Imatges de pÓgina

town, except the church, the court-house, alms-house, and a few poor people's dwellings ; where a man might have seen four hundred dwelling-houses all at once on fire, and above rifty persons consumed in the flames. But the remaining inhabitants not takiug warning by the former judgment, but continuing in the same sin, the town was again fired on the 5th of August, 1612, (fourteen years after the former fire,) and all consumed, except a few poor houses. The historian adds, that they are blind who see not in this the finger of God: and he prays for grace to the people of that city, when it is next built, to change their market day, and to remove all occasions of profaning the Lord's day.

Dr. Twiss, on the Sabbath, relates a passage that happened in Bedfordshire, not long before writing that book. A match at foot-ball being appointed on the Sabbath afternoon, whilst two of the most forward were in the belfry, tolling of a bell to call the company together, there was suddenly heard a clap of thunder, and a flash of lightning was seen by some that sat in the church porch, coming through a dark" lane, which flashed in their faces, and much terrified them; and, passing through the porch into the belfry, it tripped up his heels that was tolling the bell, and struck him dead; and the other that was with him was so sorely blasted therewith, that shortly after he died also.

Mr. Clark, in his father's life, p. 128, hath a very strange passage, to this purpose. Mr Hugh Clark preached at Oundle, in Northampton, where the people were generally very ignorant, and much addicted to the profanation of the Lord's day, by Whitson ales, Morice-dances, and such pastimes, which he much set himself against, endeavouring to convince them of the evil, and denouncing God's judga ments against them in case of perseverance : but they being trained up in those courses, and hardened by custoin, persisted still in their wickedness. At last, on a Lord's day, the leader of the dance, being a lusty young man, in the midst of their profane pastimes, fell down suddenly and died; but they, soon shaking off their fear, returned to their vomit again. The Lord's day following, Mr. Clark took occasion, from this sad dispensation, to quote the forecited text, Jer. xvii. 27. “ If thou wilt not bearken unto me, to hallow the Sabbath day, then will I kindle a fire,” &c. But the people kicked against these admonitions, and that same evening went to their sports again; among whom was a smith that was a chief ringleader. But it pleased God, the very next day, two husbandmen coming to his shop to sharpen their ploughshares, a spark from the red-hot iron, as he was beating it upon the anvil, flew into the thatch, which both the smith and his neighbours saw, but had no power to move towards it ; which presently burnt down the smith's shop, house, and all his goods. This Mr. Clark pressed upon their consciences ; but nothing would prevail, till at last, upon a Sabbath day at night, when they were retired to their several homes, there was heard a great noise and rattling of chains up and down the town, which was accompanied with such a smell and stink of fire and brimstone, that

many of their guilty consciences suggested to them, that the devil was come to fetch them away: and now, and not till now, they began to think in good earnestness of a reformation.

Mr. Clark, in his Examples, tells us of one Mr. Abberly, a godly minister, in Burton upon Trent, who took occasion often to reprove and threaten Sabbath breakers, especially such as sold and bought meat upon Sabbath day mornings, a practice too common in that place. Nevertheless, there was a taylor, that dwelt in the upper end of the town, who would go through the long street (as it were in a bravado) to the other end of the town, and fetch home meat on the Lord's day morning ; but as he returned with both his hands full, in the midst of the street he fell down dead. I was (saith Dr. Teate) an eye-witness, both of his fall and burial ; and it pleased God thereby to work some reformation, both among the butchers and others.

Also he relates, from one Mr. Falconer, minister of Burford, near Salisbury, a fearful example of God's justice, about the year 1635. A profane company of young men, on the Lord's day, early in the morning, went to Claringdon park, to cut down a May-pole ; and having loaded a cart with it, at Milner's Bars, entering into the city of Salisbury, one of the cart-wheels fell into a rut, which made the young trec in the cart (which they had stole for a May-pole,) to give a great surge on one side, so that it struck one of the company such a blow on the head, that it beat out his brains, and he instantly died on the place, and lay there a fearful spectacle of God's wrath, both against


that heathenish sport, and wilful profaning of the Sabbath ; whilst he maketh the very thing they had chosen for their sport and pastime, to be the instrument of executing his fury. The author saith, that he diligently inquired after the truth of this matter, at his first goingi to Sarum; and many godly and credible persons, who had seen that sad spectacle, in his hearing, attested it to be so as above narrated.

Also, in the county of Devon, one Edward Ameridith, a gentleman, having been pained in his feet, and being somewbat recovered, one said unto him, He was glad to see him so nimble, Ameridith replied, That he doubted not but to dance about the May-pole next Lord's day ; but, before he moved out of that place, he was smitten with such feeble. ness of heart, and dizziness in his head, that desiring help to carry him to a house, he died before the Lord's day


Dr. Twiss on the Sabbath, tells, That at a place called Tidworth, on the Sabbath day, many being met together to play at foot-ball in the church yard, one had his leg broke which presently gangrening, he forth with died thereof. Likewise at Alcester, in Warwickshire, a lusty young woman (upon the coming forth of the declaration for sports) went on the Sabbath day to a green not very far off, where she said she would dance as long as she could stand: but, while she was dancing God struck her with a violent disease, whereof, within two or three days after, she died.

Beard, in his Theatre, writes of a certain nobleman, that used to go a hunting on the Lord's day in time of sermon, who had a child by his wife with a head like a dog, and it howled like a hound.

I shall conclude with one example more from Mr. Clark. He gives an account of a godly minister, that one day was preaching, and earnestly pressing the sanctification of the Sabbath ; and, in his sermon, he had occasion to make mention of that man, that, by the special commandment of God, was stoned to death for gathering sticks on the Sabbath day. . Whereupon one in the congregation was so wicked as to rise up and laugh ; yea, made all the haste he could out of the church, and went to gathering of sticks, though he had no need of them : but, when the people came out from the sermon, they found him in treir way, lying dead, with the bundle of sticks in his arms. These instances of divine vengeance, inflicted upon the profaners of the Lord's day, may contribute very much to confirin us in the belief of the divine institution of this holy day; and likewise may serve to warn all ranks and degrees of persons, to guard against the contempt and violation of the Lord's day. The Lord indeed exerciseth great long sufferings and patience towards many notorious Sabbathbreakers, to shew us that there is a judgment to come : but nevertheless he makes monuments of some, to let us know, that " verily there is a God that judgeth in the earth.”

Many more examples might be brought, if it were needful, from all corners of the land ; but I truly believe, there are few serious observers of providence, but might relate many sad instances of the discovery of God's displeasure against the profanation of the Lord's day, from their own experience and observation.

After all, I hope there is none that fears God, loves Christ, and believes the holy Scriptures, but will see these arguments which I have adduced, to be convincing demonstrations of the necessity of sanctifying the Lord's day, and honouring it as God's Sabbath, to the end of the world.

Now, to sum up the whole, let us lay all these together : The solid ground for the morality of the fourth command, the weighty reasons of the change of the day, and the special marks of honour that Christ hath put upon this boly day; it being the day, in which he first made the light to shine ; the day wherein also the Sun of righteousness arose, dispelling the clouds of guilt and fear, the day he subdued his enemies, manifested himself to his disciples, and taught them his will; the day he sent the Holy Ghost to his apostles ; the day he hath called by his own name, and reserved for his own use, and upon which he holds special communion with his people, and vouchsafes them the marks of his royal favour ; the day which God highly honours by his providential dispensations.--And will it not then be judged an high affront to Almighty God, to pour contempt on that day which he delights to honour i-Surely it ought to be matter of grief to all true lovers of God when they see it done. We are told, that when one of Darius's eunuchs saw Alexander setting his feet upon a rich table of his master's, he fell a weeping; and being asked the reason of it, he said, “ It was to see the table his master so highly e3teemed, now made a footstool.” And may we not weep to see the day that God hath honoured and blessed, and for which he is so highly concerned, made a 'footstool,

and trampled on by so many profane persons in our days ? To be sure, God will not sit with such open affronts as he gets from some in this matter.

Thus, I think I have demonstrated the morality of the fourth command, and the divine institution of the Lord's day for our Christian Sabbath ; which, by necessary consequence, proves the abolition of the Jewish seventh day Sabbath. For though there were no other scripture warrant for abolishing the old Sabbath, (which nevertheless there is, as I shewed before,) yet seeing it is evident that our Lord Jesus Christ, " the Lord of the Sabbath," hath by his resurrection, example and authority, for ever consecrated the first day of the week, for the solemn remembrance and celebration of the Lord's rest from the great work of redemption, and of that unparalleled deliverance wrought by him for a lost world, and thereby hath set apart the first day for our Sabbath ; then, of course, the old seventh day must cede, and resign its sanctity to it, and be for everabrogated. The Christian Sabbath must necessarily extinguish the Jewish, seeing the two Sabbath days cannot stand in force together : for, by virtue of the fourth command, there is but one day of seven to be observed for the Sabbath, one day only after six working days, and not two after five. And since it is the ancient and unrepealed institution of God, that men should labour six days of the week, and observe but one day for the Sabbath ; then surely, if we should labour but five days of the week, and keep two for the Sabbath, we would expressly violate the law. So that no Christian needs to have the least scru. ple about the abrogation of the Jewish Sabbath.

But though the seventh day be now divested of its sanctity, arid hath no more clain to the Sabbath, having resigncd all its dignity and privileges to the first day of the week, the New Testament Sabbath ; yet still it hath the honour of ushering it in, and of serving as a preparation day for it. As the Jewish typical worship ushered in the evangelical spiritual worship, and the Jewish deliverances from Egypt and Babylon were preparatory to that more glorious

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