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his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. 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. (Gen. ii. 2, 3.) The Sabbath was appointed before man had sinned, while yet he dwelt in Paradise, in that state of glorious perfection in which he came out of the hand of his Creator, ere yet he had fallen from his allegiance to his heavenly King, or had been tempted to disobedience through the malice of Satan. It was, therefore, one of the chief blessings bestowed by the Almighty Father on his lovely and unoffending children: and hence we may infer its pure and sacred nature; since the Lord could assuredly bestow no other than blessings on his sinless creatures.
“But who can form an idea how this blessed gift was employed in Paradise! It was on the morning of the first Sabbath that the sun arose in the view of man for the first time, and can we doubt how our first father employed his new faculties, when, awaking on that day, he found himself surrounded with all the glories of creation ? Praise—the praises of his Father, his God, his divine Creator--assuredly occupied his whole soul, and he unquestionably exercised his appropriate faculty of speech in making the hills and groves of Eden to resound with these praises.
• The first Sabbath was without sin, and hence afforded a type, no doubt well understood by Adam, of the glories of the latter days, when even the bloom and freshness of Paradise will be forgotten, and its brightness eclipsed by the dazzling splendour of the kingdom of Zion. But man is now no longer sinless: he is fallen; he is ruined; he has forfeited for ever the favour of his God; he is banished from Eden, at whose gates cherubim and a flaming sword are placed to prevent his return; nevertheless, a day of rest is still continued to him.
“The command to keep holy the Sabbath-day was renewed to man at Mount Sinai, and these words were delivered from the mountain while it burned with fire.• Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath-day. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all that thou hast to do; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God. In it thou shalt do no manner of work, thou, and thy son,
and thy daughter, thy man-servant, and thy maid-servant, thy cattle, and the 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 seventh day, and hallowed it.'
“We have, in the Prophet Isaiah, many passages enforcing the duties of the Sabbath, of which the following may serve as a specimen - Blessed is the man that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil. (Isaiah lvi. 2.) If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a Delight, the Holy of the Lord, Honourable ; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words; then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. (Isaiah lviii. 13, 14.)
“In the Prophet Ezekiel also we find these remarkable words relative to the Sabbath-Moreover also, I
my Sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them. (Ezek. xx. 12.)
“For what purpose, then, are these Sabbaths, these tokens of love, given to the sinner-to the enemy of God -to him who has rebelled against his Maker? How are we to understand this ? how are we to receive this sign, but as a token that the enmity between God and man is done away, and that a signal of peace is now held out to the sinner?
“But by whom was this peace made? Not by man; for he was incapable of effecting a reconciliation between himself and his offended Maker; but by the Lord Jehovah himself, who, foreseeing the ruin of man before the foundation of the world, formed a plan for his salvation, whereby millions and tens of millions of the fallen sons of Adam will be rescued from destruction, and be rendered everlastingly happy. Such is the blessed company thus described by St. John: These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits unto God
and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God. (Rev. xiv. 4, 5.)
“From Holy Scripture I further understand, that in the Lord Jehovah, the blessed and only Lord God, there are three Persons, to wit, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and I believe that these three Persons are all jointly and separately engaged, in an equal degree, in the one great work of man's salvation-God the Father having given his only Son to die for sinners; God the Son having fulfilled his Father's will, and finished his work upon the accursed tree; and God the Holy Spirit fulfilling his part by convincing man of unbelief, leading him to Christ, creating in him a new nature, and gradually rendering him meet for that glory which is prepared for him in heaven.
* I also have been led, not only from Scripture, but from observation, to believe, that, although the Holy Spirit has, in times back, effected the conversion of sinners in a miraculous and extraordinary manner, yet that, independent of that secret influence which he exercises over the heart, and of which no man can give account, he now generally works by visible means; among which the rest and leisure of the Sabbath and of the Lord's-day are probably to be counted not as the least considerable.
