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your own? For you are bought with a price. And, 0 how great à price! You are not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold; but with the precious blood of Christ. as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. O when will you glorify God, with your body and your spirit, which are God's.
Ah poor wretch! How far are you from this ! How low are you fallen! You yourself are ashamed of what you do. Are you not? Conscience, speak in the sight of God! Does not your own heart condemn you at this very hour? Do not you shudder at the condition you are in ? Dare for once to lay your hand upon your breast, and ask, “What am I doing? And what must the end of these things be?" Destruction both of body and soul.
Destruction both of body as well as soul ? Can it be otherwise ? Are you not plunging into misery in this world, as well as the world to come! What have you brought upon yourself already !-What infamy !- What contempt! How could you now appear among those relations and friends, that were once so loved, and so loving to you? What pangs have you given! How do some of them still weep for you in secret places! And will you not weep for yourself? When you see nothing before you but want, pain, diseases, death? O spare yourself! Have pity upon your body, if not your soul. Stop! before you rot above ground and perish !
Do you ask, What shall I do? First, sin no more. First of all secure this point. Now, this instant now, escape for your life. Stay not. Livok not behind you. Whatever you do, sin no more: starve, die, rather than sin. Be more careful for your soul than your body. Take care of that too; but of your poor soul first.
“ But you have no friend; none, at least, that is able to help you." Indeed you have : one that is a present help in time of trouble. You have a friend that has all power in heaven and earth, even Jesus Christ the righteous. He loved sinners of old : and he does so still
. He then suffered the publicans and harlots to come unto him. And one of them washed his feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. I would to God you were in her place! Say, Amen! Lift up your heart and it shall be done. will he say, “Woman, be of good cheer! Thy sins, which are many, are forgiven thee. Go in peace. Sin no more.
Love much : for thou hast much forgiven.
Do you still ask, But what shall I do for bread-For food to eat and raiment to put on? I answer, in the name of the Lord God, (and mark well! His promise shall not fail :) “Seek thou first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and these things shall be added unto thee."
Settle it first in your heart, Whatever I have or have not, I will not have everlasting burnings. I will not sell my soul and body for bread: better even starve on earth than burn in hell. Then ask help of God. He is not slow to hear. He hath never failed them that seek him. He who feeds the young ravens that call upon bim, will not let you perish for lack of sustenance. He will provide, in
a way you thought not of, if you seek him with your whole heart. O let your heart be toward him : seek him from the heart. Fear sin, more than want, more than death. And cry mightily to him who bore your sins, till you have bread to eat that the world knoweth not of; till you have angels' food, even the love of God, shed abroad in your heart: till you can say, “ Now I know that my Redeemer liveth, that he hath loved me and given himself for me: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God !”
A WORD TO A SMUGGLER.
I. What is Smuggling? It is the importing, selling, or buying of yun goods; that is, those which have not paid the duty appointed by law to be paid to the King.
1. Importing run goods. All smuggling vessels do this with a high hand. It is the chief, if not the whole business of these, to bring goods which have not paid duty.
2. Next to these are all sea captains, officers, sailors, or passengers, who import any thing without paying the duty which the law requires.
3. A third sort of smugglers are all those who sell any thing which has not paid the duty.
4. A fourth sort, those who buy tea, liquors, linen, handkerchiefs, or any thing else which has not paid duty.
II. “But why should they not? What harm is there in it ?"
1. I answer, Open Smuggling (such as was common a few years ago, on the southern coasts, especially) is robbing on the highway : and as much harm as there is in this, just so much there is in smuggling. A smuggler of this kind is no honester than a highwayman. They may shake hands together.
2. Private Smuggling is just the same as picking of pockets. There is full as much harm in this as in that. A smuggler of this kind is no honester than a pickpocket. These may shake hands together
3. But open smugglers are worse than common highwaymen, and private smugglers are worse than common pickpockets. For it is undoubtedly worse to rob our father, than one we have no obligation to. And it is worse still, far worse, to rob a good father, one who sincerely loves us, and is at that very time doing all he can to provide for us, and to make us happy. Now this is exactly the present case. King George is the father of all his subjects: and not only so, he is a good father. He shows his love to them on all occasions ; and is continually doing all that is in his power to make his subjects happy.
4. An honest man therefore would be ashamed to ask, Where is the harm in robbing such a father? His own reason if he had any at all, would give him a speedy answer. But you are a Christian :
are you not? You say, you believe the Bible.
Then I say to you! in the name of God, and in the name of Christ, “ Thou shalt not steal.” Thou shalt not take what is not thine own, what is the right of another man. But the duties appointed by law are the King's right, as much as your coat is your right. He has as good a right to them, as you have to this : these are his property as much as this is yours. Therefore you are as much a thief if you take his duties, as a man is that takes your coat.
5. If you believe the Bible, I say to you, as our Saviour said to them of old time, “Render unto Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's, and unto God the things that are God's.” If then you mind our Saviour's words, be as careful to honour the King as to fear God. Be as exact in giving to the King what is due to the King, as in giving God what is due to God. Upon no account whatever rob or defraud him of the least thing which is his lawful property.
6. If you believe the Bible, I say to you, as St. Paul said to the ancient Christians, “Render unto all their dues :" in particular, “ Custom to whom custom is due, tribute to whom tribute." Now custom is by the laws of England due to the King. Therefore every one in England is bound to pay it him. So that robbing the King herein, is abundantly worse than common stealing, or common robbing on the highway.
