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logue as containing all those, which were by way of eminence
the commandments of God, and as separated by a broad line of
distinction from every other precept 2 Fifthly; It is well known, that the Jews always considered the
Decalogue as entirely separated from every other part of the
Old Testament. The prophets, who succeeded Moses, did nothing, as moral teachers, but explain and enforce it. Christ declared, that sooner shall heaven and earth pass away, than one jot, or one tittle, of this law shall pass, until all be fulfilled. The Apostles have enforced no other precepts, as obligatory upon Christians. The Jews have, at this day, these commands written out in large letters, and hung up in their Synagogues, as solemn monitors to all, who enter them, of their duty. In a manner, correspondent with this, have they ever been regarded by Christians. They are at this day proverbially known by the name of the Ten Commandments, and the JMoral Law.
St. Paul, in a passage which ought not to be omitted on this occasion, Eph. vi. 1–3, reciting the fifth command, says, This is the first commandment with promise. But God had given to Moah, to Abraham, to Jacob, to Moses, and to the Israelites, many commands, and annexed to them many promises, before the Law was delivered from Mount Sinai. In what sense, then, was the fifth command the first, to which a promise was annexed 2 Plainly in this sense only; that it is the first in the Decalogue, which has this mark of distinction. In the eye of St. Paul, therefore, the Decalogue contained all those, which he thought proper to call the Commandments; and was, in his view, of a character totally distinct, and totally superior to every other part of the Old Testament.
As the Apostle recites this command to the Ephesians, who were Gentiles, as obligatory on them no less than on the Jews; it is clear, that the whole Decalogue, unless some part of it has been plainly disannulled, is entirely obligatory on Christians. Had there been any distinction in this respect between the dif. ferent precepts of this law; St. Paul must, it would seem, have made it on this occasion. He would, at least, have made it somewhere; and not have left so important a subject without a single note of illustration.
IV. Dr. Paley says, that St. Paul evidently appears to consider the Sabbath as a part of the Jewish ritual, and not binding upon Christians, as such : Let no man, therefore, judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days; which are a shadow of things to come, but the body is of Christ. Col. ii. 16, 17. To this observation, I answer, first, that this passage refers not in any sense to the Sabbath; but merely to the ordinary holidays of the Jews. The burden of proving the contrary lies upon the disciples of Dr. Paley. Secondly; If this be denied; I assert, that it refers to the seventh day only, and not at all to the Christian Sabbath. Until the contrary is proved, I shall consider this answer as sufficient: especially, as the Christian Sabbath is not in the Scriptures, and was not by the primitive Church, called the Sabbath; but the first day of the week, and the Lord’s day. V. The same writer says, that the observation of the Sabbath was not one of the articles, enjoined by the Apostles, in Acts xv. upon the Christian Gentiles. I answer; Neither was abstinence from theft, murder, lying, coveting, profaneness, or idolatry. VI. Dr. Paley asserts that the observation of the Sabbath is not expressly enjoined in the New Testament. To this I answer first, that the text is in my own view an explicit injunction of this duty. But as this opinion has been contested; as the paragraph, in which it is contained, is confessedly obscure; as it would require one whole discourse of this nature to consider it sufficiently ; and as the text was written many years after the Christian Sabbath was effectually established; I observe, , Secondly; That the Christian Sabbath was originally introduced into the Church much more successfully, and happily, than it could have been done by an express injunction. In order to judge of this subject, it is necessary to bring up to our view the situation of those, to whom the Gospel was first preached. These were all Jews; intensely bigotted to every part of their religion, and peculiarly to their Sabbath. The day had been appointed by God himself; and was acknowledged to Vol. IV. 7
be divinely appointed, by Christ and his Apostles. The experiment of interfering with the feelings of the Jews concerning the Sabbath, even in the most lawful manner, had been sufficiently tried by Christ to discourage the Apostles from every unnecessary attempt of this nature. Accordingly, the Apostles pursued a peaceful and unobjectionable, method. They celebrated, at times, and probably always, the Jewish Sabbath, when they were among Jews. The Jews at the same time, without any objection, yielded to their example, and authority, in celebrating the Christian worship on the day of Christ's resurrection. They were circumcised; but they were also willingly baptized. They celebrated the Passover; but willingly added to it the Lord's Supper. They prayed in the temple; but they willingly united, also, in the prayers and praises of Christian assemblies, holden in private houses, or in the fields. While the Jewish service was neither attacked, nor neglected, they made not the least objection to that of the Christian Church. In this manner, all these ordinances grew into use, veneration, and habit; and, in the end, gained such a possession of the mind, and such a strength of authority, as could 'neither be overthrown, nor weakened. When the Apostles came to declare in form, that the Jewish worship was to cease; the minds of the Church were so well prepared to receive this declaration, that it was carried into a general execution. Difficulties, and divisions, arose, indeed, about this subject in several Churches; particularly about circumcision; and produced a course of serious contention. What would have been the case, had this part of the system been begun at an earlier period 2 About the Christian Sabbath no dispute appears to have existed, during the three first centuries. All the Churches appear to have adopted it, and to have neglected the Jewish Sabbath, without any difficulty. Was not this method of introducing so important a change dictated by true wisdom; and a better method than any other ? The example of the Apostles is an example to all Christians. Were we, then, to give up the point, contested in the objection ; we have still such a law in this Example; and so efficacious, that probably no doctrine has been more generally received, than that of the Christian Sabbath, and no duty more generally performed, than the observation of it, down to the present time.
The absolute necessity of establishing the doctrines and duties of Christianity among the Jews, in the infancy of the Church, has been shown in a former discourse. I shall only add, that it seems impossible to have introduced among that people the Christian Sabbath in any other manner, than that which was adopted by the Apostles, unless their whole character had been miraculously changed.
THE SABBATH IS TO BE OBSERVED.
Is AIAH Iviii. 13, 14.
# thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a Delight, the Holy of the Lord, Honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words; Then shall thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob, thy Father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
In the first of the discourses, which I have delivered concerning the fourth Command, I proposed, I. To consider the Perpetual Establishment of the Sabbath; and, | II. The Manner, in which it is to be observed. The former of these doctrines, together with the objections against it, has been made the subject of the three preceding sermons. The latter shall be the theme of the present discourse. The text is the most minute, and perfect summary of the du