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Ten Reasons demonstrating the Commandment of the Sabbath to be moral.

1. Because all the reasons of this commandment are moral and perpetual; and God has bound us to the obedience of this commandment with more forcible reasons than to any of the rest—First, because he foresaw 170that irreligious men would either more carelessly neglect, or more boldly break this commandment than any other; secondly, because that in the practice of this commandment the keeping of all the other consists; which makes God so often complain that all his worship is neglected or overthrown, when the Sabbath is either neglected or transgressed (Jer. xv. 22; Ezek. xx. 19, 20, 21, 24; xxiii. 38; Neh. ix. 4.) “It would make a man amazed,” saith Mr. Calvin, “to consider how oft, and with what zeal and protestation God requireth all, that will be his people, to sanctify the seventh day; yea, how the God of mercy mercilessly punisheth the breach of this commandment with cruel death, as though it were the sum of his whole honour and service.”

And it is certain, that he who makes no conscience to break the Sabbath, will not, to serve his turn, make any conscience to break any of the other commandments, so he may do it without discredit of his reputation or danger of man’s law. Therefore God placed this commandment in the midst of the two tables, because the keeping of it is the best help to the keeping of all the rest. The conscionable keeping of the Sabbath is the mother of all religion and good discipline in the church. Take away the Sabbath, and let every man serve God when he listeth; and what will shortly become of religion, and that peace and order (1 Cor. xiv. 33, 40) which God will have to be kept in his church? The Sabbath-day is God’s market-day, for the week’s provision; wherein He will have us to come to him, and buy of him without silver or money (Isa. lv. 1, 2), the bread of angels, and water of life, the wine of the sacrament, and milk of the word to feed our souls; tried gold to enrich our faith (Rev. iii. 18;) precious eye-salve, to heal our spiritual blindness; and the white raiment of Christ’s righteousness, to cover our filthy nakedness. He is not far from true piety, who makes conscience to keep the Sabbath-day; but he who can dispense with his conscience to break the Sabbath for his own profit or pleasure, his heart never 171yet felt what either the fear of God or true religion means; for, of this commandment may that speech of St. James be verified, “He that faileth in one, is guilty of all.” (James ii. 10.) Seeing, therefore, that God has fenced this commandment with so many moral reasons, it is evident that the commandment itself is moral.

2. Because it was commanded of God to Adam in his innocency: whilst holding his happiness, not by faith in Christ’s merits, but by obedience to God’s law, he needed no ceremony shadowing the redemption of Christ. A Sabbath, therefore, of a seventh day cannot be simply a ceremony, but an essential part of God’s worship, enjoined to man, when there was but one condition of all men. And if it was necessary for our first parents to have a Sabbath-day, to serve God in their perfection; much more need their posterity to keep the Sabbath in the state of {heir corruption. And seeing God himself kept this day holy, how can that man be holy that wilfully profanes it?

3. Because it is one of the commandments which God spake with his mouth, and twice wrote with his own fingers in tables of stone, to signify their authority and perpetuity (Exod. xxxiv. 1, &c.) All that God wrote, were moral and perpetual commandments, and those are reckoned ten in number (Deut. iv. 13.) If this were now but an abrogated ceremony, then there were but nine commandments. The ceremonial that was to be abrogated by Christ, were all written by Moses (Deut. iv. 2.) But this of the Sabbath, with the other nine, written by God himself, were put into the ark; no ceremonial law was put, to shew that they should be the perpetual rules of the church, yet such as none could perfectly fulfil and keep, but only Christ (1 Kings viii. 9; Heb. ix. 4.)

