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honourable ; and shalt honour Him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord.” How the state of mind here described as necessary to the keeping of the Jewish Sabbath law could consist with the neglect of God's worship during the time confessedly allowed for rest, is, I confess, to me wholly inconceivable.
III. The third argument appealed to in order to show the temporary character of the Jewish Sabbath is, that the day has been changed. How, it is asked, could that be a moral and permanent law which has actually, in one not unimportant particular, been changed ?
This argument has been urged with much plausibility by Archbishop Whately, though it is not original to him, and has been repeated by others. This argument, however, rests on a misconception. It confounds two parts of the law-the immutable and the mutable. We must believe that the selection of a seventh part of time for rest and worship is not arbitrary, but founded on the nature of things, whether we can independently see it or not-in other words, that this proportion is an immutable moral law, resting on the same grounds in the nature of God and man, and the relation of the one to the other on which rest the other duties of piety and rectitude enjoined in the commandments. But there is nothing to make us believe that the order in which the day of rest follows or precedes the days of labour is so vital, more especially as the human race cannot at any time observe all the same day. The vital thing is the giving up of the seventh part of time as that which, to use the words of Hooker on this subject, “God's immutable law doth exact for ever.” If we have reason, therefore, to believe that in the mutable element, the place of the day in the week in the law is changed, and thus those who allow a New Testament Sabbath or Lord's day cannot refuse, the change does not derogate from the validity and perpetuity of the old law, since in essence it is untouched, and the actual change is made by the same authority that imposed the mutable along with the immutable obligation.
From this point of view it is quite immaterial whether we can make out that the Fourth Commandment requires only a seventh day, or grant that it requires the seventh day, for a mutable element to this extent might be recognised in the Fourth Commandment while its grand substance was unchanged and unchangeable. I agree with those who see in this language of the Fourth Commandment an adaptation to the coming change, so that it is suitable to be still addressed, without the alteration of a single word, to Christians as to Jews. But I do not stickle for this as required by any necessity of argument; and had the Fourth Commandment been explicit the other way, I would have seen in the external colour-not Jewish but Paradisaic-impressed on it, not the least evidence that its substance was to pass away.
IV. The fourth and last objection which I notice here is, the whole Decalogue has been repealed qua Decalogue, and with it the Fourth Commandment.
I do not think the startling language that has been circulated on this subject means anything serious except in regard to the Fourth Commandment. All the rest of the commandments are retained, and are merely dismissed as Jewish, and are then recalled as Christian, so that the excepted one loses the benefit of their company, and is turned adrift in the process. But it is wholly impossible to put asunder what God liath joined together. So far as the abolition—take it as you will-goes, all the commandments are, so far as that is concerned, equally entitled to come back. If there be nothing in the special circumstances of the Fourth Commandment already considered, there can be nothing in an abrogation which equally extends to all, and which the rest survive. If you choose to call the silence of the Ten Commandments towards a particular people when that people loses its national existence, their abrogation, that is equal in the case of all the ten; and if you choose to call their continued voice, recognised in the New Testament, to other moral agents, their re-enactments, that too is equal, and it is not required that the continued voice should be formally proved in the case of all the ten severally, if general expressions including all be freely employed, and if there be no formal exception of any.
But this is one of the elementary lessons of the New Testament, that the commandments as a whole are uniformly spoken of as the Christian rule by our Lord, by James, Paul, John, and Peter ; as, for example, where our Lord says, " If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments ;” where James and Paul alike sum up the commandments in love ; where Peter calls upon the Christian not to suffer as a thief, or a murderer, or an evil-doer of any other sort ; and where John, as if meeting this case beforehand, says—“Sin is the transgression of the law.” If there be in these circumstances no exception of the Fourth Commandment, the natural inference surely is that it is as much Christian as Jewish ; more especially (though this is a superfluous argument) that all the Ten Commandments are not formally recognised in the New Testament, there being no special mention in any list of the commandments of the one which occupies so much of the Old—the prohibition to worship God by images. If we strike out the Fourth Commandment, or refuse, after any alleged abrogation (howsoever explained) of the Decalogue, to re-invest it, we encounter the stupendous difficulty of having the ceremonial law of the Sabbath thrust in between the two eternal tables of the moral law, like a dwarf between two giants : we make our Lord no more the fulfiller of the law, but the destroyer of a part of it written with the finger of God, and we wholly fail to explain why, in his own Sabbath teaching, he should have spent so much of his time and labour in clearing up a mere national and ceremonial ordinance that was almost instantly to pass away.
