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creation, and then appointed a day of rest, and sanctified it, as a holy sabbath. Christ likewise, ceased from the great work of redemption, and then appointed a day of rest, set apart, and remaining perpetually as a holy sabbath. There is no more obscurity or doubtfulness with respect to the establishment of the christian sab"bath, than with respect to the establishment of the origimal sabbath. It is a holy sabbath which remains, and will remain to the people of God, so long as the resurrection of Christ is remembered and believed. The institution of the christian sabbath is, therefore, established on as firm ground as that of the original sabbath. Accordingly, to establish this important law, and to render it obligatory on all generations, we observe,
%. It was made a distinct article in the first table of the moral law, which was given to Moses, and proclaimed in the ears of the people at Mount Sinai. This was the law which Christ came to magnify and make honorable. As well may we expunge the first, or any other command from the sacred decalogue, as the fourth. To the ten commandments, our Saviour had particular reference, whenever he spoke of the law; and, on some occasions, he recited several of the commandments; 6 Thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not bear false witness, honor thy father and thy mother." Christ also was very careful, by his example, to enforce the observance of the holy sabbath. Can it be supposed, that, by his coming to fulfil all righteousness, he designed to abolish any one of the ten commandments ? Certainly not. Our Saviour, in his abridgement of the decalogue, reduced the ten to two great commandments. But did he, in his abridgement, aim to leave out, or exclude the fourth commandment? Had he found this to be a useless and unnecessary precept? Then his experience was contrary to the experience of all others. `Had it been the will of God our Saviour, to abolish or repeal the law of the sabbath, it would certainly have been done, in the most explicit terms. No more doubt would have remained, than remains respecting the abolition of the ceremonial law.
3. Another argument in support of the law of the sabbath is, that no law or commandment whatever, appears to be so much insisted on, so often and so powerfully inculcated; and enforced with so heavy penalties, as the law of the sabbath. Old testament and new set forth the infinite importance of the celebration of the holy sabbath. Well may we conclude, on this ground, that “ there remaineth á sabbath to the people of God." And not only is the law of the sabbath urged more frequently, and more powerfully than any other law of God; but important reasons are assigned. One is, that it is a sign between God and his people. It is a test, or signal, by which the true church of God is distinguished from the ungodly world. On this ground, the law of the sabbath is most abundantly enforced in the holy scriptures. In the book of Exodus, we read, over and over, very repeatedly, “ Verily, my sabbaths ye shall keep; for it is a sign between me and you, throughout your generations ; that ye may know, that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you. 6 Ye shall keep my sabbath therefore, for it is holy unto you. Every one that defileth it, shall surely be put to death." Was the sabbath so infinitely important at that day; and was it to be kept forever, as a perpetual statute, throughout their generations ? How then can any one imagine, that it was a leading object, in the ministry of the divine Saviour, to abolish this holy statute ? Reason revolts at the absurdity. This command, so much repeated in Exodus, is often inculcated by the most of the prophets ; and especially by the prophet Ezekiel, in his twentieth chapter. The following is a specimen : “ I ain the Lord your God; walk in my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them. And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know, that I am the Lord your God. Notwithstanding the children of Israel rebelled against me, they walked not in my statutes—they polluted my sabbaths. Then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them, to accomplish mine anger against them." It was particuJarly, for the profanation of the sabbath, that God punished his people with seventy years captivity in Babylon. They were carried away, that the land, which had groaned under their avarice, might enjoy her sabbaths. This was solemnly recognized by Nehemiah, after the restoration from the captivity when the sabbath began again to be profaned. 6 And he contended with the nobles of Judah, who began to profane the sabbath, saying: What evil thing is this that ye do, and profane the sabbath day? Did not your father's thus ? and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon our city. Yet ye bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the sabbath day. Thus it appears, that the profanation of the sabbath was the capital sin, which brought on Israel national judgments; and which, in cases of individual transgression, · was punished by an ignominious death. Only for gathering a little fuel on the sabbath, a man was, by the special command of God, stoned to death, by all the congregation.
