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A SERMON FOR THE Reformation of Manners.

Being designed as A SUTABLE EXHORTATION To Enforce the Reading of the KING's Royal PROCLAMATON For the Encouragment of Piety and Vertue, and for the preventing and punishing of Vice, Prophaness and Immorality.

Rom. XIII. 4.

He is the Minister of GOD unto thee for Good.

BY BENJAMIN COLMAN, M. A. Pastor of a Church in Boston. N. E.

BOSTON: Printed by T. Fleet and T. Crump, for Samuel Gerrish, on the North Side of the Town-House. 1716.

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To the READER.

THE following Discourse pretends to no more than to give a few Hints on the serious Truths therein propounded to the Consideration both of Magistrates and People on the present Occasion. It is left to the Judicious Reader to clothe the Ske­leton with flesh and skin, and to give it a proper Complexion in his own more Enlar­ged Meditation. But if it may be of any Use to teach Transgressors GOD's ways and to minister unto their Conversion; or if it may so far be Accounted of as a Concio ad Magistratum, as to put MAGISTRATES in mind of their Duty, to propound more than ever with an Actual Intention the Glory of GOD and the Good of Souls in their Ad­ministring Justice; and indeed excite Them to get some happy Experience of their own [Page]Conversion to GOD; it will then answer a very noble End and have a most happy Effect.

Magistrates and Ministers can do nothing more Laudable than to Unite their pious Endeavours, with Zeal and Prudence, to serve the Interests of Piety and Vertue a­mong their People. And it is the least Ex­pression of Loyalty to GOD and to the King, readily and heartily to Obey the Commands we have from the Throne to do so. Let us return our Dutiful Prayers for the Life of the KING and of his SON; that like the Reign of Solomon so His present MA­JESTY's may bear some Image of the Holiness and Happiness of the Kingdom of CHRIST: that the Mountains may bring peace to the People, and the little Hills by Righteousness: that in His days the righteous may flourish, and a Founda­tion be laid for abundance of peace so long as the Moon endureth.

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A SERMON For the Reformation of Manners, &c.

Psalm LI. 13.

Then will I teach Transgressors thy Ways, and Sinners shall be Converted unto Thee.

IN these Words David speaks not only as became a Penitent and a Convert, a Pro­phet and a Preacher, but also as became his Royal Dignity and State, the King of Israel. Not only is it the part of the Priesthood, but it belongs also to the Prince and the Civil Ruler, to endeavour the Reclaiming of Trans­gressors, and the Conversion of their People from Sin unto GOD.

IT being therefore Recommended to me to day by the Honourable the GOVERNMENT over us, to read publicly unto You the ROYAL PROCLAMATION Emitted by our Sove­raign [Page 2]Lord the KING, for the Encouragment of Vertue and Piety, and for the preventing and punishing of Vice Prophaness and Immo­rality, and to Enforce the same with a sutable Exhortation to you; I have chosen these Words of the Royal Prophet, King DAVID, to usher in the most pious Resolution and Decla­ration of our Protestant King; in which like David He would teach Transgressors GOD's ways, and would have Sinners converted unto Him.

YOU are therefore preach'd to rather from the Throne to day than from the Pulpit: But indeed from the Throne of GOD (by whom Kings reign, and by whose Laws they are to govern) from his High Throne you are al­ways taught.

IN these Words of Holy David you may Observe,

I. A gracious Purpose and holy Resolution: I will teach Transgressors thy Ways. It is no ways below a Prince to do this; but it is the special Duty and Office of a Prophet always to be do­ing it. Who would not hearken to, learn of and obey such a Teacher? Where the Word of a King is there is Power. He speaks from GOD, a Greater KING, whose Name is dreadful.

[Page 3] BUT whom would the King of Israel teach? the Sinner and the Transgressor? the Profane and Impious? Yes: for the King is also the Law­giver and the Judge.

