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verses 8, 9, 10, he guards them against "the tradition of men and the rudiments of the world," directs them to Christ, and tells them that they are "complete in him,” without the addition of any of the ordinances which only prefigured him; and in verse 19, directs them to hold the "Head," Jesus Christ; and says in verse 20, "Wherefore, if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances?" And in verses 21, 22, he shows that the rudiments and ordinances to which he refers here and above, are meats and drinks; for, alluding to those Jewish errors, he says, "Touch not, taste not, handle not; which all are to perish with the using."
"Sabbaths," is also used to express the feasts themselves, Lev. xix. 30, where "keep my sabbaths" means "keep my festivals." Heylyn says, that in Lev. xxiii. the feast of trumpets, the feast of tabernacles, and the passover, are severally intituled by the name of sabbaths.' See Lam. i. 7; where "mock at her sabbaths," probably means "her festivals." Horace calls the feast of the new moon, tricesima sabbata.
In the passage in question, the word is plural, without the article. It is sometimes used in the plural, to signify the weekly sabbath, but never without the article. Whenever given by the evangelists, as contained in any saying of our Lord's, it is given in the singular, except where it means the sabbaths in general; because our Lord intended to abolish, or rather, displace by fulfilling, the plural sabbaths attending the feasts, along with the feasts themselves, but to preserve the single weekly sabbath. In John's gospel, who wrote after the cessation of the Jewish polity and laws, the word is never used except in the singular, for a like reason.
But what makes still more against his Grace's assumption of the word in that passage, as signifying the sabbath-day,
is, that it is often applied to the days of the week, and might have that signification here. Thus, ua oaßßarwv, literally μια σαββατων, one of the sabbaths, or, first of the day of the week. Matt. xxviii. 1. literally twice of the sabbath, means fast twice in the week." Luke xviii. 12.
sabbaths, means the first And δις του σαββατου, twice in the week: "I
From all these arguments, I trust that my readers are convinced that this passage affords no grounds for the abolition of the sabbath.
P.S. TO SECTION XXV.
This text (Col. ii. 16) is quoted by all the opponents of the sabbath, and relied upon as their strongest argument for its abolition. It has, therefore, been necessary to give it a full examination: and I hope I have proved above, that it cannot bear the meaning which they attribute to it. This would have been sufficient for my purpose. The passage, however, is difficult: and it must be confessed that the answer would have been more complete, if the true meaning had been given and proved. But I could not find a satisfactory interpretation in any commentator; and I had sent the above section to press before I had arrived at a clear developement of the difficulty. I trust, therefore, that my readers may bear with me, while I endeavour to give, and to establish, what appears to me to be an adequate solution.
"The body," in verse 17, is, by every one, allowed to mean, not the material body of the Lord, but the substance and reality, as opposed to the types and shadows; but what those types and shadows are, to which St. Paul alludes, remains to be shown. I expect to prove that, by meat and drink, in this passage, he means meat-offerings and drink-offerings. It is otherwise inconceivable how
meat and drink could be mentioned among the types and shadows of Christ. Nor do we read anywhere of superstitious observances of the Jews, as to drinks.
St. Paul uses the same mode of expression in another passage, where, by meats and drinks, he must be understood as meaning meat-offerings and drink-offerings. Heb. ix. 9,
"..... which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect as pertaining to the conscience; which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances imposed on them until the time of reformation." No ordinances relative to meats and drinks were imposed as figures, except the meatofferings, and drink-offerings.
'Eoprn, translated "a holyday," means, as already mentioned, a feast, and ought to have been so translated. It appears to me that the genitives ἑορτῆς, νουμηνίας and σαββάτων depend upon βρώσει and πόσει, as well as upon μέρει, Σαββάτων being without an article, seems to mean the week-days, (which are always so called,) as well as the sabbaths.
