Sivut kuvina

Hercules, or any other Deity, whom they were pleased to honour with their notice; they required their subjects and slaves to offer incense to the Emperor'down image, and to swear by his name.

In short, the custom of profane swearing has overspread the world. And yet this single plea of custom is all that can be alleged in it's excuse; while there is such a Multitude of the justeit reasons that condemn it.

Passing by the Idolatry there would be in swearing by false Gods, with any real respect to their authority, and the Absurdity and Impiety united in the invocation of empty names ; let us suppose the offence in question to confift in calling upon the Supreme Being in a form of words appropriated to swearing, yet without any par. ticular intention at the time seriously to request his interposition ; but merely to signify, that we are angry perhaps, or

perhaps perhaps merry; that we are somewhat surprised, or scarcely sober; that we are very positive, or willing to be thought witty; or perhaps without any intention or meaning whatever,

And where is the mighty harm, it may be said, since it is all in sport?

Sport! with whom? The Creator and Lord of the Universe before whom the highest orders of celestial Beings fall down, and worship? whom no man can see and live? Is He a subject for sport?


Or were He less great; consider, He is your Creator and Lord. You live, and Aas xvii. move, and have your being in Him. He made you what you are: He gives you all you

have: He taketh away your breath, Pf.civ.29. you die, and are turned again to your duft. Nay, can destroy both body and soul in hell. Matth. X. Is He a subject for sport? He gave

his own, and only begotten son to suffer



death, to be crucified for your fins : Is He a subject of sport?

As to religious matters, you have no thing to do with them. Are you sure of that? Can you demonstrate then, that there is no God who made you? No Saviour to judge you? You know at least that you must die: what if


should then find, that you have been mistaken? you

stand such a hazard for sport?


Undertake fome bold profitable per

jury. True wisdom indeed will condemn Matt. xvi. your conduct still. Alas! What is a man 36.

profited, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? But you will be able to reflect, that you had before your eyes, when you went aftray, the appearance of advantage; and were undone for what

you once hoped might have been useful.

You look for no benefit from this vice: do you receive any pleasure from it? It is


wrong, you must confess; but so delightful and sweet perhaps, that you know not how to abftain. Possibly you have often resolved against it, but through the imbecility of human nature, to no pur. pose; relapsing continually and almost unavoidably into a practice, which makes the whole comfort and satisfaction of

your life.

You must know your own comforts best. If you affert, that swearing is so prodigiously pleasing, who shall take upon him to contradict you? Only it will be a mystery, of which we cannot have any comprehension.

When a glutton, or a drunkard pleads the delight he takes in his intemperance; we understand that the appetites of hunger and thirst, which are necessary to our subsistence, and to the gratification of which there is naturally annexed some degree of pleasure, have been so enlarged by excess,


and perverted by abuse, that the poor Man finds a real difficulty in refraining from the excesses that destroy him.

The most intemperate rage, however dangerous and criminal, is but the extreme of the passion of anger;

the fatis faction of which is the removal of a prefent pain, and the ultimate end of it, self defence.

It might puzzle a Philosopher to trace the love of swearing to it's original principle, and allign it's place in the constitution of man.

Is it a passion, or an appetite, or an instinct ? What is it's just measure, it's proper object, it's ultimate end?

Or shall we conclude that it is entirely the work of art? a vice, which men have invented for themselves with out prospect of pleasure or profit, and


« EdellinenJatka »