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style, and particularly to the prophetic. The high places of the earth, are those of Palestine; so called, because it is a mountainous country. The idea of our prophet coincides with what Moses has said in the xxxiid chapter of Deuteronomy. "He has made him to ride upon the high places of the earth: or to ride on horseback," as in our text, which implies the surmounting of the greatest difficulties. Hence, God's promise to those who should observe his sabbath, of riding on the high places of the earth, imports, that they should have a peaceful residence in the land of Canaan.
has so long and so justly reproached us, which determined me on the choice of this text. We proceed therefore to some more pointed remarks, which shall close this discourse.
II. The whole is reduced to two questions, in which we are directly concerned. First, are Christians obliged to observe a day of rest; and secondly, in these provinces, in this church, is that day celebrated, I do not say with all the sanctity it requires, but only, is it observed with the same reverence as in the rest of the Christian world, even in places the most corrupt?
1. Are Christians obliged to observe a day of rest? This question has been debated in the primitive church, and the subject has been resumed in our own age. Some of the ancient and of the modern divines have maintained, not only that the obligation is imposed on Christians, but that the fourth commandment of the law ought to be observed in all its riHence, in the first ages, some have had the same respect for Saturday as for Sunday. Gregory Nazianzen calls these two days two companions, for which we should cherish an equal respect. The constitution of Clement enjoin both these festivals to be observed in the church; the sabbath-day in honour of the creation, and the Lord's-day, which exhibits to our view the resurrection of the Saviour of the world.
Plenty is joined to peace in the words which follow: "I will feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father." Here is designated the abundance which the descendants of the patriarch should enjoy in the promised land. Some presume that the name of Jacob is here mentioned in preference of Abraham, because Jacob had a peculiar reverence for the sabbath-gour. day. They say, that Isaiah here refers to an occurrence in the patriarch's life. It is recorded in the xxxiiid of Genesis, that Jacob, coming from Padan-aram, encamped before the city of Shechem: and they contend, that it was to hallow the sabbath, which intervened during his march. Reverie of the Rabbins. The promises made to Abraham, and Isaac, respecting the promised land, were renewed to Jacob; hence it might as well be called the heritage of Jacob, as the heritage of Abraham. This is the literal sense of my text.
We have no design, my brethren, to revive those controversies, this part of our discourse being designed for your edification. You are not accused of wanting respect for the Saturday, but for the day that follows. Your defect is not a wish to observe two sabbaths in the week, but a refusal to observe one. It is then sufficient to prove, that Christians are obliged to observe one day in the week, and that day is the first. This is apparent from four considerations, which I proceed to name.
First, from the nature of the institution. It is a general maxim, that whatever morality was contained in the Jewish ritual; that whatever was calculated to strengthen the bonds of our communion with God, to reconcile us to our neighbour, to inspire us with holy thoughts, was obligatory on the Christians; and more so than on the Jews, in proportion as the new covenant surpasses the old in excellence. Apply this maxim to our subject. The precept under discussion has a ceremonial aspect, assortable to the circumstances in which the ancient church were placed. The selection of the seventh day, the rigours of its sanctity, and its designs to supersede the idolatrous customs of Egypt, were peculiar to the ancient church, and purely ceremonial; and in that view, not binding to the christian. But the necessity of having one day in seven consecrated to the worship of God, to study the grand truths of religion, to make a public profession of faith, to give relaxation to servants, to confound all distinction of rank in congregations, to acknowledge that we are all brethren, that we are equal in the sight of God, who there presides, all these are not comprised in the ritual, they are wholly moral.
