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stinacy could create. If then this Person, so far Superior, lo justly incensed, did not only remit, but, at the Expence of infinite AMictions and Sufferings, of Agonies, and Blood, and Life it self, expiate the very Sins, by which himself was injured : How can We insist upon rigorous Terms of Satisfaction, with those, between whom and our Selves there can be nothing like to, either the Distance and Dignity of the Party ofended, or the number and quality of the Offences committed? But especially, In regard this Divine Person Submitted to be Sacrificed, not for You, or Me, or a Few only, but for all Mankind; and, by so doing, is become their common Saviour, does not disdain to call them all Brethren, is Their Mystical Head, and They his Members, provided They accept the Terms of this Saving Union; How can We pursue with our angry Resentments, those who are now parts of Him; and who, for His Sake, if not for their own, have a right to all our Charity ? He died not only as our Ransom, but as our Example ;
and ’tis St. John's Inference, Hereby per1 John iii. 16.
ceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for Us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. And, if the Obligation run so high ; if even that, which Nature hath made dearest to us all, must not be thought too costly a Proof of our Kindness,
when a proper Occasion shall demand it of us; Let Them reflect, what account they can give of themselves, and whether that be Christian Charity, which refuses to Sacrifice a Passion, which grudges a very little Cost, or Pains, or Condescension, to the Ease and Benefit of an Offending, or a Needy Brother. Nay, let them think, how, at the last great Day, they shall be able to hear the Upbraidings of a Judge, who hath declared, he places to his own Account all Acts of Mercy and Kindness to these Brethren; and yet could obtain no manner of Requital, from such in
sensible Wretches, for his own unexampled Bounty.
The remainder of this day's Epistle is, in the general Design and Substance, much the same with That, read lalt Sunday. The Vices he would correct or prevent, the same. The Arguments to deter Men from them, the same. So that my Reader may, if his Memory stand in need, be there refrelhed, as to the nature of the Criines. And for the Contradiction and Scandal they are to our Christian Profeflion, not only That, but the several Discour
Epi7. for Adses, here referred to, have prevented me vent Surdzy 1.] in the main Argument of the Scripture Epit. fo-Epi
phany. now in hand. Mean while the Dingers and the Teniptations in This Particular Cufe are so exceeding great, that our Church hath thought Precept upon Precept little enough: and fo to pois the Matter upon our Consciences, as to discharge the Office of a careful and tender Mother, by guarding all her Children against the very Approches of the Enemy. To which purpose I take thoie Rus for Conversation to be of singular use, which may be drawn from the 4th and with Verses here, fon:what to each whereof I shall set my self to say at this time.
After having, at the 3d Verse, utterly exterminate ? Fornication and all Uncleanness in Practice, the Apostio proceeds, at the 4th to pass the fame Sintence upon Filthiness, and foolis Talking, and Jefting, as things also disagreeable to the Character of Chriltians. A Ction highly reasonable and necessary, upon the follo:ving Accounts.
Pl. viii. & cviii.
1. If we consider the use of Speech in general. A Prerogative peculiar to Mankind, and fitted for the Benefit and Conifort of a Creature formed for Society. By this we transmit to others, with great Ease and Freedom and Exactness, the Thoughts of our own Mind; and become capable of diffusing the Riches of that Knowledge in a Moment, the gathering whereof may have coft us the Pains and Study of many Years. And to such Purposes no doubt it was, that the Giver of this Faculty design'd it should be employed ; the setting forth his Honour; (for which reason somne
suppose David to have given to the
Tongue the Titles of his Glory, and the bejt Member that he had ) The Instruction of our Brethren, and promoting their Virtue. Hence St. Paul,
in the 4th of this Epistle, requires, that
all our Conversation should be edifying; at least not corrupt, but the innocent Entertainment of those, with whom we converse; that so the Power granted us of making other People wiser and better, may not be so far perverted, as to render them the worse. For this were such a Reproach and Affront to our
Maker, such vile Ingratitude to our bountiful Benefactor, as a Learned Jew not unfitly compares to that Disingenuity of
the Israelites heretofore; Who, forgetting whence, and why, it came into their Hands, profaned that Gold and Silver, which the Blessing of the
true God had multiplied, by melting it
down into Images, and devoting it to the Service and Worship of Baal.
