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240 FUTURE HAPPY MEETING OF A PIOUS FAMILY.

§ 10. How happy is that family where all, united in the Saviour's love, are travelling together to eternal life! What prayers, what labours of love will not such a prospect recompense! It is true, death will tear that family asunder, and snatch one by one, till all the once happy circle are snatched away; yet they are cheered with the bright prospect of forming a family again, where adieus and farewells are a sound unknown. How sweet is their united devotion, when

"Kneeling down to heaven's eternal King,

"The saint, the father, and the husband prays,
"Hope springs exulting on triumphant wing,
"That thus they all shall meet in future days.
"There ever bask in uncreated rays;

"No more to sigh or shed the bitter tear,
"For ever singing their Redeemer's praise,
"In such society, but still more dear,

"While circling time moves round in one eternal sphere."

How sweet will be their future union! O blessed day, when they who associated below, shall meet in realms above! Blessed day, when they who mingled sorrows here, shall meet to mingle raptures there! when they who shared together the trials of earth, shall share in sweeter union the triumphs of heaven! For ever safe! for ever and for ever blest! far from every evil! far from every grief! No longer soothers of each other's woe, but partakers of each other's felicity! Assaulted by temptation, afflicted by calamity, stained by sin, humbled by imperfection, alarmed by danger, never more! Security is their privilege, as happiness is their portion. The boisterous storms of time cannot follow them, sheltered safe from every storm. The blasts of affliction shall beat no more on their now peaceful home. The inroads of disease shall no more alarm, nor the assaults of death break their eternal union. The time for these things will be no longer. These began and ended in the field of mortal existence; but the peaceful mansions of the blest are for ever sheltered from them. Happy tranquillity, which nothing through eternal ages can disturb! lasting harmony, which nothing can dissolve! delightful security, which nothing through eternity shall ever alarm! and happy, happy union, which shall continue unbroken, while the infinite periods of an eternal day are rolling for ever along! Blessed family! with what melody will they join the everlasting song, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and -This good old saint, before he exchanged time for eternity, had the happiness of seeing the remainder of his children converted to the truth as it is in Jesus, and adorning the doctrine of God our Saviour, by useful lives.".

66

INSTITUTION OF THE SABBATH.

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riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto HIM that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the LAMB, for ever and ever!"

O, my friend, with such inducements, who that feels the Saviour's love, and true affection for his beloved connexions, would not wish to show piety at home!

CHAPTER XIII.

ON THE SABBATH, AND ITS IMPROVEMENT.

§ 1. OF all the institutions designed by heavenly mercy to promote the temporal and eternal welfare of mankind, there is no one of such immense importance, and productive of such immense benefits, as the sabbath. "Whereever the sabbath is not, there is no worship, no religion. Man forgets God, and God forsakes man." Where the sabbath is not regarded, man degenerates to a brute, a heathen, an infidel, or an atheist; and hastens, with a rapid step, to the scene where he will bear all the character, and all the features, of a fiend. Where the sabbath is loved, venerated, and improved, peace smiles, hope blooms, piety matures and ripens, and the soul hastens onward to the period, when the sabbaths of time shall be exchanged for the long sabbath of eternity.

$2. God, at the beginning of time, appointed a sabbath. This solemn season for rest and religion he ordained should then be the seventh day. "God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it; because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made." There is reason to believe that this day was regarded as sacred by the patriarchs, and it is decisively clear, that it was esteemed holy be

(a) Gen. ii. 3.
Y

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CHANGE OF THE SABBATH TO THE

fore the time when the law was given at Sinai. For some time before that period, Moses is described as speaking to the Israelites respecting it, and speaking of it not as if it were a new institution, but one well known to them. "He said unto them, This is that which the Lord hath said, To-morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the Lord."b

When the Lord, with appalling and terrible majesty, gave the law from Mount Sinai, the observation of the sabbath was the subject of one of the ten precepts that he delivered on that tremendous occasion. "Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy. 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, thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it."c

This solemn law of the Most High does not appear to have been introduced at this time as a new law, but as a law referring to a subject, with which the Israelites were well acquainted. REMEMBER the sabbath day. This phraseology implies, that they were acquainted with the day and with the law which they were now solemnly commanded to regard.

