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nal institution of the Sabbath was altogether independent of the Mosaic law; secondly, when Moses adopted it into his ritual he confirmed, on Divine authority, this original and independent institution; thirdly, the observance of the Sabbath was intended to accompany the worship of the one living and true God at all times; and lastly, the good conduct and prosperity of the Israelites kept pace with their observance of the Sabbath, whereby an important lesson is afforded to all nations.
As to the objection, noticed by Milton, that the command to observe it was given only to the Jews, this, in fact, amounts to nothing; for the same objection applies with equal force to the commands, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me;' "Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven image" as an object of worship; "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain," &c., because these commands were given to the Israelites only. The fact is, the Hebrews were the only people that observed the Sabbath, because the rest of the world were idolaters, and they only enjoyed the benefit of Divine reve lation. The Sabbath was connected with the worship of the sole Creator, but that worship was then confined to the Jews; and when the knowledge and the privileges of true religion were extended to all mankind by the introduction of the Christian dispensation, the observance of the Sabbath accompanied its progress universally, which would scarcely have happened had there been any thing in that dispensation inimical to this institution. Whether this be the case or not will be seen by consulting what occurs on the subject in the New Testament. The length, however, of the preceding discussion has been so much extended that what remains to be examined must be treated as briefly as possible.
And in the first place it will be admitted, that the authority of our Lord himself is the most important and decisive; and he at least has no where abolished the Sabbath. No passage can be produced in which he forbade his followers to observe it. The law for its observance, therefore, as far as he is concerned, remains unrepealed.
Secondly, our Lord's example is decisively in favour of the Sabbath. We learn from various passages in the gospels, that he was in the habit of attending the usual_services of the Jews, in their synagogues, on this day. Luke iv. 16, vi. 6, xiii. 10: "At Nazareth, where he was brought
up, as his custom was, he entered into the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read," a sufficient proof that it was his practice to join regularly in the public religious duties of these places of worship on this day. It has been maintained, it is true, that Jesus observed all the rites, and obeyed all the precepts of the Mosaic law, because that law was not in his time abolished; but as it is now no longer binding upon Christians, his conduct, in this in stance, is no example to us. This objection, however, happens to be totally inapplicable here; for it has been shewn, and, as I think, clearly, that the institution of the Sabbath was altogether independent of the law of Moses, and as it existed before that law was given from Sinai, it was not intended to perish with it. Being required, 'therefore, if we would be the disciples of Christ, to follow his example, it is our duty, like him, to observe the Sabbath.
- In the third place, there are several passages in the gospels, from which, in addition to his own conduct, our Lord's approbation of the Sabbath may be fairly inferred. (Matt. xii. 1-13.) When the Pharisees expressed great indignation because the disciples of Jesus had plucked the ears of corn on the Sabbath to satisfy their hunger, as a breach of the law, in his reply does he say any thing that had a tendency to exonerate his disciples from all obligation to observe the day? Certainly not, though this was a very suitable opportunity for that purpose, had he thought this proper, especially as he observed, on this occasion, "The Son of Man" (meaning himself certainly, for such was the appellation by which he usually distinguished himself) "is Lord of the Sabbath." He defended what his disciples had done merely on the ground of necessity, referring to the examples of David and their priests; and immediately passing on, he went into their synagogue, as his custom was, to attend the common religious services of the day, taking this opportunity to shew, by his example, how much he approved of this method of employing it. On this occasion also he healed a man that had a withered hand, but defended this deed of benevolence against the censures of his opponents merely by asking, "What man is there of you, who shall have one sheep, and it shall fall into a pit on the Sabbath-day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out?" And his inference is most reasonable and just "Wherefore it is lawful to do good," that is,
"to relieve the distressed on the Sabbath-day." His defence on both these occasions, so far from impairing the obligation to observe the Sabbath, implies his approbation of it, and serves to confirm it. On two other occasions of a similar kind, after performing miracles of healing on the Sabbath, he vindicates what he had done on the same ground alone. Is it true, then, that our Lord defended the performance of works of necessity and mercy only on this day, at the same time that he recommended the religious observance of it by his example? What are we to infer, but that he thought other works indefensible, and that he intended that his followers should observe it in the same manner? On the first of the occasions just men tioned, according to Mark ii. 27, our Lord observed, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. So that the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath." And who will dispute the position that the Sabbath was instituted for the benefit of mankind at large? Or who again will call in question the fact, that the religious improvement of the Sabbath is conducive to that benefit? And was Jesus Lord of the Sabbath? Why then did he not prohibit the observance of it if he did not think it beneficial? He did think so, and therefore his prohibition of it is withheld.
