The Duty of GOSPEL-MINISTERS TO preserve a PEOPLE from Corruption. Set forth, in A SERMON Preached at Brookfield, October 16. 1717. Being the Day wherein the CHURCH was Gathered, And Mr. Thomas Cheney, was Ordained PASTOR.

By Solomon Stoddard, A.M. and Pastor of Northhampton.

BOSTON: in N. E. Printed for Samuel Phillips, on the South side of the Town-House, in King-Street. 1713.

[Page 1]

The Duty of GOSPEL-MINISTERS to preserve a People from Corruption.

MATTH. V. 13.

Ye are the Salt of the Earth.

CHRIST JESUS having been Bap­tized and after that tempted of Satan for Forty days, doth in a more eminent manner enter into the execution of his Prophetical Office, and Preacheth his Sermon in the Mount contained in this and the two follow­ing Chapters. He begins his Sermon by teaching them, who are blessed Men; and their in this and the next verse he teaches his Disciples what is their Office, and the work which they are to do as his Ministers. First [Page 2]he tells them, they are the Salt of the Earth: First it may be enquired, who he speaks to? Some think that it is spoke of professed Christians; but that doth not seem proper. Forthen when Countries come to be Christiani­nized, there would be no difference between the Salt and them that are Salted. Christ knew that whole Nations would entertain the Christian Religion; and who then would they be Salt unto? But I judge that he intends the Apostles, and it may be the seventy Dis­ciples, if they were at that time present; tho' they were not yet called to their Office, yet Christ designed them to it. We find a distinction, ver. 1. between his Auditors and his Disciples, Seeing the Multitudes, he went up into a mountain, and when he was set his Disci­ples came unto him. Again we may enquire, Why doth Christ compare them to Salt? Ans. Salt has many useful qualities, it has Me­dicinal vertues in it, applied outwardly or in­wardly; but it hath two properties especially, one is, that it savours Meats, gives a grate­ful relish to them, makes them more accepta­ble to the stomach, takes away their crude­ness and is an help to digestion. Job. 6.6. Can that which is unsavoury be taken without salt. The other is, that it preserves things from corrup­tion and putrefaction. Flesh and some other Meats are liable in a little time to corrupt [Page 3]and spoil: but Salt has vertue to preserve them; and in this respect the Apostles are compared to Salt. He doth not speak of what they were de facto, but of what they were de jure, what they were by their Office to be. Again it may be enquired, Who would have the benefit? Ans. The Earth, or the Land where they dwell; by Earth you are to understand the Inhabitants of the Earth. This is amplifyed by their incurableness if they loose their savour. Not but that a Minister may be recovered, if he loose his savour; but if the Ministry should loose their savour, there is none to recover them, 2. by their unpro­fitableness if they grow corrupt & unsavoury. They are unserviceable and deserve to be re­jected. It is good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men.


THE Ministers of the Gospel are by their Office to preserve the People from Corruption.

IT is a great misery to a People to be cor­rupted, to be like putrifyed and rotten Meat, they will be an affliction and enemies one to another, and exposed unto the Judgments of God. But the Ministers of the Gospel are means to preserve them from corruption. [Page 4]Magistrates in their place have their influence on them to preserve them from corruption: but especially Ministers are useful that way. In such Nations where there is no Gospel Ministry, People are very corrupt: if by the light of Nature and severity of Rulers, they be preserved from grosser iniquities, yet they are always very corrupt. But the Faithful Servi­ces of Gospel-Ministers is a special help to preserve from corruptions. A Gospel-Mini­stry is looked upon by some Persons as an heavy charge, they groan under the burden of it; but Men have little reason to think much of the charge considering the benefit that they are to a People, as they are means to prevent the growing of corruption. Mi­nisters had need be careful that they do fulfill their Ministry, for their work is not only of great concernment to themselves, but also to Multitudes of others, by keeping the Country from corruption.

Consider 1. THAT People are very prone to grow corrupt. As the Bodies of Men if they be not duly looked after, will grow corrupt, so will the Souls of Men. A professing People are in great danger, many of them are in their natural condition, and godly Men that are among them, are but in part sanctifyed; and there are a great many young ones growing up among them, that are born in sin, and a­bundance [Page 5]of temptations; and there is a great deal of danger that in a little time they will be corrupted. As Buildings are subject to decay, and Fields to be tainted, so People are to be corrupted. Isai. 1.21. How is the faith­ful city become an harlot.

