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who is from eternity omniscient; cious as the means of the desired nor can we effect an alteration in end. In those special cases, where bis disposition who is unchangeably God interposes by his immedigood.
ate agency, it is easy to perceive Nor can we hope, in the second how this may be. But in those place, to change the purpose of the more frequent instances, where immutable God. If we can change prayer is answered without any exneither his knowledge of circum- traordinary interposition, it is no stances, nor his disposition, how less true. By some hidden concan we reach his purpose, which nexion the answer may follow in must depend entirely on these ? the same natural train of events, But the unchangeableness of the and thus the request be a regular, divine purpose has been abundantly though perhaps a remote anteceestablished already. “ He is in dent of the desired end. Or if the one mind, and who can turn him ?” answer do not follow in the same In these two respects, then, prayer train of events with the prayer, yet offered to God, is entirely unlike the two trains in which they reprayer offered to man. It can ef- spectively occur may have been so fect no change, either in the di- connected in the divine mind at the vine knowledge or disposition, and beginning, that the prayer may be hence, none in the divine purpose. properly said to hold to its answer
But in the third place, is the di- the relation of means to an end. vine agency concerned in the an- If then, prayer addressed to Jeswer of prayer ?
And here we hovah may prove the means of the may reply without hesitation, yes. end we desire, and that in consisIn the days of Scripture history, tence with all proper views of the we know that God, on particular divine immutability, what farther occasions, granted miraculous an- difficulty remains ? We believe swers to prayer ; that is, the re- that every event in the natural as quest was fulfilled in such a man- well as the moral world was apner, as impressed an irresistible pointed from eternity; and yet the conviction on the minds of behold- tiller of the earth goes forth to preers, that God was the immediate pare his land in the confident exagent. Even in our days, how pectation of the harvest in its seaoften he may as really interpose, son, because from former instances though his hand is concealed, in he has learned to believe that his those cases which we denominate labor will prove the means of the special providences, we can never end he desires. And in this he is know. It is, however, in the reg. consistent as well as rational; for ular course of events, in the ordina- he believes that he who appoints ry operation of second causes, that the effect, appoints also the cause as we have reason to believe, the by which it is to be produced ; and prayers of the righteous are more as he wishes to realize the former, often answered. And in these ca- he will strive, by the powers which ses we believe the divine agency God has given him, first to compass to be equally, though less remark- the latter. With equal consistenably concerned. For we know cy, as well as reason, does he who that in all, even the most minute believes firmly in the unchangeableevents, God's efficiency is involved; ness of Jehovah, resort to his throne ag "in him we live and move and in prayer. For he believes that he have our being.”
who determined the end, determinBut it is more important to re
ed also the means; and as he mark, in the last place, that prayer earnestly desires the object of his adaressed to God becomes effica- request, with a corre pond.ng ear, Vol. 1.--No. XI.
nestness he puts in requisition the reject. I did not therefore deem means which God hath graciously it incumbent on me, as Q. Q. appointed for its accomplishment. seems to imagine, to show why “Yet for all these things, I will be those, to whom he refers, observed inquired of by the house of Israel." Saturday evening as holy time,
But I cannot leave the subject but simply to prove that the prachere. The divine immutability we tice is not warranted by the word have seen is not inconsistent with of God. the duty of prayer.
I would now There are three, and only three, go farther, and affirm that it is it- passages brought from the Bible, self the grand essential to our trust which it is pretended decide the for all acceptance with God. In question in his favor, and these I his infinite compassion he hath pur- endeavored to show, afford no eviposed that whosoever cometh unto dence that the Sabbath begins at him in sincerity, by repentance and sunset. How far I succeeded the faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, shall reader will judge. i then, as he obtain everla ting life. And so of admits, “ brought forward an asall the promises recorded in his semblage of texts designed to word, whether pertaining to this prove that the evening followed the life, or to that which is to come, he day.” A great part of these texts, purposed from eternity to vouch- and my arguments and illustrations, safe these blessings, whenever and he passed in entire silence. Where wherever the conditions should be he attempted a reply, it will be my fulfilled. But were it once object to show how far he has sucnounced that the eternal purpose of ceeded. If “the practice of our God might change, with what con- ancestors decided it,” as he says, fidence could we longer rely on then they must be infallible. If these promises ? And if his gra- not, they must decide it by the cious designs should actually alter, Bible. Where then is their proof it is most evident that all our hopes from the Bible ? Has he produced would be gone forever. Thus we it? Though they were great and see that the immutability of God good men, much light has been lies at the foundation, not only of gained since their day. And if, the inestimable privilege of prayer, as Q. Q. intimates, they universally but likewise of every other privi- began the Sabbath at sunset, there lege and blessing and hope of the has been a very great change gospel. “I
am the Lord; I change since, among the pious. And as not; therefore ye sons of Jacob this is “the era of light,” and as are not consumed.”
