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SERM. ance, he will certainly be excluded from the kingdom of heaven. For if none "that "maketh a lie shall enter into that hea
venly city," if to all liars their portion be assigned in the lake which burneth "with fire and brimstone," then assuredly that capital liar-the slanderer-(who lieth most injuriously) shall be far excluded from happiness, and thrust down into that miserable place! If, as St. Paul says, no railer or evil speaker shall inherit the kingdom of God, how far from it shall they be removed, who without truth or justice calumniate and abuse their neighbour !If of every idle or vain word we must render a strict account, how much more of words of this kind! words, so empty of truth and void of equity! words, not only negatively vain and useless, but positively mischievous and spoken to bad purpose! Supposing then, it were possible that slander
der should here avoid detection and escape SERM. punishment, yet infallibly, hereafter, at the dreadful day, it shall be disclosed, irreversibly condemned, and inevitably recompensed with utter shame and sorrow.
EPHESIANS V. XVIII.
Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess.
THE business of the minister of the gospel SERM. is not only to instruct his audience in those truths of which they may be ignorant, but to remind them of those which they may have forgotten; nay, he will much more frequently find himself called on to do the latter than the former. The generality of men, in all material things, M3
SERM. know their duty extremely well; and when they swerve from it, it is either that they are carried away by the violence of some passion, which transports them to despise all arguments against it, or, what is more frequent, these arguments do not present themselves at the time.
This it is, which renders the reading of good books, and listening to discourses from the pulpit, so very useful; it is not that either, generally speaking, tell you any thing quite new, but they bring to your remembrance things of the utmost importance, which the cares and pleasures of the world are too apt to drive from you; and by doing this frequently (if you have the wisdom frequently to have recourse to them) they at last make such an impression as to keep you effectually from sin.
It is on this account that I undertake, at present, to discourse against the vice