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manner of work, neither thou, nor thine ox, of Egypt. “The seventh day is the sabbath of nor thine ass."
the Lord thy God, that thy man-servant, and I may here put the same question that St. thy maid-servant may rest as well as thou. And Paul once put to the Corinthians, “Doth God remember that thou wast a servant in the land take care for oxen?” No; but there is a consti- of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought tutional sympathy, without which the heart is thee thence, through a mighty hand and outdestitute of compassion. So is the import of a stretched arm: therefore the Lord thy God comtext in St. John, “No man hath seen God at mandeth thee to keep the sabbath-day,” Deut. any time: if we love one another, God dwelleth | v. 14, 15. in us, and his love is perfect in us.—If any man 4. In a word, the design of God in the instisay, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a tution of the sabbath, was to recall to the minds liar. For he that loveth not his brother whom of men the recollection of their original equality: he hath seen, how can he love God whom he he requires masters and servants alike to abstain hath not seen?" There is here an apparent de- from labour, so as in some sort to confound the fect in the argumentation, because the faults diversity of their conditions, and to abate that we may see in our brother, may obstruct our pride, of which superior rank is so common a attachment, which cannot be the case with re- source. gard to God. But the apostle's meaning was, There was among the heathens one festival that if an object striking the senses, as our bro- very singular, which they call the Saturnalia. ther, does not excite affection, we cannot love It was one of the most ancient festivals of paan object that is abstract, as the Divine Nature. ganism. MACROBIUS affirms, that it was celeNow, those who are habitually cruel to animals, brated in Greece long before the foundation of are generally less tender, and they insensibly Rome. The masters gave the servants a treat; lose that constitutional sympathy which pro- they placed them at their own table, and duces the affections of the heart and the mind. clothed them in their own raiment. The heaThis constitutional sympathy excites in us a thens say, that this festival was instituted by painful impression, that on seeing a wounded king Janus, to commemorate the age of Saturn, man, we are spontaneously moved to succour when men were equal, and unacquainted with the afflicted. This sympathy is excited not the distinctions of rank and fortune. The inonly by the sight of a man, but also by the sight stitution was highly proper, being founded on of a beast, when treated with cruelty. Hence, fact, and it may serve as an illustration of our on habituating ourselves to be cruel to animals, text. we do violence to our feelings, harden the heart, God in recalling to men the original equality and extinguish the sympathy of nature. Ah! of their condition, apprised them in what conhow suspicious should we be of virtues merely sisted the true excellence of man. It is not in rational, and unconnected with the heart. They the difference of rank, or what is called forare more noble indeed, but they are not so sure. It consists in being men: it consists in We may also remark, that those employed in the image of God, after which we were made: slaughtering animals, are often wanting in ten- and consequently, the humblest of men made derness and affection. And this very notion in his image, are entitled to respect. illustrates several of the Mosaic laws, which This important reflection, I would inculcate appear at first destitute of propriety, but which on imperious masters, who treat their domes are founded on what we have just said. Such tics as the brutes destitute of knowledge. We is the law which prohibits eating of things stran inust not, I grant, disturb the order of society: gled; such is the law on finding a bird's nest, the Scriptures themselves suppose the diversity which forbids our taking the dam with the of conditions. Hence they prescribe the duties young: such also is that where God forbids our of masters to their servants, and the duties of * seething a kid in his mother's milk,” Gen. ix. servants to their masters. But rank cannot 4; Deut. xxii. 6, 7; Exod. xxiii. 