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duct and practice, in this matter. I certainly do
Let not the careless and indifferent think I am pleading an extenuation of the stricter obervation of the “ first day,” or Sabbath, much less because those who are not ashamed to say the Sabbath “hangs tedious on their hands!” depraved and detestable indeed must those be who call it “a foolish day !" Ah, did such see the importance of all their actions, and the powers and opportunity we possess, for be..
nificent exertions, they would have no reason to join the pitiable and ridiculous complaint of “the tediousness of the passing hours !” of the incumbrance of leisure, and the burden of indolence! The man of reflection and benevolence, whom circumstances condemn to trivial and unavailing toil, knows the value of those ill-treated hours, each of which is a golden opportunity for enjoyment, improvement, or usefulness.*
I shall, my friends, conclude this important point of duty, with a few extracts from your deservedly esteemed and worthy predecessor, Isaac Penington, not only as it respects “fifth day” public worship, (not to say a work of supererogation,") but being applicable also to any who may, from motives of conscience, purely religious, feel inclined to pay
.* There are many things that are done on the first day, or Sabbath, which are said not to be indispersably necessary; at least, not altogether expedient; such as selling of beer, liquors, fish, milk, &c. (though by the way the cow's must be milked, as well as the ox and the horse led to the watering ;) and also the running of hackney, stage, coaches, ferry-men, packet-boats, and the towing of merchant ships out of docks, &c. and I might add the traffic of collecting toll at turnpike gates, &c.
Those who are in bondage--Servants or slaves to their fellow creatures---employers, and have neither money nor time to provide in the week time, (or seventh day,) those things necessary for the comfort of the first day,'or Sabbath, I believe what'articles they really want, and can buy on that day, God will have mercy and not sacrifice. But this evil might be easily removed, if merchants and tradesipen would adopt a regulation which has so often been urged and explained; That of paying their journeymen and work people on the sixth day night, instead of the seventh. : Common humanity (oot to say christianity) de
tithes, and priests' demands; or refuse to take your affirmation, or any other scrupulous—tender con sciences, purely religious.
In his examination of the ground and causes which are said to have induced the court of Boston, in New England, to make thạt order or law of banish, ment, upon pain of death, against the Quakers, &c. Among the many examinations, I select that on the authority and government which Christ excludes out of his church,” &c. thus scrupulously and scripturally observes, “Let every man,” saith the apostle, “be fully persuaded in his own mind ; take heed of receiving things too soon, take heed of running into practices too soon, take heed of doing what you see others.do, but wait for your own particular guidance, and for a full persuasion from God, what is his will concerning you. Though I know this to be truth, yet do not you receive it, till God make it
mands it: the industrious part of the community would then have not only an equal and just right to lay out their hard earnings to the best, at least better advantage; but they might cook or prepare for the Sabbath-day; which would free them from much manual labour, and give them more time to make that day “ a day of delight unto the Lord.” On this plan did the once highly favoured people of God (the Jews) manage their temporal affairs.
But when christianity is abroad in the world.--when pro. fessing christians reduce to practice “the law of Christ, LOVE ONE ANOTHER;" which is no less than “fulfilling the law"of commandments, (Rom. xiii. 10.) there will be hone lack any thing; but will have all things common ;” (among which they will have a cask of good beer in the house;) and as for selling, &c. true christians will neithér buy nor sell, work, or travel, on the first day, or Sabbath, only in cases of extreme necessity, or real acts of mercy.
manifest to you; receive truth from his hand, stay till he give it you. Indeed the main matter in religion is to keep out the wrong part, the forward part; the bastardly birth from running into duties, catching of openings, and laying hold of promises ; and to feel the heir born of the immortal seed, to whom all belong; and that the other birth never afterwards get up above him, but be subdued, and brought into subjection.
“ Again, saith the apostle, “take heed of doing any thing doubtingly ;' be not forward, be not hasty; wait for the leading, wait for the manifestation of the Spirit. Be sure thou receive what thou receiveth in faith, and practise what thou practiseth in faith ; for whatsoover is not of faith is sin, being an error from the principle of life, which is to guide, and thereby thou loseth ground, and dishonoureth Christ, and cometh under condemnation.
“ And so the apostle warns believers, to take heed of drawing one another on too fast, or of judging one another in such things as some of them might have light in, others not. He that eateth, not to judge him that did not eat; and he that did not eat, not to judge him that did eat. Yea, in matters of WORSHIP, he that observed a day, and kept a Sabbath, not to judge him that observed not a day, or kept not a Sabbath ; for the Jews who were truly converted, were hard to be drawn off from the observation of their Sabbath, and could hardly bear with the believing Gentiles, who were never taught to keep their Sabbath with them, but were taught to esteem every day, and sanctify it to the Lord, Rom. Siv. 5. And those who esteem every day, and dedicate it to the Lord, ceasing from sin, and resting to him; for under the gospel we are not to set up a new type, but to enter by faith into the true rest, which is the substance of what the other signified, could hardly bear with them who observed a day. Even in the apostles' days, christians were too apt to strive after a wrong unity and uniformity in outward practices and observations, and to judge one another unrighteously in these things. And mark; it is not the different practice from one another that breaks the peace and unity, but the judging of one another because of different practices. He that keeps not a day, may unite in the same spirit, in the same life, in the same love with him that keeps a day; and he who keeps a day, may unite in heart and soul with the same spirit and life in him who keeps not a day; but he that judgeth the other, because of either of these, errs from the spirit, from the love, from the life, and so breaks the bond of unity.” So the true charch-government.
-“ First, care must be had that nothing govern in the church of Christ, but the Spirit of Christ : that nothing else teach ; nothing else exhort; nothing else cut off and cast out. Every minister of the church is to watch over his own spirit, that it intrude not into the work of God, that it take not upon it to be the teacher, the exhorter, the reprover, &c. and every member is to wait in the measure of the Spirit which he hath received, to feel the going forth of the Spirit in him who teacheth and governeth; and so to be subject not to man, but to the Lord; to receive from the Lord, to obey the Lord.