A SERMON Preached in the Cathedral Church OF NORWICH, AT THE Mayor's Guild, JƲNE xx. 1693.

By JOHN JEFFERY, M. A. Minister of S. Peter's of Mancroft in Norwich.

LONDON; Printed for Iames Adamson, at the Angel and Crown in S. Paul's Church-Yard. 1693.

Imprimatur,

GEO. ROYSE.
[...]

To the Right Worshipful Robert Cooke Esq; MAYOR OF The City of Norwich.

SIR,

JUstice is so necessary to Society, and so essential to Religion, that none can be Safe in this World, or Happy in the next, [Page]farther than it prevails in their Hearts and Lives.

The Dignity and Fitness of the Subject was that which induced me to chuse it for the Occasi­on; And the same Reason (I believe) made you desire the Sermon might be printed for your Use.

And as nothing is more agree­able to the Office of a Magistrate, or to the Duty of a Christian than Justice, so I do most heartily re­commend this great Truth to the serious Consideration of all; and particularly of your self: Adding my Prayers unto God for you, That he would endow you with [Page]all those Gifts, that are necessary for your Office, and make you faithful in it; which is the most proper Expression of my Regards to you, who am,

Your Humble Servant, JOHN JEFFERY.
2 Chron. xix. 5, 6, 7.

And he set Judges in the Land, throughout all the fenced cities of Judah, city by city. And said to the Judges, Take heed what ye do; for ye judge not for man but for the Lord, who is with you in the judgment. Wherefore now let the fear of the Lord be upon you; take heed and do it, for there is no iniquity with the Lord our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of Gifts.

THE Matters of Government and the kinds of Governours, are Military, Civil, and Ecclesiastical: And the Su­preme Powers are supreme in all these Cases.

Accordingly we find in the History of Jehoshaphat (which is contained in Chap. 17, 18, 19, 20. of this Book) how he placed subordinate Governours, of every kind, throughout his whole Kingdom. There were Garisons in all those Cities, which could be fortified: For it was a Time of War, c. 17.1. There were also Civil Magistrates, in the same Cities, as in the Text. There were also Ecclesiastical Rulers, [Page 2]which are particularly mentioned concerning Jeru­salem, v. 8. He set Levites and Priests: And the chief Ecclesiastical Governour there was Amariah, v. 11.

The King himself was supreme; and in him all the Powers (Military, Civil and Ecclesiastical) did concenter. So it was among the Gentiles and among the Jews: And there is a Necessity it should be so; for there cannot be two Supremacies in one Nation Letters of Father Paul, Let. 123.

But the Text and the occasion confine my Dis­course to the Subordinate Civil Magistrates, which the King placed in every City: And these are cal­led Judges.

The Word Judges is not used so strictly in the Scriptures, as in our Nation: For there it signifieth at large, a Governour; and sometimes the supreme Governour. Moses, in his Time, was undoubted­ly such; and S. Stephen, recounting the History of him, noteth, That the injurious H [...]brew said unto Moses, Who made thee a Ruler and a Judge over us Acts 7.27.? and in Exodus it is, Who made thee a Prince and a Judge Exod. 2.14? Where Ruler or Prince and Judge are Words of the same import: and S. Ste­phen useth the same Words that the LXX do, viz. [...] Ex. 2.14. and Acts 7.27, 35.. Nor was the Word [...] unknown in this Signification among the Gentiles any more than among the Jews.

Among the Jews, all the Supreme Governours, from Moses and Joshua to the Kings, were called Judges; and they had such a Power as the Dictators had among the Romans, and did such Offices for the Jews, as the Heroes (Hercules and Theseus v. Plutarc. in vita Thess. and others) did for the Gentiles, viz. delivering them from Violence and Oppression.

