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trade; so much promotion in the army; so much progress in the sciences; and so much prosperity in the several professions of many of us, who, according to the world, are more happy in the land of their exile, than they were in their own country?
Why has God been pleased to signalize his favours to certain individuals of the nations, and have extended to us a protecting arm? Why, when indigence and exiles seemed to enter their houses together, have we seen affluence, benediction, and riches emanate, if we may so speak, from the bosom of charity and beneficence?
By what miracle have so great a number of our confessors and martyrs been liberated from their tortures and their chains?
From what principle proceeds the extraordinary difference, God has put between those of our countrymen, who, without consulting "flesh and blood, have followed Jesus Christ without the camp, bearing his reproach," and those who have wished to join the interests of mammon with those of heaven? Gal. i. 16; Heb. xiii. 13.
We are masters of whatever property with which it pleased Providence to invest us on our departure; but our brethren cannot dispose of theirs but with vexatious restrictions and imposts.
We have over our children the rights which nature, society, and religion have given us; we can promise both to ourselves and to them the protection of the laws, while we shall continue to respect the laws, which we teach them to do. But our countrymen, on leaving their houses for a few hours, know not on their return, whether they shall find those dear parts of themselves, or whether they shall be dragged away to confinement in a convent, or thrown into a jail.
Whenever the sabbaths and festivals of the church arrive, we go with our families to render homage to the Supreme; we rise up in a throng with a song of triumph in the house of our God; we make it resound with hymns; we hear the Scriptures; we offer up our prayers; we participate of his sacraments; we anticipate the eternal felicities. But our countrymen have no part in the joy of our feasts; they are to them days of mourning; it is with difficulty in an obscure part of their house, and in the mortal fear of detection, that they celebrate some hasty act of piety and religion.
We, when conceiving ourselves to be extended on the bed of death, can call our ministers, and open to them our hearts, listen to their gracious words, and drink in the sources of their comfort. But our countrymen are pursued to the last moments of their life by their enemies, and having lived temporizing, they die temporizing.
We find then as the captive Jews, the accomplishment of the prophecy of my text; and we enjoy, during the years of our dispersion, favours similar to those which soothed the Jews during their captivity.
But can we promise ourselves that ours shall come to a similar close? The mercy of God on our behalf has already accomplished the promise in the text, "I will be to them as a little sanctuary in the countries where they are come." But when shall we see the accomVOL. II.-47
plishment of that which follows. "I will gather you from among the people, and assemble you from the countries where ye have been scattered." When is it that so many Christians, who degenerate as they are, still love religion; when is it that they shall repair the insults they have offered to it? When is it, that so many children who have been torn from their fathers, shall be restored; or rather, when shall we see them restored to the church, from whose bosom they have been plucked? When is it that we shall see in our country what we see at this day, Christians emulous to build churches, to consecrate them, there to render God the early homage due to his Majesty, and to participate in the first favours he there accords? "Oh! ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence; give him no rest till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth," Isa. Ixii. 5, 6. "Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock, thou that dwellest between the cherubim shine forth. Before Ephraim and Benjamin, and Manasseh, stir up thy strength, and come and save us," Ps. lxxx. 1, 2. "O Lord God of hosts, how long wilt thou be angry against the prayer of thy people?" ver. 4. "Thou shalt arise, and have mercy on Zion: for the time to favour her, yea, the set time is come. For thy servants take pleasure in stones, and favour the dust thereof. Then the heathen shall fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth thy glory. When the Lord shall build up Zion; when he shall regard the prayer of the destitute, this shall be written for the generation to come; and the people which shall be created shall praise the Lord; for he hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary," Ps. cii. 13, &c. May this be the first subject of the prayers we shall this day offer to God in this holy place.
But asking of him favours so precious, let us ask with sentiments which ensure success. May the purity of the worship we render to God in the churches he has preserved, and in those he has also allowed to build, obtain reedification of those that have been demolished. May our charity to brethren, the companions of our exile, obtain a re-union with the brethren, from whom we have been separated by the calamities of the times. And while God shall still retard this happy period, may our respect for our rulers, may our zeal for the public good, may our punctuality in paying the taxes, may our gratitude for the many favours we have received in these provinces, which equalize us with its natural subjects; and compressing in my exhortations and prayers, not only my countrymen, but all who compose this assembly, may the manner in which we shall serve God amid the infirmities and miseries inseparable from this valley of tears, ensure to us, my brethren, that after having joined our voices to those choirs which compose the militant church, we shall be joined to those that form the church triumphant, and sing eternally with the angels, and with the multitude of the redeemed of all nations, and languages, the praises of the Creator. God grant us the grace. To whom be honour and glory henceforth and for ever. Amen.
