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creation. On this subject I refer you to Faber's Horce Mosaicæ, where you will meet with a copious reference to evidence that may be found in the most ancient heathen authors, whose writings have been transmitted to us.*
That the appointment of the Sabbath had a prospective as well as retrospective object, will hardly be disputed. It was intended to be, to all mankind, a commemoration of creation, which should maintain the knowledge and worship of its Divine Architect; and to the Israelites, in addition to this, it was to be also a commemoration, of their merciful deliverance from Egypt, which was a kind of second creation to them as a people. To us, as Christians, it is a commemoration of a new creation in Christ Jesus. And, to all the faithful, it is moreover an anticipation of “the rest that remaineth for the people of God.”
That there is an analogical connexion between the Sabbath as appointed at the completion of the first creation, and another Sabbath to be held
year was, (Exod. xii. 2.) for a memorial of their coming out of Egypt? I can see no reason why it might not, nor find any
testimony to assure me that it was not."
* The wisdom of the Divine appointment of weeks has not, perhaps, been duly recognized. 52 weeks comes within less than one day of the precise Solar year. The intercalation of a week
would reduce the difference to less than day above Solar time: and the seasonable use of alternate intercalations and omissions of a week, would approximate the reckoning to trae time better than any human invention.
at the completion of the new creation, may, 1 think, be fairly inferred from St. Paul's reasoning on the subject in the third and fourth chapters of his epistle to the Hebrews. He is there engaged in proving to the Hebrews that there is in reserve for believers in Jesus, a rest more glorious than that which had been enjoyed by virtue of the original command, or than had been enjoyed by their forefathers in Canaan, in their most prosperous ages, even on their most sacred days.
And he shows, by apposite quotations from the Old Testament, that the Spirit of God, by whose inspiration they were written, must have had in view a further Sabbatism * than any which had hitherto been enjoyed. If we may admit Dr. Owen's interpretation of the 10th verse of chapter iv, and consider the person spoken of as being our Lord Jesus Christ, the words
Σαββατισμος" † The learned expositor argues from the nature of the works from which God rested ;—they were such as afforded him delight and satisfaction in the retrospect. Such are not the works from which a believer ceases when he enters into the rest of faith. The parallel therefore, on the common interpretation, is incomplete. But if Christ be the person spoken of, the atoning work from which he rested, corresponds with the work from which God originally rested. The Dr. argues, moreover, from the change of number; for whereas the Apostle had been speaking of believers in the plural number, "we, &c.;" he here introduces a single person by the pronoun He, autogo He that is entered into his rest, &c." &c. &c. See also Mr. Scott's comment on the passage.
contain a direct parallelism between the ReDEEMER's rest from his work in the new creation, and that of JEHOVAH ALEIM from the work of the first. “He that is entered into his rest, hath also ceased from his own works, as God did from his.” The personal work of Jesus was completed when he cried “It is finished ;” and therefore at his resurrection and ascension he
entered into his rest." And as God, in the first instance, commanded that the seventh day, the day of his resting from his work, should be sanctified in commemoration of that rest ; so has Jesus, in the second, commanded that the first day of the week, the day on which he rested, should be sanctified in commemoration of his rest. But supposing that the day is changed, yet the force of the commandment remains, seeing that we may safely gather from Apostolic usage, that that change was among the ordinances which the great Head of the Church, the Lord of the Sabbath, enjoined on his believing people, through the medium of his Apostles, during the forty days of his converse with them after his resurrection from the dead.
The root from which the numeral seven is derived, signifies to have enough, to be satisfied. “ The number seven," adds Mr. Parkhurst, “ was denominated from this root because on that day Jehovah completed or finished (Gen. ii. 2.) all his work, or made it sufficient for the
purposes intended by it. The seventh day was also sanctified, or set apart, from the beginning as a religious sabbath or rest, to remind believers of that rest which God then entered into, and of that completion or "fulness of joy" * which is in his presence for evermore.
Hence the very early and general division of time into weeks, or periods of seven days. Hence the sacredness of the seventh day not only among believers before the giving of the gas but also among the heathen, for which they give the very same reason that Moses doth, Gen. ii. 2, namely, that on it all things were ended or completed."*
“ Besides, the known signification of the numeral seven,” says Cruden, in his Concordance, “it is also used in Scripture as a number of perfection. In the sacred books, and in the religion of the Jews, a great number of events and of mysterious circumstances are set forth by the number of seven. God consecrated the seventh day, on which he ceased from his works of creation, as a day of rest and repose. This rest, according to the Apostle, (Heh. iv. 4—9.) intimates eternal rest. And not only the seventh
* Ps. xvi. 11. where the word you, fulness, is the same that renders the numeral seven.
† “ See Grotius de Verit. Relig. Christ. lib. i. cap. xvi. note 23, &c. Mr. Cooke's inquiry into the Patriarchal and Druidical Religion, pp. 4 & 5. (2d Edit.) and the authors there quoted. Boyse’s Pantheon, p. 168, second edition. Leland's Advantage and Necessity of Christian Revelation, part 1. chap. 2. p. 74. octavo edit. j. and Dr. Waterland's Charge, &c. p. 41, 58."
day is honoured among the Jews, by the rest of the Sabbath, but every
year is consecrated to the rest of the earth, by the name of the Sabbatical year: as also the seven times seventh year, or forty-ninth year, is the year of Jubilee. In the prophetic style a week often stands for seven years. Dan. ix. 24, 29. Jacob served his father in law, Laban, seven years for each of his daughters. Pharaoh's mysterious dream represented to his imagination seven fat oxen and seven lean ones; seven full
of corn and as many that were blasted: these stood for seven years of plenty and seven of scarcity. The golden candlestick had seven branches. There were seven trumpets, seven priests that sounded them, seven days to surround the walls of Jericho. (Josh. vi. 4, 6, 8, 15.) In the Revelation are the seven churches, seven candlesticks, seven spirits, seven stars, seven lamps, seven seals, seven angels, seven vials, seven plagues, &c.”
It appears that the heathen borrowed from the Scriptures, or from tradition, the use of this mystic number. The Pythagoreans, the Greeks, and Romans, all employed it in a manner which proves that it was derived from one common
On this subject you may consult Holloway's Originals, vol. ii. p. 59; and the authorities which he has quoted. That there is a reference in the use which the Scripture makes of this numeral to some primary circumstance