I need not enquire further into the Form of the Jewish Government at that Time: Or state how far it was, in ordinary Aristocratical, with respect to the Sanedrim Exod. 18.24, &c.: or Theocratical with respect to God 1 Sam. 8.7. and 12.12., or Monarchical, with respect to the Judg­es Judg.: or, how it was mixed of all these. 'Tis suf­ficient for my present Purpose, that by Judges, in Scripture, are meant, at large, Civil Magistrates: That the Supreme Governour is sometime so called; and that the Subordinate are so called in the Text; so that the meaning of it is this, That King Jeho­shaphat set Civil Magistrates in every City, and that each City had a Chief, Civil Magistrate of its own: And that the King charged them to govern righte­ously in their several Places.

In the Words we have,

  • I. The Appointment of Civil Magistrates in every City, by the King.
  • II. The Charge which the King gave unto them con­cerning their Office.

I. The Appointment of Civil Magistates in every City, by the King, Jehoshaphat set judges in the land, throughout all the fenced cities of Judah, city by city.

We have in the Old Testament the History of the Jewish Nation: And that from the first original and fundamental establishment thereof; so that we know, not only, what manner the Supreme and Subordinate Magistrates did succeed in after-Times, but also how they were constituted at the beginning.

And as for the Subordinate Magistates, we find that they were at the first chosen by Moses, the Su­preme, and that his Choice was approved by God, At their coming out of Egypt, Moses was the only Governour, and Jethro observing the intolerable Encumbrance, gave him counsel, To provide, out of all the people, able men, such as feared God, men of truth, hating covetousness, and to place such, over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, and rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. And let them (says he) judge the people at all sea­sons: And it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge. So it shall be easier for thy self, and they shall bear the burden with thee. If thou shalt do this, and God command thee so, then thou shalt be able to endure; and all the people shall go unto their place in Peace Exod. 18.13, &c. 24, &c..

This Counsel Moses followed, chusing Subordi­nate Governours under him; and chusing such Men as were fit to be Governours. The History of this Moses recounts in his last Speech to the People Deut. 1.9, &c.: And the Qualifications of those Men were much the same that Aristotle says must be in Gover­nours. He that is to govern (says the Philosopher) must have, 1. Love to the People, whom he is to govern. 2. Power sufficient for his Office. And, 3. Vertue or Honesty and Justice Arist. Pol. l. 5. sect. 89.. Sufficiency is a necessary Qualification in one who is to govern, and that Sufficiency consisteth in Wisdom, Justice and Power.

The reason for this is, because the Administra­tion of Government is a Work of great Difficulty, and of great Consequence: And because those who do govern are a Pattern to those who are governed. [Page 5]Governours are publick Persons, and cannot lead private Lives: And therefore they ought so to live, that they may be exemplary. Themistocles did so, when he came unto the Government, he laid aside those Liberties that he took before, and behaved himself in all things with a special Severity Plutarch..

And great Reason there was why he should do so; for the People do narrowly observe, not only the publick Justice, but also the common Conver­versation of the Magistrate: insomuch that small Things were objected against Pompey the Great. The grave Philosopher observes, That as a little Wen or Wart in the Face is more troublesome than far greater Irregularities and Mutilations in other Parts of the Body; so small Faults in the Life of a Magi­strate, are accounted great ones, through the Opinion, which Mankind have, that Governours are extraordi­nary Persons, and such as ought to be free from all Error and Fault Plutarch. de Reip. ger. praecept..

Livius Drusus was sensible of this; and when, after he was made Tribune, a Carpenter offered him, for five Talents, to alter all those Places in his House, through which it could be inspected by his Neighbours: The Tribune answered, That he would give him ten Talents, if he would contrive to lay his House so open that all the Citizens might see how he lived. Plutarch notes, That he was a sober and vertuous Man: But adds, That there was no need his House should be so open, the Citizens would know how he lived, without that Advantage Plut. Reip. gerend. praecep [...]. Because therefore the Interest of great Multitudes dependeth upon the Vertue of Governours; and because the Lives of many will be formed by their Example, it is necessary that Governours should b [...] strictly Vertuous.

'Tis necessary that Magistrates should be qualifi­ed for their Office, and 'tis necessary that there should be many subordinate Magistrates; for if one Man were sufficient for several Offices, yet it were not safe for him to undertake them Arist. Pol. l. 2., but ac­cording to Plutarch's Similitude Plutarch. Reip. ger. praecept., as the Hand being divided into Fingers, is not thereby made the more impotent, but is a more compleat and ar­tificial Instrument for the use of Man; so dividing the Parts of Government among many is most Ad­vantagious for the Society. So Moses did here, and so it has been in all Nations; and what the Nature of things did require, the Law of God does ap­prove: For in the Institution of the Sanedrim Numb. 11.16, 17., we find that Moses chose Seventy Elders, by the Or­der of God; and God put the Spirit of Government upon those whom Moses had chosen, as he promised.

Thus it was at the first erecting of the Jewish Polity, and the same was observed afterward; for in the Days of Jeh [...]shaphat, we see he appointed subordinate Governours (as Moses had done at first) He set Judges in the land, throughout all the fenced cities of Judah, city by city.

Agreeably the Apostle says 1 Pet. 2.13, 14., Submit your selves to every ordinance of man, for the Lord's sake, whether it be to the King as supreme, or unto Gover­nours, as unto them that are sent by him. Subordi­nate Governours derive their Power from the Su­preme, and are accountable to him. Subordinate Governours are to obey as well as to govern: And they are directed in their Government by their Obedience. It is an old Saying, That he who would govern well, must first obey [...]. Arist. Pol. l. 7. sect. 58.. And Ari­ [...]totle quotes it as a Saying in his Time, received by common and long Consent. But Subordinate and [Page 7]Temporary Governours have this special Advantage for governing well, That they have obeyed before, that they must obey again, those who are in the same Places they hold, and they do obey, all the Time, those who are Supreme.

Government is necessary to Society, and Subordi­nation is necessary to Government: For as no So­ciety can subsist without Government, so no Go­vernment can subsist without Subordination. And this unavoidable Necessity is a publick Benefit; for as those who govern take care of the publick Inter­est, so it is expedient there should be those to whom they should give an account Arist. Pol. l. 6. § 40. l. 3. §. 53, &c. & l. 2. p. 134, 153 126, & l. 3. §. 30. Dan. 6.1, 2. and 1 Sam. 12.1, &c.: And so it is in all Subordinate Governours.

Thus we see, That particular subordinate Magi­strates are necessary: That Vertue is a necessary Qualification in Magistrates: That the Law is the Rule [...]. Arist Pol. l. 1. c 6.: And, that the Supreme is the Judge of their Administration. Hitherto we have seen the Appointment of Subordinate Magistrates, by the King.

II. We have the Charge which the King gave unto those whom he had appointed Subordinate Magistrates.

The Charge was given by a Religious King: And so there is Power Eccl. 8.4., and so there is Equity in it.

But herein I am to consider.

1. The matter of the Admonition, which is contai­ned in the Charge or Speech of the King: and that Admonition is short and Comprehensive, Take heed what ye do, and Take heed, and do it.

2. The Reasons for that Admonition, and they are strong, and irresistible, as we shall see pre­sently.

1. The Matter of the Admonition, which is con­tained in the Charge or Speech of the King, and that Admonition is short and comprehensive. Take heed what ye do, and take heed and do it. The par­ticulars of their Office are not recited, nor was it necessary they should be recited, to Men who were fit for their Office. They knew, from the nature of their Office (which was to Govern) and from the matter of the Laws (according to which they were to Govern) what their Duty was. In some it was their necessary Duty to do right unto all, and to help them to right, who stand in need of their help. For this purpose they were furnished with Power, and qualified with Knowledge, and sup­posed to be Just.

