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

HOLY FORTITUDE, [SERM. XXXI. to give us direction in this difficult duty, and encourage to perform it ! VI. Reformation ofall kinds, whether in families or churches, in cities, or nations, demands a good degree of resolution and courage. It is a brave and daring enterprize, to stem the torrent of the age we live in, and to attempt to change the vici- ous customs of a city or nation. We must have a soul inspired with zeal for piety and goodness, if we would contest the point with the guilty, and cover them with deserved shame, or bring them to deserved punishment. Blessed be God, there are societies formed inour age for this glorious purpose ! May everlasting success attend their zeal, and may their heads be covered with divine protection in every hour of danger! We have need of courage to stand up for truth and purity in the church of Christ, when it is over-run with corrupt doctrines, wicked heresies, superstitions, and false worship. We must use our endeavour to root out these evil weeds by all the sacred influences ofreason and scripture; not by rage and violence, not by fraud and falsehood, not by slander and scandalous language, not by calling in the power of the magistrate and the sword of the state to assist us; Christ hath not allowed his fol- lowers such weapons as these against superstition and heresy: " The sword of the Spirit is the word of God," Eph. vi. 17. " The weapons of our warfare are not carnal," 2 Cor. x. 4. And when we have endeavoured to reform the offen- ders by all christian methods, and find no success, we must dare to separate ourselves from the many and the mighty, who will not be reformed. This was the glori- ous practice of our fathers, the protestants and the puri- tans, in the several seasons of their reformation, when they were called to oppose the greater or the lesser cor- ruptions of the christian church. If our kindred or families are fallen into any foolish, vain, or sinful practices,or any civil society to which we belong bath departed from the rules of justice or truth, it belongs to a christian to become a public good, by using his influence, as far as it goes, toward the rectifying of every disorder. He should put on a divine fortitude, whensoever providence calls him to attempt a reforma- tion amongst them.