Page images
PDF
EPUB

we must award the palm to Mr. ments regarding the Lord's-day passed

in the time of the Commonwealth, as Conder, whose observations on the

well as upon some of the old laws made Political Law of the Sabbath are,

by the first colonists of the State of Con. it appears to us, particularly clear necticut-laws not less at variance with and judicious. He has, moreover, any just notions of civil and religious done much towards ascertaining

Jiberty.

“It does not belong to the Legislathose limits within which the civil

ture to inculcate or to enforce the remagistrate should restrict his ef

ligious observance of the Lord's-day, or forts; a branch of the subject to compel the discharge of any other which, in a practical point of view,

duty purely religious. It must be lett

to the ministers of religion to teach and is at once the most important, and

to enforce upon the consciences of men, the inost difficult.

an observance of those duties for the "The third branch of our inquiry re

neglect of which they must give an

account, not to man but to God. But, lates to the duty of the Legislature, and

altbuugh the civil government cannot the expediency of upholding and enfor

compel men to be religious, it can and cing the observation of the day by penal

ought to protect them in the exercise of enactments. Two questions here sug.

their religion. Admitted that it is not gest themselves: First, Upon what

within the province of our civil govergrounds ought the observance of the Sabbath to be made a political duty ? Se

nors to ordain that every person should

exercise himself on the Lord's-day in the condly, What are the legitimate objects

duties of piety and true religion, it is and the proper limit of such legislative

strictly within their province, it is moreinterference? Where shall we draw the line at which the restrictive power of provide that all and every person or per

over their bounden and sacred duty, to the law should terminate? • As to the principle of the law, it liberty, means, and opportunity of applying

sons should, on the Lord's-day, have the must be admitted, that, in former times, themselves to the observation of the day, by very mistaken notions have prevailed as to the province of the magistrate and the

80 exercising themselves in the duties of

religion. This distinction, though often legitimate ends of civil goverment, which overlooked, is sufficiently palpable; and have led to the enactment of laws proper it makes all the difference as to the prin. only under a strict theocracy. Religion ciple of the law. The religious obli. has been rendered odious by enactments gation of keeping the Sabbath, and the having for their professed object to compel the discharge of spiritual duties, the it, may be justly and reasonably assumed

common consent of Christians respecting very essence of which consists in the consent of the will and the service of the These form the ground and reason of

on the part of a Christian legislature. heart; laws broadly marked with the

the enactments which have for their legimistaken piety of the times, and dic

timate object to secure the benefit of the tated by an erring zeal closely allied to

institution to all classes of the community; intolerance. Of this description are the

to protect more especially the trading old statutes for keeping holy days and fasting days, which require all persons to

and labouring classes against those en

croachments, and that natural result of resort on such days to the parish church,

unrestrained competition which would or some usual church or chapel, and there

otherwise deprive them of the means to abide during the time of service. These statutes, though repealed so far

and the opportunity of paying any reas regards l’rotestant Bissenters, are still gard to the ordinances of religion. binding upon all members of the Church lating to the Sabbath, there must be, if

“ The fact is, that some public law reof England.* The same character is

it is to be observed at all. The Lord'simpressed upon the legislative enact

day must either be publicly recognized

as the law of the land, and enforced as • A clause in the first Act of Unifor. such by the suspension of all the legismity imposes a penalty upon all persons

lative and judicial functions of govern. who, having no reasonable excuse, shall

ment, and the ordinary transactions of not diligently and faithfully endeavour trade and commerce; or it must be forthemselves lo resort to their parish church upon every Sunday. All persons are required to resort to the parish the 30th of January, by 3 James I. c. 1, church, or some usual church, &c. on the 12 Charles II. c. 14, and 12 Charles II. 5th of November, the 20th of May, and c. 30.

mally abolished, by letting the whole on that day, " or to Jews, and persons of business of administration, law, and trade other creeds. A very few words will proceed as usual. Our Houses of Par. furnish a sufficient exposure of this insi. liament, our courts of justice, the public dious representation. In the first place, offices, the Bank, the East India House, it is obvious, that no man can have a the London Post Office, the theatres, right to plead his conscience as a bar are all closed on the Lord's day; and the against the enforcement of a law which same law of the land says, that all shops, compels him to do nothing against his warehouses, and wharts, shall, in like conscience; and secondly, no subject of manner, be shut, that markets shall not a government has any claim to an exempbe held, that waggons and droves shall tion from the operation of laws having not proceed. It may be a question how for their avowed object, the general intefar i he restrictions of the law should rests of the community. That the law of extend, but it can be no question, whe- the Sabbath is intolerant, that it offends ther the public observance of the Sab- against any man's conscience or real inbath is the proper subject of legislative terests, can by no ingenuity be made to interference, seeing that the repeal of appear. It cannot, then, be intolerance all restrictions would be tantamount to a lo enforce that law; since intolerance positive decision that the Sabbath should consists in the nature of enactments, not not be observed.

