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Israelites were commanded to keep it in remembrance of their deliverance out of Egypt; because that deliverance out of Egypt is an evident, known, and allowed type of it. It was ordered of God, on purpose to represent it; every thing about that deliverance was typical of this redemption, and much is made of it, principally for this reason, because it is so remarkable a type of Christ's redemption. And it was but a shadow, the work in itself was nothing in comparison with the work of redemption. What is a petty redemption of one nation from a temporal bondage, to the eternal salvation of the whole church of the elect, in all ages and nations, from eternal damnation, and the introduction of them, not into a temporal Canaan, but into heaven, into eternal glory and blessedness ? Was that shadow so much to be commemorated, as that a day once a week was to be kept on the account of it; and shall not we much more commemorate that great and glorious work of which it was designed on purpose to be a shadow ?
Besides, the words in the fourth commandment, which speak of the deliverance out of Egypt, can be of no significancy unto us, unless they are to be interpreted of the gospel-redemption : but the words of the decalogue are spoken to all nations and ages. Therefore, as the words were spoken to the Jews, they referred to the type or shadow ; as they are spoken to us, they are to be interpreted of the antitype and substance. For the Egypt from which we under the gospel are redeemed, is the spiritual Egypt; the house of bondage from which we are redeemed, is a state of spiritual bondage.—Therefore the words, as spoken to us, are to be thus interpreted, Remember thou wast a servant to sin and Satan, and the Lord thy God delivered thee from this bondage, with a mighty hand and outstretched arm; therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath-day.
As the words in the preface to the ten commandments, about the bringing of the children of Israel out of Egypt, are interpreted in our catechism, and as they have respect to us, must be interpreted of our spiritual redemption, so, by an exact identity of reason, must these words in Deuteronomy, annexed to the fourth command, be interpreted of the same gospel-redemption.
The Jewish sabbath was kept on the day that the children of Israel came up out of the Red Sea. For we are told in Deut. v. 15. that this holy rest of the sabbath was appointed in commemoration of their coming up out of Egypt. But the day of their going through the Red Sea was the day of their coming up out of Egypt; for till then they were in the land of Egypt. The Red Sea was the boundary of the land of Egypt—The scripture itself tells us, that the day on which they sung the song of Moses, was the day of their coming up out of
the land of Egypt; Hosea ii. 15. “And she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt; referring plainly to that triumphant song which Moses and the children of Israel sang when they came up out of the Red Sea.
The scripture tells us that God appointed the Jewish sabbath in commemoration of the deliverance of the children of Israel from their task-masters, the Egyptians, and of their rest from their hard bondage and slavery under them; Deut. v. 14, 15. “ That thy man-servant and thy maid-servant may rest as well as thou. And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence, through a mighty hand, and by a stretched out arm; therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath-day.” But the day that the children of Israel were delivered from their task-masters and had rest from them, was the day when the children of Israel came up out of the Red Sea. They had no rest from them till then. For though they were before come forth on their journey to go out of the land of Egypt; yet they were pursued by the Egyptians, and were exceedingly perplexed and distressed. But on the morning that they came up out of the Red Sea, they had complete and final deliverance; then they had full rest from their taskmasters. Then God said to them, “The Egyptians which ye have seen this day, ye shall see no more for ever;" Exod. xiv. 13. Then they enjoyed a joyful day of rest, a day of refreshment. Then they sang the song of Moses ; and on that day was their sabbath of rest.
But this coming up of the children of Israel out of the Red Sea, was only a type of the resurrection of Christ. That people was the mystical body of Christ, and Moses was a great type of Christ himself; and besides, on that day Christ went before the children of Israel in the pillar of cloud and of fire, as their Saviour and Redeemer. On that morning Christ, in this pillar of cloud and fire, rose out of the Red Sea, as out of great waters; which was a type of Christ's rising from a state of death, and from that great humiliation which he suffered in death.
The resurrection of Christ from the dead, is in scripture represented by his coming up out of deep waters. So it is in Christ's resurrection, as represented by Jonah's coming out of the sea ; Matt. xii. 40. It is also compared to a deliverance out of deep waters, Psalm lxix. 1, 2, 3. and verse 14, 15. These things are spoken of Christ, as is evident from this, that many things in this Psalm are in the New Testament expressly applied to Christ.*— Therefore, as the Jewish sabbath was appointed on the day on which the pillar of cloud and fire rose out of the Red Sea, and on which Moses and the church, the mystical body of Christ, came up out of the same sea, which is a type of the resurrection of Christ : it is a great confirmation that the Christian sabbath should be kept on the day of the rising of the real body of Christ from the grave, which is the antitype. For surely the scriptures have taught us, that the type should give way to the antitype, and that the shadow should give way to the substance.
* Compare verse 4. with John xv. 25. and verse 9. with John ii. 17. and verse 2. with Matt. xxvii. 34. 48. and Mark xv. 23. and John xix. 29. and verse 22. with Rom. xi. 9, 10. and verse 25. with Acts i. 20.
8. I argue the same thing from Psalın cxviii. 22, 23, 24. There we are taught, that the day of Christ's resurrection is to be celebrated with holy joy by the church. 66 The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. This is the Lord's doing, it is marvellous in our eyes. This is the day which the Lord hath made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.” The stone spoken of is Christ; he was refused and rejected by the builders, especially when he was put to death. That making him the head of the corner, which is the Lord's doing, and so marvellous in our eyes, is Christ's exaltation, which began with his resurrection. While Christ lay in the grave, be lay as a stone cast away by the builders. But when God raised him from the dead, then he became the head of the corner. Thus it is evident the apostle interprets it, Acts iv. 10, 11. “ Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead,” &c." This is the stone which was set at nought by you builders, which is become the head of the corner."-And the day on which this was done, we are here taught, God hath made to be the day of the rejoicing of the church.
