institution; he, who observes it as such, adds to the Institutions of God, and is grossly guilty of this arrogance. He may, therefore, certainly as well as justly, expect to find a curse, and not a blessing; to be destroyed with a more terrible destruction, than that which Nadab and Abihu experienced, for adding to the Institutions of God one of their own, of a far less extraordinary and guilty nature.
But how different from all this has been the fact! How exactly, as well as gloriously, has this prediction been fulfilled! God has really gathered unto Christ others, beside the outcasts of Israel. The Gentiles, the sons of the stranger, have, in immense multitudes, joined themselves to the Lord. They have served him. They have loved his name. They have kept the Sabbath from polluting it. They have taken hold of his covenant. They have been made joyful in his house of prayer: and their sacrifices, and their burnt-offerings, have been accepted upon his altar; and his house
has been called An house of prayer for all people. Thus, as Isaiah predicted, there has actually been a Sabbath under the dispensation of the Gospel, remaining now for almost eighteen hundred years; and this Sabbath has been attended with the peculiar blessings, predicted by this Evangelical Prophet.
4. The Perpetuity of the Sabbath is fairly argued from Psalm exviii. 19-26.
Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them; and I will praise the Lord. This gate of the Lord, into which the righteous shall enter. I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation. The Stone, which the builders refused, is become the head-stone of the corner. This is the Lord's doing; and it is marvellous in our eyes. This is the day, which the Lord hath made. We will rejoice, and be glad, in it. Save now, I beseech thee, O Lord: O Lord, I beseech thee, send now prosperity! Blessed be he, that cometh in the name of the Lord. We have blessed you out of the house of the Lord.
This Psalm, particularly the prophecy contained in these words, is explained by St. Peter, as referring to Christ; the true head-stone of the corner, rejected by the Jewish builders; and, of course, as referring to the times of the Christian dispensation. In these times, then, there was to be a day, which the Lord had made; not in the literal sense; for in this sense he had made all days; but in the spiritual sense; that is, a day, which he had sanctified; consecrated to himself; devoted to his own worship; of a common and secular day, made into a holy and religious one. It was a day, on which the gates of righteousness were to be opened: that is, the gates of the sanctuary, or house of God; and styled the gate, or gates, of the Lord. It was a day, on which the righteous, as a body, were to enter into them. It was the day, on which the Lord became their Salvation. It was the day, on which the Stone, rejected by the builders, became the head-stone of the corner. It was a day, on which prayers were to be offered up, and praises to be sung, to God. Finally, it was a day, in which the righteous were to receive blessings from the house of the Lord.
All my audience must have anticipated the conclusion, as flowing irresistibly even from this slight examination of the passage;