1. IN respect of the Principles of Religion. The Church of God is called the pillar and ground of truth, 1 Tim. 3.15. And if they don't hold fast the form of wholsom words, they will quickly run to ruin. The practice of Reli­gion doth depend upon the principles; if they loose the knowlege of the truth, they can't make due improvement of it. Blind­ness is a corruption and it leads to corrupt practices. And that they are in danger of,

(1.) By Ignorance. A knowing People may in time become an ignorant People. The People of Grece were some of the learnedest People of the World, in former Generations. Corinth and Athens were called the two eyes of the World, but since that they are become very ignorant. Darkness many times suc­ceeds where there was a great deal of light. If the present Generation be knowing Men, in a few years many of them may die, and the young Generation, if they have not sui­table means of instruction will be very igno­rant; though they grow to years of under­standing, [Page 6]may be ignorant of the principles of Religion. Parents may bequeath their Estates to them, but they can't bequeath their Knowlege to them. If their Teachers be blind and ignorant, as the complaint is, Isai. 56.10. no wonder if the People be ig­norant. The People of Israel grew in con­tinuance of time a very ignorant People. Hos. 4.1. There is no knowlege of God in the land. If a People be a knowing People, yet by the change of a Generation, they may be children in understanding.

(2.) BY Errors. Men have a great deal of carnal reason, and so are in danger to grow erroneous. There be a great many temptations from without to errors, there be many false Doctrines published in the World. Men have mightily corrupted the Doctrine of the Christian Religion: there have been heretical teachers that have broached dan­gerous errors. 2 Pet. 4.1. There shall be false teachers among you, who shall privily bring in damnable heresies. And Satan is busy to blind the minds of Men. 2 Cor. 4.4. The God of this world has blinded their minds. And there be many temptations in Mens own hearts to seduce them: carnal men don't love Evangelical truths; and the pride of their hearts exposes them; they are unwilling to acknowlege such truths as they cannot com­prehend. [Page 7]The lusts of Mens hearts do in­cline them to receive heretical Doctrines. 2 Tim. 3.6. They lead captive silly women la­den with sins, led away with divers lusts. Many errors have mightily prevailed in the World. The smoak that has come out of the bottomless pit has darkned the air, Rev. 9.2. Arianism did so for a while, and Pelagianism, and Popery, and Arminianism: many Countries are cor­rupted.

2. IN respect of Practice. Fallen Men are great enemies to the power of Godliness, and in great danger to carry themselves corrupt­ly: it is difficult to make a professing People grow better, but they easily grow worse. It is natural to those that have chronical diseases to grow worse and worse. People that are in a declining way, are in great danger to decline more and more. Jer. 16.12. Ye have done worse than your fathers. Land that be­gins to be tainted is liable to be tainted more and more.

(1.) BY Formality. Where the Worship of God is set up, Men don't readily loose the form, but it is a frequent thing to loose the power of Godliness. It is an easy thing to carry on Praying, to attend Publick Worship, and to attend duties of Religion on the Sabbath: this may be done, though their hearts are violently set upon the World, and they be [Page 8]under great prevailings of evil affections: but it is very cross to nature to mortify corrupti­ons, and to exercise themselves in self-denial; give their hearts to God, and to be rejoycing in the righteousness of Christ. Many times People that retain the name of living loose the life of Religion, Rev. 3.1. People are wont to grow lukewarm, Rev. 3.15. The spirit of Religion doth decay by degrees.

(2.) BY Vice. Evil practices frequently gain ground among them: the lusts of Mens hearts hurry them into bold transgressions. There be bad examples and small means of restraint, and so evil practices get head. Ma­ny times People grow knavish and injurious one to another; they have their ways of de­ceit and oppression that mightily prevail Jer. 6.6. She is wholly oppression in the midst of her. Sometimes they fall into ways of Drunken­ness, and lie at the Tavern, and are pouring in strong Drink, they can't work without it, nor play without it, nor make bargains with­out it. Hos. 3.1. They love Bottles of Wind­fall into ways of wantonness and rudeness. Sin abounds in all professing Countries.

Consider, 2. HOW Ministers are to preserve a People from Corruption.

1. THEY are to do it by their Preaching. Ministers are God's Messengers or Ambassadors, [Page 9]sent to publish the Gospel. Mar. 16.15. Preach the Gospel to every creature, i. e. every humane creature. This is the principal part of their work. 1 Cor. 1.17. Christ sent me not to bap­tize but to preach the Gospel Therefore they are called Preachers. 1 Tim. 2.7. I am or­dained a Preacher. Other services are to be done occasionally, but this is the constant service that they must addict themselves unto. 2 Tim. 4.2. Preach the word, be instant in sea­son, out of season. And it is upon that account especially, that double honour is due unto them. 1 Tim. 5.17. Let the Elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they that labour in the word and doctrine. The Word of God duly Preached is the special means to advance the work of sanctification. Joh. 17.17. Sanctify them by thy truth, thy word is that truth.

(1.) BY instructing them in the Principles of Religion, and the Rules of God's Word. The light of nature teaches Men some things con­cerning God and His Attributes, and it teaches them the difference concerning many things that are morally good and evil; but this light shines but dimly, and the characters that are written in the heart are much blurred and obliterated, and they have need to have those things clearly inculcated. But the way of Salvation by Christ is a thing of pure re­velation. Natural reason is utterly silent about [Page 10]it. The Gospel is called the Wisdom of God in a mystery, and bidden wisdom, 1 Cor. 2.7. And the work of the Minister is to feed Men with the sincere milk of the word. Joh. 21.15, 16. to Feed the Sheep, and Feed the Lambs. And it is not enough that Men are able to say their Catechize by rote, but the Minister must la­bour in it, that they may have a confirmed knowledge of the truth: that they may have a clear, distinct and explicit understanding of the Doctrines of Religion: they must take pains to make them understand. Heb. 5.12. Ye need that one teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God.

(2.) BY solemn Warnings. That was Pauls practice. Act. 20.31. I ceased not to warn every one of you night and day with tears. That is the duty of the Watchman, Ezek. 33.8. There is great danger many times of publick calami­ties, because of the abounding of Sin among them; and he must warn them and reprove them. Isai. 58.1. Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, shew my people their trans­gression, and the house of Israel their sins. Godly Men are in danger to provoke God and bring sorrow upon themselves; and the Minister must warn them. Many lie in a natural condition, and in danger of damnation; they had need be warned. Mar. 16.16. Some are of an unruly and ungoverned conversation, [Page 11]if they continue so, their end will be destructi­on; these must be warned. 1 Thes. 5.14. Many Men that are in a dangerous way, are severe and bold, and the Minister must set the terrors of God before them; putting them in mind of the jealousy of God, and the ter­ribleness of his indignation. There be many Scriptures wherein God speaks terribly to un­godly Men, and Ministers should make these Scriptures ring in their ears, and be with ut­most solemnity telling them of their danger. Phil. 3.18, 19. Many walk of whom I have told you often, and now tell you weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction.

(3.) BY suitable Encouragement. Awakened Sinners are in danger, though seldom of des­pairing, yet of being discouraged; and that will be a great wrong to them, and Ministers must be careful to encourage them. God puts such words into their mouths. Isai. 55.6, 7, 8. Mat. 11.28. Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden. Some are in dan­ger to be discouraged from doing their duty, from fear of want, from fear of the anger of Man, for fear of reproach; but there are ma­ny promises in the Word of God to strengthen Mens hearts in such cases. Gal. 6.9. Let us not be weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap if we faint not. Some are ready to [Page 12]sink in their Spirits, because of their afflictions, their sins, their temptations, and their dan­gers: it is very fit such should be encouraged. 1 Thes. 5.14. Comfort the feeble-minded, sup­port the weak.

2. MINISTERS should preserve a People from Corruption by good Government. God has given power of ruling to Ministers. Heb. 13.13. Obey them that rule you and submit to them. He has given a power of binding and losing. Mat. 16.19. What thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven. And he appoints that they rule well, 1 Tim 5.17. Ministers have a corrcive power to execute censures on them that are obstinate. Ministers must have a tender and compassionate spirit, but when Men are sturdy and rebellious, severity is compassion; executing Ecclesiastical censures is a terror to evil doers: this is a proper means that their spirits may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus, 1 Cor. 5.5. Though private re­venge is utterly forbidden, yet they are to re­venge disobdience: 2 Cor. 10.6. Having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience. This is the way to purge out the old leaven, to bring Men to repentance, and to put a stop to prowing iniquities, that the Land be not de­filed.

