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known by this name, in the church of Christ, from that day to this, of which there is incontestable evidence.
And ihat the first day of the week is appointed by Christ to be the Christian Sabbath, to be observed by his church as holy time, and distinguished from other days by being devoted by them, in a peculiar manner, to his service and honor, will be further evident, perhaps, and some objections removed, by the following observations:
1. It is evident, from divine revelation, that it is the will of God that one day in seven should be observed as a Sabbath by his people, to the end of the world, and not under the Mosaic dispensation only.
This may be argued from the institution of a holy Sabbath, which God blessed and sanctified, when he first made man: having himself wrought six days, and finished the work of creation, he rested on the seventh. And this is mentioned in the fourth commandment as a reason why men, after they had attended to secular business six days, should rest from such labor, and observe the seventh day as a holy Sabbath.
And the command, to remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, etc., being given from Mount Sinai, and written on one of the tables of stone, and put into the ark with the rest of the commands, containing the moral law, which is perpetually binding on all men, and in this way distinguished from those particular precepts which were temporary, this is a strong argument that it is equally perpetual with the other nine commands, and points out the duty of all men, at all times, to whom this command shall be made known. If this command respected that nation only, and were to cease when the Mosaic dispensation ended, it cannot be accounted for that it should be revealed in the same peculiar manner with that in which the moral law was revealed and incorporated with the moral law, written with it, on tables of stone, and put into the ark. It has all the external marks of being perpetual and binding on all men, which attend the rest of the commands of the moral law.
Moreover, there are some things said in the Seripture, which indicate that it is the will and design of God that the command to keep holy the Sabbath day should take place and be observed under the gospel. The fifty-sixth chapter of Isaiah is evidently a prophecy of gospel times; and there, keeping the Sabbath from polluting it is repeatedly mentioned, as an important duty, to which promises are made; and in the eleventh chapter are these words, with reference to Christ and the gospel dispensation : “And in that day, there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek, and his rest shall be glorious." The word translated rest, is the same which in other places is translated Sabbath. His Sabbath shall be glorious. And it is not improbable that the Psalmist has reference to the first day of the week, as distinguished and appointed by Christ, and made holy by him, as the day on which he rose from the dead. He foretells the resurrection of Christ in the following words: “ The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner." These words are cited by the apostle Peter, and applied to the resurrection of Christ. (Acts iv. 11.) The Psalmist adds, “ This is the Lord's doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.
This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Ps. cxviii. 22-24.) These words, “this is the day which the Lord hath made;" considered in their connection with the foregoing, and referring to the resurrection of Christ, may naturally be understood of the day on which Christ rose, as a day of the week which should be a joyful day to the church, on which this great and happy event should be celebrated by believers in Christ to the end of the world; it being made by him, and appointed to be a holy Sabbath of rest, and peculiar gladness and praise.
2. The fourth command in the decalogue does not specify any particular day of the week to be kept holy as a Sabbath, but only commands men to observe one day in seven as a holy Sabbath. “Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work ; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God." We must look somewhere else in divine revelation to find what day of the week is to be observed as a Sabbath, and when to begin to reckon. The Israelites were told which day of the week they should keep holy as a Sabbath, but not in this command. The day of the week on which their Sabbath should be was made known to them before this command was given from Mount Sinai; therefore, this command obliged them to keep the seventh day of the week as their Sabbath. And when Christ made it known to his church, that it was his will that the first day of the week, on which he rose from the dead, should be observed as a Sabbath, he having abolished the Jewish Sabbath, this laid Christians under as great obligations to keep the first day of the week as their Sabbath as the Jews were under to keep the seventh day; and this did not in the least degree set aside, or alter, the fourth command; for Christians remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy, when they, having attended to their secular business six days, keep the seventh day as a holy day of rest from all unnecessary worldly employment. And the fourth command as much binds them to keep their Sabbath on the first day of the week, as it did the children of Israel to keep the seventh day. The evidence that Christ has revealed this to be his will, has been briefly stated above.
3. The Jewish Sabbath was not to be perpetual, but did cease and vanish away with other types and shadows of the Mosaic dispensation, being equally a shadow with them, and in some respects the greatest and most remarkable type, which will be more fully considered under the next particular. That the weekly Jewish Sabbath is abolished, seems to be expressly asserted by the apostle Paul, in the words which have been mentioned. (Col. ii. 16, 17.) But since the Sabbath of the fourth command is to be perpetual, and the Jewish Sabbath was not so, it follows, that another day of the week is appointed by Christ, who is Lord of the Sabbath, to be observed by his church, which appears, from what has been observed above, to be the first day of the week.
4. There is no evidence from Scripture, that the Sabbath which God gave to the people of Israel, by Moses, was on the same day of the week with that which was instituted when the work of creation was finished; but it is very probable, if not certain, that it was not.
