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be led into such a frightful enormity as that of taking away a fellow-creature's life. He therefore who gives way to his passions is, in the sense of the inspired writer before quoted, “a murderer."
Again, debauchery and excess of every kind are violations of the commandment under our consideration. They are indeed a species of self - murder, because, by indulging in them we often bring ourselves to a gradual but untimely end. What though the means adopted to destroy ourselves be slow and delightful, still if we wilfully abridge the term of our lives by using them, since we are forbidden to use them, we as really criminally destroy ourselves as if we adopted the most summary methods of selfdestruction. “Moths and worms shall have him” who indulges in excess, “but he that resisteth pleasures crowneth his life.” This is no speculative maxim, but a truth verified to our constant experience. Do we not every where find that excess
when continued relaxes the energies of the inind, reduces the vigour of the body, saps the constitution and accelerates that period when they who indulge in it must stand before their God to answer for the sin of having prematurely brought themselves before Him?
If the Almighty has favoured us with health, and this is perhaps the greatest of all temporal blessings, shall we imagine that we are guiltless
in destroying it by forbidden indulgences, and thus bringing ourselves down perhaps with sorrow to the grave, when, had we pursued an opposite course, we should have been probably blessed with length of days, peace of mind, repose of conscience; and at the close of a well spent life should have looked forward, with goodly confidence, to that bright reversion in the skies, where the Lamb of God shall receive the faithful into his glory and place them at his own right hand, crowned with immortality and enrolled amongst the “goodly fellowship” of his glorified creatures from everlasting to everlasting? If we have no right to destroy our own lives, all the evil habits in which we indulge that have this tendency must be sinful, and no doubt bear upon the crime forbidden in the text. We can have no right then, certainly not the right which secures impunity, to encourage propensities that carry with them the hazard of a fatal termination. Excess does expose us to this hazard. He therefore who indulges in excess is also, in St. John's sense of the word, “a murderer.”
Further, we virtually violate the sixth commandment by detraction and defamation. And this we do because they may lead to fatal issues. How often do they excite the indignation of those who are calumniated, and bring down upon the defamer the most dreadful chastisement? How often has calumny led to death in duels, to private bloodshedding, to desperate retaliation? How commonly does it lead to anger, to hatred, to revenge; and how generally stir up those petty strifes which render us inveterate foes to each other, break in upon the peace of our minds, blight in our souls the fairest fruits of religion, and leave them open to those inroads of the passions which are so apt to stifle the benignities of a virtuous heart, and render us a prey to the vilest affections.
What Solomon says of lying, may, with equal propriety, be applied to a scandalous, tongue; “it hateth those that are afflicted by it :" and as we have seen how hatred becomes an infraction of the command of our text, that which induces hatred must consequently be likewise an infraction of it. Since then defamation is liable to lead to such fearful results as we have just represented ;-since it tends to warp our own minds from every thing that is associated with liberality of sentiment, with virtue, with religion ; since it provokes the minds of others to those violent excitements which so often terminate in fatal issues, he who gives way to calumny is also, in the spirit of St. John's declaration, “a murderer.”
Thus we see in what various ways the laws of God may be virtually infringed without literally breaking them. If we would keep our
selves in that “ simplicity which is in Christ;"—if we would“ keep our hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God," we have only to cultivate a disposition to religion ; to seek with earnestness the aid of the Holy Spirit; to resist all violent animosities, all vindictive feelings, all unruly passions, and do our best to “keep a conscience void of offence towards God and towards man.” Thus shall we escape the condemnation of sinners; thus shall we “adoru the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.”
ON THE INFLUENCE OF TEMPTATION.
Sr. MARK, CHAP. XIV. PART OF VERSE 38.
Watch ye, and pray, lest ye enter into Temptation.
If we trace the mighty current of events in its prodigious flux and magnitude, from the moment when events became of vital importance to mankind, we shall find that temptation has been more or less mixed up with them all. It casts upon the broad highway of the world its fruitful seed, which springs up every where into vigorous and productive growth, “like a tree planted by the waters, that spreadeth out her roots by the river,” upon whose widely-spreading branches all the evils of life are brought to rapid maturity ;—which we frequently pluck, with an expectation of enjoyment, only to realize “gall and bitterness of soul.” Temptation was the parent of sin. Temptation lost man a paradise, closed