صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

worship and service. Our keeping time as holy does not make it so; if it did, the seventh day as well as the first, would be holy time; for some professing Christians keep it as such. The very idea of holy time is that of time sanctified by God, and appropriated to his worship, and the offices and duties of religion. It is wrong, therefore, to say, as some do,It is no matter when we begin the Sabbath; let every one be persuaded in his own mind. In order to avoid this errour, some insensibly run into it. That they may be sure to keep the precise time, which God has sanctified, they keep both the evening preceding and the evening succeeding the first day of the week. But by doing this, they unavoidably keep that as holy time, which God has not made holy. God has sanctified a seventh part of time only: and, to keep more, is to transgress his commandment.

If God has sanctified and made holy a seventh part of time, he has doubtless taught us, in his word, with sufficient plainness, not only which day of the week it is, but when that day begins, and when it ends. And it is our duty to search his word, with a teachable mind, and to determine and practice according to truth, in this, as well as in every other instance of our duty. So doing, we shall please him, who has made the scriptures a sufficient, as well as the only rule of both faith and practice.

scripture. And besides, different nations begin their civil days at different times.

2. The time, when the Sabbath begins, is not to be determined by the hour, in which Christ rose from the dead. Though the Christian Sabbath is observed in remembrance of our Lord's resurrection; yet this is no reason why the Christian Sabbath should begin precisely at the same hour in which he left the tomb. Besides, it does not appear possible to ascertain, from the evangelical history, at what hour Christ did rise: which, it is unreasonable to think, would have been left in the dark, had the time of beginning the Christian Sabbath depended upon it.

3. As the Lord's Day is the same day of the week, which was originally sanctified and blessed by God, in the garden of Eden; if we can ascertain when the first Sabbath began, we need be at no loss to determine when the Christian Sabbath begins. Time began with darkness, or night. Before the sun was formed, darkness was upon the face of the deep. Hence, it was natural, in beginning to reckon time, to place the evening before the morning. Accordingly, the sacred historian writes, "The evening and the morning were the first day." And as the first day was thus reckoned, so were the following; as we read, "And the evening and the morning were the second day;" and so on, to the end of the six days, in which God was creating. And as the seventh day, on which God rested from his work, and which he sanctified and blessed, began where the sixth day 1. The time, when men begin ended; so we infer, that it includtheir civil days, will not deter-ed the evening preceding, and not mine when the Sabbath begins.The time, at which nations begin their civil days, is fixed to suit their own convenience and habits, without respect to the requirements of

The following briefobservations, it is hoped, may give satisfaction, as to the time, when, according to scripture, the day of sacred rest begins.

the evening following. It appears, that God thus reckoned time, at its commencement. The first Sabbath began at evening, or the setting of the sun, and continued to the fol

lowing evening. And why is not this sufficient authority for us now to begin our Sabbath at evening? It cannot be unsafe to follow a Divine example. Indeed, we seem bound in duty, to begin holy time, according to the original institution, unless we find some direction to the contrary on the sacred pages. But, instead of any such direction, we find evidence, that it is the will of God, that the Sabbath should ever include the preceding, and not the succeeding evening. For, 4. When God directed the Israelites to keep the seventh day, instead of the first, as their Sabbath, he required them to begin it, as well as all their other holy days and festivals, at evening, or the going down of the sun. Thus we read in Levit. xxiii. 32, It shall be unto you a Sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls, in the ninth day of the month, at even: from EVEN UNTO EVEN shall ye celebrate your Sabbath." It seems, from this, that it is God's will, that holy days should always be reckoned from evening to evening; and not from midnight to midnight, or from morning to morning.

5. The Jews, in the days of our Saviour, began their Sabbath at the setting of the Sun. This is evident from the writings of the Evangelists. The Scribes and Pharisees complained of Christ for healing on the Sabbath. Hence, the people, who feared the Scribes and Pharisees, would not bring their sick to our Lord for healing, on the seventh day. But, after Christ had attended the publick services of the synagogue, on a certain Sabbath, we are told, that "at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils; and all the city was gathered together at the door." This shows, that the Jews, at that time, ended their Sabbath at the

setting of the sun. And this has been their uniform practice, even to this day.

