[Page]
[Page]

He that would keep GOD's Commandments MUST Renounce the Society OF EVIL DOERS. A SERMON preach'd at the publick Lecture in Boston, July 18th. 1728. AFTER A Bloody and Mortal Duel.

By Joseph Sewall, M. A. Pastor of a CHURCH of CHRIST in Boston. With a PREFACE by the united MINISTERS of the said Town.

Prov. i. 10. My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.
xiii. 20.A companion of fools shall be destroyed.

BOSTON in NEW ENGLAND: Printed by B. Green, for Daniel Henchman, at his Shop over against the Brick Meeting-house in Cornhill. 1728.

[Page]

KIlling one another in Challenges to the Field, deserveth death by the Law of GOD and Man.

B. Usher.

Duellum est damnandum, tam in acceptante quam in provocante, quamvis major sit culpa provocantis.

D. Ames.
[Page]

A PREFACE BY THE United Ministers OF BOSTON.

THE ensuing Sermon was preach'd upon as lamentable an occasion, (of a private nature) as has been known among us, That any of the sons of New-England, who have been born and educated in this land of light, should be so forsaken of GOD, and given up to their lusts and passions, as [Page ii]to engage in a bloody and fatal DUEL, deserves to be bewailed with tears of blood. Hitherto our chil­dren, by the good hand of GOD upon them, have been restrain'd from this great transgression. But now that an instance of it among them, has been per­mitted in the holy and spotless providence of GOD, it certainly becomes the Lord's Ministers, not only to lament it in their prayers, and to cry (as they of old were directed to do, when a man was found slain in the field, and it was not known who did it, Deut. 21.8.) Be merciful, O LORD, unto thy people, and lay not innocent blood unto thy people's charge! But also loudly to testifie against it from the word of GOD, that this Sin, by the Command­ment, explain'd and inforc'd upon the minds and consciences of men, may appear to them to be ex­ceeding sinful, and others may fear, and do no more so wickedly: Without this we can't discharge the duty we owe to GOD and to our people; nor shall we be able to say, if the like should be again com­mitted, (which GOD prevent!) that we are pure from the blood of all men, the blood of their bodies and of their souls.

FROM conscience of duty in this regard (we believe) the following sermon was preach'd at the publick lecture in Boston, in which the case of Duelling is solidly and judiciously (tho' concisely and briefly) handled, and the sins which lead to it faithfully warn'd against.

AND we would all of us unite in a loud cry against a sin, the cry of which we are sure reacheth up to Heaven.

MURDER is a sin of the first magnitude; it is in its own nature the most execrable fact that can be committed; and hath been always so accoun­ted by those who have had even any humanity, not to say religion: The light of nature condemns it, [Page iii]and the consciences of all men startle at it. How vehemently it is forbidden, and how severely punish'd by the word & law of GOD, we need not say to those who are acquainted with their BIBLES. In short, the most barbarous people have a quick sense of the heinousness of this sin, and of the vengeance due to it, Acts 28.4.

BUT as there is no sin, no the vilest & blackest, but thro' the subtilty of the old serpent, may be varnish'd over with gay colours, so as to make a specious appearance to the simple and unwary; thus it has been with that we are now testifying against and condemning. And there are those to be met with, who will not allow one man's killing another, in what we call a Duel, i. e. a fight with instru­ments of death, upon a challenge given and accep­ted, to be a murder in the nature of the fact. But surely these men understand not what they say, nor whereof they affirm: They err, not knowing the Scriptures; not discerning how exceeding broad the commandment and law of GOD is; even that law which the Apostle tells us was not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly, and for sinners, for unholy and profane, FOR MAN-SLAYERS, 1 Tim. 1.9.

How comes this not to be a Murder? It is indeed an aggravated and complicated Murder. "Both kinds of murder are united in it; the mur­der of a man's self, and the murder of his nei'bour also". The man's voluntarily exposing his own life to this hazard, and opening his body (as it were) to the sword of him that slays him, does not make it otherwise. This is plain and evident, because no man has this power over his own life to lay it down of himself, at his own pleasure, and therefore cannot give power to another to take [Page iv]it away. For GOD is the absolute LORD of life, and has reserv'd the disposal of it intirely to himself.

THAT this is a heinous breach of the sixth commandment, is made evident in the following Ser­mon beyond sober contradiction: And it is our design not to add to it, but to concurr with it. Enough also is said in it, to shew how weak and false, how vain and absurd that plea and pretence is, with which some of the Hectors of the world would excuse and justifie the horrid practice, namely, That it is brave and heroic, gallant and honourable in this way to revenge affronts, and decide disputes. Were men's minds possess'd with a just notion of things, they would on the contrary pronounce it base and igno­ble, scandalous & dishonourable, to give or accept a challenge; for they who do so appear to be destitute of those vertues and graces which adorn and ennoble the humane soul, and which are always requisite to make a great man: And it is impos­sible for an action to be truly valorous or honoura­ble, which proceeds from such base and vile principles as pride, hatred, covetousness, revenge, and the like, the common incentives to Duels. No; let it never be call'd manly courage, but brutal rage, or devilish fury.

THE thing should not be nam'd among us, but with the utmost indignation and detestation, as becometh christians And we can't but joyn, all of us, in that humble motion to our civil Rulers, that a severer Edict may be made against it, and some farther brand of infamy put upon it by Law.

AND, Oh! that all our young people may con­ceive a horror at the tho't of this crime! And may be effectually warn'd to shun every thing that leads to, or may be an occasion of it; to flee those [Page v] lusts from whence comes wars and fightings, duels and blood-shed; and especially EVIL COMPANIONS, which it is the business of the ensuing discourse to disswade from, and to whom many a hopeful and promising a youth has fallen a sacrifice.

