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at least proved by the reason given for it in the Decalogue.



men,' it may be said, as God's creatures, are equally bound to commemorate God's rest from the work of creation. That event has an interest not for the Jews only but for all men, not for one period only but for all time. As many, then, as are concerned in the reason must be comprehended in the command. That is, the command must comprehend all men.'

I have stated this objection fairly and fully. It seems to me the only thing of any weight on the other side. And yet I think it may be fairly and fully answered.

Observe, then, first of all, that the force of this consideration depends very much on its being taken for granted that the commemoration of God's rest from His works was the one object of the appointment of a Sabbath. But this was not the only end of the Sabbath. We have already seen that this day, occurring at the close of the week, was a type of the rest to be enjoyed by the good at the close of life. (Heb. iv.) We have also seen that in another important view it was a political provision for the periodical recreation of man and beast. (Deut. v.) And it appears to me that the final cause or design of the institution is fairly represented thus. It was desirable that the Jewish dispensation should be furnished with a type of a future life, as well as of other evangelical verities. It was further desirable that the Jewish Commonwealth should be furnished with a stated day of cessation from toil: the typical and the political purposes admitted of coincidence in the day fixed on: and that day was fixed on the principle of coincidence with the rest of God from His works. The Sabbath, moreover, being meant as a sign to distinguish the Jews from heathen nations, their resting on the seventh day subserved this end, since it indicated that they worshipped not the heathen divinities, but the One Creator who had rested on that day. (Exod. xxxi.) Now, from all this it seems clear that, although the commemorative idea was one element in the Sabbatic law, yet the typical, the political, and the separative ideas formed its originating These being, that was also; but there is no reason to suppose that, these not being, that would have been. On the three strictly originative ideas was engrafted the fourth, as a sanction and seal. A civil and a ceremonial end was to be gained by stated intervals of rest; these intervals were suggested and rendered sacred by reference to the cessation of the Almighty from His creative energy. Still, had no such religious lesson, no such humane provi


sion, no such distinctive mark, been in contemplation, it does not appear that the coincidence itself, alone, and by its own proper force, would have originated the Sabbath. Our Lord, indeed, clearly implies the contrary when He gives His account of the main reason of the ordinance: The Sabbath was made for the man, not the man for the Sabbath.' The servant of the Jew was to be permitted to rest as well as his master: periodical release from toil was to be secured to him whom servitude had stripped of the power to secure it for himself and therefore' (Deut. v. 14, 15) the God of the Jew 'commanded him to keep the Sabbath-day '—to keep it with that humane regard to his servants, which would spring from his remembering that he also was a servant in the land of Egypt.' (Exod. xxiii. 9— 12.) If, then, the Sabbath was not purely or even principally commemorative, it is obvious that the extent of the commemorative idea cannot form the measure of the Sabbath's obligation. When Christ,

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on the morning of His resurrection, 'rested from His works,' as God had done from His, opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers,' 'brought to light life and immortality,' and became the first-fruits of them them that slept,' the Sabbath ceased to be a type, and was swallowed up in the sublime reality. Politically speaking, both the interval and the day were matters of indifference: the first day answered in this view as well as the seventh, one day in six or eight, as well as one day in seven. The Jews, again, were no longer to be separated from the Gentiles, so the Sabbath, in this respect, was no longer of use. The Sabbath, then, losing its three originating elements, was not retained for the sake of its fourth, or commemorative idea, which had been originally associated with the others by way of sanction and safeguard, but which was not of such a nature, apart from the others, as to make the Sabbatic rest a part of natural and universal religion.

If it had been such, observe, in the second place, it would have dated from the creation, as (I am now entitled to say) it did not. For if the commemoration of God's resting from His works, by the keeping of a Sabbath, had been a part of necessary religion, it is inconceivable that the holy patriarchs should never have known or practised this for the space of three thousand years. Abraham would have kept a Sabbath, had this been the case, as well as Moses.

But observe again, and on this observation alone I should be content to rest the cause, that those who tell us we are bound to keep the Sabbath on account of its being the memorial of God's rest from

the work of creation, should remember that all its commemorative propriety depends on the retention of the original day. God's resting on the seventh day can never be represented by our resting on the first, just as the resurrection of our Lord on the first day could not be commemorated by our rejoicing on the seventh. To shift the day is to destroy the very circumstance in which the significance and propriety of the commemoration reside. To say we keep one day in

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seven is not to the purpose; we do not commemorate God's rest from creation except by resting on the seventh. As, then, it is agreed that we are not bound to rest on the seventh-that is, on Saturday-it follows that the commemoration of God's resting on the seventh day is no part of necessary or natural religion.

It only remains, to complete this series of papers, that I add a brief account of the ORIGIN AND OBSERVANCE OF THE LORD'S-DAY. At the end of the Sabbath'-' when the Sabbath was past'-we read that, early in the morning of the first day of the week,' our blessed Lord arose. That was the end of the Sabbath' in the full sense of the phrase-then, emphatically, 'the Sabbath was past.' On that day, Easter Sunday, our Lord appeared five times to his disciples.

A week a whole week-He ceased to appear; but on the next Sunday He again 'stood in the midst of the eleven. (John xx.)