19. In the last, sanction that haughty and disdainful carriage. some have thought that God was wishful to Do you know what you do in mauling those fortify the Jews against a superstitious custom whom certain advantages have placed in your of the heathens, who after having gathered the power? You degrade yourselves; you renounce fruits of the vine, seethed a kid in his mother's your proper dignity; and in assuming an extramilk, and then sprinkled the milk to Bacchus, neous glory, you seem but lightly to esteem that he might cruelly kill this animal which pre- that which is natural. I have said, that the sumes to browse on the vine consecrated to the glory of man does not consist in riches, nor in god. But I doubt, whether from all the ancient royalty, but in the excellence of his nature, in authors they can adduce a passage demonstra- the image of God, after which he was made, tive that this species of superstition was known and in the immortality to which he aspires. I to subsist in the time of Moses. This difficulty you despise your servants, you do not derive is obviated by the explication I propose: besides, your dignity from these sources, but from your it excites humanity by enjoining compassion to exterior condition; for, if you derive it from the animals, a duty inculcated by the heathens. sources I have noticed, you would respect the The Phrygians were prohibited from killing an persons committed to your care. This may ox that trod out the corn. The judges of the suffice for the reasons of the institution of the Areopagus exiled a boy, who had plucked out sabbath, let us say a word on the manner in the eyes of a living owl; and they severely pu- which it must be celebrated. nished a man who had roasted a bull alive. The 2. On this subject, the less enlightened rabduty of humanity is consequently a third motive bins have indulged their superstition more than of the institution of the sabbath. Hereby God on any other. Having distorted the idea of recalled to the recollection of the Jews the situ- the day, they would ascribe to the sabbath the ation in which they had been placed in the land power of conferring dignity on inanimate crea
tures: they even assign this reason, that God tions and licentious customs have originated
phrase, “ doing thy own pleasure on my holy
Some others, the Dositheans, a branch of all the marvels he had wrought for their coun-
gers of life superseded the sabbath.” And the
They affirm, on not attaining the sublime of is couched in figures consonant to the oriental
extremities of a camp of nearly three millions of people 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- I have been the object of the precept.
style, and particularly to the prophetic. The has so long and so justly reproached us, which high places of the earth, are those of Palestine; determined me on the choice of this text. We so called, because it is a mountainous country. proceed therefore to some more pointed reThe idea of our prophet coincides with what marks, which shall close this discourse. Moses has said in the xxxiid chapter of Deute- II. The whole is reduced to two questions, ronomy. “He has made him to ride upon the in which we are directly concerned. First, are high places of the earth: or to ride on horse-Christians obliged to observe a day of rest; and back," as in our text, which implies the sur- secondly, in these provinces, in this church, is mounting of the greatest difficulties. Hence, that day celebrated, I do not say with all the God's promise to those who should observe his sanctity it requires, but only, is it observed with sabbath, of riding on the high places of the the same reverence as in the rest of the Chrisearth, imports, that they should have a peace- tian world, even in places the most corrupt? ful residence in the land of Canaan.
1. Are Christians obliged to observe a day Plenty is joined to peace in the words which of rest? This question has been debated in the follow: “I will feed thee with the heritage of primitive church, and the subject has been reJacob thy father.” Here is designated the sumed in our own age. Some of the ancient abundance which the descendants of the patri- and of the modern divines have maintainarch should enjoy in the promised land. Some ed, not only that the obligation is imposed on presume that the name of Jacob is here men- Christians, but that the fourth commandment tioned in preference of Abraham, because Ja- of the law ought to be observed in all its ricob had a peculiar reverence for the sabbath- gour. Hence, in the first ages, some bave had day. They say, that Isaiah here refers to an the same respect for Saturday as for Sunday. occurrence in the patriarch's life. It is record-Gregory Nazianzen calls these two days two ed in the xxxiiid of Genesis, that Jacob, com- companions, for which we should cherish an ing from Padan-aram, encamped before the equal respect. The constitution of Clement city of Shechem: and they contend, that it was enjoin both these festivals to be observed in to hallow the sabbath, which intervened during the church; the sabbath-day in honour of the his march. Reverie of the Rabbins. The creation, and the Lord's day, which exhibits promises made to Abraham, and Isaac, respect to our view the resurrection of the Saviour of ing the promised land, were renewed to Jacob; the world. hence it might as well be called the heritage of We have no design, my brethren, to revive Jacob, as the heritage of Abraham. This is those controversies, this part of our discourse the literal sense of my text.