4. Because Christ professes, “that he came not to detroy the moral law,” (Matt. v. 17), and that the least of them should not be abrogated in his kingdom of the New Testament. Insomuch, that “whosoever breaketh one of the least of these ten commandments, and teacheth 172men so, he should be called the least in the kingdom of heaven,” (Matt. v. 19;) that is, he should have no place in his church. Now the moral law commands one day of seven to be perpetually kept a holy Sabbath. And Christ himself expressly mentions the keeping of a Sabbath among his Christians, at the destruction of Jerusalem, about forty-two years after his resurrection. By which time, all the Mosaical ceremonies, except eating of blood, and things strangled (Acts xv. 19, 20, 21, 24, 28), were by a public decree of all the apostles quite abolished, and abrogated in Christian churches. And therefore Christ admonished his disciples, “to pray that their flight be not in the winter, nor on the Sabbath-day.” (Matt. xxiv. 20.) Not in the winter; for by reason of the foulness of the ways and weather, their flight then should be more painful and troublesome to them: not upon the Sabbath; because it would be more grievous to their hearts, to spend that day in toiling to save their lives, which the Lord had commanded to be spent in holy exercises, to comfort their souls. Now if the sanctifying of the Sabbath on this day had been but ceremonial, it had been no grief to have fled on this day, any more than on any other day of the week; but in that Christ doth tender so much this fear and grief of being driven to fly on the Sabbath-day, and therefore wisheth his followers to pray to God to prevent. such an occasion, he plainly demonstrates that the observation of the Sabbath is no abrogated ceremony, but a moral commandment, confirmed and established by Christ among Christians. If you would know the day whereupon Christ appointed Christians to keep the Sabbath, St. John will tell you, that it was on the Lord’s day (Rev. i. 10.) If you will know on what day of the week that was, St. Paul will tell you, that it was on every first day of the week (1 Cor. xvi. 1.)

As Christ admonished, so Christians prayed, and according to their prayers, God, a little before the wars began, warned by an oracle all the Christians in Jerusalem to depart thence, and to go to Pella, a little town 173beyond Jordan; and so to escape the wrath of God, that should fall upon that city and nation.5757Euseb. Hist. Eccl. 1. iii. c. 5—It is probable that this oracle was that voice (migremus hinc) which, with an earthquake, was heard by night in the temple, mentioned by Josephus, de Bello Judaico, lib. vii. c. 12. If, then, a Christian should not without grief of heart, fly for the safety of his life on the Lord’s day; with what joy or comfort can a true Christian neglect the holy exercise of God’s worship in the church, to spend the greatest part of the Lord’s day in profane and carnal sports, or servile labour? And seeing the destruction of Jerusalem was both a type (Matt. xxiv. 35) and an assurance of the destruction of the world, who seeth not, but that the holy Sabbath must continue till the very end of the world?

5. Because all the ceremonial law was enjoined to the Jews only, and not to the Gentiles; but this commandment of the holy Sabbath, as matrimony, was instituted of God in the state of innocency, when there was but one state of all men, and therefore enjoined to the Gentiles as well as to the Jews. So that all magistrates and householders were commanded to constrain all strangers, as well as their own subjects and family, to observe the holy Sabbath (Isa. lvi. 6), as appears by the fourth commandment, and the practice of Nehemiah (Neh. xiii. 19, &c.) All the ceremonies were a partition-wall to separate Jews and Gentiles (Eph. ii. 14;) but seeing the Gentiles are bound to keep this commandment as well as the Jews, it is evident that it is no Jewish ceremony. And seeing the same authority is for the Sabbath that is for marriage, a man may as well say that marriage is but a ceremonial law, as the Sabbath. And remember, that whereas marriage is termed but once the covenant of God (Prov. ii. 17), because instituted by God in the beginning (Matt. xix. 6, 8), the Sabbath is everywhere called “the Sabbath of the Lord thy God,” because ordained by God in the same beginning, both of time, state, and perpetuity: therefore not ceremonial.

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6. The corruption of our nature found in the manifest opposition of wicked men,5858Nitimur in vetitum.—Ovid. and in the secret unwillingness of good men to sanctify sincerely the Sabbath, sufficiently demonstrates that the commandment of the Sabbath is spiritual and moral.

