صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

his Maker, and prepare himself for holding that communion with him in love and gratitude which is the true rest of the human soul.

Some have fancied that this institution was not to have its effect from the beginning; but that it was delivered only in anticipation, as it were, of the Jewish Sabbath published by Moses a long time afterwards. But I may well denominate such a notion by the term fancy, for there is not a syllable said to give countenance to it. And I could just as soon believe that the world was not created according to the Bible narrative, or that the sun did not shine as soon as it was made, as that the seventh day was not sanctified for the use of man. From the moment that there was a man upon earth, it was the will of God that a seventh part of his time should be immediately consecrated to His service.

God rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made, and blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it.-Take notice: the holy pen of inspiration perpetually condescends to speak in a way that may be intelligible to the poor limited comprehensions of our slender faculties. The work of creation was no labour to Almighty

God; and therefore the ending of it, strictly speaking, could be no rest to Him. Yet as the creation of the world is communicated to us in the view of an employment of six days' work, the idea is kept up and supported: so that the ceasing from what had been called the labour of creating, is of course called a resting from the labour.

Every word used on this occasion shews that the Sabbath was made for man. For God himself is eternally at rest in his own incomprehensible nature; and therefore, when He is said to have rested, blest and sanctified the seventh day, all this is to be understood as relative to man. Life and blessing will attend the man who observes the Sabbath. The Sabbath of rest is a continual lesson to him to turn his eye from all created objects, and look to that heavenly rest into which God is entered, and which is promised to man.

These observations derive much additional strength from this reflection,-that the Sabbath was given to Adam before his fall; when he was in paradise; when he stood before God in innocence and the perfection of his nature, and was pronounced very good. For, surely, when God

pronounced all the parts of his creation very good, we must not except that part which indeed was the glory of the creation, and was made in the likeness of God himself.

Add to this, the law of the Sabbath, or Lord'sday, is the very first command given by God; and can any man support the thought for a moment, that the first command, just after the creation was finished, should not have been a matter of very great import? The more ye reflect on this single circumstance, the more will ye be disposed to give weight and seriousness to the injunction of the Sabbath. If the law of a Sabbath, an injunction to sanctify the seventh part of his time, was necessary to an innocent creature-necessary to preserve his innocence, and secure his happiness; to remind him of his state of dependence, this infirmities and necessary imperfections-how abundantly more necessary must be such an ordinance in our present degenerate condition and alienation from God ?-Such is the force of the argument: If God in his wisdom and good will to man, thought proper to direct that a considerable portion of the time of the first man, newly made, and at the moment when every thing that was

made was very good, should be dedicated to pious contemplation and devout services, surely the reason is now become manifold greater, since all flesh have corrupted themselves, fallen from God, and become naturally indisposed to their true happiness. In one word, I could never believe, that, if man in his original innocent and holy state was thus under the discipline of the Sabbath day as a duty, he should now be released from the observance of that duty, when the reason for it is so much stronger, the expediency of such an appointment is so much greater, and the wants and necessities and dangers of man are so dreadfully increased and multiplied.

This would not savour of the wisdom and goodness of God, as a Moral Governor of the world: And,

Further, Neither is it God's way to leave in doubt or ambiguity such matters as are of great practical moment to his creatures.

Accordingly, we find that Almighty God renewed to the Jews, long afterwards, the establishment of the Sabbath, and under circumstances the most awful and memorable. You know that it was in thunder from Mount Sinai that the Fourth


Commandment was given to the Jews, member the Sabbath, to keep it holy !"-No doubt, every one of the Commandments might with great propriety begin with the word Remember; but as this circumstance is peculiar to the Fourth Commandment in the code, it is sufficiently plain that the Jews were called upon to observe the Sabbath day as an ancient ordinance. For not only is this Commandment introduced with the significant word Remember, but the very same reason also for observing the Sabbath day is given in the Fourth Commandment which is given in the second chapter of Genesis-viz. that" in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the seventh day, and hallowed it." Remember, therefore, the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

I consider it as a very instructive piece of Scripture history, that Almighty God, in his goodness and compassion to the Israelites, was induced to work an extraordinary miracle before their eyes in the wilderness, as a solemn warning not to break the Sabbath day. No Israelite, you remember, was to gather manna on the Sabbath day, but they

« السابقةمتابعة »