being designed for your edification. You are It has also a spiritual sense, which some in- not accused of wanting respect for the Saturterpreters have sought in this phrase, “the day, but for the day that follows. Your defect high places of the earth.” They think it is not a wish to observe two sabbaths in the means the abode of the blessed. Not wishful week, but a refusal to observe one. It is then to seek it in the expression, we shall find it in sufficient to prove, that Christians are obliged the nature of the object. What was this "he- to observe one day in the week, and that day ritage of Jacob?” Was it only Canaan proper- is the first. This is apparent from your consily so called? This St. Paul denies in the with derations, which I proceed to name. chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews. Speak- First, from the nature of the institution. It ing of the faith of the patriarchs, he positively is a general maxim, that whatever morality asserts, that the promised land was not its prin- was contained in the Jewish ritual; that whatcipal object. The “heritage of Jacob,” ac- ever was calculated to strengthen the bonds of cording to the apostle, “is a country better than our comrnunion with God, to reconcile us to that which the patriarchs had left;"> “that is, our neighbour, to inspire us with holy thoughts, a heavenly country.” This is the heritage of was obligatory on the Christians, and more so which the expiring patriarch hoped to acquire than on the Jews, in proportion as the new the possession; and of which he said in his last covenant surpasses the old in excellence. Apmoments, “O God, I have waited for thy sal. ply this maxim to our subject. The precept vation,” Gen. xlix. 18. This Jerusalem, the under discussion has a ceremonial aspect, asapostle calls a high place, the “Jerusalem sortable to the circumstances in which the anwhich is above,” not because it is situate on cient church were placed. The selection of the mountains, but because it really is above the seventh day, the rigours of its sanctity, the region of terrestrial things. This is the and its designs to supersede the idolatrous cusJerusalem which is the mother of us all, and toms of Egypt, were peculiar to the ancient to which the claims of Christians are not less church, and purely ceremonial; and in that powerful than the Jews.
view, not binding to the christian. But the This induces us, my brethren, to consider the necessity of having one day in seven consetext in regard to Christians, as we have consi- crated to the worship of God, to study the dered it in regard to Jews. Perhaps you have grand truths of religion, to make a public prosecretly reproached us, during the course of fession of faith, to give relaxation to servants, this sermon, with having consumed, in less in- to confound all distinction of rank in congregastructive researches, the limits of our time.- lions, to acknowledge that we are all brethren, But, my brethren, if you complain of the re- that we are equal in the sight of God, who mote reference which the subject has to your there presides, all these are not comprised in state, I fear, I do fear, you will murmur against the ritual, they are wholly moral. 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 which I ed in the Book of Revelation, " the Lord's
day,” by way of excellence, i. 10. It is said finity of dissipations which was the ordinary
in the xxth chapter of the Book of Acts, that course of life. Tax your conscience with the mais les the apostles" came together on the first day time you spend in devotion when alone. Do
of the week to break bread.” And St. Paul, we not know; do we not see; do we not learn
first day of the week what each had designed not know how those grave men live, who, from ed. Pre
for charity, sanctions the Sunday to be observ- j a notion of superior rank, think themselves exrefren ed instead of the Saturday, seeing the Jews, cused from examining their conscience, and at
according to the testimony of Philo, and Jose-tending to the particulars of religion? Do we not
to visit and receive visits, to play both night
thentic documents of antiquity. Pliny, the of which might be innocent as recreations, if hastes younger, in his letter to the emperor Trajan used with moderation, to render them, I say, som er concerning the Christians, says, that they set criminal, by the loss of time? Is it solitude, is
