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do so before you, would not you desire to be excused? How much more may you desire to be excused from going to hell for company? But, " to oblige your friends :" what manner of friends are they who would be obliged by your destroying yourself? who would suffer, nay, entice you so to do? They are villains. They are your worst enemies. They are just such friends, as a man that would smile in your face, and stab you to the heart.
8. O do not aim at any excuse! Say not, as many do, “I am no one's enemy
If it were so, what a poor saying is this, “ I give none but my own soul to the devil.” Alas! Is not that too much? Why shouldest thou give him thy own soul ? Do it not. Rather give it to God.
But it is not so. You are an enemy to your king, whom you rob hereby of a useful subject. You are an enemy to your country, which you defraud of the service you might do, either as a man or as a Christian. You are an enemy to every man that sees you in your sin ; for your example may move him to do the same. A drunkard is a public enemy. I should not wonder at all, if you was (like Cain of old) afraid that “every man who meeteth you should slay you."
9. Above all, you are an enemy to God, the great God of heaven and earth; to him who surrounds you on every side, and can just now send you quick into hell. Him you are continually affronting to his face. You are setting him at open
defiance. O do not provoke him thus any more! Fear the great God!
10. You are an enemy to Christ, to the Lord that bought you. You fly in the face of his authority. You set at nought both his sovereign power and tender love. You crucify him afresh; and when you call him your Saviour, what is it less than to “ betray him with a kiss ?”
11. O repent! See and feel what a wretch you are. Pray to God, to convince you in your inmost soul. How often have you crucified the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shaine! Pray that you may know yourself, inwardly and outwardly, all sin, all guilt, all helplessness. Then cry out, “ Thou Son of David, have mercy upon me!" Thou lamb of God, take away my sins! Grant me thy peace. Justify the ungodly. O bring me to the blood of sprinkling, that I may go and sin no more, that I may love much, having had so much forgiven!
A WORD TO AN UNHAPPY WOMAN.
1. Whither are you going? to heaven or hell ? Do you, not know? Do you never think about it? Why do you not? Are you never to die? Nay, it is appointed for all men to die. And what comes after? Only heaven or hell. Will the not thinking of death, put it farther off? No; not a day; not one hour. Or will your not thinking of hell, save you from it? O no; you know better. And you know that every moment you are nearer bell, whether you are thinking of it or no; that is, if you are not nearer heaven. You must be nearer one or the other.
2. I intreat you, think a little on that plain question, Are you going
toward heaven or hell? To which of the two does this way lead? Is it possible you should be ignorant? Did you never hear, that neither adulterers nor fornicators shall inherit the kingdom ? that fornicators and adulterers God will judge ? And how dreadful will be their sentence, "Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels!"
3. Surely you do not mock at the word of God! You are not yet sunk so low as this. Consider then that awful word, “ Know ye not, that ye are the temples of God ?" Was not you designed for the Spirit of God to dwell in? Was not you devoted to God in baptism? But “ if any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy.” O do not provoke him to it any longer! Tremble before the great, the holy God!
4. Know you not that your body is, or ought to be, the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you? Know you not, that you are not your own? for you are bought with a price.” And, 0 how great a price! • You are not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” O when will you glorify God, with your body and your spirit, which are God's !
5. Ah, poor wretch! How far are yon from this? How low are you fallen! You yourself are ashamed of what you do. Are you not? Conscience speak in the sight of God! Does not your own heart condemn you at this very hour ? Do not you shudder at the condition.you are in? Dare, for once, to lay your hand upon your breast, and ask, “What am I doing? And what must the end of these things be?" Destruction both of bedy and soul.
6. Destruction of body as well as of soul! Can it be otherwise ? Are you not plunging into misery in this world, as well as in the world to come? What have you brought upon yourself already? what infamy! what contempt? How could you now appear among those relations and friends that were once so loved, and so loving to you? What pangs have you given them? How do some of them still weep for you in secret places? And will you not weep for yourself, when you see nothing before you but want, pain, diseases, death? O spare yourself! Have pity upon your body, if not your soul! Stop! before you rot above ground and perish!
