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of domestic or social intercourse, does their con'versation manifest the subject of which their hearts
are full ? Do their language and demeanour shew ' them to be more than commonly gentle, kind, ‘ and friendly, free from rough and irritating passions ?
'Surely an entire day should not seem long ' amidst these various employments. It will be
deemed a privilege thus to spend it, in the more ' immediate presence of our heavenly Father, in *the exercises of humble admiration and grateful homage, of the benevolent, and domestic, and social feelings, and of all the best affections of our nature, prompted by their true motives, conversant about their proper objects, and directed to their noblest end ;' all sorrow mitigated, all cares ' suspended, all fears repressed, every angry emotion softened, every envious or revengeful or malignant passion expelled; and the bosom, thus quieted, purified, enlarged, ennobled, partaking almost of a measure of the heavenly happiness, ‘and become for a while the seat of love, and joy, - and confidence and harmony.
· The nature, and uses, and proper employments • of a Christian sabbath, have been pointed out 'more particularly, not only because the day will • be found, when thus employed, eminently con
ducive, through the divine blessing, to the main‘tenance of the religious principle in activity and vigour ; but also because we must all have had occasion often to remark, that many persons of ' the graver and more decent sort, seem not sel
dom to be nearly destitute of religious resources. “The Sunday, is with them, to say the best of it, a
heavy day; and that larger part of it, which is 'not claimed by public offices of the church, 'dully draws on in comfortless vacuity; or without
improvement is trified away in vain, unprofitable ' discourse. Not to speak of those who by their more daring profanation of this sacred season, openly violate the laws and insult the religion of ' their country, how little do many seem to enter ‘into the spirit of the institution, who are not wholly inattentive to its exterior decorums ! How glad are they to qualify the rigour of their reli‘gious labours ! How hardly do they plead against
being compelled to devote the whole of the day ' to religion, claiming to themselves no small merit ' for giving up to it a part, and purchasing therefore, as they hope, a right to spend the remainder of the day more agreeably! How dexterously do they avail themselves of any plausible plea for • introducing some week-day employment into the 'Sunday, whilst they have not the same propensity * to introduce, any of the Sunday's peculiar em
ployments into the rest of the week! How often 'do they find excuses for taking journeys, writing
letters, balancing accounts, or, in short, doing * something which by a little management might probably have been anticipated, or which without
any material inconvenience, might be postponed ! • Even business itself is recreation compared with
religion, and from the drudgery of this day of * Sacred Rest, they fly for relief to their ordinary * occupations.
· Others again, who would consider business as a profanation, and who still hold out against the 'encroachments of the card-table, get over much
A DISCOURSE UPON REPENTANCE.
of the day, and gladly seek for an innocent resource in the social circle or in family visits, ' where it is not even pretended that the con'versation turns on such topics as might render 'it in any way conducive to religious instruction
or improvement. Their families meanwhile, are neglected, their servants robbed of Christian privileges, and their example quoted by others who ' cannot see that they are themselves less religious‘ly employed, while playing an innocent game of ' cards, or relaxing in the concert room.
* But all these several artifices, whatever they may be, to unhallow the Sunday and to change its character, (it might be almost said “ to relax its ' horrors,") prove but too plainly, however we may be glad to take refuge in religion, when driven to it by the loss of every other comfort, and to re'tain, as it were a reversionary interest in an asy' lum which may receive us when we are forced · from the transitory enjoyments of our present state, that in itself it wears to us a gloomy and forbidding aspect, and not a face of consolation ' and joy ; that the worship of God is with us a con
strained, and not a willing service, which we are 'glad therefore to abridge, though we dare not omit it.'
GROWTH IN GRACE.
GROW IN GRACE, AND IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST.
2 PET. iii. 18.
The substance of this discourse was at first published, as an occasional sermon, in 1787 : and, though the author has bestowed some pains to give it the form of a treatise, he is aware that he has in a measure failed in the attempt, and that the style and manner of a sermon still predominate. But, whatever be the form, he most cordially, after many years, sets his seal to the instruction : and he has neither health, spirits, nor leisure to new model it.
Aston Sandford, Feb. 9, 1811.