Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

work and friends to help them beyond their expectation. And it is at present of the greatest importance that the subject should be kept before the eyes of government, till something efficient has been done. A bill, designed for England, has indeed been rejected, but by a majority so small, as to leave the opinion of the house undecided. Nor is the quantity of abuse heaped on the measure and its supporters by the London newspapers, to be regarded as forming any good ground of exception to this statement, for not a few of these are deeply implicated in the abuses complained of, or are dependent on such as are. And even if matters had been otherwise, it would be unwise to cast away hope. It is scarcely a twelvemonth since the appointment of a Committee was hailed as exceeding the expectations of those who sought it. And since that, a bill of highly scriptural principle and full protection, was lost in the second reading, only by a very small majority, occasioned by the absence of many friends who left the house on an understanding that the discussion would not come on that night. The friends of the cause have, therefore, nothing to fear but the effect of false fear, and ought now especially to be active, and not to rest till every fellow-subject, and the beasts of burden which share with man his toil, be put in full possession of that rest which a bountiful Creator secured by appointment to all,

In these remarks the writer has purposely proceeded on general grounds. He has spoken of the Sabbath simply as a day of rest, and of the duty of allowing it to others merely as a matter of common justice and benevolence. Aud he has done so because to this extent it is the common property of all, and ought to be promoted by all, whether they be religious or not, and because he is wishful to see a union to this extent among all who regard justice and mercy, or who would not share in robbing the creatures of God of what he himself bequeathed. But in addressing himself to Christians, he wishes to be understood as standing on far higher ground. The Sabbath was originally designed to be a day of rest to all; but of moral and spiritual rest to moral and spiritual creaturesto be a day holy unto God. And to man, as a fallen creature, it is the main season allowed for breaking with the concerns of time, and entering into converse with the things of eternity. Remove from man the Sabbath, and morally, as well as physically, his spiritual condition must greatly suffer thereby. To the church at large the loss of the Sabbath would be the loss of every thing which sustains her, in so far

as means are concerned. And in proportion as the holy rest of the Sabbath is intruded upon, even by recreation, to the same extent is the church deprived of that rest, and enjoyment, and spiritual provision which are necessary to her maintenance in a healthy state. But to us who live under the New Testament dispensation, there is more than this : --we commemorate in the Lord's day our Lord's resurrection. If spiritually minded Christians, we realize, in the return of each hallowed morn, the resurrection of Christ as the resurrection of our head. Its sacred hours are to us a foretaste of eternity itself. On the Sabbath we sit in a special manner together with Christ in heavenly places. And can we then hear the voice of blasphemy issuing from some haunt of revellers, and not feel as if some discordant note had broken in on the peace of heaven? Can we see the world's business trenching on these hours of holy peace, and yet not feel that the kingly power of Christ is thus despisech? Or can we expect that the blessings specially promised and specially connected with the due observance of the Lord's day, should descend on our churches, while we look on with indifference at such awful profanity, and seek not to rescue this reign of heaven from the dominion of man?

Circumstances will not permit me, at least for the present, to detain you longer, and I hope, therefore, you will permit me to state, in so many propositions, what it is desirable should be done.

1. Let private Christians take up the subject, converse upon it, and compare what God says of it in his word with what they witness around them. See Gen. ii. 1–3; Exod. xx.8—11; Neh. xiii. 15—22; Isa. lvi. 1–7; Isa. lviii. 13, 14.

2. Carry the subject to your closets, and pour out your hearts before God, desiring of him an opportunity to do good, and asking counsel at his mouth. His word is our rule; but he gives to his people a right understanding and application of the word.

3. Make it a subject of attention in prayer-meetings. It is encouraging to know, that although the present movements interest all classes, they originated with the people of God, and that it has often been found in the experience of the church, that such efforts have led to important revivals in the power of godliness.

And lastly, we should rejoice to know that church courts had taken

ир the subject—had ordered sermons to be preached on this and the sin of intemperance throughout their churches - had instructed their kirk sessions to exercise discipline on

those who are guilty of these sins as well as sins of uncleanness ;--and had commenced to circulate pastoral addresses on the subject.

I am, &c.
A FRIEND OF SABBATH OBSERVANCE.

DWIGHT ON THE SABBATH.

" PAUSE now for a moment, and recollect the number, the greatness, the glory, of these ends; and tell me if the institution which unites and accomplishes them all in perfect harmony, is not supremely wise, and worthy of God. How easily does it accomplish them, how perfectly, how wonderfully! How happy is the frequent, convenient, necessary return of this holy day! After how desirable intervals, with what useful regularity, with what serenity! How necessary is it to the sinner, to call him off from the world, from stupidity, from sottishness! How necessary to awaken 'his aitention to God, to holiness, and to heaven; to engage his thoughts on spiritual and divine objects, to begin his repentance, faith, and love, and to place his feet in the path which leads to immortal life! How necessary to the saint, to rouse him from sloth, to recall him from sin ; to remind him of his duty, to increase his faith and holiness, and to help him forward in his journey towards heaven! How necessary to Adam in his innocence; how infinitely necessary to all his ruined offspring! In a word, how plainly has the sabbath been blessed, as well as hallowed! Blessed from the beginning to the present time, blessed in a multitude of particulars, blessed in every land where it has been known, with the immediate and peculiar favour of God, with the nearest resemblance to the blessings of immortality!"

