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The New Zealand Evangelist

Stormy Sabbaths

page 249

Stormy Sabbaths

Dr. Bushnell, of Hartford, Connecticut, recently preached a sermon to his people on the “Use and Duties of Stormy Sabbaths,” from the text, “Fire and hail; snow and vapours; stormy wind fulfilling his word.” From this text he lectured them very plainly on the evil habit of staying away from worship on stormy Sabbaths. After alluding to the fact that every created thing, pleasant and terrible, including “the flying artillery of the weather,” were invoked to praise the Lord, he turned to his “fair weather hearers,” for whose special benefit he had prepared the discourse, and chosen a fair and genial day on which to deliver it, and told them in the outset that he meant them, by introducing the subject after the following manner:—“There is a class among you who visibly cannot sympathize with all the sentiments of this glowing and lofty psalm.—The principal significance of the weather, or at least all foul weather, appears in their estimation to be that it excuses them from worship. The snow, and vapours, and stormy winds do not so much fulfil His word, as call them away from His word, and the worship of His house. Their seat is sure to be vacant every stormy Sabbath, and too often when there is but a slight promise of rain, or of any other kind of unpleasant weather. If the wind blows, or the walks are wet; if the cold is uncomfortable, or the heat a little too intense; if a fog damps the air, or an east wind chills it, they take out an indulgence from the weather, and consider the worship of God as relieved by a dispensation.” The preacher then went on to prove that stormy Sabbaths are not only very harmless to all but invalids, but that they really have a high religious purpose. It is very desirable, according to his shewing, to have stormy Sabbaths, and we ought to improve them as opportunities of page 250 special blessing in attending on the public worshid of God. Toward the close, he applied his subject in this strain:—“I hope all my fair weather hearers will receive the salutary lesson I give them. I have not said, and did not mean to say, all that could relate to a subject so unpleasant. I have not rebuked your self-indulgence as I might have done. I have not spoken of the chill our worship often suffers by the thinness of the assembly, and the many empty seats displayed; for I was not willing to ask your attention as patrons of the place. I have not dwelt on your excuses and removed them; the plea that you had better sometimes spend the day of God by yourselves—for you know you spend it in no such exercise as worship, or preparation for a better world; the plea that it will injure your health to encounter the rough weather—for you all expect me to be here in every storm that blows, and you can as well be here as I; and if, in thirteen years attendance on my duties here without regard of weather, in its wildest storms and fiercest cold, I have never suffered the least injury, there is not so much reason to fear for you; certainly not for any who are in equally sound health. To invalids I will make allowance, though even they would not suffer by any exposure incident to their attendance. There is no such poison in wet and cold as many love to suppose, and if we were not so self-indulgent, so ready to shrink from the rough moods of nature, we should have clearer minds and stronger bodies.”