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“ honestly as in the day,” St. Paul exhorts,
not in rioting and drunkenness." To which he adds in his epistle to the Ephesians, “be
not drunk with wine, wherein is excess ; “ but be filled with the spirit.” Indeed, one would think that the consequences of these disgraceful vices, (which are more particularly sins of the “ body,”) the effects which they produce, even in this life, on the persons of those who commit them, would be sufficient to prevent the practice. You must all have witnessed the miserable appearance which those people make, who are in habits of uncleanness or intemperance: Their bodies are diseased; their spirits are dull; and their visage is ghastly. “Who “ hath wounds without cause; who hath " redness of eyes ?” asks the wise man. “ They who tarry long at the
tarry long as the strong drink ; " they that go to seek the mixed drink.” But it is not only their appearance that is disfigured by such vices; their credit in life is destroyed, and their worldly means entirely ruined.
I need not tell you, my 'friends, that the future punishment of the rich and the poor, if they are wicked, will be exactly the same, because every page of scripture assures you of these great truths, " that “God is no respecter of persons," and that
as a man soweth, so' also shall he reap. But certain it is, that, with respect to this life, the consequences of sin fall with heavier weight, in many instances, upon the poor than on the rich man, because the former must depend upon his good character. for support, whereas the latter has the means of living without such assistance. Now it cannot be doubted for a moment, that the sins, of which I have been speaking, are cer. tain to ruin this good character, and thereby entirely to prevent the poor man from maintaining himself in an honest way. Who, for instance, would employ in his family persons, whether male or female, who are known to be unchaste or immodest in their practices or conversation ; and thus introduce into his house corruption and licenciousness, confusion, and every evil work? Who would employ a labourer, or a domestic, who either rendered himself inca. pable, by drunkenness, of performing the work he was engaged to complete ; or, by depriving himself of his senses, was more likely to insult, than to serve, his employer ? No! my friends, believe me, you will not only reap the curse of Gov in another world “ for these doings,” but also the entire destruction of your reputation, success, and maintenance in the world wherein you now sojouro.
Assure yourselves, it will be infinitely better for you, both in time and eternity, to render unto 'God the reasonable ser“ vice” of holiness and purity, than to depart from either, by following the lusts and passions of a corrupt heart. « The law of the “ LORD," says the Psalmist, “is an undefiled " law, converting the soul ;” and will lead you into the paths of holiness and, peace, comfort and credit, here; and joy, "and happiness, and glory, hereafter. The law of the flesh, or the carnal desires of your fallen nature, will hurry you into sin and misery, disgrace and ruin, in this world; and after your departure hence, will plunge you into that gulph of everlasting woe, where the “ worm never dieth, and the fire is not " quenched.”
[For the Second Sunday after the Epiphany.)
ROMANS xii. 9.
Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that
which is evil ; cleave to that which is good.
HEN the angel of the LORD, who
appeared to the shepherds to tell them of the birth of Christ, bad communicated these “ good tidings of great joy," there was “ suddenly seen with him a mul“ titude of the heavenly host," who described, in this short, but glorious hymn, the character of that religion, which was now to be given to mankind: “Glory to God in o the highest, and on earth peace, good“ will towards men." In other words, the christian religion was to promote the glory of God, by giving salvation to a lost world, and reconciling God to millions of undone sinners; and to promote the peace and happiness of man, by teaching and commanding all those virtues, the practice of which would make men dwell together as brothers, in unity and love. The first of these great effects has already been produced by the christian religion. JESUS CHRIST lived, and died, and rose again, for man's salvation; and through his merits, and their own repentance, faith, and obedience, all good christians are now redeemed from the sentence of everlasting destrucrion, which was passed upon mankind at the fall, and " are made.children of God, and " inheritors of the kingdom of heaven.' The second of these effects, however, the universal establishment of good will and happiDess among mankind, has not yet saken place; though we may be certain that it will do so in God's good time, as we have the sure “ word.of prophecy" to that effect. The great cause which has hitherto prevented this state of blessedness from being seen upon earth, is, the wickedness and folly of mankind; who, instead of ruling their behaviour by the holy commandments of the gospel, choose to follow the cravings of their lusts and passions; and to listen to their inclinae tions, rather than their religion and conscience. It is not, however, for want of