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bath.” That is, man was not made to adapt himself as best he could to an existing arrangement, whether for good or evil.--the Sabbath was made for his advantage. Do not therefore, says the Saviour, permit a man to be famished on the Sabbath rather than rub out a few ears of corn. Do not wish David to perish on his journey rather than appropriate the shew-bread, which, according to a ceremonial regulation, is to be eaten only by the priests. Still, it is true that the Sabbath was made for man. And if made by the Divine Father expressly for his advantage, it must be eminently fitted to promote his good; and it would be marvellous if he should hold it by custom, or as an expedient.
A few passages from God's word will shew the relation of the Sabbath to every period in the world's history. The heavens and the earth were finished in six days, and Moses informs us that “God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it.” (Gen. ii. 3.) He blessed the seventh day. For whose use ? Who was to obtain the blessing ? Himself, or man? He sanctified it. For whose advantage ? His own, or his creatures ? He no doubt was to be praised for his wonderful works. But who was to praise him ? Unquestionably all his works praise him. But can any other product of his hand than man offer special praise on the seventh day? It may be said that it is set apart as a memorial of the divine rest, or that it celebrates Jehovah's power, and wisdom, and goodness, as seen in his creative acts. Then we will turn to Moses, who wrote this account, and ask whether the sanctification and blessing of this day had not a special reference to man. We will meet him as he descends the mountain that burned with fire, after Jehovah had been speaking in his ear, and while he holds in his hand the tablets graven by the divine finger. We will read from the very stone, “Remember the Sabbath - day to keep it holy." (Ex. xx. 7.)
And now let us enquire if this command has ought to do with this early setting apart of the seventh day, or is it a mere Jewish requirement ? Moses will readily instruct
At the 11th verse of the same chapter, he continues, “ For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbathday, and hallowed it.” They (men) were to keep it holy, for the Lord had hallowed it
and blessed it. They were to keep holy, not a ceremonial day of Jewish appointment, but the day blessed and sanctified in Eden. Nor is the argument from this connexion at all weakened by the fact, that another reason for keeping the Sabbath was afterwards given in Deut. v. 15. It was merely an addition. The second motive did not destroy the first. The reasons for keeping a day may be cumulative.
The desert offers its testimony. When the children of Israel sojourned in the wilderness of Sin, on a certain sixth day Moses said, “ To-morrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord.” And when the seventh day had come, he added, “ Today is the Sabbath of the Lord.” And why was this day brought to their remembrance ? They were gathering manna, and they were to gather it on six days only.
No one will dispute that man had the Sabbath through the times of the prophets.
It must, too, be carefully observed, that the Sabbath was not merely a day of rest, but a day of religious worship, a day in which the great congregation assembled, and the saints were filled with holy joy. Then, as now, the Sabbath sun rose upon multitudes who were glad as they went up to the house of God. “The Lord spake unto Moses, saying, speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, the feasts (assemblies, Pyle, Gill, Scott, &c.) of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts. Six days shall work be done; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of rest, an holy convocation.” (Lev. xxiii, 1, 2, 3.) And how was the day to be spent? We will pass by now the Jewish observances connected with it, and ask Isaiah how the day should be sanctified. Besides making it a day of rest from men's own labour, pleasure, thinking, and speaking (in which it is implied that they should do God's work, find God's pleasure, and think and speak for him), he requires that they shall “ call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of Jehovah," (Is. lviii. 13.)
When our Lord was upon earth, he very carefully observed the Sabbath. (See Luke iv. 16.) After his resurrection, he met his disciples on two successive first days; and from that day down to the present time, one day in seven has been kept holy by the church of God.
And now will you allow me to conduct my readers back to the wilderness of Sin ?
This is the battle-field of the question. Those who deny the universal obligation of the Sabbatic institute, affirm that it was a Jewish ordinance, which passed away with that dispensation. On the contrary, the proposition laid down in this article affirms that it is a commandment exceeding broad, stretching through all time, and living through all dispensations. Now, that it may be a Jewish ordinance, it should have a Jewish origin; it is exceedingly awkward therefore that it should be found in the 2nd chapter of Genesis. Hence the opponents of its universal application generally refer to 'the 16th chapter of Exodus, and endeavour to find there its institution. Led on by the great Paley, they demand that we shall surrender to them the previous twenty-five centuries of the world's history, as a time during which no Sabbath cheered the world.
All the argument that appears worth meeting, may be placed under three heads.
First, There is the argument which arises from the ceremonial aspect of the Sabbath.
The law, as laid down in Ex. xxxi. 14, looks very much like a Jewish and temporary appointment. “ Ye shall keep the Sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you; every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death; for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.” But can no moral truth or perpetual ordinance be wrapped round, for a time, with things that are to be done away?
