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Waste of time prevented.

Rest on the Sabbath.

plan. If a person reads half an hour in the Bible, and then stops to think what he shall take up next, his mind is perplexed. He says, 'Shall I now retire for secret prayer, or shall I read a tract, or shall I take up Baxter's Saints' Rest? Several moments are lost in deciding. Perhaps he takes Baxter; but while reading, he stops to consider whether it would not have been better to have taken something else; and then his mind is diverted from his book by thinking what he shall next read; thus much time is lost, and the mind is perplexed. It is, therefore, wisdom to have a plan previously formed for the whole day. With a little reflection a plan may easily be formed, appropriating systematically the time of the Sabbath to the several duties which ought to be performed. Many persons constantly do this. In all cases there will be unavoidable interruptions. But we may derive much assistance from rules, without making ourselves slaves to them. If you have domestic duties which must be performed upon the Sabbath, have them performed, if possible, by a given hour, that they may not intrude upon all the hours of the sacred day. If you are constantly exposed to interruptions, if there is no time of the day which you can call your own, then let your plans be formed in accordance with this peculiarity in your situation. Three things all may guard against-indolence, a worldly spirit, and too long application of the mind to one subject. There are no lawful situations in life, in which we may not pass the day with improvement to ourselves and acceptably to God."

3. Rest on the Sabbath. We ought to remember that God has ordained the Sabbath as a day of rest from labor, as well as a day of spiritual improvement, and it ought to be made such.

It is undoubtedly wrong to apply our minds so uninterruptedly to religious duties during the day, as to feel worn out and exhausted at night. There are indeed some exceptions; ministers and Sabbath-school teachers must, in fact, often do a very hard day's work on the Sabbath; they

Distinct duties to be performed.

are laboring for the religous good of others, and must be often fatigued by their efforts. But Christians, generally, must not so fill up the hours with mental labor as to prevent the rest which God requires on his holy day.

These three points, variety, system, and rest, ought to be attended to in order to secure the greatest possible moral progress on that day. A teacher of a school would be very unwise, were he to require his pupils to spend the whole of a day in actual study-much less would he keep them during all that time upon one single book or subject. Nor would he, on the other hand, relinquish all system, and do every hour whatever should happen to suggest itself to his thoughts. He knows that his pupils will actually advance more rapidly if he systematizes, and at the same time varies their exercises, and allows intervals of rest and recreation. The Christian too, who watches the movements of his own mind-and every Christian ought to do this-will soon learn that he must adopt substantially the same plan, if he wishes to make rapid progress in piety.

I will now proceed to mention, in order to be specific, several duties which I think ought to be performed on the Sabbath. I advise every one of my readers, immediately after perusing my account of these duties, to set down and form a plan for himself, assigning to each one of them an appropriate place, devoting an hour or half an hour to each, according to his age and his circumstances in other respects. This plan ought not, however, to occupy all the hours of the day; some should be left unappropriated, to allow opportunity for rest, and to perform such duties as may from time to time arise to view. Make your plan, and resolve to try it for one Sabbath only. You can then consider whether to continue it, or to modify it, or to abandon it altogether.

1. Self-examination. I do not mean by this, the mere asking of yourself some general questions in regard to

Way to make self-examination interesting and useful.

your heart, and the habitual feelings of it. I mean, a minute review of the various occurrences of the week, to see what you have done, and what motives have actuated you. You can attend to this most successfully, by considering the subject under several distinct heads.

(1.) Your ultimate object of pursuit. Think what has chiefly interested and occupied you during the week, and what is the final, ultimate object you have in view in what you have been doing. Review all the labors that have been connected with that pursuit, whatever it may be, and find in what respects you have been pursuing your object with a wrong spirit.