AND what would He teach them? GOD's ways. The Ways of Religion and Holiness: GOD's Laws and Commandments: the way of Life and of Salvation.

TRULY a most pious and Princely Care for the Good and Welfare of his People, and a most devout and worthy Regard to the Will and Honour of GOD.

TRANSGRESSORS might fear the Wrath of such a Religious King, and look to be pu­nished with Severity; but He would first have them Instructed carefully and taught their Duty, and then if they still go on to transgress he would see the Laws in force against them du­ly Executed. This was David's Purpose and Re­solution.

II. OBSERVE the End which He proposes, and the good Effect which He promises to Him­self, in teaching Transgressors GOD's ways: And that is their Conversion unto GOD. The most kind, the most noble and generous Inten­tion that one could possibly have. And a most natural Effect of Divine teaching. For why are we taught GOD's ways, but to turn our feet into His Testimonies?

[Page 4] HAPPY the People whose Prince labours their Conversion from Sin into the Holy ways of Religion and true Godliness. Such a Prince is indeed the Father of his People, and in GOD's stead. He rules for GOD and in his Fear.

BUT as the Conversion of Transgressors from their evil ways, was David's aim and desire, so he persuades himself of Success, and ex­presses a humble Confidence thro' Grace that it would be so: Sinners shall be converted unto Thee.

MAN proposes well very often, but GOD only knows the Event. Especially is it thus in persuading men, whose hearts are only in God's hand. How often are we ready to promise our selves great Success, but how vain are our Expectations for the most part! Howe­ver, it is nobly proposed, and GOD is to be Confided in that Sinners shall be converted while they are taught GOD's ways. For the Conversion of Sinners is the very End of Teaching.

III. IN the Text we may observe Something referr'd to and supposed, on the Supposition where­of it is that David forms his present holy Re­solution and Expectation: Then will I teach—says He. When should it be? what doth this Then refer to?

[Page 5] IF you look into the Psalm you find it to be the most Eminent of his Penitentials. He had been himself a Great Transgressor in the matter of Uriah: this he confesses and bewails and implores the forgivness of and to be cleansed from the pollution of: He was now a happy Penitent and pardoned, but not ready to con­clude so of himself suddenly: He begs there­fore in the Verses before my Text that GOD would clear up to him the Truth of his own Repentance and pardoned state, his own Re­novation and GOD's Reconciliation, and so re­store unto him the Joy of his Salvation, and then (says he) will I teach Transgressors thy ways, and Sinners shall be Converted unto thee.

PENITENTS have been some of the best Teachers. They can speak feelingly, by a sad and by a happy Experience. In Gratitude to God who has forgiven them they will teach others, and who will teach with more pathos, pertinence, tenderness and power? This is the Teaching which we might trust will convert Transgressors.

Here then we learn these three Truths.

  • I. Transgressors must be taught GOD's ways.
  • II. In teaching them GOD's ways we must pro­pose and aim at their Conversion to Him.
  • [Page 6] III. We had need get some happy Experience of our own Conversion, and GOD's free Forgivness of our own Sins, in order to our teaching others the ways of GOD, with any hope of being Instrumental to convert them.

I do not propose any full Discourse on either of these great and copious Truths, but only a general Reflection or two on one and other of them.

I. TRANSGRESSORS must be taught GOD's ways. But who are Transgressors? and what are GOD's ways? and who must teach them? and why must they needs be taught? and how must it be done? [...] Very briefly.

1. WHO are Transgressors? A general and full Answer to this the Apostle John gives us 1 Joh. 3.4. Whosoever committeth Sin transgres­seth the Law, for Sin is the Transgression of the Law. So that whoever lives in any sinful way, in any known and allowed course of Disobe­dience to the Will and Word of GOD, he is a Transgressor. We are called Transgressors from the womb, and that most truly, being born in Sin and by Nature under the Power and Rule of it. Every Act of sin, and any one Act of it, makes a Man a Transgressor in the sight of GOD and of his own Conscience. The best man that lives is a hainous Transgressor in the [Page 7]impartial Judgment of his own Heart: for in many things we offend all, and he that offends in one point is guilty of all. Job 13.23. How many are my Iniquities? make me to know my Trans­gression and my Sin.