7. Because that as God, by a perpetual decree, made the sun, the moon, and other lights in the firmament of heaven (Gen. i. 18; Job ix. 9; xxxviii. 31; Amos v. 8), not only to divide the day from the night, but also to be for signs5959To distinguish between spring and harvest, summer and winter, and to foreshew judgments to come. and for seasons,6060Moadim sig. Sacred times appointed for God’s holy worship, having special significations and promises. and for days6161One of the seven days of the week from the other. and for years;6262Solar, Sabbatarian, and jubilee (Exod. xiii. 11, 12.) so he ordained in the church on earth, the holy Sabbath to be not only the appointed season for his solemn worship, but also the perpetual rule and measure of time. So that as seven days make a week, four weeks a month, twelve months a year; so seven years make a Sabbath of years; seven Sabbaths of years make a jubilee; eighty jubilees, or four thousand years, or, after Ezekiel, four thousand cubits, the whole time of the Old Testament, till Christ by his baptism and preaching began the state of the New Testament. Neither can I here pass over without admiration, how the sacrament of circumcision continued in the church thirty-nine jubilees from Abraham, to whom it was first given, until the baptism of Christ in Jordan; which was just so many jubilees (after Bucholcers’s account) as the world had continued before from Adam to the birth of Abraham. Moses began his ministry in the eightieth year of his age: Christ enters upon his office in the eightieth jubilee of the world’s age. Joseph was thirty years old when he began to rule over Egypt (Gen. iv. 1, 46), and the Levites began to serve in the tabernacle at thirty years old: so Christ likewise, to answer these figures, began his ministry 175in the thirtieth jubilee of Moses, and when he began to be thirty years of age (Luke iii. 23) in the midst of Daniel’s last week; and so (continuing his ministry on earth three years and a half) finished our redemption and Daniel’s period, by his innocent death upon the cross. The most of all the great alterations and strange accidents which fell out in the church, came to pass either in a sabbatical year, or in a year of jubilee. For example:—

The seventy weeks of Daniel, beginning the first year of Cyrus, and the 3439th year of the world, contain so many years as the world did weeks of years until that time, and so many weeks of years as the world had lasted jubilees. Daniel’s seventy weeks of years contain four hundred and ninety single years; the world before that time four hundred and ninety weeks or Sabbaths of years; Daniel’s period seventy weeks, the world’s seventy jubilees: so that, to comfort the church for their seventy years’ captivity, which they had now, according to Jeremiah’s prophecy, endured in Babylon (Jer. xxv. 11, 12), Gabriel tells Daniel, that at the end of seventy weeks or Sabbaths of years, that is, seventy times seven years, or four hundred and ninety years, their eternal redemption from hell should be effected by the death of Christ, as sure as they were now redeemed from the captivity of Babylon. This period of Daniel, containing seventy Sabbaths or ten jubilees of years, began at the first liberty granted the Jews by Cyrus, in the first year of his reign over the Babylonians, mentioned Ezra i. 1, and ends just at the time that Christ died upon the cross. From the death of Christ, or the last end of Daniel’s weeks, to the seventy and one year of Christ, the world is measured by seven seals (Rev. v. 1), or seven Sabbaths of years, making one complete jubilee. From the end of those seven seals, the world is measured to its end by seven trumpets (Rev. viii. 2; ix. 7), each containing two hundred and forty years (as some conjecture, about four hundred and forty years hence the truth will appear.) Enoch, 176the seventh from Adam, having lived so many years as there are days in the year, three hundred and sixty-five, was translated of God in a sabbatical year. Moses, the seventh from Abraham, as another Enoch, is buried of God, but born in a sabbatical year of the world, two thousand three hundred and seventy-seventh year since the flood (according to Broughton’s computation, A.M. 1430. Deut. xxx. 4), is saved, as a new Noah, in a reed-ark, and lived builder of the church so long as Noah was building the ark, one hundred and twenty years. The promise was made to Abraham in a sabbatical year, being the two thousand and twenty-third year of the world. The sixth year of Joshua, being two thousand five hundred years from the creation of the world, wherein the land was possessed, and divided among the children of Israel, was a sabbatical year, and the fiftieth jubilee from the creation of the world. At this year Moses begins his jubilee, by which, as with a chain of thirty links, he tieth the parting of Canaan’s possession to the Israelites by Joshua to the opening of the kingdom of heaven to all believers by Jesus. And so carries the church of the Jews, by a joyful stream of jubilees,6363Jubilee some derive of trumpets or rams’-horns, wherewith the jubilee was sounded; others from jubal, a stream, because they carry us to the death of Christ, the author of our eternal rest and joy. from the type to the substance, from Canaan to heaven, from Joshua to Jesus: For Christ, at the end of Moses’s thirty jubilees, and the beginning of the thirtieth year of his age, at his baptism openeth heaven, and gives the clearest vision of the blessed Trinity that was seen since the world began; and by the silver trumpet of his gospel proclaims, according to the prophecy of Isaiah, eternal redemption to all that repent and believe in him (Isa. lxi. 1; Luke iv. 18.)