2. The reasonableness of this Caution will farther appear to us, if we reflect at all upon the Mischiefs, that follow upon the abuse of Speech. I speak not now of those, which the Sin of it draws upon the Guilty Person himself, but of such, as fall upon Them, with whom we keep company. And These,
Hof. ii. 8.
indeed are infinite. For with the same eise are both good and evil Notions conveyed, but by no means both with the same Efficacy and Success. To fix the Good, and form our Acquaintance into our Virtues and commendable Dispositions, asks Labour, and Skill, and a world of Management and Address: Because we have a natural Corruption to work against, and many Prejudices to dislodge, before we can get access to them. But the Evil find us disposed and ready to their hand; Our Hearts are open, our Affections meet them half way; and all Impressions are quickly made, and hardly defaced, which flatter Appetite, strike in with Inclination, and promote the Gratifications of Flesh and Sense. Experience daily fhews, how much easier it is to debauch a Man, and unsettle all his right Principles ;. than it is, to reform him, and clear him of those, that are corrupt. The Former may be effected by Sport and Diversion, The Latter is Business, and requires much Application. In order to This, he must think and be serious; For That, it suffices that he do not think at all. The Sallies of a smart but undisciplin'd Wit serve to laugh Men out of their Sobriety and Religion. Nay even an uncommon Expression, that makes up in Confidence and Surprize, what it wants in Wit, is often able to expose the best and most Sacred, and to reconimend the worst and vilest things ; to wound a Neighbour's Reputation mortally, or to diminish the Reverence due to God himself. So dangerous are all Affectations of this kind, to ingratiate our selves to our Company, at the expence of Piety, or Justice, Sober Sense, or Good Manners. Of so pernicious Influence those Liberties, which are apt to stick by Them, that hear and see them taken; to draw thein first to Liking, and then to Imitation. And therefore, to all, who retain any Belief and Apprehension of a Future Judgment, so dreadful must appear the
Consequence of enfiaming our own Account, by the Addition of those Sins in others, which such Conversation hath inspired, or encouraged. For, by thus making Our Manners Theirs, we have in proportion transferred Their Guilt, and made That to become Ours.
3. But, Thirdy, This Guilt and Danger hath some Circumstances of Aggravation, peculiar to the Case now under debate. St. Paul, who, in other Instances, advises to stand our Ground against Teinptations, and fight it out manfully, hath counsellid his Son. Timothy to flee from youthful Lusis. The reason for prescribing so different a Method, seems to be, that the Enemy, in this Attack, is favoured by so strong a party within, that the safest Course is to save our felves, not by a formal Repulse, but by giving him a Diversion. Hence Solitude, and even Religious Retirements, have sometimes been found a less powerful Defence, than Busipess and Company. But then that Company nust not be such, as shall repeat and double our difficulty, by strengthning the Poison, instead of
proving our Antidote. And indeed that Company must be very ill chosen, which does so. Nature seems to have left us sufficient directions in this Matter ; and, by confining fome necessary Actions, to places of Secrecy and darkness, to say, that every thing relating to them should be kept up close in Silence. The
Learned Rabbi, quoted just now, makes Maim ubi supr.
it an Intimation, how hateful an Obscenity is to God, that in the Language taught his own People, there are no Words expressing, either those parts, or the Uses served by them, which Modesty Labours to conceal from common Sight, but all these things are signified by figurative and transferr'd Senses, of Words, that literally have a Sound perfectly inoffensive. And not He only, but the Heathen Orator, hath expos’d the humoursome Coarseness of some Phi