The Great Benefit of a Good Example

The Design of our Blessed Lord in these Words, was to direct, and regulate the outward Carriage and Demeanour of his Disciples and Followers; that such of their Actions as came under the Notice and Observation of other Men, might be so good, so reputable, and praise-worthy, as to illustrate the Excellency of the Gospel, inspire the Beholders with just Sentiments concerning it, induce them to embrace and live up to the Rules of it, and thereby glorify GOD; who, by Regeneration, and Adoption in Christ Jesus, is, in an especial Sense, a Father of the Faithful.

The Words seem primarily applicable to the Apostles of Christ, the Fathers of his Flock, and Ministers of Religion. They, whose peculiar Province it is, to collect and prepare fit Subjects for his heavenly Kingdom, ought, like his Forerunner, to whom the same Office was assigned, to be burning and shining Lights; not only to the blameless in all Things, but Patterns of good Works, and visibly to walk in the Way which they point out to others.

But there is no Reason for restraining the Words to these only; the preceding Verses contain a Promise of Blessings annexed to the Performance of general Duties. The whole Sermon is composed of such Maxims, and Rules of Life, as all Christians are concerned in; neither are the Metaphors of Salt and Light so peculiar to the Preachers of the Gospel, as to exclude private Professors: for, as it is the property of Salt, to give a Savour and Relish, to preserve from Putrefaction, to enrich and make Land fruitful; so every Man that is a Credit and Ornament to his Profession, that preserves himself, and contributes to preserve others from Corruption, and make them fruitful in good Works, is very appositely represented by Salt. Nor is the Metaphor of Light less properly applied to any Person, who by the Lustre of his Example, does in any degree dissipate the Darkness of Ignorance and Sin, and spread the Light of Truth and Virtue, as far as the Sphere of his Activity reaches.

The higher indeed the Situation is from which the Light is emitted, the larger is the Space through which it is extended; Men, therefore, of high Ranks and Stations, either in Church or State, have a more extensive Influence, and are capable of doing much more Good in the World, than meaner Christians are; yet these are not exempted from doing all they can.

Nay, superior Virtue, a strict Conformity to the Rules of the Gospel, does of itself raise, even a Man of low Degree, to such an Eminence, as may render him conspicuous, enable him to scatter Light around him, and to enlarge the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. For which Reasons, common Christians, who are illuminated by the Holy Spirit of GOD, and are in a greater measure Partakers of that Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world, are by St. Paul called, Light in the Lord; and are exhorted to walk as children of Light.

It is, then, to all that profess the Faith of Jesus Christ, to all who, by complying with the Terms of the Gospel, hope to obtain the promised Reward, or would escape the threatened Punishment, to whom their Blessed Master addresses himself in these Words; Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.

In treating which Subject, I shall consider more distinctly, the Duty here enjoined; the Grounds of its Obligation; the Ends and Reasons of it, and Motives that enforce it; ending the whole with an Application suited to the Occasion of this present Assembly.

And, first, it may not be improper to observe, That this Duty of letting our Light shine before Men, the doing our good Works in so visible and publick a Manner, that others may see and observe them, seems to contradict those Precepts of the Gospel, whereby we are obliged to do many good Works in secret; as when we Pray, to enter into our Closets, and shut the Doors; when we Fast, so to order it, as that we appear not unto Men to fast; when we do our Alms, not to let our left hand know what  our right hand doth: it seems to oppose itself to that distinguishing Grace of a true Christian, which ever inclines him to shun an affected Pomp of Piety, the Parade and Ostentation of Virtue, to be contented with the silent Approbation of Conscience, and the Favour of God, regardless of the Praise of Men.

