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any reverence to an oath, on the most awful occasion. I have heard of people who have ac. customed themselves to take medicines till me. dicine had no effect upon them.

Thus common swearing has a tendency to make you think too lightly of oaths, and so leads to perjury. But it has a tendency to perjury in a still more direct

rect way. The common Swearer; I suppose, hardly knows when he swears; and must undoubtedly, in the course of his .conversation, fwear to many a falsehood. Does any af you believe it possible, that a common swearer is always fa guarded as to weigh deliberately every oath he takes? and that he performs every action to which he binds himself by his rash oaths ? I fear not: he has gotten such a habit of swearing, that his oaths burst, in a manner, involuntarily from him. I have myself often heard people swear to the truth of things which I knew were false; and fo, I suppose, have you. And is it not a dreadful confideration, think you, that a man is thus daily heaping up perju. ries upon his head? When

When you swear you will 'do a thing, you bind yourself to the performance of it by the most facred of all obligations. If the I thing you have sworn to be unlawful, you are


your oath

oath may

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certainly not bound : but to whatever mischiev. bus inconvenience


you, you must certainly discharge it, or be guilty of perjury. This was the case of the wicked Herod, when for his oath's fake he murdered John the Baptist. We ought, in these cafes, to repent of the first fin, but not to make it worse by adding another to it, And, think


is the common swearer always so guarded ? does he never, think you, swear to do a thing, which he neither does, nor intends to do? If he does not, he is certainly more cau. tious than common swearers usually are. You may fay, perhaps, that you were but in jesti that you did not intend to perform the thing you fwore to. You may say so, if you please; but you may as well pretend to say, that you committed a murder or a highway robbery in jest : the thing itself is forbidden; and if you

transgress the commandments of God, it signifies very little whether you transgress them with a laughing face, or a serious one.

But though swearing may not have this bad consequence, of leading us into perjury, yet in itself it is a very wicked practice, from its being directly opposite to the commands of our blessed


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Saviour. To quote any other passages of scripturę would be needless, when our Saviour's own words in the text are so express to the point, and Thew fo plainly that it is a practice he entirely disapproves. This is so strong an argument against it, that no christian should defire another-I say unto you, swear not at all, is so plain a command that it cannot be mistaken. In fome cases a man may doubt whether he be in the right or not: the limits between good and bad may be so nice, that it is not every one who can distinguish them. But the practice of common swearing, my brethren, is so directly forbidden by Christ, that he who transgresses, fins with his eyes wide open.--And here, let me add, that our Saviour not only forbids us to swear by our Maker, but by every thing else : Swear not by heaven, says he, for it is God's throne ; neither by the earth, for it is his footstool; neither by Jerufalem, for it is the city of the great king: but let your communication (that is, your common conversation) be yea, yea; nay, nay : for whatsoever is more than these, cometh of evil. By these, expressions our blessed Lord intimates to us, that alt rafh and irreverent fwearing in our common conversation, by any of the creatures of God, is considered as an equal affront to the majesty of God, as if we swore by God him. self: for it must mean that, or it means nothing. In our common conversation therefore, our Sa. viour adds, we have nothing to do with swearing at all: we have only to assert that a thing is so, or is not so. Let your communication be géa, yedt, or nay, nay; if we go beyond that, and confirm what we fay by an oath, we are plainly told it is evil.


Under this head we may take notice of a practice, which many people indulge, of men. tioning the name of God in common conversa. tion, in a light, irreverent manner : they cannot wander, for instance, without crying out, Good God! This is certainly taking. God's name in vain : his name should never be mentioned, but in the most serious manner.


SINCE then the wickedness of swearing, my brethren, is evidently fo great-fince it tends 10 make oaths in a court of justice less re {pected since it evidently tends to perjury, and Since in itself, and in its fimplest form, it is abfolutely, and in the most positive manner, forbidden by our blessed Saviour, let us have that


sense of the heinaunėls of it, which fo great 27 sip deserves. Let me endeavour therefore, as id proposed, fecondly, to exhort you against itu isto

And, in the first-placej 'it is-ho Imall aggraží vation of this sin, that we have nó kiád of tempt-ation to commit it. That men should cheat, i that they fhould lie, that they should steal, and that they fould drink, is not so much to be wondered at 3 we have here, at least, the tempt-y ations of a wickedmo corrupt naturre, to lead us i afray.. All these ivices, we suppofe:at leaft, pros cure us fome present pleasure; of fome: worldly advantage ; and though it is a wretched thing to! give up our fouls for present pleasure, or a little worldly advantage, yet still the thing, I say, is not fo surprizing. But that men fhould learn tai curse and to fwear, is beyond measdre astonifası ing, because they can have po temptation to it:: swearing gratifies mone of your paffions it inai dulges none of your appetites—there is in na-i tyre no kind of foundation for it; fo that the common fwearer feems to fin, merely and entirely for the fake of beinig wicked, without: any kind of view to any kind of advantage. What I have you not fins enough to answer for YOL. IV.



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