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.“ A great
creed. And we are satisfied that it is not thus that either “sound doctrine" or “unity of spirit" can be maintained.
We are not in a position to say how far Mr. Ransom's views on the Sabbath prevail among Congregational ministers. But our impression is, that those who abide by the older views immensely preponderate in number. And as a specimen of these older views and of the grounds on which they are based we quote a few passages from the Rev. Eustace Conder's admirable exposition of Matthew.
Expounding our Lord's controversy with the Pharisees as recorded in Matthew xii., Mr. Conder
says : “ This simple, sublime and merciful institution designed to release one seventh of human life from the burden of worldly toil and care, and provide regularly recurring leisure, not only for bodily rest, but for the culture of man's highest faculties and spiritual life, -must be carefully discriminated on the one hand from the severe penalties by which it was enforced in the law of Moses; and on the other hand from the traditions of the rabbies, from which Our Lord disencumbered it. The penalties were required (like those against idolatry) not by the nature of the Sabbath, but by the place it held in the fundamental laws of the Hebrew State. Sabbath-breaking, like idolatry, was not merely a sin, but a public act of rebellion against Jehovah as King of Israel. Ex. xxxi. 12–17; Num. xv. 32–36."
Of Pharisaic traditions and follies Mr. Conder thus writes :deal is often said concerning the 'austerity and gloom of the Jewish Sabbath,' which is unmeaning and untrue if applied to the original Divine institution; though true enough in reference to the heavy burdens and grievous to be borne' imposed by the rabbinical interpretation of the law. There is nothing 'gloomy or austere' in rest from labour; or in the employment of such rest in public assemblies for praise and prayer and teaching, and in the culture of the higher life in our own souls, and in our families. To the ignorant and ungodly, no doubt, all religious engagements appear joyless and burdensome; but this only shows their incompetence to judge." On the words “ The Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath,” Mr.
"In these words Our Lord is not referring to His Divine nature, strictly considered ; but is claiming as Messiah, King and Head of mankind, to possess sovereign authority, as Judge and Lawgiver, over all laws and institutions established for the benefit of mankind ;-as the Sabbath, marriage, property, government, &c. His disciples were not to be bound by rabbinical authority, but to learn from their Master what was lawful or unlawful. It is important to observe (because the reverse is often assumed) that Our Lord intimates no intention to abrogate or undermine the observance of the Sabbath ; but, on the contrary, always justifies Himself, when charged with breaking it, not only from Scripture, but from principles admitted and acted on by His accusers themselves.”
As to the great Sabbatic institution itself, we most cordially subscribe to Mr. Conder's testimony :-“The Sabbath shares with marriage (see Matt. xix. 4), the honour of having been instituted in the time of man's innocency,'
-a law as old as our race: Gen. ii. 3. It was 'sabbath,'—a rest from work; "blessed,'—& happy rest; 'sanctified,'-a holy rest. 'made for man' (Mark ii. 27)—for his comfort and benefit, not as a bondage but as a boon. Like marriage, it is a mixed institution, partly civil, partly sacred; the letter and outward form of which can be enforced by public law, but the spirit and highest aim are matters which concern individual conscience, feeling, and will. There can be no public rest but by public law; and so far the Sabbath, if observed at all, must be a civil institution. But what use a man will make of the precious leisure so secured, is a matter between his own conscience and God, which human law cannot touch, further than to forbid him from hindering others in their full use of the day.
“ The obligation of the Sabbath on Christians is often debated as if it were a burden to be got rid of; whereas in fact, the value of the Sabbath is such that its practical abolition would be the greatest blow which could be inflicted on religion, and its universal, intelligent, and reverent observance one of the greatest imaginable benefits to society. If the law of the Sabbath be not binding on Christians, then in this respect they are on a far lower level of privilege than Jews, and the provision made for human welfare by Christianity inferior to that made by Judaism. That Christians are to consecrate every day and hour to God, is true, but nothing to the purpose : for every day cannot be observed as rest or devoted to public religious worship and teaching; nor can the subtraction of so large a portion of time as one seventh from the useful work of the world be easily justified on any lower ground than & Divine law.