It has also a spiritual sense, which some interpreters have sought in this phrase, "the high places of the earth." They think it means the abode of the blessed. Not wishful to seek it in the expression, we shall find it in the nature of the object. What was this "heritage of Jacob?" Was it only Canaan properly so called? This St. Paul denies in the xith chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews. Speaking of the faith of the patriarchs, he positively asserts, that the promised land was not its principal object. The "heritage of Jacob," according to the apostle, "is a country better than that which the patriarchs had left;" "that is, a heavenly country." This is the heritage of which the expiring patriarch hoped to acquire the possession; and of which he said in his last moments, "O God, I have waited for thy salvation," Gen. xlix. 18. This Jerusalem, the apostle calls a high place, the "Jerusalem which is above," not because it is situate on the mountains, but because it really is above the region of terrestrial things. This is the Jerusalem which is the mother of us all, and to which the claims of Christians are not less powerful than the Jews.
This induces us, my brethren, to consider the text in regard to Christians, as we have considered it in regard to Jews. Perhaps you have secretly reproached us, during the course of this sermon, with having consumed, in less instructive researches, the limits of our time.But, my brethren, if you complain of the remote reference which the subject has to your state, I fear, I do fear, you will murmur against what follows, as touching you too closely. I 2. We have proofs in the New Testament, said in the beginning, that it was the dreadful that the first day of the week was chosen of excess into which we are plunged; the horrible God to succeed the seventh. This day is callprofanation of the sabbath, a profanation whiched in the Book of Revelation, "the Lord's
day," by way of excellence, i. 10. It is said in the xxth chapter of the Book of Acts, that the apostles" came together on the first day of the week to break bread." And St. Paul, writing to the Corinthians to lay by on the first day of the week what each had designed for charity, sanctions the Sunday to be observed instead of the Saturday, seeing the Jews, according to the testimony of Philo, and Josephus, had been accustomed to make the collections on the sabbath-day, and receive the tenths in the synagogues to carry to Jerusalem.*
3. On this subject, we have likewise authentic documents of antiquity. Pliny, the younger, in his letter to the emperor Trajan concerning the Christians, says, that they set apart one day for devotion, and it is indisputable that he means the Sunday. Justin Martyr in his Apologies, and in his letter to Denis, pastor of Corinth, bears the same testimony. The emperor Constantine made severe laws against those who did not sanctify the sabbath. These laws were renewed by Theodosius, by Valentinian, by Arcadius; for, my brethren, these emperors did not confine their duties to the extension of trade, the defence of their country, and to the establishment of politics as the supreme law; they thought themselves obliged to maintain the laws of God, and to render religion venerable; and they reckoned that the best barriers of a state were the fear of God, and a zeal for his service. They is sued severe edicts to enforce attendance on devotion, and to prohibit profane sports on this day. The second council of Macon,† held in the year 585, and the second of Aix-la-Chapelle, held in 836, followed by their canons the same line of duty.
4. But the grand reason for consecrating one day in seven arises from ourselves, from the in
finity of dissipations which was the ordinary
*Saurin is here brief on the reasons assigned for the change of the sabbath, from the seventh to the first day of the week. The reader, however, may see them at large in the second volume of Dr. Lightfoot's works, and in the works of Mr. Mede. They are in substance as follow: that the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath; and the Supreme Lawgiver of his church. He has not only changed the old covenant for the new, but he has superseded the shadows of the ritual law for the realities; bap
Ah! my brethren, must every duty of Christianity suggest occasion to complain of your conduct, and furnish impeachments for your condemnation? I look round for one trait in morality, to which we have nothing but applause to bestow, and of which we may say, go on, go on; that is well done, "Blessed is that servant, whom when his Lord cometh he shall find so doing. I look for one period in your life in which I may find you Christians in reality, as you are in name. I watch you for six days in the bustle of business, and I find you haughty, proud, voluptuous, selfish, and
The sabbath was first instituted to commemorate the creation; and the redemption is viewed at large as a
new creation. Isa. lxv. The institution was renewed to commemorate the emancipation from Egypt; how much more then should it be enforced to commemorate the re
tism for circumcision, and the holy supper for the pass-refractory to every precept of the gospel. Perhaps, on this hallowed day you shall be found irreproachable; perhaps, satisfied with giving to the world six days of the week, you will consecrate to the Lord the one which is so peculiarly devoted to him. But, alas! this day, this very day, is spent as the others; the same pursuits, the same thoughts, the same pleasures, the same employments, the same intemperance!
