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Preached on Occasion of a
Charity-School at Bombay,
BEFORE THE HONOURABLE
CHARLES BOONE, Esq;
President and Governor of Bombay, &c. &c. Council.
RICHARD COBBE, M. A;
Chaplain to the Honourable East India Company.
James V. 19, 20.
Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; let him know, that he that converteth the sinner from the error of his way, Jhall save a foul from death, and shall hide a multitude ojfns.
J^ll^ ANY and various are the duties in holy }*j M |||j scripture, whereby God's true Religion &t*£ik is preserved, and whereby he would have his Name to be glorified; amongst which there is none more acceptable to him, or more profitable to us, than acts of piety, charity and mercy. And as the soul of man is the chief thing to be regarded, as being the more noble and honourable part; so the doing good to the souls of men is without doubt the greatest charity, and most acceptable service.
No man was ever yet born for himself, but every one obliged in his respective vocation to promote what he can the good of the society wherein Providence hath placed him; that he not only believe aright, but be careful also to maintain good works, always remembring the end of his creation, the setting forward the common as well as his own salvation. And if, of all other sinners, those we are assured will be most severely punished, who not only presume to corrupt themselves but maliciously endeavour to deprave others; then by parity of reason may likewise wise be inferred, that of all God's true and faithful servants, those will be exalted to the highest degree of glory, who shall be most industrious in the instruction and conversion of others; that shall lay the foundation of God's true Religion, or any ways contribute towards the promoting of fe.
In confirmation of which, we need look no further than this remarkable place of St James here before us; Brethren, fays he, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; let him know, that he that convert et h the sinner from the error of his way, shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of fins.
These words, according to Dr Hammond** interpretation, carry with them a double encouragement to the duty here enjoined; for such is the excellency of this most extensive duty, the converting a soul from the error of his way, that they bring not only an advantage to the person converted, such as the saving of his soul from death, but a privilege also to him that makes the convert, such as the hiding the multitude of his fins \ which, upon his sincere repentance, will effectually be brought to pass, through the merits and satisfaction of our Saviour Christ. And if the conversion of one sinner from the error of his .way be thus effectual and prevalent towards pardon and salvation, how much more available will be the conversion of several, and the turning of many to righteousness?
In consideration of these glorious privileges, I beg leave upon this occasion to lay before you, my Brethren, a very deserving object of our Christian Charity, the setting up, and maintaining a Charity-School in this place, in order to the
teaching teaching poor children to read, and instructing them in the principles of the Christian Religion.
And for a successful recommendation of this so very excellent an undertaking, I need only appeal to the great success, and the wonderful improvements it has of late met with in our own country, and elsewhere, to the unspeakable joy and satisfaction of all good men; the universal approbation of which good work, together with the signal blessings that attend ic, are a sufficient demonstration of its use and excellency; a work of that truly Christian piety, that it cannot want for any motive of encouragement, when it so evidently carries its own reward along with it.
Now whereas the pious education of poor children in Christianity is the most effectual means we can take with any for their salvation; so is it much more so with these Gentiles round about us: by seasoning them betimes in the principles of Religion, and removing the opinions and prejudices of their forefathers, by opening their eyes, and shewing them their errors, by turning them from darkness unto light, and from the power of Satan unto God.
And as the means are thus effectual towards promoting this great end, so are the encouragements here annexed the most glorious and beneficial. Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; let him know that he that converteth the sinner from the error of his way, ffjallfave afoul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins. .'
That we may therefore consider cur duty on this behalf, and be the better encouraged to set forward and promote this commendable good work, I shall from the words just now read to you endeavour to shew, . .