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of weakness; although, indeed, it is a character of all others the most noble. In recommendation of this character let me obferve, that in this, as in all the particulars mentioned above, “the wicked worketh a deceitful work ; “ but he that walketh uprightly walketh surely,” Supposing a man to have the prudence and discretion not to speak without neceffity, I affirm there is no end which a good man ought to aim at, which may not be more cer. tainly, safely, and speedily obtained by the strictest and most inviolable sincerity, than by any acts of dissimulation whatever.
But after all, what signify any ends of present conveniency, which dissimulation may pretend to answer, compared to the favor of God, which is forfeited by it? Hear what the Pfalmift says. “Who shall abide in thy taber“ nacle, who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh
uprightly and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the “ truth in his heart.”—Let us, therefore, add this to the other views of the prophet's comprehensive prayer-"Re“ move far from me vanity and lies.”
For the improvement of this part of the subject, observe,
1. You may learn from it how to attain, not only a juftness and propriety, but a readiness and fulness in the duty of prayer.
Nothing is a greater hinderance, either to the fervency of our affections, or the force of our expressions in prayer, than when the object of our desires is confused and general. But when we perceive clearly what it is that is needful to us, and how much we do need it, this gives us, indeed, the spirit of fupplication. Perhaps it is more necessary to attend to this circumstance, in what we ask for our souls than for our bodies. When we want any thing that relates to present conveniency, it is clearly understood, because it is sensibly felt.—There is no difficulty in crying for deliverance from poverty, fickness, reproach, or any other earthly suffering; nay, the difficulty here is not in exciting our desires, but in moderating them: not in producing fervor, but in promoting submission : But in what relates to our souls, because many or most temptations are agreeable to the flesh, we foresee danger less perfectly, and even feel it less fenfibly; therefore, a clole and deliberate attention to our situation and trials, as opened in the preceding discourse, is of the utmost moment, "both to carry "'us to the throne of grace, and to direct our fpirit when
we are there."
2. What hath been said will serve to excite us to habitual watchfulness, and to direct our daily conversation. The fame things that are the subjects of prayer, are allo the objects of diligence.---Prayer and diligence are joined by our Saviour, and ought never to be separated by his people.---Prayer without watchfulness is not fincere, and watchfulness without prayer will not be successful. : The fame views of fin and duty-of the llrength and frequency of temptation, and the weakness of the tempted, lead equally to both. Let me beseech you then, to walk circumfpectly, not as fools, but as wise. Maintain an habitual disidence of yourselves--Attend to the various dangers to which you are exposed. Watchfulness of itself will save you from many temptations, and will give you an inward warrant, and humble confidence, to ask of God fupport under, and deliverance from such as it is impollia ble to avoid..
3. In the last place, fince every thing compreliended in the petition in the text, is viewed in the light of falsehood and deceit, suffer me, in the most earnest inanner, to recommend to my hearers, and particularly to all the young persons under my care, “an invariable adherence to * truth, and the most undisguised fimplicity and sincerity " in the whole of their conversation and carriage.” I do not know where to begin or end in fpeaking of the excel. lency and beauty of lincerity, or the baleness of falsehood. Sincerity is amiable, honorable and profitable. It is the most thining part of a commendable character, and the most winning apology for any miscarriage or unadvised action. There is fcarcely any action in itself so bad, as what is implied in the hardened front of him who covers the truth with a lie: B:filles, it is always a sign of long praciice in wickedness. Any man may be feduced or furprized into a fault, but none but the habitual villain can deny it with steady calmness and obstinacy. In this respect, we unhappily find some who are young offenders, but old sinners.
It is not in religion only, but even among worldly men, that lying is counted the utmost pitch of baseness; and to be called a liar the most insupportable reproach. No wonder, indeed, for it is the very effence of cowardice to dare to do a thing which you have not courage to avow. The very worst of finners are sensible of it themselves, for they deeply resent the imputation of it; and, if I do not miltake, have never yet arrived at the absurdity of defending it. There is scarcely any other crime, but some are profligate enough to boast of it ; but I do not remember ever to have heard of any who made his boast, that he was a liar. To crown all, lying is the most wretched folly. Justly does Solomon say: " A lying tongue is but for a
moment.” It is easily discovered. Truth is a firm consistent thing, every part of which agrees with, and strongly supports another. But lies are not only repugnant to truth, but repugnant to each other; and commonly the means, like a treacherous thief, of the detection of the whole. Let me, therefore, once more recommend to every one of you, the noble character of fincerity.-En. deavor to establish your credit in this respect to entirely, that every word you speak may be beyond the imputation of deceit; so that enemies may, themselves, be sensible, that though you should abuse them, you will never de. ceive them.
SEEKING A COMPETENCY IN THE WISDOM OF
PROVERBS Xxx. 8.
Give me neither poverty nor riches ; feed me with food conve
nient for me.
PROCEED now to consider the second branch of the
prophet's prayer, which regards his outward condition or circumstances, in the present world. On this subject he expresses himself thus : “ Give me neither poverty nor
Do not think, my brethren, that this is a subject of little importance; or that it is unconnected with the spiritual life. On the contrary, there are few things of more moment, than to have our desires of temporal blessings limited and directed in a proper manner. Not only is worldly mindedness the everlasting ruin of those who are entirely under its dominion; but even good men are liable to many temptations from the fame quarter. They may hurt their own peace, give offence to others, or lefsen their usefulness by a sinful excess in their attachment to the world, or by a criminal negligence in not giving a prudent and proper attention to it. Be not surprised that