In other places, they observe the exterior, at least. The libertine suspends his pleasures, the workmen quit their trades, and the shops are shut: and each is accustomed to attend some place of worship. But how many among us, very far from entering into the spirit and temper of Christianity, are negligent of its exterior decencies!
demption of the world? To disregard it would apparently implicate us in a disbelief of this redemption. Moses, who renewed the sabbath, was faithful as a ser vant, but Christ, who changed it, is the Son, and Lord of all. The sabbath was the birth-day of the Lord of Glory from the tomb: "Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee," Pa. ii. It was not less so the birth-day of our hope; God hath begotten us again "unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead," 1 Pet. i. 3. And this was the day in which he began his glorious reign. He then affirmed, that "All power was given unto him in heaven and carth," Matt. xxviii. 18. And how could the church rejoice while the Lord was enveloped in the tomb? But on the morning of the resurrection, it was said by the Father to the Son, "Thy dead men shall live." The Son replies, "Together with my dead body shall they arise! Awake, and sing, ye that dwell in dust," Isa. xxvi. 19. "This is the day the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." Psalms exviii. 24. I. S.
Macon, Mutisco, is situate 40 miles north of Lyons, and was a depot of the Romans.-Boiste's Dict. 1806.
These remarks may suffice for the illustration of the first question, whether Christians are obliged to observe one day in seven: our second inquiry is, whether this day is celebrated in these provinces, I do not say as it ought; but, at least, is it celebrated with the same decency as in the most corrupt parts of the Christian world?
How scandalous to see on the sabbath, the artificer, publicly employed at his work, profaning this hallowed festival by his common trade; wasting the hours of devotion in mechanical labours; and defying, at the same
time, both the precepts of religion, and the in- | all. But here is one particular point; here is a stitutions of the church! plain precept, Remember the Sabbath day.
A mournful necessity induces us, my bre thren, to exhort you to estimate the privilege God affords you of coming to his house, of pouring out your souls into his bosom, and of invigorating your love.
How scandalous to see persons of rank, of age, of character, live, I do not say whole weeks, I do not say whole months, but whole years, without once entering these churches, attending our devotion, and participating of our sacraments!
How scandalous that this sabbath is the very day marked by some for parties, and festivity in the highest style! How scandalous to see certain concourses of people; certain doors open; and certain flambeaux lighted: those who have heard a report that you are Christians, expect to find you in the houses of prayer: but what is their astonishment to see that those houses are the rendezvous of pleasure!
And what must we think of secret devotion, when the public is so ill discharged? How shall we persuade ourselves that you discharge the more difficult duties of religion, when those that are most easy are neglected? Seeing you do not sufficiently reverence religion to forego certain recreations, how can we think that you discharge the duties of self-denial, of crucifying the old man, of mortifying concupiscence, and of all the self-abasement, which religion requires?
What mortifies us most, and what obliges us to form an awful opinion on this conduct is, that we see its principle.-Its principle, do you ask, my brethren? It is, in general, that you have very little regard for religion; and this is the most baneful source, from which our vices spring. When a man is abandoned to a bad habit; when he is blinded by a certain passion; when he is hurried away with a throng of desire, he is then highly culpable, and he has the justest cause of alarm, if a hand, an immediate hand, be not put to the work of reformation. In this case, one may presume, that he has, notwithstanding, a certain respect for the God he offends. One may presume, that though he neglects to reform, he, at least, blames his conduct; and that if the charm were once dissolved, truth would resume her original right, and that the motives of virtue would be felt in all their force. But when a man sins by principle; when he slights religion; when he regards it as a matter of indifference; what resource of salvation have we then to hope? This, with many of you, is the leading fault. The proofs are but too recent, and too numerous. You have been often reproached with it, and if I abridge this point, it is not through a deficiency, but a superabundance of evidence, which obliges me to do it. And meanwhile, what alas! is this fortune; what is this prosperity; what is the most enviable situation in life; what is all this that pleases, and enchants the soul, when it is not religion which animates and governs the whole?