Can there be no living kernel within a temporary incrustation? A man is put to death for gathering sticks on the Sabbath-day, which would not be done in gospel times. Does it follow that the Sabbath itself cannot belong to this dispensation ? The stubborn and rebellious son who would not obcy the voice of his father or mother, was to be stoned by the men of the city. Does the abrogation of this social Jewish law carry away with it the great moral statute, “Honour thy father and thy mother ?” And if not, why should the removal of the death-punishment, associated for a time with the Sabbath, sweep away the Sabbath itself? “Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath-day,” stood side by side with “Honour thy father and thy mother."
They are both moral precepts, growing out of certain conditions of society, which conditions remain substantially the
same through all ages of this world's history.
Secondly, There is the argument arising from certain phraseology used in reference to the Sabbath, as brought under the notice of the congregation in the wilderness.
Paley seems to rely chiefly on this argument to disprove the universal obligation of the Sabbath. He adduces three witnesses. Moses says, " See, for the Lord hath given you the Sabbath.” (Ex. xvi. 29.) Ezekiel, speaking for Jehovah, says, Moreover, also, I gave them my Sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them.” (Ez. xx. 12.) Nehemiah adds, addressing Jehovah, “ Thou camest down also upon Mount Sinai, &c. and madest known unto them thy holy Sabbaths." (Neh. ix. 13, 14.) The words “ "given," "gave," and "madest known,” are thought to constitute proof that the Sabbath was then instituted. Now, this kind of logic is very inconclusive.
Suppose we turn to Gen. xxxv. 12. God there says to Jacob, “The land that I gave to Abraham I give to thee.” In Josh. xxi. 43, the speaker says, “ The Lord gave unto Israel all the land which he gave unto their fathers.” If he gave the land first to Abraham, secondly to Jacob, and then to Israel; why could he not give the Sabbath to the parties in the desert, after he had given it in Eden? Did Nehemiah say that Jehovah made known his Sabbaths to Israel? So the Lord, by Ezekiel, says, “I will make my holy name known in the midst of Israel.” (Ez. xxxix. 7.) Are we to understand that before this promise should be fulfilled, Israel should never have known his holy name ? Esther prayed of the king that her life might be given her at her petition. Did she begin to live, and move, and exist, when her desire was granted ? Did God give the Sabbath ? Nehemiah says, " Thou gavest also thy good Spirit.” The Sabbath has been named in the previous verses, and where the Sabbath is numbered in the catalogue of blessings, the inspired writer says, “Thou gavest also thy good Spirit.” Had the Spirit never been given before ? Had the world been left without Divine influence till Moses led the people into the desert ? No. Man always needed the Divine dona. tion. The light of heaven was always needed to cheer his eyes, and render the world his fit habitation,—the air of heaven was always necessary to inflate his lungs, and purify his blood, -the fountain-stream was always needed to slake his thirst,-and
the Sabbath was always needed as a standing means of elevating his soul towards God. The light, the air, the water, and the Sabbath, were made for man. But we need not multiply this kind of proofs; the record furnishes its own explanation.
“ Moreover,” says the Lord, “I gave them my Sabbaths to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them.” (Ez, xx. 12.) He does not say that the Sabbath was given them in the wilderness absolutely, but as a sign of a certain something between him and them. • So does he use the beautiful bow that
sometimes spans our heavens. “I do set,” - he says, “my bow in the heavens, and it
shall be a token of a covenant between me and the earth.” Had it never spanned the antediluvian heavens? Had the drops of those early clouds no refractive power ? And why may he not as well give an already existing Sabbath for a sign, as set an already existing bow for a token ?
Thirdly, There is the argument grounded on the long continued silence of the early scriptures respecting the Sabbath.
The Sabbath is brought under our notice in the 2nd chapter of Genesis, and is not again expressly mentioned till the sojourn of the children of Israel in the desert. “If,” it is asked, “the Sabbath had been instituted at the time of the creation, is it likely that there should be no mention of it for a period of about 2500 years ?” Very likely, we answer. The Bible gives but a bare outline of early history. As we emerge from the garden of Eden, the history of * nearly 2000 years is given in five or six short chapters. Two leaves in a pocket bible will conduct the reader from the expulsion of Adam out of Eden to the building of the tower of Babel. Would the early saints be likely to keep up their faith without sacrifice ? Yet, from the time of Abel till the opening of the new world, the altar does not appear in our view. Could the fathers maintain their piety without prayer ? Yet, with the exception of him who wrestled with the angel, the five books of Moses scarcely shew us a man on his knees.