ON FESTIVALS, AND PARTICULARLY ON THE SABBATH-DAY.
ISAIAH lviii. 13, 14.
If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight; the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thy own ways, nor finding thy own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words; then thou shalt delight thyself in the Lord, and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. "WHEN Will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat?" This was the language that the prophet Amos put into the mouth of the profane men in his own time. It is less expressive of their presumptive speeches, than of the latent wickedness which festered in their hearts. Religion and politics were closely connected in the Hebrew nation. The laws inflicted the severest penalties on those that violated the exterior of religion. The execrable men, of whom the prophet speaks, could not absent themselves from the solemn festivals with impunity; but they worshipped with constraint; they regretted the loss of their time; they reproached God with every moment wasted in his house; they ardently wished the feasts to be gone, that they might return, not only to their avocations, but also to their crimes; they said in their hearts, "When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat?" Amos viii. 5.
Against this disposition of mind, God has denounced by the ministry of this same prophet, those very awful judgments, which he has painted in the deepest shades. The Lord hath sworn: "I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation. Behold the day cometh, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land; not a famine of bread, not a thirst of water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east; they shall run to and fro to hear the word of the Lord, and shall not find it."
those lamentations heard in one part of the church for forty years, and which awful melody has latterly been renewed, if we sung our sacred hymns with a devotion that the praises of the Creator require of the creature? "O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces. The Lord is righteous, though we have rebelled against him," Dan. ix. 7. 9. Happy those who groan under the strokes for the sins they have committed, provided the school of adversity make them wise. Happy those of you, my brethren, who are simply the spectators of those calamities, provided you abstain from the sins which have occasioned them, and become wise at the expense of others.
My brethren, are you not persuaded, that the impious men, of whom the prophet speaks, have had imitators in succeeding times? whence is it then that some among us have been struck precisely with the same strokes, if they have not been partakers of the same crimes? whence comes this famine of God's word, my dear countrymen, with which we have been afflicted? Whence comes the necessity imposed upon us to wander from sea to sea, to recover this divine pasture, if we have not slighted it in places where it existed in so much abundance and unction? Whence comes those awful catastrophes that have changed our solemn feasts into mourning, if we celebrated them, when it was in our power, with joy? Whence comes
This is the design of my discourse, in which I am to address you on the respect due to the solemn feasts, and to the sabbath-day in particular, leaving conscience to decide whether it be caprice, or necessity, which prompts us to choice; whether it be inconsideration, or mere accident; or whether it has been compulsion, through the dreadful enormities into which we are plunged, in regard of the profanation of religious festivals, and of the sabbathday in particular, that people have for so long a time justly branded us with reproach: profaneness alone, unless we make efforts to reform it, is sufficient to bring down the wrath of God on these provinces. May Heaven deign to avert those awful presages! May the Almighty engrave on our hearts the divine precept inculcated to-day, that we may happily inherit the favours he has promised! May be enable us so "to make the sabbaths our delight," that we may be made partakers of " the heritage of Jacob;" I would say, that of "the finisher of our faith. Amen."
If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day, and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable, and shalt honour him, not doing thy ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine words; then thou shalt delight thyself in the Lord, and I will cause thee to ride on the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it." This is our text, and here is our design. We shall consider the words,
I. With regard to the Jewish church;
II. With regard to the Christian church; or to be more explicit, God has made two very different worlds, the world of nature, and the world of grace. Both these are the heritage of the faithful, but in a very different way. The Jews contemplating the world of grace as a distant object, had their imagination principally impressed with the kingdom of nature. Hence, in their form of thanksgiving, they said, "Blessed be God who hath created the wheat; blessed be God who hath created the fruit of the vine." Christians, on the contrary, accounting themselves but strangers in this world, place all their glory in seeing the marvels of the world of grace. Hence it is the common theme of their thanksgivings to say, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his abundant mercy, hath begotten us again unto a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead," 1 Pet. i. 3, 4. Thus it was in
ON THE SABBATH-DAY.
a point of order that the difference of dispensa- | moon, to whom they gave the name of Isis."
