By Louisa Lane Clarke
The parson's wife considers this as the Sabbath preparation-day, and of sufficient importance to have particular duties assigned to it. It is the summing up of a whole week, and every work in hand must be either finished or laid aside betimes; for it is too frequently the custom either to transgress upon the Sabbath by late labour, or to break it more openly by leaving some manner of work to be done the next morning, both of which are greatly dishonouring to that day of rest.
It is a privilege, a great privilege, that on the seventh day God's people may pitch their tents as it were on holy ground, may lay aside the duties and burdens of the world to serve him with a quiet mind, and remain as long as they please in intercourse with heaven, by prayer, by reading, and by meditation, and the parson's wife is anxious to secure this privilege to herself and her household by causing all the usual work of cleaning and providing to end as soon as possible. The kitchen is quiet and orderly before prayer time, the next day's dinner dressed, every order given, every ordinary circumstance foreseen, and difficulty laid aside, as entirely as if Sunday was no day. Certainly it is no day for the world, and as certainly worldly affairs should have no portion in its time. In the parlour all books of study and amusement are put away, the week-day employments are out of sight, and fresh flowers and such tokens of festivity are placed here and there to honour God's holy day. In the nursery, before the little ones retire to rest, they collect their school-books and playthings, which are put by, that when they rise no additional temptation be laid before them, as in their prayers they are taught to pray, especially for grace to keep the Sabbath holy.
The parson's wife also visits the school to remind the children of the "morrow," and see that they remember the Sunday lessons. She calls on some of those neighbours who may not have been regular in their attendance at church, and "hopes to see them on the next day in their places." She has some little comforts to distribute to the sick, a Sunday dinner, or some Sunday books. She has private duties for herself in looking out her own and her husband's necessaries for the coming week. And this, perhaps the busiest day of all the week, ushers in the peace of the christian Sabbath.