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actually been varied, according to the different circumstances in which mankind have been placed. In paradise, our first parents were commanded to abstain from the fruit of a particular tree, as a test of their obedience: after the fall sacrifices seem to have been of divine appointment: and in about ten generations after the flood, God gave a law to Israel, which abounded in ceremonies and rites, which were shadows of good things to come, and subservient to many important purposes. But when the Christian revelation was given, they were laid aside as a yoke upon the necks of the disciples, which neither they nor their fathers were able to bear. The positive institutions of the gospel will in like manner end, at the furthest, with the present state of things. For, though Christianity be the last dispensation of grace, yet it must give way to the kingdom of glory. Then will all the ordinances of the gospel cease, and the use of the present means be no longer necessary. But as the moral duties of religion have been the same in all ages past, so they will continue to be the same in all ages to come. It has been from the beginning, and it will continue to the end of time to be, a moral duty for every man to promote the glory of his Maker, the great end of his creation, and to devote to him that portion of his time which he demands for his more immediate worship and service. The exact proportion, or the particular day, partakes of the nature of a positive precept, and is therefore variable, according to the will of the Supreme Lawgiver. And accordingly we find, that from the creation of the world till the resurrection of Christ, the se venth day of the week was, by divine appointment, observed as the weekly Sabbath. From that time a change appears to have taken place as to the day; and this is the next thing which we proposed to consider.

II. The change of the Sabbath, under the Christian dispensation, from the seventh to the first day of the week.

It has been already observed, that the ancient Sabbath, or seventh day of the week, was originally intended to commemorate the creation of the world, and thereby to lead mankind to acknowledge and worship the Creator of the world as their God. Afterwards, when God delivered the children of Israel out of Egypt, and they were embodied into a national society, they were commanded to observe the Sabbath, not only in commemoration of the creation of the world, but also and chiefly in commemoration of their deliverance from Egyptian bondage, as we learn from Deuteronomy, v. 12. 15. Keep the Sabbath-day to sanctify it, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee. And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence, through a mighty hand, and by a stretched out arm: therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the Sabbath-day. In this point of view the Sabbath, or seventh day of the week, must be considered as a part of the Jewish ritual, and no longer binding upon Christians. Another day was


therefore appointed in its stead by the apostles, under the immediate influence and direction of the Holy Spirit. And it is very remarkable, that after that appointment, the name as well as the day was changed ; and that the Christian Sabbath is not in the New Testament scriptures, and was not by the first Christians called the Sabbath, but the first day of the week, or the Lord's day. If it be asked, whether any positive law or statute can be produced, authorizing the change of the Sabbath from the seventh to the first day of the week, we reply, that law

may arise from, and be constituted by, facts, no less plainly, and sometimes more forcibly, than by words. Many of our present laws are of this description. They are founded upon facts or usages of a similar description with those which establish the Christian Sabbath. I do not intend to enlarge upon the various facts which prove that this change proceeded from the same divine authority which established the original law of the Sabbath. Suffice it to observe, that our blessed Lord, whose example has all the force of a law, countenanced and confirmed this change by repeated personal appearances among his disciples after his resurrection, when they were on that day assembled in his name for the purpose of social worship; that it was on the day of Pentecost, which was the first day of the week, that the Holy Ghost descended in a miraculous and glorious manner on the apostles, and gave a signal proof of the divine approbation by the conversion of three thousand souls on the same day; and that it was on the first day of the week that the disciples were wont to assemble to break bread, or celebrate the Lord's supper, and to make charitable collections for the poor, as the Lord had prospered them. is

Had the propriety of the alteration been less apparent than it is from the reason of the thing, the authority of the apostles to bind and to loosè, in matters that were merely of a positive nature, was absolute; more especially when that authority was confirmed by the example of Jesus Christ, the Lord of the Sabbath, and the great Head of the church.

Having made these observations on the original institution of the Sabbath, and on its change from the seventh to the first day of the week, I proceed,

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III. To enquire in what manner it should be observed as a day made for man.

Of all the creatures upon earth, man alone is capable of religion. Every inferior creature, whether animate or inanimate, is governed by certain laws, or possessed of certain properties, which demonstrate the wisdom, power, and goodness of the Creator. But it is only intelligent beings, such as angels and men, that are capable of worshipping and serving God in a rational and voluntary man

The beasts of the field neither know nor enquire after Him who openeth his hand, and satisfieth the desire of every living thing. The birds of the air, whilst they sing his praise, understand not the import of their own melody. But God teaches man more than the beasts of the field, and makes him wiser than the fowls of heaven, that he may glorify him for his goodness, and for his wonderful works.” Man being thus raised above the irrational creatures, by being made capable of religion, or of worshipping and serving God in an intelligent and voluntary manner, the Sabbath was instituted to promote this great end of his creation. Every return of it reminds him of his dependence upon that great and omnipotent Being, who created and upholds all things by the word of his power, and for the sake of whose worship all the ordinary business and pursuits of the world must be suspended.


I shall, therefore, consider the Sabbath as a day of rest-of public worship-of devout retirement and meditation—and of domestic religious instruction.

1. As a day of rest from bodily labour, and from worldly employments.

Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work : but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God : in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy man servant, nor thy maid servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates. The prohibitory part of this precept is chiefly addressed to those who have authority over others. The man servant and the maid servant, in the language of the Old Testament, denote male and female slaves : the stranger seems to be set in opposition to the home-born slave, and means a foreign slave bought with money, or taken in war. These two descriptions of the home-born and the

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