Now, as Christ and his disciples: observed the Jewish Sabbath; so the apostles would, of course, begin the Christian Sabbath, when the Jewish Sabbath ended, unless they had received some precept enjoining a different hour. The change of the day makes no difference as to the time of beginning the day. As the apostles, upon the abolition of the Jewish Sabbath, returned, in obedience to the fourth commandment, to the observance of the day originally sanctified and set apart as a Sabbath; so they would naturally consider the day as composed of the evening and morning, as days were reckoned at the beginning of time, and, according to the Divine rule respecting all holy days, from evening to evening, celebrate the Christian Sabbath."

That the sun sets at different times in different places, is no valid objection against beginning the Sabbath at sun-setting; since the same objection might be made against beginning the day at midnight, or at sun-rising. The difference of time, at which the sun sets, in different places in the same country and near each other, is so trifling, as to occasion no inconvenience.

That the days are of unequal length, in different parts of the earth, is an objection of no more weight against beginning the Sabbath at the setting of the sun, than against beginning it at the rising of the sun. In all places below the polar circles, there are twentyfour hours in a day, reckoning from evening to evening; and those, who begin and end their Sabbath at the setting of the sun, keep a seventh part of time. And, as to those places, which lie above or within the polar circles, they are


too inclement to be the settled abode of human beings.

There is no difficulty in being ready to begin the Sabbath at the setting of the sun, if that day of sacred rest be duly remembered;

which may be made to appear in my next essay, in which I shall endeavour to show, what is implied in remembering the Sabbath-day. MORALIS.

Miscellaneous Articles.



THE MIRACLES OF JESUS. The miracles, which Christ wrought, are such as to leave no ground to suspect imposition.They were such, that men might judge of them by their senses. One man could tell another, "I was restored to sight." Another could declare, that he saw a corpse raised to life. A third could say, that he was among thousands, who were fed by a few loaves. There was no opportunity for inventing sophisms, or imposing on the spectators by sleight of hand. The miracles were wrought in open day, in the presence of multitudes, many of whom were enemies, disposed not to believe, but to detect imposture, if there were any.

"See here, I hold a Bible in my hand; and you see the cover, the leaves, the letters and the words; but you do not see the writers, nor the printers, the letter-founder, the ink-maker, the paper-maker, nor the binder. You never did see them; you never will see them; and yet there is not one of you, who will think of disputing or denying the being of these men. I go further; I affirm, that you see the very souls of these men, in seeing this book; and you feel yourselves obliged to allow, that they had skill, contrivance, design, memory, fancy, reason, and so on. In the same manner, if you see a picture, you judge there was a painter. If you see a house, you judge there was a builder of it; and if you see one room contrived for this purpose, and another for that, a door to enter, a window to admit light, a chimney to hold fire, you conclude that the builder was a person of skill and forecast, who formed the house with a view to the accommodation of its inhabi-wrought. And as to these attants. In this manner. examine the world, and pity the man, who when he sees the sign of the wheatsheaf, has sense to know, that there 18, somewhere, a joiner and a painter; but who, when he sees the wheat-sheaf itself, is so stupid, as not to say to himself, "This had a wise and good CREATOR!"

R. Robinson's Vill. Disc.

The miracles of Jesus, were not denied at the time, but admitted to have been wrought. If it be asked, Why, then, did they not all believe? We answer, they tell us; because they attributed the miracles to the power of the Devil, or to magick. But these very attempts to account for them, prove that the miracles were indubitably

tempts to account for them, we can judge, as well as those who made them, what credit is to be given to the notion, that Devils wrought miracles, and what power may be ascribed to magick. At the present day, infidels will hardly agree with the ancient enemies of Christ, in attributing his miracles to satanick or magical influence; and,


[blocks in formation]

INDIFFERENCE TO RELIGION. It was an observation of Dr. Priestly, the celebrated Unitarian, who first preached the doctrine in this country, that men must become indifferent to all religion, before they are prepared to judge what to believe. This sentiment, strange as seems its complexion, when compared with the Bible, which admits no neutral ground, and is most full and solemn in its warnings against indifference, has, nevertheless, been prominent in the discourses and publications of those, who have borne the name of his sect, even to the present period.

To prepare the minds of people, who had been brought up under the influence of other views, to embrace the new schemes of divinity, they, according to the confessions of some of their number, preached "no sentiments in particular."