Ah! my brethren! to what excess do you extend your corruption? What then is the time you would devote to piety? When will you work for your souls? We conjure you by the bowels of Jesus Christ, who on this day finished the work of your salvation, that you return to recollection. When we enforce, in general, the necessity of holiness, we are lost in the multitude of your duties, and having too many things to practise, you often practise none at
Ah! poor Christians, whom Babylon encloses in her walls, how are you to conduct yourselves in the discharge of those duties! O that God, wearied with the strokes inflicted upon you, would turn away from his indignation! O that the barriers which prohibit your access to these happy climates were removed! O that your hopes, so often illusive, were but gratified. I seem to see you, running in crowds: I seem to see the fallen rise again; and our confessors, more grateful for their spiritual, than their temporal liberty, come to distinguish their zeal. But these are things as yet, "hid from your eyes."
O my God! and must thy church still be a desolation in all the earth? Must it in one place be ravaged by the tyrant, and in another seduced by the tempter; an enemy more dangerous than the tyrants, and more cruel than the heathen? Must our brethren at the galleys still be deprived of the sabbath, and must we, by the profanation of this day, force thee to visit us, as thou hast visited them? Let us prevent so great a calamity; let us return to ourselves; let us hallow this august day; let us reform our habits; and let us "make the sabbath our delight."
It is requisite that each should employ the day in contemplating the works of nature; but especially the works of grace; and like the cherubim inclined toward the ark, that each should make unavailing efforts to see the bottom, and trace the dimensions, "the length and breadth, the depth and height, of the love of God, which passeth all knowledge," Eph. iii. 19.
It is requisite, that our churches should be crowded with assiduous, attentive, and welldisposed hearers; that God should there hear the vows that we are his people, his redeemed, and that we wish the sabbath to be a "sign between us and him," as it was to the Israelites.
It is requisite, on entering this place, that we should banish from our mind all worldly thoughts. Business, trade, speculations, grandeur, pleasure, you employ me sufficiently dur ing the week, allow me to give the sabbath to God. Pursue me not to his temple; and let not the flights of incommoding birds disturb my sacrifice.
It is requisite at the close of worship, that each should be recollected, that he should meditate on what he has heard, and that the company with whom he associates should assist him to practise, not to eradicate the truths from his mind.
It is requisite that the heads of houses should call their children, and their servants together, and ask them, What have you heard? What have you understood? What faults have you reformed? What steps have you taken? What good resolutions have you formed?
It is requisite wholly to dismiss all those secular cares and servile employments which have occupied us during the week; not tha
holiness consists in mere abstinence, and in the observance of that painful minutiæ; but in a more noble and exalted principle. It is, no doubt, the obtrusion of a galling yoke, that we, who are made in the image of God, and have an immortal soul, should be compelled, during the whole of this low and grovelling life, to follow some trade, some profession, or some labour, by no means assortable with the dignity of man. So is our calamity. But it is requisite at least, it is highly requisite, that one day in the week we should remember our origin, and turn our minds to things which are worthy of their excellence. It is requisite, that one day in the week we should rise superior to sensible objects; that we should think of God, of heaven, and of eternity; that we should repose, if I may so speak, from the violence which must be done to ourselves to be detained on earth for six whole days. O blessed God, when shall "the times of refreshing come," in which thou wilt supersede labour, and make thy children fully free? Acts iii. 21. When shall we enter the rest that remaineth for thy people?" Heb. iv. 9; in which we shall be wholly absorbed in the contemplation of thy beauty, we shall resemble thee in holiness and happiness, because "we shall see thee as thou art," and thou thyself shalt "be all in all" Amen.
THE CALAMITIES OF EUROPE.
LUKE xiii. 1-5.
There were present at that season some that told him of the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering, said unto them, suppose ye that these Galileans, were sinners above all the Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, nay; but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, nay: but except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish.