I. We shall consider the words of the text with regard to the Jews. With that view we shall state, 1. The reasons of the institution of the Sabbath; 2. The manner in which the prophet required it to be celebrated; 3. The promises made to those who worthily hallow the sabbath-day.
day as a high avowal of the Jews of their deWe must consequently regard the sabbathFour considerations gave occasion for the in- God alone the origin of the universe. An extestation of idolatry, and of their ascribing to stitution of the sabbath-day. God was wishful pression of Ezekiel is to the same effect: he calls to perpetuate two original truths on which the the sabbath a sign between God and his people: whole evidence of religion devolves; the first is, "I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between that the world had a beginning; the second is, me and them, that they might know that I am that God is its author. both these points, without the aid of illustra- is for this very reason, that the prophets exclaim You feel the force of the Lord that sanctify them," Ezek. xx. 12. It tion, because, if the world be eternal, there is so strongly against the violation of the sabbath: some being coeval with the godhead; and if it is for the same reason that God commanded there be any being coeval with the godhead, it to be observed with so high a sanction: it is there is a being which is independent of it, and for the same reason that the sabbath-breakers which is not indebted to God for its existence: were so rigorously punished; even that one for and if there be any being which is not depend- gathering a bundle of sticks, was stoned by the ant on God, I no longer see in him all the per- people. The law expressly enjoins that those fection which constitutes his essence: our devo- who profane the festival should be awfully anation is irregular; it ought to be divided between thematized. The all the beings which participate of his perfec-"Ye shall therefore keep the sabbath; for it is passage is tions. very remarkable. surely be put to death; for whosoever doeth any holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall work therein, that soul shall be cut off from amongst his people," Exod. xxxi. 14. This expression is appropriate to the great anathema, which was always followed by death. Whence should proceed so many cautions, so many rigours, so many threatenings, so many promises? You cannot account for them, if the sabbath be placed among the ceremonial institutions of the Hebrew code.*
With that view he prescribed repose to the ser3. God was wishful to promote humanity. vants and handmaids; that is, to domestics and slaves. Look on the situation of slaves: it is as oppressive as that of the beasts. They saw no termination of their servitude but after the expiration of seven years: and it might happen, that their masters seeing the servitude about to expire, would become more rigorous, with a view to indemnify themselves beforehand for the services they were about to lose. It was himself for men whose condition was so abject requisite to remind them, that God interests and oppressive. This reminds me of a fine passage in PLATO, who says, "that the gods, moved by the unhappy situation of slaves, have instituted the sacred festivals to procure them relaxation from labour." And CICERO says, disputes between freemen, and the labours of "that the festivals are destined to suspend the slaves." For the motives of humanity, it is subjoined in the precept, "Thou shalt do no
2. But if the world have not God for its author, it is requisite to establish the one or the other of these suppositions, either that the world itself has a superintending intelligence, or that it was formed by chance. If you suppose the world to have been governed by an intelligence peculiar to itself, you fall into the difficulty you wish to avoid. You associate with God a being, that, participating of his perfections, must participate also of his worship. On the contrary, if you suppose it was made by chance, you not only renounce all the light of reason, but you sap the whole foundation of faith: for, if chance have derived us from nothing, it may reduce us to nothing again; and if our existence depend on the caprice of fortune, the immortality of the soul is destitute of proof, infidelity obtains a triumph, religion becomes a pun, and the hopes of a life to come are a chimera.-It was therefore requisite, that there should remain in the church this monument of the creation of the universe.
The second reason was to prevent idolatry. This remark claims peculiar attention, many of the Mosaic precepts being founded on the situation in which the Jews were placed. Let this general remark be applied to the subject in hand. The people, on leaving Egypt, were separated from a nation that worshipped the sun, the moon, and the stars. I might prove it by various documents of antiquity. A passage of Diodorus of Sicily, shall suffice: "The ancient Egyptians (he says,) struck with the beauty of the universe, thought it owed its origin to two eternal divinities, that presided over all the others: the one was the sun, to whom they gave the name of Osiris; the other was the
country have latterly attempted to class the sabbath among
+ De legibus lib. 2
of Egypt. "The seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God,-that thy man-servant, and thy maid-servant may rest as well as thou. And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee thence, through a mighty hand and outstretched arm: therefore the Lord thy God commandeth thee to keep the sabbath-day," Deut. v. 14, 15.
manner of work, neither thou, nor thine ox,
nor thine ass."
