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be then in vain, they may continue the course they have now chosen: imprecations and blasphemies may be still their employment; despair their refuge; and accursed spirits, whom they have resembled on earth, be their companions and tormentors to all çternity.
EXOD. xx. 8. REMEMBER THE SABBATH DAY TO
KEEP IT HOLY.
HE prodigious solemnity with
which the ten commandments were delivered, from a mountain burning with fire, by the voice of God, gave them a distinction above the rest of the Law of Moses; though it was all derived from one fountain of wisdom, and enjoined by F 3
the selffame authority. The people of the Jews could not but pay a peculiar respect to precepts, uttered by the Almighty himself in their own ears : and their posterity, and all men indeed, must be led to think, that these laws were not selected from the rest, and accompanied with such marks of honour, without some fuperiour merit; but the observance of them must be either more.eminently acceptable to the Supreme Lawgiver, or, which is in reality the same, more necessary for the good of men.
The subječt matter of these commands appears
examination to be answerable to such expectations. They contain the great principles of human duty, the fundamental rules of religion and morality. Besides the great authority impressed on them, there is an original, intrinsic value in all the laws which have found a place in that literally Divine composition, of which the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God.
If there be any objection to this observation; any precept among this chosen number, that in it's own nature is not essential to religion and virtue, but owes all it's obligation to the revealed will of the Lawgiver, it is this, Remember that thou keep holy the sabbath day. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all that thou hast to do: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.
In the strictness, in which this precept was enjoined to the Jews, it is to be considered as making a part of their ritual law, and expiring with the commencement of Christianity.
Amongst all the discourses of our Lord, and all the writings of his Apostles, in which the duties of men are raised to the highest pitch, and pressed with the greatest
earnestness; there is not to be found one word to recommend the strict, or indeed any observance of the Sabbath. Can it be ranked among the duties of Christians ?
Be it, that a regular system of virtues is not designed to be drawn up in the New Teftament; and that the Jews, in those days at least, were sufficiently observant of the Sabbath: can we suppose that the Gentile converts, to whom fo many of the Epistles are addressed, had been every where so well instructed in this duty, if it was a duty to them; and so thoroughly accustomed to the practice of it, as to stand in no further need of information or counsel ?
Secondly, Several of the miracles and discourses of our Lord tended plainly to diminish the veneration for the Sabbath; and, as it may be thought, to prepare the minds of men for the abolition or alteration of it. The Jews indeed were fu