"I HAVE cut off the nations, I have made their towers desolate, I have sapped the foundation of their cities; I said, surely thou shalt receive instruction, so that thy dwelling shall not be cut off," Zeph. iii. 6, 7. tive caution God once published by the minisThis instructry of Zephaniah. And did it regard that age alone, or was a prophecy for future times? Undoubtedly, my brethren, it regarded the Jews in the prophet's time. They saw every where around them exterminated nations, fortresses in ruins, villages deserted, and cities sapped to the foundation. The judgments of God had fallen, not only on the idolatrous nations, but the ten tribes had been overwhelmed. The Jews, instead of receiving instruction, followed the crimes of those whom God had cut off, and involved themselves in the same calamities.
And if these words were adapted to that age, how strikingly, alas! are they applicable VOL. II.-48
to our own? What do we see around us? 377 Nations exterminated, villages deserted, and cities sapped to the foundation. The visitations of God are abroad in Europe; we are surrounded with them; and are they not intended, I appeal to your conscience, for our instruction? But let us not anticipate the close of this discourse. We propose to show you in what light we ought to view the judgments which God inflicts on the human kind. You have heard the words of our text. We shall stop but a moment to mark the occasion, and direct the whole of our care to enforce their principal design. After having said a word respecting "the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices;" and respecting the dreadful fall of this tower which crushed eighteen persons under its ruins, we shall endeavour to examine.
kind regard the judgments God openly inflicts I. The misguided views with which manupon their neighbours.
ought to be considered. The first of these II. The real light in which those judgments ideas we shall illustrate on the occasion of the tragic accidents mentioned in the text, which were reported to Jesus Christ. The second, of Jesus Christ himself; "Suppose ye that we shall illustrate on occasion of the answer these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans? Suppose ye that those eighteen were sinners above all that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, nay: but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." Considering the text in this view, we shall learn to avert the judg ments of God from falling on our own heads, by the way in which we shall consider his visitations on others. and of the vengeance he inflicted on those God grant it. Amen. What was the occasion of Pilate's cruelty, Galileans? This is a question difficult to determine. The most enlightened commentators in Jewish, or in Roman history. The wary assure us, that they find no traces of it either Josephus, according to his custom on those subjects, is silent here; and, probably, on the same principle which induced him to make no
mention of the murder of the infants commit
ted by the cruel Herod.
Pilate you know in general. He was one crets of his providence, suffers to attain the of those men whom God, in the profound semost distinguished rank to execute his designs, when they have no view but the gratification of their own passions. He was a man, in rice, rendered proper to be a rod in God's whom much cruelty, joined to extreme avahand; and who, following the passions which actuated his mind, sometimes persecuting the Jews to please the heathens, and sometimes the Christians to please the Jews, sacrificed the Finisher of our faith, and thus after troubling the synagogue, he became the tyrant of both the churches.
Galileans was not wholly without a cause.
Joseph. Antiq. lib. 18. c. 1.
we have an account in the fifth chapter of the thought and reflection. 2. They regard them book of the Acts.* This man was naturally with a spirit of blindness; but Jesus Christ inclined to sedition. He communicated the would excite in them a spirit of instruction and spirit of revolt to his family, from his family knowledge. 3. They regard them with a spirit to the city, from the city to the province, and of rigour to others, and preference of themfrom the province to all Judea. He had the seives; but Jesus Christ would excite in them art of catching the Jews by their passions; I a compassionate and humble temper. 4. They would say, by their love of liberty. He excit- regard with an obdurate spirit; but Jesus Christ ed them to assert their rights, to maintain would excite in them a spirit of reformation their privileges, to throw off the yoke the Ro- and repentance. These are terms to which mans wished to impose, and to withhold the we must attach distinct ideas, and salutary intribute. He succeeded in his designs; the Jews structions. If we shall sometimes recede from revered him as a patriot. But to remedy an the words of Jesus Christ, it shall be to apinconsiderable evil, he involved them in a thou-proximate ourselves more to the situation in sand disgraces. It has been conjectured that which Providence has now placed us. And those whose blood was mingled with their if we shall sometimes recede from the circumsacrifices, were some of the seditious who had stances in which Providence has now placed come to Jerusalein to celebrate the passover, us, it shall be to approach the nearer to the and of whom Pilate wished to make an exam- views of Jesus Christ. ple to intimidate others.
