Watts - Houston-Packer Collection BX5207.W3 S4x 1805 v.2

GERM. XXXI. OR REMEDIES AGAINST FEAR. 9 The all-wise and almightyGod considers it, and he will not approve of such meanness of spirit, and such a shameful defect of christian charity. V. It is a work which calls for courage. to admonish our brethren when they depart from the ways of righte- ousness, and to reprove sin among those with whom we converse, The law of God requires it; Lev. six. 17. Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine_ heart : .thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not safer sin upon him. It is expressed as though a neglect of re- proof, where it is a duty, looks like a sort of hatred, or want of love. But for the most part it is want of cou rage'forbids it. Let it be done with holy boldness; but without wrath and resentment, or selfish revenge ; let it be expressed and managed with all love and gentleness, with all humility and compassion, and with a becoming exercise of those lovely characters of moderation and meekness, which I have elsewhere described. Nathan the prophet ingeniously reproved David the king, for his adultery and murder. And we. should learn the most artful and obliging methods, and the softest language of reproof, that we may practise it with more courage, security, and success; and the more secret it is, it will generally be most successful. If at any time we are called by most evident provi- dence, to give an open rebuke in the face of the world, together with courage, we must put on all wisdom and humility, Lest we publish our own conceit and pride, and provoke wrath without hope of success. When we re- buke the profane and impious wretch, for the most glaring iniquity, we should use our best prudence in dis- tinguishing proper seasons, " lest we cast a pearl before swine, and it become, useless, and be trodden under foot,' Mat. vii. 6. Sometimes it is hard to know what is our duty in this respect, but -thus far in general it may be said, This should be done whensoever there is a great and evident probability of doing service to God and souls by it: MVhersoever a vindication of the name of God and his honour requires it, or when there is any just hope of doing good to men; there is indeed a time to keep silence in this case, and there is a time to speak, O may the word,' and Spirit, and providence of God join together