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the mind and judgment of the Church, as silently but plainly expressed in the Book of Common Prayer.
1. For instance, we must all know how common it is for those, who are in any trouble or adversity, to speak of God as a hard and austere master, and, overlooking the distinction between public and private judgments, to regard His afflictive dispensations only in the light of a PUNISHMENT, indicating His displeasure against their persons. But if we would give them juster conceptions of the character of God's dispensations, when viewed with respect, not to nations, but to individuals, we need only turn to the Exhortation contained in the Office for the Visitation of the Sick,' and to the Collect and Epistle for the Communion of the Sick;' thus reminding the sick or afflicted persons, how certain it is that God always visits His people, either 'to try their patience for the example of others, and that their faith may be found, in the day of the Lord, laudable, glorious, and honourable, to the increase of glory and endless felicity; or else, to correct and amend in them whatsoever doth offend the eyes of their heavenly Father.' word, the Church, as the faithful witness and interpreter of Scripture, plainly declares that God's fatherly chastisements indicate His displeasure, not against the persons, but against the sins, of His people.
2. Again, with regard to the Communion of the Sick, how commonly is it found that persons, in extremity of sickness, are apt to regard it as a sort of charm, and to desire and demand it, as if it possessed something like a talismanic influence on the dying, to ensure their safe departure. To guard her children against this dangerous delusion, our Church expressly enjoins, in the Rubric, that' three or two, at the least,' shall communicate with the sick person ; and the minister, who desires to act in the spirit of that injunction, will deem it his duty, affectionately but plainly, to point out to the sick person the great danger of placing a vague, superstitious reliance, on the mere outward administration of the Eucharist, instead of viewing it as a channel of Divine grace to all faithful communicants, adnitting them to a blessed and eternal fellowship with Christ, and with the members of His mystical body.
It is certain, also, that, in the spirit of our other liturgical services, which always view the professed worshippers of God, as walking worthy of their profession, the Rubric in the Office for the Communion of the Sick, is so worded, as plainly to nply that the sick person has been accustomed, when in health, to attend at the public administration of the Lord's Supper. At the same time, the visiting minister must be left to exercise a sound discretion, whenever he may have reason to believe that the sick person has indeed embraced the promises of the Gospel, and is • trusting only in God's mercy, for his dear Son Jesus Christ's sake.' And if, in any such case, there shall be little, if any, prospect of recovery, the minister of Christ will deem it a privilege to communicate with the sick person in this blessed Sacrament.
3. When conversing with sick persons, the minister will often find that their former unwillingness to partake of the Holy Communion, had arisen from an entire misconception as to the scope of THE WARNING contained in the Exhortation, which is ordered to be used at the time of its celebration. In every such instance, he will call the attention of the sick person to the whole of the passage in question, and will
VOL. XXII. NO. VIJ.
show how, in repeating the warning given by St. Paul, the Church repeats also the explanation which accompanies it; declaring to her children that, by the “ damnation," or, "judgment,” spoken of by the apostle, they are to understand only a temporal, and not an eternal judgment. And, not resting here, the minister will also remind the sick person, how our Church has introduced, as in the Epistle for Maundy Thursday, the whole of the argument on this subject, employed by St. Paul, in his first Epistle to the Corinthians, which is summed up in these memorable words, so full of unspeakable comfort to all faithful, though trembling penitents : "If we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we ARE JUDGED, (kpivóue vou či,) we are CHASTENED OF The Lord, that we should NOT BE CONDEMNED (iva pri katarpiowuev) with the world."
I have thrown these few hints together, as tending to illustrate the help which the ministers of the Church of England may derive from considering the Church as, at once, the witness, the preacher, and the interpreter of Holy Writ. And I am quite persuaded that the more we are enabled to enter into the depth and fulness of her Scriptural Services, the better shall we be enabled, with God's help, to "speak the same thing," and the more "perfectly" shall we be " joined together in the same mind, and in the same judgment.”
I remain, dear Sir, &c. May 4th, 1840.
A SHEPHERD OF THE SOUTH.
SUNDAY TRAVELLING ON RAILWAYS. To love God's commandments, to have his laws written in our hearts, is at once a sure evidence of being taught by the Spirit, and the best preservative against any erroneous notions respecting the extent and application of any particular command. John vii. 17. The question as to Sabbath travelling on Railways is now much discussed, and we propose to try it by the word of God : we mean, whether the proprietors should allow their carriages to travel at all on the Lord's day. The great question is—is such travelling a breach of the fourth commandment ? If it is, then all arguments which are grounded merely on what is expedient and convenient, or even necessary, according to our views and habits, fall to the ground; for, are we wiser than God? Shall we contend with him ?
