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it is that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.” “ Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be
In that also on which depends the spiritual welfare of others, we profane the sacred name of God, if we belie the truth. This may be done wilfully, or ignorantly, or under compulsion, or accidentally. That something may be yielded to circumstances seems to be inferred from the permission granted to Naaman, that he should bow down himself in the house of Rimmon; but every exhortation to steadfastness of faith, every admonition to make our light shine before men, every blessing promised to those who suffer for Christ's name's sake, all the honour of the martyr on the one hand, and all the shame of Peter's denial of his Lord on the
? Eccles. v. 5, 2.
2 2 Kings, v. 18.
other, combine to assure us, that he who shall undaunted profess the truth on earth, shall receive his reward in heaven, and he who shall deny God before men, shall be denied of God before the hosts assembled at the judgment of eternity. And in that denial of the truth which is wilful, and for the purpose only of leading others astray, the offence against the Majesty of the Almighty is palpable, the mockery of that which belongs to him is aggravated in guilt by the malignancy which withdraws his creatures from his service, and would make them infidels in spite of all the conviction necessary for faith.
Finally, the end of Ananias and Sapphira teaches how falsehood without an oath may be combined with irreverence, and so peculiarly falsehood against God. “ Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost? Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.” Here had been no open adjuration, no solemn invocation openly pronounced : “So help me God!" Yet it was a matter, in which the Almighty was immediately concerned. It was in his immediate service,- in a matter of religion,-in the ministrations of his holy church, that the treachery was planned, the falsehood agreed upon and executed. And the husband and the wife were alike visited with the divine wrath, and fell down, and gave up the ghost.
My brethren, let us take warning from them in all that pertains to holy things. Let us take care not to appear before God, with a lie upon the lip, or deceit in the heart, professing to serve him, when we really care only to keep up worldly appearance, and maintain a decent aspect among our neighbours. Above all, when we come to the holy Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, let not our hearts be with the world, while we solemnly profess Communion with Christ. Let us not betray his Church, while we profess our fellowship with it. Let us not wound him anew, while we make a show of gratitude for his sacrifice. Let us not retain
an enmity in our breast, when we come to the feast of love. Let us not have it said of us, as of Judas : “He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me."
THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT.
Exodus, xx. 6. Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath Day.
The Sabbath, or Day of Rest, has been appointed, to keep alive and fresh in men's minds the knowledge of the true God.
This appears from the history of its institution. No sooner was the creation of the world completed, than the Lord God blessed the seventh day, on which he rested, and sanctified it, that mankind might be engaged solemnly to acknowledge, and worship him as the Creator. Though not again mentioned
1 Gen. ii. 2.