BUT to be sure the Text means at least Impenitent and Unconverted Sinners; and it may be more especially the openly Irreligious, leud and profane. In this gross sense our Saviour was numbred with Transgressors. And for such the Law is made; for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and pro­phane. 1 Tim. 1.9. i.e. to restrain from such Ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, by revealing the wrath of GOD from Heaven a gainst it; or to doom them unto Everlasting Destruction in case of final Impenitence therein.

LET us then understand here by Transgres­sors all Impenitent and ungodly Sinners, both secret and open: the last are Transgressors in the sight of men, the first before GOD.

2. WHAT are GOD's ways? which must be taught to Transgressors, and which they need to learn. I answer

First, GOD's ways are the holy Precepts, Rules and Directions of his written Word, his re­vealed Will; wherein the Indispensible Duty of sinful Man is laid down, what he must be [Page 8]and do to be saved. In these are contained the whole Way of Holiness, the way of life, the way to Heaven Luk. 10.25, 26. Or

Secondly, GOD's ways may here in parti­cular mean the Manner of his dealing with Souls in bringing them to Repentance, and graciously pardoning them upon their Repentance; together with the Necessity of instant Repentance, and the dreadfulness of His Wrath in case of final Impeni­tence. The penitent and pardoned David had well learn'd these Holy Lessons, and was well able to Instruct Transgressors both in the way of GOD's convincing a Soul of Sin, renewing him to Repentance, and sealing to him his pardon. He wou'd now teach to Sinners their way unto GOD by Repentance, and GOD's ways of Mer­cy and Grace toward them that repent. Psal. 66.16. Come all you—and I will declare what GOD hath done for my Soul: I cried unto him with my Mouth (say, under the pains of Guilt) and he was extolled with my Tongue, (under the Joyful sense of his pardoning Mercy.)

TRANSGRESSORS need to be taught these things, that they may "neither fear­lesly persist in their ungodly Courses, nor un­der the Conviction of the Evil of them despair of finding Mercy. Transgressors must be taught how evil and bitter a thing it is to transgress GOD's Laws; and how CHRIST [Page 9] hath finished Transgression, and made an End of Sin, and made Reconciliation for Iniquity.

3. WHO must teach Transgressors GOD's Ways? I will, said David. Let us every one answer like him for our selves, and say—So will I, and so will I. We all may do it, and ought to do it, each one in his own place. Every man in his own line is his Brothers Keeper, Mo­nitor and Teacher. But more particularly,

First, IT is the Immediate Office of the Ministers of Religion to teach Transgressors GOD's ways. They are Called and Separated unto this very Work. GOD has ordained that there be an Order of men Devoted to Instruct others in his Will, to admonish them not to dare to offend against it, to require them to Observe it, to declare his Wrath against the Disobedient, and his Mercy to them that obey him. Necessity is therefore laid upon Us, and wo unto us if we preach not the Gospel; which is a Doctrine of Repentance and the Re­mission of Sin, as CHRIST Himself came to call Sinners to Repentance.

