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selves, in the sight of God, at half a mite, while, in the same instance, they are paraded off to an unthinking world, as souls of the first magnitude.
These men, however, whom I have been speaking of, are a sort of Christians, and only swear by that which they seem at other times to lay some stress on. They have a little faith, which serves to give a proportionable significance to their profanation. But why swears the atheist by God; and the deist by Christ? Who hath made converts of their tongues, and given them just religion enough to swear by ? No one; their tongues are still as infidel as their hearts ; but they intend their oaths for blasphemy; nay, for a sort of proofs, that there is no truth in religion ; for we are to understand, that these men of genius swear only because they no not believe; and do not believe, because they have found out, that religion is a lie. And would they have us take them in this light, when they are called before a court as evidences, or sworn into a place of trust and profit? for here they will swear to some purpose, as well as
company for amusement; but the public ought a little better to consider, that the oath of an infidel can be no pledge for his fidelity:
There is hardly any vice that is not as ridiculous on the one side, as it is shocking on the other. Swearing falsely is taking God's-name in vain ; because, instead of clearing up the point it is applied to, it only serves to conceal the truth, and set those astray who depend on it. Here the vice looks as shocking as all the wickedness it abets, and its own horrible impiety, its own infernal treachery, can make it. Profane swearing is taking God's name in vain, because it is applied to no purpose. Here it looks as ridiculous and contemptible as the gross, the excessive folly, it springs from, can render it. Viewed altogether, it presents us with the picture of a devil playing the buffoon, whose countenance is compounded of horror and grimace.
To conclude: let the profaner of God's awful name know, that although it is beneath the dignity of the infinitely serene and majestie Being to pursue every insolent offender with immediate vengeance ; yet a time shall come, when he who now lifts his head aloft, and sputters, ' his great words against the Most High,' must fall down over-whelmed with VOL. II.
despair in his presence; when the stubborn heart must melt at his looks, and the blasphemous tongue lick the dust before him. Then, at least, he must learn to fear the great, the glorious, the terrible, name of God, when the almighty arm is lifted up to vindicate its honour.
As to you, who may have hitherto been less scrupulous than you ought about the truth of what you swore to, put your heart in deep mourning for the horrible offence; trem, ble and repent before the all-knowing Judge of angels and men ; and let me earnestly press you, as you fear God, and regard your soul, to a fixed resolution never to swear for the future, but when the clearing up of some weighty truth necessarily requires it. As often as this shall be the case, feelingly, fearfully, consider what you are going to do. Consider, that the property, the credit, the liberty, perhaps the life, of your neighbour, is to be determined by your oath; for the truth of which, you are not only to kiss the Bible, but to appeal to Almighty God with a solemnity suitable to his majesty, and the importance of the cause you are called to. These things duly laid to heart, let it be your business to swear exactly in the same manner as if you were summoned to your oath before the throne of God at the last day ; for, whether it is here, or there, that you swear, consider, it is in the presence of that God who knows all things, who forgets nothing; of that just and almighty Being, who speaks to you in my text, saying, “You shall not swear falsely by my name, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God : I am the Lord :' that is, I am he who now governs, and will hereafter judge, the world, I am he who can and will reward the man of true pięty and integrity with the joys of heaven; and I also am he who will punish the vile offender, that swears falsely by my name, and profanes it, with the torments of hell. I am the Lord, gracious to the good, and terrible to the wicked. I am the Lord, who execute righteousness and judgment. I will bless him who sweareth to his hurt, and changeth not;. but my curse shall enter into the house of him that sweareth falsely by namé. Mine eyes run to and fro through the earth ; and behold, because of swearing the land mourneth ; for there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God, in the land. By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adul
tery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood. Shall I not visit,' shall I not execute vengeance, for such things as these?
Yes; I will be a swift witness against the false swearer.' I will convict him, not only of his prevarication, but of all those other crimes which he hath concealed and encouraged by his perjury."
