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delegates, thy reafon and confcience are. Those certainly fin with an high hand against the Lord, who make nothing to controul, kick, and lay in irons, his commiffion-officers, appointed for no other end, but their present and future felicity. Nay,
Such men as these are found in a plain confederacy with the devil, and that in a moft unnatural and horrid plot against their own fouls and bodies. Their light and their lufts are ftruggling together. Sin and confcience are combating one with another; the one to deftroy, the other to fave the man. Dareft thou join with thy lufts against thy light, and think not to be brought in as a party and confederate with the devil? The stopping of the mouth of thy confcience, fully proves both thy confent and concealment: and if proved consent and concealment make thee not a party and acceffary, it will be very strange.
Plutarch, in his book de Amicitia, relates a story of a Perfian, who fcuffling in the dark with a magician, against whom he had a grudge; and not being able to conquer him himself, called upon his friend who ftood by him with a naked fword ready to strike, but durft not, for fear of killing his friend: the Perfian cries out,Strike, ftrike, however thy ftroke fall: thrust • at an adventure. I care not, fo thou kill the magician, ⚫ though thou kill him through mine own body.'
Much fo ftands the cafe here, with a little variation. Thou art furiously set upon the enjoyment of thy lufts; nothing will quiet thee, but their fatisfaction. Thy reafon and confcience will oppose it, and struggle hard with thee, to withhold thee from them. But thou careft not, in the rage of thine infatiable appetite, tho' thy reafon and confcience both fall in the combat, rather than thy lufts fhould not be fatisfied. Oh, what brutes! yea, what monfters, can fin turn men into !
§7. If men have not quite extinguished both reafon and confcience by debauchery, and divefted themselves of humanity; one would think, no motion or addrefs can poffibly be made to them more fair, rational, and inoffenfive, than this, that they would be pleafed but to confult themselves, and hearken to the native and unconstrained voice of their own reafon and confcience, before they engage themselves in matters of great concernment, upon which both their present and eternal welfare do depend; or, if they are already engaged, yet at least to lend an ear to what they have to offer for their recovery, before it be too late.
You are not here urged and preffed, to hearken to the voi-
vice of mere ftrangers, who know not your affairs; but to hearken to yourselves, to be your own arbitrators and judges, to draw up the award with your own hand. It is a strange and an hard cafe indeed, and fcarce to be fuppofed, that men fhould fall out with themselves at fuch a rate, that they had rather hear the voice of their mortal enemy the devil, and liften to his advice and counfel, than to the voice of their own rea- / fon and conscience.
We all account it madness in Balaam, to beat his innocent afs, and threaten to kill her for thunning the fword of the angel, that oppofed his paffage in a finful and dangerous expedition; but how many ufe both their reafon and confcience worse than affes, because they dare not go forward, and defperately carry them into the very midft of dangers and miferies, which they plainly forefee, and warn them of?
What injuries have thy reafon or confcience done thee, man? What affronts have they given thee; that thou wilt not fuffer them to fpeak, or offer one word, though never fo pertinent, seasonable and neceffary? There is a civility due from us to mere ftrangers; yea, to ftrangers of an inferior rank and quality. The leaft we can do, is to give them a patient hearing and not interrupt them, whilft they fpeak nothing but what is rational, pertinent, and neceffary, especially if it be to their own good and advantage. It is ftrange, men fhould not think themselves as much obliged to pay civility and refpect to their own reasons and confciences, as they daily pay to mere ftrangers and inferiors. Give them but a patient hearing, and they will both tell thee;
We are thine appointed guardians, and have our commiffion from God, to advise, direct, and counfel. We are C thy faithful and inward friends; yea, we are thine ownself, and the beft and nobleft part of thyself too. At our hands • God will require thy blood, fhouldst thou perish by our filence ⚫ or treachery. We cannot be both filent and innocent, both " are in fuch hazard. Do not abuse us, and stop our mouths
for crying out, stop, stop; when we fee thee departing from the paths of honefty, honour, and fafety, and taking the • direct road to that gulph of mifery, in which few (if any) footsteps are found of fuch as return again, that are far engaged therein.
Suffer us but fairly and friendly to expoftulate the matter with thee. What defign can we have against thy true intereft; whilst thine, and ours, cannot poffibly be oppofite; or disjunct, but one and the fame intereft ?"
Well then, that which thy reafon and confcience offers, being fo weighty, fair, and just, and what thine own interest plainly lies in; I will not be so uncharitable, as to suppose thou wilt either refufe to hear, or reject what they have to say, in the following cafes and debates.
CHA P. III.
Wherein the true cenfure and judgment of right reafon and conScience, are given upon profane fwearing, and blafpheming the n me of God: As alfo their replies to feveral pleas offered in defence or excufe thereof.
OD bestowed on man the noble faculty of speech, (a peculiar favour and privilege) for two ends and ufes. (1.) That by the use of his tongue, he may glorify his Maker, and found forth the praises of his Redeemer. (2.) That we might thereby be able to communicate our minds one to another, in all our neceffary and convenient interests and concernments, whether civil or religious. This member, (the tongue) tho' fmall in quantity, is found to be mighty in efficacy; and whilft it is kept under the rule and government of grace, the words that drop from it, are as apples of gold in pictures of filver. Gracious words are bread to feed, and water to refresh the fouls of others. A fanctified tongue is as a tree of life. Converfion, edification, and confolation, are the delicious fruits of the lips.
