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we must pray for it, and must ourselves use all our endeavours, and if we do, he will cleanse that heart, which was formerly foul, he will dispose us and turn us to that love of him and of all his holy commands, so that we shall have in us good desires, and those desires will produce a good effect. Our Saviour concludes with saying, that every idle word that men shall speak they shall give an account thereof at the day of judgment. My friends, I hope I may say, my Christian friends, this is an alarming thought. To be sure, our Saviour meant particularly those words, which lead to revile him, and the Holy Ghost and his religion. But then, he also means every word, which has a bad end, and leads to evil. A day is coming then, when we shall give an account to God even for the words which we have spoken. When by our good words we shall be justified or saved, and by our bad words be condemned. How careful, how exceedingly careful ought this to make us with respect to all
that we say. When we speak ill of others we do wrong: 'when we tell a lie we do wrong: when we use indecent language we do wrong: when we swear, we do wrong. But when we say any thing, which encou. rages another in wickedness, when we use any words, which makes another think ill of religion, of our Saviour, and of good persons, we commit a very great sin, and shall give an awful account of what we have said before the judgment-seat of Christ. It is astonishing to think, how much harm may be done by 'idle, and foolish, and wicked talking. How many young people in particular, may be hurt in their souls by the talking of those who are older than themselves. Let me beg you then to be exceedingly attentive to your common speech. Corrupt no one by your talking; but if you can teach and help each other in the way to salvation. And when you are among yourselves, and talk. ing at your ease, let that which our Saviour says, be always remembered by you. Every idle word, that is, every word evil in itself or leading to evil, which people shall speak, they shall give an account thereof at the day of judgment.
St. MATTHEW xii. 38. Then certain of the Scribes and of the
Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.
I HAVE told you already, who the Pha-, risees were. They were a set of people among the Jews, who, because they considered themselves separated from the rest of the people, took that name. They were remarkable for being very strict in outward things: they liked to appear outwardly what they were not inwardly and in reality: they pretended to be more righteous than others. They took a great dislike to our Saviour, because he saw through all their deceit, and exposed them. The
Scribes told the meaning of the law to the people: and had done so in a manner so little likely to do good, that they knew our blessed Saviour must see through all their wrong practices, and oppose himself to them and their ways. On this account, they always joined with the Pharisees in doing every thing to hinder and prevent his success among the people, who, amidst these blind guides, were like sheep without a shepherd. The way of salvation was equally unknown both to the teacher and to his hearers. Our Saviour tried to put them in this way, and therefore met with all the opposition, which, people not willing to sbake off their past errors and to act better, can give to them, who endeavour to teach others both to think and to do according to their duty. These persons, the Scribes and the Pharisees, came forward here, and desired the blessed Jesus to shew them a sign from Heaven. He had done many mighty works already, he had cured diseases by a word, he had re