OUR hearts even bleed when we think of the danger the children of our people are in at this day, of being led into all licentiousness, by the sinners which entice and enchant them, till they are drowned in destruction and perdition. As our be­loved sons and brethren, with all compassion and earnestness, we warn you. Such of you as are not yet entangled in the fatal snare, Take heed to your selves, and keep your souls diligently. Such of you as are already taken, break out of it immediately and with resolution: Do this now, my son, deliver thy self as a roe from the hand of the hunter. Let others harms be your warnings. As one thus gives the reason of Job's pious care concerning his Sons,

"For he with mournsul eyes had often spy'd,
"Scatter'd on pleasures smooth but treach'rous tide,
"The spoils of virtue overpower'd by sense,
"And floating wreeks of ruin'd innocence.

BUT, O our GOD! we cry to Thee to save the children of thy people? We have, in some measure, warn'd them in thy Name, and called after them, Thou knowest! But, Oh! do Thou lay hold of their hearts by thy omnipotent grace, and keep them from going astray from Thee! Such as are at this time wandring upon the moun­tains of desolation, let the hand of mercy turn them back! And let us not see the enemy of mankind, the roaring lion of hell, driving away the hopes [Page vi]of our flocks before our eyes! And let the late providence, (wherein Thou art speaking to them by terrible things in righteousness) have a restraining, and (If it may be thy will) a converting influence upon them!

  • Benjamin Colman
  • Peter Thacher
  • Thomas Prince
  • John Webb
  • William Cooper
  • Thomas Foxcroft
  • Samuel Checkley
  • William Welsteed
  • Joshua Gee
  • Charles Chauncy.
[Page 1]

Such as would Keep GOD's Law must shun the Company of evil Doers.

PSALM CXIX. 115.

Depart from me, ye evil doers; for I will keep the Commandments of my God.

TO Fear GOD, and keep His Com­mandments is the whole duty of Man. And this GOD's People are peculiarly oblig'd to, because the LORD is their GOD: He hath writ­to them the great things of his Law, and taken them nigh to Himself in his Covenant, Exod. 20.2, 3. I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Now, in order to this it is very need­ful that we separate our selves from wicked men, who openly contemn GOD's Authority & Laws. Accordingly the Psalmist speaks to such in the words of my text, Depart from me, ye evil doers— By evil doers we are to understand the workers of iniquity, who make a business of Sinning, and seek to draw others into a fellowship with them in their works of darkness. In the latter clause of the v. He gives the reason; For I will keep the Commandments of my God. He had chosen the [Page 2]Lord JEHOVAH for his GOD, and was re­solv'd to live in Obedience to Him, and therefore wou'd avoid the Society of ungodly Men, who are Enemies to GOD and his holy Laws.

DOCTRINE.

IF we wou'd keep the Commandments of GOD, we must Renounce the communion and familiar Society of evil Doers.

I shall not spend time to prove this plain Truth; that it is our duty to keep the Commandments of GOD. But shall speak to these Two Propositions only under the Doctrine.

I. Evil doers make use of many pernicious Arts and Methods whereby they seek to prevail on Men to joyn with them in breaking GOD's Command­ments.

II. We must therefore Renounce their familiar Society, if we wou'd keep GOD's Commandments.

PROP. I. EVIL doers make use of many perni­cious Arts and Methods whereby they seek to prevail on Men to joyn with them in breaking GOD's Commandments.

THIS is strongly implied in the reason given for shunning the Society of such wicked Persons; For I will keep, &c. Under this First Proposition, there are these two things,

I. We may Consider some of those Sins which evil Doers seek to draw others into, and prevail upon them to Commit.

[Page 3] II. Some of the vile Arts they use to draw others into such Sins.

I. We may Consider some of those Sins which evil doers seek to draw others into, and prevail upon them to Commit.

NOW there are no Sins so vile, but ungodly Men will tempt others to commit. I shall rank them under two Heads agreable to the two great and comprehensive Commands of GOD's Law mention'd by our Saviour, Mat. 22 37-40

1. EVIL doers seek to draw others into those Sins which are contrary to the Duties we owe to GOD.

THE Sum of these is contain'd in those words, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy beart, — 37. v. But these Sinners are haters of GOD: They say to GOD, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways, Job 21.24. And then they endeavour to draw others into open Rebellions against Him, as if they wou'd in this way strengthen themselves against the Al­mighty. Thus they tempt them to sorsake the GOD of their Fathers, and the pure Worship He hath appointed in his word for lying Vanities. It is said of Solomon's Wives, That they turned away his heart after other gods, 1 King 11.4. There are false Opinions and evil Practices which Sin­ners perswade Men to embrace contrary to GOD's Law. Some Hereticks have compass'd Sea and Land to make Proselytes, and by cunning Crasti­ness have deceiv'd the simple & unwary Agrea­bly we have that caution, Eph. 4.14. That we hencesorth be no more children tossed to and fro, and carryed a out with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive. What pains hath the [Page 4] Whore of Babylon taken to make even Princes and Nations drink of the Wine of her Fornication! How many have been corrupted from the simpli­city that is in CHRIST, by these Seducers! Again, They tempt others to set their Mouths a­gainst Heaven, in profane Cursing and Swearing: A Horrible Crime! These abandon'd Wretches do not fear this Glorious & Fearful Name, THE LORD OUR GOD; they make a light matter of Blaspheming it, and provoke others to take it in Vain; tho' GOD assureth us, that he will not hold such guiltless. Furthermore, Evil doers Entice others many times to Profane the Day of the LORD, which GOD requireth us to Remem­ber to keep it holy; to neglect the Assembling themselves with GOD's People, to pay Homage to Him our Creator and Redeemer: A great O­mission indeed! And then to spend this precious time which shou'd, the whole of it, be sacred to the LORD, in Idleness, vain Discourses, or more hainous Practices. The like may be said as to Family Worship. Heads of Families are oblig'd to Bless their Houshold, (as David did ) by Praying for GOD's Blessing with and for them. But when Men follow wicked Company they are pre­vail'd upon to absent themselves, and grow re­gardless of this Duty, altho' GOD threaten to pour out his fury upon the Families that call not on his Name *. In a word, How many hopeful Young Persons and others, have by wicked Com­pany been led along from one degree of Sin to another, till they have come to sit in the seat of the scornful: To make a mock of Sin; to droll on the Scriptures, ridicule Religion, and scoff at the serious Professors of it.

