by Tho. Tillam
Perpetuity of the Sabbath
The infinite wisdom (who is Lord of the Sabbath) foreseeing the high presumption of the little horn, such as to change both times and laws; and knowing that all truths ebb and flow (in the souls esteem) as holy time is slighted and observed was graciously pleased most strongly to secure that law against which Satan and his eldest Son, would make their first and fiercest assault.
For 'tis to be observed that the horn attempted, first, to change times, and then laws, well knowing that holy laws are taught and learned especially in holy times, and therefore he first prevailed with Constantine (as is declared) to change the Sabbath time into the first day.
Page 114 The Highest Authority
But against this design does the good God graciously guard his Sabbath, and alarm his Saints to be especially mindful of this truth, setting a superscription (as it were a watchword) upon the portal of this precept, REMEMBER the Sabbath day to keep it holy, telling us expressly what day it is; The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God, so that if the Lord be indeed thy God, thou must observe that seventh day for his Sabbath, which he has so carefully required thee to remember, as knowing that Antichrist would do his utmost to cause thee to forget it, either in slighting of it as a ceremony, or else in changing this blessed day Jeroboam-like, and burying its very name under the odious and most detestable name of Saturday. That it may therefore be known to his Saints, as no ceremony, but a perpetual unchangeable Royal Law the Lord has fenced it above all other Laws, first positively, keep it holy; Secondly, negatively, do not work upon it, and that thou mayest never be ensnared to change or alter it: I charge thee carefully to Remember this Law in a special singular manner. This may forever silence their conceits who would slight the seventh day Sabbath, as a Jewish ceremony, though their consciences know it was instituted before any Jew or ceremony had being.
Page 115 Man’s Folly
Ten Royal Laws the Lord delivers to his Saints and knowing that all of them would be more or less observed as his Sabbath should be sanctified or slighted, he bids, he forbids, he marks it above all the rest that it may be remembered, and yet disobedient spirits dare reject it as ceremonial and put upon the highest absurdity as gross as likely can be imagined: As if wisdom itself should with so much care command the exact remembrance of a ceremony above all his moral Laws, for thus vain man would render his Maker.
I your Lord God do here deliver you ten precepts nine of which are perpetual, but one is a changeable ceremony, wherefore I charge you to observe all my nine royal precepts, but especially observe my perishing Sabbath, which is but a mere ceremony, be sure you sanctify that, be sure you do not profane that, be sure you remember that, I lay it as a special command upon your souls to remember my mutable ceremonial seventh day Sabbath more especially.
Me thinks gracious hearts should tremble to put such an absurdity upon God himself as, binding us to remember that, which as a mutable ceremony should be forgotten and buried in oblivion!
Page 116 The Lively Oracles
Yea and which is yet more absurd (if more may be) they render the reason of sanctifying the seventh day Sabbath on this wise: “For in six days the Lord made Heaven and Earth and rested the first day wherefore the Lord blessed the first day for his Sabbath”, and sanctified it, either we must put this absurdity (also) upon our God, or else we must cast off the fourth commandment (at least the reason of it must be rejected) or else (which is better than a thousand shifts) we must return from the little horn to our first husband, and do the Saints first works, and religiously remember the seventh day Sabbath to sanctify it.
Thou meetest him that rejoyceth and worketh righteousness, those that remember thee in thy ways. (Isa. 64:5).
If it be objected that not Christians but Jews are commanded to remember and observe the seventh day Sabbath; I answer:
The Royal Law of God was dispensed to the Jews not only for themselves, But to give unto us, (Acts 7:38). As that first faithful martyr of the Lord Jesus, taught in his funeral sermon, when filled with the irresistible wisdom of the Holy Spirit, he sealed the faith of the Gospel with his blood. And amongst the rest of those Evangelical verities which the proto-martyr prized as the Christians privileges, this is undeniably, an eternal truth, That the Jews did receive the lively Oracles from Mount Sinai to give unto us.
