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tions, to the disturbance and perverting of that state of peace and quietness, wherein all things were made of God. Yea, with the fruits and effects of this perverse apostasy, and relinquishment of that universally harmonious state of things wherein we were created, not only is the whole world, as it lies in evil, filled, and as it were overwhelmed; but we have the relicts of it to conflict withal, in that reparation of our condition, which in this life by grace we are made partakers of. In all our ways, actions and duties, some of these inventions are ready to immix themselves to our own disturbance, and to the perverting of the right ways of God.
$ 2. An evident instance we have hereof, in the business of a day of sacred rest, and the worship of God therein required. God originally, out of his infinite goodness, when suitably thereto, by his own eternal wisdom and power, he had made all things good, gave unto men a day of rest, thus to express to them his own rest, satisfaction, and complacency in the works of his hands, and to be a day of rest and composure to themselves, and a means of their entrance into, and enjoyment of, that rest with himself, here and for ever, which he had ordained for them. Hence it became unto them a principle and pledge, a cause and means of quietness and rest, and that in and with God himself. So might it be still to the sons of men, but that they are in all things continually finding out new inventions, or immixing themselves in various questions and accounts: for so saith the
, , out many computations.'
And hence it is, that whereas there are two general concernments of such a day, the doctrine, and the practice of it, or the duties to be performed unto God thereon, they are both of them solicited by such various questions, through the many inventions which men have found out, as have rendered this day of rest a matter of endless strife, disquietment and contention. And whereas all doctrines of truth do tend unto practice, as their immediate use and end, the whole Scripture being ambasa i xat' svoeß£lav, Tit. i. 1. 'the truth which is according unto godliness,' the contentions which have been raised about the doctrine of the holy day of rest, have greatly influenced the minds of men, and weakened them in that practice of godliness, which all men confess to be necessary in the observance of such a day of rest unto the Lord, if such a day of rest there be, on what foundation soever it is to be observed. For Christians in general, under one notion or other, do agree, that a day of rest should be observed in, and for the celebration of the worship of God. But whereas many controversies have been raised about the grounds of this observance, and the nature of the obligation thereto, advantage hath been taken thereby to introduce a great
themselves have sought * ,המה בקשו חשבנות רבים ,wise man
neglect of the duties themselves, for whose sakes the day is to be observed; whilst one questions the reasons and grounds of another for its observance, and finds his own by others despised. And this hath been no small nor ineffectual means of promoting that general profaneness and apostasy from strict and holy walking before God, which at this day are every where so justly complained of.
$ 3. It is far from my thoughts and hopes, that I should be able to contribute much to the composing of these differences and controversies, as agitated among men of all sorts. The known pertinacity of inveterate opinions, the many prejudices that the minds of most in this matter are already possessed withal, and the particular engagements that not a few are under, to defend the pretensions and persuasions which they have published and contended for, will not allow any great expectation of a change in the minds of many, from what I have to offer. Besides, there are almost innumerable eristical discourses on this subject in the hands of many, to whom perhaps the report of our endeavours will not arrive. But yet these, and the like considerations of the darkness, prejudices and interests of many, ought not to discourage any man from the discharge of that duty which he owes to the truths of God; nor cause him to cry with the sluggard, " There is a lion in the streets, I shall be slain in the way." Should they do so, no truth should ever more be taught or contended for ; for the declaration of them all, is attended with the same difficulties, and liable to the same kind of opposition. Wherefore an inquiry into this matter being unavoidably cast upon me, from the work wherein I am engaged, in the Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews, I could not on any such accounts wave the pursuit of it. For this discourse, though upon the desires of many, now published by itself, is but a part of our remaining Exercitations on that Épistle. Nor am I without all hopes, but that what shall be declared and proved on this subject, may be blessed to a usefulness to them, who would willingly learn, or be established in the truth. An attempt also will be made herein, for the conviction of others, who have been seduced into paths inconsistent with the communion of saints, the peace of the churches of Christ, or opinions hurtful to the practice of godliness ; and left unto the blessing of Him, who when he hath supplied seed to the sower, doth himself also give the increase.
These considerations have prevailed with me to cast my mite into this sanctuary, and to endeavour the right stating and confirmation of that doctrine, whereon so important a part of our duty towards God doth depend, as it is generally confessed, and will be found by experience, that there doth on this concerning a day of sacred rest.
$ 4. The controversies about the Sabbath, (as we call it at present for distinction sake, and to determine the subject of our discourse), which have been publicly agitated, are universal as to all its concerns. Neither name nor thing is by all agreed on; for whereas most Christians acknowledge, (we may say all, for those by whom it is denied are of no weight, nor scarce of any, number), that a day on one account or other in the hebdomadal revolution of time, is to be set apart to the public worship of God, yet how that day is to be called, is not agreed amongst them. Neither is it granted, that it hath any name affixed to it by any such means, that should cause it justly to be preferred to any other, that men should arbitrarily consent to call it by. The names which have been, and amongst some are still in use for its denotation and distinction, are the seventh day, the Sabbath, the Lord's day, the first day of the week, Sunday ; so was the day now commonly observed, called of old by the Grecians and Romans, before the introduction of religious worship into it. And this name some still retain, as a thing in. different ;
it were better to let it fall into utter disuse.
