This rough oil sketch is Hogarth's earliest dated painting. As a social satirist, Hogarth's favored subjects were familiar, everyday events presented with a wry, comic twist. Here, the minister's dull sermon has put the entire congregation to sleep, less than halfway through his remarks (note the hourglass by the pulpit). Reflecting the state of the congregation, the plaque on the wall quotes Matthew 11,28: Come unto me all ye / that labour or are / heavy burdened / I will give you rest. Not everyone is napping, however. The clerk feigns sleep as an excuse to observe the charms of the girl in the foreground.In 1762, Hogarth reused the composition as the foundation for his elaborate satire on Methodism, conceived as "Enthusiasm Delineated" and published as "Credulity, Superstition and Fanaticism".