Here then 'tis evident, first, what Laws are God's lively Oracles, namely, those precious precepts which God himself by the Angel of his presence, delivered with a lively voice in the mount Sinai, one of which lively Oracles is the seventh day Sabbath.
2. To whom these lively Oracles were delivered; and this is agreed on all hands, that the only people so highly privileged above all the world were beloved Israelites.
3. For whom and to what end were these lively Oracles from Mount Sinai delivered to Israel? And this is as clear by blessed Stephen's divine Testimony, They received the lively Oracles (from the mount Sinai) to give unto us, that is unto me.
Stephen an Officer in the church of Christ, and to all my brethren, for whose faith in the true Messiah I am now pleading my last, they received the lively Oracle to give unto us. Christians this is clear that the Jews received the lively Oracles from the Mount Sinai to give unto us, though we have no heart to receive them; yet God has a heart of love to give them, not only to the Jews, but even to us Christians.
4. Then the fourth inquiry will be, whether these lively Oracles from Sinai were given us to be broken or kept? to be slighted or observed? If to be kept and observed then either we must deny the seventh day Sabbath to be one of Sinai's lively Oracles, or deny Stephen's doctrine of their being delivered to the Jews to give unto us, or else we must become followers of God as dear children in sanctifying this lively Oracle of his seventh day Sabbath. This divine truth of the Sabbath's perpetuity, is in words confessed by our English assembly, who do not only acknowledge that the Law (in general) does for ever bind Christians, and that Christ did not ANY WAY dissolve it, but much more strengthen this obligation in the Gospel;
Page 119 The First Example
But in particular they confess that God by a positive, moral and perpetual commandment does bind all men in all ages to that particular seventh day which himself has appointed. And whereas they say this is changed in the Gospel from that seventh day to the first day of the week, I shall with the candle of God's word search their grounds which will be found too shallow to satisfy an awakened conscience, for if Christ does perpetually bind his Saints to exact entire personal obedience to his lively Oracles, then surely no power is able to absolve his people from that obedience. And if it be as they say that Christ did not any way dissolve, but much strengthen this obligation in the Gospel, then it is impossible to prove any kind of alteration; yet
Further, If God by a positive moral and perpetual commandment does bind all men; in all ages to such a particular seventh day as himself appointed, then either they must prove that God has made his moral Law mutable by appointing some other day, or else the seventh day Sabbath must be restored to its primitive glory. Their first ground for change of the Sabbath to the first day is raised from Christ's resurrection, and apparition to his Disciples.
Page 220 Christ's Journey
But the very great difference between the father’s example at the world’s creation, and the Son’s action at his resurrection will soon discover the vanity of this argument. For upon the Creation of the world, God did solemnly sanctify the seventh day for his Sabbath and rested on it, giving as an example for the ground of our obedience, but upon the resurrection there's not the least syllable of a change, institution sanctification, or celebration, yea so far was Christ from resting upon his resurrection day, that he traveled 15 Miles upon this supposed New-Sabbath, and this not to any Church meeting but from Jerusalem (the place where most of his Disciples were) purposely joining with the two Disciples that were journeying on foot (7 miles and a half) into the Country. (Luke 24)
Why, Christians awake in the name of the Lord, and pollute your souls no longer with weekly profanation upon such a false supposition of a change at Christ's resurrection; you see your Creator sanctified his seventh day Sabbath and solemnly rested upon it, but for the resurrection day, you have not one word of a command to keep it as a sabbath, and for an example, you have indeed a lively one,
Page 221 The First day ended
in your Saviour's refusing to appear all that day to his Disciples at Jerusalem, and traveling with two (upon their private occasions) not giving them the least admonition about Sabbath observation (which undoubtedly he would have done as freely as in other things had he intended that day for his new Sabbath.
Now I beseech you consider, whether this be likely, that Christ (who was faithful in all his house) should intend the first day for his Sabbath, and yet never leave one word of institution, nor any other pattern but journeying 15 miles.
