« AnteriorContinuar »
speaks of the offerings upon these certain days, without pronouncing anything as to the days themselves, the reader will draw the same conclusion as to the parallel passage of St. Paul.
It is probable that the anxiety of the Jewish disciples to make the Gentile converts observe these ordinances arose from the following directions relative to sacrifices, meatofferings, and drink-offerings. Num. xv. 14—16: “ And if a stranger sojourn with you, or whosoever be among you, in your generations, and will offer an offering made by fire of a sweet savour unto the Lord, as ye do, so he shall do. One ordinance shall be both for you of the congregation, and also for the stranger that sojourneth with you, an ordinance for ever in your generations. As ye are, so shall the stranger be before the Lord: one law and one manner shall be for you and for the stranger that sojourneth with you.”
From St. Paul only alluding to the meat-offerings and drink-offerings, it is not unlikely that the Jewish converts had given up the sacrifices, as manifestly fulfilled and abrogated by the sacrifice of Christ, but continued the meat-offerings and drink-offerings, as not being so evidently typical of Christ; and that this is the error against which the apostle guards in this place.
The conclusion of the whole matter is, that St. Paul here speaks of offerings on those days, without any intention of affirming anything as to the days themselves. And if this conclusion be just, we have rescued this strong-hold out of the possession of the enemies of the sabbath.*
* I request the reader's particular attention to Num. xxviii. above quoted, but not for the above purpose. The sacrifices for the Feast of Tabernacles were much more numerous than for any other feast. It lasted for eight days. On the weekly sabbath, which occurred within the feast, there would have been offered from seven to thirteen bullocks, two rams, and eighteen lambs. Consequently it was the most laborious sabbath, if not day, on the priests in the
(9) OBJECTION.—Gal. iv. 9, 10. Rom. xiv.
Barrow quotes Gal. iv. 10, against the sabbath. 6 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years." And from their having been found fault with for observing days, he thinks that they were thereby forbidden to observe the sabbath. But even if we had not a host of arguments and a cloud of witnesses at the other side of the question, this argument could not stand a minute on its own merits. The context, the contiguous verses, slay it. These two verses (8 and 9) precede that above quoted : “ Howbeit, then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature were no gods. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years."
In the first place, I must here confront one witness against the other, -Heylyn against Barrow. Heylyn ac
whole year. On the first day of the feast, which was always a șabbath, the people had the labour of cutting and carrying the boughs, and building the tabernacles. Now, it is very remarkable, that the weekly sabbath in that feast, when both priests and people were so laboriously employed on sabbaths, in obedience to the law of Moses, was the very day on which our Lord ordered the paralytic, cured at Bethesda, (John v. 1,) to carry his bed. This places in a strong point of view the unreasonableness of the objections of the Jews and the Archbishop to this order, as being a breach of the sabbath.
That the miracle occurred on that sabbath, I thus prove. It was at a feast. (John v. 1.) The Feast of Tabernacles was the last feast in the year ; the Passover the first; and it appears from John vi. 4, that the Passover was the next feast after this miracle.
knowledges that these expressions are considered by some divines as having a reference to the superstitions of the Gentiles not wishing to undertake anything of consequence on unlucky days marked by the astrologers :'-dies carbone notandi. This is the true interpretation of the passage: and yet Heylyn takes the same view, and makes the same use of the passage as does Barrow. It is strange that these two great men did not see that their interpretation was as much opposed to the observance of the Lord's-day, which they endeavoured to establish, as of the sabbath which they laboured to abolish.
The Galatians had been Gentiles; they never had been Jews; they never had practised the Jewish ceremonies, or been bound by the Mosaic law. And yet it is clear from the context that the observances here condemned had been used by them while they were heathens—things to which they did service when they knew not God—and now, after they had known God, they wished to turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto they wished again to be in bondage. And then, in conclusion, after having brought these general charges, he specifies the particulars to which they applied : “ Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.” These words, therefore, must apply to heathen observances, which they had formerly practised before they knew the true God, or how could they be said to turn again to them, and desire again to be in bondage to them. They cannot include the sabbath kept in memory of the Creator of the world, whom they did not know. If any further argument were necessary to prove that St. Paul did not mean the sabbath, we have it in the next verse but one. He himself, at this time, (for a reason I will give in another place,) and so long as the Jewish polity lasted, was a punctual observer of the Jewish sabbath ; and he proposes himself, in the 12th verse, to the Galatians, as an example for them to follow : “ Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am." Christian ! if you have “ taken kold of the sabbath,” and kept it through the conflict of arguments which have already opposed our progress, will you give it up for this ?
Supposing that they had been positively forbidden to observe days, and times, &c., this would not have been a prohibition against observing the feasts and sabbaths even of the Jewish law. For this prohibition evidently points to some heathenish and idolatrous practice ; for the very same occurs in the book of Leviticus, by which all the Jewish observances are enforced. Lev. xix. 26 : “ Neither shall ye use enchantment, nor observe times,”-the very words used in the text under consideration to the Galatians, who had been heathens.
Here is another argument of Barrow's. He says, • Again, in the fourteenth chapter to the Romans, the same great patron and champion of Christian liberty not obscurely declareth his mind that Christians of strength and judgment did regard no day above another, but esteemed all days (he excepteth none) alike, as to any special obligation founded upon divine law and right.'
The words on which he relies, are—“ One man esteemeth one day above another; another esteemeth every day.” The word “ alike” is not in the original, but supplied by the translators, and I omit it. This quotation of Barrow shows us how likely we are to be betrayed into error by partial quotations, without considering the context. The context shows that the whole chapter relates to meats, and the use of particular meats on particular days, and not to the days themselves. And, after all, the words quoted by Barrow are given by St. Paul merely to show the practices of persons weak in the faith. Rom. xiv. 1 : “ Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. For one believeth that he may eat all things; another, who is weak [in the faith, ] eateth herbs. Let not him that eateth, despise him that eateth not; and let not
him which eateth not, judge him which eateth ; for God hath received him. Who art thou that judgest another man's servant ? To his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up, for God is able to make him stand. One man esteemeth one day above another; another esteemeth every day. ** Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks." And in verse 13, and following verses : “ Let us not, therefore, judge one another any more; but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling-block or an occasion to fall in his brother's way. I know and am persuaded that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him that esteemeth anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died. For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness and peace in the Holy Ghost. For meat, destroy not the work of God. All things, indeed, are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence. It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor anything whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak. Hast thou faith? Have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. And he that doubteth, is damned [condemned] if he eat, because he eateth not of faith ; for whatsoever is not of faith, is sin.” xv. 1; We then that are strong, ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves." From this quotation it appears clearly that the whole subject of the discussion was with regard to the conscientious but mistaken scruples, which St. Paul calls infirmities, of some amiable, but weak