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of the all-glorious Creator-and of the duty of fearing, loving, worshipping, and serving him. This was the grand primary reason of the institution; and by no change has this reason ever been superseded. But when the law of the sabbath was long after enjoined upon the Jews, while this original reason was assigned for it, as retaining all its force, an additional reason, arising out of their own circumstances, and the special kindness of Jehovah towards them, supervenes upon the former; is not substituted for it, but associated with it: Deut. v. 12-15, "Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the Lord hath commanded thee. Six days shalt thou labour, 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, nor thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy man-servant and thy maid-servant may rest as well as thou. 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." That the latter reason is not a substituted, but an added one, is manifest from the fact that, when the commandment was announced, along with the rest, by the voice of Jehovah, from Sinai, the original reason alone is mentioned.
It is thus proved that, though the primary reason could not be annulled, others might be added to it. If a second might, so might a third. Let the supposition, then, be made, that at "the fulness of the time," the completion of the Saviour's redeeming work had been assigned as a new reason for the celebration of the sabbath, and that the day had, at the same time, been retained. Had this been done, we should have been in precisely the same circumstances (only with the important exception of the immense superiority of our additional reason to theirs)—with the ancient Israelites, when their deliverance from Egypt was superinduced upon the original reason of the sabbatic celebration. But mark the difference. The transcendent excellence and glory of the work of redemption, and the surpassing preciousness of its blessings, will not admit of its having the place of a mere additional reason for the keeping of the day. It must become the chief. It must have the first place. It must take precedence even of creation. First in the divine estimate of greatness, it must be first in man's grateful and reverential commemoration. How, then, shall this priority be marked? How shall the superior importance of redemption be recognized and testified in the celebration? Why, in order to give it the lead, the day shall be changed. Creation had the day before; redemption shall have it now. Not, in either case, exclusively; for as, from the time of the first promise, God was worshipped as Bedeemer as well as Creator, so from the time of the fulfilment of the promise by the finished work of Christ, he continues to be worshipped as Creator as well as Redeemer. But, his glory as seen "in the face of Jesus" -in the wonders of that work of salvation into which angels desire to look" -surpassing his glory as seen in the external universe; and the benefit to man from the one so prodigiously exceeding that arising to him from the provisions of the other, he is specially owned and adored, on the Christian_sabbath, in the character of "THE GOD OF OUR SALVATION." Now, such an arrangement recommends itself to our minds as reasonable and right. From the pre-eminent place which REDEMPTION holds in the revelation of God, being its grand discovery, and the pervading theme of its celebration, it is no more than we might have been prepared to expect. That the fact was in correspondence with the previous probability, may appear from
2. RECORDED FACTS AND EXAMPLES.-It is assumed that such facts and examples, if found recorded in the New Testament, as having had place under
the eye and with the sanction of apostles, are equivalent to preceptive injunctions. What the apostles did, and what the churches did under their supervision, must have been done in accordance with their Divine Master's will. Notice, then,
(1.) Acts xx. 6, 7: "And we sailed away from Philippi, after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days. And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached to them, ready to depart on the morrow, and continued his speech until midnight."-The inference from this passage is clear, we wish not to press it further than it will bear,—that Paul waited at Troas for an opportunity of meeting with the assembled church; that the day on which he enjoyed this opportunity was, not the seventh or last day of the week in the beginning of which he had arrived, but the first of the following week. The conclusion is, that the Christian brethren were not accustomed to meet on the day of the ancient and Jewish sabbath; and that they were accustomed to meet on a day of their own; that as their day of public worship they solemnized, not the seventh day, but the first.
(2.) 1 Cor. xvi. 1, 2: "Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. 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.”—The same inference follows, beyond contradiction, from this passage; that the first day of the week was the day of their regular public assemblies for the worship of God. On that day they were to lay apart a proportion of their gains, as their prosperity might enable them to afford, "putting it into the treasury," (that is, of the church,) so that when the apostle came there might be no collections; that all might be ready to his hand. But while this inference is indisputable, there is another and a farther one from this passage, which is not less valid. We have here, very evidently, the original week, with a change in the day of rest. We have a period of secular business, during which it is supposed they may have experienced various degrees of prosperity in their respective callings : and we have a day on which a proportion of the proceeds of such business was to be set apart, and put into the church's treasury, for a benevolent purpose. Is not this just the ancient arrangement, only with the change specified-six days' work, and one day's rest? Are not the apostle's words of much the same import as if he had said, Upon the day of rest put your contributions into the treasury, conscientiously proportioning them to the measure of your success during the days of labour? We have more, then, in this passage than the mere fact of the first day of the week having been the day on which the churches met for worship: we have the further fact established, we do not say with absolute certainty, but with a probability akin to certainty, that that day had now become the day of cessation from the secular engagements of the other six: the original week-God's instituted week-being not merely a period of seven days, but a period of six days of labour and one of rest-sacred religious rest.