The general Rule for this Justice is given by Me­nelaus in Homer [...]. Hom. Il. [...]Determine equally between both Parties, and not with partiality. [...] Arist. Eth. L. 5. C. 4. The Law is supposed to be the Rule of Justice, and Governours are to execute the Law, and to administer Justice. Therefore Aristotle says, To go unto the Magistrate, is to go unto Justice. [...] Arist. Eth. L. 5. C. 4. And among us, some of our Magistrates are called by the Name of Justice. And Aristotle's reason for his saying, will give a good account, both of the Truth he affirms, and of the Title we use. For (says he) a Governour ought to be as a Living Justice. And again Justice is Equity, as also a Judge is. [...]. Arist. Eth. L. 5. C. 4. Every Man has a right to what by Law is his, and the Force of the Commu­nity is in the hand of the Governours, that by them every Mans right may be secured. By the Law, Magistrates know what they are to do: By their [Page 9] Power, they can do what they ought, and by their Conscience and Honour, they are prevailed with to do right, as by Law they are bound, and as by their Power they are enabled.

No other consideration whatsoever ought to prevail with Magistrates, but that of Right; and because many other things will put in with them, they must take heed what they do. Men are influen­ced by others, and by themselves, and the Magi­strates must needs be Men who are liable to those influences. A Man may be influenced by others, i. e. by his Friends, or by his Enemies, and a Man may be influenced by himself, i. e. by his Temper, and by his Passions (viz. of Love, Desire, and Joy, or Hatred, Anger, and Sadness.) For the same thing, hath not the same appearance to him who Loves, and to him who Hates; to him who is Angry, and to him who is not Angry. Arist. Rhet. L. 2. C. 1. §. 3. The methods of Allurement, and Terror, are innumerable; and the subtilties of them are unsearchable: and therefore a Man who is to do right, had need take heed what he does; the representations made by our Affections are deceitful, and the insinuations of them are im­perceptible: so that a Man had need take heed of Himself, as well as of others. A Magistrate is to remember that he is strictly observed, and that those who observe him, are not under the influen­ces which he is under.

He that acteth in a Political Capacity, must in­form himself certainly what is Right, and must be tenacious of his Purpose to do nothing but what is right. He must be free from all Ambition and Anger, and must maintain a full Assurance of Mind; and not yield to Enemies, or to Difficulties. Ye shall not respect Persons in judgment, but ye shall [Page 10]hear the small as well as the great, ye shall not be afraid of the face of manDeut. 1.17.. He that saith unto the wicked, thou art righteous, him shall the people curse, nations shall abhor him. But to them that re­buke him, shall be delight, and a good blessing shall come upon him. These things also belong to the wise: It is not good to have respect of Persons in judg­mentProv. 24.24, 25, 23.. Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judg­ment: Thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty, but in righteous­ness shalt thou judge thy neighbour Lev. 19.15.. And as Neglect of the Poor must not pervert Justice, so neither must Compassion to them do it. Neither shalt thou countenance a poor man in his cause Exod. 23.3.. In short, the Merits of the Cause, and not the Quality of the Person, must be considered; for Justice is Sacred and inflexible. A Magistrate must have no Friendships or Enmities, to the Prejudice of Equi­ty: But he must have the same Regard to all good Men, and must put the same Restraint upon all those who are Bad. He is to be for the Punishment of evil-doers, and for the praise of them that do well 1 Pet. 2.14.. And whosoever is resolved to do right, must take take heed what he does; because most Cases are made intricate by the Litigants, and without great Caution, there can be no certain Ju­stice. King Jehoshaphat knew this well: He knew what Temptations a Magistrate is under, to do In­justice; and how difficult 'tis for him to do Justice: And he warned the Magistrates accordingly, Take heed what ye do.

This is the Admonition which was given unto Subordinate Magistrates, by the King.

2. The Reasons for that Admonition are strong and irresistible: No Man who considers them, can be insensible.

Magistrates must take heed what they do.

1. Because they govern for God, by whom they are entrusted, and to whom they are account­able.

2. Because that God, for whom they govern, is present with them, and an Observer of them in their Administration of Justice.

