Reynolds - BX5133.R42 S4 1831

38 FIRST SERMON that will be a fit vessel for his master's use, must. first of all purge himself, 2 Tim. ii. 21. as we first cleanse a vessel before we use it. When Joshua was to negotiate a public reformation, and to administer a public service, his filthy garment must be taken from him, and he must be clothed with change of raiment, Zech. iii. 4. 7. Let every one of you make his public service one argument more than he had before, for his necessary reformation, and let the piety of your lives bear witness to the integrity of your honourable un- dertakings. Second. As you must take away sin from your- selves, so make it your principal work to take away iniquity out of the land : liberty, property, privileges are sacred and precious things, not to be in the least manner betrayed ; yea, in some sense we may look upon them as a fence and mound unto religion itself. Arbitrary government would quickly be tampering in sacred things, because corruption in the church is marvellously subservient and advantageous to corrup- tion in the state. But the most orient pearl of this kingdom is, our religion, and the bitterest enemies unto that, are our sins. These are the snuffs that dim our candlestick, and threaten the removal of it ; these the leaven that defile our passovers, and urge God to pass away and depart from us ; these the obstructions to the happiness of the kingdom. Think seriously what ways may be most effectual to purge this leaven out of the land. The principal sacrificing knife which kills and mortifies sin, is the word of God, and the knowledge of it. It would have been a great un- happiness to the commonwealth of learning, if Caligula had succeeded. in his endeavour to deprive the world of the writings of Homer, Virgil, and Livy. But oh what an Egyptian calamity is it, to have in this sun