Page images
PDF
EPUB

ordinances, the observance of which required the constant operation of an extraordinary providence. The double provision of manna on the sixth day was truly a sabbatic sign to the generation in the wilderness; and the same kind of sign, itself also appointed at the same time with that of the Sabbath-day, was continued to them after their settlement in Canaan, in the three-fold harvest before every sabbatic year.

It is farther objected, that the distinction of the Sabbath is, in its nature, a positive ceremonial institution; but so also is sacrifice, with its distinction of clean and unclean animals, (Gen. vii. 2,) which was confessedly practised by the patriarchs. All previously existing ordinances underwent a change in their adoption into the Jewish ritual. Thus when Moses enacted laws concerning the property of heiresses, (Num. xxxvi.) and the giving of a bill of divorce, (Deut. xxiv.) he was not instituting marriage for the first time; he only modified the original existing law (Gen. ii. 24) to suit the condition and state of his nation. And when he commanded them, from God, to keep the Sabbath holy, and to light no fires therein, he was not instituting the Sabbath, but enjoined that special observance of an universal ordinance, (Gen. ii. 3) which was permitted by the nature of the country they were about to occupy. Yet, in neither case was it so from the beginning; and Christ, the more perfect Lawgiver, brought back both institutions to the more pure and simple form of the patriarchal dispensation. The patriarchs sanctified the seventh day by a religious observance of it, but did not abstain from all manner of work, even the slightest and most necessary, under the penalty of death; they did not sabbatize, as the Christian Fathers rightly say of them. This distinction is readily inferred from the different treatment of those that violated the sabbatic rest at the period when the sabbatic sign was first given, and of those who transgressed after that sign, with its severe penalty, had been fully established. The Israelites who went out to gather manna on the first seventh day after that miraculous supply, received only a verbal reproof; but death was inflicted on the man who gathered sticks on the Sabbath, (Num. xv. 33,) after it had been solemnly promulgated. Work was equally done in both cases; but the former transgressed no established law of sabbatizing on the seventh day, whilst the latter violated an express provision of the Jewish Sabbath : “ Whosoever doeth any work on the Sabbath-day, he shall surely be put to death."-Ex. xxxi. 15.

It is allowed that nine commandments of the Decalogue are of moral and universal obligation ; but it is denied by some that the fourth commandment is so, on the ground that it belongs solely to the ceremonial law, which had its peculiar sanctions and promises. But this reasoning appears to apply with greater force to the fifth commandment, which openly professes a temporal and local sanction, than to the fourth, which assigns a reason that concerns all mankind. I consider the ten commandments to be of universal obligation, as well because they are so in their nature, as because I observe a marked distinction in the manner in which the precepts are enforced in the two tables and the exclusively Jewish ritual. In the Decalogue we read,

« Honour thy father and thy mother;" “ Remember the Sabbathday to keep it holy.” These general duties are made strictly Levitical by these peculiar enactments : “ He that curseth his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.”—Ex. xxi. 17. “ Whosoever doeth any work on the Sabbath-day, he shall surely be put to death." -Ex. xxxi. 14. The obligation to honour parents and to observe a Sabbath does not rest on the authority of the Mosaic law; only, under it, the obligation was more strongly enforced by the penalty of death. When that law was abrogated, the Jews indeed were relieved from the penalty, but not mankind from the duties themselves; these remained in the Christian code; the former was taken direct from the second table, with the temporal promise annexed, (Ephes. vi. 2,) and the observance of a seventh day is binding on us from the practice of the apostles, and the sanction of Christ. It is not merely a ceremonial, but a natural duty, to honour our heavenly Father and our earthly parents; and the two are thus joined in Lev. xix. 3 : “ Ye shall fear every man his mother and his father, and keep my Sabbaths ; I am the Lord your God.” That the obligation to sanctify the seventh day and to honour parents was not unknown to Noah, we may infer from the history of the dove in the ark, and from the punishment of the undutiful Ham.