§ 5. The controversies about the thing itself are various, and respect all the concerns of the day inquired after. Nothing that relates to it, no part of its respect to the worship of God, is admitted by all uncontended about. For it is debated amongst all sorts of persons; 1. Whether any part of time be naturally and morally to be separated and set apart to the solemn worship of God; or which is the same, whether it be à natural and moral duty to separate any part of time in any revolution of it, unto divine service. I mean, so as it should be stated and fixed in a periodical revolution ; otherwise to say, that God is solemnly to be worshipped, and yet that no time is required thereunto, is an open contradiction. 2. Whether such a time supposed, be absolutely and originally moral, or made so by positive command, suited unto general principles, and intimations of nature. And under this consideration also, a part of time is called moral metonymically from the duty of its ob
3. Whether on supposition of some part of time so designed, the space or quantity of it, have its determination or limitation, morally; or merely by law positive or arbitrary, For the observance of some part of time, may be moral, and the quota pars arbitrary. 4. Whether every law positive of the Old Testament, were absolutely ceremonial, or whether there may not be a law moral positive, as given to, and binding on all mankind; though not absolutely written in the heart of man by nature; that is, whether there be no morality in any law, but what is a part of the law of creation. 5. Whether the institution of the seventh day Sabbath, was from the beginning of the world, and before the fall of man, or whether it were first appointed, when the Israelites came into the wilderness. This in itself is only a matter of fact; yet such, as whereon the determination of the point of right, as to the universal obligation unto the observance of such a day, doth much depend; and therefore hath the investigation and true stating of it, been much laboured in and after, by learned men.
6. Upon a supposition of the institution of the Sabbath from the beginning, whether the additions made, and observances annexed unto it, at the giving of the law on mount Sinai, with the ends whereunto it was then designed, and the uses whereunto it was employed, gave unto the seventh day a new state distinct from what it had before ; although naturally the same day was continued as before. For if they did so, that new state of the day, seems only to be taken away under the New Testament; if not the day itself seems to be abolished; for that some change is made therein, from what was fixed under the Judaical economy, cannot modestly be denied. 7. Whether in the fourth commandment, there be a foundation of a distinction between a seventh day in general, or one day in seven; and that seventh day, which was the same numerically and precisely from the foundation of the world. For whereas an obligation unto the strict observance of that day precisely, is, as we shall prove, plainly taken away in the gospel, if the distinction intimated be not allowed, there can be nothing remaining obligatory unto us in that command, whilst it is supposed, that that day is at all required therein. Hence, 8. It is especially inquired, whether a seventh day, or one day in seven, or in the hebdomadal cycle, be to be observed holy unto the Lord, on the account of the fourth commandment. 9. Whether under the New Testament all religious observance of days be so taken away, as that there is no divine obligation remaining for the observance of any one day at all ; but that, as all days are alike in themselves, so are they equally free to be disposed of, and used by us, as occasion shall require. For if the observance of one day in seven, be not founded in the law of nature, expressed in the original positive command concerning it; and it it be not seated morally in the fourth commandment, it is certain that the necessary observance of it is now taken away. 10. On the other extreme, whether the seventh day from the creation of the world, or the last day of the week, be to be observed precisely under the New Testament by virtue of the fourth cominandment, and no other. The assertion hereof supposeth, that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of the Sabbath, hath neither changed nor reformed any thing in or about the religious observance of a holy day of rest unto the Lord; whence it follows, that such an observance can be no part or act of evangelical worship properly so called, but only a moral duty of the law. 11. Whether on the supposition of a non-obligation in the law, unto the observance of the seventh day precisely, and of a new day to be observed weekly under the New Testament, as the Sabbath of the Lord, on what ground it is so to be observed. 12. Whether of the fourth commandment as unto one day in seven, or only as unto some part or portion of time, or whether without any respect unto that command as purely ceremonial. For granting, as most do, the necessity of the observance of such a day, yet some say, that it hath no respect at all to the fourth decalogical precept, which is totally and absolutely abolished with the residue of Mosaical institutions; others that there is yet remaining in it, an obligation unto the sacred separation of some portion of our time unto the solemn service of God, but indetermined ; and some that it yet precisely requires the sanctification of one day in seven.
13. If a day be so to be observed, it is inquired, on what ground, or by what authority, there is an alteration made from the day observed under the Old Testament, unto that now in use ; that is, from the last to the first day of the week; whether was this translation of the solemn worship of God, made by Christ and his apostles, or by the primitive church. For the same day might have been still continued, though the duty of its observance might have been fixed on a new reason and foundation. For although our Lord Jesus Christ totally abolished the old solemn worship required by the law of commandments contained in ordinances, and by his own authority introduced a new law of worship according to institutions of his own, yet might obedience unto it in a solemn manner have been fixed unto the former day, 14. If this were done by the authority of Christ and his apostles, or be supposed so to be, then it is inquired, whether it were done by the express institution of a new day, or by a directive example, sufficient to design a particular day, no institution of a new day being needful. For if we shall suppose that there is no obligation unto the observance of one day in seven indispensably abiding on us, from the morality of the fourth command, we must have an express institution of a new day, or the authority of it is not divine; and on the supposition, that that is so, no such institution is necessary, nor can be properly made, as to the whole nature of it. 15. If this alteration of the day were introduced by the primitive church ; then it is inquired, whether the continuance of the observance of one day in seven be necessary or not. For · what was appointed thereby, seems to be no farther obligatory unto the churches of succeeding ages, than their concernment lies in the occasions and reasons of their determinations. 16. If the continuance of one day in seven, for the solemn worship of God, be esteemed necessary in the present state of the church,