« ÎnapoiContinuați »
command, as it was spoken to the Jews, did refer to their Jewish sabbath. But that doth not prove, that the day was determined and appointed by it. The precept in the fourth command is to be taken generally of such a seventh day as God should appoint, or had appointed. And because such a particular day had been already appointed for the Jewish church; therefore, as it was spoken to them, it did refer to that particular day. But this doth not prove, but that the same words refer to another appointed seventh day, now in the Christian church. The words of the fourth command may oblige the church, under different dispensations, to observe different appointed seventh days, as well as the fifth command may oblige different persons to honour different fathers and mothers.
The Christian sabbath, in the sense of the fourth command, is as much the seventh day, as the Jewish sabbath ; because it is kept after six days of labour, as well as that; it is the seventh, reckoning from the beginning of our first working-day, as well as that was the seventh from the beginning of their first workingday. All the difference is, that the seven days formerly began from the day after God's rest from the creation, and now they begin the day after that. It is no matter by what names the days are called: if our nation had, for instance, called Wednesday the first of the week, it would have been all one as to this argument.
Therefore, by the institution of the Christian sabbath, there is no change from the fourth command ; but the change is from another law, which determined the beginning and ending of their working-days. So that those words of the fourth command, viz. “Six days shalt thou labour and do all thy work; but the seventh is the sabbath of the Lord thy God ;” afford no objection against that which is called the Christian sabbath; for these words remain in full force. Neither does any just objection arise from the words following, viz. “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day : wherefore the Lord blessed the seventh day, and hallowed it.” These words are not made insignificant to Christians, by the institution of the Christian sabbath: they still remain in their full force as to that which is principally intended by them. They were designed to give us a reason why we are to work but six days at a time, and then rest on the seventh, because God hath set us the example. And taken so, they remain still in as much force as ever they were. This is the reason still, as much as ever it was, why we may work but six days at a time. What is the reason that Christians rest every seventh, and not every eighth, or every ninth, or tenth day? It is because God worked six days and rested the seventh.
It is true, these words did carry something further in their meaning, as they were spoken to the Jews, and to the church
before the coming of Christ : it was then also intended by them, that the seventh day was to be kept in commemoration of the work of creation. But this is no objection to the supposition, that the words, as they relate to us, do not import all that they did, as they related to the Jews. For there are other words which were written upon those tables of stone with the ten commandments, which are known and allowed not to be of the same import, as they relate to us, and as they related to the Jews, viz. these words in the preface to the ten commands, “I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage." These words were written on the tables of stone with the rest, and are spoken to us, as well as to the Jews : they are spoken to all to whom the commandments themselves are spoken ; for they are spoken as an enforcement of the commandments. But they do not now remain in all the signification which they had, as they respected the Jews. For we never were brought out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, except in a mystical sense.
The same may be said of those words which are inserted in the commandments themselves, Deut. v. 15. " And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence, through a mighty band and by a stretched out arm : therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath-day.”
So that all the arguments of those who are against the Christian sabbath, drawn from the fourth command, which are all their strength, come to pothing.
2. That the ancient church was commanded to keep a seventh day in commemoration of the work of creation, is an argument for the keeping of a weekly sabbath in commemoration of the work of redemption, and not any reason against it.
We read in scripture of two creations, the old and the new : and these words of the fourth command are to be taken as of the same force to those who belong to the new creation, with respect to that new creation, as they were to those who belonged to the old creation, with respect to that. We read, that in the beginning God created the heaven and the earth," and the church of old were to commemorate that work. But when God creates a new heaven and a new earth, those that belong to this new heaven and new earth, by a like reason, are to commemorate the creation of their heaven and earth.
The scriptures teach us to look upon the old creation as destroyed, and as it were annihilated by sin; or, as being reduced to a chaos again, without form and void, as it was at first. Jer. iv. 22, 23." They are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge. I beheld the earth, and lo, it was without
I form and void ; and the heavens, and they had no light:" i. e. they were reduced to the same state in which they were at first;
the earth was without form and void, and there was no light, but darkness was upon the face of the deep.
The scripture further teaches us to call the gospel-restoration and redemption, a creation of a new heaven and a new earth; Isa. Ixv. 17, 18.“ For behold, I create new heavens, and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be you glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create : for behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy." And Isa. li. 16. “ And I have put my words into thy mouth, and bave covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people."And chap. Ixvi. 22. “For as the new heavens, and the new earth which I will make," &c. In these places we are not only told of a new creation, or new heavens and a new earth, but we are told what is meant by it, viz. The gospel renovation, the making of Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy; saying unto Zion, “ Thou art my people,” &c. The prophet, in all these places is prophesying of the gospel redemption.
The gospel-state is every where spoken of as a renewed state of things, wherein old things are passed away, and all things become new : We are said to be created unto Christ Jesus, unto good works : all things are restored and reconciled, whether in heaven or in earth, and God hath caused light to shine out of darkness, as he did at the beginning; and the dissolution of the Jewish state was often spoken of in the Old Testament as the end of the world. But we who belong to the gospel-church, belong to the new creation; and therefore there seems to be at least as much reason, that we should commemorate the work of this creation, as that the members of the ancient Jewish church should commemorate the work of the old creation.
