Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

brutish intemperance. Whoever considers how
much fabbatical institutions conduce, in this re-
fpect, to the happiness and civilization of the la-
bouring classes of mankind, and reflects how
great a majority of the human species these claffes
compose, will acknowledge the utility, whatever
he
may

believe of the origin, of this diftin&ion; and will, consequently, perceive it to be every man's duty to uphold the observation of Sunday when once established, let the establishment have proceeded from whom or from what authority ic will.

Nor is there any thing lost to the community by the intermission of public industry one day in the week. For in countries tolerably advanced in population and the arts of civil life, there is always enough of human labour, and to spare. The difficulty is not so much to procure, as to employ it. The addition of the seventh day's labour to that of the other six would have no other effect than to reduce the price. The labourer himself, who deserved and suffered most by the change, would gain nothing.

2. Sunday, by suspending many public diverfions, and the ordinary rotation of employment, leaves to men of all ranks and professions suffiwent leisure, and not more than what is suffic

[ocr errors]

cient, both for the external offices of Christianity, and the retired, but equally necessary, duties of religious meditation and enquiry. It is true, that many do not convert their leisure to this purpose; but it is of moment, and is all which a public constitution can effect, that to every one be allowed the opportunity.

3. They whose humanity embraces the whole sensitive creation, will esteem it no inconsiderable recommendation of a weekly return of public rest, that it affords a respite to the toil of brutes. Nor can we omit to recount this amongst the uses, which the divine Founder of the Jewish sabbath expressly appointed a law of the institu

tion.

We admit, that none of these reasons fhew why Sunday should be preferred to any other day in the week, or one day in seven to one day in sixor eight: but these points, which in their nature are of arbitrary determination, being established to our hands, our obligation applies to the subsisting establishment, so long as we confess, that some such inftitution is necessary, and are neither able, nor attempt to substitute any other in its place.

[ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

OF THE SCRIPTURE ACCOUNT OF S ABBATI,

CAL INSTITUTIONS,

THI

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

HE subject, so far as it makes any part

of Christian morality, is contained in two questions:

I. Whether the command, by which the fewijß fabbath was instituted, extend to Christians ? II. Whether

any

new command was delivered by Christ; or any other day substituted in the place of the Jewish fabbath by the authority or example of his Apostles ?

In treating of the first question, it will be necessary to collect the accounts, which are preserved of the institution in the Jewish history; for the seeing these accounts together, and in one point of view, will be the best preparation for the discussing or judging of any arguments on one side or the other,

In the fecond chapter of Genesis, the historian having concluded his account of the six days creation, proceeds thus : “ And on the seventh

day God ended his work which he had made;

63

" and he rested on the seventh day from all his “ work which he had made: and God blessed the “ seventh day, and fanétified it, because that in « it he had rested from all his work which God “ created and made.” After this, we hear no more of the fabbath, or of the seventh day, as in any manner distinguished from the other fix, until the history brings us down to the sojourning of the Jews in the wilderness, when the following remarkable passage occurs.

Upon the complaint of the people for want of food, God was pleased to provide for their relief by a miraculous supply of manna, which was found every morning upon the ground about the camp;“and “ they gathered it every morning, every man “ according to his eating; and when the sun “ waxed hot, it melted: and it came to pass, «, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as “ much bread, two omers for one man ; and all " the rulers of the congregation came and told Mofes ; and he said unto them, This is that " which the Lord hath said, To-morrow is the

rest of the holy fabbath unto the Lord; bake that 6 which

ye will bake to-day, and seethe that ye “ will seethe, and that which remaineth over lay

up for you, to be kept until the morning; " and they laid it up till the morning, as Moses

bade, « bade, and it did not stink (as it had done before, when some of them left it till the morning), “ neither was there any worm therein. And

Moses said, Eat that to-day; for to-day is a fabbath unto the Lord: to-day ye shall not find it “ in the field. Six days ye shall gather it, but “ on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it " there shall be none. And it came to pass, that " there went out some of the people on the se“ venth day for to gather, and they found none. “ And the Lord said unto Mofes, How long re« fuse ye to keep my commandments and my " laws? See, for that the Lord bath given you

thc fabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth

day the bread of two days; abide ye every man u in his place; let no man go out of his place on " the seventh day : so the people rested on the " seventh day.” Exodus, xvi.

Not long after this, the labbath, as is well known, was established with great solemnity in the fourth commandment,

Now, in my opinion, the transaction in the wilderness above recited, was the first actual inftitution of the fabbath. For, if the fabbath had been instituted at the time of the creation, as the words in Genesis may seem at first fight to innport, and if it had been observed all along

from

« AnteriorContinua »