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the Lord of the Sabbath--were we asked to look to the man who could thus overbear the last remnants of remorse in a struggling and unpractised bosom, and glitter in all the ensigns of a prosperity that is reared on the violated consciences of those who are beneath him-O! were the question put, to whom shall we liken such a man? or what is the likeness to which we can compare him? we would say, that the guilt of him who trafficked on the highway, or trafficked on that outraged coast, from whose weeping families children were inseparably torn, was far outmeasured by the guilt which could thus frustrate a father's fondest prayers, and trample under foot the hopes and the preparations of eternity.
such a proportionate abatement of truth, as goes to extend most fearfully the condemnation that is due to all liars, who shall have their part in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone. And who can compute the effect of all this on the young and yet unpractised observer? Who does not see, that it must go to reduce the tone of his principles; and to involve him in many a delicate struggle between the morality he has learned from his catechism, and the morality he sees in the counting-house; and to obliterate, in his mind, the distinctions between right and wrong; and, at length, to reconcile his conscience to a sin, which, like every other, deserves the wrath and the curse of God; and to make him tamper with a direct commandment, in such a way, as that falsehoods and frauds might be nothing more in his estimation, than the peccadilloes of an innocent compliance with the current practices and moralities of the world? Here then is a point, at which the way of those who conform to this world, diverges from the way of those peculiar people who are redeemed from all iniquity, and are thoroughly furnished unto all good works. Here is a grievous occasion to fall. Here is a competition between the service of God and the service of Mammon. Here is the exhibition of another offence, and the bringing forward of another temptation, to those who are entering on the business of the world, little adverted to, we fear, by those who live in utter carelessness of their own souls, and never spend a thought or a sigh about the immortality of others--but most distinctly singled out by the text as a crime of foremost magnitude in the eye of Him who judgeth righteously.
There is another way whereby in the employ of a careless and unprincipled master, it is impossible but that offences must come. You know just as well as we do, that there are chicaneries in business; and, so long as we forbear stating the precise extent of them, there is not an individual among you who has a title to construe the assertion into an affronting charge of criminality against himself. But you surely know as well as we, that the mercantile profession, conducted, as it often is, with the purest integrity, and laying no resistless necessity whatever for the surrender of principle on any of its members; and dignified by some of the noblest exhibitions of untainted honour, and devoted friendship, and magnificent generosity, that have ever been recorded of our nature;-you know as well as we, that it was utterly extravagant, and in the face of all observation, to affirm, that each, and every one of its numerous competitors, stood clearly and totally exempted from the sins of an undue selfishness. And, accordingly, there are certain commodious falsehoods occasionally practised in this department of human affairs. There are, for example, certain dexterous and gainful evasions, whereby the payers of tribute are enabled, at times, to make their escape from the eagle eye of the exactors of tribute. There are even certain contests of ingenuity between individual traders, where in the higgling of a very keen and anxious negociation, each of them is tempted in talking of offers and prices, and the reports of fluctuations in home and foreign markets, to say the things which are not. You must assuredly know, that these, and such as these, then, have introduced a certain quantity of what may be called shuffling, into the communications of the trading world-insomuch, that the simplicity of yea, yea, and nay, nay, is in some degree exploded; there is a kind of understood toleration established for certain modes of ex-chandise, this is the very trial of delicacy pression, which could not, we are much which sometimes offers itself. The man afraid, stand the rigid scrutiny of the great with whom you stand committed to as day; and there is an abatement of confidence great an extent as you count to be advisabetween man and man, implying, we doubt, ble, would like, perhaps, to try your confi
And before we quit the subject of such offences as take place in ordinary trade, let us just advert to one example of it-not-so much for the frequency of its occurrence, as for the way that it stands connected in principle with a very general, and, we believe, a very mischievous offence, that takes place in domestic society. It is neither, you will observe, the avarice nor the selfishness of our nature, which forms the only obstruction in the way of one man dealing plainly with another. There is another obstruction, founded on a far more pleasing and amiable principle-even on that delicacy of feeling, in virtue of which, one man cannot bear to wound or to mortify another. It would require, for instance, a very rare, and, certainly, not a very enviable degree of hardihood, to tell another, without pain, that you did not think him worthy of being trusted. And yet, in the doings of mer
dence in him, and his own credit with you, the sufferings of others, should thus be aca little farther; and he comes back upon cessary to the second and more awful death you with a fresh order; and you secretly of her own domestics-that one who looks have no desire to link any more of your the mildest and the loveliest of human beproperty with his speculation; and the dif-ings, should exact obedience to a mandate ficulty is, how to get the application in which carries wrath, and tribulation, and question disposed of; and you feel that by anguish, in its train--O! how it should far the pleasantest way, to all the parties confirm every Christian in his defiance to concerned, would be, to make him believe the authority of fashion, and lead him to that you refuse the application, not because spurn at all its folly, and at all its worthyou will not comply, but because you can- lessness. not-for that you have no more of the article he wants from you upon hand. And it would only be putting your own soul to hazard, did you personally, and by your self, make this communication: but you select, perhaps, as the organ of it, some agent or underling of your establishment, who knows it to be false; and to avoid the soreness of a personal encounter with the man whom you are to disappoint, you devolve the whole business of this lying apology upon others; and thus do you continue to shift this oppressive burden away from you-or, in other words, to save your own delicacy, you count not, and you care not,
about another's damnation.
