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these statutes in their essence and principles, instead of being new and restricted, were, and are, as ancient and wide spread as human relations and human responsibilities. In all this, we have proceeded upon the supposition, that the passage in question has respect to the Sabbath in the sense which it bears in the present discussion. This, however, is an assumption. And, from the plural form employed by the prophet, we are inclined to think that the word has here a far more extensive signification, including various appointed seasons of rest, to which the epithet was applied; such as the commencement and close of the great national Jewish festivals, and the periodic Sabbatic years, ordained as part of the peculiar social economy under the Theocratic government. These were all "signs," and some of them, of course, pertained exclusively to the Israelitish people. But, in whatever way we understand the term employed by Ezekiel, the phraseology upon which Paley rests, utterly fails to help his argument. And then, with regard to the language in Nehemiah, we cannot see how the slightest shadow of support can be drawn from it, in favor of the hypothesis in question. Here the Most High is represented as making known his holy Sabbath to the Israelites. But this surely cannot be construed into anything tantamount to the proclamation of them for the first time. In 1 Chron. 16: 8, David exclaims in the language of thanksgiving: "Make known his deeds among the people." In Psalm 145: 12, God is described as "making known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom." In Eph. 6: 19, Paul entreats the prayers of the disciples, that he may be enabled to " make known the mystery of the gospel." But in none of these instances—and they are but a specimen of what might be adduced—does the phraseology convey the idea of a first announcement. We can indeed perceive enough, in the previous degraded condition of a people just issuing from "the house of bondage," to require on the part of Jehovah, the proclamation, the making known, and that in the most solemn and august manner, of the great maxims and principles of religion and morality, including the formal republication of the Sabbatic Law. But we cannot allow the consideration of this, to set aside the evidence derived from other quarters, that this institute existed and was recognized in the world before the transactions in the wilderness, to which Paley traces its rise and origin.
"We now advance to a consideration of the remaining part of this boasted argument of Paley, where he infers the nonexistence of the Sabbath from the silence which, as he alleges, is maintained in respect to it, — the absence " of even the obscurest allusion to it," from the mention made in Gen. ii. down to "the sojourning of the Jews in the wilderness." Now, it did not require the sagacity of this acute writer to perceive that mere negative evidence is of little or no avail, in the face of that which is positive. If we have arrived at a just conclusion as to the import of the passage in the Book of Genesis, and the somewhat extended record in the sixteenth chapter of Exodus, the total silence of the Scriptures on this point, during the interval, although it might cause surprise, should not be allowed to disturb our faith, if we profess to be guided, in our deductions here, by those laws which are acknowledged in the department of inquiry to which this question belongs. It goes far to neutralize all the force of any conclusion derived from such premises, to observe that, at times, the very silence of a document speaks volumes on behalf of the thing which is omitted; indicating, as it may do, the notoriety of it. But had our author extended his investigations into the field of Old-Testament story, as he was bound to do before he hazarded an argument upon such a basis, he would have discovered very remarkable parallels to the omission upon which he presumes so much. He would, for example, have found that there is absolutely not even a reference to the rite of circumcision (of which the Jewish people were so proud), from the time of their entrance into the land of promise down to the days of Jeremiah, — a period of at least eight hundred years, — and that then it is referred to Vol. XIII. No. 51. 46 (Jer. 4: 4) simply in a figurative sense, in relation to the heart; while there is no account of the actual observance of the rite, or any further mention of it whatever, from the entrance into Canaan until we come to the record of the circumcision of John the Baptist, being a period of nearly fifteen hundred years. And yet how minute, circumstantial, and extended is the history of these centuries, in comparison with that of the earlier ages of the world. It has been generally admitted, that the institution of sacrifice was established immediately after the fall; and yet, during a period of fifteen hundred years, according to some computations, two thousand years according to others, — from Abel downwards to the flood, — we find no allusion to it. So, likewise, from the death of Moses to the death of David, a space of four hundred and fifty or five hundred years, we have no mention of the Sabbath itself; which is the more remarkable when it is remembered with what solemnity it was enjoined, amid the glories of Sinai, and