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gaged in solemn worship, holy and acceptable to the Lord.
Herbert's sermon was grave, serious, and deeply impressive. There was no affectation or aiming at effect. It was a simple exposition of the Gospel of the day,—the address of one who had God's commission to teach from Scripture the word of life and salvation. There was perhaps something of dignity and authority beyond his years, but not beyond the estimation in which his character was held for piety and learning.
Ridley did not compliment his friend on the sermon, knowing that he disliked praise ; but he did compliment him on the service of his church. “ I have to day heard,” said he 6 what our church-service really is; and I have felt how God should be worshipped amongst a congregation of Christians."
THE LORD'S DAY.
“Sundays the pillars are
And hollow room with vanities.
The Sundays of man's life
HERBERT. HERBERT's church was attended quite as numerously in the afternoon as in the morning; and you might see a large majority of the same faces; for his parishioners did not belong to that class who seem to consider chiefly how little worship God may be put off with. Being willing to devote the Lord's day to their Maker, they knew no place where it was better for them to be than in His house. This I imagine to be the
reason of the length of service which our forefathers used to attend; when the christenings, churchings, weddings, and even funerals, were introduced after the second lesson. People did not mind for how long a time they continued at church then ; for as they felt no anxiety to employ themselves on other business, they found no irksomeness in the length of the prayers. But now that our time is so valuable,-at least we think it so,-many persons seem almost to grudge the two hours occupied in the morning service. In truth it really is too long for them,
- longer than they can keep their attention from their farms and their merchandize, their offices, or parliamentary duties. But the remedy for the evil is to change our own hearts, not the service. The length of the service is useful, if it be but as a standing witness against the irreligion of the age. .
After the duties of the day, the rector, accompanied by his friend and sister, walked out to enjoy the beauty of a lovely summer evening; and, as they passed through the straggling village, they exchanged many kind words with their rustic neighbours, who were gathered in groups around the cottage doors, or strolling on the village green.
What a blessing would it be (said Ridley) if the Sabbath were kept in other parishes with as much strictness as it seems to be in yours !
HERBERT. The pious observance of the Lord's day is one of the surest outward signs of religion, and one of the greatest helps to it, both in an individual and in the community. But I do not quite like the word which you apply to it. « Strictness" implies some degree of restraint or irksomeness, -a feeling which is altogether absent from the heart of the true churchman. He grudges that any part of the Lord's day should be lost, as he would grudge the intrusion of some irksome business on a day dedicated to festivity. He desires to give the day whole and entire to God; and so far from stealing an hour from the Lord's day for any worldly purpose, he rather devotes a portion of the eve before to solemn preparation; in order that his waking thoughts may be holy and spiritual.
I willingly retract the word, and can only plead newspaper sanction, and parliamentary usage in its favour.
HERBERT. Do not think that I meant to accuse you of any participation in the prevailing sentiment. It is a bad sign however when incorrect expressions get into common currency. They indicate a perverted tone of the public feeling, and tend to perpetuate that perversion. I fear the generality of the present generation know no more of the comforts of the Lord's day, than they do of the joys of heaven. Yet till they can learn to love it as a privilege they must be taught to observe it as a duty.
RIDLEY. Do you think that any thing can be done by way of enactment, for the better observance of the Lord's day?
HERBERT. I am sure something must be done, if we wish to retain our character as a Christian people. The scenes which occur in some of our great towns are shocking beyond description : but I do not think that those, who have attempted to make laws on the subject, have done so on the right principle. They have laid themselves too much open to the taunt of their opponents. An honourable member gets up and says that,