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Thus Tertullus the orator accused St. Paul, (Acts xxiv. 5.); thus also did the Jews accuse the Christians to the magistrates of Thessalonica, (Acts xvii. 16.) Hence that question of the Pharisees, Is it lawful to pay tribute to Cæsar? for they hoped to have found something whereof to have impeached our Saviour before the Roman governor. The collectors of tax seem to have had the same jealousy concerning our Saviour, when in Matth. xvii. 24. they inquired of St. Peter whether his Master would pay tribute or no; to which he answers, yes: and our Saviour, though he intimates that he ought to have been exempted, says to St. Peter, when he had cast his hook into the sea, and taken the piece of money from the mouth of the fish, 'Give it them as tribute for me and yourself, lest we should offend them.' This scandal, which he and his Apostles lay under, urged both him and them to vindicate themselves, and to teach their followers such obedience to the higher powers as might leave no pretence for such an accusation. That the Apostles had reference to the same in pressing obedience of all kinds on their disciples, is evident from the argument with which they close their instructions; that the word of God be not blasphemed, or evil spoken of: this text commented on, showing that Christians were more liable to reproach in this case than in any other: hence the reason why our Lord bids St. Peter pay the tribute: hence St. Paul's orders to Titus, ch. ii. 5. and 1 10. also Tim. vi. 1. See also 1 Peter, ii. 15. 16. Besides 1 these reasons, drawn from the Apostles' own writings, St. Jerome, in his comment on Tit. iii. 1., and St. Chrysostom, on Rom. xiii., teach the same thing. Hence we may see why the Apostles so earnestly press their new converts with a more than ordinary obedience to their governors: the honor of Christ and the gospel was nearly concerned in their behavior, which ought to be dearer to them than their lives: this point enlarged on. St. Paul more especially labors this point, when he writes to the Christians at Rome, where the least disorder would be

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soonest taken notice of, and most improved to the prejudice of the gospel. If we examine what St. Paul has taught on this point, we shall find it built on reasons purposely adapted to confute the error of the Galileans and some judaizing Chris tians, and to require such a scrupulous obedience as might clear the gospel and its professors from the scandal thrown on them by the heathen. The doctrine of the former part of the text opposes that of the Galileans; and is supported in the latter part by arguments peculiarly adapted to combat their error. He allows what they say to be true respecting God; but this is so far from exempting them from subjection to temporal power, that it proves the contrary: for the power of the magistrate being delegated from God, is therefore more especially to be regarded by those who pretend in a peculiar manner to be his servants. It was obvious to object to this reasoning, that the powers then in being could not be ordained by God, because they had thwarted all his purposes. To prevent which he purposely adds, ai dè ovoaι éžovoial, the powers which now be, are ordained of God; whence he draws this consequence, whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God. In what sense the rulers of the world may be said to be the ordinance of God, and to derive their power from him, is to be found from the state of the world, which requires them to protect the innocent and defend the weak: therefore to pretend an exemption from their power is to act in opposition to his will. As some pretended to withdraw their obedience from the prince, because they had been made partakers of the freedom of the gospel, so others in a state of servitude thought they had a right to throw off their bondage for the same reason: the Apostle therefore uses the same way of arguing with them, exhorting them to submit to their masters as unto God. Thus he lays down this general rule: Let every man abide in the same calling, &c. (1 Cor. vii. 20.); which he particularises in Ephes. vi. 5. 7. The same is somewhat dif

