Imatges de pÓgina
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age,

such facilities for the distribution of the Scriptures are possessed, and that such efforts are made to impart the word of life to the destitute.

Within a few years past, Bible Societies have been formed in various parts of Christendom, to disseminate the sacred Scripiures to the ends of the earth. Millions of copies of this Holy Book have been carried, by the four winds of Heaven, to myriads who were perishing " for lack of knowledge." How different now from what it was in the sixteenth century! The very “best ministers of that day seldom saw the Bible. One of eminence was asked, " What were the Ten Commandments ? and he replied, There was no such book in the library.” Martin Luther never saw a Bible till he was twenty-one years

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and had taken a degree of arts. Carolstadt had been a Doctor of divinity eight years before he read the Scriptures. By a law in the 34th of Henry the VIII, it was enacted that no wonien, except noblewomen and gentlewomen, might read to themselves alone, or to others, any text of the Bible; nor artificers, apprentices, journeymen, husbandmen, nor laborers, were to read the Bible or New Testament, in English, to themselves or to any other person, privately or openly.” Blessed be God, those times of darkness have passed away. “ The Scriptures are now not only translated into all the languages of Europe, but into almost all the languages of the world. The spirit of Bible Societies, like the angel in the Apocalypse, has come down from heaven, and the earth is lighted with his glory." The British and Foreign Bible Society has taken the lead in this blessed work. To the praise of the God of the Bible would we speak of this noble institution. The American Bible Society has been second to none other but this. The great work of supplying in two years from the time the resolution was adopted, every family in the United States destitute of a Bible, it has, speak

ing in general terms, accomplished. And now may be said what before never could be said, that the whole nation is furnished with the word of life. But what these Societies have wrought could never have been done, had it not been for the facilities now enjoyed of printing the Bible and sending it forth. How unavoidably slow and expensive, must have been the work of distributing the Bible, when a single copy of it, written on vellum, cost five hundred dollars! This was the case before printing was invented in 1440. But this, (I had almost said divine art) facilitates most wonderfully the spread of divine knowledge, and is rapidly imparting the Bible to the destitute all over the world. The Bible was the first book ever impressed on moveable types, and when printing was first invented, would have sold for sixty crowns. Now it may be purchased for less than a single dollar. And this blessed Book, bought at so cheap a rate, may now be wasted by the discovery of the magnet, and the invention of the mariner's compass, from land to land, borne upon the waves of the seas, till it shall reach every clime and every nation under Heaven. And let it be remembered, that Christians are bound to send the Bible to every destitute family on the face of the globe. One hundred millions of families, at least, are destitute. These must be supplied, that Christ, the sun of righteousness, may rise upon them in all his light and salvation.

Seventy-five millions of dollars will furnish every family with a copy of the sacred Scriptures. Why should not the different Bible Societies in Christendom resolve at once to begin, and in a specified time, accomplish this great and glorious work? It can be done. Let what the Temperance Society has already saved to this nation, be appropriated in this way, and there would be no lack of funds. The Bible would be disseminated among all people, and they would be able to read in their own tongues the wonderful works of God.

DISSERTATION II.

THE SANCTIFICATION OF THE SABBATH.

“Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy; six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work ; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work, thou nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day : wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” This passage of Scripture, is the fourth commandment of the Decalogue, promulgated to Israel, with awful majesty and splendor, on Mount Sinai, and written on two tables of stone, with the finger of God. It is contained in the first table, which points out our immediate duty to God. It respects the first institution mentioned in Holy Writ;-an institution the most venerable and important, one which had its origin simultaneously with the world, and was first consecrated and observed by God, its Author.—The obligation of the Sabbath is two fold, moral and positive. The separation of a portion of time to the worship of God, is for his glory and the good of man. In this view, therefore, the Sabbath is of moral obligation. But the quantity of time, , as well as the particular time, to be separated to the wor

ship of God, can be known only. from particular appointment. In this view, the Sabbath is of positive obligation.

1. Why should the Sabbath be kept ? Among the reasons why the Sabbath should be kept, we may mention its perpetual establishment on the authority of God, and its fitness in the nature of things.

Having closed the account of the creation of the visible world in six days, the sacred historian proceeds by saying, “ And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it; because, that in it he had rested from all his work, which God created and made.” He sanctified it, or set it apart, as sacred to himself, and to be observed by man, as a day of rest from earthly labors and cares, for the high and delightful exercises of religion. That God did then sanctify the seventh day, is as fully and explicitly asserted, as it is that, on the sixth day, he ceased from creating ; or, as that he created at all. Hence Adam, Abel, Enoch, and all the antideluvian saints, kept the Sabbath. This is as evident as it is that they performed any religious duties what

The silence of the Scriptures, in this respect, is no reason for supposing the contrary. We read nothing of the observance of circumcision, from the settlement of the Israelites in Canaan to the circumcision of Christ. But it is acknowledged that circumcision was observed during this time. With equal propriety may it be argued, that the Sabbath was kept for the first two thousand five hundred years of the world.

of the world. That it was, is manifest, from the fact, that time was distinguished by weeks of seven days. A week was a well known period of time i the days of Jacob and Laban. Noah observed periods of seven days. The phrase, “ in process of time," or more properly rendered, " at the end of days,” when Cain and Abel are said to have brought their offerings to the Lord, most probably meant the Sabbath. This divis

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ion of time has almost universally obtained among all nations, whether heathen or not. The Assyrians, Egyptians, Indians, Arabians, Persians, Greeks and Romans, reckoned by weeks of seven days. This universal agreement and practice, as to the measuring of time by weeks, among all people of antiquity, even though remote from each other, proves it to have had a common origin. And no account of its commencement, is satisfactory, but the one given by divine inspiration, “God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because, that in it he rested from all his work.” This division of time, then, was coeval with creation, was known and practised by our first parents, and was transmitted from them to the Antediluvian, Patriarchal, and Mosaic ages. The word in Hebrew, (which if not the first, is a dialect of the first language ever spoken by man,) translated seven, means fulness, completion, sufficiency. “ It is applied to a week, or seven days, because that was the full time employed in the work of creation; and to the Sabbath, because, on it all things were completed From this, no doubt, the heathen derive their notion of the sacredness of the seventh day, and the number seven. Besides, when the Sabbath is spoken of in the sixteenth chapter of Exodus, it is not mentioned as a novel institution, but as being known: “Tomorrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord.” Most evidently, the Sabbath was not mentioned at first proleptically, or by way of anticipation, but as being then instituted, and thence to be observed. And as the design of the Sabbath is principally to afford time to commemorate the wisdom, power, and goodness of God, as displayed in ereation, and to promote his glory, and to give mankind an opportunity of obtaining holiness, and procuring salvation, we may justly conclude, that the law of the Sabbath, is of universal and perpetual obligation.

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