Imatges de pÓgina
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positive law, the reason can be alleged no far: ther than as it explains the design of the legislator; and if it appear to be recited with an intentional application'to one part of the law, it explains his design upon no other; if it be mentioned merely to account for the choice of the day, it does not explain his delign as to the extent of the obligation.

With respect to the second objection, that inafmuch as the other nine commandments are confessedly of moral and univerfal obligation, it may reasonably be presumed that this is of the same-we answer, that this argument will have leís weight, when it is considered that the diftinction between positive and natural duties, like other distinctions of modern ethics, was unknown to the simplicity of ancient language ; and that there are various passages in fcripture, in which duties of a political, or ceremonial, or positive nature, and confessedly of partial obligation, are enumerated, and without any mark of discrimination, along with others which are natural and universal. Of this the following is an incontestable example: “But if a man be just, and do that “ which is lawful and right; and hath not eaten upon the mountains, nor hath lifted up his

eyes 66 to the idols of the house of Israel; neither hath

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“ defiled his neighbour's wife, neither bath come
s! near to a menstruous woman; and hath not op-

pressed any, but hath restored to the debtor
“ his pledge; hath spoiled none by violence ;
so hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath
“ covered the naked with a garment; be that
hath not given upon usury, neither bath saken any

increase ; that hath withdrawn his hand from
iniquity; hath esecuted true judgment between

man and man; hath walked in my statutes,
“ and hath kept my judgments to deal truly; he

is just, he shall surely live, faith the Lord God.” Ezek. xviii. 5-9. The same thing may be observed of the apostolic decree recorded in the fifteenth chapter of the Afts—" It seerned good to “the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burthen than these necessary things ; ye

abstain from meats offered to idols, and
“ from blood, and from things strangled, and
* from fornication : from which if ye keep your-
selves, ye

shall do well."
II. If the law by which the sabbath was infti-
tuted, was a law only to the Jews, it becomes an
important question with the Christian enquirer,
whether the founder of his religion delivered any
new command upon the subject; or, if that
should not appear to be the case, whether any

day

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It was upon

day was appropriated to the service of religion by the authority or example of his Apostles ?

The practice of holding religious assemblies upon the first day of the week, was so early and universal in the Christian church, that it carries with it considerable proof of having originated from some precept of Christ, or of his Apostles, though none such be now extant. the first day of the week that the disciples were ailembled, when Christ appeared to them for the first time after his resurrection ; " then the same

day at evening, being the first day of the week, " when the doors were shut, where the disci

ples were assembled, for fear of the Jews,

came Jesus and stood in the midst of them.' John, ss. 19. This, for

any

thing that appears in the account, might, as to the day, have been accidental : but in the 26th verse of the same chapter we read, “ that after eight days,” that is on the first day of the week following, again “ the disciples were within ;? which second meeting upon the same day of the week looks like an appointment and design to meet on that particular day. In the twentieth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles we find the fame custom in a Christian church at a great ditance from Jerufulem" And we came unto them to Troas in

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“ five days, where we abode feven days; and

upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached

unto them.” Afts, xx. 6, 7. . The manner in which the historian mentions the disciples coming together to break bread on the first day of the week, shews, I think, that the practice by this time was familiar and established, St. Paul to the Corinthians writes thus : “ Concerning the col“ lection for the saints, as I have given order to " the churches of Galatia, even fo do ye; upon the first day of the week let every one of you

lay by him in store as God hath prospered “ him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” 1 Cor. xvi. 1, 2. Which direction affords a probable proof, that the first day of the week was already, amongst the Christians both of Corinth and Galatia, distinguished from the rest by some religious application or other. At the time that St. John wrote the book of his Revelation, the first day of the week had obtained the name of the Lord's day—“ I was in the spirit (says he)

on the Lord's day.Rev.i. 10. Which name, and St. John's use of it, sufficiently denote the appropriation of this day to the service of religion, and that this appropriation was perfectly known to the churches of Asia. I make no doubt but

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that by the Lord's day was meant the first day of
the week; for we find no footsteps of any

dis-
tinction of days, which could entitle any

other to that appellation. The subsequent history of Christianity corresponds with the accounts delivered on this subject in scripture.

It will be remembered, that we are contending by these proofs, for no other duty upon the first day of the week, than that of holding and frequenting religious assemblies. A ceflation upon that day from labour, beyond the time of attendance upon public worship, is not intimated in any passage of the New Testament ; nor did Christ or his Apostles deliver, that we know of, any command to their disciples for a discontinuance upon that day of the common offices of their professions : a reserve which none will see reason to wonder at, or to blame as, a defect in the institution, who consider that, in the primitive condition of Christianity, the observance of a new sabbath would have been useless, or inconvenient, or impracticable. During Christ's perfonal ministry his religion was preached to the few's alone. They already had a sabbath, which, as citizens and subjects of that æconomy, they were obliged to keep, and did keep. It was not therefore probable that Christ would enjoin

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