[Page 5] 2. EVIL doers endeavour to draw others into the commission of those Sins which are contrary to the Duties which relate to our Neighbour, and our selves.

BOTH these come under that great Command, Thou shalt love thy Neighbour as thy self, and ac­cordingly I put them together. Here,

(1.) EVIL doers tempt Men to cost off all due Regard to the Authority GOD hath appointed among Men.

THEY are Sons of Belial which shake off the yoke, and they endeavour that others may do so to. Thus they prevail upon unwary People sometimes to deny their Parents that Honour which is their due, tho' this is the first Command with an espe­cial particular Promise annexed to it, Honour thy Father, &c. e. c. they tempt them to set light by Father and Mother; yea, to resemble the Prodi­gal Son, as represented in the Parable, Luk, 15. Who lest his Father's house, and wasted his sub­stance with riotous living. But I shall not it sist here.

(2.) EVIL doers tempt others to Contentions; yea, sometimes to the bainous Sin of Murder.

THE sixth Commandment is, Thou shalt not kill, Exod. 20.13. which forbids rash anger, ma­lice, hatred, &c. and all the out-breakings of such Lusts. But now, the wicked are like the troubled Sea which cannot rest: They will quarrel even with their nearest friends upon light affronts, &c. And when Contentions are risen among others, they seek rather to blow up than quench this un­natural fire, being instigated by the Evil One, who was a murderer from the beginning, Joh. 8.44. And here, there is a Sin which hath slain it's thousands, that I wou'd endeavour to show the [Page 6]Evil of, and that is the bloody Crime of Duelling, which Men have often been drawn into by the Sollicitations or Provocations of wick­ed Men, under a pretence of doing right to them­selves, of vindicating their Honour, and the like. It ought to be for a lamentation, that any among professed Protestants shou'd make light of this Sin; and the late tragical Instance of it among our selves, shou'd be deeply bewail'd. O that our Eyes were a fountain of tears, that we cou'd weep for this, that such unjustice shou'd be done in this Land of Uprightness! In this Land which is under such peculiar Obligations & Advantages to be an Habitation of Righteousness. The LORD grant it may not again be named as Committed among us. And now, that all, and particularly our Young People may have a just sense of this deadly evil, and keep clear from this great Trans­gression, I would offer a few things to shew,

1. THAT Duelling is an hainous breach of the Sixth Commandment; And he that destroy­eth his Neighbour's life this way, is guilty of the crying Sin of Murder.

2 THAT it is a vile Sin, and deserveth to have the greatest contempt pour'd upon it.

1. Duelling is an hainous Breach of the Sixth Commandment; And he that destroyeth his Neigh­bour's life this way, is guilty of the Crying Sin of Murder.

THIS will appear if we consider what this sin is. Now, They are guilty of this Evil who Fight with each other upon a private Quarrel pur­suant to a Challenge voluntarily given, and accepted.