And it is quite in vain to say, that the servant whom you thus employ as the deputy of your falsehood, can possibly execute the commission without the conscience being at all tainted or defiled by it; that a simple cottage maid can so sophisticate the matter, as, without any violence to her original principles, to utter the language of what she assuredly knows to be a downright lie; that she, humble and untutored soul, can sustain no injury when thus made to tamper with the plain English of these realms; that she can at all satisfy herself, how, by the prescribed utterance of "not at home," she is not pronouncing such words as are substantially untrue, but merely using them in another and perfectly understood meaning-and which, according to their modern translation, denote, that the person of whom she is thus speaking, instead of being away from home, is secretly lurking in one of the most secure and intimate of its receptacles. You may try to darken and transform this piece of casuistry as you will; and work up your own minds into the peaceable conviction that it is all right, and as it should be. But be very certain, that where the moral sense of your domestic is not already overthrown, there is, at least one bosom within which you have raised a war of doubts and difficulties; and where, if the victory be on your side, it will be on the side of him who is the great enemy of righteousness. There is, at least, one person along the line of this conveyance, of deceit, who condemneth herself in that which she alloweth; who, in the language of Paul, esteeming the practice to be unclean, to her will it be unclean; who will perform her task with the offence of her own conscience, and to whom, therefore, it will indeed be evil: who cannot render obedience in this matter to her earthly superior, but by an act, in which she does not stand clear and unconscious of guilt before God; and with whom, therefore, the sad consequence of what we can call nothing else than a barbarous combination against the principles and the prospects of the lower orders, isthat as she has not cleaved fully unto the Lord, and has not kept by the service of the one master, and has not forsaken all at His bidding, she cannot be the disciple of
Now, what we call upon you to mark, is the perfect identity of principle between this case of making a brother to offend, and another case which obtains, we have heard, to a very great extent, among the most genteel and opulent of our city families. In this case, you put a lie into the mouth of a dependent, and that, for the purpose of protecting your substance from such an application as might expose it to hazard or diminution. In the second case, you put a lie into the mouth of a dependent, and that, for the purpose of protecting your time from such an encroachment as you would not feel to be convenient or agreeable. And, in both cases, you are led to hold out this offence by a certain delicacy of temperament, in virtue of which, you can neither give mar plainly to understand, that you are not willing to trust him, nor can you give him to understand that you count his company to be an interruption. But, in both the one and the other example, look to the little account that is made of a brother's or of a sister's eternity; behold the guilty task that is thus unmercifully laid upon one who is shortly to appear before the judgment-seat of Christ; think of the entanglement which is thus made to beset the path of a creature who is unperishable. That, at the shrine of Mammon, such a bloody sacrifice should be rendered by some of his unrelenting votaries, is not to be wondered at; but that the shrine of elegance and fashion should be bathed in blood-that soft and sentimental ladyship should put forth her hand to such an enormity-that she who can sigh | Christ. so gently, and shed her graceful tear over
The aphorism, that he who offendeth in
one point is guilty of all, tells us something | particular offence, a mischief may be done more than of the way in which God ad- equivalent to the total destruction of a hujudges condemnation to the disobedient. man soul, or to the blotting out of its prosIt also tells us of the way in which one in-pects for immortality. dividual act of sinfulness operates upon our And let us just ask a master or a mistress, moral nature. It is altogether an erroneous who can thus make free with the moral view of the commandments, to look upon principle of their servants in one instance, them as so many observances to which we how they can look for pure or correct prinare bound by as many distinct and inde-ciple from them in other instances? What pendent ties of obligation-insomuch, that right have they to complain of unfaithfulthe transgression of one of them may be ness against themselves, who have delibebrought about by the dissolution of one rately seduced another into a habit of unseparate tie, and may leave all the others, faithfulness against God? Are they so utwith as entire a constraining influence and terly unskilled in the mysteries of our naauthority as before. The truth is, that the ture, as not to perceive, that if a man gather commandments ought rather to be looked hardihood enough to break the Sabbath in upon as branching out from one great and opposition to his own conscience, this very general tie of obligation; and that there is hardihood will avail him to the breaking of no such thing as loosening the hold of one other obligations?