THE last of the three Commandments that refer directly to God,

prescribes a rest from toil, and profane works; and in commemoration of

the mystical repose of the Lord after the six days' creation,

designates the Sabbath or seventh day as a day that shall be set apart

and made sacred to God. The peculiarity of the commandment is that it

interferes with the occupations of man, intrudes upon his individual

affairs and cla
ms a worship of works. The others do not go thus far,

and are satisfied with a worship of the heart and tongue, of affections

and language.

Leaving aside for the moment the special designation of a day devoted

to this worship, the law of rest itself deserves attention. Whether the

Saturday or Sunday be observed, whether the rest be long or brief, a

day or an hour, depends entirely on the positive will of God. More than

this must be said of the command of rest; that law grows out of our

relations with God, is founded in nature, is according to the natural

order of things.

This repose means abstention from bodily activity.. The law does not go

so far as to prescribe stagnation and sloth, but it is satisfied with

such abstention as is compatible with the reasonable needs of man. Of

its nature, it constitutes an exterior, public act of religion. The

question is: Does the nature of our relations with God demand this sort

of worship? Evidently, yes. Else God, who created the whole man, would

not receive a perfect worship. If God made man, man belongs to Him; if

from that possession flows a natural obligation to worship with heart

and tongue, why not also of the body? God has a Maker's right over us,

and without some acknowledgment on the part of the body of this right,

there would be no evidence that such a right existed. There is no doubt

but that the law of our being requires of us an interior worship. Now,

if that spirit of homage within us is sincere, it will naturally seek

to exteriorize itself; if it is to be preserved, it must "out." We are

not here speaking of certain peculiarly ordered individuals, but of the

bulk of common humanity. Experience teaches that what does not come out

either never existed or is not assured of a prolonged existence. Just

as the mind must go out of itself for the substance of its thoughts, so

must the heart go out to get relief from the pressure of its feelings.

God commanded this external worship because it alone could preserve

internal affections.

Again, there are many things which the ordinary man ignores concerning

God, which it is necessary for him to know, and which do not come by

intuition. In other words, he must be taught a host of truths that he

is incapable of finding out by himself. Education and instruction in

religious matters are outside the sphere of his usual occupations.

Where will he ever get this necessary information, if he is not taught?

And how can he be taught, if he does not lay aside occupations that are

incompatible with the acquisition of intellectual truths? He is

therefore forced by the law of his being, and the obligation he owes

his Maker, to rest from his every-day labors, once in awhile, in order

to learn his full duty, if for nothing else.

Pagans, who never knew the law of Moses, serve neither Saturday nor

Sunday; neither do they give an entire day, at fixed intervals to the

exterior worship of the Deity, as we do. But a case will not be found

where they did not on certain occasions rest from work in order to

offer the homage of their fidelity to their gods, and to listen, to

instruction and exhortation from their holy men. These pagans follow

the natural law written in their souls, and it is there they discover

the obligation they are under to honor God by rest from labor and to

make holy unto Him a certain space of time.