Billeder på siden

to be utterly excluded from all consideration in those prelibations and prefigurations of the priesthood of Christ, which from divine institution were diffused amongst mankind by catholic tradition.

Ν Ο Τ Ε. Having finished the whole doctrinal parts of the Sacerdotal Office of Christ, which was my principal design in these Exer. citations; and having made this entrance into what I had de. signed, concerning the Prefigurations of the Priesthood of Christ in the Church, and in the World ; I find the full discussion of all things thereunto belonging, will require larger Discourses than my present indisposition as to health will allow me to engage in.



Exercitations concerning the Day of Sacred Rest.


There are two great concerns of that religion, whose name thou bearest; the profession of its truth, and the practice or exercise of its power. And these are mutually assistant to each other. Without the profession of faith in its truth, no man can express its power in obedience; and without obedience, profes, sion is little worth. Whatever therefore doth contribute help and assistance to us in either of these according to the mind of God, is highly to be prized and valued. Especially it is so in such a season, wherein the former of them is greatly questioned, and the latter greatly neglected, if not despised. But if there be any thing which doth equally confirm and strengthen them both, it is certainly of great necessity in and to religion ; and will be so esteemed by them who place their principal concerns in these things. Now such is the solemn observance of a weekly day of rest, sacred unto God.

For amongst all the outward means of conveying to the pre: sent generation, that religion which was at first taught and delivered to men by Jesus Christ and his apostles, there hath been none more effectual than the catholic uninterrupted observance of such a day, for the celebration of the religious worship appointed in the gospel. And many material parts of it were unquestionably preserved, by the successively continued agreement of Christians in this practice. So far then the profession of our Christian religion in the world at this day doth depend upon it, How much it tends to the exercise and expression of the power of religion, cannot but be evident to all, unless they be such as hate it, who are not a few. To others it will quickly appear, upon a sober and unprejudiced consideration ; for no small part of the power of religion doth consist in the constant payment of that homage of spiritual worship, which we owe to God in Jesus Christ; and the duties designed thereto, are the means which he hath appointed for the communication of grace and spiritual strength, for the due performance of the remainders of our obedience. In these things consist the services of this day, and the end of its'observance is their due performance to the glory of God, and the advantage of our own souls.

The Christian religion may be considered two ways: Ist, As it is publicly and solemnly professed in the world, whereon the glory of God, and the honour of Jesus Christ, do greatly depend. And, 2dly, As it prevails and rules in the minds and lives of private men. In neither of these ways can it be maintained, without a due observance of a stated day of sacred rest. Take this away, neglect and confusion will quickly cast out all regard to solemn worship. Neither did it ever thrive or flourish in the world from the foundation of it, nor will do so unto its end, without a due religious attendance to such a day. Any man may easily foresee the disorder and profaneness which would ensue, upon the taking away of that, whereby our solemn assemblies are guided and preserved. Wherefore by God's own appointment it had its beginning, and will have its end with his public worship in this world. "And take this off from the basis whereon God hath fixed it; and all human substitutions of any thing in the like kind, to the same purposes, will quickly discover their own vanity. Nor without the advantage which it affords, as it is the sacred repository of all sanctifying ordinances, will religion long prevail in the minds and lives of private men. For it would be just with God, to leave them to their own weakness and decays, which are sufficient to ruin them, who despise the assistance which he hath provided for them, and which he tenders to them. Thus also we have known it to have fallen out with many in our days, whose apostasies from God have hence taken their rise and occasion.

This being the case of a weekly sacred day of rest unto the Lord, it must needs be our duty to inquire and discern aright, both what warrant we have for the religious observance of such a day, as also what day it is in the hebdomadal revolution, that ought so to be observed. About these things, there is an inquiry made in the ensuing discourses, and some determinations on that inquiry: My design in them was to discover the fundamental principles of this duty, and what ground conscience hath to stand upon, in its attendance thereunto; for what is from God in these things, is assuredly accepted with him. The discovery hereof I have endeavoured to make, and therewithal to set forth a safe rule for Christians to walk by in this matter; so that for want thereof they may not lose the things which they have wrought. What I have attained unto of light and truth here


in, is submitted to the judgment of men learned and judicious, The censures of persons heady, ignorant and proud, who speak evil of those things which they know not, and in what they naturally know corrupt themselves, I neither fear nor value. If

any part of these Discourses seem somewhat dark or obscure to ordinary readers, I desire they would consider, that the foundations of the things discoursed of, lie deep, and no expression will render them more familiar and obvious to all understandings, than their nature will allow. Nor must we in any case quit the strengths of truth, because the minds of some cannot easily possess themselves of them. However I hope nothing will occur, but what an attentive reader, though otherwise but of an ordinary capacity, may receive and digest. And they to whom the argument seems hard, may find those directions which will make the practice of the duty insisted on, easy and beneficial.

The especial occasion of my present handling this subject, is declared afterwards. I shall only add, that I have here no design of contending with any, of opposing or contradicting any, of censuring or reflecting on those, whose thoughts and judgments in these things differ from ours

. Even those by whom a holy day of rest under the gospel, and its services, are laughed to scorn, are by me left to God and themselves. My whole endea. vour is, to find out what is agreeable unto truth, about the observance of such a day to the Lord; what is the mind and will of God concerning it; on what foundation we may so attend to the services of it, as that God may be glorified in us, and by us; and the interest of religion in purity, holiness, and righteous, ness, be promoted amongst men.


First Exercitation concerning the Day of Sacred Rest.


Αρα απολείπεται Σαββατισμος τι λεω το Θιε. Ηeb. iv. 9.

§ 1. Trouble and confusion from men's inventions. § 2. Instanced in doc

trines and practices respecting the Sabbatical rest. 9 3. Reason for considera ing these at present. $ 4. Extent of the controversies about such a rest. § 5. A particular enumeration of them. $6. Special instances of particular differences, upon an agreement in more general principles. $7. Evil consequences of these controversies in Christian practice. 38. Principles and rules proposed for the right investigation of the truth in this matter. $ 9. Names of a sacred day of rest. 'Yawn Oy, ý ßdoreno,

. . § . . nawn. Gen. ii. 3. Exod. xvi. 23. xxxv. 2. Lam. i. 7. Saturn called

.שבתון יום השבת .שבת ,10 $ .4 .tige ision

Gen. ii
3. Heb

שבת .by the Jews

, and why . The word doubled שבתאי and שבתי

ginaw. Reason of it. § 11. Translation of this word into the Greek and Latin languages. flsce 2066&tar, $ 12. All Judaical feasts called Sabbata by the heathen. Suetonius, Horace, Juvenal, cited to that pur. pose. $ 13. spregae hass, Sunday. Used by Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Eusebius: blamed by Austin, Hierome, and Philastrius. $14. Use of the names of the days of the week derived from the heathen of old. Cus. tom of the Roman church. $ 15. First day of the week. Lord's day. Lord's day Sabbath.

$1. Solomon tells us, that in his disquisition after the nature and state of things in the world, this alone he had found out, that is absolutely and unto his satisfaction; namely, that God made man upright, but they have sought out many inventions, Eccles. vii. 29. And the truth hereof we also find by woful ex, perience, not only in sundry particular instances, but in the whole course of men in this world, and in all their concerns with respect to God and themselves. There is not any thing wherein and whereabout they have not found out many inven,

« ForrigeFortsæt »