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days; which are a shadow of things to come ; but the body is of Christ."'* The apostle has respect to the Jewish rites respecting meat and drink; and to their feast days, new moons, and their weekly Sabbaths, and declares that christians, especially those who were Gentiles, were not under any obligation to observe them. This has no respect to the christian Sabbath. This was observed by the apostles and christian churches in their day. Christ having risen on the first day of the week, he appeared repeatedly to his disciples, while they were together on this first day. And on this first day of the week, " when the day of Pentecost was fully come, and they were all with one accord in one place,” the holy Spirit was poured out on them, and they spake with tongues, as the Spirit gave them utter. ance : And Peter preached to the multitude who were collected on that occasion, and great numbers were converted.The day of Pentecost was always on the first day of the week. I And this day of the week was honoured by this remarkable event, and not the seventh day of the week, which was the Jewish Sabbath. And no reason can be given, why the church were together in one place on that day, but that it was the day of the week on which they were directed, and used to assem. ble for instruction and worship.
Accordingly, we find that on the first day of the week, christian churches used to assemble for public worship, with the apostles' approbation. When the apostle Paul, and his companions in travelling, came to Troas, they continued there seven days, without meet. ing for public worship. “ And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them." By this it appears, that the first day of the week was the day on which christians used to meet for public worship. If the seventh day of the week had been their Sabbath, why did they not meet on that day to hear Paul preach, and to break bread, that is, to partake of the Lord's supper ? That christian churches were wont to meet on the first day of the week for religious purposes, is evident from the following direction which this apostle gives to the * Col. ü. 16, 17. | Acts jj. 1, &c. *Levit. xxiii. 15-21, S Acts xx. 7
church at Corinth. “ Now, concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye, upon the first day of the week, let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I
It appears from this, that christian churches in general, or rather universally, assembled together on every first day of the week; the reason of which cannot be given, unless this were their Sabbath, on which day they attended public worship : And this was a proper time to make a collection for the poor saints, which is to be considered as an act of public worship. Nor can it be supposed, that the churches would all agree in fixing on this day, to meet together for public worship, unless it were by the direction of the apostles, which they gave to all the churches, as from Christ, who had instructed them in this matter, before his ascension, or had since communicated it to them, by inspiration. In this view, there appears a consistency, in all the facts and assertions concerning this, which have been mentioned.
And the words of the apostle John are a confirmation of all this, when he says, “I was in the spirit on the Lord's day."* By the Lord's day, he must mean some particular day of the week, which was known by this name to the churches of Christ, as distinguished from all other days; for otherwise, it would not be saying any thing, which would be intelligible to christians, or of any signification. It supposes there was one day in the week consecrated to the honour and service of the Lord Jesus Christ, and that this was therefore called, the Lord's day; as that repast of bread and wine, which was instituted by Christ, and observed in the churches, in remembrance of him, was called the Lord's Supper, to distinguish it from all other eating and drinking together, as peculiarly consecrated to his use and honour. And that this day, which for this reason the apostle John calls the Lord's day, is the first day of the week, is evident beyond a doubt, in that this day, and no other day of the week has been distinguished and known by this name, in the church of Christ, from that day to this, of which there is incontestible evidence. * 1 Cor. xvi. 1, 2.
† Rev. i. 10.
And that the first day of the week is appointed by Christ to be the christian Sabbath, to be observed by his church as holy time, and distinguished from other days by being devoted by them, in a peculiar manner, to his service and honour, will be further evident
perhaps, and some objections removed, by the following observations.
1. It is evident from divine revelation, that it is the will of God, that one day in seven should be observed as a Sabbath by his people, to the end of the world, and not under the Mosaic dispensation only.
This may be argued from the institution of a holy Sabbath, which God blessed and sanctified, when he first made man : Having himself wrought six days, and finished the work of creation, he rested on the seventh. And this is mentioned in the fourth commandment as a reason, why men, after they had attended to secular business six days, should rest from such labour, and observe the seventh day as a holy Sabbath.
