Page images

And this is to be expreffed in a respectful behaviour towards them in word and deed.

The grounds of this are specially two. (1.) The ordinance of God, whereby they are fet above us in the way of power and authority, Rom. xiii. and subjects ought to walk in a confcientious regard to the fuperiority that God has given their rulers over them. (2.) The image of God that fhines in their dominion and eminency above their fubjects, Pfal. lxxxii. 6. They are God's vicegerents on earth, whofe office bears a reprefentation of God's dominion.

2. Subjects owe them the charity to conftruct the beft of their actions that they will bear, and to beware of paffing a rafh judgement of their adminiftrations. Notable is the inftance of it in David, 1 Sam. xxvi. 19. Now therefore, I pray thee, let my lord the king hear the words of his fervant: If the Lord bave stirred thee up against me, let him accept an offering: but if they be the children of men, curfed be they before the Lord; for they have driven me out this day from abiding in the inheritance of the Lord, faying, Go Serve other gods. The liberty that many take in speaking of magiftrates, and wrefting their actions ftill to the worst fide, is what proceeds not from the fpirit of the gospel, but is contrary to the word, an effect of their own pride and prefumption, Exod. xxii. 28. Eccl. x. 20. 2 Pet. ii. 10. Jude 8. This is alfo highly reasonable, and hath these grounds. (1.) That candour and charity we owe to all men, but in a special manner to our fuperiors, requires it, 1 Cor. xiii. 5. 7. (2.) Our unacquaintedness with the fprings of public bufinefs, fecrets of government, and reafons of state, Prov. xxv. 3. And natural modefty as well as religion teaches men not to answer a matter before they hear it, Prov. xviii. 13. This dutiful children will allow to their parents, wives to their hufbands. fervants to their mafters, and inferiors to their fuperiors; and why should not magiftrates have it too?

3. Subjection, loyalty, and obedience to their just

laws and commands. It is bad religion where loyalty to the magiftrate muft ftand in place of all religion. towards God; but it is alfo bad religion where people's pretended religion towards God juftles out their loyalty to the magiftrate, Rom. xiii. 5. This duty Papifts execm churchmen from; and no wonder, for it is a part of the character of Antichrift, 2 Theff. ii. 4.; but the fcripture fubjects minifters to the magifirates, as having fouls as well as others, Rom. xiii. Let every foul be fubject to the higher powers.


4. The payment of their tribute, Rom. xiii. 6. 7. This is a debt of thankfulness, and juftice too, for. the benefits of government which the fubjects enjoy, without which the government cannot be fupported, but all would go into confufion.

5. Defending of them in danger, each one according to his station, 2 Sam. xviii. 3. 1 Sam. xxvi. 15.

6. Laftly, Prayer to God for them; fupplications for fupply of wants, prayers for good things to them, interceffions for turning away of evil from them, and thanksgivings for mercies beftowed on them, 1 Tim, .ii. 1. 2. There is a reafon for it too; for the welfare of fubjects is wrapt up in theirs, ib. Much depends on 'their management, God's honour, our own good, and their high place has many dangers, difficulties, fuares, and temptations.

USE. Let me therefore exhort you in the words of the apostle, Pet. ii. 13. 14. Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's fake: whether it be to the king, as fupreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are fent by him for the punishment of evil doers, and for the praife of them that do well. Let us honour and dutifully fubject ourfelves, according to the will of God, to our gracious Sovereign King George, our rightful and lawful King by virtue of the laws of Scotland, pointed at in the claim of right, and upon which was founded the late happy révolution. Let us adore that bountiful providence, by which his grandfather [Frederick Elector Palatine of the Rhine]

having loft one kingdom [that of Bohemia], befides his private eftate, in the cause of the Proteftant religion, three kingdoms are now conferred on the grandfon. Let us thank our God, who did fo feafonably bring him to the throne, and that in peace, to the furprife of all parties, so as we were like men that dreamed. Let us fuppofe that the Popish pretender had effectuated his purpose, what a cafe had we been in this day! Yet rejoice with trembling; it is hard to fay that heaven and thefe finful nations are become friends yet. Let us be dutiful to fubordinate magiftrates under him, and honour thofe whom God has honoured by their office, faying to them, Ye are gods. Let us not ftumble Atheifts, Jacobites, and malignants against our holy religion, by contempt of the magiftrate. We read the Bible, where fubjection is commanded to fubjects oft and again, even to magiftrates that were enemies to Chriftianity. We are the followers of that Jefus who paid his tribute, and taught the people of the Jews, who were more folemnly covenanted with God, and more ftrictly bound up in the choice of their kings, than any nation under heaven, yet not to deny their tribute to Cæfar the Heathen Roman emperor, who then was their chief magiftrate, Matth. xxii. 19.-21.

