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sent, to calumniate, I pray God that you may remember the sentence and stand in awe of Him who witnesses the thoughts of your heart and the words of your mouth. The unfaithful, and abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolators, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone; which is the second death. The blessed Saviour, too, attaches the same criminality to abusive or malicious speeches; I say unto you, that for every idle or unprofitable speech, every false or injurious word, which men shall speak, they shall give account in the day of judgment; for by thy words thou wilt be justified, and by thy words thou wilt be condemned.
Do you wonder, my readers, that David was so deeply impressed with the sinfulness of vague and evil-minded rumours? that he communicated his disapprobation so strongly? I think you do not, for you all know something of this evil; few of you have escaped its venom, and few of you have remained innocent of its sin. If then your impressions resemble my own, be it your aim to discourage the slightest appearance of this crime both in yourselves and others. If sometimes compelled to hear the calumnies and floating rumours of the day, just as you hear some dismal howling that enters your window by night, do not propagate those rumours any more than you would propagate these melancholy sounds; let them die even from your own memory. He who spreads a false accusation, becomes an accomplice with the original contriver. Many evil rumours may be true, but it does not become you to
promote their circulation. It forms a part of the universal prayer, to "hide the fault we see." Therefore have nothing to do with forging an untruth; and have no concern with falsehoods of other people's forging: both to retailer and receiver they are a most unprofitable commodity; to him who entertains, and him who disposes of them. The example of the divine Teacher, and the golden rule which he gave for our direction, I have often recommended as truly of heavenly origin, and I would recommend them now: Make that perfect example and that golden rule your directory. You will find them of universal application and efficacy like the love of God shed abroad in the heart, they will diffuse a benign influence over your minds, your affections, and your intercourse with mankind. Strive, then, during the remainder of your earthly day, to imbibe their spirit and to exemplify their divine principles. The example of Christ, I hope, is imprinted on the memories of all. He suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow his steps: he committed no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: when he was reviled, he reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to Him who judges righteously. He exemplified the wisdom that is from above,pure, peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. Blessed words, and worthy of being inscribed upon every heart! But not more blessed than the rule, which the Saviour proposed for your observance : All
things, whether thoughts, words, or actions,-whatsoever you desire others to entertain, express, and perform, in regard to you, fail not to entertain, express, and perform yourselves; for this is the law and the prophets. Such are the principles and practice, which your heavenly Father will approve and reward; and he will view you with the same complacency, with which David promised to regard his faithful advocates and friends: Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: He that walks in a perfect way, shall both serve me and participate in my glory.
I have pre
I have now accomplished what I proposed. sented some of the more prominent features of David's promised administration,-those principles of conduct, which he promised should influence his government of himself and his government of the kingdom. Many of his views are extremely applicable to the situation and circumstances of Christians, to your own religious improvement, and to your intercourse with the Christian community. May your conviction of their truth, your corresponding endeavours to observe them, and the blessing of the Almighty promote your comfort on earth and immortal life in heaven.
Self-distrust, Watchfulness, and Prayer.
MARK XIV. 38. Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into
This command of the Saviour is full of instruction. He gave it in his hour of agony, to Peter, James, and John; but to Peter with some particularity of address. Peter had reposed too much confidence,—not in the strength of his attachment to his master, for that was of immoveable firmness, but in the warmth and weakness of his heart, in the passionate impulses and accompanying timidity of his character. Simon,' said the agonized Saviour, 'sleepest thou couldst not thou watch one hour? thou, whose spirit is so ardent, whose heart is so warm, whose promises of faithfulness have just been so vehement and impassioned?'
A milder, a more gentle rebuke, never proceeded from human mouth. Nothing could have been more tender, or more touching, than this delicacy of reference; and nothing could have been more appropriate, than the caution of the text-Watch ye and pray, lest you yourselves come into these same trials.
As I have already observed, there is salutary warning in this passage; and I would impress its power upon every heart. The doctrines it impresses, are threefold: 1st. a consciousness of human imperfection; 2d. the necessity of
SELF-DISTRUST, WATCHFULNESS, AND PRAYER. 131 exercising vigilance over your hearts and behaviour; and 3d. supplication to the Supreme Being to preserve you from trial, or deliver you from evil :-self-distrust, watchfulness, and prayer.
1. The first doctrine claiming your regard, is self-distrust. Do not imagine I mean unreasonable diffidence; a feeling so apprehensive of doing wrong, as never to do right. I wish you to discover decision both in your sentiments and your conduct: it is the glory of a rational being, it is the glory of a Christian. Peter discovered, indeed, temerity in promise and timidity in performance; but thirty years after that melancholy night, when he denied his lord, at the period when he composed his first epistle, he manifested the true wisdom of experience. Be always ready to give an answer, he enjoined with meekness and respect, to every man who asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you. The self-distrust I would recommend is something more than freedom from rashness; it is a deep sense of human frailty relying upon divine sufficiency.
All heart and impulse, Peter was over-confident of himself. He was most sincere, no doubt, in that devoted enthusiasm he expressed. How could he then deny his beloved Lord? From motives resembling these:-Knowing his master to be in possession of miraculous powers, and entertaining views of the Messiah extremely erroneous, he hardly expected to have his fidelity immediately brought to the proof. Besides, talking of imprisonment and death, is a very distinct thing from seeing them momently impending. In a word, Peter was an imperfect