And whereas 'tis gloried that our Lord appeared several first days to his Disciples as they were assembled, I believe upon diligent search, it will be found but a vain-flourish, and that he never appeared to any assembly, no not any one first day. For it is most certain, that the day upon the Scripture account begins with the evening.
Understanding 1st day Breaking Bread Acts 20:7
And now let us observe that upon the first day, he arose we find him at the Village 7 Miles from Jerusalem, when it was towards evening, and the day far spent, after which he supped with the two, which took up some time; then they returned that 7 miles and a half, to Jerusalem on foot. So that, if the day were far spent before they entered the village it must doubtless be quite spent before they could provide and eat their suppers, and return 7 miles and a half.
Page 222 Acts 20:7 First day texts
And so before Christ appeared to the eleven, the first day must needs be done, and whereas 'tis said, he appeared (to His disciples) the first day at evening yet you must know, that the first day was then as fully ended, as it is plain the sabbath was ended at evening, when the Sun did set, and the people brought their sick to be healed, which they were forbidden to do on the Sabbath day. (Lk. 24:22; John 19:20; Mark. 1:32)
As for Christ's second appearing to the assembled Disciples, it's expressly said, it was after eight days (Acts 20:6), and therefore could not be on the first day of the Week.
And for his third apparition, surely they will not say, 'twas on the first day, seeing they were at their trade, (John. 21).
But indeed the Lord was seen of some or other of them, forty days, never being idle all the time, so that his apparitions prove not any thing as to a change of the Sabbath, (Acts 1:2,3; 1Cor. 15:6).
There is a conceit that the cause of the Disciples assembling on the first day was to celebrate the new Sabbath, in honor of Christ's resurrection; when as they were so far from believing Christ was risen, that the women's tidings thereof, seemed to them as idle tales, (Lk. 24:11; Mk. 16:13).
Page 123 No First Day Worship
Yea, the first day was finished before they believed, so that they could not in faith, do any such thing. But there 'tis evident how sadly they are put to it, that must say something for their first day Sabbath and yet can say no better.
For although they would make some show of Scripture, yet all amounts to a bare endeavour to draw some support for an unwarrantable Sabbath from any Text that does but mention the first day of the Week.
2. We find the Saints at Troas, no sooner assembled, but many lights are seen in their upper chamber. So that 'tis not probable, they met till towards evening, which is no good example for celebrating a Sabbath. (Acts 20:7)
3. If breaking of bread had been a service designed for the honor of the first day, the Apostle who so much pressed to Church order, (and particularly in this Ordinance) would not have deferred breaking of bread, till the second day, especially, now that he was to see them no more, and to give them an example (to which he binds the Saints) so that his deferring breaking of bread, till after mid-night, when the first day was more then finished, shows plainly, that this was no duty proper to the first day, or in the least, pointing it out for a Sabbath.
4. 'Tis strange that a once mention of Preaching on the first day should be so stood upon; when Paul's constant custom of preaching, and praying upon the seventh day Sabbath (with his company) both amongst Jews, and Gentiles, is not only slighted, but opposed, as no proof of the Sabbath. O how indulgent are poor creatures to brats of their own breeding!
Page 125 Opening 1 Cor. 16:1-2
1. But first, Let it be considered, that if this had been a Sabbath days duty, the Apostle would not have omitted it either present or absent, whereas he plainly declares his dislike of gathering at his coming and desires it may be then in a readiness.
2. The direction he gives for this collection, shows evidently, he intends no Sabbath days work, for there is not the least hint of any assembly; though custom has prevailed so far with most I have met with that they frequently urge the Text thus, Upon the first day of the week when ye come together, etc. Though there's no such word as coming together. But let every one of you lay by himself in store.
He does not enjoin them to a Church meeting, nor to lay it before the Deacons (as doubtless he would have had there been a Church meeting that day). Let every one of you lay by himself in store, That is, at his own house in the poor's box, which truly, every tender Christian should have always with some stock by him for charitable uses.(1Tim. 6:17; Tit. 3:14).