3. Because that God, who observes what their Ad­ministration of Justice is, is himself most Just and Righteous.

These are the Arguments which King Jehoshaphat makes use of, in his Speech to Inferior Magistrates. He might have said to them, Ye have received your Power from me: I will have an Eye over you, and inform my self certainly what you do: You shall find me inflexibly Just, to punish all who are unjust, and especially those Magistrates who are unjust. He might have used these Arguments: And the matter of them had been true and impor­tant. But he did suggest what was less obvious, yet more considerable, viz. That they acted for God: That God was present with them: That God is Just, whose Ministers of Justice they are. I shall lay before you the Arguments of King Jeho­shaphat: And the

1st. Argument is, That Magistrates must take heed what they do, and do right, because they go­vern for God; from whom they receive their Power, and to whom they are accountable for the Use of it.

Subordinate Magistrates do not immediately re­ceive their Power from God, but from the King, as Supreme: And they are not accountable, to God only, but to their Superiors. But he was a King who told them, Ye judge not for men, but for the Lord. And Moses said, The judgment is God's. Ju­stice (or doing Right to every Man) is a Divine Vertue: And the Administration of Justice (or the helping Men to Right, who suffer Wrong) is a Divine Power. God is the supreme and universal Gover­nour of the World: And is called, The judge of the whole earth Gen. 18.25.. Governours are the Vice-ge­rents of God, and they have his Name: I have said ye are Gods Psal. 82.6.. And our Saviour argues from thence, that they are warrantably called Gods, who have received Power from God Joh. 10.34.. And S. Paul says, There is no power but of God: The powers that be, are ordained of God Rom. 13.1., are placed in that order they are by God himself.

And as they are appointed by God, so they act for him: They judge for the Lord; not for man, but for the Lord. Subordinate Magistrates do re­present the Supreme, and judge for him: But it was the Wisdom and Piety of a King, to tell them, There was more than so in their Office; for they executed it for God, and not for him, i. e. not so much for him, as for God. The Supremacy and the Subordination are both the Appointment of God, and all Governours are God's Ministers.

If therefore it be a good Argument to perswade Subordinate Magistrates, To take heed what they do, because they represent the King, and act for him, it is a much stronger Argument, that Magistrates re­present God, and act for God. The Administra­tion of Justice is God's Work: And those who ad­minister Justice, do judge for God. The doing Right unto all is what belongs unto God: And the Magistrates are, in this, the Ministers of God to us for good Rom. 13.4.

There is an Honour put upon all Magistrates, by the Trust which God reposes in them: And they are, by their Character, obliged to take care of Justice, which is the Interest of God in the World.

2. Magistrates must take heed what they do, be­cause that God, for whom they govern, is present with them, and an Observer of them in their Ad­ministration of Justice: God standeth in the congre­gation of the mighty, he judgeth among the Gods Psal. 82.1.; upon which Consideration the Psalmist exhorts them unto Justice. How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Defend the poor and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and needy, deliver the poor and needy, rid them out of the Hand of the wicked v. 2, 3, 4..

Hesiod says the same Truth, and makes use of it to the same purpose; O ye Kings (says he) remem­ber justice, for God is present among men, and observes how men tear one another in pieces, by injustice, with­out regarding God. The most high God has three thou­sand divine spirits, who walk about the earth con­cealed in darkness (the guardians of mankind) ob­serving the actions of men and the Administrations of justice.

Justice (says the Poet) is a Virgin born of God, and had in the greatest Reverence, by all that abide in Heaven; and whenever she suffers an Injury, she complains unto her Father Hesiod. oper. & dies, v. 246, &c. (so I translate, with some accommodation of the Poet's Sense, to the Christians Style) upon which he exhorts those who govern, to do justice, because God sees all that is done: The Eye of God sees, and the Heart of God considers all things [...], Hesiod..

If a Subordinate Magistrate were to execute his Office in the presence of the King, he would surely take heed what he did, that he might do right. But we are sure that every Magistrate executes his Office, in the Presence of God, who is Lord of Lords and King of Kings. [...] Hesiod. gen. deor. v. 886.; which we may translate by warranty of the 8 2d. Psalm, Jehovah is the King of Gods: Or, the Lord is God of Gods Deut. 10.17..