I may quote, in support of the continued obligation the Fourth Commana. ment, which I have thus endeavoured to vindicate against the recently-circulated objections, two authors, whose views may have some interest. The first is Richard Baxter, who, in his work on the
Divine appointment of the Lord's day, though in one sense he holds the Fourth Commandment to be abrogated, thus writes in substantial harmony with the great body of evangelical Christians :-“When no man of himself could tell whether one day in six, or seven, or eight, were his duty to observe, God hath come in, and first by doctrine or history told us that He made the world in six days and rested on the seventh ;' secondly, by law, and hath commended one day in seven to the Jews, by which he hath made known consequently to all men, that one day in seven is the fittest proportion of time. And the case being thus determined by God, by a law to others, doth consequently become a law to us, because it is a determination of Divine wisdom ; unless it were done upon some reasons in which their case differeth from ours. And thus the doctrine and reasons of an abrogated law continuing, may induce on us an obligation to duty. And in this sense the Fourth Commandment may be said still to bind us to one day in seven.”
The other author is Mr. Maurice, in his “ Ecclesiastical History of the First and Second Centuries," pages 29, 30 :-“The dread of Sabbatising, which Justin Martyr so faithfully expressed, and which he felt so much to be involved, might have made him and many others afraid of sanctioning the new Sabbath-the weekly. resurrection-day—as a fixed ordinance of the Church. But it did not require their sanction. Like all other great institutions, ecclesiastical and civil, that have taken root in the modern world, it established itself without precept or prearrangement, by the force of an inward law which men could not control or fashion according to their pleasure. The day of rest had been asserted once for all by the revelation to the Jews, as one of the permanent laws of humanity, framed in conformity with a Divine and eternal principle to which the divisions of time must at last adapt themselves. The Christian Church could not repeal the enactment. It could only say— The Divine and eternal principle of rest was never fully developed till the resurrection. Those who believe in the resurrection must make the Lord's day their Sabbath. And thus truth only dawned on them by degrees. They found themselves observing the day ; in time they learned more or less clearly why they observed it."
The only other general difficulty which I shall notice is the apparently slighting manner in which days or Sabt are mentioned in the New Testament. The passages often cited, and sometimes as if they were decisive of the controversy, are chiefly two-Romans xiv. 5, 6; and Colossians ii. 16, 17; on each of which a few remarks are all that are needed to obviate any appearance of discord with the general tenour of Scripture.
The passage in Romans is—“One man esteemeth one day above another ;
another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day regardeth it to the Lord, and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it.” Now, whatever this language mean, it is plain that it cannot mean that under the Christian dispensation there was to be no day more sacred than another. The Apostle, it is admitted by all, sanctioned the Lord's day; it is even contended for by some that he took part, under the guidance of Christ's Spirit, in sanctifying and setting apart, for the first time, the Lord's day for rest and worship. Therefore, he could not possibly mean to bring down, or encourage the bringing down, of that day to the level of other days, for this would have been to build up with the one hand and pull down with the other. It must, therefore, have been the seventh-day Sabbath, as still kept by Jewish Christians, of which he spoke, with the other sacred days of the Jewish Church; and hence his remarks come in quite naturally in the midst of discussions regarding other ceremonial matters, such as meats and drinks. Saving, as he must have done, the honour of the first-day Sabbath, he meant to leave the additional observance of these other days free to the individual conscience.
On this point I may quote the remarks of Dr. Brown in his “Analytical Com. mentary on the Romans :"-" The new moons, the seventh-day Sabbath, the feasts of the Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles, continued to be observed by many of the Jewish converts, and the principle of these undoubtedly Divine institutions having never been formally abrogated, must be considered as continuing obligatory.
