« السابقةمتابعة »
been instituted at the time of the creation, as the CHAPTER VII.
words in Genesis may seem at first sight to imof the Scripture Account of Sabbatical Institu- port; and if it had been observed all along from
that time to the departure of the Jews out of tions.
Egypt, a period of about two thousand five bunThe subject, so far as it makes any part of dred years; it appears unaccountable that no menChristian morality, is contained in two questions: tion of it, no occasion of even the obscurest allu
I. Whether the command, by which the Jew- sion to it, should occur, either in the general ish Sabbath was instituted, extends to Christians? history of the world before the call of Abraham,
II. Whether any new command was delivered which contains, we admit, only a few memoirs of by Christ; or any other day substituted in the its early ages, and those extremely abridged; or, place of the Jewish Sabbath by the authority or which is more to be wondered ai, in that of the example of his apostles ?
lives of the first three Jewish patriarchs, which, In treating of the first question, it will be ne- in many parts of the account, is sufficiently circessary to collect the accounts which are pre-cumstantial and domestic. Nor is there, in the served of the institution, in the Jewish history: passage above quoted from the sixteenth chapter for the seeing these accounts together, and in of Exodus, any intimation that the Sabbath, when one point of view, will be the best preparation for appointed to be observed, was only the revival of the discussing or judging of any arguments on an ancient institution, which had been neglected, one side or the other.
forgotten, or suspended; nor is any such neglect In the second chapter of Genesis, the historian, imputed either to the inhabitants of the old worloh having concluded his account of the six days' or to any part of the family of Noah; nor, lastly, creation, proceeds thus: “And on the seventh is any permission recorded to dispense with the day God ended his work which he had made; and institution during the captivity of the Jews in he rested on the seventh day from all his work Egypt, or on any other public emergency: which he had made; and God blessed the seventh The passage in the second chapter of Genesis, day and sanctified it, because that in it he had which creates the whole controversy upon the rested from all his work which God created and subject, is not inconsistent with this opinion: for made.” After this, we hear no more of the Sab- as the seventh day was erected into a Sabbath, on bath, or of the seventh day, as in any manner account of God's resting upon that day from the distinguished from the other six, until the history work of the creation, it was natural in the histobrings us down to the sojourning of the Jews in rian, when he had related the history of the creathe wilderness, when the following remarkable tion, and of God's ceasing from it on the seventh passage occurs. Upon the complaint of the peo- day, to add; "And God blessed the seventh day, ple for want of food, God was pleased to provide and sanctified it, because that on it he had rested for their relief by a miraculous supply of manna, from all his work which God created and made;" which was found every morning upon the ground although the blessing and sanctification, i. e. the about the camp: "and they gathered it every religious distinction and appropriation of that day, morning, every man according to his eating; and were not actually made till many ages afterwards. when the sun waxed hot, it melted: and it came The words do not assert that God ihen “blessed" to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice and “sanctified” the seventh day, but that he as much bread, two omers for one man; and all blessed and sanctified it for that reason ; and if the rulers of the congregation came and told any ask, why the Sabbath, or sanctification of the Moses: and he said unto them, this is that which seventh day, was then mentioned, if it was not the Lord hath said, To-morrow is the rest of the then appointed, the answer is at hand: the order Holy-Sabbath unto the Lord: bake that which of connexion, and not of time, introduced the ye will bake to-day, and seethe that ye will seethe; mention of the Sabbath, in the history of the suband that which remaineth over, lay up for you, to be ject which it was ordained to commemorate. kept until the morning. And they laid it up till the This interpretation is strongly supported by a morning, as Moses bade ; and it did not stink (as passage in the prophet Ezekiel, where the Sabit had done before, when some of them left it till hath is plainly spoken of as given, (and what the morning,] neither was there any worm therein. else can that mean, but as first instiluted?) in And Moses said, Eat that to-day: for to-day is a the wilderness. “Wherefore I caused them to Sabbath unto the Lord; to-day ye shall not find go forth out of the land of Egypt, and brought it in the field. Six days ye shall gather it, but on them into the wilderness: and I gave them iny the seventh day, which is the Sabbath, in it there statutes and showed them my judgments, which shall be none. And it came to pass, that there if a man do, he shall even live in them: moreover went out some of the people on the seventh day also I gave them my Sabbaths, to be a sign between for to gather, and they found none. And the Lord me and them, that they might know that I am the said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my Lord that sanctify them.” Ezek. xx. 10, 11, 12 commandments and my laws ? See, for that the Nehemiah also recounts the promulgation of Lord hath given you the Sabbath, therefore he the sabbatical law amongst the transactions in the giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days: wilderness; which supplies another considerable abide ye every man in his place: let no man go argument in aid of our opinion :—“Moreover thou out of his place on the seventh day. So the peo- leddest them in the day by a cloudy pillar, and in ple rested on the seventh day.” Éxodus xvi. the night by a pillar of fire, to give them light in
Not long after this, the Sabbath, as is well the way wherein they should go. Thou camest known, was established with great solemnity, in down also upon mount Sinai, and spakest with the fourth commandment.