[Page 7] THUS Men are guilty who meet by consent, and smite each other with the Fist of Wickedness, which is a breach of the Peace, an iniquity to be punish'd by the Judge. And who can tell what such a quarrel may proceed to when Men's passions are inflam'd? But then, Duelling in the com­mon use of the word, intends the Meeting of two Persons by agreement, and their Fighting with Mortal Weapons, in which there is an apparent hazard of life. In this case therefore necessary Self-Defence is excepted. If one Man violently assaults another so that he can have no other way of escape, but by repelling force with force, he may and ought to endeavour the preservation of his own Life, tho' this shou'd be by the Death of the Aggressor. And thus, David's Fighting with and slaying Goliah, was not a Duel in the sense we are speaking of; because it was in an open and lawful War, with the Approbation of the Civil Authority, and no doubt from the especial impulse of the Spirit of GOD, stirring him up to this heroick Action. Whereas in a Duel Men fight in a private quarrel, and to avenge themselves, without any call from GOD, or the Authority he hath appointed; yea, in opposition to Both. They presume to hazard, if not sacrifice their Lives to gratify the vile Lust of Pride, Wrath, Malice, &c. Now, thus to take away our brother's Life, as well as hazard our own, is a most unjust thing, and stands condemn'd in the Sixth Commandment, ‘which forbids the taking away of our own Life, or the Life of our Neigh­bour unjustly, & whatsoever tendeth thereunto.’ [Page 8]This is in desiance of GOD's Law, to go about to wrest the Sword out of the Magistrate's Hand, who is the Minister of GOD, a revenger to execute Wrath upon him that doeth evil, Rom. 13.4. This is for Men to destroy Men as the fishes of the Sea devour one another, having no ruler over them . This is for a Man to be judge and executioner in his own Cause, a most unrighteous thing. This is without any Warrant from GOD, or the Powers ordain'd of Him, voluntarily to slay our Neighbour. Now such are guilty of Blood. Yea, it is to come boldly and presumptuously upon him, in which case a Man was to be taken from GOD's Aliar, that be might die, Exod. 21.14. And the word of GOD declareth, that he who thus Smiteth his Neighbour with an instrument of iron, i. e. a mortal Weapon, is a Murderer, Numb. 35.16. Furthermore, such do in a sense enter into Covenant to seek each other's Life, then they often times let the Sun go down upon their wrath, and after time for Consideration come to this foul Play, with premeditated Malice; in which respect this Sin is more aggravated, than when one Man kills another in a sudden transport of Passion. Such an one upon a point of honour, falsely so call'd, or the like, bereaveth his brother of that which is most precious, his Life, which none can restore when once taken away; yea destroys a Creature that was made in the Image of GOD the Creator, and yet retains some remains of this in his Make and Coustitution, as he is a Spirit in flesh, tho' he hath lest his Moral Rectitude; which is the reason given why Murder must be punish'd with Death, Gen. 9.6. Add to this, he dreadfully [Page 9]hazards the loss of his Soul for ever, which is more worth than a World. Now, how vile and unreasonable is this upon comparatively a small injury, an affront, or the like, to shed our Neigh­bour's blood, and so bereave him at once of all temporal good, and of the means he enjoy'd of preparing for his eternal Well-being in the life to come. O unspeakable irreparable injury! Can he ever make him Restitution? No! His blood and life are pour'd out, as water spilt upon the ground which can't be gathered up. And then, which hath been already hinted, Duellers wickedly Endanger their own Lives, while they strike at their Neighbour's; Tho' GOD gives to every Man his own life as a sacred Depositum to be kept and improv'd by him for high and noble Ends, His own glory, and the Receivers everlast­ing happiness. Notwithstanding this such Per­sons break the great law of self preservation, hazarding their own lives, yea, vilely casting their own away many times, that they may be aveng'd of their Neighbours. How often have both fallen down slain together, or afterwards died of their wounds! They are cruel to their own flash, and tempt GOD to destroy them Body and Soul in Hell for ever, while they lay themselves open to temporal death, in and by the very act of Sinning. And alass! How unsit is the misera­ble Wretch that falls in such an Encounter to ap­pear before GOD His Judge, when distemper'd with Rage, and in the act of Rebellion against His holy Law! In a word, This is to go contrary to the Precepts of the great GOD our Saviour, who was manifest in flash, and took our Nature upon him that He might reconcile us to GOD by the Blood of His Cross, having slain the Enmity; [Page 10]and hath set before us a perfect Pattern of Meek­ness and Lowliness of Mind, of a forgiving and forbearing Spirit; And Commands us to Love our Enemies, Mat. 5.44. Yea, to suffer further wrong rather than avenge our selves, Mat. 5.39 But I say unto you, that ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. He forbids us to Avenge our selves. Rom 12.19. — Avenge not your selves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. To render evil for evil, &c. And the evil dispositions of Mind which leads to this great Sin, are also forbidden in the Gospel. Col 3.8. Put off all these anger, wrath, malice, —. Upon the whole, we may draw this Conclusion, That Duelling is an hainous and bloody crime. It stands condemn'd by the Law of GOD, the Laws of the Land, and by the Voice of the People, ex­pressing their just abhorrence of this deadly evil. This Sin is very d shonourable to GOD, and bane­ful to humane Society. What Peace or Safety can there be, if Men may be allow'd thus to de­stroy one another? And if so, it must needs be a vile thing, and most reproachful to the Authors and Abetters of it. Which brings me to the se­cond thing.

