A TREATISE ON FUNDAMENTAL DOCTRINES OF
THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION: IN WHICH ARE ILLUSTRATED THE PROFESSION, MINISTRY,
AND FAITH OF THE SOCIETY OF FRIENDS
Philadelphia: Emmor Kimbor, 1815. Pages72-75.
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DAYS AND TIMES
[P. 74] It is the practice of Friends to unite with other professors of
Christianity in setting apart one day in seven for the purpose of Divine
Worship; and they have no doubt of the propriety of it. Under the legal
dispensation we observe that it was a Divine ordinance, and that the Jews
were strictly enjoined to regard it. But when the Messiah came, it is evident
that he had a view to excite new and more important considerations about
the observance of days and finding the Pharisees and others very particular,
and even superstitious on this subject, he saw occasion frequently to put
them upon trial; the first circumstance I shall notice of this is the
following"And it came to pass that he went through the cornfields on the
Sabbath day and his disciples began as they went to pluck the ears of corn."
This it appears did not escape the notice of the Pharisees, who thereupon
immediately were willing to find fault with them, and put them in mind of
them. "Behold, why do thy disciples on the Sabbath [P. 73]day that which
is not lawful." Whereupon they were informed, "The Sabbath was made for man,
and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the
Sabbath." Mark, 225-28. And as the Saviour did not join the Pharisees in
a rebuke of his disciples, we may fairly infer that he had an objection to
a superstitious observance of days and times.
"One man esteemeth one day above another, another esteemeth every day alike.
Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. he that regardeth the day,
regardeth it unto the Lord, and he that regardeth not the day. to the Lord
he doth not regard it. Rom. 14:5-6. Such we observe was the liberality of
that eminent minister of Christ, the Apostle Paul, on the subject of days
and times; but I do not mean from thence to infer that he was opposed to
the devotion of a day to sacred purposes. It is doubtless expedient for the
professors of Christianity to separate themselves at least one day in seven
from worldly business. Yet that he who created time made it all equally good,
and that the bare formal cessation from labour on the first day of the week,
though outwardly expedient, and even an accommodation in civil Society, is
by no means sufficient; and therefore unless we regard the day to the Lord,
we do not regard it. He that searcheth the heart, and trieth the reins, and
sheweth unto men what their thoughts are, is often more dishonoured on that
day than in all the other days of the week. But I am satisfied there is no
particular holiness attached to one day more than another; yet if we were
to lay aside the practice of setting apart one day in seven, the cause of
religion would suffer by it. The Society therefore, although they do not
believe that one day has any sacred preference to another, have never departed
from the practice of other professors in regard to the first day of the week.
As it respects days and times appointed for prayers, fasting, &c. though
they believe that the Christian should live in the Spirit of prayer, they
cannot make appointments for this purpose, or join with those who do. Nor
have they consecrated days in reverence to any particular occasion or personwell
knowing thatit is not the devotion of particular times, but the obedience
of the whole heart to the will of God, which Christianity calls for; and
than not one, but every day that a gracious Creator may grant to them. It
appears that Paul was afraid of some of the time servers in his day; "But
now after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye
again to the weak beggerly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage.
I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labor in vain. Ye observe
days, and months, and times, and years." Gal. 49-11.