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unfallen, and with a soul attuned to perfect harmony with its every tone and utterance. He, the high-priest of Nature, offered up her morning and evening incense, fresh and untainted, to the God of all."These are thy glorious works, Parent of good, Almighty! Thine this universal frame, Thus wondrous fair: Thyself how wondrous then! Unspeakable, who sitt'st above these heavens, To us invisible, or dimly seen In these thy lowest works; yet these declare Thy goodness beyond thought, and power divine." But it was in the serene, unclouded heights and depths of his own being, in the brighter and more divine forms of existence within, in the glorious intuitions and visions of his own soul, that he found the chief incentives of his noblest and purest sacrifice of thanksgiving and adoration. And what had the external creation, with all its revelations, been to him, but for this richer apocalypse within? A blank, an enigma. In his own breast, he found the key that unlocked all its varied treasures—the cipher which explained all the hieroglyphs that God had hung up on sun and star, and written all over earth and sky. It was thus he read and understood Nature, then not as now an opaque body (because the eye of man is covered with an earthly film), but a luminous and transparent thing, through which God shone forth in visible splendor, and guided, as in primal Epiphany, the worshipper of earth to his own shrine and dwelling place. But it was on the day "chosen of God and precious," that Nature would seem to wear her brightest aspects, and fulfil her loftiest ministries; that the thoughts and faculties of man would find their freest and fullest scope heavenward; that Jehovah himself would grant the most impressive signals of his presence, and communicate the highest lessons of his wisdom; and that the primeval pair, kneeling at the altar of Eden, would experience the deepest, divinest thrill, as by the electric touch of God, fulfilling his gracious promise to sanctify and bless this day. Man fell "like Lucifer, son of the morning." The star sinks downward from its sphere. But it is not left to perish in utter darkness. There is a mysterious hope thrown upon the pathway of humanity. There still rests upon it the lustre and beauty of the Sabbath. This became to man, in his altered circumstances, the memorial of the past, the solace of the present, and the bright harbinger of the future. On it, the curse of toil was removed and Paradise was already half regained. Distant gleams of a purer Eden would shoot through the gloom and fall upon his spirit. Its gates, on this day, seemed to open and invite his approach, and no cherubic sword waved its stern rebuke and prohibition there. Then, too, he beheld another fairer and richer "tree of life, in the midst of the paradise of God;" and, standing at the entrance, the repenting and returning soul called the Sabbath a delight; and, believing, it would there enter into rest. It will be seen that we attach considerable importance to the fact that the Sabbath was established from the beginning; not that this point may be deemed absolutely and in all respects necessary, for the "keeping of a Sabbath" might devolve upon subsequent ages, and yet the first ages of the church and of the world have known nothing of its existence. Perhaps, in this respect, some needless advantage has been often given to opponents. But our charge, in the preceding inquiries, proceeded upon the principle that it is our duty to ascertain, if possible, the real position which the whole subject occupies in the Inspired Volume, and to obtain all the light which can be thrown upon it from the earliest times. "Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning." "All Scripture given by inspiration of God, is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." And, after all, though the general admission might be made that this, as any other institution of revealed religion, so far at least as its positive element is concerned, might be ordained in a later era, it is not easy to imagine a period when, taking it all in all, it could have been dispensed with, consistently with man's necessities and God's claims.
