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lonish Captivity, except what is said by the Prophet Isaiah : and there is but a single passage in this Prophet, in which this phrase is used with reference to the times of the Jewish dispensation.
We are thus come to this conclusion, that there are but five passages, in which the Sabbath is mentioned in the Jewish writings, from the time of Moses to the return of the captivity: one thousand years. Two of them are found in prophecy, and three of them in their history. The first of these is mentioned about five
the second six hundred, and the third seven hundred and fifty-two; and the two remaining ones, which are found in prophecy, near eight hundred; from the time of the supposed Institution.
Now let me ask, Can any person wonder, that in an account so summary, as the history of the three first Jewish patriarchs, there should be no mention of the Sabbath ; when, also, during a period of about five hundred years, containing the histories of Joshua, of the Judges, particularly Samuel, and of Saul, it is not once mentioned? The question certainly cannot need an an
The only wonder is, that so sensible a writer should have thought this an argument.
3. God himself has, I apprehend, declared, that the Sabbath was instituted at this time.
For in the first place, this is the true and only rational interpretation of the declarations in the second of Genesis. Dr. Paley supposes, that the words of the historian ; And God rested on the seventh day from all the 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 ; declare only the reasons, for which God blessed and sanctified the Sabbath, and not the time, at which this was done ; and that it was nientioned at this time, only on account of its connection with the subject, and not because the blessing and sanctification took place at this period. To this I answer, Moses has written this story exactly in the manner, in which he has written the whole history of the creation, paradisiacal state, and the apostasy : nay, almost the whole of the history, contained in the book of Genesis. There is as much reason to believe, that the Sabbath was blessed and
sanctified at this time, from the manner, in which the story is written, as there is to believe, that our first parents were turned out of Paradise before the birth of Cain and Abel. The order of time is, I apprehend, exactly observed in the history, except where the historian has taken up again a particular part of the history: for the purpose of detailing it, and has, for this end, interrupted the general course of his narrative. Of the justice of this observation the bare reading of the story will, I think, convince any person, who has not a pre-conceived opinion to support.
What is thus sufficiently evident from the narrative, God appears to me to have decided in the following words of the text. 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, or sanctified, it. Here, God, repeating the very words of the narrative, declares, that he had already blessed and sanctified the Sabbath, at some time preceding that, at which this command was promulgated. The Sabbath, therefore, was blessed and sanctified before this command was given. That this was not done at the time, when Dr. Paley supposes the Sabbath to have been instituted, nor at any period between the first Sabbath, and the giving of the law, seems to me clear from this ; that there is not a single hint given of the subject, either at the time of the supposed Institution, or in any other part of the Mosaic dispensation, except that in the second of Genesis. That the blessing was then given must, I think, be concluded, because God himself, relating this great transaction, adopts the same language ; and says, Wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it. That the blessing of the Sabbath was a past transaction, is unquestionable. There is no hint concerning the existence of it, but in these two instances : and in both these it is immediately connected with God's finishing the Creation, and resting on the seventh day.
4. That it was instituted at the beginning is evident from the fact, that other nations, who could not have derived it from Moses, regarded the seventh day as holy.
Hesiod says, “ Ebdgjulau 'repov muag:" " The seventh day is holy.”
Homer and Callimachus give it the same title.
Theophilus of Antioch, says concerning the seventh day, “ The day, which all mankind celebrate."
Porphyry says, “ The Phanicians consecrated one day in seven as holy."
Linus says, “A seventh day is observed among Saints, or holy people."
Lucian says, “ The seventh day is given to school-boys as a holy day.”
Eusebius says, “ Almost all the philosophers, and poets, acknowledge the seventh day as holy."
Clemens Alexandrinus says, “ The Greeks, as well as the Hebrews, observe the sevenih day as holy."
Josephus says, “ No city of Grecks, or barbarians, can be found, which does not acknowledge a seventh-day's rest from labour."
Philo says, “ The seventh day is a festival to every nation.”
Tibullus says, “ The seventh day, which is kept holy by the Jews, is also a festiyal of the Roman women."
The several nations, here referred to, cannot, it is plain, have fallen upon this practice by chance. It is certain, they did not derive it from the Jews. It follows, therefore, that they received it by tradition from a common source : and that source must have been Noah and his family.
