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Serm, but a Stain and a Dishonour, he must render VIII. himself the Object of God's Displeasure and
Man's Contempt; and as he defies the divine Power, and affronts the divine Majesty, must be exposed to a Resentment as sure as terrible; God having declared, that he will not hold bin guiltless who taketh his Name in vain (r).
Nor can the Drunkard plead much more Temptation than the Swearer: If there is any Pleasure in his Intemperance, it is only that of a Brute, as his Vice consists, in a suppression of Reason, a dissipation of Thought, and a confusion of all his Senses. Besides, present Pain and Sickness, and a long Train of subsequent Distempers too evidently shew, how dearly he buys his stupid Enjoyment, as the Unprofitableness of the Sin does, how cheaply he fells his Soul. An Habit of Drunkenness is remarkably expensive and wasteful; it often impoverishes the Rich, and
necessarily starves the Poor, who still will .. not be reclaimed from their Debaucheries
by the Punishments of the Law or the ..Threatenings of the Gospel, though they
have no better Prospect before them than Misery temporal and eternal. There are
other fr) Exod. xx. 7.
other Vices, indeed, to which Men may SERM. plead stronger Incitements, since they seem VIII. to promise them more worldly Gain or carnal Delight ; but what will all such Profit or Pleasure avail them, when they shall be summoned away to expiate their Guilt in everlasting Burnings ? Innumerable Worlds with all their Pomp and Glory, had they them in their possession, would they then freely part with for their Redemption, when nothing will be accepted in Exchange for their Souls---when the Season of Mercy being at an End; the Day of inexorable Vengeance breaks in upon them.
'St. Luke xi. 42. ------- These ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. S T UCHas has been very justly SERM.
remarked, is the Weakness or IX.
the Perverseness of Man's Un-m . S o derstanding, that, in judging on the Relations Things bear to one another, whatever suffers in this comparative View, is too often absolutely rejected, as insignificant and worthless.
The Truth of this Reflection is moft clearly seen in that Distinction, which is many times made between natural and positive Duties; which, as they low in feparate Channels, though derived from the U 3
Serm. fame Spring, are considered by some Persons IX. more for what they differ, than for what they agree in.
. The Jews in our Blessed Saviour's Days were egregiously guilty of this Fault; and fo great was the then reigning Degeneracy both as to Sentiments and Manners, that the straightest Sect among them had lost all Regard for moral Righteousness, fancying, that a minute Observance of the ceremonial Part of their Law would be an Equivalent for the Neglect of the weightier Parts of it, even Justice, Judgment, and Truth. I bese, says our Lord, ought ye to bave done, and not to leave the other undone.
He did not blame them for their scrupulous Adherence to the Ordinances of their Religion (since these were of God's own Appointment) but for regarding them to the exclusion of Piety and Virtue, ---for preferring the Shadow to the Substance, and Appearance to Reality,---for dividing what God had strictly united, and making a Part, the worse Part, to serve for the Whole.