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ety by practising the vices of which they have experienced the shame without the guilt. Let the young, then, guard with jealous care the sanctity of their faith. Let them avoid even the appearance of evil. Let them even suffer wrong rather than give the least occasion of being suspected of falsehood, duplicity, or fraud. If Achilles, who had Chiron for his master, could exult in the ingenuous simplicity of his character, how should he who has had the Son of God for his teacher and example, be clothed with truth as with a garment?

The evil of being seduced into engagements contrary to our purpose, is not to be compared with that of being ensnared into those that are unlawful. To make a promise or pledge with the consciousness that the matter of it is wrong, is a most deliberate compact with the devil; it is selling one's self to evil. He that does so either intends to keep his word, or he does not. If he intends to keep it, he actually makes evil his good and approximates as closely as his circumstances

will allow, to the father of lies, who never speaks truth, except when it redeems his engagements to sin. If he does not intend to keep it, he is guilty of deliberate fraud. In either view, the making of an unlawful promise, knowingly and voluntarily, is an aggravated crime. Few, it is to be hoped, ever reach this pitch of wickedness. But to make an unlawful promise, unconsciously, is not without sin. It is always rash; and though it is not obligatory, it places a man, when the unlawfulness is discovered, in a very painful situation. It is apt to diminish his sensibility to moral distinctions-to superinduce a sophistry which corrupts the heart and darkens the understanding. The very anxiety to exempt himself from censure will tempt him to prevaricate with duty, and the effort to acquit the criminal may terminate in a justification of the crime. To come in close contact with vice is always dangerous.

"Seen too oft, familiar with its face,

We first endure, then pity, then embrace."

To apologize for sin is the next step to the

commission of it; and to apologize for it all those will be tempted to do who have been entangled in unlawful engagements. Let all men, but particularly the young, guard against them with a holy solicitude. Resolve never to make a promise without having well weighed the moral character of its matter.

Never let a formula, implying obligation, pass your lips unless you are sure that it relates to nothing which is inconsistent with your duty to God or man. Whatever is

not of faith is sin, and he that doubteth is damned. In every undertaking, our first care should be to have a clear conscience. Rectitude is a sacred, an awful thing, and as its eternal laws should never be despised by open and deliberate transgression, so the very possibility of invading them by rashness and imprudence should fill us with constant vigilance and unceasing caution. Ignorance of duty," says Jeremy Taylor, "is always a sin, and therefore, when we are in a perceived discernible state of danger, he that refuses to inquire after his duty, does not desire to do


it." "We enter upon danger and despise our own safety, and are careless of our duty, and not zealous for God, nor yet subjects of conscience, or of the Spirit of God, if we do not well inquire of an action we are to do, wheth er it be good or bad."

To him, however, who has been rashly ensnared I would solemnly say-do not hesitate to repent of your engagement, and to nip the action in the bud. You have sinned already. Do not double the offence by the perpetration of the deed. Let no fear of reproach, no sense of self-degradation, induce you to parley with the crime. You have come too near it already. Your only safety is in instant retreat. If you have betrothed yourself to a harlot, under the impression that she was a virgin, flee her poisoned embraces as soon as you find out her pollution. Never, never for an instant think of excusing or extenuating a wrong, because you have been implicated in it. The moment you begin to debate you have soiled the purity of your conscience.


"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true-think on these things."-PHILIPPIANS, iv. 8.


THERE is a marked difference

between Protestant and Romish communions in their estimate of the value and importance of vows as an element of religious worship. The Church of Rome has perverted and Protestants have neglected them. The will-worship and superstition fostered by the one have produced a re-action to the opposite extreme in the other. In this, as in most other cases, the truth lies in moderation. It is obvious to remark that this species of devotion has entered into all religions, whether Pagan, Jewish, or Christian. Wherever God and Providence have been acknowledged, there, too, have been acknowledged the sanctity of oaths, and the

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