Levett Mayor.

THIS Court doth desire Mr. Bradford to print his Sermon preach'd upon Saturday last before the Right Honourable the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and Livery-Men of the City, at the Parish Church of St. Lawrence Jewry, before the Election of the Lord Mayor of this City for the Year Ensuing.

Ashhurst.

A SERMON Preach'd before THE RIGHT HONOURABLE The LORD MAYOR and Aldermen, AND Citizens of LONDON, AT St. LAWRENCE JEWRY, on Saturday, September the 28th, 1700. At the Election of the Lord Mayor, for the Year Ensuing.

By SAMƲEL BRADFORD, Rector of St. Mary le Bow, and Chaplain in Ordinary to His Majesty.

LONDON, Printed for Matt. Wotton at the Three Daggers near the Inner-Temple-Gate in Fleetstreet. 1700.

Mr. BRADFORD's SERMON Preached before The Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and Citizens of LONDON, AT St. Lawrence Jewry, Septemb. the 28. 1700.

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TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE Sr RICHARD LEVET, Lord Mayor of the City of London, Sr THOMAS ABNEY Ld Mayor Elect, And the Court of Aldermen.

Right Honourable,

YOƲR Ordering this plain Discourse to be printed, is a publick Declaration, that you approve of the Magistrates therein described. That Almighty God may al­ways incline your Hearts to act accordingly, and that there may be a constant Succession of Able [Page]and Good Magistrates; that you may be an Ho­nor to this Great City, and the City happy un­der your Administration, is the hearty Prayer, of

Right Honourable,
Your most faithful and humble Servant, Samuel Bradford.
ISAIAH I. 26.

I will restore thy Judges as at the first, and thy Coun­sellors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, The City of Righteousness, the Faithful City.

THESE Words contain in them a Promise of God's special Favour to the City of Jerusalem, the Me­tropolis of Judea, and were spoken by the Pro­phet Isaiah, for the comfort and support of the Pious and Good Men therein, whilst they heard of the Judg­ments which were at that time denounced against the Im­pious and Wicked.

It was, as appears by the precedeing part of this Chapter, a time of very great Corruption and Degeneracy among that People; for which they had already suffer'd many and great Calamities, as a just Punishment for their Transgressi­ons; but were hitherto far from being reclaim'd. They did indeed keep up a pretence and shew of Religion; but were at the same time very faulty in their Morals. Ver. 11.13. Sacrifices and Burnt-offerings they did not spare; the New Moons and the appointed Festivals they constantly observed; but they were notoriously guilty of Falshood, Injustice, Unmercifulness and Oppression. A little before the Text, their Character is given in very Emphatical Terms. Ver. [...]. [...]. How is the Faithful City become an Harlot? It was full of Judgment, Righteousness lodg­ed in it; but now Murderers. Thy Silver is become dross, thy Wine mixt with Water. That is, They were become false to God, and unjust one towards another, and were Corrupted to that degree, that there was hardly any thing sincere and genuine, any thing true and honest among them.

Nor was this Corruption only among the Common Peo­ple; but it had tainted Men of higher Rank also, even their Governors and Magistrates, as we find in the next Words. [Page 2] Thy Princes are Rebellious, Ver. 23. and Companions of Thieves; every one loveth Gifts, and followeth after Rewards. They judge not the Fatherless, neither doth the cause of the Widow come unto them.

Now this being their Case, it pleas'd God once again se­verely to Rebuke and Threaten them, letting them know, that he would yet make one Tryal more of them, using greater Severity than hitherto he had done, but not wholly abandoning them, designing by his Judgments to cut off the Incorrigible, but to preserve to himself a Remnant, who should be prevail'd upon by what they should see and feel, to amend what was amiss. Ver. 24, 25. So it follows; Therefore saith the Lord, the Lord of Hosts, the mighty one of Israel, Ah, I will ease me of mine Adversaries, and avenge me of mine Enemies. And I will turn my Hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy Dross, and take away all thy Tin. And in order to the bring­ing about this thorow Reformation, God promiseth to bless them with good Governors, who should be his Instru­ments in accomplishing what he intended. So we read in the Words of our Text; And I will restore thy Judges as at the first, &c.