7. And so it is on another account also: for it is a general robbery: it is, in effect, not only robbing the King, but robbing every honest man in the nation. For the more the King's duties are diminished, the more the taxes must be increased. And these lie upon us all : they are the burden not of some, but of all the people of England. Therefore every smuggler is a thief-general, who picks the pockets both of the King, and all his fellow-subjects. He wrongs them all : and above all, the honest traders, many of whom he deprives of their maintenance: constraining them either not to sell their goods at all, or to sell them to no profit. Some of them are tempted hereby, finding they cannot get bread for their families, to turn thieves too. And then you are accountable for their sin as well as your own: you bring their blood upon your own head. Calmly consider this, and you will never more ask, “What harm there is in Smuggling ?"
III. 1. But for all this, cannot men find excuses for it? Yes, abundance; such as they are. “I would not do this,” says one; “I would not sell uncustomed goods : but I am under a necessity: 1 can't live without it.” I answer, May not the man who stops you on the highway, say the very same? “I would not take your purse; but I am under a necessity : I can't live without it.” Suppose the case to be your own: and will you accept of this excuse? Would not you tell him, “ Nay, let the worst come to the worst, you had better be honest, though you starve.” But that need not be neither. Others who had no more to begin with, yet find a way to live Lonestly. And certainly so may you: however settle it in your Heart : " Live or die, I will be an bonest man."
2. “Nay," says another, “we do not wrong the King: for he loses nothing by us. Yea, on the contrary, the King is rather a gainer, namely, by the seizures that are made.”
So you plunder the King, out of stark love and kindness! You rob him, to make him rich! It is true, you take away his purse : but you put a heavier in its place! Are you serious? Do you anean what you say? Look me in the face and tell me so. You cannot. You know in your own conscience, that what comes to the King, out of all the seizures made the year round, does not amount to the tenth, no, not the hundredth part of what he is defrauded of.
But if he really gained more than he lost, that would not excuse you. You are not to comunit robbery, though the person robbed were afterwards to gain by it. You are not to do evil, that good may
If you do, your damnation is just. “ But certainly," say some, “ the King is a gainer by it, or he might easily suppress it." Will you tell him which way s By customhouse officers ? But many of them have no desire to suppress it. They find their account in its continuance: they come in for a share of the plunder. But what if they had a desire to suppress it? They have not the power. Some of them have lately made the experiment: and what was the consequence? Why they lost a great part of their bread, and were in danger of losing their lives.
Can the King suppress smuggling by parties of soldiers ? That he cannot do. For all the soldiers he has are not enough, to watch every port and every creek in Great Britain. Besides, the soldiers that are employed, will do little more than the custom-house officers. For there are ways and means of taking off their edge too, and inaking them as quiet as lambs.
“But many courtiers and great men, who know the King's mind, not only connive at smuggling, but practise it.” And what can we infer from this ? Only, that those great men are great villains. They are great highwaymen and pickpockets : and their greatness does not excuse, but makes their crimes tenfold more inexcusable.
But besides. Suppose the King were willing to be cheated, how would this excuse your cheating his subjects. All your fellow-subjects, every honest man, and in particular, every honest trader ? How would it excuse your making it impossible for him to live, unless he will turn knave as well as yourself?
3. “Well, but I am not convinced it is a sin: my conscience does not condemn me for it.” No! Are you not convinced, that robbery is a sin? Then I am sorry for you. And does not your conscience condemn you for stealing? Then your conscience is asleep. I pray God to smite you to the heart, and awaken it this day !
4. “Nay, but my soul is quite happy in the love of God: therefore I cannot think it is wrong.” I answer, Wrong it must be, if the Bible is right. Therefore, either that love is a mere delusion, a fire of your own kindling; or God may have hitherto winked at the times of ignorance. But now you have the means of knowing better.
Now light is offered to you. And if you shut your eyes against the light, the love of God cannot possibly continue.
5. “But I only buy a little brandy or tea now and then, just for my own use." That is, I only steal a little. God says, Steal not at all.
6. “Nay, I do not buy any at all myself: I only send my child or servant for it.” You receive it of them; do you not? And the receiver is as bad as the thief.
7. “Why, I would not meddle with it, but I am forced, by my parent, husband, or master.” If you are forced by your father or inother to rob, you will be hanged nevertheless. This may lessen, but does not take away the fault; for you ought to suffer rather thane sin.
8. “But I do not know that it was run.” No! Did not he that sold it, tell you it was? If he sold it under the common price, he did: the naming the price, was telling you, “ This is run."
9. “But I don't know where to get tea which is not run.' I will tell you where to get it. You may have it from those whose tea is duly entered, and who make a conscience of it. But were it otherwise, if I could get no wine, but what I knew to be stolen, I would drink water: yea, though not only my health, but my life depended upon it: for it is better to die than to live by thieving.
10. “But if I could get what has paid duty, I am not able to pay the price of it. And I can't live without it.” Tanswer, 1. You can live without it, as well as your grandmother did. But, 2. If you could not live without it, you ought to die, rather than steal. For death is a less evil than sin.
11. “But my husband will buy it, whether I do or not. And I must use what he provides, or have none." Undoubtedly to have none is a less evil, than to be partaker with a thief.
IV. Upon the whole then, I exhort all of you that fear God, and desire to save your souls, without regarding what others do, resolve at all hazards, to keep yourselves pure. Let your eye be fixed on the word of God, not the examples of men. Our Lord says to every one of you, What is that to thee? Follow thou me! Let no convenience, no gain, no pleasure, no friend, draw you from following bim. In spite of all the persuasions, all the reasonings of men, keep to the word of God. If all on the right-hand and the left will be knaves, be you an honest man. Probably God will repay you, (he certainly will, if this be best for you,) even with temporal blessings : there have not been wanting remarkable instances of this. But if not, he will repay you with what is far better ; with the “testimony of a good conscience toward God;" with "joy in the Holy Ghost;' with a “hope full of immortality;" with the love of God shed abroad in your hearts.” And the “peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus!''
LONDON, Jan. 30, 1767.