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CCXIII.

SER M. are in misery and want : and as if the sentence of e.,

ternal happiness and misery would accordingly pass upon them. And this, methinks, should make a mighty impression upon us, to think that when we shall

appear before the great judge of the world, wę are to expect mercy from him according to the measure that we have showed it to others.

And now if men be thoroughly convinced of the happiness of this temper, methinks it should be no difficult matter to persuade them to it. If we believe this saying of our Lord, that “ it is more blessed to

give, than to receive;" let us do accordingly.

I know that to carnal and earthly-minded men, this muft needs seem a new and wrong way to happiness. For if we may judge of men's persuasions by their practice (which seems to be a reasonable and good sure way of judging) I am afraid it will

appear, that few believe this to be the way to happiness. If we mind the course of the world, and the actions of men, it is but too evident that most men place their greatest felicity in receiving and getting the good things of this world; “ almost all seek their own things, and but “ few the good of others. Many say, who will fhew $us,” who will do us “any good?" but few ask that question, “ what good thing Mall I do, that I may “ inherit eternal life?” And when our Lord tells men, that they must “ give to to the poor,” if they would have “ treasure in heaven;" that they muft be charitable, if they would be happy; that " it is a more « blessed thing to give, than to receive ;” these are sad and melancholy sayings to those who have greąt possessions, and most men are ready with the young man in the gospel, to part with our LORD, and to - break with him upon these terms. But let us remember, that this was the saying of our

LORD

LORD JESUS, whom we all profefs to believe, and to SERM.

CCXIII. imitate in all things : but more especially let us do so in this, because it was not a bare speculation, a fine and glorious saying, like those of the philosophers, who said great and glorious things, but did them not ; but this was his constant practice, the great work and business of his life. He who pronounced it the most blessed thing to do good, spent his whole life in this work, and " went about doing good.” To this end all his activity and endeavours were bent. This was the life which God himself, when he was pleased to become man, thought fit to tead in the world, giving us " herein an example, that we should follow his steps. ” He made full trial and experience of the happiness of this temper and spirit; for he was all on the giving hand. He would receive no portion and share of the good things of this world; he refused the greatest offers. When the people would have made him a king, he withdrew and hid himself; he was contented to be worfe accommodated than the creatures below us. " The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have “ nests : but the Son of man hath not where to lay his “ head." He would not so much as have any fixed abode and habitation, that he might be at liberty" to

go about doing good.” He received nothing but injuries and affronts, base and treacherous usage from an ungrateful world, to whom he was so great and so universal a benefactor. The whole business of his life was to do good, and to suffer evil for so doing. So. fixed and steady was he to his own principle and saying, “ It is a more blessed thing to give, than to re“ ceive.” He gave away all that he had to dous good, hie parted with his glory and his life, “emptied him

self, and became of no reputation; and being rich, "" for our fakes became poor, that we through his poyerty might be made rich.”

Sa

SER M.

So that he adviseth us nothing, but what he did himCCXIII.

felf; nor imposeth any thing upon us, from which he himself desired to be excused. And surely we have great reason to be in great love with this pattern, when that very goodness which he propounds to our imitation, was all laid out upon us, and redounds to our benefit and advantage ; when our salvation and happiness are the effects of that goodness and compassion which he exercised in the world. He did it all purely for our fakes : whereas all the good we do to others, is a greater good done to ourselves.

So that here is an example and experiment of the thing in the greatest and most famous instance that the whole world can afford. The best and happiest man that ever was, the Son of God and the SAVIOUR of men, and who is the most worthy to be the pattern of all mankind, “ went about doing good,” and governed his whole life, and all the actions of it by this principle, that “it is more blessed to give, than to re

ceive. Let the same mind be in us that was in “ Jesus Christ: let us go and do likewise."

SE R M ON CCXIV.
The evil of corrupt communication.

EPHES. iv. 29.
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth;

but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it

may minifter grace to the bearers. SERM

S discourses against sin and vice in general are CCXIV. of great use, so it is likewise very necessary to level them against the particular vices of men, and to

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CCXIV.

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endeavour by proper and intrinsical arguments, takenSERM. from the nature of that vice we treat of, to dissuade and deter them from it because this carries the dircourse home to the consciences of men, and leaves them no way of escape. For this reason, and in compliance with their majesties pious proclamation, for the discountenancing and suppresling of profanenes and vice, I have chosen to treat upon this subject, of corrupt and filthy coinmunication, as being one of the reigning vices of this wicked and adulterous generation; of the evil whereof the generality of men are less fenfible than almost of any other, that is so frequently and so exprefly branded'in fcripture. And to this purpose I have pitched upon the words which I have read unto you, as containing a plain and exprefs prohibition of this vice siis. Let no corrupt commu"nication;" &c.!!!!!... :. I remember St. Austin in one of his epistles tells us, that Tully, the great master of the art of speaking, says of one of the great orators, Nullum unquam verbim quod irevocaret vellet; emisit. That no word e

1".ver fell from him, that he could wish to have reE." called.” This I doubt is above the perfection of

human eloquence, for a man always to make such a
choice of his words, and to place them so fitly, that
nothing he ever faid could be changed for the better.
· But the greateft faults of fpeech are not those which
ofend against the rules of eloquence; but of piety,
and virtue, and good manners: and who can say that
his tongue is free from all faults in this kind, and no
word ever proceeded from bim which he could wish
to have recalled. “In many things,” lays St. James,

chap. iii. 2.156 we offend all," and in this kind as
much perhaps, and as often as in any. He is a good
and a happy man indeed, that seldom or never offends

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and

SER M. with his congue. “. If any man,” as St. James goes CCXIV.

on, « offend not in word, the same is a perfect man;! that is, he hath attained to an eminent degree of virtue indeed, and is above the common rate of men, and may reasonably be prefumed blameless in the general course of his life and practice; " and able,” as it fol. lows, “to bridle the whole body;" that is, to order his whole conversation aright.

To govern the tongue is a matter of great difficul, -ty, and consequently of great wisdom, and care, and circumspection, and therefore one of the great en. deavours of a wife and good man, should be to govern his words by the rules of reason and religion; land we thrould every one of us resolve and say, as David does, :Pfal. xxxix. 1.74 I will take heed to my " ways, that I fin not with my tongue.” For as the virtues, so the vices of the tongue are many great. In respect of the virtues of it, David calls it the best member we have; because of all the members -and instruments of the body, it is capable of giving - she greatest glory to God, and of doing the greatest good and benefit to men. And in respect of the vices ofit, it may be as truly said to be the worst member s that we have;zbecause it is capable of doing the great

eft difhonour to God, and the greatest mischief and . harm among men. So that upon all accounts, we ought sto have a great care of the government of our congue, which is capable of being fo, useful and serviceable co 3 the best and worst purposes, according as we restrain it Cand keep it in order, or let it loose to siņ and folly.

And among all the vices of the tongue, as none is more common, fo none is more misbecoịning, and more contrary to the modesty of a man, and the gra.

vity of a Christian, than filthy and obscene talk; of : the odious nature, and the evil and mischievous con

sequences

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