Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

account of the resurrection of Christ, wherein the work of man's redemption was coinpleted.

4. By what authority it was changed into the first day. The fabbath was by divine authority changed from the seventh to the firkt day of the week; so that the Lord's day is now by divine appointment the Chriftian fabbath.

(1.) The fabbath of the first day of the week is prophesied of under the Old Testament, Pfal. cxviii: 24. This is the day which the Lord hath made, viz. the day of Chrift's resurrection, when the stone which the builders rejected was made the head of the corner. We will rejoice and be glad in it; that is, we will celebrate it as a day of rejoicing and thankfulness for the work of redemption. Compare Acts iv. ro. 11. Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye cruci. fied, whom God raised from the dead, even by him dotis this man stand here before you whole. This is the pona which was fet at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Hiereto pofsibly may that passage be referred, Ezek: xliii. 27. And when thefe days are expired, it shall be that upon the EIGHTH DAY, and so forward, the priests shall make your burnt-offerings upon the altar, and your peace offerings; and I will accept you, saith the Lord. And it may be called the eighth day, because the firit day of the week now is the eighth in order from the creation. As alfo ll. xi. 10. His relt Mall be glorious. As the Father's rett from the work of creation was glorious by the feventh day's rest, fo the rest of the Son from the work of redemiption was glorious by the first day's relt. On this day it was that the light was formed; fo on this dar did Clirist the Sun of righteousness, the true light, arise from the dark manlions of the grave with resplendent glory:

(3.) This day is called the Lard's day, Rev.i. 10. That this Lord's day is the first day of the week, is clear, if ye conlider that John speaks of this day as a known day among Christians by that name. It could not be the Jewish fabbath, for that is always called the fabbath, and the Jewish fabbaths were then repealed, Col. ii. 16. Neither could it mean any other day of the week, wherein Christ specially manifested himself, for that would determine no day at all. And that this phrase infers a divine institution, is evident from the like phrase of the facrament called the Lerd's fupper.

(3.) It is evident there ought to be a fabbath, and that from the creation till Christ's resurrection the seventh day in order was appointed by God himself. It is no less evident, that the fabbath is changed to the first day of the week, and that lawfully, because the Jewish sabbach is repealed. Now, who could lawfully make this change but one who had divine authority? who there. fore is called Lord of the fabbath, Mark ii. 28.

(4.) It was the practice of the apostles and primitive Christians to observe the first day of the week for the fabbath, John xs. 19. Acts xx. 7, On this day the collection for the poor was made, i Cor. xvi. 2.; and you know the apostles had from Christ what they delivered to the churches as to ordinances, 1 Cor. xi. 23.

(5.) Lastly, The Lord, by glorious displays of bis grace and Spirit, has remarkably honoured this day, in all ages of the church; and by signal strokes from heaven has vindicated the bonour of this day on the profaners of it. Of this remarkable initances may be seen in history both at home and abroad.

Let us therefore fanctify this day as the day which God hath appointed and blefsed as a day of sacred reft in the Christian church.

III. I come now to fhew you how the fabbath is to be fanctified. The catechism tells us, “It is to be fanc“ tified by a holy resting all that day even from such “ worldly employments and recreations as are lawful “ on other days; and spending the whole time in the e public and private exercises of God's worship, exScept so much as is to be taken up in the works of * neceflity and mercy.” Here I shall fhew what it is to fanctify the fabbath, and what are the parts of the sanctification of it.

FIRST, I am to thew what it is to fanctify the fabbath. The fabbath-day is not capable of any fanctity

or holiness, but what is relative; that is, in respect of de its use for holy rest or exercise. So, (1.) God has

fanctified that day, by setting it apart for boly uses, designing and appointing it in a special manner for his own worship and service. (2.) Men must fanctify it by keeping it holy, spending that day in God's worship and service, for which God has set it apart ; using it only for the uses that God has consecrated it

unto.

SECONDLY, I come to shew what are the parts of the fanétification of the fabbath. They are two; holy rest, and holy exercise.

First, The fabbath is to be sanctified by a holy reft. Therefore it is called a fabbath, i. e. a reft.

