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is the cause of these, eludes all ob- chain of natural causes and effects, servation. The physiologist cannot both in plants and animals, is bound discern it through his microscope, nor to the eternal throne. “The phenodetect its form by means of his most mena of life,” says a distinguished delicate chemical tests. All we can professor of physiology, “ are to be say respecting it-all that any can referred to certain laws of vitality, of say respecting it, is, that it is some which we can give no other account mysterious, indescribable, inscrutable than that they depend on the will of something, which, actuating the plant, the Author of nature.” “I humbly and operating through it, excites, re- conceive,” says Sir James Smith, gulates, and sustains all the processes “that if the human understanding of vegetation.
can in any case flatter itself with ob· But, whatever life be, it bespeaks taining, in the natural world, a very directly a divine origin. Just glimpse of the immediate agency of in the degree and measure in which the Deity, it is in the contemplation it is - superior to mere mechanical of the vital principle, which seems power, to mere chemical power,--and independent of material organization, it is precisely its superiority to these, and an impulse of his own divine the only powers with which we are energy." Who, indeed, can look at acquainted, that constitutes its mys- the development of vegetative life, teriousness,-it proves the presence glowing in vernal beauty and fraand agency of a divine intelligence in grance, without being constrained to vegetation. “ It is to be remarked,” exclaim, in the beautiful words of the says Dr Carpenter in his physiology, poet, " that the physical properties themselves are dependent both for their
“ Thou art, O God! the life and light,
Of all this wondrous world we see; existence and excitement to action
Its glow by day, its smile by night upon those vital processes, which no
Are but reflections caught from thee. mechanical contrivance or chemical Where'er we turn thy glories shine, operation can produce or imitatea And all things fair and bright are thine. beautiful series of actions and re-ac When youthful Spring around us breathes tions, which cannot but excite our ad Thy Spirit warms her fragrant sigh;
And every flower that summer weaves miration of the skill of the Supreme
Is born beneath thy kindling eye; contriver.” Life, indeed, would just Where'er we turn, thy glories shine, seem to be the link by which the And all things fair and bright are thine."
SOME months ago a committee of the better observance of the Sabbath. House of Commons published a re- To speak of enforcing its sanctificaport on the Sunday traffic of the me- tion, would be obviously absurd ; for tropolis, from which it appears that keeping holy the Sabbath is a homage Sabbath desecration in this form of of the inner man, of which compulit, is carried on to an enormous ex- sion can extort nothing but the pretent in almost every part of London tence and resemblance. It is not and its environs. In a social and much that legislation can do even in prudential point of view, the evil is the way of enforcing the external quiet denounced as flagrant, and the sum of the Sabbath-day. Not that we mary suppression of it by parliament- deny there are moral nuisances which ary enactment, is recommended as public authority might and ought to the only available remedy. We have put down. We believe and lament rio faith in human legislation for the that such there are practices, for
'example, which, without any plea of ber of persons necessarily deprived necessity, and with manifest detri- of the public as well as private ment of the public morals, deprive privileges of the day of rest. Other large numbers of our fellow-men of examples of a similar kind less heard the advantages of the day of rest. of, are not less heinous. In the proGood, we doubt not, will come of the tection of the revenue, as well as in -inquiry in which our rulers are en- our postal arrangements, there is a gaged, by means of the fearful mass of systematic national breach of the information which it brings under fourth commandment. Our attenpublie notice, relative to the vices tion has lately been turned to this and cruelties of Sunday traffic. subject in connexion with the coastWhatever good in this way may guard service and the customs; and come of the inquiry, we hope our sena- the state of things in both departtors themselves will share it. They ments appears to be such as fully to have much to learn in the way of self justify the language we have used. reformation ; for there is no room to The employment of tide-waiters, doubt that not a little of the irreligion whose duty is to board vessels arrivwhich it is fashionable for the great ing from foreign ports, and to remain to mourn over among the masses, on board till the cargoes are disthese have acquired in the way of charged, is the plan employed to imitating their superiors. In some check frauds upon the revenue. These -less considerable instances, there has men’s day's service extends to thirindeed been some improvement. The teen and twenty-one hours alterSunday banquetings of the magnates nately out of the twenty-four. In of Downing Street, do not offend, as the tide-waiting branch, some relief they once used to do, the feelings of from duty is allowed the men by the sober-minded and pious classes of turns on Sundays; but never to the the community. In the merry, ortho- extent of giving opportunity to atdox, church-and-king days of Tory tend church above once a-day, and domination, cabinet Sunday dinners this, after the exhausting fatigues of were the common course of things. a night's watching, when the tideThe Reform cabinets, as belonging waiter is fit for little else but to go to a party who defer more to pub- to sleep-and that, too, under comlic opinion, eschewed the scandal.