The Survey (the Apostle exhorts every man to take of his own estate (that he may give thereafter) does notably overthrow the conceit of a first day Sabbath, for he orders every man to lay something by himself in store. As God has prospered him, that is, according as his yearly revenue increases, or his weekly trade proves more, or less gainful.
Now if the first day had been a Sabbath, surely the Apostle knowing the proneness of our nature (Col. 3:1,2), to mind earthly things, from which he rouses Saints, would not have put upon them the consideration of their outward estates. But why should he have done this on the first day?
Answer: It has been clearly shewed, that Paul's constant practice was to preach on the seventh day, Sabbath, and that it was the exact exemplar he set before this Church of Corinth, in particular (they being the fruit of his Sabbath exercises) who were enjoined to follow him, as he followed Christ. So that, if we can believe they walked in Paul's constant practice in keeping the true Sabbath, we may easily judge that Paul's Epistle was read in the Church at their solemn assembly, on the Sabbath day, and we may not doubt that the Teachers would stir up the people to liberality, upon the Apostles order, and the rather seeing he closed his Epistle with it, that it might sit close and warm upon their hearts,
and for as much as they were not like to be so well stored at present (upon the Sabbath) he would have it to be their first work, the very next day, whilest the sweet sense of the Epistle, and heavenly relish of Gospel Sermons, and other Ordinances, which they enjoyed the day before, were yet fresh, and divinely pleasant upon their spirits, and before they launched into the world’s weekly employment (which puts too great a damp upon our best purposes) he would especially make choice of the first day of the Week, and have them make it their first business, (next to the consideration of their abilities, how God had prospered them in worldly goods) to present unto God (in secret by themselves) the first fruits in their increase, for the refreshing of Christ's bowels, and as an earnest of their duties towards him unto whom they owed all.
Thus with very good reason did the Apostle make choice of the first day, for this duty.
But to assert the first day to be a Sabbath, because the Apostle ordered every man by himself to lay up something for the poor Saints there being not the least mention of a Church meeting that day (and yet I say) to assert that day for a Sabbath, is altogether irrational and utterly unscriptural.
Page 128 Revelation 1:10 Opened
The third Scripture abused about the supposed change of the Sabbath only speaks thus much, That John was in the spirit on the Lord's day (Rev. 1:10), but that this was any individual day is uncertain, or if it were he says not what day it was, and therefore we must inquire in some other Scriptures (seeing they are able to furnish us thoroughly to every good work) and if the first day, shall any where in Scripture appear to be called the Lord's day, let it wear the Garland as a day devoted to the Lord, or designed by the Lord to be kept holy, which yet I hope may be done without rejecting or profaning the seventh day Sabbath.
But if the Scripture may be our guide, it will inform us, but of two days honoured as the Lord's days.
And the first is the ancient sanctified seventh day Sabbath royally dignified with that title of the Sabbath of THE LORD OUR GOD, (Ex. 20:10; Is. 58:13) which is owned by the Father for his holy honourable day, and by the Son is expressly declared to be his Sabbath. The Son of man is Lord of the Sabbath (Mark 2:28), and no other day declares he to be his throughout the Gospel. So that, the seventh day Sabbath, and only that (as an individual and single day) is honoured with this high title of `the Lord's day,' and therefore if John intends any single day, 'tis most likely it was the Sabbath of the Lord that here he calls the Lord's day.
But I rather think he spake of that other Lord's day owned in Scripture as the Lord's judgment day, and this the Lord himself calls his day, and this day was most clearly shewed unto John in many glorious visions, and in the Spirit he was in this day for so runs the Greek, I was in the Spirit, `en te kuriake he mera' In the Lord's day. (Rev. 1:10; Joel 2:1; Mal, 4:5; Luke 17:22-37).