9. The abolition of the Jewish sabbath seems to be intimated by this, that Christ, the Lord of the sabbath, lay buried on that day. Christ, the author of the world, was the author of that work of creation of which the Jewish sabbath was the memorial. It was he that worked six days and rested the seventh day from all his works, and was refreshed. Yet he was holden in the chains of death on that day.-God, who created the world, now in his second work of creation, did not follow his own example, if I may so speak ; he remained imprisoned in the grave on that day, and took another day to rest in.
The sabbath was a day of rejoicing; for it was kept in commemoration of God's glorious and gracious works of creation, and the redemption out of Egypt. Therefore we are directed to call the sabbath a delight. But it is not a proper day for the church, Christ's spouse, to rejoice, when Christ the bridegroom lies buried in the grave, as Christ says, Matt. ix. 15, “ That the children of the bride-chamber cannot mourn, while the bridegroom is with them. But the time will come when the bridegroom shall be taken from them; then shall they mourn."—While Christ was holden under the chains of death; then the bridegroom was taken from them; then it was a proper time for the spouse to mourn and not rejoice. But when Christ rose again, then it was a day of joy, because we are begotten again to a living hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
10. Christ hath evidently, on purpose and design, peculiarly honoured the first day of the week, the day on which he rose from the dead, by taking it from time to time to appear to the apostles ; and he chose this day to pour out the Holy Ghost on the apostles, which we read of in the second chapter of Acts. For this was on Pentecost, which was on the first day of the week, as you may see by Levit. xxiii. 15, 16. and he honoured this day by pouring out his Spirit on the apostle John, and giving him his visions, Rev. i. 10. “ I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day,” &c.—Now doubtless Christ had his meaning in thus distinguishingly honouring this day.
11. It is evident by the New Testament, that this was especially the day of the public worship of the primitive church, by the direction of the apostles. We are told that this was the day that they were wont to come together to break bread'; and this they evidently did with the approbation of the apostles, inasmuch as they preached to them on that day; and therefore doubtless they assembled together by the direction of the apostles. Acts xx. 7. “ And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them.” So the Holy Ghost was careful that the public contributions should be on this day, in all the churches, rather than on any other day, as it appears by our text.
12. This first day of the week is in the New Testament called the Lord's day; see Rev. j. 10.--Some say, how do we know that this was the first day of the week? Every day is the Lord's day. But it is the design of John to tell us when he had those visions. And if by the Lord's day is meant any day, how doth that inform us when that event took place ?
But what is meant by this expression, we know, just in the same way as we know what is the meaning of any word in the original of the New Testament, or the meaning of any expression in an ancient language, viz. by what we find to be the universal signification of the expression in ancient times. This expression, the Lord's day, is found by the ancient use of the whole Christian church, by what appears in all the writings of ancient times, even from the apostles' days, to signify the first day of the week.
And the expression implies in it the holiness of the day. For, doubtless, the day is called the Lord's day, as the sacred
supper is called the Lord's supper, which is so called, because it is an holy supper, to be celebrated in remembrance of the Lord Christ, and of his redemption. So this is an holy day, to be kept in remembrance of the Lord Christ, and his redemption.
The first day of the week being in scripture called the Lord's day, sufficiently makes it out to be the day of the week that is to be kept holy unto God; for God hath been pleased to call it by his own name. When any thing is called by the name of God in scripture, this denotes the appropriation of it to God. Thus God put his name upon his people Israel of old; Numb. vi. 27. “ And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel.” They were called by the name of God, as it is said, 2 Chron. vii. 14. “If my people, which are called by my name, &c.; i. e. They were called God's people, or the Lord's people. This denoted that they were an holy, peculiar people, above all others. Deut. vii. 6. “ Thou art an holy people unto the Lord ; and so in verse 14, and many other places.
So the city Jerusalem was called by God's name; Jer. xxv. 29.—“Upon the city which is called by my
Dan. ix. 18, 19. “And the city which is called by thy name," &c. This denoted, that it was an holy city, a city chosen of God above all other cities for holy uses, as it is often called the holy city, as in Neh. xi. 1. “ To dwell in Jerusalem, the holy city; and in many other places.
So the temple is said to be, an house called by God's name; 1 Kings, viii. 43. “ This house that is called by my name."
And often elsewhere. That is, it was called God's house, or the Lord's house. This denoted that it was called an holy place, an house devoted to holy uses, above all others.
So, also, we find, that the first day of the week is called by God's name, being called in scripture God's day, or the Lord's day, which denotes that it is an holy day, a day appropriated to holy uses, above all others in the week.
13. The tradition of the church from age to age, though it be no rule, yet may be a great confirmation of the truth in such a case as this is. We find, by all accounts, that it hath been the universal custom of the Christian church, in all ages, even from the age of the apostles, to keep the first day of the week. We read in the writings which remain of the first, second, and third centuries, of the Christians' keeping the Lord's day; and so in all succeeding ages : and there are no accounts that contradict them. This day hath all along been kept by Christians, in all countries throughout the world, and by almost all that bave borne the name of Christians, of all denominations, however different in their opinions as to other things.