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the meadows, &c., even for purposes of gain, at least on the score of custom.
Whether barbers may keep their shops open or not, is not quite clear-but the decision is rather against the practice, although La Croix and Tamburinus apologize for it; the former excusing barbers if they shave labourers and such as are hindered on other days, or if they shave some from apprehension that they might lose their custom. Tambu. rinus excuses them on the score of custom - but Sanchez. replies that this custom has always been disapproved.
Sports are not forbidden--but are distinctly permitted, nor is it any objection that they are attended with fatigue, as playing at ball, &c., because this fatigue is undergone for the sake of mental recreation, and for rest and recreation from servile labours.
Neither is it forbidden to travel on a holy day, either on foot, horseback, or in a ship, &c., unless the journey is necessarily attended with servile labour, such as carrying mer. chandize or other burdens, leading beasts heavily laden, &c. But in lawful journeys, venial sin may be committed, if too much time is spent upon them, and the mind is prevented from being open as it should be to divine things. (No. 81.)
Bonacina and Collet consider servile labour on a holy day, protracted to one hour, as sufficiently grave to constitute mortal sin. Marchantius requires three hours; but La Croix fixes on two hours, and is sustained by the more common opinion. It is thought, however, that the quality of the work should be regarded, so that if the work is very servile it will require less, if very light, greater time to make it a mortal offence. (82)
There are four circumstances which may render servile labour on such days excusable: they are, 1. necessity, 2. duty to God or our neighbour, 3. custom, 4. dispensation.
Physicians and apothecaries are excusable for preparing medicines for the sick.
Servants and poor waiting-girls are excusable for mending their clothes, if they have no time on other days, and have no one who can give them to other persons to mend for them. But their masters sin in not giving them the necessary leisure. Cooks are excused in the same way for preparing articles of food on holy days. Others acquit them on the plea of custom, even when they prepare delicacies.
Those who make funeral clothes on a holy day are usually excused on the score of necessity, if they absolutely cannot be finished on another day - so also blacksmiths shoeing horses for the convenience of travellers.
Soldiers are excusable for any acts in the line of their profession performed on holy days.
It is lawful to labour in a servile way whenever the work, which has been commenced, cannot be discontinued without loss, as in the manufacture of glass, iron, &c.
So too it is lawful to labour in the harvest or vintage, when there is danger of damage from rain, &c. But when this extraordinary labour is performed, license should be obtained from the bishop, &c.
Likewise, if persons are so poor that they cannot afford to lose day, they may labour privately, if they cannot otherwise maintain their wives and families, particularly if several festivals concur, and they have not otherwise been negligent, &c.; and when extraordinary occasions of profit occur, they may, according to Pontus and Billnach, be excused for improving them.
“Finally, observe in all cases that nothing be done contrary to law; that no labour be deferred to a holy day, which could have been done before, and that more is never done than necessity to avoid loss, &c. requires." (83.)
Servile labour performed on a festival is not necessarily a mortal sin, as it may be merely internal and accomplished in a very short time, and therefore not forbidden by the fourth commandment. (85.)
Any sin which is in itself mortal is aggravated by the circumstance of its being committed on a holy day. (86.).
The first objectionable feature in this Romish divinity which painfully affects a Bible Christian is the insult which is offered to the God of the Sabbath, by making festivaldays, appointed by the Popish church, of equal authority with the Lord's Day. God has set apart one day out of the seven for himself and the Romish church appoints we know not how many more for herself, and claims for
them the same regard which is due to the Sabbath of the Lord our God. This is arrogance, which is peculiarly and emphatically Roman. From the above synopsis of the sections, which treat of the observance of the Sabbath,
BREAKING IN ANY COUNTRY WILL BE IN EXACT PROPOR
TION TO THE INFLUENCE WHICH POPERY ACQUIRES. TO this fruitful source of the abominations of the earth we may trace all the glaring violations of the Lord's day, which are most commonly practised in our large cities, and indeed throughout our whole continent; not a few of which are tolerated even in the Christian church. Those persons who absent themselves from the church on the afternoon and evening of the Lord's day, after attending in the morning, are involuntarily sanctioning the practice of Papists. Indeed, the deluded Romanist, who conscientiously attends mass on the morning of the Sabbath, and then considers himself at liberty to "find his own pleasure" during the rest of the day, is more excusable than the professed Protestant, who with better knowledge deems himself at liberty to spend the afternoon and evening of the Sabbath in amusement, after having paid his compliments to his Maker by attending the morning service in some house of worship.
The license which is given to many of the grosser forms of Sabbath-breaking will of course find favour with the multitude, who are lovers of pleasure more than of God; but it will be well for those who are in the communion of the Romish church, as well as for such as are somewhat favourably disposed to her doctrines and ritual, to reflect that Jehovah will not suffer his day to be polluted with impunity, and that he will assuredly judge the Babylonish woman for all the Sabbath-breaking which is the legitimate offspring of her unscriptural principles ; and if “this mark of the beast” be found on any one, he must receive of the plagues,” which God has in store for her.
What can be more explicit than the language of the Fourth Commandment ?—“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor the stranger that is within thy gates : For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in thern is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.” Exod. xx. 8, 9, 10, 11,
How can we reconcile with this precept the license offered in the Romish church, to engage in trifling pastimes and in sports, such as fishing and hunting on the Sabbath day? “ Thou shalt do no manner of work !"
“ Ah!" the Papist will tell
you, “this is no manner of work; it is recreation and pleasure.” But what saith the Scripture? “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.
Here is an express prohibition of such recreation. (See also Jer. xvii. 20, 27, &c.) We are no sticklers for the Pharisaical observance of the first day of the week; we admit that works of real necessity and mercy cannot desecrate the Lord's day; for it always has been and ever will be “ lawful to do good on the Sabbath day,” but it is impious to speak of poor mechanics being compelled through poverty or any other cause to pursue their ordinary calling on the Lord's day. The poor need rest as much, if not more than the rich; if you deprive them of their Sabbath, you subject them to perpetual drudgery; nothing is better calculated to soothe their distress than the doctrines, consolations and prospects of the Christian religion. Does it not argue an utter absence of spirituality to insinuate that the poor man can possibly be injured by a due observance of the Lord's day? Even in a temporal view, we believe it will be found that in the end nothing can be gained by Sabbath-breaking.
The law of necessity and mercy we recognize as Scriptural, but as for “ Custom” and “ Dispensation,” which constitute two of the four reasons which justify servile labour on the Sabbath, we cannot acknowledge them. They who plead “ custom,” will do well to remember who has said“Broad is the road and wide is the gate that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat; because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life; and few there be that find it !” And as for “ Dispensations,” we have no faith in them. We believe them to be devices of Satan, and as such we scorn and abhor them.
[No. 87.-94.] Concerning the Fourth (i. e. the Fifth) Precept of the
Decalogue. The 87th Section contains some excellent and unexceptionable advice, relative to the honour which is due from children to their parents. We are taught that love, reverence, obedience and assistance are justly to be expected by parents from their offspring ; that next to God we are to love father and mother, and manifest our affection “by wishing for them the greatest benefits, praying for their bodily and spiritual health, and manifesting this love by visible tokens."