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bodily distress. And it cannot afford the s 50. Worship and Honour of God.
means of happiness, and of security, to the Our next duty to God is to worship him, body, how much less can we fuppofc it able to Ew give him thanks, to put our whole iruft in afford them to the soul Shim, and to call upon him.
Nothing then, we fec, in this world, is a Since the abfervance of thc fabbath is fufficicnt foundation for thift : nor indced can founded upon many wise and just reatons, any thing be but Almighty God, who affords what have they to answer for, who not only us thc only means of happiness, and is our neglect this institution themselves, but bring only real refuge in distress. On him, the At by sheir example into contempt with others? more we trust, the grcater we thall feel our I fpeak not to those who make it a day of security; and that man who has, on just repolimon divcrfion; wiro, laying atide all'de ligious motives, confirmed in himself this Rency, and becaking through all civil and re- trust, wants nothing else to fecure his happikigious regulations; spend it in the most li- ness. The world inay wear what afpect it ceprious amusements : such people are part all will : it is not on it that it depends. As far reproof : but I speak to those, who in other as prudence goes, he endeavours to avoid the things profess themselves to be serious peo- evils of life; but when they fall to his phare ple; and, one might hope, would act right, (as sooner or later we must all tharc them) when they were convinced what was fo. he resigns himfelf into the hands of that God
But our prayers, whether in public, or in who made him, and who knows best how to private, are only an idle parade, unless we dispose of him. On him he thoroughly deput our trust in God.
pends, and with him he has a constant inter. By putting our trust in God, is meant de course by prayer; trusting, that whatever pending upon him, as our happiness, and our happens is agreeable to that just government, refuge.
which God has established; and that, of conHurran nature is always endeavouring ci- fequence, it must be hoft. ther to remove pain.; or, if case be obtained, We are injoined next “ to honour God's
to acquire happiness. And those things are holy name.” certainly the most eligible, which in these re- The name of God is accompanied with fpects are the most effectual. The world, it such ideas of greatness and reverence, that it is truc, makes us Hattering promises : but hould never pass our lips without fuggesting who can say that it will licep them? Wc con- those ideas. Indeed it thould never be menfift of two parts, a body, and a soul. Both tioned, but with a kind of awful hesitation, of these want the means of happiness, as well and on the most folcmn occasions; cither in as the removal of evil But the world can- serious discourse, or, when we invoke God in net even afford thein to the body. Its means prayer, or when we swear by his name. of happiness, to those who depend upon them In tliis last light we are here particularly as fuch, are, in a thousand instances, unsatis- injoined to honour the name of God. A fofying. Even, at beft, they will fail us in the lemn oath is an appeal to God himself; and end. While pain, discates, and death, thew is intitled to our utmoft respect, werc it only kls, that the world can afford no refuge against in a political light; as in all human concerns
it is the strongest test of veracity; and has other, it is this : for no 'employment can be been approved as such by the wisdom of all conceived more suitable to internal spirits, nations.
than that of spending their rage and impoSome religionists have disapproved the use tence in curses, and execrations. If this of oaths, under the idea of prophancricss. Thocking vice were so dreadfully familiar to The language of the facred writers conveys a our ears, it would not fail to strike us with the different idea. One of them fays, “ An oath utmott horror. for confirmation is an end of all strife : an- We next consider common livearing; a fim other, “ I take God for record upon my so universally praétiset, that one would imafoul:" and a third, “ God is my witner."" igine forme great advantage, in tâe way eithet To the ufe of oaths, others have objected, of pleasure or profit, attended it.
The wages that they are nugatory. The good man wilt of iniquity afford, fome temptation': but go fpeak the truth without an oath ; and the bad cominit fin without any wages, is a ftranger man cannot be held by one. And this would species of infatuation. May we then alk the be true, if mankind were divided into good common fwearer, what the advantages are, and bad: bur as they are generally. of a which arise from this practice ? mixed character, we may well support, that It will be difficult to point out one.
2.- Pers' many would venture a simple falsehood, who haps it may be faid, that it adds ftrength to would yet be started at the idea of perjury an affirmation: But if a man commonly
As an oath ticrcfure takcn' in á lóleinn ítrengthen his affirmations in this way, we manner, and on a proper occasion, may be may venture to affert, that the practice will considered as one of the highest acts of 'reli- temel rather to lelien; than confirm his credit. gion ; so perjury, or false fivcaring, is certain. It thews plainly what he hiinfelf thinks of his ly one of the highest acts of impiety; and own veracity.' We never prop a building, choc greatest dishonour we can possibly thew till it becomes ruinous. to the name of God. It is, in effect, either Some forward youh may think, that anr denying our belief in a God, or his power oath adds an air and spirit to his discourse; to punith. Other crimes wish to clcape the that it is manly and important; and gives him motice of Heaven ; this is daring the Almighty confequence. We may whisperone feeret in to his face.