But Truth cannot be inconsistent with itself; neither can one Command of our Blessed Lord interfere with another: there are several Duties, the very Nature of which is incompatible with a publick Scene of Action; as retired Exercises of Devotion, and Repentance, the communing with our own Hearts, and searching into the State of our Souls. Others, that require the intervention of few Witnesses, as the dispensing our Alms, the admonishing and reproving an offending Brother, whilst there is any reasonable Hope, that mild and gentle Methods will avail to reclaim him, without putting him to open Shame. These, in which the Publick is not so immediately interested, our Blessed Saviour hath taught us to perform in secret; to secure our Integrity, against the Intrusions of Vain-glory, or Suspicions of Hypocrisy, and to satisfy our own Consciences, that we seek not to please Men, but GOD, who searcheth the Hearts. The Applause of Men, or any worldly Advantage, thence accruing to ourselves, ought not to be the End of any of our good Actions, even such as are most publick; the Notice which Men may take, the Judgment which they will pass upon them, is only to be regarded by us, as the Means of promoting GOD's Glory, to which all we do is ultimately to be referred.

Whatever we do, we are to do it as the Apostle directs, heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men: but when we have first taken care to purify our Intentions from all sinister and worldly Views, and are satisfied, that a Respect to GOD, and our Duty, is the prevailing Motive and Principle of Action, it would be carrying our Humility to a culpable Extreme, if, in order to avoid the Praise of Men, we declined the Discharge of any Duty, or omitted to shew it in that advantageous Point of Light, in which it ought to appear. As, on the other hand, to decline it through Fear of their Censures, and unjust Imputations, or indeed of any Thing which a malicious World can say or do, argues a Cowardice, and Baseness of Spirit, unworthy of the Character of a faithful Soldier of Jesus Christ.

We are obliged to do several Things, which cannot be done at all without being known, and observed by others; as, to make a publick Professsion of our Faith, which is called in the Gospel, the confessing of Jesus Christ before Men, and to assemble ourselves together, for common Acts of Adoration, and Homage to GOD: of a like Nature are all such Actions, as are adapted to advance the Honour and Reputation of Religion, and recommend it to general Practice. Hence we are enjoined, to provide things honest,  i.e. fair and honourable, in the sight of all men; and, whatsoever things are lovely, and of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, to think on these things. Justice and Fidelity, Meekness and Moderation, are all indispensibly required of us, have an undisputed Reference to Society, and unavoidably attract the publick Notice: Of the same kind likewise is a seasonable Zeal, in Defence of the Faith, against the open Attacks of avowed Enemies, or the more injurious Treachery of pretended Friends; such are social Confederacies against Vice, united Endeavours to stop its further Progress, and to promote the Interests of Piety and Virtue in the World.

Those who discharge these Duties, can no more be hid, than a city that is set on an hill, or a lighted candle on a candlestick;  or if they could be concealed, it is not fit that they should: nothing ought to intercept a Light so beneficial to Men, and so glorious to GOD. As the Manifestation of his Glory was the final End of our Creation, so ought it to be of all our Actions. His essential Glory is as incapable of Increase, as it is of Diminution. GOD, all-sufficient to himself, can receive no Accession of Happiness, or Glory, from his Creatures; all that we are capable of doing is, by the inward Sentiments of our Hearts, the Words of our Mouths, and Actions of our Lives, to acknowledge and set forth his Glory, and he instrumental in diffusing the same just Sense of it over the rest of Mankind.

Glory, in this relative Acceptation, is of a publick Nature, requires the Union of many Hearts, the Harmony of many Voices, concurring in the Celebration of it. But how shall we prevail upon others to join with us in so reasonable a Service? Will Arguments and Exhortations be sufficient of themselves? We know by Experience they will not. A bright Example manifests the Power of him that hath called us from Darkness to his marvellous Light, much better than the most weighty Arguments, or most eloquent Harangues can do.

