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exhibit human depravity, until they drop into the pit. We have little hope from pointing out remedies. I would only observe on this subject, that if persons addicted to this vice wish to reform, I believe it is in vain to attempt a gradual reformation; they must break off at once, and inscribe, "touch not, taste not, handle not," on every thing which contains the poisonous draught.
But while remedies, we have reason to fear, will be of little avail, preventives may be of use to save those who have not yet become habituated to this vice.
As the grand preventive let us seek and cherish the grace of God in our hearts; this will be the best means of preserving us from falling into this destructive sin; and let us sincerely and daily, feeling our own weakness, offer up the petition,"lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil." Let us shun all those causes which have been mentioned as producing this vice. Let us deeply reflecton its evils, both in time and eternity, as they have been pointed out; and let us set these evils constantly before us when we are tempted to this sin. Let those who are holding out temptations to this vice, and furnishing the means, cease from their unlawful and murderous gain. Let all, according to their stations, do all that is in their power, by their example, their opinions, their influence, and their authority, to restrain others from this vice, and remove the causes which lead to it. And let those who find themselves, beginning to love and thirst after the intoxicating draught, immediately deny themselves, and destroy the habit in its first commencement. This, if ever, is the time to escape the destructive snare. Every advance strengthens the habit and weakens resistance. Flee from the first approaches of this vice, while the voice of reason can yet be heard, as you would from the most dangerous enemy.
Permit me in the conclusion of this discourse to address different classes of persons who may be in this assembly. And if any subject requires plainness, this does. If against any sin it is my duty to cry aloud and spare not, it is this: for intemperance is the demon which is destroying the peace and happiness of many families. It is this, which more than any thing else, deprives many innocent families of the necessaries of life; it is this, which is making many persons pests of society, and cumberers of the
earth; and it is this, which annually murders the bodies and souls of many among us. Against such a vice, such a destructive demon as this, ministers ought to raise the alarm. If we found a man attempting to take his own life by an act of violence, would we not endeavour by every means in our power to prevent the rash and dreadful deed? If we found a thief or murderer attempting to take the property or life of our neighbour, would we not give the alarm? And shall we not endeavour to prevent those, who though more slowly, yet as surely are in danger of murdering themselves by intemperance? Shall we not sound the alarm against that which is robbing them of their character, stripping their families of the necessaries of life, and murdering not only the body but the soul forever?
Are there any here addicted to this vice? It is probable but few if any; for this is generally one of the consequences of this vice, that it causes persons to withdraw themselves from the house of God. But if there be any, be exhorted I beseech you, without delay, to break off from this sin. Consider its evils which have been enumerated, and let them operate as motives to lead you to immediate reformation. You are destroying your character; you are injuring your mental powers; you are wasting your property; you are covering your family with shame; you are distressing and reducing them to want and beggary, and perhaps you have already brought them into this state; you are destroying your health, and swiftly hastening yourselves to an untimely grave; you are murdering your bodies, and stand chargeable with self-murder in the sight of heaven, as surely as the unhappy wretch who ends his days by violence from his own hands; and you are destroying your souls, and must very soon if you continue your course awake in the world of woe, where instead of adding drunkenness to thirst, you will cry in vain for a drop of water to cool your tormented tongue; and where, instead of the intoxicating bowl, you will have given you to drink the wine of the wrath of Almighty God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation. Awful considerations! will they not make you pause, and tremble, and immediately break off your sin? What then will? Unhappy soul, we can but pity and weep over you.
My hearers, who are not yet addicted to this vice, I turn to you and beseech you by all these solemn considerations to guard against every approach to this sin.
And my brethren is it not the duty of us all, by every means in our power, to endeavour to prevent the growth of this vice? Shall we stand idle spectators, and see usefulness destroyed, property wasted, families made wretched, fellow creatures and neighbours and friends murdering themselves, and their souls sinking to endless woe, and take no measures to prevent all this wretchedness?