in the execution of them. To tolerate the “ We are not now arguing the matter

non-observance of the laws by any portion à priori, but may take the facts as they of the community, is not liberality, but exist The people of this country are in negligence and laxity; and the magistrate possession of a Sabbath, as their birth who connives at the open breach of the right, a boon originally bestowed by their laws, virtually reproaches the legislature. Creator, rectified by the law of Chris

“ Besides : the representation errotianity, and confirmed to them by pre- neously assumes, that the government scriptive right and statute law. We compels the Roman Catbolic, Turk, or maintain it to be the duty of the govern:

Jew to observe the Lord's day with a ment to secure to them the undiminished religious strictness not required by his proprietorship of this portion of time. own faith, and punishes him for not What would be the consequence of break- observing it. It does no such thing. It ing down this barrier of protection thrown

leaves men to observe the day religiously, round the interests of the labouring

or not so to observe it, as their conscience classes ? Why, as Paley most truly re

or creed may dictate. It tolerates their marks, the addition of the seventh irreligion up to the point at which it would day's labour to the other six, would have interfere with the religion of their neigh110 other effect than to reduce the price. bours; and then, it does not deal with The labourer himself, who deserved and them penally for being irreligious, but suffered most by the change, would gain simply restrains them froin breaking a nothing: The poor man may not see salutary social conipact, ratified by the this. He sees what seems opposed to it; state, for the general benefit of the comthat petty and illicit gains may be ob- munity. The observance of the Sabbath, tained by the man who works on the it is true, is far from being a mere volunSunday, in violation of the law. But let tary compact : it rests upon an antecethe day of rest be universally disregarded, dent religious obligation, binding upon let the labourer that is at present with: every man. Still, this does not render drawn from the market on that day, be set it less really a compact between man and at liberty from all restrictions, and those man, and which it is the duty of the goprivate gains would totally disappear be vernment to ratify and enforce, in common fore the effects of competition, leaving with other compacts, relating more inthe poor man poor indeed. Those who mediately to social rights and possessions. would represent the striciest observance The time of the labourer is as much his of the sabbath, as a hardship upon the property as the estate of the rich man. poor man, must be worse than ignorant, Both are protected by the law of God; must be as perfidious as they are irreli the one by the fourth, the other by the gious, despisers of God, and enemies to eighth commandment. If it be intoletheir neighbour.

rance in the state to enforce the compact “ But the enforcement of the law of of the Sabbath, it must be equally so to the Sabbath has been objected to by some

entorce the compact of hereditary or persons as an infringement upon religious

other legal tenures.”—Pp. 39–43. liberty; especially when extended to Ro • See Resolutions passed at a public man Catholics, whose religious opinions meeting held at Mobile, in the United do not compel them to close their shops States, in Miss. Reg. Aug. 1830, p. 384.

(To be continued.)

NEW PUBLICATIONS, with SHORT NOTICES.

The Family Expositor ; or a Paraphrase and an edition of the complete works of that

Version of the New Testament; with criti. incomparable man may be obtained, cal Notes and a practical Improvement to in two volumes, at less than one half each Section, by Philip Doddridge, D. D. the price at which they were formerly With Memoirs of the Author by Job Or; published, and that for typographiton, and Extracts from Dr. Kippis. With a portrait engraved from an original pi, it is greaily

to be preferred to the old

cal beauty and general convenience, ture in Wymondley House, Herts, by permission of the Trustees of the late William edition in ten octavos.

