Imágenes de página

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 Institution 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

correct knowledge of the principles which regulate the rate of wages, and thus to remove the most common cause of misunderstanding and discontent. The opponents of these societies will see that they are not limited to any particular trade; but that they consist of persons engaged in all branches of industry, and that a knowledge of the state of trade in general will be acquired. It will be seen in our Institution that masters and workmen join together; a union which must be the means of affording a correct idea of their mutual interests; and the promotion of a friendly feeling between them must be the inevitable consequence. The only combination which these institutions will give rise to, will be one in pursuit of useful and innocent information. Can it indeed be seriously believed, that a society established for the improvement of the mind, and for the purpose of enlivening the few hours of relaxation from labour, by means of a library, by occasional lectures on scientific subjects, and by private information in branches of useful knowledge, can have a tendency to favour among the labouring classes a lawless conspiracy (I will not call it combination) to deter their fellow-workmen by threats and intimidation from selling their labour for whatever they please, and thus endeavouring to deprive them of that liberty which is the birthright of every Englishman? The strong arm of the law is vested with full power to inflict the severest punishment upon the misguided perpetrators of these outrages but a still more powerful engine is at work to arrest the progress of such infatuation and ignorance-Mechanics' Institutions. Another objection is, that those who acquire the increase of knowledge which these societies are intended to communicate, will become dissatisfied with their station in life. It must, however, be remembered, that it is not two or three, but a large mass of individuals whose minds are thus to be improved; and the idea is almost absurd of a whole class of society wishing to leave the sphere of life in which they are placed, and to rise to a superior one. A few discontented persons (and those perhaps possessing least solid information) may think themselves fitted for a higher conu dition: but they will soon find how difficult the task is of thus bettering themselves: and by seeing they are surrounded by those as intelligent as themselves, who are contented with their station, they will learn the wisdom of being satisfied with the state in which Providence has placed them. Should, however, some, with latent talents, called forth by the instruction they have received,


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

be enabled, by persevering industry and the honourable exercise of their genius, to rise to superior rank, they will meet with the cordial welcome of every liberal mind in the station, whatever it be, to which they may have risen; and it will be a credit to Mechanics' Institutions to have been the means of rescuing from obscurity, talents which may prove importantly serviceable to society. No great share of sense or observation is necessary to convince every man of ordinary reflection, that different ranks must exist in society; and that he who discharges the duties of that station in which he is placed, in a proper manner, is sure of being respected, contented and happy.

"I must not omit to mention one more objection; it is believed by some, that these institutions will lead to a revolution in the country (I do not wonder at your smiling). If the possession of the knowledge which they will diffuse will enable the members to live without the necessaries of life, some danger might be apprehended from the release from all useful occupation of so large a number of human beings. But while food and clothing must be obtained, habitations procured, and families provided for, that labour which alone can command the supply of these necessaries will never be neglected. Of a desire to produce a change in the condition of the working classes, the promoters of Mechanics' Institutions must plead guilty: they contemplate a CHANGE from ignorance to information-a REVOLUTION from the ale-house to the library! And while

these objects are judiciously and steadily pursued, with a constant view to the best interests (as regards both this world and the next) of those for whose benefit these institutions have been established, our well-intended efforts will be smiled upon by Providence, and crowned with the amplest success.'

There is another advantage practically resulting from Mechanics' Institutions, not taken notice of, for obvious reasons, by Mr. Estlin; and that is, the friendly unionwhich it brings about between the different classes of society. The leaders in forming these societies, and indeed in supporting them, must of necessity consist partly of persons of more education and influence than the mass of the people, for whose benefit they are designed; now the co-operation of these with the humbler inquirers after knowledge appears to us to be of itself a great, an incalculable good.

Address of the British and Foreign Unitarian Association.

[The following circular Address, which is in course of distribution, is inserted in the Christian Reformer at the special request of the General Committee of the Association. The plan of the Society was given at large in our last Volume, the No. for June, pp. 192-198. Since then, the Rev. THOMAS COOPER, late of Hanley, has been appointed Under Secretary, and Mr. HORWOOD, Accomptant, Basinghall Street, Collector for both Town and Country. Rooms have also been engaged for the Association in No. 3, Walbrook Buildings, near the Mansion House, where Mr. Cooper attends on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, from the hours of 11 to 4, to give information, to receive communications, &c. All letters for the Secretaries are requested to be addressed to his care.-Any persons having the means of distributing the following Address to advantage, may be supplied with the number of copies they may want on application to him.-The readers who are well-wishers to the Association will see the necessity of instant attention to the recommendations and requests of the Circular. There may be many persons willing to sub-7scribe to the Society, but able to do it only in small sums, to which they may not wish to have their names prefixed: these will find no difficulty in putting their donations into the hands of some common friend who may be disposed to act as Local Treasurer.-Besides the Unitarian Fund and the Unitarian Association, there is reason to expect that the UNITARIAN SOCIETY for the distribution of Books, the parent Unitarian Society, will unite with the British and Foreign Unitarian Association, the Committee of that Society having resolved to recommend such incorporation to the General Meeting which will be held in a few weeks.— We understand that the names and subscriptions, some very liberal, of many Unitarian District Associations and Congregations, as well as of individuals, have been already reported to the Secretary and General Committee.-Subscriptions will also be received by the Secretary, Rev. RoBERT ASPLAND; by the Foreign Secretary, Rev. W. J. Fox; by the Solicitor, Mr. EDGAR TAYLOR, Temple; by the Treasurer, JOHN CHRISTIE, Esq., Mark Lane; and by the Deputy Treasurer, Mr. THOMAS HORNBY, 31, Swithin's Lane, Lombard Street.]

« AnteriorContinuar »