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OUNG Years are tender and eafily wrought upon, apt to be moulded into
Fashion; they are like moist and soft Clay, which is pliable to any Form ; but foon grows hard, and then nothing is to be made of it. It is a very difficult Thing to make Impressions upon Age, and to deface the Evil which hath been deeply imprinted upon young and tender Minds. When good Instruction hath been neglected at first, a conceited Ignorance doth commonly take Poffeffion, and obftruct all the Passages through which Knowledge and Wisdom should enter
Upon this Confideration the Work of Religion should be begun by Times, because it is a mighty
Advantage to any Thing to be planted in a Ground that is newly broken up. It is just the same Thing
for young Persons to be entered into a religious : Course, and to have their Minds habituated to Virtue before vicious Cuftoms have got Place and Strength in us : For whoever shall attempt this afterwards will meet with infinite Difficulty and Opposition, and must dispute his Ground by Inches.
It is good therefore to do that which must be done one Time or other, when it is easiest to be done ; when we may do it with the greatest Advantage, and are likely to meet with the least and weakest Opposition. We should anticipate Vice and prevent the Devil and the World, by letting God into our Hearts betimes, and giving Religion the first Seifin and Poffefsion of our Souls. This is the Time of fowing our Seed, which must by no Means be neglected. For the Soul will not lie fallow; Good or Evil will come up. If our Minds be not cultivated by Religion, Sin and Vice will get the Poffefsion of them: But if our tender Years be seasoned with the Knowledge and Fear of God, this. in all Probability will have a good Influence upon the following Course of our Lives.
The Preciousness of Time.
IME is the Season and Opportunity of car
rying on of any Work, and for that Reason is one of the most valuable Things ; and yet nothing is more wastefully spent, and more prodigally squandered away by a greater Part of Mankind than
this, which, next to our immortal Souls, is of all Things most precious ; because upon the right Use or Abuse of our Time, our eternal Happiness or Misery does depend. Men have generally fome Guard
upon themselves, as to their Money and Estates, and will not with Eyes open suffer others to rob and deprive them of it: But we will let any Body almost rob us of our Time, and are contented to expose this precious Treasure to every Body's Rapine and Extortion, and can quietly look on, while Men thrust in their Hands, and take it out by whole Handfuls, as if it were of no greater Value than Silver was in Solomon's Days, no more than the Stones in the Street. And yet when it is gone, all the Silver and Gold in the World cannot purchase and fetch back the least Moment of it, when perhaps we would give all the World for a very small Part of that Time which we parted with upon such cheap and easy. Terms.
The Guilt of Lying.
RUTH and Faithfulness are divine Perfecti.
ons ; but Lying and Fallhood are the Propei ties of the Devil, and the predominant Qualities of Hell.
No Man can be cruel and unmerciful, false and treacherous, without a very high Degree of Guilt; because these Sins are contrary to the chiefest and most essential Perfections of God. Lying is a Sin that would fly in the Face of an Heathen, becaufe it directly contradicts those natural Notions which
every Man hath of God and Religion ; therefore we find that there is hardly any Thing that Men are more ashamed of than to be taken in a Lie, and it is esteemed the highest Reproach to be charged with it; it argues such a direct Contrariety to that which is the Rule of Perfection, “ the Nature of God," and consequently so much Imperfection and Baseness; he that tells a Lie out of Fear, is at once bold towards God, and base towards Men.
The Evil of corrupt Communication. Tillotson.
LL corrupt and filthy Communication is a
notorious Abuse of, one of the greatest and best Gifts which God hath given us, and does directly contradict the natural End and Use of Speech. Our Tongue is our Glory, as the holy Psalmist often calls it, who had duly considered the Excellency and Use of this Faculty, and took great Care to employ it to the Purposes to which God gave it, and is herein an admirable Pattern to us.
The two great Ends for which this Faculty of Speech is given us, are to glorify God our Maker, and to edify Man our Neighbour : But all corrupt Communication contradicts both these Ends; because, instead of praising God with pure Hearts and Lips, we do greatly dishonour him, by polluting our Tongue with lewd and filthy Talk. For hereby we offer a direct Affront to his holy Nature and Laws. This renders us altogether unfit for the Worship and Service of Almighty God, who is “of purer Eyes than to behold Iniquity"
and Impurity of any kind. For how can we think that he will accept those Prayers and Praises, which are offered to him by such impure and unhallowed Lips ? when we dishonour God with the fame Mouth that we pretend to glorify him ? and commit Sin with the same Tongue that we confess it? How can we hope that he will accept the Sacrifice of such polluted Lips, out of which proceed Things so contrary and inconsistant ?
Against Profaneness in Ordinary Conversation.
S all kind of Profaneness is unprofitable, fo
more especially customary Swearing in ordinary Conversation, upon every Occasion of Pasfion, or any other trivial Cause, nay be without Cause, out of mere Habit and Custom. Now what can possibly be imagined to be the Profit or Pleasure of this Vice ? Sensual Pleasure in it there can be none, because it is not founded in the Temper of the Body: A Man may be naturally prone to Anger or Luft; but no Man I think is born with a swearing Constitution.
And there is as little Profit as Pleasure in it; for the common and trivial Use of Oaths makes them perfectly insignificant to their End, and is so far from giving Credit to a Man's Word, that it rather weakens the Reputation of it.