III. To the argument from the insertion of this command in the decalogue, Dr. Paley answers, that the distinction between positive and moral precepts, or, in his language, between positive and natural duties, was unknown to the simplicity of ancient language : meaning, I suppose, that it was unknown to the ancients, and, among others, to Moses : otherwise I cannot see how the observation is applicable to the question.
I confess myself surprised at this answer. Did not God understand this distinction, when he wrote the decalogue ? Did he not know, that this distinction would afterwards be made, and understood, in all its influence? Was not the decalogue written for all, who should read the Scriptures ? Was it not so written, as to be adapted to the use of all, for whom it was written? Did not God discern, that this distinction was founded in the nature of things; and did he not foresee, that, although the Israelites should not perceive it during any period of their national existence, yet it still would be perceived by innumerable others of mankind? Did he not provide effectually for this fact, whenever it should happen ; and for all the difficulties, and doubts, which might arise froin the want of such a distinction ?
From this observation, and several others, Dr. Paley appears to consider the decalogue as written by Moses in the same manner, as the other parts of the Pentateuch ; and as having no more authority, than the civil and ceremonial law of the Israelites; unless where this authority is discernible in the nature of the commands themselves. As this opinion appears not only erroneous, but dangerous, I shall oppose it with the following reasons.
First; The Law of the Israelites, both Civil and Ceremonial, is distinguished from the Decalogue, in this great particular: that was written by Moses in a book : this was first spoken by the voice of God, and then twice written by his finger on tables of stone, amid all the awful splendours of Mount Sinai.
Secondly; Moses, after reciting the decalogue in Deuteronomy v. immediately subjoins these words; The Lord spake unto all your assembly in the Mount, out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and the thick darkness, with a great voice : and he added no
And he wrote them on two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me. And it came to pass, when ye heard the voice out of the midst of the darkness, (for the mountain did burn with fire, that ye came near unto me, even all the heads of your tribes, and your elders : and ye said, Behold, the Lord, our God, hath shewed us his glory, and his greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire. We have seen, this day, that God doth talk with man; and he liveth. Now, therefore, why should we die ? for this great fire will consume us. If we hear the voice of the Lord, our God, any more, we shall die. For who is there of all flesh, that hath heard the voice of the living God, speaking out of the midst of the fire, and hath lived ?
To this petition God consented; and promised to deliver his remaining precepts to Moses, and through him to Israel. Why tas this distinction made? Why was the Decalogue spoken by
the voice, and written by the finger, of God? and why, in the emphatical language of Moses, did he add no more ?
The only reason, which can be alleged, is the transcendant dignity and importance of these commands. The view, which Moses himself had of the total distinction between the decalogue, and the rest of the law written by him, is evident from this fact, that he commanded the Israelites to write them plainly, after they had passed over Jordan, upon great stones, plastered with plaster, and set up by the Congregation near the altar, which they were directed to build*. Why were they thus distinguished here?
Thirdly; Christ has distinguished them in a similar manner. When the young Ruler came to Christ, and asked what good thing he should do, that he might have eternal life; Christ said to him, Thou knowest the Commandments. The young man asked which. Christ, in reply, repeated five of the Commands in the second table, and the summary which contains them all. This shows beyond a doubt, that the Commandments was a name appro. priated to the Decalogue; and denoted the same superiority to all other commands, as the name, the Bible, or the Book, denotes with respect to all other books.
Again ; Christ, in answer to the Scribe, who asked him, Which is the first and great Commandment, recites the two great commands, which Moses had made the sum of the Decalogue; and adds, On these twoo Commands hang all the law and the Prophets. In other words, On these two commands is suspended the whole volume of the Old Testament. What can be a stronger testimony of the superiority of the decalogue to every other part of that volume?
Fourthly; St. Paul, Rom. xiii. 9, says, For this, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not bear false witness, thou shalt not codel, and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying ; namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Here, the Apostle, after reciting five of the commands, contained in the second table of the Decalogue, adds, If there be any other commandment. Is not this direct proof, that he regarded the Deca
* See Kennicoll's Dissertations.