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On CURIOSITY concerning the AFFAIRS

of others.


JOHN, xxi. 21, 22.

Peter seeing him, saith to Jesus, Lord, and

what shall this man do?

bim, If I will that he

Jesus saith unto

tarry till I come,

what is that to thee? Follow thou me.


THESE words occurred in a conference which our Lord held with Simon Peter, after his resurrection from the dead. Conscious of the disgrace which he had incurred by his late denial of his Master, Peter must at this time have appeared before him with shame. Our Lord, after a tacit rebuke, implied in the question which he repeatedly puts to him, Simon,

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son of Jonas, lovest thou me? restores him, SERMON with great benignity, to his office as an apostle, by giving the commandment to feed his sheep; and intimates also, that it should be his lot to suffer death in the

cause of his Master. The apostle John distinguished here by the denomination of the disciple whom Jesus loved, being present at this conversation, Peter, who was always eager and forward, looking to John, puts this question to our Saviour, Lord, and what shall this man do? "What shall "be his employment? what his rank and "station in thy kingdom? what his future

fate in life?" By what principle, Peter was moved to put this unseasonable and improper question to his Master; whether it arose from mere curiosity, or from some emotion of rivalship and jealousy, does not appear; but it is plain that our Lord was dissatisfied with the inquiry which he made; and presently he checks Peter's curiosity, by a severe reply; What is that to thee? "What is it to thee what this "man shall do; what shall be his rank; or What the circumstance of his life or his death? Attend thou to thine own duty.




SERMON "Mind thy proper concerns. Fulfil the "part which I have allotted to thee. Fol


low thou me."-The instruction which arises from this conversation of our Lord's with Peter, is, That all prying inquiries into the state, circumstances, or character of others, are reprehensible and improper; that to every man a particular charge is assigned by his Lord and Master, the fulfilment of which ought to be the primary object of his attention, without officiously thrusting himself into the concerns of others. The illustration of these points shall make the subject of the present discourse.

THAT idle curiosity, that inquisitive and meddling spirit, which leads men to pry into the affairs of their neighbours, is reprehensible on three accounts. It interrupts the good order, and breaks the peace of society. It brings forward and nourishes several bad passions. It draws men aside from a proper attention to the discharge of their own duty.

Ir interrupts, I say, the order, and breaks the peace of society. In this world.



we are linked together by many ties. We SERMON are bound by duty, and we are prompted by interest, to give, mutual assistance, and to perform friendly offices to each other. But those friendly offices are performed to most advantage, when we avoid to interfere unnecessarily in the concerns of our neighbour. Every man has his own part to act, has his own interest to consult, has affairs of his own to manage, which his neighbour has no call to scrutinise. Human life then proceeds in its most natural and orderly train, when every one keeps within the bounds of his proper province; when, as long as his pursuits are fair and lawful, he is allowed, without disturbance, to conduct them in his own way. That ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, is the apostolical rule, and indeed the great rule, for preservation of harmony and order. But so it is, that, in every age, a set of men have existed, who, driven by an unhappy activity of spirit, oftener perhaps than by any settled design of doing ill, or any mo→

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SERMON tives of ambition or interest, love to intermeddle where they have no concern, to inquire into the private affairs of others, and, from the imperfect information which they collect, to form conclusions concerning their circumstances and character. These are they who, in scripture, are characterised as tatlers, and busy bodies in other men's matters, and from whom we are called to turn away.

Though persons of this description should be prompted by nothing but vain curiosity, they are, nevertheless, dangerous troublers of the world. While they conceive themselves to be inoffensive, they are sowing dissension and feuds. Crossing the lines in which others move, they create confusion, and awaken resentment. For every man conceives himself to be injured, when he finds another intruding into his affairs, and, without any title, taking upon him to examine his conduct. Being improperly and unnecessarily disturbed, he claims the right of disturbing in his turn those who wantonly have troubled him. Hence, many a friendship has been broken; the peace of many a family has


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