* mand to return to his post as soon as But, in other things, the government his half-day's worship or half-day's of this christian country is perhaps sleep is ended. Speaking of the the greatest Sabbath-breaker in the system as a whole, it may be asserted land. - In how many departments of without exaggeration, that this is a the public service are the sanctities class of public servants for whom no of the Lord's day disregarded ? The Sabbath comes round. Post-Office is not the only example, But how is it that we hear no comflagrant though it be, from the num- plaints from the men who are under this yoke of grinding secularity? is indispensable. But can it not be Were there no complaint, as alleged, performed without robbing the poor the sin would be nothing the less on man of his Sabbath privilege, or the part of those by whom the bur- bribing him to sell it? “May not the den is imposed. It is quite pos- revenue be infinitely better protected sible that the practice of exacting in every way, by his absence after Sunday labour from them, with the usual custom-house hours of busibardly any intermission of their toil, ness, having his ship secured by lock has the effect of destroying their and seal, for the safety of which the sense of the sacredness of the day. ship is responsible, than by his preIt would be nothing more than sence, active or passive, with the ship what we might anticipate, from what, entirely open, exposed, and free? in other cases, we see of the deaden- Would a bonded warehouse be coning effects of familiarity with that sidered more secure by the locker which is evil. So much the louder sleeping in the warehouse, with the is the call to abate a practice which warehouse open and exposed, than thus exemplifies the double curse of when securely locked up in his absin bringing forth sin—and then sence ? When a tide-officer boards using the aggravation of the sin as his ship arriving from sea, may he not an excuse for it.
* What could possess Lord John Russell making their passage from Dublin to Greento do a thing so obtrusively the opposite of ock, must a whole ship's crew be robbed of the course referred to as to select the Sab- their Sabbath's rest, bodily and spiritual, bath for his summer's trip from Ireland to and the decencies of the Lord's day be the Clyde? Necessity there was broken by the arrival of the steamer, and He was on his way to pay a visit of cere- the ceremonial of his lordship's progress mony to her Majesty at Balmoral, which into the town-progress, we say, for, as might have been as well done the day be- might have been expected, as many saunfore or after. But so he would have it- tering fools were found upon the quay as to Sunday must be the day; and thus, for the form a sort of mock ovation for the premier accommodation of a man and his wife--for on the way to his hotel, when the people this is the plain English of the matter were assembling for public worship.
be required to get her thoroughly The truth is, if the men do not rummaged fore and aft; securely seal complain, it is not because they are up her bulk-heads, and, at the expiinsensible to their hardships. They ration of the usual hours, lock down do not complain, because they dare all her hatches? May not the ship, not. To peep or mutter would be to in this state, be in a far greater derisk dismission. But if the case be gree of security than any the tideso bad, why not anticipate dismission officer could afford by sleeping on by taking leave ? This is an easy board, with the ship open and exrejoinder by those who have no risk posed, on his presumed security ?."* to run ; but let it be borne in mind, Whatever may be thought of the that when men think of leaving, they different mode of protecting the remust also think where they shall go ; venue here recommended, one thing that for a man with a family depend- is clear, that there is cruelty and sin ing on him to quit the employment he in the existing system. If another lives by, is a sacrifice which few can plan would gain the end as well as is afford to make merely on account of done by the present regulation, what accompanying hardships, and which a senseless adherence to things as only persons of religious principle will they are would be the refusal of a make at the call of conscience and of change? If no relaxation can be duty. But what right has the state granted to persons under the existto bring men into a situation where ing law without augmenting their advantage is to be taken of their diffi- number, who would grudge to see a culties; or to arrange any department necessary extension of the corps ? In of the public service upon a principle their present state these men have which says, that no man shall enter strong claims on public pity: the it who is not prepared to forego his public voice ought to demand an T'eligious liberties? These are not amelioration of the system, and this his to give away.
