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Ecclus xxvii. 2.
both parties. As a nail ficketh fajl between the joinings of the stones, so doth fin stick close between buying and selling.
We need not descend to particulars : much penetration is not necessary to judge of these things, but a fair and equitable disposition. Acuteness of un. derstanding is feldom wanted, except to palliate what is wrong. Whatever is understood to be right by both parties, is so : and when they differ, it is mostly concerning the faets, rarely about the principles they ought to act upon,
· A great variety of cases will occur; in which, as a fair and hones disposition may give proof of it's integrity, fo he who has a tendency to double dealing, will find opportunities in abundance to deceive himself, as well as those that deal with him. He will have a thousand apologies to allege, and be able to raise arguments in his own defence, which it
may require some skill to answer, and yet but a little honesty to despise. For certain truths are easier to understand, and feel, than to explain. And if you can once bear to deliberate, and begin to reason about a piece of profitable villany, the odds are great that you conclude at last to commit it.
We need not add surely upon this subject, that all falshood is forbidden. It sinks a tradesman, or any man down to a low rank, when he submits to this practice; and on any occasion, or in any manner, transgresses the bounds of truth. We may safely pronounce all That to be stolen, which is gained by lying.
The like might be said in the case of contracts of every fort, when fraudulently made, or not performed faithfully; of breaches of trust reposed in us, either by express agreement, or tacit consent; and in short, of every advantage we take over
another person, by which we deprive him of any part of his substance, in violation of law, justice, equity, truth, or reason.
But there is no necessity to prosecute these things particularly : for it is not
instruction or skill, that is requisite; but sCor.i.12. rather, on the contrary, Simplicity and
godly sincerity, the reverse of fleshly wisdom. An honest mind is the best instructor,
and will teach us beyond a thousand ca*** suifts. It is joy to the just to do judgment:
he who truly loves that which is just and equal, and from his heart desires another's welfare as his own, may be depended on; and he alone: he has a principle within him, a secret power, a magnes that will be an infallible director; and turn him true and sure to the point of right, amidst all the darkness of disputation, and all the attractions of self-intereft.
Vice has often been compared to a noxious weed, of a quick, alas! and con
tinual growth: and we are perpetually employed, we labourers in this moral field, to check it. We offer men reasons to fet against inclination, we oppose duty to interest; hoping to put some stop to the particular transgressions at least that are most predominant: but they spring up again in opposition to all our labours; and the rank harveft grows under the hands of the reaper.. .
Set your affečtion on things above, not on Colof.iii. things on earth. Could men be brought to alter the object of their desires, the task of reformation would be all done at once; their conduct would follow of itself the change of their affections, and there would be little need for us to ex: plain or inculcate the commandments. Let but this sentiment, the desire of hea. venly things, enter into the heart, and poffefs the dominion there ; and no vice can stand before it. Every irregular ap. petite and passion, ambition, envy, ava
rice, selfishness; all those corrupt affections, by which we are led to be injurious to each other, are consumed in a moment by this fire from heaven. The very root of injustice, the principle from which it Springs, the means by which it grows, the whole matter by which it is supplied and nourished, are burnt up and annihilated; and the heart, impregnated
with the seeds of grace, and virtue, be. Mark iv. comes that Good ground, which bringeth 20.
forth fruit, some thirty fold, fome fixty, and Some an hundred.