Let those who are in the habit of retailing spirituous liquors, to those who thus abuse them, and suffer it to be drunk in their shops, reflect seriously on this subject. Can you do this without guilt? The breach of the laws of your country is a breach of the law of God. But this is not all. This practice, doubtless, greatly encourages and increases intemperance: it takes from many families the means of procuring the necessaries of life; it impairs and destroys domestic happiness; it swells the list of our poor, to be supported at the public expense; and it is conspiring with other causes, to bring many to an untimely grave, and to destroy their souls forever. And can any of you, my hearers, uphold a practice fraught with so many and such great evils as these? Can any who fear God, and regard the good of their fellow creatures continue such a practice? Hear what the word of God says, "neither be partaker of other men's sins;" 1 Tim. v. 22. "Wo unto him that giveth his neighbour drink: that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also ;" Hab. ii. 15. These texts apply directly to the case before us. My hearers if any of you are in this practice, I solemnly exhort and charge you, as you would not have the cries of the poor, the widow and the fatherless to go up to heaven against you; as you regard the favour of God; and as you would not have to answer at his bar for being an accessory to the murder of the bodies and the souls of men, cease from this practice,
Parents, this subject also addresses you. By example and by precept endeavour early to impress your children With an abhorrence of the sin of drunkenness; guard then against every approach to it; and especially keep them from the places and company, where they will be exposed to temptation.
Let magistrates and all in authority, by their influence and by a faithful execution of the laws, stem this destructive torrent which is overwhelming our land. The wicked may cry out against you; but you will have the applause of the virtuous, and the approbation of your own conscience and your God; and the blessing of thousands, saved from ruin, will come upon you.
May the Lord apply this discourse, and make it inof good.-AMEN.
1 JOHN III. 15.
"Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him."
The law of God is exceeding broad. It reaches the soul and regulates its dispositions and exercises, as well as external bodily actions. "The law is spiritual;" Rom. vii. 14. This is applicable to all the commandments. They all may be broken without external actions. Hence, we may be guilty of a breach of the sixth commandment, without actually killing a person. Whosoever exerciseth murderous dispositions is a transgressor of this commandment. This is clearly taught in our text. "Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer." And also, by our Saviour in his sermon on the mount, Mat. v. 21, 22; " Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment; and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire."
By brother, in our text, we are to understand mankind generally, who are our brethren by nature. To hatred are nearly allied, anger, malice, wrath, revenge, and an unforgiving temper, all of which are breaches of the sixth commandment. We shall consider them together in the ensuing discourse, the object of which is,
To offer reasons against the indulgence of these passions.
1. Their indulgence is directly contrary to the character of God. The Supreme Being is a perfect pattern of excellence. It is therefore the duty of all intelligent creatures to be conformed to the divine image, or to be like unto God; and this duty is frequently enjoined in the Scriptures. Now, "God is love;" 1 John iv. 8. Hatred, anger, malice, wrath, revenge, and the like, in the sense, in which they are forbidden to men in Scripture, are not to be found in God. Would we then be conformed to God; we must put away all anger, and malice, and wrath, and hatred, and be kind, compassionate, and forgiving; and we must dwell in love; for "he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him ;" 1 John iv. 16.
2. These passions are opposed to the temper and example of Christ. Love to our fallen race influenced him to stoop to a union with our nature; to submit to poverty, reproach, and persecution; and to labour, suffer, and die. And if Christ so loved us, ought we not also to love one another? His example is a perfect pattern, and therefore ought to be imitated by us; and the Scriptures make it our duty to imitate his example. Now he felt no hatred towards our race, notwithstanding the wickedness of men and the continual ill treatment he received. He was often grieved at the obstinacy of sinners, and the hardness of their hearts and he felt a holy indignation at their evil conduct; but he was never angry in a sinful sense. When anger is ascribed to him, we must understand it either of grief or of holy indignation; while at the same time, he pitied the object, and would willingly have done him good, if he would have received it. Malice never for a moment was found in his soul. Notwithstanding he received the most unjust and cruel treatment, and might have commanded twelve legions of angels to crush his enemies, he avenged not himself but gave place unto wrath; yea, when he hung on the cross he prayed for his murder