2. Duelling is a vile Sin, and deserveth to have the greatest Contempt pour'd upon it. GOD is the fountain of all true Honour. Man's Pri­mitive glory consisted chiefly in his bearing the Image of his Maker, and in being conformed to his Law. When he transgress'd, the crown fell from his head, and his honour was laid in the dust. He became like the beasts that perish, Psal. [Page 11]49.12. He corrupted himself by Sin, and became vile in GOD's sight, whose judgment must be ac­cording to truth. Sin is every where spoken a­gainst in the Oracles of GOD, as an odious and filthy thing. Such as live in the allow'd commis­sion of it are called fools, Prov. 14.9. Fools make a mock of sin. Psal. 14.1. The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God: they are corrupt, they have done abominable works, —. And it is said that Shame shall be their promotion, Prov. 3.35. Sin is a Reproach to any People, Prov. 14.34. And provokes GOD to pour contempt on parti­cular Persons. 1 Sam. 2.30 — They that des­pise me shall be lightly esteemd. Such as live in it, make themselves vile, 1 Sam. 3.13. They that glory in it glory in their shame, and such as die under the guilt of it must, as the abhorred of the LORD, be doom'd to blackness of darkness for­ever. And to speak more directly to the point, This hainous Sin of Duelling deserveth to be branded with the greatest disgrace and ignominy. Indeed the Men of the World, who are kept in bondage to Sin by false notions of honour, may imagine it the part of a Magnanimous Spirit thus to resent and revenge an injury offer'd them; but unless we wou'd be condemn'd with the World, in the terrible day of the LORD, we must not now be conform'd to it in such corrupt Principles and Practices. The word of GOD according to which we must be judg'd, declareth the contrary. Prov. 14.29 He that is slow to wrath is of great under­standing: but be that is hasly of spirit exalteth folly. and 19.11. The discretion of a man deferreth his anger, and it is his glory to pass over a grans­gression. A meek and quiet Spirit is an ornament of great price in the fight of GOD. For Men by [Page 12]the Grace of GOD to overcome their Passions, and keep them under due regulation when provok'd, is the part of a truly gallant and generous Spirit. Prov. 16.32. He that is slow to anger, is better than the mighty and be that ruleth his spirit, than be that taketh a city. Here's a victory which such as obtain, shall inherit glory. e. c How haked and exposed is that Man, how mean and vile doth he appear, whose Reason and Conscience are en­slav'd to his passion! He is like a City broken down, and without walls, Prov. 25.28. The Devil and his own lusts tyranize over him. How weak is his heart that can't bear an injury without run­ning himself on the point of another's Sword, or deserving an ignominious death by the abuse of his own! When as if he hath been injur'd there are ways in which he may honourably seek his Right, and have the blame laid upon the guilty Person. But is it not a brave and couragious thing for Men when provok'd in this way to shew that they are not afraid of their flesh? No! No! True Valour is a vertue, and the Exercise of it supposeth a just cause; whereas in this Sin Men lay aside all proper regard to right Reason & Re­ligion, which are their glory, and with a worse than bruitish fury, fly in the face of GOD Him­self. As they, Job 15.25, 26. He stretcheth out his hand against God, and strengthneth himself a­gainst the Almighty. He runneth upon him, even on his neck upon the thick bosses of his bucklers. And suppose such fall in the Encounter, Do they die in the bed of honour? No surely, they die as fools and mad-men overcome of vile lusts, and are in the utmost hazard of arising to everlasting shame and contempt, at the last day; when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from Heaven with his [Page 13] mighty Angels, in flaming fire, taken vengeance on them that know not God, and obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Alass! This Sin often­times leaves Men scarce any space for Repentance. But suppose they come off Victors: Have they any joy or glory in such a Victory? No! They must now say something, as wicked Lamech, I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt While their brother's blood cries from the ground for vengeance against them. Now they must ingloriously fly and hide, be pur­sued by Authority, as Murderers; and if they are apprehended and the Fact is prov'd, must suffer a shameful death, which hath peculiar Marks of the Curse of GOD upon it *. And tho' such shou'd escape this punishment from Men, yet unless their Consciences be sear'd, they will carry the sentence of Condemnation in their own bosorns where-ever they fly, and be a terror to themselves, fearing lest the Vengeance of GOD shou'd overtake them. But can't the Sin of wilful Murder be pardon'd, and so the shame & punishment be taken away? No! not by Man. Prov. 28.17. A man that doth violence to the blood of any person, shall flee to the pit, let no man stay him. Such are dreadfully defil'd themselves, and the Land is so defil'd by them, that it can't be cleans'd unless due care be taken that Justice be done. Numb. 25.33.—Blood it defileth the land: and the land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it. The Earth seems to groan under such as a burden it can't bear. GOD's Name is highly dishonour'd, his Wrath incens'd, and hu­mane Society greatly injur'd, where this Sin is tolerated. What shame and confusion then must [Page 14]follow this Sin, when GOD and Man declare that the Sinner is not fit to live? The best that can be suppos'd is, That even these great transgressors upon their bitter Repentance, and upon their fly­ing for Refuge unto JESUS CHRIST, whose Blood cleanseth from all sin ; may find Mercy, so that their Souls shall be sav'd in the day of the LORD. The Blood of CHRIST, which is the blood of GOD, Speaketh better things than the blood of Abel; It is of virtue sufficient to wash away Sins that are as scarlet and crimson, Psal. 51.7. Isai. 1 18. But then, such Sinners must be a­sham'd and confounded under the most afflictive sense of the dishonour done to GOD by their Sins, and of their own vileness upon the account of them; they must abhor themselves in his sight, and condemning themselves, plead the Merits of CHRIST, for Pardon, Relving upon Him by Faith, who is the Propitiation for the Sins of His People. If they go on impenitently, they must be led forth with the workers of iniquity in the Day of Judgment, be openly condemn'd, and punish'd with everlasting Destruction from the presence of the LORD, and the glory of His Power. But it may be some of these things will be thought a digression from the Head last menti­on'd. I hope all may serve to shew us, what an hainous and vile Sin this is. However, I speak not these things as presuming to sit in judgment, and pass sentence upon any particular Persons charg'd with this Crime.

MAY our honoured Rulers be directed and spirited at all times, to be a Terror to such evil works and workers, that the guilt of blood may not lie on the Land. May they be humbly [Page 15]intreated to put some further and more effectual Mark of disgrace upon the great Evil of giving or accepting a Challenge to fight a Duel.

NOR hath any word been spoken with a de­sign to wound such as are already greatly distressed. No! my heart's desire and prayer is, That they may be enabl'd to Mourn after a godly sort, and then Experience the Presence of CHRIST with them, giving them the oyl of joy for Mourning. May the Comforter which shou'd relieve their Souls not be far from them. And GOD, who can make all things work toge­ther for good, bring light to them out of this thick darkness.

THESE Truths are deliver'd, that on this publick Occasion, some further Testimony may be born against a deadly Evil, concurring with that which hath been already faithfully given by a superiour Hand , in another Assembly. That we may all, and particularly our Young People, have a just Abhorrence of this Crime, and avoid all approaches to it. Hear, and fear and not do so wickedly.

IN a word, Let us with holy indignation a­gainst this Sin, say as Jacob, even of his own Sons Murder of the Shechemites, Gen. 49 6, 7. O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine bonour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their self-will they digged down a wall. Gursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel.

[Page 16] 3. EVIL doers tempt Others to the Sin of Drunkenness.

