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and by the tie of interest for those who are. We are all twined together and interwoven, as it were, into one great web or network of society, like the threads of flax, or the locks of wool, in a piece of linen or broadcloth; and this without any choice of ours. Nobody is asked whether he will be born in a cottage, or in the house of a lord. Nobody is asked whether he will be born in England, or among the savages abroad. Nobody is asked whether he chooses to come into the world to earn a livelihood by his labour, or whether he would rather enter it as the heir to a great estate. But if we do not come into the world by our own choice, nor pick out the place we are to fill in it, by whose choice and determination are we sent here, some to fill a higher station, some a lower? Plainly, my brethren, it must be by God's determination. He alone settles beforehand in what rank and station we are to be born: he no more consults us, or allows us to have a choice about the matter, than the weaver allows his wool or flax to have a choice as to what piece of cloth they shall be put into. Some are destined to coarser purposes, some to finer, but all according to the judgement of the weaver, without any choice or will of theirs. So it is with us. In weaving the great web of human life and society, the heavenly workmaster has not made it all of one quality. Some parts are finer,
some coarser: and in some places the coarse threads and the fine are so wonderfully intermingled and twisted together, that it would be impossible to part them without tearing the whole to pieces. In like manner will it be, if the attempt is ever made to separate the rich and poor in England. Everything which has hitherto made up the beauty and glory and strength and comfort of this nation, will be rent to tatters in the struggle, and will be as utterly destroyed, as a piece of fine cloth would be, if a man were mischievous enough to pick out and separate the Saxon wool in it from the English. Saxon or English, it is all wrought up into one cloth, and cannot now be separated: and so it is with the net-work of society. Rich and poor have all been woven up together; and an attempt to sever the one from the other, unless it be stopt in time, would end in the ruin of both.
Hitherto I have been shewing you, how we are all sent into the world, not to live by ourselves, or for ourselves, but to be connected and united with our fellowcreatures in divers ways, first as members of the same family, then as subjects of the same government, and lastly as dwellers in the same neighbourhood, where,-whether we work with our own hands, or employ others to work for us,we are all dependent one upon another. Such is the state every man is born in and out of that state
has arisen an answering set of duties. Had we been made to live alone, we should only have owed duty to God. But being made to live together in society, we likewise owe duties to society. We owe a duty to our family: we owe a duty to our king: we owe a duty to every one, rich or poor, with whom we may have any business or dealings of whatever kind. This second set of duties, arising out of our being made to live together in society, is commonly called our duty toward our neighbour. The heads of these duties are set down in the second table of the commandments, just as the heads of our duty toward God are set down in the first table.
Nor is it to be wondered at that they are set down there, that the heads of our duties toward our neighbours were proclaimed in the ears of the children of Israel by the voice of God himself. For so dependent are we on each other's behaviour for peace and happiness, and even for life itself, that, were a people ever to break loose from God's commandments, and to throw off the restraints of laws, and to take to living every one as he pleased, following the rule of might, instead of right, there would be neither happiness, nor quiet, nor comfort,-in fact, there would be no living among such a people. You have all heard the sad story in the Gospel of the man who was possest by a legion of devils; and you may perhaps remem
ber how it fared with him,—that he was exceeding fierce, so that no man could pass that way for fear of him; nor could any one tame him; but day and night he wandered about far from any home, and cutting himself with stones. Now the state of a people so madly frantic as to throw off all regard to God's commandments, would not be unlike the state of this poor unhappy wretch. Like him they would be possest by a legion of evil passions and evil spirits. Like him they would be untamably wild and fierce, ready to harm and maltreat every one who came in their way. Like him they would be without a home for how could such a blessed thing as home exist, without the safeguards of justice and purity and religion? Like him lastly, they would be for ever hurting and paining and grieving themselves and one another. All these evils came upon the unhappy wretch in the New Testament, because the devils had taken psssession of him. Yet they possest only his body and his mind: for it does not appear that the demoniacs, as they are called, were wicked men; but only that they were driven mad by the power of some evil spirit. Can we doubt then that miseries, at least equal to his, would overtake a people such as I have been speaking of, a people that had thrown off all regard to God's commandments, and had given itself up to work iniquity with greediness, and so had in
vited a host of devils to come and take possession of their souls? For this must follow. have one master or other.
He must serve some
serve God, the holy
sin and Satan, Therefore if a
higher power. If he will not and the merciful, whose wages life, he must go into servitude to whose wages is misery and death. man, or any number of men, throw off the yoke of God's commandments, they do not become independent thereby, whatever they may fancy. They only change one master and one yoke, for another master and another yoke. They only leave the service of God, and shake off the easy yoke of righteousness, to enter into the service of the devil, and to bend their necks under the grievous yoke of sin. Were a people to break away from God's commandments in the way I have been supposing, they would by that very act make themselves over to Satan; and so we should have a people whose very souls were possest by a legion of evil spirits. Think then, what they must suffer. Think, what
passions they would be a prey to.
they would be racked and tormented and torn this way and that by a thousand desires, too wild and fierce to be gratified, and which, even if they could be gratified, would yield them no contentment. Think again of the fears that would be ever haunting them,—fears of losing everything they