“ The chief arguments for the obligation of the Sabbath under the Christian dispensation, in addition to such considerations as those just suggested are: (1) The record of the primitive institution, Gen. ii. 3, confirmed by the indications of the observance of weeks, Gen. vii. 4, 10; viii. 10, 12; xxix. 27, 28; and by the manner in which the Sabbath is mentioned—not as a thing altogether new, though fallen into disuse-Ex. xvi. 23; xx. 8. (2) The place it holds in the Ten Commandments. All the other nine being of universal and permanent obligation, why should this law be introduced among them more than the law of circumcision or sacrifice, if only Jewish and temporary ? True, the Ten Commandments as such were given to the Jews; but they express universal laws, and are so referred to in the New Testament; Rom. xiii. 8-10; Eph. vi. 1-3. (3) The Sabbath does not in the least resemble the Jewish ceremonies which are abolished; nothing can be less of a form, more of a reality, than rest from toil, prayer, praise, instruction in truth, and religious fellowship. (4) Non-observance of the Sabbath, by individuals and by communities, produces such serious evils as never arise but from the breach of some Divine law. If abolished, nothing could supply its place.
“The grand objection—that if the Sabbath be binding at all, it must be binding on the last day of the week, not the first—seems to me of no weight. The substance of the law is, the keeping one day in every seven as a Sabbath: and whether we count the week from it or to it is a matter of mere form, not affecting the nature or design of the institution. We infer that this change was made by Christ's authority, from the fact that the Apostles called the first day of the week the Lord's-day,' and kept it as a season of worship and fellowship. Rev. i. 10; Acts xx. 6, 7.
1 Cor. xvi. 2; comp. John xx. 19, 26. (It may be added, that if- as there is some reason to think—the days' of creation, mentioned Gen. i., are reckoned from noon to noon, then the first Sabbath, commencing at noon of the seventh day, would include half of the eighth day, or first day of a new week. At all events, the seventh day of creation was the first complete day of Adam's life. The questiou of the place of the Sabbath—at the commencement or the close of the week-appears still more a matter of mere form when we consider that it is impossible for the same twenty-four hours to be observed all over the world : when it is Sunday in some parts of the globe it is Saturday in others; and the change of a day in reckoning has to be made by every ship’s crew which sails round the world.)”
“The obligation to observe the Lord's-day as a day of rest,” according to Mr. Ransom, “is derived from the spiritual and physical wants of man.” And the Lord's-day (he tells us) has been observed as a day of rest from the time of Constantine. What then of the 300 years that went before ? Were " the wants of man" unknown and unfelt those three centuries ? And if they were, what of the “ obligation” which is “ derived” from them? As we understand the Scriptures, we reach our conclusion as to the
obligation" to observe a day of rest by a surer road. He who knows our "frame," our "spiritual and physical wants," provided for these wants from the beginning by that most beneficent ordinance, the Sabbath. And from the beginning man has been under this "holy, just, and good law." The law has been adapted to the various dispensations under which man has been placed. And now the Lord's-day is not a new institution, but the old blessed Sabbatic rest in a Christian form, and with Christian sanctions and reasons.
THERE REMAINETH A REST.
Oh, for some rest! how blest, how blest !
Where labour's troublous toil is done;
Beneath the smiting of the sun.
Oh, for for some life exempt from strife !
No passion's whirl, no envy's smart;
Aye, hand in hand, and heart with heart.
And counsel true for days and years
Lamenting searches dimmed with tears!
That loving Life; that Friend so sweet;
Our God His children waits to meet.
COLONIAL MISSIONARY SOCIETY CHRONICLE. The Committee of the Colonial Mis- want has been felt, but the Churches sionary Society have been in corre- here are too weak to do much without spondence about Bush Missions with such aid as your Society can afford. the Home Missionary Societies and If suitable men be found, I believe the Congregational Unions of Australia, Mission may be to a considerable exand they are glad to find their pro- tent self-sustained.” posals taken up in an earnest and Another correspondent writes : “If practical way.
