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66 about disorderly, working not at all, but 6 are busy bodies.”

The next prevailing vice which I shall notice, is the custom of prophane and rash swearing. This arises from two sources, ill habit, and passion. In the first instance, it is caught insensibly from our companions, and oftentimes from our superiors, who are not aware of the mischief they do, by setting so bad an example. Let us consider a moment the folly and the guilt of such a practice. It is extremely daring, and prophane, to be continually calling God as a witness to the most insignificant and impertinent mattérs; to make use of his sacred name in every silly story or frivolous dispute: nothing tends so much as this to take off from the mind of man, that reverential awe which he ought at all times to feel for his maker; nothing leads him sooner into falsehood and perjury; in vain he pleads bad habit for it,


aud unconsciousness of doing it, for the most trifling exertion would soon enable him to discard it. So much for rash swearing; but the second species of it is of a much deeper dye-execration occasioned by passion, the calling down curses and damnation upon our brethren, from that very God of whose mercy we ourselves stand so much in need, which you may hear done in our public streets every hour of the day. Now if these impreeations have any meaning, or are spoken with any real design, they betray a malevolence of heart too shocking to think of, not merely in a Christian, but in the lowest human creature; and if they come from no serious or settled design in the speaker, they are still chargeable, in an extreme degree, with the character of that idle, that horridly foolish, and daring impiety, already mentioned. 64 He that delighteth in cursing, it shall “ come unto him," says the Psalmist; the

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curses shall by no means injure the person against whom they are uttereds but shall rebound back upon the head of the utterer. It becomes the bringers up of youth, their parents in particular, to guard them with all possible care against the danger of contracting this wretched habit, which, like most others, has its foundation laid in the early part of life; indeed the prophanation of their Maker's name, seems to have grown up with some young creatures almost from their infancy, and to have been nearly the first language they learnt to pronounce. Bad words naturally give birth to bad thoughts in youthful minds, and bad thoughts as naturally lead to bad behaviour; let parents, then, take every method to prevent the beginning of the shameful practice under consideration, by their good advice, their good instruction, and, above all, by never setting their children the example of it; by being discreet



and virtuous in their conversation, as well as in their actions, before the people that are continually with them, who must see and hear every thing they do or speak. I enlarge the more fully on this subject, because its malignity does not seem sufficiently striking; it does not occur to those who are guilty of it, that in the earliest period of time, God has forbidden it by an express commandment in the Mosaic law, in the same manner as he did both theft and murder, and that our Saviour, in his very first sermon, says, 6. Ye have heard that it hath been said by 6 them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear “ thyself, but shall perform unto the Lord " thine oaths; but I say unto you, swear not “at all, neither by Heaven, for it is God's “ throne, nor by the earth, for it is his foot“ stool, but let your communication be yea “ yea, nay nay, for whatsoever is more 66 than these, cometh of evil.” Accustom

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yourselves to an uniform integrity in your dealings, and truth in your words, that you may not be tempted to have recourse to these offensive invocations of your God, or of any other evidence, real or imaginary; which invocations, by the way, will never strengthen, but will evermore weaken and sink your credit. On the opposite hand, the plain word of an honest man, seriously spoken, is as valid, and will go as far amongst all that know him, as his bond or his oath. For many vices, men may pretend to plead constitutional infirmity, but that can never be urged in the present instance; “ above all things, “ therefore, my brethren, swear not.”

The next vice which I shall most seriously exhort you to shun, is that of intemperance. The evils arising from excessivedrinking,are at. tended with such a train of fatal consequences, that they ought to be laid before you in the fullest and most serious manner. The first I


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