And the year of our Saviour Christ’s birth, being the three thousand nine hundred and forty-eighth of the world, was at the end of a sabbatical year, and the five hundred and sixty-fourth septenary of the world. Moses makes the common age of all men to be ten times seven 177 (Psal. xc), and every seventh year commonly produces some notable change or accident in man’s life: and no wonder; for, as Hippocrates affirms, a child in his mother’s womb, on the seventh day of his conception, has all his members finished, and from that day grows to the perfection of birth, which is always either the ninth or seventh month. At seven years old, the child casts his teeth, and receives new. And every seventh year after, there is some alteration or change in man’s life, especially at nine times seven, the climacteric year, which by experience is found to have been fatal to many of those learned men who have been the chiefest lights of the world;6464Aristotle, Cicero, Bernard, Bocace, Erasmus, Luther, Melancthon, Sturmius. and if they escaped that year, yet most of them have departed this life in a septenary year. Lamech died in the year of his life seven hundred and seventy-seven. Methusalem, the longest liver of the sons of men, died when he began to enter his nine hundred and seventieth year. Abraham died when he had lived twenty-five times seven years; Jacob when he had lived twenty-one times seven years; David, after he had lived ten times seven years. So did Galen, so did Petrarch, who (as Bodin notes) died on the same day of the year that he was born: so did Queen Elizabeth, of blessed memory. Hippocrates died in the fifteenth septenary; Hierom and Isocrates in their thirteenth; Pliny, Bartolus, and Caesar, in their eighth septenary; and Johannes de temporibus, who lived three hundred and sixty-one years, died in the fifty-third septenary of his life. The like might be observed of innumerable others. And, indeed, the whole life of a man is measured by the Sabbath; for how many years soever a man lives here, yet his life is but a life of seven days multiplied: so that in the number of seven there is a mystical perfection, to which our understanding cannot attain.

All which divine disposition of admirable things, so oft by sevens, calls upon us to a continual meditation 178of the blessed seventh day Sabbath, in knowing and worshipping God in this life; that so from Sabbath to Sabbath, we may be translated to the eternal glorious Sabbath of rest and bliss in the life which is to come.

By which consideration any man that looks into the holy history may easily perceive, that the whole course of the world is drawn and guided by a certain chain of God’s providence, disposing all things in number, measure, and weight. All times are therefore measured by the Sabbath: so that time and the Sabbath can never be separated. And the angel swears that this measure of time shall continue till time shall be no more (Rev. x. 6.) And as the Sabbath had its first institution in the first book of the Scriptures, so has it its confirmation in the last; and as this book authorizes this day, so this day graces the book: in that the matter thereof was revealed upon so holy a day—the Lord’s revelation upon the Lord’s day (Rev. i. 10.) As well, therefore, may they pull the sun, moon, and stars, out of the heavens, as abolish the holy Sabbath, time’s mete-rod, out of the church; seeing the Sabbath is ordained in the church, as well as the sun and moon in the firmament, for the distinction of times.