It is indeed observable by Experience, that Governors do commonly partake of the Virtues or Vices of the People over whom they are placed. If a general Corruption have overspread any Community or Body of Men, their Rulers also are usually tainted; and God in his Providence justly punisheth the Transgressions of the People, by permitting them to fall into bad Hands; and 'tis part of their Punish­ment, and a terrible Effect of the Divine Displeasure toward them, that these Governors still increase and propagate the Corruption of which they partake. As on the other hand, both by the Inclination of a Virtuous People, and the Bles­sing of God upon them, the management of their Affairs is usually committed to Wise and Just Rulers; and when God out of his Infinite Goodness and Mercy, designs either to [Page 3]reward a Virtuous Body of Men, or to amend a Vicious, He doth by his over-ruling Providence raise up such to Govern them, as shall be careful to promote his Honour, and their Welfare. But to come to the Words themselves.

By Judges, may be understood properly, those who have the Authority and Power to make, or to execute Laws; and by Counsellors, those whom they call in to their advice and assistance: Or, without nicely distinguishing, we may comprehend under these two Words, all that are in Autho­rity, or have the Management of Publick Affairs, whether Supream Governors, or Subordinate Magistrates. By restore­ing to them such as were at the first, or at the beginning, is meant, the raising up for them such as that People were blest with, when they were brought out of Egypt, and con­ducted into the Land of Canaan, who were acknowledged to have been Worthy Men, every way qualified for their Trust, and to have discharged it faithfully to the Honour of God, and the Publick Good, encouraging and promo­ting Piety and Virtue, and keeping the Community in Peace and good Order. And after this should come to pass, Jerusalem should then be called, that is, should be fitly or properly called, forasmuch as it should really be, The City of Righteousness, the Faithful City; that is, it should become thence-forward, eminent for its Virtue and Piety, it should be Remarkably, and by way of Emphasis, so as to be taken notice of, and esteem'd as such, The City Faithful to God, and Righteous toward Men.

If it be asked, When this Prophecy was to be fulfill'd; Some make answer; At their return from Babylon. And those who are of this Opinion, suppose the Threatning denoun­ced in the preceeding Words, to relate to the Babylonish Cap­tivity, and consequently, that the Promise in the Text was to be made good, when they should be restor'd to their own Country, and the City of Jerusalem should be new Built. And if so; it was actually fulfill'd, when Joshua and Zerubbabel, [Page 4]Ezra and Nehemiah had the Direction of their Publick Af­fairs, concerning whom, we have in the Sacred Story a very good Character, as of Wise and Good Men, and Excellent Governors. But others, (and I think, with greater probabili­ty) carry the matter farther, referring this Prophecy to the Times of the Gospel. These reckon, That the Judgment here threatn'd, was the great desolation of Judea and Jeru­salem by the Romans; and that the Promise of purging away their Dross, and taking away all their Tin, was to be fulfill'd under the Reign of the Messiah, and that, as Jerusalem which then was, was a Type and Figure of the Christian Church; so the Promise which was made to that City, and in some measure fulfill'd at the end of the Babylonish Capti­vity, was yet to have a more complete accomplishment in the Anti-type. And if so, then by restoring Judges as at the first, and Counsellors as at the beginning, must be under­stood, That as the Christian Church should abound with Men of reformed Tempers and Practices, so there should be Christian Governors and Magistrates, who should prove eminent Instruments in this Reformation. And such, no doubt, there have been in most Ages of Christianity. Tho', I think, whosoever takes a view of the Christian World, and well considers, what the state of Things has been, and still is therein, will judge it reasonable to hope, that this Promise is yet to have a more eminent Accomplishment, than it has had hitherto. But to let that pass; I proceed to consider the Words so as may be most proper, with respect to the present Occasion, and this I shall do in the follow­ing Method.

First, I shall enquire into the Character of those Gover­nors with which the People of Israel were blest at the begin­ing, who are here made the Patterns of those which should be restored to them.

Secondly, I shall shew, how such Governors are a Publick Blessing to the People over whom they are placed, inso­much that a City in which they Rule, may from them be called, The City of Righteousness, the Faithful City.

Thirdly, I shall briefly apply what shall be delivered on this Argument, to our own Use.

First, To enquire into the Character of those Governors, with which the People of Israel were blest at the beginning, who are here made the Patterns of those which should be restored to them.

By those which they had at the beginning, I have already observed, is to be understood, those who rul'd over them, in the beginning of their Common-wealth, when they were brought out of Egypt and conducted into Canaan. Such were a great part of the Judges whom God gave them, Acts 13.19, 20. as St. Paul speaks, from the time of their being settled in Canaan, unto the days of Samuel, for about the space of four hundred and fifty years; these being Men rais'd up by Providence from time to time, as there was occasion, for delivering them from their Enemies, and preserving Peace and good Order amongst them at Home. But more especially, Moses himself, who was their Conductor from Egypt thro' the Wilderness; and after him Joshua, who led them into the Land of Rest; and at the conclusion of their Common-wealth, Samuel the Prophet, may be suppos'd to be referr'd to in this passage of our Text. These were Per­sons, who, by all the account which we have of them, ap­pear to have had a sincere and awful regard to God and to his Laws, with a fervent desire to promote his Honor, and do his Will. They were Men likewise of a Publick Spirit, pos­sess'd with an hearty Love to their Country, and a great Zeal for asserting its Liberties, and promoting its Welfare. [Page 6]They made it the business of their Lives, that to which they devoted themselves, and which they preferr'd much before any of their Private Concernments or Interests, to guard and defend their People from their Enemies, and to propagate Piety and Virtue, Truth and Righteousness and Peace a­mongst them.

And as this was the just Character of those who were under God, their Chief Governors, (for such all those whom I have now mention'd were) so their inferior Magistrates al­so were, at the first Persons of the same Stamp, as we may be assur'd by reflecting upon two Passages, in the Books of Exodus and Deuteronomy, very full and plain to our present purpose, where we have an account how those Persons were qualified, who were by Moses first appointed to rule the People under him. The former Passage is that which con­tains the Advice of Jethro, Moses's Father-in-law, when he observ'd, how much too heavy a burden it was for one Man to Judge all that People by himself. Upon this he Counsels Moses to appoint others, who should be subordi­nate to him, and assist him in that great Work; and what sort of Persons they should be, he tells him in those remarkable Words, Exod. 18.21. Thou shalt provide, says he, out of all the People, able Men, such as fear God, Men of Truth, hating Covetousness, and place such over them. And we find, that Moses did accordingly, in the other Passage which I am to produce, viz. where he thus declares to the People, Deut. 1.9, 13, 14, 15. I spake unto you, says he, at that time, (name­ly, when he put Jethro's Advice in execution) saying, Take ye wise Men and understanding, and known among your Tribes, and I will make them Rulers over you. And ye answered me and said, The thing which thou hast spoken is good for us to do. So I took the chief of your Tribes, wise Men and known, and made them Heads over you. Now by reflecting upon these two Passages, we may clearly discern [Page 7]the Character of those Magistrates, with which that People were blest at the beginning.

They were able men. The word in the Original, like that in our English Tongue, is of a large signification, de­noting the several kinds of Abilities, which are proper in this case. So that by able men may be understood, ei­ther men endued with a competency of bodily Health and Strength; or men of Substance, Wealthy men; or Men of Natural Courage and Fortitude; or lastly, Men of Judgment and Prudence. There is no question, but that each of these may be esteem'd able men, in some degree qualified for the discharge of Publick Offices. A compe­tent measure of Health and Strength enables Men to under­go the fatigue of Publick Business, and to dispatch it with ease and pleasure to themselves and others. A plentiful Estate qualifies the Owner of it to bear the Charges which usually attend Honor and Publick Employments, and to maintain the Post, which is highly expedient, if not ne­cessary for such Persons. Besides that where an Estate is either descended from Ancestors, or acquir'd by honest In­genuity and Industry, it usually procures regard; and which is yet more, puts the Possessor of it into a capacity of lay­ing more Obligations upon others, and consequently of pro­curing greater Respect from them. And above all, it does, or should, raise Men above the temptation of doing an ill, an unjust, an unfair, or so much as a mean Action. Riches are the Materials and Instruments of Virtue, where those who have them know how to use them aright. So again, Natural Courage or Fortitude of Mind qualifies him that is indued with it, to encounter Difficulties, to bear up against Contradiction, to do that which is fit, in spight of all Discouragement, and to maintain a just Authority against all Opposition; all which are excellent Dispositions in a Magistrate. And for Judgment and Prudence, it will, [Page 8]I take it for granted, be readily allow'd, that these are at least as necessary and useful Qualifications, as any of the former, and therefore these seem more particularly to be meant by the word able, according to the exposition of Moses him­self, Deut. 1.13. where instead of able men, he orders the People to present to him wise men and understanding. And this is the first part of the Character of those Magistrates, which they had at the beginning: but this is not all; there is a more considerable part of their Character yet behind.

