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In the first of the following Poems, I have endeavoured to describe some of the pleasures and duties peculiar to the seventh day. The appropriation of so considerable a portion of human life to religious services, to domestic enjoyment, and to meditative leisure, is a most important branch of the divine dispensation. The extent of the boon appears in its most striking light, when we consider the days of rest in any given period, as accumulated into one sum.-He who has seen threescore and ten years, has lived ten years of Sabbaths.
It is this beneficent institution that forms the
grand bulwark of poverty against the encroachments of capital. The labouring classes sell their time. The rich are the buyers, at least they are the chief buyers; for it is obvious, that more than the half of the waking hours of those who earn their bread by the sweat of their brow, is consumed in the manufacture of articles, that cannot be deemed either necessaries or comforts. Six days of the week are thus disposed of already: if the seventh were in the market, it would find purchasers too. The abolition of the Sabbath would, in truth, be equivalent to a sentence, adjudging to the rich the services of the poor for life.
In the Biblical Pictures, I have attempted to delineate some of those scenes which painters have so successfully presented to the eye. I need hardly say, however, that, by the adoption of this title, I meant not to subject myself to the principles of the art of painting.--I have not confined myself to the objects of sight, nor adhered to one point of time. I have often represented a series of incidents; and, in pourtraying characters, I have made them speak, as well as
If some of the Miscellaneous Poems which
conclude this volume should draw on me the imputation of egotism, I must even plead guilty to the charge; trusting that the indulgent reader, and good-natured critic, will not be disposed to rank my transgressions in this respect among the more aggravated species of the crime.