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A67379 A defense of the Christian Sabbath in answer to a treatise of Mr. Tho. Bampfield pleading for Saturday-sabbath / by John Wallis. Wallis, John, 1616-1703. 1692 (1692) Wing W569; ESTC R2541 83,482 87

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A DEFENSE OF THE Christian Sabbath In Answer to A TREATISE of Mr. Tho. Bampfield Pleading for SATURDAY-SABBATH BY IOHN WALLIS D. D. And Professor of Geometry in the University of OXFORD OXFORD Printed by L. Lichfield and are to be Sold by Chr. Coningsby at the Golden Turks-Head over against St. Dunstan's Church in Fleet-street LONDON 1692. Imprimatur IONATH EDWARDS Vice-Can OXON Sep. 17 t. 1692. A DISCOURSE Concerning The Christian Sabbath SIR Iune 12. 1692. I Had a while since a Book sent me by the Carrier I know not well from whom of Mr. Thomas Bampfield which in the Title-Page is said to be Printed for the Author 1692. It is Concerning the Sabbath Which he thinks should rather be Observed on what we call Saturday than on what we call Sunday I should not on this Account give any Disturbance to the Peace or Practise of the Church where I live so that a Sabbath be duly Observed as to the Substantials of it though perhaps not upon what day I should chuse For I do not know and I believe no man living can tell me whether what we now call Sunday be a First a Second a Third or a Seventh day in a continued Circulation of Weeks from the Creation And what it is impossible for me to know I think will be no Crime to be Ignorant of Nor hath this Author any other way than common Tradition on which he is not willing that we should lay weight whereby to guess which is the First or which is the Seventh day in such a Circulation of Weeks either from the Creation or even from Christ's Time I am sufficiently satisfied that we ought to keep a Sabbath that is a day of Holy Rest after Six days of ordinary Labour according to the Fourth Commandment and this in a continued Course or Circulation But I am not certain nor can I be which is a First or a Seventh day in such a Circulation of Weeks from the Creation And therefore shall content my self to observe that day which I find observed in the Church where I live In Old England I observe the Sabbath which here I find And if I were in New-England I would observe the Sabbath which I find observed there Though I think it may be disputable whether they and we may be said to observe the same day the First Meridian passing between them and us And yet I would not advise to have it changed in either Now I can hardly think that God hath laid the great stress of so weighty a Point as whereon the main of Gods publick Worship doth much depend on such a Circumstance as is impossible for us to know and of which we may be modestly ignorant I should rather think that what Christ says of the Place Ioh. 4. 21 23 The hour cometh when ye shall neither in this Mountain nor in Ierusalem worship the Father but the true worshipers shall worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth is in good measure true of the Time also And as it is not so material whether in this or that Place God be Worshiped so he be Worshiped Aright so neither is it so material whether on this or that day as that a Sabbath or day of Holy Rest be duly kept The publick Worship of God was then in great measure confined to the Temple not indifferently in any place within thy Gates but in the place which the Lord thy God shall chuse to put his name there Deut. 16. 6 11 15 16. For which any other place may now be as well assigned that men pray every where lifting up holy hands c. 1 Tim. 2. 8. Privately in private places and Publickly in places appointed for the publick And I do not think we are now more confined to the Iewish Sabbath than to the Iewish Temple This premised I can agree with this Author in many things by him discussed I agree that Our Lord Iesus Christ according to his Divinity was God and is so the true God the God that made Heaven and Earth the God who delivered the Law upon Mount Sinai For though we do acknowledge in the Godhead a Trinity of Persons Father Son and Holy Ghost whereof Christ according to his Divinity is called the Second Person the Son of God or God the Son yet those Three Persons are but One God Nor do I know any other true God but One The God that made Heaven and Earth The Lord Iehovah The God of Abraham Isaac and Iacob The Lord God of Israel The Lord their God who brought them out of the Land of Egypt out of the House of Bondage and besides whom we are to have no Other God The God who delivered the Law to them on Mount Sinai And I do agree that Our Lord Iesus Christ is as to his Divinity this God the True God the onely true God and that he was so before his Incarnation How far each of those Actions are to be ascribed to this or that Person of the Trinity we need not be over solicitous What in the New Testament is more peculiarly ascribed to this or that of the Three Persons is in the Old Testament wont to be ascribed to God indefinitely without such particular application the doctrine of the Trinity being then not so distinctly discovered But I cannot agree that Christ as God and Man in contradistinction to the Father and Holy Ghost did all those things for he was not then Man I agree with him also that God who made the World in Six days Rested the Seventh day Gen. 2. 23. Exod. 20. 11. And that he Blessed the Sabbath day and Hallowed it And that accordingly he hath appointed after Six days of ordinary Labour Man should observe a Seventh day of Holy Rest and this in a continued succession But I should rather say that our Lord Iesus Christ is according to his Divinity that God who Blessed the Seventh day Gen. 2. than that the God who Blessed the Sabbath day is the Lord Iesus Christ as he doth p. 64. and elsewhere very often seeming to lay great stress upon it For he was not then the Lord Christ God and Man nor did he bless it as Christ but as God in Union with the Father and Holy Ghost not as contradistinguished from them I agree also that the Law of the Sabbath is one of the Decalogue or Ten Commandments delivered to Israel on Mount Sinai Ex. 20. But I am willing to think it was a Law before Not only because we find it observed Exod. 16. before the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai Ex. 20. but especially because of that in Gen. 2. 3. God blessed the Seventh day and Sanctified it because in it he rested from all his Work And those who are most averse to the Morality as it is wont to be called or the Perpetuity of the Sabbath or Day of Holy Rest and are yet very zealous for the Holiness of Places would be very fond of it if they could find so clear
of proper Names whereby persons times or places be commonly known without scrupling the occasion of their first imposition And I would desire those Gentlemen who are so over scrupulous where there is no just occasion and make it their business to throw Scruples and cast Stumbling-blocks before others to consider seriously whose Work they be doing all that while and whether it be not as truly and properly superstition to represent and quarel with things as unlawful and sinful which in their own nature are not so as it is to introduce things under a pretence of holiness which have in them no such thing And whether this be not to dote about questions and strife of words Whether these be not of those foolish and unlearned questions which we are advised to avoid knowing that they gender strifes and to avoid foolish questions and genealogies and contentions about the law for they are unprofitable and vain and instead thereof to mind those things that are good and profitable to men to follow righteousness faith charity peace c. as we are directed 1 Tim. 6. 4 5. 2 Tim. 2. 22 23. Tit. 3. 8 9. They do not consider how much the studying and prosecuting these foolish questions and needless Scrupulosities doth eat out the power of Godliness and true Piety and the substantials of Religion while we busy our selves about these shadows about little circumstances which do not at all influence the Substance of spiritual Worship There be so many necessary duties and indubitable truths in the serious practise of Piety and Godliness that we need not trouble the heads of men and make it our business so to do with doubtful disputations It seems to be the design of the New Testament to take us off from the Circumstantials and Scrupulosities of Religion which commonly produce strifes and contentions to no purpose and put us upon worshiping God in Spirit and in Truth Si Deus est Animus nobis ut carmina dicunt Hic tibi praecipue sit pura Mente colendus Was well enough said of the Poet and is a good Paraphrase on that God is a Spirit and will be worshiped in Spirit and in Truth I have been told long since of a Grave Divine who when asked Why he did not Preach against Long hair which was at that time more Offensive than now it is gave this Answer If he could but Preach Jesus Christ into their Hearts he should not much concern himself for their Hair This Author tells us p. 49. that our Liberty Gal. 5. 1. doth eminently consist in a Freedome not onely from the Ceremonial Law of old but also in a Liberty not to be intangled with a new yoke of mens devices I take needless Scrupulosities to be such the making of more Sins than God hath made the making or pretending of those things to be Sins which are no sins and putting a religious Necessity upon things which are matters of meer Prudence and Discretion Like those 1 Tim. 4. 3. Forbidding to Marry or as I would rather render it Bidding not to Marry and to abstain from Meats c. Forbidding things as Unlawful which are not so is alike Superstitious as to Impose things as holy which are not Holy and equally contrary to the Liberty there intended Whether the days be called Saturday Sunday Monday or Alpha Beta Gamma is all one to me I take them as I find them I think we ought not to foment quarels upon such trifles and we sin if we do so Whether to meet once or twice or thrice on a Sabbath-day if so as is most for edification and the real service of God is meerly prudential in this or that place without laying a new religious yoke where God leaves it to Prudence And if in Prudentials things be not managed sometimes with so much Prudence as we think they might we must be content to bear with such Imprudences as we cannot help and better so than to pull-on greater Inconveniences Whether to begin the Sabbath at Six or Ten or Twelve a Clock on Saturday-night is a thing I think not worth contending about so that it be religiously observed as to the Substantials of it and for which we ought not to disturb the Church where we live but to follow righteousness charity peace and avoid foolish questions which gender strife And I should not think it much more whether on this or that day so the Sabbath be well kept and I would by no means on that account give a disturbance to a Church where it is peaceably settled 'T is less material When than How a Sabbath be kept And in many cases it must be unavoidably left to Prudence whether this or that day be called the First or Seventh day of the Week We are in such cases to study the things that make for Peace and wherewith one may edify another Rom. 14. 19. The fruits of the spirit are love joy peace c. but variance emulation wrath strife are fruits of the flesh Gal. 5. 20 21. To study and spin out Disputes into too fine a Threed like that of a Spider out of her own Bowels is but to pervert the Simplicity of the Gospel of Christ to make that Abstruse and Difficult which the Scripture would have Plain and Easy in Speculatives as well as Practicals We should mind the substantials of spiritual worship and not dote upon circumstantials further than as they do really advance the Substance Refuse profane and old-wives fables and exercise thy self rather unto Godliness for bodily exercise profiteth little 1 Tim. 4. 7 8. Such are those Col. 2. 20 21. Touch not tast not handle not and others of like nature all which perish in the using there is no real advantage doth ac●rew from the use of them 't is but labour lost or 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 they are but mischievous in their use We complain of the Papists and deservedly for loading their Worship with a multitude of Ceremonies and mimical Gestures the number of which would be a Burthen even though singly they were Tolerable Being so many Diversions of the mind from Attending the spirituality of the Service But they have some reason for it For when much of their Devotion is either to be spoken so low as not to be Heard or in such a Language as not to be understood they have need of somewhat to gratify the Eye when the Ear is not Edified And it is almost the same mischief when mens Minds are amused with Nice Speculations and needless Scrupulosities whereby they are Diverted from the Substantials of Serious Religion Yet I would not so be understood as if no care were to be had of Corporeal Worship or the necessary Circumstances attending it For God expects the Worship of the Body as well as the Soul and Religious Actions must have their Circumstances as Time Place Gesture and the like as well as other Actions But these Circumstantials should be considered as Circumstances not as the substance of