(The Penny Sunday Reader no. 150 Vol. 6, November 12th 1837)
IF you have any concern about futurity, I beg your attention to the following lines, hoping that God, who delighteth to bless the children of men, will bless them to your souls.
It is a melancholy consideration, that the observance of the Lord's Day is so much neglected by rich and poor, young and old; and even those who pay some regard to it, seldom go to public worship more than once; and that more from custom and reputation, than concern for their eternal welfare. But I pray you to reflect, that the design of setting apart one day in seven is, that you may have more leisure to apply to God, as sinners, for pardon and forgiveness, for grace and strength, and every blessing. But how can you hope or expect God's mercy and blessing, if you openly profane his sabbaths? Many people, alas! are so infatuated and wicked, as to spend the whole or great part of the day in business or pleasure, in visiting their neighbours, in frequenting taverns, or in buying and selling, or gaming, against all laws human and divine. How often do we read of boats oversetting; many people in liquor falling off their horses, and out of carriages, and killed on the spot, owing to taking pleasure on Sundays? Now, such things ought to be a warning to others! And have you, my friends, been taking your pleasure on Sunday, and are you still alive? Has not God yet stopped you by an untimely death? Be thankful for this exceeding mercy: and immediately resolve never more to trifle away this precious day, but improve every hour to make provision for eternity. If your time is spent the rest of the week in hard labour for yourselves and families, which will shortly perish, surely you have need to spend one day in the week for the benefit of your souls, which will never die. If you have children and servants, you are bound to instruct them, and know that they attend some place of worship, and allow them time to wait upon God in public and private. But, alas! there is so much unnecessary visiting on a Sunday, that it is seldom the poor servants can have time to attend their religious duties.
If you are servants who peruse this, make a conscience of observing the Sabbath as much as you can, (and value those places where you have the blessed privilege of keeping your Sabbaths holy,) and God will bless your good intentions; but nevertheless your masters and mistresses who hinder you, will have much to answer for.
If people pay and receive visits to indulge their appetites, pamper their bodies, or pass away an idle hour, they render their minds unfit for prayer, and attention to God's word and ministers; if they walk out to be seen and admired, or for any vain amusement, 'tis plain they are lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God, and consequently are at enmity with Him, and He with them. If you thus trifle away your sabbaths, and have little or no concern for your souls, whatever you do, and wherever you go, you are in danger of death, and consequently of eternal misery. Let me entreat you to wait upon God, and begin, if you have not begun, to make sure of Heaven; apply to God for mercy and forgiveness. Life is uncertain, to-morrow may be too late; before that time you may be summoned away unprepared to an eternity of misery and woe. This is a fresh message from God, that you should " repent and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out." Dare no longer to trifle with your souls; but wrestle with God in public and private prayer, till the merits of Christ are applied to you by faith, and a change wrought in your hearts and lives; and then, instead of spending your sabbaths in idleness and pleasure, you will find delight in devoting them to God. If you are by any means hindered from attending public worship, be more in private with God, and he will abundantly bless you. For he doth not despise your sincere though but faint beginnings, but waiteth to be gracious to the fallen sons of men, that they should not perish, but have everlasting life.
From J. G. M.'s Collectanea.