Sanctify the Congregation: A Call to the Solemn Assembly and to Corporate Repentance
Selected and Edited by Richard Owen Roberts

This volume contains over a dozen powerful sermons calling the Church to fasting and to solemn assembly. A look through an index of early American publications reveals the wealth of attention that America's founding fathers gave to this issue of corporate repentance, and a selection of sermons preached between 1645 and 1753 is included here, along with calls to corporate repentance issued by government bodies and in church covenants. A chapter on the solemn assembly has been included by the editor, providing valuable background on a subject that much of the modern church seems to have forgotten.

338 p.
6" x 9" (paperback)
ISBN 0-926474-10-3 (1994)

The Synod of Boston, 1679: The Necessity of Reformation. Thomas Shepard: Wine for Gospel Wantons: Cautions Against Spiritual Drunkenness. Thomas Thatcher: A Fast of God's Choosing Plainly Opened. Joseph Rowlandson: The Possibility of God's Forsaking a People. Increase Mather: Returning Unto God the Great concern of a Covenant People. William Williams: The Danger of Not Reforming Known Evils. Benjamin Colman: Our Father's Sins Connected With Our Own. Thomas Foxcroft: God's Face Set Against an Incorrigible People. John Cotton: A Holy Fear of God and His Judgements. John Webb: The Duty of a Degenerate People to Pray For the Reviving of God's Work. Joseph Sewall: God's People Must Enquire of him to Bestow the Blessings Promised in His Word. Solomon Williams: The Sad Tendency of Divisions and Contentions in Churches. Andrew Eliot: An Evil and Adulterous Generation. Gilpert Tennent: A Sermon on Fasting and Prayer.

From the Introduction: "While sin is a very real personal problem, it is not exclusively individuals who fall short of the mark God sets for them. Whole churches sin grievously as do all other religious entities, including mission boards, evangelistic agencies and entire denominations. Even nations can be guilty of sin as nations. A generation that does not know how to put away corporate sin is a generation in trouble with itself and with God."

From Joseph Rowlandson's “The Possibility of God's Forsaking a People”: "Examine yourselves for all your departures from God and for your forsaking of Him. Humble yourselves for them. Confess with bitterness your evil therein. Weep before the Lord for the ways wherein you have grieved Him. May the Lord hear His people, from Dan to Beersheba, bemoaning themselves, Ephraim-like. Then the Lord will hear and have mercy and not leave us for His name's sake...

"Pray fervently that the Lord will not forsake us. The Lord is sometimes gracious in answering prayers of a wayward people. Prayers have prevailed with His Majesty often before and may do so again.

"Forsake your sin whereby you have forsaken Him. Nothing less than this will prevent the awful mischief of His final withdrawal from coming upon us. If there are any among us, whether they be father or mother, son or daughter, that will not leave their sins for God, God will leave them for their sins."