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TO THE PATRONS OF THE REPOSITORY.
Dear friends, and most respected brethren,
I feel it no more than just to make my acknowledgements to you for the kindness you have shown me in lending your support for the last volume of the Repository. The punctuality in payment for books received, has been as great as was expected, and this proves the brethren both good and true. How far the Repository has been agreeable to you, I am unable to determine; but from the few returns which have been made to discontinue, I am inclined to believe that it has generally met your approbation. The work is miscellaneous, and it would be strange indeed, if all should be equally good.— Persons of different sentiments have written for it, and some of our own brethren of the Universalist fraternity have been permitted to offer some different views which they entertain of the divine government, previous to Christ's reconciling all things to God. How far these controversies are serviceable to the cause of Christ or to the spread of the truth, I am not able to say; I, therefore, leave it to wiser ones than myself to judge. However, in this age of free inquiry, we should so far divest our minds of prejudice as candidly and carefully to examine all sides, and as Paul says, “Prove all things, and hold fast to that which is good." Considering the danger there is of holding the truth in unrighteousness," I conceive it would be as profitable for our writers, in part, to urge the necessity of good works, as it would be to dwell exclusively on matters of faith; for we should remember that an apostle bath said, “Faith, without works is dead." The very liberal patronage which has been given to the last volume of the Repository, inspires, a hope that the present volume will be well supported. The Repository will contain, from time to time, such information relative to the Universalists as our brethren may have reason to expect or look for in such a work. And may we all be thankful to God for his many past mercies which have been bestowed on us, and ever be permitted, in confidence, to look to him for blessings to come.
Hartland, June 1, 1826.
SERMON, NO. XXIX.
The following Sermon was delivered to the youth in Hartland,
first Sabbath in June, by the Editor of the Repository.. Psalms cxliv. 11, 12.—“Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood: That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace.”
Youthful friends, on whose cheeks glow health and beauty, it is to you I speak, for your special benefit I am about to deliver the following discourse. I think, that I need not require your close attention to the subject, I anticipate I shall have it, as nothing but friendly advice, in which your deepest interests are concerned, will be offered. It has ever appeared important to me from my earliest impressions on the subject, that one sabbath or more in every year should be devoted, by every local preacher to the special concerns of the youth. This duty I have thus far in the course of my short ministry performed, and I hope and trust there has been something good derived from it. And, if in any case, my advice has been the cause of preventing any evil, I am amply rewarded. The text selected on this occasion from the Psalms, imposes an important consideration for the youth who are commencing their earthly. existence and forming their characters for future usefulness. In the first place it teaches us the desire which the Psalmist had that he might be delivered from the hand of "strange children," such children, (or more probably youth,) who speak vanity and whose hands are full of falsehood and deception. It is a truth which must universally be admitted, that most of our bad habits are derived from the pernicious examples of the wicked and profligate multitude. And it is furthermoré observable that those persons who have lost their characters, and are now abandoned to many of the most abominable
vices, can date the commencement of their ruin to the keeping of bad company, such company as set the most corrupt and ruinous example in society. It is strange and shocking indeed to see what an influence some characters have in society, and especially among the younger part of community. But this will forever be the case until the youth are better instructed, and shall have learnt that their true interest consists in keeping from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, &c. How many youth have set out in the journey of life with the fairest prospects, with good hearts and dispositions, naturally inclined to be likely, who have been turned from their course another way, and all this has been done by the mischievous conduct and influence of some evil persons. In order to avoid the society of those who are disposed to be evil, and who would ruin your fair reputation, my young friends, I would advise you to go to the field of industry, and depend upon it they will not trouble you there. They are too idle and slothful to be found in such a place.
There are some particular vices which are somewhat prevalent in this day, which I would most seriously warn you to flee from, as from the bane which would poison and destroy all your happiness.
1. Avoid PROFANE SWEARING, and never, as you value your reputation, indulge yourselves in it. This kind of language which some light and vain people, who swagger about and make so frequent use of, neither proves a person, a gentleman nor christian; but directly the reverse. This obscene kind of discourse shows a great want of reverence for the Deity, who has most strictly commanded us in his holy word to "Swear not at all: neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King: neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white
or black. But let your communication be yea, yea ; nay, nay; for whatsoever is more than these, cometh of evil.” Matt. v. 34-37. Some persons, yea, I may say some youth, in strict violation of this scripture, swear in almost every sentence they utter, they use this kind of language to express what they call their common civilities one to another, and even some are so depraved that they seem to be proud of it! And such ones, would they tell us all their feelings on the subject, would be constrained to acknowledge that they heard at some time, some "would be gentleman" use it, and thought it would be wise in them to imitate him. Shocking depravity! Lord, deliver all weak minds from such errors, errors which disgust all good people, possessing common sense and christian feelings. Some use this manner of discourse to confirm what they assert; but this only weakens instead of strengthening what they say. It proves what they declare is of a doubtful nature, they therefore use oaths to confirm it. But we should remember that it never makes a lie true, tho we confirm it with a thousand oaths, and plain truth needs no such support. It will support itself. Others there are, who apologize for their frequent use of profanity by saying that they mean no harm, that it is a habit they have acquired which they cannot easily avoid. Would it be uncharitable in us to say that such persons do not try to break off from it? And as it respects swearers meaning no wrong in their profanity, we shall believe them when they will prove the example to be good, and that they have never read in the Bible any command to the contrary. What has been said to you on this subject, proceeds from a heart filled with the purest friendship for your present good, I doubt not it will be so received. 2. LYING is a mischievous evil crept into the world upon which I beg leave to make a few remarks. Dr. Paley says, "a lie is a breach of promise; for whoever
seriously addresses his discourse to another, tacitly promises to speak the truth, because he knows the truth is expected." It appears on examination, that lies generally are produced by other preceding evils. For instance, if we have done wrong, we are ashamed or afraid to own it, therefore, we lie and prevaricate in a thousand ways. This only augments the evil, and gets us more and more into difficulty. As Dr. Watts says, "it is hard to tell a lie, for it needs twenty to conceal one." Having stated to you the meaning of a lie, and the general cause which produces lying, I will now make further observation relative to the mischief which is produced in society by this evil.
How many honest persons have been robbed of their property which they had gained by their industry, by being deceived by the liar. He comes, makes a bargain, purchases property, offers the fairest promises, takes possession of the honest, deceived neighbor's goods, and off he goes. All the time the rogue knows that he is determined in his own mind not to fulfil his promises, nor pay the honest man a cent for his property. Lies and deceptions of this kind have been practised upon the honest and unsuspecting for ages past, and many have been turned out of their doors on the account. But what must we say of the liar and deceiver? What must his feelings be? Can he be at ease in his mind? No. Guilt and condemnation must be the portion of the wretch, when he reflects on the atrocity of his crimes, and considers the innocent sufferers, rendered pennyless by his high-handed wickedness. Thus would we be wise for ourselves, we should always speak the truth in soberness, nor dare "to deceive our brother." May our prayer be like that of David's contained in our text. "Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood."