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he has associates in guilt; and he will not be less miserable, because he will have many companions in misery.
Consider these truths, my brethren, and let them be the guides of your moral and religious conduct. Imi. tate not the vices of a degenerate age. When sinners entice thee, consent thou not ; consent not with thy actions; consent not even with thy will. Enter not into the path of the wicked; and go not into the way of evil men. Avoid it; pass not by it; turn from it, and pass away. For the way of the wicked is as darkness : they know not at what they stumble. They discern not the rocks and chasms, which obstruct their steps; for their eyes are blinded, and a horrible gloominess overwhelms them.
1. If the temptation which allures you is the hope of enriching yourself by plunder, yield not to its solicitation. If you are enticed to commit robbery either on the land or sea, and the sons of rapine say to you, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause : Let us swallow them up alive as the grave, and whole, as those who go down into the pit: We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil: Cast in thy lot among us, let us all have one purse: My son, walk not thou in the way of them; refrain thy foot from their path. For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood. Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird. Thou seest thy danger; thou seest that a snare is prepared for thee; and unless thou art more foolish than a bird, thou canst avoid it. For they lay wait for their own blood, they lurk privily for their own lives. So is the
of every one who is greedy of gain ; who taketh away the life of the owner thereof.
2. If you are enticed to any other species of dishonesty, which, though not so immediately exposed to the vengeance of human laws, is however not less criminal than robbery, and not less odious in the sight of God; combat the temptation with manly courage. If any gain is proposed to you, which you must acquire by equivocation, by sioister means; if it is suggested to you that the guilt will be lessened by being divided among a multitude ; that you will escape detection; that you will still preserve your reputation for integrity ; turn, I beseech you, a deaf ear to the enticing words: For though man does not discover the fraud, yet God sees it; and though human laws do not condemn you, yet the just Judge of all the earth will assuredly punish you. Nay, the time will soon come, when you will be both condemned and punished by man. Your reputation, which is not yet blown upon, will ere long be tainted. The success of your first crime will lead you on to commit
A habit of fraud will be acquired and confirmed. Your character will be known. You will be sensible yourself that it is known; and that you merit and receive the scorn and detestation of your neighbors. You will, at length, dare to be an open cheat, and to show your brazen forehead without a mask.
3. If you are enticed to gaming, let not a fear of appearing unfashionable or penurious induce you to yield. Many alluring, but false arguments will be laid before you.
You will be told, that it is impossible to keep large companies in spirits without play; and that it is
not easy to play with delight, unless the attention is kept awake by a motive of interest. It will be hoped, that you are not afraid of your money; and that you are not so mean as to be afflicted with the loss of a few shillings. In answer to these arguments, show by the cheerfulness of your behaviour, that gaming is not necessary to keep up your spirits. Manifest by the ingenuity of your conversation, and your address in making others converse ingeniously, that you have the power of entertaining others, and of being entertained yourself. Prove by your donations to the poor, and your readiness to risk your property on all lawful occasions, that parsimony has no place in your breast. But if by a conduct founded on these principles, you find that you cannot act your part in large companies with success; you know what you have to choose : You must preserve your
innocence even should you be thought unfashionable ; you must, though you should be derided as scrupulous, resist the temptations which would impair your virtue. That gaming may be, and that it generally is, pernicious and criminal, you cannot deny. For not to mention that it puts an effectual stop to that flow of sentiment which is both entertaining and instructive; not to mention that it impairs the health, and causes the roses of the complexion to fade, by the midnight watches which it occasions ; not to mention these things, it is well known that it introduces ungracious passions into the mind. game deeply, without feeling that the fiend of avarice has taken full possession of your souls? Are not your breasts distracted with anxious hopes and fears ? Are not your tempers irritated ? Are not the few words, which you speak, either peevish or boisterous? Do you not regard him who wins from you, as your enemy?
and do you not, when you lose, sink into despondency ? If you answer the questions in the affirmative, as you know they must be answered, to what do you sacrifice your health and your happiness, the tranquillity of your minds, and the gentleness of your tempers ? To the love of pleasure ? No; but to the love of gain. Pleasure is your plea ; but avarice is your motive. This foul passion exposes you to the hazard of defrauding the poor, your family, your own creditors, of their just dues, by what you lose; or of defrauding the families and creditors of others, by what you win. For this do you forego the sweets of domestic life, and the harmless amusements, which are found at horne, and which neither impair your estate, nor fill your heart with remorse.
4. If you are allured to intemperance by the votaries of pleasure ; if you are invited to take a part in the scenes of intoxication ; let not any flattering promise of merriment beguile you. For consider who hath wo? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who bath babbling? who hath wounds without cause ? who hath redness of eyes s? They who tarry long at the wine, they who go to seek the strongly seasoned wine. Look not upon the wine, when it is red, when it giveth its color in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. So says Solomon; and changing the form of his questions, we may ask, Does not intoxication introduce embarrassinent into your worldly affairs? Does it not deprive you of the confidence of your neighbors ? Does it not subject you to wounds, and at last to the entire loss of health? In the revels of drunkenness, are not all your joys madness? Man is not made for the transports which you
suppose wine will afford.
When his pleasures pass a certain boundary, their nature is changed, and they become pains. Have you not ever found it to be so, you have gone to the house of riot, with the expectation of finding exquisite delight, but have returned with disappointment and vexation? Why then will you, when thus instructed by experience, obey the delusive call, and yield to the enticing of sioners, who are alluring you to destruction ?
5. Finally, if you are enticed to any other sin, yield not to the temptation. In the world, you will find many snares laid for your innocence. Some of them ought not be named; for there are ideas, which in a measure contaminate your purity, by barely passing through the mind. It is sufficient that you know your danger; inquire not too minutely what that danger is. Actions will be proposed to you of so dubious a nature, that
you can with difficulty determine whether they are harmless or not; but if you feel any pressure at the heart, avoid them. This reluctance of conscience may possibly be a prejudice of education; but in the hour of temptation it is safest to trust its warning. In a cooler moment afterward, when you are alone, you can examine it; and if you find that it is a mere prejudice, you can reject it from being a principle of conduct. Be ever on your guard against evil, preserving your minds attentive and calm. Continual care and much pains are necessary to maintain your innocence. Your conflict is arduous ; but you are animated by the most powerful motives. Remember that the eye of God bebolds you, and that whilst you remain virtuous, it beholds you with approbation. Remember the design, for which you were