Page images
PDF
EPUB

VI.

DISC. sinning at any time in his presence, “ who

“ from his throne does thus behold all the “ dwellers

upon

earth.” If God be on our right hand, we should suffer ourselves to be neither seduced, nor terrified.

There is

yet

another consideration to be urged in the case before us. When we intreat the Almighty, that he would protect and preserve government amongst us, we intreat him to protect and preserve that, which is his own appointment, and by all good and conscientious men is to be obeyed as such. All power is originally and essentially in God; from him it descends to man. Pontius Pilate, about to pass sentence on the innocent Jesus, was not making a due use of his

power;

but even then, that power was by the innocent Jesus recognized and allowed, " Thou “ couldest have no power at all against me,

except it were given thee from above." Accordingly by our Apostle we are told, “ There is no power but of God; the powers

that be”—the powers subsisting" are ordained of God.” So far as relates

to

VI.

their

to the different modes by which, in different DISC. conftitutions, rulers become invested with

power -- so far government is, what St. Peter styles it, “ an ordinance of man,” regulated by human laws. But when, by rulers becoming so invested, government commences and is in force, it must be submitted to “ for the Lord's fake;" not only through fear of punishment, but because God, who is the great king over all the earth, has commanded

us,

for the the world, and the comfort of society, to consider our governors as armed with his authority, and to be subject to them as to himself. Resistance to them will be accounted as resistance to him.

peace of

These are the plain and simple politics of the Bible; easily understood, but, like many other duties, when we are aggrieved, or fancy ourselves to be aggrieved, not so easily practised. The bias of human nature, in it's present state, does not draw towards obedience. A late historian, who believed equally in the Bible and the Alcoran, has observed, that no harm can arise from the

circum

I 2

VI.

Disc. circumstance of this doctrine being preached

by the ministers of the Gospel ; because whenever the proper time for rebellion, in any nation, comes, the people will always find it out, without being told. The only danger is, left they should rebel too soon, before that time arrive. We give him credit for the observation ; nothing can be more certain. Let not the most fanguine advocate for liberty, who dreams constantly of the subversion of the constitution, and in the visions of the night beholds his prince becoming absolute, and preparing to ruin and murder all his subjects — let not such an one, I say, be under any apprehensions, that all the preaching in the church will prevent faction in the state: there will always be found a fufficient proportion of it:

any man be offended, if we now repeat our position, that the consideration of government being God's appointment, affords a very solid reason why “ prayers, fup“ plications, interceffions, and giving of " thanks, should be made for kings and for o all that are in authority.”

nor let

II. Other

II. Other reasons will offer themselves. Disc. respecting rulers, and the situation in which they are placed.

VI.

If we are to make interceffion, we are to make it chiefly for those who stand most in need of it; for those, who in this life have the largest share of temptations and of troubles,

Now, who upon earth is exposed to fo many and powerful temptations as a king ? Has he a propensity to the pleasures of sense? They are all at his command: they stand around him, only waiting for his call, to return answer, “ Here we are.” Has avarice taken possession of his breast? It may be gratified by amassing treasures, instead of expending them in generous and noble donations. Is he disposed to pride ? He has every thing the world can furnish to puff him up.

Does ambition fire him to aggrandize himself at the expence of his neighbours; to seize that to which he has no right; to desolate whole countries, and de

luge

I 3

VI.

DISć. luge them with the blood of the inhabi

tants? The instruments of destruction are prepared ; fleets and armies move when the word is given. In short, does either

appetite or passion at any time excite him to do that which he ought not to do? The means are at hand, and there are always those who will flatter and encourage him in following his inclinations.

But suppose him manfully to resist these temptations ; and now let us view that fea of troubles, which threatens to overwhelm him in the discharge of his office. He mult feel, day and night, the weight of that office, the various duties to be performed, and the difficulty, nay, almost impossibility, of performing them all, in

any

tolerable manner. Deceived by others in matters concerning which he cannot inform himself, or see them with his own eyes, he finds he has done wrong, when his whole intention was to do right ; and perhaps bestowed his favours on worthlessness and profligacy, when he defigned to reward virtue and merit. Exposed

continually

« PreviousContinue »