3. BY being good Examples. Ministers must be Examples to the People in all virtuous car­riages. [Page 13]When Ministers teach Men their duty, they must be obedient, whether the Minister practices so or no. Mat. 23.3. What­soever they bid you observe, that observe and do: but do not ye after their works, for they say and do not. But Ministers had need give good Ex­amples. 1 Tim. 4.12. Be thou an example of the believers in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. If they give a good Example, their words will sink more into the hearts of Men. But if they addict themselves to any vice, Men will despise them, and their counsels and warnings, they will judge they don't believe themselves what they say, they will nauseate their Preaching. It would be very unpleasant to hear a Pharisee make a grave haurange against hypocrisy, and to hear a Judas declame against stealing. If Ministers be not of good conversation, Peo­ple will count their Preaching to be art and dissimulation: it will render them contemp­tible in the eyes of the People. Mal. 2.8, 9. Men could hardly be patient to hear a Drun­kard speak in the commendation of tempe­rance, and a wanton Man enlarge in the commendation of chastity.


A Faithful Ministry in a Land is a great Blessing. If God gives a People a good crop, [Page 14]if he give peace and health, they count they have received great Blessings: & yet they take but little notice of the mercy of God in giving a faithful Ministry unto them; but God reckons this a great mercy. Jer. 3.15. I will give them Pastors after mine own heart, that shall feed them with knowledge & understanding. Amos 2.11. I raised up of your sons for Prophets. They are great blessings on this account, that they are the Salt of the Land. If Mens Provisions should putrify for want of Salt it would be a great calamity: but if the People of the Land should grow corrupt for want of a Faithful Ministry, that would be a far greater calamity. When they are Faithful they are a means to prevent corruption. Mal. 2.6. He walked with me in peace & equity, and did turn many away from iniquity: that is great service.

1. FOR if they should be corrupt they would be a great affliction one to another. When a People carry orderly and holily they will be a great comfort one to another: they will make their conversation and society plea­sant and profitable, and they will dwell toge­ther in unity: Religion teaches Men to love one another; but when they are corrupt they will be as thorns in one anothers sides, Mic. 7.4. The best of them is as a brier, the most up­right is sharper then a thorn-hedge. They will [Page 15]be reproaching and backbiting one another, blasting the names of one another: Children will carry badly to Parents, and Parents to their Children; they will be injurious to one anothers Estates, cheating, oppressing, steal­ing; they will be quarrelling and fighting; they will be debauching one another; they will corrupt Mens Daughters, and Wives too; they will be plagues one to another.

2. THEN their Prosperity will do them hurt. If God bestows plenty and success on them, they will be taken with it, and it may be keep days of Thanksgiving: but they had better be without their Prosperity. Their blessings will become curses, their meat will be their poison, their prosperity will make them more secure and hard hearted: they will flatter themselves and take the more li­berty to be wicked, they will put false con­structions on the Providence of God, and take occasion to flatter themselves, and take the more liberty to carry loosly, they will take a liberty to be drunken, and live an effemi­nite life. But Jesurun waxed fat and kicked, thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness: therefore he forsook God that made him, and lightly esteemed the rock of his sal­vation, Deut. 32.15. So they will grow more covetous, their prosperity will be like oyl to [Page 16]feed the flame, it had been better for them to have been kept poor and low. Prov. 1.32. The prosperity of fools shall destroy them.

3. THEY will have a great deal of Judgment. If they prosper a while it wont continue, but the wrath of God will break out like fire. God will pursue them with the tokens of his anger. When Israel corrupted themselves in the Wilderness, the Plague came amongst them and many fell; sometime fiery serpents bit them: when they corrupted themselves in the land of Canaan, God sent the Mesopotamians, Moabites, Midians, Ammorites and Philistines upon them: and brought them into great distress, Jud. 5.8. God is a jealous God and will not let their sins go unrevenged. God has his days of Judgment, wherein they shall be called to an account: and then they will cry to God and he will not hear: iniquity is a root that beareth gall and wormwood, and their sins will cost them dear. Job. 21.17. God distributeth sorrows in his anger.

