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OF THE SCRIPTURE ACCOUNT OF SABBATI,
THE subject, so far as it makes any part of
is contained in two questions:
I. Whether the command, by which the fewish 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 sabbath by the authority or example of his Apostles ?
In treating of the first question, it will be necessary to collect the accounts, which are preferved of the institution in the Jewish history; for the seeing these accounts togethor, 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;
and he rested on the seventh day from all his “ work which he had made: and God blessed the “ seventh day, and fanctified 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 paffage 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 which
will bake to-day, and seethe that ye “ will seethe, and that which remaineth over lay
you, to be kept until the morning; " and they laid it up till the morning, as Moses
« 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 fab“ bath 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 the Sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth
day the bread of two days; abide ye every man us 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 iinport, and if it had been observed all along
from that time to the departure of the fews out of Egypt, a period of about two thousand five hundred
appears unaccountable that no mention of it, no occasion of even the obscurest allusion to it, should occur,' either in the general history of the world before the call of Abraham, which contains, we admit, only a few memoirs of its early ages, and those extremely abridged ; or, which is more to be wondered at, in that of the lives of the three first Jewish patriarchs, which, in many parts of the account, is sufficiently circumstantial and domestic. Nor is there, in the passage above quoted from the sixteenth chapter of Exodus, any intimation that the sabbath, then appointed to be observed, was only the revival of an ancient institution, which had been neglected, forgotten, or suspended; nor is any such neglect imputed either to the inhabitants of the old world, or to any part of the family of Noah; nor, lastly, is any permission recorded to dispense with the institution during the captivity of the fews in Egypt, or on any other public emergency
The passage in the second chapter of Genesis, which creates the whole controversy upon the subject, is not inconsistent with this opinion : for as the seventh day was erected into a fabbath,
on account of God's resting upon that day from the work of the creation, it was natural enough in the historian, when he had related the history of the creation, and of God's ceasing from it on the seventh day, to add, “and God blessed the “ seventh day, and fanctified it, because that on it $6 he had rested from all his work which God “ created and made;" although the blessing and fanctification, i. e. the religious distinction and appropriation of that day, were not actually made till many ages afterwards. The words do not assert, that God then “ blessed” and “fanctified" the seventh day, but that he blessed and sanctified it for that reason; and if any ask, why the fabbath, or fanctification of the seventh day, was then mentioned, if it was not then appointed, the anfwer'is at hand; the order of connection, and not of time, introduced the mention of the fabbath, in the history of the subject which it was ordained to commemorate.
This interpretation is strongly supported by a paffage in the prophet Ezekiel, where the fabbath is plainly spoken of as given, and what else can that mean, but as first infiituted, in the wildernefs? “ Wherefore I caused them to go forth
out of the land of Egypt, and brought them " into the wilderness; and I gave