Obrázky stránek

that are distinguished by titles, or high offices, deem requisite to their rank and character; and he had no relish for parade and magnificence: thus his very hospitable, but simple manner of life, left a large surplus out of his income, the chief part of which constantly flowed into the channel of his beneficence: and having tasted the delight of doing good, and finding it“ more blessed to give than to receive," or to expend in any other

way, he abounded in it with increasing satisfaction. At the same time, the God of truth verified to him His word, which saith, There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; for, so far from being impoverished by his extraordinary liberality, his estate was considerably augmented, with the fairest character for integrity and probity.

[ocr errors][merged small]




I have been in the habit, during a great many years, of considering the uses of the Sabbath, and observing its ABUSES. The abuses are chiefly manifested in labour and dissipation. The use, medically speaking, is that of a Day of Rest. In a theological sense, it is a Holy Rest; providing for the introduction of new and sublimer ideas into the mind of man, preparing him for his future state.

As a day of rest, I view it as a day of compensation for the inadequate restorative power of the body under continued labour and excitement. A physician always has respect to the preservation of the restorative power ; because, if once this be lost, his healing office is at an end. If I show you, from the physio logical view of the question, that there are provisions in the laws of nature which correspond with the Divine commandment, you will see, from the analogy, that the Sabbath was made for man, as a necessary appointment. A physician is anxious to preserve the balance of circulation, as necessary to the restorative power of the body. The ordinary exertions of man 'run down the circulation every day of his life: and the first general law of nature, by which God (who is not only the giver, but also the preserver and sustainer of life) prevents man from destroying himself, is the alternating of day with night, that repose may succeed action. But, although the night apparently equalizes the circulation well, yet it does not sufficiently restore its balance, for the attainment of a long life. Hence, one day in seven, by the bounty of Providence, is thrown in, as a day of compensation; to perfect, by its repose, the animal system.

You may easily determine this question, as a matter of fact, by trying it on beasts of burden. Take that fine animal, the horse, and work him to the full extent of his powers every day in the week, or give him rest one day in

seven ;


you will soon perceive, by the superior vigour with which he performs his functions on the other six days, that this rest is necessary to his well-being. Man, possessing a superior nature, is borne along by the very vigour of his mind; so that the injury of continued diurnal exertion and excitement on his animal system is not so immediately apparent as it is in the brute.

But, in the long run, he breaks down more suddenly; it abridges the length of his life, and that vigour of his old age, which (as to mere animal power) ought to be the object of his preservation. I consider, therefore, that, in the boun

[ocr errors]

tiful provision of Providence, for the preservation of human life, the Sabbatical appointment is not as it has been sometimes theologically viewed) simply a precept partaking of the nature of a political institution, but that it is to be numbered amongst the natural duties; if the preservation of life be admitted to be a duty; and the premature destruction of it, a suicidal act.

This is said simply as a physician, and without reference at all to the theological question: but, if you consider further the proper effects of real Christianity, namely, peace of mind, confiding trust in God, and good-will to man, you will perceive, in this source of renewed vigour to the mind, and, through the mind, to the body, an additional spring of life, imparted from this higher use of the Sabbath as a holy rest. Were I to pursue this part of the question, I should be touching on the duties committed to the clergy: but this I will say, that researches in physiology, by the analogy of the working of Providence in nature, will establish the truth of Revelation, and consequently show that the Divine commandment is not to be considered as an arbitrary enactment, but as an appointment necessary to man.

This is the position in which I 'would place it, as contra-distinguished from precept and legislation: I would point out the Sabbatical rest as necessary to man; and that the great enemies of the Sabbath, and consequently the enemies of man, are, all laborious exercises of the body or mind, and dissipation-which force the cir

culation on that day, in which it should repose ; whilst relaxation from the ordinary cares of life, the enjoyment of this repose in the bosom of one's family, with the religious studies and duties which the day enjoins---not one of which, if rightly exercised, tends to abridge life-constitute the beneficial and

appropriate service of the day. The student of nature, in becoming the student of Christ, will find in the principles of his doctrine and Law, and in the practical application of them, the perfect and only science which prolongs the present, and perfects the future life.

Question. In your own practice, have you thought it necessary to carry on the whole of your occupation on a Sunday, as on the other six days of the week

Answer.-Certainly not.

Question.-Do you think your patients have suffered thereby?

Answer.—Certainly not.
Question. Of course, in extreme cases, you do?

Answer. I consider that the two officers of healing, so to speak, are the clergyman and the medical man: they are the only two classes of persons called on to labour on that day, for the benefit of the community. I have found it essential to my own well-being, to abridge my labour on the Sabbath to what is actually necessary. I have frequently observed the premature death of medical men from continued exertion. In warm climates, and in active service, this is painfully apparent.

Question. As a seventh day is absolutely necessary

« PředchozíPokračovat »