WHERE IS GOD?

“WHERE is He ? --Ask his emblem,

The glorious, glorious sun,
Who glads the round world with his beams

Ere his day's long course is run.
Where is He?--Ask the stars that keep

Their nightly watch on bigh.
Where is He ? Ask the pearly dews,

The tear-drops of the sky.

Where is He?--Ask the crystal isles

On artic seas that sail ;
Or ask, from lands of balm and spice,

The perfume breathing gale,
Where in the universe is found

That presence-favour'd spot;
All, all, proclaim his dwelling-place,

But say-WHERE IS HE NOT ?"

328

NATIONAL EDUCATION,

PROTESTANTS,, BBWARE! for now is the trial of your principles ; PROTESTANTS, BE FIRM! and your final victory is certain ! But yield one jot of principle, or waver for one moment, and all is lost! We lift our warning voice louder than ever, and not without reason; for as “ Satan is transformed, (transformed in figure, not converted in heart) into an angel of light," so may the Board of Education be changed in appearance, yet not one whit improved in principle. The Board of Education is said to be changed. The Bible, we are told, may now be read in school-hours : yet the Board, after all this pretended change, we like as little as heretofore. But if the Board admit the Bible in school-hours, what more do we then require? Just one single point. Let that one point be conceded, (and if Protestants do not apostatize, it must be conceded) and we ask no more. Let that one point be conceded, and we will join the Board, heart and hand, in the great work of national education; but let that one point be refused, and we will continue to denounce the Board as the greatest evil that ever was inflicted upon this dark and unhappy land..

But what is this single point? It is merely this—that we neither be bribed. nor compelled to renounce Protestantism? And we do here record, once more, our most deliberate and advised opinion, that before any man'even yet, after all its fancied changes, can join the Board of Education, he must cease to be a true Protestant! This is the one point--the great pointthe point least regarded, and least understood, to which we would direct the eye of our readers.

True it is, then, Protestants, the Board of Education have been at last compelled to say—the Bible may be read by all who choose it in school-hours. But what price must you pay for this boon ? You must pledge yourselves to adhere to all the conditions embodied in the original regulations of the Board, without the least alteration or reservation.* Now if we rightly understand these regulations, and we have been at some pains to decipher their meaning,) you must, in order to get permission to read the Bible, join

with the Priests of Rome, and pledge yourselves, at the discretion of the Board, to turn your children out of the school during fifty-two days in the year, and allow the Board, under your approbation, to "encourage the teaching of Popery in the schools you have thus surrendered. Protestants! can you, for any bribe, unite yourselves to a system that compels you to " encouragethe teaching of Popery? It should not be: but if it will be, we have exposed the sin, and are, in this matter, “clear from the blood of all men."

* The omission of the registry of the attendance of the children upon worship on Sundays, is the only change from the original regulations.

We now proceed to put on record some important documents relative to the Board. By these will be seen the unwearied efforts of the Synod of Ulster to reform and Protestantize the Board-efforts in which they have, so far as we know, received no Presbyterian aid, except that of the Secession Presbytery of Tyrone, and the Western Presbytery of the Reformed Synod, and the insulated petitions of a few zealous congregations.*

[ocr errors]

Propositions of the Deputation of the General Synod of Ulster, pre

sented after a conference with the Chief Secretary in Dublin.

The deputation of the General Synod of Ulster, appointed to confer with the Right Honorable E. G. Stanley, on the proposed system of education for Ireland, have the honour to submit for his consideration the following propositions, which they would respectfully, but earnestly, press upon the favourable attention of Government, in order that the Presbyterian body may avail themselves of the advantages of that system. In presenting these propositions, the deputation, on behalf of themselves and their brethren, utterly disclaim all political motives, as actuating them in their opposition to the proposed system of national education. On the contrary, they feel the deepest gratitude to his Majesty's Government for the public provision hitherto afforded, and now so liberally enlarged to the congregations of the Presbyterian Church. But an imperative sense of duty compels the Synod to resist all interference with the great general principle of liberty of conscience, or of their own church discipline, both of which they believe to be infringed by the new system of education. The deputation beg leave respectfully to urge upon Mr. Stanley's consideration the following propositions, the first and fourth of which they consider as fundamental, and if fully conceded, they are willing that, if necessary, the others should undergo some modification.

1.-That his Majesty's Government recognise the right of all who choose it, to read the Scriptures in the national schools during school-hours.

II.-That no person superintending any school shall, in any case, prevent the exercise of this right, when it is claimed by the children, their parents, or their guardians.

III. - That whilst the deputation recognise the duty of every Government to provide the means of religious instruction, they conceive that all

* We have now the pleasure of adding the aid at last received from the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in their resolutions aad petition.

« ForrigeFortsæt »