And let it not be supposed that because we have no express mention of the Sabbath, that the period referred to gives no evidence on the subject. There is allusive testimony which indicates, in that early time, the
presence of this day, orbed by the Sun of Righteousness. The existing week-arrangement tells us that the septenary division of Eden was not forgotten. “Noah sent forth a dove from the ark, and she returned unto him. And he stayed yet other seven days, and again he sent forth the dove. And he stayed yet other seven days, and sent forth the dove, which returned not ‘again to him.” (Gen. viii.) When Leah was imposed upon Jacob in the place of Rachel, to pacify him, his uncle said, “Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this (Rachel) also. And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week. Now, what is a week? Whence this septenary division ? The queen of heaven will point out the division of our time into months (moon-ths),-the glorious orb that comes forth like a giant to run a race, will make our day, and mark out our year,-but which of the stars, that are" for signs and for seasons, and for days and years,” will give us a week-arrangement ?
And who suggested this arbitrary arrangement to the nations that never heard of Moses and the prophets ? Almost universally it has prevailed amongst them. “The division of the year into months is very old, and almost universal; but the period of seven days is by far the most permanent division of time, and the most ancient monument of astronomical knowledge, -was used by the Brahmins in India, with the same denomination employed by us,-and was alike found in the calendars of the Jews, Egyptians, Arabs, and Assyrians. It has survived the fall of empires, and has 'existed amongst all successive genera
Homer, Hesiod, and a number of the early fathers, unite in telling us that the Greeks, Romans, Persians, Phænicians, &c., esteemed the seventh day sacred; and one of them tells us it was a festival common to the world. Whence did they obtain this custom ? Did they gather it from the books of the Jews? The sacred writings were little known till about the time of the Babylonish captivity. Some of these writers had lived before that time, and drew upon previous ages for their historic lore. Rather, had it not come down to them from the ark of Noah, and the plains of Shinar?
The Sabbath was not instituted in the desert of Sin. It was made for man the day after man was made. The first morn
* Mrs, Somerville.
that opened upon him wakened him to worship; and as his morning orisons brake forth from his lips, God hearkened to the first Sabbath praise that rose from his new made world. And it was not a monopoly of Paradise. It was given to the father of men that he might hand it down to all succeeding generations, the birth-right of his whole family, a boon fitted to bless man through all the changes he might experience,
Thus, Sirs, I have endeavoured to shew that the Sabbath is part of that code which is moral, and therefore remaineth,--that if it were only a positive institution, seeing it belongs to all peoples, the observance of it is a matter of moral obligation through all time. I have not entered upon the argument for the change of day, because I think it distinct from this, and secondary in importance. My conclusion is, that a seventh portion of man's time is required for the high purposes indicated. That time may be spent in the worship of Paradise, where creation is the bible, and the Father of the universe is the object of adoration. It may be devoted to the service of God as he dwells between the cherubim, and listens to the silent eloquence of him who with solemp tread approaches the mercy-seat, to sprinkle the blood, and offer prayer for the
congregation without. It may be spent in gazing upon the spectacle that graces, and yet disgraces, Calvary, or in celebrating the victory that spoiled death and the grave. It may take the name of Sabbath, or Sunday, or Lord's-day. But there it stands, a sanctified part of man's allotted term, a period rich with the dew of God's blessing. It may be that, in the wisdom of God, first the seventh, and then the first day of the week, shall be the appointed time. It may be that a christian shall pass from the east to the west, from the north to the south, that he may live in every degree of latitude, and commence his Sabbath through every hour of which his day is composed,—what is the seventh day in one locality, may be the sixth in the second, and the first in the third ; yet while he takes his day of gladness with him, he has one seventh portion of his time devoted to his soul and his God.
Let the christian rejoice in his gospel privileges ; let him stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made him free; but for his own sake, for his family's sake, for the world's sake, let him not surrender the day of rest and blessing.
BEN. CBAS. YOUNG.
Notices of Books.
THE WORKING CLASSES OF GREAT BRITAIN:
THEIR PRESENT CONDITION, AND THE MBANS OF THEIR ELEVATION.
BY THE Rev. S. G. GREEN, A.B. Pp. 180. London: John Snow.
This little volume comes before us with rather unusual pretensions. It is the Essay which obtained the Prize of Fifty Pounds, offered by Mr. Joha Cassell, and adjudicated by Mr. Edward Miall, Mr. Edward Swaine, and the Rev. Thomas Spencer; and as, moreover, it was the successful Essay amongst nearly fifty others, we might presume, in the first instance, that it would prove worthy of perusal, and a valuable contribution, at least, towards the settlement of the great subject discussed.
We are glad to be able to say, that none of the anticipations we indulged at first sight of the volume, have been disappointed
on its perusal; and if we devote rather more space to an analysis of its contents than the size of our periodical will generally permit, it is because of the interest we, of course, feel in the subject of the volume, and our strong wish that it should be extensively read.
