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The Christian Sunday.

The Christian Sunday.

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" I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day."— REV. i. 10.

" I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day."— REV. i. 10.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jul 09, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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THE CHRISTIA SUDAY. BY JOH CORDER, " I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day."— REV. i. 10. The Mosaic law was strict in its injunctions concerning the sabbath day. o work was to be done on pain of death — not even a fire kindled. (Ex. xxxv. 3.) A man found gathering sticks was taken before Moses and condemned to be stoned, and the congregation " stoned him with stones and he died." (iVwm. xv. 36.) Such were the requirements — such the rigor of the Mosaic code concerning the sabbath or serenth day of the week — the day corresponding to our Satur- day. But these sabbaths of the Jews were only " a shadow of the things to come," as the apostle writes, the substance of which was to be found in the gospel. The Jewish sabbath passed away with the rest of the Jewish ritual. It was not abolished formally nor im- mediately, for it is not the method of the gospel to abrogate abruptly but rather gradually, as its spirit 92 SERMO VI. takes effect in human hearts. So long as any institu- tion is likely to be serviceable to a man morally or spiritually, the gospel lays no rude hand upon it, but permits him to use it so long as he needs it. For it is a religion of spirit and life, and gladly lays hold of every instrumentality by which its supreme purpose may be served. In fact the first Christians — a portion of them — continued to observe the seventh day in con- nection with the first, which was universally adopted as a day of assembling for prayer and edification (Acts XX. 7), and a day enjoined by the apostle for
offerings of charity. • (I Cor, xvi. 2.) The first day of the week, or Sunday, came to be thus observed because it was the day of the Lord's resurrection. Observed in commemoration of this joyful event, it was a day of joy and thankfulness to the believers. On this day they held their agapae or love feasts, sometimes in remote upper rooms, and sometimes in the caverns of the earth to avoid the eye and sword of the persecutor. In pro- cess of time the Jewish sabbath went out of use entire- ly, and all the Christians were left with the first day of the week only as their day of rest from temporal concerns, and of activity in things spiritual. And thus has it come down to our age. We do not admit that the seventh day with its Jewish requirements has any special claim upon us. We do admit, and our present meeting is aii evidence that we admit, a special claim for iho first day with its Christian requirements. But whereon do we base this claim? On what foundation do we ground our special observance of this THE CHRISTIA SUDAY. 93 Christian rest daj, which we call the Lord's day, as the primitive beUcvers did ? ot certainly on the law of Moses, for that code prescribes the seventh day, not the first. or is there any formal repeal of this injunc- tion to be found in any part of the Bible. either is there any formal injunction in Holy Scripture prescribing the observance of the first day. "VVe cannot, then, cite the formal and positive authority of Scripture for it. Yet its observance is not without a sufficient foundation and a binding force of obligation. This foundation we find in the nature of man — in the moral and spiritual needs of that nature. This binding force of obligation we find in the perpekial obligation which cleaves to man to seek what is highest, noblest, best, and holiest, and permits no means to pass unimproved by which this
supreme end of his being may be served. These remarks, of course, dj not apply directly to a specific day, first, second or seventh, but indirectly they do. Abstractly considered, if all days are alike, when we find that rest is a necessity of our nature we are legi- timately bound to the selection of that day which pro- vidential circumstances indicate to us. As Christians we have indications that the first day is a fit day for our rest and worship. It is the day on which the Master rose from the dead, bringing life and immortal- ity clearly to light. It commemorates the great his- toric event of the resurrection, and invites to all the thoughts feelings and hopes which cluster around it. So it appeared to the first believers, and they adopted it in consequence. As ChristJans of this nineteenth 94 • SERMO VI. century we have indications that the first day of the week is the day most fit for our rest and worship. For it is now a settled institution to this end throughout Christendom. It comes to us, an inheritance from our fathers, and with associations the most sublime and hallowing. It is now so interwoven as an institution with the providential order of the world's history that we cannot set it aside. Attempts have been made to do so, some on a large scale and some on a smaller, but they have failed, as all attempts must fail which embody the mere wilfulness of man, and array it against the august providential order of God. I do not consider, then, that the Jewish sabbath has any special binding or authoritative claim upon you or me. You work in your workshops, you buy and sell in your warehouses on the seventh day as on any other ordinary day of the week. This being so, you will scarcely expect me to enlarge on the sabbath institution, in the Jewish sense. I would, if I could,

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