The effect of such a course of publick instruction, if indeed it may be called instruction, to produce other than a heavenly spirit, and nullify the great doctrines of the Gospel in the minds of the hearers, may be easily imagined.

A mind nearly in the attitude of indifference, is in a condition, where, unless it be speedily roused, and conscience made to speak out, it is about sure to embrace errour. And this, for two reasons: first, because this very state of mind is sinful, and of course attended with spiritual darkness: and, secondly, because the truth is exclusive; and, whilst errour, in most of its endless varieties, encourages this hesitating state, truth comes home to the mind with tremendous sanctions, and utterly condemns its indifference.

[ocr errors]

A state of deep solicitude the subject of religion, is, in the view of the Unitarian, by all means to be avoided, as is evident from numerous sources.

A system of religious faith, whose very essence seems to consist in its including no definite system of doctrines"in not believing"-and laying as it does a rude hand on almost every thing that is held dear by us in the evangelical system, throwing the whole burden of proof upon us, and presenting itself in a form almost without tangibility and without lo cality, is indeed possessed of some advantages, in the hands of a skilful disputant.

We have for a long time been of the opinion, that those men, who call themselves liberal Christians, meant to inculcate the sentiment, that it is of no consequence what men believe concerning the great doctrines of the Gospel.


Preaching Christ does not consist in sounding his titles, nor in continually dwelling on his personal history, sufferings, or merits; but in preaching as HE preached, and as his apostles preached-in a word, in preaching the gospel.Some preachers do, indeed, lay a peculiar emphasis on the word


Walker's Ser.


would be "unto the Jews a stum- | herd who dwells highest on those bling-block, and unto the Greeks mountains, takes his horn and foolishness"-offend the prejudic- calls aloud, "Praised be the es of the former, and provoke the Lord." As soon as he is heard, contempt of the latter. the neighbouring shepherds leave their huts and repeat those words. The sounds last many minutes, for every echo of the mountains, and grotto of the rocks, repeat the name of God. How solemn the scene! Imagination cannot picture to itself any thing more sublime. The profound silence that succeeds; the sight of those stupendous mountains, upon which the vault of heaven seems to rest; every thing excites the mind to enthusiasm.

A RECIPE for the best method of driv. ing away a faithful Minister, who has given no just cause of complaint. Extracted from the Panoplist.

In the mean while, the shepherds bend their knees, and pray in the open air; and soon after retire to their huts to enjoy the repose of innocence. Eng. pap.


Mr. Editor,

"Begin the quarrel with great boldness and great violence; set afloat a multitude of stories, no matter how false, or absurd, or how easily disproved. If they should be in fact disproved, be careful to repeat them, and keep them moving briskly, and make a handsome addition to them. Assume the fact, that the very existence of such a state of things, proves that the minister's usefulness is gone. Profess a strong regard for the peace of the parish, In some places, it is very cusand at the same time, inflame the tomary among professors of religpassions of anger, malice and envy, ion, immediately after returning by every species of falsehood, and from Divine service on the Sabbath, every vulgar artifice; which inge- to bring forward a variety of arnuity can devise. Seek occasion dent spirits, and urge all present to converse with your minister on to drink. Admirable method to the parish difficulties, and a mode- render the mind solemn, and to rate share of cunning will enable assist it in digesting a gospel seryou to accuse him openly and pub-mon! Such Christians, instead of licly of falsehood. By this time a retiring to their closets, and praygreat number of persons, scattered ing God to bless what they have through the vicinity, will begin to heard, repair to the bottle for the say, the man must have been imexcitement of life's wearied powprudent; he must have given some ers, and then singoccasion, or these stories could not exist. His usefulness is gone; and the sooner he leaves his ple, the better."



The Alpine Horn is an instrument constructed with the bark of the cherry-tree; and which, like a speaking trumpet, is used to convey sounds to a great distance. When the last rays of the sun gild the summit of the Alps, the shep

"The sorrows of the mind
Be banish'd from the place;
Religion never was design'd
To make our pleasures less.'

Having thus prepared themselves for judicious and charitable criticism, they enter upon an examination of the sermon, the prayers and singing which they have heard, and of the dresses of the hearers. After a sumptuous dinner and a few sapient political discussions,

« السابقةمتابعة »