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THE NATIONAL CONSECRATION OF THE SABBATH.
Or all our privileges, the distinction of this sacred day is the most important in a political view. It involves not merely our character, but our existence, as a great nation. On this day the soul is recruited from the fountain of spiritual life; all things appear to disclose their beginnings, and remount to the First Great Cause; the poor are lifted out of the mire, to be set among princes; the Lord reigneth in special majesty, and, to the multitude of the Isles, it is a day of gladness; righteousness looketh down from heaven, and on this blessed day Jehovah speaketh peace unto his people, and to his saints. Great day of gifts and graces! in which the wanderer is invited back to his paternal home; and the child of disobedience is reminded of his debt of love; his roving heart is silently reclaimed, and with gentle force arrested and constrained; his hopes and fears are directed to their proper centre; wrath and emulation, and the strife of tongues, are commanded to be still; with the returns of sacred service
fresh impulses of gratitude are imparted; new channels of thought are opened; men come before each other with improved appearance, and an increase of mutual respect; the noise of rustic labour and the din of the anvil are suspended; the shops and marts pour forth a comparatively peaceful population; cleanliness. brightens the countenance, and the sweat is wiped from the brow; such, in short, is the value of this day to man, that his great spiritual enemy has no shorter way of compassing his ends against his soul and body, than by persuading him to give ear to those unsanctified arguments, which would diminish ought of the sacred rest, and solemn dedication of the Sabbath of the Lord.
This day is the nursling of the Church of England; she hides it in her bosom, and hushes it to repose. She will give it into the hands, neither of the Jew, the Papist, nor the Puritan, still less will she cast it upon the world, to be baptized and nurtured in its temporizing principles and lax observances. The ordinance of the Sabbath is with her as fixed as the firmament. She enjoins on this day the "mirth of the tabret to cease," and the roll of idle vehicles, and all commotion, whether of business or pleasure, to be suspended, that wearied nature may have lei
sure to listen to its great Author. While she throws aside all burdensome rites, she tells us in her Homilies, that "whatsoever is found in this commandment (to keep the Sabbath day holy,) appertaining to the law of nature, as a thing most godly, most just, and needful to God's glory, ought to be retained and kept of all good Christian people. Therefore, by this commandment, we ought to have a time, as one day in the week, wherein we ought to rest, yea, from our lawful and needful works;" and again, "God's obedient children should use the Sunday holily, and rest from their common and daily business, and also give themselves wholly to heavenly exercises of God's true religion and service."
Thus our excellent Church dictates to her congregations the lessons of conservative wisdom. After the public offices of religion are ended, she makes each private house a sanctuary, placing the children and servants around their natural instructors in devout communion; or suggests to the exercised Christian the subjects of devout meditation. We trust, that though the tides of business and amusement sometimes threaten her with destruction, her sanctuary, with its awful precinct, will stand till the Bridegroom comes; and that her faithful worshippers will,
in the mean time, continue to keep their morning and evening watch, and to claim with unceasing earnestness the privileges of the Sabbath, as the earliest spiritual gift to man, and the great primeval pledge of his affiliation and obedience.
THE DEPORTMENT OF THE CHRISTIAN GENTLEMAN IN THE WORSHIP OF GOD ON THE LORD'S DAY.
If what has been said be true of the Lord's day, great must be its claims upon the Christian gentleman. It must needs be the day which he delights to honour. It is a day so precious to him, that he rises early to enjoy it; he is desirous of losing no part of it; his intercourse with God may have been often interrupted, during the week past, by care, or business, or anxiety; limited to morning and evening prayer, and occasional aspirations. But on the Sunday his Christianity is concentrated. "Hre yag aveσis του τους απαγεί από των ανθρωπίνων ασχολημάτων τονδε οντως νουν τρέπει προς τον Θείον. The chambers of his mind are swept and garnished, to give reception to visitors from above-heavenly thoughts and blessed communications! Sunday is the Christian gentleman's court-day; the day of the levy of the King of kings; he meets it with his freshest looks, and greets it with the homage of a holy courtesy: not only do worldly occu