Secondly, I fhall fhew the duty of magiftrates to their fubjects, which I fhall only name.

1. They ought to establish good laws among their fubjects, and to fee them duly executed, Zech. viii. 16. 2 Chron. xix. 5. 6. 7.

2. To govern them with wifdom, juftice, and clemency, 2 Chron. i. 10.

3. To punish evil-doers, do well, Rom. xiii. 3.

and encourage them that

4. To protect them, and provide for their common fafety, 1 Tim. ii. 2. to fee to their profperity, and not to opprefs them, Prov. xxviii. 16.

5. Laftly, They ought to promote true religion, and advance the intereft of Chrift's kingdom among

their fubjects, If. xlix. 23. Some will have the magiftrate to be the fountain of church-power. Others leave him nothing to do in religion but to defend the church, and execute her acts. Thus go the Papifts. Truth goes the middle way, allowing the magistrate a cumulative, though not a privative power in churchmatters; and though he ought not to exercise a fpiritual function, yet he can command and oblige minifters and other church-officers to do their duty, authoritatively call them to do it. And this is no more to ufurp church-power, than a minifter's charging magiftrates from the word, is to ufurp civil power. See Confeffion of faith.


[ocr errors]

There are other relations that import a mere prefe rence; as, betwixt the aged and the younger, the weaker in gifts and the ftronger, and between equals. First, As to the relation betwixt the aged and the younger.




1. I fhall confider very briefly the duties of the younger to the aged, for thefe are fathers and mothers in fcripture-language, 1 Tim. v. r.

(1.) They ought to fubmit to them, fo as to follow their wife advice, and not to ftand upon the points with them, but to be ready to yield to them, where lawfully it may be done, 1 Pet. v. 5.

(2.) They ought to honour them, and carry refpectfully to them. The Ancient of days commands us to honour old age, Lev. xix. 32.


2. The aged ought, (1.) To be ready to profit the younger fort by their good advice, to tutor them, as Eli did young Samuel, 1 Sam. fii. 9. (2.) To give them the example of a virtuous and holy life, Tit. ii. 2. Secondly, The duties of the weaker in gifts to the stronger are,

(1.) To reverence and refpect them for the gifts of God in them, Gen. xlv. 8. (2.) To be willing and ready to learn of them. (3.) To beware of judging harthly of them in things wherein they have a greater liberty than them, Rev. xiv. Dibolest


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

The duties of the ftronger in gifts are, (1.) To communicate chearfully to them what God has given them, and so to help them by their gifts. (2.) To encourage them, and bear with their infirmities, Rom.

XV. I.

Laftly, The duties of equals are, (1.) To regard the dignity and worth of each other, and carry refpectfully to them, 1 Pet. ii. 17. (2.) To carry modeftly towards one another, preferring in honour each other, Rom. xii. 10. (3.) To endeavour after and rejoice in one another's welfare as their own, ver. 15. 16.

II. I proceed now to fhew what is forbidden in the fifth commandment. According to our catechifm, it forbids the neglecting of, or doing any thing a"gainst the honour and duty which belongeth to "every one in their feveral places and relations."

This question is a field as large, or rather larger than the former, in fo far as to one duty several fins are opposed: but fearing that ye cannot bear enlargement, having heard fo much already on these relations, I fhall contract my discourse on this into a very narrow compafs.

This command is broken, (1.) By neglect of the duties we owe to our relations, which ye have heard. (2.) By doing any thing against and contrary to these


First, Hufbands and wives break this command, and fin against one another, many ways. As particularly,

1. Againft that tender conjugal love they owe to one another is all unkindnefs, whereby, laying afide and divefting themselves of natural affection, they are furly to, careless of, and unconcerned for their relatives, or their comfort. Of this fort are their bitter fpeeches, reproaching and reviling one another. That selfishnefs whereby they are at no pains to pleafe one another in lawful things, and void of fympathy in one another's joys and griefs; unreafonable fufpicions and jealoufies, whatever be done to please them; blazing VOL. III. G

« PreviousContinue »