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to come, as was the passover, and other festivals in that church. Therefore, with truth and the greatest propriety, the apostle Paul mentions their weekly Sabbaths, with other Mosaic institutions, as shadows of things to come, which, of course, ceased and were done away when the things of which they were types and shadows took place. (Col. ii. 16, 17.) And then the Sabbath took place, according to its original institution and course, on the first day of the week, and perfectly agreeable to the fourth command, and, in a degree, more so than the Jewish Sabbath.
5. Upon the whole it must be observed, that some time should be fixed upon, and set apart, and distinguished from other time, to be in a peculiar manner devoted to the exercises of piety and public worship, in which all pious men and Christians should agree and unite, appears reasonable, desirable, and important. If this were left to men, they would not be competent judges of the proportion of time that it would be most suitable and proper to be set apart for those purposes, and could never agree in the particular days, and the precise proportion of time, that should be thus distinguished and improved. And, if they could do all this, they have no power or authority to make one part of time, or one day, more sacred, or relatively holy, than another. God alone, who is the owner and Lord of time and of all things, can make this distinction, and in this sense sanctify any day or part of time, and set it apart for particular holy purposes; and he only has authority to command men to observe it accordingly, and keep it holy; and he only knows what proportion of time is wisest and best to be thus sanctified, so as to be best suited to answer the purposes of it, and circumstances of man, to promote the good of his church. It is, therefore, desirable, and to be expected, that God would determine this in the revelation which he gives to the world. Accordingly, we find he has done it, when he first made man, specifying the day which he blessed and sanctified, and setting an example to man, that, after six days of labor, he should rest from his worldly business on the seventh day, and keep it holy. This he afterwards inserted among those commands containing a perpetual moral law, commanding men - all men, without distinction — to observe the Sabbath, and keep one day in seven holy, or the seventh day, after six days' labor. In the mean time, for particular, wise, important reasons, he separated a people from all other nations, and formed them into a church, giving them laws and statutes suited to keep.them separate from the idolatrous nations, and to point out by types and emblems the Redeemer of man, and the great salvation by him, and to prepare the way for his coming into the world, dying and rising again, and setting up his kingdom on earth. And among the rest, they received a command to keep the seventh day of the week as a holy Sabbath, which was much insisted upon during that dispensation as an important article, which should be to them a constant, visible sign that they were a holy people, devoted to God. When the end of this seventh-day Sabbath was fully answered, and the thing of which this, and the event it was to commemorate, were a type and shadow, took place, it was abolished, and the Sabbath of the first day of the week took place by his order and command, who is Lord of the Sabbath, in commemoration of his resurrection from the dead, and the eternal redemption of the church which he had obtained by his blood, and which he arose to accomplish.
And nothing could be more suited by this institution to gratify and please the friends of Christ, than to have the first day of the week, on which their dear Lord arose from the dead, consecrated and sanctified, that they may keep a holy Sabbath on this day, and honor and praise him, and celebrate the work of redemption. This has been, to the people of God in general, in the Christian church ever since, a high day, a delight, holy of the Lord, and honorable, and is so even now. And if any of the true servants of Christ be otherwise minded, God will show it unto them. *
It has been a question, upon which professing Christians have been divided, when a Christian Sabbath begins, -at what time of the twenty-four hours of the day it commences, - whether at the setting of the sun, at midnight, or when the light comes on in the morning. Some have supposed that it cannot be certainly determined, and that it is of no importance when it begins ; - that if persons act conscientiously, and according to their own judgment, though they differ, and one observes the night preceding the day, and the other the night following the day, they are equally right, and do equally well. Others, being at a loss about the time of beginning the Sabbath, will observe both the evening before and that after the day, that they may be sure to keep the right.
* That the first day of the week, which is the Christian Sabbath, is the same day of the week which was sanctified as a Sabbath when creation was finished, appears probable from what has been observed, and, it is thought, serves in some degree to illustrate this point. But though this supposition be natural and probable, and there be nothing in Scripture inconsistent with it, yet it is not pretended to be demonstration, or necessary in order to prove the first day of the week to be the Christian Sabbath. For, if what has been supposed and observed concerning this be considered as mere conjecture, and without any foundation, the other arguments for the abolition of the Jewish Sabbath, and the divine appointment of the first day of the week to be the Christian Sabbath, stand good, and sufficiently establish the point.
Perhaps the following observations may give some light on this point. They are offered to the serious, attentive, and unprejudiced.
