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“'Thus said the Lord unto me; Go and stand in the gate of the children of the people, whereby the kings of Judah come in, and by the which they go out, and in all the gates of Jerusalem;
“ ' And say unto them, Hear ye the word of the Lord, ye kings of Judah, and all Judah, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, that enter in by these gates :
“ Thus saith the Lord; Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem; Neither
carry forth a burden out of your houses on the sabbath day, neither do ye any work, but hallow ye the sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers.
“' And it shall come to pass, if ye diligently hearken unto me, saith the Lord, to bring in no burden through the gates of this city on the sabbath day, but hallow the sabbath day, to do no work therein ;
«• Then shall there enter into the gates of this city kings and princes sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they, and their princes, the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem : and this city shall remain for ever.
will not hearken unto me to hallow the sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day; then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched.'
“And now," said the energetic and faithful pastor, “what has been the fearful issue of this people's disobedience to the commands of Jehovah ? Where are these 'kings and princes sitting upon the throne of David ?' Let the infidel and crushing domination of the false prophet, over their once royal city, answer the question. Where are the palaces of Jerusalem,' with its gorgeous temple, in which the sublime presence of the Deity condescended to manifest itself ? Let the annals of ancient Rome tell the appalling tale! Let the desolating sword of the victorious Titus, bathed in the blood of the rebellious nation, and the blazing torches of his infuriated soldiers, confess to the fact of the fulfilment of this awful denunciation. Have they not been devoured with fire ?' Has not the ploughshare passed over their very foundations ? Were not their innocent and helpless children slaughtered to serve for food in the straightness of the famine ? He that hath ears to hear, let him hear,” said the minister; and he closed the Bible.
* Jer. xvii. 19-27.
“I cannot but admire your zeal,” observed Mr. Stately, “ while, at the same time, I consider your interpretation of the commandment much too strict. Then, according to your doctrine, a gentleman's horses are not to be used on the sabbath day under any possible contingency."
“Not exactly so," replied Mr. Davies. “ God is not a hard task-master, my dear sir. He does not require impossibilities from his frail and fallen creatures, but graciously permits a qualification of such a law as we are now considering, to be made in cases of moral and physical necessity, and for the performance of works of mercy and charity.
“ The compassionate Jehovah hath declared, for the great comfort of His people—'I will have mercy and not sacrifice.'* He hath also said—The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath.'t
“If, therefore,” he continued, “ infirmity of body, or sickness, or debility, should disable a person from walking to his * Matt. ix. 13.
+ Mark ii. 27.
church, I, then, humbly believe that the mercy spoken of in the text just referred to will, under such circumstances, sanction an exception being made to the strictness of the command. Nevertheless, to justify him in such employment of his cattle, it must be for the indispensable purpose, and that alone, of conveying him to and from the house of God. But, in thus stating the case," remarked Mr. Davies, “I must be clearly understood to say, that the necessity must be so real and conscientious as to spiritually justify to the believer's own soul, and before his Maker, the act of exception on which he so ventures in faith of the mercy promised in the text. As to the practice of driving about in carriages, or riding on horseback, on the Sabbath day, for the purpose of taking the air,' as the fashionable world express it, or of visiting their friends, nothing can be said of it but that it is wanton and unmitigated sin, and an awful breach of the holy law of God, and which, if unrepented of, God will bring into judgment at the last great day.
"'For we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade
“ You have admitted,” remarked the man of fashion, “that, in extreme cases, horses and carriages may be lawfully employed on the Lord's day. Now, I feel curious to know how you will solve the following question. Suppose there are two churches; one in which is preached what you would call the Gospel,' and the other where it is not preached; the former being so distant from your residence as to make it absolutely necessary, if you attend it, to use your carriage and horses ; while the latter is accessible on foot. Are we
* 2 Cor. v. 10, 11.
called upon in such a case to forego the higher spiritual advantage by going to the nearer place of worship, to which
can easily walk, or may we lawfully enjoy the more enlightened doctrine, by driving to that which is further off ?”
“I humbly conceive," replied the minister, “that there can be no doubt on the subject. You are bound, above all things, to obey the word of God, and leave the issue in his hands; and this word requires you to walk to the nearer church instead of driving to the one more distant. The Lord can make all good things abound to you whether you hear or hear not; and He will assuredly do so, as long as you be found faithful, and in the path of duty. At the same time, it will be your privilege, as well as a religious obligation imposed upon you, under such circumstances, to pray for the spiritual enlightenment of the minister whose church you thus attend, as a point of conscience. And we know, from the highest authority, that the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.'"*
“But, supposing," said the magistrate," that your residence is so distant from even the nearest church as to prevent your walking to it at any time."
“The only answer to such a question," replied Mr. Davies, “is, that the responsibility rests upon the owner of the house for having chosen such a residence, and thus made the necessity inevitable.”
A pause of a few moments here took place, of which our worthy friend, Mr. Gracelove, took advantage, by observing, that “nothing he had read in the Scriptures illustrated more strongly the severe requirements of the law on this subject, than the example recorded in the 15th chapter of the book of Numbers.
“ He should not apologise,” he observed, "for introducing the Bible, any more than his reverend friend;" a small edition of which he drew from his pocket, and turning to the passage read as follows:
* James v. 16.
". And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath-day.
' And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation.
“And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him.
And the Lord said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death : all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp.
“And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the Lord commanded Moses.'*
“It was, undoubtedly, an awful and severe judgment,” observed Mr. Stately. “ But this occurred,” he said, -wishing to escape from the pressure of the argument, —" under the Jewish dispensation, which has been abolished.”
“Its rites and ceremonies have been abolished," resumed our host,“ but not the moral law. The types and symbols of the former, foreshadowing a coming Saviour, naturally ceased when the great Antitype himself appeared ; but the latter shall never cease.
“ That such is the case we have the infallible authority of the adorable Redeemer himself, in whom all these types centred, and who was the end of the law, as He was the originator of it in the bosom of the Father. And what is the emphatic language that our gracious Lord condescends to employ in confirmation of this holy truth?
“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets : I am not come to destroy but to fulfil.
“. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
* Numb. xv. 32-36.