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Let the precept in the text be indeliably infcribed on every heart, let it be written on the palm of every hand. "This * do in remembrance of me.”

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SERMON XIV.

XIV.

Evil and Danger of Profane Swearing and Curfing.

James v. 12. But above all things, my brethren, fwear not, neither by beaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath, but let your yea be yea, and your nay, nay, left you fall into condemnation.

COMMON profane fwearing and carfing, are fins of a bafe and aggravated dye. However prevalent they may be, this renders them not the lefs henious. It calls forth the ftronger and more frequent teftimony against them. Does the air of the infernal regions infect many parts of our guilty land? Where is the town or village which contains not lefs or more common curfers and fwearers in it. Therefore the evil and danger of this vice ought to be often pointed out, and the threatenings of heaven against it repeatedly denounced. It is abundently mentioned in the holy fcriptures, and marked with the utmost abhorrence and disapprobation. It is univerfally condemned in the Old Teftament and in the new, by the prophets and apoftles, and our Lord gives a moft foleman charge

to his difciples and all others againft this fin. His commandment is, "Swear not at all; neither by heaven, for it is God's throne; "neither by earth, for it is his foot fool; neither by Jerma"lem, for it is the city of the great king; neither shalt thou "fwear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair "white or black; but let your communication be yea, yea, "nay, nay; for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.” This ought to be perfectly fufficient to correct and regulate all the language of chriftians. If any addition could be wanted to enforce the counfel, there is the third precept of the decalogue which was early given; but we need not to revert back fo far for a condemnation of this vice; common fenfe, and the propriety of language, and every form of delicacy, and decency, ftamp reprobation upon it. Whether it arifes from fashion, education, or any other fource, to hear curfing and swearing dropping from a ladies lips, to be entertained with the interpolations of profane expletives and exclamations, and to fee the devil bolting from their mouths, can there be a greater contraft of beauty and deformity in nature? Behold moral uglinefs ftarting thro, blurring and marring every amia ble feature. Can the pencils of the greateft limners produce a more odious picture than a lady that fwears. The temptations to this vice are infinitely less than others which would blast her, reputation forever.

Let all whether male or female, old or young, bond or free, who have indulged themfelves in this abominable licenfe of the tongue, be entreated to attend to the abfurdity and irrationality of this fin, its contradiction of the injunctions of heaven, the great dishonor it is to God, difgrace to the chrif tian religion, its tendency to promote the caufe of infidelity, and the certain deftruction, if the deepest repentance and the mot thorough reformation intervene not, of the immortal foul, which worlds cannot random. I beg your attention to the words of infpiration delivered by the apoftle of clujftien ma

པར ན་

rality. "But, above all things, my brethren, fwear not, nei"ther by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other "oath, but let your yea be yea, and your nay naỹ, left you ❝ fall into condemnation.”

The people to whom the apoftle addreffed himfelf were Jews and his brethren according to the flesh. Profane fwear. ing was a fin to which that nation was addicted, and still is throughout all their difperfions, more than any nation or peo ple upon earth. "Above all things, my brethren, fwear not." It would be needlefs here to spend time to prove that neither this text, nor the prohibition of our Lord, forbids the bearing witnefs for decifion of controverfies which arife between man and man by a lawful oath. A lawful oath is an ordinance of God, an act of folemn and religious worship inftituted for the most valuable purposes. It ought not to te ufed, but upon important occafions, and when duly called thereto by the power of civil authority. Some have unhappily imagined that this declaration of the apostle, together with that of our Saviour's, was intended to be an abolition of all oaths whatfoeLet it be obferved in answer hereto, that God himself has conftantly employed oaths both in the former and latter teftament, in various inftances for the confirmation of the faith of his people in the truth of his declarations. It was always. the practice of the faints throughout all generations, and St. Paul gives full teftimbay in its favour, when he fays, " An "oath for confirmation is to be the end of all ftrife." There is the fame end to be answered, and the fame calls for oaths now, that ever were, and therefore ought to be continued and held as a standing ordinance both in church and state. All that is prohibited by Jefus Chrift and our apoftle is the proftitution of this facred ordinance, and the profane and common abuse of this holy inftitution.

ver.

It was a common and notorious practice among the Jews, to swear by heaven, by earth, by the temple, their head or any

other thing, but never by the name Jehovah, except on the most folemn occafions, and the most urgent calls. But alas ! in modern times of profanity, the tremendous and venera. ble name of God, feems no more regarded than inferior things, unless it be to reduce it to a more common and wicked ufe.

It is the impious caftom of profane curfing and fwearing which our apoftle here condemns ; Above all things fwear "not." That is, in a special and diftinguishing manner beware of and guard against this iniquity. Above all other immoralities, keep yourselves from profane curfing and swearing. For this is a fin not only of a most henious nature, but above all others it has the leaft temptation, provocation, or inducement. The apoftle mentions fome things ufually employed in this profanity. They fwore by heaven and by earth." He charges them to beware of fuch unprofitable offences. AH common use of the names, titles and attributes of God, by exclamation or otherwife; all abufes of the facred inftitution of an oath; and all rafh, ill and impious words are here exprefsly forbidden. But, "let your yea be yea, and your nay, nay." Let the whole tenor of your converfation consist of fimple affirmations or negations. This is abundantly fufficient to afford full credit to the words of chriftians, to honeft and upright men. Every addition of abomination always depre. ciates credibility. And the more of this is fubjoined, the purfen renders himfelf lets liable to be believed. This purity of converfation must be maintained, "left you fall into condem"nation." That is, left you fall into the condemnation of The declaration of the fuch who take God's name in vain. judge eternal is, "He will not hold him guiltlefs." The profane pericn muft fall under the condemnatory fentence of a-violated law. He will furely be punished with an awful and everlating punishment, unleis deep repentance and faith in the geipel prevent. Whetofore let all be feriouflyexhorted to watch againit this fin, that they perish not forever.

The counfel here is, "above all things fwear not," yet how

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