« PreviousContinue »
the most wicked readiness, and making the streets and highways echo with the language of blasphemy. But assure yourselves, my brethren, that, deep and dreadful is this growing sin, and terrible is the punishment by which it will be followed. God has made it one of his holy commandments : 66 thou shalt not take the name of the LORD “ thy God in vain :" and our blessed Saviour has added his authority to it by saying, “swear not at all ;” and by declaring, that, at the day of judgment, men shall give an account, not only of their wicked, but also of their idle, words.
But, finally, the apostle tells us, to feel both the joys and sorrows of our fellow-creatures; to shew them, that we are glad at their pros. perity, and affected by their misfortunes; to forward, cheerfully, every thing that may be to their advantage, and to give them comfort. and consolation when they have met with trouble; not to differ, unnecessarily, in opinion with those around us upon subjects of an indifferent nature, much less to quarrel with, and bear ill-will against them, because their opinions are not the same as our own ; and if, by God's providence, we are raised in the world above our neighbours, not to treat them with contempt, or shew any marks of pride, vanity, or self-conceit. Acting thus, my brethren, you will at once promote the glory of God, the happiness of mankind, and your own felicity here and hereafter. Poverty will not be terrible; labour will not be burthensome; age will not be gloomy; and death will not be alarm. ing. You will pass through life peacefully and creditably; die the death of the rightsous ; and be received, “when ye fail, into “ everlasting habitations."
• For the Third Sunday after the Epiphany.]
Be not wise in your own conceits. Recompense
to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath; for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore, if thine enemy hunger, feed him ; if he thirst, give him drink : for in so doing thou shalt heap 'coals of fire on his head. Be not over. come of evil, but overcome evil with good.
A should prepare himself
for the kingdom
should of heaven, by a life of religion and virtue upon earth; so He has thought fit to give him, in the Holy Scriptures, certain laws and rules of behaviour, by obeying which, he will
obtain, through the merits and mediation of his Saviour, that blessed inheritance which is reserved for the just and good in a future and better world. These laws may be divided into those which regard God, and those which regard man. The former comprehend all our duties of worship, praise, thanksgiving, prayer, reverence, obedience, and devotion, to that Being in whom we live and move ; who made and preserves us; who hath given us all “things richly to “enjoy" here below; and who, by sending his only begotten son into the world, to die for our sins, hath made a way for us when we go hence, and are no more seen, to dwell for ever and ever in the happiness of heaven. The latter laws or rules of beliaviour are those which have respect to ourselves, and our fellow-creatures : such as tend to make us holy, pure, humble, and spiritual-minded in our own persons, and, consequently, “ meet to be partakers of the inheritance “ of the saints in light :” and such as will render us useful members of society ; and enable us to promote the comfort and happiness of our fellow-creatures in the world. Of this description are the admonitions of the apostle contained in the epistle for the day, which will form the subject of the following discourse.
“Be not wise,” says St. Paul, “ in your “ own conceit.” There are few men, my brethren, who do not entertain a better opinion of their own judgment than of the judgment of those around them; and the more ignorant men are, they are in general more given to think that they only can be right, and that all other men must be wrong. Hence it happens, that advice is seldom received with a good grace; and that people often fall into danger, sin, and mischief, because they will not listen to those who are oldes and wiser than themselves. They “ are wise in their own conceit;" and be lieve that they are fully equal to regulate their own conduct in every case, and judge for themselves upon all occasions. There are many instances in scripture of men being guilty of this sin, and suffering severely in consequence of it. The fall of man, indeed, was occasioned by it. God had positively declared to Adam, that if he ate of the fruit of " the tree of knowledge of good and
evil, he should surely die;" but Adam “ was wise in his own conceit," and thought that he knew better than his Maker, what. was best for his happiness; he therefore ate of the forbidden tree, and brought, by this dependence upon himself, sin, misery, and death, on his own head, and on the