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for my pains , or jeer'd for my precisenese (and 'cis hard to bear disgrace) or I shall get ill will and anger from the party 1 reprove, and I am fearful of giving offence, &c.
sol. Hach God commanded thee a Duty, and wilt thou not do it for fear of offending man? Is it not a fad case, we should more fear to dis
please a sinful creature, by admonishing him of his 7 sin, than to offend God by neglecting our duty
This Objection supposes a man loath to serve Godor his brother of that which costs him
any thing. Art chou co let him drop into Hell quietly, for fear of angring him, or deriving some of his displeasure upon thee? Are thou out of fearfulnesse or bashfulnesse , out of a fuggish cowardize, and want of zeal to the Glory of God, and the good of thy brother, to be filent, and to comply with him in his fin, and let him go undisturbedly
to Hell? The civility of not repraving a brother #1 (when there is need) amounts to this, to have c the heart to see him be poison’d, and not dare
present him with an Antidote, least that fhould 1
let him know he is conceiv'd to be in danger of peo'rishing. Should such an irrational custom come
into the world, to make it uncivil for Schollers ( when they meet together ) to talk of books; allowing them any other kind of discourse but that which tends to the bettering one another ;
Whac were to be done by Students in this case, o but to cake up a resolution to bear down this irra
tional custom by bringing in the contrary? So truly, if ic be the civility and mode of the world, to talk prophanely, co scoffe at Religion, to derid. strictnesse, &c. and must be counced rudenese and unmannerlinese to discharge this duty of admonishing an offending brother, or speaking any thing to him, that may tend to the saving bis Soul; What should all sober Christians do in this case, but even resolve unanimously to bear down such an irreligious custom (which betraies many souls to everlasting ruine ) and co be no more pufillanimous and faint-hearted, but faithfully to practise this excellent, though difrelibes duty, maygre all opposition froni che world? And this were the way to bring Piety into repat!, and co make fin sneak and bide ics head, when it shall be seen that Religion is own’d and opesh avowed by the Profesors of it.
obj.3. To.reprove offenders is to little purpes, they will amend never the fooner.
Sol. Who ari thon that thus repliest against God? Do the Duty be enjoins thee, and leave the fucceffe. co bim. Canst thou tell how, or when or by what means, God will work upon the bear: of a sonner? Though thy reproof should do m good for the present, yet thou knoweft not wh: impression ic may make, and what operation ! may have afterward. The feed may take root is the ground, and after many daies spring up, thong it do not inftantly. Many finners are of a pros. humour, and will not for che present acknowledge ry
ang crime, least that should passe for a submission, yer afterwards ( pofsibly) upon sober judging and considering the reasonableniffe and equity of che reproof, may be willing to amend that prie vatly upon their own choice, which they would not do upon
their brochers admonition. We must have patience, and in meekneffe instruct those that oppose themselves, if God peradventare will give them.repentance to the acknowledging of the Truth, as the Apostle directs us', 2 Tim. 2. 25. Men that have taken heart and cast off this puggish Cowardize, (which alwaies precends a Lion in the way, when any duty is to be done) have not repented it in the end, but found much comfore inche performing of it.
obj.3. Why should I meddle in other mens natters, and so be accounced a busic-body: I will look to my felf, let them look to their own Souls.
sol. This is an ordinary excufe, but it favours of little Grace, How much comes this short of Cain's speech, Am I my Brothers keeper? St Paul
eaches directly the contrary, Phil. 2.4. Look not every man on his own things, but every man on he things of others. We are not born only to con ider our selves, "" buc in our phear to endeavour che good of ochers. This cogneffe , tendermesse, nicenes of reproving any whom we may hope to a. mend by it, whenée Springs it bus from an inordi
nate self love that will not venture che censuri of a busie-body, &c. for the safety of a perishing Brother; chough we have Gods Command to back us; which indeed should be a back of steel anto us, though we meet with some temporal inconveniencies in performing obedience io it.
obj.4. I am but a private Christian, and uslearned; I cannot speak so as others can. This dury belongs co Ministers: I hope I may be cx. cused.
Sol. This is a duty not only of Ministers ( who are co do ic by vertue of their office ) bur of every brother or common Christian by vertue of Gods Command, Lev. 19. 17. 'Tis a work of Charity, a common Office of one neighbour toanother. Thou are not cherefore so unlearn'dbar thou knowest char no unrighteous man Mall inhefit the Kingdom of God: That all Liars, drunk. ards, swearers , whoremongers, sorcerers, adulterers, murderers, thieves, extortioners, covetoes
, envious , malicious persons, &c. (that break not off their sins by timely repentance) have their portion in that Lake that burneth witu fire and brimstone for ever. As we read, I Cor. 6:9. Gal.5.21. Rev 21.8. Oughtest chou no: therefore to tell guilty persons of their danga and intreat them to bethink themselves, w DES such courses will end, and to have some pity up on their own fouls. Alas! 'Tis not so muc Want of knowledge, as want of zeal to Gods Glor
: and want of compassion to their neighbours souls; that makes men so negligent of chis duty.
obj.5. Buc is th's a duey incumbent upon më at 'all times, whenever I see or hear a brocher
offend? Must I not expect convenient seasons to I do it in?
Sol: 'Tis true, he that is bound to reprove, is bound also to do it as wisely and prudently as he can. Therefore for the season of reproof, a Learned main secs down this Rule; Whenever admonition may probably do good, to the perfon to whom it is designed, and not harm either to him or any other, then, it cannot be unseasonable : Whatever censure falls on me, it matters Bot, so the brother reproved receive Benefit thereby, and I were the person from whom it was due to him, Thus he.
The more private a reproof is (in probabilicy) the more effectual it will be ; yet a publick calm reproof (when the offence is publick) may (besides the good of the perform to whom it is addrefl d) prove beneficial to the whole company. 1. Ic may give them an example, which possibly they may transcribe from thy practise though they have not from Gods Precept. 3. It may
Ic arraign and condemn the like vices in other men, which are now reprehended but in ose'. 'Tis good therefore to take the present feasor of reproving, excepe there be hope of springing some happier opportunity for this performance at some biber time, which may make ic miore prudent