-that he whom, for their of them upon the conscience, but by the advantage, they have so exercised, as to fill unfastening of that tie which binds them all his conscience with offence towards his upon the conscience. So that if one mem- God, will not scruple, for his own advanber in the system of practical righteousness tage, so to exercise himself, as to fill his be made to suffer, all the other members conscience with offence towards his master? suffer along with it; and if one decision of that the servant whom you have taught the moral sense be thwarted, the organ of to lie, has gotten such rudiments of educathe moral sense is permanently impaired, tion at your hand, as that, without any furand a leaven of iniquity infused into all its ther help, he can now teach himself to purother decisions; and if one suggestion of loin?-and yet nothing more frequent than this inward monitor be stifled, a general loud and angry complainings against the shock is given to his authority over the treachery of servants; as if, in the general whole man; and if one of the least com- wreck of their other principles, a principle mandments of the law is left unfulfilled, the of consideration for the good and interest of law itself is brought down from its rightful their employer-and who, at the same time, ascendency; and thus it is, that one act of has been their seducer-was to survive in disobedience may be the commencement all its power, and all its sensibility. It is and the token of a systematic and universal just such a retribution as was to be looked rebelliousness of the heart against God. It for. It is a recoil upon their own heads of is this which gives such a wide-wasting ma- the mischief which they themselves have lignity to each of the separate offences on originated. It is the temporal part of the which we have now expatiated. It is this punishment which they have to bear for the which so multiplies the means and the pos- sin of our text, but not the whole of it; far sibilities of corruption in the world. It is the better for them that both person and thus that, at every one point in the inter- property were cast into the sea, than that course of human society, there may be they should stand the reckoning of that day, struck out a fountain of poisonous emana- when called to give an account of the souls tion on all who approach it; and think not, that they have murdered, and the blood of therefore, that under each of the examples so mighty a destruction is required at their we have given, we were only contending hands. for the preservation of one single feature in the character of him who stands exposed to this world's offences. We felt it, in fact, to be a contest for his eternity; and that the case involved in it his general condition with God; and that he who leads the young into a course of dissipation-or that he who tampers with their impressions of sabbath sacredness or that he who, either in the walks of business, or in the services of the family, makes them the agents of deceitfulness-or that he, in short, who tempts them to transgress in any one thing, has, in fact, poured such a pervading taint into their moral constitution, as to spoil or corrupt them in all things; and that thus, upon one solitary occasion, or by the exhibition of one
The evil against which we have just protested, is an outrage of far greater enormity than tyrant or oppressor can inflict, in the prosecution of his worst designs against the political rights and liberties of the commonwealth. The very semblance of such designs will summon every patriot to his post of observation; and, from a thousand watchtowers of alarm, will the outcry of freedom in danger be heard throughout the land. But there is a conspiracy of a far more malignant influence upon the destinies of the species that is now going on; and which seems to call forth no indignant spirit, and to bring no generous exclamation along with it. Throughout all the recesses of private and domestic history, there is an
ascendency of rank and station against | the servant will be brought to their reckonwhich no stern republican is ever heard to ing together; and when the one is tried lift his voice-though it be an ascendency upon the guilt and the malignant influence so exercised, as to be of most noxious ope- of his Sabbath companies-and is charged ration to the dearest hopes and best interests with the profane and careless habit of his of humanity. There is a cruel combination household establishment-and is reminded of the great against the majesty of the peo- how he kept both himself and his domesple-we mean the majesty of the people's tics from the solemn ordinance--and is made worth. There is a haughty unconcern about to perceive the fearful extent of the moral an inheritance, which, by an unalienable and spiritual mischief which he has wrought right, should be theirs-we mean their fu- as the irreligious head of an irreligious fature and everlasting inheritance. There is mily-and how, among other things he, un
a deadly invasion made on their rights-der a system of fashionable hypocrisy, so tampered with another's principles as to defile his conscience, and to destroy him-O! how tremendously will the little brief authority in which he now plays his fantastic tricks, turn to his own condemnation; for, than thus abuse his authority, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.
