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unnoticed, if not unknown, saying by an ancient prophet: "For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt-offerings" (Hos. vi. 6). Mercy and the knowledge of God are the fundamental principles of all moral and evangelical truth. The acknowledgement and acceptance of these form the right intents and motives of the worshipper in presenting his sacrifice and burntoffering. These are essential to a right understanding between God and the soul, with or without the shadow of the great propitiation which Christ has made; and without these sacred motives, culminating in faith towards the Redeemer and repentance towards the Father, neither the shadow nor the substance can be of any avail for the salvation of the soul.
11. It follows, moreover, that he who has Christ and all the benefits of redemption does not need to observe those rites which were a shadow of these while yet to come. Now that the archetype of all these types is come, the example and the shadow of the heavenly things decay and wax old and are ready to vanish away. Let no man, therefore, judge you in these things, seeing you have the reality of which they were the symbolic promise. This explains the "therefore." Nothing can surpass the grandeur of the preceding description of the New Testament believer's privilege: "And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power; in whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; buried with him in baptism, wherein, also, ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to the cross; having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it." "There
fore," being complete in him, quickened together with him, and accepted of the Father in him, and delivered from the thraldom of the prince of the power of the air through him, let no man judge you in regard to the by-gone shadow of this great realized salvation.
12. It behooves us to notice, farther, that, though the Mosaic ritual had served its purpose, and was now ready to vanish away, it does not follow that the church of the New Testament was to have no symbolic ordinance nor festive sabbath of rest. We are to discriminate between the old and new, and between the transient and the perpetual. The sacrifice, no doubt, on sabbaths, new moons, and annual festivals, of bulls and goats, that could not take away sin, or make the worshippers perfect as pertaining to the conscience, was but the prelude of Christ, the true Lamb of God, as well as the true High-Priest. And, therefore, it was fit that this should vanish away on his appearance. The new moon, also, had no other significance, apart from the sacrifices that were prescribed to consecrate the beginning of the month. But other rites had still an unexhausted significance; and in these the symbol was still to remain, though the form might change. And no one was more familiar with this principle than the apostle Paul. Hence circumcision had its significance perpetuated in baptism (Col. ii. 11, 12); the solemnity of eating and drinking in the passover, and the peace-offering had its continuance in the Lord's supper (Matt. xxvi. 26); and in like manner it can be shown that the seventh-day sabbath has its legitimate successor in the first-day sabbath. These blessed realities are still things present and to come to the children of God, under the New Testament, as under the Old. And they have precisely the same relation to their appointed signs and seals in the new as in the old economy. The old signs have merely received a new form correspondent with the new economy. They do not pass away; but still serve to refresh the memory, the faith, the hope, and the love of the saints of God. And the sabbath of rest, the holy convo
cation, the sabbath of the Lord in all our dwellings, is at least as requisite, as authoritative, and as suitable for the moral and spiritual well-being of man in Christendom, as in the kingdom of Israel.
13. A distinguished expositor of scripture, to whom the churches of Christ owe a debt of gratitude for his commentary on the New Testament, the general excellence of which we are happy to acknowledge, has the following remark on the present text: "If the ordinance of the sabbath had been, in any form, of lasting obligation on the Christian church, it would have been quite impossible for the apostle to have spoken thus. The fact of an obligatory rest of one day, whether the seventh or the first, would have been directly in the teeth of his assertion here; the holding of such would have been still to retain the shadow, while we possess the substance." This is a very strong statement. The best way, however, to test the force of an argument, is to apply it to a parallel case; and, happily, we are furnished with one in the very text before us, which begins thus: "Let no man, therefore, judge you in meat or in drink." To this part of the sentence let us apply the argument of the esteemed writer: "If the ordinance of eating and drinking had been, in any form, of lasting obligation on the Christian church, it would have been quite impossible for the apostle to have spoken thus. The fact of an obligatory eating and drinking would have been directly in the teeth of his assertion here; the holding of such would have been still to retain the shadow, while we possess the substance." Now, it so happens that the apostle Paul not only acknowledged the obligation of baptism, but put on record the institution of the Lord's supper, which is an obligatory eating and drinking, in the First Epistle to the Corinthians (xi. 23-29). Hence the argument entirely breaks down in the first part of the sentence, and therefore equally fails in the second; and it applies, indeed, still less in the latter part, because the apostle speaks here, not of the sabbath, but of a part or ordinance. of the sabbath. It is manifest, therefore, that our author
has misinterpreted the meaning of the apostle, and made him say that which he did not intend. It may be said that this does not prove the perpetuity of the sabbath. But it refutes the only argument that can be brought against its perpetuity; and therefore the sabbath, as a primeval institution of God, can stand alone.
It cannot be said that the meat and drink in our text have no relation to the Lord's supper. They have simply the relation of the old and the new. The old is done away; the new is come in its place. In other respects, they both signify precisely the same thing, namely, the benefits of the great and only propitiation, all of which may be included in any of the phrases, "salvation," "eternal life," "glory, honor, and immortality," or the "inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away." And so it is with the sabbath. There is here the old and the new, as we hope to show in the sequel. And there is precisely the same import and the same suitableness to the nature of man and the exigencies of the religious life. It is to be borne in mind, too, that the sabbath is not in itself a mere symbol of anything that has already come, that it was instituted in the era of primeval innocence, and that it was embodied in the ten commandments, which are binding in their present form as long as man is in the body.
III. The Christian Sabbath.
14. The word of God is quick and powerful. The Psalmist says: "Thy commandment is exceeding broad." There is nothing so contrary to the reason of man, the usage of speech, or the style of scripture, as a bald and narrow literalism. Analogy and abstraction are familiar to the infant mind. They play a chief part in the birth and growth of language, and they have their noblest sphere in the consecrated figures and lofty generalizations of scripture. Examples of this fact are abundant and obvious. "Life," in scripture, is not only the natural life, which may be called the literal sense, but legal life, spiritual life, resurrection
life, eternal life. "Death" is used in an equal variety of meanings. "The word" is not merely the articulate sound, but the set of written characters, the sentence, the law, the gospel, the whole Bible, and even the second Person of the Godhead. Such being the expansive freedom with which words are applied in scripture, it is strange that the children of the book should have so often become the slaves of the letter and the abettors and enforcers of a rigid and unmeaning formality. Such were the Pharisees in their conception and practical observance of the sabbath. They objected to the plucking of a few ears of corn by the way for the appeasing of hunger as a breach of the sabbath rest. In answer to the outward and mechanical view which prompted their censure of his disciples, our Lord unfolds the true relation of the sabbath to man in the following remarkable statement: "The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: therefore the Son of Man is Lord also of the sabbath." He here enunciates a principle, and draws an inference from it.
15. The principle is, that the sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath. The first thought that strikes us in this statement is the dignity of man. The sabbath was made for man. The sabbath was only a means; man was the end. When we reflect that this was the day on which God rested from all his work which he had created and made, we understand that it had a right to everlasting remembrance in the annals of time. When we remember that he blessed the seventh day, and hallowed it, we become aware of the importance and sacredness which he attached to the day. But all this serves only to enhance the dignity of man, for whom, we are informed, this hallowed day was made. This is, however, only a single instance of the dignity that belongs to man. The six day's creation was merely a preparation for his entrance upon the sphere of being. The gleaming forth of light; the arrangement of the atmosphere; the emerging of the dry land and clothing of it with a mantle of living green; the periodic times and in