« EdellinenJatka »
your own child, and shutting her out from amendment, whom heaven invites to repentance. Consider, above all, whether the frailty you condemn by the hard measure of unforgiving justice, is not, in some sort, the fruit of your own neglect, of your mistakes in the discharge, or your example in the perversion, of the duties of a parent. Is it not possible, that you may be condemning yourself? that the sins of the father are visited upon the child ? that with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged ? and with what measure you mete, it shall be measured unto you again ?
What if drunkenness and riot have been the habits of a daughter's home, and she has long witnessed in her parent the intemperance, differing only in kind, which he now condemns with such harsh justice in her. “ Strong drink" renders a man incapable to govern himself, much more to bring up his children in the self-control that the Gospel enjoins : “ Be not
drunk with wine, wherein is excess,”! or, as the expression here seems to signify, mental incompetency, infatuation, and imbecility. Drunkenness clouds the understanding; it impairs, and for a time destroys the memory, and obliterates with it all sense of obligations; it betrays the secrets of those who are ill judged enough to confide in one addicted to the vice; there are few, whose fortunes it will not reduce to beggary, and, if their purse is not exhausted, their health and strength must fail; and those, whose provision de
1 Ephes. v. 18.
2 'Acaria commonly signifies waste, riot, or extravagance, but it is also used in the Greek histories of Rome to signify the character of an intemperate man, whose vices or follies rendered him unfit, in the eye of the Roman law, to conduct his own affairs. In this sense the force of the expression, and its connexion with the rest of the passage, is obvious; in the translation of our version it seems to want meaning, and to be unconnected with what. follows, as well as with what had been said of wisdom and understanding in the 17th verse.
pends upon their own exertion, it soon pinches with destitution; character and energy together fail; a distressed wife reproaches the husband with too much justice not to wound, and children cry to him for bread, which he cannot supply; hunger, and cold, and rags, and a ruined family, drive him to despair, or to the commission of crime; the companions who shared the spoils of his hearth and home, no longer think of him, when he is in banishment or a gaol; no man pities him; and he lives perhaps to hear, that she who laid on his bosom is begging her bread, and his daughter a common outcast in the paths of vilest profligacy.
For the excesses forbidden by the seventh commandment offenders seldom escape a fearful retribution in this world. The drunkard and the harlot pay dearly for a few hours of licentious excitement by years perhaps of protracted misery. May God grant, that their sufferings in this life be deemed an adequate penalty, and extend to them his pardon in the life
to come. And may we take warning by the examples of affliction we see around us, to regulate our affections and desires, to subdue the cravings of our evil appetites, and to put ourselves under such discipline, that we may hereafter be found, to have been pure in our own conduct, and no cause of guilt to others, when we shall appear before our Lord in the day of his final judgment.
THE EIGHTH COMMANDMENT.
Exodus, xx. 15.
Thou shalt not steal.
This commandment, like the rest, forbids a whole class of sins, and under one term enjoins many duties. I am “to be true and just in all my dealings; to keep my hands from picking and stealing.” To steal, in this sense, is not only to take directly what belongs to another; but also to get, or keep, by any means, however indirect, that which by right another man should have. To impose unfair prices, or give false descriptions in trade; to borrow money, or run in debt, without being