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Numerous are the ways in which impiety is shewn, and this command violated. It is impious to use the name of God lightly or irreverently, and without necessity. All the forms of cursing and swearing in common language, are, therefore, obvious indications of a profane mind. Perjury, or false swearing, because the person guilty of it is usually more deli. berate in its commission, is impiety in its most ag. gravated and awful extent. It is to be feared, that when oaths are so frequently required, as the laws of most nations demand, this crime, so insulting to the omniscience and omnipresence of God, is often committed.

This command is also violated, when God is not seen nor glorified in his works; and when, in place of being referred to his power, and wisdom, and good. ness, they are yilified, and ascribed to chance or fate. The mind that can survey the glories of heaven, and the ever-varying and stupendous works of that universe in the midst of which we are placed, without the profoundest reverence for that eternal God who is the author, the mover, and the preserver of all, may, indeed, be charged with a feeling, if not impious, at least closely akin to it.

But the word of God is that in which he has more clearly and fully displayed his character, perfections, and purposes. It particularly reveals the plan of redeeming love and mercy, through the atoning sacri. fice of Christ. This word, therefore, he has magnified above all his name; that is, it is a richer discovery of himself, and of his ways, than is elsewhere to be seen in his works; and so highly does he value

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How often are they who are guilty of this vice, left in this life to the hardening influence of sin,—to be the corrupters of those with whom they may associate, -to the judgments of God here, and to a still more fearful punishment hereafter ? Shun it, and those who practise it, as you would the pestilence, as you would the greatest calamity that can befall you; shun it as you value the peace of your own minds; and if you have a remaining wish to revere the awful Majesty of heaven, remember that there is a period approaching that will make us all feel deeply serious, and when we shall wish to call on that holy name which thousands so irreverently take upon their lips. Infidelity,” says Paley, “is served

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in shape that is likely to allure, surprise, or beguile the imagination; in a fable, a tale, a novel, a poem; in interspersed and broken hints, remote and oblique surmises; in books of travels, of philosophy, of natural history; in a word, in any form rather than the right one,—that of a professed and regular disquisition. And because the coarse buffoonery, and broad laugh, of the old and rude adversaries of the Christian faith, would offend the taste, perhaps, rather than the virtue of this enlightened age, a graver irony, a more skilful and delicate banter, is substituted in their place. An eloquent historian, beside his more direct, and therefore fairer, attacks upon the credibility of the Evangelical story, has contrived to weave into his narration one continued sneer upon the cause of christianity, and upon the writings and characters of its ancient patrons. The knowledge which this author possesses of the frame and conduct of the

human mind, must have led him to observe, that such attacks do their execution without inquiry. Who can refute a sneer? Who can compute the number, much less, one by one, scrutinize the justice of those disparaging insinuations, which crowd the page of this elaborate historian ! What reader suspends his curiosity, or calls off his attention from the principal narrative, to examine references, to search into the foundation, or to weigh the reason, propriety, and force, of every transient sarcasm and sly allusion, by which the Christian testimony is depreciated and traduced; and by which, nevertheless, he may find his persuasion afterwards unsettled and perplexed * ?"

CHAPTER X.

ON VOWS.

This may be the proper place for shortly inquiring into the nature and lawfulness of engagements or Vows made unto God.

It is scarcely necessary to premise, that the right of God to command the love and obedience of his intelligent creatures, does not rest on any stipulation on their part to yield what he requires. This arises from the infinite excellency of his nature, and is commensurate with that excellency,—and from the relations he bears to us, as Creator, Preserver, and Moral Governor. The obligation of obeying a Being who is

Mor. Phil. v. ii. p. 104.

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