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A. 1. Because it furnishes an opportunity for relaxation from secular pursuits, for serious reading and meditation, the religious instruction of children, christian intercourse, and public social worship; 2. Because the reason and fitness of things require it; and, 3. Because God has established it to be perpetually kept as sacred to His service.(b)
When was the Sabbath at first instituted? A. Immediately upon the close of the creation. Q. 6. What is the evidence of this?
A. 1. The fact, that the Scriptures represent it as then instituted; 2. The design of the institution, which is the commemoration of the Divine perfections, in the work of creation, and the preparation of man for the kingdom of heaven; and, 3. The fact that time was then, and onward, distinguished by weeks of seven days. (c)
Q. 7. Was the command to keep the Sabbath renewed to the children of Israel?
A. It was, when God gave to them from mount Sinai the ten commandments.(d)
Q. 8. Is the sabbatical institution in force under the Christian dispensation?
A. It is. As evidence of this, we have, in addition to the fourth commandment of the decalogue, which is perpetually binding upon all men, wheresoever it is made known, the practice of the Apostles, of Him who is Lord of the Sabbath, and the practice of the primitive Christians. The Sabbath, then, is a standing ordinance,
(b) Gen. ii. 3. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it; because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.-Exod. xx. 8. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
(c) Gen. ii. 3. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it; because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.-Exod. xx. 11. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. The phrase, in process of time,' or more properly rendered, at the end of days, when Cain and Abel are said to have brought their offering to the Lord, most probably meant the Sabbath. A week was a well known period of time in the days of Jacob and Laban. Noah observed periods of seven days. All nations of the earth have divided time into periods or weeks of seven days, and have generally regarded the first day of the week as more sacred than the others.
(d) Exod. xx. 8. Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy.
and is, consequently, not abolished under the Christian dispensation; but continues in full force.(e)
Q. 9. Which day of the week was the Jewish Sab
A. It was the seventh day of the week.
Q. 10. How long did the Jewish Sabbath continue?
A. Till Christ's resurrection from the dead. Christ came and broke down the middle wall of partition between Jews and Gentiles, and restored many things to their primitive state; the Jewish Sabbath, which was typical of the rest that He procured for His Church, was altered to the first day of the week. The Jewish Sabbath was abolished when the Mosaic dispensation ceased, and the things typified by it took place.
Q. 11. What is the evidence that the first day of the week is to be kept as the Sabbath, under the Christian dispensation.
A. 1. The fact, that Christ arose from the dead on this day; and, 2. The fact, that the Apostles and primitive Christians observed the first day of the week as the Sabbath. But this they would not have done, had it not met the approbation of the Lord of the Sabbath; and His will is a law, and, consequently, their example has all the force which can be attached to a precept or command.(f)*
(e) See d and f.
(f) Mark ii. 28. Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath. The first day of the week is called the Lord's day in distinction from all other days, because it is designed to commemorate the resurrection of Christ.-Rev. i. 10. I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day. On this day the Lord's Supper was administered, and the word of God was preached.-Acts xx. 7. And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them. It was the day of charitable collections.-1 Cor. xvi. 2. Upon the first day of the week, let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.-Christ appeared to his disciples on this day, and blessed them.-John xx. 1, 19, 26. The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene, early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre. Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were
*It is to be remembered, that the fourth commandment specifies no particular day to be kept as the Sabbath, only one in seven. The purport of the command is, Six days may be employed in labor, and the seventh, or one in seven, is to be observed as a day of sacred rest. Elsewhere we are to look for the specification of the day of the Sabbath.
