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"that whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, is guilty of all; for he that said, do not commit adultery, said also, do not kill."
Is the decalogue then, which has been so carefully kept by itself through the whole period of the Jewish history, to be regarded as a part of the ceremonial law? Is a system of ordinances, having all the characters of immutability, and twice written by the finger of Almighty God on tables of stone, to be regarded as in the same predicament with a temporary compilation of institutes, intended only to preserve God's people from idolatrous communication and intermixture, and to shadow forth the mysteries of future grace and glory? and if not, was the totality and integrity of that great record, consecrated, by its position within the ark, in the holy of holies, to be mutilated and defaced by the obliteration of one of its commandments? Who shall profane that sacred enclosure, but the enemy of God and man?
THE SAME SUBJECT, UNDER THE CHRISTIAN DISPENSATION.
ONE day in seven, as a day of sacred rest, and as a day of commemoration, was given to the first man and his posterities; was given to the children of Israel; and was given in promise to the Gentile world, to celebrate therein the successive wonders of Jehovah's love, the creation of a glorious world, and the restoration of its fallen inhabitants, with all the intermediate preparatives and disclosures of Divine Mercy. Christ's resurrection and return to glory completed the stupendous work of grace, and opened the prospect of an eternal Sabbath, wrought by a work of love ineffable; whereby it was revealed, that "there remaineth a rest for the people of God, into which he that is entered hath ceased from his works, as God did from his.” Thus the Christian Sabbath hath not abrogated the Sabbath of the Jews, but taken it into itself, as a law of immutable obligation; not indeed by an express recorded appointment, but by the sanction of our Lord's own blessed example, by apostolical practice, and by a continued
stream of observance, which has flowed through all ages of the church to the present time.
Christ came not "to destroy, but to fulfil," and hath declared, that "till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. v. 17-19.) And if the Sabbath be considered as a type of the heavenly rest of the people of God, as long as the anti-type is deferred, or in progress to its accomplishment, the type must necessarily continue. The Sabbath has been circumstantially changed-changed as to the day, and changed as to some of those rigid observances which belonged to the Jewish ritual; but adopted and confirmed in substance, as the day indicative of that consummate rest which Christ has purchased for his redeemed, and to which he led the way by his own triumph over tribulation and death. It was in Christ Jesus that every commandment of the decalogue was first spiritualized, and then fulfilled; and, therefore, all wait upon him and his righteous dominion: they belong to his kingdom of grace, to which they look for their perfection and judicial satisfaction. In his person all holiness
has been completed, and to him, therefore, the Sabbath of the Lord is most appropriately consecrated and devoted. It was on the Sunday that the disciples first assembled after our Lord's crucifixion, when Christ appeared in the midst of them; and again, on the first day of the succeeding week," came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you."* On this day the Holy Ghost descended with his commission from the risen Redeemer. On this day," being the first day of the week, the disciples came together to break bread, and Paul preached unto them, and continued his speech until midnight." (Acts xx. 7.) St. John was in the spirit on the "Lord's day," (Rev. i. 10.) and this day was familiar to the primitive followers of the Lord Jesus, as his day; a day for social prayer, for the celebration of the holy communion, and for assembling
* The Jews, in computing time from one day to another, reckoned the days inclusively; therefore, eight days from the first day of the week, would be again the first day of the week following; and "after eight days," according to the common phraseology of the Old and New Testament, is to be taken in the same sense as in eight days, or on the eighth day. rise again," Matthew xxvii. 63. him in the temple," Luke ii. 46. days," 2 Chron. x. 5; " and the third day, as the king bade," ib. 12. In all which instances the phrase imports, on the third day," including the day from which the reckoning dates,
Thus, "after three days, I will And, "after three days they found "Come again unto me after three people came to Rehoboam on the
together in religious conference; a day altogether holy unto the Lord.
The title then of this first day of the week is established, on the virtual authority of Christ and his apostles. It is furthermore confirmed by the constant usage of Christians from the earliest times. The voice of antiquity has declared for it; the trumpet of time has proclaimed it; it has been the subject of positive enactment, and the offering of solemn dedication. It is the day of the Lord by right of acquisition; and admitting it only to be set apart by the Church and human ordinance, is it for man to resume the gift, and cancel the surrender? If the first converts of the Gospel, with whom the faith and practice of the Church were in their purest exercise, observed the first day of the week as a day separated and hallowed, and if, in all succeeding times, this day has been recognised as the resurrection-day of the Lord Christ, what want we more to fix the duty of keeping it holy upon our reason, our gratitude, and our conscience? All Christian antiquity rings with the sacred sound of the Lord's day. The celebrated letter of Pliny to Trajan remarks the assembling of the Christian converts on a stated day, to sing hymns to Christ as God. Ignatius, Justin Martyr, Irenæus, Clemens Alexandrinus, Ter