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rich in patience and forbearance, they are resolved to try how far his patience will extend, and what load of wickedness it is capable to bear.

If their damnation be not yet sure enough, they will do their utmost to make it sure, by breaking down the only bridge whereby they can escape damnation : I mean, by trampling under their feet the precious blood and wounds of the Son of God, and imprecating the damnation of hell upon their own fouls, as if it slumbered too long, and were too slow-paced in its motions towards them. I am of opinion, there are few Chriftians to be found on earth, crying so often, Lord, pardon ; Lord, save me ; as some wretches among us cry, (I tremble to Speak it :) God damn me ; the devil take me.

Herein they seem to envy the happiness of the devils, and damned wretches in hell, and endeavour (as one speaks) to snatch damnation out of God's hands before the time; as if they could not be soon enough among their roaring and howl. ing companions, in the midst of the everlasting burnings. Eut, why such hafte to be perfectly miserable? The very devils themselves deprecate torments before their time, though you imprecate them. Your misery makes haste enough towards you ; you need not quicken it, or thus run to meet it.

I am perfuaded, that if the bars of the bottomless pit were broken up, and devils should ascend in human shapes, none among them would be found hastening upon themselves the fulness and completeness of their misery, as you do.

It is a truth, though a strange one, that it is much eafier to find, than imagine men upon earth professing Christian religion, yet in fome respect funk below the wickedness of the diabolical nazure, by making damnation both the subject of their drollery, and the object of their very wishes and desires. Some greater masters of our language, may more lively and emphatically express the horrid nature of this fin; but excuse me, reader, if I believe, no words or thoughts can measure the height or depth of this monstrous abomination.

V 4. Such contumelious language as this (especially when grown modifh or common) cannot but be a most high and dreadful provocation of God, and such an one as will certainly bring down his desolating vengeance, not only upon the heads of blafphemers themselves, but upon the states and kingdoms that connive at, or tolerate them. We read, Zech. v. 2, 3 4. of a flying roll, full of curses, the length thereof twentỷ cubits, and the breadth thereof ten cubits; which shall enter into the house of the swearer, remain in the midst of his house,

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and consume it with the timber and stones thereof. Blasphemy and profane swearing, are like barrels of gunpowder laid under the foundation of many great and noble familes, many of which are already blown up, and laid in ruins by this sin, and many more ready to follow, as soon as the justice of God shall give fire to it.

And (comparatively speaking) it were happy if the mischief ended here ; but, alas! it causes God to commence a quarrel with the whole land ; Hof. iv. 2, 3. “ And because of oaths, 6s the land mourneth." You find in Ifa. xxxviji. what it was that brought that unparalleled desolation upon that famous and flourishing city of Jerusalem, and the whole land of Judah; “ for Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen; because " their tongues and their doings are against the Lord, to pro“ voke the eyes of his glory.”

But, alas ! fcripture-threatnings signify scarce so much with these men, as the predictions of the weather in an almanack; and, which is strange to consider, the very execution of fcripture-threatnings before their eyes, will not terrify them from this inhuman wickedness; even these also are laughed to scorn, or easily forgotten.

Oh! that God would set it home with power, upon the fpirits of all that are in power, to take some speedy and effectual course, to remove this accursed thing, this iniquity to be pus nished by the judge ; one (and a chief one too) of those direful provocations of heaven, to which we owe a special part of our national infelicity at this day. We all acknowledge, that all prosperity and success depends upon God; if so, reason will readily own, that it must be therefore the interest of kingdoms and commonwealths, to prevent and restrain those impieties, which so audaciously provoke and incense his wrath. As much is this their duty and interest, as it is the interest of a courtier to avoid offences of his royal master, the king, upon whose favour his honour and preferment depends : Or as it is the duty of the owner, to keep in that ox which is used to goring; or cover that pit into which some have, and others of his family are like to fall : or carefully and speedily to remove that gunpowder, which his enemies have placed under the foundation of his house, to blow it up. Both reason and experience will inform the rulers of this world, that professed rebels to the God of heaven, are never like to make useful subjects in the kingdoms of men.

§ 5. Until public justice lay hold upon fuch offenders, let us try what close reasoning may effect, for their reformation. It is hard to imagine that men of sense should so generally, and so far engage themselves in this course of profane swearing, and have nothing at all to say for themselves.

If they have no reason at all, to offer in justification or excuse of what they do, they act the brutes, not the men, and are self-condemned already.

It is a question with me, whether the soul of man, on this fide hell, can sink so deep into the nature of a devil, as to fin because he will fin; or to engage himself in a course of fin, without any respect at all to some carnal intereft, either of profit, pleasure, or honour ?

The thief hath a visible temptation of gain to allure him, or pinching necessity, to induce him. The liar is drawn in, to commit that second fin, to cover the shame and turpitude of a former. The adulterer promiseth himself pleasure in the fatisfaction of his lusts. And though men generally stand amaz. ed to think, what that temptation should be, which prevails upon the swearer ; yet doubtless, something there is he hath to plead in excuse and extenuation of his fault. Whatsoever it be, let it be produced, and weighed in the balance of right reason; Valeat quantum valere poteft, Let it have its due value and confideration. And could I imagine any thing more likely to be their inducements, than what I shall here mention, I would not conceal them. There are only four things, that can fall within the compass of my imagination, pleadable by them, when seriously charged with the evil of the fact.