Q. 12. When does the Sabbath begin?
A. Some persons are of the opinion that it begins at evening, some, at midnight, some, in the morning, and some, that it cannot be determined when it does begin. Most however, agree in the opinion, that a seventh portion of time ought to be kept holy. It is evident from Scripture and history that the Jews, that Christ and his Apostles and the primitive Christians, commenced their Sabbath at the setting of the sun on the preceding day. It may be safe for Christians now to conform to their example. (g)
Q. 13. How should the Sabbath be kept?
A. It should be kept in a holy manner. Preparation should be made for it when approaching, and it should commence with prayer. On it servile labor, all works of vanity, pride, and luxury, all slothfulness and stupidity, travelling on journeys, visiting from house to house, strolling the fields, walking the streets for pleasure, conversation upon worldly concerns, reading irreligious books, or even books on ordinary subjects, should be avoided. Keeping the Sabbath holy implies, also, that the day be spent in public, private, and secret devotion, or religious exercises generally.(h)
shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you, And after eight days, again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them. Then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. A change in the day of the Sabbath seems to be intimated in the words of the apostle to the Hebrews. Heb. xiv. 8-10. For if Jesus (Joshua) had given them rest, then would he not afterwards have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
(g) Gen. i. 5. And the evening and morning (or the preceding darkness and the succeeding light) were (or constituted) the first day. Lev. xxiii. 32. From even unto even shall ye celebrate your sabbaths.Luke iv. 40. Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with diverse diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them. The Jews do now actually begin and end their Sabbaths at evening. And the learned Dr. Macknight says, that "it was the practice of the ancient Christians to begin their Sabbath on the evening of Saturday."
(h) Exod. xx. 8-11. Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy man servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates. For in six
Q. 14. May not works of necessity and mercy be performed on the Sabbath?
A. They may, if they cannot be properly deferred, such as healing the sick, administering to the relief of the distressed, and other works of mercy and necessity.(i)
Q. 15. By what name ought the Christian Sabbath to be called?
A._It is appropriately called the Lord's Day, or the First Day of the week. It may also, with great propriety, be called Sabbath.
Q. 16. Is the Sabbath an important institution?
A. It is; for it has been of more utility in preserving the knowledge and worship of God, and hereby promoting the temporal and spiritual happiness of man, than all
Q. 17. Should the Sabbath be highly prized?
A. It should; for with it is connected our individual and national prosperity, and the happiness of the present and future generations. Consequently every exertion should be made to prevent its violation.
days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is and rested the seventh day, wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.-Jer. xvii. 21, 22. Thus saith the Lord; Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem. Neither carry forth a burden out of your houses on the sabbath day, neither do ye any work, but hallow ye the sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers.-Neh. xiii. 15. In those days I saw in Judah some treading wine presses on the sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and lading asses; as also, wine, grapes, and figs, and all manner of burdens which they brought into Jerusalem on the sabbath day; and I testified against them in the day wherein they sold victuals.-Is. lviii. 13, 14. If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day, and cal: the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord honorable; and shalt honor him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words; then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob, thy father, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
(i) Mark ii. 27. And he said unto them. The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath.-Luke xiii. 15, 16. The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall and lead him away to watering? And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?
Q. 1. How is the Church of God to be regarded in its distinctive character?
A. It is to be regarded as catholic or particular, visible or invisible, militant or triumphant.
Q. 2. What is meant by the catholic Church?
A. It has a two-fold sense. It means, either all the professed friends of Christ, who dwell on the earth, that have publicly entered into covenant with God and His people; or all those who shall finally be sanctified and saved.(a)
Q. 3. What is meant by a particular Church?
A. A suitable number of professed Christians, who, embracing the great and essential truths of Christianity, and living in some good measure agreeably to them, covenant to walk together according to the laws, institutions, and ordinances of Christ. Such were the Churches at Rome, Corinth, Ephesus, Philippi, Colosse, and Thessalonica.(b)
Q. 4. What is intended by the Church visible?
A. All those who have, openly and freely, professed the religion of the Bible, and entered into covenant with God and His people, according to Divine prescriptions.(c) Q. 5.
What is meant by the Church invisible?
(a) Eph. i. 10. 22, 23. That in the dispensation of the fulness of times, he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even in him. And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
(b) Rev. ii. 7. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
(c) 1 Cor. i. 2. Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours.