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THIS little instrument, remarkable for its
curious twist, has been at work again. A
small portion of the collective wisdom of
the nation has affirmed the principle that
there must be no collection or delivery of
posted letters on a Sunday. The principle
was discussed by something less than a fourth
of the House of Commons, and affirmed by
something less than a seventh.

Having no doubt whatever, that this brilliant
victory is, in effect, the affirmation of the
principle that there ought to be No Anything
but churches and chapels on a Sunday; or,
that it is the beginning of a Sabbatarian
Crusade, outrageous to the spirit of
Christianity, irreconcileable with the health, the
rational enjoyments, and the true religious
feeling, of the community; and certain to
result, if successful, in a violent re-action,
threatening contempt and hatred of that
seventh day which it is a great religious
and social object to maintain in the popular
affection; it would ill become us to be
deterred from speaking out upon the subject,
by any fear of being misunderstood, or by any
certainty of being misrepresented.

Confident in the sense of the country, and
not unacquainted with the habits and
exigencies of the people, we approach the Sunday
question, quite undiscomposed by the late
storm of mad mis-statement and all
uncharitableness, which cleared the way for Lord
Ashley's motion. The preparation may be
likened to that which is usually described in
the case of the Egyptian Sorcerer and the
boy who has some dark liquid poured into
the palm of his hand, which is presently to
become a magic mirror. " Look for Lord
Ashley. What do you see?" "Oh, here's
some one with a broom! " "Well! what is
he doing?" "Oh, he's sweeping away Mr.
Rowland Hill! Now, there is a great crowd
of people all sweeping Mr. Rowland Hill away;
and now, there is a red flag with Intolerance
on it; and now, they are pitching a great
many Tents called Meetings. Now, the tents
are all upset, and Mr. Rowland Hill has swept
everybody else away. And oh! now, here's
Lord Ashley, with a Resolution in his hand!"

One Christian sentence is all-sufficient with
us, on the theological part of this subject.

"The Sabbath was made for man, and not
man for the Sabbath." No amount of
signatures to petitions can ever sign away the
meaning of those words; no end of volumes
of Hansard's Parliamentary Debates can ever
affect them in the least. Move and carry
resolutions, bring in bills, have committees,
upstairs, downstairs, and in my lady's chamber;
read a first time, read a second time, read a
third time, read thirty thousand times; the
declared authority of the Christian dispensation
over the letter of the Jewish Law,
particularly in this especial instance, cannot be
petitioned, resolved, read, or committee'd away.

It is important in such a case as this
affirmation of a principle, to know what
amount of practical sense and logic entered
into its assertion. We will inquire.

Lord Ashley (who has done much good, and
whom we mention with every sentiment of
sincere respect, though we believe him to be
most mischievously deluded on this question,)
speaks of the people employed in the Country
Post-Offices on Sunday, as though they were
continually at work, all the livelong day.
He asks whether they are to be " a Pariah
race, excluded from the enjoyments of the
rest of the community? " He presents to
our mind's eye, rows of Post-Office clerks,
sitting, with dishevelled hair and dirty linen,
behind small shutters, all Sunday long, keeping
time with their sighs to the ringing of the
church bells, and watering bushels of letters,
incessantly passing through their hands, with
their tears. Is this exactly the reality? The
Upas tree is a figure of speech almost as
ancient as our lachrymose friend the Pariah,
in whom most of us recognise a respectable old
acquaintance. Supposing we were to take it
into our heads to declare in these Household
Words, that every Post-Office clerk employed
on Sunday in the country, is compelled to sit
under his own particular sprig of Upas,
planted in a flower-pot beside him for the
express purpose of blighting him with its
baneful shade, should we be much more
beyond the mark than Lord Ashley himself?
Did any of our readers ever happen to post
letters in the Country on a Sunday? Did
they ever see a notice outside a provincial
Post-Office, to the effect that the presiding
Pariah would be in attendance at such an
hour on Sunday, and not before? Did they