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LECTURE I.

1 Cor. v. 7, 8.

CHRIST OUR PASSOVER IS SACRIFICED FOR US: THEREFORE LET US KEEP THE FEAST.

SHALL make no other use of these words at present, than to place them, as custom requires, at the head of a discourse, or I may rather call it an address, which I am now about to make to you, I trust, not unsuitable to the solemnity of the present season.

An attempt which was made at this season last years, to open, for one night, a place of publick amusement, could not but raise in the minds of many persons an honest indignation against an idea,

*At the latter end of the week before the Passion-Week in the year 1802, a handbill was circulated, that on the following monday evening the public rooms would be open for a particular exhibition, as specified therein: the impropriety of which was immediately represented, in a letter signed by the clergy of the town, and addressed to the mayor, who gave orders that there should be no such exhibition in the Passion-Week.

+ The reader will observe, that this discourse is printed as it was delivered in the year 1803.

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that what was prohibited in one place, out of regard to a decent observance of that solemnity and gravity which our Church more than ordinarily now calls upon her devout members to exhibit, should in another be permitted: as if the cause of such attention to the season did not extend to all places alike; and as if what was thought expedient and necessary for some, might readily be dispensed with in others. The impropriety of the thing was no sooner pointed out, than the attempt was frustrated; and that laudable regulation of not suffering theatrical entertainments to be exhibited in the metropolis during the Passion-Week, was adverted to in the prohibition of every publick amusement here.

By some perhaps this may not be thought a proper subject of animadversion from the pulpit. To me it appears otherwise; for whatever tends to infringe the solemnity of any particular occurrence in the important scheme of man's redemption; and to draw off the attention, which it very reasonably demands of those who are most deeply interested in it; and to fix their minds on objects of pleasurable amusement, no otherwise deserving the regard of Christians, than as at seasonable opportunities they may

minister to innocent recreation; I say, whatever has a tendency of this kind, it requires the watchful minister of God's word, and every careful observer of times and seasons, to counteract by more than ordinary zeal, and to repel the ill effects of it by mild reproof and prudent admonition.

The Week which we have this day* commenced, has of all others been more particularly attended to in the appointment of devotional service for every day of it: it was by the Primitive Christians called the Holy Week; and that it is so considered by our Church, the several portions of Scripture which are selected for the devout and daily meditations of her members, abundantly show. And that these meditations may be continued, not only publickly but privately, a prudent relaxation of worldly business, as well as a total suspension of all public pleasures has been considered as expedient, if not necessary; that the mind may have an opportunity of furnishing itself with such pious reflections, as are suitable to the momentous transactions which occurred in that Great Week, and to the importance of the event, which ushered in the following.

*Palm-Sunday.

But if, instead of this temporary intermission of the cares of worldly business; if, instead of this prudent abstinence from innocent pleasures, the mind be, as much as at other seasons, absorbed in its attention to the former, and will employ the intervals which may be permitted to it, in attaching itself to, and partaking of, pleasurable amusements with an avidity, as great as at other seasons; what room can be found for a devout contemplation of the inestimable blessings which the death of CHRIST has ensured to us, and for the necessary exercise of that penitential sorrow and humiliation for the. sins, which demanded of him so painful and ignominious a death?

"The Church of England," says the pious author of "A Companion for Festivals and Fasts," "has made ample provision to exercise the devotion of her members, by calling them every day to meditate on our LORD's sufferings, having collected in her offices most of those portions of scripture that relate to this tragical subject; increasing their humiliation by the consideration of our Saviour's: that with penitent hearts and firm resolutions of dying likewise unto sin, we may

Nelson

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