Gambar halaman


And, first, of injuring our neighbour by to speak the truth. Nay, every fingle tyo “ words.” This may be done, we

is attended with such a variety of circum find, in three ways; by « evil-speaking, stances, which lead to a detection, that it by lying, and by flandering."

is often discovered. The use generally By “ evil-speaking” is meant speaking made of a lye, is to cover a fault; but as ill of our neighbour; but upon a fuppofi- the end is seldom anfivered, we only agtion, that this ill is the truth. In some gravate what we wish to conceal. In point circumstances it is certainly right to speak even of prudence, an honcit confeffion ill of our neighbour; as when we are called wouid serve us better. upon in a court of justice to give our evi The meanness of lying arises from the dence; or, when we can set anyone cowardice which it implies. We dare not right in his opinion of a person, in whom boldly and nobly speak the truth; but he is about to put an improper confidence. have recourie to low subterfuges, which Nor can there be any harm in speaking of always argue a fordid and dilingenuous a bad action, which has been determined mind. Hence it is, that in the fashionable in a court of justice, or is otherwise be- world, the word lyar is always considered come notorious.

as a term of peculiar reproach. But on the other hand, it is highly dis The wickedness of lying consists in its allo:vable to speak wantonly of the cha- perverting one of the greatest blessings of racters of others from common fame; be. God, the use of speech, in making that a cause, in a thousand instances, we find mischief to mankind, which was intended that scries, which have no better founda- for a benefit. Truth is the great bond of tion, are misrepresented. They are per- fociety. Falsehood, of courfe, tends to haps only half-told--they have been heard its dissolution. If one man may lye, why through the medium of malice or envy, not another? And if there is no mutual some favourable circumstance hath been trust among men, there is an end of all omitoed-Come foreign circumstance hath intercourse and dealing. been added some trilling circumstance An equivocation is nearly related to a hath been exaggerated the motive, the lye. It is an intention to deceive under provocation, or perhaps the reparation, words of a double meaning, or words hath been concealed-in short, the repre- which, literally speaking, are true; sentation of the fact is, some way or other, and is equally criminal with the moft totally different from the fact itself. downright breach of truth. When St.

But even, when we have the best evi- Peter alked Sapphira (in the 5th chapter dence of a bad action, with all its circum- of the Acts) “ whether her husband had Aances before us, we surely indulge a ve sold the land for so much?” She answer. ry ill-natured pleasure in spreading the ed, he had: and literally the spoke the shame of an offending brother. We can truth; for he had sold it for that sum, indo no good; and we may do harm: we cluded in a larger. But having an intenmay weaken his good resolutions by ex tion to deceive, we find the apostle confi. posing him: we may harden him against dered the equivocation as a lye. ihe world. Perhaps it may be his firit bad In short, it is the intention to deceive, action. Perhaps nobody is privy to it but which is criminal: the mode of deception, ourselves. Let us give him at least one

like the vehicle in which poison is conveytrial. Let us not cast the firft ftone. ed, is of no consequence. A nod, or fign, Which of our lives could stand so strict may convey a lye as effe&tually as the molt a scrutiny? He only who is without sin deceitful language. himself can have any excuse for treating Under the head of lying may be menhis brother with severity,

tioned a breach of promise. While a resoLet us next consideru lying ;" which lution remains in our own breasts, it is sub. is an intention to deceive by falsehood in ject to our own review: but when we make our words.-To warn us against lying, we another person a party with us, an engagehould do well to consider the folly, the ment is made; and every engagement, meanness, and the wickedness of it. though only of the lightelt kind,

thould be The folly of lying confifts in its defeat- punctually observed. If we have added to ing its own purpose. A habit of lying is this engagement a folemn promise, the obligenerally in the end detected; and, after gation is fo much the stronger: and he who detection, the lyar, instead of deceiving, does not think himself bound by such as will not even be believed when he happens obligation, has no pretensions to the cha:


rader of an honest man. A breach of let us next consider injurious actions. On promife is still worse than a lye. A lye this head we are injoined “ to keep our is dimply a breach of truth; but a breach of hands from picking and stealing, and to be promite is a breach both of truth and truít. true and just in all our dealings.”.

Forgetfulness is a weak excuse: it only As to theft, it is a crime of ro odious thews how little we are affected by so so- and vile a nature, that one would imagine lemn an engagement.

