Page images
PDF
EPUB

boly day, and calf the Sabbath a versation ought to be suited to the delight, the holy of the Lord hona sacred offices of the day. For as orable, and shalt honour bim, not we are prohibited from pursuing doing thine own ways, nor finding our ordinary labours on the Sabthine own pleasure nor speaking bath, so are we also prohibited. tbine own words, then shalt thou from making them the subject delight thyself in the Lord, &c. of our discourse, we cease from This passage of scripture deserves our own words, when we confine to be studied with peculiar atten- our conversation to subjects of a tion, as it not only describes the religious or moral nature, when duties of the day, but also the we employ our time in instructtémper of mind with which they ing our dependents, our children are to be performed. The Proph- and servants, or in edifying cons et arranges the command under versation with our equals. Though ihree heads. The first is, that these three injunctions are exwe are not to do our own ways, pressed in the negative form; yet which relates chiefly, I appre- (according to a well known rule hend, to our worldly business, as of interpreting scripture, a rule is largely set forth in the fourth derived from the scriptures thema commandment. The second, that selves) we must üoderstand them we are not to find our own pleas- as enjoining the opposite conduct: ure on the Sabbath. It is not to This beautiful passage of the be a day of merriment, of sports, Prophet teaches us also what of pastimes, or of mere amuse. aught to be the temper of our ment. All those ways of spending minds in these holy exercises. the Sabbath, which are contrived Far from being weary of the spirfor the purpose of sensual pleasure itual employment on the Sabbath, are to be avoided, though the we ought to account them our temperate refreshment of the pleasures, and call the Sabbath a body is not forbidden. It is to be delight, as well as holy of the Lord. a day of rest from bodily labour ; This day we are to esteem honourbut not a season of mere animal able above all others. We are recreation. It is unnecessary and thus peculiarly to honour Him, indeed impossible, to enumerate whose bounty created us, whose the various species of pleasure long suffering has preserved us, which are forbidden on this day ; and whose unsearchable goodness but as every one knows what is has provided a way for our eternal meant by a day of sensual pleas- redemption. Thus in the nature ure, so every one may know what of the duty of sanctifying the sabis forbidden under this head. bath pointed out with the utmost

Thirdly, we are forbidden to clearness. A limitation, however, speak our own words. The con. is sometimes put, by the infirmi

ties of our fallen nature, to some the law of God as delivered by of the exercises which ought, Moses? Is it consistent with the when we are unrestrained to oc- fourth commandment and with the cupy us on this sacred day. Sick illustration of that commandment ness may confine us to our beds, by the holy prophets ? The si. when we should otherwise be en- lence of the Jewish rulers was a gaged in public worship; and, in tacit acknowledgement, that such soch occasional interruptions, we acts of mercy were consistent with may require the attention and the due observance of the sabassistance of others.

bath. If the ordinary employment .. The Lord, by declaring that of any person consists in these acts he prefers mercy to sacrifice, bas which the proper duties of the pointed out our duty on these oc- Sabbath require, or which are alcasions. Whatever the necessities lowed on that day they certainly of our nature, as the relief of hun- cannot be considered as infringger, or aid in sickness, may re- menuts of the fourth commandment. quire, must be considered as con- The blessed Jesus appealed to sistent with the sanctification of the law of Moses on this head.the Sabbath. Our Savior, by his « Have ye not read in the law, precepts, and example, has com- how that on the Sabbath day, the pletely illustrated this part of the priests in the temple profane the subject

Sabbath and are blameless pria Here it is proper to observe, Matt. 12. 5. Our Savior also that God sent forth bis Son made taught that it is consonant to the under the law. Christ lived and law of God to take a due care edied under the Jewish dispen- yen of the brute creation on the sation. By his expositions of the Sabbath, much more of our felmoral law: he pointed out its real low creatures; and on this ground mature and extent, but made no he reproved the indignant ruler -alterations in it. When he declar- of the synagogue, who wished to ed that acts of necessity and char- represent our Savior's healing of ity were suitable to the Sabbath the diseased as a work forbidden che introduced no new doctrine on the Sabbath day.

66 Thou but appealed to the Jews them hypocrite, doth each one of you selves respecting the iruth of on the Sabbath loose his sx or wbat he taught. Jesus spake his ass from the stall, and lead sunto the lawyers and phariseer, him to watering ?" And again, to saying, Is it lawful to heal on the lawyers and pharisees, "Which the Sabbath day? And they held of you shall have an ass or an of

their peace. Luke, 14. 3. fallen into a pit, and will not - The question, undoubtedly was straightway pull him out on the of this import: Is it agreeable to Sabbath day?r And they could