THIS is a vile Sin, and such as live & allow themselves in it can't inherit the Kingdom of GOD, 1 Cor 6.9, 10. There is a Wo denounc'd against such Sinners. Isai. 5.22. Wo unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink And 28.1, 3. Wo to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim. And also against them that entice others to commit this Sin. Hab. 2 15, 16. Wo to him that giveth his neighbour drink: that putteth thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayst look on their nakedness. Thou art filled with shame for glory: drink thou also, and let thy foreskin be un­covered: the cup of the LORDS right hand shall be turned unto thee, and shameful spewing shall be on all thy glory. But these evil doers make light of GOD's dreadful threatnings, and so entice others to run into temptations to this Sin, by a needless frequenting of Taverns, by drinking Healths, &c. And alass! how often have unwary People been prevail'd upon to drink to excess by such Companions; tho' GOD warns us against this Sin, whereby the good motions of His Spirit are quenched. Eph. 5.18. Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spi­rit. And Contentions with other evils flow from it. Prov. 23 29, 30. Who hath wo? who hath sor­row? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who bath wounds without cause? who hath redness­of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine, they that go to seek mixt wine.

4. EVIL doers tempt Others to the Sin of Uncleanness.

[Page 17] THIS Sin is strictly forbidden in GOD's Law, Eph. 5.3. But Fornication, and all Unclean­ness, let it not be once named among you, as be­cometh saints. It dreadfully defiles both the Body, and Soul. And GOD threatens that He will Judge Whore mongers & Adulterers. Notwithstand­ing which, Evil doers commit this Sin themselves, and entice others to it. Thus the Strange woman, Prov. 7, 6—23. But I may not inlarge here.

5. EVIL doers tempt Others to the Sin of Gaming.

IT is a great Breach of the Eighth Command­ment, for Men to use Gaming as a trade to get Money. And yet some practise it, and tempt others to it for filthy lucre. Games in themselves innocent become unlawful, when Men play for Sums of Money, or spend much precious time at them, making a business of that which is design'd for Recreation. This is wickedly to pervert the end and use of them. And then, the Games fre­quently us'd to get gain, are by worthy Divines judg'd unlawful in themselves; such are Dice and Cards. Thus the judicious Dr. Ames, "con­demns such Games as depend upon a Lot wholly or principally, and that because in Lots there's no exercise or trial of skill; because a Lot contains a special appeal to that Providence whereby it is govern'd, Prov. 16.33. The Lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord, Because such Plays do from their own Nature offer a singular occasion to various Sins, as Cursing, and Blaspheming upon the account of their bad fortune and ill luck, as they call it, (and what is this, but to blaspheme the Provi­dence of GOD;) also to obstinate Contention, [Page]while they are expecting what they account a more equal Lot." . And from the nature of these Games it may further be said, that they have a pernicious tendency to bewitch Men. For when there is chiefly a trial of skill, and a Man finds his Antagonist is more than his match, by being beaten several times, he is discourag'd and willing to give over: But in Games of Lot­tery a Man thinks he is overcome not so much by his Neighbour's skill as by some good luck or chance, as they speak, which he hath in his fa­vour; and so he is tempted to try again & again, hoping to gain this on his own side, till he hath prodigally thrown away much of his Estate. And when Men are finally disappointed, how apt are they to curse GOD and quarrel with Men! I might add, That GOD seems in his Providence to have set an especial Mark of his displeasure on these Games in the Evils conse­quent upon them; and then, they are of ill re­port with the most sober, judicious Christians. Let all then avoid such Games, and the Entice­ments of Sinners to them. If any have got their Neighbour's Money in such unlawful ways, let them Repent and make Restitution, lest the Curse of GOD enter into their Souls, and into their Houses, and consume them. Jer. 17.11. As the partridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not: so be that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool. If any Young People, or others have addicted themselves to this vile Sin, let them now take warning by the Providence of GOD, and reform, lest it lead to others that shall Prove their Ruin.

[Page 19] II. WE may consider some of the vile Methods wicked Men use to draw Others into Sin.

I can't pretend to unfold all the mysteries of iniquity, nor discover all the stratagems us'd by them to compass their evil designs. I shall hint at some more obvious, that we may resist these instruments of the Devil, not being ignorant of their devices. Now sometimes they attempt this by Professing Friendship, they infinuate them­selves by pretending Esteem, they speak them fair and seek to beguile them with enticing words. Prov. 7.21, 22. With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him. He goeth after her straight­way, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks. Thus they flatter un­wary Creatures to their Ruin. As Joah said to Amasa, art thou in health my brother, and took him by the beard to kiss him; but smote him, and shed out his bowels to the ground, 2 Sam. 20.9, 10. At other times they tempt by their Countenance and Gestures. Prov. 6.13. He winketh with his eyes, he speaketh with his feel, be teacheth with his fingers. There's a wanton Eye, impure Glances, &c. Sometimes they use fair Promises. Prov. 1.11, 13. Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause: Let us swallow them up alive as the grave, and whole, as those that go down into the pit. We shall sind all precious substance. Thus the Adulterous Woman promis'd the foolish Young Man pleasure, that they shou'd not be detected in their wicked­ness, &c. Prov. 7.18, 20. Thus they hide the hook with a gilded bate, and cover the snare, that they may catch unwary People, and draw them into mischief, as the fishes of the sea are taken [Page 20]in an evil net, and as the birds are caught in the snare. At other times they Threaten them, to ex­pose them, &c. Thus if Men seem to depend upon them for their business, &c. they will put them in fear lest they fail them, unless they com­ply with them in such or such evil Practices; they must follow them to the Tavern, it may be, or other Places of temptation; they must keep open their Shops, and work on the Evening before the Sabbath day-light, or these evil Men will deny them their Custom. Yea, such evil doers have sometimes endeavoured to offer violence to Men's Consciences by breathing out threatnings and slaughter against the followers of JESUS CHRIST. Thus did Saul before his Conversion, Act. 9.1. He compelled the professors of the Name of CHRIST, to blaspheme the Son of GOD, Act. 26.11. Not as if Men cou'd in a strict sense be laid under a necessity of Sinning; they ought ra­ther to suffer the most grievous torments, yea, death it self. But then, such Sinners seek in this way to testify, and as much as in them lies to force them to act contrary to the light and convictions of their own Consciences. An impious thing in­deed! Again, sometimes they tempt to Sin under a colour of zeal for Religion. As the Scribes and Pharisees taught, That if Children devoted what they cou'd spare to the Treasury of the Temple, they were free from their obligation to Recom­pence their poor Parents, and so sought to render the fifth Commandment of no effect, Mat. 15.5—7.

At other times they lay aside the mask, and impudently Banter Men out of their Religion, seeking to represent this most excellent thing as unbecoming Men of fashion and breeding. Abo­minable impiety!

[Page 21]

PROP. II. WE must therefore Renounce the Communion and intimate Society of Evil doers, if we wou'd keep the Commandments of GOD.

WE must not stand in the way of Sinners, who use such arts of enticement; but say to them. Depart from us. We shou'd maintain an inward abhorrence of their evil Deeds. Psal. 119 158. I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved: because they kept not thy word. And if at any time they seek to draw us into Sin, we shou'd give them a peremptory and resolute denial; yea, we shou'd make them know, we are determin'd to deny them by shunning their Company. As Joseph, not only denied his unchast Mistress; but lest his Garment, and got out, Gen. 39.10—12. We must have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them , in Words and by contrary works. In our several Places we shou'd testify against their evil Deeds, that they may be asham'd and reform'd; or, if they persist may be punish'd. And while they glory in their shame, we shou'd not be asham'd of our glory; but hold fast the open profession and practice of Religion, and let them know, that if this be to be vile, we will be yet more vile in their eyes. We must be ready to own the LORD for our GOD, and declare to them, That whatever they do, as for us we will serve the LORD. We shou'd shew them the ground of the controversy, that while we wish well to their Persons, we are offended with their evil Deeds, and resolv'd to walk con­trary to them by keeping in the way of GOD's Commandments. In such ways as these shou'd we separate from them, & say to them depart from us.

[Page 22]

APPLICATION.

USE, 1. DO wicked Men tempt Others to Sin? Learn hence, What Enemies they are to GOD, their own Souls, and the Souls of Others. These are the Achans, the troublers of Israel; they are fighters against GOD, wound their own Souls, and have a great hand in corrupting the Places where they dwell, Eccl. 9.18. One sinner destroy­eth much good. If there be any such here then, I wou'd hope there are none, O consider how cruel you are to your own Souls, and what a dreadful account you have to give up? And now bitterly repent, and fly to JESUS CHRIST, who came into the World to save Sinners, even the Chief of them. Do not go on to fight against GOD your selves, and to tempt Others to break His Commands, lest He tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver; but now humble your selves before Him, lay down the weapons of your Rebellion, and cry for Mercy.

AND let us all Mourn because the times are so perilous by reason of Evil doers; Let us stir up our selves against them, and pray as Psal. 7.9. Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end, but establish the just.

2. DO Evil doers tempt Others to break GOD's Commandments, and must we for this reason renounce their Society? we should then be the Companions of such as Fear the LORD, and Unite with them in the best Endeavours to promote Obedience to GOD's Commandments. Psal 116.63. I am a companion of all them that fear thee, [Page 23]and of them that keep thy Precepts. We shou'd choose to walk with them that have spiritual Wisdom, and resolve that their People shall be our People, and their GOD our GOD. We should prize the Communion of Saints, and joyn our selves with the faithful People of GOD, in some One or other of the Churches of our Lord JESUS CHRIST, to walk with them in the Com­mandments and Ordinances of the LORD. And then, the People of GOD shou'd watch over One another for their mutual Edification, they shou'd Provoke one another to love & good works , and Exhort one another daily, lest any be hardned thro' the deceitfulness of Sin. Yea, they should according to their several Places Unite their En­deavours to turn Sinners from the Errors of their ways, that they may, as instruments in GOD's hand, save their Souls from death. When you see how eager wicked Men are to draw Others in­to Sin, you shou'd be excited to do your utmost to preserve them from it, or reclaim them by your good Counsels, Warnings and Reproofs. Thus you shou'd counter-work Satan and wicked Men. O that the Children of GOD were as active in this, as the Devil and his instruments are in the other! I Pray GOD that further Methods may be us'd to promote Societies for the Roformation of Manners.

3. LET us all, and particularly our Young People, be Exhorted to shun the Company of Evil doers, that we may keep the Commandments of our GOD.