4. MULTITUDES of them will perish. When Religion flourishes among a People, they don't all go to Heaven when they die: many have but a name that they live; there is chaff as well as wheat; there be foolish Virgins a­mong the Wise. But when it is a corrupt time [Page 17]few are converted, the means of Grace are much blasted; Men are minding their carnal enjoyments more than Heaven: they have great temptations, and the temptations have great power, and few of them will find their way to Heaven; there will be but a small number of godly Men, they will fail much as in Sauls time. Psal. 12.1. Help Lord for the godly man ceaseth, for the faithful fail from a­mong the children of men. They will depend much upon their privileges and outward ser­vices; and generally as they dye they will go to hell: hell will be stocked with them: an evil generation, is a generation of God's wrath. So when Christ was here, Mat. 8.12. The children of the kingdom shall cast out into outer darkness, there shall be wailing and gnash­ing of teeth.


PEOPLE had need be careful that they don't provoke God to give them such a Ministry as will be like unsavoury Salt. Sometimes God doth leave a People to such a Ministry. Isai. 56.10. His watchmen are blind, they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, that cannot bark; sleeping; lying down, loving to slumber. Jer. 2.8. The Priests said not where is the Lord, and they that handle the law knew me not, and the Pastors have [Page 18]transgressed against me. Zech. 11.15, 16. The Lord said to me, take unto thee the instruments of a foolish shepherd, for I will raise a shepherd in the land, that shall not visit that which is cut off, &c. When God doth so it is in a way of punish­ment. It is a sign that such a People have greatly offended God, this is one way where­by God pours out his displeasure upon a pro­voking People, and when he doth so, they are like to grow more and more corrupt. The Scribes and Pharisees were such Mini­sters, they were blind guides, and the guide and the people both fell into the ditch; there­fore you should avoid such sins as may bring this judgment. There is often a suitableness between the sin & the punishment. You may do it;

1. BY barrenness under a Faithful Ministry. It is sometimes so that Faithful Ministers have very little success, they take a great deal of pains, and there is very little effect of it: Men dote upon the World, despise the Gos­pel, don't regard rules, make their hearts like an adamant, make a derision of the aw­ful threatnings of the Word of God. God in this case sometimes takes away their op­portunities. When the People of Judah brought forth only wild grapes, God threatens this judgment, Isai 5.6. I will lay it waste, and it shall not be pruned [...], but there shall [Page 19]come up briars and thorns, and I will command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. When Men dont profit by means, it is just with God to take away suitable means. God in anger gives them up to strong delusions, sends them such teachers as shall mis-lead them, and be a snare to them, and so they grow into corrupt prin­ciples, they did not like sound doctrine, and they are fitted with such teachers as shall nourish a spirit of security in them. 2 Thes. 2.10, 11, 12. Because they received not the love of the truth, God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie, &c.

2. BY abusing a Faithful Ministry. Some­times People cannot endure sound doctrine, and mis-use God's Prophets. 2. Chron. 36.16. They mocked the messengers of God, and despised his word, and mis-used his Prophets. They give them a great deal of trouble and molestation, they oppose them, contradict them, and are weakning their hands in their work. Sometimes they talk against them, Ezek. 33.30. Sometimes they per­secute them. This is a great provocation to God, and he many times punishes them, by leaving them to a corrupt and carnal Ministry, that will do them little good, and [...] to such as will do them a great deal of hurt. Thus God dealt with [Page 20]the People of Israel, they abused the Pro­phets that God had sent unto them; and God took vengeance on them by leaving them to false Prophets that deluded them, and were occasion of their ruin. Lam. 2.14. Thy Prophets have seen vain and foolish things for thee.

3. BY counting their Ministry a burden. Sometimes a sordid spirit prevails among a People, and they count their Ministers Bills of charge. They can lavish away a great deal in a Year, for the gratification of their pride and voluptuousness, and spend freely upon many frivolous occasi­ons, but the support of the Worship of God is counted a great burden: God may justly remove faithful teachers in a way of anger for this, and leave them to such tea­chers as shall not profit them. God is an­gry when they think much to maintain his Worship, God gives them wherewith to do it, and he doth so, that they may do it, and they provoke him, when they think that ill spent that is laid out that way. If Mini­sters sow unto them spiritual things, it is not a great thing if they reap their carnal things. 1 Cor. 9.11.

