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before this, and soon after they had passed the Red Sea, which day was the sabbath. This was done upon the occasion of their first gathering the manna, which God rained from heaven: as we read, Exod. ch. xvi. " And he said unto them, This is that which the Lord hath said, To-morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the Lord”—and again, “ Eat that today, for to-day is a sabbath unto the Lord." So that when, in the
fairly within our power, with honest and diligent search, to learn his will. God has nowhere expressly told us, in his word, which day of the week He would have observed as the Christian Sabbath. But, we ought not from hence to conclude, that under the Christian dispensation, there is no day sanctified and set apart as holy time, or that it is a matter of indifference which day of the seven is regularly kept as a Sabbath. There is no express command in the scrip-fourth commandment, God requirtures, that one should pray with his family, or that females should be admitted to the Lord's supper; and yet Christians believe, that these are duties enjoined in the sacred oracles. Having premised this, I now proceed to answer the following question:
Which day of the week is it the will of God to have observed as the Christian Sabbath?
In answering this question, it will be proper to proceed ly, and observe,
ed them to remember the sabbathday, they understood by the sabhath, that day, which Moses had previously pointed out. But this is no reason, why we should keep the same day, which they did; for God may have pointed out another day to us, as the day of holy rest.
2. Though the fourth commandment is still in force, and Christians are bound to keep holy a seventh part of time; yet there is gradual-evidence to believe, that the Jewish sabbath is abolished. The Jewish sabbath was instituted as a memorial of the deliverance of the children of Israel from Egypt.But it is intimated, to say the least, in Jeremiah, ch. xvi. that no memorial of that event, is to be observed under the Gospel :-"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. But not to urge this, it may be observed, that as the deliverance of the children of Israel from Egypt, was typical of the redemption by Christ; so it is but reasonable to suppose, that the sabbath, instituted in commemoration of that event, was typical
1. That the fourth commandment does not determine which day of the seven should be kept as holy time. The fourth commandment binds us to keep one day in seven; but it does not point out the particular day to be kept. The words are, "Remember the sabbath-day, to keep it holy: Six days shalt thou labour and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the sabbath."-This command evidently binds us, after pursuing our secular labours six days, to keep the seventh as holy time, from week to week. But it neither informs us, nor did it inform the Israelites, when to begin the six working days, and on which day to rest. It only bound them, as it equally does us, to keep that day, which God should point out and sanctify, as the day of sacred rest and religious worship. The Israelites had been told by Moses,
first day of his first week, and from thence proceed to reckon time. This, it is reasonable to suppose, was the day observed by the antediluvian saints, and by Noah and his posterity, as the first day of their week; which has continued to be so, by an uninterrupt
also, and vanished away with the other types and shadows of the Mosaick dispensation. Accordingly, the apostle writes to the Roman Christians, "One man esteemeth one day above another; another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regard-ed succession of weeks, to the eth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it." The apostle did not mean here to tell the Romans, that the fourth commandment was no longer in force, and that it was a matter of indifference whether any sabbath was kept or not, as some licentious readers may imagine. He spake with reference to the holydays and festivals enjoined by the ceremonial law, which Christians might then, innocently, either observe or neglect, as they should think proper. Among these, he recorded the Jewish sabbath; as will appear more clearly from what he writes to the Colossians, ch. 2: "Let no man, therefore, judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath-days; which are a shadow of things to come: but the body is of Christ." -These passages appear to prove, that the Jewish sabbath was typical, and is abolished. This point being settled, the way is open to advance another step.
3. It is highly probable, to say the least, that the sabbath instituted in the garden of Eden, immediately after the work of creation was finished, was the same day, which we now call the first day of the week. Adam was created at the close of the sixth day of the creation. The seventh day from the commencement of the work of creation, on which God rested, and which he sanctified, was, therefore Adam's first day. This he would naturally consider as the
present time. When mankind, after the flood, became corrupt, and deified and worshipped the sun, moon and stars, they consecrated their sabbath, which was the first day of the week and the 'most esteemed and honourable of their days, to the worship of the sun, the largest and most splendid luminary in the heavens; from whence it derived the name of sun-day, or the day of the sun; as the second day did that of monday, or the day of the moon. In confirmation of this, it is a remarkable circumstance, mentioned by historians, that almost all nations, even those the most remote from Jews and Christians, and the least connected with them, have reckoned, and still do reckon time by weeks; although there is no planet, whose motion, or revolutions point out such a division of time. And what is still more remarkable, these nations begin their weeks with the same day, which Christians call the first day. Is it not something more than probable, that they have derived their mode of measuring time, by tradition, from the sons of Noah, and through him, from the first man? To this I may add, that Mr. Bedford and Mr. Kenedy, two celebrated chronologers, have undertaken to demonstrate from astronomical calculations, that the seventh day from the beginning of the creation, has been reckoned the first day of the week, from that time to the present.
Perhaps some may here be disposed to ask, If the first day of the
week was originally set apart for the sabbath, why were the Israelites required to keep the seventh day? To such a question, I would reply, that the fact of the alteration of the day remains the same, whether we can account for it, or not. But, it is not difficult to conjecture, what some of the reasons might have been, for requiring the Israelites to keep the seventh day, instead of the first, as from the beginning. One reason probably was, to keep the Israelites from joining with the Gentiles in their idolatrous worship of the sun, and the host of heaven. Prone as the Israelites were to idolatry, had they been directed to observe the same day as a sabbath, which the surrounding nations devoted to the worship of the sun; they would have been more easily seduced by their impious example, to depart from the worship of the only living and true God. Another reason for requiring the Israelites to keep the seventh day, might be, to keep them a distinct people. A change of the sabbath, like circumcision and other injunctions of the Mosaick ritual, had a tendency to keep that people from intermixing with other nations, which might have been the means of their extinction. As a third reason for the change of the sabbath from the first to the seventh day, it may be mentioned, that the deliverance of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage took place on the seventh day of the week. As this event was important in itself, and also an eminent type of the redemption by Christ, it was proper that the day on which it happened, should be kept in commemoration of it. Hence Moses says, Deut. v. 15, "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." This was a good reason why the Israelites should be directed to keep the seventh day; but it was no reason why any other nation should keep it.
Now, if it be true, that, for reasons like the above, the day of the sabbath was altered at Sinai; it will follow, that when the Jewish sabbath was abolished, the fourth commandment bound Christians to keep the first day of the week, agreeably to the original institution in Paradise.
4. It is thought to be predicted in the hundred and eighteenth Psalm, that Christians should keep the first day of the week as their sabbath: "The stone which the builders refused, is become the head-stone of the corner. This is the Lord's doing; it is marvellous in our eyes. This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." "The stone spoken of, is Christ. He was refused by the builders, especially when he was put to death. While he was in the grave, he lay as a stone cast away by the builders. But, when he was raised from the dead, he became the head of the corner. And the day on which this took place, which was the first of the werk, the Psalmist tells us, God has made, or sanctified, as the day on which the church shall rejoice and be glad."
5. Christ, the great Head and King of the church, was pleased peculiarly to distinguish and honour the first day of the week. On this day he rose from the dead. On this day he appeared, at several times, to his disciples, after his resurrection. On this day, which was the Jewish pentecost, seven weeks after his resurrection, he poured out his spirit, in a remarkable manner, upon his apostles; land bowed the hearts of three thou
sand of his enemies, and made them |
6. In the New Testament, the first day of the week, is, by way of eminence, called the LORD'S DAY. The apostle John writes, Rev. i. 10, I was in the spirit on the Lord's day." It seems not more difficult to ascertain the meaning of this expression, than that of any other in the scriptures. The writings of ancient times and the immemorial usage of the Christian church show, that the Lord's day is that day kept in honour of the Lord Christ, or the first day of the week. This expression denotes the holiness of the day; as the sacramental supper is called the Lord's supper, to distinguish it from common meals, as a holy supper, to be solemnly received, in remembrance of the Lord Christ. The application of God's name to the first day of the week, plainly indicates, that this is the day which God has sanctified, and which Christians ought to keep holy.
tion, observed the day, which he directed them to keep as a holy sabbath.
8. It has been the practice of the Christian church, from the time of the apostles to the present time, to keep the first day of the week as a holy sabbath. "We read in the writings which remain of the first, second and third centuries, of the Christians keeping the Lord's day: and so in all succeeding ages: and there are no accounts that contradict them. Though there are accounts of many different disputes among professing Christians in ancient times; yet there is no account of any disagreement respecting the day to be observed as the Christian sabbath This is truly unaccountable, upon the supposition that there has been a departure from apostolick practice, in an article of such importance. If the apostles kept, and directed the churches to keep the seventh day, instead of the first, is it conceivable, that there should have been a change of the day effected throughout the Christian world, without any debate, without any one ingenuous enough to assign the reason of it, or faithful enough to bear testimony against the unwarrantable innovation?"
7. The practice of the apostles and primitive Christians, authorizes and obliges us to keep the first day of the week as holy time. It Finally. As the first day of the is frequently recorded in the Acts, week was originally sanctified and that on this day they assembled to made a sabbath, in remembrance worship God, to preach the gospel, of the great work of creation; so and to celebrate the Lord's supper. it is but fit and reasonable, that On this day of the week, the the observance of it should be conapostle particularly directed the tinued in remembrance of the greatchurches to have their contribu-er and more stupendous work of tions for the relief of their poor redemption. The moral world is and persecuted brethren. The the end of the natural world.first day of the week, it appears, Christ created the world as a theawas the day which the primitive tre, on which he might perform Christians devoted, in a special the work of redemption. Surely, manner, to the worship of God and then, the day of the week, on the duties of religion. It was which Christ rose from the dead, their sabbath, and ought, therefore, and put the finishing stroke to the They knew the will work which he came down from of their master, and without ques- heaven, to perform, is privileged
to be ours.
above all other days, and is the most suitable to be observed, by all his followers, as their holy sabbath. This is not only the day, on which God rested from the work of creation; but it is the day, on which the great Lord of the sabbath burst the bars of death, and was declared to be the Son of God with power. Let us ever remem
SWEDENBORGIANISM. [Concluded from page 110.] The Swedenborgians then, believe, negatively, that there will be no future day of Judgment: they do not believe in the second coming of Christ, and the consequent destruction of the visible heavens and earth; they do not believe in a future resurrection; they do not believe in the atonement or vicarious sacrifice; they do not believe in the personality of the Trinity, though they admit that there are three divine essences; they do not believe in predestination; they deny the doctrine of election, of justification by faith, &c. Positively, they believe that all the writings of Emmanuel Swedenborg are divinely inspired; that he talked with God face to face; that the final judgment of the world took place in 1757; that the second coming of Christ took place in the revelation by Swedenborg; that there is a world of spirits, or purgatory, between heaven and hell; that there are three distinct heavens, and three hells, both of which exactly balance each other, and are equal as to the number of inhabitants; that the scriptures can be understood only by those who can explain them in three different senses; that every thing in this world has its correspondent in the world of spirits; that the dispensation of the New Jerusalem Church is the crown of all others, &c. The fol
lowers of this system have public worship, churches, a Liturgy and music.
Such is the creed of the Swe
denborgians, and such is the system for the propagation of which no small exertions are now making. Such too, are the high pretensions which are claimed by the founder of this sect. Let us now see by what arguments or evidence, the inspiration of this mass of absurdities demands our belief. The inspiration of Moses, the Jewish ceremonies and laws, and the religion of Christ and his Apostles, were proved by most stupendous miracles. We know that as it regards the Gospel, great stress may be placed upon its internal evidence; this argument to the bosom of the Christian, must ever be strong and consoling. But it is not too much to say, that we have no reason to suppose that even Christianity would have been received by mankind, without the testimony of miracles. Whatever stress, then, may be laid on internal evidence for the inspiration of any system of religion, the ultimate test must be miracles. Now Swedenborg never pretended to perform any miracles in proof of his inspiration. For this, he assigns two reasons, viz. that miracles would destroy the freedom of the will, and make men believe, whether they would or not; and that his doctrines are sufficiently convincing without the aid of miracles.