What I have hitherto been speaking of concerns only the Abilities of Nature or Fortune: but that which I am now going to mention relates to their Moral Qualifications. It follows therefore; Such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; than which a more complete Character of a good Magistrate cannot I think be given in so few words.

Such as fear God, that is, have an inward and hearty re­verence toward the Divine Majesty, which they discover by a serious regard to his Worship and Service, by a zeal for his Honor and Interest in the World, and by a consci­entious observance of all his Precepts. These are the Men that act upon Principles, being mov'd not by worldly de­sign or interest, not by popular applause or vain-glory; but by Conscience, which they make appear by an equal and impartial regard to all the parts of their duty, and by a steady adherence to it upon all occasions.

Again, Men of truth, Persons of Integrity, such as one may firmly trust and rely upon▪ whose meaning may be cer­tainly known by their expressions, whose word is so sacred, that their plain affirming or denying might fairly pass for a sufficient Evidence, and whose Promises one may be confi­dent will be punctually and surely perform'd; Men that have no design to serve by trick or artifice, no interest to be carried on by falshood, no reason and no inclination to deceive; who are in a word, True themselves, and [Page 9]lovers and encouragers of Truth in all others.

And Lastly, hating Covetousness; that is, not only free from that sordid Disposition; but fill'd with an abhorrence of it, and consequently, Persons of large and generous Souls, who love God and their Country infinitely better than their Wealth; who, as they detest all base and unworthy ways of Gain, so they know no other considerable Advan­tage in Riches, but a capacity of using them to the Honor of their Maker, and the Good of their Fellow-creatures.

And that these also are proper Qualifications of a good Magistrate, I suppose, will easily be granted. The former, I mean, the Abilities of Nature and Fortune before menti­on'd, do not of themselves render him that enjoys, or him that wants them, a Virtuous or Vicious, a Good or a Bad Man. They are indeed all of them convenient, and some of them necessary Abilities for a good Magistrate: But any of them may be pernicious to the Publick, if lodg'd in ill Hands. Health and Wealth, Courage and Understanding, if an ill-designing Man has the management of them, are but so many Advantages which he is possest of, against those he has to do with, which he may employ to their great detriment. Whereas the moral Qualifications which I last mention'd, as they cannot from the nature of them, be ill-used themselves, so they will certainly improve all the other to the greatest advantage, rendering them eminently serviceable both to Magistrates and People.

As for the fear of God, it is the foundation and support of all other Virtues, 'tis that without which no one can be a good Man in a private Station, nor thorowly so in a publick. For what can be more absurd, than for those who are God's Vice-gerents on Earth, for those who de­rive all the Authority and Power which they pretend to, from God, for those who bear his Sword, and represent his Majesty, and have from thence the very Style and Title [Page 10]of Gods, to be all this while devoid of a just sense of God upon their Minds? How should they represent Him decent­ly, or use that Authority which He hath deputed to them, according to his Appointment?

And then for their being Men of Truth; Those, a great part of whose business it is, to search out Truth, to punish all Falshood and Injustice, and to promote Truth and Righte­ousness in the Body which they Govern, can never do these Things with any Heart, with any Authority, with any Grace, or to any good purpose, if they know them­selves, or are known by others to be False and Unrighteous Men.

Nor is the hating of Covetousness less necessary than ei­ther of the former. Covetousness contracts the Spirit of a Man, and thereby renders it unfit for a Publick Charge and Trust. The Man that truly loves none besides himself, can­not be suppos'd to design the good of others, especially of the whole Body to which he is related; and he that values Wealth above either Honor or Conscience, must needs be an improper Instrument for propagating Virtue, or promo­ting the Publick weal. But of this, I may have occasion to say more, under my next General Head.

