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Christ, and the holy sacraments, and fron all the spirimal blclings and benefits which God promiseth 10 and bestows upon his church, so long as he obdinately and impenitently perlifts in his fins, and is therefore to be accounted by you as an heathen man and a publican, according to the command of Christ, Mar, xviii. who failli, ilíat whatsoever his ministers Mall bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven.
Further we exhort you beloved Christians, to keep no company with him, that he may be ahamed : yei count him not as an enemy, but at all times ad. inonith him as you would a brother. In the mean time let every one take warning by this and such like examples, lo fear the Lord, and diligently take heed unio bimself, if he thinketh he, flandith, left he fall; but having true fellowship with the Father and his Son Jesus Christ, together with all faithful chris. tians, remain stedfast therein to the end, and so obtain eternal salvation. You have seen, beloved breihren and filters, in what manner this our excommunicated brother hath begun to fall, and by degrees is come to ruin ; observe therefore, how subtil satan is, to bring man to destruction, and to withdraw him from all falutary means of salvation ; guard then, against the least beginnings of evil, and laying afide, according to the exhortation of the apostle, every weight and the fin which does so casily beset us, lel us run with patience the race that is set before us looking into Jesus the author and finisher of our
faith ; be sober, watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation, To day if you will hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts, but work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; and every one Tepent of his sins, lest that our God humble us again, and that we should be obliged to bewail fome one of you : but that you may with one accord, living in all godliness, be our own crown and joy in the Lord.
Since it is God who worketh in us, both to will and 10 do of his good pleasure, let us call upon his holy name with confession of our sins, saying,
Righteous God and merciful Father, we be
wail our lins before thy high majesty, and ac knowledge that we have deserved the grief and for. row caused unto us by the cutting off of this our late fellow member ; yea we all deserve, shouldīt thou enter into judgment with us, by reason of our great transgressions, to be cut off and banilhed from thy prefence, But O Lord thou art merciful unto us for Christ's fake, forgive us our irespasses, for we hear. tily repent of them, and daily work in our hearts a greater measure of sorrow for them; that we may, fearing thy judgments, which thou executest against the stiff-necked, endeavour to please thee : grant us to avoid all pollution of the world, and those who are cut off from the communion of the church, that we may not make ourselves partakers of their sins; and that he who is excommunicated may become afham
municating of impenitent fingers ; declareth imine. diately thercupon, “that whatsover his ministers Thail loose on earth, Oiall be loosed in heaven;" whereby he givelli to understand, that when any per. fon is cut off from his church, he is not deprived of all hopes of salvation ; but can agaia be loosed from the bonds of condemnation. Therefore fince God declares in his word, not to take pleasure in the death of a sinner, but that he turn from his wickedness and live, so the church always hopes for the repentance of the backslidden finner, and keepeth her bolom open to receive the penitent: accordingly the apostle Paul, 1 Cor. v, commanded the Corinthian (whom he had declared ought to be cut off from the church) to be again received and comforted, since being re. proved by many, he was come to the knowledge of his lins : to the end that he llould not be swallowed up with over much sorrow. 2. Cor, ii.
Secondly, Christ teacheth us in the aforementioned text, that the sentence of abfolution, which is passed upon such a penitent sinner, according to the word of God, is counted fure and firm by the Lord ; there. fore no one ought to doubt in the least, who truly repenis, that heis assuredly received by God in mercy, as Christ faith, Jolin, Chap, xx.“Whose soever fins ye remiri, they are remitted unto them.”
But now to proceed to the matter in haud. I ask thce N. whether thou dost declare here with all thine hcart before God and his church, that thou art sine