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2. The duties of the table, being duly performed at every meal, tend to make a family more serious and orderly.

3. A religious duty before and

reaping? Who gave thee health | feel and express our dependence, and strength, to be thus employ-so it is of great use to us to do it, ed, while at the same time thy and that frequently. Table duneighbor lay groaning upon his ties are oftener repeated than bed, and could not go into his family prayer, and come in befield, though as willing to be tween those more lengthy adthere as thou wast? We ought dresses to our Creator, to refresh to be no less thankful to God, for our minds with his mercy and the food with which our tables our own needs. are covered, than though it descended upon them by a miracle. We may say to God, in view of all this provision, with the strictest propriety, "for all things come of thee." There is noth-after our meals has a tendency to ing of our own upon our table. Let us also remember, that all this bounty is most justly forfeited by our sin. Can we be so unreasonable, as to sit down and eat and drink, and rise up and not confess our own únworthiness, and acknowledge his great goodness? If any should say, We do it in our hearts but not openly; it may be replied, this is suitable if you eat by yourselves, but not if you eat in company with others. We are social creatures-we should be so in our worship, as well as in other things. If we unite in receiving divine bounty, we should unite in expressing a sense of divine goodness. If all this is kept secret in our hearts, God is not visibly glorified. We are required not only with one mind, but with one mouth to glo-gether. rify God.

The reasonableness of openly giving thanks to God at our meals is plain. Some of the advantages of this reasonable service will be hinted at.

1. It does much towards keeping up in our minds a sense of the goodness of God, and of our dependence upon him. As it is reasonable, that we should

prevent intemperance. It brings an awe upon the mind, and makes us afraid to abuse these divine gifts. The least degree of intemperance, even in eating, tends to unfit our minds for de votional exercises. This is calculated to make us careful, while sitting at our meal, not to unfit ourselves to give thanks at the close of it.

4. Table duties, rightly performed, have a happy influence upon table conversation. This is a matter of no inconsiderable importance. Allowing fifteen minutes to each meal, three meals a day will consume three quarters of an hour in every twenty four. This is no inconsiderable part of that time, in which the members of a family have opportunity to converse toThis time ought to be filled up with profitable disdom of God should not be forThe things of the kinggotten at our common tables. And will not the religious duties of the table have a tendency to introduce religious conversation ? Is not the polite custom (which is introduced even into some praying families) of neglecting religious duties at our afternoon tea, an inlet to trifling discourse?


Why should God be disowned at this more than any other meal?

III. We now wait for some directions for the right performance of the duties of the table.

less and trifling manner. Not only the one who leads in this exercise, but all who are around the table, and even all who are in the room should be solemn and devout. They should strive to have their hearts go up to God with the words which are uttered.

Direction 1. Let these duties be performed in a decent and orderly manner. Let the family, at least all who eat together, be assembled around the table be- Direction 4. It appears to fore the blessing is craved, and me a matter of considerable con not retire, unless something very sequence, that the person leadspecial call for it, before the re-ing in table duties should seek turning of thanks. Let the to avoid a perfect sameness. A children, whether at table or perfectly new form of blessing not, be taught to keep perfectly and thanks at each meal cannot still, while the Most High is ad- be expected, nor desired. The dressed, however short the ad- same occasion will repeatedly dress may be. call for the same petitions and thanksgivings. The duties being short, there is not that room for variety, which there is in longer prayers, (for these are in reality nothing less than short prayers.) Still there may be a considerable variation even in these short exercises. If you ask what is the use of a variety? I answer, it is important to keep up the attention of the worshippers. A perfect uniformity wears us out. It prevents devotion in the mind of the one who speaks. If a man always repeats one prayer, without the least variation, it does not en

Direction 2. Let these, and all other addresses to God in social prayer, be spoken with an audible voice, so that it shall not be difficult for those who join to hear every word which is spoken. Some have been guilty of a great fault in this respect; they have spoken with so low a voice in this duty, that however well they may have spoken to God, others were not edified.We ought also to avoid the other extreme, which is a loud tone of voice. A strained voice sounds peculiarly unnatural at a table, where all the worshippers are