Only before I enter upon that, it may not be amiss to take notice of one particular more observable in the Passage I cited out of Deuteronomy, viz. where Moses orders the People to present to him such as were known among their Tribes; and says again of himself, that he took the chief of their Tribes, wise Men, and known, and made them Heads over them. By which is imply'd, that those who are ad­vanc'd to any Publick Office, should be Men of Note and Eminency, such as have been for some time observ'd and known to be endu'd with the Qualifications before men­tion'd, Persons who have acquir'd a general Reputation among their People.

This is in truth highly expedient, for the rendering their Authority more considerable, there being oftentimes more force in a good Name, than in Power it self; and the Re­spect which is inwardly born towards those in Authority, being apt to lead Inferiors farther into Obedience, than meer Commands or Threatnings can do; at least, Reputa­tion joyn'd with Authority has all the Force and Power in it, that a Magistrate is capable of. Besides that the more universal any Man's Reputation is, the greater degree of assurance we have, that he is endu'd with the good Qua­lities which are ascribed to him. He, who is known and esteem'd by a few, may be a Wise and a Good Man: But he whom all Men repute so, is more probably such an one.

I proceed now, to the next General Head, I propos'd, viz.

Secondly, To shew how such Governors are a publick Blessing to the People over whom they are placed, inso­much that a City in which they Rule, may from them be call'd, The City of Righteousness, the Faithful City. And of this an Account may be given in these two Particulars.

I. Where such Governors bear Rule, it is a good sign of the Piety and Justice, and in general of the Virtue of the People over whom they preside.

II. They are certainly the proper Means and Instruments for promoting Piety and Justice, and all manner of Virtue, in the Places where they exercise their Authority.

I. Where such Governors bear Rule, it is a good sign of the Piety and Justice, and in general of the Virtue of the People over whom they preside.

Governors do for the most part represent those whom they Govern, in their Moral Qualities, as well as in other Respects; so that when a Nation or City is generally Honest and Virtuous, the Magistrates, who are a part of the Body, are usually so too: As on the contrary, where there is a gene­ral Corruption or Depravation in any Society of Men, the Magistrates very rarely escape the Infection. This was re­markable in the Roman Common-wealth, in which there were, as in that of the Israelites, Judges at the first, and Coun­sellors at the beginning, fit to be propos'd as Examples to those who should succeed. But as Covetousness, Ambition, Luxury, and all sorts of Vice increas'd among that People, so their Magistrates were tainted together with the rest of the Body; and as they help'd to propagate the Corruption, so they were an evident sign of a general Depravation a­mong them.

And this must especially be so, where Magistrates are Chosen by the People. For Men will choose what they like, and good-liking, we know, proceeds from a resem­blance in Temper and Manners.

II. It is certain, that Able and Good Governors are proper Means and Instruments, for promoting Piety and Justice and all manner of Virtue, in the Places where they exercise their Authority; and that both by their Example, their Prayers, and their Endeavours.

I. By their Example. Both Virtue and Vice are pro­pagated more effectually by Example, than either by Per­suasion or Command, and no Example like that of a Per­son in Authority. He stands upon high Ground, so that whatsoever he does is seen and observ'd by all about him; [Page 13]and 'tis fashionable, and therefore reputable to imitate those above us. Besides that Inferiors account it their Interest, to ingratiate themselves with their Superiors; and they will easily apprehend, that the way to do this is, by endeavour­ing to imitate them.

Thus for instance, a Magistrate who fears God, will by his constant attending the Publick Worship, invite and draw others to accompany him; and by the gravity and serious­ness of his own Behaviour, will admonish them to demean themselves decently, when they are present. No one that is not impudently and incorrigibly Wicked, will presume to dishonour the Sacred Name of God, by profane Swear­ing or Cursing in his presence, whom he knows to be not only free from such vile Practices himself, but heartily to detest them. He will by his impartial Observation of all the Divine Laws, both instruct and excite all sorts of Peo­ple to do the like.

A Magistrate who is a Man of Truth, as he will en­courage Honest and Good Men to shew themselves, and to act freely and boldly; so a Knave will sneak before him, as being asham'd to have his Falseness and Injustice discover'd and lay'd open to him.

A Generous and Charitable Magistrate will, if it be pos­sible, warm and open and enlarge the frozen and contracted Hearts of narrow soul'd Men, and excite them in imita­tion of him, to do something handsome and usefull, if not out of just Principles, yet at least for their own Credit, and consequently, if what will hardly entitle them to any Reward, yet will redound to the Publick Benefit.