To escape the difficulties that were supposed to encumber the belief of a patriarchal Sabbath, some writers have put aside the plain and obvious meaning of Gen. ii. 3; and given the forced construction that Moses used a prolepsis, and that the order of connection, and not of time, introduced the mention of the Sabbath in the history of the subject which it was ordained to commemorate. But this is only a supposition ; and one which entails the unreasonable notion, that God rested on the first seventh day, but blessed and sanctified it, “ not at that time, but for that reason,” about 2500 years after. To this merely human gloss I oppose the authority of the Son of God: “The Sabbath was made for man”-not for the chosen people solely, but for all mankind. The world was made for man in six days, and the Sabbath on the seventh ; namely, on that seventh day when he could first use it. The contrary opinion may have derived some support from an inattention to the improper division of the chapter; that modern practice, (the division into chapters,) of so great usefulness, but which has occasionally introduced some confusion into the sacred narrative. The following remark is applicable here, which was formerly made on the subject of the Rainbow : “ The first chapter, I conceive, should have been extended beyond the six days of creation, so as to contain the sanctifying of the seventh day to rest, and perhaps to end with the full close

“ This is the account of the heavens and the earth at their creation,

In the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens."* The expression, “ at their creation,” will hardly allow us to suppose that any part of the history is proleptical; the whole account of the

Vide Brit. Mag. vol. iii. p. 278, where the whole passage, Gen. ii. 4-6, is new translated and explained.

VOL. V.–March, 1831.

2 Q

[ocr errors]

seven days is one continued narrative of successive events. Thus the Lord of the Sabbath and the Lawgiver of the Jewish Sabbath unite in giving testimony to its divine institution at the creation.

Archbishop Whately considers it little better than a pious fraud to enforce the observance of a Sabbath from the fourth commandment. “ Some persons (he says) who do not really believe the Mosaic law, relative to the Sabbath, to be binding on Christians, yet think it right to encourage or tacitly connive at that belief, from views of expediency, for fear of unsettling the minds of the common people. (Thoughts on the Sabbath.) Yet, when the church of England enforces the moral duties by means of the Decalogue in her communion service, she is only following out generally the example of an apostle in a particular instance: “ Children, obey your parents in the Lord, (says St. Paul,) for this is right, (a natural duty): Honour thy father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise, that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth”(which is the particular sanction of the Mosaic law).-Ephes. vi. 1-3. In parts of his Essay and Pamphlet, Dr. W. labours to justify his disbelief of the divine institution of the patriarchal and Christian Sabbath, on the ground that the contrary opinion rests only on a supposed command, and not on one expressly recorded. The divine institution of an episcopal order in the church of Christ is plainly enough supposed in the New Testament; but the scruples of the Archbishop seem to require that the command should be expressly recorded; the same may be said of infant baptism. Keysoe Vicarage, Beds.

W.B. WINNING,

VESTMENTS OF THE CLERGY.

Rev. Sir,—In an age like the present, when the virulent poison of calumny is actively diffused throughout the world, and, more especially, that poison which would destroy our holy church, it is surely incumbent on every member of that holy institution, to endeavour to avert the mischief by every means in his power, and to point out those stumbling-blocks which threaten to oppose her progress. It is with this view that I trouble you with a few remarks on the sacred dress worn by her ministers.

The rubric I have occasion to notice is as follows:-“ Such ornaments of the church, and of the ministers thereof, at all times of their ministration, shall be retained, and be in use, as were in this church of England, by the authority of Parliament, in the second year of the reign of King Edward the Sixth.”

We are here referred to the first Common Prayer Book of King Edward the Sixth, where we find directions for wearing various articles of ornament in dress, which are now out of use, and hardly known to us.

For instance, the rochette or albe, the cope or vestment, the pastoral staff, and tunicle. Some of these being considered to retain in them too much of the popish reverence for indifferent things, were dispensed with ; and it was, accordingly, afterwards directed, that the minister should not, at the communion, wear an albe,

vestment, or cope ; but, if a priest, a surplice only. But, in the next review, under Queen Elizabeth, the rubric of the first book was restored, and this restoration has remained till the present time.

The surplice (superpelliceum) was supposed to be so called because anciently it was put super tunicus pelliceus, de pellibus mortuorum, animalium factus; we may, therefore, suppose the surplice symbolically to represent the grace of Christ, which hides the sin, which caused our first parents to hide themselves.

