Page images
PDF
EPUB

set up by it, that the people-might perceive that the observation of them all as holy, was never to be expected. And so the Lord's-day was jumbled in the heap of holy-days, and all turned into cereinony, by the Papists, and too many other churches in the world. Which became Calvin's temptation (as his own words make plain), to think too meanly of the Lord's-day with the rest.

VI. In the lawful observation of days, it is most orderly to do as the churches do which we live among and are joined to.

VII. But if church-tyranny would overwhelm any place with over-numerous days (or ceremonies) which are (singly considered) lawful, we should do nothing needlessly to countenance and encourage such usurpation.

VIII. Yet it is lawful to hear a sermon, which shall be - preached on a human holy-day, which is imposed by usurpation. Seeing such a moral duty may be done, and so great a benefit received, without any approbation of the inconvenient season.

IX, And when we think it unlawful to join in the positive celebration of unlawful days (as the Mahometan Sabbath), yet it may become a duty for the civil peace and our own safety, to obey the magistrate in forbearing open opposition or contempt, or working upon that day? And so Paul justifieth himself against the Jews' accusations, that they “ found him not in the temple disputing with any man, nor raising up the people, nor in the synagogues, nor in the city,” (Acts xxiv. 12,) unless it be when we have a special call, to reprove the error which we forbear complying with.

X. It is long ago decided by the Holy Ghost, (Rom. xiv ; xv.) that we must not be contentious, contemptuous, nor censorious against one another, about things of no greater moment, than the Jewish days were, though some observed them without just cause : because the kingdom of God consisteth not in meats and drinks, and days, but in

righteousness, and peaceableness, and joy in the Holy Ghost. And he that in these things serveth Christ, is acceptable to God (and received by him) and approved of (wise) men, and should be received to communion with them.” (Rom. xiv. 17, 18; xv. 7.) We must therefore “ follow after the things that make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.” (Rom. xiv. 19.)

[blocks in formation]

XI. The controversy, Whether it be lawful to separate an anniversary-day for the commemoration of Christ's nativity, circumcision, and such like things which were equally existent in the apostles' days, and the reason for observing them equal with following times, (and so the apostles had the same reason to have appointed such days had they thought it best, as we have) I acknowledge too hard for me to determine: not being able to prove it lawful, I cannot own and justify it; and not seeing a plain prohibition, I will not condemn it, nor be guilty of unpeaceable opposing church-customs or authority in it, but behave myself as a peaceable doubter.

XII. But that earthly power may appoint a weekly-day, in commemoration of any part of our redemption, besides the Lord's-day, and so make another separated weekly stated holy-day, I think plainly unlawful, because it is a doing the same thing for one day, which God hath done already by another; and so seemeth to me, 1. An usurpation of a power not given, And, 2. An accusation of Christ and the Holy Ghost, as if he had not done his work sufficiently, but man must come after and do it better,

But especially if such (or any day or ceremony) be by an universal law imposed on the universal chureh, it is arrogant usurpation of the Divine authority; there being no vicarious head or monarch under Christ of all the world, or all the church, nor any universal governor, who may use such legislation, whether personal or collective. The same I

may say of any that would presume to abrogate the Lord's-day.

And so much shall suffice, in great haste, of this subject.

And to Thee, O most glorious and gracious Creator and Redeemer, I humbly return my unfeigned thanks, for the unspeakable mercies which I have received on thy day; and much more for so great a mercy to all thy churches and the world : and craving the pardon (among the rest of the sins which I have committed on thy day, I beseech thee to continue this exceeding mercy to thy churches and to me; and restore me and other of thy servants, to the privileges, and comforts of this day, which we have forfeited and lost; and let me serve thee in the life, and light, and love of thy Spirit, in these thy holy days on earth, till I be prepared for, and received to, the everlasting rest in heavenly glory. Amen.

467

AN APPENDIX

FOR

FURTHER CONFIRMATION OF GOD'S OWN SEPARATION OF THE

LORD'S-DAY,

AND

DISPROVING THE CONTINUATION OF THE JEWISH SEVENTH.

DAY-SABBATH.

CHAPTER I.

An Answer to certain Objections against the Lord's-day. Though they are answered before, the reader must pardon me, if upon the particular urgencies of some objectors, I again make answer to these that follow.

Object. ' Acts xx. 7. “ The first day of the week ;" (Gr. one of the Sabbaths.) That the breaking of bread there was common 'eating, compare the like Greek phrase, Acts xxvii. 35; ii. 42. See Isa. lviii. However, it was but an example of preaching, and breaking bread, upon a special occasion.'

Answ. 1. That 'Ev rñ urą röv oaßLátwv signifieth on the first day of the week, the generality of the ancients, both Greek and Latin, agree, whose testimony about the sense of a word, is the best dictionary and evidence that we can expect. And the same phrase used of the day of Christ's resurrection by the evangelists, proves it. Though I am sorry to hear of one that denieth that also, and asserteth that Christ rose on the second day morning, because else he could not, as Jonah, be three days and nights buried. But I am not so proud as to think myself capable of convincing that man in such a matter of fact, who will not believe the historical witness of the whole church of Christ, and expecteth to be believed against them all, at such a distance in the end of the world.

2. There is no doubt but that klágic tou aprov, breaking of bread, was both a common and a sacred action: and the phrase is to be interpreted by the context, to know when it signifieth the common, and when the sacred. In Acts xxvii. 35, the context teacheth us to interpret it of common eating: but that it doth not so, Acts ii. 42. 46; or Acts xx. 7. is plain to him that considereth, 1. That it was then usual to communicate sacramentally in all their church-assemblies. 2. That these mentioned were church-assemblies; the church being met purposely for sacred works. Yet it is to be remembered, that the love-feasts did usually concur in the beginning with the sacrament, and the name might be used with respect to both.

3. That it was not a mere occasional meeting, is apparent to the unprejudiced, 1. Because they stayed at Troas seven days, (ver. 6.) and in all the seven make no mention of this exercise, but on the one only, which was the first, 2. Because as is said, it was not a family, or by-meeting, but a church-meeting ; “The disciples came, or assembled together." 3. Because it is said that they assembled for this very end," to break bread” ouvnyuévwv Tüv uaOntwv të klágai. 4. The great length of time which was spent in the holy exercises : Besides the rest of the worship, and breaking of bread, Paul preaching till midnight; which intimateth that such work took up the day. 5. Because it is mentioned as a matter of custom : they did not assemble because Paul called them to hear him only, as being to depart to-morrow; but Paul assembled with them at the time of their assem. bling to break bread; and it seemeth that he deferred his journey for that opportunity. 6. Because other texts, as joined with this, and infallible church-history following, do prove, past all doubt, that it was the constant custom of all the churches so to do.

Object. '1 Cor. xvi. 1, 2." The first day of the week, &c." (Gr. one of the Sabbaths.) It is an ordinance to lay aside for charitable uses; but not one word about changing the Sabbath.'

Answ. The abolition of the Sabbath we prove not by this text, but by others : all that we bring this for, is but to shew in conjunction with others, as part of the sacred history, that the first day was the church's separated day. And I pray mark the strength of the proof, that the apostle did give order that all the churches of Galatia, as well as

[ocr errors]

the Corinthians, should deposit their alms on one and the same day, viz. on the first day. Was it not enough to tie them to the contribution, but he must tie them all to one set day to lay it by, or deposit it; if it had not been because the churches used to assemble on this day, and not to appear before God empty (as Dr. Hammond noteth on the text)? Whoever heard else that God or man tied several countries to one set day, for the private depositing of their own monies afterward to be distributed ? « With such sacrifices God is well pleased ;” and therefore it was ever accounted by Christians a fit work for the sanctified day; but no other day was ever appointed peculiarly for the set time of laying by men's gifts of charity.

Object. Rev. i. 10. “ John was in the Spirit on the Lord's-day.” Compare Exod. xx. 10, &c.; Isa. lviii. 13, &c. ; Luke vi. 5; Mark ii. 28; Matt. xii. 8, &c. And if the Scripture be the rule to judge, resolve whether that day be not the Lord's-day, and of which only, (as distinguished from the other days of the week,) the Son of man is Lord.'

Answ. We are not upon a controversy of title or property, whether God be Lord of other days : for so no doubt he is Lord of all, and therefore no more of one than another, because his propriety in each one is absolute; and it can be no more in any. Thus also he is absolute Lord of all things, all places, all persons, &c. And yet some things, some places, some persons have been separated to his service by a peculiar dedication and relation ; and thence have been particularly called the Lord's. And the texts cited by you 'out of the Old Testament prove that such was the Seventh-day Sabbath then: but not that it is so now; or was to be so for perpetuity.

And the words of the New Testament cited, “ The Son of Man is Lord also, or even of the Sabbath-day,” shews no more than that it was in his power: he giveth it as a reason for his doing that which the Pharisees counted Sabbathbreaking (by which he oftentimes offended them), and not as a reason of his establishing it. And it seemeth plainly to mean, that being but a positive law, and a law of Moses, he had power to change it, and dispense with it, as well as with other positives and Mosaical laws. As it is said, Ephes. i. 22, 23. "he hath made him head over all things to the church ;" not head to all things; so he is Lord over,

« PreviousContinue »