GOD himself is invisible; but when we bear his Image, in Righeousness, and true Holiness, the Copy, though faint and imperfect, serves to give a great Idea to the Original; induces us to admire, to praise, and magnify him, from whose inexhaustible Spring such amiable Graces and Virtues perpetually flow. GOD is further glorified, by that Esteem and Reputation, which an open Conformity to the Rules and Precepts of Religion is apt to procure it, as well as prevent and wipe off those Reproaches and Calumnies, which a contrary Behaviour would bring upon it. Hence are Servants exhorted by St. Paul, (and the Reasons of the Exhortation are full as strong upon others) faithfully to acquit themselves of the several Duties of their Condition, that they might adorn the Doctrine of God our Saviour in all things, and that the Name of GOD and his Doctrine might not be blasphemed: supposing, that if the Lives and Conversations of Christians were unbecoming to the Gospel, though such inconsistent Professors were only blameable, the Reproach and Scandal would fall upon Christianity itself, and even upon its Blessed Author. This likewise is the Import and Intent of St. Peter's Exhortation to Christians in general, to have their conversation honest among the Gentiles; that whereas they speak against you, as evil doers, they may glorify God. Where this Expression seems to denote, a Confession drawn from Infidels, upon a more exact Enquiry into the Behaviour of Christians, that they had had wrong Notions of them, their Religion, and their GOD; that they had spoken against them without a Cause; that they were an innocent and harmless set of Men, their Religion a holy Institution, highly advantageous to Men; whence Glory and Honour would redound to GOD.

And what the Heathens were to the primitive Christians, are all profane, and profligate Sinners to us, who dwell amongst them; they are no less ready to slander and decry the Professors of Religion, if they are not forced, by the steady Constancy of their Piety and Virtue, to revere and esteem them. When Patience and Moderation, Sobriety and Temperance, Meekness and Humility, Benevolence and Charity, shine forth in the general Tenor of their Practice; they not only silence gainsayers, but ingratiate and recommend the Law that prescribes them; and spread the Efficacy of it as far as the Light of such Examples reach.

The Welfare of our Brethren, both Spiritual and Temporal (which, by all the Ties of Nature and Religion, wer are bound to promote to the utmost of our Power) no less exacts from us an open and visible Discharge of our Duty. In this Respect, we are Debtors to all, both to the wise and unwise. As we are social Creatures, we ought to have no separate Interests; it were unnatural for one Member to seek its own particular Good, exclusive of that of the other Members, of which the whole Body is compoased. Hence every Man is enjoined, not to look on his own things, but also on the things of others; to care one for another, to consider one another, to provoke unto love, and good works. These are Duties, which a charitable Regard for the Prosperity and Happiness of our Brethren requires for us: but the setting before them a good Example, is the most easy and compendious, as well as most effectual Way of doing them the greatest Service.

The World is not yet so corrupt, but that there still remain some Seeds and Principles of Religion and Virtue in the Minds of most Men; which a View of the happy Fruits they produce in others, an observable, uniform, self-consistent Virtue, is very apt to nourish and draw forth. The Difficulties of a Religious Course of Life, which are encreased by the natural Corruptions of Men, give them an unhappy Reluctance to set about it; but when they have the incontestable Evidence of Sense and Experience, that Men of like Passions and Infirmities with themselves have got over these Difficulties, and conquered their Reluctance, it serves to animate their Courage, to raise their Hopes, and invigorate their Resolution, to attempt, and enable them, by the Help of GOD, to execute what the others so well have succeeded in.

Verbal Reproofs, and other severer Methods of Reformation, however necessary, however kind, and charitable in their Intention, too often meet with very ungrateful Returns, from bold Offenders; but the virtual Rebuke of an Exemplary Life, does not expose a good Man to such discouraging Insults; it is a silent Reproach, that condemns a Sinner's Conduct, and alarms his Conscience, without giving him a Pretence to complain, or stigmatize such a Monitor, as a busy Body is other Mens Matters. And what is a more considerable Recommendation of it, whilst we are thus instructing, exciting, and assisting others to become virtuous and happy, we are not diverted from the Prosecution of our proper Work and Business; whilst we are thus Guides to others, we do not go out of our own Way; by attracting them, we add a new Impulse to our own Motion; the Companions we gain, serve to smooth the rugged Paths, to strengthen us against Opposition, and encourage us to persevere, from a Prospect of a more glorious Reward, which will be given to those who have been the happy Instruments of turning many to Righteousness.

