Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

And here I cannot but mention a passage which we have recorded in Scripture, to the praise of the greatest prince then on earth, as we find it in Esther i. 15; the king asks this question of his counsellors, What shall we do unto the queen according to law ?-How careful was this mighty prince to do nothing which the law would not justify; and set a rare example of justice to all about him, to make the law the rule of his conscience, and conscience the rule of his conduct!

Thus stands the duty of superiors with respect to their inferiors.

But there is another branch of duty, and a very important one, which, in a more especial manner, regards the honour and laws of God, as we before hinted.

The will of God is, that the laws which he has given for setting forth his own glory, and for the good of mankind, should be reverenced and obeyed by all; that sin be made uneasy to those upon whom reason and the fear of God have no effect; that wickedness of every kind be punished according to the nature of the of fence; that the evil examples of such as scorn to be hypocrites in impiety, who make a mock of sin and damnation, and glory in making proselytes to Satan; that such be hindered by the severest penalties from corrupting others: that growing vices be carefully observed, and a timely stop put to them, before they become too many or too strong to be cured by any methods, except national judgments.

These are the undoubted duties of the Civil Magistrate, who, being in the place of God, stands bound to make his will the rule of his actions, remembering the account he must one day give.

For our part we are in duty bound to keep awake the consciences of men with the remembrance of God's glorious attributes, and of a judgment to come; of his all-seeing eye; of his justice and vengeance upon hardened sinners; of his power to destroy both body and soul in hell; of the sad and certain consequence of dishonest gain; of the wasting vices of idleness and luxury; of the damning sin of blaspheming the name of the great God; of the great evil of vexatious controversies, and giving men trouble without cause; and lastly, of the absolute necessity of making restitution for injuries done our neighbour, to the best of our power, as ever we hope for salvation.

To conclude:-Let these things be considered as they should be, and we shall soon see the happy effects of taking God along with us, in all our actions and counsels.

They that are in a superior rank will remember, that they are in the place of God, and will be careful not to bring contempt on him whose place they supply; the fear and regard for God and his laws being the best support of their own authority.

On the other side; they that are to obey will consider that their superiors are in the place of God, and are bound to consult his glory; their obedience, therefore, will be more cheerful, their

VOL. II.

BB

behaviour peaceable; and thankful will they be for the blessing of such a government.

And may God, the great governor of the world, give all his substitutes grace and a spirit to discern what will be most for his glory, and such as he will approve of at the great day; through Jesus Christ our Lord; to whom with the Father and the Holy Ghost, be all honour and glory. Amen.

SERMON L.

Before the COURT of TINWALD, 1728.

SUPPRESSION OF VICE AND IMPIETY, THE DUTY OF ALL PERSONS IN AUTHORITY.

GEN. vi. 1, 2, 3, 7.

AND IT CAME TO PASS, WHEN MEN BEGAN TO MULTIPLY ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH, AND DAUGHTERS WERE BORN UNTO THEM, THAT THE SONS OF GOD SAW THE DAUGHTERS OF MEN, THAT THEY WERE FAIR; AND THEY TOOK THEM WIVES OF ALL WHICH THEY CHOSE. AND THE LORD SAID MY SPIRIT SHALL NOT ALWAYS STRIVE WITH MAN-AND THE LORD SAID, I WILL DESTROY MAN WHƠM 1 HAVE CREATED, FROM THE FACE OF THE EARTH

TH

HIS text will be better understood, and will have no difficulty in it, when it is read according to the most ancient versions and paraphrases, which thus render or explain the Hebrew:-And it came to pass, when men began to multiply upon the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them; that the sons of the sovereigns (who in holy scripture are called gods) seeing the daughters of the inferior sort, that they were fair, they took them by force, and ravished them at their pleasure; which thing was so provoking in the sight of God, that he declares [ver. 7, I will destroy man whom I have created, from the face of the earth; which accordingly he did by the flood.

See Matt. v. 13. Mark xiii. 14. Luke xvii, 27. 2 Chron. xv. 1, 2, 3 ; xvii. 8, 9, 10. Ps. xii. 1. Ezek, xxii. 25, 26, 27, 30; and xxxiii. Jer., v. 1. Hosea iv. Wisd. v. 23.

Why was God so provoked with these sins, and these sinners, above all others?-There must be something very singular, and very provoking, which could draw down so amazing and so general a judgment upon the whole race of mankind. And the reason was plainly this,— the utter improbability that ever there would be a reformation, that ever the world would mend; since they that were in power, and in the place of God, and whose duty it was to restrain and punish wickedness, were the very persons who promoted vice, by suffering it to go unpunished in their own children and families, or by their own evil examples gave countenance to it; so that there was no way left to cure the evil, but by destroying the sinners.

And that this was the very cause of so universal a judgment, is plain from other instances of divine vengeance recorded in sacred scripture, which was then executed, when wickedness became so universal that there were none to punish or to restrain it.

This was the case of Sodom and the neighbouring cities; they were destroyed by fire from heaven: and that posterity might not be igno rant of the cause of so terrible a judgment, the scripture is so particular as to inform us, [Gen. xix. 5,] that all the people, both old and young, that is both fathers and their children, both magistrates and the common people, were gathered together from every quarter, to commit a sin abominable to be named.

[ocr errors]

This is plain from God's own declaration, [chap. xviii. 32,] If there be found ten right

« VorigeDoorgaan »