« הקודםהמשך »
transcript of the law of nature, which we can yet prove from the nature or the reason of the thing, the matter of it continueth (not as Jewish, but) as natural.
7. Besides all this, when no man of himself could tell, whether one day in six, or seven, or eight, were his duty to observe, God hath come in, and, 1. By doctrine or history told us, that he“ made the world in six days, and rested the seventh.” 2. By law; and hath commanded one day in seven to the Jews ; by which he hath made known consequently to all men, that one day in seven is the fittest proportion of time. And the case being thus determined by God, by a law to others, doth consequently become a law to us, because it is the determination of Divine Wisdom; unless it were done upon some reasons in which their condition differeth from ours. And thus the doctrine and reasons of an abrogated law, continuing, may induce on us an obligation to duty. And in this sense the fourth commandment may
be said still to bind us to one day in seven.
But in two points the obligation (even as to the matter) ceaseth: 1. We are not bound to the Seventh day, because God our Redeemer, who is the Lord of the Sabbath, hath made a change. 2. We are not bound to a Sabbath in the old notion, that is, to a day of ceremonial rest for itself required; but to a day to be spent in evangelical worship.
And though I am not of their mind who say, that the Seventh day is not commanded in the fourth commandment, but a Sabbath-day only; yet, I think that it is evident in the words, that the · Ratio Sabbati,' and the Ratio diei septimi' are distinguishable: and that the Sabbath, as a Sabbath, is first in the precept, and the particular day is there but secondarily, and so mutably; as if God had said,
I will have a particular day set apart for a holy rest, and for my worship; and that day shall be one in seven, and the seventh also on which I rested from my works.'
. And thus I have said as much as I think needful to satisfy the considerate about the day: Again professing, 1. That I believe that he is in the right that maketh conscience of the Lord's-day only. 2. But yet I will not break charity with any brother, that shall in tenderness of conscience keep both days; especially in times of profaneness, when few will be brought to the true observation of one. 3. But I think him that keepeth the Seventh day only, and neg
lecteth the Lord's-day, to sin against very evident light, with many aggravations. 4. But I think him that keepeth no day (whether professedly, or practising contrary to his profession; whether on pretence of avoiding superstition, or on pretence of keeping every day as a Sabbath) to be far the worst of all. I shall now add somewhat to some appendant questions.
Of the Beginning of the Day. Quest. 1. “When doth the Lord's-day begin ?'
Answ. 1. If we can tell when any day beginneth, we may know when that beginneth. If we cannot, the necessity of our ignorance, will shorten the trouble of our scruples by excusing us.
2. Because the Lord's-day is not to be kept as a Jewish Sabbath ceremoniously, but the time and the rest are here commanded subserviently for the work sake, therefore we have not so much reason to be scrupulous about the hours of beginning and ending, as the Jews had about their Sabbath.
3. I think he that judgeth of the beginning and ending of the day according to the common estimation of the country where he liveth, will best answer the ends of the institution. For he will keep still the same proportion of time; and so much as is ordinarily allowed on other days for work, he will spend this day in holy works; and so much in rest as is used to be spent in rest on other days; (which may ordinarily satisfy a well informed conscience.) And if any extraordinary occasions (as journeying or the like,) require him to doubt of
any hours of the night, whether they be part of the Lord'sday or not; 1. It will be but his sleeping-time, and not his worshipping-time, which he will be in doubt of: And, 2. He will avoid all scandal and tempting others to break the day, if he measure the day by the common estimate : Whereas, if the country where he liveth do esteem the day to begin at sunsetting, and he suppose it to begin at midnight, he may be scandalous by doing that which in the common opinion is a violation of the day. If I thought
that this short kind of solution, were not the fittest to afford just quietness to the minds of sober Christians in this point, I would take the pains to scan the controversy about the true beginning of days : but lest it more puzzle and perplex, than edify or resolve and quiet the conscience, I save myself and the reader that trouble.
Quest. 2. · How should the Lord's-day be kept or used ?'
Answ. The practical directions I have given in another treatise. I shall now give you but these generals.
I. The day being separated, or set apart for holy worship, must accordingly be spent therein. To sanctify it, is to spend it in holy exercises : how else should it be used as a holy day? “ I was in the Spirit on the Lord's-day," saith St. John, Rev. i. 10.