that it had become a special sign to the Jews of the relations into which they had been brought; and let it be added, that the records of this period are not wanting in circumstantial lineaments. The student of sacred Scripture need hardly be reminded how very succinct and rapid, in general, are the notices both of the antediluvian and postdiluvian times onward to the exodus. Nor ought it to be imagined that it was the object of Moses, at the distance of so many ages, to supply a full and minute account of primitive institutions and customs. Whether he wrote from some existing records, under the guidance of inspiration, or whether his narrative is altogether and in every sense of the term an original, divine communication; it is clear that his design was, after the enunciation of the great fundamental principle of theism and the record of man's fall, to convey, by a few bold strokes and a few biographic sketches, the form and spirit of those primeval times, and to mark the footsteps of the chosen seed, until God had separated his people from the surrounding nations, and given them "a local habitation and a name" in the midst of the earth. Hence we find centuries upon centuries despatched without more than the record of a line. A few pages carry us from the creation to the call of Abraham; and a few more, from that event until the enslavement of Egypt, when the ordinance of the Sabbath, in common with all other Divine ordinances, must have fallen, almost, if not altogether, into disuse. Certainly, as Paley remarks, we do not find "any permission recorded to dispense with the institution during the captivity of the Jews in Egypt, or on any other public emergency." This would, indeed, have been a strange and unparalleled procedure upon the part of Jehovah; and to suppose that the absence of it supports this writer's design, is to betray (to say the least) most remarkable inattention. God, in the government of his creatures, is not wont to repeal his statutes, or to grant formal dispensations, though He doubtless measures individual responsibility upon the scale of individual means and opportunities. It is fully admitted that there is no direct mention of the Sabbath in these early memorials. But neither is there any allusion to any set time whatever, specially set apart for the more immediate worship of God, during all the extended period represented by these memorials. Yet we cannot suppose that the pious posterity of Seth before, and the pious posterity of Shem after, the flood, lived without the observance of such seasons; or that religion could have been preserved in the world, in the absence of such fixed times for the study of the Divine character and claims, and the cultivation of the spirit and habits of devotion. The sum of human nature is the same in every age ; and we may fairly argue back, from the admitted necessity of such regularly recurring services in our own day, to their necessity in the earlier patriarchal eras of the world's history. But while there is no direct mention of the Sabbath, there are statements of such a character as are always deemed peculiarly valuable in the authentication of such facts as lie beyond the sphere of ordinary observation. Broad and palpable coincidences might be contrived and adjusted, for the express purpose of investing a narrative really fictitious with an air of verisimilitude; but the indirect and incidental references to which we now point, are the more valuable because of the improbability of their having been made with any such design. And it might have been supposed that the author of the "Horae Paulinae" would have given greater weight to this species of evidence; for, certainly, it would require only the due application of the principles which he employs in that incomparable work, to elicit much important confirmation of the existence of a primeval sabbatic ordinance. Thus, in Gen. 4: 3, 4, Cain and Abel are represented as bringing their offerings to the same common altar; and this is said to have taken place "in process of time," or as the Hebrew terms might be rendered, with greater propriety, and in consonance with their usage elsewhere,1 "in the end of days;"— a mode of expression, which seems to indicate here a fixed and definite period, when men were wont to recognize, by some outward and visible means, their dependence upon God, and to render to him the homage which is his due. In like manner, do we perceive still more specific references bearing upon this subject in the narrative of the flood, which is somewhat more extended and minute in its delineations. In Gen. 7: 4, it is written, "For yet seven days and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights ;" and it is added in the tenth verse, " And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth." Then in Gen. 8: 10, it is said, " He stayed yet other seven days, and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark;" and, in the 12th verse, it is added, "And he stayed yet other seven days, and sent forth the dove which returned not again unto him any more." So, also, in the account of the burial of Jacob, Joseph and his brethren are described (Gen. 50: 10) as mourning "with a great and very sore lamentation" for their father "seven days." And in Exodus 7: 25, we read that "seven days were fulfilled after that the Lord had smitten the river."