ferently expressed in Col. iii. : and is treated with some warmth in 1 Tim. vi. 3-5. In all these passages he plainly refers to the opinion of such as taught that the gospel had introduced a perfect state of freedom, and therefore teaches his converts that Christianity should make them better, not worse servants; since they ought to obey from the heart, as serving God and not men. St. Peter also teaches the same: submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake. Hence it is plain that the Apostle's argument is chiefly directed against those who were for making religion the cloak of disloyalty, on the specious pretence of setting up the Lord Jesus. The Apostle uses a second argument to inforce his doctrine, laid down at first in the words of the text: Let every soul be subject to the higher powers: and here the first doubt is, where the argument begins; for the words immediately following those last treated of may either be taken as the first of the second argument, or as a farther conclusion drawn from the first: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. If they who resist the power, do resist the ordinance of God, then this consequence is so evident, that it can lose nothing of its force should it be taken as introducing a new argument; which on the whole it seems to do: reasons for this given. To go on with the argument: it is drawn from the common topic of hope and fear; and by setting before us both the power and right of our governors to punish us, when we refuse to acknowlege their authority, it tacitly warns us to expect no protection from God against their just anger: it is absurd to expect assistance from God in opposition to his own authority delegated to earthly powers. The gospel in every page encourages its disciples to bear up against the afflictions or persecutions of the world, and to be exceeding glad, because their reward shall be great in heaven; but lest those who suffered as seditious subjects should entertain these hopes, he also warns them that the prince acts by the will of God in punishing such offenders,

St. Peter, on the same subject, has the same view before him, (iv. 14. 15.) as he had before observed; what glory is it, if when ye shall be buffeted for your faults, ye take it patiently? St. Paul's second argument therefore is not a mere prudential motive to obedience; but it teaches us that we shall not only suffer, but deserve to suffer, which every Christian ought to fear more than the evil itself. The steps of the argument are, they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation, that is, punishment or judgment; the reason follows: for rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil: hence we infer that by good works obedience is especially meant; and by evil works, resistance: else his reason will not contain the proof of his doctrine: yet the Apostle is now disputing with those who considered themselves justified by the gospel in not thinking the resistance here spoken of an evil work. Does he then beg this most material point? No : but from his first argument, that whoever resists the power resisteth the ordinance of God, he proves resistance to be an evil work he then shows the prince's power over such workers of iniquity; wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same. This was a strange assertion, if understood of good works in general: St. Paul knew that to obey the gospel, to reject idolatry, was to do good; yet that those who did so, far from having the praise of their rulers, were daily tormented by them: he knew that to preach the gospel was a good work, yet that he himself for so doing had been in perils and in danger of his life. How then could he assure his converts that if they did good, they should have praise of their rulers? But the difficulty vanishes, if we take good in the limited sense of the Apostle. By this reasoning the good must mean the same thing with good works; and we have shown good works to signify the work of obedience: hence, do that which is good means, pay due obedience: and then this proposition is universally true; for obedience is

a good work; and be princes what they may, they will always praise it; and we are sure to get this good by it, a quiet life at least. This exposition also suits St. Paul's main design, which was to inculcate obedience to the higher powers: tem⚫perance, chastity, and the other virtues were out of this ques

tion: if the Apostle then keeps to his point, the good thing he › recommends is that of obedience; and the word in the original, rendered good in our translation, is appropriated by St. Paul and St. Peter to denote the good of obedience in opposition to that evil spirit which sets a government at nought. The promise made to obedience is, thou shalt have praise of the same. What is meant by praise may be understood from St. Peter, who speaks of governors sent for the punishment of evil doers, and for the praise of them that do well: where praise must denote protection and encouragement, the only proper rewards good subjects can expect. And this will explain the words, for he is the minister of God to thee for good. The Apostle had promised reward to the obedient: he then supports it by these words. To be a minister for good then, must denote his being appointed by God as a dispenser of rewards; else the argument is lame: for if any other good be meant, the consequence is false; but if he be appointed by God to dispense rewards to those who do well, and if obedience be the good work, we have reason to expect reward for our obedience. And this sense will appear the true one by comparing the former and latter part of the verse together: for the Apostle goes on, but if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain. He then adds, for he is a minister of God: for what? He had before called him a dispenser of rewards, a minister of God for good; here then he should have called him one for evil: but the expression being too harsh, he uses a periphrasis, and says he is a revenger to execute wrath on him that doeth evil. This expounds a minister for good to be an encourager of him that doeth well. Compare all the parts,

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