Thus important was the law of the sabbath, in God's own estimation, in the ancient ages of the church. Nor is the importance of it at all diminished by the scriptures of the new testament. It was unnecessary for the new testament to be very copious on a subject so abundantly established and enforced by the old testament. Barely to say and prove that there remaineth a sabbath to the people of God, under the present dispensation of the gospel, is a sufficient confirmation of the law of the sabbath, down to the latest generation.
It may be added further, that, were the new testament perfectly silent on the subject, yet reason and experience would decide whether the law of the sabbath is abolished. Reason and experience teach us, that the sabbath is as important now, as it has been in any past age of the world. It is important for the same purposes now, as it was in the antediluvian, Patriarchal, or Mosaic ages. 66 The sabbath was made for man ;” and never did man stand in greater need of its restraints and its privileges, than at this day. Unless, therefore, we can find, in the new testament, an express repeal of the law of the sabbath ; or an express repeal of the fourth commandment; it is awful presumption to disregard the holy sabbath. From our daily observation, we have abundant evidence,
that the welfare of civil and religious society depends, chiefly, on the due observance of the sabbath. The very form of the christian religion would be soon extinguished, if the sabbath were utterly discarded and profaned: Those who are regardless of the sabbath, are soon found to be equally regardless of all the commands of God; and of all the institutions of Jesus Christ. And in this case, does not civil society languish, and rapidly decline to a state of heathenism ? The importance of the sabbath is incalculable; and from this we are assured that it is a divine institution, never to be abolished.
4. The law of the sabbath is no part of the Mosaic system of ceremonials; but is coeval with the creation of the world. It was the first law which was given to mankind in paradise; and beyond a doubt, will be in force to the end of the world. We have found, that the sabbath, as to its importance, is the first and most distinguished of all the divine commands ; and we may fairly conclude, that it will be the last to be set aside and abolished.
5. God's ancient people were required to keep his sabbaths, and reverence his sanctuary. These two things were connected together, and the connection is inseparable. If, therefore, Christ had set aside the sabbath, the duties of the sanctuary would have ceased of course. There would have been no time nor place established for social worship and ordinances. Facts have proved incontestably, that it is impossible to maintain, in a regular manner, the worship and ordinances of Christ ; or to uphold the church in this wicked world, without a strict adherence to the law of the sabbath. Let every one be at liberty (a liberty which many claim) to sanctify, or to profane, the sabbath ; and how few would be found to sanctify it? Even those professing christians, who now discard the sabbath, are dependent on the laws and customs of those who regard the holy sabbath, for the existence of their churches and their ordinances. Could they carry their point, to bring the established rules respecting the sabbath and the sanctuary into universal disrepute, they would speedily abolish all the regular admin
istrations of the gospel, and expunge christianity out of the world. From these considerations it is evident, that the great Head of the Church, who is 6 Lord also of the sabbath,” has established and will maintain it even to the end of the world.
Finally : That this great law is in full force, under the present dispensation of the gospel, is evident froin many things contained in the history of Christ and his Apostles. Christ declared himself to be Lord of the sabbath. And the Apostle John was in the spirit on the Lord's day. The Lord's day, therefore, was the christian sabbath. And this sabbath was evidently observed by John near the close of his very long life; even late in the apostolic age.
When Christ predicted the awful conquest of Jerusalem, he instructed his followers " to pray that their flight should not be in the winter, neither on the sabbath day.” The sabbath was, therefore, strictly regarded, near forty years after the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Paul, at Corinth, reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath day. How could this be done, if the sabbath had been long abolished ? At Antioch, Paul and Barnabas, having excited great attention by preaching one sabbath, it is said, “ that the next sabbath, came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.” The sabbath, it seems, was the day appointed and observed, as the day for religious worship, and the ministry of the gospel. At Philippi, where Lydia was converted, the Apostles tarried certain days; and on the sabbath, they attended to the ministry of the word, and to the ordinance of baptism.
But why was any day called the sabbath day ? if the sabbath had been long abolished, by the authority of Christ. If all days are alike, why should the name sabbath, be found in the new testament, except barely to inform us, that the fourth commandment is abolished. But enough, surely, yea, more than enough has been said, to put it beyond all doubt, and all controversy, that there is a christian sabbath, which is to be perpetuated to the end of the world. 66 There remaineth a rest to the