we mean their rights of conscience; and, in this our land of boasted privileges, are the low trampled upon by the high-we mean trampled into all the degradation of guilt and worthlessness. They are utterly bereft of that homage which ought to be rendered to the dignity of their immortal nature; and to minister to the avarice of an imperious master, or to spare the sickly delicacy of the fashionables in our land, are the truth and the piety of our population, and all the virtues of their eternity, most unfeelingly plucked away from them. It belongs to others to fight the battle of their privileges in time. But who that looks with à calculating eye on their duration that never ends, can repress an alarm of a higher order? It belongs to others generously to struggle for the place and the adjustment of the lower orders in the great vessel of the state. But, surely, the question of their place in eternity is of mightier concern than how they are to sit and be accommodated in that pathway vehicle which takes them to their everlasting habitations.
Christianity is, in one sense, the greatest of all levellers. It looks to the elements, and not to the circumstantials of humanity; and regarding as altogether superficial and temporary the distinctions of this fleeting pilgrimage, it fastens on those points of assimilation which liken the king upon the throne to the very humblest of his subject population. They are alike in the nakedness of their birth. They are alike in the sureness of their decay. They are alike in the agonies of their dissolution. And after the one is tombed in sepulchral magnificence, and the other is laid in his sod-wrapt grave, are they most fearfully alike in the corruption to which they moulder. But it is with the immortal nature of each that Christianity has to do; and, in both the one and the other, does it behold a nature alike forfeited by guilt, and alike capable of being restored by the grace of an offered salvation. And never do the pomp and the circumstance of externals appear more humiliating, than when, looking onwards to the day of resurrection, we behold the sovereign standing without his crown, and trembling, with the subject by his side, at the bar of heaven's majesty. There the master and
And how comes it, we ask, that any master is armed with a power so destructive over the immortals who are around him? God has given him no such power: The state has not given it to him. There is no law, either human or divine, by which he can enforce any order upon his servants to an act of falsehood, or to an act of impiety. Should any such act of authority be attempted on the part of the master, it should be followed up on the part of the servant by an act of disobedience. Should your master or mistress bid you say not at home, when you know that they are at home, it is your duty to refuse compliance with such an order: and if it be asked, how can this matter be adjusted after such a violent and alarming innovation on the laws of fashionable intercourse, we answer, just by the simple substitution of truth for falsehood-just by prescribing the utterance of, engaged, which is a fact, instead of the utterance of, not at home, which is a lie-just by holding the principles of your servant to be of higher account than the false delicacies of your acquaintance-just by a bold and vigorous recurrence to the simplicity of nature-just by determinedly doing what is right, though the example of a whole host were against you; and by giving impulse to the current of example, when it happens to be moving in a proper direction. And here we are happy to say that fashion has of late been making a capricious and accidental movement on the side of principle-and to be blunt, and open, and manly, is now on the fair way to be fashionable-and a temper of a homelier quality is beginning to infuse itself into the luxuriousness, and the effeminacy, and the palling and excessive complaisance of genteel society-and the staple of cultivated manners is improving in firmness, and frankness, and honesty, and may, at length, by the aid of a principle of Chris
whole of the gospel dispensation. Let them learn a higher reverence for the eternity of those beneath them, by thinking of him, who, to purchase an inheritance for the