The Time generally allotted to Discourses of this Nature, will not suffer me to enlarge upon, or even to mention, several other Motives, proper to recommend and enforce the Precept of my Text; and the particular Intent of our present Meeting, calls upon me to apply what remains to the commendable Work, in which many of this Audience are engaged, and to which subject I have now been treating has so manifest a Relation.

Physician, heal thyself, is a Proverb, that  will always be too pertinently applied, to such as pretend to reform others, whilst they continue unreformed themselves; who profess to cure the Spiritual Maladies of their Neighbours, whilst they labour  under the same, or any other of a like Nature. Every step they take, in the Execution of their Design, is an inplicit Satyr upon their own Conduct; and sets them forth to View, either as scandalous Hypocrites, or inconsistent Fools; who defeat their own Purpose, and expose it to the Mockery and Ridicule of profane Libertines. Wherefore it nearly concerns all those, who have willingly undertaken to be publick Instruments of a general Reformation, to be particularly careful, to evidence the Simplicity of their Views, and the Purity of their Intentions, by the irrefragable Argument of a good Life: And, whilst they are diligent in the Use of all other proper Means of converting Sinners from the Error of their Ways, never to neglect the best, and which of itself is often most prevalent and effectual, and without which no other can attain its End; I mean, to set before them the Light of a good Example; which is a perpetual Instructor, an insinuating Counsellor, a decent Reprover; and gives a graceful Energy to all the other Means, which daring Vice has made necessary to stop its progress.

I would not be thought to intimidate by these Reflections, that any of the Members of your Societies are wanting, either to themselves, or the Publick, in this respect; the Silence of your Adversaries, who are quick-sighted enough to spy out, and malicious enough to aggravate, your Failures, are a sufficient Proof, that you want no Monitions on this Head. Little more remains for me, with Respect to you, than briefly to exhort you, To continue to hold forth the same steady Light; to go on in the Prosecution of the Work you have undertaken, with Alacrity and Constancy; unmoved by such Discouragements as you must have foreseen, as well as experienced.

The greatest Difficulties which your Societies had to encounter, must have been at the Beginning, when they were first formed; the Devil and his Agents (for your are not ignorant of his Devices) must needs have been much alarmed, at the first News of such a Confederacy against them; and would, doubtless, play all their Energies, use all the Arts which Malice or Subtilty could suggest, to defeat, in its Infancy, a Project, so evidently calculated to overthrow his Kingdom. But, as you have happily opposed his first and strongest Efforts; as youy have persisted in this Opposition for more than Forty Years, and the grand Enemy has visibly fled before you; let no Remission, or Abatement of your first Zeal, ever encourage him to rally, or renew the Fight, with greater Advantage against you.

The strongest Holds of Satan are, it is to be feared, too well guarded, to suffer much by your Attacks: The Out-works lie more open, and within your Reach; and they are numerous that guard them, they are neither so well armed, nor so commodiously stationed, as to be able to withstand a vigorous Charge; these may be either beaten from their Posts, or, perhaps, persuaded to desert their Leader, to become your Fellow-Soldiers, to fight under the Banner of Jesus Christ, and make Head against his Enemies, and those of his heavenly Father. For it is the Cause of GOD, and his Blessed Son, that you are engaged in.