But grant the first day should be here intended, and called the Lord's day, yet how dare any avouch it to be the Sabbath day, since we have not the least hint in Scripture to warrant it? much less to reject the true Sabbath, and set up the first day not only as the Lord's day for Christians to rejoice and to be glad in; But as the Sabbath day enjoined in the fourth Commandment against the reason he rendered, For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and rested the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and sanctified it.(Ex. 20)
Saints! For your souls sake search the Scripture, if ever you find the Lord resting upon the first day.
Page 130 Creation and Redemption
I have proved unto you that when he arose the first day, he (Jesus) was so far from resting, that he traveled 15 miles that very day, and encouraged his Disciples. So to do ask your consciences in the fear of God, if this were sanctifying a new Sabbath?
The ancient Christians who called it the Lord's day, did never term it the Sabbath day, but religiously celebrated the seventh day Sabbath with it. But see what partiality this is to avouch that to be the Lord's day which is so uncertain in Scripture, and to reject the seventh day which is constantly called the Sabbath?
And thus I have faithfully opened the 3 Scriptures which neither singly nor jointly give the least ground to observe the first day as a Sabbath: So that Scriptures failing, they flee to unscriptural consequences to support their supposed change.
First, they tell us that the work of Redemption is greater than the work of Creation, and therefore the greater work deserves the honor of the day.
I demand (with the Almighty to lost Adam) who told thee thou wast naked? Who told thee the work of redemption was the greater? Who told you the greater work (if it were so) deserves the honor of the day?
Page 131 First Fruits
Has God no other way to bear up the honor, and preserve the memory of Redemption, but thy supposed Sabbath? Then learn to know that for the honor of the glorious work of creation God has instituted his holy Sabbath, and for the commemoration of the gracious work of Redemption, he invites thee (if thou hast grace) to his sacred Supper.
Wherefore cease, presumptuous man, to set up thy posts by God's Pillars; bless his name for his Royal Sabbath, to meditate on the work of his hands, and sound forth his praise for his precious Supper that sets forth the Love of his heart.
A second reason is raised from the Israelites obligation to offer their first-borne and first-fruits, and therefore tis thought more equal to offer the first day for a Sabbath; then first to serve ourselves six days, and put of God's Sabbath till the seventh.
Tis most equal to offer unto God what he requires, and therefore none other Sabbath will be accepted but that very seventh day which God has sanctified.
I freely join thus far with the adversaries argument, That it is most meet for man to offer unto God his first day. But I fear my Antagonists will not stick to their own conclusions, when they are remembered that the seventh day is man's first day, he being made on the sixth day, and immediately the seventh day Sabbath made for him, to offer his first fruits unto his Maker,
Page 132 Hebrews 4 Opened
who in very deed accepts no other Sabbath but man's first day, since then the adversary himself has concluded that man's first day is most equal to offer unto God for his Sabbath, let him either stand to his own argument, and see that he offer none other Sabbath to the Lord then man's first day, or else be forever condemned by his own mouth. Thus the Lord disappoints the devices of the crafty, and snares them in their own wisdom, (Job 5:12,13), yet will they not cease their vain jangling, But tell the people that as no Manna was to be found on the seventh day, so those that observe the seventh day Sabbath cannot find Christ the true Manna upon it.
Then the Apostle was unwise to preach constantly upon that day, whereon no spiritual Manna fell: but blessed be the Lord of the Sabbath, that multitudes of Jews and Gentiles have found such plenty of the heavenly Manna upon this blessed seventh day Sabbath (Acts 2:41), that the adversary may stop his mouth with shame, yea, many living witnesses can bear their joyful testimony to the free effusion of Gospel grace upon the true sanctified seventh day Sabbath.
Another reason is rendered why the first day should be observed, viz. from the success of sermons in the conversion of souls on that day. (Acts 2:41)
It may be feared many are judged converts that never knew the power of the Spirit. Conversion is a turning from sin to the faith, and order of the Gospel, which many supposed converts will be found short of.
