Page images

member to keep holy the seventh day, we ought to begin to prepare for the Sabbath ; but the Sabbath itself doch not begin until the evening is spent, and midnight thereof, orer; and the morning after twelve of the clock beginneih.

Q. 7. Do not the scriptures require us to begin the Sabbath in the evening, when it said, Gen.i. 5, The everring and the morning were the firsi day; and Lev. xxiii. 32, From even unto even shull ye celebrate your Sabbath?

A. ). It doth not follow that the evening of the first day was before the morning, though it be first spoken of; no inore than that Shem and Ham were elder than Japhet, because they are reckoned up in order before him. Gen. x. 1, The sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japhet; and yet, ver. 21, Japhet is called the elder brother, But Moses, reckoning up the works of God on the first day, retires back from the evening to llie morning, and saith, They both made aip the first day. Surely, in the account of all nations, and in scripture-account 100, the morning is before the evening. John xx. 19, The same day at evening, being the first day of the week, came Jesus, &c: where the evening following this day, and noi the evening before the day, is called the evening of the same day: 2. That place in Leviticus, concerning the celebration of the Sabbath from evening to evcning, hath a reference only unto a ceremonial Sabbatli, or day of atonement, on the tenth day of the seventh month, wherein the Israelites were to afiict their souls ; but it hath not a reference unto the wethly Sabbath.

Q. 8. How do you prove by the scripture that the weekly Sabbath* doth begin in the morning?

A. That the weekly Sabbath is to begin in the morning, is evident, 1. By Exod. xvi. 23, This is that which the Lord hath said, To-morrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord. If the Sabbath had begun in the evening, Moses would have said, This evening doih begin the rest of the Sabbath ; but he saith, To-morrow is the rest of the Sabbath. -2. Most evidently it doth appear, that the Sabbath doth begin in the mo sing and not in the evening, by Mattli. xxviii. I, In the end of the Sabo bath, as it began to dawn towards the first day of the weet, came Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, to see the sepulchre. If the end of the Jewish Sabbath were not in the evening, when it began to grow dark towards the night, but when it began to dawn towards the first day of the week, which must needs be towards the morning, and in no rational sense can be interpreted of the evening; then the Sabbath did also begin in the morning, and not in the evening, for the beginning and ending must needs be about the same time. But the former is evident from this place, concerning the Jewish Sabbath's ending; and therefore consequently concerning its beginning. 3. Further, it is also said in this place, that the first day, which is the Christian Sabbath, did begin towards the dawning, as it grew on towards light, and not as it grew on towards darkness; therefore the Christian Sabbath doth begin in the morning. 4. Moreover the resurrection of Christ, in commemoration of which the Christian Sabbath is observed, was not in the evening, but early in the morning. Mark xvi. 9, Now when Jesus was risen early, the first day of the week; therefore the Sabbath is to begin in the morning. 5. If the Sabbath did begin in the evening before, it would end in the evening after; and it would be lawful for men to work in their callings, or to go their recreations, on the evening of the Sabbath, which surely would be very unsuitable after the holy employments of that day.*

a 옅

* Others differ from the author respecting the time when the holy Sabbath begins. Not withstanding his opinion on the subject, they think it evident, that, according to God's computation of time, the day originally began at evening. That time, as it relates to the existence of this world, and the things of it, began in darkness, is evident from Gen. i. 2. The darkness was succeeded by light, and the darkness and succeeding light constituted the first day. Therefore Moses says, The evening and the morning were the first day. The second day began in the same manner; and the mode of reckoning is the same throughout the six days on which the heavens and the earth were made. Acccordingly, the Jews, as there is sufficient reason to conclude, began their Sabbath at evening. It was expressly required, that the Sabbath to be observed on the yearly day of the atonement, should begin and end at evening, Levit. xxiii. 32. This Sabbath was to be as strictly and sacredly observed as the weekly Sab. bath ; and no reason is either mentioned, or to be discovered, why it should begin at a different hour. And as the whole of the day, like the weekly Sabbath, was to be sacredly obserred

Q. 9. Is this fourth commandment, concerning the keeping of the Sabbath, ceremonial or moral ? as a day of rest, the language of the command, From even unto even shall je celebrate your Sabbath, naturally conveys the idea, that they were both to begin and end this, at the same hour as they did the weekly Sabbath.

We find, also, great reason to conclude, that, while our Saviour was on earth, the Jews actually did both begin and end the weekly Sabbath at evening. It is repeatedly mentioned, that the Jewish rulers took offence at people's coming to be healed, and at Christ's healing them on the Sabbath. For this reason we may conclude it was, that, on the evening succeeding the Sabbath-day, when the sun was set, people brought their sick and diseased to Christ to be healed, as is mentioned, Matth. viii. 16. Mark i. 32. and Luke iv. 40. Hence we have sufficient reason to believe, that the holy Sabbath under the former dispensation, began at evening'; that this was agreeable to the divine computation of days and time from the beginning; and as Christ never reproved the Jews for beginning and ending the Sabbath at eveping, this manner of reckoning the day was agreeable to the command and will of God.