The End of his coming into the World, was, to destroy the works of the devil;  to turn men from the power of Satan unto GOD; to erect in their hearts his Kingdom upon earth, and to prepare them for his Kingdom in Heaven. In this you are Fellow-Workers together with Him; and such an Employment is your greatest Glory, and will be the Means of your greatest Happiness. Vice and Immorality, it must be confessed, in all their usual Forms, still abound among us: Night-walking Prostitutes, who, by the vigilant Care of the Magistrates of this City, have been many of them driven from their usual Stands in the publick Streets, still infest the Suburbs, in as great Numbers as ever; a Remnant of monstrous and unnatural Sinners escape your Notice; or, if detected, baffle Conviction, and come off with Impunity. Horrid Oaths and Curses continually assault our Ears; Sloth and Idleness, Drunkenness and Debauchery, still reign amongst the common People; the Retailers of Spiritous and Intoxicating Liquors go on to elude the Laws, and their Partisans openly trample upon the Authority of the Magistrates, and make it dangerous to give Informations against them. But what then? Ought your Zeal to wax cold, because Iniquity abounds? because the World is very bad, should that Consideration preclude all reasonable Endeavours to make it better? Were the former Days, think you, better than these? Has it not been the general and just Complaint of all Ages, That Corruption, as an impetuous Torrent, bore down all before it. Did this known Truth, or even the small Hopes of Success, in their Endeavours to stem this Torrent, ever cause the faithful Servants of God to remit their Endeavours? When all Flesh had corrupted his Way upon the Earth, was Noah less active to reform Mankind? Was the Zeal of Elias less fervent, in the general Corruption of Israel, when he stood alone, and his Enemies sought to take away his Life? Have not the best Men, who were engaged in the same good Design, complained, that they had laboured in vain, and spent their Strength for nought? Did not our Blessed Lord himself often manure and cultivate a barren soil? Did not a great Part of the Seed which he sowed, perish, without producing any Fruit? You will have no Reason, therefore, to be discouraged, thought the Event does not fully answer your Intentions. Much Good, doubtless, you have done; much more you may do; especially if they, from whom you have most Reason to expect Assistance, are not backward to give it you.

To You it is owing, that the World (bad as it is) is not much worse; that if the obdurate Hearts of abandoned and incorrigible Sinners have not been wrought upon, their outwards Actions have been restrained, and they have been obliged to be more cautious and reserved: for when they have lost all Sense of Shame and Duty, they have still a Sense of Punishment left; and the Fear of such Punishment keeps them within narrower Bounds, and hinders the Infection of their Example from spreading so far as otherwise it would do. And many, without doubt, who have not gone such Lengths in Wickedness, whose Consciences are not yet feared, and Hearts impenetrable, have, by a seasonable Execution of the Laws, through your Means, been checked in their Career, and, by timely Reflections, brought to forsake what they are made sensible will immediately produce bitter Fruits. You have likewise greatly contributed to preserve the Innocence of many, who are not only deterred from venturing to tread in those paths, which they plainly see lead others to present Shame and Misery; but have this further Advantage, that the more favourable Occasions and Opportunities of Vice are removed to a greater Distance; many of its Avenues shut up, and Temptations no longer obtrude upon them, in the most frequented Places of Resort; which, was Vice suffered to range uncontrolled, would assault unwary Youth from every Quarter, often over-power and bring them to Destruction, both of Body and Soul. You have been further instrumenal, in keeping up a publick Sense of Religion amongst us; which a proper Observation of the Lord's Day has so obvious a Tendency to preserve, by continuing, with unwearied Application, and through many Discouragements, to cause the Laws to be executed upon such as notoriously profane it; and have, in many Instances, helped to wipe off an Aspersion upon our Country, - that we have the best Laws, and worst executed, of any Nation under Heaven. This we have good grounds to hope will not longer be our Reproach.

The exemplary Zeal of the Lord-Mayor, the hearty Concurrence of the other Magistrates of this great City, must needs give Heat, as well as Light, to all the neighbouring ones; and spread its Influence over the whole Kingdom. But should there be any, who (from the Regard they ought to have to the Glory of GOD, the Advancement of Religion, the Prosperity of their Country, the End of their Office, and Obligation of their Oaths) are equally bound to be diligent, and active, in removing the Obstacles, and plaining the Way to the Execution of the Laws; yet, unaffected by such an Example, they would be altogether unexcusable, as well as justly chargeable, with all the Mischiefs that ensue from their Indolence and Supineness.

