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and general one from hell and destruction by Jesus Christ, which is this day commemorated : so the Jewish seventh day Sabbath serves to usher in and prepare us for the glorious festival of the Christian Sabbath, which is to continue while. Christ hath a church upon earth, being the only day appointed to be kept in remembrance of him, and as serving to usher in and prepare us for that far more glorious and celestial Sabbath above, which shall never have an end.
O then endeavour by all means to get and keep up a high Esteem of the Lord's day, that day which God hath 'exalted above all the days of the week and above all the Jewish Sabbaths and festivals whatsoever. Of them in comparison of the Lord's day, we may say, in allusion to that word, Heb. i. 11, 12. “ They perish, but thou remainest; and they all wax old like a garment, and as a vesture thou hast folded them up, and they are changed; but thou shalt (maugre all the malice of men and devils) continue the same, and thy years shall not fail.”. These were but as morning stars, to usher in the sun. Other festivals, in all their royalty, are not arrayed like thee. All the graces triumph in thee; all the ordinances conspire to adorn thee; the sa. cred Trinity do delight in the thee: The Father ruleth thee, the Son rose upon thee, and the Spirit hath overshadowed thee. Thus it is done to the day which the King of heaven delighteth to honour ; and what shall be done to the man that delighteth to dishonour and put contempt upon thee !
Surely, as "God will not hold hím guiltless" that breaks the third command, “ by taking his name in vain ;" so he will not hold him guiltless that breaks the fourth commandment, by spending his day in vain. And though the breakers of this commandment may escape punishment from men, or may even escape outward judgments from God in this world ; yet there is a day coming when he will call them to account for it. Oh sinners ! the day of the Lord is like to be a dreadful day to you that despise the Lord's day.
Quest. VI. What is that proportion of time which is to be sequestrated and allowed for the Sabbath day ? and when doth it begin and end.
Ans. The fourth command requires one day in every seven ; by which we are not to understand only the artificial day froin sun-rising to sun-setting, or from the break of day until the darkness of the night comes on, and think then the Sabbath is over, and that we are no longer bound to abstain from our own works; and far less are we to think that the Sabbath is no longer than the time of public wor. ship doth last, and that we are at freedom from the work and duties of the Sabbath when that is over. This some say in words, and many more in their practice.
But, consider what absurdities would follow hereupon : For, if no more time be allowed for the Sabbath, but the time of public worship ; then it would follow, that God requires no private or secret duties from us on that day, since these will need some more time: but that cannot be ; for, if private and secret duties be required of us on week days, then much more on the Sabbath day.
Again, it would follow, that some must keep longer Sab. baths, and others shorter ; nay, the Sabbath of many shall not be above an hour or two of the day ; for there are ministers and people who are scarce so long at public worship. But the whole day is the Lord's, and not a part only. You will have your servants to work the whole six week days, for you, from morning to night, and not be contented with their working an hour or two only of these days : so neither should you yield less to God than you require for yourselves. Nay, if attendance on public worship were all that is requisite this day, by virtue of the command, it would follow, that a man would be loosed from the obligation of the command, if he were in a place of the world where God is not publicly worshipped.
But all these things being absurd, I do, upon solid ground assert, that the whole natural day, consisting of twenty-four hours, is to be set apart for the Sabbath day; and that we ought to measure this day, and begin and end it, as we do other days, that is, from midnight to midnight; during which time we are to abstain from our own works, aud sanctify the Lord's Sabbath. For the fourth command binds us to consecrate the seventh part of every week to the Lord, who challengeth a special property in one day of seven, and asserts his just title thereto, saying, “ the serenth day is the Lord's" and also Isa. Ivii. 13. he expressly calls it, “ My holy day.” It is all holy; and therefore no part must be profaned or applied to common uses. It is all the Lord's; and so it is unlawful for us to rob him of any part of it, and alienate it to our private use.
Object. But who is able to spend the whole twenty-four hours in religious duties?
Ans. I do not say that this is to be done without any intermission ; for we do not this in following our employments on other days : a due proportion of every day is to be reserved for the natural support of our bodies, and particularly for moderate eating and sleeping, which are works of necessity, and must be allowed on the Sabbath, as well as other days; with this difference only, that whereas they are done on other days to enable us for labour, they are to be done on the Sabbath to strengthen us for holy duties ; and so cannot properly be called our own works. Neither can the doing thereof be called a taking of God's time to our own use, since this contributes to our better spending of God's time, and is truly necessary for God's service on the Sabbath. But, besides the time requisite for the works of necessity and mercy, the whole natural day as above described, is holy unto the Lord, and ought to be employed in religious duties ; and not a part of the day only. Both Sabbath morning and Sabbath night, should be spent in prayer and praises, as is plain from the 924 Psalm, which is entitled, “ A psalm or song for the Sabbath day," ver. 1.; and ver. 2. we are told, that "It is good to give thanks unto the Lord, and shew forth his loving kindness in the morning, and his faithfulness every night." But more of this afterwards, when I come directly to treat of the sanctification of the Sabbath. And, before I do this, I judge it necessary to answer some objections brought, against the morality of the Sabbath, and the change of the day.
Quakers, Familists, and others, holding that there is no difference of days, and so denying the divine authority of the Sabbath, I shall consider what they say.
Some objections against the former doctrine answered.
Object. 1. “Every day ought to be a Sabbath to a Christian, and so there is no need of a set day.”
Ans. Though Christians should serve God, and walk with him every day, yet they cannot make every day a Sabbath for the public worship of God, since God calls them to other necessary work and business thereupon, which are inconsistent with the solemn spiritual employment of the Sabbath.
Object. 2. “ Paul, in his epistle to the Galatians, and elsewhere, condemns the observation of days under the New Testament."
Ans. The Apostle speaks only of the Jewish Sabbath, and festivals, which were shadows of things to come, and abolished by Christ's coming; but not of the Lord's day, which the apostle himself observed, and did particularly recominend to the Galatians for their observation, 1 Cor. xvi. 1, 2.
Object. 3. 6 The Sabbath was given as a type or sign only to the Jews; and therefore must be abolished with the rest of their types and ceremonies."
Ans. 1. The Sabbath is indeed said to be given as a sign betwixt God and his people, Ezek. xx. 12. : but that is not confined to the people of the Jews, (except as to the seventh day Sabbath only, of which I spoke before) but to be extended to all God's people to the end of the world.
2. There is a great difference betwixt a sign and a ceremony, which is an alterable thing. The rainbow is call. ed a sign, Gen. ix. God's moral precepts are called signs, Deut. vi. 8. Yet none will say that these are ceremonies, or alterable things.
3. Some signs are ceremonial and alterable; others are moral and perpetual; the Sabbath is not a sign of the first, but of the latter sort. Indeed, all the signs and types of the sacrifice of the Messiah, and justification by Christ to come, were nailed to the cross with him, and abrogated; but all signs were not of this kind. The rainbow is given as a sign of the world's preservation from a deluge, and is perpetual. The ten commandments are given as probative signs of our obedience, and are perpetual, and so is the Sabbath. Indeed the Sabbath is a more peculiar sign than any of the rest of the commands, and therefore is emphatically called a sign several times in scripture.
1. It is a sign of God's special love and favour to his people; the Sabbath is a great blessing and privilege to them; for which Nehemiah gives God thanks in a special manner, Neh. ix. 14.; of which more afterward.
2. It is a sign of that eternal rest above, provided for the people of God.
3. The religious observation of the Sabbath is a declara. tive sign of our sanctification; therefore it is said, Exod. xxxi. and Ezek, xx. that the Lord gave his people Sabbaths and signs, that " they might know that he was the Lord that sanctified them." So that it is plain from these, that the Sabbath is a sign to us as well as to the Jews.
Object. 4. “ But (say the Quakers and other sectaries) there is no holiness in days, one time is not better than another; and therefore the Sabbath doth not differ from other days in the week."
Ans. I grant, one day is not holier than another in itself, (as one place is not more holy in its own nature than another,) yet it may be holier in respect of its use. Thus the Sabbath day hath a relative holiness in it, as it is designed and appropriated to God's use and service, and therefore must not be alienated to uses of our own; for this would be sacrilege, which is a heinous crime. Hence it is, that the Lord doth expressly call the Sabbath a holy day, Isa. Iviii. 13.
Object. 5. “But (say they doth God require us to be more religious and godly at one time than another p”
Ans. There are some times that God requires us to give ourselves more to religion, and to express it more by outward acts of worship, than at other times. I grant, that we ought always to be religious, and to serve and worship God every day of the week; but God in his wisdom bath thought fit to set apart a certain season, wherein he requires more of the solemn, external, and visible exercises of religion, and performance of holy duties, than at other times. The reasons of his so doing I mentioned before. Some objections against the change of the day answered.
Object. 1. “ 'The seventh day Sabbath was instituted in the state of innocency; therefore it is to be held as moral and unalterable."
Ans. The institution of the Sabbath, or consecration of
one day in seven to the Lord,” may be hence concluded moral and perpetual, since the reason and ground of it is such, as was shewed before ; but it will not follow, that the