« AnteriorContinua »
indisposition, not to say opposition, that is in so many to things of this nature, gives too much ground to fear, that they will in a great measure sink and fall, if speedy care be not taken to prevent,) what a rude, unacquainted and unserviceable generation will be our rising generation ; if therefore there be any thing yet doable * as to these things, by your honors and the honorable representatives who make up this great and general assembly, the doing of the same will be a comfort to many whose hearts tremble, and who mourn in secret upon the account of these things. Sed
Many things I might remember you of (much honored) to encourage and comfort you in an endeavoring the weal and comfort of your people. Give me leave to say, that it is highly honorable, it deserves honor. Some of the worst of rulers have had high encomiums and praises, but good rulers deserve high encomiums and praises ; it is a truth with respect to those in the magistracy as well as those in the ministry. "Let the elders that rule well be accounted worthy of double honor.” 1 Tim. v. 17. And as it deserves honor, so it is the way to have honor. I know some will never be satisfied, will always be murmuring, let those that are over them do what they can; but yet such rulers as are a comfort to their people, are in the fairest way to hear well from their people ; and God who has the hearts of all men in his hands, is wont to give unto such heads and rulers as endeavor to be a comfort to their people, a place in the hearts, and respect and honor from the mouths of their people. Mordecai (that ruler) was great among the Jews, and accepted of the multitude of his brethren, when he sought “the wealth of his people, and spake peace to all his seed.” Esth. x. 3.
And also let me add this, that it will be comfortable both in life and at death. When a man as a head or ruler of his people, has chose out their way and endeavored their comfort and prosperity, then may he well desire of God with the Psalmist, (Ps. cvi. 5, 6.) “ Remember me, O Lord, with the favor that thou bearest to thy people, that I may see the good of thy chosen, that I may rejoice in the gladness of thy nation, that I may glory with thine inheritance." And as Nehemiah, after all bis great undertakings for the public weal, “ Think upon me, my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people.” Neh. v. 19.
Use VI. To the body of this people. Let us, as we are a people, carry it so towards those who are our heads or rulers, and endeavor to be such a people, as that God may please to favor us with such heads or rulers, as may be able to choose out our way,
and will also endeavor to be a comfort to us. Since such heads or rulers are such a happiness, let us in this way approve ourselves studious of our own happiness.
1. Let us carry it so towards those who are our heads or rulers, that they may be encouraged to this. Let us see to it that we pay them a dutiful deference. There is honor due to them, see we to it that we render it to them, (Rom. xii. 7.) Let us see to it that we are subject and obedient to them, how urgent are the two great apostles, Paul and Peter with respect to this, (Rom. xiii. 1.) “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers.” (1 Pet. ii. 13, 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 see to it that we are ready to pay a suitable tribute to them. “We are to render unto Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's.” Matt. xxi. 21. And what can be more express than that, (Rom. xii. 6, 7.) “For this cause pay you tribute also, for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues, tribute to whom tribute is due, custom to whom custom ;” and let us see to it, that we are not wanting in paying them spiritual tribute, according to the apostle's exhortation, (1 Tim. ii. 1.) “ That we make supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks for kings and for all that are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty;" but these things have been largely insisted upon by such as have put us in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, (Tit. iii. 1.)
2. And to draw to a conclusion: Let us endeavor to be such a people as that God may please to favor us with such heads or rulers as shall be able to choose out our way, and shall also endeavor to be a comfort to us; and if we would, we must see to it, that we are a reformed people ; as long as we retain our iniquities, we cannot expect this happiness ; it is said, Hos. ix. 7, “The prophet is a fool, the spiritual man is mad, for the multitude of thine iniquity and the great hatred.” And as God can suffer the prophets of a people to be fools, and their spiritual men to be mad, and to delude and misguide a people by reason of the multitude of iniquity, and the great hatred, so he can suffer the heads or civil rulers of a people to be so, when a people hate to be reformed ; " for the transgression of a land,” the wise man tells us, many are the princes thereof.” Prov. xxviii. 2. Yea, and many
times bad also are the princes thereof. It is threatened as an heavy curse upon that people, (Lev. xxvi. 17.) “ That if they would not hearken to God, and do his commandments, they that hated them should reign over them.” Pernicious should their
heads or rulers be, such as were abominable to God, and most unprofitable to the people: The hypocrite is sometimes set to reign for the people's sins: Othen let us follow the pathetical advice that was given to the people of Jerusalem, (Jer. iv. 14.) “ To wash our hearts from wickedness;” O that there were such an heart in us that we could fear God, and keep his commandments always. If those things that are amiss among us rectified and reformed, and we did but set ourselves to fear the Lord, and to serve him in truth with all our hearts, (which was the advice of Samuel to the people of Israel, in order to their obtaining the smiles and favor of Heaven, both upon their heads or rulers, and themselves also, I Sam. xii. 24.) then might we hope to enjoy such heads or rulers as are able to lead us in a right way, and will also be ready to comfort us in all our sorrows: yea, then might we hope that God would think towards us thoughts of peace and not of evil, and that he would say concerning us, as Isa. Ivii. 18. “I have seen his ways, and will heal him, I will lead him also, and restore comfort unto him, and to his mourners."
PREACHED IN DEDHAM, NEW ENGLAND.
ON A DAY SET APART
PRAYER WITH FASTING,
(SOME TIME AFTER) IN PRIVATE, TO A CONSIDERABLE NUMBER OF YOUNG
PERSONS IN THE AFORESAID TOWN, AND AT THE EARNEST
DESIRE OF SEVERAL OF THE HEARERS, PUBLISHED.
PASTOR OF THE CHURCH IN DEDHAM.
" I will pour my Spirit upon thy soed, and my blessing upon thy offspring.”—Isa. xliv. 3.
PRINTED BY B. GREEN, FOR SAMUEL PHILLIPS, AT THE BRICK
SHOP IN CORNHILL. 1710.