There is one passage, however, in which our Lord has given confirmation, as it appears to me at least, to the authority of the Ten Commandments, and, consequently, to the fourth among the rest, as binding upon all men. When a person, who had great possessions, (Matt. xix. 16,) came to him and said, "What good thing shall I do that I may have everlasting life?" he replies, "Keep the commandments; Thou shalt do no murder; Thou shalt not commit adultery," &c. It is true our Lord has quoted only five of these commandments; but if we say, that it is evident he intended to teach that obedience to these only is essential, then it follows, that "Thou shalt have no other gods but me; Make no graven images; Take not the name of the Lord thy God in vain; Thou shalt not steal; Honour thy father and mother," are not binding any more than "Remember the Sabbath-day to keep it holy." It is perfectly clear, however, that when our Lord enjoins, as the condition of obtaining everlasting life, Keep the commandments," and quotes a part of them in order that there might be no mistake as to what he refer
red to, he meant, without doubt, the Ten Commandments, and he thereby establishes the perpetual authority of the whole of them, and consequently of the fourth, not less than the others.
But, to conclude this part of the subject, there is one other passage which, in my opinion, proves, not only that our Lord did not intend to set aside the observance of the Sabbath among his followers, but that they would continue to observe it, and this too with his entire approbation. When he was predicting the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple by the Roman army, he says, (Matt. xxiv. 20,) 'Pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, nor on the Sabbath day." Now these calamities were to take place, as they really did, long after the apostles had taught that the Mosaic law was not binding upon Christians. This passage, therefore, shews that our Lord knew and intended, that the observance of the Sabbath should survive the authority of that law, and, consequently, that it was altogether independent of it. Had it been his design that this observance should cease, he certainly would not have given this exhortation.
From all this I infer, therefore-first, Our Lord has not abolished the Sabbath, there being no occasion whatever for his giving a new command to observe it, as the original consecration of the day remained in full force; secondly, He recommended the religious observance of it by his example; and, thirdly, What he has said in reference to it plainly implies his entire approbation of it.
But should it be said that all this is in defence of the observance of the seventh day of the week, I reply, that whether it be the first or the seventh, as maintained in my first letter, with reasons for this opinion more at large, is not matter of the slightest importance. The object which the original institution of the Sabbath had in contemplation, provided a seventh portion of our time be devoted to religious purposes, is attained equally well on one day as another. The primitive Christians appear to have been of the same opinion: by them, indeed, both the seventh and the first seem to have been devoted to religious purposes for a considerable time, till at length the latter gained the ascendancy, on account of our Lord's resurrection from the dead. Always, however, from the first, one of them was evidently observed, and the alteration of the day would. scarcely have taken place without the concurrence and authority of the apostles. But for this part of the subject,
and the examination of other passages in the New Testament, I must crave your indulgence in another letter. THOS. MOORE.
Mr. Estlin on the Objections to Mechanics' Institutes. MANY persons favourable to the improvement of the people entertain doubts as to the final result of Mechanics' Institutes. There is no good unaccompanied by evil; but surely no lasting injury to society can be apprehended from the growth of knowledge and the advance of civilization. This principle is so ably supported in the following passage, that we deem it right to lay it before our readers: it is the concluding address of Mr. Estlin, the respectable surgeon of Bristol, at the Mechanics' Institute of that city, after a lecture which he had the kindness to deliver on the Pressure of the Atmosphere. The audience consisted of 300 persons.
"I am unwilling to take leave of you this evening without congratulating you upon the progress which our Insti tution is making, and expressing my conviction that no long time will elapse before it attains the highest eminence which its most sanguine supporters have desired. It has, however, much opposition to contend with: by opposition I do not mean hostility, but the conscientious conviction of many estimable individuals that evil and not good will be the result. We must trust to time, to unprejudiced reflection, to your good conduct, to convince them that their fears are groundless. And it is well their objections should be removed, for there are many now opposed to us, who have only to be convinced they are mistaken, to be rendered most willing to assist us from their libraries and purses.
'It may not be amiss for you to know some of the objections raised against Mechanics' Institutions. It is said, that they will be the means of favouring combinations. I believe they will prove the death-blow to combinations, by removing all cause for them. It cannot be denied that every man has a right to set what value he pleases upon his labour: if he is wise, he will be careful not to fix a higher price than the demand will allow him to get. It is, however, his commodity, and he may ask what price for it he chooses, as justly as the merchant may for any article he sells. But it is possible that he may ask a higher price than his employer can afford to give: now it is one of the many important uses of these institutions to diffuse a general and