8. Because that the whole church, by an universal consent, ever since the time of the apostles, have still held the commandment of the Sabbath to be the moral and perpetual law of God, and the keeping of the Sabbath on the first day of the week to be the institution of Christ and his apostles.

The synod called Synodus Coloniensis saith, that the Lord’s day hath been famous in the church ever since the apostles’ time. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, living in St. John’s time, saith, “Let every one that loveth Christ keep holy the Lord’s day, renowned by his resurrection, which is the queen of days, in which death is overcome and life is sprung up in Christ.” Justin Martyr, who lived not long after him, shews that the Christians kept their Sabbath on the Lord’s day, as we do. 179 Origen, who lived about one hundred and eighty years after Christ, shews the reason why the Sabbath is translated to the Lord’s day. Augustine saith, “That the Lord’s day was declared unto the church by the resurrection of the Lord upon that day: Et ex illo cœpit habere festivitatem suam; and by Christ it was first ordained to be kept holy.” And in another place, “That the apostles appointed the Lord’s day to be kept with all religious solemnity, because that upon that day our Redeemer rose from the dead, which also is therefore called the Lord’s day.”

As, therefore, David said of the city of God (Psal. lxxxvii. 3), so may I say of the Lord’s day, “Glorious things are spoken of the day of the Lord;” for it was the birthday of the world—the first day in which all creatures began to have being. In it light was given out of darkness. In it the law was given on Mount Sinai. In it the Lord rose from death to life. In it the saints came out of their graves (Matt. xxvii. 52), assuring that on it Christians should rise to newness of life. In it the Holy Ghost descended upon the apostles. And it is very probable that on the seventh day, when the seven trumpets have blown (Rev. x. 7). the cursed Jericho of this world shall fall (Josh. vi. 13), and our true Jesus shall give us the promised possession of the heavenly Canaan.

He that would see the uniform consent of antiquity, and practice of the primitive church in this point, let him read Eusebius’s Ecclesiastical History, lib. 4. cap. 23; Tertullian, lib. de Idololatria, cap. 14; Chrys. Serm. 5. de Resurrectione Constitut.; Apol. l. cap. 37; Cyril in Johan. l. 12, c. 58. Of this judgment are all the sound new writers; see Fox on Rev. i. 10; Bucer in Matt. xii. 11; Gualt. in Malach. iii. hom. 23; Fulke on the Rhemish Testament, Apoc. i. 10; Chem. Exam. Cone. Trid. par. 4. de Diebus Festis; Wolph. Chron. lib. 2. cap. 1; and innumerable others. Learned Junius shall speak for all—“Quamobrem cum dies dominicus,” 180 &c.—” Wherefore seeing the Lord’s day is both by the fact of Christ (viz. his resurrection and often appearing to his disciples upon that day), by the example and institution of the apostles, and by the continual practice of the ancient church, and by the testimony of Scripture, observed and substituted into the place of the Jewish Sabbath, Ineptè faciunt, they do foolishly who say that the observation of the Lord’s day is of tradition and not from the Scripture, that by this means they might establish the traditions of men.” And again, “The cause of this change is the resurrection of Christ, and the benefit of the restoring of the church by Christ, the remembrance of which benefit did succeed into the place of the memory of the creation. Non humana traditione, sed Christi ipsius observatione et instituto: Not by the tradition of man, but by the observation and appointment of Christ, who both on the day of his resurrection and on every eighth day after, until his ascension into heaven, did appear unto his disciples and came into their assemblies.”

9. Because that the Lord himself expounded the end of the Sabbath, to be a sign and document for ever, between him and his people, that he is Jehovah, by whom they are sanctified (Exod. xxxi. 13, 14, &c.; Ezek. xx. 12, 20), and therefore must only of them be worshipped (Ezek. xlvi. 1, 2, 3, &c.;) and upon the pain of death, charges his people for ever to keep this memorial unviolated (Exod. xxxv. 2.) But this end is moral and perpetual; what God hath perpetually sanctified, let no man ever presume to make common or profane (Acts x. 15.) Upon this ground it is, that the commandment terms this day, the Sabbath of the Lord thy God. And God himself calls it his holy day (Isa. lviii. 13.) And upon the same ground likewise the Old Testament consecrated all their Sabbaths and holy days to the ‘worship and honour of God alone. To dedicate, therefore, a Sabbath to the honour of any creature, is gross idolatry. For the first table makes it a part of God’s worship to have 181a Sabbath to his honour; so doth Lev. xxiii. 3, 37, 38, &c.; and Ezek. xx. 20; Neh. ix. 14; the Sabbath is put for the whole worship of God. And our Saviour teaches, that we must worship the Lord God only, Matt. iv. 10; and therefore keep a Sabbath to the only honour of God. The Holy Ghost notes it as one of Jereboam’s greatest sins, that he ordained a feast from the device of his own heart, 1 Kings xii. 33. And God threatened to visit Israel for keeping the days of Baalim; that is, of lords, as papists do of saints, Hos. ii. 13; but saith, that such forget him. And so, indeed, none are less careful in keeping the Lord’s Sabbath, than they who are most superstitious observers of men’s holy days. The Church of Rome therefore commits gross idolatry—First, in taking upon her to ordain Sabbaths, which belongs only unto the Lord of the Sabbath to do; Secondly, in dedicating those holy days to the honour of creatures, which in effect is to make them sanctifying gods; Thirdly, in tying to these days, God’s worship, prayers, fasting, and merit; Fourthly, in exacting on these days of men’s invention, a greater measure of solemnity and sanctification, than upon the Lord’s day, which is God’s commandment: which in effect is to prefer antichrist before Christ. Our church hath justly abolished all superstitious and idolatrous feasts; and only retains a few holydays to the honour of God alone, and easing of servants, Deut. v. 14; though long custom forces to use the old names, for civil distinction; as Luke used the profane names of Castor and Pollux, Acts xxviii. 11; and Christians of Fortunatus, 1 Cor. xvi. 17; Mercurius,6565Hermes. Rom. xvi. 14; and Jews of Mardocheus’ day, 2 Mac. xv. 36.

10. Lastly, the examples of God’s judgments on Sabbath-breakers, may sufficiently seal to them whose hearts are not seared, how wrathfully Almighty God is displeased with them who are wilful profaners of the Lord’s day.

The Lord, who is otherwise the God of mercy, commanded Moses to stone to death the man who, of a presumptuous 182mind, would openly go to gather sticks on the Sabbath day (Num. xv. 32.) The fact was small: true, but his sin was the greater, that, for so small an occasion, he would presume to break so great a commandment.

Nicanor, offering to fight against the Jews on the Sabbath day, was slain himself, and 35,000 of his men (2 Mac. viii. 21.)

A husbandman grinding corn upon the Lord’s day, had his mill burned to ashes.6666Cent. Magdeb. xii. c. 6.

Another, carrying corn on this day, had his barn, and all his corn therein, burnt with fire from heaven the next night after.6767Disp. de Tempore, Ser. 117.

Also a certain nobleman profaning the Sabbath, usually in hunting, had a child by his wife with a head like a dog, with ears and chaps, and which cried like a hound.6868Tho. Cantiprat. lib. ii. de apid. Timpii. admiran vindict. div. Thea. Hist.

A covetous flax-woman at Kingstat in France, anno 1559, using with her maids to work at her trade on the Lord’s day, it seemed to them that fire issued out of the flax, but did no harm: the next Sabbath it took fire indeed, but was quickly quenched; but not taking warning by this, the third Sunday after it took fire again, burnt the house, and so scorched the wretched woman, with two of her children, that they died the next day; but through God’s mercy, a child in the cradle was taken out of the fire alive and unhurt.6969Johan. Finc. lib. iii. De Miraculis.

On the 13th of January, anno dom. 1582, being the Lord’s day, the scaffolds fell, in Paris garden, under the people, at a bear-baiting, so that eight were suddenly slain, innumerable hurt and maimed: A warning to such, who take more pleasure on the Lord’s day to be in a theatre, beholding carnal sports, than to be in the church serving God with the spiritual works of piety.7070Stow’s Abridgment, An. 1582. Disciti jam moniti Dominumn non temnere Christum.

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Many fearful examples of God’s judgments by fire, have in our days been shewed upon divers towns, where the profanation of the Lord’s day hath been openly countenanced.

Stratford-upon-Avon was. twice on the same day twelvemonth, being the Lord’s day, almost consumed with fire; chiefly for profaning the Lord’s Sabbaths, and for contemning his word in the mouth of his faithful ministers.

Teverton, in Devonshire (whose remembrance makes my heart bleed) was oftentimes admonished by her godly preacher that God would bring some heavy judgment on the town for their horrible profanation of the Lord’s day, occasioned chiefly by their market on the day following.7171While the preachers cried in the church, Profaneness! profaneness! gain would not suffer them to hear: therefore, when they cried Fire! fire! in the street, God would not suffer any to help. Not long after his death, on the third of April 1598, God, in less than half an hour, consumed, with a sudden and fearful fire, the whole town, except only the church, the court-house, and the alms-houses, or a few poor people’s dwellings; where a man might have seen four hundred dwelling-houses all at once on fire, and above fifty persons consumed with the flames. And now again, since the former edition of this book, on the fifth of August last, 1612 (fourteen years since the former fire), the whole town was again fired, and consumed, except some thirty houses of poor people, with the school-house and alms-houses. They are blind who see not in this the finger of God. God grant them grace, when it is next built, to change their market-day, and to remove all occasions of profaning the Lord’s day. Let other towns remember the tower of Siloam (Luke xiii. 4), and take warning by their neighbours’ chastisements, fear God’s threatening (Jer. xvii. 27), and believe God’s prophets, if they will prosper (2 Chron. xx. 20.)

Many other examples of God’s judgments might be alleged; but if these are not sufficient to terrify thy heart 184from the wilful profanation of the Lord’s day, proceed in thy profanation; it may be, the Lord will make thee the next example, to teach others to keep his Sabbaths better.

He punishes some in this life, to signify how he will plague all wilful transgressors of his Sabbaths at the last day.

Thus we have proved that the commandment of the Sabbath is moral, and that the change of it from the seventh to the first day of the week was instituted by the authority of Christ and of his apostles. But as, in promulgating the law, divers ceremonies peculiar to the Jews were annexed, the rather to bind that people to the more careful performance thereof: as to the first commandment, their deliverance from Egypt, shadowing their redemption from hell; to the fifth commandment, length of days in Canaan, typifying eternal life in heaven; to the sixth commandment, abstaining from blood and things strangled, figuring the care to abstain from all kind of murder; and to the whole law, the ceremony of parchment lace (Numb. xv. 38), putting them in mind to keep within the limits of the law: So likewise to the fourth commandment were added some ceremonies which peculiarly belonged to the Jews, and to no other people; as, First, the double sacrifices appointed for them on the Sabbath day (Num. xxviii. 9, 10), shadowing how God will be served on the Sabbath with greater obedience than on the week days: Secondly, the rigid and strict ceasing from making of fire (Exod. xxxv. 2, 3), dressing of meat (Exod. xvi. 23), and all bodily labour, both remembering them of their full deliverance by Moses’s conduct from the fiery furnaces, and slavery of Egypt, upon that day (Deut. v. 16),7272It was the Sabbath-day on which Moses and the children of Israel sang to God, when Pharaoh and his host were drowned in the sea (Exod. xv.)—See Trem. & Jun. Notes on Deut. v. 15, and on Exod. xii. 15. as also shadowing to them the eternal redemption of their souls from hell by the death of Christ: 185 Thirdly, the keeping of the Sabbath upon the precise seventh day in order of the creation; shadowing to the Jews that Christ by his death, and resting on their Sabbath in the grave, should bring them rest and ease from the burden and yoke of the legal ceremonies, which neither they nor their fathers were able to bear (Acts xv. 10; Col. ii. 16, 17.)

