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to which there is no imaginable temptation in nature ?
Can any thing further be thought of in it's defence? Is it an honour to swear? There are indeed some persons, if we may judge by the self-complacency apparent in their air and manner, who are so far mistaken, as to fancy that this vice is an improvement of discourse, giving a spirit, a kind of high relish to their sentiments; and accordingly they serve it up to you, on every occasion, and mix it with all their remarks. Indeed it takes upon itself fometimes to be more than a mere ornament in conversa. tion, and becomes the most considerable part of what people have to offer. You find, if you reflect on what they have said, that the oath is the whole substance of the obfervation.
If it be an accomplishment, it is such a one as the meanest person may make himfelf master of; requiring neither rank nor fortune, neither genius nor learning.
But if it be no teft of wit, we must allow perhaps that it wears the appearance of valour. Alas! what is the appearance of any thing? The little birds perch upon the image of an Eagle.
True Bravery is sedate, and inoffensive: if it refuse to submic to insults, it offers none; begins no disputes, enters into no needless quarrels; is above the little, troublesome ambition to be distinguished every moment: it hears in Glence, and replies with modefty; fearing no enemy, and making none; and is as much alhamed of infolence as of cowardice.
Lastly, the vice of common fwearing is prohibited by the laws of God and man.
It is an open violation of your country's laws, enacted by the highest autho
rity in this nation, both wisely and justly, with a view to the publick good: nor can you, so long as you continue notoriously guilty in this respect, lay claim to the title of a good citizen.
That of a good christian perhaps you are not ambitious of obtaining : Or elfe, what further occasion is there for words or arguments? Profane swearing is difpleasing to Almighty God; it is forbidden, and will be punished by him. I say Matth. v. unto you, swear not at all; neither by hea- 34, 35, 37. ven, for it is God's throne; nor by the earth, for it is his footstool: but let your communication be yea, yea; nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: the threatening follows; the Lord will not hold him guiltlefs that taketh his name in vain. There is more intended than expressed; the meaning is, he will severely punish him. The Vol. II.
Lord will not hold him guiltless: He will take this cause into his own hands; being particularly, and, as it were, perJonally concerned in it.
Thea penalties appointed by human laws are not always inflicted; and in the case before us very rarely. Of a thousand offenders, is there one brought before the magistrate? Or he, for one of his offences in a thousand ?
But the Divine Lawgiver, and Judge, who has annexed a peculiar threatening to this commandment, is Himself, we should consider, a witness too of every violation of it. He bears indeed with our offences; yet he notes them : and though He be long suffering ; He is also true and just, and will by no means clear the guilty.
Exod. xxxiv. 7.
His sentence is not executed speedily;
and may indeed, by timely repentance, be prevented: without this, the stroke, however flow, is inevitable. Delay is no security. On the contrary, the longer the Divine Patience spares us, so much the more heinous is our guilt, if we repent not; and the heavier must be our punishment. However free we may be from the dread of any human tribunal; however the Divine vengeance may sumber for a season; it is impossible for us to escape, since He who cannot lie hath faid, The Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
The time will come, when impious mirth will be turned into mourning; the laughter of fcoffers into tears. Their profane oaths they will change into supplications, and prayers: which now indeed might be heard, but will be then too late. Or rather, since the day of Grace will be past, and even repentance