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DIVINE AUTHORITY AND PERPETUAL OBLIGATION
DELIVERED AT THE PARISH CHURCH OF ST. MARY,
IN THE YEAR 1830.
BY DANIEL WILSON, M. A. VICAR.
SECOND EDITION, CORRECTED.
STEVENS AND SONS, 39, BELL-YARD, TEMPLE-BAR.
The substance of the following Sermons was delivered in the autumn of 1827. They were then three in number; but though requested to print them, I was compelled to decline the invitation from the pressure of other duties. A new and more favourable occasion of treating the question occurred in the spring of 1830. The Bishop of London addressed a most able and impressive letter on the neglect of the Lord's day, to the clergy and inhabitants of the diocese. Public attention was awakened. I was induced to examine the whole subject anew and more thoroughly than I had previously done. It grew upon my mind. I discerned more and more its immense importance, if we would honour God, preserve religion in the world, or save our own souls, and those of our family and neighbourhood. I discovered also, as I thought, the sources of the more current objec
and at the same time their fallacy, when once the whole bearing of the argument from Scripture was understood. Thus I was led on to treat the question in detail, and delivered seven discourses, which I committed to the press in the last winter. I have consulted our chief writers; weighed again and again the difficulties which are alleged : and I hope have succeeded in showing that, from the creation of man through all succeeding periods, one day in seven was appointed by Almighty God, as the season of special religious repose, and of public and private worship. I hope I have succeeded in showing that this appointment was essentially MORAL and immutable in its obligation, though, from the nature of the case, the determination of the exact proportion of time may be considered as of POSITIVE institution, that is, as resting on the mere revelation of the will of God concerning it. I hope I have succeeded in showing, that our Lord never relaxed, nor meant to relax, the law of creation or of the fourth commandment, but only to vindicate them from the false comments of the Jewish doctors, and then leave them in their original dignity and force. I hope I have succeeded in showing, that the day of the observation of the Sabbath, under the gospel, was authoritatively changed by: our Lord and his apostles, to honour the resurrection ; and was in entire consistence with the original bearing of the institution, and the subsequent manifestation of the divine will concerning it.
I was for some time doubtful, whether the argumentative air of the first four sermons, in which these points are established, was likely to be generally useful. I thought that perhaps the devout inculcation of the practical duties of the Lord's day was the safer course.
And indeed, in general, this our best wisdom : not one in a thousand