them from heaven, and gavest them right judgNow, in my opinion, the transaction in the ments and true laws, good statutes and comwilderness above recited, was the first actual in- mandments, and madest known unto them thy stitution of the Sabbath. For if the Sabbath had | holy Sabbath, and commandedst them precepts.
statutes, and laws, by the hand of Moses thy ser-repealed by some subsequent revelation, binding Fant, and gavest them bread from heaven for their upon all who come to the knowledge of it. If the hunger, and broughtest forth water for them out command was published for the first time in the of the rock."* Nehem. ix. 12.
wilderness, then it was immediately directed to If it be inquired what duties were appointed the Jewish people alone; and something further, for the Jewish Sabbath, and under what penalties either in the subject or circumstances of the comand in what manner it was observed amongst the mand, will be necessary to show, that it was deancient Jews; we find that, by the fourth com- signed for any other. It is on this account that mandment, a strict cessation from work was en- the question concerning the date of the institution joined, not only upon Jews by birth, or religious was first to be considered. The former opinion profession, but upon all who resided within the precludes all debate about the extent of the oblunits of the Jewish state ; that the same was to ligation: the latter admits, and, prima facie inbe permitted to their slaves and their cattle; that duces a belief, that the Sabbath ought to be conthis rest was not to be violated, under pain of sidered as part of the peculiar law of the Jewish death: “Whosoever doeth any work in the Sab- policy. bath-day, he shall surely be put to death.” Exod. Which belief receives great confirmation from Ixi. 15. Beside which, the seventh day was to the following arguments : be solemnized by double sacrifices in the temple : The Sabbath is described as a sign between * And on the Sabbath-day two lambs of the first God and the people of Israel :-"Wherefore the year without spot, and two tenth-deals of flour for children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to oba meat-offering, mingled with oil, and the drink- serve the Sabbath throughout their generations, offering thereof; this is the burnt-offering of every for a perpetual covenant; it is a sign between me Sabbath, beside the continual burnt-offering and and the children of Israel for ever.” Exodus his drink-offering.” Numb. xxviii. 9, 10. Also xxxi. 16, 17. Again: “And I gave them my holy concocations, which mean, we presume, as- statutes, and showed them my judgments, which semblies for the purpose of public worship or re- if a man do he shall even live in them; moreorer ligious instruction, were directed to be holden on also I gave them my Sabbaths, to be a sign bethe Sabbath-day: "the seventh day is a sabbath tween me and them, that they might know that I of rest, an holy convocation." Levit. xxiii. 3. am the Lord that sanctify them.” Ezek. xx. 12. Now
And accordingly we read, that the Sabbath was it does not seem easy to understand how the Sabin fact observed amongst the Jews by a scrupulous bath could be a sign between God and the people abstinence from every thing which, by any pos- of Israel, unless the observance of it was peculiar sible construction, could be deemed labour; as to that people, and designed to be so. from dressing meat, from travelling beyond a The distinction of the Sabbath is, in its nature, Sabbath-day's journey, or about a single mile. In as much a positive ceremonial institution, as that the Maccabean wars, they suffered a thousand of of many other seasons which were appointed by their number to be slain, rather than do any thing the Levitical law to be kept holy, and to be obin their own defence on the Sabbath-day. In the served by a strict rest ; as the first and seventh final siege of Jerusalem, after they had so far days of unleavened bread; the feast of Pentecost overcome their scruples as to defend their persons the feast of tabernacles: and in the twenty-third when attacked, they refused any operation on the chapter of Exodus, the Sabbath and these are reSabbath-day, by which they might have inter-cited together. rupted the enemy in filling up the trench. After If the command by which the Sabbath was inthe establishment of synagogues, (of the origin of stituted be binding upon Christians, it must be which we have no account,) it was the custom to binding as to the day, the duties, and the penalty; assemble in them on the Sabbath-day, for the in none of which it is received. purpose of hearing the law rehearsed and ex The observance of the Sabbath was not one of plained, and for the exercise, it is probable, of the articles enjoined by the Apostles, in the fifpublic devotion: "For Moses of old time hath in teenth chapter of Acts, upon them—"which, from every city them that preach him, being read in among the Gentiles, were turned unto God.” the synagogues every Sabbath-day.” The seventh
St. Paul evidently appears to have considered day is Saturday; and, agreeably to the Jewish the Sabbath as part of the Jewish ritual, and not way of computing the day, the Sabbath held from obligatory upon Christians as such :-"Let no six o'clock on the Friday evening, to six o'clock man therefore judge you in meat or in drink, or on Saturday evening. These observations being in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or premised, we approach the main question, Whe- of the Sabbath days, which are a shadow of ther the command by which
the Jewish Sabbath things to come, but the body is of Christ." Col. was instituted, extend to us?