Should we forget no person, who hath had the least tincture to call for a sum of money, of which we of a virtuous education, even though driwere in want, at an appointed time? Or ven to necesity, could be led into we think a folemn promise of less value I shall not, therefore, enter into a diffuathan a sum of money?

five from this crime; but go on with the Having considered evil speaking and explanation of the other part of the inlying, let us next consider slandering. By junction, and see what it is to be true and landering, we mean, injuring our neigh- just in all our dealings. bour's character by falsehood. Here we Justice is even ftill more, if posible, the ftül rise higher in the fcale of injurious support of fociety, than truth: inasmuch words. Slandering our neighbour is the as a man may be more injurious by his greatelt injury, which words can do him ; actions, than by his words. It is for this and is, therefore, worse than either evil- reason, that the whole force of human laiv speaking or lying. The mischief of this is bent to restrain injuttice; and the hapfin depends on the value of our characters. piness of every society will increase in pro. All men, unless they be past feeling, defire portion to this restraint, naturally to be thought well of by their We very

much err, however, if we supfellow-creatures: a good character is one pose, that every thing within the bounds of of the principal means of being service. law is justice. "The law was intended only able either to ourselves or others; and for bad men ; and it is impossible to make among numbers, the very bread they cat the meshes of it so strait, but that many depends upon it. What aggravated in- very great enormities will escape. The jury, therefore, do we bring upon every well-meaning man, therefore, knowing that man, whose name we slander? And, what the was not made for him, consults a is still worse, the injury is irreparable. If better guide--his own conscience, informyou defraud a man; reitore what you took, ed by religion. And, indeed, the great difand the injury is repaired. But, if you ference between the good and the bad man fiander him, it is not in your power to shut consists in this: the good man will do no. up all the ears, and all the mouths, to which thing, but what his conscience will allow; your tale may have access. The evilspreads, the bad man will do any thing which the like the winged seeds of some noxious law cannot reach. plants, which scatter mischief on a breath It would, indeed, be endless to describe of air, and disperse it on every side, and the various ways, in which a man may be beyond prevention.

disonest within the limits of law. They Before we conclude this subject, it may are as various as our intercourse with manjot be mentioned, that a slander may be kind. Some of the most obvious of them spread, as a lye may be told, in various I shall cursorily mention. ways. We may do it by an infinuation, as In matters of commerce the knave has well as in a direct manner; we may spread many opportunities. The different qualiit in a secret; or propagate it under the ties of the same commodity—the different colour of friendship.

modes of adulteration-the specious arts of I may add also, that it is a species of vending--the frequent ignorance in purlander, and often a very malignant one, chasing; and a variety of other circun. to lesien the merits or exaggerate the stances, open an endless field to the ingefailings of others; as it is likewise to omit nuity of fraud. The honest fair dealer, defending a misrepresented character, or in the mean time, has only one rule, which to let others bear the blame of our offen- is, that all arts, however common in buc. ces,

Gilpin. ness, which are intended to deceive, are 166. Against wronging our Neighbour by this head, that if any one, conscious of

utterly unlawful. It may be added, upon injurious Actions.

having been a transgressor, is delirous of reHaving thus considered injurious words, pairing his fault, restitution is by all means


[ocr errors]

necessary: till that be done, he continues The next precept is, “ to bear no malice in a course of injustice.

nor hatred in our hearts.'' Again, in matters of contract, a man The malice and hatred of our hearts has many opportunities of being disho- arise, in the first place, from injurious nest within the bounds of law. He may treatment; and surely no man, when lie is be strict in observing the letter of an injured, can at firit help feeling that he is agreement, when the equitable meaning fo. But Christianity requires, that we requires a laxer interpretation : or, he can should subdue these feelings, as foon as take the laxer interpretation, when it serves possible; " and not fuffer the fun to go his purpose; and at the loop-hole of some down upon our wrath.” Various are the ambiguous expression exclude the literal passages of scripture, which inculcate the meaning, though it be undoubtedly the forgiveness of injuries. Indeed, no point true one.

is more laboured than this; and with reaThe same iniquity appears in with-hold- son, because no temper is more productive ing from another his just right; or in put- of evil, both to ourselves and others, than ting him to expence in recovering it. The a malicious one. The sensations of a mind movements of the law are slow; and in burning with revenge are beyond descripmany cases cannot be otherwise; but he tion; and as we are at these seasons very who takes the advantage of this to injure unable to judge cooly, and of course liable his neighbour, proves himself an undoubt- to carry our resentment too far, the conle. ed knave.

quence is, that, in our rage, we may do a It is a species of the same kind of in- thousand things, which can never be atoned justice to withhold a debt, when we have for, and of which we may repent as long ability to pay; or to run into debt, when

as we live. we have not that ability. The former can Besides, one act draws on another; and proceed only from a bad disposition; the retaliation keeps the quarrel alive. The latter, from fuffering our desires to exceed gospel, therefore, ever gracious and kind our station.

