תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

workmanship. It shall awake to the sound of the archangel's voice, fitted for a residence in the heavens.

Has your friend died in the faith of Jesus ? Grieve not for his departure; for even his mortal remains are safe under the protection of Jesus; and ere long he will show himself, in respect of that departed friend, the faithful and the redeeming God. Does the thought of thine own death sometimes terrify thee? Look up to him who is the confidence of his people; the Resurrection and the Life! Look

away

from the agony of dying to the glory of sitting upon a throne; from the darkness of a sepulchre to the immortal brightness of heaven. If thou art united to Christ by faith, thou shalt certainly rise out of thy grave in triumph, and reign and rejoice amidst the displays of unfading glory.

J. F. SHAW, BOOKSELLER, SOUTHAMPTON ROW, AND

PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON; AND W. INNES, BOOKSELLER, SOUTH HANOVER STREET, EDINBURGH,

London: J. & W. RIDER, Printers, 14, Bartholomew Close

now.

The question of Sabbath observance is again brought before the public, and subjected to a new discussion. Points which we had considered as settled, and settled beyond the reach of doubt, are disputed. A change of circumstances is stated as requiring and involving a change of views; and the character whcih society is assuming in the present day, is said to justify a revision and reconsideration of the principles by which it has been previously regulated. A fresh attack in consequence is made on an ordinance which, having been accustomed to regard as the security of our national religion, the source of those streams of life which sanctify and refresh the souls of our people, we had hoped was secured from encroachment and curtailment by the law of the land, as well as by the authority of the word of God. The attack in this case, as might have been expected, comes from a different quarter, and is carried on in a different manner. It is not with open and avowed enemies that we have to contest the point, but with professed friends. Much for which we have contended on former occasions is conceded

In many respects, the tone, the language, the object of those opposed to us are modified. The divine institution of a day of rest is admitted; the beneficent character of the appointment, its salutary influences, are acknowledged; its peculiar adaptation to the condition of man is recognised : and the only subject of dispute would seem to be, the form in which those influences should be exercised, and the general application of the blessing intended should be accomplished.

The good of man, the improvement of the labouring classes, the softening of their character, the refinement of their tastes, the development of intellect, and the correction of what is low and sensual in their enjoyments, are named as the objects of pursuit: and no one can hesitate as to the importance of these points, nor as to the value which all things lovely and of good report possess in christian estimation. With a view to the promotion of these objects, the advantages of a day of rest; its beneficent influence on the mind as well as the body; its increasing importance in a state of society like the present; its absolute necessity when man is exposed to the exhausting circumstances of manufacturing or commercial life, are admitted, and not only admitted, but urged with as much zeal as was ever shown by those who contended for the strictest observance of the Sabbath in the days of religious controversy. Surprise and regret are therefore mixed together, when we find that those who see the importance of the institution in one sense so clearly, and can advocate its cļaims with so much power, should

disappoint the expectations that had been indulged of their co-operation, and should finally become the assailants instead of the supporters of the principle we feel bound to maintain. They see so much in the institution of the Sabbath that is adapted to the weaknesses and wants of o'ır nature, that they cannot help acknowledging its necessity. Under that conviction, forced upon them by the outcry of the whole creation, groaning and travailing together in pain, by the testimony of exhausted bodies and paralyzed intellect, they admit, they assert, as a fact that can no longer be denied, that the Sabbath was made for man, and accept it as a merciful provision made by God for the relief and consolation of his creatures ; but as to the specific purpose which it is to serve in respect of man, as to the way in which the balm is to be used and applied, they have their own views, and those views they are determined to carry out in opposition to all that has been established and believed on the subject. It is clear, then, that we have not gained much by the concessions made by those who have been induced, under these representations, and with these views of the ordinance, to admit the divine authority of the Sabbath. They have attempted to disarm our opposition by professing to receive the same truth, while they were introducing views which superseded its application ; and the controversy must now be transferred from the religious authority of the Sabbath, as a day of rest, to the form and manner of its observance by those who, on these grounds, acknowledge its obligation.