“But do we not, in this nation, deprive ourselves, as well as our friends and neighbours, of the blessings which this day might bring us, if we obeyed that simple injunction of the Lord Jehovah--- Remember the Sabbath-day, to keep it holy?' And what are we to understand by this injunction? What is holiness? Is holiness consistent with the manner in which we spend our days of rest in this kingdom? Are these days devoted by us to the Lord? or do we not rather employ them entirely for our own pleasure and amusement? thing like the stamp of holiness on those hours which we employ in buying and selling, in making our bargains, in parading our public walks, in regaling ourselves at our restaurateurs and in our caffes,or in passing our time in the song, in the dance, and at the theatre? Is there any thing in this mode of passing the time which marks a holy people, a people set apart for the service of God?
Is there any
or, rather, are not our pleasures and pastimes, and our various occupations of the Sabbath-day, such as every infidel would partake of with the highest satisfaction?
“Let the Christian, then, resolutely set himself against the observation of those customs by which he is deprived of the blessings of that holy day of the Lord, the due observance of which, under the divine blessing, would be sufficient to effect the conversion of the whole human race, and cause the earth to bloom again as one universal and fragrant Eden."
Such were the sentiments found written on the paper above mentioned, in the hand of this worthy citizen. And if any of the readers of this narrative should express surprise at some of the sentiments as coming from the pen
of a humble citizen of Rouen, I beg leave to make this remark -- that this man had for many years past been led to the contemplation and study of heavenly subjects; and how far the study of these things, under the divine blessing, is calculated to purify and ennoble the mind of the poorest and most ignoble of men, it is hard, if not impossible, to decide.
The above-mentioned reflections were penned, as I before said, about the time when this honest citizen attained his fiftieth year; at which period he came to the resolution of regulating his family upon the Lord's-day according to more strict maxims than he had before seen necessary. Having opened his mind on these matters to his wife and children, he gave orders, that, the next Saturday evening, the doors of his shop should be shut, and not opened again till the Monday morning ; at the same time requiring his family to keep in the back of the house, to prevent arguments with the neighbours.
It was the day of the Fête de St. Catharine, a season of great festivity in Rouen, when the good citizen first made this attempt to exclude buying and selling from his house on the Sunday; and every thing passed very quietly till about eight o'clock in the day, when the streets began to fill with the country people from their villages, and the citizens and other persons passing to and from the halle and the great church. Some of these persons, as they passed, remarked the closed shutters,
and said to the neighbours and those who occupied the opposite shop, “The good man Gaspard and his family are enjoying a long repose this morning.”
« 0, let them alone,” the neighbours replied, “they will
open the shutters presently; they are not aware of the time of day.”
Thus things passed, till a sturdy peasant, who came from the Isle of Elbeuf, and who wanted to bargain with the merchant for a red woollen cap, to serve him instead of a hat, came up to the door, just as the bell of the cathedral was calling the people to the second mass; and, having knocked for some time in vain, he called aloud to the neighbours, to tell him if Gaspard de Foix and his family were all dead and buried together.
The curiosity of the neighbours was now so much awakened, that many of them left their shops, and, coming round the door, began to knock and call with so much vehemence, that the family within became alarmed; upon which the good merchant, in order to prevent mischief, appeared himself in an upper window, and calmly asked the multitude what they wanted?
“What! ho, neighbour, you are alive!” said one of the foremost of the throng, upon seeing the good merchant at the window.
Yes,” replied the merchant, “alive, and in good health, and much obliged to you, my friends, for your anxiety on my account.”
“Madame, then, is dead, I suppose?" replied the same voice.
No," answered the merchant; "she is in perfect health, I am thankful to say.”
“You have, then, lost a son or a daughter?” asked the same person, who had undertaken the office of spokesman for the crowd.
“No," returned Gaspard; “they are all quite well, and much obliged to you for your kind enquiries.' ”
“ Such being the case,” returned the speaker, down, and open your door to the good man Nicolet, who wants a red woollen
that his wife has laid her injunctions upon him to purchase it in no other shop but at the sign of Jean d'Arc.”
Ah, my friend Nicolet,” said the merchant, siill speaking from above, “are you there, and in want of a