« AnteriorContinuar »
part of a liturgy were personally applicable to every individual in the congregation; and that nothing were introduced to interrupt the passion, or damp the flame, which it is not easy to rekindle. Upon this principle, the state prayers in our liturgy should be fewer and shorter. Whatever
may tended, the congregation do not feel that concern in the subject of these prayers, which must be felt, ere ever prayers be made to God with earnésťness. The state 'style likewise seems unseasonably introduced into these prayers, as ill according with that annihilation of human greatness, of which every act that carries the mind to God, presents the idea.
IV. That it contain as few controverted propositions as possible.
We allow to each church the truth of its peculiar tenets, and all the importance which ozeal can ascribe to them. We dispute not here the right or 'the 'expediency of framing creeds, or of imposing subscriptions. But why should every position which a church maintains, be 'woven with so much industry into her forms of public worship? Some are offended, and some are excluded; this is an evil of itself, at least to them : and what ad
vantage or satisfaction can be derived to the rest, from the separation of their brethren, it is difficult to imagine; unless it were a duty to publish our system of polemic divinity, under the name of making confession of our faith, every time we worship God; or a sin to agree in religious exerciseswith those from whom wediffer in some religious opinions. Indeed, where one man thinks it his duty constantly to worship a being, whom another cannot, with the asșent of his conscience, permit himself to worship at all, there seems to be no place for comprehension, or any expedient left but a quiet secession. All other differences may be compromised by silence. If sects and schisms be an evil, they are as much to be avoided by one side as the other. If sectaries are blamed for taking unnecessary offence, established churches are no less culpable for unnecessarily giving it: they are bound at least to produce a command, or a reason of equivalent utility, for shutting out any from their communion, by mixing with divine worship doctrines which, whether true or false, are unconnected in their nature with devotion.
OF THE USE OF SABBATICAL INSTI
An assembly cannot be collected, unless the time of assembling be fixed and known beforehand : and if the design of the assembly require that it be holden frequently, it is easiest that it should return at stated intervals. This produces a necessity of appropriating set seasons to the social offices of religion. It is also highly convenient that the same seasons be observed throughout the country, that all
may be employed, or all at leisure, together; for if the recess from worldly occupation be not general, one man's business will perpetually interfere with another man's devotion; the buyer will be calling at the shop when the seller is gone to church. This part, therefore, of the religious distinction of seasons, namely, a general intermission of labour and business during times previously set apart for the exercise of public worship, is founded in the reasons which make public worship itself a duty. But the celebration of divine service never occupies the whole day. What remains, therefore, of Sunday, beside
the part of it employed at church, must be considered as a mere rest from the ordinary occupations of civil life: and he who would defend the institution, as it is required by law to be observed in Christian countries, unless he can produce a command for a Christian sabbath, must point out the uses of it in that
First, then, that interval of relaxation which Sunday affords to the laborious part of mankind, contributes greatly to the comfort and satisfaction of theirlives, both asit refreshes them for the time, and as it relieves their six days' labour by the prospect of a day of rest always approaching; which could not be said of casual indulgences of leisure and rest, even were they more frequent than there is reason to expect they would be if left to the discretion or humanity of interested task-makers. To this difference it may be added, that holidays which come seldom and unexpected, are unprovided, when they do come, with any duty or employment; and the manner of spending them being regulated by no public deceney or established usage, they are commonly consumed in rude, if not criminal
pastimes, in stupid sloth, or brutish intemperance. Whoever considers how much sabbatical in
stitutions conduce, in this respect, to the happiness and civilisation of the labouring classes of mankind, and reflects how great a majority of the human species these classes compose, will acknowledge the utility, what ever he may believe of the origin, of this distinction; and will consequently perceive it to be every man's duty to uphold the observation of Sunday when once established, let the establishment have proceeded from whom or from what authority it will.
Nor is there any thing lost to the community by the intermission of public industry one day in the week. For, in countries tolerably advanced in population and the arts of civil life, there is always enough of human labour, and to spare. The difficulty is not so much to procure, as to employ it. The addition of the seventh day's labour to that of the other six, would have no other effect than to reduce the price. The labourer himself, who deserved and suffered most by the change, would gain nothing.
2. Sunday, by suspending many public diversions, and the ordinary rotation of employment, leaves to men of all ranks and professions sufficient leisure, and not more than what is sufficient, both for the external offices