I may here put the same question that St. Paul once put to the Corinthians, "Doth God take care for oxen?" No; but there is a constitutional sympathy, without which the heart is destitute of compassion. So is the import of a text in St. John, “No man hath seen God at any time: if we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfect in us. If any man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar. For he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?" There is here an apparent defect in the argumentation, because the faults we may see in our brother, may obstruct our attachment, which cannot be the case with regard to God. But the apostle's meaning was, that if an object striking the senses, as our brother, does not excite affection, we cannot love an object that is abstract, as the Divine Nature.ganism. Now, those who are habitually cruel to animals, are generally less tender, and they insensibly lose that constitutional sympathy which produces the affections of the heart and the mind. This constitutional sympathy excites in us a painful impression, that on seeing a wounded man, we are spontaneously moved to succour the afflicted. This sympathy is excited not only by the sight of a man, but also by the sight of a beast, when treated with cruelty. Hence, on habituating ourselves to be cruel to animals, we do violence to our feelings, harden the heart, and extinguish the sympathy of nature. Ah! how suspicious should we be of virtues merely rational, and unconnected with the heart. They are more noble indeed, but they are not so sure. We may also remark, that those employed in slaughtering animals, are often wanting in tenderness and affection. And this very notion illustrates several of the Mosaic laws, which appear at first destitute of propriety, but which are founded on what we have just said. Such is the law which prohibits eating of things strangled; such is the law on finding a bird's nest, which forbids our taking the dam with the young: such also is that where God forbids our seething a kid in his mother's milk," Gen. ix. 4; Deut. xxii. 6, 7; Exod. xxiii. 19. In the last, some have thought that God was wishful to fortify the Jews against a superstitious custom of the heathens, who after having gathered the fruits of the vine, seethed a kid in his mother's milk, and then sprinkled the milk to Bacchus, that he might cruelly kill this animal which presumes to browse on the vine consecrated to the god. But I doubt, whether from all the ancient authors they can adduce a passage demonstrative that this species of superstition was known to subsist in the time of Moses. This difficulty is obviated by the explication I propose: besides, it excites humanity by enjoining compassion to animals, a duty inculcated by the heathens. The Phrygians were prohibited from killing an ox that trod out the corn. The judges of the Areopagus exiled a boy, who had plucked out the eyes of a living owl; and they severely punished a man who had roasted a bull alive. The duty of humanity is consequently a third motive of the institution of the sabbath. Hereby God recalled to the recollection of the Jews the situation in which they had been placed in the land
4. In a word, the design of God in the institution of the sabbath, was to recall to the minds of men the recollection of their original equality: he requires masters and servants alike to abstain from labour, so as in some sort to confound the diversity of their conditions, and to abate that pride, of which superior rank is so common a
There was among the heathens one festival very singular, which they call the Saturnalia. It was one of the most ancient festivals of paMACROBIUS affirms, that it was celebrated in Greece long before the foundation of Rome. The masters gave the servants a treat; they placed them at their own table, and clothed them in their own raiment. The heathens say, that this festival was instituted by king JANUS, to commemorate the age of Saturn, when men were equal, and unacquainted with the distinctions of rank and fortune. The institution was highly proper, being founded on fact, and it may serve as an illustration of our text.
God in recalling to men the original equality of their condition, apprised them in what consisted the true excellence of man. It is not in the difference rank, or what is called fortune. It consists in being men: it consists in the image of God, after which we were made: and consequently, the humblest of men made in his image, are entitled to respect.
This important reflection, I would inculcate on imperious masters, who treat their domestics as the brutes destitute of knowledge. We must not, I grant, disturb the order of society: the Scriptures themselves suppose the diversity of conditions. Hence they prescribe the duties of masters to their servants, and the duties of servants to their masters. But rank cannot sanction that haughty and disdainful carriage. Do you know what you do in mauling those whom certain advantages have placed in your power? You degrade yourselves; you renounce your proper dignity; and in assuming an extraneous glory, you seem but lightly to esteem that which is natural. I have said, that the glory of man does not consist in riches, nor in royalty, but in the excellence of his nature, in the image of God, after which he was made, and in the immortality to which he aspires. If you despise your servants, you do not derive your dignity from these sources, but from your exterior condition; for, if you derive it from the sources I have noticed, you would respect the persons committed to your care.-This may suffice for the reasons of the institution of the sabbath, let us say a word on the manner in which it must be celebrated.
