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grave swallow

with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the unsuspecting innocent, let us swallow them up as the eth up

the living; and the upright as those who

go

down to the tomb; we shall find rich booty of every sort, we shall fill our houses with plunder; take thy lot with us, we will have a purse in common: my son, walk not in the way with them, withhold thy foot from their paths.”

Men who are vicious themselves are desirous of seducing others, either that they may keep themselves in countenance, or from a vain hope of screening themselves amidst the multitude of transgressors. And the

young, the ignorant, and the inexperienced, are too much disposed to listen to the voice of the seducer, to give credit to bis misrepresentations, to comply with his advice, and to follow his bad example; of which sooner or later they will bitterly repent. The word of God pronounces that man happy, who is so wise as to stop his ear against their advice, and so firm as to reject their pernicious counsel.

2. He standeth not in the way of sinners.

Happy, indeed, would that man be, beyond the common lot of mankind, who had firmness sufficient to resist every temptation, and who never deviated from the path of duty. But in the present state of human nature, and of the world, this is the lot of very few. But the man of virtuous principle, if he be accidentally or occasionally surprised into what is wrong, ,

will speedily recover from the error of his way. If he has once been induced to hearken to the counsel of the ungodly, when reflection overtakes him, he will never remain in the way

of sinners; he will not dare, he will feel no inclination to continue in the path of transgression; nor will he enjoy a moment's solid satisfaction till he has recovered his lost ground, and is returned to the path of duty and of peace.

And so far from seeking the society of those who have led him, or who would lead him astray, he will to the utmost of his power avoid their company, and will resolutely abandon the society of those, however dear

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and estimable on other accounts, who would, either by their conversation or their example, allure him into the snares of vice. Much less,

3. Will he ever presume to sit in the seat of the scornful.

To scoff at virtue and religion marks the last stage of human depravity.

As long as good principles and good morals are held in estimation, which they often are by men of very immoral lives, there is some ground to hope for reforination, and to expect that men will some time or other endeavour to practise what they acknowledge to be right.

But when a man takes the chair of the scorner, when the great practical principles of piety and good morals are treated with a sneer of contempt, and the evidences and doctrines of natural and revealed religion, are made the objects of derision and banter, it is a moral impossibility that such persons should ever be reclaimed. This state of mind is the most unfavourable possible to candid, calm, impartial inquiry.

It indisposes to serious examination, and incapacitates for discerning the force of evidence. But till the judgment is convinced, it is in vain to hope that the heart will be converted. No virtuous man therefore ever will, or ever can take the chair of the scorner. He will never either mock at religion himself, or give the slightest countenance to those who do. He will ever think it his duty to treat serious subjects with a serious spirit, and to conduct his inquiries after moral and religious truth, with sobriety, diligence, and impartiality. His chief solicitude is to act right, and to this end it is his earnest desire to be correctly instructed.

4. The writer of this beautiful composition proceeds to delineate in positive terms the character of the righteous.

His delight is in the law of the Lord. By this expression the sacred writer undoubtedly means the Mosaic institute, including both the moral and the ceremonial precepts. From the latter of these, all who live under the gospel dispensation are absolved; but

it is still the character of a good man to delight in the moral law of God,

The moral law of God is that rule which God has instituted for the regulation of moral conduct, including the high and awful sanctions by which it is enforced.

It is unworthy of rational beings to degrade reason; and it cannot be acceptable to God to think or speak in a disparaging way of the gifts which he has imparted, and of the noble and exalted intellectual faculties and powers which he hath communicated. The light of reason hath in fact discovered many excellent rules of conduct. And the doctrine which was taught by the wisest of the Grecian philo'sophers, * that it is incumbent on the virtuous man to keep the post which providence bath assigned him, and fearlessly and faithfully to discharge its duties, regardless of personal consequences, is worthy of a distinguished place in the purest systems of Christian philosophy. It is, however, sufficiently notorious, that the mora

* Socrates. See Plato's Apology.

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