Secondly, Magistrates are also ordained of GOD to be His Ministers in the Gates, there to teach Transgressors his ways. So Moses, Joshua, and the Judges of Israel, Samuel, David and Solomon; Asa, Jehoshaphat and Hezekiah; Josiah, Nehemiah, &c. taught their People the [Page 10]way of the LORD. And the same is Incum­bent on the Christian Magistrate, even to re­quire of their Subjects Obedience to the Divine Laws, and to punish the open Contempt and Violation of them. The Legislature teach GOD's ways in the Good Laws they Enact for the promoting his Worship and true Religion, Morality and Vertue among their People, and for the punishing of Irreligion and Pro­phaness, vice and wickedness. And while They do this and rule according to Godliness, it is as much Irreligion and as sure Damnation to disobey Them, as it is not to comply with the Word which we preach. And this seems the real Scope of what the Apostle teaches us in that famous place, Rom. 13.1,—5. Let every Soul be subject to the Higher Powers. For there is no Power but of GOD: The Powers that be are ordained of GOD. Whosoever therefore resisteth the Power, resisteth the Ordinance of GOD; and they that resist shall receive to themselves Damnation. For Rulers are not a Terror to good Works but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the Power? do that which is good and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the Minister of GOD to thee for Good. But if thou do that which is evil be afraid; for he beareth not the Sword in vain: for he is the Minister of GOD, a Revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye [Page 11]must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for Conscience sake.

Thirdly, I might go on and say, Christians must teach every one his Nei'bour, and every one his Brother, saying, Know the LORD, and let us walk in his ways. You are a People of Religion, and are to watch over one another in love, as Brethren in Christ: You must love your Bro­ther in your heart, and not suffer Sin upon him, but must in any wise rebuke thy Nei'bour. We must be Exhorting one another daily while it is called to day, lest any be hardned thro' the Deceit­fulness of Sin. 1 Thes. 5.14. Now we exhort you Brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feeble-minded, support the weak,—and ever follow that what is good both among your selves and toward all men.

IN particular, Relatives should teach one another GOD's ways: Parents their Children, Husbands their Wives, Masters their Servants; every One his Houshold as Abraham and Da­vid did theirs, to keep the way of the LORD.

THUS we may be all of us Teachers to one another, being our selves taught of GOD naturally to care for each others Souls. And if any one be a Transgressor and he come in our way, let us wisely tell him the Evil of his way and the Misery therein; the Excellency of GOD's ways, and the Necessity of his Conversion into them. But

[Page 12] 4. WHY must Transgressors needs be taught? The Reasons are too many to give them all, and too obvious to need almost to name them. For is not the Word of GOD written, and the Preaching thereof ordained, for this very End? The Law is nigh thee, even in thy hand and heart and mouth; and is to dwell richly in us, teaching and admonishing one another; being pro­fitable for Doctrine, for reproof, for Correction and Instruction in Righteousness.

MOREOVER, The Relations wherein GOD has set us one toward another cannot be otherwise answered, or the Duties of them discharg'd according to his Will and unto his Glory. He has made us of one Blood, made us together his Covenant People, set us in our Offi­ces and in a Christian Brotherbood, told us how we must carry it one to another and fulfil the Law of love, please and honour him, do good and be Blessings in the World, and be blessed our selves for Evermore.

TRANSGRESSORS are so hard to learn, dull of hearing and slow of heart, to believe, that therefore they should the rather be taught. And Compassion to their Immortal Souls should be instead of a thousand Arguments with us, to be at any pains to teach them. How do we hate 'em in our hearts if we suffer them to perish in the ways of Sin? It were more Inhumane [Page 13]and barbarous than to let a blind man go over a Precipice, and not tell him his danger or set him in his way: or to see a Mad-man stab­bing himself and not hold his hand.

Finally, The good Order of the World, the peace and welfare of Mankind, require that Transgressors be taught GOD's ways. The Foundations of the World are else out of course, and the Earth and all its Inhabitants must dis­solve. This bears up the Pillars of it,—I said unto the Fools deal not foolishly, and to the wicked lift not up the born.

THERE wou'd be no living here on Earth, if it were not for the Instruction and Govern­ment which GOD has set up among men. Our Sabbaths and the Preaching of GOD's Word are an unknown Good to a wicked World tho' so few are converted; and so is the Re­straint that lies on Mankind for fear of the Sword of the Magistrate and the lash of humane Laws.