The hood (caputium or cucullus) was first worn by the ancient Romans, being a loose covering for the head; from the Romans it fell into use among the Monks and Ascetics, who were the first to wear it as it is now worn; viz., hanging from the shoulders by the strings which served to fasten it round the head when they wore it according to its original design; hence it came into use among the members of cathedral churches and colleges, but they were not permitted to wear it as the monks commonly did; hence, the Universities adopted it to distinguish their several degrees, varying the materials, colour, and fashion, according to the difference of the several degrees. Now, that these honours may be known every where, the church, both in this Rubric and in Canons 17, 25, and 58, enjoins, that every minister who is a graduate, shall wear his proper hood during dirine service. Can it then be justifiable in graduated ministers entirely to refrain from wearing this emblem ? I am, Sir, yours, with much respect,

S. S. C. C. P.S. I would make one other remark not entirely connected with the subject of my letter. Among other ornaments of the church, in use at the time to which I refer, and therefore within the meaning of this rubric, there were two lights which were enjoined to be set up on the altar, as an emblem of the light which Christ's gospel brought into the world. This was ordered by the same injunction which prohibited all other lights or tapers which used to be superstitiously set before shrines and images. These two lights are always used in cathedral churches and chapels, as often as divine service is performed by candle-light; and by this rubric, they ought also to be used in all churches and chapels, when there is service at candle-light.

DISSENTING LIBERALITY. SIR,- In these days, we hear much of clerical intolerance, bigotry, &c., through that portion of the press which is under the control of dissenters and their allies—the infidels. The following facts may serve to shew, that intolerance and bigotry occur elsewhere.

In the village of M , seven miles from Huddersfield, a national week-day school was opened about two years ago.

The son of the late dissenting minister in the village, sent his little boy to the school. The father soon withdrew him, because the present dissenting minister had expressed his disapprobation of the boy being sent to a national school, connected with the church. The father of the boy, being a

poor though industrious man, could not afford to pay for his instruction in any other school; the boy is, therefore, deprived of education, to gratify the bigotry of the dissenting minister.

A publican had some children in the day school kept by the said dissenting minister. The father finding that his children made no progress, gave notice that he intended to withdraw them. The dissenting minister, upon this, intimated to the publican, that if he did not take care to keep good hours and regulations in his public-house, he would be looked after. Though the object of this intimation was not mistaken, the children were withdrawn and sent to the national school.

A boy about 10 years of age, a scholar in the same national school, had, while there, his hand affected from a bite.

He was taken by his parent to have his hand dressed by the aforesaid dissenting minister, who professes to perform surgical cures. The minister persuaded the parent to withdraw the boy from the national school, and send him to his school,—this was done. In about six months, the parent, finding that the boy, instead of making any progress, went back in his learning, sent him back to the national school. In consequence of this, the dissenting minister refused to dress his hand any more, though paid for doing it; and the parents, though poor, had to take him, at a great expense and inconvenience, to a distance.

about three years ago, was confined to his bed through illness. The clergyman of the place, though he knew that the afflicted man was a dissenter, called upon him, and conversed, read, and prayed with him. On departing, the clergyman was requested to call again, which request was complied with. Finding the poor man extremely ignorant of the first principles of religion, but teachable, the clergyman continued to visit him, till the time of his (the man's) death. The man, during his illness, had requested his wife and family to bury his remains in the church-yard, the burying-place of his forefathers. In consequence of this, and of the clergyman's having attended the sick man for several weeks prior to his death, the brother of the deceased refused to attend his funeral. This brother of his was “ the deacon" of the Independent meeting-house in the village.

I am, Sir, yours respectfully, X Y. Z. Nov. 30th, 1833.

SOCIETY FOR THE PROPAGATION OF THE GOSPEL. SIR, -Great exertions having been made of late, in various places, to supply the deficiency made in the funds of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel by the withdrawal of the government grant, I beg to recommend a plan for general adoption, which I resorted to in my own family on last Christmas day, and strongly recommended to my flock, from the pulpit. It is, that the master of every family interested in the great cause of the Propagation of the Gospel, should assemble his family about him on the morning of Christmas day, and, explaining to them fully why we keep this festival, should inform them that there are yet millions of heathens to whom the Gospel has not been yet preached; and then state the nature and intent of this Society; and afterwards

« PreviousContinue »