Coward, Esq. 980. pp. — Westley & Co. The Family Expositor needs not our

A Review of the Two Letters on Baptism praise. “ It should find a place, (says a

in the August and October Numbers of celebrated bibliographer) upon the shelf,

the Evangelical Magazine : with some and upon the table of every mansion

Observations on the respective Merits of where the moral duties of a Christian the Welsh and Scotch Systems.By are enjoined. Doddridge's heart was a Welsh Minister. Westley and Davis. made up of all the kindlier aff-ctions of our nature ; and was wholly devoted to Most of our readers have probably the salvation of men's souls. What seen the letters to which we now allude. ever he did, he appears to have done That in the August Magazine was "to the glory of God.” He read, he written by a Welsh minister, who mainwrote, he preached-with a zeal which taius that“ a child's right to baptism is knew no abatement, and with an earnest founded not on any parental relationness which left no doubt of the sincerity ship, but on its relation to the kingof his motives He was snatched from dom of Christ.” That in the October his flock and the world—both of which Magazine was written by a Scotch had been enlightened and benefited by minister, who, on the contrary, mainhis labourz——in the prime of life and in tains “ that the right of baptism does the full possession of his faculties; not belong to a child as it stands rebut he who has left such fruits behind lated to the kingdom of Christ, but him, cannot be said to have immaturely that it is a privilege belonging to the perished.”

parent, and communicated to the child At the time Dr. Dibdin penned in virtue of that relationship.” The these remarks, the libraries of man former extends the privilege to chilsions were the places in which it was dren in general, as having an acknowmost probable the Expositor would be ledged right to be instructed in the prinfound; for ten years ago the work ciples of the Gospel : the latter confines was vot accessible to humble readers ; the privilege to the children of church there was

“the best old edition, large members. The reviewer's Observatype, six volumes quarto, calf, neat,” tions on the respective merits of the to be obtained at about three guineas; Welsh and Scotch systems,”are intendand a paltry octavo edition in six ed to prove the Scripture authority of volumes might have been obtained for the former, and to show that the latter about half that price. But happily is as inconsistent with reason as it is the admirable press of Messrs. J. R. and contrary to the Word of God; and C. Childs, of Bungay, has furnished that as such it must prove highly inthe public with the edition before us, jurious to the cause of Christianity. incomparably superior in elegance, and Deeming the subject as one of vast we believe in accuracy, to any edition practical importance in the present of the work wbich we have before seen. state of Christian Missions; and fully

This noble volume forms a com- agreeing with the reviewer, that a canpanion to the Miscellaneous Works of did discussion of it might be producDoddridge, which we recommended tive of much good, we feel pleasure (at page 250) in our last volume, and in recommending his “ Observations” we must congratulate their enterpris- to the attention of parents, teachers, ing proprietors and the public, that now ministers, and missionaries.

Greenland Missions, with Biographical and striking evidence as is compressed

Sketches of some of the Native Converts. within the narrow compass of either of
Dublin, published by the Religious Tract the little volumes before us.
and Book Society for Ireland, 1831.
Second Edition, revised and enlarged.

The former, at the head of this The Moravians in Green and. Second Edi.

article, is compiled" from Mr. Crantz's tion. Edinburgh, published by William

valuable history of Greenland, and the Oliphant, 22, South Bridge Street. periodical accounts of the Missions of Nothing' truly great and important the United Brethren ;” and “the comwas ever attempted without an ade. piler has interspersed reflections” quate stimulus. The man of the

which are neither tedious nor unimworld is prompted by the motives, and pressive, but add much to the intrinsic animated by the prospects of earthly value of the work. emolument or fame; and, when we

The Scotch edition is a more reguread of the intrepid self-devotement of larly detailed account of the mission, a Leonidas or a Regulus, it requires and the establishment of each succesno arguments to prove the extent to

sive station or settlement. The biograwhich patriotism and the love of post- phical notices of converts, however, humous glory fixed their spirits and being interwoven throughout the narrabraced their resolution to the last ex

tive, are necessarily much shorter than tremity. Every hardship thus en

in the Dublin edition. Each has its recountered, every sacrifice thus in- spective merits. And we conclude by curred, is sure to receive from the expressing a decided opinion, that no world its meed of admiration and ap friend to Missionary exertions-and plause. But, when first an extra

we may add, no man whose mind is ordinary effort is made for the moral not steeled against the impressions of and spiritual illumination of a remote

truth and simplicity, can fail to be and degraded portion of our species, deeply interested in the unvarnished the magnanimity of the Christian hero,

details of a whole century's arduous who, at the expense of incalculable labours, for a long season ineffective, risk and suffering, braves the perils of but finally resulting in the most asthe deep, and penetrates to the ice. tonishing triumphs of the cross over bound

regions of the Pole, is too often re- ignorance, superstition, and complete garded with the frigid eye of suspicion, savageness. or condemned as a species of Quixotic wild-fire, or the ebullition of an insane The Excitement; or a Book to induce the mind. Such, indeed was the public young People to read. For 1832. Conestimate, formed of the enterprize,

taining remarkable appearances in Nature, which, exactly one hundred years ago,

signal Preservations, and such Incidents (1732,) was undertaken by Mr. Hans

as are particularly fitted to arrest the

youthful Mind. Pp. 392. 18mo. Waugh Egede, a pious clergyman of Norway,

and Co. Edinburgh : Whittaker, London. whose heart was inflamed with the benevolent design of carrying the