What we said of Pilate's cruelty, suggested by the subject, is wholly uncertain; we say the same of the tragic accident immediately subjoined in our text; I would say, the tower of Siloam, which crushed eighteen people under its ruins. We know in general, that there was a fountain in Jerusalem called Siloam, mentioned in the ninth chapter of St. John, and in the eighth chapter of Isaiah. We know that this fountain was at the foot of mount Zion, as many historians have asserted. We know that it had five porches, as the gospel expressly affirms. We know several particulars of this fountain, that it was completely dried up before the arrival of the emperor Titus; and that it flowed not again till the commencement of the siege of Jerusalem: so we are assured by Josephus. We know likewise, that the empress Helena embellished it with various works, described by Nicephorus. We know likewise various superstitions to which it has given birth; in particular, what is said by Geoffroy de Viterbus, that there was near it another fountain called the Holy Virgin, because, they say, this blessed woman drew water from it to wash the linen of Jesus Christ, and of her family. We are told also that the Turks have so great a veneration for it as to wash their children in the same water, and to perform around it various rituals of superstition. But what this tower was, and what the cause of its fall was, we cannot discover, nor is it a matter of any importance.
The first characteristic of the erroneous disposition with which we regard the judgments God inflicts on other men, is stupor and inattention. I do not absolutely affirm, that people are not at all affected by the strokes of Providence. The apathy of the human mind cannot extend quite so far. How was it that this unheard-of cruelty could scarce impress the mind of those who were present? Here are men who came up to Jerusalem, who came to celebrate the feast with joy, who designed to offer their victims to God; but behold, they themselves became the victims of a tyrant's fury, who mixed their blood with that of the beasts they had just offered! Here are eighteen men employed in raising a tower, or perhaps accident ally standing near it; and behold, they are crushed to pieces by its fall! Just so, wars, pestilence, and famine, when we are not immediately, or but lightly involved in the calamity, make indeed a slight, though very superficial, impression on the mind. We find, at most, in these events, but a temporary subject of conversation; we recite them with the news of the day, "There were present at that season, some who told him of the Galileans;" but we extend our inquiries no farther, and never endeavour to trace the designs of Providence. There are men who feel no interest but in what immediately affects themselves, provided their property sustain no loss by the calamity of others; provided their happiness flow in its usual course; provided their pleasures are not interrupted, though the greatest calamities be abroad in the earth, and though God inflict before our eyes the severest strokes, to them, it is of no moment. Hence the first mark of the misguided disposition with which men regard the judgments of the Lord on others, is stupor and inattention.
But how despicable is this disposition! Does one live solely for one's self? Are men capable of being employed about nothing but their own interests? Are they unable to turn their views to the various bearings under which the judgments of God may be considered? Every thing claims attention in these messengers of the divine vengeance. The philosopher finds here a subject of the deepest speculation. What are those impenetrable springs, moved of God, which shake the fabric of the world, and sud
Theudas, v. 30.
Wars of the Jews, lib. v. cap. 26.
Voiez Jesuit Eusebius Nieremberg de Lerrapromis, denly convulse the face of society? Is it the
earth, wearied of her primitive fertility, which
Let us make no more vain efforts to illustrate a subject, which would be of little advantage, though we could place it in the fullest lustre. Let us turn the whole of our attention to what is of real utility. We have proposed, conformably to the text, to inquire, first, into the erroneous light in which men view the judgments God inflicts on their own species; and, secondly, the real light in which they ought to be considered. Here is in substance the subject of our discourse. Mankind regard the judgments God inflicts on their own species, 1. With a spirit of indifference; but Jesus Christ would thereby excite in them a disposition of