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within a certain time, fuch and fuch a number of oaths as neceffary, in their opinion, to render their conversation intelligible, or interesting, or agreeable. Is this the return you make unto God, for his wonderful love in redeeming your fouls by expiating your guilt with his own Blood? Confider, how by fwearing without thought, you are adding fin, to fin-confider what deep repentance fuch an accumulation of guilt will demand—and, confider further, that if it be not repented of, you are irretrievably loft, both body and foul, for ever. The reflection of having difobeyed, it may be, almost all your life long, a pofitive command of God without confideration, will not alleviate; no-it will increase the torments of hell. Many men, notwithstanding, look upon the fin of fwearing as not deferving punishment, because they are, in other respects, just and upright. Strange! that a man can perfuade himself it is his duty to fulfil every engagement, into which he may enter, "with a man that fhall die, and the fon "of man that fhall be made as grafs," and fhould think himself authorized to 66 forget" the obligations he is under, of paying reverence to "the Lord his maker!"

Another

Another excufe fome men plead, is, that they are urged to fwear by paffion and disappointment. And, indeed, we fometimes hear people, when in a paffion, swear such tremendous oaths, we are afraid that God Almighty will vindicate his injured honor, by inflicting instant punishment upon them. Now people of this description are, ufually, I think, those who have been fortunate in life, whofe undertakings have fucceeded, and who are not fub. ject to mortifications. And, therefore, because Almighty God has profpered, I will not fay, bleffed them, if he with-hold for a moment his indulgent providence, unable to brook difappointment, they wreak their vengeance, by infulting the Author of all their good, by outrageously daring him, instead of comforts, to pour upon them his curfes. When they

are provoked, they can find no way of expreffing their refentment, but by defiring God to render them, not objects of his mercy, but of his indignation-" to destroy them, both body and foul, in hell." If God were extreme to mark what we do amifs-if he were fo enraged by our offences as to punish them

66

by immediate tokens of his displeasure, which of us could abide! The fwearer would then find the punishment he implored, not, as it is now, delayed, but inflicted; and whilft the oath was in his mouth, the vengeance of God would fall upon his head.

The Legislature, in its wifdom, to stop the progrefs, has inflicted a punishment on this detestable fin: and happy would it be for fociety, if the character of an informer, in this refpect at least, had ceafed to be odioushappy would it be for the fwearer himself, if an information were laid, and the penalty exacted, for every oath. Why the law is not enforced, two reafons, which, I fear, are incontrovertible, may be affigned; men are indifferent about the honor of God; and the magistrates themselves, the guardians of the laws, are fometimes guilty of a violation of those laws they are commiffioned to protect.

There is one circumftance, which, without impropriety, may be mentioned here, the frequent, the habitual custom many people have of" taking God's name in vain." Whatever be their converfation, the name of God, of

the

the Almighty, is perpetually ufhered in. If they be relating any thing furprising, you are hardly able to collect their meaning, by their frequent and profane exclamations: if you are telling them of any extraordinary circumstance, you are every moment interrupted by the fame fenfeless, and impious cuftom. Nay, "to take the name of God in vain" is become fo univerfally fashionable, that it even makes a part of the converfation of women; and the facred name of God, I blush to speak it, is introduced, even by them, to give a fpirit, and an ornament to their difcourfe, forgetting the advice of the Pfalmift, "to fet a watch before their "mouth, and to keep the door of their lips." "Accuftom not thyfelf," fays the wife fon of Sirach," to much swearing; neither use thy"felf to the naming of the Holy One. A man that "ufeth much swearing fhall be filled with iniquity, and the plague fhall never depart from " his houfe."

I will detain you a little longer, whilft I earnestly exhort you to observe the direction of our Saviour, "I fay unto you, fwear not

" at all."

I am

I am to address you then, my brethren, on one of the most interesting subjects, which can engage the attention of an affembly of Christians. As we are all to stand one day before God's dread tribunal, and to give an account for every profane, and idle word we have spoke, I am to perfuade you, in the language of the Pfalmift, "to put a bridle in your mouth, that

you may not" rafhly, or inconfiderately, "offend with your tongue." And if I am fo happy as to prevail with him who swore, to fwear no more, instead of living under the difpleasure of God, he will abound, it may be hoped, "in the fruits of the Spirit, gentleness, "goodness, meekness, faith, temperance." To the young, and inexperienced, fwearing may appear a genteel accomplishment; but what is the appearance of being genteel; what would be the actual poffeffion of the whole world, if it be incompatible with a state of falvation? If your life be prolonged to an advanced age, and your oaths and curfes be multiplied in proportion; when your end draws nigh, and your foul is on the eve of its departure "to give account of all the deeds done in

"the

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