his car, which he may be arred is a truth... After perjury, the name of God is most Thele airs of manlines gite him corveçnčnice honoured by the horrid practice of curling. with those only, whose commendation is difIts effects in focicy, it is true, are not so mif- grace; others he only convinces, at how carly chievous as those of perjury; nor is it to de- an age he wishes to be thought proffgate. liberate an act: bur yet it conveys a ftill more Perhaps he may imagine, there an oath gives horrid idea. Indeed if there be no wicked force and terror to his threatenings-In this practice more peculiarly diabolical, than an- he may be right; and the morc horriblynu
• They who attend our courrs of justice, often wicked he grows; the greater object of terror fee instances among the common people of their he may make himself. On this plan, the afierting roundly what they will cither refuse to devil affords him a complete pattern for im!. Iwear; or, when sworn, will not afërt.
Paltry as the apologies are, I should fup-, leaft think it as disrespectful to the Almighty. pose, the practice of common swearing has -If we lose our reverence for God, it is imlittle more to say for itself.—Those, however, poflible we can retain it for his laws. You who can argue in favour of this lin, I should Icarce remember a common swearer, who was fear, there is little chance to reclaim.-But it in other respects an exact christian, is probable, that the greater part of such as But, above all, we should be deterred from are addicted to it, act rather from babit, than common swearing by the positive command principle. To deter such persons from in- of our Saviour, which is founded unques. dulging fo pernicious a habit, and to show cionably upon the wickedness of the practice : them, that it is worth their while to be at “ You have heard,” saith Christ, “ that it some pains to conquer it, let us now see hath been said by them of old time, thou shalt what arguments may be produced on the not forswear thyself: but I say unto you, other side.
swear not at all; neither by heaven, for it is In the firit place, common swearing leads God's throne, neither by the earth, for it is to perjury. He who is addiêted to swear on his footstool; but let your communication" every trifling occasion, cannot but often, 1 (that is, your ordinary conversation) "be had almost said unavoidably, give the fanc yca, yca, nay, nay; for whatsoever is more tion of an oath to an untruth. And though than these cometh of evil."-St. James alfa, 1 should hope such perjury is not a lin of To with great cmphasis presling his master's heinous a nature, as what, in judicial mar- words, says, " Above all things, my breters, is called wilful and corrupt; yet it is thren, (u'car not ; neither by hcaven, neither certainly stained with a very great degree of by the earth, neither by any other oath: but guilt.
let your yea be yea, and your nay, nay, left Bue fecondly, common fwearing is a large you fall into condennation." stride towards wilful and corrupt perjury, in- I thall just add, before I conclude this subasmuch as it makes a solemn oath to be reject, that two things are to be avoided, which ceived with less reverence. If nobody dared are very nearly allied to swearing. to take an oath, but on proper occasions, an The first is, the use of light exclamations, oath would be received with respect; but and invocations upon God, on every triviai when we are accustomed to hear swearing the occasion. We cannot have much roverence, common language of our streets, it is no for God himself, when we treat his name in wonder that people make light of oaths on lo familiar a manner; and may assure our every occafion; and that judicial, commer- felves, that we are iodulging a practice, cial, and official oaths, are all treated with which must weaken impressions, that ought so much indifference.
to be preserved as strong as possible. Thirdly, common swearing may be confi- Secondly, such light expreffions, and wandered as an act of great irreverence to God; ton phrases, as found like lwearing are to be and as such, implying also a great indiffer- avoided; and are often therefore indulged by ence to religion. If it would disgrace a lilly people, for the sake of the found, who chief magistrate to suffer appeals on every think (if they think at all) that they add to trifiing, or ludicrous occasion; we may at their discourse the fpirit of swearing without
the guilt of it. Such people had better lay through those ages of ignorance antecedent to alide, together with swearing, every appear Christ. Here too we find those types, and ance of it. These appearances may both representations, which the apostle to the Heoffend, and mislead others; and with regard brews calls the Shadows of good things to 80 themselves, may end in realities.
At come. lcast, they show an inclination to swearing: To those books, which contain the legislaand an inclination to vice indulged, is really tion and history of the Jews, succeed the provice.