§ 3. With respect to the change of the sabbath from the seventh day of the week to the first, it may be observed, that

The Lord Jesus Christ was Lord of the sabbath, and consequently possessed authority to alter the day on which the sabbath is to be observed. "The Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day."d

That the Lord Jesus Christ communicated to his apostles so large a measure of his Spirit, and such authority in settling his church, that a change of the sabbath from the seventh day to the first, appointed by them, would be as binding on his disciples, as such a change expressly spoken of by himself. "Verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."e "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.

(b) Exod. xvi. 23, 26.

(c) Exod. xx. 8-11. (e) Matt. xviii. 18.

(d) Matt. xii. 8.

FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK.

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Howbeit, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth." Thus favoured, the apostles asserted their divine commission. "Let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God."g That the Scriptures lead us to believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, or his divinely inspired apostles, did make such alteration. The first day of the week was the day on which the Lord Jesus, after his resurrection, repeatedly appeared to his disciples.h

The first day of the week was the day on which the gospel was first preached, with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, and on which several thousands were converted, and a wide foundation laid for the Christian church. "And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." And the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. This fact is peculiarly remarkable. If the Most High had designed the seventh day to be continued as the day for public worship, can it with any reason be supposed, that the abundant effusion of the Holy Spirit, which qualified the apostles to preach for the FIRST time what is strictly the gospel, should have been made on the first day? and that the first day of the week should have been the day honoured by the first preaching of the gospel, and by the conversion of thousands? Did not this procedure of the Lord God mark out the first day of the week, as the day on which he designed the gospel of Jesus to be most extensively and successfully preached?

The first day of the week was the day on which the disciples united in that most solemn act of worship, the supper of the Lord. "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 unto them, ready to depart, on the morrow, and continued his speech until midnight." The argument for the first day being the Lord's day, which is furnished in this verse, is peculiarly forcible, in consequence of its being

John xvi. 12-14. (4) John xx. 19, 26.

(g) 1 Cor. iv. 1, 2. 2 Pet. iii. 2. (i) Acts ii. 1, 4. (k) Acts xx. 6, 7.

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expressly stated that the apostle and his companions abode seven days, or one week, at Troas. If the seventh day of the week, in which the apostle arrived at Troas, had been the day devoted to public worship, he was there to engage in its sacred exercises; but instead of the account stating that any thing of this kind took place on that day, it passes that day over in silence, and records, that on the first day of the following week the disciples met for that solemn act of worship, the Lord's supper, and that then the apostle preached unto them.

The first day of the week was the day on which the disciples were directed to make their charitable contributions for their suffering friends.1

There cannot be a reasonable doubt that the first day is the day distinguished by the appellation of the Lord's day, by the apostle John in the Revelations. "I was in the spirit on the Lord's day." "m The name applied to the day expresses its peculiar design. It is the Lord's day. Other days are allotted to man for attention to the needful concerns of this transitory world; but this day is peculiarly the Lord's, a day to be devoted to his worship and glory. It may be said, indeed, that all days are his. They are in one sense; but so is all creation. The cattle on a thousand hills are his; yet the Jewish husbandman was allowed to esteem his cattle his own; but if a part of his herd were presented as a sacrifice to God, that part, though in one sense the Lord's before, was now esteemed as set apart in a peculiar way for God. So with the Christian every day should be the Lord's; but while he claims one day as more peculiarly his own, it suggests that that day is to be set apart from common for sacred purposes, as the beast presented for sacrifice was no longer its former owner's, but the Lord's.

Though to look to ancient Christian writers, for arguments in support of institutions which the Scriptures do not mention, is to dishonour the word of God, and to open a wide door to superstition; yet it is not unpleasant to trace in the writings of the very early Christians, further accounts of institutions which the Scriptures do record. Justin Martyr, who wrote his Apology at hardly the distance of fifty years from the time of the apostle John, observes, " And in every eucharis

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