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follow that the Sabbath was not peculiar to Judaism, but it would not follow that it was any part of Christianity. Shift back the institution a few thousand years, you still leave its nature unchanged. Antiquity, in matters of mere ceremonial, is not tantamount to obligation. Christians are not bound by the rudimental peculiarities of the patriarchal, any more than by the like peculiarities of the Mosaic dispensation. Animal sacrifice e. g. dates, not from Moses, but from Adam. Suppose, then, that Adam kept a Sabbath as well as Moses, still this might be an ordinance as unsuited for Christians as its confessedly abrogated contemporary.
Many learned men, however, are convinced that we find the origin of the Sabbath, not in Gen. ii. 3, but in Exod. xvi. 23, a point in the sacred history between the Exodus from Egypt, and the Delivery of the Law on Mount Sinai.
There are, then, two views as to the date of the institution; one class of divines opining that the Sabbath was given to all men at the creation; another, that it was first given to the Jews in the wilderness.
The former opinion rests, as has been intimated, on the language employed in Gen. ii. 23. But this text, when closely examined, will hardly sustain the inference built on it. Moses says, indeed, that 'God rested on the seventh day from all His work;' and adds, that on that account 'He blessed the seventh day and sanctified it.' But observe, when he says wherefore,' he does not say when it might be directly on the finishing of the work, it might be ages afterwards. We must consider how very natural it was, supposing the Sabbath to have been first sanctified' in the wilderness, for Moses, writing the book of Genesis with a view to the instruction of the Jews, to insert, in passing, a notice of the ground of an ordinance (itself, indeed, recent), when engaged as a historian on that transaction (itself, indeed, remote) with which the ordinance was so nearly connected. The sacred writer sets down two facts-God's resting on the seventh day, and the sanctifying of the seventh day because He rested on it. Both are affirmed to be past, but the degrees of pastness are not determined; nor is anything said from which we can presume that the commemorating institution was of like antiquity with the commemorated event. Moses, in due course, relates the resting of the Almighty on the seventh day, then throws in a parenthetic admonition, that this was a principal reason why the seventh day had been recently made a Sabbath to the Jews, and thenceforward goes on in the order of time, which he had interrupted for a moment from the VOL. I.
connexion of ideas. To give precision to the expression of tense : 'God rested the seventh day' at the beginning of the world,—this is purely historical, and records an event,— Wherefore God' has since, in our own time, 'sanctified,' or set apart, the seventh day,'-this is explanatory and connects with the remote event, the recent institution.
The allusion, then, of Gen. ii. 23, does not prove that the Sabbath was as old as the creation, but only that it was as old as Genesis. And that it was not as old as the creation, may be made very plainly, or at least very probably, to appear.
Negatively, then, it ought to be observed that, excepting the above proleptic notice, there is no trace of a Sabbath from Adam to Moses. The fifty chapters of Genesis, and the first fifteen of Exodus, entirely ignore it; and so does the book of Job, the only portion of Scripture which lays claim to a like antiquity. We hear of no Sabbath in God's covenant with Noah. We hear of no Sabbath in the lives of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph, of which the memoirs are all sufficiently minute and circumstantial. We hear of no Sabbath, nor of any permission to dispense with a Sabbath, during the long term of the Egyptian servitude-a period when, if the Jews had had a Sabbath, they must either have been forced to break, or authorized to neglect it. In remarkable contrast with this, after the time of Moses, or rather, in every part of Scripture, later than Exod. xvi., allusions to the Sabbath abound. Why are there none before? It should seem because no Sabbath then existed.
This conclusion is strengthened by the limited sphere of the Sabbath. It is not Semitic, it is not Arabic, it is purely and exclusively Hebrew. Now, had the Sabbatic law been coeval with the creation, or even with the deluge, there must have been some wider tradition of it. The nations of the East are proverbially retentive, in some shape or other, of ancient ideas and observances. They may disguise, or they may corrupt, but they never forget. Animal sacrifice was Adamic and Noahic: every nation, accordingly, exhibits traces of this institution. Circumcision was Abrahamic: and the practice was handed down with as much fidelity in the line of Ishmael as in the line of Isaac. But the Sabbath was Mosaic: had it been of the like antiquity, it would have passed into the like prevalence with animal sacrifice that the sacred day, as this the sacred rite, of all ancient religions, false or true.
To speak of the division of time by weeks is not to the purpose.
A week is one thing: the consecration of the last day in a week is another. The hebdomadal distribution of time is independently explained. Four weeks are the division of a moon or month,* very much as four seasons are the division of a sun or year. But the week no more implies the Sabbath, than Spring implies the Passover, or Summer the Pentecost, or Autumn the Feast of Tabernacles.
