Imatges de pÓgina

from the fifty-eighth chapter, and which I mentioned as descriptive of the sabbath under the Messiah's kingdom.

From the above view of our Lord's corrections, so carefully and so fully handed down by the evangelists, who can doubt that our blessed Lord intended that the sabbath should continue as an integral part of his religion?

I have, however, still farther proofs to adduce; but I can better bring them forward, while I answer various objections which have been made by the opponents of the sabbath: and I must here beg the indulgence of my readers if I do not observe much order or method, which indeed are incompatible with a consideration of miscellaneous objections of various authors.



(a) Miscellaneous Objections.

I HAVE incidentally answered several objections urged by Heylyn, and must take notice of some more.

He instances the many particulars of the Life of Abraham which are recorded, and yet there is no mention of the sabbath. We may say the same of Samuel, David, and Solomon, in whose histories there is no mention of it, or of the passover, although we know that both were observed. He says, that the Christian fathers unanimously deny that Abraham kept the sabbath. They may deny that there is any account of it; but if their denial stand good with regard to Abraham, it will be equally good against David,

Solomon, and all the kings of Israel, until the revolt of the ten tribes. He says that there is no mention of it in the book of Job. Is there any in the Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, or Song of Solomon? Will he and the fathers maintain that the sabbath was unknown when those books were written?

He says, that it is the general opinion that the Israelites came out of Egypt on the seventh day, and therefore travelled on the sabbath. I have proved this to be impossible. He then goes on to say, that the day they came to the Wilderness of Sin ought to have been the sabbath, but was not kept as a sabbath. I have proved, that not that day, but the next, was the sabbath.

He calls the day of their passing the Red Sea the day of their coming out of Egypt. I have shown this to be directly contrary to the history of Moses, and a mere popular


He says that they made no scruple afterwards of journeying on the sabbath: of this he gives no proof, because he can give none. It is certain that they were encamped at Etham on the first sabbath after they came out. We have proved, that they rested on two others at Sin. There were seven sabbaths between their departure from Egypt, and their arrival at Sinai, and the giving out of the law. Here are three sabbaths accounted for, occupying two encampments. But there were eleven encampments (Numb. xxxiii.) during the seven sabbaths, and therefore nine rests during the four remaining weeks.

He says that the sabbath was peculiar to the Jews, and distinguished them from the Gentiles; and thence he illogically deduces the conclusion that it must end with them. The premises do not warrant the conclusion. The knowledge and worship of the true God were also peculiar to the Israelites and Jews;-were these also to cease with their polity?

Heylyn endeavours to prove that even the Israelites and Jews, after their settlement in Canaan, broke the sabbath. He asserts that the day of David's flight and eating the shewbread was on the sabbath; but of this he has no proof-his mistake arose from misunderstanding our Saviour's argument, which was not that David transgressed the fourth commandment, but that, on the plea of necessity, he had transgressed another law, which restricted the use of the shewbread to the priests.

He says that Elijah travelled forty days and forty nights to Horeb, (1 Kings xix. 8,) and therefore must have travelled on the sabbath; and yet he makes a question, how possibly Elijah could spend forty days on so small a journey?" The true meaning is that he was six weeks, or forty days, from the commencement of his journey to the conclusion: 'forty days and forty nights' is a Hebrew expression; as the Greeks would say, forty nukthemera, or as we would say, forty days of twenty-four hours each.' But it does not follow, and indeed was impossible, that he travelled every day he must have halted many days; and we may conclude that he rested on the sabbath- -at least there is no proof that he did not. We have a similar expression,-we say 'the forty days of Lent,' and yet the Sundays are not reckoned in.

[ocr errors]


The battle recorded 1 Kings xx. 29, he says must have been on the sabbath, because the Israelites and Syrians "encamped over against each other for seven days, and on the seventh the battle was joined;" but if they encamped on any other day than the sabbath, they rested on the sabbath, because the seventh day mentioned is evidently the last of the seven, during which they were encamped, the seventh from the encamping. It is true he quotes Zanchius to prove that it was the sabbath; but we know just as much of the matter as Zanchius did, who had no information but

what the scripture affords, which he manifestly misunderstood. There are several instances in scripture of the mention of a seventh day, which was not the sabbath. The raven and dove were sent out of the ark on seventh days,— but not on the sabbath.

Pole makes a similar mistake in supposing that the seventh day after the passover, celebrated in Egypt, was the weekly sabbath, which I have shown to be impossible. He confounds the first day of unleavened bread, the day of the Passover, which was always kept as a sabbath, with the weekly sabbath: but erroneously; for the sabbath which accompanied the passover was ambulatory, and movable through all the days of the week.

Heylyn quotes the Shunamite on the death of her son, having called to her husband (2 Kings iv. 22) and said, "Send me, I pray thee, one of the young men, and one of the asses, that I may run to the man of God and come again; and he said, Wherefore wilt thou go to him to-day, it is neither new moon nor sabbath ?"—from whence Heylyn observes, that if it had been the sabbath, she might have taken such a journey, although Elijah was ten miles distant. No doubt she might resort to a man of God on the sabbath, although at that distance. And this, instead of being an argument against the sabbath, would have been according to its spirit on the principles above laid down; and proves nothing except that the law was understood, and practised, according to its spirit at that time. Indeed, in another

place, he himself proves that, on an average, the Israelites must have been ten miles from a city of the Levites, and Icould not have resorted to them on the sabbaths without travelling ten miles. This proves that works were allowable for the purposes of religion, which would, otherwise, have been improper: and in this very place he acknowledges that the nicety of the sabbath-day's journey came not up until long after.'


(b) OBJECTION.—John ix.

HEYLYN mentions our Lord's making plaster of clay, which he says was a work, and his sending the blind man to the pool of Siloam, (which by the way was less than a sabbath-day's journey,) and says that these words and actions gave the first hint to his disciples for abolishing the sabbath amongst the ceremonies which were to have an end with our Saviour's suffering, to be nailed with him to the cross, and to be buried with him in his grave for ever.' This argument, if it deserve the name of one, has been fully answered before. He ought to have said that it served to teach the disciples the true nature of the sabbath, and the true spirit of the law.

His Grace the Archbishop adopts the same line of argument, and says, 'It is worth remarking, again, that in the cure of the blind man (recorded in John ix.) on the sabbath, Jesus is not content with choosing that day for his work; but instead of merely speaking the word, he makes clay, and anoints the man's eyes, as if on purpose to draw attention to the circumstance of doing a work on that day.' think what I have said above on the true nature of the sabbath shows how little there is in this argument, but I quote it to explain the reason of our Lord having done this. It was a custom among the Jews to anoint sore eyes with spittle; but a learned controversy had arisen amongst these most scrupulous and conscientious men, (who thought nothing of plotting murder on the sabbath,) whether this anointing of the eyes was legal or illegal on the sabbath

« AnteriorContinua »