the more, that we are nationally conNow, what is the cause of all this cerned in the criminality of the prestrictness of service, and wearisome- sent practice. Those men
are the ness of tide-waiting? Why, to protect the revenue from frauds in the
* Custom House Frauds. By J. F. Bell, import and export trade. The duty Liverpool.
servants of the public, and so intent station during the day, and one of is their master to make the most of them during the night, alternately." their services, that he gives them but Sunday is included in this unintera moiety of the privilege of the beasts rupted attendance; and the conseof burden, whose yoke is loosed and quence is, that years pass without their bodies allowed to rest on the the opportunity of their entering a seventh day, according to the com- place of worship, unless for some mandment.
special purpose they should obtain If the statements contained in the leave of absence by formal applicapamphlet from which the above ex- tion. These things are not much tract is taken, be consistent with known; but the whole case is one for fact (and, so far as we know, their the public to pronounce upon as regeneral accuracy has not been called gards the interest of the service, the in question), the Custom-House sys- moral and physical well-being of the tem, instead of being effective, with men engaged in it, and, above all, all this rigour, is deeply infected with their religious rights, which are thus fraud, and the public are paying for wrested from them by absolute authe cheat.
thority, which says they must hire At the out-stations and in the soul and body, and either surrender service of the coast guard, the rigour their Sabbath or lose their bread. of the public duty is still more op- Is there not something futile in Parpressive. The men employed at the liament issuing reports on Sunday former, if we may judge from the traffic, and gravely suggesting checks practice in our own immediate neigh- upon the practice, when Government bourhood, never have the privilege of itself is seen to be the great Sunday: a Sabbath, nor any part of a Sabbath, trader-bribing conscience by Sun-.. allowed them. At one station, for day pay—silencing its remonstrances example, where there are two men in by stern command—and profaning attendance, the order of the Board is, our ports and certain public offices that “the tide-waiters be at their by the mischief of bad example ?
TO THE EDITORS OF THE UNITED PRESBYTERIA V MAGAZINE.
MILLENNARÍAN “TIMES OF RESTITUTION” the October number a sharp critique from EXAMINED.
an ardent disciple of the millennarian
theory. For the truth's sake and our own, We had no thought of controversy when we feel called to meet this critique with a we penned our observations on Acts iii. 19- brief reply. Our task would have been 21, as they appeared in last January number more pleasant, had the spirit of the writer of this Magazine. We knew that able ex- been somewhat more gentle, and the genepositors of Scripture had deemed the pas- ral style of his remarks more ingenuous and sage very difficult of interpretation, and candid. His argument would not have though we dared not affect absolute cer- suffered in weight, though courtesy had led tainty, where the greatest divines had spoken him to spare the allegation, that our diffiwith modest caution, we ventured to submit culties in this Scripture are all the “result our views to candid consideration. In of our unwillingness to understand the pasdoing this, we took occasion to question the sage in its plain unrestrained meaning, lest sentiments of those who appeal to this Scrip- it should confirm the millennarian theory.” ture, in proof of a personal reign of Christ We are not conscious of unwillingness to on earth during the millennium; and our understand any portion of God's truth, and remarks on this topic have drawn forth in the insinuation of a charge so grave on
grounds so insufficient, proves that its ferred to in verse 26th, and every legitimate author greatly needs to remember the principle of interpretation requires that the words of his Lord and ours,"Judge not.” sending of Jesus, spoken of in verse 20th, be The effect, too, of these strictures would understood in the same sense.” We know not have lost in power, though they had not where our critic learned his principles been delivered in a tone less assuming, of interpretation ; but we are pretty sure and been supported more by clear argu- the lesson here repeated is not in accordment than by magisterial assertion or ance with the common rules of biblical parade of irrelevant authorities.
