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THE GREAT SABBATH.
EZEK. xx. 12
Moreover, also, I gave them my sabhaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them.
This text is but a recapitulation of one in Exodus xxxi. 13, and is repeated again by the prophet Ezekiel in verse 20. You will take notice that it is a sign between God and the children of Israel forever. See Exod. xxxi. 17: “It is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.” It is also a perpetual covenant: see verse 16. Now I want you should observe, that this sabbath was the seventh day sabbath. God calls it “my sabbath,” and shows his rea. son why: “For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.” He engrafted it then into the decalogue, and it was written upou both tables of testimony, showing clearly that it would be binding under the gospel, as well as under the law. See verse 18: * And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.” And its being contained in the ten commands, written by the finger of God, on both tables of the testimony, graven on stone, to be a sign
forever, and a perpetual covenant, proves, in my opinion, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that it is as binding upon the christian church as upon the Jew. ish, and in the same manner, and for the same rea.
“Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord.” This was the manner..
I. WE SHALL INQUIRE WHETHER THE SEVENTII OR THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK OUGHT TO BE KEPT AS SALBATH.
I say the first ; for two reasons. One is Christ's resurrection, and his often meeting with his disciples afterwards on that day. This, with the example of the apostles, is strong evidence that the proper creation sabbath to man came on the first day of the week. For Adam must have rested on the first day after his creation, he being the last work of God, and then God rested. Adam must have rested on the first day of his life, and thus you will see that to Adam it was the first day of the week; for it would not be reasonable to suppose that Adam hegan to reckon time before he was created. He certainly could not be able to work six days before the first sabbath. And thus with the second Adam; the first day of the week he arose and lived. And we find hy the Bible and by history, that the first day of the week was ever afterwards observed as a day of worship.
Again; another reason I give is, that the sabbath is a sign of the rest which remains for the people of God. And to me it is very evident that this rest must be after the resurrection of the saints, and not before ; and of course the saints' rest will be the beginning of time in the new heavens and new earth, as the creation sabbath was the beginning of time with Adam. For Adam rested with God after He had finished his work; so, in the new creation, the church will rest with her Head when he has fin- ished his work and made all things new. To Christ it will be the seventh day; for he will have been six thousand years creating his bride; that is, to the tine she is perfected, and pronounced good, or sanc
tified, as it is said in our text; but to man in his perfect state it will be the first day. Now irose who believe in a temporal millennium, or the seventh 11:ousand years, wherein Christ will do more work than he has in six thousand years before, are very
inconsistent with the Bible and themselves. They are inconsistent with the Bible; for that says, “ Six days shalt thou do thy work; but the seventh is a day of rest, holy to the Lord.” Can any one believe ihat Christ in his work will not keep his father's law ? No, not one jot or tinle of that law shall fail, which was written by the finger of God upon the iwo iables of testimony. But be not ignorant, brethren, that one day with the Lord is as a thousand years with yuu,
and a thousand years with you is one day with the LORD, You think Christ is slack.concerning this law of the sabbath, because he has thus worked almost six thousand years. You think he will always be working to redeem sinners. True, he is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. This is the reason why Christ has chosen the longest days, as given in the Scriptures, for his works ing days. And, Oh! sinner, do you know that the last hour of the sixth day is almost run out, and you have not come to repentance yet? But the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night; for when they shall say peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them, and they shall not escape.
W!ro says peace and safely? Must I be plain with you, my friend? Yes, yes, I musi, or I shall meet my Master's frown. Of this class are all those who tell men that they need not look for that day of rest until Christ converts the whole world; for certainly, if the world were converted, it would be no harm to say peace and safety. For all men to he Christians, and live as such too, I think would make peace and safety, truly. Those, then, cry peace and safety, who say all men will be converier before that day Those, 100, who believe all mankind will enter into that rest, and preach this doctrine 10 sinners, are deceiving souls, and will meet with destruction. Those peace and safety, either by saying that “my lays his coming," or that all men will be
ithout any reference to their character in this life, are both alike deceiving souls.
Again; those who believe in a temporal millen. nium ought to keep the seventh day of the week, instead of the first, to be consistent with themselves; for there must be a similarity between our sabhaih and the day of rest, or it is not a sign! “The sahpath was made for man, and not man for the sahbath." Do you understand the argument, my dear reader? I say the sabbath, with God, was the seventh day; but with man, it was the first day, as is evi. *dent by the account of the creation ; for the sabbath was the first day which man enjoyed in time: eren so the sabbath is the seventh day with the Lord, with Christ; but with the church in the new creation it will be the first day. Creation opened to man by a sabhath; so will eternity open to man by a sabbaih. As man began time with a sabbath, so also will man, in the new creation, begin eternity by the keeping of a sabbath ; for it is a “sign," says our text. This, the first day of the week is a sabbath for man. I will now,
II. SHOW HOW AND IN WHAT WAY THE SABBATH IS À SIGN, AND WHAT IT IS A SIGN OF.
1. It is a sign, because God has given it to us erpressly for that purpose. See our text: “To be a sign hetween me and them;" that is, between God and the children of Israel. Now another question will evidently arise : Who are the children of Israel? I answer, while the first covenant was standing they were the children of Jacob, descendants of the twelve tribes; but that covenant they broke: see Lev. xxvi. 2, 15; also Deut. xxxi. 10–16. This covenant was broken, as Moses had foretold. Then Jesus C!.rist brought in a new covenant, which continued the sign of the sabbath, and prepared another people, hy writing his law upon their hearts. These now are the true Israel; for the changing of the subjects never did, nor ever càn, change the moral law of God. Therefore Paul argues the circumcision of the heart,
and says that "they are not all Israel which are of Israel, neither because they are the seed of Abraham are they all children : but, in Isaac shall thy seed he called ; that is, they which are the children of the flesh, these are not ihe children of God; but the chile dren of the promise are counted for the seed.” Now if the children of God are the true Israel, and if the sabbath was given as a sign forever, and a perpetual covenant, I ask, how can it be abolished while there is one Israelite remaining to claim the promise ? You have evidently noticed, that all the difficulties on the sabbath question among Christians have arisen from the foolish, judaizing notion, that Israel meant only the literal Jew. But when we understand Israel to mean the people of God, the difficulties, every man must acknowledge, all vanish at once.
I say, and I believe I am supported by the Bible, that the moral law was never given to the Jews as a people exclusively, but they were for a season the keepers of it in charge. And through them the law, oracles, and testimony, have been handed down to us : see Paul's clear reasoning in Romans, second, third, and fourth chapters, on that point. Then, says the objector, we are under the same obligation to keep the sabbaths of weeks, months and years, as the Jews were. No, sir; you will observe that these were not included in the decalogue; they were attachments, added by reason of transgression, until the seed should come, to whom the promise of one eternal day, or sabbath of rest, was made. “Therefore there remaineth a keeping of a sabbath to the people of God.” Only one kind of sabbath was given to Adam, and one only remains for us. See Hosea ii. 11: “I will cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts." All the Jewish sabbaths did cease, when Christ nailed them to his cross. Col. ii. 14–17: “Blotting out the hand-writing of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show