ii. 16, 17. If the Divine command was actually delivered I am aware of only two objections which can be at the creation, it was addressed, no doubt, to the opposed to the force of these arguments; one is, whole human species alike, and continues, unless that the reason assigned in the fourth command
ment for hallowing the seventh day, namely, From the mention of the Sabbath in so close a con.
“ because God rested on the seventh day from the Rexion with the descent of God upon mount Sinai, and work of the creation," is a reason which pertains the delivery of the law from thence, one would be in to all mankind: the other, that the command kurth commandment. But the fourth commandment inserted in the Decalogue, of which all the other clined to believe that Nehemiah referred solely to the which enjoins the observance of the Sabbath is certainly did not first make known the Sabbath. it is apparent, that Nehemiah observed not the order of precepts and prohibitions are of moral and univerevents, for he speaks of whut passed upon mount Sinai sal obligation. before he mentions the miraculous supplies of bread and water, though the Jews did not arrive at mount that although in Exodus the commandment is
Upon the first objection it may be remarked, Sinai, till some time after both these miracles were wrought.
founded upon God's rest from the creation, in
Deuteronomy the commandment is repeated with , house of Israel; neither hath defiled his neigh. a reference to a different event :-“Six days shalt bour's wife, neither hath come near to a mene thou labour, and do all thy work; but the seventh struous woman; and hath not oppressed any, but day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in ithath restored to the debtor his pledge; hath spoiled thou shalt not do any work; thou, nor thy son, none by violence; hath given his bread to the nor thy daughter, nor thy man-servant, nor thy hungry, and hath covered the naked with a garmaid-servant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any ment; he that hath not given upon usury, nei of thy cattle, nor the stranger that is within thy ther hath taken any increase ; that hath with gates; that thy man-servant and thy maid-servant drawn his hand from iniquity; hath executed may rest as well as thou: and remember that thou true judgment between man and man; bath walkwast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the ed in my statutes, and hath kept my judgments, Lord thy God brought thee out thence, through a to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, saith mighty hand, and by a stretched-out arm; there the Lord God." Ezekiel xvii. 549. The same
fore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep thing may be observed of the apostolic decree rethe Sabbath-day.” It is farther observable, that corded in the fifteenth chapter of the Acts :-" It God's rest from the creation is proposed as the seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay reason of the institution, even where the institu- upon you no greater burihen than these necessary tion itself is spoken of as peculiar to the Jews : things, that ye abstain from meats offered to idols, “Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the and from blood, and from things strangled, and Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their from fornication : from which if ye keep yourgenerations, for a perpetual covenant: it is a sign selves, ye shall do well.”. between me and the children of Israel for ever: II. If the law by which the Sabbath was infor in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, stituted, was a law only to the Jews, it becomes an and on the seventh day he rested and was re- important question with the Christian inquirer, freshed.”. The truth is, these different reasons whether the Founder of his religion delivered any were assigned, to account for different circum- new command upon the subject; or, if that should stances in the command. If a Jew inquired, why not appear to be the case, whether any day was the seventh day was sanctified rather than the appropriated to the service of religion by the ausixth or eighth, his law told him, because God thority or example of his apostles. rested on the seventh day from the creation. If The practice of holding religious assemblies he asked, why was the same rest indulged to upon the first day of the week, was so early and slares? his law bade him remember, that he also universal in the Christian Church, that it carries was a slave in the land of Egypt, and “that the with it considerable proof of having originated Lord his God brought him out thence.” In this from some precept of Christ, or of his apostles, view, the two reasons are perfectly compatible though none such be now extant. It was upon with each other, and with a