King Solomon speaking concerning the Admi­nistration of Justice, says, If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and the violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter; for he that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher than they Eccl. 5.8.: This reacheth not only to the Subordinate, but also to the Supreme, for verily the Lord is God over all, and judgeth in the Earth [...]: All the Judgments of Men shall be judged over again; and God, who is to do this, sitteth in the Judgment with them. This God is invisible, but he is present: And that Consideration is most powerful to perswade Men to do right

3. Magistrates must take heed what they do, be­cause that God, who observes all the Administra­tions of Justice, is himself most just: A God of [Page 15]truth and without iniquity, just and right is heDeut. 32.4.. Far be it from God that he should do wickedness, and from the Almighty, that he should commit iniquity. For the works of a man shall he render unto him, and cause every man to find according to hisways Job 34.10, 11..

The Punishment of unjust Men is a Vindication of the Just God, and demonstrates his Providence and his Equity. The Poet represents himself un­certain whether the Interests of Men, and the Af­fairs of the World were governed by a Divine Providence or blind Chance: When he considered the Order, Magnificence and Stability of Nature, he inclined to belive God the Author of all things: But when he considered the Adversity of the Righteous, and the Prosperity of the Wick­ed, he began to question it: But when one who was exceedingly wicked, was also remark­ably punished, that Event vindicated the Ho­nour of God, and settled his Opi­nion of Providence Psal. 73. Seneca de Provid. Abstulit hunc tan­dem Rufini poena tumulium, absol­vitque deos. Jam non ad cul­mina rerum injustos crevisse que­ror. Tolluntur in altum, ut lapsu graviore ruant. — Claud. in Ruf. l. 1.. That God is Just is manifest from his Nature, and from his Dealings: And because wicked Men will not fear his Justice they perish by it: their Miseries and his Vengeance prove the Divine Ju­stice sensibly to themselves and o­thers; and happy they who timely consider and repent, so as to imitate God, who is the Judge of all the Earth, and does right.

Did a Subordinate Magistrate know, that the King (whom he represents) was a Just Man, he would not dare, in his Presence, to do an unjust Act; for Injustice, with that Circumstance, would be unspeakable Insolence: But for any to do what is unjust in the Presence of God, is greater Profane­ness. [Page 16]Upon this Consideration it is a piercing Question, Do ye indeed speak Righteousness, O Con­gregation! do ye judge uprightly, O ye Sons of Men Psal. 58.1.? Those who administer Justice for a just God, must be sure to do it justly, for God will not endure that his Name and his Authority should be profaned by Injustice.

Thus I have shewn you what Arguments King Jehoshaphat used to perswade those Subordinate Ma­gistrates, which he placed in the several Cities, To do right; and he did thus admonish and perswade those whom we have no ground to believe he su­spected; for if he had suspected them, 'tis likely he would not have made them Magistrates.

I have hitherto explained the Royal Speech of Jehoshaphat to his Subordinate Magistrates, and so I may say, you have heard the Word of a King; but that is not all, for the Word you have heard is greater than that of a King, 'tis the Word of God. This Word I shall once more repeat, and then pro­ceed to Application, Take heed what ye do, for ye judge not for man, but for the Lord, who is with you in the judgment. Wherefore now let the fear of the Lord be upon you, take heed and do it: For there is no iniquity with the Lord your God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of Gifts.

The Application shall be Advice to all Publick Persons.

  • I. To maintain in their Hearts, a great Vene­ration of the Divine Justice: And,
  • [Page 17]II. To Pray unto God to enable them (in their Capacities) to imitate that Ju­stice.

I. Let all Publick Persons maintain in their Hearts a great Veneration of Divine Justice. Let the Fear of the Lord be upon you, take heed and do it: For there is no iniquity with the Lord our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts.

