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Behold how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity; so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature, and is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind. But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly member full of deadly poison.” The apostle, in the above quotation, has reference to those who have so long indulged in evil speaking that it has become, as it were, an incurable habit. If any man makes a practice of slandering his neighbors, and disturbing the peace of the community, it is immaterial to what church he may belong, or what ostentatious professions he may make, he is, notwithstanding all this, destitute of christianity.

It is a painful fact that the religion of the present day is too much accommodated to the fashions and customs of the world. Let a man, for instance, use profane language, or get intoxicated, and he will readily be suspended from the communion of the church. But let him slander his neighbors, and little or no notice is taken of his conduct. And let him slander other denominations, and it becomes, as it were, a virtue; whereas the fact is that the latter, according to the book of God, is much the greatest crime. It is therefore wise to lay, in early youth, a foundation for a tranquil, virtuous and long life.

Thus you see my young friends that virtue and happiness, temperance, prosperity and longevity are inseparably connected by the Author of our being, who has made them to depend in a great measure upon our conduct. You have also seen that sin and misery, intemperance in body, and also intemperance in mind, such as evil speaking, violent anger, commotions, griefs and troubles, and a premature grave, are likewise inseparably and wisely connected.

And now, my young friends, which will you choose? If you love life and desire to see many days, let me exhort you to choose the former, and to drink freely out of that golden cup in which every earthly joy of unbroken felicity is mingled by the unerring hạnd of divine mercy; and let me warn you to reject the latter, for in it are mingled the bitter drugs of misery. Be temperate in eating and drinking. Be temperate in all your pursuits in life, and in all your desires. Be temperate in your conduct; and (as an able writer observes) pitch upon that course of life which is the most excellent, and habit will soon render it the most delightful. Avoid not only every word and action that may lead to discord and contention, but, as our text says, depart from evil and do good, seek peace, and pursue it. Let us do good to all our fellow creatures, and endeavor to overcome their hatred with love, and their evil with good.

Yes, my young friends, affectionately and solemnly would I urge you to begin early to curb your passions, and to study sweetness of disposition. It will soon become to you perfectly natural, and thus you will lay the foundation for a virtuous and tranquil old age. But, asks the youth, shall I live longer for subduing my passions and doing good, for seeking peace and pursuing it? Certainly. Our text teaches this; so does philosophy, and the scriptures generally. Jesus Christ says,

"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” That is, they shall long enjoy it. "Blessed are the peace-makers for they shall be called the children of God." The fifth Commandment says,

Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” By honoring our parents, we are to understand a filial and submissive obedience to their precepts by not departing from that way in which with many exhortations, prayers and tears, they sought to train us up. In this case, honoring them would of course require us to walk in the paths of virtue and temperance, and to live an honest, quiet and peaceable life which would ensure the promise, and give us many days.

Not only do the scriptures promise long life to the peaceable, temperate and meek, but they on the other hand just as solemnly declare that the wicked shall not live out half their days.This passage

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has occasioned mnch dispute among religious denominations; one affirming that every man's time is appointed in the counsels of heaven by the decree of God, who “ declares the end from the beginning; and another affirming that it is not, for the above passage teaches that the life of man may be shortened. But there is no occasion for dispute on this point, for they are both right, as we have seen in the course of our remarks. This

passage is but the counterpart of our text. It is the decree of God that the wicked, the abandoned shall not reach the extreme of human life, because they indulge in those very crimes, which, in the constitution of things, must inevitably carry them to an early tomb. Of the truth of this we see thousands of instances in the world. And God has decreed that the meek, the peaceable shall reach the extreme of life, because they pitch upon that happy course of conduct which naturally leads to it: All that we are to understand by his decree, is that he has inseparably connected the end with the means by so constituting our natures, and so ordering his providence that sin, dissipation, anger, and revenge shall not only destroy happiness, but shorten lise, so certain as men pursue such a wretched course. And that the opposite course of conduct shall not only communicate happiness, but protract life so certain as they engage in it.

Here then, my young friends, you may readily perceive how God punishes vice

and rewards virtue. He does not do it by any abstract law, or arbitrary mode of procedure, but he has in infinite wisdom interwoven the whole in the very constitution of our natures, so that the wicked cannot go unpunished, nor the righteous unrewarded. To teach that man can indulge in vice, and yet escape its punishment by future repentance, is not only dangerous to the morals of society, but is a direct impeachment of the divine administration, as it must in such case, be defective. And to teach that men may live righteously and godly and yet go unrewarded, is equally dangerous to the morals of the community, as it is but discouraging them from engaging in a virtuous course of conduct. To teach that men are to be rewarded in a future world for their goodness here, is but in substance saying that virtue is attended with mental misery, and so far as it fails of rewarding its possessor here, the balance is to be made up hereafter. And to teach that men are to be punished in a future state for their badness here, is but in substance saying, that vice is attended with some mental joys, and so far as it fails of punishing its possessor here, the balance is to be made up hereafter.

It is readily granted that the righteous may suffer. But we ought ever to make a plain distinction between afflictions and punishments, for the Bible does this. It is impossible in the nature of things that punishment can exist except in connexion

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