And that we may not appear the cham-poor, and to provide them with the blesspions of an insurrection against the autho-ings of a preached gospel, unrobed him of rity of masters, let us further say, that all his greatness; and descended himself while it is the duty of clerk or apprentice to to the lot and labours of poverty; and toiled, refuse the doing of weekday work on the Sab-to the beginning of his public ministry, at bath, and while it is the duty of servants to the work of a carpenter; and submitted to refuse the utterance of a prescribed falsehood, all the horrors of a death which was aggraand while it is the duty of every dependent, vated by the burden of a world's atonein the service of his master, to serve him ment, and made inconceivably severe by only in the Lord-yet this very principle, their being infused into it all the bitter of tending as it may to a rare and occasional expiation. Think, O think, when some petty act of disobedience, is also the principle design of avarice or vanity would lead you which renders every servant who adheres to forget the imperishable souls of those to it a perfect treasure of fidelity, and at- who are beneath you, that you are setting tachment, and general obedience. This is yourselves in diametric opposition to that the way in which to obtain a credit for his which lieth nearest to the heart of the Sarefusal, and to stamp upon it a noble con-viour; that you are countervailing the whole sistency. In this way he will, even to the tendency of his redemption; that you are mind of an ungodly master, make up for thwarting the very object of that enterprise all his particularities: and should he be for which all heaven is represented as in what, if a Christian, he will be; should he motion-and angels are with wonder lookbe, at all times, the most alert in service, ing on-and God the Father laid an apand the most patient of provocation, and pointment on the Son of his love-and he, the most cordial in affection, and the most the august personage in whom the magscrupulously honest in the charge and cus-nificent train of prophecy, from the begintody of all that is committed to him-then ning of the world, has its theme and its let the post of drudgery at which he toils fulfilment, at length came amongst us, in be humble as it may, the contrast between shrouded majesty, and was led to the cross, the meanness of his office and the dignity like a lamb for the slaughter, and bowed of his character will only heighten the re- his head in agony, and gave up the ghost. verence that is due to principle, and make it more illustrious. His scruples may, at first, be the topics of displeasure, and afterwards the topics of occasional levity; but, in spite of himself, will his employer be at length constrained to look upon them with respectful toleration. The servant will be to the master a living epistle of Christ, and he may read there what he has not yet perceived in the letter of the New Testament. He may read, in the person of his own domestic, the power and the truth of Christianity. He may positively stand in awe of his own hired servant-and, regarding his bosom as a sanctuary of worth which it were monstrous to violate, will he feel, when tempted to offer one command of impiety, that he cannot, that he dare not.
And here let us address one word more to the masters and mistresses of families. By adopting the reformations to which we have been urging you, you may do good to the cause of Christianity, and yet not advance, by a single hair-breadth, the Christianity of your own souls. It is not by this one reformation, or indeed, by any given number of reformations, that you are saved. It is by believing in Christ that men are saved. You may escape, it is sure, a higher degree of punishment, but you will not escape damnation. You may do good to the souls of your servants, by a rigid observance of the lesson of this day. But we seek the good of your own souls, also, and we pronounce upon them that they are in a state of death, till one great act be performed, and one act, too, which does not consist of any number of particular acts, or particular reformations. What shall I do to be saved? Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. And he who believeth not, the wrath of God abideth on him. Do this, if you want to make the great and important transition for yourselves. Do this if you want your own name to be blotted out of the book of condemnation. If you seek to have your own persons justified before God, submit to the righteousness of God-even that righteousness which is through the faith of Christ, and is unto all
tian rectitude, be so interwoven with the cardinal virtues, as to present a different texture altogether from the soft and silken degeneracy of modern days.
And before we conclude, let us, if possible, try to rebuke the wealthy out of their unfeeling indifference to the souls of the poor, by the example of the Saviour. Let those who look on the immortality of the poor as beneath their concern, only look unto Christ-to him who, for the sake of the poorest of us all, became poor himself, that we, through his poverty, might be made rich. Let them think how the principle of all these offences which we have been attempting to expose, is in the direct face of that principle which prompted, at first, and which still presides over, the