In a word, an Able and Good Magistrate will by his [Page 14]Example instruct and edify all that are capable of being improv'd, and will put all Impious and Vicious Men out of countenance.

II. Such Magistrates will farther promote Virtue by their Prayers to Almighty God, for the People committed to their Care. Joh. 9.31. We know that God heareth not sinners: but if any Man be a Worshipper of God, and doth his Will, him he heareth. It is pleasing to God, to testify his Approbation of Good Men, and to encourage their Piety and Virtue, by hearing their Prayers, and that not for themselves only, but for those also to whom they are related. Thus the Pray­ers of good Parents obtain Blessings for their Children; and of good Governors for their People. And as nothing can gratify such Magistrates more, than to see Piety and Virtue propagated under their Conduct, so this is what they will certainly make one of their most earnest Petitions. The Israelites were not less beholden to the Prayers of Moses, Joshua, and Samuel, than to their Endeavours, as we find in divers Instances in their History; and that God, who was often prevail'd with by them, when they interceeded for that People, is still ready to hear the Prayers of all such Magistrates as shall resemble them.

III. Such Magistrates are farther the great Means and In­struments of promoting Virtue, by their Endeavours. They are indeed some of the principal Instruments of God, appoin­ted to this very purpose, those whom he raiseth up with this intention; and when they discharge their Duty faith­fully, they seldom fail of answering their End in a good degree. Rom. 13. They fill up the Character which St. Paul gives of a good Ruler, 3, that he is not a terror to good works; but to the evil; so that those who do that which is good, shall have praise (not only verbal, but real praise, that is reward) of the [Page 15]same. For he is the Minister of God for good, Ver. 4. and he heareth not the sword in vain; but is a revenger, to execute wrath upon him that doth evil. And this is his constant business; Ver. 6. he is God's minister, attending continually upon this very thing.

Thus the Magistrate who fears God, remembers that he is deputed by Him, that he derives his Authority from Him, and that he must be accountable to Him for the exercise of that Power wherewith he is entrusted, and therefore will from a principle of Conscience, which is the only sure tye and bond of a reasonable Creature, discharge his whole Duty, to the best of his skill and power. And forasmuch as he is sensible, that the Happiness of the Publick depends up­on the Blessing of the Almighty, and that the way to secure his favour, is to have his Precepts observ'd, he will not suf­fer any of those Laws to be openly violated, which relate immediately to his Service and Honor, any more then those which relate to Justice among men. He cannot indeed change the Hearts of men; but he can in a great measure re­strain and regulate their Words and Actions; and therefore will think himself obliged to see, that no publick affront be offer'd to the Divine Majesty, in word or deed, without exe­cuting the Sentence which the Law passes upon the Of­fender.

In like manner a Magistrate who is a Man of Truth, will make it his constant care to maintain Truth and Justice, those great Bands of Human Society; he will according to the Precept of Moses, hear the cause between his brethren, Deut. 1.16, 1 [...]. and judge righteously between every man and his brother; he will not respect persens in judgment; but hear the small as well as the great, and not be afraid of the face of man, as considering that the judg­ment is God's. He will not be biass'd by Flattery or Fear, by Interest or Favor, by Party or Faction; but will ever be [Page 16]on that side, on which Truth and Justice are to be found.

And lastly a Magistrate who hates Covetousness, will not be drawn into any unworthy Action by the hope of Gain; nor decline the doing a just or an handsome thing, for fear of the Charge of it. He will need no Gift to encourage him to do right; much less will he accept of any, to prevail with him to do wrong. He will upon all occasions testifie his detestation of Corruption and Bribery, that bane of Human Society, that source of all manner of Unrighteousness, so that no man of sense will dare to attempt him that way, for fear of being not only disappointed, but expos'd. He will not for his own pri­vate advantage dispense his Favours, or dispose of any Places of publick Trust, to unfit & unworthy men. He will not think it sair, to increase his own Estate, by injuring the Publick: so far from that, that looking upon himself as design'd for a Publick Benefactor, he will lay out his Time, his Strength, and his Estate, if occasion be, to the Publick Benefit; he will be always ready to every good work, whether of Piety, Cha­rity, or true Generosity, whereby God may be honour'd, and the Society to which he is related may receive advantage. He will rejoyce in an opportunity of being useful to his Country or City, as much as the covetous man can do in in­creasing his private Estate. In fine, he will think himself abun­dantly recompens'd for all his pains and trouble and charge, in the Execution of his Office, if having serv'd his Generation faithfully in his place, and kept a good Conscience in the discharge of his Duty, he may leave a good Name behind him, and die with the expectation of a future Reward.