The greater part of the Gentile converts, and the more enlightened of the Jewish converts, regarded the injunctions of the Mosaic law on such subjects as obsolete, and disregarded them. To conclude from this passage that the strong in the faith made no distinction between the first day of the week —the day appropriated to Christian worship in commemoration of the resurrection -the form under the new economy of the Sabbatical institution which, more than circumcision, or even than sacrifice, was before the law, bearing date in Paradise immediately after the creation of man--is to go beyond the premises. The assertion refers to the matters in controversy—distinctions originating in the law of Moses.”
The very same principle will solve the apparent difficulty in Colossians ii. 16, 17, “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath-days, which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ." This passage is entirely of the same complexion as the other. Even the Sabbath, in so far as it belonged to a typical system, and to a law which ministered condemnation, was, with the other ordinances of that economy, a shadow of better things to come. As typical and as condemna. tory, it may be said to be done away ; but as an eternal law of righteousness and a prophecy of redemption, it is in Christ realized and fulfilled, and rising in the Lord's day to its highest honours as the memorial of a finished salvation, it necessarily outweighs whatever was inferior and preparatory in its earlier form, so that the seventh-day observance—the memorial of creation only, and the remembrance of the curse—is no longer binding upon the Church of Christ. If this be the meaning of this text, as I humbly think it is, it argues nothing against the continued obliga. tion of the Sabbath law as such, and when these words are quoted as if they left the whole subject of Sabbath observance loose and open, and equalized that sacred day, from first to last, with Jewish new moons and feasts, this is neither just to Judaism nor to Christianity.
I have thus endeavoured to go over the principal difficulties that have come up in recent controversy on this deeply important question. While I am thankful that any one, and especially any one of influence, retains faith in the day of rest and worship on any ground, and desire that the Christian form of the Sabbath should receive all just prominence, I cannot consent to exalt this final ordinance at the expense of the earlier revelations of the Sabbatic principle, or break that threefold cord of Paradisaic institution, Sinaitic law, and apostolic usage, whereby a seventh portion of time is inalienably and unrepealably set apart as the gift of God to man, and the debt of man to his neighbour, with a view to preparation for the heavenly rest. I rejoice that this rests not upon inference or upon Christian inclination, or even apostolic usage, but on direct statute law, reissued by Christ and his apostles; and I for one will never be a party to any views or measures whereby this visible obligation shall be obscured, and the children of toil, under the Gospel, left with less' of direct statute law of Heaven in their favour than under a less perfect and gracious dispensation. And I may add that the strictest construction of legal obligation in regard to this precept is not abated or superseded by the loftiest spirituality and sense of Christian freedom, but rather assisted and maintained, as is so beautifully expressed in the article of the Westminster Confession on the law of God :—"The moral law doth for ever bind all, as well justified per. sons as others, to the obedience thereof; and that not only in regard of the matter contained in it, but also in respect of the authority of God the Creator, who gave it. Neither does Christ in the Gospel in any way dissolve, but much strengthens, this obligation.
Neither are the forementioned uses of the law con. trary to the grace of the Gospel, but do sweetly comply with it—the Spirit of God enabling the will of man to do that freely and cheerfully which the will of God revealed in the law requireth to be done.”—Edinburgh Daily Review.
Our letters this month bring tidings of the illness of Mr. Mackenzie, and the consequent crippling of our mission at Swatow. The overwrought condition of our missionaries at every station is a subject which awakens anxious thought ; and it calls loudly for more prayer and more diligent search, on the part of all who value the labours of these devoted brethren in China, that we may find men filled with the same zeal, and as thoroughly furnished for this great work as those who have preceded them. May we suggest, as a subject for special supplication hy our Church in England, in the approaching week of prayer (7th to 14th January), that the Lord of the harvest would thrust forth many labourers into the field of China, now ripe unto harvest. Surely these open doors, which our missionaries tell us of, are so many proofs that the grain is ready for the gathering. We have a glorious opportunity; we know not how long it will be our opportunity.