[Page 24] THE LORD is our GOD, and we shou'd prepare Him an habitation; our Father's GOD, and we shou'd Exalt Him. We have generally been devoted to Him in Baptism, who is the only true and living GOD, the FATHER, the SON and the HOLY GHOST. The bonds of the Co­venant are upon us, and therefore as soon as we are grown up to Years of discretion, we shou'd give up our selves to GOD, to love, obey and serve Him for ever, depending on the Merits of JESUS CHRIST for pardon and acceptance, and on His Spirit & Grace for strength to enable us to keep all GOD's Commandments. But what Communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial ? We can't be conform'd to this World, and at the same time prove what is that good, and acceptable and per­fect will of GOD. Agreably we have that call of GOD, 2 Cor. 6.17, 18. Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. Let us then renounce the Society of the wicked that our fellowship may be with the Father, and his Son Jesus Christ, and that we may walk before Him in new Obedience. Let us say, as Psal. 26.5. I have hated the congregation of evil doers: and will not sit with the wicked. For Vice is catching, and we have all that corruption in us, which is apt to take the infection. Let Elder Persons be careful to avoid this great Evil. Do you, who can speak with more Authority, say to Evil doers, Depart from us, — And be resolute and un­wearied in your endeavours to keep your Children [Page 25]and Young People from falling into this snare. Warn them against this Evil, and Restrain them from it, lest they make themselves vile, and GOD be provok'd to judge their Houses, for the provo­king of Sons and Daughters. Rise up for GOD against such Evil doers as wou'd lead your Children out of the paths of GOD's Commandments, and zealously oppose them And, O our Young People, be you in an especial manner Exhorted to fly evil Company; for the way of Sinners leads to death and takes hold of Hell. Obey that word then, Prov 1.10. My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. Let the late most awful event of Pro­vidence, in which GOD hath reveal'd His Wrath against this destructive Evil, be a warning to you. And now say, as Psal. 119 119, 120. Thou puttest away all the wicked of the earth like dross: there­fore I love thy testimonies. My flesh trembleth for fear of thee, and I am afraid of thy judgments. O consider this well, look upon it and receive in­struction! lest you mourn at the last. Further, to move you to take heed and beware of the Soci­ety of Evil doers, Consider and lay these following things to heart. Transgressors will often be more bold in tempting you who have less Experience, and are more easily Susceptible of impressions than Persons of riper Age; and being sensible of your danger, watch and pray, lest you enter into this Temptation. Consider! Evil doers wickedly depart from GOD, and if you go with them, they will draw you from Him, and provoke Him to withdraw from you. Now, They that are far from GOD shall perish . By this Evil many well Educated & hopeful Young Persons have forfeited and lost even the common Restraints of GOD's [Page 26]Spirit, and so run into all excess of Riot. Consider, If you follow these Sinners, you will get a wound and dishonor. How did Jacobs Daughter expose her honour and chastity when she went to see the Daughters of the Land! Gen 34.1. It is a proverbial saying A man is known by his Com­pany *. So that this is the way to be look'd upon as one of the fools in Israel. And will you forfeit your good Name with the wise and good, to gra­tify the worst of Men? O do it not! Again, Consider, the Sins such tempt you to have a ten­dency to bring miseries upon you in this life, yea to cut short your days. The way of transgressors is hard. Destruction & misery are in their paths, and the End is death, Psal. 37.6. Evil doers shall be cut off. And will you give your Years, the flower of your days, to such cruel ones that hunt for the precious life? Ah foolish and unwise! Turn ye, Turn ye, why will you die! O take heed! lest you become over much wicked, and die before your time . How often have Malefactors when brought to the Gallows confess'd that wicked Company was their Ruin! Consider, If you go with them, you will be in great danger of perish­ing with them for ever in Hell. Job 31.3. Is not destruction to the wicked? and a strange punish­ment to the workers of iniquity? Yes surely. GOD sometimes inflicts amazing Judgments on them in this life; but suppose, as to outward ap­pearance, there shou'd now be one Event to the Righteous and the wicked; yet the Judge of all Earth will do right. Such profligate Sinners, if they die impenitent, Shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which [Page 27]is the second death, Rev. 21.8. And tho' they may seem to strengthen one another in their sin­ful practices, yet they do but increase their guilt, and prepare for a much sorer punishment. Prov. 11.21. Though hand joyn in hand, the wicked shall not be unpanished. O be perswaded then to keep at a distance from them lest you perish with them, and have a dreadful meeting in the Place of Torments where shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, Mat. 8.12. Lest in the terrible Day of the LORD, you be found with them on CHRIST's left hand, and receive that Doom, Mat. 25.41. Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. For the un­godly shall not stand in the Judgment, nor Sin­ners in the Congregation of the Righteousness, Psal. 1.5. Come out then, be not Partakers of their Sins, that ye receive not of their Pagues . Depart from the Tents of these wicked Men, lest ye be consum'd in all their Sins *. A companion of fools shall be destroyed, Prov. 13.20. O do not then associate your selves with such, lest GOD gather your Souls with Sinners, and your lives with bloody Men. Now, hear the Voice of Wis­dom, of CHRIST, who is the Wisdom of GOD. Prov. 9.6 Forsake the foolish, and live. — Make haste to this precious Saviour, who hath said, They that seek me early shall find me. And seek Rest and Protection under the shadow of his Wings. The LORD draw you to Him, that you may dwell safely, and be quiet from fear of evil. Cry to GOD for Restraining and Saving Grace. Take with you words and say, Psal 19.12, 13. Who can understand his errours? cleanse thou me [Page 28]from [...] faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins, let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. Psal. 51.10, 11. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy holy spirit from me. I shall be not at rest till you have experienc'd the New Birth, and that word be fulfill'd in you, Ezek. 36.27. I will put my spirit within you, and couse you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. For, Great Peace have they that love GOD's Law: and nothing shall offend them, Psal. 119.165. And in keep­ing His Commandments there is a great Reward. Psal. 1.1 — 3. Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, not standeth in the way of sinners, nor suteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in his law doth be meditate day and night. And be shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in due seoson; his leaf also shall not wither, and whatsoever be doeth shall prosper.

FINIS.

ERRATA.

PAge 7 line 27. for Lust read Lusts. p. 9. l. 21. f. their own r. them. p. 13. l. 1. f. taken [...]taking. p. 20. l. 22. f. testify r. terrify.

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.