Imatges de pÓgina
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XV.

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which it is chiefly the profligate, and those SERM, who are entirely lost to all sense of religion and decency, that appeal to it most : if indeed they do appeal, which I would hope they do not ; for this would be mockery past all bearing. However, it is a crying sin among us, and should be corrected; instead of there being any hope that it should be so, I fear it is quite other. wise, for those who are of an age to be corrected, are not discouraged as they should be. It must be known to you, that out of the mouths of very babes and suck

lings,” such things are rather tolerated than discountenanced. Go into our streets and highways, and mark but the progress and extent of this profanation of the name of God. This is a most gross mocking at sin, a proof of folly in those who practise itma proof of folly in those who tolerate it, while they might suppress it. Sin is mocked at, or made light of, in the profanation of the Sabbath, in the profanation of God's holy temple, and the contempt with which religious duties and religious ceremonies are treated. The Sabbath of

the

SERM. the Lord ought to be kept holy; and XV. those who will not keep it holy, (only one

day out of seven as it is), must needs put à great slight upon the Deity. What can people think of neglecting to pray to God? Can it be imagined that they can prosper without God's help? What are threescore years and ten, the probable allotment of human life, to the ages of eternity that may be before us? Here we are left to ourselves in a certain degree; we do not actually see God, but he sees us nevertheless, and in the other world we are to be admitted to his presence.

Can we fancy that in that state we shall be permitted to make a mockery of his holy laws? If not, why should we venture to do it here? It is a base and cowardly liberty to take ;-a liberty however in which we grossly deceive ourselves; for though we cannot see, with our bodily senses, that God is present, he is no less so in reality; he is at hand ever, noting our evil ways, and contempt of his laws. A great mockery of him it is, to neglect to sanctify his Sabbath by coming to his temple to offer up our praises

and

XV.

and thanksgivings, our supplications and SERM. prayers. But it is a sad mockery too, to come to his temple for these purposes, and

, yet in any manner neglect those great and important ends of our coming : praises without gratitude, and prayers without humility and submission, are intolerable mockeries of God, for which we shall undoubtedly have to answer in the great day of judgment; but besides the neglect of these great duties, some come to the temple of God, even, it is to be feared, for the most idle and inexcusable ends—perhaps only to see and be seen; to be in a crowd, and to put themselves in the way of greetings in the synagogue. Some come with every disposition to levity and mirth, forgetful totally of the solemnity of the place, and the serious duties they are expected to discharge. This is a transgression to which, from their time of life, the young are naturally more prone than the aged. We must allow it to be pardonable while they are not taught better; but let this be reflected upon, that there are few so destitute and forlorn as to have no aged friend belonging

to

SERM. to them who should teach them better. XV. The sin must rest with these, if they take

no pains to teach the young better ; and let this also be remembered, that in regard to those not yet taught the evil of their ways, the being once told of it is enough; levity and mirth, in the house of God, are quite out of their proper place ; in every way unbecoming; and if persisted in, must needs amount to a heinous sin in the sight of that Being who is of too pure eyes to look with 'any benignity on such foul ini. quity. In regard to those who might teach them better, it must needs be required at their hands; the wise man, who in the words of my text gave us that just character of fools, that they make a mock at sin, may be said to have given us a good account of his own laudable proficiency in wisdom, when he tells us, that his parents taught him in the way of righteousness, and led him to the right paths.” If those who make a mock at sin, are from this

disposition so liable to infringe all the commandments of the first table; if they are likely to fall into such very dangerous and

very

alarming

XV.

alarming errors, as the open denial of God, SERM. a defiance of his authority, a contempt of his laws, a profanation of his name, a neglect of his Sabbath, or an abuse of his holy temple, how shall we expect that the laws of the second table, those that relate only to man, will be more religiously observed ? If they should be, depend on it it is accidental; for he who can insult his Maker, will not be over scrupulous of injuring his neighbour. He who will not regard the eternal welfare of his own soul, is little to be expected to shew much respect to the worldly concerns of his fellow-creatures. We must not look to them therefore for any

of the social virtues. Little are they likely to regard the comfort, the property, or even the lives of those around them ; if their desires tempt them to covet, their contempt of all that is good will as easily induce them to steal, to bear false witness, and to trample on every right by which man, as a member of society, is distinguished. There is no end, in short, to the misdoings which those may be hurried into, who are unfortunately, by want of

education,

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