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miss it, and how largely will it contribute SERM.
XII. « to the comfort of our families!' But this is a very wrong method of arguing ; for though the circumstance of its not being heavily felt, by the person against whom it is committed, may be some slight mitigation of a crime, it will never make it no crime at all. A thief is still a thief, though the person, from whom he has stolen, were possessed of all the riches of the East. Other violations of the eighth commandment (besides directly bearing off the property of another) of which the poor may be guilty, are, breaches of trust, that is, either themselves defrauding their superiors, or suffering them to be defrauded. of those things which are committed to their charge; breaches of agreement, the not performing the work which they have covenanted to do for a certain stipend, or the designingly doing it in a negligent and improper way.
But besides these acts of injustice, which pass between superiors and inferiors, there are many which take place between equals, or those who are considered as such, with regard to the traffic which is passing between them. “ As a nail sticketh fast be“ tween the joining of stones, so does sin “ stick close between buying and selling." I do not think it necessary to dwell on the guilt of a deficiency in weights and measures, the adulterating of the commodities in which a tradesman deals, and other iniquitous practices of a similar nature, the atrociousness of which is so evident, that nothing, which can be said, can exhibit it in stronger colours; but it may be necessary, as it is certainly consistent with truth, to remark, that all exhorbitant profits are unfair and fraudulent, as are likewise, in the very highest degree, all advantages which are taken by the cunning on generosity, peaceableness, and simplicity, " Do unto
~ all men as you would that they should SERM.
XII. “ do unto you:" put yourself in the case of the person with whom you are concerned, and so act by him, as you could reasonably desire, if you were to change situations, that he should act by you.
Oh that men would pay attention to this excellent rule! and how safe would they be from either knowingly or inadvertently breaking any of those commandments, which relate to their duty towards their neighbour! No need then to explain and point out their extensive meaning; a good heart is the best interpreter, one comment, which is sincerely drawn from that source, is worth a thousand precepts. What a world would this be, if all men would persuade themselves to be guided by the above-mentioned rule! Evils, doubtless, would still exist, such as sickness, loss of friends, and some others; but all these are nothing, either in number or in weight, in comparison
SERM. with those which, from malice or self-inte
XII. mrest, we inflict on each other.
I will conclude with an assertion, which experience will strongly impress upon you, that the impoliey of a fraudulent disposition is not less than the wickedness of it; it is always, sooner or later, detected, and detection is inevitably followed by contempt and distrust. On the other hand, the man of strict integrity, however low in situation and circumstances, will be sure to be respected and trusted, and the respect and confidence of those around us is the most certain road to opulence and preferment, But supposing it otherwise, supposing that the villain were to prosper by his frauds, and had sufficient artifice to hide them, and to maintain the esteem of his fellow-creatures, and supposing further, that the honest man passed his life in indigence and disgrace, still the case of the latter is infinitely preferable to that of the former;
since there is a day coming, when this un- SERM.
XII. equal distribution will be fully rectified, when the prosperous knave shall find how little he has acquired by his dishonesty, though he should have gained the whole world, when he has lost his own soul, and the conscientious, upright man, who has been exposed to unmerited sufferings on account of his integrity, will meet with ample recompence in the enjoyment of unfading felicity for ever and ever.