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substance, all these duties. The duties, which they expressly require, cannot be performed to any valuable purpose, unless all the duties, specified in this discourse, are also performed. The true meaning, and real extent, of these examples and injunctions, as they respected the Jews, are explained in the comments of the Prophets, particularly of the Prophet Isaiah, concerning this subject. The text is the most copious, and definite, exhibition of this nature, contained in the Scriptures. In chapter lvi. of the same prophet is found, also, a comprehensive account of the same duties: and we have several other, less particular, and less impressive, explanations, in other passages of the Scriptures. These injunctions and examples, then, demanded, in the view of the Spirit of Inspiration, all these duties of the Israelites. Of course, this was the true tenour of these examples and injunctions. But, if I mistake not, I have proved both to be no less obligatory on Christians, than on the Israelites. The same examples and injunctions have, therefore, the same tenour with respect to us, and bind us to exactly the same duties.
4. The New Testament has no where dispensed with any part of these duties.
It has been often thought, that Christ has released his followers from some part of the duties of the Sabbath, and in some degree from that strictness in observing it, which were originally required of the Jews. Observations to this amount I have not unfrequently seen, and heard ; but, exclusively of the things observed by Dr. Paley, and mentioned in the last discourse, I have never been informed of the particulars, from which Christians are thus supposed to have been released; nor do I know in what passages of the New Testament they are supposed to be .contained. Dr. Paley believes that the Sabbath was never at all obligatory on Christians. According to his scheme, therefore, it was impossible for Christ to release them from these duties; because they were never incumbent on them. Where those, who make this supposition, find their warrant for it in the discourses of Christ, or of his Apostles, I confess myself unable to determine. The observations, which our Saviour makes, as an exposition of several parts of the Decalogue, in his Sermon on the Mount, he prefaces with these remarkable declarations : Think
not, that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets : I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil: for verily, I say unto you, Till headen and earth pass ; one jot, or one tittle, shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. After these declarations it is impossible, that Christ should be rationally believed to have al. tered at all the duties of the Sabbath, much less to have annihilated it, unless he has done it, somewhere, in plain, unequivocal language. But no such language, on this subject, can be found in the New Testament. Until something of this nature shall be definitely pointed out; the duties of the Sabbath must be acknowledged to have been left by Christ, and his Apostles, exactly as they found them: and all declarations to the contrary must be regarded as merely gratuitous and presumptive.
5. As the religious privileges of Christians are declared to be superior to those of the Jews, they cannot be supposed to be lessened with respect to the Sabbath, unless this fact is directly asserted.
If the duties of Christians on the Sabbath are lessened, either in number, or degree; then their religious privileges are rendered just so far inferior to those of the Jews. The duties of the Sabbath are all privileges of a high and glorious nature; and cannot fail to be accounted such by every good man. 1 speak not, here, of the regulations of the civil laws of the Jews: these have nothing to do with the subject of the present discussion. I speak of the Sabbath, as instituted on the seventh day; as instituted immediately after the creation was finished; as enjoined anew in the fourth Command of the Decalogue; and as explained, and enforced, by the Prophets; particularly by Isaiah. It was a high religious privilege to a Jew to have one whole day in seven divinely consecrated to the duties of Religion; to be required to esteem the Sabbath a delight, and the holy of the Lord honourable ; and to turn away his foot from finding his own pleasure on that sacred day. It was a combination of glorious pri- . vileges to a Jew to keep the Sabbath from polluting it; to join himself on that day to the Lord; to be his servant ; to take hold of his covenant; to be brought to the holy mountain of God; to be made joyful in his house of prayer; to delight himself in the Lord; and to find his various solemn services accepted by his Creator. But if these duties, or any of them, be lessened in
number, or degree ; just so far are the privileges of a Christian inferior to those of a Jew. Which of these privileges would a Christian be willing to give up? Which of them does the Gospel require him to relinquish ?
I shall conclude this discourse with a summary enumeration of several Motives, which strongly solicit our exact observance of the sabhath.
1'. Such an' observance of the Subbaih is required by the Command of God.
2. It is enforced by the Divine Example.
God rested on the seventh day; the day after the Creation was ended. Christ' rested on the first day; the day after the New Creation was finished. This two-fold Example of JehoVAH is of infinite authority; and enjoins, in the most expressive language, the faithful imitation of all mankind.
3. The Nature of the Duties, enjoined upon the Sabbath, demands of us such an observance.
The duties of the Sabbath are all of a religious and holy natúre. Such duties can never be successfully, or profitably, performed, when mingled with secular business, or amusements. These will both distract the attention of the mind, and withdraw it from that clear, strong, affecting sense of spiritual and divine objects, in which the peculiar benefit of the Sabbath is found. The soul, in this case, will be divided between God and Mammon, between the love of the world and the love of God. The consequence cannot but be foreseen. The world will predominate : 'God will be forgotten ; and dishonoured, if not forgotten : the soul will cease from a 'heavenly character; debase its pure and exalted affections ; lose those refined and noble views of celestial objects, which are fitted, both to inspire, 'and to cherish, devotion ; cease to stretch its wings towards heaven; and fall down to earth, loaded with a burden of gross cares, and dragged to the ground by an incumbering mass of sensual gratifications.
At the same time, it is far easier to observe the Sabbath wholly, than to observe it in part. He, who intends to divide it between earthly and spiritual pursuits, will never know where to draw the line of division. Perpetually will he find himself wandering, now towards Religion, and now towards the world: while his VOL. IV.
conscience will be unceasingly embarrassed by fears, that he has neglected his duty, and by doubts concerning what it is. There is no such thing, as a half-way performance of our duty. If such a performance bad in fact been required, or allowed; we should have been distressed by unceasing perplexity. Happy is it for us, that an ordinance of this nature cannot be found in the Scriptures. 4. The blessing of the Sabbath is promised to such an obser.
The text is an illustrious proof of this. If thou do all the things, says God, required in the first verse; then shalt thou delight thyself in Jehovah; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth. Not, if thou do a part of these things. There is no promise to a divided service : there is no blessing connected with it. He, therefore, who wishes for the blessing of God upon his religious labours, must look for it, only in the strict and faithful observance of the duties, which He has required.
5. It is demanded by our own highest Interest.
The Sabbath is eminently the day of salvation. On Zion the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for ever more. On that holy day, and in the holy place, this incomprehensible blessing is still to be found. Where that day is not observed, and that place is not frequented, this blessing ceases to descend. If we love ourselves, then; if we love our families; if we love our country; if we love mankind; we shall exert ourselves, to the utmost, to uphold the Sabbath in its purity, in our hearts, in our conversation, and in our conduct. We shall keep the sabbath from polluting it; shall observe it with the most faithful exactness; and by precept, and example, solemnly recommend it to the exact observance of others.
REFLECTIONS ON THE SABBATH.
EXODUS XX. 11.
Wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day.
In the four preceding discourses, I have considered the Perpetual Establishment of the Sabbath, and the Manner in which it is to be observed; and have endeavoured to answer such Objections, as occurred to me against the doctrines, which I have felt myself bound to maintain, concerning these subjects. I shall now close my observations on the Sabbath, with some of those Reflections, which this very solemn and interesting subject naturally suggests to a serious mind.
The First Consideration which strikes such a mind, when contemplating the Sabbath, is the pre-eminent Wisdom of this divine Institution.
Wisdom, as applied to conduct, denotes the choice of desirable ends, and the selection of happy means for their accomplishment. The ends, aimed at, in the institution of the Sabbath, are numerous, and all of them eminently desirable. The means, by which they are accomplished, are, at the same time, emi