Thursday, December 10, 2009

Saturday Recreation

While Saturday evening is most properly spent in preparation for the Lord's Day ("To make the evening before the Lord's day a time of preparation thereunto is a point of piety and prudence," William Gouge, The Sabbath's Sanctification), it is lawful and useful to find time for recreation during the day on Saturday when one's responsibilities permit. The world likes to make the first day of the week its play-day, but the example of Robert Harris, Westminster Divine (1581-1658), shows how recreation has its place on our own time, and not the Lord's. It might even be said, in his case, that Saturday recreation better enabled Sabbath-keeping.

James Reid, Memoirs of the Lives and Writings of those Eminent Divines, who convened in the famous Assembly at Westminster in the Seventeenth Century, Vol. 1, p. 17:

Dr Harris was eminently distinguished by his prudent government of himself and his family, as well as of his college and of his flock. His government of himself was very remarkable. He who has no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls. But the prudent subject of this memoir had much rule over his own spirit, and was like the standing city, having strong walls. He was most exactly temperate in the use of all things, confining himself strictly to hours for food, sleep, labour, and recreation. He ate sparingly and seasonably, which had a strong tendency to preserve in him much vigour, even to a great age. His principal time for recreation was the afternoon of Saturday, when he would unbend his mind, and allow himself some harmless recreation, in order that he might be more vigorous for the important and deeply interesting work of the Lord's day.

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