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shadow of a shade of a wilful breach of truth be rigidly guarded against, even in sport or in jest ; no less than a misrepresentation or distortion of the truth? Agreeably with this, when God contrasts believers with unbelievers in this respect, he says, “surely they are my people, children that will not lie.Still, so long as they are in the body, as this is a sin to which they are peculiarly prone, and often powerfully exposed, how appropriately are they exhorted, by way of counteraction, to “lie not one to another, seeing they have put off the old man with his deeds, and put on the new man, which is created in righteousness and true holiness," or in holiness of the truth; and also to “put away lying,” to “speak every man the truth with his neighbour," to “speak the truth as in their heart,” and to "speak the truth in love?" As the command, also, to them all is, “ be ye perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect," and "it is impossible for God to lie," or to tolerate any thing that partakes of the nature of falsehood in any of his children, should they not daily strive more and more, through divine grace, to be like him. in this, as in all his imitable perfections ? Thus, should they not be able to

say

with David, “I hate and abhor lying?”- _even the appearance of a lie, in all the shapes it wears.'

To all, therefore, who profess to know the truth as it is in Jesus, and to have received it in love, preceptively as well as doctrinally, may it not justly be said, not only in reference to gross lying, or what the world calls black lies,' but as to every thing like dissembling, or white lies,' “be not conformed to this world ?” In this sense, should there not exist the widest possible difference between them and the men of the world? With you, my dear readers, who profess to be Christ's, is it so in this respect? If not, you are destitute of a very important mark of all God's children; and you are neither true practical non-conformists to the world, nor any thing like true Christians.

B

CHAPTER II.

NON-CONFORMITY TO THE WORLD

IN SWEARING.

“ How often men and children dare

Abuse God's dreadful, glorious name!
And when they're angry, how they swear,

And curse their fellows, and blaspheme !"

ALL true Christians must, also, “not be conformed to this world” in the practice of any thing like swearing - profane swearing. Of swearing there may be said to be two kinds ; the one lawful and proper, the other unlawful and sinful. For while we read in Scripture, in reference to matters of public dispute, that

men verily sware by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife,' one of the precepts of the moral law is, “ thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” But even when oaths may be lawfully administered and lawfully taken, while in each of these senses this should ever be done with the deepest solemnity, the greatest caution should, also, ever be exercised that they be not needlessly increased. However, it is not of lawful swearing in courts of justice that we now treat, but of unlawful swearing, in public as well as in private, openly as well as more secretly. In this sense, swearing, in one form or another, may be said to be naturally almost as common a sin as lying; and not only in the case of the old, but of the young; not only, also, in the case of males, but of females ; and often about the merest trifles—things next to nothing, if we may not even say, about nothing.

Melancholy as it is to make such declarations, are not these facts so notorious, that they can neither be contradicted nor concealed ? For, although swearing is not now deemed a "genteel vice," or “fashionable sin,” whether we wend our way through the alleys of our villages and burghs, or through the streets of our towns and cities, are not our ears too frequently saluted with the most fearful and revolting oaths; and that even from the lips of the child who is hardly able to lisp, as well as from the mouth of him whose head is hoary with age? Or when, in the quiet of the morning, or in the stillness of twilight, we happen to make an unexpected visit to a hamlet in the country, or to a house in the city, alas ! how often is the voice of the most reckless swearing reluctantly forced upon our hearing ?-husbands cursing wives, and wives cursing husbands; parents cursing children, and children cursing parents, as well as one another. Thus, in the language of Scripture, how true to the letter is it, that “their mouth is full of cursing,” and that they may be said to “ clothe thenselves with cursing like as with a garment;" or that, but in the way of cursing, seldom is the holy name of God ever taken into their lips. How often, likewise, are too many heard calling upon God to curse themselves, as well as others ?thus showing that they are even worse than the devils, who entreated Christ “not to torment them before the time.” Yet such is the swearer's prayer. Or, when the “swearing of round oaths" is not heard in public and in private, how often is the name of some imaginary or real person or place, or of some so-called saint in the heathen or popish calendar, made the subject of swearing? Or again, when this is not strictly true, how often are minced oaths of one kind or another connected with the name of Satan or of God, or with things in heaven or earth, introduced, in the way of supposed point and pungency, into the most common conversation ? Dark as this picture is, can it be said to be exaggerated in the least ? Is it not rather beneath than beyond the truth? For are not

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