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NEW JERUSALEM MAGAZINE.
Vol. XLIV. - DECEMBER, 1871. — No. 6.
THE SABBATH, SINCE THE LORD'S ADVENT.
(Continued from page 230.)
I wish here to refer to a Report on the subject of the Sabbath, made to the Massschusetts Association at its 46th meeting, and printed in the New Jerusalem Magazine, Vol. xxvi., p. 214. In it the idea is presented, that since the day of the Sabbath corresponds with man's regenerate state, and since the state of regeneration before the Lord's coming was of a different nature from what it has been since — because man's state of living from the Lord now is unlike what it was before — therefore the Sabbath, as representing a different state, must needs be a different day. And it undertakes to show, what was most especially true of the Most Ancient Church, and more or less so, though in an inferior degree, of the succeeding churches, that their conjunction with the Lord was effected by virtue of reception from Him into their voluntary part, and therefore consisted in ceasing from the exercise of their own wills, as such ; wherefore the former Sabbath was a day of mere rest and inactivity, and nothing else. But since the Lord's coming, conjunction with Him is effected by the reception of truths into the understanding, and life thence. And thence the Sabbath became not only a day of rest, but also of instruction in spiritual things, and of some active life in the exercise of neighborly love.
It would seem not only interesting, but useful, to the more complete understanding of this subject (though it might prove little or nothing), to look back and endeavor to see in what manner, and from what motives, the day of the Lord's resurrection came to be distinctly set apart as a day of special religious observance. But the historical evidence which has come down to us in regard to it, is too scanty to enable us to trace the earlier steps of it with accuracy. Yet we are not left wholly in the dark, and the chief ruling motive everywhere stands prominently forth.
Let us endeavor to picture to ourselves the wonder, the excitement, and the astonishment into which the disciples were thrown by the occurrences of that eventful day. The effects were of a kind which cannot be soon nor easily forgotten. Their minds were absorbed, and almost overwhelmed, by the exhibition of this last, and, to them, greatest of miracles, shown them by their Lord and Master. It was the crowning proof of His Divine character and mission – a manifestation almost unexpected, though so plainly predicted. It was more than this. It was felt, and soon, though more slowly, began to be seen to be the initiation of a New Dispensation, in which the old types and symbols of heavenly things were done away by their fulfilment in Jesus Himself, the great Archetype.
Not only were all their thoughts centred upon Him, but they seem to have been elevated into a sort of supernatural ecstasy, in which they continued for a long time, giving themselves up wholly, after His Ascension, to devotional exercises. They "were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God.”
Luke xxiv. 53.
The first thought with the disciples evidently was, not to exalt any one day above another. It was deemed contrary to the spirit of that new life which they felt that the Lord was imparting to them, to attach any essential importance to the observance of days, not even the Sabbath. Being Jews, they continued to keep that day, and the other requirements of the Law; but not so much, it would seem,