The Lights of the City, whether taken literally or mataphorically (though of signal Use and Advantage to it, and naturally tending to the Benefit of other Places, by moving them to follow the Pattern that is set them) do yet, and will still (if the Workers of Darkness, who shun the Light, lest their deeds should be reproved, and punished, are only obliged to change the Scene, and retire to more secure and undisturbed Reatreats in the Out-Parts) through an accidental Effect of such Lights, bring an Encrease of Mischief upon those Places to which those Reprobates are driven. This is certainly the Case at present; and the Evil, I am persuaded, is owing, amongst other Causes, to the great Numbers of Victualling or Tippling Houses in the Out-Parishes, so disproportionate to all the reasonable Ends and Uses for which such Houses are allowed; many of which are noted Receptacles of idle Vagrants, thievish Harlots, House-breakers, Street-Robbers, and other Pests of Society. It is owing to the scandalous Neglect of Constables, and other Parish-Officers, to the base Connivance of Beadles and Headboroughs, to the partial Representations of self-interested Agents, who stifle Informations against disorderly Houses, and find their Account in soliciting and procuring a Renweal of their Licences. But, whatever may be the true Cause, the Evil itself is apparent and palpable, and calls loudly for a Remedy; which, whether it be easy to prescribe or not, it is certainly difficult to prevail upon those that are most concerned, to apply it; who, though they feel the Mischief, are too slothful, or too busy, to take Pains to prevent it. The Evil, I fear, will continue to take its Course, unless the Inhabitants of the large and populous Parishes, within the Suburbs, could be more generally prevailed upon, to elect into Offices (on the due Execution of which the Peace and Welfare of the Community so much depend) Men, who dread the Guilt of Perjury, who fear God, and hate Covetousness; or a Way can be found to compel such as we commonly have, to a more exact Discharge of their respective Duties. The prudent Zeal of worthy Magistrates, exerted in a close Inspection into the Behaviour of Officers subject to their Authority; in kindly receiving and encouraging well-meaning Informers, and heartily concurring, with the Gentlemen of these Societies, to facilitate their generous Labours, will make the Evil at least more Tolerable, till the Wisdom of the Legislature shall (which is much to be wished) provide a more effectual Remedy.

In the mean time, let what is wanting, through the Lukewarmness and Indifference, or more criminal Defects of others, be supplied, by your more active and true Christian Zeal: and let good Men, of all Orders and Degreees among us, who have the Honour of God and the Welfare of their Country at Heart, be the more ready to give such Assistance as they are able, to the promoting of this good Work. Many noble and beneficial Charities have been set on foot, in and about this populous City, and supported by the casual, or rather providential Beneficence of good Christians; into whose Hearts GOD hath put it, to send in seasonable Supplies to those that are associated for the Management of them; and without which they could not have been carried on without that wonderful Success with which it hath pleased GOD to bless them.

And is not the Work you are engaged in a Work of Charity? Is it not a Labour of Love, and attended with great Expence; which a few Persons, though liberal and willing, must be less able to bear? Why then are they, who are Rich in this world's goods, and actuated by that comprehensive Virtue, that takes in all possible Ways of doing Good, who are continually sending forth, from the never-failing Source of their Charity, Waters of Comfort on every Side; why, I say, are they forgetful to direct some of its refreshing Streams through this Channel, where they are no less wanted, and will be no less useful?

This Kind of Charity needs not to recommend itself, or raise its own Worth, by depreciating others, with which it heartily concurs: nay, it is a necessary Suppletory, to make some of them more effectual; particularly that which provides for the Education of poor Children, in the nurture and admonition of the Lord: that the Piety and Virtue instilled into them in their tender Years, may not afterwards be lost, through the overbearing Prevalence of Vice unrestrained.