II. The principal work of the day is, the communion of Christians in the public exercise of God's worship. It is principally to be spent in holy assemblies. And this is the use that the Scripture expressly mentioneth, Acts xx. 7, and intimateth, 1 Cor. xvi. 1, 2; and as most expositors think, John xxi, when the disciples were gathered together with the door shut, for fear of the Jews. And all church-history assureth us, that in these holy assemblies principally, the day was spent by the ancient Christians. They spent almost all the day together.
III. It is not only to be spent in holy exercises, but also in such special holy exercises as are suitable to the purposes of the day. That is, it is a day of commemorating the whole work of our redemption; but especially the resurrection of Christ. Therefore it is a day of thanksgiving and praise ; and the special services of it must be laudatory and joyful exercises.
IV. But yet because it is sinners that are called to this work, who are not yet fully delivered from their sin and misery, these praises must be mixed with penitent confessions, and with earnest petitions, and with diligent learning the will of God.
More particularly, the public exercises of the day are, 1. Humble and penitent confessions of sin. 2. The faithful and fervent prayers of the church. 3. The reading, preaching and hearing of the word of God. 4. The communion of the church in the Lord's-supper. 5. The laudatory exhor
' tations which attend it; and the singing and speaking of the praises of our Creator, and Redeemer, and Sanctifier; with joyful thanksgiving for his wonderful benefits. 6. The seasonable exercise of holy discipline on particular persons, for comforting the weak, reforming the scandalous, casting out the obstinately impenitent, and absolving and receiving the penitent. 7. The pastor's blessing the people in the name of the Lord. 8. And as an appurtenance in due season, oblations or contributions for holy and charitable uses, even for the church and poor, which yet may be put off to other days, when it is more convenient so to do.
Quest. “But who is it that must be present in all these exercises ?'
Answ. Where there is no church yet called, the whole day may be spent in preaching to, and teaching the unconverted infidels : but where there is a church, and no other persons mixed, the whole exercise of the day must be such as are fitted to the state of the church. But where there is à church and other persons infidels and impenitent ones) with them, the day must be spent proportionably in exercises suitable to the good of both; yet so that church-exercises should be the principal work of the day. And the ancient laudable practice of the churches was, to preach to the infidel auditors and catechumens in the morning, on such subjects as were most suitable to them, and then to dismiss them, and retain the faithful (or baptized) only; and to teach them all the commands of Christ; to stir them up to the joyful commemoration of Christ and his resurrection, and to sing God's praises, and celebrate the Lord'ssupper with the eucharistical acknowledgments and joy. And they never kept a Lord's-day in the church, without the Lord's-supper; in which the bare administration of the signs was not their whole work; but all their thanksgiving and praising exercises, were principally then used, and connexed to the Lord's-supper : which the liturgies yet extant do at large express.
And I know no reason but thus it should be still; or at least but that this course should be the ordinary celebration of the day.
Quest. · But seeing the Sabbath was instituted in the beginning to commemorate the work of the creation, must that be laid by now, because of our commemoration of the work of our redemption ?
Answ. No: Our Redeemer's work is to restore us to the acknowledgment and love of our Creator. And the commemoration of our redemption fitteth us to a holy acknowledgment of the Almighty Creator in his works: these therefore are still to go together; according to their several proper places ; even as the Son is the way to the Father, and we must never separate them in the exercise of our faith, obedience, or love. A Christian is a sanctified philosopher: and no man knoweth or acknowledgeth God's works of creation or providence aright, in their true sense, but he that seeth God the Creator and Redeemer, the Be ning, the Governor and the End of all. Other philosophers are but as those children, that play with the book and the letters, but understand not the matter contained in it; or like one that teacheth boys nitide literas pingere,' to write a curious hand, wbile he understands not what he writeth. : Object. 'But to spend so much of the day in public as you speak of, will tire out the minister by speaking so long : few men are able to endure it.'
Answ. How did the Christians in the primitive churches ? They met in the morning, and often (as far as I can gather) parted not till night, and when they did go home between the morning and evening service, it was but for a little time.
Object. ' Then they made it a fast and not a festival.'
Answ. It was not the use then to eat dinners in those hot countries ; much less three meals a-day, as we do now. And they accounted it a sufficient feasting, to eat once, at supper ;. which they did at the first altogether at their church-meeting, with the sacrament; but afterward finding the inconvenience of that, they feasted at home, and used only the sacrament in the church : which change was not made without the allowance of the apostles ; Paul saying, " Have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God ?" (1 Cor. xi. 22.)
I further answer, that the work of the day being done according to the primitive use, it will be no excessive labour to the ministers, because, in the celebration of the Lord'ssupper, he is not still in one continued speech, but hath the