BUT the last and chief Reason why Trans­gressors must be taught GOD's ways is their Conversion and Salvation: of which hereafter.

5. And lastly, HOW must we teach them? I answer

1. AUTHORITATIVLY. For it is in GOD's cause, and in his stead, and we may be bold, as an Inferior Officer may command in the [Page 14]King's Name. Magistrates may not fear a Mul­titude, nor Ministers the Faces of any. Our Lord taught as one having Authority, and he has vested his Ministers in his own Authori­ty: Tit. 2.15. These things speak and exhort, and rebuke with all Authority, let no man despise thee.

2. THE Great and powerful Motives of Reli­gion must be taught together with the Doctrines and Rules of it: the Penalty with the Precept, the Promises and Threatnings together with the Commandments. Life and Death, the Bles­sing and the Curse must be set before men, to­gether with the Statutes and Judgments. So Mo­ses denounced unto Israel that they should surely perish quickly in case of Disobedience and Im­penitence: and so said the Apostle, Knowing the Terrors of the LORD we persuade men.

3. WE must teach Transgressors with Meek­ness and Love, Affection and Entreaty. What will ye, saith the Apostle to the Corinthians, shall I come unto you with a Rod? or in love and in the Spirit of Meekness? He had Authority to do the one, in case of Contumacy; and Goodness eno' to chuse the other in case there were any hopes of prevailing on them by kindness and Gentleness. Read the Character of the LORD's Servant, 2 Tim. 2.24. The Servant of the LORD must not strive, but be gentle to all [Page 15]men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness Instructing them that oppose themselves, if GOD peradventure will give them Repentance. And accordingly the Apostles of our Lord JESUS have left us this Example: I beseech you by the meekness and Gentleness of CHRIST: As tho' GOD did beseech you by us, we pray you in Christ's stead: Wherefore tho' I might be much bold in Christ to Injoyn thee that which is Convenient, yet for Love-sake 1 ra­ther Entreat thee. So Gentle is the Gospel to­ward Sinners and Saints, amidst all its Autho­rity and Terrors.

4. TRANSGRESSORS must be taught with all Long-suffering: patience as well as leni­ty. 2 Tim. 4.2. God bears long with the perversness and Obstinacy of men, and still waits on them to be gracious. Num. 14.11. How long will this People provoke me? how long shall it be e'er ye believe me? We continue there­fore in our Work, from Sabbath to Sabbath, and Year after Year, in Season and out of Sea­son, and line must be upon line, and precept upon a precept, here a little and there a little: It may be they will yet hearken and receive Instru­ction! When shall it once be?

5. And lastly, IF Transgressors will not learn GOD's ways, but openly defy and violate his Commandments, They must then be taught as Gideon taught the men of Succoth, with the [Page 16]briars and thorns of the Wilderness. I mean, That open Transgressors fall under public Church-Censures, and under the lash of the Civil Law; both which are ordained by GOD for the opening mens Ears to Discipline, and to com­mand them to return from Iniquity. So the censur'd Corinthian was humbled and restored: and so Hymeneus was delivered to Satan that he learn not to blaspheme. And so has the LORD commanded, Them that Sin rebuke be­fore all, that others may fear. And for the same Reason is the Civil Magistrate the Minister of GOD, and the Penalties of the Civil Law are GOD's Ordinance,—that all Israel may hear and fear and do no more so wickedly.

AND thus have I briefly said, who are Trans­gressors? and what are GOD's ways? and who must teach them? and why they must needs be taught? and how it must be done?

BUT the two last of these Enquiries may re­ceive a farther Answer in the next Observa­tion.

II. IN teaching Transgressors GOD's way we must propose and aim at their CONVERSION unto GOD. This is the End of Divine Teaching: to turn men from darkness to light, and from the power of Sin and Satan unto GOD. The Ministry of the Word serves unto this glorious End, and this we must propose in all other [Page 17] Occasional Instructions unto any. This is instead of a thousand Reasons why we should teach, and why sinners should hear and learn: And this gives us a Rule and Direction how to teach, namely, so as may best tend to the Conversion of men from the ways of Sin. How seriously therefore, and with what Earnestness and Im­portunity, Affectionatness and Solemnity, should we teach you GOD's Ways?

