« AnteriorContinua »
likewise, they sometimes called it the eighth day, because it succeeded the Jewish seventh day, and came to be celebrated in the room of it, and seems to be pointed at by the eighth day. mentioned by Ezek. xliii. 27. I grant that some of the fathers, such as Justin and Turtullian, in their apologies to the heathen emperors, called this day Sunday, the reason whereof is plain, they were speaking to heathens, who always called this day by that name, and so would not have known certainly what day they meant, if they had not called it Sunday; which name indeed was given it by the heathens, because of their dedicating this day to the sun, which was the chief of the planetary gods worshipped by them. But now, when that reason is ceased, and Christians speak of this day among themselves, it is not proper to give it the name of Sunday any more.
With what esteem and veneration doth Ignatius, that an. cient inartyr, speak of this day, in his epistlo to the Magnesians! Saith be, “Let us not Jewishly sabbatize, but let us • rest spiritually; and, instead of the old Sabbath, let every • lover of Christ celebrate the LORD's DAY, the best and • inost eminent of days, in which our Life arose.'
So strictly was this day set apart by the ancients for public devotion, that very early the synod of Illeberis ordained, “ That if any man, dwelling in a city, (where churches
are near at hand) should for three Lord's days keep from • church, he should be suspended from communion with the o church.'
In the fourth century, the historian Eusebius tells us that Constantine the Great, the first Christian emperor, issued an edict, requiring the whole Roman empire to observe the LORD's DAY, in memory of those things which were done by the commun Saviour of all men; and bearing that he counted that day the best and chief of days, truly the LORD's, and a day of salvation; and that he ordered bis army to offer up prayers to God, and required all men every where to apply themselves to religious worship; and that no work nor any thing should be allowed to hinder their prayers and devotions that day.
We read also of many ancient laws made by kings in England, prohibiting all kinds of servile work, merchandise or traffic, on the Lord's day, upon very severe penalties; as that made by king Ina about ihe year 688; that inade by
king Alfred in the year 876; that made by Edward his son about the year 912; that made by king Edgar about the year 966, which required that the celebration of the Lord's day should begin from pine o'clock on Saturday night: also that law made by king Canute about the year 1026, to the same effect with that of Edgar's and more particularly and strictly forbidding all trade, and all meetings of people for secular affairs or converses; requiring them to abstain from hunting and every worldly employment on this day.
To the same purpose might be adduced many canons of ecclesiastical synods and councils in England, France, Germany, and other nations; a great number whereof we find collected by Dr. Francis White, bishop of Ely, in 1635. Likewise we find great zeal manifested by a convocation of the Scots clergy for the Lord's day, at their meeting at Perth in the year 1180, as narrated by archbishop Spotiswood; thog, ordained, that every Saturday from twelve o'clock should be set apart for preparation for the Lord's day; and that all the people on Saturday evening, at the sound of the bell, should address themselves to hear prayers, and should abstain from all worldly labours till Monday niorning
But I shall pass from those more ancient laws and canons, to give a brief account of some acts of parliament both in England and Scotland, which are now in force, for obserying the Lord's day; and which all magistrates of burg!s, justices of peace, and other judges, should and might exe cute presently, if they were disposed to do it.
In England, Primo Car. I. cap. 1. • Forasmuch as there . is nothing more acceptable to God than the true and sin. cere worship of him according to his holy will, and that . the holy keeping of the Lord's day is a principal part of • the true service of God, which in very many places of this 6 realm hath been, and now is, profaned and neglected by
disorderly sorts of people : It is therefore enacted, That • there shall be no more meetings, assemblies, or concourse 6 of people on the Lord's day, for any sport and pastimes 6 whatsoever,' &c.
Tertio Car. I. cap. 1. it is enacted, “That no carrier, carman, wainman, nor drover of cattle, shall travel on the • Lord's day, upon pain of forfeiting twenty shillings : Nor
any butcher shall be allowed to kill or sell meat,' &c.
Vigesimo-nono Car. II. cap. 7. it is enacted, That all the laws enacted and in force concerning the observation of the Lord's day, and repairing to the church thereon, be carefully put in execution : And that all and every person and persons whatsoever shall on every Lord's day apply • themselves to the observation of the same, by exercising themselves thereon in the duties of piety and true religion publicly and privately; and that no tradesman, artificer, workman, labourer, or other person whatsoever, shall do or exercise any worldly labour, business, or work of their ordinary callings upon the Lord's days, or any part thereof (works of necessity and charity only excepted): And that every person, being of the age of fourteen years and up:
wards, offending in the premises, shall, for every such of« fence. forfeit the sum of five shillings, and that no person or persons whatever shall publicly cry, shew forth, or expose to sale, any wares, merchandises, fruit, herbs, goods, or chattles whatsoever upon the Lord's day, or any part thereof, upon pain that every person so offending shall for• feit the same goods, so cried, or shewed forth; or exposed o to sale."
It is further enacted, That no drover, horse-courser, waggoner, butcher, higler, they or any of their servants, 6 shall travel or come in to his or their inn or lodging upon • the Lord's day, or any part thereof, upon pain that each 6 and every such offender shall forfeit twenty shillings for
every such offence. And if any other person travels on · the Lord's day, and should then be robbed, the hundred is o not to be answerable for it; and whatever the person loses
he is barred from bringing any action for such robbers. • No waterman is to be employed to travel except as li6 censed for any extraordinary occasion. No person is al"lowed to serve, to execute, or caused to be served or exe• cuted, any writ, process, warrant, order, judgment, or de• vice, except in cases of treason, felony, or breach of the peace. The impeachment of offenders is to be within ten days, and a third part of the forfeitures is appointed to the
prosecutor,' &c. Some Acts of the Parliament of Scotland for the religious observation of the Lord's Day, which still stand in force.
James VI, Parl. 6. chap. 71. It is enacted, “That there í be no markets on the Sabbath-day : And that no gaming,
• playing, passing to taverns and ale-houses, or selling of • meat or drink, or wilful remaining from the parish-kirk in * time of sermon or prayers, upon the Sabbath-day, be used, • under the pains of twenty shilling Scots : And who re• fuse, or are unable to pay the said pains, shall be put and rholden in the stocks, or such other engine for public pun. • ishment, for the space of twenty-four hours,' &c.
Charles II. Parl. Act. 1. 18. entitled, Act for the due observation of the Lord' day; which act doth discharge, · All
going of salt-pans, mills or kilns, under the pains of twen. o ty pounds Scots, to be paid by the heritors and possessors • thereof: and also all salmon fishing, hiring of shearers, carrying of loads, keeping of markets, or using of merchandise upon the said day, and all other profanation • thereof, under the pain of ten pounds Scots, the one half • thereof to be paid by the said fisher or shearer hired, and the other half by the persons hiring. And if the offender be not able to pay the said penalties, that he be exemplarily punished in his body according to the merits of his fault. • This act is again ratified, Charl. II. Parl. 2. Sess. 3. chaf. • 22. Likewise it is ratified by king William, Parl. 1. June • 15, 1693. And also, that parliament made several new • laws to the said purpose, June 28, 1695, October 9, 1696, • January 31, 1701. And in these acts, they ratify, renew, and revive, all former laws against Sabbath-breaking, and
strictly require and enjoin all inferior magistrates to put • the saine to exact and punctual execution against all per
sons without exception ; with certifications, that any ma. · •gistrate that shall refuse, neglect or delay, to execute the gaid laws, upon application of any minister or kirk-session, or any person in their name, informing and offering suffi6 cient probation, shall be liable toties quoties to a fine of an • hundred pounds Scots by the Lords of Session,' &c.
Likewise our sovereigns, upon their coming to the throne, do still emit proclamations for executing the laws against Sabbath-breaking, and other vices; and wherein they charge all magistrates and judges to suppress and punish the profa. nation of the Lord's day by gaming, selling of liquors, and otherwise ; and they require and command all persons whatsoever, decently and reverently to attend the worship of God on every Lord's day, on pain of their highest displeasure, and with being proceeded against with the utmost rigour that may be by law.
To these acts of parliament and proclamations, I might subjoin some acts of the general assembly of the church of Scotland against Sabbath-breaking, and for the better observation of the Lord's day. Many such acts have they made since our reformation from popery : I shall only mention a few of them.
Ass. 1639, at Edinburgh, August 29. They made an act, entitled, Act anent Iceeping of the Lord's day, in wbich we have these words : « The General Assembly recommend to • the several presbyteries the execution of the old acts of * assemblies against the breach of the Sabbath day, by going 6 of mills, salt-pans, salmon-fishing, or any such like labour,' &c.
Ass. 1646, at Edinburgh, June 18. They made an act, entitled, Act against loosing of ships and barks on the Lord's day, which runs thus : The General Assembly, understanding how much the Lord's day is profaned by skip, pers and other sea-faring men, do therefore discharge and • inhibit all skippers and sailors to begin any voyage on the • Lord's day, or to loose any ships, barks, or boats out of the
harbour or road upon that day: And who shall do on the • contrary thereof, shall be censured as profaners of the Sabbath.
Ass. 1699, at Edinburgh, January so, in their act against profaneness, they have these words: The General Assembly recommends to kirk-sessions and presbyteries, the vigorous, impartial, and yet prudent exercise of discipline against all immorality; especially drunkenness and filthiness, cursing, swearing, and profaning the Lord's day, which too much abound: And that they apply to the magistrate for the execution of the good laws made against immorality and profaneness. And seeing it is observed, that in burghs, especially those of the greatest resort, as Edinburgh, many sit too late in taverns, especially on the Saturday's night, and men of business pretend they do it • for the relaxation of their minds; through which, some neglect the public worship of the Lord's day in the fore
noon, and others attend the worship drowsily: Therefore ! the General Assembly recommends it to all ministers, • where such sinful customs are, to represent to the people, 6 both publicly and privately, the sin and evil thereof; and 6 to call them to redeem that time which they have free from