« AnteriorContinuar »
morated. Afterwards comes the command to rest. How they could keep the sabbath holy, except by religious worship, and duty, and exercises, I cannot conceive. Perhaps his Grace will have the goodness to tell us. Surely mere rest does not tend to keep it holy. If so, the pharisees kept it holy, and his Grace's horses keep it holy.
His Grace goes on, and inadvertently establishes the very principle for which I have been contending, as the true spirit of the law, and which our Lord shows was the spirit of the Jewish law, and which he establishes as the spirit of the Christian sabbath. “But the day was naturally made a day of worship, because it was a day of rest. The Lord'sday ought to be made a day of rest, because it is a day of worship. The two objects are, indeed, generally so far from interfering, that they aid each other; but if a case should arise in which they do interfere, the secondary point should give place to the primary. If, for instance, it should happen, that a man could not attend public worship without labouring to clear away some obstruction in a road, or employing the services of cattle, the Christian would be as clearly bound to go as the Jew to stay at home. I beg to say that, according to the true intent and meaning of the Jewish law, as expounded by our Lord, the Jew would have been just as much bound to go as the Christian. So thought the Shunamite. What does his Grace think of the Jewish priests labouring twice as much on the sabbath-day as on any other day, and being blameless ?
In reviewing his Grace's arguments, I find one of a very curious nature. He wishes to prove that the sabbath had not been known before the giving out of the law on Sinai ; and that even the mention of its having been sanctified at the creation was inserted by Moses with reference to the law on Sinai. This I have endeavoured to disprove. There was, however, a great stumbling-block in the way of bis bold asertion (for, after all, it is nothing but assertion). The word “ Remember,” in the beginning of the fourth commandment, so manifestly pointed to an antecedent command, that his assertion could not stand a moment against its influence, unless he could get rid of it, or at least bend or warp it out of his way: and how he has done this, him self shall tell.
Nor does the expression, Remember the sabbath-day, necessarily imply its having been before observed, but rather that the precept was one liable to be violated through negligence and forgetfulness. We often say, in like manner, “ Remember to call at such a place at such an hour, or remember to deliver this letter, &c.”—meaning, take care not to forget it. It is not said, remember not to steal; remember to honour your parents, &c.
If the word “ remember," was necessary to be prefixed to a commandment on account of the likelihood of forgetfulness, it would be a very necessary preamble to every other commandment: the first would be the better of it; and the last could not do without it, for I fear both, as well as all the rest, are very liable to be forgotten. « Thou hast forgotten God that formed thee.” Deut. xxxii. 18.
66 Mine enemies have forgotten thy words.” Ps. cxix. 139.
6. Thou hast forgotten the God of thy salvation.” Isa. xvii. 10.
My people have forgotten me days without number.” Jer. ii. 32. “ They have forgotten the Lord their God.” Jer. iii. 21. “ They forget, as their fathers have forgotten, my name.” Jer. xxiii. 27. See also Ezek. xxii. 12; xxiii. 35. Hosea iv. 6; viii. 14 ; xiii. 6, cum multis aliis : but why multiply texts to prove so humiliating a truth? But, strange
to say, it seems to me that the fourth commandment requires the prefix of the word less than any other, on his Grace's principle. For every other, we have only individual memory; but for the sabbath, the joint memory of the whole community.
His Grace's mode of interpretation has, however, the merit of novelty. He has invented an entirely new principle for eliciting the latent sense of Scripture, by determining the true meaning of a Hebrew word, from the misuse, abuse, and perversion of an English word. For although his Grace's application of the word “ remember" might be good enough English for his messenger or letter-carrier, when so applied, that the context would keep them from mistake, yet it will be condemned by every English scholar. The word always supposes antecedent knowledge, as its etymology (re-memoro) proves. Can his Grace show us any precedents in the Bible for such a use of the word ? In a hundred and seventy-two passages in the Jewish Scriptures, which I have examined, it supposes antecedent knowledge, and a revocation of that knowledge. If his Grace could in all this number of cases have found a single instance to countenance his interpretation, we may conclude that he would have preferred it to invoking the aid of his messenger and letter-carrier ; but as he has not quoted any such, we may fairly conclude that none such was to be found. But if he can produce half the number of passages in the Old Testament with his meaning, still there would be an even chance against his meaning applying in this particular case. But it is unnecessary to say more.
The conclusion which he endeavours-not to prove, but to save from ruin by this ingenious device, viz. “ that the sabbath was not known before the time of Moses,' I have, I think, abundantly refuted in a former chapter, by showing that the sabbath was known before the first mention of it in the time of Moses at the Wilderness of Sin.
(f) OBJECTION.-Col. ï. 16.
His Grace, in page 10, quotes Col. ii. 16, to show that the sabbath was to be abolished. • Let no man judge you in meat, or in drink, or in any respect of a holiday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath-day, which are a shadow of things to come, but the body is Christ.” This quotation shows the hurry and precipitancy with which his pamphlet was written. He quotes entirely from memory, and does not even give a reference to direct where the text was to be found, he neither looked at the English translation, to see the words, nor at the Greek, to see the meaning.
His Grace alters the English text. It is true he alters only by one letter; but that letter one of infinite power and importance in the English language,—the fruitful germ of multiplication,-whose addition can, in a moment, convert a unit into countless thousands, and whose subtraction can, in the twinkling of an eye, leave the general of a mighty army alone upon the field of battle.
In plain English, he converts “the sabbath-days” in the plural, as it is in our translation, into “ the sabbath-day,” in the singular, as it is in his quotation. This, as I shall presently show, makes a material difference in the sense.
In the first place, this quotation, when adduced as a proof that the sabbath was to be abolished, would also prove, that all the other things mentioned are to be abolished also. This would prove too much—alas ! much too much—for it would lead to the mournful conclusion, that meat and drink, eating and drinking, were also to be abolished !*
* The following is the Greek. Μή εν τις υμάς κρινέτω εν βρώσει και εν πόσει, ή εν μέρει εορτής ή νουμηνίας, ή σαββάτων. The Grecian scholar will
The Greek word is oaßBarwy in the plural, without the article. This word in the plural is of very extensive signification. Besides the weekly sabbaths, it means also the Jewish sabbaths, which accompanied all the feasts, sometimes flanking the feasts on both sides, as I have shown in Sect. v., vi., vii. They seldom happened on the weekly sabbaths, but were movable through the days of the week like the feasts themselves. That this is the meaning of the word in this passage is very probable, for it is very remarkable that the word which is translated “ a holyday” is éoprno which signifies a “ feast-day,"—one of the Jewish festivals, and this word is in the singular, although " sabbaths” is plural, and the meaning is a feast or THE feast with its accompanying sabbaths. Two of the feasts, the Passover and Tabernacles, were flanked by sabbaths; that is, had one at each end. Each of the others had one only at the beginning. There were seven such sabbaths. It would
appear, therefore, that the feast here mentioned, being accompanied by sabbaths, must have been either the Feast of the Passover or of Tabernacles; but éoprn,-a feast, or the feast, when not particularly specified, generally means the passover, which was the only feast for which any regulation was made as to meats: these were the bitter herbs, the unleavened bread, and the passover. It seems probable, then, that the apostle is cautioning them against those Jewish ordinances, and states strongly, that they were shadows of things to come,-the paschal lamb the shadow, the substance the body of Christ.
The attentive reader, on examining this chapter, will find that the discussion of the apostle was entirely with regard to using particular meats and drinks on particular days, and had nothing to say to the days themselves. In
not fail here to observe the different manner in which the three latter are mentioned from the two first.