« PreviousContinue »
5. There is another vice, which I would mention in this connexion, and against which I would solemnly warn you-a vice which is sufficiently branded by every mark of infamy in its destructive effects upon individuals, families, and society in general. The vicc to which I refer is card playing. Whether this vice prevails among us-or to what degree it may prevail, I know not. But if it be not an innocent amusement, but a ruinous vice, then those who do, and those who do not practise it, ought to be aware of its consequences, that the one may reform his conduct in this particular, and the other be more guarded against it. That this practice ought to be ranked among vices, and among vices the most dangerous and destructive, I think, will appear from the following consideration. It is a practice, in which time is consumed, which, even the card-player himself being judge, might be spent, quite as agreeably, and to much better purpose, in improving conversation and reading ; where the mind would not be subjected to such anxieties, and frequent disappointments, as it must at the gaming table.
Beside, the practice is a perpetual temptation to falsehood and deception. Every person, who knows, or is in the least acquainted with this practice, is sensible that it is a constant temptation to cheating and ly: ing. Are we not directed to pray, “Lead us not into temptation?” Then surely it is wrong to run into it our selves. He who places himself in the way of temptation, places himself on the devil's ground, and may naturally expect to fall into those vices to which his situation exposes him. Beside all this, it is of a be
witching, infatuating nature. The more time one spends in this practice, the more he wishes to spend. And many spend not only their time, but their proper, ty. And this is not all many constitutions have been destroyed by devoting day and night to the card table-many families have been reduced to beggary, and many self-murders committed in consequence of an attachment to this ruinous practice. So that this practice stands condemned as sinful as dangerous by the sad experience of thousands-by reason and the word of God.
I have now mentioned a number of those vices to which the young are exposed, and from which they who are guilty must be cleansed, to be useful members of society, and to enjoy the blessings of God's kingdom. A number more might be mentioned, had I time and strength; but he, who regards God's word in these particulars, will, of course, be guarded against every particular, whereby God is dishonoured, and the interest of the soul endangered. He, who studies the word of God with a view to practice, will be daily gaining knowledge of God's will, and of his duty; and will not be likely to remain long ignorant of any important duty; nor of the nature and tendency of any practice.
I think, I have made it appear, both from Scripture and observation, that all these things are contrary to the word of God, and ruinous in their effects. Let me then entreat you to give these observations their due weight in your minds. The truths set before you, this day will never be forgotten. They are now record
ed in heaven. I must give an account of this day's preaching, and you must give an account, how you have heard—and how you improve it. You may go from this house, and forget, and disregard all the important truths, you have this day heard. And upon a dying bed, you will recollect these truths with this bitter reflection How have I hated instruction and my soul despised reproof.” It is, however, certain that these truths will be brought to your remembrance, when you and I shall stand at the Judgment seat of Christ. But if you give what has been said its due weight, and form your lives according to the rules of the gospel, then, should these things be recollected upon a dying bed, they will afford you comfort, in the certain prospect of meeting your minister, who gave you these warnings, with satisfaction.
Finally, brethren,” of whatever age "whatsoever things are true-whatsoever things are honest-justpure-lovelyof good report-if there be any virțue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
INCONSISTENCY OF SINNERS.
LUKE, vii. 33, 34.
For John the baptist came neither eating bread, nor drinking wine ; and ye say, He hath a devil. The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a wine bibber, a friend of publicans and sinners.
John was the forerunner of Christ-sent to prepare his way
before him. He, not from any religious scruple, but probably with a view to recommend himself, and his preaching to the Jews, practised a most abstemious and simple way of living; and appeared in the plainest dress and humblest deportment among men. “He came neither eating bread nor drinking wine.” Another Evangelist tells us, he was clothed with a coat of camel's hair, which was a coarse sort of manufacture, “and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.” At first multitudes flocked after him, but when he, in the plainest manner called on his hearers to repent of sin, when he began to expose the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, and demanded of them the reason of their following him in this pointed manner, “O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” “Bring forth, therefore fruits worthy of repentance and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: For I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham ;” This, with other doctrines which he delivered, stung them to the heart, and they industriously sought objections against him. But as his life was irreproachable, and they determined to reject his instructions, they laid hold on his simplicity of life; and because he did not indulge himself, as others did in eating and drinking, they tried to persuade them. selves and others, that he was possessed with an evil spirit. “They said he hath a devil.” This was a most unreasonable objection; but unreasonable as it was, they persuaded themselves, that John was not a true prophet, and therefore rejected the truths which he delivered.
Not long after this, Christ appeared as a publick instructer, and in his manner of life accommodated himself to the innocent customs and manners of the Jews. He ate and drank with them, hereby preventing those prejudices, which they had conceived against John. But as Christ confirmed John's ministry, by bearing publick testimony in his favour, and preaching the same doctrines, they were more engaged to find objections against Christ, than they had been against