« PreviousContinue »
governors, were able to refer to their own names, dies solis, &c. We, in our language, retain two of the Roman names, and, in our law and parliamentary proceedings, all, except Saturday, for which, in those proceedings, I lament that we absurdly continue the name of sabbath, (dies sabbati,) which we ought to consider united to, and absorbed by, the Lord'sday. But it is not more absurd to call that day from the Jewish sabbath than the Lord's-day by a heathen name.
Heylyn, who is recommended by his Grace the Archbishop of Dublin, as the surest and safest guide on the subject of the sabbath, gives the following exposition or interpretation of the prayer after the commandments, to which I earnestly entreat bis Grace's attention. • Their intent and meaning was to teach the people to pray unto the Lord to incline their hearts to keep that law, so far as it contained the law of nature, and had been entertained in the Christian church. Here is a mental reservation, which would have done credit to the Church of Rome herself. If we admit this, we cannot find fault with our Roman Catholic members of parliament, if they should add to their oaths a mental reservation to this effect :- So far as it is consistent with the decrees of popes and councils, and the laws of Rome. According to this rule of Heylyn, our congregations cannot venture to commit themselves to obey the divine law, until they shall, in the first place, have made themselves masters of the law of nature; and, secondly, shall have ascertained how far that law of nature shall have been entertained in the Christian church; and, thirdly, shall have subjected the divine law to be proved and approved by this supreme Judge. The law of nature !_Where are we to find it ? -- where to look for it? Shall we go to Cicero, and his Tusculan Questions, and search for the truth amongst the Stoics, the Epicureans, the Peripatetics, and the Academics.* Shall we go to our own modern philosophers, - Hume or Gibbon, and examine their systems, which they purloined from revelation, disguising the stolen maxims and morals to make them their own,divesting them of their motives, and their sanctions throwing off the chords of love, wbich bind them to the heart? And shall we judge of the pure gold of the sanctuary by comparison with a base adulterated counterfeit ? And yet, according to Heylyn, no man in our congregations, until he shall have so learned the law of nature, can safely use these prayers.
Such being the opinion of Heylyn, whom his Grace recommends as our guide, and whose book upon the sabbath, except for that recommendation, I should probably never have read, I consider myself entitled to call upon his Grace, not for my own sake, but for the sake of my readers, or others, who may have read Heylyn on his suggestion, to ask whether his Grace approve of this mental reservation ;-whether he would advise church attendants in this solemn manner to acknowledge the commandments as laws. And I request his Grace to advise those who may adopt his Grace's opinions on the fourth commandment, as to the way in which they shall use that prayer.
P.S. TO SECTION XXXII.
As I write this after the foregoing was in type, I must be brief. I request the reader to compare the nine last chapters of Ezekiel, xl.—xlviii. with the two last of Revelation, xxi., xxii. They describe the New Jerusalem, as shown
* What an eloquent barrister, now a learned judge, once une justly applied, is peculiarly applicable here, inter sylvas academi quærere verum, is to search for a needle in a bundle of hay.
both to Ezekiel and St. John in visions. Both visions exhibit the same object; and as that shown to St. John is manifestly a description of the Redeemer's kingdom, so must the vision of Ezekiel be prophetic of the same; and therefore, the sacrifices and ceremonies mentioned by the latter, must be types of the particulars of the kingdom of Christ. These, having been fulfilled, are omitted in St. John's vision. Now, among these prophetic descriptions of Ezekiel there is one which cannot apply to anything in the Christian dispensation except to the change of the sabbath, and day of public worship from the seventh to the eighth day, or first day of the following week ;-xliii. 25—27. “ Seven days shalt thou prepare every day a goat for a sinoffering: they shall also prepare a young bullock, and a ram out of the flock, without blemish. Seven days shall they purge the altar and purify it, and they shall consecrate themselves. And when these 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 God.”
The seven days mean the “one week,” in Dan, ix. 27, during which the Messish was to confirm the covenant, and in the midst of which he was to make the sacrifice and oblation to cease by the sacrifice of himself.
It is remarkable that these two descriptions of the New Jerusalem close the respective prophecies of Ezekiel and St. John. The latter was shown after the city had been destroyed, and the Jewish polity ended.
PALEY AND JEREMY TAYLOR.
I'must here confess that in the progress of the foregoing inquiry, whatever credit an indulgent reader may give me for diligence, I have been guilty of great negligence in investigating the objections of the learned to the permanence of the sabbath; for I did not examine the opinions and arguments of Paley until after I had put my manuscript into the hands of the printer. And then I read his observations in his Moral Philosophy, book iv. chap 7, 'On the Scripture account of Sabbatical Institutions,' with great fear and trembling, expecting at every step to find some powerful arguments, which I had omitted to notice or answer. But I was pleased to find that there was not one single argument which I had not already considered, and, I think, answered. There were, however, several valuable admissions, which would have been very useful, as being the testimony of a witness summoned by the Archbishop at the other side of the question. I request of my readers to examine his chapter for themselves, and to try it by such proofs as I have adduced, so far as they may assent to my conclusions; and I leave to them the decision upon his state of the case, without thinking it necessary to use any further arguments. I consider his statement, examined after the conclusion of my own, as his reply or rejoinder to my arguments, and he has not been able to shake any of them, (and if he could not, who could ?) therefore I consider them as all established.
I have also examined all the arguments advanced on the same side of the question by that excellent man, and eminent divine, Jeremy Taylor. They occur in his Ductor Dubitantium, book ii. chap. 2, section 43–64, pp. 271– 279, folio 1696. He considers the question much more briefly than some of the other authors, whose works I have reviewed. I cannot find any new argument which I have not already endeavoured to answer. But he affirms more strongly than the others, in speaking of the particular day observed as a sabbath by the Israelites, that the rest was in remembrance of their deliverance from Egypt; and therefore they kept their first sabbatic rest upon the very day in which their redemption was completed, that is, as soon as ever Pharaoh and his host were overthrown in the Red Sea.'
These are his words. I have looked in vain for some proof of this assertion, but can find none; certainly there is none in the Scripture account. The day of the passage of the Red Sea is never in Moses' narrative considered as the day of departure out of Egypt. I have proved that the day of their leaving Rameses (the 15th of the first month) is always considered by the sacred historian as the day of their coming out. I have proved, moreover, that it is impossible to determine on what day they passed the Red Sea. It most probably was some day between the 19th of the first month, and the 8th of the second month, a period of about eighteen days; but on what precise day within
it appears to me to be impossible to determine, and of course, impossible for any person to prove that the Israelites observed that day as their sabbath.