apart one day for devotion, and it is indisputa- it reading God's word which excite those reve-
sued severe edicts to enforce attendance on de- but, at least, is it celebrated with the same de23
votion, and to prohibit profane sports on this cency as in the most corrupt parts of the Chris-
conduct, and furnish impeachments for your 4. But the grand reason for consecrating one condemnation? I look round for one trait in day in seven arises from ourselves, from the in- morality, to which we have nothing but ap
plause to bestow, and of which we may say, * Saurin is here brief on the reasons assigned for the go on, go on; that is well done, "Blessed is change of the sabbath, from the seventh to the first day that servant, whom when his Lord cometh he of the week. The reader, however, may see them at shall find so doing. I look for one period in large in the second volume of Dr. Lightfoot's works, and in the works of Mr. Mede. They are in substance as your life in which I may find you Christians in follow: that the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath; and reality, as you are in name. I watch you for the Supreme Lawgiver of his church. He has not only six days in the bustle of business, and I find changed the old covenant for the new, but he has superseded the shadows of the ritual law for the realities;
Cap- you haughty, proud, voluptuous, selfish, and tism for circumcision, and the holy supper for the pass- refractory to every precept of the gospel. Perover. The sabbath was first instituted to commemorate haps, on this hallowed day you shall be found the creation; and the redemption is viewed at large as a irreproachable; perhaps, satisfied with giving new creation. Isa. lxv. The institution was renewed to commemorate the emancipation from Egypt; how much to the world six days of the week, you will more then should it be enforced to commemorate the re- consecrate to the Lord the one which is so pedemption of the world? To disregard it would appa- culiarly devoted to him. But, alas! this day, rently implicate us in a disbelief of this redemption. this very day, is spent as the others; the same Moses, who renewed the sabbath, was faithful as a servant, but Christ, who changed it, is the Son, and Lord of pursuits, the same thoughts, the same pleaall. The sabbath was the
birth-day of the Lord of Glory sures, the same employments, the same intemfrom the tomb: “Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee,” Ps. ii. It was not less so the birth-day of
perance! our hope; God hath begotten us again“ unto a lively
In other places, they observe the exterior, hope by the
resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead," at least. The libertine suspends his pleasures, 1 Pet. 1.3. And this was the day in which he began his the workmen quit their trades, and the shops glorious reign. He then affirmed, that “All power was are shut: and each is accustomed to attend given unto him in heaven and earth,” Matt. xxviii. 18. Ånd how could the church rejoice while the Lord was some place of worship. But how many among enveloped in the tomb? But on the morning of the resur- us, very far from entering into the spirit and rection, it was said by the Father to the Son, “Thy dead temper of Christianity, are negligent of its exmen shall live.” The Son replies, " Together with my dead body shall they arise! Awake, and sing, ye that
terior decencies! dwell in dust," Isa. Exvi. 19. “This is the day the Lord How scandalous to see on the sabbath, the hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalms artificer, publicly employed at his work, procxviii. 24. I. S. Macon, Matisco, is situate 40 miles north of Lyons trade; wasting the hours of devotion in me
faning this hallowed festival by his common and was a depot of the Romans.-Boiste's Dict. 1806. I. s.
chanical 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. How scandalous to see persons of rank, of A mournful necessity induces us, my bre age, of character, live, I do not say whole weeks, thren, to exhort you to estimate the privilege I do not say whole months, but whole years, God affords you of coming to his house, of without once entering these churches, aitend- pouring out your souls into his bosom, and of ing our devotion, and participating of our sacra- invigorating your love. ments!
