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they may be convinced how they deserve to be forever disowned of God; that by being delivered unto Satan, they may learn how they deserve for ever to be delivered up to him; that by his being made the instrument of their chastisement, they may learn how they deserve to be tormented by him, without any rest day or night, for ever and ever.

This with the counsels and admonitions by which it is to be followed, is the last mean that the church is to use, in order to reclaim those members which are become visibly wicked. If this be ineffectual, what is next to be expected, is destruction without remedy.


I shall apply this subject in a brief use of exhortation to this church, to maintain strictly the proper discipline of the gospel in general, and particularly that part of it which consists in excommunication. To this end I shall just suggest to you the following motives.

1. That if you tolerate visible wickedness in your members, you will greatly dishonor God, our Lord Jesus Christ, the religion which you profess, the church in general, and yourselves in particular. As those members of the church that practise wickedness themselves, bring dishonor upon all these, so do those who tolerate them in it. The language of his servants; that

it is, that God doth not require holiness in Christ doth not require it in his disciples; that the religion of the gospel is not an holy religion; that the church is not a body of holy servants of God; and that this church in particu- ́ lar, hath no regard to holiness or true virtue.

2. Your own good loudly calls you to the same thing. From what hath been already said, you see how liable you, as individuals, will be to catch the contagion, which is easily communicated by reason of the natural depravity, in a degree at kcast, remaining in the best of men.

Beside, if strict discipline be maintained among you, it will not only tend to prevent the spread of wickedness, but to make you more fruitful in holiness. If you know that the eyes of your brethren observe all your conduct, it will not only make you more guarded against sin, but more careful "to maintain good works," and to abound in "the fruits of the spirit." Thus you will have more abundant joy and peace in believing.

3. The good of those who are without should be another motive. What the apostle saith with reference to another subject, in 1 Cor. xiv. 24, 25. is perfectly applicable to the case before us: "But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all; and thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth." If strict discipline, and thereby strict morals, were maintained in the church, it would, in all probability, be one of the most powerful means of conviction and conversion towards those who are without.

4. Benevolence towards your offending brethren themselves calls upon you to maintain discipline in all its parts. Surely, if we love our brethren, it will grieve us to see them wandering from the path of truth and duty; and in proportion as our compassion is moved, shall we be disposed to use all proper means to reclaim and bring them back to the right way. Now, the rules of discipline contained in the gospel are the most proper, and best adapted to this end, that infinite wisdom itself could devise. Even excommunication is instituted for this very end, the destruction of the flesh, and the salvation of the spirit. If, therefore, we have any love to our offending and erring brethren, it becomes us to manifest it, in executing strictly the rules of gospel discipline, and even excommunication itself, whenever it is necessary.

5. But the absolute authority of Christ ought to be sufficient in this case, if there were no other motive. Our text is only one of many passages in the scripture, wherein strict dis

cipline is expressly commanded, and peremptorily enjoined. Now, how can you be the true disciples of Christ, if you live in the neglect of these plain positive commands? "If ye love me," saith Christ, "keep my commandments ;" and, "Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I have commanded you.” But, "He that loveth me not, keepeth not my sayings." "And why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" If you strictly follow the rules of discipline institut ed by Christ, you have reason to hope for his blessing; for he is wont to bless his own institutions, and to smile upon the means of grace which he hath appointed.


The Sin of Theft and of Injustice.

EXODUS xx. 15.


THIS you all know is one of the ten command

ments which constitute a summary of man's duty, as revealed by God. God made many revelations to the children of Israel in the wilderness by Moses: But this made in the ten commandments is the chief. Most of those other revelations, which God made to that people, contained ceremonial or judicial laws; but this contains the moral law. The most of those other laws respected the Jewish nation; but here is a summary of the laws that are binding on all mankind. Those were to last till Christ should come, and have set up the Christian church; these are of perpetual obligation, and last to the end of the world. God every where, by Moses and the prophets, manifests a far greater regard to the duties of these commands, than to any of the rites of the ceremonial law.

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These commands were the first commands that were given forth at Mount Sinai, before any of the precepts of the cer emonial or judicial laws. They were delivered by a great voice out of the midst of fire, which made all the people in the camp tremble, and afterwards were engraven on the tables of stone, and laid up in the ark: The first table containing the four first commandments, which teach our duty to God; the second table containing the six last, which teach our duty to man. The sum of the duties of the first table is contained in that whieh Christ says is the first and great commandment of the law; Matth. xxii. 37. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind." The sum of what is required in the second table, is what Christ calls the second command, like unto the first; verse 39. "The second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."

Of the commands of this second table of the law, the first, which is the fifth of the ten, refers to that respect and honor which is due to our neighbor; the second respects his life; the third his chastity; the fourth his estate; the fifth his good name; the sixth and last respects his possessions and enjoyments in general. It is that command which respects. our neighbor's estate, and which is the fourth command of the second table, and the eighth of the whole decalogue, on which I am to insist at this time.

Here I shall not raise any doctrine from the words, as the subject of my discourse, but shall make the command itself, as the words of it lie before us in the decalogue, my subject. And that I may treat of this command in a manner as brief as may be, I shall not stand to show, first, what duties are required by the command, and then what sins are forbidden in it: But as the words of the commandment are in the form of a prohibition, forbidding a certain kind of sin; so I shall handle them, by considering particularly what it is that this command forbids. The sin that is forbidden in this command, is called stealing; yet we cannot reasonably understand it only

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