If these premises be granted, then we may conclude that St. Paul speaks of the meat-offerings and drink-offerings, which accompanied all the sacrifices which were appointed for week-days, sabbaths, new-moons, feasts, and every day of a feast which consisted of more than one. And we may also conclude, that he merely speaks of the offerings, which were appointed for the days he mentions, and pronounces nothing whatsoever as to the days themselves. Of this, I have further proof from a text in Nehemiah, the great similarity of which to that before us, first led me to its true interpretation. Nehem. x. 32, 33: "Also we made ordinances for us to charge ourselves yearly with the third part of a shekel for the service of the house of our God, for the shew-bread, and for the continual meat-offering,
and for the continual burnt-offering of the sabbaths, of the new-moons, for the set feasts, and for the holy things, and for the sin-offering, to make an atonement for Israel, and for all the work of the house of our God,"
In this passage of Nehemiah, and in that of St. Paul, we have precisely the same particulars, either expressed or necessarily implied. Firstly, the subject-matter of the discourse, viz. meat-offerings, drink-offerings, and sacrifices. Secondly, the times and occasions for which they were appointed, viz. the week-days, the sabbaths, the newmoons, and the feasts. And, thirdly, the purpose or end, which Nehemiah considered as the atonement itself, but which St. Paul, having seen the real atonement, considered but as the shadow of that atonement.
It may not be amiss here to remark that, with the exception of the books of Moses, the Jews, at the time of our Saviour, were most particularly attached to the sacred books written after their return from captivity, which they considered as peculiarly their own. Many of their observances were founded upon those books, of which we have an example in the strictness with which they adhered to the letter of Nehemiah's directions, as to carrying burdens on the sabbath. They also continued to adhere to this ordinance of Nehemiah for the payment of a part of a shekel by each individual for the service of the templeworship; for, in Matt. xvii. 24, the persons who came to St. Peter, to ask whether his master paid tribute (dídpaxua) were οἱ τὰ δίδραχμα λαμβάνοντες, the collectors of the didrachNow, the didrachmon was half a shekel paid by each person for the temple service; and, from Peter's prompt reply, we may gather the readiness with which the Jews paid this impost.
- Fully to understand these parallel passages of Nehemiah and St. Paul, we must refer to the institution of the meatofferings and drink-offerings; the regulations regarding
which, being too long to quote, I must request my readers to consult the following parts of Scripture: Exod. xxix. 38-42. Lev. ii. vi. 14-23. Num. xv. 1-16; xxviii. xxix. Ezek. xlv. 14-25; xlvi. 1—15.
From these passages, it appears that every sacrifice was accompanied by its appropriate meat-offerings and drinkofferings. The meat-offerings were composed of fine flour, oil, and frankincense. For a bullock, the meat-offering was three tenth deals of flour; for a ram, two tenth deals; and for a lamb, one. For a bullock, the drink-offering was half a hin of wine; for a ram, a third; for a lamb, a fourth. In the above-quoted chapters, the numbers of sacrifices are detailed for the common or week-days, for the sabbaths, for the new-moons, for the several feasts, and for the particular days of the respective feasts.
In Lev. ii. 3, 10, it is said that the meat-offering is “the most holy of the offerings made by fire." On account of their superior holiness, the meat-offerings and drink-offerings are sometimes mentioned for the entire sacrifices. Thus, Joel i. 9: "The meat-offering and the drink-offering is cut off from the house of the Lord: the priests and the ministers mourn." And in 13, "Lie all night in sackcloth, ye ministers of my God, for the meat-offering and the drink-offering is withholden from the house of our God." And also in Heb. ix. 9, already quoted. They are sometimes briefly called meats and drinks, as in the text last quoted, as also (if I may so say) in that under consideration.
The reader is now prepared to form his final judgment upon this passage of St. Paul. On considering the days mentioned, he will be convinced that by "meat and drink,” the apostle must mean the meat-offerings and drink-offerings appointed for those days. From the exact parallelism between his words and those of Nehemiah, he will be satisfied that the same things are intended in both. And, from observing that there cannot be any doubt that Nehemiah