am sure we may find matter of mourning this day in that


Instead of honouring of them, many despise and pour contempt on them, more than otherwise they would do; thus vilely treating their sacred office.

Instead of submission and obedience, what refractoriness and spurning of discipline for scandalous offences! Some cannot endure to be told of their faults; but if we admonish or reprove them, even privately, they are made worse instead of better; and rather than take a reproof, they will give up with ordinances.

Instead of being careful of their reputation, some will bawl out upon them, and abuse them on every occasion. And there is nothing with many more readily received, than the vomit of malicious and spiteful spirits against ministers and elders, which is greedily licked up, 1 Cor. iv. 13.

Hence it is, that men's hands are weakened, and they are discouraged in their work, while they see the people of that temper, Hos. iv. 4. Hos. iv. 4. And hence it is, that it is so very hard to get men to undertake the office of elders; for they see that if they engage therein, they must be the very butt of the malice and spite of bitter spirits; and that if they will be faithful, they engage themselves in a fighting life, and that the stream will go against them. But allow me to put you in mind of three things.

1. Whose part you act in that matter. It is the part of Satan against these men and yourselves too. Can you fall upon a more expedite way to advance the kingdom of the devil in the congregation, than to discourage and weaken the hands of those that are set over you in the Lord? Is there a fairer way to rout the army, than to make their leaders useless?


2. Whose servants they are. They are clothed with a commission from the King of the church; and the contempt poured on them reaches to their Master: He that despiseth you (says he), despiseth me,' Luke x. 16. Will the laws of the land avenge the affronts done to a petty officer, who comes to execute the sentence of a civil court? did David severely avenge on the Ammonites the maltreating of his servants, whom he sent on a congratulatory message to them as ye find in 2 Sam. x? and will not the Lord Jesus resent

In his wrath the maltreatment of those that are clothed with his commission?

3. Lastly, Are ye not the professed subjects of the kingdom of Christ? Why then will ye not submit yourselves to the laws of his house? Why will ye not be obedient in the Lord to those whom he sets over you, complying with their exhortations, admonitions, and rebukes? Luke xix 27. Why do not ye strengthen their hands in the Lord's work? If ye have any interest in Zion's King, it is the work of our common Lord, which you are obliged to in a private way, as well as they by virtue of their office; and therefore ye are bound to co-operate with them in what serves to promote the interest of that King, whose servants you profess to be.

I proceed now to consider the relation betwixt political fathers and their children; that is, magistrates and subjects. First, I shall shew the duty of subjects to magistrates.

1. They owe them singular respect and honour, 1 Pet. il. 17. They are to be honoured by us in our hearts, thinking of and esteeming them reverently, and carrying a reverent fear and awe of them within our breasts, 1 Sam. xxvi, 16, 17. Prov. xxiv. 21. And this is to be expressed in a respectful behaviour towards them in word and deed.

The grounds of this are specially two. (1) The ordihance of God, whereby they are set abové ús in the way of power and authority, Rom. xiii: and subjects ought to walk in a conscientious regard to the superiority that God has given their rulers over them. (2.) The image of God that shines in their dominion and eminency above their subjects, Psal. lxxxii. 6. They are God's vicegerents on earth, whose office bears a representation of God's dominion.


2. Subjects owe them the charity to construct the best of their actions that they will bear, and to beware of passing a rash judgment of their administrations. Notable is the inStance of it in David, 1 Sam. xxvi. 19. Now therefore, I pray thee, let my lord the king hear the words of his servant: if the Lord have stirred thee up against me, let him accept an offering: but if they be the children of men, cursed be they before the Lord; for they have driven me out this day from abiding in the inheritance of the Lord, saying, Go serve other gods.' The liberty that many take in speaking of

magistrates, and wresting their actions still to the worst side, is what proceeds not from the spirit of the gospel, but is contrary to the word, an effect of their own pride and pre sumption, Exod. xxii. 28. Eccl. x. 20. 2 Pet. ii. 10. Jude 8. This is also highly reasonable, and hath these grounds. (1.) That candour and charity we owe to all men, but in a special manner to our superiors, requires it, 1 Cor. xiii. 5, 7. (2.) Our unacquaintedness with the springs of public bu siness, secrets of government, and reasons of state, Prov. kxv. 3. And natural modesty, as well as religion, teaches meh not to answer a matter before they hear it, Prov. xviii. 13. This dutiful children will allow to their parents, wives to their husbands, servants so their masters, and inferiors to their superiors; and why should not magistrates have it too?

3. Subjection, loyalty, and obedience to their just laws and commands. It is bad religion where loyalty to the magistrate must stand in place of all religion towards God; but it is also bad religion where people's pretended religion towards God justles out their loyalty to the magistrate, Rom. Kiii. 5. This duty Papists exempt churchmen from; and no wonder, for it is a part of the character of Antichrist, 2 Thess. ii, 4; but the scripture subjects ministers to the magistrates, as having souls as well as others, Rom. xiii. 'Let every soul be subject to the higher powers.'

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

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

6. Lastly, Prayer to God for them; supplications for supply of wants, prayers for good things to them, intercessions for turning away of evil from them, and thanksgivings for mercies bestowed on them, 1 Tim. ii. 1, 2. There is a reason for it too; for the welfare of subjects 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, spares, and temptations.

USE. Let me therefore exhort you in the words of the apostle, 1 Pet. ii. 18, 14. Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the

king, as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evil-doers, and for the praise of them that do well.' Let us honour and dutifully subject ourselves, 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 Revolution. Let us adore that bountiful providence, by which his grandfather [Frederick Elector Palatine of the Rhine], having lost one kingdom [that of Bohemia], besides his private estate, in the cause of the Protestant religion, three kingdoms are now conferred on the grandson. Let us thank our God, who did so seasonably bring him to the throne, and that in peace, to the surprise of all parties, so as we were like men that dreamed. Let us suppose that the Popish Pretender had effectuated his purpose, what a case had we been in this day! Yet rejoice with trembling; it is hard to say that Heaven and these sinful nations are become friends yet. Let us be dutiful to subordinate magistrates under him, and honour those whom God has honoured by their office, saying to them, Ye are gods. Let us not stumble atheists, Jacobites, and malignants, against our holy_religion, by contempt of the magistrate. We read the Bible, where subjection is commanded to subjects oft and again, even to magistrates that were enemies to Christianity. We are the followers of that Jesus who paid his tribute, and taught the people of the Jews, who were more solemnly covenanted with God, and more strictly bound up in the choice of their kings, than any nation under heaven, yet not to deny their tribute to Cæsar, the Heathen Roman emperor, who then was their chief magistrate, Matth. xxii. 19,-21.

Secondly, I shall shew the duty of magistrates to their subjects, which I shall only name.

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

2. To govern them with wisdom, justice, and clemency, 2 Chron. i. 10.

3. To punish evil-doers, and encourage them that do well, Rom. xiii. 3.

4. To protect them, and provide for their common safety,

1 Tim. ii. 2; to see to their prosperity, and not to oppress them, Prov. xxviii. 16.

5. Lastly, They ought to promote true religion, and advance the interest of Christ's kingdom among their subjects, Isa. xlix. 23. Some will have the magistrate 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 Papists. Truth goes the middle way, allowing the magistrate a cumulative, though not a privative, power in church-matters; and though he ought not to exercise a spiritual function, yet he can command and oblige ministers and other church-officers to do their duty, authoritatively call them to do it. And this is no more to usurp churchpower, than a ministers charging magistrates from the word, is to usurp civil power. See Confession of Faith.

There are other relations that import a mere preference; as, betwixt the aged and the younger, the weaker in gifts and the stronger, and between equals.

First, As to the relation betwixt the aged and the younger, 1. I shall consider very briefly the duties of the younger to the aged, for these are fathers and mothers in scripturelanguage, 1 Tim. v. 1.

(1.) They ought to submit to them, so as to follow their wise advice, and not to stand 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 respectfully 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 sort by their good advice, to tutor them, as Eli did young Samuel, 1 Sam. iii. 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 strong

er are,

(1.) To reverence and respect 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 harshly of them in things wherein they have a greater liberty than them, Rev. xiv. 3.

The duties of the stronger in gifts are, (1.) To communicate cheerfully to them what God has given them, and so

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