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sort of amusement on the evening of the Sunday, after the Service of the day is over, and the sacred duties of it are fulfilled. But a little consideration will, I am persuaded, convince you that this is a very unfortunate mistake. This practice is a direct violation of the express injunction of God himself; it is an infringement of that rest, which in the fourth Commandment we are enjoined to observe on the Sabbath; of that respite from toil and labour of every kind, which we are directed to give to our servants, and our cattle throughout the whole of this sacred day. Besides this, it evidently tends to efface, or at least to weaken greatly, those useful impressions which may have been made upon our minds, and upon those of our children and servants, in the offices of public worship,
or or in our private meditations and devotions; and it mingles too much of the gaieties and the pleasures of this world with those serious thoughts of another, which this day was peculiarly intended to excite and to cherish in our hearts.
"Allow me also to add, Madam, that the laws of this kingdom expressly prohibit all public diversions on the Lord's Day, and I entreat your Ladyship to consider, whether the Sunday evening concerts do not in every respect resemble a public diversion, except that they are given in a private house, instead of a Theatre, or an Opera House. This does not escape the observation of the lower orders of the people, who, when they see the crowded doors and splendid assemblies of the wealthy and the great on the Lord's Day, are apt to express (as
I happen to know from good information) much dissatisfaction and much discontent at the grating difference.
"I am aware, that in Roman Catholic countries on the Continent, both public and private amusements are permitted on the Sunday evening. But your Ladyship will, I am sure, agree with me in thinking, that is not exactly the precedent which a Protestant country ought to follow. In fact, it is well known, that for a long course of years the Church of England has been distinguished from the Church of Rome, not only by its doctrine, its discipline, and its purer mode of worship, but also by the decency, the propriety, the solemnity, with which the Christian Sabbath has been usually observed. It is a distinction, Madam, which does us honour; which is altogether worthy of the first Protestant Church in the world;
o and together, occasioning a great concourse of servants in one place, employing them at a time when they have a right to ease and rest, and producing much of that noise and tumult in the public streets, which are so opposite to the peaceful tranquillity that should prevail on that day—a day which the Almighty himself has distinguished with a peculiar mark of sanctity, and which he claims as his own. It is against these open infractions of the Lord's Day, that I think it my duty to remonstrate. But in hearing sacred music on the Sunday evening, confined to a small domestic circle of relations and friends, without any hired performers, I am so far from seeing any impropriety, that it appears to me a relaxation well suited to the nature of a Christian Sabbath, perfectly congenial to the spirit of our religion, and calculated
lated to raise our minds to heavenly thoughts, and sublime and holy contemplations.
"Your Ladyship will, I hope, do me the justice to believe, that, in addressing these lines to you, I meant not to intrude myself needlessly on your notice, much less to give you the slightest offence; but merely to discharge a very important duty resulting from that most responsible situation, in which it has pleased God to place me. And I cannot help flattering myself, that when your Ladyship reflects a little on the arguments I have offered to your consideration, you will see reason to relinquish (and even recommend it to your friends to relinquish) a practice, which you probably took up from mere want of attention to the subject, and from not being aware of the mischievous consequences resulting from it. o 3 "Should