It has been argued that the fourth commandment cannot be observed literally ; that no one abstains from all manner of work; and especially, that household servants in every family are required to do some work. If, then, it is urged, individuals may avail themselves of the labour of their domestics on the Sabbath, why may not railway companies, if the travelling of their carriages promotes the comfort of the public, and especially of the poorer classes ?
Now, there is really no difficulty here ; for the objection is fully answered both by the example and in the teaching of our blessed Lord. We read (Luke xiv. 1), that he went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the Sabbath day; and as we cannot suppose that the repast did not require some service or attendance, we may conclude that the work necessary for providing a sufficient meal is not
forbidden. But we have the express word of the Saviour that the Sabbath was made for man, and consequently, that any work that is necessary for the preservation or maintenance of his health, and that renders him more lively in the service of God, is not merely allowed, but required; for the end of the commandment is communion with God, and that we may worship with our bodies and our spirits, which
Of course, he that loves the day, will take care that no part of it is consumed in making provision for the lusts of the flesh ; he will observe the injunction of the Lord to the church in the wilderness : “ To-morrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord : bake that which ye will bake to-day, and seethe that ye will seethe ; and that which remaineth over lay up for you, to be kept until the morning." Exod. xvi. 23. By the way, the Sabbath here spoken of was no mere ceremonial observance; it was not a mere type or shadow of some reality to be manifested and vouchsafed to man in the Gospel-day; it was a substance and reality, fitted for the comfort and edification of the church militant in every age ; it was a rest from sin and worldly care and toil ; it was wholly a spiritual service---a Sabbath“ unto the Lord." I must make another observation here, though I interrupt my argument. It has been objected that the Saviour never enumerates the fourti among the other commandments.
The answer seems easy.
The seventh-day Sabbath was to be discontinued, and hence the omission; but that the people of God were not to be deprived of a Sabbath, is evident from the care our blessed Lord manifested to free the ordinance from the mistakes with which superstition had encumbered it : surely his frequent comments on the subject, all tending, be it observed, to explain, and not to destroy the command, would not have been handed down to us, had it been intended to entirely cancel the privilege.-See Isa. lxvi. 23.
But to return to our argument. Works, then, of necessity, and, of course, of charity, are allowed, as a limitation to the generality of the Sabbath law as found in the fourth commandment. Is travelling on railways within the exception? It has been pleaded for on both grounds ; it has been contended that it is necessary, and that it is a benefit to the community. Let us examine these pleas. First, let us remember, that works allowed by our Saviour to be performed, as being necessary, were works which tended to render a man fitter for the performance of spiritual duties, the very end and essence of the law. Hence the necessity to be proved is that, without which man cannot so well observe and keep a holy Sabbath unto the Lord. A necessity which we may feign merely from some commercial consideration, or from long use and practice, has no affinity to the necessity required by our exception. It must, indeed, be plain to every candid person, that the necessity of having public carriages to run on the Sabbath, for the conveyance of letters or of persons on urgent business, is not within the scope of the exception, and cannot be allowed. Suppose, it has been urged, a parent hears of the sudden and dangerous illness of a child who is at a distance, should he not have the power to travel ? Undoubtedly; for such a journey is of the nature of a work of charity. But I deny that it is lawful, in order to meet such rare cases, to keep a large body of men, Sabbath after Sabbath, from every means of grace and improvement. Even
if an anxious parent could not procure any other conveyance, I should say this, for surely the souls of men are not to be put in peril in order to provide against such a contingency as that to which I have alluded. If the substance of this answer is considered, I think it will be found sufficient to meet every objection which is founded on the occasional requirement of a speedy conveyance. Again, it is said, that all loco. motion on the Lord's day is not forbidden. True, but then the travelling must be consistent with the object and purpose of the day, or it must be within the exceptions mentioned above. This brings us to the grand argument upon which directors of railway companies rest“We would willingly forego the profit, but we recollect that Sunday is the only day on which the hard-tasked labourer can have recreation and fresh air, and for his sake we run our carriages.” Now this is not even plausible, for, I am compelled to say, it is a mere denial of the law of the Sabbath ; it is encouraging a disposition and tastes wholly inconsistent with the Sabbath of a Christian. The prophet Isaiah, who wrote for the Gospel day, expressly says, that we cannot delight ourselves in the Lord; that is, we cannot rightly keep the day, unless we not only “ turn away” the foot of business and toil, but also abstain from seeking and doing our own pleasure. Observe, that instead of investing the day with gloom and austerity, the prophet requires that we should call it and find it to be " a delight;" and he uses no common expressions to denote the blessings which attend the faithful observer of the day. “He shall ride upon the high places of the earth; he shall be fed with the heritage of Jacob ; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it." Isa. lviii. 14. Yes! all that care and harass which is necessarily found in every worldly occupation--for it is part of the curse which befel Adam—is removed from the Sabbath of a Christian, and he then rests upon the Mount, and refreshes himself for further toil with hidden manna, and at that spring which springeth up unto everlasting life.
