The Weekly Sabbath -- By: J. C. Murphy

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 029:113 (Jan 1872)
Article: The Weekly Sabbath
Author: J. C. Murphy


The Weekly Sabbath

J. C. Murphy

1. The weekly Sabbath has its ground, not in the periodical motions of the solar system, but in the history of the human race. Hence, in the first place, it leaves no mark on the outward course of nature. The beast of the field, the fowls of the air, and the fish of the sea are not sensibly affected by its recurrence. So far, indeed, as labor is concerned, life is to them a perpetual sabbath. They know no toil, properly so called, but spend their time in a constant round of instinctive enjoyment; for the fruits of the earth are ready for their use without any preparation of art. But, with regard to the spiritual engagements of a sacred leisure, they may be truly said to have no sabbath, inasmuch as they want the higher nature which is susceptible of such delights. It follows, in the next place, that the origin and import of the sabbath are to be sought, not in the history of matter, or of brute nature, but in that book which alone contains the true and complete account of man. We propose, in the present Article, to examine three of the texts bearing upon the sabbath (Lev. 23:3; Col. 2:16, 17; Mark 2:27-28, and to ascertain what light they throw,

1. On the Nature of the Sabbath;
II. On the Change of the Dispensation of Grace;
3:On the Christian Sabbath.

I. The Nature Of The Sabbath

2. This is brought before us in Lev. 23:3: “Six days shall work be done; but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, a holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein; it is the

sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings.” This is one of the most interesting verses in the Old Testament. It stands at the head of this chapter on holy seasons. It reiterates and explains an institution of incalculable value for the preservation of religious feeling in the households of Israel. After a prefatory clause, it enumerates four characteristics of the sabbath — a sabbath of rest, a holy convocation, a cessation from all work, a sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings. The preface to this ordinance is: “Six days shall work be done.” This involves at once an allusion to history, an appeal to the memory of the past. It raises the thoughts to the six days of creative work, of which we have a record in the first chapter of Genesis. There is an admirable symmetry in the proceedings of these six days. They consist of two counterparts, or periods, of three days each. In the former, we begin with light, and go on to the...

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