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time lie as a talent of lead on their consciences, which now they think light of; and shall pierce their hearts as swords.
[3.] However ligiitly men may look on these things, the guilt of them shall once be wreathed about their necks; and the man fhall fee to read his own sentence of condemnation for them, under which he must cither die or be released by the Mediator's satisfaction and intercession. They have profaned God's name, and God will have the indignity offered to his honour wiped off, either by the fatisfaction of the sinner, or his cautioner whom he must produce,
[4.] If ever the finner be pardoned, as his profaing the holy name shall stick to his conscience in a particular manner when once awakened, so after the pardon it shall make him go with a bowed down back, as it did Paul, i Tim. i. 13.
[5.] Lastly, If he be not pardoned, the wrath of God in hell shall lie upon him, Rom. ii. 5. and it shall be more severely punished there than many other fins. The man's fin shall continue with himn through the ages of eternity, while the violence of his torments shall make bim blafpheme for ever.
Fourthiy, It may be asked, what is the great evil of this fin, that it is so severely punithed?
1. It is a sin that is directly against God, his glorious greatness and infinite majesty. That name is dreadful which men profane, Mal. i. ult. The angels adore it, the devils tremble at it; and should vile worms of the earth-profane it at every turn? Sins of the second table strike directly against inen, but this is one of those that go out immediately against the Majesty of heaven. And of this fort is the unpardonable fin, which, as I observed before, belongs to this command, Paal. lxxiii. 9.
2. It is a direct violation of the law of God, Swear pat at all ; Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy Gd in vain. Have you no respect to the authority of God? Consider, I pray you!, (1.) Who gave you a
tongue and a faculty of speaking ? Was it not God? Might not he have prevented this, by making you naturally dumb, as many are?, (2.) For what end he gave it. Was it not for his glory? and will ye use it against him to his dishonour? He thereby differenced you from a beast; and will you make yourself like a devil ? Now, if he gave it you, might he not set laws for the use of it to his glory?
3. It is not only a violation of the law of God, but a breach of mens laws. Swearing has been punished by many nations. With the Scythians the swearer's punishment was the loss of his estate ; with the Persians, bondage; with the Grecians, cutting off the ears; with the Romans, throwing down á steep rock. And the laws of our land are against it, though it is the crying fin of our magistrates, that they are not put in execution. But God is mocked that way, and it is the sin of people that do not press them to their duty, and inform them.
4. It is a fin that has a peculiar contempt of God in it, striking most directly against his honour, Pfal. cxxxix. 20. His name is dreadful, and it is that wherein he has displayed his glorious nature unto men : to prostitute and abuse it then, must needs bear a horrible contempt of God in it. It is a proclaiming of our flighting hin, and doing what we can to cause that no regard be had to him in the world.
5. It is most directly contrary to the great end of all divine revelation. The first petition in the Lord's prayer is, Hallowed be thy name.
This should be our chief design in all things; for it is God's own design, to which all others are subfervient, whether in nature or grace. And this flies directly in the face of it, and cannot but be a most hainous fin.
6. It has a particular malignity in it, and in a most special manner proceeds from the devil, as it has leis to carry to us to it than other fins ordinarily have.
(1.) What profit is there in it? The thief gets fome: hing for his pains, and the drunkard a belly full : but what gets the swearer? Other finners ferve the devil for pay; but swearers are volunteers, that get no reward. What fruit does it bring you, but the abhorrence of serious persons, and the fearful judgements of God?
(2.) What pleasure is in it? The unclean perfon gets no profit, but a sordid pleasure by his lin. But which of your senses does swearing gratify? If people were minded to give up themselves to all manner of sensuality, yet there is so little that can be strained from this sin, that unless they be resolved to do the devil a pleasure, they might forbear this fin. Love to that fin then must be a love to it for itself, a pure devilish love, without the smallest prospect of pleasure or profit by it. And if men will thus court their own damnation, it is pity they be balked of the lowest place in hell, and the highest room among the fervants of the devil, who will serve him just because they will serve him.
(3.) Can any say it is the sin of his conftitution? We have heard of a covetous, envious, luftful, passionate, &c. conftitution, but of a swearing constitution never. Is any man born with it? does the conftitution of our bodies incline us to it? In many other fins the body drags the soul; but here the soul, contrary to all God's commands, makes the body its flave, and turns up the tongue against the heavens.
7. Common swearers and curfers will be found to be men either of confciences already seared, or next door to it. And I would say, (1.) Knew ye ever a tender exercised Christian an ordinary swearer? I believe ye will find it as hard to find a faint a common swearer as a common drunkard or whoremonger. It is hard to say it is a spot of God's children. (2.) It hath been known, that very wicked and loose men who have given up themselves to sensuality and voluptuousness, have had a dreadful horror of profane (wearing; the littlc natural conscience that was left them startling at the profanation of that dreadful name. (3.) It is feldom found that those do reform. Many are very extravagant otherwise in their youth, that afterwards take up themselves; but oft-times swearing grows grayheaded with men. (4.) Is it not often seen come to that, they never know till the oath be belched out; yea, fome will swear, and not know they are swearing; nay they will swear that they are not swearing. Whence can this proceed but from a feared conscience?
8. Swearing looks like hell upon earth. I said before that there is no advantage by swearing: but now I must say, that they will have this advantage, that their works will go with them to the bottomless pit. The whoremonger will not get his whores there, nor the drunkard his cups, nor the covetous man his money ; but the swearer and curser will still drive on his old trade, and that with improvement, through all eternity. I liad once the unhappiness to hear a great swearer, who had often been reproved and admonished, fay, he would curse and swear in hell through all eternity. I thought it might be a prophecy. But why should men take the trade of the damned over their head on earth? will not an eterni. ty be long enough to give people their fill of profaning and blaspheming the name of God, and curfing? Why need they begin fo soon? there is time enough afterwards. I know nothing on earth so like a damned soul in hell, as a curser or swearer, under bodily pains and despair. And fome have been seen to die as they lived, curling and swearing out their dying breath, to the aftonishment of beholders. And if such men should happen to leave the world in the rage of a fever, as many do die raying, it will be a wonder if they die not therein.
I fall.conclude all with a very short word of improvement.
1. How can these lands escape a stroke that have so much of this guilt to answer for? Can we think that God will hold nations guiltless, that have come under national perjuries in violating lawful oaths for refor: mation, that over and over many times have been involving themselves in sinful unlawful oaths contrary to the truth, besides all the execrable oaths and blalphemies vented by a profane generation that have cast off all fear, and that profanation of the holy name by cursing, swearing, and profaning of holy ordinances, chargeable upon us ?
2. I warn all gross profaners of the name of God to repent, and flee to the blood of Christ for pardon ; certifying, that if ye do not, ye shall lie under the wrath of God for ever, and that unruly tongue of yours shall cast you into a burning fever in hell, where ye shall not have a drop of water to cool your tongue. Have pity on your souls, have pity on the land, and your families, if ye have any. Pity the riling generation. Is it not sad to think of young ones learning to curse and swear as they learn to speak? Where do they learn these things but at home, or from other children that learn them at home? The blood of their souls will lie at your doors, if they follow your steps; and if God pluck them as brands out of the burning, no thanks to their parents, who do what in them lies by their example to ruin them. Say not, ye reprove them, and do not allow them in it'; for an ill example will deftroy what ye build by your good advice *
3. Let us endeavour not only to reform ourselves, but contribute to the reformation of others in this point. It is Cain's language, unbecoming a Chriftian, Am I my brother's keeper? In several places and nations there are societies for reformation of manners. And were there but one in a family that had the courage to speak a word for God, to reprove fin, what good might it do, the work being managed with calmness
Some pleas and pretences that sinners offer in apology for swearing may be seen satisiyinely answered in the author's book, lately pue blithed, ertitled, The distinguishing characters of true believers, title, A caveat against profane / wearing, p. 197. &c.