They have been you refer to your map, you will see disappointed somewhat, however, in what an extent of country there is the comparative reserve with which between this (Rockhampton) and the their friends in England have treated Gulf of Carpentaria, and Cape York in the matter, and with the small number the north, and the whole back countr of responses with which they have for 400 miles from the coast. All this been favoured to their appeal for country is taken up, and has a popuspecial contributions. They have no lation scattered over the whole of it; doubt that this is owing to an imper- and to supply the spiritual necessitie fect realisation of the urgency of the
of this lukewarm field there is one case on the part of those by whom the minister at Springhorn, one at MacSociety's ordinary operations are sus- kay, one at Bowen, and five in Rocktained; and they must therefore repeat hampton, and these have to attend to their appeal from time to time, until the Sabbath services in the several such feeling and pecuniary help are places in which they are settled, so evoked as shall be worthy of the that their itinerant labours must be Churches, and equal to the demands of very limited. The Bush, therefore, the occasion.
remains absolutely neglected. Ten In a letter which has just come to ministers could at once be advantagehand from Queensland, the writer ously settled in Northern Queensland, says: “I am heartily glad that your and that number at least would be Committee have been led to take up required to pay periodical visits to all the subject of Bush Missions. It is the stations." indeed of pressing importance. The The Committee are glad to be able
to report that already one minister * In this township, which extends a has been found with Colonial experi- distance of one mile along the seaence, ready to enter on the arduous board, there are at present four places and, in some respects, perilous service. of worship, viz., one Church of EngThe Rev. T. Jenkyn, M.A., late of land, one Presbyterian, one Wesleyan, Clermont, singularly well qualified, and one Roman Catholic, with an according to the testimony of all who average accommodation of, say, 350 know him and his labours in the each at most. colony, to initiate the good work, has “ Twelve miles further south (the agreed to enter upon it immediately. limit of country at present open to The Committee hope to be able soon European enterprize), at Puriri, there to strengthen his hands by sending are about 100 miners and others out one or more fellow-labourers.
“On the east side of the peninsula The Committee have received, too, there are four harbours : Kennedy's an urgent application for a minister Bay, Wangapaoa, Mercury Bay, and for the new gold fields in the province Tairau, with an average population of Auckland, New Zealand. The fol- of 125 adults each, principally emlowing extract from the report which ployed in saw-mills and bush work; accompanies the application will show but gold is being obtained in these the nature of the necessity which has places, and the population is increasing. called the application forth :
“ With the exception of Shortland, The gold fields extend from Cape the whole peninsula is totally unfurColville, north, to Purvi, south, about nished with places of Worship, or 55 miles, with an average of from 15 religious agencies of any kind. to 17 miles from west to east, forming “ The population of the district is, a peninsula, with numerous harbours as may be expected, of a very varied and bays.
character. Amongst the roughest you In the first 15 miles south from will find many well-educated men, who Cape Colville there is a scattered from intemperance, love of change, population of about 100 Europeans, and carelessness for the future, are employed in saw-mills, &c.
living without hope, and without God On the west coast, south, there is in this world; but these would gladly the Harbour of Coromandel, with an hear the Gospel if brought home to European population, besides natives, them. Many who have thrown aside of about 150, employed in gold mining all care for religion, still cherish reliand in saw-mills, &c.
gious associations of other days and “Fifteen miles south of Coromandel many lands, which would be quickened is the new township of Hastings, with by contact with the Gospel; some prea population of from 600 to 800 on serve an uncorrupted Christian chaabout four square miles, the larger pro- racter, who, if opportunity offered, portion adjacent to, or in the township, would gladly rally round any centre principally adult males, employed in of religious influence. gold mining
It must be remembered that nearly “ Thirteen miles further south is the whole of this population has been Shortland, the principal town in this gathered in this district during the peninsula, commenced only 18 months past 18 months—more, probably, than since, with already a resident popula- one-half of them being drawn from tion of 3,000, and a total population other parts of the province, thereby on seven square miles of from 10,000 weakening established Churches, which to 12,000 at least.
were then suffering severely from the