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had introduced into the worship of all other nations. « Thou shalt not • make unto thee any graven image, “ or any likeness of any thing that is “ in heaven above, or that is in the " earth beneath, or that is in the is waters under the earth. Thou u shalt not bow down thyself to " them, nor serve them; for I the “ Lord thy God am a jealous God, “ visiting the iniquity of the fathers “ upon the children unto the third “ and fourth generation of them that “ hate me, and shewing mercy unto “ thousands of them that love me, and “ keep my commandments.”
From the latter part of this declaration of the Divine will, we are led to observe, that what we consider as the natural and inevitable course of things, is, in reality, a part of the scheme of Providence, and is subject to the guidance and control of the
Almighty Governor of the universe. We know that if a man squanders his fortune, his children must suffer poverty ; - that if he neglects their education, they must be ignorant ; and that if he corrupts their minds, they will be vicious. But this in the natural course of things should go on from generation to generation without end or limits. Here we have the word of God that it shall not be so. And that though by the laws of Providence he permits the iniquities of the fathers to be visited on the children to the third and fourth generation, that visitation shall have its bounds ; while to his mercies there are no bounds! They are shewn indiscriminately to all who love him and keep his commandments.
He to whom all hearts are open, who knows all the different avenues to temptation, knew how soon the sanc
tifying impression made by the aweful sense of his being and attributes would be destroyed, if these ideas were not guarded and fenced round by habitual reverence. He was not only to be the sole object of faith and of worship, but his very name was to be kept sacred, and never introduced but when the heart was seriously inclined to do him homage
- Thou shalt not take the name of “ the Lord thy God in vain, for the “ Lord will not hold him guiltless “ that taketh his name in vain !"
Then follows the law which in its due observance could not fail to seal the principles of faith upon the heart. I have in another place * observed upon the wisdom of appointing a certain stated period to be, as often as
* See Letters on the Elementary Principles of Education, vol. ii. letter 3.
it returns, appropriated to the special service of God. I have shewn that from the nature of the human mind it is impossible without such assistance to preserve the spirit of devotion in the soul. You cannot as yet be supposed capable of entering into the force of all the arguments there employed; but you may so far comprehend the scope and meaning of them as to be sensible that, as our attention is necessarily engaged by our present occupations, they will, whether they be those of business or of pleasure, lead our thoughts from God. To keep alive upon our hearts a sense of his divine presence, we must therefore be often obliged forcibly to recall our minds from other objects. But, alas ! without Divine assistance, how seldom would this have been accomplished ! God there. fore from the beginning of the world
appointed the seventh day as a day of remembrance, a day to be separated and set apart from the common purposes of life, and appropriated to the particular consideration of the duties we owe to Him who is the maker and governor of all things. No law which tended to the moral improvement of man was ever abrogated by him who appointed it. We accordingly find, that this law, which was given to Adam in a state of innocence, was again solemnly repeated by the voice which issued from the thick cloud that covered Sinai.
" 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, nor thy man-servant, “ nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cat