Some are excused, on this to man, in all its precepts enjoins us to head, as men of generous principles, which check all those violent emotions, and to they cannot confine. But what is their leave our cause in the hands of God. generosity? They afliit one man by in “ Vengeance is mine, I will repay, faith juring another. And what good arises to the Lord;” and he who, in opposition Society from hence ? Such persons cannot to this precept, takes vengeance into his aćt on principle ; and we need not hesitate own hands, and cherishes the malice and to rank them with those, who run into debt hatred of his heart, may assure himself that to gratify their own selfish inclinations. One he has not yet learned to be a Christian. man desires the elegancies of life; another These precepts, perhaps, may not entirely desires what he thinks an equal good, the agree with modern principles of honour : Teputation of generosity.

but let the man of honour fee to that. The Oppression is another species of injuf- maxims of the world cannot change the tice; by which, in a thousand ways, under truth of the gospel. the cover of law, we may take the advan Nay, even in recovering our just right, tage of the superiority of our power, ei or in pursuing a criminal to justice, we ther to crush an inferior, or humble him should take care that it be not done in the to our designs.

fpirit of retaliation and revenge. If there Ingratitude is another. A loan, we be our motives, though we make the law know, claims a legal return. And is the our inftrument, we are equally guilty. obligation lefs, if, instead of a loan, you re But besides injurious treatment, the maceive a kindness? The law, indeed, lays lice and hatred of our hearts have often nothing on this point of immorality; but another source, and that is envy: and thus an honest conscience will be very loud in in the litany;“ envy, malice, and hatred," the condemnation of it.

are all joined together with great proprie. We may be unjust also in our resent- ty. The emotions of envy are generally ment; by carrying it beyond what reason cooler, and less violent, than those which and religion prescribe.

arise from the resentment of injury; so that But it would be endless to describe the cnvy is feldom so milchievous in its effects various ways, in which injustice discovers as revenge : but with regard to ourselves, itielt. In truth, almost every omition of it is altogether as bad, and full as deftrucduty may be resolved into injustice. tive of the spirit of christianity. What is

the religion of that man, who instead of one contaminates the other, a great degree thanking Heaven or the blessings he 're- of moral attention is, of course, due to our cerves, is frecting himself continually with bodies also. a diagreeable comparison between himfelf As our first station is in this world, to and tome other: He cannot enjoy what he which our bodies particularly belong, they has, because another has more wealth, a are formed with such appetites as are refairer fame, or perhaps more merit, than quisite to our coinmodious living in it; and himself

. He is miferabie, because others the rule given us is, “ to use the world fo are happy.

as not to abuse it." St. Paul, by a beauBut to omit the wickedness of envy, how tiful allusion, calls our bodies the “ tem.' ablard and foolish is it, in a world where ples of the Holy Ghost:” by which he we muit necessarily expect much real means to impress us with a strong idea of milery, to be perniciously inventive in pro- their dignity; and to deter us from de. ducing it!

basing, by low pleasures, what should be Bendes, what ignorance! We see only the seat of so much purity. To youth the glaring outlide of things. Under all these cautions are above measure necessary, that envied glare, many unseen distresses because their passions and appetites are may lurk, from which our station may be strong; their reason and judgment weak. free: for our merciful Creator seems to They are prone to pleasure, and void of have beitowed happiness, as far as ttation reflection. How, therefore, these young is concerned, with great equality among adventurers in life may best steer their all nis creatures.

course, and use this sinful world so as not In conclusion, therefore, let it be the to abuse it, is a consideration well worth great object of our attention, and the fub- their attention. Let us then fee under ject of cur prayers, to rid our minds of all what regulations their appetites should be this curred intrusion of evil thoughts-- restrained. whether they proceed from malice, or By keeping our bodies in temperance is from an envious temper. Let all our ma meant avoiding excess in eating, with reliczas thoughts foften into charity and be- gard both to the quantity and quality of nevolence; and let us “ forgive one an our food. We should neither eat more other, as God, for Christ's lake, has for, than our stomachs can well bear; nor be given us.” As for our envious thoughts, nice and delicate in our eating. as far as they relate to externals, let them To preserve the body in health is the fubade in humility, acquiescence, and lub- end of eating; and they who regulate milloa to the will of God. And when we themselves merely by this end, who eat are tempted to envy the good qualitics of without choice or distinction, paying no others, let us spurn so bate a conception, regard to the pleasure of eating, observe and change it into a generous emulation, perhaps the best rule of temperance. into an endeavour to raise ourselves to an They go rather indeed beyond temperance, equality with our rival, not to depress him and may be called abfiemious.

A man to a level with us.


may be temperate, and yet allow himself a

lit:le more indulgence. Great carc, how167. Duries to ourselves.

ever, is here neceffary; and the more, as Thus far the duties we have considered perhaps no precise rule can be affixed, come molt properly under the head of after we have passed the first great limit, whole which we owe to our neighbour; and let the palate loose among variety what follows, relates rather to ourselves. Our own discretion must be our guide, On this head, we are inítructed “to keep which should be constantly kept awake by our bodies in temperance, foberness, and considering the many bad consequences chatiity."

which attend a breach of temperance.Though our lou's should be our great Young men, in the full vigour of health, concern, yet, as they are nearly connected do not consider these things; but as age With our bodies, and as the impurity of the comes on, and different maladies begin to

-Nam variæ res,
Ut noceant homini, credas memor illius efcz,
Quæ simplex olim tibi federit. At fimul afis
Miscueris elixa, simul conchylia curdis
Dulcia se in bilem vertent, ftomaclioque cumultum
Lenta feret pituita.





appear, they may perhaps repent they did veniences and mortifications. We expose not a little earlier practise the rules of our follies--we betray our secrets—we are temperance.

often imposed upon--we quarrel with our In a moral and religious light, the con friends sawe lay ourselves open to our enesequences of intemperance are still worfe. mies; and, in short, make ourselves the To enjoy a comfortable meal, when it objects of contempt, and the topics of ricomes before us, is allowable: but he who dicule to all our acquaintance. ---Nor is it suffers his mind to dwell upon the pleasures only the act of intoxication which deprives of eating, and makes them the employ- us of our reason during the prevalence of ment of his thoughes, has at least opened it; the habit of drunkenness foon besots one source of mental corruption. *. and impairs the underltanding, and ren

After all, he who would molt perfectly ders us at all times less fit for the ofices enjoy the pleasures of the table, such as of life. they are, must look for them within the We are next injoined « to keep our rules of temperance. The palate, accuf- bodies in chastity.“Flee youthful lufts," tomed to satiety, hath lost its tone; and says the apostle, “ which war against the the greateit sensualists have been brought soul.” And there is surely nothing which to confess, that the coarseft fare, with an carries on a war against the soul more fucappetite kept in order by temperance, af- cessfully. Wherever we have a catalogue fords a more delicious repait, than the molt in fcripture (and we have many such cataluxurious meal without it.

logues) of those fins which in a peculiar As temperance relates chiefly to eating, manner debauch the mind, these youthful soberness or sobriety relates properly to lusts have always, under some denominadrinking. And here the same observations tion, a place among them.---To keep recur. The stricteft, and perhaps the best ourselves free from all contagion of this rule, is merely to satisfy the end of drink- kind, let us endeavour to preserve a purity

But if a little more indulgence be in our thoughts-our words and our actaken, it ought to be taken with the greatest tions. circumspection.

First, let us preserve a purity in our With regard to youth indeed, I should thoughts. Thele dark recelles, which the be inclincd to great strictness on this head. eye of the world cannot reach, are the reIn eating, if they eat of proper and simple ceptacles of these youthful lufts. Here food, they cannot easily err. Their grow- they find their first encouragement. The ing limbs, and strong exercise, require entrance of such impure ideas perhaps we larger supplies than full-grown bodies, cannot always prevent. We may always which must be kept in order by a more however prevent cherishing them; we may rigid temperance. But if more indulgence always prevent their making an impresion be allowed them in cating, less, furely, upon us: the devil may be cast out as soon should in drinking. With strong liquors as discovered. of every kind they have nothing to do; Let us always keep in mind, that even and if they should totally abstain on this into these dark abodes the eye of Heaven head, it were so much the better. The can penetrate : that every thought of our languor which attends age t, requires per- hearts is open to that God, betore whom haps, now and then, some aids; but the we must one day stand; and that however fpirits of youth want no recruits : a little secretly we may indulge these impure rest is sufficient.

ideas, at the great day of account they As to the bad consequences derived will certainly appear in an awful detail from exceffive drinking, befides filling the against us. blood with bloated and vicious humours, Let us remember again, that if our and debauching the purity of the mind, bodies be the temples of the Holy Gholt

, as in the case of intemperate eating, it is our minds are the very fanctuaries of those attended with this peculiar evil, the loss of temples: and if there be any weight in our senses. Hence follow frequent incon- the apostle's argument against polluting


-Corpus onuftum
Hefternis vitiis, animum quoque prægravat un.,
Atque affigit humo divinæ particulum auræ.

Hor. Sat,

Accedant anni, et tractari mollius ætas
Imbecilla wulet.


« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »