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AT a General Meeting of the New-York Corresponding Society for the education of pious young men for the work of the ministry,
RESOLVED, That the thanks of this Society be given to the Reverend JOHN Stanford, for his excellent Sermon preached this day before them, and that he be desired to permit the same to be printed for the use and benefit of the Society.
ARCHIBALD MACLAY, Committee.
New-York, June 14, 1814.
TITUS ii. 8.
BOUND SPEECH THAT CANNOT BE CONDEMNED, THAT
HE THAT IS OF THE CONTRARY PART MAY BE ASHAMED, HAVING NO EVIL THING TO SAY OF YOU.
THE solemnity and importance of the christian ministry increase with our years. From this persuasion, Paul the aged wrote his epistles to Timothy and to Titus, to discharge the important duties devolved upon them, and, that they might know how to behave themselves in the house of God. And these injunctions, unquestionably, stand as equally necessary for the practice of every man, in successive ages, who shall assume the character of a minister of Christ. Among the exhortations of the Apostle, he thus enjoins Titus, In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine, showing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned, that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.
Sound speech in a minister, is an important, valuable requisite; it cannot be condemned. The advantages of it to others, is of equal utility; for, those of the contrary part, thereby may be ashamed; whether of their sentiments or their practices. At the same time, this success
will not fail to ensure a corresponding respect for the speaker himself, they having no evil thing to say of him.
Sound speech is founded upon sound doctrine, and dictated by a sound mind. The holy scriptures contain a form of sound words. 2 Tim. i. 13. Each having their expressive meaning, bear the stamp and perfection of divine truth in Jesus, and will stand the strictest investigation, whether by its friends or its opposers. It is also sound doctrine. Tit. i. 9. It has never deceived the hope of any believer, lays a permanent foundation for salvation, experience, profession, and perseverance to eternal felicity. Herein the mind of God is unfolded; the word of prophecy has been fulfilled to this day, both in the ministry of Christ, and in the writings of the Apostles; in which the harmony and stamp of truth are manifest. In order to receive and to build upon this sound doctrine, a sound mind must be possessed; for, against it, our carnal prejudices form numberless objections. This, therefore, must be produced by the Holy Spirit of truth; whether in christians generally, or in the ministers of the gospel. Paul acknowledged the reception of this favour from above. God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and of a sound mind, 2 Tim. i. 7. Now, as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he; and, as out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh, it must be obvious to all, that it is absolutely necessary, that sound doctrine must be the basis of a sound mind, in order to produce sound speech. Without which, it must be expected the lips will pronounce erroneous sentiments, contrary to the mind of God revealed in the scriptures, and equally injurious to the interests of guilty sinners. Those, however, whom the Lord is pleased to call into the ministry of the gospel, will, more or less, happily experience