Ah! poor Christians, whom Babylon encloses How scandalous that this sabbath is the very in her walls, how are you to conduct yourday marked by some for parties, and festivity selves in the discharge of those duties! O that in the highest style! How scandalous to see God, wearied with the strokes inflicted upon certain concourses of people; certain doors you, would turn away from his indignation! open; and certain flambeaux lighted: those that the barriers which prohibit your access who have heard a report that you are Chris- to these happy climates were removed! O that tians, expect to find you in the houses of prayer: your hopes, so often illusive, were but gratified. but what is their astonishment to see that those I seem to see you, running in crowds: I seem houses are the rendezvous of pleasure! to see the fallen rise again; and our confessors,
And what must we think of secret devotion, more grateful for their spiritual, than their when the public is so ill discharged? How temporal liberty, come to distinguish their shall we persuade ourselves that you discharge zeal. But these are things as yet, " hid from the more difficult duties of religion, when your eyes.” those that are most easy are neglected? See- O my God! and must thy church still be a ing you do not sufficiently reverence religion desolation in all the earth? Must it in one to forego certain recreations, how can we think place be ravaged by the tyrant, and in another that you discharge the duties of self-denial, of seduced by the tempter; an enemy more dancrucifying the old man, of mortifying concu- gerous than the tyrants, and more cruel than piscence, and of all the self-abasement, which the heathen? Must our brethren at the galreligion requires
leys still be deprived of the sabbath, and must What mortifies us most, and what obliges we, by the profonation of this day, force thee us to form an awful opinion on this conduct is, to visit us, as thou hast visited them? Let us that we see its principle.--Its principle, do prevent so great a calamity; let us return to you ask, my brethren? "It is, in general, that ourselves; let us hallow this august day; let you have very little regard for religion; and us reform our habits; and let us “make the this is the most baneful source, from which our sabbath our delight.” vices spring. When a man is abandoned to a It is requisite that each should employ the bad habit; when he is blinded by a certain pas- day in contemplating the works of nature; but sion; when he is hurried away with a throng especially the works of grace; and like the of desire, he is then highly culpable, and he cherubim inclined toward the ark, that each has the justest cause of alarm, if a hand, an should make unavailing efforts to see the botimmediate hand, be not put to the work of re- tom, and trace the dimensions, "the length and formation. In this case, one may presume, breadth, the depth and height, of the love of that he has, notwithstanding, a certain respect God, which passeth all knowledge,” Eph. iii. for the God he offends. One may presume, 19, that though he neglects to reform, he, at least, It is requisite, that our churches should be blames his conduct; and that if the charm crowded with assiduous, attentive, and wellwere once dissolved, truth would resume her disposed hearers; that God should there hear original right, and that the motives of virtue the vows that we are his people, his redeemned, would be felt in all their force. But when a and that we wish the sabbath to be a "sign beman sins by principle; when he slights religion; tween us and him," as it was to the Israelites. when he regards it as a matter of indiffer- It is requisite, on entering this place, that ence; what resource of salvation have we then we should banish from our mind all worldly to hope? This, with many of you, is the lead- thoughts. Business, trade, speculations, graning fault. The proofs are but too recent, and deur, pleasure, you employ me sufficiently durtoo numerous. You have been often reproach- ing the week, allow me to give the sabbath to ed with it, and if I abridge this point, it is not God. Pursue me not to his temple; and let through a deficiency, but a superabundance of not the flights of incommoding birds disturb evidence, which obliges me to do it. And my sacrifice. meanwhile, what alas! is this fortune; what is 'It is requisite at the close of worship, that this prosperity; what is the most enviable situ- each should be recollected, that he should meation in life; what is all this that pleases, and ditate on what he has heard, and that the enchants the soul, when it is not religion which company with whom he associates should asanimates and governs the whole?
sist him to practise, not to eradicate the truths Ah! my brethren! to what excess do you ex- from his mind. tend your corruption? What then is the time It is requisite that the heads of houses should you would devote to piety? When will you call their children, and their servants together, work for your souls. We conjure you by the and ask them, What have you heard? What bowels of Jesus Christ, who on this day finish- have you understood? What faults have you ed the work of your salvation, that you return reformed? What steps have you taken? What to recollection. When we enforce, in general, good resolutions have you formed? the necessity of holiness, we are lost in the It is requisite wholly to dismiss all those semultitude of your duties, and having too many cular cares and servile employments which things to practise, you often practise none at I have occupied us during the week; not that