(2.) Duties to parents. Consider what has been your conduct toward your parents, if you are still connected with them. Have you had any difficulty of any kind with them? Have they reproved you once during the week, or been dissatisfied with you in any respect? If so, what was it for? Think over the whole occurrence, and see wherein you were to blame in it; look at your habitual conduct toward your parents, or to those under whose care you are placed. Have you at any time disobeyed them, or neglected to obey them with alacrity? Have you had any dispute with them, or been sullen or ill-humored on account of any of their measures? You must look also to the other side of the question, and consider what good you have done to your parents. Self-examination implies the investigation of what is right in the character, as well as what is wrong. What good, then, have you done to your parents? In what cases did you comply with their wishes when you were tempted not to comply? When did you give them pleasure by your attention, or by your faithful and ready obedience to their commands? You can spend half an hour most profitably, not in merely answering these individual questions, but in a careful review of all your conduct toward your parents, going into minute detail.

(3.) Companions. What has been your deportment toward your companions? How many have you made

Minuteness of self-examination.


happier during the past week? Think of what good you have done, and of the way in which you did it. How many too have you made unhappy? If you have had any contention, call to mind all the circumstances of it-the angry or reproachful, or ill-humored words which you have used, and the spirit of heart which you cherished. It will require a long time to review thoroughly ali those events of a week which illustrate the spirit with which you have acted toward your companions.

(4.) Fidelity in business. You have some employment in which you ought to have been diligent and faithful during the week. Review minutely your conduct in this respect; begin with Monday morning and come down to Saturday night, and see, by a careful examination of the labors of the week, whether you have been "diligent in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord."

(5.) Secret sins. This is a most important head of self-examination. If you have committed secret sins, if you have indulged unholy thoughts and desires, if you have cherished malignant feelings towards others, if you ave been tempted to any improper gratification, if you ave done in secret what you would blush to find exposed to public view, examine yourself and repent. Explore the whole ground thoroughly, that you may confess and forsake such sins.

I might mention a number of similar points, but it is unnecessary, as my object is only to show that self-examination, to be effectual, must be minute, and must be brought to bear immediately and directly upon the actual conduct. You will succeed much better, if you divide the ground in some such manner as above described.

2. Prayer. This is the second duty which I shall mention, for which a place ought to be particularly assigned on the Sabbath. I have in several places in this book alluded to the subject of prayer, and I shall merely state here in what respects prayer on the Sabbath should be peculiar. More time should be allotted to the exercise,

Studying the Bible and conversation on the Sabbath.

Consider your

and it should also take a wider range. whole character, and look back upon the past, and forward to the future, so as to take a comprehensive view of your condition and prospects, and let your supplications be such as this extended survey will suggest.

There is one thing however which I ought to say here, though I shall speak more distinctly of it in a subsequent chapter. It is this: Take a firm and an immovable stand in the duty of secret prayer; let nothing tempt you to neglect, or postpone, or curtail it, or pass over the season of your communion with God in a hurried and formal manner. Neglect of the closet is the beginning of backsliding, and the end of happiness and peace.

3. Study of the Bible. In the chapter devoted expressly to this subject, I have mentioned a variety of methods by which the study of the Bible may be made more interesting and profitable than it now ordinarily is. Every young Christian ought to allot a specific and regular time, every Sabbath day, to the systematic study of the Bible by some such methods as those.

4. Conversation. The older and more intelligent members of a family may do much toward making the day pass pleasantly and profitably, by making some effort to prepare subjects for conversation. Suppose a family take such a course as this:-A daughter studying the Bible alone in her chamber, finds some difficult and yet interesting question arising from the passage she is investigating. "I will ask about it at dinner, ," she says; "my brothers and sisters will be interested in it and in father's answer; for perhaps he will be able to answer it." The mother is reading some Christian biography, and coming to an interesting passage, she says to herself, "I will tell this story at dinner to-day, it will interest the children." The father inquires mentally, as the dinner hour approaches, "What shall we talk about to-day?" Perhaps he recollects some occurrence which has taken place during the week, which illustrates some religious truth, or is an example of reli

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