And howsoever in Paradise, before man’s fall, the keeping of the Sabbath on the seventh day of the creation was not a ceremony, but an argument of perfection: yet after the fall it became ceremonial, and subject to change, in respect of the restoration by Christ: As man’s life, before the fall, being immortal, became afterwards mortal; and nakedness, being an ornament before, became afterwards a shame; and marriage became a type of the mystical union between Christ and his church (Ephes. v.) And to fulfil, the ceremonies added, for the Jews’ sake, to the Sabbath, Christ at his death rested in the grave all the Jewish Sabbath day, and by that rest fulfilled all those ceremonial accessories. Now, as the ceasing of the ceremonies annexed to the first, fifth, and sixth commandments, and to marriage, did not abolish those commandments and marriage, nor cause them to cease from being the perpetual rules of God’s worship and man’s righteousness, no more did the abrogation of the ceremonies annexed to the Sabbath abolish the morality of the commandment of the Sabbath: so that, though the ceremonies be abolished by the access of the substance, and the shadow overshadowed by the body, which is Christ; yet the holy rest which was commanded and kept before either the Jews were a people, or those ceremonies annexed to the Sabbath, still continues as God’s perpetual law, whereby all the posterity of Adam are bound to rest from their ordinary business, that they may wholly spend every seventh day in the solemn worship and only service of God, their Creator and Redeemer; but in the substance of the fourth commandment there is not found one word of any ceremony.

186

The chief objections against the morality of the Sabbath are three:—

Obj. ]. That of Paul to the Galatians: “Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years,” &c. (Gal. iv. 10.) But there the apostle condemns not the moral Sabbath (which we call the Lord’s day, and which he himself ordained, according to Christ’s commandment, in the same churches of Galatia and Corinth, and kept himself in other churches, 1 Cor. xvi. 2; xiv. 37; Acts xx. 7;) but he speaks of the Jewish days, and times, and years, and the keeping of the Sabbath on the seventh day from the creation, which he terms “shadows of things to come” (Col. ii. 17), abolished now by Christ the body; and in the law are called Sabbaths (Lev. xxiii. 37, 38), but distinguished from the moral Sabbaths.

Obj. 2. That of Paul to the Colossians: “Let no man therefore condemn you in meat or drink, or in respect of an holy-day, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath-days” (Col. ii. 16.) But here the apostle means the Jewish ceremonial Sabbaths, not the Christians’ Lord’s day, as before.

Obj. 3. That of the same apostle to the Romans: “This man esteemeth one day above another day, and another counteth every day alike,” &c. (Rom. xiv. 5.) But St. Paul makes no such account. For the question there is not between Jews and Gentiles, but between the stronger and weaker Christians (Rom. xv. 1.) The stronger esteemed one day above another, as appears, in that there was a day both commanded and received in the church, everywhere known and honoured by the name of the Lord’s day. And therefore Paul saith here, that he that observed this day, observed it unto the Lord; the observation whereof, because of the change of the Jewish seventh day, some weak Christians (as many now a-days) thought not so necessary: so that if men, because me Jewish day is abrogated, will not honour and keep holy the Lord’s day, but count it like other days, it is an argument, saith the apostle, of their weakness, whose infirmity 187must be borne till they have time to be further instructed and persuaded. Other objections are frivolous, and not worth the answering.


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