3. There is another thing which confirms it, that the fourth command teaches God's resting from the new creation, as well as from the old : which is, that the scriptures expressly speak of the one, as parallel with the other, i. e. Christ's resting from the work of redemption, is expressly spoken of as being parallel with God's resting from the work of creation. Heb. iv. 10. “For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his."
Now, Christ rested from his works when he rose from the dead, on the first day of the week. When he rose from the dead, then he finished his work of redemption : his bumiliation was then at an end; he then rested, and was refreshed. When it is said, “ There remaineth a rest to the people of God ; " in the original, it is, a sabbatism, or the keeping of a sabbath : And this reason is given for it, “ For he that entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God
did from his." These three things at least we are taught by these words :
(1.) To look upon Christ's rest from his work of redemption, as parallel with God's rest from the work of creation ; for they are expressly compared together, as parallel one with the other.
(2.) They are spoken of as parallel, particularly in this respect, viz. The relation which they both have to the keeping of a Sabbath, among God's people, or with respect to the influence which these two rests have, as to sabbatizing in the church of God: for it is expressly with respect to this that they are compared together. Here is an evident reference to God's blessing and hallowing the day of his rest from the creation to be a Sabbath, and appointing a Sabbath of rest in imitation of him. For the apostle is speaking of this, verse 4. “For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise: And God did rest the seventh day from all bis works.” Thus far is evident; whatever the apostle has respect to by this keeping of a Sabbath by the people of God, whether it be a weekly sabbatizing on earth, or a sabbatizing in heaven.
(3.) It is evident in these words, that she preference is given to the latter rest, viz. The rest of our Saviour from his works, with respect to the influence it should have, or relation it bears to the sabbatizing of the people of God, now under the gospel, evidently implied in the expression, “There remaineth, therefore, a sabbatism to the people of God. For he that entered into his rest,” &c. For, in this expression, There
, remaineth, it is intimated, that the old sabbatism appointed in remembrance of God's rest, from the work of creation, doth not remain, but ceases; and that this new rest, in commemoration of Christ's resting from his works, remains in the room of it.
4. The Holy Ghost hath implicitly told us, that the sabbath which was instituted in commemoration of the old creation, should not be kept in gospel-times. Isaiah Ixv. 17, 18. There we are told, that when God should create new heavens and a new earth, the former should not be remembered, nor come into mind. If this be so, it is not to be supposed, that we are to keep a seventh part of time, on purpose to remember it, and call it to mind.
Let us understand this which way we will, it will not be well consistent with the keeping of one day in seven, in the gospel-church, principally for the remembrance and calling to mind of the old creation. If the meaning of the place be only this, that the old creation shall not be remembered nor come into mind in comparison with the new—that the new will be so much more remarkable and glorious, will so much more nearly concern us, so much more notice will be taken of it, and it will Vol. VI.
be thought so much more worthy to be remembered and commemorated, that the other will not be remembered, nor come into mind-it is impossible that it should be more to our purpose. For then hereby the Holy Ghost teaches us, that the Christian church has much more reason to commemorate the new creation than the old : insomuch, that the old is worthy to be forgotten in comparison with it.
And as the old creation was no more to be remembered, nor come into mind, so, in the following verse, the church is directed for ever to commemorate the new creation : “ But be you glad, and rejoice for ever in that which I create; for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy;" i. e. Though you forget the old, yet for ever to the end of the world, keep a remembrance of the new creation.
5. It is an argument that the Jewish sabbath was not to be perpetual, that the Jews were commanded to keep it in remembrance of their deliverance out of Egypt. One reason why it was instituted, was, because God thus delivered them, as we are expressly told, Deut. v. 15. “And remember, that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence, through a mighty hand, and by a stretched out arm : therefore, the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath-day." Now, can any person think, that God would bave all nations under the gospel, and to the end of the world, keep a day every week, which was instituted in remembrance of the deliverance of the Jews out of Egypt.
6. The Holy Ghost hath implicitly told us, that instituted memorials of the Jews' deliverance from Egypt, should be no longer upheld in gospel-times, Jer. xvi. 14, 15. The Holy Ghost, speaking of gospel-times, says, “ Therefore, behold the days come, saith the Lord, that it shall no more be said, The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt; but, the Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their own land.'
They shall no more say, The Lord liveth, that brought, &c. i. e. at least they shall keep up no more any public memorials of it.
If there be a sabbath kept in gospel-times, as we have shown there must be, it is more just from these words to suppose, that it should be as a memorial of that which is spoken of in the latter verse, the bringing up of the children of Israel from the land of the north: that is, the redemption of Christ, and his bringing home the elect, not only from Judea, but from the north, and from all quarters of the world.-See Isa. xliii. 16-20.
7. It is no more than just to suppose, that God intended to intimate to us, that the sabbath ought by Christians to be kept in commemoration of Christ's redemption, in that the