Such is the sin of perjury; such the sin of taking God's holy name in vain; and such his indignation against both. Let us feelingly lay these things to heart. Let us consider, that we ought not to be insolent, merely because God is patient; for vengeance is his, and, in due time, he will surely repay. Art thou a profaner of God's awful name? Đetestable fool! What pleasure, what profit, accrues to thee from this abominable practice for the present? And how dost thou set thyself up as a mark for the arrows of the Almighty, when patience, long abused, shall kindle into indignation, and mercy itself call for vengeance on thy head? Or hast thou the boldness to call on God to attest a lie? Know, odious deceiver, that, if there is a God, thy own hörrible crime, and every other sin concealed, abetted, encouraged, thereby, shall, with accumulated judgment, be fearfully punished in thee. Know, dark infernal monster, that, if there is a devil, his fate and thine must be the same;
for thy soul is black, treacherous, and impious, like his. Know, O thou vilest of men! thou rebel to God! thou pest of human society! that, if there is an hell, there must be thy portion for ever; and think what it is to dwell with everlasting burnings.' Think, think, and repent.
Let us now earnestly beseech Almighty God to fill us with an awful fear of his holy and glorious name, that we may never presume to utter it, but with the deepest reverence; nor appeal to it, but with the utmost regard to truth. Grant this, blessed Father, for the sake of Christ Jesus our Redeemer; to whom, with thee, and the Holy Ghost, be all might, majesty, dignity, and dominion, now, and for ever
CHRISTIANS MUST FOLLOW CHRIST.
PHIL. II. 5.
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. It was the intention of the apostle, in the passage from whence this text is borrowed, to press the Philippians to humility, unanimity, and patience, by the glorious example of our Saviour. It was impossible to urge an argument of greater force; for besides that nothing hath a stronger influence upon the actions of men than the example of those they admire, whereas this was the example of a person they adored; they were moreover, as the disciples of Christ, under an indispensible duty, under an absolute necessity, of following their great leader, in order to accomplish the same blessed design, and arrive at the same happy place, to which he had shewn them the way.
For this purpose it was necessary they should be acted by the same principles, nnd governed by the same mind and spirit, which was also in Christ Jesus. Again, as members of his sacred body, the church, they must have been willing to renounce their own foolish minds, their own carnal hearts, and give themselves up entirely to the government of that infallible mind : for no man can be really a member of Christ's body,who is not governed by the mind of Christ. A man may indeed have the name, and claim the outward privileges, of a Christian, by being baptized and continuing in the profession of Christianity; but if he is still the slave of his own passions, if he is governed by his own mind and will, how can he call himself a member of Christ's body? Does he not know that in the great day, when the wheat and the chaff shall be separated, there shall be neither spot nor wrinkle left in the body of Christ, but that it shall be holy and without blemish?' How then can he imagine, that a dis
orderly, a convulsive, or a dead member shall be suffered to remain in it? on that occasion, the mere professor may say to Christ, have I not been baptized into the Christian church? Have I not eat at thy. table? Have I not lived and died in thy religion ; nay, he may even say, ' have I not preached in thy name, and in thy name cast out devils ?' But this will avail him nothing; for Christ will say unto him, ' I know you not ; depart from me all ye that work iniquity.'
Since then the benefits of Christianity are to be expected upon no other terms, than those of having the mind or spirit of Christ, and, as a necessary consequence of that, living up, as far as human frailty will permit, to the example of Christ, it must, in the highest sense of the words, be both our duty and interest to set that great example before us, and, by considering it well, and labouring to follow it, satisfy ourselves, that, in the mean of our actions, we are governed by no other mind but his.
In the first place, there was in Christ a perfect purity and freedom from all sin. • He was made like unto us in all things, sin only excepted. Although he had the soul, the body, the senses, the passions, and affections, of a man, yet no temptations could betray him into the smallest inclination to sin. In order to reclaim them, he conversed with the grossest of sinners, and suffered even the devil to tempt him with all the allurements, with all the pomps and pleasures, of the world ; for their sęducer, not knowing, that' in him the fulness of the godhead dwelt bodily,' tried on him all those arts, that had proved but too successful with Adam, David, Solomon; that is, with the wisest and best of men ; but all in vain. The mind that was in Christ Jesus, being infinitely wise, saw easily through all his disguises, and all his snares; and, being perfectly good, rejected his offers, with a superiority and calmness, that shewed, he had not the least struggle with himself in doing it. And what is well worth our observation, is, that his behaviour on that occasion might afford us an example capable of imitation, he did not seem to apply to his divinity to repel the attacks of his adversary, but used such arguments as we in like case may furnish ourselves with, to fortify himself against temptation ; that is, passsges of Scripture. Christ then hath left us an