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regard in unbecoming language, nor in a superstitious manner.
The true love of God is an ardent and grateful, yet a sober and rational, emotion. It is not an affection that terminates in mere feeling, and evaporates in Enthusiasm ; but that descends from its Holy Object to ourselves and our neighbours, that communicates its influence to our actions, that enters into the business of our several callings, and that prompts us at all times to do what is right, because it is the command of Him, who ** first loved us." Let this love dwell in your hearts; for without it you can never attain to the righteousness of Saints, nor make any approaches towards God; but must of necessity lead a life of wickedness, and continue more and more to estrange yourselves from Him, who is the source and centre of all perfection. Believe in God, and you will please him ; fear him in all your thoughts, and words, and works, and you will secure his favour; love him with all your hearts, and minds ,
1 John, iv, 19:
and strength, and you will be made partakers of his blessing and reward. If
you would prove that you believe in, and fear, and love him, and that you have not a vain and dissembling heart, you must *“ worship him in spirit and in truth.” In order to this, you must honour his holy name.
You should never think of him, nor speak of him, but with feelings of the deepest awe and reverence, for he is the Almighty God' of Heaven and Earth. Beware of contracting the pro. fane and odious habit of swearing, which is disgraceful in the extreme to the profession of Christianity, and which invariably betrays a heart void of real piety, and alienated more or less from the truth that is in Christ Jesus. This evil habit is most inexcusable, because it is adopted in compliance with the practice of a wicked world; because it is often yielded to when no one passion of the soul is excited, and when no temptation, nor promise of pleasure, urges to its indulgence; and because it not only gives wanton and un
John, iv. 24
necessary offence to the sober-minded, but also has the reproach upon it of wanting even the decency of concealment. It is foolish, because it answers no good end : it produces no profitable result, gives no strength to affirmation, attaches no credit to testimony, imparts no validity to argument, affords no additional proof of sincerity, and has an immediate tendency to excite disgust, and awaken in the breasts of others a wellfounded suspicion, that, as there is profaneness on the tongue, there must be guile, and ignorance, and depravity in the heart. And it is wicked, because it is in direct opposition to the positive divine command, * "Swear not at all because it obstructs the progress, and prejudices the cause of true religion ; and because, disregarding the interest of others, and the virtue of society, it spreads abroad the pernicious infection of t bad example.
* Matt. V. 34. * Fathers are often heard to swear, and take God's name in vain, in the presence of their children; tħus unnaturally contributing to deprave, by their example, those minds, which nature and religion teach them it
Observe the men who are addicted to this vice, and you will find that they have little or no sense of religious obligation, that they are living in continual violation of the commands of God, and that they are so lamentably ignorant of his word, that, were you to ask them *"a reason of
is their duty to instruct, and render as pure and pious as they can. Is this the way, I would ask, to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, to instil into their breasts a reverence for the divine commandments, to show their parental love, to discharge their parental responsibility, to connect God's creatures with their Redeemer Christ, and to fit them for honourable distinction in this life, and for everlasting glory in the life to come? It would be well, if such fathers would seriously reflect on the wickedness and cruelty of assisting to corrupt human souls, those souls too which ought to be the dearest to
them in the world, and on the awful account which they must give at the last day before the tribunal of their Judge.
Many Masters also, thinking, one would suppose, that they have no obligations to discharge towards their servants, are continually profaning the name of God with their lips, and consequently giving lessons of irreligion to those, whom it is their bounden duty diligently to instruct in the ways of righteousness, and in the knowledge of the Gospel.
* 1 Peter, iii. 15.
the hope that is in them, they would either, with a contemptuous sneer, refuse to give you an answer, or evade the ques- . tion by attacking you with the charge of sanctified hypocrisy." If, therefore, you think it worth your while not to be numbered amongst libertines, gamesters, sensualists, drunkards, and blasphemers ; if you deem it a matter of importance to secure the respect of good men, and the favour of a righteous God, to live in honour and die in peace, and afterwards to exist in a state of endless happiness with Christ your Redeemer, avoid the impious practice of taking God's Holy Name in vain; a practice at once decisive of the character and heart of those who are addicted to it.
In the next place, you must * member the Sabbath-Day to keep it holy.” The Sabbath is a divine appointment. It was set apart from the beginning as a Day of Rest, and was afterwards, in a most solemn manner, enjoined in the Mosaic Law to be piously observed
* Exod. xx. 8.