Justice is doing Right unto Men: And that doing Right is doing Benefit; and those who do it, are Benefactors Luke 22.25.. But as Men are united in Society, so the Personal Rights of Men are re­trenched, that the Publick Rights may be esta­blished: And every one gains more Advantage from Society than he parts with for it Ex quo le­ges moresque constituti, tum juris ae­qua descriptio, certaque viven­di disciplina, per quas bene beateque vivitur, quas res & mansuetado animornm con­secuta, & verecundiae est: Effectumque ut effet vita munitior, atque ut dando, & accipiendo, mutandisque facultatibus, & commodis, nulla re egeremus. Tull. Offic. l. 2.. Be­sides, Benefit is to be conferred, and Right is to be done unto one Man, in such sort, that Bene­fit may be conferred, and Right done to all others [...]. Arist. Pol. l. 3. c. 9. Communis Reipublicae Sponsio.. Justice is therefore doing Right and Kindness to all; and there is a great Wis­dom necessary for the adjusting those Rights, and a great Power necessary for the maintain­ing them.

For this, the Justice of God is venerable, be­cause there is no Partiality or Respect of Persons with him: But he is equally Just and Good unto all, and his tender Mercies are over all his Works. He employs the greatest Wisdom and Power, to maintain Right: And as the Rights of Men are originally from God, so they are defended by him. The Laws of God oblige every one to do Right to every one, as he himself does: And as the Dispensations of his Providence, are Exercises of his Dominion, so by them, God defends the Rights of Men. And most certain it is, that no Man can do Wrong, but he shall suffer Punishment: Vengeance belongs unto God, and he will repay it. God does not, perhaps, avenge so soon as we desire; or in such manner as we desire, because God's Wisdom and Justice are more perfect than ours: But as the Justice of God is manifested by his Laws, and by his Judgments, so that manifesta­tion of his Justice is the Assurance of our Right and Welfare.

This Justice of God we ought to have in the greatest Veneration, by which he protects the Rights of the Innocent, and punishes the In­juriousness of the Wicked. All that good, which any of us enjoy, not only comes from God, but is secured to us, by him: And that we are not deprived (by the Injustice of others) of any thing we value, is owing unto the Justice of God. 'Tis not by our own Wisdom, Power and Friends (whatever we may think) that we either obtain or keep what is commodious, or necessary for us: But we [Page 19]should lose it through the greater Subtility and Power of others, if it were not for God [...]. Hom. Odyss. 3.. A Man who well considers the World, must be convinced of this, and he who is convinced of it, must adore the Justice of God. And may every one so consider this, as to be possessed with the greatest Veneration of that Justice: For by such a Perswasion a Man shall honour God, and enjoy himself: Whereas he who ascribes all to his own Wisdom and Power, must needs be forgetful of God, and disordered in his Mind: And either be vainly conceited of his own Abilities, or extreamly fearful of others. Nor can a Man possess his Soul long in Tranqui­lity, through the Delusions of his Pride: Since God in Justice may let loose the Malice of others against him, and convince him of his Insuffici­ency, by bringing him to Shame. 'Tis indeed through the interposing of the Justice of God, (who does Right to every Man) that any Man does enjoy what he has a Right to, and most adorable is that Justice which maintains Right among Men, where so many employ all their Power to do Wrong. The Divine Justice does not effectually hinder all Men, from doing any Wrong: But it does hinder very much Wrong which would be done: And it also helps them to Right who suffer Wrong. This Consideration is apt to create a great Veneration of God in us, and ought to be much thought upon. for that Purpose.

But as this is a proper Subject for the Medita­tion of all Men, so especially for the Meditation of those, who have any Share in the Govern­ment [Page 20]of Men. Such are (in a peculiar Sense) the Ministers of God: They are the Istruments that God uses (in a special manner) for doing Right to Men.

Those who are Governours, ought to reve­rence Government, as a Divine Expedient, for the doing of Right: And those who rule over others are to look upon their Office, as entirely for that End. And a Magistrate, who reve­renceth Justice, as that for which God is adore­able, must needs count Justice a Duty, for which Man is truly Honour­able Omni igitur ratione colenda & retinenda Justitia est, tum ipsa per se (nam aliter justitia non esset) tum propter amplificationem honoris & gloriae, Tull. Off. l. 2.. The Honour of Ma­gistracy, is indeed, its subservi­ency to Justice: And so ve­nerable is Justice, that to mini­ster to it, in any degree, is honourable.