It manifestly tends to avert the Divine Wrath; to draw down the Blessings of Heaven, and to make our Nation glorious and prosperous: as its Aim is to drive out that which is the greatest Reproach of any People, that which makes them weak and contemptible; and to introduce that which exalteth a Nation, which gives them a Name amongst their Neighbours, who will always be afraid to injure or invade a People, whom Virtue inspires with Unity and Courage; who have thence better Grounds to hope, that they are under the more immediate Protection of Providence, and have the LORD for their GOD.

Now to GOD the Father, GOD the Son, and GOD the Holy Ghost, be ascribed, as is most due,
all Honour and Glory, Might, Majesty, and Dominion, henceforth and for ever. Amen.


Prosecutions initiated by London Societies for the Reformation of Manners 1708-24
R.B. Shoemaker Reforming the City: The Reformation of Manners Campaign in London 1691-1738


from Benjamin Jenks Prayers & Offices of Devotion for Familes, 1839

O Righteous Lord, thou lovest righteousness; and thy countenance doth behold the upright. Thou favourest them that espouse thy righteous cause; and wilt for ever glorify such as turn many to righteousness. Thou hast commanded us not only to be holy, and to walk circumspectly ourselves; but also to show our concern for the souls of others. Thou hast appointed us to contend for thy most holy faith; yea, to contend also with the wicked, and not to suffer sin upon our brother. Thou hast enjoined us, at the peril of our own souls, to use our utmost endeavours to convert sinners from the error of their ways; and to recover out of the snare of the Devil, those who have been taken captive by him at his will.

Help, Lord; for the godly man ceaseth, and the faithful fail from among the children of men. Wherever we turn our eyes, how many are there who seek their own things, and how few who seek the things that are Jesus Christ's! Arise, O God, and plead thine own cause : and be with them that rise up against the evil-doers: and that strive by executing judgement, to stay the plague and wrath that are gone out from theLord against us. Plead their cause, O Lord, with them that strive with them, and stand up for their help; and stop the way against them that persecute them : and make them successful in promoting the honour of thy great name, and the interests of thy holy religion.

O that none of the correctors of others may deserve like censure themselves! but that they all may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God without rebuke in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom they should shine as lights in the world. O give them a tender love to the souls of men, a zeal according to knowledge, and prudence to walk in wisdom towards them that are without. And give them courage to endure the contradiction of sinners: let them account it a small thing to be judged of man's judgement: and help them in patience to possess their souls, and in meekness to instruct those that oppose themselves. Make the weapons of their warfare mighty through God, to the pulling down of strong holds. And so speed them with thy heavenly blessing, that, how small soever their beginning was, their latter end may greatly increase. O let them go forth in thy strength, and prevail and prosper, as the blessed of the Lord.

Though we live in an age when iniquity abounds, and almost all abominations are shamefully committed, yet thou, Lord, who doest marvellous things, canst bring light out of darkness; and when thou pleasest, canst change the face of evil times. Yea, thou hast taught us to expect glorious things in the latter day, even such a holy and happy state of things, as this wretched sinful world has never yet enjoyed.

O when shall it be, Lord, that judgement shall return unto righteousness, and that all the upright in heart follow it? 0 when shall the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; and profaneness and lewdness, intemperance and extravagance, be put to confusion! when shall iniquity stop her mouth, and the righteous flourish, and Jerusalem be the joy and praise of the whole earth?

The Lord hasten it in his time! In the mean while, speak, O Lord, from heaven, and restrain the floods of ungodliness that have lifted up their voice and their waves ; and say to those proud waters, Hitherto shall ye go, and no further.

O cherish and prosper all good beginnings, and all hopeful proceedings, for the furtherance of piety, and for the advancement of thy glory. Make magistrates and ministers, and all orders of men, vigilant in keeping their own hearts, and ordering their own conversation aright; that they may more successfully promote the edification of their neighbours. Make them all to account it, not only their duty, but their honour and pleasure to advance this blessed work : make them to do it heartily, as to the Lord; to the reforming of the world, and to the rejoicing of all that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.

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