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SECT. 4. The complaints and prayers of the people of God relating to this subject.
O God, we are become a reproach to our neighbours, a scorn and derision to them that are round about us 2. Thou hast heard their reproach, O Lord. O God, how long shall the adversary reproach? Remember, O Lord, what is come upon us; consider and behold our reproach.
Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul. Reproach hath broken my heart, and I am full of heaviness. I am a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All they that see me, laugh me to scorn; they shoot out the lip, they shake the head. For mine enemies speak against me; and they that lay wait for my soul take counsel together, saying, God hath forsaken him; persecute and take him, for there is none to deliver him. O God, be not far from me; O my God, make haste for my help". When they looked upon me, they shaked their heads'. Mine enemies reproach me all the day; and they that are mad against me are sworn against me*. O Lord thou knowest; remember me, and visit me; take me not away in thy long-suffering; know that for thy sake I have suffered rebuke'. Thou hast known my reproach, and my shame, and my dishonour; mine adversaries are all before thee". Remember, Lord, the reproach of thy servants; how I do bear in my bosom the reproach of all the mighty people, wherewith thine enemies have reproached, O Lord". Deliver me from all my transgressions; make me not the reproach of the foolish. Remove from me reproach and contempt'. I have stuck unto thy testimonies, O Lord, put me not to shame'. Turn away my reproach which I fear; for thy judgments are good'.
OF GIVING AND TAKING REPROOF.
SECT. 1. To admonish and reprove our brethren is a part of our duty towards them.-2. To hearken to just reproof is true wisdom;-to reject it is a plain evidence of folly.-3. To reprove with tenderness and love, is an important injunction of the Gospel.-4. To give and to submit to such reproof, is one considerable part of Christian communion. 5. This temper exemplified in the disposition of the Psalmist.
§1. Lev. xix. 17.
SECT. 1. To admonish and reprove our brethren is a part of our duty towards them.
Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart; thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him. Reprove not a scorner, lest he bate thee; rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser; teach a just man, and he will increase in learning A reproof entereth more into a wise man, than an hundred stripes into a fool. Debate thy cause with thy neighbour himself; and discover not a secret to another, lest he that heareth it put thee to shame, and thine infamy turn not away. Smite a scorner, and the simple will beware; and reprove one that hath understanding, and he will understand knowledge: Open rebuke is better than secret love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful'. He that rebuketh a man, afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue. Therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips. He that saith unto the wicked, Thou art righteous, him shall the people curse; nations shall
d Prov. xxv. 9, 10.
abhor him. But to them that rebuke him shall be delight; and a good blessing shall come upon them'. As an ear-ring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear. For the reproofs of instruction are the way of life'.
SECT. 2. To hearken to just reproof, is true wisdom; to reject it, is a plain evidence of folly.
A wise son heareth his father's instruction; but a scorner heareth not rebuke. Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction; but he that regardeth reproof, shall be honoured. He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction; but he that refuseth reproof erreth. Whoso loveth instruction, loveth knowledge; but he that hateth reproof is brutishd. A fool despiseth his father's instruction; but he that regardeth reproof, is prudent. Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way; and he that hateth reproof shall die. A scorner loveth not one that reproveth him; neither will he go unto the wise. The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise. He that refuseth instruction, despiseth his own soul; but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding". He that being often reproved, hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy'. It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools. For the rod and reproof give wisdom'.
SECT. 3. To reprove with tenderness and love, is an important injunction of the Gospel.
Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted".
I Prov. xxiv. 24, 25. § 2. a Prov. xiii, 1.
d Prov. xii. 1.
a Gal. vi. 1.
Prov. xxv. 12. b Prov. xiii. 18.
e Prov. xv. 5.
h Prov. xv. 31, 32.
1 Prov. xxix. 15.
1 Prov. vi. 23.
c Prov. x. 17.
f Prov. xv. 10.
1 Prov. xxix. 1.
Warn them that are unruly, comfort the feeble-minded, support the weak. Of some have compassion, making a difference; and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; let him know, that he who converteth a sinner from the error of his way, shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins. Take heed to yourselves; if thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. But exhort one another daily, while it is called, To day; lest
any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of
I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, preach the word, reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and doctrine'. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority; let no man despise thee'. Them that sin, rebuke before all, that others may fear". Rebuke not an elder, but entreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; the elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters with all purity: In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance, to the acknowledging of the truth; that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil°.
SECT. 4. To give and to submit to such reproof, is one considerable part of Christian communion.
We beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish
b 1 Thess. v. 14.
* Eph. v. 11.
h Heb. iii. 13.
• 2 Tim. ii. 25, 26.
c Jude, 22, 23.
a 2 Thess. iii. 15. Luke, xvii. S.
* 2 Tim. iii. 16, 17.
" 1 Tim. v. 1, 2.
you. Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves; for they watch for your souls". Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. Submitting yourselves one to another, in the fear of God. And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. Exhorting one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching".
SECT. 5. This temper exemplified in the disposition of the Psalmist.
Let the righteous smite me, it shall be a kindness; and let him reprove me, it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head; for yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities. They shall hear my words, for they are sweet*.
Examples of courage in giving, and wisdom in taking reproof, frequently occur in scripture.'
"There is a peculiar address, and at the same time, a noble firmness in the rebuke given by the prophet Nathan to David, for his dreadful crime in the matter of Uriah; and the humility, and penitent submission of that great prince, in receiving the reproof, is a memorable example of an ear open to instruction. Nathan having spoken his parable to David, after his crime with the wife of Uriah." David said to Nathan, as the Lord liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die. And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man! And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord".
§4.1 Thess. v. 12. d Eph. v. 21. Heb. x. 25.
§ 5. Psal. cxli. 5, 6.
b Heb. xiii. 17.
e Rom. xv. 14.
b 2 Sam, xii. 5, 7, 13.
с James, v. 16.
Col. iii. 16.