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Elpis Israel
by Dr. John Thomas

The Lord God then declares, "the ordinances of the altar in the day when they shall make it," and when the Levites of the seed of Zadok shall approach unto Him.

The "cleansing of the altar," and the consecration of the priests, is then effected by the offerings of seven days.

"And when these days are expired, it shall be that upon the eighth day, and so forward, the priests shall make your burnt offerings upon the altar, and your peace offerings; and I will accept you (O Israel), saith the Lord," Thus, the day of the Lord's resurrection from his seventh-day incarceration in the tomb, becomes the sabbath day of the future age which shall be hallowed by the priests of Israel, and be observed by all nations as a day of holy convocation in which they shall rejoice, and do no manner of servile work at all.

This change of the sabbath from the seventh to the eighth, or first, day of the week, is the full development and establishment of the observance of the Lord's day by the disciples of Jesus since the time of the apostles.

Constantine, though not a Christian himself, paid homage to the truth so far as to compel the world to respect the day on which Christ Jesus rose from the dead.

Hence, in 328, he ordained that the day should be kept religiously, which a Judaizing clergy construed into sabbatical observance according to the Mosaic law concerning the seventh day.

This is the origin of that sabbatarianism which so ludicrously, yet mischievously, illustrates the Blue Laws of Connecticut, the zeal of the Agnews and Plumptres of the House of Commons, and the rhapsodies of the pietists of the passing day.

These well-meaning persons, whose zeal outruns their knowledge, seem not to be aware that Christ and his apostles did not promulge a civil and ecclesiastical code for the nations, when they preached the gospel of the kingdom.

Their object was not to give them laws and constitutions; but to separate a peculiar people from the nations who should afterwards rule them justly and in fear of the Lord, when the dispensation of the fulness of times should be introduced.

To be able to do this, these peculiars were required to be "holy, unblameable, and unreprovable before God".

To this end instructions were delivered to them, that under the divine tuition "they might be renewed in the spirit of their mind; and put on the new man which after God's image is created in righteousness and true holiness ".

As for "those without" "who receive not the love of the truth, that they might be saved, God sent them a strong delusion, that they should believe a lie," as a punishment.

They are left to govern themselves by their own laws until the time arrives for Christ to take away their dominion and assume the sovereignty over them conjointly with "the people of the saints".

If they please to impose upon themselves yokes of bondage, binding themselves to keep the first day of the week according to the Mosaic law of the seventh day, they are left at liberty to do so.

But for this act of "voluntary humility" they are entitled to no recompense from God, seeing that He has not required it of them.

The reward due for observing a Judaized Lord's day voluntarily inflicted upon themselves; or, the pains and penalties to which they may be entitled for its "profanation," are such, and such only, as result from the will and pleasure of the unenlightened lawgivers of the nations.

It is a wise regulation to decree a cessation from labour and toil for man and beast during one day in seven; but it betrays egregious misunderstanding of the scriptures and singular superstition to proclaim perdition to men's souls in flaming brimstone, if they do not keep it according to the Mosaic law of the seventh day.

All I need say in conclusion is, that if it be necessary to keep Sunday as the Jews were required to keep Saturday by the law of Moses, then those who make so much ado about sabbath-breaking are themselves as guilty as those they denounce for the unholy and profane.

"He that offendeth in one point is guilty of the whole".

If they do not keep open shop, or perambulate the parks and fields, or take excursions, or go to places of public resort and amusement on the Lord's day -- yet, they light fires in the dwellings and meeting houses, they entertain their friends at comfortable warm dinners, drive to church in splendid equipages, annoy the sick and distract the sober-minded with noisy bells, bury the dead, speak their own words, etc. -- all of which is a violation of the divine law which saith, "Thou shalt not do any work, thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle"; and "Thou shalt not speak thine own words".

This would certainly put to silence nearly all the preachers of the day; whose "sermons," when made by themselves, are emphatically their own in thoughts and words without dispute.

It is not only ridiculous, but downright Pharisaism, the fuss that is made about breaking the sabbath.

Let the zealots "first cast the beam out of their own eyes; and then will they see clearly to cast out the mote from the eyes of others".