Six weeks more passed away, and a Sunday-the seventh from the resurrection—again came round. That was Whitsunday, and was signalized by the descent of the Spirit. (Acts i. ii.)

We proceed in the history of the Acts, and we read (xx. 7) that the Christians of Troas, as a matter of course, 6 came together upon the first day of the week to break bread,' on which occasion St Paul preached to them, and continued his discourse till midnight. This shows that they had assembled in the evening-the time when our blessed Lord originally celebrated the Eucharist, and appeared, on Easter Sunday, and the first Sunday after, to His assembled apostles. The manner in which St Luke records this circumstance shows that the coming together for Christian worship on the first day of the week was a well-known and universally-practised observance at the time of which he wrote-that is, about the middle of the first century.


To the Lord's Day we only find one allusion throughout all of the Epistles, and that is in 1 Cor. xvi. 2. Upon the first day of the week,' &c. The propriety of this requisition depended on the circumstance that Sunday was recognized as the day of worship.


Lastly, the first day of the week is called at the beginning of the Revelation by its Christian name. I,' says St John, was in the Spirit,' I was under a miraculous influence from above, 'on the Lord's Day.' (Rev. i. 10.) This shows that, before the end of the first century, the day on which Jesus rose from the dead had come to be called His day, just as the Blessed Eucharist was called His Supper. And the two were always associated in the early Christian mind and the early Christian worship.

This is all the New Testament says in regard to the first day of the week. And from this we can only gather that the first Christians, by authority of the apostles, considered this day a weekly commemoration of the Resurrection of Christ, and met together on this day for the celebration of public worship, of which worship the Blessed Eucharist formed invariably the central part.


Such is all we gather from the New Testament. When we come down to the uninspired records of the first and second century, we find little if anything more. The Heathen Pliny, in his letter to the Emperor Trajan, says that the Christians were accustomed to meet together on a stated day before light, and sing hymns to Christ as to God.' An ancient Christian writer of the same period says,—' We keep the eighth day (that is Sunday) with joy, on which Jesus rose from the dead.' And about the middle of the second century, we have the following most interesting account from the pen of St Justin Martyr.*

*On the day which is called Sunday, there is an assembly in one place of all who dwell either in the towns or in the country; and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as the time permits. Then, when the reader hath ceased, the president delivers a discourse, in which he reminds and exhorts them to the imitation of all those good things. We then all stand up together, and put forth prayers. Then, as we have already said, when we cease from prayer, bread is brought, and wine, and water; and the president in like manner offers up prayers and praise with his utmost power; and the people express their assent by saying, Amen. The consecrated elements are then distributed and received by every one ; and a portion is sent by the deacons to those who are absent. Each of those also, who have abundance, and are willing, according to his choice, gives what he thinks fit; and what is collected is deposited with the president, who succours the fatherless and the widows, and those who are in necessity from disease or any other cause; those also who are in bonds, and the strangers who are sojourning among us; and, in a word, takes care of all who are in need.' We all of us assemble on Sunday, because it is the first day in which God changed darkness and matter, and made the world. On the Sunday also, Jesus Christ our Saviour rose from the dead.

Among these early writers we find the Sabbath universally spoken of as an ordinance peculiar to the Jews. Hence St Ignatius, the contemporary of St John, says, that Christians 'no longer observed Sabbaths, but kept the Lord's-day, in which their life had sprung up with Him.' So St Justin Martyr: The patriarchs were justified without keeping the Sabbaths. From Abraham came circumcision, from Moses the Sabbaths, and sacrifices, and oblations.'

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So also St Irenæus Abraham, without circumcision and without observance of Sabbaths, believed in God.'

But what of the law of the Lord's-day? I answer, the apostles have left none beyond that of holding assemblies on that day for public worship, and even this is matter, not of positive precept, but of primitive example. I answer, there is no trace of law on the subject in the Christian writings of the second century, and it is not till the year 200 that we meet with the following advice in Tertullian: 'We ought, on the day of the Lord's resurrection, to abstain from all devotion to care and anxiety, putting off even business, lest we should give place to the devil.'

About A.D. 300, the first Christian emperor, Constantine, published an edict forbidding all ordinary work on the Lord's-day, but making an exception in favour of agriculture. So afterwards the Council of Laodicea exhorts Christians 'to be at leisure' (σxoλagew) on the Lord's day. Yet St Chrysostom, about A.D. 400, finishes a sermon by dismissing his hearers to their ordinary occupations.

All this shows, that beyond attendance on public worship, of which the Eucharist ought always to be the principal part, the mode of keeping the Lord's day has been left very much to Christian discretion, subject, of course, to the authority of the Church. And therefore, we are left to be regulated, beyond the single point referred to, by religious feeling and public utility.

On these heads I have a few suggestions to offer.

1. First of all, then, be careful to remember that no good Christian can habitually absent himself from public worship on the Lord's day. This is a matter, not of discretion, but of duty. Under all the difficulties of their position, at a time when to be found in a Christian assembly was to incur the risk of death, the faithful, in primitive ages, met on this day to worship their Maker and Redeemer. They did so often, as we have heard, 'before day-break,' stealing from the hours of sleep, since need was, the hours of devotion and prayer. How forcibly should not their example affect us! How earnest

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