7. Do you ask, What shall I do? First, sin no more. First of all, secure this point. Now, this instant, now, escape for your life; stay not; look not behind you. Whatever you do, sin no more ; starve, die, rather than sin. Be more careful for your soul than your body. Take care of that too; but of your poor soul first.
8. “But you have no friend; none at least that is able to help you.” Indeed you have : one that is a present help in time of trouble. You have a friend that has all power in heaven and earth, even Jesus Christ the righteous. He loved sinners of old; and he does so still. He then suffered the publicans and harlots to come unto him. And one of them washed his feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. I would to God you were in her place! Say, Amen! Lift up your heart, and it shall be done. How soon will he say, “ Woman, be of good cheer; thy sins, which are many, are forgiven thee. Go in peace. Sin no more. Love much; for thou hast much forgiven."
9. Do you still ask, But what shall I do for bread; for food to eat, and raiment to put on? I answer, in the name of the Lord God, (and, mark well! His promise shall not fail,) “Seek thou first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto thee.”
Settle it first in your heart, Whatever I have or have not, I will not have everlasting burnings. I will not sell my soul and body for bread; better even starve on earth than burn in hell. Then ask help of God. He is not slow to hear. He hath never failed them that seek him. He who feeds the young ravens that call upon him, will not let you perish for lack of sustenance. He will provide, in a way you thought not of, if you seek him with your whole heart. O let your heart be toward him; seek him from the heart! Fear sin, more than want, more than death. And cry mightily to Him who bore your sins, till you bave bread to eat that the world knoweth not of; till you have angels' food, even the love of God shed abroad in your heart; till
you can say,
“ Now I know that my Redeemer liveth, that he hath loved me and given himself for me, and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God!"
A WORD TO A SMUGGLER.
1. “What is smuggling ?" It is the importing, selling, or buying of run goods ; that is, those which have not paid the duty appointed by law to be paid to the king.
1. Importing run goods. All smuggling vessels do this with a high hand. It is the chief, if not the whole, business of these to bring goods which have not paid duty.
2. Next to these are all sea captains, officers, sailors, or passengers, who import any thing without paying the duty which the law requires.
3. A third sort of smugglers are all those who sell any thing which has not paid the duty.
4. A fourth sort, those who buy tea, liquors, linen, handkerchiess, or any thing else which has not paid duty.
II. “But why should they not? What harm is there in it?"
1. I answer, open smuggling (such as was common a few years ago, on the southern coasts especially) is robbing on the highway; and as much harm as there is in this, just so much there is in smuggling. A smuggler of this kind is no honester than a highwayman. They may shake hands together.
2. Private smuggling is just the same with picking of pockets. There is full as much harm in this as in that. A smuggler of this kind is no honester than a pickpocket. These may shake hands together.
3. But open smugglers are worse than common highwaymen, and private smugglers are worse than common pickpockets. For it is undoubtedly worse to rob our father than one we have no obligation to.
And it is worse still, far worse, to rob a good father, one who sincerely loves us, and is at that very time doing all he can to provide for us and to make us happy. Now, this is exactly the present case. King George is the father of all his subjects; and not only so, but he is a good father.
He shows his love to them on all occasions; and is continually doing all that is in his power to make his subjects happy.
4. An honest man therefore would be ashamed to ask, Where is the harm in robbing such a father? His own reason, if he had any at all, would give him a speedy answer. But you are a Christian,-are you not? You say you believe the Bible. Then I say to you, in the name of God and in the name of Christ, “ Thou shalt not steal.” Thou shalt not take what is not thine own, what is the right of another man. But the duties appointed by law are the king's right, as much as your coat is your right. He has as good a right to them as you have to this: these are his property as much as this is yours. Therefore you are as much a thief if you take his duties, as a man is that takes your coat.
5. If you believe the Bible, I say to you, as our Saviour said to them of old time, “ Render unto Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's, and unto God the things that are God's.” If then you mind our Saviour's words, be as careful to honour the king as to fear God. Be as exact in giving the king what is due to the king, as in giving God what is due to God. Upon no account whatever rob or defraud him of the least thing which is his lawful property.
6. If you believe the Bible, I say to you, as St. Paul said to the ancient Christians, “Render unto all their dues ;” in particular, “ custom to whom custom is due, tribute to whom tribute." Now, custom is by the laws of England due to the king; therefore every one in England is bound to pay it him. So that robbing the king herein is abundantly worse than common stealing, or common robbing on the highway.
7. And so it is on another account also; for it is a general robbery : it is, in effect, not only robbing the king, but robbing every honest man in the nation. For the more the king's duties are diminished, the more the taxes must be increased. And these lie upon us all; they are the burden, not of some, but of all the people of England. Therefore every smuggler is a thief-general, who picks the pockets both of the king and all his fellow subjects. He wrongs them all; and, above all, the honest traders ; many of whom he deprives of their maintenance; constraining them either not to sell their goods at all, or to sell them to no profit. Some of them are tempted hereby, finding they cannot get bread for their families, to turn thieves too. And then you are accountable for their sin as well as your own; you bring their blood upon your own head. Calmly consider this, and you will never more ask what harm there is in smuggling.
III. 1. But for all this, cannot men find excuses for it? Yes, abundance; such as they are. “I would not do this,” says one, “I would not sell uncustomed goods, but I am under a necessity : I cannot live without it.” I answer, May not the man who stops you on the highway say
the very same? “ I would not take your purse; but I am under a necessity : I cannot live without it.” Suppose the case to be your own; and will you accept of this excuse Would not you tell him, “Let the worst come to the worst, you had better be honest, though you should starve." But that need not be, neither. Others who had no more than you to begin with, yet find a way to live honestly; and certainly so may you: however, settle it in your heart, “ Live or die, I will be an honest man."
2. “ Nay," says another, "we do not wrong the king; for he loses nothing by us. Yea, on the contrary, the king is rather a gainer; namely, by the seizures that are made."
So you plunder the king, out of stark love and kindness! You rob him to make him rich! It is true, you take away his purse; but you put a heavier in its place! Are you serious? Do you mean what you say? Look me in the face and tell me so. You cannot. You know in your own conscience that what comes to the king out of all seizures made the year round, does not amount to the tenth, no, not to the hundredth, part of what he is defrauded of.
But if he really gained more than he lost, that would not excuse you. You are not to commit robbery, though the person robbed were afterward to gain by it. You are not to do evil, that good may come.”
If you do, your “ damnation is just.” “But certainly,” say some,
“ the king is a gainer by it, or he might easily suppress it.” Will you tell him which way? by custom-house officers? But many of them have no desire to suppress it.
They find their account in its continuance; they come in for a share of the plunder. But what, if they had a desire to suppress it? They have not the power. Some of them have lately made the experiment; and what was the consequence? Why, they lost a great part of their bread, and were in danger of losing their lives.
Can the king suppress smuggling by parties of soldiers ? That he cannot do. For all the soldiers he has are not enough to watch every port and every creek in Great Britain. Besides, the soldiers that are employed will do little more than the custom-house officers. For there are ways and means to take off their edge too, and making them as quiet as lambs.
“ Bur many courtiers and great men, who know the king's mind, not only connive at smuggling, but practise it.” And what can we infer from this ? Only that those great men are great villains. They are great highwaymen and pickpockets; and their greatness does not excuse, but makes their crime tenfold more inexcusable.
But besides: Suppose the king were willing to be cheated, how would this excuse your cheating his subjects? all your fellow subjects, every honest man, and, in particular, every honest trader? How would it excuse your making it impossible for him to live, unless he will turn knave as well as yourself?
3. “Well, but I am not convinced it is a sin: my conscience does not condemn me for it.” No! Are you not convinced that robbery is a sin? Then I am sorry for you. And does not your conscience condemn you for stealing?' Then your conscience is asleep. I pray God to smite you to the heart, and awaken it this day!
4. “ Nay, but my soul is quite happy in the love of God; therefore I cannot think it is wrong.” I answer, Wrong it must be, if the Bible is right. Therefore either that love is a mere delusion, a fire of your own kindling, or God may have bitherto winked at the times of ignorance. But now you have the means of knowing better; now light is offered to you ; and if you shut your eyes against the light, the love of God cannot possibly continue.
5. “But I only buy a little brandy or tea now and then, just for my own use.” That is, I only steal a little. God says, “Steal not at all.“,