And certainly where any number of such Men as these bear rule, their City may well be call'd the City of Righteous­ness, the faithful City.

All that now remains is in the third and last place, to ap­ply what has been said to our own Use, with respect to the occasion of our present assembling, and this I shall do in a few words.

I have with all sincerity and plainness laid before you in short the Character of good Magistrates, and such as God in our Text promis'd, as a Blessing to the City of Jerusalem, probably meaning thereby, as I before observ'd, that there should be such Magistrates in the time of the Gospel. I am sure the Precepts of the Gospel would make all Christian Magistrates such, if duly attended to; nay we have the concurrence of Reason as well as Revelation in this case. For, as you have heard, it was the advice of Jethro, a Prince and Priest of Midian, not an Israelite, that such should then be chosen; which advice as he gave by the light of Natural Reason, so it was approv'd and con­firm'd by God, and lest upon Record by Moses in Holy Writ, as a standing Character of a good Magistrate, and consequently it always was and will be so to the end of the World. All therefore that we have to inferr is in these two Particulars.

First, That those who have the right of Electing Ma­gistrates, or Investing them with their Authority, should as near as may be choose Persons to whom this Character agrees. So Moses and the People of Israel did, the latter by electing and presenting such Men, and the former by ac­cepting them, and conferring Authority upon them; and these Magistrates are by our Text made Precedents for fu­ture Times.

I hope I need not urge this with many words. It is the [Page 18]happiness of this City to be always furnish'd with a con­siderable number of Men, to whom all the parts of this Character may be justy ascribed; and 'tis to be charitably presum'd, that since it is your Custom, upon such Occa­sions as these, first to come to the House of God, and make your Acknowledgments of him, you also come with Minds dispos'd to follow the Directions of his Word.

Nor would I have what I have said applied meerly to the Business of this Day; but more especially to those Elections, by which you fill up the Vacancies of the Magistracy in this City. Your particular Business on this Day is only to take One out of that Honorable Court, to every Member of which you have already given a rea­sonable expectation of the Chief Magistracy, by your first Electing them into that Body. And I believe you will allow me to say without offence, That nothing but a very great, and weighty, and plain Reason should at any time move you to break through that Order, which is most regular and natural in such Cases. And I cannot forbear wishing, that for Order and Peace sake, and the restoring of Love and Union among the Inhabitants of this City, we might in this respect, as well as in others, have Judges again as at the first, and Counsellors as at the beginning; I mean Men chosen for their Abilities and their Virtues, without any regard to those Parties which have been form'd, and those Names of Distinction which have been invented of late years.

Suffer me therefore, I beseech you, seriously to admo­nish you, that you would lay aside all Prejudice and Pas­sion, all Animosities and unreasonable Jealousies; that you would exercise your Charity, by forgetting all former [Page 19]Provocations and Resentments; and that you would shew your Wisdom, both by rectifying whatever has been amiss on any side for the time past, and by resolving to joyn henceforward unanimously in promoting the Common Good.

I make no doubt to affirm, what is certainly true, both in Reason and by Experience, That in Times of Division and Contention in any Society, they are usually the best Men, who are least engaged in any Party; and as the Zea­lots of all Parties are seldom good Friends to the whole Body, so they very often fail that very Party which most of all consides in them: whereas an able and an honest Man, one who fears God, is a Man of Truth, and a hater of Covetousness, can never be really injurious to any side, and will always prove a true and a sure Friend to the whole.

In a word; In this and all other your Elections, you may safely trust a Man of Virtue, a Lover of God and his Country, and a hearty Friend to the Establishment of this Kingdom both in Church and State, whatever other Denomination may be given him by the contending Parties.

Secondly, That which I would close with is, an earnest Exhortation to all those who are or shall be honour'd with any Publick Trust, to approve themselves such as I have described, that so they may be a Publick Blessing to their Country.

It is undoubtedly the Duty of every private Man, to fear God, to be a Man of Truth, and to hate Covetousness: but [Page 20]when you are called from a private to a publick Station, your Obligation is still greater. You are set in open view; and as your demeanor will be more observ'd, so it will have its influence much farther than before. Your Repu­tation is highly concern'd in the matter; but which is more considerable, your Interest, I mean your Spiritual and Eternal Interest is concern'd likewise. What might pass for a Virtue in a private Man, may not always be worthy of that name in a Magistrate; and what was a Fault in the former, may be a Crime in the latter. Your Country, and those who have thought you worthy of advancement a­mong them, have a right in you, and a just and reasona­ble expectation from you; and Almighty God, who ex­pects an account of all the Talents which he hath given to Men, will reckon with you very strictly for the use of your Authority and Power. He expects, that those who repre­sent him, should do it becomingly, and he will either re­ward them more liberally, or punish them more severely, in proportion to their behaviour, at the great Day of Ac­count.

You who are Magistrates of this City have an op­portunity put into your hands of bringing great Glory to Almighty God, by doing much good to the whole Nation, which is apt to take Example, and to receive Influence from hence. You may at the same time e­stablish to your selves a just and lasting Fame in this World, and lay up a very glorious Reward in the World to come.

To conclude all; You may according to the declara­tion of the Prophet in the Text, be both a Blessing and a Glory to the City of which you are Patrons, rendering [Page 21]it truly honourable by your good management. For if you are Judges as at the first, and Counsellors as at the begin­ning, after that your City also shall be call'd the City of Righteousness, the faithful City.

FINIS.

BOOKS Printed for Matthew Wotton at the Three-Dagger near the Inner-Temple-Gate in Fleetstreet.

A Sermon Preach'd before the King, in St. James's Chappel, January 30th 1699. By Samuel Bradford, Rector of St. Mary le Bow, and Chaplain in Ordinary to his Majesty.

A Guide to the Devont Christian. In Thee Parts. The First containing Meditati­ons and Prayers affixed to the days of the Week; Together with many Occasional Prayers for particular Persons. The Second for more Persons than one, or a whole Family, for every day of the Week; Together with many Occasional Prayers. The Third containing a Discourse of the Nature and necessity of the Holy Sacrament; Together with Meditation thereon, Prayers and Directions for the worthy Receiving thereof. To which is Added. A Prayer for Ash-Wednesday, or any other time in Lent; for Good-Friday, and any day of Publick Fasting: By John Inett, M. A. Chanter of the Cathedral Church of Lincoln. The Fourth Edition Corrected.

A Guide to Repentance, or the Character and Behaviour of the devout Christian in Retirement; By John Inett, Chanter of the Cathedral Church of Lincoln.

The Christians Pattern, or a Treatise of the Imitation of Jesus Christ, in 4 Books with Cutts, written Originally in Latin, by Thomas à Kempis, now rendered into English. To which are added Meditations and Prayers for sick Persons; By Gerorge Stanhope. D. D. Chaplain in Ordinary to His Majesty. Price 5 s. The same Book is Printed in a smaller Letter and sold for 2 s.

An Address to those of the Roman Communion in England: Occasioned by the late Act of Parliament, for the further Preventing the Growth of Popery. 12o.

An earnest Invitation to the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, wherein all the Ex­cuses that men ordinarily make for their not coming to the Holy Communion, are Answered, by Jos. Glanvil late Minister of Bath.

A Defence of the 39 Articles of the Church of England, written in Latin by J. Ellis S.T.D. now done into English. To which are added the Lambeth Articles, together with the Judgment of Bp. Andrews, Dr. Overal, and other Eminent and Learned Men upon them.

Twelve Sermons preached upon several Occasions; By the Right Reverend Fa­ther in God, Richard, Lord Bp. of Bath and Wells.

—His 2d. and 3d. Parts of the Demonstration of the Messias, in which the Truth of the Christ Religion is Defended; especially, against the Jews.

Dr. Barton's Sermon to the Societies for Reformation of Manners. Octob. 2. 1699.

Occasional Paper, No 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.

The History of the Revolution of Portugal in the year 1640. Or an Account of their Revolt from Spain; and Setting the Crown on the Heads of Don John of Bra­ganza, Father to Don Pedro the present King, and Catharine the Queen Dowager of England.

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