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. man, and is said to flower but once in a
The spirit of Party is another principal, and almost universal cause, of thele offences of the tongue.
Besides the greater contests in Church and State ; there are perpetually springing up petty competitions, from interest commonly, sometimes by accident, or almost without occasion, which divide people into little armies; in one or other of which, we are most of us too forward to engage: we are easily involved in the prejudices of those around us; and being swept away by the torrent of diffension, we increase it.
Hence it is, that most men, and especially the most active and busy, have two characters given them, widely different from each other. The wise and wary give none hastily, and credit neither with
out abatements. The worth, and the demerit of the greatest number is always moderate: whatever is represented as extraordinary, is probably exaggerated.
Nor are the profligate and the weak alone, drawn afide by these prejudices; discreet and worthy persons, find it difficult to resist them. The appearance of friendship, gratitude, honour, and other good qualities insensibly mislead us: and in pursuit of the image of these glittering virtues, we lose the substance of Truth and Charity
Lastly, we are but too apt, all of us, to be influenced in what we speak, by a latent partiality for ourselves. How oft are we found to fail in representing the clearest transaction? not from design of doing wrong, or speaking falsly; but through that mist and darkness,which self-interest raises, and the passions spread before the understanding: Imperceptibly almost to ourselves, the biass of partiality, as we pass along in our narration, is working upon every point and circumstance a little; till in the end, we have wandered widely from the line of Truth, or even move in opposition to it.
To relate the fact, to represent our own words and actions, and those of others in which we are interested, as they are, is no Night attainment; but demonstrates a superiority of mind, which is the peculiar quality of the highest characters.
great, how truly noble, in whatever station, were that person, whose veracity should be found untainted by selfish considerations ! who might be left to state the cause of his adversary, and trusted with the rights of every party!
Lord, who shall dwell in thy tabernacle, Pfal. xv. or who shall rest upon thy holy hill ? Even he S4
that leadeth an uncorrupt life, and doth the thing which is right, and Speaketh the truth from his heart; He that hath used no deceit in his tongue, nor done evil to his neighbour; and hath not fandered his neighbour.
S E R M O N XXII.
TENTH COMMANDMENT. PART I.
EXOD. xx. 17.
THOU SHALT NOT COVET.
AVING before forbidden all actual encroachment
the perty of another, the divine Lawgiver proceeds to impose his restraints upon the mind; and prohibits in the same tone of authority, not only the violent invasion, but the very inward defire of that which cannot justly become our own.