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change would be observable in the state of society, and of religion. But, in defiance of moral obligation, and of the common rules of decency, the contrary practice is extremely prevalent. How often, even in polite circles, and among persons of refinement in other respects, is the tongue employed in profaning the name, instead of speaking of the righteousness and celebrating the praises of God; in uttering falsehood and slander, seducing and injuring others! Duly sensible of their obligation to employ every faculty to the honour of their creator, men would avoid all manner of filthy communication which tends to debauch the mind, and cor. rupt good manners, and would speak the truth in their hearts.
The more noble any faculty is, the more dangerous is the abuse of it. The power of speech is justly ranked among the superiour gifts of God; but the tongue, when the use and design of it are perverted, becomes a powerful instrument to inflame carnal desires, rouse the worst passions of the heart, and to disturb the peace of society. The devout person, therefore, retaining God in his thoughts, will pray, “Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth, keep the door of my lips.” He considers every abuse,
or misapplication, of his members to be a violation of his obligation to that being, by whom they were fashioned, and in whose book they are all written. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service;'' a service which you owe to him, reasonable in itself, and happy in its consequences.
If, then, our bodily organs are to be employed in subserviency to the divine glory, because God is the former of our bodies ; as he is also the father of our spirits, our mental faculties and energies must be consecrated to him. Receiving the breath of life from God, man “be. came a living soul.” This is his noblest part, most exalted in its powers, and capable of the most refined pleasure and enjoyment. By it he is allied to heaven, and is of the kindred of the upper world. Upon it the image of God was originally impressed; and, though defaced, is yet so far retained, as his intellectual faculties bear a resemblance to the Supreme Intelligence. Emanating from him, the soul should be mindful of its origin, and of its relation to its divine parent, that every faculty may be applied to the duties resulting from this relation. The human
soul is formed for intimate communion with God, for the enjoyment of its creator; and is debased when drawn from him by the lusts of the flesh, or the vanities of the world. Considering it an emanation from the father of spirits, capacitated for the pleasures of virtue and innocence, for the elevations of piety and devotion, how it must sink from its native dignity, to delight in sensuality, to employ its powers upon inventions of wickedness, and to make the world its hope, its God! Thus degraded in its temper, sentiments, affections, and views, it receives no real satisfaction from the objects of its desire. They are not suited to its nature, and can afford but little enjoyment. To be tru. ly happy, it must rise to its native heaven in its views, and aspire after the nearest resemblance of its creator; not sink to the earth, and there seek its portion.
Among men, the well born, those who are of noble birth, are fond of reflecting upon their descent, and generally feel an obligation to refrain from every thing low and mean, and inconsistent with the supposed dignity of their family. If there be any propriety, any fitness, in such ambition, how much more proper is it that all, being the children of God by creation, 37
should keep in mind their high descent, and abstain from every thing unworthy their noble origin, and their relation to a being of infinite purity! Tracing their lineage up to this common father, all are born equal, and the little distinctions in the circumstances of their birth lose their importance. The son of a prince, the heir of a temporal crown, and the son of a peasant, destined to pursue the humbler walks of life, are children of the same father in heaven, heirs of the same dignity, and alike bound to prove their relation to God, and to another world, by des. pising the sins and follies of this, and obeying the ordinances of heaven.
The obligation to remember our creator is heightened by the consideration that he is the author, not of our existence only, but also of our well being, of our comforts and hopes. His constant visitation upholds our spirits. “In him we live, move, and have our being; his open hand satisfieth the desire of every living thing; all eyes wait on him, and he giveth them their meat in due season.” Having formed the curious structure of the body, and implanted in it a rational and immortal spirit, he hath made provision to satisfy our animal desires, and for our rational pleasure and enjoyment; and is daily loading us with benefits, and crowning our lives with loving kindness. In our preser, vation, and the supply of our wants, his providence is always concerned. Thus mindful of us, and daily visiting us with favour, how reasonable is it that we should keep our creator in grateful remembrance. A noble and generous mind feels its obligations to a benefactor, and conceives it the greatest baseness to be unmind, ful of him, and unthankful for his kindness, Apply this general sentiment, in the case before us, and ask if receiving the bounties of provi, dence in rich abundance, your minds ought not to be led up to the giver of “every good and perfect gift.” If God made you for the display of his glory, and to partake of the streams of his goodness, it must be wrong not to remember him, and your obligation to him. Contemplate the wisdom, power, and goodness, displayed in our formation, in the rank assigned us, in the faculties given us, in the provision for our hap. piness, in a superintending providence, and reason will discover, and the mind feel, a high ob. ligation to remember our creator with grateful affections. But this conviction, this sentiment, will be more strongly impressed upon the heart, when we call into view the great mystery of