Saturday, September 24, 2011

for worship or for death...

This on preparing for the Sabbath by Henry Ware Jr. from his "How to Spend Holy Time." Also interesting in light of the spiritual/religious discussion...

"The fact is," said he, " Saturday evening is the hardest night in the week to get rid of. 'Tis not exactly reputable or proper to be pushing about in the same way as on other evenings, and yet one does not like to be moped up at home. It is neither work day nor Sunday."
"What is it then 1" said David.
"Why, it's something between the two."
"That's the beauty of it to me," said David, " and the very reason why I like it. It is particularly delightful to have a little season of transition between the common affairs of the world and the sacred duties of the Sabbath. I should not like to rush suddenly and without preparation from the one to the other; and this quiet evening is an excellent time for preparation."
"But for my part," answered Smith, "I do not see that any particular preparation is necessary; and I have heard you say a hundred times, that a good man will live so as to have every day a Sabbath as well as Sunday, and be ready, at one time as well as another, to join immediately in prayer." .
"Not a hundred times, John; perhaps two or three."
"Well, not exactly a hundred, to be sure," said Smith, smiling at David's precise way of correcting his extravagance in speech; "not exactly a hundred times; but I am sure I have heard you say so, and I have heard it from the pulpit."
"Very true; and I will not take it back. A man should make every hour holy, and be every minute prepared for worship or for death. But very few men have ever reached such a perfection; and, therefore, we have no right to act as if we had, and put aside special occasions of preparation. We need them so much the more now, because we hope, by and by, to need them less."
"But don't you suppose that one would get on faster if he were to begin with making all days alike?"
"No, not at all; and for this reason; — if he were to begin so, he would make Sunday like a week day, and not the week days like Sunday; he could not avoid this. And just so it has happened with all that I ever knew attempt to act on this principle. It was perfectly impossible for them to live every day a life of sober, devout, contemplative deportment, such as belongs to the Sabbath and to Heaven: they were not advanced enough in holiness for that; and, therefore, all they could effect toward making all days alike was to make Sunday a common day. By this means they did make all alike, but they deprived themselves of a great aid to religious improvement, and their characters perceptibly lost ground. Instead of getting six more Sabbaths in the week, as they pretended to do, they lost the one they had."


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