i. If God has sanctified one day in seven, or the first day of the week, all the hours of that day, being twenty-four, are holy time; and there is a time when they begin independent of us, or our opinion or practice. Man cannot make any time holy. If God have not done it, there is no holy time; and if it be made holy by him, it is so independent of man; and the hours which are sanctified are fixed and stated, so that, when the first hour of that time comes, it is holy time, and continues so, till twenty-four hours be passed; and then holy time ceases till another Sabbath comes on, and commences at the same hour that the preceding Sabbath did. And men cannot change or commute it by neglecting that time which God has sancti. fied, and keeping some other day, or hours of another day, as holy time. Therefore, if the first day of the week be sanctified, the precise hours of that day, from beginning to end, and when they begin, are fixed, and all those hours are holy time, and not those which precede or follow, and it is a piece of superstition to keep them as holy time. Therefore,
2. We have reason to believe and be sure, that there is light enough in the Bible to discover to every Christian who will faithfully use the advantages he has, to get light on this head, when, or at what time, the Sabbath begins, as well as what day of the week is sanctified as a Sabbath. For if such light and information be not given, the command to keep the day holy cannot reach him, as he has no capacity to obey it
. There may be light enough in the Scripture to determine this, and yet not be seen by Christians, through some blamable defect in them. They may be too inattentive, or prejudiced, or both, and follow the opinion of others, without properly examining for themselves, with that care and honest impartiality which becomes a Christian; and be satisfied with arguments which really have no weight in them. If this be not decided by any one express declaration in Scripture, telling when the Sabbath is to begin, it may be as clearly revealed otherwise, to an attentive, honest, discerning mind. Whatever proposition or truth clearly follows from what God has said in his word, from beginning to end, is part of divine revelation, and is the light and truth it contains, or is discovered by it.
3. This cannot be determined by the hour, or time of day, on which the Redeemer rose out of the grave or tomb; for this is not certainly known, which would have been revealed, had the time of beginning the Sabbath depended on this. But if it were known, this would not decide the matter; for no reason can be given why the day, which is sanctified as a commemoration of that event, should begin precisely at the hour when he rose from the dead. But if any reference be had to the time of the resurrection of Christ, it is as probable, and perhaps more so, that he rose soon after the Jewish Sabbath ended, which was at sunsetting, when the first day of the week did certainly begin, unless there were a chasm of time between the seventh day of one week and the first day of another, and which belonged to neither. Matthew says, “ In the end of the Sabbath, when it began to dawn towards the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, came (or went) to see the sepulchre.” The same word in the original, here rendered began to dawn, is used by Luke, and rendered drew on: “ The Sabbath drew on;" (Luke xxiii. 54;) and it must have that meaning there. And the words of Matthew may be accordingly rendered : " In the end of the Sabbath, as the first day of the week drew on, as soon as the Jewish Sabbath was over, which ended at sundown, these women went to the sepulchre;” that is, sat out to go: but that earthquake and storm, which Matthew goes on to relate, took place then, and stopped them on their way, and prevented their getting there till next morning; at which time of the earthquake, etc., Christ rose from the dead, the first day of the week having began.* So that he rose on the first day of the week, as much as if he had lain in the grave till midnight, or the next morning. But be this as it may, the time of the first day of the week, on which Christ rose from the dead, whether between sundown and dark, or at midnight, or at the dawning of the day, or at the rising of the sun, were it certainly known, cannot determine when the Sabbath begins.
4. The time in which men consider their civil day as beginning and ending, will not determine when the Sabbath, which God has sanctified, begins or ends. In this, men are arbitrary, and different nations begin their civil day at different times and hours.
5. Time did not begin with light, or in the morning; but darkness, or night, preceded the light of the first day; and the evening and the morning were the first day, and not the morning and the evening. And so the succeeding days, in which the world was created, are reckoned to begin with the evening, or night, and to end with the light.And the evening and the morning were the second day," etc. Therefore, the seventh day, from the beginning of creation, which was blessed and sanctified as a Sabbath, began with the evening, and ended
See Mr. Knight's Harmony, on Matt. xxviii. 1.
with the light, or with the setting of the sun. By this we learn how time was reckoned by God, and at what time he fixed the beginning of the day; not in the morning, or at midnight, but the evening which preceded the morning. And the first Sabbath which was sanctified began at evening, and included the night preceding the light of the day. And why is not this a sufficient guide to us, in determining when the day is to begin, which God has set apart for himself, and made holy? We are told by him how he reckoned time and days when they first began, and that he connected the preceding night with the following light, to make a whole day; and that he sanctified such a day, which began in the evening and ended at the next evening, and blessed it for the use of man; and may it not be safely and with certainty inferred that all holy days, which God hath made so, begin with the evening, since there is no intimation in the Bible that he has altered his way of reckoning days, since the beginning of time, nor has left it to men to determine as they please? but the contrary; for,
6. When God made known, and gave a weekly Sabbath to the children of Israel, and appointed other holy days, he ordered them to begin all of them at the evening, or going down of
This none will dispute, who attends properly to his Bible.
The Jews, when Christ was on earth, began their Sabbath at the setting of the sun, and ended it at the same time of the day. This is evident from what is related by three of the evangelists. (Matt. viii. 16. Mark i. 32. Luke iv. 40.) When Christ had attended the public exercises of the synagogue on the Sabbath, and had cured a man found there possessed by an unclean spirit, he went into the house of Simon; "and at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils; and all the city were gathered together at the door.” The rulers and doctors among the Jews held and taught that it was not lawful to heal on the Sabbath, and strictly forbid all persons coming to Christ on that day. When Jesus healed a woman whom he found in the synagogue on the Sabbath, “ the rulers of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the Sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work; in them, therefore, come and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day." (Luke xiii. 14.) Therefore, the people did not bring any of the diseased to Christ to be healed on the Sabbath day. But at evening, when the sun was set, they came in crowds to the house where Jesus was, bringing their sick and possessed to Christ to be healed. This fact renders it certain, that the Jews