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SERM. nions are taken up from morning till night IX.
in their several employments, and have no leisure to keep company with him ; and if he seeks acquaintance with those of the same fortune with himself, he can probably neither give nor receive pleasure. The usual issue is, that he falls into sottish customs, lives neither useful to others nor happy within himself, and from indolence and luxury contracts diseases unknown to the laborious, which conduct him prematurely to the grave. No, no; the only change to be desired in our situation (if indeed any be really desirable) is a gra
We all wish to better ourselves; the desire is commendable, and if honestly and resolutely pursued, certainly makes us useful, and is commonly attended with
Let us not then, any of us, be our station what it will, murmur and repine at it, or desire it to be abruptly changed ; let
us not think, however low it may be, that SERM.
IX. it excludes either dignity or happiness !Neither of these is at all connected with situation; dignity arises from discharging the duties of our station with industry, honesty, and perseverance, and the peasant who does this is infinitely more dignified than the noble who omits it; while happiness is altogether independent of every thing external, it is seated in the mind, and is as easy (to say the least) to be obtained in a cottage as in a palace. Let us not then look to the right hand or the left with envious or malignant eyes, at the rank or possessions of our neighbour, but let us look straight forward to that point which alone concerns us, the duties and employments of our own station,
" Let “ us not covet nor desire other men's
goods ; but let us learn and labour truly “ to get our own living, and to do our
duty in that state of life unto which it “ has pleased God to call us,
ON CALUMNY AND DETRACTION.
EXODUS XX. xvi.
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy
neighbour. It is scarcely necessary to observe to you, serm.
X. that, although the ten commandments are drawn up in short terms, their meaning is very extensive. The Ninth, which I have chosen for our present consideration, appears perhaps only to forbid a false oath in a court of justice to the prejudice of a felVol. 1,
SERM. low-creature, but in reality it comprehends X.
and prohibits every sort of injury, which the tongue of one man can do to the character of another. The most atrocious of these is clearly that, which seems to have been more particularly in the contemplation of the legislator, the solemn affirmation before a magistrate of what we know to be untrue to the injury of another. The offence, both against God and man, which this crime comprises, is so heinous and malignant, that there is no need to dwell on it: it speaks for itself, nor is it possible for words to place the enormity of it in a stronger light.
The next degree of guilt in the violation of the ninth commandment is that of him, who affirms in private life what he knows to be false with an intention of wounding the reputation of his neighbour ; it makes little difference, whether he himself were the original inventor of the slander, or whether he reports it after another; if he knows