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An ample supply of all the good things of life, marked by a simple elegance of style, crowned the hospitable board, and intimated a silent but hearty welcome to the friends assembled around it.

Cheerfulness and pleasantry passed gracefully round the table, while the different viands were being dispatched; giving the best relish to appetite, and help to digestion, which good spirits seldom fail to produce. Subjects of a light and varied description, referring principally to local interests, and to the passing news of the day, occupied their attention, till the table-cloth having been withdrawn, the dessert arranged, and the servants having retired, a preparation seemed to be made for a more improving tone of conversation than what had hitherto prevailed.

I am afraid,” said Mr. Stately, addressing himself to the clergyman, "you would consider us very late in coming to church on Sunday; but the reason was, the coachman discovered, just at the time of our setting off, that one of the springs of the carriage was broken, and we were consequently obliged to walk.”

I observed,” replied Mr. Davies, smiling, “ that you were much later than usual; but I must confess I cannot sympathize with you on the accident to which you refer it. You niay possibly consider, my dear sir, such a declaration rather uncourteous, which I by no means intend that it should be ; and, also, that my opinion is a very strange one, when I frankly acknowledge that I esteem the occurrence a positive advantage, rather than a misfortune."

“ This," answered the magistrate, with good humour, “reminds me of the somewhat negative course adopted by Job's comforters. The pious but afflicted patriarch asked for sympathy, and they gave him reproach. But as I am quite sure,” he added, “ that your motive for expressing such an opinion is

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good and honest, however problematical the argument may be in defence of it, I beg you will inform me,” he jocosely said, “why you take part with the broken spring of my carriage against the owner of it? You know," he observed, with a facetious expression of countenance, “that as the minister of my church you should support all my lawful acts and deeds.”

I most readily grant your proposition," responded the minister

; “ all your lawful acts and deeds. But what if I disallow the lawfulness of some of them ?”

Why, in such case," answered the other, “ I should expect, as a matter of conscience, that you would withdraw your support. But pray inform me which of my acts and deeds do you include under the designation to which you have pointed. I hope,” he said jokingly, “ you are not going to arraign any of my decisions as chairman of the quarter sessions."

By no means,” said our clerical friend. “My office leads me to deal with the divine, rather than with human law; and in the present instance, instead of taking part, as you have jestingly termed it, with the broken spring of your carriage,' to take up the cause of the horses in your stable."

“This, now, is a tangible argument,” exclaimed the anticlerical squire. I understand at once your sly insinuations. You mean to say it is unlawful for me to use my horses on the sabbath day."

“Precisely so," answered Mr. Davies; " and the unquestionable authority on which I found my judgment is the fourth commandment of the Decalogue. In this comprehensive and most expressive law of the first table, it is distinctly enjoined, by Jehovah himself, that the 'cattle' shall rest from their labours, on that day, as well as their owner, and the whole of his family.

“I am sure you will pardon me, my dear sir, if I repeat the


words of that divine injunction, which are as beautiful in their simplicity as they are profoundly binding on the obedient observance of all God's creatures.

“ ' Remember that thou keep holy the sabbath day. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all that thou hast to do; but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God. In it thou shalt do no manner of work, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, thy man-servant, and thy maid-servant, thy cattle, and the stranger that is within thy gates.”

" I acknowledge the law as you have just quoted it,” replied the magistrate; “ but surely you would not call it 'working' for my horses to draw a carriage, containing myself and family, once on the Sunday to church, a distance of only a mile? It is very different from the labour of ploughing my fields during the other days of the week; or leading lime, or compost, or any other kind of materials for the farm.”

" It is precisely, on one ground, because it is only a mile,"” rejoined his reverend opponent, “ that I would have you all walk.

“ I willingly allow that the labour is not so great in the former as in the latter case; but that is not the question, my dear sir. The commandment respects not the degree, but the fact of any work at all being done. It explicitly declares, 'In it,'—that is, on the sabbath day,—thou shalt do no manner of work ;' and then it goes on to enumerate the irrational, as well as rational creatures for whose benefit the blessed institution of a sabbath of rest was ordained. The words are as clear and expressive as if written with a sunbeam. And yet, when I say 'with a sunbeam,' I am understating the glorious act of their promulgation, since it is recorded in Exod. xxxi. 18, that they were written with the finger of God. This was an honour bestowed upon the law, alone in its majesty, and without parallel. No other record can boast of it. The Divine impress sanctified it for ever. A repetition of this gracious announcement is also made in the 16th verse of the succeeding chapter, where it is said,- And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables.'

“ This act of divine condescension was manifestly performed by the Great Supreme to denote the perpetuity of the moral law, and its ceaseless and universal obligation throughout the duration of the world.

“ Permit me to read to you,” said Mr. Davies, drawing a Bible from his pocket, " a striking passage from the book of Exodus confirmatory of this interesting point.

We find there, that even the manna, which was mercifully showered down from heaven for the subsistence of the Israelites in the wilderness, was not suffered by Jehovah to be gathered on the Sabbath day. He withheld the heavenly gift on that day, that the Sabbath might not be polluted. Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the Sabbath, in it there shall be none.

For that the Lord hath given you the Sabbath, therefore, He giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days ; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day. So the people rested on the seventh day.' *

" What an exhibition of holiness as regards the Lord's day," observed the clergyman,“ does this heavenly precept bring before us! Even the immediate—I was almost on the point of saying the personal gift of God, -miraculously bestowed for the very existence of his people,- was not allowed to be gathered on the day of sacred rest, because God had sanctified it. What, then, is the desecration of this hallowed day in

* Exod. xvi. 26-30.

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the working of your cattle,' as expressed in the fourth commandment ?”

* But, let us turn to another passage in Exodus,” he continued. "In the 31st chapter we read, And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you.

“'Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore ; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.'

I will give you but two examples more," he proceeded, " if your patience will suffer me, taken from the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah. In the 58th chapter of the former, we read the following words, addressed by the God of Israel to his backsliding people :

"If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, por finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:

“ 'Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father : for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.' *

“ In the 17th chapter of the prophet Jeremiah we read the following most gracious promise, as a reward for the righteous observance of the sabbath day, accompanied by a terrific denunciation of vengeance in case of disobedience to the Divine command :

* Isa. lviii. 13, 14.

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