The point at issue with our present opponents consists chiefly as to the manner in which the Sabbath is to be applied. Its value they admit; its beneficent effects are acknowledged to be such that its divine authority can hardly be disputed: but while they argue with us in considering that the Sabbath was made for man, they differ widely from us as to the way and manner in which it is to be used, and as to the benefits to be expected or derived from its observance. We are compelled, from the language made use of, to say, that they regard the Sabbath as having been made for man, much as we believe that it was made for the animals that are placed under man's government, and are thus made partakers of his life of labour. In consequence, the sort of rest that they anticipate in the Sabbath for man, differs only from that which is ordained for them, as the constitution of man differs from that of the 'brute creation, and requires a different species of rest, in reference to a different form of toil. The rest of the animal is provided for when the exaction of labour ceases, and natural wants are supplied. The rest for man, according to their view, is equally provided for, when liberty is given to body and mind, and the refreshment that is required by each, in order to supply the exhaustion that has taken place, is put within its reach. The wearied limbs require sleep, the wearied senses quiet ; and the first object is to ensure the repose which the physical frame requires after its six days' labour. In the case of man, however, when repose and quiet have produced this effect on the body, and the mind, regaining its activity, looks round for relaxation, there then ensues another necessity, for there is another want to be provided for; and something more must be done for the refreshment of the human system than had been found necessary before. An effort, therefore, is to be made to supply to all what seems the universal want of those who labour; and the wearied mind must have its food and rest, just as the wearied body has had before, in order to perfect the object for which the Sabbath is appointed.

It is proposed, therefore, to apply the afternoon of the Sabbath to such recreations as may refine the taste while they amuse the man, and to effect an improvement in the general character of our population, by supplying them with the means of intellectual and innocent amusement during the interval of leisure. Among the means of promoting this end, and with this as one of its avowed objects, public attention is being drawn to the Crystal Palace erecting at Sydenham, which is, we hear, to be opened every Sunday afternoon, as offering in a small compass, a collection of those objects which are most likely to attract the notice and elevate the tastes of the people. The energy and talent which are engaged in carrying out the plan of this magnificent undertaking, leave no room for doubt as to their success. It is easy to imagine that such an assemblage of the wonders of nature and art will never have been presented to the public in modern days, or presented under such favourable circumstances. The immense size of the building contemplated, we are told, will admit of the introduction of all the wonders of tropical vegetation, combined with copies of the finest works of art. The whole world is to be laid under contribution to complete the interest of the scene, and things which we have only heard and read of, are to be offered to the inspection of the multitude. Models of machinery, specimens of workmanship, the trophies of the skill of our own people, and of foreign nations, are to be presented for examination and study, that the exhibition may be made as profitable and instructive, as it must be interesting and attractive.

It is not easy to state too hignly the amount of innocent and elevating amusement that

may

be derived from such a combina

tion of objects. The knowledge slowly gained by books will be here anticipated by what is seen. A few hours spent in the Palace, with an intelligent guide, may teach more than had been learnt in months of study; and what is of more consequence, those who never would have learnt anything from books, may here gain much from seeing; and a spirit of inquiry may be kindled in minds which had resisted every other mode of teaching. We are assured, also, that the exhibition is to be kept as free from the ordinary cause of evil, as it is unexceptionable in its original design. No liquor of an intoxicating kind is to be sold there. Order and propriety of behaviour will be maintained by the officials; and the freedom of access is to be general, and every indulgence afforded to intelligent curiosity; no deviation will be permitted from the rules laid down at first.

It is not without a pang that we proceed to disperse this brilliant vision, and to show the danger that lies concealed under this specious and captivating project. But let it be at once said, that the objections about to be urged against this fascinating scheme, are simply and exclusively directed against its Sunday exhibition. On other days we may regard it as an instance of the luxurious character of the age, as a wonderful example of the wealth possessed, and of the homage paid to the public; and if some fears mix themselves with the admiration that must be felt for the grandeur of the idea, and the boldness of the speculation, we may still be thankful for the evidence thus given of an improving taste in the character of our recreations, and for the care that is taken by individuals to cultivate and direct the rising intellect of the people. Our chief, our only real objection to the scheme, consists in its being opened to the public on Sunday afternoon; and in this we think the error of its undertakers, the hollowness and unisoundness of the arguments by which they are recommending it, must be manifest to all who will deal fairly with the question, and give themselves the trouble of considering it. The Sabbath was made for man, they say; and they think, that in providing recreation and innocent amusement, as well as rest from labour for man, they have answered the purpose of the institution, by the provision thus made for mind as well as body.

The Sabbath was made for man, we say also; but the view we take of man, lets in a light on wants and necessities in his nature, of which we have, hitherto, been allowed to hear nothing. The Sabbath was made for man, we say; and we adore the wisdom as well as the benevolence exhibited in the ordinance; but it was not made for man merely as an intellectual creature, an animal gifted with various talents, and subject to

THE ENGLISH MONTHLY TRACT SOCIETY, 27 RED LION SQUARE, LONDON.

« הקודםהמשך »