Page images
PDF
EPUB

received. If he is in poverty, and that friend has neither silver nor gold to bestow, he perhaps may spare him a little of his Sunday's meal; or if not, he may at least speak comfort to his soul. He may tell him what he has just heard of Him who for our sakes became poor; who suffered more than ever man did; and who calls us to take up the cross, and follow him through the sorrows of this life to the everlasting happiness of the next. Those who have children should spend some part of the day in teaching them their duty, and should gladly accept every assistance that is offered by the Clergy, or by Sunday Schools.

Those who have performed these duties to the best of their power will sit down with double pleasure to their cheerful meal, and bless God for it with a joyful heart. If there be service in the afternoon, they will not need any exhortation to go there, for it will be their delight. In the evenings, I would recommend, what is practised in some places, that there should be a friendly society of those who fear God; who may meet together, in order that some one of them may read the Bible, or some good book, to the rest ; that those who cannot read themselves may have the comfort of

hearing the Word of God, and spending the evening like Christians.*

This will promote friendship, and unite good people to each other : they will enjoy cheerful and innocent conversation, and learn to love each other as CHRIST has loved them. Such, my Christian friends, should be the employment, such should be the pleasures of the Lord's day. When you spend it thus, it will be unnecessary that I should remind you to thank God for such blessings before you sleep. Your evening song will be a song of thanksgiving. At peace with all the world, and

, with your heavenly Father, retire to rest ; and

; rise refreshed, and ready to do your duty in that state of life to which God has called

you. Then

go

forth to your six days labour, joyful, and glad of heart; hoping for the blessing of God on your honest industry, and looking forward to the return of this happy day, when we may again enter into the courts of the LORD, and meet in the house of God as friends. This happy day, which brings rest to the weary, instruction to the ignorant, and comfort to the afflicted. This happy day, when every good man on earth is called to join with the angels in heaven, in singing “ Hallelujah, for the LORD God omnipotent reigneth.”? Glory, and honour, and thanksgiving, and praise, be unto Him, for ever and ever. Amen.

* See the Bishop of Durham's Charge, in the year 1797, page 25.—See also a very interesting account of the Friendly Society at Winston, in the Reports of the Society for bettering the condition of the Poor, vol. ii. p. 82.

[ocr errors]

SERMON VII.

ST. LUKE xxii. 15.

And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat

this Passover with you before I suffer.

I

PROCEED now to consider the principal

festivals and fasts which our church has appointed to be kept holy, and to point out the duties required of us on those sacred days. The example of our LORD, as well as the command of his Apostles, and of their successors in the government of his church, binds us to perform these duties. We are told several times in the gospel, that our blessed Saviour kept the solemn feasts of the Jewish church; and it appears from the chapter of which my text is a part, that, on

G

the same night as he was betrayed, he celebrated the great feast of the Passover with his disciples. The necessity of these duties is so generally allowed by all Christians, that I will not detain you longer on that subject, but proceed to explain the meaning of the chief festivals of our church, and the manner in which they ought to be observed.

The birth-day of Christ, commonly called Christmas-day, has been always observed by his disciples with gratitude and joy. His birth was the greatest blessing ever bestowed on mankind. The angels from Heaven celebrated it with a joyful hymn; and every man who has any feeling of his own lost state without a Redeemer must rejoice and be glad in it. On this great day he will lay aside all worldly business, he will appear in the presence of God, and he will not fail to receive that holy sacrament, by which we partake of the benefits of our Redeemer's birth and death. He will rejoice from his heart, and call his neighbours and friends to rejoice with him. Christmas has been always considered as a season of joy, of friendship, of hospitality, of charity; as such it always ought to be considered. We should express our love and good-will to each

« PreviousContinue »