In the first four chapters Mr. Green states very clearly and succinctly the state of the question, the principles upon which it must be decided, and the varied, aspects under which the three divisions of our Working Classes -- the Agricultural Labourer, the Country Town Artisan, and the Factory Worker--present themselves to view. On the last topic, Mr. Green's statements are deeply affecting, though we fear they are rather under than over-stated. however, will not allow us to do more than direct attention to them. The hopeful signs in the condition of the workers in our
large towns are well told in chapter iv. Mr. Green says,
“A hostile attitude, however, is always an attitude of discontent; and the antagonism of our working classes to existing systems is essentially a posture of expectation. Weary of negative doctrines, they are longing for the assertion of some principle that shall guide them to a better state of society, in which it shall be possible to do more than struggle or resist. Ten years ago, thousands of them fancied they had discovered their ideal in the theories of Socialism. They have since awakened, and, lo, it is a dream! But they are wait. ing yet. The Ten Hours' agitation, the AntiCorn-Law movement itself, so far as they partici. pated in it, were but occasional ontlets of an eagerness which any fair promise of social regeneration-nay, even the eloquence of any gifted teacher speaking with sympathy to their hearts-will al. ways rouse to enthusiastic fervour. Pity that the promise is so often a delusion-the teacher so often a demagogue! Yet it is cheering to know that discrimination is being taught by experience. The alternate hope and disappointment are creating a spirit of thoughtfulness. And when, at last, the truth is wisely and worthily spoken, it will find a people ready at once to welcome its proclamation with gladness, and to weigh its claims with candour. As surely as the world was prepared for its Messiah by ages of doubt and darkness, of strug. gle and guilt, so surely is our land being trained, through the discipline of sin and sorrow, for the development, in brightest glory, of that truth which shall regenerate and save the nations." (Pp. 22, 23.)
In chapter v. Mr. Green enters uponwhat is of course most important-a discussion of remedial measures; and in these his remarks are evidently the result of careful observation and thought. One introductory observation strikes us of so much importance that we cannot help quoting it.
“Any means adopted to secure the welfare of the working classes, must be thoroughly divested of an exclusive character. They must not, by their condescending aspect, couvey the notion of inferiority, nor by their patronising tone keep alive the spirit of subjection. This condescension and perpetual patronage have done amazing mischief. Working-class literature, working.class education, working-class religion, when spoken of as things distinct and apart, always sound suspiciously. They seem like the contrivances of well-meaning persons, who, in their hasty benevolence, have forgotten that the minds for which they would care are, in truth, of the same texture as their own. Such means only perpetuate the alienation so much to be deplored. True, there must be adaptation to the poor man's condition, but not such as to leave out of sight that in his spiritual being, and therefore in his spiritual needs, he is one with his betters. The adaptation, in a word, must simply be to the circumstances of his position. You would cheapen the Shakspeare for his pocket, but it is the same
Shakspeare, for all that, which adorns the library of his master. You would take his penny at the gate of the Zoological Garden, but it admits him equally with the rich man's shilling to gáze upole the wonders of nature there. Just so with all that nature can teach, or religion im part. Smooth his access to it, but let him understand that it is his no less truly than it is yours. Let him feel, not that what he may attain is the gift of your wondrous condescension, but that he himself is striving for it under the conditions assigned by his Creator, and that, when gained, he has as much right to stand up independently before God, and thank him alone for the boon, as you can have, or auy man beside.(Pp. 25, 26.)
The chapter headed “Employers and Employed” is interesting and valuable ;that on “ The School” not less so. In the latter, especially, there are many passages we should be glad to quote; but must pass on to what are to us the most interesting in the book, the chapters on “ The Church" and " The Press."
In the former, Mr. Green begins by admitting the painful but too evident fact, that “the great majority of the poor, in town and country, have drifted quite away from " our churches; and refuses, as we think very properly, to find the sole explanation in the "natural depravity of the human heart," for “those were depraved who so earnestly pressed around the Saviour's footsteps, and tearfully marvelled at his gracious words: the 'common people heard Him gladly;' and they would hear his followers gladly too, if his followers but spake like him." The chief causes of the alienation of the working population of our country from its religious institutions, Mr. Green finds in the “natural reaction” induced by the “blind belief” which he thinks has been the “demand, expressed or implied, of all sects from Popery downwards;" and in the “ defects of our popular religious teaching." We commend the observations, which will be found in our “Miscellaneous,” to the attention of all who are interested in the topic. The following remarks, also, are worthy of attention:
“Is it a wouder that the working men of our land are alienated from religious instructious ? Unwarped by the hollow conveutions, uusophisticated by the delusive reasonings which, it may be, pervert the judgments of another class, the sturdy English labourer detects at once, and tears to pieces, the flimsy pretence. The profession of piety is challenged with the taunting questiouWhat doest thou more than others? do not even the publicaus the same? “I find,” the operative says, “I can be all without religion that my master is with it; I therefore intend to remain as I am."