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to. I have, in my house, regular prayers, morning and evening, throughout the year. I never omit attending the house of God with my wife, children, and servants, twice on every Sabbath, except prevented by severe illness; and invariably on foot.
“On returning home, after each service, it has been my custom for the last twenty years to read studiously the chapter whence the text has been taken ; and afterwards to ponder over in my mind the sermon I have heard ; noting down in my Bible every discourse I hear; the text verse, the name of the clergyman, the church in which he officiated, and the day of the month.
On no account do I ever take up a newspaper on the Sabbath-day, or peruse any book or publication that has not a religious tendency. After studying, in a prayerful spirit, portions of the Holy Scriptures, I fill up the intervals with works of piety, -in reading a sermon to my wife, children, and servants, and in explaining to them a portion of the word of God.”
“ And in putting out your fires, of course, and not 'gathering sticks,'” responded Mr. Stately, ironically, after the custom of the Israelites of old.”
“The putting out of our fires does not appear to be required, he answered, under the Christian dispensation; and in our bleak northern climate, as compared with the sunny land of Judea. Jehovah has graciously declared, tható mercy rejoiceth against judgment,' with the intention, in His deep compassion, of meeting our necessities. But this I can assure you of, that I make as little use of a fire as possible, in the way of cooking : as I never have a hot dinner on Sundays under any circumstances vi hatever. I need not, therefore, inform you, my dear sir, that I never receive company on that day, nor do I ever pay a visit. Indeed, I cannot but consider the frequent dinner
parties given on the Sabbath day by the great and the wealthy, whose time is at their own disposal during the whole of the week, to be such a wanton desecration of the sacred Ordinance, and provocation of God's righteous anger, as He will awfully judge and condemn at the last Great Day."
“ As a layman," said the magistrate, your opinion cannot certainly be considered a professional one; and, however much I may qualify the reception of it cum grano salis, I give you the fullest credit, as also to our clerical friend, for honesty of sentiment, and sincerity of belief.
“I feel inclined, however,” he continued, addressing Mr. Gracelove, “ to put the following question to you, as regards what I should call your hypercritical strictness in observing the Sabbath; and in equally requiring it to be observed by others. Would you not admit of the slightest qualification as respects the different classes of society ? Would you make no distinction between the rich and the poor,-between the varying degrees of knowledge, of power, and of opportunity,-between leisure and labour ?”
* I can admit but of one qualification,” replied his opponent,“ and that is of Scripture itself; which I dare not 'add unto,' nor' take away from the words of the Book;' and Scripture thus declares—' For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required. *That servant, which knew his Lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes.' *
“ I have no hesitation in asserting that the rich, as well as all persons whose time is at their own disposal, have many more and heavier responsibilities attaching to them than those which fall upon the poor. While, therefore, a solemn obligation is laid upon the former to worship their Maker in His sanctuary twice on the Sabbath-day, the latter, who are closely confined to laborious occupations during the six working days, and often in a foul atmosphere, will be graciously justified, we are taught to believe, should they attend a place of worship but once ; if, during the after portions of the Lord's Day, while enjoying fresh air and exercise, and innocent recreation, they act in conformity with its holy solemnities.
* Luke xii. 47, 48.
“ The Redeemer of the world hath said, in his saving grace and compassion, as I have before observed,
" I will have mercy and not sacrifice.' *
" It deeply concerns every one, therefore, to search faithfully his own heart, according to the knowledge bestowed upon him; and not to give to the world what is due unto his Lord; and this, as he values his own everlasting welfare :that while he renders 'unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsar's,' he be careful to render unto God the things that are God's.'"'t
Exactly so," answered the special pleader. “But what those things' are is the very point of controversy between us; and with our dissentient opinions on the subject, would occupy our attention till this time to·morrow in the further consideraton of it." "' Search the Scriptures,'” answered Mr. Gracelove.
But," observed the man of fashion, anxious to escape from further discussion, and adroitly to shelter his incompetency to reply under a pretended gallantry towards the ladies, “ I think it is high time we had compassion on our fair friends around us, and unlock their mute tongues, which have been silent for the last hour and a-half, while we have monopolized the whole of the conversation." “ I quite think so too,” exclaimed Mrs. Stately, delighted to * Matt. ix, 13, and xii. 7.
+ Matt. xxii. 21.
regain once more the use of speech," and I beg you gentlemen will never again charge our sex with being unable to hold our tongues on a proper occasion."
“ Such a charge, I am quite sure,” said our host, with a smile," can never be made against the female portion of the present party, who have evinced a degree of self-denial worthy of all imitation when circumstances call for its exercise."
After a few humorous sallies between the two sexes, the lady of the mansion proposed they should adjourn to the drawingroom, to which they were at once accompanied by the gentle
After partaking of coffee, Mr. Gracelove wishing to set a good example to his fashionable neighbours, and still further to improve the opportunity, requested his reverend friend to give them an exposition from the Bible. He had previously ascertained from Mr. Stately that he did not object to it; having thought it a wiser course to obtain that gentleman's acquiescence by the courtesy of suggesting his own feelings on the subject and those of the rest of the party than to force this religious exercise upon him unexpectedly and unwillingly, which in that case would have done more harm than good.
With a thankful spirit that no obstacle was thrown in the way of this little social family worship, Mr. Davies took up the Bible, and expounded from that most striking and affecting text, in Ezekiel xxxiii. 11, so wonderfully condescending in the compassionate appeal therein made to the sinful human heart, by the Great Author of our being :-" As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked ; but that the wicked turn from his way and live : turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, 0 house of Israel ?”
The exposition, which the too great length of this chapter forbids our dilating upon, was a discourse in which the pure evangelical doctrine of Christ crucified shone forth in its full lustre. After this, the following most touching and beautiful hymn was sung at the piano by the youthful Laura, as each verse was given out by Mr. Davies, and in which most of the party joined. The whole concluded with a short prayer, when the various guests returned to their respective homes.
“Sinners, turn, why will ye die?
with Himself to live;
Sinners, turn, why will ye die?
Sinners, turn, why will ye die ?