If we consider it as having been once established by the Deity, as it is thought we may, that the holy Sabbath should begin at evening, in the same manner as it is clear days originally began, holy time must still begin at evening, unless the time of its commencement be varied, either by an express divine command, or so evident an example of inspired men as is of equal authority. Only God himself can so sanctify time, as to oblige us to abstain from that business which is lawful on other days, and employ it in his immediate worship And when it is established by him what portion of time shall be thus sanctified, and when it shall begin and end, neither the portion of time, nor the beginning or ending of it, can be varied by any other authority than that of God. But we have no divine anthority in either of the forementioned ways, for varying the time of beginning the Sabbath, from what had been originally established by him, who is Lord of it.

We have sufficient evidence, from considerations which need not now be mentioned, that the first and not the seventh day of the week is to be observed as the Christian Sabbath. Of ihis change from the seventh to the first day of the week, it is generally supposed the apostle gives intimation in the 4th to the He. brews. But nothing is there said to intimate that the Sabbath should begin at a different hour of the day from what it did betore. As there is nothing said in the word of God, so neither do we find any thing in the example of the apostles, which would give us any reason to suppose, that the Christian Sabbath is to A. Though the commandmens which the Lord laid upon the Israelites, for the observation of oiher Sabbaihs, were ceremonial and abrogated, and not to be observed by Christians; yet this fourth commandment, begin at a different hour of the day from that on which the Jew. ish Sabbath formerly began. We read, indeed, that on the eve. ning succeeding the day on which Christ rose from the grave, which was on the first day of the week, the apostles met together; and so on the eighth day after. But we are told that they were together on the

first of these evenings for fear of the Jews. But that they considered neither of them as holy time, or any part of the Sabbath, is evident from the consideration, that they had yet no idea, nor had they, till after the next suc. ceeding Pentecost, that the Sabbath was to be changed from the seventh to the first day of the week. That Paul preached to ihe disciples at 1'roas, on the first day of the week, and continued his speech until midnight, and even until break of day, is no evidence that either he or they considered this evening as a part of the Sabbath. He was then on his way to Jerusalem, expecting never to see them again. That he should, on such an occasion, continue his speech until late in the evening, can be no evidence that he considered it as part of the Sabbath.

Neither does the resurrection of Christ on the first day of the week, be it at whatever hour of the day, afford any evidence, that the evening succeeding the day, and not that preceding, ought to be observed as holy time. Were the particular lime of Christ's resurrection to decide on what hour the Sabbath is 1begin, the precise time on which this great event took place, would certainly have been made known. For as God only can sanctify time, and determine which day of the seven shall be kept holy to him, he only can decide at what particular hour of the day the Sabbath shall begin. This would do more be left to the wisdom of men to determine, than the particular day of the week, which should be observed as a Sabbath. To suppose, therefore, that the simple event of the resurrection of Christ, when the hour on which took place is quite unknown, should be a reason for altering the beginning of holy time, is to leave that lo the decision of human wisdom, which ic is the preroga. tive of God alone to decide. It is to leave it to the judgment of men, at what particular hour holy time shall begin. Hence it may safely be concluded, that, if the resurrection of Christ had been designed to vary the hour on which the Sabbath is to begin, the precise time of the day, on which be rose, would have been made known.

For these reasons, it is supposed, that the mode of computing time, and sanctifying the Sabbath from evening to evening, ori. ginally established by divine authority, is to be invariably observed, by the church, under the gospel dispensation.

concerning the weekly Sabbath, was moral and Linding upon all nations, and that throughout all generations.

Q. 10. How doth it appear that the fourth commandment was moral and not ceremonial ?

A. The morality of the fourth commandment doth appear, 1. From the time of the Sabbath's first institution, which was in Paradise, in the state of innocency, before there was any ceremony. 2. From all the arguments made use of to back it, which are perpetual, and not ceremonial. 3. Because it is placed in the midst of the Decalogue, or ten commandments, and all the other nine are moral, and therefore this too ; and with the rest it was written by God on tables of stone, which showeth the perpetuity of it. 4. Because the Gentiles were required to observe this, the stranger as well as others; but they were not under the ceremonial law,. 5. From the testimony of Christ: Matth. xxiv. 20, that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day. This flight was to be at the destruction of Jerusalem, in Vespasian's time, when all ceremonies were abolished; and yet then our Saviour speaks of the Sabbath in force, which would aggravate their grief, if they should be forced to break it.

Pray ye

Q. 59. Which day of the seven hath God appointed to be the weekly Sabbath ?

A. From the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, God appointed the seventh day of the week to be the weekly Sabbath ; and the first day of the week ever since, to continue to the end of the world which is the Christian Sabbath.

Q. 1. Is the seventh day of the week always to be kept as holy, and the weekly Sabbath unto the Lord ?

A. The seventh day in number is always to be keptas holy, and the weekly Sabbath ; the seventh part of our time being God's due, and by virtue of this commandment, to be separated from common use, and employed in his worship, and more immediate service, every week ; but the seventh day in order from the creation, is not necessary always to be observed as a Sabbath, it being in the

« PreviousContinue »