And the command, to remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, &c. being given from Mount Sinai, and written on one of the tables of stone, and put into the ark with the rest of the commands, containing the moral law, which is perpetually binding on all men, and in this way distinguished from those particular precepts which were temporary : This is a strong argument, that it is equally perpetual with the other nine commands, and points out the duty of all men, at all times, to whom this command shall be made known. If this command respected that nation only, and were to cease when the Mosaic dispensation ended, it cannot be accounted for, that it should be revealed in the same peculiar manner, with that in which the moral law was revealed, and incorporated with the moral law, written with it, on tables of stone, and put into the ark : It has all the external marks of being perpetual and binding on all men, which attend the rest of the commands of the moral law.
Moreover, there are some things said in the scripture which indicate, that it is the will and design of God, that the command to keep holy the Sabbath day, should take place and be observed under the gospel. The fif. ty sixth chapter of Isaiah is evidently a prophecy of gospel times ; and there, keeping the Sabbath from polluting it, is repeatedly mentioned, as an important duty, to which promises are made. And in the eleventh chapter are these words, with reference to Christ and the gospel dispensation. “And in that day, there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people : To it shall the Gentiles seek, and his rest shall be glorious.” The word translated rest, is the same, which in other places is translated Sabbath. His Sabbath shall be glorious. And it is not improbable that the Psalmist has reference to the first day of the week, as distinguished and appointed by Christ, and made holy by him, as the day on which he rose from the dead. He foretells the resurrection of Christ in the following words. “ The stone which the builders rejected, is become the head of the corner." These words are cited by the apostle Peter, and applied to the resurrection of Christ. * The Psalmist adds, “This is the Lord's doing, it is marvellous in our eyes.
This is the day which the Lord hath made ; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”+ These words, “ This is the day which the Lord hath made,” considered in their connexion with the foregoing, and referring to the resurrection of Christ, may naturally be understood of the day on which Christ rose, as a day of the week, which should be a joyful day to the church, on which this great and happy event should be celebrated by believers in Christ to the end of the world ; it being made by him, and appointed to be a holy Sabbath of rest, and peculiar gladness and praise.
2. The fourth command in the decalogue does not specify any particular day of the week, to be kept holy as a Sabbath ; but only commands men to observe one day in seven, as a holy Sabbath. “Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.” We must look somewhere else in divine revelation, to find what day of the week is to be observed as a Sabbath, and when to begin to reckon. The Israelites were told, which day of the week they should keep holy as a Sabbath ; but not in.
† Psalm cxviii. 22, 23, 24.
• Acte iy. 11.
this command. The day of the week on which their Sabbath should be, was made known to them, before this command was given from Mount Sinai ; therefore, this command obliged them to keep the seventh day of the week as their Sabbath. And when Christ made it known to his church, that it was his will, that the first day of the week, on which he rose from the dead, should be observed as a Sabbath, he having abolished the Jewish Sabbath ; this laid christians under as great obligations to keep the first day of the week as their Sabbath, as the Jews were under to keep the seventh day ; and this did not in the least degree set aside, or alter the fourth command; for christians remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy, when they, having attended to their secular business six days, keep the seventh day as a holy day of rest from all unnecessary worldly employment : And the fourth command as much binds them to keep their Sabbath on the first day of the week, as it did the children of Israel to keep the seventh day. The evidence, that Christ has revealed this to be his will, has been briefly stated above.
3. The Jewish Sabbath was not to be perpetual ; but did cease and vanish away with other types and shadows of the Mosaic dispensation, being equally a shadow with them, and in some respects the greatest and most remarkable type, which will be more fully considered under the next particular. That the weekly Jewish Sabbath is abolished seems to be expressly asserted by the apostle Paul, in the words which have been mentioned. * But since the Sabbath of the fourth command is to be perpetual ; and the Jewish Sabbath was not so ; it fóllows, that another day of the week is appointed by Christ, who is Lord of the Sabbath, to be observed by his church, which appears from what has been observed above, to be the first day of the week.
4. There is no evidence from scripture, that the Sabbath, which God gave to the people of Israel, by Moses, was on the same day of the week with that, which was instituted when the work of creation was finished; but it is very probable, if not certain, that it was not.
• Col. ii. 16, 17.