third end of the in- the first day of the week that the disciples were stitution, its being a sign between God and the assembled, when Christ appeared to them for the people of Israel ; but in this view they determine first time after his resurrection; "then the same nothing concerning the extent of the obligation. Jay at evening, being the first day of the week, If the reason by its proper energy had constituted when the doors were shut where the disciples were a natural obligation, or if it had been mentioned assembled, for fear of the Jews, came Jesus, and with a view to the extent of the obligation, we stood in the midst of them ” John xx. 19. This, should submit to the conclusion that all were for any thing that appears in the account, might, comprehended by the command who are concerned as to the day, have been accidental; but in the in the reason. But the sabbatic rest being a duty 26th verse of the same chapter we read, that which results from the ordination and authority “after eight days," that is, on the first day of the of a positive law, the reason can be alleged no week following, "again the disciples were withfarther than as it explains the design of the legis-in;" which second meeting upon the same day of lator: and if it appear to be recited with an in the week looks like an appointment and design tentional application to one part of the law, it ex- to meet on that particular day. In the twentieth plains his design upon no other; if it be mentioned chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, we find the merely to account for the choice of the day, it same custom in a Christian church at a great does not explain his design as to the extent of the distance from Jerusalem :-“ And we came unto obligation.
them to Troas in five days, where we abode seven With respect to the second objection, that in- days; and upon the first day of the week, when asmuch as the other nine commandments are con: the disciples came together to break brcad, Paul fessedly of moral and universal obligation, it may preached unto them." Acts xx. 6, 7. The manreasonably be presumed that this is of the same; ner in which the historian mentions the disciples we answer, that this argument will have less coming together to break bread on the first day weight, when it is considered that the distinction of the week, shows, I think, that the practice by between positive and natural duties, like other this time was familiar and established. St. Paul distinctions of modern ethics, was unknown to the to the Corinthians writes thus: “Concerning the simplicity of ancient language; and that there are collection for the saints, as I have given order to various passages in Scripture, in which duties of the Churches of Galatia, even so do ye; upon the a political, or ceremonial, or positive nature, and first day of the ucek let every one of you lay by confessedly of partial obligation, are enumerated, him in store as God hath prospered him, that there and without any mark of discrimination, along be no gathering when I come.” 1 Cor. xvi. 1, 2. with others which are natural and universal. Of Which direction affords a probable proof, that the this the following is an incontestable example. first day of the week was already, amongst the "But if a man be just, and do that which is law- Christians both of Corinth and Galatia, distinful and right; and hath not eaten upon the moun- guished from the rest by some religious applicalains, nor hath lifted up his eyes to the idols of the tion or other. At the time that si. Jolin wrote
the book of his Revelation, the first day of the ment; the resting on that day from our employweek had obtained the name of the Lord's day ; ments longer than we are detained from them by "I was in the spirit,” says he, “on the Lord's attendance upon these assemblies, is to Christians day." Rev. i. 10. Which naine, and St. John's an ordinance of human institution; binding neveruse of it, sufficiently denote the appropriation of theless upon the conscience of every individual of this day to the service of religion, and that this a country in which a weekly Sabbath is estaappropriation was perfectly known to the Churches blished, for the sake of the beneticial purposes of Asia. I make no doubt that by the Lord's which the public and regular observance of it proday was meant the first day of the week; for we motes, and recommended perhaps in some defini no footsteps of any distinction of days, which gree to the Divine approbation, by the resemcould entitle any other to that appellation. The blance it bears to what God was pleased to make suosequent history of Christianity corresponds solemn part of the law which he delivered to the with the accounts delivered on this subject in people of Israel, and by its subserviency to many Scripture.