We may now see the miserable delusion of those directors who would exculpate themselves by not running the trains during what is called the hours of divine service; as if the keeping of the Sabbath consisted merely in attendance on public worship. We must here again refer to the prophet Isaiah, for he shows most clearly that the grace to worship Almighty God acceptably in the public assembly can only be expected by those who observe and keep the other hours of the day “unto the Lord." “ The sons of the stranger that join themselves to the Lord to serve him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer ; their burnt-offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar.” Isa. Ivi. 6, 7. If, then, the servants of railway companies pollute the Sabbath by working certain hours during the day, and if the passengers pollute it by seeking mere animal gratification and pleasure, can it be expected that either class will benefit by the ordinances of God's house. What is the fact ? I appeal to those who have experience in these matters, and they will confirm my testimony, that if such persons are found in God's house of prayer, their service has neither pleasure nor profit in it, but must be reckoned as that of fools.
Verily, if the directors of railways expect their men to work for them on the Lord's day, and also to worship God, they are hard task-masters ! Nay, they expect an impossibility: they ask that the same persons shall on the same day violate the fourth command and assert its binding sanction. But I apprehend it will be found, upon inquiry, that although trains
may not run during the hours of divine service, the men employed do not attend the public means of grace, and thus all the tremendous evils of a constant traffic are endured.
Those who were accustomed to deplore the evils of West India slavery, should not fail to exert themselves to put an end to the thraldom of the servants of railway companies. There is a difference, it is true, between the cases, but the present evil is sufficient to excite their sym-pathy. The bodies of our fellow.countrymen cannot indeed be coerced by the whip and fetter, but they are kept in their service by the strongest motive that can influence the children of this world. They see that the subsistence and comfort of themselves and wives and families depend upon their obedience. They may not feel the hardship of their case, but that does not excuse those who inflict or in any way sanction it.
A service which entirely debars men from attending the ministry of God's word is indeed a fearful evil, and one which every lover of his country and his fellow' men must deplore. It must tend to brutalize those who are subject to it; and when we hear complaints of the incivility, and even inhumanity of persons in such a situation, we only witness the evil fruit of such a state. The fear of man may and will restrain many excesses; but as the persons to whom we allude are not dependent upon the public for their pay, as the servants of coach proprietors are ; we shall probably learn, ere long, that all persons who use railways are concerned in the question we now discuss.
In conclusion, I would earnestly entreat all parties connected with railways to consider the responsibility they incur. Especially, I would request members of the Church of England to remember the faithful testimony that Church has ever borne in its public service to the continuing authority of the fourth commandment, and in how solemn a prayer we ask for strength to keep that law! The necessity and expediency they would plead, is the device of man and the offspring of his covetousness, and not according to the will of God; and it is just the same argument as was used when the lawfulness of the slave-trade was first questioned.
W. C. W. To the above observations, I would add the remarks of the poet Cowper, contained in a letter to his friend, the Rev. William Unwin :
The Sabbath, I think, may be considered, first, as a commandment no less binding upon modern Christians than upon ancient Jews, because the spiritual people amongst them did not think it enough to abstain from manual occupations on that day, but, entering more deeply into the meaning of the precept, allotted those hours they took from the world to the cultivation of holiness in their own souls, which ever was, and ever will be, a duty incumbent upon all who ever heard of a Sabbath, and is of perpetual obligation both upon Jews and Christians; (the commandment, therefore, enjoins it; the prophets have also enforced it; and in many instances, both scriptural and modern, the breach of it has been punished with a providential and judicial severity, that may make by-standers tremble ;) secondly, as a privilege, which you well know how to dilate upon, better than I can tell you; thirdly, as a sign of that covenant, by wbich believers are entitled to a rest that yet remaineth ; fourthly, as a sine quâ non of the christian character; and, upon this head, I should guard against being misunderstood to mean no more than iwo attendances upon public