I need not say, That Punishments are not the first or chief; much less the only part of Ju­stice: For they are only accidentally necessary, through the Violations of Justice. Justice is doing Right and maintaining Right: 'Tis em­ploying Wisdom and Power to constrain those to do Right who are unwilling; and to hinder them from doing Wrong who are disposed to it (as most are, through Malice or Partiality) Arist. Pol. l. 6. c. 8.. Now as no Man can be any further Happy or Safe than he can enjoy those Rights that God has given him, so no Man can keep those Rights that he may enjoy them, without God. To God's just Government of the World, and to his con­stant interposing, for the Defence of Right, we owe all the Good that we enjoy.

This should cause us to magnify God, and to account it a most important Office, that those are put into, who are to govern any part of the World, under God, and to be his Instruments to defend the Sacred Rights of Men [...]. Arist. Eth. l. 5.. This is a Contemplation fit for all Magistrates to entertain themselves with, eve­ry Day, in their Retirements: And so to pos­sess their Souls with the greatest Veneration of Justice, as the Property and Similitude of God. In the just Governing of Men there is an Image of the Government of God; and by their Office Governours resemble God, and are subordinate to him. So far as their Administra­tion of Government is just, 'tis doing the Work of God: And for this a Magistrate ought to Reverence his Office, and himself. And he (that being a Magistrate) does, for this only, reverence his Office and himself, will do what shall deserve and gain Reverence, i e. will do Right unto all, according to his Understanding and Power; and nothing can be more Honourable than such Justice; for, this Justice is the Glo­ry of God; and for it, God is adored by the whole World.

II. Let Magistrates pray daily unto God, That (in their Places, and according to their Offices) as they rule over Men, they may be Just, Ruling in the Fear of God 2 Sam, 23.3.. That no Surprize or Mistake; no Passion or Parti­ality may hinder them from doing all Right to all Men.

Such Petitions a Magistrate is to add unto his daily private Devotions: And as such Pe­titions (coming from a Soul, that unfeignedly desires to do right) are a good Sign: So (through God's Help) those Prayers will be a proper means to enable him to all necessary Justice. For, he who desires heartily, That he may govern for God's Glory (i. e. for the good of Men) shall not be destitute of God's Grace. But, as God rules for his own Glory (do­ing Good to Men) so God will assist those who beg his Assistance, that they may follow his Example.

And what I have said here, as Advice to All, who are Governours, in general; I have said to you Two in particular.

To you, Sir, who are this Day to Leave, and to you, Sir, who are this Day to take the Place of the Chief Magistrate of this City.

You, Sir, that have had Experience of the Venerable Office, of doing Right, in your Ca­pacity, to the Citizens of this City, may at lei­sure recollect your self; and bless God for it, when you remember he has given you the Heart to do impartial Justice: For doing Justice is a Divine Work.

And you, Sir, who do this Day enter upon this Office, let not the Day pass away without earnest Prayer unto God, That he would give you a Heart equal to your Power, of doing im­partial Justice, to your Fellow-Citizens. So shall you reflect upon your Year, at the End of it, and at the End of your Life, with Satisfa­ction and Joy.

And for this Grace of Universal Justice, let let us now pray.

Grant, we beseech thee, Almighty God, That the Words which we have heard this Day, with our outward Ears, concerning the Venerable Nature and absolute Necessity and great Advan­tages of Justice, may be so grafted inwardly in the Hearts of all Men, whose Duty it is to do Right, and of all Governours, whose Of­fice it is to maintain Right, That they may bring forth in us all the proper Fruit of Just and Good Living, to the Honour and Praise of thy Name, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

FINIS.

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THERE is published by the same Author, a small Treatise, entitituled, Religion the Perfection of Man: In 80.

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