INDEED our Solemn Assemblies were a ridi­culous Pageantry if it were not that the Con­version of Sinners is the thing propounded in them. And for want of this Actual Intention it is that the Worship of so many is a Mockery. Moreover, The Severity of a Godly and strict Discipline in the Church, and those of Humane Laws in the punishment of Transgressors a­gainst the State, were a vain thing if it were not to reclaim men from their evil ways, and reform them.

WHETHER therefore it be that we teach Sinners from the Pulpit, or whether it be the Lawgiver who does it, or the Judge; or whe­ther it be that Christians privatly instruct and admonish them that transgress against GOD; both one and other ought to propose and act for this one End, to Convert a Sinner from the Error of his way, and to save a Soul from death, And this very thing should make Instructions [Page 18]and Reproofs welcome unto Sinners, whereon in public or in private: Let the righteous smite me it shall be a kindness, let him reprove me it shall be an excellent Oil, &c.

I wish truly that Teachers and Reprovers of every sort, as well as those that are Admo­nished and corrected by them, wou'd propose and act for this one End, the spiritual and Ever­lasting Good of Souls. It is to be own'd that Ministers themselves are too often Defective in this Actual Intention, tho' it be the very End of their Ministry. And more is it to be Ap­prehended, that the Generality of those who come to hear have not at all their own Con­version and Salvation at heart. The Law of the LORD is perfect, converting the Soul; i. e. per­fectly fitted to this End: yet how rarely is it effectual upon the Souls of Sinners? Truly Brethren, the fault lies either on Us who preach, or on You that hear, or on both toge­ther. Either we don't eno' propose and act for your Conversion to GOD, or You your selves don't do it.

BUT then, Is it our Care alone to minister to the Conversion of Souls? by no means. You that are Parents, when you teach your Children the way of the Lord, is it not to be­get them again unto God? And let Children hearken to their Father that begat them and [Page 19]unto the Law of their Mother that bare them, that by the Blessing of GOD on their good Instructions and Charges they may betimes be born again. Take heed that all this pious and tender Care of your Parents for your Souls be not lost, and turn at last to your greater Condemnation, and you mourn at the last, How have I hated Instruction, and my heart despised reproof, and I have not obeyed the voice of my Teachers, nor inclined my Ear to them that instructed me.

BUT then there is the other great Instance, wherein it is to be fear'd that least of all have the world of Mankind any Apprehension of any pious Intention for the Conversion of Sinners: soil. the legal Conviction and Judicial punishment of Transgressors, by the Civil Magistrate and Judge. Never the less it is certain that Christi­anity obliges those in the Magistracy to pro­pose even the Conversion of Criminals and Malefactors from their vile ways unto those of Vertue and true Godliness: And convicted Sinners ought to accept of their public Pun­ishments and Shames as so meant: Which tho' it may seem strange Doctrine and a ridicu­lous Expectation in a corrupt World, yet is in it self the most Just and Reasonable thing in the world; and renders Magistracy so much the more wirthy of the Ordination of a Holy [Page 20]GOD, and the Benefit of it so much the more Apparent in a Christian State. For if the Civil Powers are ordained of God not only for the present peace and good Order of the world, but also in some measure for the Eternal Wel­fare of men; so much the more Venerable are they to a people of Religion. Nor is here any Clash­ing of Orders; for as the Ministry of the Word tho' it directly serve to the bringing Souls to a better Life, yet abundantly serves to the peace and good Order of the World at the same time, so tho' the direct and Immediate End of Civil Government be the outward peace, tranquility and Felicity of the People, yet it has also really a further Aim, Influence and Effect, even in the Religion and spiritual Good of its Subjects.