of the same uses. It will be remembered, that we are contending, by these proofs, for no other duty upon the first day of the week, than that of holding and frequenting religious assemblies. A cessation upon
CHAPTER VIII. that day from labour, beyond the time of attend. By what Acts and Omissions the Duty of the ance upon public worship, is not intimated in
Christian Sabbath is violated. passage of the New Testament; nor did Christ or his apostles deliver, that we know of, any com Since the obligation upon Christians to command to their disciples for a discontinuance, upon ply with the religious observance of Sunday, arises that day, of the common offices of their profes- from the public uses of the institution, and the sions; a reserve which none will see reason to authority of the apostolic practice, the manner of wonder at, or to blame as a defect in the institu- observing it ought to be that which best fulfils tion, who consider that, in the primitive condition these uses, and conforms the nearest to this prac. of Christianity, the observance of a new Sabbath tice. would have been useless, or inconvenient, or im The uses proposed by the institution are: practicable. During Christ's personal ministry, 1. To facilitate attendance upon public worhis religion was preached to the Jews alone. ship. They already had a Sabbath, which, as citizens 2. To meliorate the condition of the laborious and subjects of that economy, they were obliged classes of mankind, by regular and seasonable to keep; and did keep. It was not therefore pro- returns of rest. bable that Christ would enjoin another day of rest 3. By a general suspension of business and in conjunction with this. When the new re- amusement, to invite and enable persons of every hgion came forth into the Gentile world, converts description to apply their time and thoughts to w it were, for the most part, made from those subjects appertaining to their salvation. classes of society who have not their time and With the primitive Christians, the peculiar, labour at their own disposal; and it was scarcely and probably for sometime the only, distinction of to be expected, that unbelieving masters and the first day of the week, was the holding of remagistrates, and they who directed the employ- ligious assemblies upon that day.
We learn, ment of others, would permit their slaves and la- however, from the testimony of a very early bourers to rest from their work every seventh writer amongst them, that they also reserved the day: or that civil government, indeed, would day for religious meditations ;-Unusquisque nos. have submitted to the loss of a seventh part of trum (saith Irenæus) sabbatizat spiritualiter, men the public industry, and that too in addition to ditatione legis gaudens, opificium Dei admirans. the numerous festivals which the national re WHEREFORE the duty of the day is violated, ligions indulged to the people; at least, this would 1st, By all such employments or engagements have been an incumbrance, which might have as (though differing from our ordinary occupation) greatly retarded the reception of Christianity in hinder our attendance upon public worship, or the world. In reality, the institution of a weekly take up so much of our time as not to leave a Sablath is so connected with the functions of sufficient part of the day at leisure for religious civil life, and requires so much of the concurrence reflection ; as the going of journeys, the paying or of civil law, in its regulation and support, that it receiving of visits which engage the whole day, or cannot, perhaps, properly be made the ordinance employing the time at home in writing letters, setof any religion, till that religion be received as tling accounts
, or in applying ourselves to studies, the religion of the state.
or the reading of books, which bear no relation The opinion, that Christ and his apostles to the business of religion. meant to retain the duties of the Jewish Sabbath, 2dly, By unnecessary encroachments on the rest shifting only the day from the seventh to the first, and liberty which Sunday ought to bring to the seems to prevail without sufficient proof; nor does inferior orders of the community; as by keeping any evidence remain in Scripture (of what, how- servants on that day confined and busied in preever, is not improbable,) that the first day of the parations for the superfluous elegancies of our week was thus distinguished in commemoration table, or dress. of our Lord's resurrection.