But the tongues of fome men break loofe from under all the laws and rules both of reafon and religion, and ferve only to vent the froth and filth, which abound in the heart, as in a fountain of pollution: For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh. The tongue moves lightly, but falls heavily; it ftrikes foft, but wounds deep. It would not spare men of the highest rank and eminence, did not the fear of capital punishments teach them fo much wit, to keep their tongues in prifon, that they may keep their bodies out of prifon. And though, for this reason, they are afraid of making too bold with the names of men; yet having no fear of God at all, they fall upon his great and dreadful name, toffing it to and fro, without any refpect or reverence.
Auguftus prohibited the common use of his name, left it fhould grow too cheap and vile, by the common and needless ufing of it. The name of Mercurius Trifmegiftus was very fparingly used, becaufe of the great reverence the people had
for him. The very Heathens were afraid to pronounce the name of their great God, Demogorgon, as fearing the earth would tremble, when his name was mentioned. How doth the reverence of Heathens to their false gods, expose and ag gravate the impudence of profeffed Chriftians, in their vile indignities and abuses of the great and terrible name of the true God! Yea, they not only take up his name vainly and rafhly into their lips, but audaciously insert it by a profane oath into their common talk, as that which gives the grace, lepor, and ornament to their difcourfes. Some have not been afhamed to fay, what pity is it, that fwearing should be a fin; which gives fo great a grace and ornament to language?
2. Swearing by the name of God in a righteous cause, when called thereto by due authority, is not only a lawful, but a religious act, founded upon, and directed to the honour of God's omnifcience; whereunto there is a folemn appeal made, in every affertory and promiffory oath, and a religious acknowledgment made him, of his infallible knowledge of the truth or falfehood of our hearts, and all the fecrets of them, be they never fo involved and inward things.
The lawful ufe and end of swearing, is to put an end to all ftrife, and to maintain both equity and charity among men; the two bonds and ligaments of human fociety. Now, it being the fovereign right and property of God alone, infallibly to Search and try the hearts and reins of men, he thereby becomes the infallible witness to the truth or falfehood of what they fpeak, fo that in every fuch lawful oath, there is not only a folemn appeal, and in that appeal, an afcription of glory to his fovereign omnifçience; but therein (implicitly at least) they put themselves under his wrath and curfe, in cafe they fwear falfely; which makes this action most facred and folemn,
The deep corruption of human nature by the fall, makes thefe appeals to God under a curfe neceffary. For it is fuppofed, though men be falfe and deceitful, yet there is fome reverence of a Deity, and fear of his wrath and curfe, left unextinguished in their fallen nature. So that men will rather fpeak the truth (though to their own fhame and lofs) than by invocating fo glorious a name in vain, put both foul and body under his wrath and curfe. By which it appears what an aw ful and folemn thing an oath is; and that every good man, not only takes a lawful oath with holy fear and trembling, because of the folemnity of the action; but rather ought to chufe death, than to fwear profanely, because of the horrid malignity of the action,
§3. The contumely and malignity found in profane oaths, appears in that terrible threatening, "The Lord will not hold "him guiltless that taketh his name in vain :" A threaten ing, altogether as juft and righteous, as it is fevere and terrible. This fin admits of degrees of guilt. It is highly finful to fwear by the name of God lightly and vainly in our common difcourfes, though the oath be clipped, and half suppressed, or difguised in the pronunciation of it; which argues fome re mains of fear and fhame in the finner.
It is yet worfe (and indeed not a jot below blafphemy) to fwear by any other name, than the name of God: For in fo doing, they attribute to a creature the fovereign and incom municable property of God, fet that creature in the very throne of God, and inveft it with the regalities of his omnifcience, to know our hearts, and almighty power, to avenge the wrong upon us, done to himself, as well as to men, by falfe-fwearing.
But to break in rudely and blafphemously upon the facred and tremendous name of God, with bold and full-mouthed oaths, ftriking through his facred name with direct 'contumelious blafphemies; this argues an heart, from which all fear of God is utterly expelled and banished.
Yet fome there are, grown up to that prodigious height of impiety, that they dare affault the very heavens, and discharge whole vollies of blafphemies against the glorious Majefty which dwells there. They are not afraid to bid defiance to him, and challenge the God that made them, to do his worft. They deck and adorn (as they account it) their common difcourfes with bloody oaths, and horrid imprecations; not reckoning them genteel and modifh without them. It confifts not with the greatness of their spirits, to be wicked at the common rate. They are willing to let the world know, that they are none of thofe puny, filly fellows, that are afraid of invisible powers, or fo much cowards, as to clip a full-mouthed oath, by fuppreffing, or whifpering the emphatical founding fyllable; but think an horrid blafphemy makes the moft fweet and graceful ca.. dency in their bellish rhetoric.
They glory, that they have fully conquered all those trou blesome notions of good and evil, virtue and vice, heaven and hell, to that degree, that they can now affront the divine Majefty to his very face, and not fear the worst he threatens in his word against their wickedness.
If there be a God, (which they scarce believe) they are refolved, audaciously to provoke him to give them a convincing evidence of his being. And if he be (as they are told he is)