THUS Humane Laws serve under the Di­vine, and by That these are to be fram'd, and to It to be subordinated. So Moses and Aaron are Brethren, and join in bringing the Israel of GOD on toward Canaan; tho' it is JESUS only that gives 'em Rest. And therefore the Subjection of the LORD's People must be Re­ligious and Conscientious: for the Law of GOD is one and the same in the mouth of the LORD's Prophet, or His Judge: Do People then reve­rence their Ministers and the Word of GOD, in their Mouth? and shall they not pay a higher [Page 21]Reverence to their pious Rulers, & to a Divine Sentence in the Mouth of their KING? 1 Tim. 2.1, 2, 3, 4. I exhort therefore that first of all Supplications, Prayers, Intercessions, and giving of Thanks be made for all men: for Kings and for all that are in Authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all Godliness and Honesty: For this is good and acceptable in the sight of GOD our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the Knowledge of the Truth. 1 Pet. 2. 13, 14, 15. Submit your selves to every Ordinance of Man for the LORD's sake, whether it be to the King as supream, or unto Governours as unto them that are sent by Him, for the punishment of evil doers and for the praise of them that do well: For so is the Will of GOD that with well doing ye should put to Silence the Ignorance of foolishment.

ONE more Observation lies before us from the Text, and a very Serious one it is, and with it I shall shut up my Discourse.

III. THAT they whose Office it is to teach unto others GOD's ways, and who are to minister to the Conversion of Transgressors unto GOD, had need to get some comfortable Experience of their own Conversion, and of GOD's free Forgivness of their own Sins. Then will I teach Transgressors thy ways, says David in the Text; soil, When thou LORD hast renewed and forgiven me; when [Page 22]thou shalt graciously give to me the happy Sense of my Pardon and Cleansing.

TRULY my Brethren, how shall we take upon us to teach others, with any prospect of Success, if we are not our selves taught of GOD! with what face or decency can we expect that GOD should own us in this great Service, or Men regard us, if we our selves are the servants of Sin! Not but that GOD sometimes uses them that are wicked to do good unto the Souls of others. But what Comfort can there be in this? if after I have preached unto others I my self should be a Castaway, 1 Cor. 9.27. to be Instrumental to the bringing o­thers to that Salvation, which we are never like to come unto our selves! how can one bear to think of it? Wherefore take heed to thy self, and unto thy Doctrine (as the Apostle writes to Timothy) that thou mayst both save thy self and them that hear thee. 1 Tim. 4.16.

IT can never be expected that we shall be hearty, earnest and vigilant in seeking the Con­version of others, if we have never felt our own misery and perishing state without the saving and free Grace of GOD, nor had any Experience of the Work of Conversion in our own Souls. If we have not car'd for our own Souls, how shall we for the Souls of others! If we have never been apprehensive of our [Page 23]own Danger in an unconverted State, how shall we be zealous for another's Deliverance from wrath? Or how shall we speak aright of the Grace of GOD to others, if we know nothing of it experimentally our selves? How shall we Encourage others to go unto a SAVI­OUR whom we have never sought unto for Mercy our selves? nor receiv'd any Mercy from? Yea, to the wicked GOD saith, What hast thou to do to declare my Statutes, or that thou shouldst take my Covenant into thy Mouth? seeing thou hatest Instruction and castest my words behind thee. Psal. 50.16, 17. And again, Thou there­fore which teachest another, teachest thou not thy self? Rom. 2.21. Apply this to every sort of Teacher, for the Preacher of the Word is not the only Teacher whom the Reproach bears upon: It falls as hard on others. Parents, who command your Children to know and keep the way of the LORD, are you Irre­ligious? Man that tellest thy Nei'bour of the Blemish in his Eye, hast thou a Beam in thy own? You that by Commission search out and punish Immoralities in others, are you vici­ous, leud or unjust your selves? Sittest thou like Ananias to judge others according to Law, and breakest thou the Law thy self? Thus the Rule holds universally among Christians, and obliges in the Civil Order as well as in the [Page 24] Sacred. Thou, when thou art Converted strengthen thy Brethren.

