« AnteriorContinuar »
carefully to peruse this prophecy; and when he is convinced, as convinced be must be, of the truth of these two assertions, the concluding argument for the permanence of the sabbath to be found in the last chapter of the book of this prophecy, will fall with tenfold weight upon his mind, (lxvi. 12) “ For thus saith the Lord, behold I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream. (18.) It shall come, that I will gather all nations and tongues, and all they shall come and see my glory. (22.) For as the new heavens, and the new earth, which I will make," (the kingdom of Christ) “shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before nie, saith the Lord.” Here, in the very conclusion of the prophecy, he declares from the mouth of the Lord, that when the kingdom of the Messiah shall have been completely established, and all flesh, all mankind, included in it; still shall the periods of time be as strongly marked by the SABBATHS, as by the revolution of the luminaries. This argument and this proof (it is Isaiah's, not mine) the unstable may wrest; but if they do, they may also wrest all the other scriptures.
On the restoration of the Jews after the Babylonish captivity, when Nehemiah (ix. 13, 14) is recapitulating the mercies of God to his nation from the calling of Abraham, he uses the following expressions :-“ Thou camest down also upon Mount Sinai, and spakest with them from heaven, and gavest them right judgments, and true laws, good statutes, and commandments, and madest known unto them thy holy sabbath, and commandedst them precepts, statutes, and laws, by the hand of Moses thy servant.” In this quotation the difference of expression used with regard to the sabbath, from that used in respect to the commandments, statutes, &c. is very remarkable. He gave and commanded them the laws, and statutes, and commandments; but the sabbath he made known unto them. Does not this clearly prove, that the laws, &c. were then instituted for the first time, but that the sabbath had been previously instituted and established; and that he restored the knowledge of it by a full account of the mode and reason of the observance. Would he not otherwise have mentioned the commandment of the sabbath in the same manner as the other laws, and why should he otherwise have so studiously varied the expression, and advisedly used a different word for the sabbath, if it were not that it stood on a very different foundation from the others ?
Some special pleader may here also allege that the sabbath was known before Sinai at the Wilderness of Sin; but this argument would be an odd reason for the necessity of making it known a few days afterwards. Nehemiah supposes all the transactions from leaving Egypt, and particularly those at Sin, to have taken place at the same time with those at Sinai, as we in modern times speak of all the transactions of a particular session of Parliament, some years past, as happening together. He even inverts the order of events. Although the giving of manna and of water happened before the giving of the law, he mentions them after; not so much regarding the order of time as the importance of the events. See verses 13, 14, 15.*
* In Nehemiah ix. 14, the Hebrew word, signifying "madest known,” from a Hebrew verb, signifying he perceived sensibly in Hiphil, which implies, to cause to feel,” “ make to feel,” “ cause to know," as Job xxxviii. 12. In Ruth ii. 1, and Prov. vii. 4, it signifies a person already known, an acquaintance, but at the time of speaking pointed out to their particular attention, as in 1 Sam.
ii. 12; Jer. i. 3; xxii. 16 ; Ps. i. 6; Amos iji. 2; Ezek. xix. 7. The verb being in the preter tense, refers to what did precede: "gavest” is future in tense and preter in sense, and therefore subsequent in event to what preceded in the leading verb: “madest known” is preter both in tense and in sense, and therefore being doubly so it implies a priority in event to “ gavest."--H. S.
THE SABBATH IN THE NEW TESTAMENT.
We come now to consider the New Testament account of the sabbath. The most superficial reader must observe how frequently our blessed Lord explains the true nature and object of the sabbath, how he corrects all false opinions relating to it, and how he accommodates it to the spirit of the religion he was about to establish.
The acute mind of the eminent Heylyn could not be insensible of this general impression, which the gospels are calculated to make, and he endeavours to counteract a feeling so repugnant to his own favourite opinion. I have no doubt but that many of my readers have long ere now been struck with wonder and surprise that such men as Heylyn and Bramhall should come forward as strenuous opponents of the sabbath, and labour to set up the Lord's day in opposition and rivalship to it, instead of connecting them both together, or rather, more properly speaking, of identifying the one with the other. And perhaps there may still be in the minds of a few of my readers, some lurking inclination to throw the authority of those great men into the scale along with their arguments. And so perhaps I might be inclined myself to do, if I did not see in the other scale the tried gold of the sanctuary.
It seems to me that the minds of those great and good men were imperceptibly warped by party bias unknown to themselves. The revolutionists and fanatics in the time of Charles the First, exalted and enforced the sabbath with Jewish and puritanical strictness and severity. What wonder, then, that Heylyn, the friend and adviser and advocate of Charles and his devoted adherent, he who was frequently driven from his benefice and his home, and obliged to wander about and conceal himself in the disguise of a peasant from puritanical fury;—what wonder that Bramhall, the friend and companion of Strafford, seeing the scaffold reeking with the blood of his friend and patron, shed by the axe sharpened and uplifted by the same hypocritical fanaticism ;-what wonder that both such admiring and faithful sons of the established church, the object of the hatred and attack of sectarian virulence, should have a strong feeling against the most favourite dogmas and opinions of their bitter persecutors, thus written in the blood of noble and royal martyrs ! But we live in an age when we can coolly and soberly investigate religious truth without party bias or feeling. Heylyn was an eminent and learned divine, and when borne on the full tide of scripture, was powerful, but when struggling against it was weak and impotent.
Heylyn (page 391, folio edition) gives a good enumeration of the various acts and miracles of our Saviour, 'employed for the purpose of correcting Jewish errors relating to the sabbath-day; but, with strange inconsistency, hé says that this was done for the sake of the Jews only, because our Lord did not intend immediately to dissolve their polity and abolish their laws and their sabbath. For the purpose of removing this objection, as well as of unfolding the true nature of the Christian sabbath, I am obliged to consider the various passages in the gospels connected with this subject. I think that a candid review of the gospels will convince