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CHAPTER II.

The perpetual Obligation of the Sabbath, proved from its

first Institution.

In opening the Word of God we find at the beginning of the second chapter the following account of the first institution of the sabbath: “ Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made ; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it; because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made The accuracy of the authorized version

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• Gen. ii. 1-3. As it is evident both from the first chapter, and various other parts of Scripture that the whole of creation was finished on the sixth day, several commentators adopt the reading of the Samaritan, Syriac, and Septuagint; “ And on the sixth day God ended his work which he had made.” But this emendation is not authorized by MSS. and moreover is not required, for if the verb 53 be understood, not in the per

of the Hebrew text is attested by the whole stream of translators, all of whom, with minute verbal differences, accord substantially in sense. What, then, are we taught by this part of the narrative? Does it imply the moral and perpetual obligation of the sabbath? This is the question which we are now to examine.

Now if the sabbath was instituted at the time of the creation, it is reasonable to infer that it is obligatory upon all mankind.

all mankind. Our first parents were the only human beings in existence, and an ordinance appointed for them, in no respeęt limited to the paradisiacal state, must surely have been designed to extend also to their posterity. This, as it seems, is universally conceded"; but it is proper to guard against the inference, that, if it was not appointed at the creation, the account in Genesis will not render the observance of the sabbath binding upon the whole human race." Supposing it to have been first ordained in the

fect tense" he ended," but in the plusquam-perfect "he had ended,” the difficulty is obviated. Besides the commentators see Pfeiffer, Dubia Vexata, Cent. i. loc. 4. where the various opinions of the critics are enumerated.

6 " If the divine command was actually delivered at the creation, it was addressed no doubt to the whole human species alike, and continues, unless repealed by some subsequent revelation, binding upon all who come to the knowledge of it." Paley, Moral and Political Philosophy, lib. v. cap. vii. So Limborch, Theologia Christiana, lib. v. cap. xxvii. $ 7.

age of Moses, it may nevertheless be designed for universality. There may be, and, as we shall see afterwards, actually are reasons, shewing that the divine command recorded by Moses, whenever delivered, is of universal obligation. Hence the question of time involves another, namely, the question of extent, that is, whether the command was given by the Supreme Governor to a select people only, or was addressed to all mankind who come to the knowledge of it. If, however, it can be satisfactorily proved that the command was given at the creation, and that, independently of this circumstance, there are reasons shewing it not to be limited to the Israelitish nation, it must still remain in force, unless abrogated by a subsequent revelation.

Among those who have held that the Pentateuchal record above-cited is proleptical, and that the sabbath is to be considered a part of the peculiar laws of the Jewish polity, no one has displayed more ability than Dr. Paley. Others on the same side have exhibited far more extensive learning, and have exercised much more patient research; but for acuteness of intellect, for coolness of judgment, and a habit of perspicacious reasoning he has been rarely, if ever, excelled. The arguments which he has approved must be allowed to be the chief strength of the cause ; and, as he is at once the most judicious and most

every in

popular of its advocates, all that he has advanced demands a careful and candid examination. The doctrine which he maintains is, that the sabbath was not instituted at the creation ; that it was designed for the Jews only; that the assembling upon the first day of the week for the purpose of public worship, is a law of Christianity, of divine appointment; but that the resting on it longer than is necessary for attendance on these assemblies, is an ordinance of human institution; binding nevertheless upon the conscience of dividual of a country in which a weekly sabbath is established, for the sake of the beneficial pur: poses which the public and regular observance of it promotes, and recommended perhaps in some degree to the Divine approbation, by the resemblance it bears to what God was pleased to make a solemn part of the law which he delivered to the people of Israel, and by its subserviency to many of the same uses.

Such is the doctrine of this very able writer in his Moral and Political Philosophy; a doctrine which places the sabbath on the footing of civil laws, recommended by their expediency, and which, being sanctioned by so high an authority, has probably given great encouragement to the lax notions concerning the sabbath which unhappily prevail. I design therefore to examine every thing he has advanced in defence of it; but in the present chapter I

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shall confine myself to a review of his arguments in proof of the position that the sabbath was not instituted at the creation, but in the wilderness for the Jews only; adding thereto such as appear deserving of consideration, collected from Selden, Spencer, Rivetus, Limborch, Curcellæus, Jurieu, Gomarus, Bauer, Altingius, and others.

Dr. Paley's principal argument is, that the first institution of the sabbath took place during the sojourning of the Jews in the wilderness. Upon the complaint of the people for want of food, God was pleased to provide for their relief by a miraculous supply of manna, which was found every morning upon the ground about the camp: • and they gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating: and when the sun waxed hot, it melted. And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omars for one man; and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses. And he said unto them, This is that which the Lord hath said, To-morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the Lord: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you, to be kept until the morning. And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade; and it did not stink, (as it had done before, when some of them left it till the morning), neither was there any worm

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