(3.) Rev. i. 10: "I was in the Spirit ON THE LORD'S DAY." It is assumed that this was a natural day, and that it was the first day of the week. None will dispute this who are worthy to be reasoned with. Such was the designation, then, which that day had acquired among Christians at that early period. And what designation could be more appropriate for the day on which, after having been "delivered for our offences," he was "raised again for our justification?"-the day which sealed the Divine acceptance of his finished work, and was the prelude to his final and universal triumph? The day is HIS; sacred to him, and to the exercise of thankful commemorative adoration for the redemption effected by his death and certified by his resurrection. And
with this passage we cannot but connect those recorded appearances of his to his disciples after his rising from the dead, in which he, in a manner, practically claimed it as his own, and set the example of its hallowed appropriation. He appeared to them in the evening of the day of his rising. He permitted Thomas to remain for a week in his incredulity, and on the next first day of the week presented himself again, satisfied his doubts, and received his adoring homage. His first two appearances seem thus to have been designed to mark out the day as henceforth the appropriate commemorative day for the people of God-commemorative of his own work, the work of redeeming love. And after his ascension, the glorious day of the Spirit's effusion, the blessed day of the commencement of his reign, the pentecostal day, was also "the first day of the week." And to complete this department of our plea, it ought to be observed what a correspondence there is between "the Lord's day," as the designation of the Christian sabbath, and "the sabbath of the Lord," as one of the designations of the seventh day from the beginning. "My sabbath" it was called by Jehovah. Does not the one thus stand for the other?
3. DIRECT INSPIRED AUTHORITY.-We hesitate not in at once referring, for such authority, to Heb. iv. 9, 10: "There remaineth, therefore, a rest for 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."
We have before taken notice of the reasonableness of the appropriation of a new day to the celebration of the most glorious of Divine transactions; and having thus cleared our way, let the reader candidly observe, divesting himself of all prepossessions in behalf of the common interpretation, which has all the force of habit, and all the influence of pious and delightful associations on its side,
(1.) The beautiful and striking analogy between the reason assigned for this new sabbatic day, and that originally assigned for the old: "There remaineth, therefore, a sabbatism 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.” Just suppose CHRIST to be meant by " He that is entered into his rest,” and the analogy is perfect and forcible. The very reading of the words renders the conclusion so simple as to be irresistible. As when God ceased from his work of creation, the day of his resting was hallowed as a sabbatism, or a day of commemorative rest and religious celebration; so when Jesus finished his work-the work of redemption, and rested from it in his resurrection and his reception to the right hand of God, that blessed day was, in all time coming, to be the day of sabbatical rest and celebration. In the ordinary interpretation, the spirit of this allusion, and of the analogy suggested by it, is entirely lost. There is not a vestige of it left. But, interpreted as above, so completely is it preserved, that the language of God in Gen. ii. 1-3, might, in the full spirit of it, be accommodated to the work of Jesus when he rose from the dead, and the consequent sanctification of the first day of the week: "Thus the work of redemption was finished, and all its glorious ends secured. And on the first day of the week Jesus rose from the grave, and finally rested from the work he had done: wherefore the ascended Lord blessed the FIRST DAY, and sanctified it."
(2.) The "For" in Heb. iv. 10, is plainly designed as assigning a reason for what had been stated in the verse preceding. But according to the ordinary interpretation of the passage, it neither assigns a reason, nor adduces a proof of what is there affirmed. The supposed affirmation is, "there remaineth a rest"-the heavenly rest-" for the people of God;" and what seems to be assigned as a reason, or adduced as a proof of this is, "for he that is entered into his rest"-the believer, namely, who dies and goes to heaven-" he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his." Now, apart from the
unnaturalness of any such analogy as that between the believer's ceasing from his works on earth and God's ceasing from the six days' work of creation— and, we think we might add, the presumption involved in it—we have to ask, how the believer's ceasing from his works on his entering the heavenly rest can be a reason why that rest remaineth for him? or how it can be a proof that it does remain for him? What kind of argument is imputed to the inspired writer when he is made to say, "There remaineth, therefore, the heavenly and everlasting rest to the people of God; for the believer who enters into that rest ceaseth from his own works, as God did from his?" Surely there is here neither reason nor proof. There is an unnatural, and (to say the least of it) sufficiently bold analogy; and to the illative particle "for," there is left no meaning whatever : whereas, on the other view, the analogy between God ceasing from the work of creation, and the Son of God ceasing from the work of redemption, is beautiful and striking; and the reason thence arising for a new "sabbatism to the people of God"-is pertinent and satisfactory. Then,
(3.) All other considerations are in full harmony with this interpretation. The change of the word-from that signifying rest to that which the Hebrews could hardly fail to understand as meaning the keeping of a sabbath-has been already adverted to. So, too, has the reasonableness of expecting that in such an epistle-an epistle addressed to Hebrews, and for the express purpose of showing the harmony between the old state of things and the new, and reconciling their minds the more fully to the latter-some notice should be found of the transition, in the worship of the New Testament church, from the seventh day to the first-a notice which is nowhere in the epistle, unless here. We now add, that the view which we consider the passage as giving of the first day sabbath is one which accords precisely with the fact as to its real nature and design. For what is that sabbath? Is it not exactly what our explanation of the passage intimates-a commemoration of the finished work of Jesus-of his triumphantly "ceasing from that work, and entering into his rest?" Is it not just a solemn and delightful celebration of this?-a rest of the believing soul in the completed redemption?—in Jehovah's perfect and eternal satisfaction in it-his "smelling a savour of rest" in the accepted sacrifice of his Son? Is it not a day of personal and social jubilee, of spiritual joy and praise, in memory of Him who was "delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification?" And did not the Spirit, by the inspired Psalmist, anticipate the celebration of this day, when he dictated the prophecy, "The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the This is the Lord's doing; and it is marvellous in our eyes. THIS IS THE DAY WHICH THE LORD HATH MADE: WE WILL REJOICE AND BE GLAD IN IT?"
