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tival has been delivered down to us by our ancestors. Various places of amusement for the Sunday evening, unknown to former ages, unknown, I believe, to any other Christian country, have been openly announced, and to the disgrace of our religion and our laws, have been as openly frequented*.

But how can we wonder at these strange extravagancies in the lower classes of the people, when they only improve a little on the liberties taken by too many of their superiors? If they see magnificent gaming-houses erected and publicly resorted to on the Lord's Day; if they see that pernicious amusement admitted on the same day even into private families; if they see numerous and splendid assemblies disturbing the re


* Since this was written, the wisdom of the legislature has, by an express Act of Parliament, effectually suppressed these nuisances; some of which, from the best and most authentic information, I have reason to believe were nurseries of popery, infidelity, and vice. It is to be hoped, that the same high authority will, at a proper time, proceed to the correction of various other abuses, that still infringe, in a flagrant degree, the rest and the devotion of the Lord's Day, but which it was thought not prudent to include in the above-mentioned Act.

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pose, and violating the sanctity of the Sunday evening, what do we think must be the consequence? Is it not apparent that they will learn from their betters the fatal lesson of insulting the most venerable customs of their country, and the most sacred ordinances of Heaven? that they will soon even excel their masters, and carry their contempt of decency far beyond the original examples of it, which made the first impression on their minds?

But apart from these consequences, which are already but too visible, it behoves every man who indulges himself in any unwarrantable freedoms on the Lord's Day, to consider very seriously, "what spirit he is of," and what the turn of mind must be from whence such conduct springs. If, after having spent six days out of seven in a constant round of amusements, he cannot exist without them even on the seventh, it is high time for him to look to his own heart, to check his greedy appetite for pleasure, and to put himself, without delay, under the direction of higher and better principles. If we cannot give up these follies one day in the week, how shall we bring

bring ourselves to part with them, as at last we must, for ever? Would it not be infinitely more wise and prudent to disentangle ourselves from them by degrees, and to try whether it is not possible to acquire a relish for worthier enjoyments? To assist us in this most useful work, and to put this world, and all its frivolous pursuits, for a few moments out of our thoughts, was one great purpose of the Christian Sabbath; and it is a purpose for which we of the present times ought to be peculiarly thankful. For a day of rest from diversions is now become as necessary to one part of the world, as a day of rest from labour is to the other. Let us then give ourselves a little respite, a little refreshment from the fatigue of pleasure. Let us not suffer diversions of any kind, much less of a suspicious and a dangerous kind, to intrude on that small portion of time which God hath appropriated to himself. The whole of it is barely sufficient for the important uses to which it is destined, and to defraud our Maker of any considerable part of it is a species of sacrilege.

But how then (you will say) shall we fill all those dull, tedious hours, that are not



spent in the public service of the church? How shall we prevent that almost irresistible languor and heaviness which are so apt to take possession of our minds, for want of our usual diversions and occupations on this day?

Surely it can require no great stretch of invention or ingenuity to find out means of employing our vacant time, both innocently and agreeably. Besides the society and conversation of our friends, from which we are by no means precluded, might we not for a few hours find amusement in contemplating the wisdom, the power, the goodness of God in the works of his creation? And might we not draw entertainment, as well as improvement, from some of the sublimer parts of that sacred volume which contains "the words of eternal life," and with which therefore it surely concerns us to have some little acquaintance?

Or, if more active recreations are required, what think you of that which you may make as active as you please, and which was in fact the supreme delight of our divine Master, the recreation of doing good? If, for instance, it be at all necessary (and when



was it ever more necessary?) to instil into the minds of your children sound principles of virtue and religion; if you have any plans of benevolence to form, any acts of kindness or compassion to execute; if you have committed injuries which ought to be repaired; if have received injuries which ought to be forgiven; if friends or relations are at variance, whom by a reasonable interposition it would be easy to reconcile; if those. you most esteem and love stand in need of advice, of reproof, of assistance, of support; if any occasions, in short, present themselves of convincing the unbeliever, of reclaiming the sinner, of saving the unexperienced, of instructing the ignorant, of encouraging the penitent, of soothing the afflicted, of protecting the oppressed; how can you more profitably, or more delightfully, employ your Sunday leisure, than in the performance of such duties as these; in demonstrating your piety and gratitude to God, by diffusing joy and comfort to every part you can reach of that creation, which was the work of his hands, and from which he rested on the seventh day?


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