1. What are we to rest from? On the fabbath we muft reft,

ift, From our worldly employments. God has given us fix days for these; but his day muft be kept free of them : In it thou shalt not do any work.. The works of our worldly calling have fix days, those of our heavenly calling but one. We must rest from the former, that we may apply ourselves to the latter. Now, such works are to be accounted,

(1.) All handy labour or servile employments tending to our worldly gain, as on other days of the week, as ploughing and lowing, bearing of burdensido. Neh. xiii. 15. driving of beasts to market, or exercising any part of one's calling

(2.) All study of liberal arts and sciences. The fabbath is not a day for such exercises, as the reading of hiftory, the studying of Iciences, &c. If, lviii. 13.

(3.) All civil works, such as making of bargains, unnecessary journeying, travelling to Monday markets on the Lord's day, though people wait on fermons, or take them by the way. It is indeed the fin of those that do not change their market.days when they so fall out, and a sin in the government to suffer it ; but that will not justify those who comply with the temptation, feeing God has given us other days of the week. If they cannot overtake their market after the fabbath, they should go away before, that they may reft on the fübbath, where-ever they are, Exod. xvi, 29.

2dly, From all worldly recreations, though lawful on other days. It is not a day for carnal pleasures of any fort, more than for worldly employments. Our delights-should be heavenly this day, not to please the flesh, but the spirit; and sports, plays, and pastimes are a gross profanation of the fabbath, ll. lviii. 13. 14.

Now, this rest of the fabbath from there must be,

(1.) A rest of the hands from them. The hands must rest, that the heart may be duly exercised.

(2.) A rest of the tongue. People should not give their orders for the week's work on the Lord's day, nor converse about their worldly business,

(3.) A rest of the head from thinking of it, and. forming plans and contrivances about worldly affairs,

But here are excepted works of two sorts,

1. Works of necessity, as to quench a house on fire, couco 2. Works of mercy, 'as to save the life of a beaft; fee Matth. xii, Under which may be compre, hended, (1.) Good works, such as visiting the sick, relieving the poor, &*c. (2.) Works of decency, such as di essing the body with comely attire, (3.) Works of common honetty and humanity, aş faluting one another, 1 Pet. iii. 8. (4. Works of necessary refreshment, as dressing and taking of meat. (5.) Works having a neceffary connection with and tendency to the worship of God, as travelling on the Lord's day to fermons, 2 Kings iv. 2 3.

But in all these things it would be regarded, that the neceflity be real, and not pretended : for it is not enough that the work cannot be done to such advan, tage on another dayį for that inight let out fço

1

ple on the fabbath, if it be a windy day or so, to cut down their corns, which yet God has in a special manner provided againft, Exod, xxxiv. 21.; and that would have justified the sellers of Gifh, whom Nehemiah discharged, Neh. xiii. 16. 17: And therefore I cannot think that the making of cheese on the Lord's day can be accounted a work of necessity lawful on that day: for as much might be said in the other cases as can be in this, viz. that the corn may shake, the fishes fpoil, doc. Besides, people thould take heed that they bring not that necessity on themselves, by timeously providing to prevent it. And wlien work's of real necesity and mercy are to be done, they should be done not with a work day's, but fabbath-day's frame.

2. Who are to rest? The command is very parti. cular. (1.) Men, 1.) The heads of the family, the heads of the state, matter and mistress are to give example to others. 2.) The children, fon, daughter ; they must not have their liberty to profane the fabbath by playing more than working. 3.) Servants, whose toil all the week may tempt them to mispend the Lord's day; they must not be bidden profane the fabbath ; and if they be, they must obey God rather than inan. 4.) The stranger must not be allowed his liberty: we must not compliment away the honour of the fabbath. (2.) Beasts; they must reft; not that the law reaches them for themielves, but for their owners ; either because they require attendance at work, or put the case they did not, yet it is the work which must not be done. This lets us fee that where even their work may be carried on on the Lord's day without attendance on them, yet it is not to be done.

3. What makes the rest holy? Respect to the command of God.

Scondly, The fabbath is to be fancified by holy cxcrcile.

1. Public exerciłes of God's worship, Il. lxvi. 23.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »