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constitution of man, the head of whose race was then called into being. And man is not the mere instinctive recipient of the blessings of life, but the rational agent, who understands motives, devises plans, and performs actions for which he cannot but feel himself responsible to the Author of his being. Hence the permission, as well as injunction, “ Six days shall work be done.”
In this sentence the term “ work” means business, rational occupation, the putting forth of the active powers of our nature for the attainment of an end. It is the term employed to denote the activity of God, when it is said that he “rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made” (Gen. ii. 2). It is, therefore, suitable to man, who was made in the image of God. He has an end in view; he contrives the means by which it may be attained; and he puts forth the powers requisite for carrying them into effect. This last is properly called work. But we observe in the fourth commandment another term, employed in conjunction with work: “Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work." It is important to distinguish labor from work. Labor is hard toil — the exertion of hand and foot, the organs of physical power, by the individual in pursuance of his object. Work is a more comprehensive term, including not only labor, but business, such as the routine of domestic activities, the training of youth, the exchange of commodities, and other operations that do not require hard labor. All these are allowable on the six days of the week.
The example set by the Creator, the primeval institution of the week, and the reason assigned for six days of work in the fourth commandment, combine to show that the intervention of a seventh day of rest between every six days of labor was suitable to the nature of man antecedent to the fall. This disastrous event only enhanced the necessity of the weekly arrangement of time. The self-same reasons prompt us to beware of the not uncommon error that the six days are profane, and the seventh day alone holy, or that the secular is opposed to the sacred. The six days' work of God and the seventh day's rest are equally holy; and so it is with man. The fundamental distinction is not a moral, but a physical one; not that of the sacred and the profane, but that of work and rest. And work, the rational employment of means to an end, has been consecrated and elevated to its proper dignity by the example and the command of the Creator of man.
3. The first characteristic of the seventh day is “a sabbath of rest.” This very important phrase occurs six times in scripture. It is once applied to the sabbatical year (Lev. xxv. 4), twice to the day of atonement (Lev. xvi. 31 ; xxiii. 32), and three times to the weekly sabbath (Ex. xxxi. 15; xxxv. 2, and in the passage now before us). The first term, “sabbath," is the ordinary name for the seventh day and for the sabbatical year (Lev. xxv.). It is also applied to the day of atonement, but to no other festival. The sabbath mentioned in Lev. xxiii. 11 is the weekly sabbath in the feast of unleavened bread, which lasted seven days, and therefore included a sabbath. This will be evident to any one who examines Lev. xxiii. 15, 16, notwithstanding the statement of Josephus to the contrary.1 And the word
? The sabbath mentioned in Lev. xxiii. 11 is commonly supposed to be the first day of unleavened bread; which was a day of holy convocation, on which no servile work was to be done. Josephus, Antiq. iii. 10, 5, states indeed that the wave-sheaf was presented on the second day of unleavened bread, which implies that “ the sabbath” here means the first day of unleavened bread. And the Septuagint by the phrase, “On the morrow of the first day” (is étaúpov rîs spútnis), and Onkelos by the rendering “after the good day,” are supposed to concur with him in this statement. Nevertheless it is clearly erroneous. 1. The term “sabbath" is not elsewhere applied to any day but the weekly sabbath and the day of atonement. 2. The institution of the wave-sheaf is a new communication distinct from that of the feast of unleavened bread (Lev. xxii. 9), and hence it is natural to understand the “sabbath” here of the weekly sabbath. 3. The feast of wecks was to be held on the morrow after the seventh sabbath, counted from the sabbath on the morrow after which the wave-sheaf was offered (Lev. xxiii, 15, 16); and as this seventh sabbath can only be a weekly sabbath, that from which it was counted must be the same. 4. Josephus is by no means accurate or consistent in all his statements. On this very point in Antiq. xiii. 8, 4, he expressly states that the pentecost was immediately after the sabbath (ενέστη γαρ η Πεντηκοστή εορτή μετά το σάββατον); which is a clear indication of the ancient usage, and determines the sabbath, on the morrow of which the
rendered sabbath in vs. 24, 39 of the above chapter simply means a rest, as it is rendered in the phrase " sabbath of rest." The second term,“ rest,” occurs only eleven times
- six, as we have seen, in the phrase " sabbath of rest”; once in pointing out the nature of the sabbath (Ex. xvi. 23); once in describing the first day of the seventh month, the original new-year's day; twice in reference to the first and the eighth days of the feast of tabernacles; and once in reference to the sabbatical year, which is called the year of rest. The combination of these two terms in the phrase
sabbath of rest,” is very emphatic. It indicates a perfect rest as the right and duty of man on the weekly sabbath and the day of atonement, and as the right of the land in the seventh year. But leisure does not imply idleness, as liberty does not mean licentiousness. It leaves man free to attend to the higher relations of fellowship in which he stands with his Maker and his fellow-men. It suspends, as far as possible, the labors of the field and of earth, that he may realize in a special measure the joys of home and of heaven. This day is a season of rest, and therefore of liberty, of peace, of joy, of memory, and of hope. It is the poor man's day of release from the toil and moil of life, but no less the rich man's interval of relief from the engrossing and often exhausting wear and tear of the hunt after earthly pleasure, wealth, power, or fame; the day of freedom from the bondage under which man labors in consequence of the fall; the day of peace and joy, of refreshment, of that inexwave-sheaf was presented, to be the weekly sabbath. The Septuagint and Onkelos also describe the pentecost as the day after the seventh week, which is most simply interpreted as the day after the weckly sabbath which closed the week. 5. The Baithuscans or Sadducees, whose later representatives are the Karaites, who were zealous for scripture against tradition, regard the day in question as the weekly sabbath. 6. In the New Testament the only sabbath mentioned in connection with the feast of unleavened bread is the weekly sabbath. At the passover during which the Messiah was crucified, the weekly sabbath fell on the second day of unleavened bread (John xix. 31). The first day is hence called "the preparation,” which was a day of only partial rest, as a trial and an execution took place on it, not to speak of other thi that were inconsistent with a total rest. The second and third of the above reasons are decisive of the question; and the others corroborate this conclusion.
pressible delight which is felt when the chain is broken, the burden laid down, the pressure relaxed, the task accomplished, and mind and body at ease, but above all when the eye of faith beholds at leisure, and the hand accepts, the blessings of peace with God in Christ Jesus; the day of memory, when we recall the wonderful works and merciful ways of God, and the struggles and victories, the blessings and triumphs of his children in the past; and the day of hope, when gratitude for the past moves us to hope for the rest that remaineth to the people of God, and to meditate with fond anticipation on all the exceeding great and precious promises which are to be realized in that eternal rest.
4. For the sake of connection, we take as the second characteristic of the sabbath the negative sentence: “Ye shall do no work therein." Work liere means the business of life, including labor, the hard toil of tilling the ground, and gathering in the raw material of human subsistence. The sabbath is here distinguished from other set days of partial rest. Besides the weekly sabbath, there were seven other days in the year set apart to a religious use, all of which are mentioned in Lev. xxiii. the first and seventhi days of unleavened bread, the feast of weeks, the first day of the seventh month, the day of atonement, and the first and eighth days of the feast of tabernacles. The day of atonement differed from all the other appointed days of festival in being a fast, a day of sadness, of confession of sin, in which the people were to afflict their souls; whereas, the others were feasts, or seasons of thanksgiving and rejoicing before the Lord. The day of atonement and the weekly sabbath differed from the other six feast days in being days of perfect rest; whereas the others were days of partial rest. Of the former alone it is said that they were sabbaths of rest, in which no work was to be done. Of the latter it is only said that they were days of holy convocation, in which no servile work was to be done. They are not called sabbaths, or sabbaths of rest, and only servile work or hard labor was to be suspended on them. Hence the management of affairs and the interchange of commodities might take place on these days, though the laborer was released from his toil. We find the trial and the crucifixion of the Lord proceeding, and the purchase of linen by Joseph of Arimathea for grave clothes taking place on the first day of unleavened bread. The weekly sabbath, on the other hand, was a day of perfect rest, on which no manner of work, servile or other, was to be done. Thus the body of the Lord was taken down bastily from the cross, and laid in the new tomb of Joseph, without the due rites of burial, before the setting of the sun, that the weekly sabbath might not be broken. There is in scripture a considerate moderation in imposing only seven days of rest besides the weekly sabbath in the whole year, and in making them all except the day of atonement days of only partial rest.
This cessation of work is curiously adapted to the physical constitution of man. “ The operations of the corporeal frame consist of three parts: first, that which is involuntary and without intermission, as the action of the heart and other internal functionaries of the vital organism; secondly, that which is instinctive, as the travail of the animal power in search of food, shelter, and other natural requirements; and thirdly, that which is rational, as the effort to attain a certain end beyond the mere animal wants. The first part of the movement is kept in constant vigor by the regular supply of food. The second has its recompence in the natural repose of sleep. The third remains over to be relieved by a recurring period of rest to be determined by reason. As, on the whole, about a third part of the exertion of our powers may be due to this last source, and that for the half of the natural day, it follows that a sixth part of each natural day needs its compensating repose. After six days, therefore, a scventh day of rest seems needful to repair the waste and weariness accruing from voluntary rational effort. At all events, the special activity of the rational evidently stands in need of being recruited by a third provision, not of the animal, but of the rational, nature ; and that is plainly the Sabbath."