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Exodus xx» 16.

Thou shalt not hear false witness against thy neighbor

Exodus xx» 16.

Thou shalt not hear false witness against thy neighbor

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Mar 23, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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SLANDER. BY SAMUEL HORSFALLExodus xx» 16. Thou shalt not hear false witness against thy neighbor.On viewing the inconsistency stamped on the va-rious characters of mankind, one would be apt to imagine, that God had never appeared to Moses on Mount Sinai ; but that the whole narrative of that astonishing display of divine glory and good-ness, was merely the invention of the Legislator, to give a greater sanction to the laws he intended to introduce. But this cannot be! An individual could not — durst not delude a whole nation, and that nation the peculiar favourite of Heaven. Who that had beheld all Sinai tremble — the thun-der and lightenings issuing from its summit, with SERMON XVI. 22.3
the sound of the trumpet, proclaiming the divine presence? Who that had beheld this tremendous scene, could a moment doubt that these Command-ments were dictated by the voice of Omnipotence? All Israel heard and confessed them the words of God ! Surely then we, enlightened as we are by revelation, will not presume to dispute their divine origin ! Yet, alas, my brethren ! cast but your eyes around, and view the melancholy prospect, and you will too readily perceive every Commandment broken — every divine precept trampled under foot, as if these laws, handed down to us by the sacred historians, existed only in the heated imagination of some enthusiastic devotee. What strange in-consistency ! Their excellence is sufficient even to shew their divine origin, if no other proof existed, as they must be acknowledged to be replete with such beneficial instructions, and to comprehend such a system of religious and moral duties, as no poetic fiction, nor eastern allegory, under which, although the rules of virtue and wisdom are couched in pleasing semblances^ can equal. Of these excellent precepts, I have selected one
224 SERMON XVI. for the subject of our present meditations, as it for-bids a practice very prevalent amongst the gene-rahty of mankind, which is slandej- or dtlractioji ; than which, one more destructive to the happiness of individuals, is not to be found in the catalogue of those vices, prohibited by the Laws of God or man. Bearing false zvitness in the text, does not parti-cularly mean that false evidence, too often I fear, given in a court of judicature; but the bearing, (as I conceive it) or being the messenger of a false intelligence, that is against, or prejudicial to our neighbour. This is slander, and a more danger-ous vice lurks not in the bosom, as sometimes it lies concealed, even from a man's ownself; and breaks not forth but on certain occasions, w^hen the degradation of a character is intended, from some private pique, malice, or revenge.

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