Direction 3. Strive to be really devotional in these duties. A spirit of devotion is indispensably necessary. Leave this out, and all we do is but as a smoke in the nose. The Apostle directs, "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily as to the Lord." It is a solemn thing for dust and ashes to speak unto Him, who fills immensity, even if we utter but a single petition. It is highly

within a few feet of each other.gage his own attention. He is in danger, like the school boy, who has said his piece an hundred times, of hardly noticing what he says, or the force of his own expressions. Besides, this way of worshipping leaves no room for the Spirit of God to make our minds fruitful in the matter of prayer; whereas all the prayerful know, that they derive unspeakable benefit from the anointings of the Spirit in enlargdispleasing to God, to see us rushing their petitions, as well as their hearts. It must greatly

into his presence in a thought

fetter the mind of a praying | act of panting after greater near

man, to be always confined to one set of words in secret or social duties, whether the duties be long or short. If our table duties are uniformly the same, word for word, it will render them quite irksome to our families, whether it has that effect upon our own minds or


ness and conformity to God, it
will be easy and natural, before
you ask the Lord to bless the
food, to beseech him to bless
your souls with his grace and
the light of his countenance.—
If at another time,
you are
weighed down with a sense of
your guilt, at the very moment
table duties are required, it will
not be difficult to begin with a
confession of entire unworthi-

It is proper, that in table duties, we should always bring into view table mercies, but we are not obliged to confine ourselves to these.

Á grateful

heart, when giving thanks for the bounties of the table, will very naturally think now of this mercy, and then of that; and it is not unsuitable that they should have a place in our table thanksgivings.


1. They, who entirely neglect openly to give God thanks at their social meals, make their piety look quite doubtful."Whoso keepeth the whole law and offendeth in one point, is | guilty of all."

Here let me add, the duties of the table may be drawn out to such a length as to fatigue.-ness. When they are uniformly long, and at the same time very formal, the family around the table feel uneasy, as soon as the duty begins; for they already anticipate the full length of it, and know well every syllable which is to be spoken. Would it not be adviseable to vary as to the length of these duties? Sometimes let them be quite short; | at other times, if more things rush into the mind, the duty may be protracted. The fervency of the petition at such times will arrest the attention of all, and it will animate the devotions of kindred souls. This remark will apply with much the same force to the morning and evening prayer. Some variety, as to the matter and length of our family prayers, is necessary to keep up the attention of our household; and to keep up their attention is a thing of more importance than is commonly supposed. If you ask, how you can have this variety in your duties? the answer is, Go to your duties with praying hearts. Keep your hearts full of religious exercises, and your table duties and your family prayers will know it.

If when you are called to the table, your heart is then in the VOL. V. No. 6.

2. They, who appear to perform this duty as a mere ceremony, without any life, do also make their piety look doubtful. "God is a Spirit, and they who worship him must worship him in spirit and truth.”

3. Those subordinate members of a family, who do not seem to set their hearts to attend and unite in this reasonable service, but whose countenances and actions exhibit daily proof, that they wish table du ties were dispensed with; such persons give us reason to fear that God is not in all their thoughts.


that this world is our own, and that we have no Lord over us? The very common neglect of table duties is a high proof of our awful departure from God: And our making so light of this signs of our being at prayer.-neglect is a dreadful proof of our

4. If piety will lead to open duties in our social meals, then it will lead to secret duties, at our solitary meals. We may have secret breathings of gratitude to God, without any visible


But if God, who seeth our hearts, never discovers them ascending in grateful emotions, when we receive a morsel of bread, a draught of water, or some of those fruits which he has prepared to delight our taste, we give evidence to him and to ourselves, that we are unholy and unthankful.

