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which he employs on the occasion, he tries the force of severe reprehension, rebuking the wicked with a holy authority; and, if it be necessary, returning to the charge with a spark of that glowing zeal, with which his Master was influenced, when he forced from the temple those infamous buyers and sellers, who had profaned it with their carnal merchandise. Thus, St. Paul, on receiving information that scandalous errors had been discovered in the conduct of a member of the Corinthian church, immediately wrote to that church in the follow. ing severe and solemn manner :-' It is reported, that there is fornication among you. And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. Know ye not, that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump,' and that the plague in any single member of a society is sufficient to infect the whole company? Purge out therefore the old leaven, and put away from among your. selves that wicked person. If any that is called a brother be a fornicator, keep not company with such a one, Be not deceived: Fornicators shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Know ye not, that your bodies are the members of Christ? Flee fornication, therefore, and avoid the company of fornicators. For ye are bought with a price: Therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. Further, I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already concerning the lascivious person that is among you, to deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.' (1 Cor. v. vi.)
no not to eat.
When the true minister has passed the severest censures upon sinners, and beholds those censures attended with the desired effect, he turns to the persons he lately rebuked with testimonies of that unbounded charity, that beareth all things, and hopeth all things.' More ready, if possible, to relieve the dejected than to humble the presumptuous, after having manifested the courage of a lion, he puts on the gentleness of a lamb, consoling
and encouraging the penitent offender, and never ceasing to intercede for him, till his pardon is obtained both from God and man. Thus St. Paul, who had so sharply rebuked the Corinthians in his first Epistle, gave them abundant consolation in his second, and exhorted them to receive with kindness the person, whom he had before enjoined them to excommunicate. It is easy to recognise the tenderness of Christ in the following language of this benevolent apostle. 'I wrote unto you my first Epistle out of much affliction and anguish of heart, with many tears, not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you.' (2 Cor. ii. 4.) • Great is my glorying of you, I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation. God, that comforteth them that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus, my messenger, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, and your fervent mind toward For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent. Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance. For ye were made sorry after a godly manner. -For behold, what carefulness it wrought in you! What clearing of yourselves! What holy indignation! What fear! What vehement desire! What zeal! What revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter. Moreover, we were comforted in your comfort. Yea, and exceedingly the more joyed we for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all. And his inward affection is more abundant toward you, whilst he remembereth the obedience of you all, and how you received him, together with my reproof, with fear and trembling. I rejoice therefore, that I have confidence in you in all things.' (2 Cor. vii.) And with respect to the person who has caused us so much distress, sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. So that now ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with over
confirm your love towards him. To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: Nay, I have already forgiven him, for your sakes, as in the presence of Christ.' (2 Cor. ii. 6-10.)
Great GOD! appoint over thy flock vigilant, charitable, and courageous pastors, who may discern the sinner through all his deceitful appearances, and sepa rate him from thy peaceful fold, whether he be an unclean goat, or a ravenous wolf. Permit not thy ministers to confound the just with the unjust, rendering contemptible the most sacred mysteries, by admitting to them persons, with whom virtuous Heathens would blush to converse. Touch the hearts of those pastors, who harden thy rebellious people, by holding out tokens of thy favour to those, who are the objects of thy wrath: And permit no longer the bread of life, which they carelessly distribute to all, who choose to profane it, to become in their unhallowed hands the bread of death. Discover to them the impiety of offering their holy things to the dogs: And awaken in them a holy fear of becoming accomplices with those hypocritical monsters, who press into thy temple to crucify thy Son afresh; and who, by a constant profanation of the symbols of our holy faith, add to their other abomi. nations the execrable act of eating and drinking their own damnation, and that with as much composure, as some among them swallow down the intoxicating draught, or utter the most impious blasphemies.
AN OBJECTION ANSWERED.
BEFORE we proceed to the consideration of another trait of the character of St. Paul, it will be necessary to refute an objection to which the preceding trait may
appear liable. "Dare you, ," it may be asked, propose
to us as a model, a man, who could strike Elymas with blindness, and deliver up to Satan the body of a sinner ?"
ANSWER. The excellent motive, and the happy success of the apostle's conduct, in both these instances,
entirely justify him. He considered affliction not only as the crucible, in which GOD is frequently pleased to purify the just, but as the last remedy to be employed for the restoration of obstinate sinners. Behold the reason, why the charity of the primitive church demanded, in behalf of GOD, that the rod should not be spared, when the impiety of men was no longer able to be restrained by gentler means; determining, that it was far better to be brought to repentance, even by the sharpest sufferings, than to live and die in a sinful state. To exercise this high degree of holy and charitable severity toward a sinner, was, in some mysterious manner, to deliver up his body to Satan,' who was looked upon as the executioner of God's righteous vengeance in criminal cases. Thus Satan destroyed the first-born in Egypt, smote the subjects of David with the pestilence, and cut off the vast army of Sennacherib. St. John has thrown some light upon this profound mystery, by asserting, There is a sin unto death :' (1 John v. 16:) And the case of Ahab is fully in point; for when that king had committed this sin, a spirit of #error received immediate orders to lead him forth to execution upon the plains of Ramoth-Gilead. (1 Kings xxii. 20, 22.) This awful doctrine is further confirmed by St. Luke, when he relates, that in the same instant, when the people, in honour of Herod, gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a God and not of a man; the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory And he was eaten up of worms, and gave up the ghost.' (Acts xii. 22, 23.) The punishment thus inflicted, by the immediate order of God, was always #proportioned to the nature of the offence. If the sin was 'not unto death,' it was followed by some temporary affliction, as in the cases of Elymas and the incestuous Corinthian. If the crime committed was of such a nature that the death of the sinner became necessary, either for the salvation of his soul, for the reparation of his crime, or to alarm those, who might probably be corrupted by his pernicious example, he was then either smitten with some incurable disease, as in the case
Herod; or struck with immediate death, as in the cast of Ananias and Sapphira, who sought to veil thei hypocrisy with appearances of piety, and their doubledealing with a lie. Had M. Voltaire considered the Christian church, as a well-regulated species of theocracy, he would have seen the folly of his whole reason. ing with respect to the authority of that church in its primitive state. And convinced, that God has a much greater right to pronounce by his ministers a just ser tence of corporal punishment, and even death itsel than any temporal prince can claim to pronounce such sentence by his officers: That daring philosopher, instead of pointing his sarcasms against an institution so reasonable and holy, would have been constrained to tremble before the Judge of all the earth.
Finally. It is to be observed, that when this kind of jurisdiction was exercised in the church, the followers of Christ, not having any magistrates of their own reli. gion, lived under the government of those Heathenish rulers, who tolerated those very crimes, which were pe culiarly offensive to the pure spirit of the gospel. And on this account GOD was pleased to permit the mos: eminent among his people, on some extraordinary occa sions, to exercise that terrible power, which humbled the offending church of Corinth, and overthrew the sor cerer Elymas in his wicked career. If it be inquired— What would become of mankind, were the clergy c this day possessed of the extraordinary power of St Paul? We answer-The terrible manner, in which St Paul sometimes exercised the authority he had received with respect to impenitent sinners, is not left as an ex ample to the ecclesiastics of the present day, unless the should come (which is almost impossible) into simila circumstances, and attain to equal degrees of discern ment, faith, and charity, with this apostle himself.