1. Some of them will haply tell us, that they would not swear as they do, if they could gain credit to what they say without it; but the incredulity of others, provokes them to add so many oaths to their fingle affirmations.

2. Others of them will tell us, they only swear in their par. fion, when provoked by injuries received from others; and if men did not wrong them, they would not wrong God as

they do.

3. Some will plead, that swearing is become modish, the badge and character of a gentleman ; that it gives them reputation among men of their own rank and quality; and that they shall be looked upon as sneaking fools, unfit for the company of gentlemen, if they could not discourse with them in this dialect.

4. And fome will confess the practice is evil ; but that they have gotten such an ill habit, and the sin is become so custo mary with them, that many times they know not whether they swear or no.

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cannot imagine, nor (I think) they themselves, what else as pleadable in excuse, or extenuation of this horrid fin: Let these that are produced, have a fair trial at the bar of reafon ; and carry yourselves towards this fin for ever hereafter, according to that righteous verdiet yourselves thall be forced to pass upon it.

$ 6. To begin with the first plea. You say, you would not swear as you do, could you gain credit to your words without it. Weigh this question in the upright balance of thine own reason, whether any wise or sober man in the world, will find himself ever the more obliged to believe what you say, by the addition of blasphemous oaths and imprecations, to your plain and simple affirmations or negations. I cannot think, that you yourselves would give the more credit to any man, that should profess his fincerity to you; by finding him, in that his very profession, false and treacherous to his God. Say, reason, doft not thou take this for a sure truthị that he who makes no conscience of being trite to God, will never make much conscience of being false to men? For what is that which gives any man's words reputation among wife and sober men, but the supposition of his integrity, and confcientious fear of his deceit and guile? Take away that, and with it you take away the credibility of all his reports and affirmations,

If I look upon the person that speaks, as a man of integrity and conscientious tenderness, I have a fufficient ordinary fecutity of the truth of what be faith. But if I look upon him as a man of a profticute and feared conscience, that darès venture upon any lin; a man, in whom there is tio awe of God, to produce veracity in his words ; then my reafoh prefently conéludes, that where there is no truth, there ought to be no truft: For truth is the very ground-work and foundation of trust. Now, what truth can we fuppofe to be left in that man that sticks nots upon any trivial occafiori, to break afunder all the obligations of a creature to his Creator ; together with all the bonds of kindness, his great and best benefactor hath bound him withal; and without any the least injury he can pretend his God bath done him, to fly in his very face with the most contumelioos language? Can we suppose any truth to be in, or any trust to be due to such a man as this ?

Good men and bad are thus contradistinguished, Eccl. ix. 2. « Him that sweareth, and he that feareth an oath.” A con fcentious man is so afraid of an oath, that he would rathed

Vol. VII.

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chuse to die, than swear some kind of oaths : And thoughi he be satisfied of the lawfulness of an oath in general, and of the matter of that oath he sweareth in particular; yet an holy awę and fear of God fills his heart, when he swears lawfully and necessarily, left he should fail in the manner of it, by not give ing that due reverence to the name of God, which fo sacred and folemn an action requires.

But from profane {wearing, and blafpheming the name of God, every man's reason may juftly and plainly infer this conclusion; that the fear of God, is not in that man's heart. And where there is no fear of God, what truth can be supposed in him ; or what truft can be due to his words or oaths ? But the more he fwears, ftill the less reason all wise men have to believe him. And I am sure, the credulity of fools adds little reputation to him. This plea therefore, for profane swearing, is altogether shamed, baffled, and cashiered, by the common reason of mankind. :

♡ 7. Call therefore to the bar of reason the second plea, or apology, for profane fwearing.

You say, you swear not, unless provoked by injuries men have

This is so weak. a plea for so great a sing that I wonder men are not ashamed to bring it into the court of reason. This is the true sense, and strength of it : My enemy hath abused me; therefore I will avenge the wrong my enemy hath done me, upon my best friend and benefactor.' I challenge you to give but the colour, or shadow of sound reason, why, upon aпу abuse

you have received from men, you should fall so in juriously upon the name of God, who never abused or injured you, fince he gave you a being, but hath always done you good. Tell me, man, (if thou have the reason of a man in thee) what wrong hath God done thee? Wherein hath he injured thee, that thou thus wreakest thy revenge upon him ? If an enemy have affronted you, reason would tell you, you ought not to take revenge for it, upon your friend, and best benefactor. Have you none but God to abuse, when men ao buse and injure you? Can your reason comprobate and allow fueh an action as this ? Satan instigates the corruptions of men to injure you; and you fly in the face of God for it, whose laws severely prohibit such actions, and will avenge the injuries done unto him. Speak no more therefore for ever, in the way of excusing the horrid sinfulness of this fact against God, upon the account of injuries done thee by thy fellow creature

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