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the principles of divine justice, that we are to esteen every one innocent until we have proof that he is not. Upon this principle then we undoubtedly “bear false witness” whenever we accuse a neighbour upon no better evidence than our suspicions.

It is again a breach of this commandment when, in common discourse, we trifle with our neighbour's character by repeating any loose and vague rumours to his prejudice that may have accidentally reached our ears.

We certainly can have no business to add to the currency of those rumours, unless we know them to be well founded. It is therefore our duty to ascertain the circumstances in which they originated, or from what motives they may have been propagated. It is sinful to presume wrong upon insufficient grounds, and if we thus become the voluntary means of extending an injury, by encouraging a report that may not be true, we are just as culpable as if we had been the originators of it. By such and various other means do we constantly“ bear false witness against our neighbour,” and against persons so sinning the wise King of Israel has pronounced a truly terrible judgment. “A false witness," says he, “ shall not pass unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall perish.

We must be further under the imputation of bearing false witness,” when we testify of any above their merits; where we lavish our praises upon such as are undeserving of them, or pretend to trace the existence of virtues where we know they are not to be found : since we then exalt an equivocal, possibly, a flagitious, character, at the expense of our integrity and truth. We impose upon the innocent in order to advance the reputation of the guilty. We consequently wrong the former, whom it is certainly a sin to wrong, in order that we may benefit the latter, whom it must be equally a sin to benefit by misrepresentation and falsehood. By these means too we give encouragement to vice, thus sanctioning what the gospel forbids ; we lend ourselves to abet the sins of a creature trespassing against his God, and thereby make ourselves a party in his guilt. We thus deservedly expose our own character to the imputation of falsehood, since it is a scriptural maxim, and one which observation will fully confirm, that “a faithful witness will not lie, but a false witness will utter lies.”

There is no one of the ten commandments more frequently, perhaps none so generally, broken as that now under our notice. Throughout our intercourse with one another we are perpetually violating it; often inadvertently, it is true, but still oftener deliberately, and with the worst intentions. The judgment of the world upon our offences in this particular is in

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deed light and scarcely regarded ; we therefore give ourselves but too little pains to correct them. We should recollect however that the judgments of Heaven are of much vaster concernment to us, and these, we may rely upon it, will not be withheld from such as, against their own opposing convictions, wantonly run counter to the express commands of their God. “Judgments," says the wise man, “ are prepared for scorners, and stripes for the back of fools.”

It would almost seem that mutual antipathies are among the great moral diseases of the human heart; for there does appear to be in our nature a kind of morbid hostility towards each other, which we are perpetually doing ourselves reciprocal wrong. How seldom are we at peace with all the world! How often do we look upon our fellow-creatures with feelings rather of severity than of loving-kindness? How frequently do we feel our anger excited rather than our benevolence awakened? What pains do we perpetually take to trace imperfections, but too often imaginary, in the characters of those whose virtues have rendered them respected, or whose talents have procured them applause? If we hear the praises of any one of whom we are not disposed to think so favourably as we ought, how apt are we to imply a doubt of his merits, either by some injurious insinuation or equivocal question, though not by an open and positive accusation ?

above their merits; where we lavish our praises upon such as are undeserving of them, or pretend to trace the existence of virtues where we know they are not to be found : since we then exalt an equivocal, possibly, a flagitious, character, at the expense of our integrity and truth. We impose upon the innocent in order to advance the reputation of the guilty. We consequently wrong the former, whom it is certainly a sin to wrong, in order that we may benefit the latter, whom it must be equally a sin to benefit by misrepresentation and falsehood. By these means too we give encouragement to vice, thus sanctioning what the gospel forbids ; we lend ourselves to abet the sins of a creature trespassing against his God, and thereby make ourselves a party in his guilt. We thus deservedly expose our own character to the imputation of falsehood, since it is a scriptural maxim, and one which observation will fully confirm, that “a faithful witness will not lie, but a false witness will utter lies.”

There is no one of the ten commandments more frequently, perhaps none so generally, broken as that now under our notice. Throughout our intercourse with one another we are perpetually violating it; often inadvertently, it is true, but still oftener deliberately, and with the worst intentions. The judgment of the world upon our offences in this particular is indeed light and scarcely regarded; we therefore give ourselves but too little pains to correct them. We should recollect however that the judgments of Heaven are of much vaster concernment to us, and these, we may rely upon it, will not be withheld from such as, against their own opposing convictions, wantonly run counter to the express commands of their God. “Judgments,” says the wise man, “are prepared for scorners, and stripes for the back of fools.”

It would almost seem that mutual antipathies are among the great moral diseases of the human heart; for there does appear to be in our nature a kind of morbid hostility towards each other, by which we are perpetually doing ourselves reciprocal wrong. How seldom are we at peace with all the world! How often do we look upon our fellow-creatures with feelings rather of severity than of loving-kindness? How frequently do we feel our anger excited rather than our benevolence awakened? What pains do we perpetually take to trace imperfections, but too often imaginary, in the characters of those whose virtues have rendered them respected, or whose talents have procured them applause? If we hear the praises of any one of whom we are not disposed to think so favourably as we ought, how apt are we to imply a doubt of his merits, either by some injurious insinuation or equivocal question, though not by an open and positive accusation ?

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