BUT if we have found Grace and Mercy from GOD to turn to Him from our own Sins, then may we in our places with good Assurance and Confidence teach the way of GOD to others. For how can we but speak the things whereof we know the Certainty, Necessity and Excellency by a happy Experiance and deep Conviction in our own Souls? The things that have been freely given to us of GOD, and wro't in us by his Holy Spirit, we shall be ready to declare unto others. We shall speak feelingly of them and so affectingly; out of the Abundance of our own hearts into the hearts of others.

HENCE Penitents have been ever some of the best Preachers to Sinners: So were David and Solomon, Peter and Paul; who had both felt the Guilt and bitterness of Sin, and known the Freeness and Riches of the Grace of GOD; and how to direct others in the way wherein the Spirit of GOD had led them, and to com­fort them with the Comforts wherewith they themselves had been comforted of GOD. 1 Tim. 1.16. For this cause I obtained Mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all Long-suffering for a pattern to them that should hereafter believe on him to Life Everlasting.

[Page 25] LET us then make sure first of our own Conversion to GOD, and then lay out our selves for the Conversion of others.

  • YOU that are Converted, teach others.
  • YOU that are to Teach, be you Converted.
  • YOU that are Transgressors, do you learn.

AND may the SPIRIT of GOD lift up a Standard, under which many may appear, to rise up for Him against the Evil doers.

THE late Zeal of the Justices of the Peace in this Place to find out and suppress Vice has been very laudable. Be Encouraged from GOD to go on, and may He give you Wis­dom and Prudence, Courage and Resolution, Integrity and a hearty Indignation of that which you declare against, that all Iniquity may stop its mouth.

THUS I have ended my own Sermon, and am now to read to you a Better, from the Superior MINISTERS of GOD and of Reli­gion, the POWERS which GOD hath set over us: first from the KING in Supream, and then from the Immediate GOVERNMENT of the Province.

[Page 26] AND if what I have already said may be Accepted as a Sutable EXHORTATION to Enforce the Religious Commands of the Go­vernment; and if Transgressors may be Con­verted to GOD by one Means or other, we have our Proposed End, and shall not lose our Reward.

HERE the Royal Proclamation of the KING, and that of the Government were read.

FINIS.
[Page]

Books Sold by Samuel Gerrish, written by the Reverend Mr. Benjamin Colman.

PRactical Discourses upon the Parable of the Ten Virgins, being a serious Call and Admonition to Watchfulness and Diligence in preparing for Death and Judgment.

The Government and Improvement of Mirth ac­cording to the Laws of Christianity: In three Sermons:

  • 1. of Civil and Natural Mirth.
  • 2. Carnal and Vicious.
  • 3. Spiritual and Holy.

A Humble Discourse of the Incomprehensibleness of GOD: in four Sermons.

A Gospel Ministry the rich Gift of the Ascended Sa­viour to his Church: preached on a Day of Prayer kept by His Congregation, to implore the Divine Conduct and Blessing with them, in their Election of Another into the Pastoral Office among them.

Some of the Honours that Religion does unto the fruitful Mothers in Israel; Meditated upon the Birth, and Preached at the Baptism of a Child.

The Divine Compassions declar'd and magnified, to Engage and Encourage the greatest Sinners unto a speedy and Earnest Repentance: preached upon the Sorrowful Occasion of a Miserable Woman present under Sentence of Death for the Murder of her Spu­rious Infant.

A devout and humble Enquiry, into the Reasons of the Divine Council in the Death of Good Men. Medita­ted on the Death and preached on the day of the Interment of the Reverend Mr. Thomas Bridge.

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