« 上一頁繼續 »
er sons to experience ir ; thus far, therefore, tho' he was undoubtedly more ungrateful, he was more excusable, than the Giant-like Sinner before us, who, though a meer Worm, presumed thus to defy and attack his Maker.
He did not, however, escape ar adequate Punishment, and that immediately; and indeed how Thould he ? The Honour of the Almighty being con cerned in taking cxemplary Vengeance of such an Offender. Accordingly he did ro, and chat in such a Manner, as might be sufficient to deter every one, not altogether past Grace, from ever becoming guilty of the like. In short, the Dagger thus darted againt Heaven, vanished out of Sight, and some Drops of Blood fell upon the Table before him and his Brother-Gam-fters; immediately after which, the Devil himself came, and carried a way this Gi, ant jo Iniquity, with such a Noise, as Atruck a Ter. sor and AftoniAhment into the whole Country around.
His two wicked Companions, diftraded with Fear, as well they mighi, at such a dreadful Judg. ment, used their urmoft Endeavours to wipe off the Drops of Blood, that had fallen upon the Table, bur all in vain, for the more they rubbed, the more visibly it appeared. In the mean while, the News of this terrible Tranfa&ion being spread abroad, Multitudes Alocked to the Place, where finding the two remaining Gamesters employed, as was betore observed, in washing out the Blood, chey imme. diately bound them in Chains, and conduced them towards the Prison. In their way thicher, however, one of tiem was ftruck dead, and Lice, Worms, and other Vermin crawled out of him ; whereupon, the People being terrified to the last Degree at this farther Inftauce of the Divine Indig. nation, and being willing to avert the same from
themselves, put the third to Duath, without any i farther Tryal.
Thus were these three impious Wretches made remarkable and exemplary Monuments of the Di.. vine Vengeance; the first, for his more than hellith Audaciousness and Blafphemy, and the two others, for daring to continue one Moment in the Company of such a Monfter, after his having ut
ferred fúch a Speech, as ought to have made them · avoid the Place, as they would have done the
Plague. In effe& it is observable, so far were they hardened in Iniquity, that all they were anxious about, was to wash out the Blood, left it should remain as a Testimonial of their Wickedness ; as, therefore, they were more caretul of their own Cre. dit, than of attoning for their heinous Offence, and appeasing the Divine Anger by a hearty Contrition, · and taking Shame to themselves, the Justice of Hea'ven, which had mercifully spared them at first,
leaving them room for Repentance, overtook them afterwards, and made them likewise . memorable Examples of irs Vengeance, not suffering them so much as co ftir from the Place (from which they ought otherwise to have Aed with the utmof Precipitation) till they were apprehended, and put to that open Shame they so greatly dreaded, and had strove lo sollicitously to avoid, by their vain En. deatours to wash out the Blood.' Thus we have set, in a frong Light, the fatal Consequences of breaking ihe Fourth Commandment, pass we on now to the Fifch, which is also called the First Commandment of the Second Table, whose Tenor is as followeth :
CHA P. V. Of the good and bad Consequences of the s. Observance, or Non-Observance of the - Fifth Commandment. : .
T JOnour thy Father, and thy Mother, that thy Days 11 may be long in the Land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. . This is generally said to be the only Commande meat with a Promise, though we cannot help thinking this a Mistake, since there is a Blessing promised in general at the End of the Second Commandment to all those who love God, and are obedient to his Laws. It is however certain, that as Solomon tells us of Wisdom; Length of Days is in her right Hand, and in her left Hand Riches and Honour, so also is the Blessing of long Life peculiarly annexed to Obedience to this Precept; notwithstanding which, we much fear there is not so great a Regard paid thereto as might be wished, though Longzvity is what most people covet. But it is fit such Persons as make flight thereof, should be told, that as, on one hand, long Life is promised to. Obedience, so, on the ocher, is the contrary implied, under that . very Promise, in case of Disobedience: And Solo. mon likewise assures us, the Eye that mocketh as his Father, and despiseth to obey his Mother, the Ravens of the Valley foall peck it out, and the young Eagles pall eat it.
In effect, it would be well if all undutiful Children would keep this Menace constantly in their
Minds ; fince, unless we are greatly misinformed, - it was actually accomplished some Years ago in a
literal Sense, upon one of our own Nation; whose Eyes were really pecked out by Ravens; in return for his gross Disobedience to his parents, as the poor Wretch himself would constantly own, whenever he was asked concerning so remarkable a Judgment: Nay, he wenr ta ther still, and open. ly took 'Shame to himself, by hanging out the Sign of the Ravens in the Valley, as a public Contession of his Guilt, and Sorrow for his Fault; which Sign is yet to be seen, the House, being at a Place of great Resort, a little Way out of Town, and well known by that Name to this Day, as it probably will to the World's End.
But as, in order to our paying a right Obedience to any Law, it is absolutely necessary we should be well informed of its Extent, left, through Ignorance, whilft we obey it in some respects, we should transgress ir in others, it is proper every one should be apprized, chat, by the Words Father and Mother not only our natural Pareo's, from whom, under God, we derive our Being, but our political Pa... rents, as the King, or Queen, with all in Authoi rity under them, as also our Ecclefiaftical Parents, under which Head are comprehended not only the Ministers of our respective Parishes, but all the Clergy in general, whom we are to reverence, (nowever some of them may derogate from their lacred Character,) on account of obeir Function. .. .
Under the same lead likewise is comprized, the Duty of Scholars to their Matters and Tutors, of Apprentices and Servants to their Masters and Miftresses, of young Folks to Persons in Years, and, in hort, of all Inferiors to their Superiors in Learning, Rank, or Eftate. We have chus fhewn, in some measure, in how great a Latitude the Words Father and Mother are to be understood in this Commandment, let us next consider the Word Honour, which is not leis comprehensive. The
Honour, then, hereby required of us, in our several Srations, is nor that mere formal and external Re-' gard, for which, we fear, it is too generally mista: ken by moft People, but an essential and fubftantial Reverence, proceeding from an innate Principle of Love and Gratitude, continually influencing us in all our Actions, and at all Times and Seasons.
It is not, for Instance, that Obedience Thewn by Children to the Commands of their Parents, or of Subjects to their Sovereigos, or of Apprentices or Servants to their Malters and Miftreflies, which arj. ses only from a servile Fear, either of corporal Pue nishment, or of being deprived of some temporal Advantage in case of Disobedience, but it is a voluntary Submission to all their Injunctions, however disagreeable to us otherwise, merely because we know it to be their. Will; it is such a Compliance ' with their Pleasure, as we would not evade if we could, though we might find Means to do it without Fear of Punishment, Anger, or Loss, nay even without their knowledge.
Many Sons and Daughters will regard their Pa.. rents whild they are under their Eye, or are afraid their Misdeeds may come to their knowledge, but the Moment they are escaped from thence, and have no Inspector over them, wil laugh at the old Folks, and give a Loose to their Inclinations. Ma. ny Subjects will obey their Sovereign outwardly, and not break the Law openly; but if they can find a Loop hole therein, and offend in Securiry, and within the Lercer thereof, as by Smuggling,&c. will make no Scruple shereof. In the like Manner Scholars, Apprentices, and Servants, will obey their Tutors and Masters, juft as far as they are apprehenfive of some Inconvenience from not doing so, but will neglect and make Sport thereof, if they can do it without its being knowo, the Moment their Backs are turned. But this is not obeying the Fifth