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ning was absolutely requisite in the affairs SERM. of life, a man being thought fair prey, that is either so open, so ingenuous, or so unsuspicious, as to let his neighbour take advantage of him. How are young persons to learn to reverence truth and fair dealing, when they see a degree of merit attached to such worldly wisdom and cunning? The last point in which we ought to be very careful what example we set, is in the government of our passions. Though our passions and desires were all implanted in us for wise and gracious purposes, yet we should always remember, that it is by them more than any thing else, that we are to be proved and tried; they are ever to be kept under a restraint and check, for all excess is an abuse, and as they all have a respect to this life more than the one to come, to indulge them too far, is to prefer worldly pleasures and concerns to the joyful prospects of eternity. The laws of the second table afford us a general outline of our duty in this respect. If we would have our children learn to honor us, we must remember there is an honor due
SERM. due to ourselves first, from ourselves; we VII. must not expect to be really honored, if
we only live to degrade ourselves in the eyes of our family, by continual breaches of the laws of God, and frequent offences against the order and decorum of civil society; if we suffer them to see us daily gratifying our passions without restraint, and wantoning in riot and intemperance. All the other laws being positive injunc→ tions, demand of us equal care and circumspection, if we would enforce them on our children; for how can young people think us sincere, in urging them upon them as the laws of God, if we, by our conduct, shew we are nevertheless not afraid ourselves to transgress them? To conclude; the importance of Example is most palpable and manifest a bad example is of more danger, and may truly and unquestionably work more real ill, than any offensive weapon in the hand of a murderer; the blind may be led astray by it, the innocent corrupted, the helpless deluded, the body contaminated, the soul destroyed; but a good example will have all the merit of
the most active virtue; for, besides that SERM. our piety and good deeds will ascend up to Heaven before us, as memorials in our own behalf, those that strive to render themselves patterns of all good works, may be the instruments of blessings to numberless of their fellow creatures.
There are some strong things relative to this duty of Example, in the second chapter of St. Paul to Titus, with which I shall take leave to conclude-" But speak thou "the things which become sound doctrine"that the aged men be sober, grave, tem"perate, sound in faith, in charity, in pa"tience. The aged women, likewise, that
they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, "teachers of good things; that they may teach "the young women to be sober, to love their "husbands, to love their children, to be dis"creet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obe"dient to their own husbands, that the word
of God be not blasphemed. Young men, likewise, exhort to be sober-minded. In all "things shewing thyself a pattern of good works," SERMON
JOHN 111, 11.
Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good.
THESE words, in the Epistle itself, are sERM. connected with a particular case. The VIII. Apostle had just been speaking of one, who had, by his froward behaviour, impeded the progress of the Gospel; from which, taking occasion to make it a subject of caution to Gaius, to whom he was writing, hè subjoins," Beloved, follow not, (that is, imitate not,) that which is evil, but that which " is good;" and he inforces his injunction with this further observation, "For be that "does good, is of God; but he that does evil, "has not seen God." One general lesson to be deduced from these words is obvious