תמונות בעמוד

force or justice in them, the matter of duty must be made plain and evident.

To trust to tradition, the praćtice of past ages and probable hints from the new Testament, is not enough. . Tradition is 'not sufficient, even though we could prove it to be true. For if the fabbath is any thing, it is a positive law, and the obfervation of it must be considered as obedience to a peremptory command.

We ought then to enquire diligently, whether the fourth command is moral ? and so, whether in force under the gospel ?

And to begin, the morality, or necessity of the fourth command, may be juftly argued from its being engraved upon stone, by the finger of God; and joined with nine more; which are confessedly moral. The first being against politheism, the second against idolatry, the third against blasphemy, the fifth against rebellion, the fixth against murder, the seventh against adultery, the eighth against theft, the ninth against perjury and the tenth against avarice.

This is the great law of the universe; by which the behavior of all reasonable creatures is, and for ever must be regulated. There never will be


therefore a time, in which this can be spared , being the perfect rule, and exact measure of right and wrong. God therefore wrote it twice over with his own hand; and as far as we know, the only thing he ever did write; rather engraved it upon

to fignity the fublimity of the subject, and the duration and perpetuity of the rules therein enjoined.


among the

Among these stands the precept for the sabbath, and stands there with conspicuity,

conspicuity, among primary commands, in the first table; worded with evident emphasis, and fulness of expression. And since it is so, it is wonderful that any man could venture to say, or even to fuggeft, that the law for the fabbath is not moral, but positive and arbitrary.


Our Lord in his sermon upon the mount ,

has given us a very different view of the subject Think not that I am come to destroy the law, the prophets: I am not come to destroy but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot, or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of the least commandments,


B 2

and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

He came


even the

He teaches us that some precepts of the law are greater than others, but that the very least of them is so great, that sooner might the creation pass away, than that any portion of it should be loft.

not into the world to repeal any one of the commandments of the law, leaft. He knew that some people would think so, and teach others to think the same; but says he, think it not. Very far from it. Let it be very distant from your thoughts. I am the law. . I am not come to destroy, leffen it in quantiiy, quality, number, force or authority.


to fulfil


Not only no command must be dropped, but no punctilio must be passed by. The jot,

, or Hebrew i, which is one , of the smallest letters in the world, must not be lost therein, which might alter the grammar of it, in time, number, persons, or emphasis. The tittle, or little speck, which is upon the points of some of the letters for distinction fake, must not be passed by. Not


only each command must be taken care of, but each word, each letter and each speck.

Sooner then may man be lost for ever; sooner may the universe vanish into nothing, than that the least command, or the least letter of the least command,

or the least speck of the least letter of the law, by which its sense, grammar and power is known, should be loft or flighted. Yea, the heaven and the earth as to their present state shall vanish away, and they shall undergo a great change, but the law shall never change; all its commands, in number, sense, power, and force, muft remain eternally unchangeable. Our Lord then came not to reduce the law, nor to nullify any one

command or precept of it; not the least,

nor the least thing in the least precept. Earth may, and shall pa's away,

heaven shall pass away, men may ruin themselves for ever by tampering with, and attempting to lessen the law, and lay some of it aside, but the law cannot change. Even the least precept of it, must remain in eternal force.

may, and

But the precept for the fabbath is not the least, but one of the greatest. It appears to be the very first that was formally delivered to man, and the first that he had occasion to put in practice; for the first thing that Adam did after he was created, was to keep the fabbath.

This is evident by the divisions of time given us in the first and second chapters of Genesis. The first is a horizontal one, dividing the tour and twenty hours into day and night, wherein the half of the earth, fhaded by the darkness, is called night; the other half irradiated by the light, is called day; a horizontal duik or twilight, making the division between both.

Then follows a meridional division, fixing paradise for the first meridian. The whole western side of the earth from noon to the opposite midnight point, is called evening; and the whole eastern fide of the earth, from midnight to noon again, is called morning; and the horizontal dulk or twilight cutting them across, and dividing them into two evenings, and two mornings. The first evening is light, running from noon to sun set; the second evening is dark, running from sun set to midnight. Also the first morning is dark, running from midnight to sun rising; the second morning is light, running from sun rising to noon again.


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