THE DUTY OF CONVERSION.
“And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate; for many, I say unto you, will seek
to enter in, and shall not be able," LUKE Xiii. 24.
NEVER was there magnanimity like that of the Lord Jesus Christ. His was not a sentiment or a speculation merely, however fine; it was the sublime of goodness and the sublime of constancy; and it was the exemplification of both through his whole life. His example was not only steady, perfect, luminous; it was one of increasing lustre and effect, of cumulative interest and incomparable worth, continu
ally sustained and enriched to the last scene of its catastrophe on the cross. His sufferings, unlike ours in kind as well as degree, were distinctly foreseen from the beginning; they were deliberately chosen;
"Such is the power of mighty love;" and when the crisis rapidly approached, he went forth voluntarily to meet it.
He was self-immolated, as "the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world."
Salvation be achieved only in the may present life.
The only way to achieve it is to turn cordially from sin to holiness, in obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
This achievement requires deliberate effort, enlightened pains-taking according to the truth, a practical agony of resolve and action that aims at the glorious goal, and makes it in the strength of God; and hence,
It is the high and primary duty of all who hear the gospel to make a prompt and personal business of securing, while they may, the salvation which, with equal grace, it reveals and offers to each of them: "Strive to enter in at the strait gate; for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able."
It may be proper here to notice one or two things plainly implied in these words, which it were wisdom definitely to feel: 1. The native condition of men. Evidently they are all out of the way. Hence the order and the obligation to enter the gate. They are seen, in the graphic picturing of the Prince of preachers, as a vast multitudinous crowd, moving onward and downward on a descending plain; careering together in the highway of sin, where many a crooked course is traced, many a peculiar by-path chosen, many a tasteful promenade selected,
"Each wandering in a different way, But all the downward road;"
where groups and companies refuse indeed to intermingle, and are careful with whom they walk; where the self-righteous shuns the profligate, the philosopher the clown, the gentleman the boor, the infidel the visionary, and the prodigal the miser; but where all are wrong-their persons unforgiven, and their motives disapproved, and though not in similar forms iniquitous, or in equal degrees criminal, they are posting together to hell! In this condition the gospel finds them; with its riches furnished in adaptation less to their various tastes than to their real wants; sufficient for them all, inviting all, warning all. And would it offer salvation to souls not lost, or, what is the same thing, in no need of it? O how instructive, how comprehensive, how fundamental this implication!
2. That great stress is justly laid by the Saviour on the initials of religion; on a correct beginning; on starting right.
This is, indeed, more than implied in the idea of "entering at the narrow door," and agonizing to do it, with such care and resolution of effort as to secure a correct commencement. Let us for illustration again recur to the figure. In the broad road to ruin, filled with millions of infatuated pilgrims, is there no retreat, no way of escape, no path of preservation to which it were possible to turn and leave the territories of death? There is. The King of the country hath erected, on a neighbouring eminence, a happy mansion. Behold its turrets, minarets, and towers rise to the view, requiring only a pause in the fevered course, and a calm attention fixed, in order to discern them, even from the broad road; a pleasant causeway leads, through level lawns, and sylvan melody, and groves of spices, onward from its very portico to the borders of the broad road; and there it terminates in a gateway, the door of which stands invitingly open, and accessible to the travellers without. Behold the inscription in characters of living light above: "Strive to enter in at the strait gate." On one side it is written equally legible, "Wherefore, as the Holy Ghost saith, To-day if ye will hear his voice;" and on the other, in monitory capitals, "For many shall seek to enter in, and shall not be able, when once the Master of the house hath risen up and hath shut to the door."
Now this narrow door is not the only avenue that seems to lead from the broad way. There are other openings, larger, and requiring no agony, or even effort, to enter them; but their path leads not to the happy mansion, the temple of salvation: deceptive routes they are, that wind to a swifter and surer perdition; and the farther any traveller proceeds in one of them, the less probable is it that he will ever return to "the strait gate," especially if his educated habits and prejudices and pride incline him delusively to one of them. To proceed is to get more and more astray; while to return is to confess error, to feel loss, to retrace misguided footsteps, to grieve pride, to renounce self-righteousness, self-wisdom, and self-strength, and to begin entirely anew; and this is not done often or by many. "Ah! me; this magnanimity how rare!" Those who begin wrong generally continue so; as "evil men and seducers wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived." But those who "enter at the strait gate" proceed in the way that leads to the mansion of rest.