5. Be earnest and importunate for the Holy Spirit to bless your labors. Without this, all your efforts will be in vain. Feel continually that you are but an instrument in the hand of God; and that all your success must depend upon him. Yet he has promised to give his Holy Spirit to them that ask him. Let no day pass without presenting before the throne of grace every individual of your class: endeavor to remember as particularly as possible the peculiar circumstances and feelings of each. Visit them as often as you can; and, if possible, persuade them to meet with you once a week for prayer. But make no effort in your own strength. Search well your motives, and see that self-seeking has no place in your heart. If you seek the conversion of your class, that you may be honored as the instrument, you will be disappointed. God must be glorified in all things.
II. There are also duties that we owe to God, in private, which ought to occupy a portion of the holy Sabbath. In the present age, when so much of the Lord’s day is spent in attendance upon public worship and the Sabbath school, there is danger that secret communion with God will be neglected; and thus, like the tree with a worm at its root, the soul will wither under the genial rain and sunshine of the gospel. With a few practical directions on this point, I shall close this letter.
1. Spend as large a portion as possible of the intervals of public duties in your closet. The time thus spent should be employed principally in the devotional reading of the Holy Scriptures; meditation, for the purpose of getting your own heart affected with divine truth; self-examination, and prayer. If you have very much time to spend in this way, you may employ a part of it in reading some devotional book; but I think our reading on the Sabbath should be principally confined to the Scriptures. But prayer should be frequent, and mingled with everything.
2. Spend no part of the Lord’s day in seeking your own ease or pleasure. We are required to turn away our feet from finding our own pleasure on God’s holy day. All our time is the Lord’s; but the Sabbath is his in a peculiar manner. On other days of the week he allows us to do our own work. But on this day we must do his work only. There is no room, then, for the indulgence of idleness, indolence, or sloth, upon the Sabbath. The duties of this holy day are such as to require the active and vigorous exercise of all our faculties. That you may not, then, be tempted to indulge in sloth, use every means in your power to promote a lively state of your bodily energies. Make all your preparations on the afternoon of Saturday. Spend a portion of the evening in devotional exercises, for the purpose of banishing the world from your mind, and bringing it into a heavenly frame; and retire to rest at an early hour. By this means, your animal powers will be refreshed, and you will be prepared early to meet the Lord, on the approach of his holy morning.