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the symbol of the Divine presence? The design surely was to point out the superior importance, and the perpetuity and universal obligation, of the moral law, and thus to distinguish it from every other part of the Mosaic ritual.

But the fourth commandment is embodied in this law, and is delivered in a manner as absolute as any of the commandments with which it is united. Unless it forms a part of the moral law, which is universal and eternal in its obligation, why was it delivered along with it, and in circumstances of so very peculiar a nature? Unless its observance be of the greatest importance to the holiness and happiness of man, why should it alone be prefaced with the solemn admonition, Remember!” Or why, unless it be binding on the whole human race, were the foreigners among the Jews, even those who had not submitted to the peculiar rites of the Jewish religion, commanded to observe it? And it claims our notice, that this ordinance was obligatory on strangers, of whatever description, who were within their gates, even upon those who were not allowed to eat of the Pass,

Why should this distinction have been made by the Sovereign Legislator, unless it be to shew, that the one institution, being appointed from the beginning, was to subserve designs in which the whole family of Adam are alike interested; while the other, being intended to commemorate a particular event in the history of the Jews, was restricted to them, and to all who should identify themselves with them, by embracing all the articles of their religion.


But the argument for the moral and perpetual obligation of the fourth commandment, arising from its forming a part of the ten commandments, Paley attempts to answer, by alleging, that the distinction between moral and positive precepts was unknown to the simplicity of ancient language.

In reply, I would ask, was not this distinction well known to Him who wrote the Decalogue with his own finger on two tables of stone? Was it not written with the design of being useful to all who should afterwards hear it, or read it? Or why were Israel commanded, when they had passed over Jordan, to inscribe this law very legibly upon two pillars of stone, but to shew that it was a matter in which all were equally and deeply concerned ? 6. Therefore, it shall be, when ye be gone over Jordan, that ye shall

, set up these stones, which I command you this day; and thou shalt write upon the stones all the words of this law very plainly *.”

The objection which I am now combating, takes for granted, that the Decalogue was announced and written by Moses in the same way as he announced and wrote the national and ceremonial laws of the Jews; an opinion, which the slightest consideration

} will shew to be totally unfounded.

The ceremonial law was communicated through the mediation of Moses, and was by him written in a book, and placed beside the ark : the Decalogue was spoken by the voice of God, and twice written with his finger on tables of stone, amid scenes of awful grandeur and majesty, and afterwards put within the

* Deuter. xxvii, 1,-8.

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ark. “ This,” says Moses, addressing Israel, 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.” For what other reason, than to point out its superior importance, and perpetual obligation, was this distinction made between the communication of the moral and of the ceremonial law ?

Our Lord himself has also distinguished them, not merely by giving an exposition of the ten commandments in his sermon on the Mount, but in his reply to the young Ruler, who asked him what good thing he should do, that he might inherit eternal life; and to the Scribe, who inquired, Which is the first and great commandment ? Our Lord, by alluding in both cases to the Decalogue only, has decidedly shewn that it differs both in its nature and in the rank which it holds from those laws which were merely national and positive. He elsewhere affirms, that however much, by subsequent revelations, it might be explained or enforced, nothing could be added to it, and nothing taken from it; and that it is more stable and perma

; nent than the laws of the material world, or than the frame of the universe. Verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no

from the law, till all be fulfilled.” Testimony of a similar nature is borne by the apostle Paul to the authority and perpetual obligation of the ten commandments, or moral law. In the thirteenth chapter of the Romans, after reciting the five

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commands of the second table of the law, he adds, “ And if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” In what language could he more unequivocally shew that the Decalogue is a summary of the whole moral law, and is, from its very nature, to be distinguished from all other commandments? He elsewhere says, that the fifth commandment is the first commandment with promise *. But were there not commands, with promises annexed to them, given to the patriarchs before the law was delivered on Sinai? The fifth commandment, therefore, could only be called the first commandment with promise, as being the first in the Decalogue that was so distinguished. Does not the circumstance of the Apostle's styling the Decalogue, “The Command

“ ments,” by way of eminence, shew the place which they held in his estimation, and that he regarded them as binding, not upon Jews merely, but upon the Gentile converts, to whom he now addressed himself!

III. The moral and perpetual obligation of the Sabbath is proved by the ends which it was designed to answer. These shew, that the fourth commandment, in so far as it relates to the rest or sacred purposes of the Sabbath, is of a strictly moral nature, and consequently, that it is unalterable in its obligation. Its leading ends certainly are,--to give an opportunity to mankind of resting from labour, -of acknowledging and commemorating the perfections of God as the Creator of the universe,-of increasing in holiness while man remained in a state of innocence,

* Eph. vi. 1-3.

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and now that he is in a fallen condition, of using the appointed means of recovering the holiness and happiness which have been lost. Though the Sabbath has been applied to other uses, in entire accordance with these, it will be admitted that these are its great and primary designs.

But do not these purposes concern alike the whole human race? Is it not the duty of all to know, love, and worship God, and to acknowledge his perfections of wisdom, power, and goodness, in the work of crea

, tion? Are not all alike interested in regaining the primeval purity and dignity of our nature; and, therefore, bound to use the appointed means, and in the best manner, for attaining this end? But that this end could not be attained without the observance of the Sabbath is clear from the history of mankind. In proportion as it is neglected, irreligion and immorality prevail.

Of such vast importance are the purposes which the Sabbath is designed to serve, that the observance of the fourth commandment is necessary to the fulfilment of the other nine. Is not that precept, then, eminently of a moral nature, that enjoins duties which are binding upon all alike, and the neglect of which leads to im, piety, and to all moral evil? If religion be of a moral nature-if its practice be obligatory on man, then is the observance of the fourth commandment, according to the ends of its institution, a moral duty of the highest order. It could not, therefore, be of a mere local and temporary nature; and sooner shall heaven and earth pass away, than that it should fail or be abolished.

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