5. The tables of the pious poor are better furnished than the tables of the graceless rich : Tho' the poor have not so many dainties, yet they have the blessing of the Lord, and that maketh truly rich, and he addeth no sorrow thereto. They who feed on a coarse and scanty fare, with a lively sense and acknowledgment of the divine munificence, do, no doubt, enjoy even their meals better than those who fare sumptuously every day; but who do not look to and adore the hand that feeds


Let not any of the poor lose this privilege of having the blessing of God, to enrich their table. Some have said, that the thanksgiving of the table was worth more than the food.

6. What a proof of prevailing impiety is the general neglect of these plain, easy and reasonable duties? How many tables in this Christian land, where our heavenly Benefactor is no more acknowledged than tho' they were furnished independently of his Providence? Is not. this denying the God who made and preserves us ? Do we not manifest by this, that we feel

Deceitfulness of Sin.

LL of sin

Aare treacherous. It de

ceives us, when it promises pleasure. This is a bait, which is frequently used to beguile men. There is doubtless a short and feverish pleasure which sinners taste; but it quickly passes and is immediately succeeded with languor and regret. The seat of sinful gratification is in the passions. From these solid satiafaction cannot arise. When irregularly indulged, they create a deep and lasting torment in the mind. Sin addresses itself to the passions, the weaker parts of human nature, and not to reason and judgment. Those are more easily deceived, and when once perverted prove dangerous. To them sinful pleasure is represented an important object. But, tho' the object in appearance be a bed of roses, experience finds it a bed of thorns. Ask the drunkard, when sober, whether he found unmixed pleasure in his cups; whether reflection can bear the brutish spectacle, which intemperance made him. Ask the libertine, in a calm moment, whether his pleasures are worth what they cost; the loss of a sound mind in a sound body.Will a father, who has pursued the paths of sin in search of pleasures, advise his son to tread

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in the same treacherous road; will he encourage him as being in the way to happiness? A Christian country produced one such father, who taught his son vice by precept and example; but such an unnatural father is both the wonder and detestation of the world. At first, they who seek pleasures from the gratification of sense, may glide in a smooth current, but soon will find themselves on a tempestuous sea, whose "waters cast up mire and dirt.”

When sin promises wealth as a reward of pursuing it, poverty, disgrace or both, are the real inheritance acquired.Wealth gotten by iniquity proves a curse to its owner.

The wreath of laurel promised by sinful ambition proves but a fading flower, or a stigma of foul disgrace. All the wealth, pleasure or honor, obtained through its influence, is transitory and vanishes like the morning cloud or early dew.

But the great point, in which sin is most deceptive, is the making light of future realities. The cheat, which it practises upon men in this life; all the true pleasure of which it robs them; all the pain of body and anguish of mind, into which it plunges them here, are the dust of the balance. We can lose or suffer but little in this world. But when sin represents the joys of heaven and the sorrows of hell of trifling consequence; when it persuades us the former is easily attained, and the latter easily avoided, it is most of all deceitful. If sin can gain this point, nothing can raise a mound to stop its progress.

* Chesterfield.

When the belief of heaven and hell cannot be erased from the mind, being fixed there upon the fullest conviction, that they are both plainly, and equally plainly, revealed in the sacred scriptures; when this point cannot be gained, sin would persuade us that these eternal realities are very distant, and by their supposed distance, endeavor to diminish their restraining influence upon the mind.In this it is deceitful; for the longest life throws them back but a little way; innumerable accidents may fix us in one of them immediately.

Sin affects to be less criminal than it is; bids the passions plead their natural propensity; calls their indulgence infirmity; begins with those acts which are less flagrant, establishes a habit; then proceeds one step further, which is likewise secured.Thus an imperceptible progress is ultimately made to a point, which would have startled the young offender. If the mind, for a moment, be alarmed by its situation, sin has a delusive opiate; it represents danger as distant, and future time more than enough to set all right.But if the time be too surely short, and the soul be just launching into eternity, sin still has its quieting draught, and the sinking soul is braced to the last with a false representation of the divine benevolence. As future punishment is the strongest restraint upon sin, next to the animating hope of future glory, sin would persuade us that there is some escape from it, otherwise than by holiness.Its language to the tempted' is, "Ye shall not surely die."And if, like our first parents,

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