Gilpin. phetic writings. As the time of the promise
drew still nearer, the notices of its approach 651. Honour due to God's Wordwbat it became stronger. The kingdom of the Mes. is to ferve God truly, &c.
siah, which was but obscurely lhadowed by As we are enjoined to honour God's holy, the ceremonies of the Jewish law, was markname, so we are enjoined also to honour his ed in stronger lines by the prophets, and proholy word."
claimed in a more intelligible language. The By God's holy word we mean, the Old office of the Messiah, his ministry, his life, his Testament and the New.
death, and his resurrection, are all The books of the Old Testament open very distinctly held out. It it true, the Jews, with the earliest accounts of time, carlier explaining the warm figures of the prophetic than any human records reach; and yet, in language too literally, and applying to a temmany instances, they are ftrengthened by poral dominion those expressions, which were human records. The human mythology is intended only as descriptive of a spiritual, often grounded upon remnants of the facred were offended at the meanness of Christ's apstory, and many of the Bible events are re- pearance on carth ; and would not own him corded, however imperfectly, in profane for that Melliah, who their prophets had history. The very face of nature bears wit- foretold; though these very prophets, when nefs to the deluge.
they used a less figurative language, had deIn the history of the patriarchs is exhibited fcribed him, as he really was, a man of fora most beautiful picture of the fimplicity of rows, and acquainted with grief. apcicnt manners; and of genuine nature un- To those books are added several others, adorned indeed by science, but impressed poetical and moral, which administer much strongly with a sense of religion. This gives instruction, and matter of meditation to dean air of grcatness and dignity to all the fenti-vout minds. ments and actions of these exalted characters. The New Testament contains first the fim.
The patriarchal history is followed by the ple history of Christ, as recorded in the four Jewish. Here we have the principal events gospels. In this history also are delivered of that peculiar nation, which lived under a those excellent instructions, which our Saviour theocracy, and was set apart to preserve and occasionally gave his disciples; the precepts propagate * the knowledge of the true God and the example blended together.
See the subje&t very learnedly treated in one To the gospels succeeds an account of the of the first Chapters of Jenkins's Reasonablenero lives and actions of some of the principle of Chriftianity .
apoftles; apofties; together with the carly state of the / requires the heart : he requires that an earchriftian church.
ncst defire of acting agreeably to his will, The epiftles of several of the apostles, par- thould be the general spring of our actions ; ricularly of St. Paul, to some of the new esta- and this will give even an indifferent action a blished churches, make another part. Our value in his fight. Saviour had promised to endow his disciples As we are injoined to serve God truly, fo with power from on high to complete the are we injoined to serve him “ all the days of great work of publishing the gospel : ‘and in our life.". As far as human frailities will the epistles that work is completed. The permit, we should perforere in a constant tetruths and doctrines of the christian religion nor of obedience. That lax behaviour, which are here still more unfolded, and inforced : as instead of making a steady progress, is contithe great scheme of our redemption was now nually relapsing into former errors, and runfinished by the death of Christ.
ning the fame round of fining and repente The sacred volume is concluded with the ing, is rather the life of an irresolute sinner, revelations of St. John; which are supposed than of a pious christian. Human errors, and to contain a prophetic description of the fu- frailties, we know, God will not treat with ture state of the church. Some of those pro- too severe an eye; but he who, in the general phecics, it is thought on very good grounds, tenor of his life, does not keep advancing toare already fulfilled; and others, which now, | wards christian perfection; but fuffers himas fublime defcriptions only, amuse the ima- felf, at intervals, entirely to lose sight of his gination, will probably, in the future ages of calling, cannot be really serious in his profelthe church, be the objects of the underitand- hon: he is at a great distance from ferving ing alfo.
God truly all the days of his life; and has no The last part of our duty to God is, “ to fcriptural ground to hope much from the serve him truly all the days of our life.” mercy of God.
“ To serve God truly all the days of That man, whether placed in high estate, our life," implies two things: first, the mode or low, has reached the summit of human of this service; and fecondly, the term of happiness, who is truly serious in the service
of his great Master. The things of this First, we must ferve God truly. We must world may engage, but cannot engross, his not rcft fatisfied with the outtvard action ; but attention; its forrows and its jovs may affects must take care that every action be founded but cannot disconcert him. No man, he on a proper motive. It is the motive alone knows, can faithfully ferve two inasters. He that makes an action acceptable to God. The hath hired himself to one-the great Master, hypocrite may fast twice in the week, and whose commands he reveres, whose favour he give alms of all that he poffeffes :" nay, he seeks, whose displeasure alone is the real object may faft the whole week, if he be able, of his fears ; and whose rewards alone 'are and give all.he has in alms; but if his fafts the real objects of his hope. Every thing and his alms are intended as a matter of clfe is trivial in his fight. The world may oftentation only, ncither the one, nor the other, sooth.; or it may threaten him: he perfeveres is that true service which God requires. God steadily in the service of his God; and in that