T/ie Jewish Sabbath. Our attention is next called to the place which the Sabbatic law occupies under the Jewish dispensation. Hitherto, so far as we know, it might have been dependent upon oral tradition for its safe transmission. But its exposure to mutilation and wrong in this channel, for the first twenty-five centuries of its existence, would be far less than is generally imagined. It is remarkable how few links were necessary to connect the progenitor of our race with Aaron and Moses, the leaders of the Jewish people. Adopting Calmet's Chronology, Adam could converse with Methuselah, who was two hundred and forty-three years of age at the death of Adam; Methuselah could converse with Shem, who was ninety-eight years old at the death of Methuselah; Shem could converse with Abraham, who was a hundred and fifty years of age at the death of Shem; Abraham could converse with Isaac, who was sixty-nine years of age at the death of his father; Isaac could converse with his grandson Joseph, who was carried into Egypt eight years before the death of that Patriarch, and who was at least seventeen years old before his brethren sold him to the " Midianites merchantmen ;" and Joseph could converse with Amram, the father of Aaron and Moses, these being born, the former sixty-one, the latter sixty-four years after the death of Joseph. So that six persons would suffice to bear down the great primeval institution, from the hands to which it was first committed, until it was lodged with those who were honored to give it a more stable position amidst the ordinances and records of the Judaic economy. But the time had now arrived for the separation of the "peculiar people." The patriarchal was to give place to a more elaborate and complicate religious regimen. Besides, the span of human life had become greatly contracted, and the links of human descent were proportionally multiplied. It was, therefore, fitting that the Divine statutes should be taken out of the sphere of human tradition, placed amidst the monuments of history, and committed to the archives of a nation that might act as conservators of the precious and holy treasure. Thus would these statutes partake of the benefits of written language, and in the end constitute a part, the most essential part, of the world's ancient literature and laws. This being the case, we find that ordinance which in the beginning took the precedence of every other in the Divine announcements (even of that prohibitory command, upon obedience to which the destinies of the whole race depended), was now written by the finger of God himself, twice written upon tables of stone, emblazoned in characters of light and fire, and proclaimed by the voice of Jehovah out of the midst of that visible glory which descended and dwelt upon the mount; as if, by such external splendor, the Divine majesty would supply some feeble symbol of the higher lustre of his law. "And all the people saw the thunderings and the lightnings and the noise of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they removed and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die And the people stood afar off and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was." Such was the solemn and august enthronement of the Divine moral code. And, embosomed in the midst of it, stands this great sabbatic law, taken up out of the past, like all the other "words" of the decalogue, and invested with the awful sanctions common to them all (Ex. 20: 8—11). We say, taken up out of the past; for there is a continuity in the dispensations of God, which must not be overlooked by the student of either his works or his word. These commandments, thus uttered amid such overwhelming proofs of a present Deity, were not novel in their principles, though doubtless they were in their circumstances and form. No one who had rightly understood the genius of the patriarchal religion, or felt its spirit, would be conscious of entering a region essentially new, or of coming under a different jurisdiction, when he heard the "fiery law" issuing from the summit of Sinai. We speak of its ethics, its everlasting and immutable moralities. And it is utterly impossible to separate from these the essence at least of the precept in question, which appears, from its position and bearing, to combine, concentrate, and bring into practical form, the grand verities involved in the preceding portion of the first table of the law. It would, indeed, be a strange anomaly, if, associated with these, which in their essential elements are as old as the creation, and related to every age and nation alike, we should find a statute, belonging to a quite different category, of recent origin, and of temporary, limited authority; and which, while other regulations of the economy and ritual were inscribed upon the fragile papyrus or parchment, was thus engraven, and that not "by man's device," upon the solid and enduring stone (thus symbolically intimating its more lasting character), and in this form laid up and deposited in the ark of the covenant. We are not prepared for anything so wanting in harmony and order, so calculated to shock all the conclusions of the reason in the methods of the Divine procedure. To this and kindred considerations we may have occasion to advert more fully at a subsequent stage of our argument. But, meanwhile, in accordance with the evidence already adduced, we hold that the Sabbatic ordinance was embodied in the Jewish code, in part, at least, that it might have its rightful position among the very first and chief institutions of all religion; and that, invested with all the sanctions which could attach to a precept of its rank, antiquity, and importance, it should be handed down to future ages, in all its integrity, and with the peculiar advantages which belong to a written formula. It is not denied that the due observance of the Sabbath was obligatory upon the Israelites; or that, as a people, their religious prosperity or decline greatly depended upon it. But it is denied that the promulgation of the sabbatic law upon Sinai could have any relation to us, who are under a new and different economy. To this point it will be our duty to direct attention, when we come to examine the question of the permanent obligation of the ordinance, and its binding character in the present day.