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proof of our sincerity is the reformation of our hearts, and the future holiness of our lives. This is a language which cannot be mistaken ; a language, which speaks to the senses of mankind, and is sure of being heard and accepted at the Throne of Grace. In the exterior acts of worship, our hearts may not always accompany our lips. We may be lukewarm, inattentive, or insincere. But he, who from a principle of gratitude to Heaven, renounces those favourite sins, which most easily beset him, and devotes himself to the service of his Maker, can never be suspected of pretended sanctity or hypocritical devotion. Here, then, at this solemn hour, and in this sacred place, when we are offering up our thanksgivings to God, let us, at the same time, sacrifice, at the foot of his altar, our vices, our follies, our passionate fondness for diversions, our excessive attachments to any pursuits that tend to draw off our affections from Heaven and heavenly things ; and more especially our frequent, our growing profanations of that sacred day which our Maker claims AS HIS Own; which is the great security and bulwark of our Religion ; the great barrier
against the inroad of secularity and dissipation ; which ought never to be debased by unbecoming levities, by worldly occupations, by dangerous amusements, by any thing, in short, that tends to desecrate the Christian Sabbath, to obliterate that mark of discrimination, which divine authority, and primitive usage, have stamped upon it, and to sink it into the common mass of unhallowed days. It is a festival, we own, it is a most joyful festival ; but it is a religious one too; and it should be observed, not with intemperate gaiety, nor yet with a gloomy and austere superstition, but with that rational piety, that decent, modest, chastised, and sober cheerfulness, which so well becomes the character of the day; and which (with some exceptions) has, in fact, usually distinguished it in this kingdom. It is a distinction which does honour to us as a people. It is what few other Christian countries can boast. It is altogether worthy of the first Protestant Church in Europe; and no reasoning, no ridicule, no false ambition to imitate the freer manners of our neighbours on the continent, should ever induce us to give it up.
But, at the same time, let not external observances constitute the whole of our Religion ; let us be Christians, not in name and appearance only, but in deed and in truth; and above all, let us cultivate that heavenly spirit of meekness, gentleness, forbearance, candour, equity, and charity, which is the distinguishing character of the Gospel, and which ought to mark distinctly every part of our conduct, both public and private. Let it instantly banish from our hearts “ all bitterness, and wrath, and “ clamour, and anger, and evil-speaking, 6 with all malice;" and let us become, what we have every reason upon earth to become, a contented, a thankful, a united, a virtuous, a religious people. Let this place be the grave of every unchristian sentiment and passion ; let this day be the æra of general harmony and concord. We have met here in joy ; let us depart in peace. Let us, both as individuals and as members of the community (for the precept applies to us in both capacities) be “ kind and tender-hearted one towards another,” watchful over ourselves, respect
ful and dutiful to all our lawful superiors, grateful and obedient to God,
If these be our resolutions respecting our future conduct, we may then safely apply to ourselves that sublime benediction with which Solomon dismissed the people, when the great business of the dedication was closed : “ May the Lord our God be with 56 us, as he was with our fathers; let him 6 not leave us nor forsake us. That he may “ incline our hearts unto him, to walk in all 6 his ways, and to keep his commandments, 6 and his statutes, and his judgments, which “ he commanded our fathers. And let these 56 my words, wherewith I have made sup“ plication before the Lord, be nigh unto " the Lord our God, day and night, that “ he may maintain the cause of his servant, 6 and the cause of his people, at all times, s as the matter shall require. That all the “ people of the earth may know that the 66 Lord is God, and that there is none else. “ Let your heart therefore be perfect with “ the Lord your God, to walk in his sta6 tutes, and to keep his commandments, “ as at this day."*
* 1 Kings viii. 57–61.
LUKE X. 41, 42.
JESUS ANSWERED AND SAID UNTO HER,
MARTHA, MARTHA, THOU ART CAREFUL AND TROUBLED ABOUT MANY THINGS : BUT ONE THING IS NEEDFUL, AND MARY HATH CHOSEN THAT GOOD PART, WHICH SHALL NOT BE TAKEN AWAY FROM HER.
W E are now once more arrived at the
commencement of that season*, which the Church of England has set apart for the purpose of enquiring into the state of our account with God, of reviewing our past and present way of thinking and acting with a critical and searching eye; of looking well if there be any way of wickedness in us, of turning from it, if there be, of confessing and lamenting our disobedience and ingratitude to our heavenly Father, of imploring his pardon, of entreating the assistance of