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tant goal, betrayed by the artful transition. We should take up the task of amendment, where it is most likely to be attended with success; to struggle with great vices is always difficult, sometimes, I am afraid, hopeless; in checking the vice of swearing, we are destroying the seeds of unrighteousness, and cherishing that feeling of sanctity which is the parent of every good; hereafter, when our religious feelings are blunted and worn away, when our minds are prepared for the reception of every vice, we shall find it too late to keep holy the name of the Lord our God;-too late to remember, that they are not guiltless who take his name in vain.
Whatever rules any man may chuse to apply to himself, he will not deny, that it is his duty to watch, with the most pious care, the first appearances of this dangerous vice in the minds of children; that a young person, at least, should be taught never to pronounce the name of God, but with feelings of pious gratitude, and unbounded veneration; never, without remembering that God breathed into him the breath
of life; that, at his will, that breath still hangs in his nostrils; that in a moment, his soul may be taken from him; and that he may be called before the throne of that being, whose power nothing can resist; and from whose wisdom nothing remains concealed. The youth who has these feelings, is safe from all flagrant, and enormous crimes; in the moment of temptation, he flies to them as to the horns of the altar; and, in the day of his adversity, they are his stoney rock, his buckler, and his shield.
It is very striking, in our perusal of the scriptures, to remark the awful manner in which the name of God is mentioned; and the noble images, and allusions, with which it is surrounded, and hallowed: Moses says, that it is eternal, everlasting, not to be changed. Solomon, calls it the frontlet to his eyes; Isaiah says, it is the tower of his heart.-Zechariah, calls it a wall of fire.-Joel, and Amos, and Haggai, it is a miracle, and a glory, and a burning light. Prophets, lawgivers, and sacred kings bless it; the worst only, and the lowest of men, revile it, and trample it in the
dust. This is the way that common minds speak of the first and great cause of all; but David says, that when he called upon God, the earth shook, and trembled; that the very foundations of the hills were shaken. "He bowed the Heavens, and came down; darkness was under his feet; he rode upon a cherubin;-he did fly upon the wings of the wind; he made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him was dark waters, and thick clouds of the skies. The Lord also thundered in the Heavens, and the highest gave his voice. Then the channels of waters were seen, and the foundations of the world were discovered. At thy rebuke, oh God; at the blast of the breath of thy nostrils.-This is not mere imagination, but wise, and instructive piety; the loftiest flight, and the boldest epithet has its use; whatever exalts the Deity, enforces obedience to his laws; whatever degrades his name, renders it more probable, that his commandments will not be observed.
It is a vast advantage to keep in the heart a pure image to look at,-something which is free from every stain of mortal
frailty; and which we may follow, though at a distance immeasurable, and imitate, though in dimness, and obscurity; for this reason, the thought of God is to be fenced about with every care; it is not to be called forth for the purposes of any evil passion, or to gratify rash intemperance, or to give dignity to insignificance. It is to be reserved for stupendous affliction, poured forth in eminent distress, appealed to before grave tribunals, and pronounced with solemn devotion, when the dearest interests of mankind are at stake. God has given us his name as a support to human laws, as a security to human happiness; it is so great and serious a possession, the use of it is of such vast importance, that the law takes it to itself, and pronounces it to be an offence against the public to use it, but in prayer. And the law does this very justly, reasoning after this manner; that by the use of God's name contracts are ratified; by that pledge, men bind themselves to the performance of high duties; recompence is awarded; and crimes are punished. From a confidence that the name of God will not be taken in vain ; so to take it, is to weaken one of the props
on which human happiness is placed; is to accustom yourself and others to the irreverent use of that name, upon the reverent use of which the administration of justice intimately depends. It is in this very manner that our Saviour preaches it, not only forbidding perjury, but forbidding that habit of appealing carelessly to sacred things, which lays the foundation for a breach of oaths. "Ye have heard how it hath been said by them of old time, thou shalt not forswear thyself;-but I say unto you, swear not at all, neither by Heaven, for it is God's throne, nor by the earth, for it is his footstool, nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great king; but let your communication be yea, and nay, for what
soever is more than these, cometh of evil.
It is pleasant to remember, that, no man ean cultivate any one virtue, without cultivating others at the same time; now, to watch carefully over the use we make of the name of God, and to beware that we do not misuse it, even in the strongest paroxysm of violence, induces a turn of mind, which is extremely favourable to the government