Enlargement” will come to China—the bursting of the bonds in which heathenism has long bound this intelligent and enterprising people ; but the honour may be given to other churches, if we are apathetic or sluggish in the work. Let us covet the distinction of being pre-eminently a missionary church.
At Takao, in Formosa, Dr. Maxwell, like his brethren on the main land, is abundant in labours. We refer our readers to his interesting letter.
In entering on a new year, we recall with gratitude God's mercy tinued loving-kindness in the past to our misssionaries amid their varied trials and difficulties, as well as to the Committee at home ; and we desire to record his faithfulness to his promise, in having been present with his servants, blessing their labours, keeping the converts steadfast amid temptations and hardships of no common kind, and adding to his Church in China of such as shall be saved. We have no reason to faint or be discouraged ; the dawn of a glorious day seems about to break upon China. Are we looking for that daybreak, and earnestly praying the Sun of Righteousness to arise ?
come from distances quite too long, as that LETTER FROM REV. GEORGE
their families, and indeed all persons except SMITH.
strong young men, are unable to come to
worship. I was also again at Chang-poo Swatow, 12th October, 1865.
city, and had good opportunities of MY DEAR MR. MATHESON.-You will preaching. be sorry to hear that since the second Last Sabbath Mr. Swanson and Mr. current Mr. Mackenzie has been suffering MacGregor were at Anbai, and held the from an attack of fever. He took ill at Communion. The landlord of the chapel Yam Chau, and was brought to Swatow with there has again been giving a great deal of considerable difficulty, owing to the very trouble, and it may perhaps soon be necesrough weather. I am thankful to say that sary to remove to other premises, and to during these few days he has begun to re- lay out additional expense. cover, and has to some extent recruited his
Yours as ever, strength. He will, most probably, take a
O. DOUGLAS. change to Amoy for some time.
We need to be much remembered in prayer by all God's people at home. Two
LETTER FROM DR. MAXWELL. of us find all our energies taxed to carry on the work, and when one is prostrated
Takao, Formosa, via Amoy, the difficulties are increased. The Lord
14th Oct., 1868. has the ordering of all in his own hands, and he will be as he has been, our refuge Douglas left me a month ago, to return to
MY DEAR MR. MATHIESON,—Sinco Mr. in distress. Would that more labourers
his work at Amoy, we have been pursuing could be sent out to help in the work.
our course here as steadily and quietly as As I am pressed for time at present, will
possible. Here, as elsewhere in China, you kindly excuse this brief note?
when the novelty of the foreigner preaching With Christian regards,
in Chinese is over, the doctrine itself seems Yours sincerely,
to have but few attractions for the many, GEORGE SMITH.
and the audiences from day to day become very small. And if an inordinate amount of opium.smoking, and of the licentiousness
which is sure to follow in its train, are eleLETTER FROM REV. C. DOUGLAS. ments which render the soil unpropitious
for the reception of the Word of God, then Amoy, 26th October, 1865.
we must expect that Takao should be a MY DEAR MR. MATHIESON, - Mr. hard field to work in. But it is the place Mackenzie, of Swatow, is with us at pre- to which, in God's infinite wisdom, we Bent. He had an attack of fever at Swatow, have been led, and we do not doubt that he and having so far recovered, he has come has a people here to be rescued from the for change of air, so as to get up his full bondage of sin. Besides ourselves who are strength.
immediately employed in this mission work, On Tuesday last, I returned from a visit there are three others engaged in various of twelve days to our stations to the south, employments here, who are in full commuhaving been at Pechuia, Baypay, Liong. nion with the churches at Amoy. One bun-si, Haw-khang (or Soa-tau), and of these, however, who occupies a posiKhi-boey.
Sabbath was spent at tion of considerable influence, does not Liong-bun-si ; the second at Khi-boey. walk by any means worthily; and though On this occasion I was able to spend several he sometimes appears at our Sabbath serdays in visiting the villages round Khi-boey, vices, he is a hindrance rather than a help where the Christians live, and I was more to the Gospel work. The others, I am than ever convinced that we must soon glad to say, are more consistent. One is a have at least two out-stations from it, be-master-builder, and as his workmen have cause many of the members and candidates nothing to do on the Sabbath, they are led