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which our Church avoids the calling of her day of publick worship—“the Sabbath.” It is never so called in the New Testament: And in the primitive Church, the term “Sabbatizing,” carried with it the reproach of a leaning to the abrogated observances of the law.
But on the ceasing of the Sabbath, with the moral reason of it remaining—that is, in the duty of social worship, and in the utility of there being regular re. turns of opportunities of it, the apostles of our Saviour appointed, that there should be, as before, one day in seven thus appropriated; but preferring the first day of the week, in memory of the resurrection. Hence it is called in one place in scripture “the Lord's day."* And there are other places which show, that the first day of the week, was the stated time to assemble for publick worship. Perhaps “the Lord's day” may be considered as the most suitable name for the Chris. tian Sabbath. And yet there is no need for such stiffness in this matter, as to fault the use of the word "Sun. day,” which prevails in our liturgy. The early Christians conformed to the customs of their heathen neighbours, in the calling of the days and the months. In proof of this, I shall refer to one authority unly. It is that of Justin, a blessed martyr; quoted in a preceding lecture, as writing within half a century after the last of the apostles. Justin, in describing the worship of Christians, as then performed on the first day of the week, applies to it the name of “ Sunday.”
It is hoped, that the view here taken of the subject will enable us to answer the third question,--How far the appointment of the Sabbath is now binding on the Christian Church.
If the principles stated be correct; it follows, that whatever rests only on any precept to the Israelites, is done away. But the object now being simply the uses attached to publick and private devotion, and to religious instruction received or given, the spirit of the appointment remains; dictating the means the
• Rev. i. 10,
best adapted to the accomplishing of these uses, and prohibiting whatever interferes with the same. This is to be understood, with the exception of works of necessity and those of mercy: so that in the present state of society, differing materially as it does from the circumstances of the Jewish people, if there be any employment conducing to the civil weal, which can. not be suspended on the Lord's day without the defeat. ing of the very object; it seems to follow, that the suspension may be dispensed with, under such regulations of alternate labour, as will be consistent with the interests of civil life; without destroying, although doubtless abridging the religious privileges of the persons so employed. In addition to this, the latitude here taken embraces such occasional occupation, as may prevent great loss: such as the gathering in of the harvest; when it might otherwise be ruined or materi. ally damaged, by an unfavourable state of the weather. This instance is here given in consequence of finding, that on the conversion of the Roman emperours, and when they began to make laws for the hallowing of the Lord's day, this was one of the exceptions: which would not have been made, had it been alien from the sense of the Church, in her state then existing; and to which she had attained, after the fiery trials of ten heavy persecutions. What has been here said, is deemed to be nothing more, than what is consonant to the saying of our Saviour, that “the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.”
Cases of difficulty and of emergency being out of the question; there can be nothing clearer, than that persons who have their time and their conduct at their own disposal, are bound to spend the Lord's day in such a manner, as shall answer the purposes of the appointment. It is not here said for it is not thought that they are bound to a degree of precision affected by some, forbidding the ordinary civilities of life; or such exercise of the limbs of persons in sedentary em. ployments, as may be beneficial to their health. But all habits of living which prevent either masters and
mistresses of families or their children and their ser. vants, from the devotions of the Church and of the closet, and any thing under the name either of busi. ness or of amusement having the same effect, is con. trary to the Christian character; contrary to it in a point, which wise men have always held essential to the maintaining of the visible profession of Christianity; and not only this, but to the maintaining of a popular regard to law, to order, and to decorum.
Fifth commandment. “Honour thy father and thy mother; that thy days may be long in the land, which the Lord, thy God giveth thee.”
There is a peculiarity attached to this command, in the mention of long life as the recompense of obedi. ence. It is well known, that the Mosaick dispensation rested more than the Christian does, on temporal promises. Doubtless, under the especial Providence stipulated and extended to the Jews, there was in sub. stance a performance of the promise, while their economy continued. Although nothing of the kind can be claimed by Christians; it helps to show the extraordinary importance of the precept, to which such a blessing was attached; and which is accordingly distin. guished by St. Paul as “ the first commandment with promise."*
Indeed, there can be no duty more evident in the condition of humanity, than the honouring of parents; the relation between parent and child being the most essential of all the relations, to the perpetuating of the species—the perpetuating of it under such circumstances, as that every succeeding generation may be prepared for the stations which they are respectively to fill, by the acquired knowledge and experience of the generation which they are to succeed: and yet, the duty thus lying on the former cannot be discharged, without a due sustaining of their authority; which accordingly, is the object of the present precept. Honour implies respect: now although respect, as existing in the mind, will depend as to degree on the opin.
. Eph. vi. 2.
ion entertained of the person to whom it is paid; there is always in the parental character, that which challenges this homage, to the extent which the necessities and the charities of life require; and especially which forbids all disrespect, and much more, all rudeness and contempt.
The respect which comes under the article of honour, must be accompanied by affection. Now although no man can be intitled to love, accommodated to virtues not possessed by him; nor to gratitude, for benefits not bestowed; it scarcely ever happens be. tween parent and child, that there have not been on the part of the former, some tenderness, some cares, and some assiduities, which ought to have the effect of exciting correspondent sensibilities in the latter. In
any extraordinary cases of the abandonment of offspring, or of hearts without feeling for the helplessness of their infant years; it is not here said, that love is a property of the duty.
The result of respect and of affection-and what is indeed due independently on them-is the obedience of children, to all the lawful commands of their pa. rents. That restriction is added, because in the event of commands contrary to what we owe to a common father in heaven, the prerogatives of this higher character are to bear down the authority of the other. Nei. ther should the reverence, which is the principle of the obedience, forbid a child from beholding any vice of his parent in such a point of view, as to prevent an imitation of it. This is particularly referred to by the prophet Ezekiel; who speaks of a “ son's seeing all his father's sins which he hath done, and considering, and doing not such like;” and promises as the result, that the son “shall save his soul alive."*
Agreeably to the assumed liberality of construction, and the reason on which it is founded, the honour exacted of children implies the duties of the parental character; to which its rights have been accommodated. Those duties comprehend support,
Ch. xviii. 14;
protection, instruction, and a good example; and fail. ure in any one of these points, incurs a heavy responsibility. There are few parents, who manifest insensibility to the temporal prospects of their offspring: and where this is found, the rarity of it is a demonstration,
how much it depresses below the level of humanity. The more common errour, is the not educating of children as heirs of immortality: and yet, an account of this is to be rendered, when the relations of life will be lost in an equality in which we shall all stand, to answer for the deeds done in the body.
But further; according to the principles assumed, resulting from the brevity of the Decalogue, and under regard had to the fact, that its duties are fur. ther unfolded in the Pentateuch; the parental relation must be considered as extending its principle to that which exists between civil rulers, and the people committed to their charge. It is a relation resulting from the will of God, manifested in human nature and the condition of the world. Therefore a like reason to that which requires children to honour their parents, requires subjects or citizens to honour those, who are the common fathers of the state. That is the happiest state of society, in which the rights of the one, and the freedom of the other, are defined and secured by wise and equal laws. But independently on all human laws, the unconstitutional resistance of civil authority is a high crime; which is also more or less the character of all contumelious treatment of our civil superiours, and all maligning of their motives and of their actions.
The plan of interpretation extends also to the relation between pastor and people. The duties of the former cannot be carried into effect, without there being in the latter a reasonable measure of respect to his persoa, and reverence of his instructions. Even in the case of inconsistency of his conduct with his profession; although it does not exempt him from censure, yet the ground of this should not be enter