Positively, however, it is next to be remarked, that several texts of the Old Testament distinctly teach that the Sabbath was instituted as a federal sign between God and His people, and that it had no existence anterior to the departure from Egypt. For example: Verily My Sabbaths ye shall keep; for it is a sign between Me and you.' (Exod. xxxi. 12-17.) Again: I caused them to go forth out of the land of Egypt, and brought them into the wilderness. And I gave them My statutes, and shewed them My judgments, which, if a man do, he shall even live in them. Moreover, also, I gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between Me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them.' (Ezek. xx. 10-12.) Once more: Thou camest down upon Mount Sinai, and spakest with them from heaven, and gavest them right judgments, and true laws, good statutes and commandments; and madest known unto them Thy holy Sabbath, and commandedst them precepts, statutes, and laws, by the hand of Moses, Thy servant.' (Neh. ix. 13, 14.) These passages evidently mix up the Sabbath with other institutions confessedly peculiar to the Jews. They assign to it the same date—the sojourn in the wilderness; and they distinctly imply that it was a new thing, not known' or 'given' till then. I conclude, therefore, that the Sabbath was enjoined not to the whole human race, for ever, at the creation, but simply at the exodus, on one of its families, for a period commensurate with the legal dispensation.
The Jewish doctors themselves have always held that the Sabbath was Mosaic, not Patriarchal; and the early christian fathers take the same thing for granted. Thus Justin Martyr: The Sabbath was given to the Jews on account of their rebelliousness and hardness of heart. . . . From Abraham came circumcision, and from Moses the Sabbath,' &c. So also St Irenæus: Abraham, without circumcision, and without keeping of Sabbaths, believed in God.'
II. From the historical objection we may now turn to the prophetical. This depends on such passages as Isa. lvi. 6, 7, lxvi. 23, * A week, indeed, is simply a quarter of the moon.
which need not long detain us. The prophecies cited refer, in a first and literal sense, to the restoration of the Jews from the Babylonian exile; in a second and spiritual sense, to the establishment and extension of the christian Church. On the one view, Sabbaths, as well as other things, are to be taken literally; on the other, Sabbaths, as well as other things, are to be taken analogically. Unless these passages prove that celebration of new moons, animal sacrifice, and the entire round and furniture of temple worship ought to be protracted into christian time, they cannot prove that the Sabbath ought to be so protracted. Our modern Judaizers must go farther, to be consistent; and trumpets for the neomenia, with stated pilgrimages to Jerusalem, should form part of the project of a Sabbatic league.
NOTICES OF MEMORABLE DAYS IN THE MONTH.
'JESUS sat at meat in his house,' and 'behold many publicans and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples.' Blessed was thy house, O Matthew, once Levi the publican, into which Jesus entered to sit down with publicans and sinners. Blessed is it to us, for by this are we sinners encouraged to hope that He will sit down with us at his Altar- table. Pharisees marvel, they that know not the grace or need of penitence marvel. But we who know our need of penitence rejoice and are exceeding glad. The Church is to us the house of Levi the publican, wherein Jesus is known to us in breaking of bread. Nor only so we are constrained to imitate our Jesus-we love to follow His footsteps to the haunts of vice and wickedness, if haply we may find one penitent soul awakened from everlasting ruin. That miserable, degraded, lost one is sick at heart. Her sins oppress her with their overwhelming weight, the scalding tears chase down her wan cheek, as the last whispers of the indwelling Spirit convince her of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. O that we were there,-O that we were beside that wretched victim of Satan,-O booklearned bishops,-O fashionable priests,-O trim and precise Episcopalians,-why turn ye away from the lost sheep of the Good Shepherd, who gave His life for her,—low, base, and defiled as she is. The baptised perish and no man layeth
it to heart, the regenerate languish and decay, and none sayeth with weeping,-Ah! brother, or ah! sister, the Master loved to eat and drink with publicans and sinners, but the disciples hear in vain, -'O Christians, care ye not that we perish? We are your own flesh and blood,-we were washed in the same sanctifying flood,-we were absolved and confirmed by the same hands, we have shared the same Body and Blood,-we have uttered the same prayers and praises. We are fallen away, will ye not have pity? will ye not pray for us will ye not lend us a helping hand, for the angel hath descended and the water is troubled? Lord, we have no man.' The delicate lady hath shuddered and passed by, she hath shrunk from the polluted breath of the Magdalene. The gentlemanly men, administering spiritual consolations, turn aside out of the way. Ah! blessed be that Samaritan-schismatic though he be-who doeth the work bishops and priests neglect, in following Jesus to the house of Matthew the publican.
S. MICHAEL AND ALL ANGELS.
We pray to-day as the Church teaches us, that as God's holy angels alway do Him service in heaven, so by His appointment they may succour and defend us on earth.' It is then a truth we are bound to believe and act upon, that the angels minister to our wants and necessities. Yet how few ever think of it! The thought that each one of us has a guardian angel,-to whom we were committed at our baptism,-ought it not to stir us up to greater watchfulness? God's eye we know is ever upon us,-yet we do not act when alone with Him so uprightly as when we have a fellow-creature at our side. God knoweth our infirmities, and He placeth a created being,—a spirit indeed of holiness, but still a creature at our side, to frown and smile upon us as we do evil or good. Nor only so. It is our guardian angel who watcheth over us by night, lest the enemy sow tares in the field of our hearts while we sleep,-who defends from the pestilence which walketh in darkness, and the sickness which destroyeth in the noon-day. For this providence how few are thankful! how few pray God, as to-day, to continue this His mercy! So men sin, and see not the sad faces of their guardian angels, as they retire from the conflict, and leave the bad spirits in possession of that man, who will not use the helps which God provides, who despiseth them perchance as popish, who thinketh himself above such ministry