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S E R M. constant spirit, will, in the end, through L;_V_, the merits of our blessedw Redeemer, bring us to that presence, where is fulness of joy, and inhere are pleasures for evermore.



On Curiosity concerning the AfFairs of others.

John xxi. 21, 22.

Peterseeing him,faith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesusfaith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me.

THESE words occurred in a confe- s E R M. rence which our Lord held with J[^Li Simon Peter, after his resurrection from the dead. Conscious of the disgrace which he had incurred by his late denial of his Master, Peter must at this time have appeared before him with shame. Our Lord, after a tacit rebuke,

SERM.buke, implied in the question which VIII . ^ he repeatedly puts to him, Simon son of

'Jonas, loveji thou me? restores him, with great benignity, to his office as an apostle, by giving the commandment to feed his sheep; and intimates also that it should be his lot to suffer death in the cause of his N' aster. The apostle John, distinguished here by the denomination of the disciple whom Jesus loved, being present at this conversation, Peter, who was always eager and forward, looking to John, puts this question to our Saviour, Lord, and what Jhall this man do t '* What shall be his employment? what "his rank and station in thy kingdom? "what his suture fate in life ?—By what principle Peter was moved to put this unseasonable and improper question to his Master; whether it arose from mere curiosity, or from some emotion of rivalship and jealousy, does not appear; but it is plain that our Lord was dissatisfied with the enquiry which he made; and presently he checks Peter's* curiosity, by a severe reply; What

is that to thee? "What is it to theeSERM. ** what this man shall do; what shall be ^-»~o "his rank j or what the circumstances ** of his life or his death? Attend thou ** to thine own duty. Mind thy proper "concerns. Fulfil the part which I "have allotted to thee. Follow thou "me."—The instruction which arises from this conversation of our Lord's with Peter, is, That all prying inquiries into the state, circumstances, or character of others, are reprehensible and improper; that to every man a particular charge is assigned by his Lord and Master, the fulfillment of which ought to be the primary object of his attention, without officiously thrusting himself into the concerns of others. The illustration of these points shall make the subject of the present discourse.

That idle curiosity, that inquisitive and meddling spirit, which leads men to pry into the affairs of their neighbours, is reprehensible on three accounts. It interrupts the good order, and breaks


SERM. the peace of society. It brings forward L__v^J and nourishes several bad passions. It draws men aside from a proper attention to the discharge 0s their own duty.

Jt interrupts, I fay, the order, and breaks the peace of society. In this world we are linked together by many ties. We are bound by duty#and we are prompted by interest, to give mutual assistance, and to perform friendly offices to each other. But those friendly offices are performed to most advantage, when we avoid to interfere unnecessarily in the concerns of our neighbour. E very man has his own part to act, has his own interest to consult, has affairs of his own to manage, which his neighbour has no call to scrutinize. Human life then proceeds in its most natural and orderly train, when every one keeps within the bounds of his proper province; when, as long as his pursuits are fair and lawful,'he is allowed, without disturbance,. to conduct them in his own way. That ye Jludy to be quiet, and


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