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

not answer him again to these But an attentive consideration of things. Luke 13, 15. 14, 3. These the passages, prohibiting the bearpassages scripture clearly prore, ing of burdens on the Sabbath, that our Lord was not introducing will shew that they relate to such any relaxation of the Sabbath, burdens as were borne in ihe car. suited to the genius of the Gospel rying op of trade or ordinary la. dispensation ; but that he was bors. "If ye diligently hearken speaking the language of the law. unto me, saith the Lord, to bring as delivered to the Jews, and shew- in no burden throogh the gates of: ing, that acts of necessity, of mercy, the city, on the Sabbath day, but and compassion, were duties suit. hallow the Sabbath day, to do no ed to the strictest observance work therein." Jer. 17. 24.of the Sabbath. If this bad not So likewise in the book of Nehe.. been the case our Savior could miah. “In those days I saw in Junot have charged the ruler with dab some treading wine presses on. hypocrisy, nor would his appeal the Sabbath, and bringing in to the law of Moses have silenced sheaves, and lading asses; as also them who wished to accuse him wine grapes and figs and all manof breaking that law. It has been ner of burdens which they brought thought by some, that our Savior into Jerusralem on the sabbath dayexceeded the bounds of the Jew. Neh. 13. 15.The cripple, when ish law, when he directed the man our Savior had healed at the pool whom, he had healed at the pool of Bethesda, was friendless as well of Bethesda, "to take up his bed as poor; and probably had nothing and walk." John, 5. 8. because but bis portable bed or maltrass, God had commanded the people, whereon to rest bis weary limbs : by the prophet Jeremiah “to bear the Lord Jesus, therefore directna burden on the Sabbath day." ed him to take care of this neces.. Ch, 17. 21. Those who enter- sary piece of furniture, 'wben he. tain such a thought, should con- bad strengthened the body of this sider that our Lord perfectly un. indigent creature and enabled him derstood the law, and if this was a to return to his own house.. breacit of it, he was directing the Another passage of the Old poor man to commit a heinous of Testament may be thought to exfence against the state ; for this press a degree of strictness in the as well as several others of the observance of the Sabbath 'which ten commandments, was incorpo. was peculiar to the Jewish disrated into the civil laws of the pensation. “Ye shall kindle no Jews " Ye shall keep the Sab- fire throughout your habitation on bath, for it is holy unto you. Eve the Sabbath day. Exod. 35: 3. ery one that defileth it shall sure. But this, compared with its conly be put to death.” Exod. 31.14, text, seems to relate only to fires

made for the purposes of labour. icy rather than to the religion of The whole passage runs thus ; the Jews. 66 Six days shalt work be done, I cannot conceive a more de. but on the seventh day there shall lightful exercise to a heavenly be to you a holy day, a Sabbath minded person, than that of spendof rest to the Lord : whosoever ing the day in ihe mapner desdoth work therein shall be put to cribed by the prophet Isaiab. If death. Ye shall kindle no fire &c.” the Jews, instead of confiving their

We may rest assured that he attentiou to these spiritual servicwho prefers mercy to sacrifice, es prepared a number of unneceswould not forbid the use of fire sary restraints, we must oot form for the purpose of warmth in any our Judgment of the real ducountry where the inhabitants ties of the Sabbath from their might be compelled to say, “Who conduct. We know that the faris able to abide his frosts ?”' Norther they deviated from the pure is it probable, that he who vindia word of God in other instances, cated the conduct of his disciples the more careful they were to when they had plucked the ears make broad their phylacteries, of coru as they walked through and enlarge the borders of their the fields, for the purpose of sat- garments; nor were they ever isfying their bunger would forbid more strict in tything mint, anthe use of fire for the necessary nise, and cummio, than when they preparations of their food,

neglected the weightier matters We may conclude, therefore, of the law, justice, mercy and the that the kindling of a fire, for law of God.

W. H. the refreshment of the body, was Ch. Obs. not contrary to the Jewish law,

On'the whole, I see nothing in the duties of the Sabbath, as sub.. · sisting under the Jewish dispensation, but a most spiritual and ra

To the Editors of the Christian Magtional service, suitable, indeed, to

azine, the period of man's innocence, Gentlemen, yet accommodated to the necessia A correspondent in your April ties which sin has introduced into number has answered some objecthe world. The sanctions of the tions to the doctrine, that God Sabbath were undoubtedly increa- exerts a positive agency in the sed, as the breach of it was, by hearts of sioners, or an agency of that law, made a capital offence, the same kind and degree that is exBut this was not peculiar to the erted in the hearts of christians. fourth commandment, and was a I say this is the doctrine he decircumstance belonging to the pol. fends, because be calls it positive

POSITIVE DIVINE EFFICIENCY.

a gency” and reasons throughout The general Divine agency which his 2d and 3d heads on the suppo- upholds the moral faculties of the sition that it is in kind and degree christian, is not enough; he needs the same agency which is exercis- a superadded positive or special ed over saints ; and because it be agency to preserve himn :-such does not mean this, he is contend. an agency that he feels bound to ing with a shadow for none who ascribe his preservation to God bbacknowledge that the saint acts and not to himself, though his acunder a positive Divine Agency” tions were perfectly free. deny that in some sense the Divine Now what man

ever felt the agency is concerned with every need of such an agency to preevent in the Universe,

serve him in a course of transNeither of your correspondent's gression, or indeed of any other objections, except the first, did I Divine influence than that which ever hear made by any who be- preserves him a moral agent in lieve in a positive agency in the the midst of temptation? The case of saipts; yet I am ready to objection implies that the agency admit, tbat he has fully answered of God in the case of sinners as them, and if he, or some other one, found by experience to be differwill as fully answer those of whick ent, to be less direct & positive than I have heard, I shall be gratified. that which is exercised in saints.

Hoping that this may be done, II. It is inconsistent with the or at least that some of your able representations of Scripture.--correspoodents will throw some These representations accord exlight on a subject which is often actly with the experience of needlessly darkened by the man true christians. from the manifest ner in which it is treated, & which reason that they are delineations is connected with the first princi. of those emotions which true chrisples of our religion, I shall state tians feel. freely the difficulties to which I al They represent that we lude.

naturally prone to evil exclusive. 1. The doctrine is contrary to ly and continually, that we are the experience of christians. led captive by Satan at his will;

Christians feel, and freq ently that we are drawn away by our say, that if left 10 themselves, in owo lusts, and not tempted of their unrenewed state, they should God, when we commit iniquity; haye gone on in sin ; and if left that when God takes away the reto themselves (i.e. without any straints which his influence imposdifferent kind or degree of Divine es upon sinners, withdraws his spirinfluence than they had before it froin them and leaves them to conversion, they should, after re- their own ways, they rush on to generation, fall away and perish. hopeless ruin.

are

« PreviousContinue »