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This prediction is a part of the unchangeable counsels of Jehovah. It could not have been written, unless it had been true. It could not have been true, unless fulfilled by this very observation of the Sabbath. The Sabbath could not have been thus observed, and men could not have been thus blessed in observing it, unless, at the very time of this observance, it had still remained an institution of God. For God himself has declared, that mankind shall not add to his words, nor diminish aught from them ;' and that, instead of blessing those who add to the words written in the Scriptures, he will
add to them the plagues, which are written in the Scriptures.' But to add to the institutions of God is to add to his word, in the most arrogant and guilty manner. If the Sabbath be not now a divine institution, he who observes it as such, adds to the institutions of God, and is grossly guilty of this arrogance. He may therefore certainly, as well as justly, expect to find a curse, and not a blessing; to be destroyed with a more terrible destruction than that which Nadab and Abibu experienced, for adding to the institutions of God one of their own, of a far less extraordinary and guilty nature.
But how different from all this has been the fact! How exactly, as well as gloriously, has this prediction been fulfilled! God has really 'gathered unto Christ others, beside the outcasts of Israel.' The Gentiles, the sons of the stranger,' bave, in immense multitudes, joined themselves to the Lord
—they have served him—they have loved his name—they have kept the Sabbath from polluting it—they have taken hold of his covenant—they have been made joyful in his house of prayer and their sacrifices and their burnt-offerings have been accepted upon his altar—and his house has been called An house of prayer for all people. Thus, as Isaiah predicted, there has actually been a Sabbath under the dispensation of the Gospel, remaining now for almost eighteen hundred years ; and this Sabbath has been attended with the peculiar blessings predicted by this evangelical prophet.
4. The Perpetuity of the Sabbath is fairly argued from Psalm cxviii. 19–26. Open to me the gates of righteouspess: I will go into them; and I will praise the Lord. This gate of the Lord, into which the righteous shall enter. I will praise thee; for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation. The stone, which the builders refused, is become the head-stone of the corner. This is the Lord's doing; and it is marvellous in our eyes. This is the day which the Lord hath made: We will rejoice, and be glad in it. Save now, I beseech thee, O Lord : O Lord, I beseech thee, send now prosperity! Blessed be he, that cometh in the name of the Lord. We have blessed you out of the house of the Lord.'
This psalm, particularly the prophecy contained in these words, is explained by St. Peter, as referring to Christ; the true ' head-stone of the corner' rejected by the Jewish builders; and, of course, as referring to the times of the Christian dispensation. In these times then there was to be a day which the Lord had made;' not in the literal sense ; for in this sense he had made all days; but in the spiritual sense ; that is, a day which he had sanctified, consecrated to himself, devoted to bis own worship ;- of a common and secular day, made into a holy and religious one. It was a day on which' the gates of righteousness' were to be opened :' that is, the gates of the sanctuary, or house of God; and styled ' the gate, (or gates) of the Lord.' It was a day on which the righteous,' as a body, were to enter into them. It was the day on which *the Lord became their salvation. It was the day on which 'the stone, rejected by the builders, became the head-stone of the corner.' It was a day on which prayers were to be offered up, and praises to be sung to God. Finally, it was a day in which the righteous were to receive blessings from the house of the Lord.
All my audience must have anticipated the conclusion, as flowing irresistibly even from this slight examination of the passage ; that this was a day devoted to religious employments, and particularly to the public worship of God. It is equally evident, that it is the day on which Christ arose from the dead, or, in other words, became the head-stone of the corner.' It is, therefore, the Sabbath; the only day ever devoted to purposes of this nature by the authority of inspiration. It is a Sabbath also existing under the Gospel, or, after the resurrection of Christ. Of course, it is to continue to the end of the world; for all the institutions which exist under the Gospel are perpetual.
5. The Perpetual Establishment of the Sabbath is evident from Revelation i. 10; ‘I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day.'
The book of Revelation was probably written about the year 96, and of course many years after the resurrection of Christ. At this time, there was a day generally known to Christians by the name of the Lord's day. It was also entitled the Lord's day, by the pen of St. John, under the immediate infuence of inspiration. It was therefore so called with the approbation of the Spirit of truth. But this could not have been, unless it had been originally instituted by God himself. That the apostle, in this manner of mentioning it, accords intentionally with this denomination, as being the proper one, will I presume not be disputed; because the contrary supposition would make him lend bis own sanction to a false as well as an unauthorized denomination of this day, and to the false doctrine involved in it; viz. that there was a day consecrated with propriety to the Lord ; or, in other words, consecrated by divine appointment ; since no other consecration of it would have any propriety. If this doctrine were false, as according to the supposition it must be, it could not fail to prove in a high degree dangerous; as it would naturally lead all who read this book to hold a religious institution as established by God, which he had not in fact appointed; and thus, by' worshipping bim according to the commandments of men,' to worship him in vain.' The guilt and the mischiefs of this doctrine, thus received and obeyed, would be incomprehensible. The Spirit of truth, who directed the pen of St. John, cannot have sanctioned this doctrine, unless it were true ; nor have given this denomination to the day spoken of, unless it were given by the will of God.
There was therefore at the period specified, and under the Gospel, a day holden by the apostle, by Christians generally, and by God himself, as the Lord's day; or a day peculiarly consecrated to Christ, the Lord mentioned by St. John in this passage. There is now, there has always been, but one such day ; and but one manner in which a day can be the Lord's. This day is the Sabbath ; a holy, heavenly rest from every sinful and every secular concern. It is his, by being authoritatively appropriated to his use by himself; and by his requiring mankind, whenever it returns, to consecrate their time, their talents, and themselves to his immediate service and religious worship. As then there was such a day, a day consecrated
to the Lord, a Sabbath, at the time when the Revelation of St. John was written, so this day is perpetually established. For every institution under the Gospel, the last dispensation of God to mankind, will remain in full force to the end of the world.
REMEMBER THE SABBATH DAY, TO KEEP IT HOLY. SIX DAYS SHALT
THOU LABOUR, AND DO ALL THY WORK: BUT THE SEVENTH DAY IS THE SABBATH OF THE LORD THY GOD ; IN IT THOU SHALT NOT DO ANY WORK, THOU, NOR THY SON, NOR THY DAUGHTER, THY MAN SERVANT, NOR THY MAID SERVANT, NOR THY CATTLE, NOR THY STRANGER THAT IS WITHIN THY GATES : FOR IN SIX DAYS THE LORD MADE Heaven AND EARTH, The sea, AND ALL THAT IN THEM IS, AND RESTED THE SEVENTH DAY: WHEREFORE THE LORD BLESSED THE SABBATH DAY, AND HALLOWED IT.
EXODUS XX, 8-11.
In the preceding Discourse, from these words I proposed to consider,
I. The perpetual establishment of the Sabbath ; and,
The first of these propositions I examined at some length in that Discourse; and shall now go on to offer some additional observations concerning the same subject. If I have proved, as I flatter myself I have, that the Sabbath is an Institution designed to last to the end of the world, it will naturally occur to my audience, as a question of prime importance