3dly, By such recreations as are customarily The conclusion from the whole inquiry (for it forborne out of respect to the day; as hunting, is our business to follow the arguments, to what- shooting, fishing, public diversions, frequenting ever probability they conduct us,) is this: The taverns, playing at cards or dice. assembling upon the first day of the week for the If it be asked, as it often has been, wherein purpose of public worship and religious instruc- consists the difference between walking out with tion, is a law of Christianity of Divine appoint- your staff or with your gun? between spending
the evening at home, or in a tavern ? between | ligion and devotion, to express our anger, our passing the Sunday afternoon at a game of cards, earnestness, our courage, or our mirth : or indeed or in conversation not more edifying, not always when it is used at all, except in acts of religion, or so inoffensive ?—to these, and to the same question in serious and seasonable discourse upon religious under a variety of forms, and in a multitude of subjects. similar examples, we return the following an The prohibition of the third commandment is swer:- That the religious observance of Sunday, recognised by Christ, in his sermon upon the if it ought to be retained at all, must be upholden mount; which sermon adverts to none but the by some public and visible distinctions : that, draw moral parts of the Jewish law: "I say unto you, the line of distinction where you will, many ac- Swear not at all; but let your communication be tions which are situated on the contines of the Yea, yea ; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than line, will ditfer very little, and yet lie on the op- these, cometh of evil.” The Jews probably inposite sides of it :-that every trespass upon that terpreted the prohibition as restrained to the name reserve which public decency has established, Jehovah, the name which the Deity had appointed breaks down the fence by which the day is sepa- and appropriated to himself; Exod. vi. 3. The rated to the service of religion :—that it is unsafe words of Christ extend the prohibition beyond the to trifle with scruples and habits that have a name of God, to every thing associated with the beneficial tendency, although founded merely in idea :-"Swear not, neither by heaven, for it is custom:--that these liberties, however intended, God's throne; nor by the earth, for it is his footwill certainly be considered by those who observe stool; neither by Jerusalem, for it is the city of them, not only as disrespectful to the day and in the Great King” Matt. v. 35. stitution, but as proceeding from a secret contempt The offence of profane swearing is aggravated of the Christian faith :—that consequently, they by the consideration, that in it duty and decency diminish a reverence for religion in others, so far are sacrificed to the slenderest of temptations. as the authority of our opinion, or the efficacy of Suppose the habit, either from affectation, or by our example, reaches ; or rather, so far as either negligence and inadvertency, to be already formed, will serve for an excuse of negligence to those who it must always remain within the power of the are glad of any : that as to cards and dice, which most ordinary resolution to correct it; and it canput in their claim to be considered among the not, one would think, cost a great deal to relinquish harmless occupations of a vacant hour, it may be the pleasure and honour which it confers. A observed that few find any difficulty in refraining concern for duty is in fact never strong, when the from play on Sunday, except they who sit down exertion requisite to vanish a habit founded in no to it with the views and eagerness of game antecedent propensity, is thought too much, or too sters :—that gaming is seldom innocent :—that painful. the anxiety and perturbations, however, which A contempt of positive duties, or rather of those it excites, are inconsistent with the tranquillity and duties for which the reason is not so plain as the frame of temper in which the duties and thoughts command, indicates a disposition upon which the of religion should always both find and leave us: authority of Revelation has obtained little influand lastly, we shall remark, that the example of ence.
:- This remark is applicable to the offence of other countries, where the same and greater li- profane swearing, and describes, perhaps, pretty cence is allowed, affords no apology for irregularities exactly, the general character of those who are in our own; because a practice which is tolerated most addicted to it. by public usage, neither receives the same con Mockery and ridicule, when exercised upon the struction, nor gives the same offence, as where it Scriptures, or even upon the places, persons, and is censured and prohibited.
forms, set apart for the ministration of religion, fall within the meaning of the law which forbids the profanation of God's name; especially as that
law is extended by Christ's interpretation. They CHAPTER IX.
are, moreover, inconsistent with a religious frame Of Reverencing the Deity.
of mind: for, as no one ever feels himself disposed
to pleasantry, or capable of being diverted with In many persons, a seriousness, and sense of the pleasantry of others, upon matters in which awe, overspread the imagination, whenever the he is deeply interested ; so a mind intent upon the idea of the Supreme Being is presented to their acquisition of heaven, rejects with indignation thoughts. This effect, which forms a considera- every attempt to entertain it with jests, calculated ble security against vice, is the consequence not to degrade or deride subjects which it never recolso much of reflection, as of habit; which habit lects but with seriousness and anxiety. Nothing being generated by the external expressions of but stupidity, or the most frivolous dissipation of reverence which we use ourselves, or observe in thought, can make even the inconsiderate forget others, may be destroyed by causes opposite to the supreme importance of every thing which rethese, and especially by that familiar levity with lates to the expectation of a future existence. which some learn to speak of the Deity, of his Whilst the infidel mocks at the superstitions of attributes, providence, revelations, or worship. the vulgar, insults over their credulous fears, their
God hath been pleased (no matter for what rea- childish errors, or fantastic rites, it does not occur son, although probably for this) to forbid the vain to him to observe, that the most preposterous demention of his name :-" Thou shalt not take the vice by which the weakest devotee ever believed name of the Lord thy God in vain.” Now the he was securing the happiness of a future life, mention is vain, when it is useless: and it is is more rational than unconcern about it. Upon useless, when it is neither likely nor intended to this subject, nothing is so absurd as indifference; serve any good purpose; as when it flows from no folly' so contemptible as thoughtlessness and the lips idle and unmeaning, or is applied, on oc- levity. casions inconsistent with any consideration of re Finally; the knowledge of what is due to the