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which no reason can be assigned, was emphatically enjoined upon that peculiar people, for whose use, and for separating whom to himself, the Lord was pleased to construct an exclusive system of government. It was the great primeval purpose of the institution that God should be specially remembered, and his goodness towards his creatures recorded by the dedication to him and his worship of one day in seven. It was meant to be a treasury of sacred recollections, receiving fresh accessions as the gracious dispensations of divine benevolence advanced in the sequel of his providence, the first in order being the wonders of creation. The people of Israel being distinguished by special acts of favour, had subjects of grateful reminiscence peculiar to themselves: they were commanded, therefore, to remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy; for such, according to Dr. Kennicot, is the proper translation: they were to make it commemorative of their deliverance from Egyptian tyranny, by revolving in their minds on that day the goodness of their God, "who had redeemed them out of the land of Egypt, and out of the house of bondage." (Deut, v. 15.) Our motives to gratitude, still accumulating with time, have at length attained the measure of their fulness in the mystery of
our redemption by the Son of God in the flesh : and as by this sacrifice an eternal Sabbath has been prepared for the people of God, the day which has been made illustrious by that achievement has been, with the sanction of him who is Lord of the Sabbath, put in the place of the Jewish Sabbath, whereby the primitive and substantial obligation to keep one day in seven especially holy was confirmed, and its moral perpetuity established.
The argument for the observance of the Sabbath is happily not a long one; and most happy is it for the human race, that God has proclaimed his will, in this respect, in terms not to be mistaken. He has sanctified it, or, in other words, commanded it to be kept holy by the eldest of all his mundane institutions; but man, by a gratuitous construction, has sought to bring down the ordinance from that lofty position from which it overlooks the world, to the date and level of the Hebrew economy, and to circumscribe it within the scope and limit of a defunct dispensation. This he does by a construction depending upon the assumption that the book of Genesis was not composed until after the promulgation of the law; for if Moses used the words, " and God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it," by a prolepsis, the law
enjoining the observance on the Israelites must have been given them before those words were written; a point no where established or countenanced, and therefore, wholly a gratuitous assumption. And why assumed? On the ground only that the inference drawn from the silence. of the Pentateuch respecting the fact of the sabbatical observance in the patriarchal ages must otherwise be abandoned; but the inference is unsound, and therefore the proleptical construction has neither necessity to excuse it, nor fact to support it.
But let the original sanction of the Sabbath be taken away, in compliment to this reasoning, infirm as it is, and let it date no higher than the tables of the law. It there stands in the midst of a code, entirely distinguished from the perishable ritual of the people to whom it was propounded; a code grounded deep in nature and necessity; a code of moral universality, proceeding immediately from the mouth of Jehovah, amidst an awful scene of magnificence and terror, and recognised as subsisting in perpetual obligation by Christ himself; and by an apostle, who quotes the commandment next in order, as the first commandment with promise; thus adverting to their arrangement in the decalogue; and by another apostle, who declares,
"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