Imatges de pÓgina
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tutes, and shewed them my judgments, which “ if a man do, he shall even live in them: more

over also I gave them my fabbaths, to be a sign “ between me and them, that they might know .

" that I am the Lord that sanctify them.” Ezek. . XX. 10, II, 12.

Nebemiab also recounts the promulgation of the fabbatic law amongst the transactions in the wilderness; which supplies another considerable argument in aid of our opinion: “ Moreover

“ “ thou leddest them in the day by a cloudy pil“lar, and in the night by a pillar of fire, to give " them light in the way

wherein they should go. “ Thou camest down also upon mount Sinai, “ and spakest with them from heaven, and gavest “ them right judgments and true laws, good “ statutes and commandments, and madest known unto them thy boly fabbath, and commandedst them precepts, statutes and laws, by the hand “ of Moses thy servant, and gavest them bread " from heaven for their hunger, and broughtest

forth water for them out of the rock *.” Nebem, ix. 12.

If * From the mention of the fabbath in so close a connection with the descent of God upon mount Sinai, and the delivery of the law from thence, one would be inclined to believe, that Nehemiah referred solely to the fourth commandment. But the


If it be enquired, what duties were appointed for the fewish sabbath, and under what penalties and in what manner it was observed amongst the ancient Jews; we find that, by the fourth commandment, a strict cessation from work was enjoined, not only upon Jews by birth, or religious profeffion, but upon all who resided within the limits of the Jewish state ; that the same was to be permitted to their slaves and their cattle ; that this rest was not to be violated under pain of death : “ Whosoever doeth any work in the “ fabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.” Exod. xxxi. 15. Beside which, the seventh day

. was to be solemnized by double sacrifices in the temple. “ And on the fabbath day two lambs “ of the first year without fpot, and two tenth “ deals of flour for a meat offering, mingled “ with oil, and the drink offering thereof; this “ is the burnt offering of every fabbath, beside “ the continual burnt offering and his drink of

fering.” Numb. xxviii. 9, 10. Also holy con

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fourth commandment certainly did not first make known the fabbath. And it is apparent, that Nehemiah observed not the order of events, for he speaks of what pafled upon mount Sinai before he mentions the miraculous supplies of bread and water, though the Jerus did not arrive at mount Sinai till some time after both these miracles were wrought.


bath day;

vocations, which mean, we prefume, assemblies for the purpose of public worship or religious instruction, were directed to be held on the fab

“ the seventh day is a sabbath of rest, an holy convocation.” Lev. xxiii. 3.

. And accordingly we read, that the sabbath was in fact observed amongst the Jews, by a scrupulous abstinence from every thing which, by any possible construction, could be deemed labour; as from dressing meat, from travelling beyond a fabbath day's journey, or about a single mile. In the Maccabean wars, they suffered a thousand of their number to "be flain, rather than do any thing in their own dcience on the fabbath day. In the final siege of Jerusalem, after they had so far overcome their scruples, as to defend their persons when attacked, they refused any operation on the fabbath day, by which they might have interrupted the enemy in filling up the trench. After the establishment of synagogues (of the origin of which we have no account), it was the custom to allemble in them upon the sabbath day, for the purpose of hearing the Law rehearsed and explained, and for the exercise, it is probable, of public devotion. “ For Moses of “old time hath in every city them that preach " him, being read in the fynagogues every fabbath


day.” The seventh day is Saturday ; and, agreeably to the Jewish way of computing the day, the fabbath held from six o'clock on the Friday evening, to fix o'clock on Saturday evening.—These observations being premised, we approach the main question, Whether the com,

mand, by which the Jewish sabbath was inftiį tuted, extend to us?

If the divine command was actually delivered at the creation, it was addressed, no doubt, to the whole human species alike, and continues, unless repealed by some subsequent revelation, binding upon all who come to the knowledge of it. If the command was published for the first time in the wilderness, then it was immediately directed to the Jewish people alone; and something farther, either in the subject, or circumstances of the command, will be necessary to thew, that it was designed for any other. It is on this account, that the question concerning the date of the institution was first to be considered. The former opinion precludes all debate about the extent of the obligation ; the latter admits, and, prima facie, induces a belief, that the fabbath ought to be considered as part of the peculiar law of the Jewish policy.

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Which belief receives great confirmation from the following arguments.

The fabbath is described as a sign between God and the people of Israel: “Wherefore the

children of Israel shall keep the fabbath,

to observe the fabbath throughout their “ generations for a perpetual covenant; it is

Sign between me and the children of Israel for ever.Exodus, xxxi. 16, 17. Again, “ And I gave them my statutes, and shewed “ them my judgments, which if a man do, he “ shall even live in them ; moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the “ Lord that sanctify them.” Ezek. xx. 12.Now it does not seem easy to understand how the sabbath could be a sign between God and the people of Israel, unless the observance of it was peculiar to that people, and designed to be so.

The distinction of the fabbath is, in its nature, as much a positive ceremonial institution, as that of many other seasons which were appointed by the Levitical law to be kept holy, and to be observed by a strict rest; as the first and seventh days of unleavened bread; the feast of pentecost; the feast of tabernacles; and in the twenty-third



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