criticism, or, indeed, with the dictates of In these strictures we are first impugned common sense. We were aware that the for supposing the times of refreshing to de- meaning and reference of a phrase in one note the seasons of spiritual tranquillity part of a passage is often a guide to its imenjoyed by a believer in receiving the port in another; but to us it is quite a new truth; and the reason assigned for reject- canon of criticism, that an expression must ing this view is, that “the present is not be understood in the same sense in the text our rest." True, but the wonder is how as it is in the context. We should like to the ingenuity, even of a millennarian, could sce the propounder of this canon apply it attach such an inference to our interpreta- to all the cases in which the word law tion, or advance so inept a truism, in the occurs in the close of the third chapter of shape of argument, to disprove its accuracy. the Romans; or, what is more pertinent to Our critic indeed asserts," the form of ex- our present purpose, it would be edifying pression used by the apostle shows, that it to see him carry it through the different is to the future rest he refers;" but, in sup. texts where Jesus mentions his coming in porting this assumption, he falls into mis- the fourteenth chapter of John. We have take in rendering the text, from which it is been wont to think that the Lord there, in hoped another reference to his authority, verse 3d, speaks of a "personal coming," Parkhurst, will deliver him. “It is not when ages close to take disciples home; said,” he observes, “Repent, &c., seeing and that, in verse 18th, he promises a spirithat times of refreshing are come ; but re- tual coming to comfort them now; but it pent, that your sins may be blotted out seems this is all' wrong. According to our when times of refreshing shall come.” Un- critic's rule, “ as a personal coming is refortunately for him, the Greek text says no ferred to in verse 3d, every legitinate prinsuch thing. The Greek word thus render- ciple of interpretation requires that the ed when, is 67ws. Now, where is the in- coming of Jesus, spoken of in verse 18th, be stance in the New Testament in which understood in the same sense.” The canon this particle, preceded by a verb, and fol- of interpretation, as thus stated, will not lowed with the aorist subjunctive, denotes stand the test of experiment, and the argusimply time when in the future? Is it not ment founded on it falls to the ground. on the contrary uniformly, either final, de- We cited a few passages of Scripture to noting end or purpose, in order that;' or prove that the sending of Jesus spoken of eventual, marking result, so that,' Matt. by Peter, may be spiritual. The manner in vi. 5 ; Luke ii. 35; Rom. iii. 4; Matt. xxiii. which these are discussed by the writer of 35. In the former sense we understood it the strictures, is quite unique. He admits in the slight change we made in rendering that there are cases in Scripture, where a this passage, and observed that thus viewed peculiar manifestation of the divine chaan important key is supplied for its inter- racter is called a coming of the Lord; but pretation; since the repentance commanded in all the texts adduced he attempts to ex. is seen to be the means of securing the plain away the force of this admission by blessing promised. It would have been lax and vague exposition. Thus, Mic. v. 3, more satisfactory, if the author of these is a sublime prediction, which, along with animadversions, instead of dealing out many such, is “ generally supposed to have hard assertions about our “unwarrantable an ultimate reference to the personal cominterpretation,” and “ forced unnatural ing of Christ to judge the world!" Again, construction of the apostle's plain lan- “the coming spoken of, Is. xxxv. 4, is the guage,” had examined what that language same as that predicted by Peter, as occur. really, is, and set himself to prove the ring at the times of the restitution of all meaning we give it to be without authority. things ;” and, by a choice specimen of reaWe will not say that this is impossible, būt soning in a circle, the argument is clenched it is no great presumption to pronounce this thus," then, verily, shall be times of reattempt-a failure.
freshing from the presence of the Lord; for We are next found fault with for regard- we affirm it is at his second personal coming the sending of Jesus Christ as denoting ing, and not till then, that such everlasting his coming into the heart at conversion; joy shall be experienced." and the argument advanced why it cannot But we are further referred to the Greek be so, is, that “ a personal coming is re- words, επιφανείου της παρουσιας, “the brightness