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sent to the desecration of the sabbath, which would be, perhaps, the greatest calamity they could inflict upon the poor man.
We have sinned as a nation already; God grant that we may not add to our national sins. But suppose
the sabbath were thrown into the crowd of the week-days, do you think all sense of our need of such a day would perish? No; the sabbath is not an arbitrary enactment, but a physical necessity, an element in our very nature and constitution. Every muscle in our body is an argument for the sabbath ; it will not bear to be all the year fatigued for seven days in the week. Our
cattle furnish an argument in favour of the sabbath. The man who wishes to get the largest and the longest work from a horse, knows quite well that he must give him a seventh portion of his time for rest, or he will fail to serve him as he would do otherwise. I care not whether the day be Saturday or Sunday, as far as the horse is concerned; I am speaking only of the physical law, that the brute creation," the cattle within thy gates," must have rest in order most efficiently to do thy work. So shall we find it with men. The man that works seven days every week of
year in the same weary round will not live half his time. The man who can go upon the sabbath day to the house of God, and change the current of his thoughts, feelings, desires, emotions, add to his knowledge, and vary his attention, secures a change for his mind, and so for his body, of the most precious description. In the walk, too, that he has to the sanctuary, he has at least a little exercise. And when we have shorter hours and equal pay, as I hope will be, and as every day leads me to believe will soon be, you will not need to take any portion of the sabbath for fresh air; you will have a portion of Saturday given you, in justice as well as in generosity, for the refreshment of the body, and to prepare you for the exercises of the sanctuary on the sabbath. The Greeks and Romans had their festivals; the Mohammedans have still the seventh portion of their time; and in all countries there are days on which there is a cessation of business. And why? Because man cannot stand perpetual work. Let sacredness be separated from the sabbath, and what will take place? Men must be free at intervals; they must be loosed; they cannot stand incessant drudgery. The public-house, the play-house, the various
scenes of amusement, dissipation, and folly, will all be opened; the flood-gates of sin and immorality will be removed; stimulants to all sorts of depravity will be presented; and this country, which is a perfect contrast, as I can testify from personal knowledge, to all the countries around us, will sink to a deeper degradation because of the pinnacle of privilege from which she has fallen. Let us, then, uphold the sacredness of the sabbath in its integrity ; but while we rest from the works that are our own, let us not rest from those works which are for the glory of God and the good of our fellow men ; remembering that we, like Christ, must say, as we must feel, My Father worketh hitherto, and I also work.” May the Lord bless every effort to keep the sabbath, and give us a delight in it, calling it a delightful day, for Christ's sake. Amen.
And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to
hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, and saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing : nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. And when they had this done, they enclosed a great multitude of fishes : and their net brake. And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken.—Luke v. 1-9.
WE find Jesus, in the opening part of the chapter from which I have selected the words for our lecture, surrounded by the people pressing on him to hear the word of the Lord; and himself going into a boat, a large fishing-boat (here rendered ship); and, seated upon that, instructing the people in the things of everlasting life.
It appears that while the crowd were listening to him who spake as never man spake, Peter and the rest that were with him were busy washing their nets. This was their trade; they were in their proper employment, feeling—what we need to feel and be taught—that we serve God as truly when we do the duties of our station as when we preach the gospel, or carry the ark of the Lord. It is possible to glorify God wherever his providence has placed us; and they that have right hearts will never find themselves engaged in the wrong work.
When he had left speaking to the people, it is added, he addressed Simon Peter, and said, Launch out into deep, and let down your nets for a draught. But Peter objected, stating that they had already been labouring in the night season, which was the best season for catching fish ; and it having failed, it was unreasonable to expect they would succeed in the day-time. But still, with that beautiful docility which grace nourished and strengthened within him, he recognised his Master's authority in his Master's pre