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forty-four minutes. As the moon receives her light from the sun, her position relatively to that luminary and the earth, gives rise to her phases, and the synodic month of twenty-nine days, twelve hours, forty-four minutes, must be the month regulating the recurrence of new and full moons. The origin of the division of time into weeks, is thus referred, by this very learned writer, to two distinct periods of time, differing very nearly two days and a fourth in one month, and neither of which divides by seven without a remainder, which, in a few revolutions, would have completely deranged the whole system
Let us look a little deeper into this cunning artifice, by which we are to be deluded from our faith in a Sabbath. Let us try the first hypothesis, that the divisibility of the sidereal (lunar) month into four periods, of seven days each, gave rise to the division of time into weeks. The sidereal (lunar) month was not twenty-eight days; it lacked sixteen and a quarter hours of it. Now, suppose the Sabæ had noted the conjunction of a new moon with a particular star, at its first appearance on Monday evening, just after sunset. If the sidereal month were twenty-eight days, the next conjunction would have occurred on the same evening, and at the same hour; but no, it occurs sixteen and a quarter hours sooner: and hence, supposing his first observation to have been made at six o'clock, and the day to have commenced in the evening, as it anciently did, this conjunetion would have occurred in the morning of Sunday, four and a quarter hours before sunrise.* The second conjunction would fave fallen back sixteer. and a quarter hours more, and would have occurred on Saturday, about two and a half hours before our noon, or nine and a half o'clock A. M., (and so on through the whole round of days.) Let us suppose that these observations were made with the view of finding out some sub-division of the sidereal month, by which the religious festivals could be regulated so as to have them to commence and recur regularly with the conjunction of the moon with the star. Let the reader remember that we are trying an hypothesis, not an historical fact; but an hypothesis by which the origin of weeks of seven days is accounted for, upon the principle that the sidereal month is divisible by seven. In order to test the probability of this hypothesis, we must imagine ourselves in the place of the Sabæ. We must imagine ourselves without any number of days fixed upon as our divisor, but, with the knowledge that the sidereal
* We need not advise the reader, that in writing for the popular mind, we do not, in cases taken for the sake of illustration simply, enter into exact computations, or stop to express ourselves in the terms of ancient chronology. month is twenty-seven days seven hours, searching, for the first time, for the numbers that will most nearly divide this period with. out a remainder. Need we say, that if the principle of divisibility were the only determining influence, that the merest tyro in arith. metic would have selected three and nine, instead of four and seven, as the numbers by which the number of weeks, and the days in each week, should be determined! Is it not evident, then, that this could not have been the origin of septenary divisions of time. This explanation appears unsatisfactory, not only from the fact that the sidereal lunar month is not as nearly divisible by seven as by nine; but also, from the consideration that there is no fixed connection between the visible changes of the moon and her sidereal period, that could be taken as the ground of such a division; and if we sup. pose, as our learned author does, that their lunar changes were the occasions of these periodical observances, is it not absurd to say, that the period of a sidereal month, which had no visible or chronological connection with these changes whatever, was, neverthe. less, taken as the period for their determination! May we not say of the learned author, as he has said of the Encyclopedia Britannica, "He ought to have been better informed” than to have jumbled to. gether explanations so heterogenious, as the two he has given !
Discarding, then, as not only unsatisfactory, but upon every principle of nature and of reason, as absolutely absurd, the first hypothesis, let us look a little into the second. But do not let me, by treating the author's explanations as two hypotheses, mislead the reader into the impression that he has himself thus propounded them. By no means. He gives them as in fact one and the same, without appearing to see the difference, or the incongruity of the two methods, as I have shown them to be. It ought to be noted, that the sidereal (lunar) month had nothing to do with the practical relations of ancient life, and never was employed in connection with the religious ceremonies of the people, and, indeed, could not have been particularly noted till astronomy had advanced to some degree of refinement. On these accounts, it is still further evident, that it could not have been the origin of the septenary division of time. The lunar festivals, how. ever, appear to have been of very ancient origin, and a bold assertion that they gave rise to the hebdomadal arrangement, is calcultted, at first hearing, to produce some little confidence, especially with those who are uninformed with respect to these ancient customs. To give our refutation of this more plausible hypothesis the greater prominence, we shall affirm, without any qualification what. ever, that the lunar festivals never had, and in the very nature of things could not have, any connection with the septenary division of time. It was, and is astronomically and arithmetically impossible; as astronomically impossible as to change the periods of the moon's phases, and as arithmetically impossible as to divide 29d. 12h. 44m. into 4 periods of 7 days each without a remainder! Let us consider the case for a moment, my respected reader, and if you have read the learned article in the Westminster Review, and felt your senses bewildered, by the ugly looking symbols of eastern languages, and your faith confused, amidst the rubbish of Egyptian or Indian astrology, come along with me into the open moonlight, and let us look upon her face, the same face that the Pharaoh's saw, that Moses saw, that shone upon our first parents in the garden of Eden. Let us ask her if she gave to religion, to the priest, the astronomer, or the astrologer, the division of weeks. If we watch her patiently, she will tell us no; she has no concern with days nor weeks; she rises and sets upon all hours, and changes upon all days. The period of her revolution is 29d. 12h. 44m., and if she begins her course anew on Monday this month, she must, of necessity, begin it Tuesday the next month, on Thursday the month after, &c. Changing her day of new moon, with each revolution, by a regress of one day and a half, and, of course, fluctuating in all her other phases by the same rate. If the Sabbath day, then, was every seventh day, is it not evident that it could not have been the period of the lunar festivals, since, even admitting there were four of these every synodic month, they could not have occurred at intervals of seven days, or on these Sabbath days, even for a single revolution, without an error of one whole day and a half! It is worse than fanciful, it is ignorant, or wicked, to assign such a cause as this for the origin of the hebdomadal division of weeks.
But it is conjectured that these errors were corrected by reckoning the weeks, “not as seven days of precisely 24 hours each, but seven days of more or less sun- h-light.” But this does not help the matter, for, at the end of the first revolution, supposing it to have com menced with the beginning of Monday at sunset, we should have the new moon appearing during no part of Monday, neither in the day, light nor the darkness—but on Tuesday morning about sunrise, and at the end of the second month, it would leap one entire day (Wednesday) and appear shortly after sunset, in the beginning of Thursday! Thus, in the short period of two revolutions, the moon-day, or Monday, as determined by new moon, would become Thursday as determined by weeks! Yet, to make it answer the lunar festivals, Monday of the week and moon-day, or the day of new moon, must be kept synchronous, indentical in monthly recurrence. This, even allowing the conjecture of our author, which is purely fanciful, could not be done for a single month, and the error would be constantly cumulative. Is it not singular, that one who has undertaken so unwelcome a task as to shake our confidence in the long cherished articles of our faith, should have given himself so much trouble to support a conjecture, which is without the shadow of foundation in history, which is unphilosophic in its nature, and which, when conceded in its fullest latitude, does not answer the purpose for which it is employed! Such are the lame and miserable shifts to which they are compelled to resort, who would attack the wisdom and the truth of the sacred writings! They are unworthy of a clear head, or an educated mind; and they can only emanate from a bad heart, a heart unreconciled to the revealed will of Jehovah, and in search of excuses for its willful rejection of that which addresses itself, with convincing potency, to our moral nature not only as true but worthy of all acceptation.
But we must, for the present, draw our remarks, on this subject, to a close. We have not, however, done with it, but will resume our comments in another number.
W. K. P.
THE BLESSEDNESS OF AFFLICTION AND THE HOPE
OF THE MOURNER.
“ Before I was afflicted I went astray; but now have I kept thy word." Ps. cxix. 67. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath begotten us again unto a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." Peter, i. 3.
Brother Campbell: Will you permit me to submit to you, and the readers of the Harbinger, a few thoughts which have been pressed upon me by the circumstances which surround me. I have been made to pass through a most severe trial, this fall, in the death of my companion and only child, a son of nine months old-a notice of whose death I should have sent you, had I not felt that my sorrow was too much my own—too sacred to be shared with others. Seeing that all are partakers of the afflictions to which our present sinful state subjects us, me may, also, share in common the les. son they teach. One of the most precious promises of our holy religion is, “ That all things shall be made to work together for good, to those who love God; to them who are the called, according to his purpose.” It is, truly, a most joyous privilege to feel that we are prepared to make even the afflictions of this changeful life, wbich would otherwise be more than we are "able to bear," contribute to our own good. Such, truly, will be
SERIES IV.-VOL. I.
the case when, as they did David, they make us to “keep thy word.” It is, then, that we can say, with Paul, that though "no affliction, for the present, is joyous, but grievous; nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruits of righteousness to them who are exercised thereby.', Before we can feel how “frail we are," or truly appreciate the world, its vanity and emptiness, it is necessary that we take a few lessons in this high school of experience. Not until we have tasted of its bitter fruits are we prepared to realize how hateful a thing is sin; how entirely it embitters the cup of earthly bliss, turning all its pure waters into gaul and wormwood.
To the christian truly is it good to be afflicted. It softens his spirit, calms his passions, subdues his soul, and gives to him a cheerful resignation to the ways of providence. With David, the sweet psalmist of Israel, he can say:
“Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast eaused me to hope. This is iny comfort in my afflictions; for thy word hath quickened me. Thou art my portion, O Lord: I have said that I would keep thy word: I have entreated thy favor with my whole heart: be merciful, unto me, according to thy word. I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies. I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments: I kuow, O Lord, that thy judgments are rightepus, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me. Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort: according to thy word, unto thy servant. Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live; for thy law is my delight. Unless thy law had been my delight, I should then have perished in my afflictions. I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me. I am thine: save me, for I have sought thy precepts."
But“ tribulation worketh patience, and patience experience, and experience hope, and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost which was given unto us," so that the “ blessedness of affliction and the hope of the mourner” are inseperably united, and we are permitted to look through the means to the end, to Him who has given us “strong consolation” and “everlasting comfort," which is as an anchor to the soul, both sure and stedfast.” Without the hope of the gospel, the sorrows of this life would be altogether insufferable; but now we are able to look beyond the “cross to the crown," and the pain of separation is alleviated by the blissful anticipation of re-union in
6. The land where no sorrow nor sadness
'Tis the Canaan above, 'tis the land of the blest.” Through faith in Christ death is spoiled of its sting, and the grave of its victory. Blessed be his holy name forever. Amen. Yours, in the bonds of affliction,
C. M'DOUGALL. MT. Rock, Pa., December 4th, 1850.