Sidor som bilder

mon, hideth his hand in his bosom, and it grieveth him to put it to his mouth: Is not this the picture of a fool?

The worldly minded, who rise early and set up late, and eat the bread of carefulness, so buried in their business as to forget their souls and eternity; how different soever from the last sort of fools, are yet expressly called by that name. Luke xii. 20. We see a man wholly set upon, and filled with worldly things; in the middle of his enjoyments God speaks to him, "Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee." If idleness be folly, so is over carefulness.



man spends so much time at his business that he has none left to serve God, and take care of his soul; none for daily prayer, and going to public worship on the Lord's Day, he may think himself very wise, but God will call him a fool.

Are not the self-righteous foolish : those who think they can repent whenever they please, without God's assistance: can pray as well, and live as godly, and do as many good works as God requires; so that he shall give them heaven as what their good deeds have deserved;

without any need of Christ. The bible says, our best righteousness is as filthy rags, there is none doeth good, no not


we are not sufficient even for a thought, our heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. If such fancy themselves to be rich, and encreased in goods, and to have need of nothing, while they are really wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked, (Rev. iii. 17.) are they not foolish?

The hypocrite is a fool without doubt, whose piety is all outside; consisting at the best, of constancy in the forms and ceremonies of religion, in going to church, giving alms to the poor, being sober, and honest; all very good things, and very necessary; but nothing in the sight of God, without true repentance for, and hatred of sin, a heart humbly cleaving to Christ for pardon, and purposing by his grace to deny all ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this evil world. The white washing the outside of a house will not keep it weather proof, nor supply the place of inside furniture. A hypocrite is but a silvered shilling, and will not pass in heaven, if he does on earth.

God cannot be deceived by his outside show, and will not be mocked by any who are foolish enough to try.

2. There is another sort of wicked persons, equally foolish, and more outrageous than the former, who not only ruin themselves, but like madmen endeavour to injure others also. Such are the mockers at sin. Prov. xii. 9. "Fools make a mock at sin." None but fools would laugh at such a serious thing: yet there are those who will commit any crime in fun, and for the sake of a good joke, do a bad action: who when told that sin leads to destruction, that many are tormented in hell for having done what they are doing, answer it with a laugh, or a droll speech; or deride persons who scruple to destroy their souls as fast as they do themselves, and ridicule any who will not run with them to the same excess of riot. These, by their witty jokes, prove themselves fools. And by their mocking at sin, give God occasion. to say, "he will laugh at their calamity, and mock when their fear cometh.”

Those who are soon made angry, are fools for their pains. Prov. xviii. 7.. "A fool's lips enter into contention." The

apostle James says, an angry man's tongue is set on fire of hell, and Christ says, those who use angry words are in danger of hell fire. How many, so far from avoiding angry expressions, scruple not even to curse and swear in their passion, and call for everlasting destruction, not only upon their enemies, but their friends; nay even upon themselves; can any thing shew their folly more clearly?

Slanderous backbiters, who report evil of their neighbours, are condemned. Prov. x. 18. "He that uttereth slander is a fool." If the report is true, unless there is a necessity for our divulging it, either for our own justification, or the warning of others, we ought rather to hide our neighbours frailty, than expose him; for herein we do unto others what we should not like to be done to us. But when the report is false, and we know it to be so, if we repeat it as true, we incur great guilt indeed. Joining falsehood to malice, as though the folly and guilt of one crime were not sufficient for us.

Those who are disobedient to their parents, however clever they may think themselves, are fools in the eyes of God, Prov. xv. 5. "A fool despiseth his fa

ther's instruction," and (verse 20.) "A foolish man despiseth his mother." Are there none of you guilty in this respect? who make a practice of disregarding what your parents say; who make it your boast among your sinful companions, that you dont mind them. What says the fifth commandment? "Honour thy father and thy mother. that thy days may be long in the the land." Will you hate those who love you; be unkind to those who feed and clothe you; grudge to do any thing for those who do all for you; and insult the weakness of the old age of those who cherished you in the weakness of your infancy, with the utmost tenderness? Be convinced of your folly, be humbled for it, and no longer glory in your


Those who are fond of mischief, are ranked in the the same company. "It is sport to a fool to do mischief." Prov. x. 23. A disposition which is very common among young persons. If they can tease those who are too weak to resist them; such as their little companions, aged, infirm, or deformed persons, and the brute creatures if they can injure people in their property, rob their orchards, destroy

« FöregåendeFortsätt »