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thy messengers thou hast reproached the Lord, and hast said, With the multitude of my chariots I am come up to the height of the mountains, to the sides of Lebanon, and will cut down the tall cedar trees thereof, and the choice fir trees thereof: and I will enter into the lodgings of his borders, and into the forest of his Carmel.— Because thy ruge against me and thy tumult is come up into mine eurs, therefore I will put my hook in thy nose, and my bridle in thy lips, and I will turn thee back by the way by which thou camest.—Therefore thus saith the Lord, concerning the King of Assyria, He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shield, nor cast a bank against it.-And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the Lord went out, and sinote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand; and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses. Zech. v. 3, 4. Then saith he unto me, This is the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole earth: for every one that stealeth shall be cut off as on this side according to it; and every one that sweareth shall be cut off as on that side, according to it. I will bring it forth, saith the Lord of Hosts, and it shall enter into the house of the thief, and into the house of him that sweareth falsely by my name : and it shall remain in the midst of his house, and shall consume it with the timber thereof and the stones thereof.
17. Q. If this be so, how comes it to pass that such persons do oftentimes escape without any such exemplary mark of God's vengeance against them?
A. We are not to call God to account for his actions. It is enough that he has assured us that he will not hold such persons guiltless: and that therefore every such sinner must either repent, in a very singular manner, of his offence in taking God's name in vain; or he shall assuredly be punished with an extraordinary severity for it, either in this life or in the other.
Sect. XXVI. Of the Christian Sabbath; and the Sanctification
of it. 1. Q. What is the last commandment of the first table?
A. Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbathday?
2. Q. What do you mean by the Sabbath-day?
A. The commandment itself explains it: 'tis a seventh day of rest, after six of work and labour : sir days shalt thou labour, and do all that thou hast to do; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt do no manner of work.
3. Q. Wherefore did God establish a seventh day of rest, after six of work and labour ?
A. In memory of his having created the world in six days; and on the seventh day rested, or ceased from creating it: and to keep up thereby the memory of his being the Creator of the world; and to engage mankind solemnly to acknowledge and worship him as such.
For in sir 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 seventh day, and hallowed it.
4. Q. Was this command given by God to mankind from the beginning of the world?
A. So Moses tells us, Gen. ii. 2, 3. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it; because, that on it he had rested from all his work, which God created and made.
And it is not to be doubted, but that accordingly such a Sabbath did continue to be observed, so long as any sense of true religion remained upon the earth.
5. Q. How then did it become needful for God to renew it again in this place?
.A. As it was needful for him to renew many other precepts which yet were certainly both given by him, and observed in the world long before. No body questions but that Adam, and his first descendants, both knew and worshipped the true God: yet this was provided for again now. So, immediately after the flood, the law against murder was solemnly protnulged. Gen. ix. 6. Whoso sheddeth mans blood, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God made he man. Yet nevertheless the same command was here again repeated.
As for the case before us; as men lived farther off from the creation, and wickedness prevailed over the face of the earth, and the true worship of God was corrupted by almost an universal idolatry, so was the solemn day of his worship neglected likewise. And though it may have in some measure been revived after the flood, and continued in some part of Abrahams family; yet in their Egyptian slavery it was utterly abolished; so that the very memory of it seems to have been lost among them.
6. Q. When did God renew this command to them?
A. Presently after their passing through the Red_
sea, Exod. xvi. 5; when he began to give the manna to them. For then be commanded them to gather it every morning for six days; but on the sixth day to provide a double quantity for the next day, because that thereon they should keep the Sabbath to the Lord, and no manna should fall, or be gathered upon it. Verse 22 to 25. And they gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating, and when the sun waxed hot, it melted: and it came to pass that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man; and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses. And he said unto them, This is that which the Lord hath said, To-morrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe: and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning. And they laid it up till the morning as Moses bade; and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein.
7. Q. On what day of the week did that Sabbathday happen?
A. On that which they, from thenceforth, observed for their Sabbath-day, and which answers to our Saturday.
8. Q. Was that the same day on which God rested from the creation, and which he had before commanded Adam to keep in memory of it?
A. That we cannot tell: by the providence of God so it may have been; but that it was so, God has not declared to us, nor is it possible for us (without a particular revelation,) to come to the knowledge of it. That which is more certain is, that God designed this particular day to be kept by the Jews in memory of his final deliverance of them out of their Egyptian slavery, by destroying, on that day, Pharaoh and his host in the Red sea; and of his miraculous feeding them with manna in the wilderness. For which reason it was that he required that strict rest of them upon it, of which we read; Exod. xxxi. 12, 14, &c. (And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Ye shall keep the Sabbath therefore, for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among the people. Nehem. xiii. 15, 17. In those days saw I in Judah some treading wine-presses on the Sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and lading asses; as also wine, grapes, and figs, and all manner of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath-day: and I testified against them in the day wherein they sold victuals. Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said unto them, What evil thing is this that ye do, and profane the Sabbath-day? Isaiah, lviii. 13. If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words; then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father.)