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the charity-schools; and by breeding up the poor to be honest and diligent, the rich are saved from the violence of wicked necessitous men; the poor are rescued from wickedness, and the punishments due to it; and so many useful and beneficial hands are gained to the public.

Farther, not only the good order and peace of civil society is provided for by these charitable institutions, but also the peace of the church of Christ; by training up youth to be orderly and well behaved members of it: an end which every Christian, who has any regard for his holy profession, must take pleasure in promoting. But carry this consideration into its remoter consequences, the happiness to which many souls may arrive through the influence which a pious education may have on the whole course of their lives; and nothing will be wanting to give us a just conception of the usefulness of this design, or to encourage us to be liberal and generous in contributing to the support of it. If every gift bestowed for the honor of God, or for the good of our country, or for the sake of a poor brother, shall have its reward ; how abundantly shall this charity be recompensed, which serves all these purposes at once; which brings maintenance to the poor, instruction to the ignorant, and opens to the miserable a way to happiness ; which provides for the order of civil government, and the peace of Christ's church on earth; referring all to the glory and honor of him, who is Lord of the world which now is, and of that which is to come? Give therefore according as God has blessed you: here are many who ask your help; the poor, your country, the church of Christ, which intreats for these her helpless children: and one there is who looks on, and will not forget the love you show to the meanest of his members for his sake, Jesus Christ, our Lord : 'to whom, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, be ascribed all honor and glory henceforth and for evermore, Amen.




The fear of God and of the king are joined together in Scripture, to show the dependence which one has on the other. The advantage of religion to all public societies and civil governinents is evident: and if we look into the history of former times, we shall find the first symptoms of ruin in the dissolute lives of the people and their contempt of sacred things.

The duty of fearing God is not considered farther than as the obedience due to our superiors on earth is included in it; the discourse therefore is confined to the following particulars : I. what obedience to our governors is enjoined by the law of God: II. how inconsistent with this obedience is the practice of those men, who are given to change.

I. Obedience is seen chiefly in three things : first, in submission to the laws and commands of our princes : secondly, in honor and reverence to their persons and government : thirdly, in defending them, when any danger threatens them or the public. First : to determine the original of civil power, or the prince's right to the subject's obedience, is neither easy nor necessary. When our Saviour appeared in the world, various were the forms of government in it, and different the degrees of power exercised by its rulers ; none of which were lessened or increased by the divine law, but all pronounced to be the ordinance of God; and obedience was exacted, under penalty of disobeying him, the original of all power: for he that resisteth, resisteth the ordinance of God, &c.

But since the nature of obedience is no where determined by the law of God, while the practice of it only is commanded, some other rule there must be to judge of the extent of our duty. This shown to be the measure of power and authority: whatever the prince can lawfully command in that, the subject is bound to obey. The things which are God's must be rendered unto God; and therefore no divine law can be superseded by the command of any earthly power : we must obey God rather than man, and be content with the lot of them who suffer for well-doing. But to reason abstractedly on the power of princes is a sign of weakness and of a troublesome temper : custom and the law of the land are, in each country, the highest reason : otherwise the gospel, which was intended for the law of all nations and people, could not have commanded obedience to the present powers, so different in form and authority.

Obedience is primarily due to God, the fountain of all power. Where God did not so visibly interest himself, as in the Jewish dispensation, but committed the reins of government to earthly princes, the making of laws for the external order of the world was remitted to their authority; and therefore the gospel, though infinitely more perfect than the law, gave us no system of laws, either for civil or ecclesiastical government. Of obedience there are two parts, the external and the internal : the former is that in the due performance of which the beauty and order of the world consists, and is therefore the proper care of its governors. The same holds in religion, which is the service of God : there are duties in which none are concerned but God and our own souls; such as faith, repentance, &c. But God requires also an external and visible worship from us, in which order and decency are required, but not determined ; and therefore they must be left to the jurisdiction of those to whom we

are answerable for our outward behavior in all things.

The second instance of obedience is to honor and reverence our governors ; a duty which we owe to all our superiors in proportion to their dignity and office. Next to him, whose very name cannot be taken in vain without guilt, are the supreme powers on earth, great though the distance be: to them we owe respect, according to the Apostle's rule, to render honor to whom honor, fear to whom fear is due. Two things have a right to honor and respect; personal virtue, and public character; which, when happily joined together, are to be accounted worthy of double honor ; but when separate, are not to be defrauded of their due portion. Example of St. Paul, who corrected himself when he had spoken rudely to the high priest.

The third instance of obedience is in defending the persons and government of our princes. Mutual defence is the end of all government. Protection in life and fortune is the right of every subject; this he may lawfully expect from his prince, and so is bound to him, in the like duty of defending his person and government, whenever occasion requires it. When men entered into civil society, they resigned all their private rights and interests to the public good ; and therefore the public happiness is to be preferred before our own: the prince bears the person of the commonwealth; by him the public lives and acts; therefore his life is sacred, and to be defended with zealons devotion. To maintain the established form of government is the first and highest duty of men acting in society: to remove the ancient landmarks of power and obedience tends to the ruin of all government, and is an injury to the prince and his vested rights, as well as disobedience to his power.

Second head considered : viz., how inconsistent with the

obedience required is the practice of those who are given to change.

No government was ever so perfectly formed at first, as to answer all occasions, the wisdom of man not reaching far enough to view all possible varieties of circumstances: therefore it is necessary for the public good that there should be a power lodged somewhere, to adapt old laws to present circumstances, or to those which may arise hereafter. To change thus is an act of lawful power, and therefore falls not within the charge of the text. But then the most necessary changes must be promoted and perfected by lawful authority, or else they lose their good quality ; for no change can be so beneficial, as the usurpation of lawful authority is injurious: to seek public good by such means is like the curing of a distemper by destroying the patient.

To view with pleasure the factions and disturbances of a kingdom, having in prospect our own advantage, is the part neither of a good man nor of a good Christian ; and to encourage seditious principles in others, though it may be done without danger, cannot be without guilt: such practices have nothing in them appertaining to honor or obedience to the prince.

The authority of the prince is as much concerned in maintaining the honor and order of God's service, as of his own; and the noblest character that belongs to princes, is that of nursing fathers and mothers to the church of Christ, the peace and order of which is at once the splendor and security of a government: therefore the advice of the text must be extended to the government of the church as well as of the state. And the occasion of this solemnity gives good reason for this application ; the alterations intended and practised on the church having had no little influence in the barbarous treason which was perpetrated towards the state.

There must be in the church, as in the state, a power to change whatsoever by experience is found unfit for the end de

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