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And thus, when I look round on the church of Christ comminuted into a thousand fragments, and every day shattering more and more the stone that ought to fill the earth, when I think how fallen out by the way are the pilgrims, the brethren journeying to the same land of peace and love, I look back with wistfulness to the Daniels and Johns of better days, who exerted such healing and harmonizing influence on all their coevals; and when I think of it as one most likely source of Christian union, I pray the Lord to hasten in his time the day when Ephraim shall no longer envy Judah, but from Ephraim and Judah, converted and restored, shall come forth a company, THE MODELS OF THE CHURCH, THE MISSIONARIES OF THE WORLD.- From a Lecture by the Rev. James Hamilton, M. A.
THE PEARL OF DAYS. “Wot ye not what the Scripture saith of Elias ? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, 'Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars : and I am left alone, and they seek my life.'”
“ But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.''
And what says the answer of God to those who, in the present day, are following closely in the steps of Elijah – who if not almost fearing that God has cast away our nation, are beginning to think that infidelity is waxing louder and bolder, and more mischievous than ever; and that Sabbath-breaking, that first and surest evidence of a people's degeneracy, is fearfully increasing, even in our own country, so emphatically designated the land of Sabbaths ?
We confess that our remarks last month partook a little of this character, though they applied to those only whom we have reason to hope constitute a small and daily decreasing section of the community, But our hearts have been recently much refreshed by the perusal of a little work we then knew by name only,* and its introductory remarks. But we will let these remarks speak for themselves.
* “ The Pearl of Days, or the Advantages of the Sabbath to the Working Classes, by a Labourer's Daughter.” Partridge and Oakey.
“The circumstances out of which the following Essay, with its accompanying Sketch of the Author's Life, originated, are as remarkable as they are deeply interesting and hopeful. Jealous for the honor of God's Sabbath, which men of the world were perilling-jealous for the privileges to man conferred by the Sabbath-jealous for the labouring man whose feelings respecting the Sabbath were often misrepresented to his disadvantage, a lạyman resolved to afford an opportunity for the working classes to speak their own minds freely on the matter, and to bear their testimony to the blessings and privileges of the day, and thereby to the glory of God, the author and giver of it. With these views, he put forth a proposal, about the end of the year 1847, offering three prizes—of £25, £15, and £10, respectively-for the three best essays on the subject written by labouring men. Although this is the first instance upon record of persons of that class being invited to become competitors in literature, and for literary honors; and although comparatively a very brief time was allowed for preparing and sending in the Essays, yet three months—the first three of the year 1848– sufficed to produce the astonishing number of more than nine hundred and fifty compositions, manifesting by the single fact, without reference to the merits of these productions, the widespread interest and deeply-rooted principles with which the holy day of God is reverenced, loved, and honored, by the labouring people."
We are sure that to many, this single fact will be as waters in a dry and thirsty land. It would be something to know that amongst our cottagers there existed but a thousand who had not bowed the knee to the image of Disaffection, or to that soul-destroying Liberalism which neither fears God nor regards
But it is much more to know, that from these humble walks of life, there are nearly one thousand writers ready to come forth to the help of the Lord against the mighty—to assert the inviolable sanctity of the Sabbath, and to stand between the living verities of christianity and the pestilence of infidelity, that no longer walks in darkness. For how many thousands do these nine hundred and fifty essayists represent? Amongst our labouring population is there one man out of every hundred thus qualified to wield the pen—is there one in every thousand? We ask for the sake of information; for though we know something of literary statistics generally, we are altogether at a loss in this particular instance. A general answer therefore must suffice for the present: there can be no doubt that many, many thousands have spoken out through these nine hundred and fifty essays. And then, taking into account the numbers who have put forth no voice upon the subject, from knowing nothing of the offer so generously made by the author of the project, we may perhaps double our calculation, and arrive at the very gratifying conviction that instead of Israel's seven thousand, we have in England seventy times seven thousand who believe it to be at once their paramount duty and highest privilege to remember the Sabbath-day, to keep it holy.
And who are these good men and true, but the very individuals who, of all others, might be supposed to have the strongest inducements to mis-spend the Sabbath. Worn out by the incessant toils of the week, they might urge that bodily rest, or an idle saunter among the by-ways and hedges, was the best mode of passing the hours of that hallowed day; but the little work before us points out most graphically a more excellent way.” One of the sweetest biographies -a sketch of the writer's lifeprefaces the Pearl of Days; and forms, perhaps, the most interesting portion of the volume, which we have before said was written, not by a labourer, but by a labourer's daughter, who, as such, was of course ineligible to receive the premium offered. Let us now glance for a few moments at her lovely picture of a poor cottager's Sabbath :
“Memory carries me back to a period when my parents, with five little ones around them, tenanted an obscure garret in the outskirts of one of the principal towns of Scotland. By some of those vicissitudes common to all, my father was, at this time, out of employment; hardships were endured, pinching want sometimes visited their fireside. Of these things I have heard, but have no recollection of them, as I could not then be much more than four years old. Yet a shadowy vision sometimes rises before me of a broad paved street, along which I was running on before our father in joyful haste, that I might be the first to apprise mother that the meeting was dismissed; but as to whether the place of assembly we had just left was an upper chamber, where a handful of disciples met together, or a large and fashionable edifice, memory supplies nothing. A dim dreary scene, too, sometimes passes before me of some back yard or lane where I was standing with my hand in my father's, gazing with childish delight, and, at the same time, with a feeling of awe and admiration, upon the starry heavens. I know not what, at that moment, led my eye to the bright
scene over head; nor yet what fixed these two incidents of my childhood so indelibly upon my memory, for they are associated, in my mind, with nothing particular of which I ever heard any one speak; but they are almost the only recollections I have of the short time spent in this place.
“I think that before this time I must have been pretty far advanced in reading, as I have no remembrance of ever learning, or having any difficulty with common books. Our father, at the time alluded to, was exerting himself to find a settled situation as a gardener, and, in the mean time, taking whatever work he could get in the small gardens in the neighbourhood. He was soon noticed as an active and tasteful gardener, and received into the employment of a gentleman whose property lay in that part of Scotland known by the name of Strathmore, or 'the great valley.'
“The dwelling we now entered was very pleasantly situated near a river called the south Esk, which flows through that part of the country. Between it and the high-way was a large field, with a belt of trees on the side next the house; on the other side lay the garden ; while, beneath the garden, stretching to the river, was what we used to call the haugh, a flat little meadow.
“Our dwelling in appearance was not unlike one of those houses which are tenanted by farmers in the south-east of Scotland. Its dimensions, its blue slated roof, and its smooth grass-plot, encircled with a gravel walk before the door, bespoke it the abode, if not of affluence, at least of competence. It had not, when planned, been intended as the abode of a servant, but as a residence for the proprietor's mother, who having been removed by death, we were permitted to occupy it. Had the reader visited that spot in the spring of the year, when the young plantations were arrayed in bright green, the music of wild birds welcoming the morning, while the cowslip, the meadow-crocus, and the primrose studded the banks, and the butterball, the wild geranium, and numberless flowers beside, were shooting up amid the tangled maze of yellow whins and broom, wild rose, and scented sweet-brier, which covered that little haugh; or had he sauntered down to the river, walked along the pebbles on its shore, and seen the little trout sparkling in the sunbeam as it leaped at the insects that sported upon the surface of the water, he would have called it a pleasant dwelling-place. It was indeed a sunny spot, and the gay children who used to ramble at will amid its beauties, were as happy a little band as could have been found.
“Our Sabbaths were our happiest days; we were near no place of public worship-not so near, at least, as to permit any of the children often to attend. As soon as we were dressed and had breakfasted, family prayer was attended to, and then our father would point out some hymn or passage of Scripture which he wished us to learn, when we would sally forth, book in hand, in different directions, one to stretch himself upon the soft grass in the field close by, another to pace backward and forward on the pleasure walk, or to find a seat in the bough of an old bushy tree; while another would seek a little summer-house our father had made of heather, and seated round with the twisted boughs of the glossy birch, each reading aloud till the allotted lesson was thoroughly fixed upon our minds. If the day was wet, or if it was the winter season, we would gather around the table by the window. During the afternoon, mother would read to us, or all of us, father and mother included, read by turns; questions were then asked, and conversation entered into, about what we had been reading.
“It was upon one of these occasions, when some remarks made by one of my parents in endeavouring to call our attention to the truth that we must be changed, renewed in the image of God; or, to take up the simple figurative expression then made use of, that we must have new hearts, else we never could be happy with our Father in heaven, that an impression was made upon my mind, never to be effaced : from that hour, through all my follies and all my waywardness, the thought of that new heart still haunted me, until I indeed found peace with God through Jesus Christ, and felt the renewing power of the truth of God.”
The Sabbath having thus become the birth-day of her own soul, she had the witness in herself of its peculiar blessedness. Whatever others might say to its disparagement, she knew that God had then condescended to meet with her; and evidence of this kind it is not in the power of the world to gainsay or resist. We hope that through the medium of this little narrative, and the essay by which it is followed, many more may be brought to taste of the refined and satisfying pleasures flowing from a right observance of this day of days.
Many of our readers, perhaps, have heard of a project which has been started with reference to these Essays by Working Men on the Sabbath. As so many of the competitors were necessarily doomed to disappointment, it has been proposed to raise by subscriptions of £5., sufficient to give that sum each, to fifty of the essayists, in addition to the other premiums. The Religious Tract Society have given £25. for five; and the