This book is likely to accomplish the tidings of salvation by the blood of object its editor proposes, and will Christ, to the distant and frozen shores undoubtedly be an acceptable and of Greenland. The interval, however, appropriate present to most young

readers. which has elapsed since that devoted and honoured servant of God commenced

A succinct Account of the Manners, Cushis labours, bas afforded abundant

toms, Institutions, Polity, Arts, and proof, that his faith was not less ra

Sciences of the ancient Egyptians ; comtional and well founded, than it was fer piled from the most authentic Historians, vid and unabating. The success of the by Charles Richson, Lambeth. Pp. 192. Moravian Missions to the Greenlanders 18mo. Durton & Co. bas contributed in no small degree to This very useful compendium is comproduce the new tone of feeling that piled from Rollin, Bruce, Shaw, &c. now prevails, generally, on the subject and is so arranged as to supply 958 of aiming to Christianize the heathen, questions for examination. It is and, indeed, it is not at all surprising, creditable to the industry of its editor, that the strongest prejudice should give and will be very instructive to juvenile way, before such a mass of interesting readers.

N, S, NO. 87.

[ocr errors]

KK

TRANSACTIONS OF THE CONGREGATIONAL DISSENTERS.

CONGREGATIONAL UNION. tate the nations, appear to us to call The following circular has been issued for the most concentrated efforts to by the Provisional Committee of the promote that kingdom which shall not Congregational Union.

be moved. Reverend AND Dear Sir,- The

We therefore indulge the hope interest which we presume is mutually that you will be ready to forward the felt by us on the subject of the Con- object in your own Association, by gregational Union, will supply an apo- giving to it all due prominence at your logy, should one be required, for again next meeting; and that you will also bringing it under your personal atten- have the kindness to transmit to us the tion. Although we have inserted, in result, both of that, and of any prethe February Number of the Con- vious meeting, which may have been gational Magazine, an official notice to held since the general meeting in May the Secretaries and Officers of the va

last. It will be important to the rious County Associations, requesting arrangements of the next general them to bring forward the subject at meeting in May, that we should retheir Spring meetings, and communi

ceive some written communication cate with us, in due time, preparatory from you in answer to the third of the to the annual meeting in May; yet, concluding Resolutions contained in the lest this notice should not have reached Report of the general meeting already you, and fearing lest the object should forwarded to you; and which, for more not be noticed, or but slightly noticed, ready reference, we beg to subjoin. under the supposition that an opinion

“That the Provisional Committee already given may be considered as be instructed to give the widest circudefinitive on your part ; and appre

lation to the proceedings of this day, hensive also, lest your silence should, and after obtaining the sentiments of in so important a matter, be construed the brethren throughout the country, on into partial or total disapproval, we

the plan now prepared for their conhave thought it our duty to address sideration, that they do give it a farto you the present circular.

ther revision, so that it may

be

preWe trust that the vast importance sented for final adoption in the most of the proposed Union will continue to perfect and satisfactory form, at enjoy the most attentive deliberation General Meeting of the body, to be of the ministers and congregations held (D. V.) in this place, on Tuesday, connected with our body, throughout May 8th, 1832, at 10 o'clock, A. M." the kingdom. The lapse of another Hoping to receive your communiyear has not diminished in our view cation by the end of April ensuing, the value of those advantages which

We are, Rev. and Dear Sir, in the were at first anticipated : on the con

bonds of sincere Christian regard, your trary, “ the signs of the times,” ac

faithful friends and servants, cumulating in grandeur and impor (On behalf of the Committee,) tance, impress our minds with a sense of

ARTHUR TIDMAN, the duty of closer combination against

Joseph TURNBULL, the tremendous dangers to be feared,

JOSHUA WILSON, from errors in doctrine, from infidelity,

Provisional Secretaries. and from licentiousnsss; while the Congregational Library, Finsbury, extraordinary convulsions which agi

12th March, 1832.

a

« PreviousContinue »