The day on which God rested from the work of creation, and which he blessed and sanctified to be a holy Sabbath for man, was the seventh day from the beginning of the creation; but it was really the first day of Adam's life. He was created on the latter part of the sixth day, but soon fell into a deep sleep, and had no great enjoyment or thought till the next day. It is certain the Sabbath day was the first whole day of his life, and he would naturally begin to reckon time and weeks from that day, as the first day in the rotation of weeks.* This day was observed by the antediluvian church, and by Noah and his posterity, as the first day of their week; which has continued by an uninterrupted rotation of weeks to this day. When mankind, after the flood, corrupted their religion, and apostatized from the instituted worship of the only true God to idolatry, and deified and worshipped the sun, moon, and stars, which was the first kind of idolatry practised by mankind, they consecrated their Sabbath, which was the first day of their week, and considered as a high day, the most important and honorable of any of the days of the week, to the sun, which is the first and brightest luminary of the heavens, devoting this day
See Bedford's Scripture Chronology, demonstrated by Astronomical Calculations; and Kennedy's Complete System of Astronomical Chronology, unfolding the Scriptures ; in which they have undertaken to demonstrate, by astronomical calculations, that the seventh day from the beginning of the creation has been reckoned the first day of the week from that time to this.
to the worship of this god; and hence it obtained the name of Sunday; that is, the day of the sun, as it was devoted to the worship of this heavenly luminary, as most or all the other days of the week have had names given them from the particular planets to the worship of which they were devoted. The original Sabbath, or the first day of the week, being thus perverted, God saw fit, for this and other reasons, some of which will be mentioned, to appoint another day of the week to be a Sabbath to the children of Israel, when he brought them out of Egypt. He ordered it so that they should pass through the Red Sea on the seventh day of the week, which completed their redemption, and deliverance from Egypt, and he appointed that day of the week to be their Sabbath, in commemoration of this remarkable deliverance; on which day they praised God for this redemption, and sang the song recorded in the fifteenth chapter of Exodus. And in the next chapter this their Sabbath is first mentioned, and was probably the statute and ordinance which God made with that people, spoken of, chapter xv. verse 25. And when some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather manna, and found none, the Lord said, “ See that the Lord hath given you the Sabbath ; therefore, he giveth you, on the sixth day, the bread of two days.” The Lord hath given you the Sabbath. This naturally expresses his having then appointed a day to be their Sabbath, as peculiar to that people, and not that he had appointed a Sabbath for all mankind when men were first created. There were two reasons, if not more, for appointing this seventh day of the week to be their Sabbath.
First. This was suited, with many other laws which were given to them, to keep them a distinct and separate people from other nations, and prevent their joining with others in their idolatrous improvement of the first day of the week. This was then observed by the nations round them as a high day, and a festival in honor of the sun and other gods which they worshipped, and it was of great importance that they should be kept a distinct people, and not join with them. Their keeping another day of the week for their Sabbath was suited to do this as much or more than any other law which was given them for this end, excepting circumcision. Accordingly, they were, in after ages, mentioned with contempt, and ridiculed by the heathen for this peculiarity.
SECONDLY. As their deliverance out of Egypt was a great and remarkable event, and a designed type and pledge of the redemption and salvation of the church by Christ, it was proper, and of the greatest importance, that it should be kept in mind, and commemorated by a day appointed to be observed out of particular respect to that event. Therefore, that day of the week was fixed upon by God to be their weekly Sabbath, on which this deliverance was completed. This appears to be the truth respecting this appointment, from the words of Moses. When speaking to them of the command of God to keep their Sabbath, he says, God commanded them to keep it out of respect to this deliverance. “Keep the Sabbath day, to sanctify it, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee. And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence, through a mighty hand, and by a stretched-out arm; therefore, the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the Sabbath day.” (Deut. v. 15.) This must respect the seventh-day Sabbath, which was peculiar to them, appointed out of respect to that deliverance, and more especially to commemorate that, not only as a great event in itself, but as a remarkable type of the spiritual and eternal redemption of the church of Christ, which is mentioned and referred to in the Scripture as such. (See Isa. li. 9–11. 1 Cor. x. 1-11. Jude 5.) . This is the reason of God's appointing the seventh day of the week for their Sabbath, and commanding them to keep it as a Sabbath day, but is no reason why other nations and mankind at all times should observe a Sabbath. Therefore, in the fourth command, which was written on one of the tables of stone, and put into the ark, and is binding on all men, in all ages, this is not mentioned as a reason for observing it, nor is any particular day of the week pointed out, as has been observed. The seventh day of the week had been before given to the Israelites for their Sabbath, and Moses gives the reason for this particular appointment and command of God to them, in the words above rehearsed. And the fourth command in the decalogue was a command to them to keep the seventh day of the week as a Sabbath, because God had before fixed on this day for them to observe. But it prescribes no particular day to any other people, unless it be the first day of the week, sanctified by God, and handed down from the first Sabbath, and which has been established by Christ to be the holy Sabbath for Christians; which lays the Christian church under as great obligations from the fourth command to observe the first day of the week as their Sabbath, as those under which the Israelites were to observe the seventh day of the week as their Sabbath.