[Page 21]


LET this be the care of Ministers. Ministers must do their Office in being the Salt of the Land. We find great complaint of the Jewish Ministers before the Babylonish Captivity, in Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel. And after the Captivity in Ezra, Nehemiah, and Malachi. Ministers must not only be careful that they don't corrupt the Land by evil manners and false Doctrine; but also that they don't by their negligence suffer the People to corrupt themselves. It is a great fault in Ministers when they don't diligently study the mind of God, but spend their time in visits and wordly busi­ness. 1 Tim. 4.15. Meditate upon these things, give thy self wholly to them. And it is very blameable in them, when they Preach things that they have not duly studied. And it is a great sin in them, when they are a­fraid to deal faithfully, and to bear a testimony against the sins of the Land. If the Land be corrupted by their default, they will bring down the Anger of God upon themselves: if they countenance the sins of the Land, if they do not their duty for the preventing the sins of the Land, they will make themselves partakers of other [Page 22]Mens sins; and it will be a dreadful thing for God to charge the sins of the Land on them. As, Mal. 2.8. Ye have caused many to stumble at the law. But if they be serviceable ac­cording to their place, to keep the Land from being corrupted, God will reward them for it: He will be ready to acknowledge their service. As, Mal. 2.6. The law of truth was in his mouth, iniquity was not found in his lips, he walked with me in peace and equity; and it will be a great honour and comfort to them, that they have been instruments of the holiness of the Land: when the Sons of Levi are purified, the offerings of Judah will be accep­table to God. As, Mal. 3.3, 4.

THERE are four things that Ministers should labour in to prevent the Corruption of the Land.

1. THAT there be a good number of the People savingly Converted. Ministers should labour to convert as many as possible, not only out of a respect to the Salvation of their Souls, but to prevent the Corruption of the Land. If Men are converted they will lead holy lives. 1 Joh. 3.9. He that is born of God sinneth not. Men that are converted are not so apt to drink in false Doctrine as other Men; and they will have a great influence [Page 23]upon the conversation of others; but an unconverted generation will be a corrupt ge­neration. Judg. 2.10, 11. Converted Men will teach their Children the ways of God, and discountenance sinful practices: Con­verted Men will be good Examples: yea, they will savour of divine things, and thereby stir up that light that is in the consciences of o­thers. If Men that are converted have power, they will improve it for God.

2. THAT godly Men be kept in a flourishing condition. Converted Men may be in a wi­thering condition, and be carried away with a worldly spirit; but Ministers should be care­ful to keep them in a thriving way, that their Souls may be in a prosperous condition, that they may be in an healthy estate, and enjoy much of the presence of God. If godly Men be under decays, as sometimes they are, Rev. 2.4. Losing their first love, that will be a da­mage to the religion of a country. When they flourish they will walk more exactly ac­cording to the rules of the Gospel, they will be more zealous for God, they will more strongly resist temptation, they will be more savoury, and their discourses will be more edifying. Psal. 45.1. Their hearts will endita good matter, and their tongues will be as the pen of a ready writer. They will be more ex­emplary, [Page 24]and others, will be loath to grieve them.

3. THAT the Consciences of natural Men be kept tender. Ministers must labour to possess Men with a deep sense of the jealousy of God, and of the terrible Judgments that God executes for sin; they should be often setting matter of terror before Men, remembring them of Eternal punishments, of the awful ways wherein God takes vengeance on impenitent Sinners, that they may be afraid of Sin. 2 Cor. 5.11. Knowing the terrors of the Lord we perswade men. If their consciences be awakened, they will restrain them from sinful practices, and bridle in their corrup­tions. Mat. 19.20. All these things have I done from my youth. Their fear will dispose them to lead a religious life, and make them forbear ways of iniquity: Though destitute of Grace, yet they will carry them­selves commendably.

4. THAT they be well principled against the errors and vices of the age. Ignorance exposes a People to corrupt carriages: if Mens prin­ciples be erroneous they will carry badly, whether they be godly or ungodly. 2 Tim. 2.16. If Men mistake the rule, conscience will allow them to break it; yea, will force them to break it: But if Conscience be duly [Page 25]informed, many natural men will not dare to go against their light. Therefore Mini­sters should be careful to principle the Peo­ple aright, about the nature of true Conver­sion, about true signs of Grace, and about moral duties. Many Men are carried away with the corrupt practices of the Land, into ways of pride, injustice, and licenciousness, because they think they are lawful. If they were well taught they would reform. The Word of God would be like fire in them; they would not dare to do such things as now they do. When any ill practice prevails, the Minister should do as John did, Mat. 14.4. John said to him it is not lawful for then to have her.


This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.