2. On this subject, the less enlightened rabbins have indulged their superstition more than on any other. Having distorted the idea of the day, they would ascribe to the sabbath the power of conferring dignity on inanimate crea
tures: they even assign this reason, that God | prohibited their offering him any victim not a week old; and circumcising their children till that time; they assign, I say, this reason that no creature could be worthy to be offered to him, till he had first been consecrated by a sabbath!
tions and licentious customs have originated
They have distorted also the obligation imposed upon them of ceasing from labour. The Rabbins have reduced to thirty-nine heads whatever they presume to be forbidden on that day. Each of those heads includes the minutia, and not only the minutiæ, and things directly opposed to the happiness of society, but also to the spirit of the precept. Some have even scrupled to defend their own lives on that day against their enemies. Ptolemy Lagus, and Pompey after him, at the siege of Jerusalem, availed themselves of this superstition. Antiochus Epiphanes perpetrated an action still more cruel and vile. He pursued the Jews to the caves, whither they had fled to hide from his vengeance. There, on the sabbath-day, they suffered themselves to be slaughtered as beasts, without daring either to defend themselves or even to secure the entrance of their retreat.
Instead of the whimsical notions they had imbibed, God required a conduct consonant to the injunctions of his law. The import of the phrase, "doing thy own pleasure on my holy day," is, that thou follow not thy own caprice in the notions thou hast formed of religion, but what I myself have prescribed.
Instead of the imaginary excellence they attributed to the sabbath, God requires them to reverence it because it was a sign of communion with him; because in approaching him on this day, they became more holy; because they then renewed their vows, and became more and more detached from idolatry, and in fine, because on this day they became devoted to his worship in a peculiar manner. This is the import of the expression, "it is holy to the Lord;" I would say, it is distinguished, it is separated, from the other days of the week, for the duties of religion.
Instead of this rigorous sabbath, God required a cessation from all kinds of labour, which would tend to interrupt their meditations on all the marvels he had wrought for their country. He especially required that they should abstain from travelling long journeys; so is the gloss which some have given to the words, "If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath," though, perhaps, withdrawing the foot from the sabbath is a metaphorical expression for ceasing to profane it." But withal, they were allowed to do works of mercy, whether divine, or for the preservation of life. Hence the maxim of their wiser men, that "the dangers of life superseded the sabbath." And the celebrated Maimonides has decided the lawfulness of the Jews besieging and defending cities on the sabbath-day.. We see likewise in the history of the Maccabees, that Matthias and his sons defended themselves with resolution on that day. Besides, they were always allowed to walk what is called "a sabbath-day's journey;" that is, two hundred cubits, the distance between the camp and the tabernacle, while they were in the desert: every Jew being obliged to attend the divine service, it was requisite that this walk should be allowed.*This was the divine worship, which above all objects must engross their heart, and especially, the reading of God's word. This, perhaps, is the import of the phrase, which excites a very different idea in our version, nor speaking thine own words," which may be read, that thou mayest attach thyself to the word.
Some others, the Dositheans, a branch of the Samaritans, imposed a law of abiding the whole day in whatever place they were found by the sabbath. We recollect the story of the Jew, who having fallen into an unclean place, refused to be taken out on the sabbath-day; as also the decision of the Bishop of Saxony on that point, who, after knowing his scruple, condemned him to remain there the whole of the Sunday also, it being just that a Christian sabbath should be observed with the same sanctity as the Jewish.
They have likewise cast a gloom on the joy which the faithful should cherish on this holy day. It is a fact, that some of them fasted to the close of the day: to this custom the emperor Augustine alludes, when having remained a whole day without meat, he wrote to Tiberias, that a Jew did not better observe the fast of the sabbath, than he had observed it that day. But the greater number espoused the opposite side, and under a presumption that the prophet promised the divine approbation to those that "make the sabbath their delight," they took the greater precaution to avoid whatever might make them sad. They imposed a law to make three meals that day. They regarded fasting the day which preceded, and followed the sabbath, as a crime, lest it should disturb the joy. They allowed more time for sleep than on the other days of the week; they had fine dresses for the sabbath; they reserved the best food, and the most delicious wines to honour the festival: this is what they called "making the sabbath a delight!" this induced Plutarch to believe that they celebrated this festival in honour of Bacchus, and that the word sabbath was derived from the Greek sebazein, a word appropriate to the licentious practices indulged in the festivals of this false god. They affirm, on not attaining the sublime of devotion, that the cause is a deficiency of rejoicing. They even presume, that this joy * From the centre, the place of the Tabernacle, to the reaches to hell, and that the souls of Jews con-extremities of a camp of nearly three millions of people could not be less than four miles. Hence the prohibition demned to its torments, have a respite on the of journeys of pleasure, and unholy diversions, seems to sabbath-day. Evident it is, that all those no- have been the object of the precept.
3. It remains to consider the promise connected with the observation of the sabbath. "Then thou shalt delight thyself in the Lord, and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth; and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father." This promise is susceptible of a double import, the one literal, the other spiritual.
The literal refers to temporal prosperity; it is couched in figures consonant to the oriental