J. light is advancing, we may hope
that even before the millennium, all will see eye to eye in this respect, and be united in keeping holy Sab
bath evening. Theological discussions should Q. Q. has named “ the fathers ever be conducted with candor of the Christian church” as his wit. The opinions of fallible men must nesses, but he has produced none of be relied on no further than they them. And although he affirms accord with the sacred oracles. that in “ the universal agreement Different and opposite sentiments of commentators he has an unbrohave been embraced by great and ken chain of evidence, reaching good men. The reformers, and almost back to the commencement qur pious fore-fathers, embraced of the Christian era,” he has shown some sentiments, which their or- us none of this chain for fifteen or thodox descendants now generally sixteen centuries from the com
REPLY TO Q.
Q. ON THE COM-
mencement of the Christian era. his writings with the Scripture hisThis agreement, however, is by no tory. means universal. I adduced the The grand authority of later opinion of Pool, that learned com- Jews is the Talmud, consisting of mentator and distinguished critic, twelve folio volumes, containing an that the Jews began the day at mid- explanation of their traditions. night. And the same opinion is They prefer the Talmud to the expressed by Vincent, in his expla. holy Scriptures, though framed nation of the Assembly's cate with almost the same imposture as chism, which was recommended by the Alcoran of Mahomet.""* Upforty divines, among whom were on such authority, Q. Q., we may the celebrated Dr. Owen and Dr. suppose, from his quotations and Calamy. And if they had not remarks, places great reliance. I agreed with the author, would they will make some other quotations, not have expressed their dissent, which will tend to show how much as is done in an edition published regard ought to be paid to the pracin New-Haven, where a note is sub- tice of the Jews in determining joined, attempting to prove the in- what the Bible teaches respecting correctness of the author's opin. the observation of the Sabbath. ion ?
“ In order to begin the Sabbath Q. Q. places great dependance well, they wash their hands and upon the authority of Jewish wri- faces, trim their hair, and pare ters. What was the practice of their nails, beginning at the fourth the Jews, while they were God's finger, then going to the second, people, we must learn from the then the fifth, then the third, ending holy Scriptures. For there are with the thumb. As soon no other writings of Jews, till after prayers begin in the synagogue, they were rejected of God and the departed souls spring out of the blinded. As the Egyptians began purgatorial flames, and have liberty the day at midnight,* we may sup- to cool themselves in water while pose that the Israelites would con- the Sabbath lasts ; for which reaform to their practice, and, after son the Jews prolong the continuthey left Egypt, would do the same, ance of it as much as they can." unless expressly directed other. A Jew may on the Sabbath “deswise. And if," as Q. Q. says, troy a louse, but must not kill a flea. “ The Jews at first divided the He must not wipe his hands with a night into three watches, but after- cloth, or a towel, but may do it wards, imitating the Romans to very lawfully with a cow's tail.”'t whom they had become subject, The Jewish writers have, by their they divided it into four,” why fables and traditions “made void might they not begin the day at the law.” And if Q. Q. had paid sunset, in imitation of the Romans, more attention to the oracles of who began it at sunset ?? If they God, and less to these fables, he changed their manner of dividing would not have been led to contrathe night, why might they not dict the Bible, as he has repeatedchange the time of beginning the ly done. The Bible teaches that day?
the passover was killed and eaten Josephus lived and wrote among on the fourteenth day of the month. the Romans, and was accommoda. Ex. xu. 6, 8. Numb. IX. 2. 3. ting and incorrect in his statements, and xxx111. 3. Josh. v. 10. Ezra vi. as any one may see, who compares 19. But he says it was killed on
Encyclopedia, Art. Day. + Idem.
* Miller's Works, Vol. 5. pp. 131, 132. + Encyelopedia, Art. Sabbath.
the fourteenth, and eaten on the which I was aware ;" though I was fifteenth. “The lamb was sacri- “not aware,” that the Bible teachficed between the first evening es that “they abstained from the and sunset after the daily sacrifice, use of leavened bread on the afterand eaten in the night. That is, noon of the fourteenth day.” But it was killed before sunset on the if they ate unleavened bread on the fourteenth day, and eaten in the evening of that day, the reader is night following, which must be the left to judge whether this is a very fifteenth day, if the day began at unsatisfactory reason for calling the sunset. As the passover was to be fourteenth day the first day of uneaten on the fourteenth day in the leavened bread.” Or if leavened evening or night following that day, bread was put away on the fourthis “amounts to absolute certain- teenth, but unleavened bread was ty," that the evening following, not eaten until the fifteenth day, and not preceding, belonged to the whether this is a more satisfactory day, and that the day did not begin reason for calling the fourteenth day at sunset.
the first day of unleadened bread, as The Bible teaches that the fif- he seems to suppose. teenth day was the first day of unleav- He mentions three days among ened bread, and that they put away the Jews, the natural day, consisting leaven on that day, which was the of twenty-four hours and the others, first of the seven days of unleaven- consisting of twelve hours each, ed bread, or put it away, and be- and extending from three and six in gan to eat unleavened bread the the morning to those hours in the evening following the fourteenth afternoon, and thinks “that the day. Ex. xii. 15--18. xiii. 3—7. last mentioned day did not comLev. xxiii. 5, 6.
mence at midnight is evident from “ The preparation commenced on Ex. xii. 29-31, compared with the evening preceding the four- verse 22.” Perhaps he meant first teenth by searching for leavened mentioned day. For no one supbread by the light of candles. poses that the day which began This search continued four hours at three or at six, began at midafter the rising of the sun, from night. But those texts do not which time until noon the leavened make it "evident” to my mind, bread was destroyed.” But where that the Israelites did not comis there any Scripture for this ? As mence their natural, or civil day, at he “the preparation commen- midnight. Did the command not ced at three,* did they begin to to go out till the morning imply that " search by the light of candles” they must or would go precisely at three hours before sunset ? When the time, when the day began? the Scriptures are so particular up- Though it is evident that they did on the passover, and the feast of un- “go out at the door of their house" leavened bread, it is surprising that soon after midnight, and conseany should regard, or bring forward quently that it was morning. Ex. as authority, such Talmudical wri. xii. 29, 30, 33. I do not know, tings, which are so at variance with however, that the Bible mentions a the Bible.
day beginning at three in the mornQ.Q. says that unleavened bread ing, and ending at three in the afwas not eaten until the fifteenth ternoon. day.” But the Bible says it was My grand objection to the argueaten “on the fourteenth day at ment drawn from Gen. i. 5, that even :" Ex. xii.15–18~" a fact of as the evening and morning inclu
*Dr. Clarke says " the preparation be. ded twenty-four hours, the evening gan about twelve."
must extend to suprise, and the
But he says,
morning to sunset, he has passed in ~32—why all his adversaries were silence, and has not attempted to ashamed for attempting, as they show that the time from midnight to supposed, to maintain the sanctity sunrise is ever called evening, or of the Sabbath-why they sought the time from noon to sunset, morn- false witnesses to put Christ to ing. All my proofs that the order death, when they could easily prove of time is often in Scripture inverts that he healed on the Sabbath. ed, he has also overlooked. But My second argument, founded on he thinks that, if the evening suc- Neh. xiii. 16-19, and which“ receeding belonged to the day, “ the lated immediately to the Sabbath,” repeated mention of the evening he did not notice. first, to say the least of it, would In replying to my fourth, he did not have been awkward and unnatural.” notice one of the reasons, which I ofAnd as Japheth was “the elder," fered, to prove that the expression, and Ham the younger" of Noah's “When the even was come,” must sons, must he not consider the re- mean the second evening, or sunpeated, and even uniform, mention set, to which reasons I would refer of them by the inspired writers in the reader. But he says it must dethis order, Shem, Ham, and Ja note either the first or second evepheth, “ to say the least of it, awk- ning. This I admit. But he canward and unnatural ?”—more espe- not infer, that it was the first evecially as Ham, upon whom the curse ning, " because it was the preparawas pronounced, is repeatedly men- tion, that is the day before the Sabtioned before his elder brother Ja- bath,” unless he takes it for grantpheth.
ed, that the Sabbath began at sun. Q. Q. brings forward the circum- set, which is the very point for him stance of the Jews' bringing their to prove. He says the first evesick to Christ when the sun was ning began at three. Pool and set, to prove that the Sabbath end. Scott say it “ began when the sun ed at sunset, without noticing one had passed the meridian.” But if it of the arguments, which I adduced, were three, Cbrist did not expire till to prove that this was not the rea. after three. I will add another reason they brought them at that time. Would they have broken the But if this “ fact" made it “evi. legs of the thieves, while alive, that dent that the Sabbath ended at sun- they might take them down, three set," and I was reduced to such hours before sunset, and before it a dilemma in attempting to prove was necessary to take them down. that they did not consider the heal. Did he mean to intimate, as his ing of the sick as a violation of the words evidently imply, that in Lev. Sabbath,” I should have thought xxiii. 32, referring exclusively to that he might have produced some to the day of atonement, it is “ exother evidence besides the mere pressly stated that they were to befact that his malignant enemies gin the weekly' Sabbath on the “ watched him whether he would ninth day?" If by “both evenings heal on the Sabbath day; that they being included,” he means to inmight accuse him.” I should have clude the first evening, beginning, thought he might have shown why, as he says, at three, then would not if they “ considered the healing of this prove that the Sabbath began the sick as a violation of the Sab- at three ? bath," they spread abroad Christ's My grand argument from John fame for doing it—why the elders of xx. 19, that the evening followthe Jews besought him to do it, and ing the first day of the week is thus violate the Sabbath, Luke vii. called the first day of the week, he 1-4. Mat. viii.. 5–16. Mark i. 21 wholly overlooked, which is rather