If more persons be truly converted on the first day, then upon other days, the honor is due to God's grace in that means which more abounds on the first day, then other days, and he that commands the word to be preached in season, and out of season, will not fail to follow it with his blessing at all seasons, witness the notable success of Lectures.
But if conversion of souls be a seal to God's Sabbath, never was day so crowned with true converts in the Scriptures as the seventh day; instances, whereof have been already given in that famous 50 day, Acts 2 and 13. and 16. and 18, cap.
Page 134 From the Beginning
But 'tis supposed that serving God on the seventh day Sabbath is to put new wine into old bottles; Old things are passed away, all things are become new. (Matt. 9:17; 2Cor 5:17) 'Tis’ true, old sins are passed away, and all old Ordinances, Curses, and Covenants, but surely, old Scriptures, and old promises, and God's old loving kindnesses are not passed away. The good old way promising rest to our souls (Jer. 6:16), is none other than the Gospel, New, and living way (Hebr. 10:20), The new commandment of Christ's Apostle, is the old commandment that was from the beginning (1John 2:7,8.).
And the very first institution that we hear of in the beginning, is the seventh day Sabbath, (Gen. 2:1-3) therefore if we are Christ's Disciples indeed, let us reform in observing the true Sabbath, as we are directed about the true marriage, (i.e. Matt. 19:4,5,8) look to the beginning; we do no more put new wine into old bottles, by celebrating the Ancient Sabbath, then by joining in the ancient way of marriage.
The purest water is at the spring head,( 1John. 2:24). Let that therefore abide in you, which you have heard from the beginning, if that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, yea also, shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.
Page 135 The Sabbatismos
If you will not believe that the Sabbath which was from the beginning, does still remain to be observed, unless you hear the same in so many words, give me leave to take off the Translators veil, and let but God's Spirit speak in his own language, wherein the holy Oracles were written, and you will soon be informed, "ara apoleipetai sabbatismos to lao tou theou" There remaineth therefore the celebration of the Sabbath to the people of God, (Heb. 4:9)
I know 'twill be suddenly objected there’s no mention of the Sabbath in our English Bibles, only, there remaineth a rest to the People of God. Indeed the greater is their sin, who have abused the word Sabbatismos, translating that (only) rest which signifies the celebration of the Sabbath, as any Grammer School-boy may see in his common Dictionary, and the greatest Adversaries of the Seventh day Sabbath, are not able to deny.
If any shall plead: That seeing the keeping of the Sabbath is a Rest, therefore the Translators may be excused in rendering the word [Rest], let them know, that although every Sabbath is a Rest, yet every Rest is not a Sabbath.
We rest in our beds, yet, who is so simple to call that a Sabbath? That word which so often is rendered Rest, in Hebr. ch. 3 & 4 is quite another Greek word (anapausis); So that, their sin cannot be excused, who have perverted the sense, and by mis-translation, and their own additions to the Scripture, have obscured the Sabbath's Gospel-glory, more than once or twice, as in Col. 2:16, they have destroyed the Apostles scope, by their addition of [Days] so in Acts 18:4 they have translated that word as [Reasoning] to the undervaluing of the Sabbath, while in Acts 20:7 they use the English [Preaching] for the greater advancement of the first day.
But since so great a cloud of obscurity is cast over the Sabbath, by translating that merely rest, which signifies so clearly the celebration of the Sabbath, and finding many perplexing their spirits to find out what rest is so pressed by the spirit, in Hebr. 3 & 4.
I shall endeavour to help their understandings, who through some cursory consideration of the Scripture have supposed that it only intends some one single rest, whereas upon a serious search into these two Chapters, there will be found a five-fold rest.
Though indeed they are as mysteriously and promiscuously held forth as those interwoven predictions of Lord Jesus in the fourth chapter of Mark and the book of Revelation
Page 137 The Fivefold Rest
which are purposely so delivered to exercise the faith, and mind of wisdoms children, I shall therefore through grace lay open this five-fold rest, as it appears to be the mind of the spirit, by the apostle; whose scope is to warn and admonish Christians.