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desire of his favour, delight in his service, or zeal for his glory, will not complain of being required thus to hallow one day in seven, as if it were a galling yoke; but will complain of himself, if depraved nature seem weary: and he will deem it the best and most pleasant day in the week.
The general profanation of the Lord's day proves the dislike men have for religion, and the contempt they have for the authority and commandment of the Lord. Of those who pay decent respect to the day, multitudes, we allow, are formal hypocrites; and christians indeed serve God every day but shall we, on such pretences, undervalue this divine appointment? God forbid !That degree of reverence, small as it is, which is now paid to the christian sabbath, is so far a publick protestation against atheism, infidelity, and profaneness; and a profession of Christ's religion, which puts publick honour upon God and his worship. All business being by appointment suspended; servants, labourers, mechanicks, and tradesmen, that is, the bulk of mankind, have leisure and opportunity to assemble, and hear the word of God; and faith comes by hearing. Multitudes crowd the places where the word of God is preached, and many are converted. True christians being sanctified but in part, lose much of the vigour of their affections, by their unavoidable intercourse with the world; which decays are repaired, together with an increase of knowledge and grace,
by statedly and seriously hallowing the sabbath, Could we but witness the universal hallowing of the sabbath, we might reasonably hope for a proportional increase of real religion.-Were it totally neglected, profaneness, ignorance, and infidelity, we may confidently foretel, would; barbarity, tyranny, and slavery, probably might, deluge the world. Let impartial judges then determine, from this imperfect sketch, who are the best friends of mankind; they who would tolerate and vindicate the profanation of the Sabbath, or they who would enforce its strict observance.
With great satisfaction, I would add in closing this subject, the words of a celebrated writer, who has, with great effect employed his talents in the cause of practical christianity :'
'Let us appeal' (says he) to that Day which is especially devoted to the offices of religion: do they' (the bulk of nominal christians) 'joyfully avail themselves of this blessed opportunity of withdrawing from the business and cares of life, when, without being disquieted by any doubt whether they are not neglecting the duties of their proper callings, they may be allowed to 'detach their minds from earthly things, that by
fuller knowledge of heavenly objects, and a 'more habitual acquaintance with them, their ' hope may grow more "full of immortality?" Is
1 See a Practical View of Christianity, by William Wilberforce, Esq. M. P.
the day cheerfully devoted to those holy exerercises for which it was appointed? Do they 'indeed "come into the courts of God with "gladness?" and how are they employed when * not engaged in the publick services of the day? 'Are they busied in studying the word of God, in meditating on his perfections, in tracing his 'providential dispensations, in admiring his works, in revolving his mercies, (above all, the 'transcendent mercies of redeeming love,) in 'singing his praises "and speaking good of his "name?" Do their secret retirements witness the earnestness of their prayers and the warmth of 'their thanksgivings, their diligence and impartiality in the necessary work of self-examination, ' their mindfulness of the benevolent duty of inter'cession? Is the kind purpose of the institution of a Sabbath answered by them, in its being made to their servants and dependents a season ' of rest and comfort? Does the instruction of 'their families, or of the more poor and ignorant ' of their neighbours, possess its due share of their 'time? If blessed with talents or with affluence,
are they sedulously employing a part of this in'terval of leisure, in relieving the indigent, and visiting the sick, and comforting the sorrowful; in forming plans for the good of their fellow creatures; in considering how they may promote 'the temporal and spiritual benefits of their friends and acquaintance; or if their's be a larger sphere,
in devising measures whereby, through the divine blessing, they may become the honoured instru'ments of the more extended diffusion of religious truth? In the hours of domestick or social in'tercourse, does their conversation manifest the subject of which their hearts are full? Do their language and demeanour shew them to be more 'than commonly gentle, and kind, and friendly, free from rough and irritating passions?
Surely an entire day should not seem long amidst these various employments. It might well be deemed a privilege thus to spend it, in the 'more immediate presence of our heavenly Father, in the exercises of humble admiration and grate'ful homage; of the benevolent, and domestick, ' 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, en'nobled, partaking almost of a measure of the 'heavenly happiness, and become for a while the 'seat of love, and joy, and confidence, and har
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 conducive, through the divine blessing, to the mainte'nance 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 seldom 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 the publick offices of the church,' dully drawls on in comfortless vacuity; or with' out improvement is trifled away in vain and un 'profitable 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 ' rigor of their religious labours! How hardly do 'they plead against being compelled to devote the whole of the day to religion, claiming to them'selves no small merit for giving up to it a part, ' and purchasing therefore, as they hope, a right 'to spend the remainder more agreeably! How 'dexterously do they avail themselves of any plau'sible plea for introducing some week-day em'ployment into the Sunday, whilst they have not 'the same propensity to introduce any of the Sunday's peculiar employment into the rest of the