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made up of obscenity, swearing, curfing, and blafphemye fee family-quarrels, abufe, fpites ful actions, and ill neighbourhoode Vice fcorns to wear any difguise, when religion alone takes account of actions. When the law, indeed, steps ir, men are more cautious 7 How long is it ago wewnot very long-fince I heard of a neighbour's horse being killed in the night. What a mind muft that wretch have, who could commit so malicious and wicked an action, from which he could receive no advantage himself, merely to gratify a horrid spirit of revenge! Another wicked fellow was obliged to fly the country for theft; while another, I believe his companion, was taken and convicted, Andthe other day, fome wicked person put abroad an incendiary letter, threatening death, and burning of houses but for what, I could not discover. They who were able had just made a subscription to lower the price of bread, which I hoped had given general fatisfaction: but malice is a vice -without either gratitude or feeling.
These things, my brethren, hew that we of this place are not clear of that guilt which hangs over the land. Corruption infinuates itielf into the manners of men by degrees. Hụman nature
will always be więked; but where people are not greatly corrupted, fuch wickedness and crimes as I have been describing do not often appears when they do, I fiould fear they shew corruption has spread very deep. And though the greater part of you, no doubt, abhor such heights of wickedness, yet the best amongst us hath still great reason to call himself to account.
Let us then all endeavour to take our own fins, at least, from the burden of the land : it has guilt enough to weigh it down without ours, Nor let any one think his fins will be lost in the general mass. No; they will certainly increase it. They may,
for any thing we know, be that addition that will tụrn the scale against us. Ten righteous persons might once have saved a city: God knows how many it may require to save such a country as this. Let us, however, strive to be among those righteous few; and not provoke God to bring his judgments upon us, as he has always done on wicked and corrupt nations.--A people is armed against us, whom we never yet feared; but, if God forsake us, they may be a dreadful instrument of his wrath. Let us then endeavour toʻarert that wrath, be
fore it be yet too late; that we may be able, from our hearts, to join in the triumphant song of the text, The Lord is king : the earth may be glad thereof; yea, the multitude of the isles (and our own in particular) may be glad thereof.
BUT SAY UNTO YOY, SWEAR NOT AT ALL.
' k , I DESIGN, in the following discourse, to shew you the great
wickedness of common swearing. I shall endeavour, as far as I can, to deter the young finner from forming habits of this vice; and, if it be in my power, to reclaim the old one.--I shall first, therefore, shew you the wick ędness of common swearing; and, secondly, I shall exhort those who practise it to lay it aside,
The first argument against the wickedness of common fwearing may be taken from its ten. dency to perjury, by making a folemn oath received with less reverence.
An oath reverently taken in a court of justice, and upon a solemn occasion, is in fact an act of religion. It is an appeal to the great God of heaven, whom we call upon to be witness of the truth of what we are going to say. It is an acknowledgment, therefore, that we believe God knows our hearts, and will punish our falsehood, And in this light it is, that the Apostle tells us, An oath for confirmation puts an end to all strife, It is making our last appeal to God Almighty we can make no farther appeal. And indeed an oath
has been in all governments, heathen as well as christian, considered as the strictest bond by which a man can possibly be tied, and the best security whịch we can give to those with whom we may have any important dealings. If a folemn oath then be acknowledged an act of religion, common swearing may well be reckoned an act of impiety, because it manifestly tends to make a folemn oath cheap and contemptible. You must all see, without farther reasoning, that the more a man uses himself to swearing, the less reverence he will have for an oath. He who makes swearing a part of his ordinary conversation, will hardly, I should think, pay 13