A SERMON Preach'd at the ASSIZES AT NORTHAMPTON, August 13. 1677. At the Request of JOHN NORTON, Esq; High-Sheriff of that County.

By DAVID LLEWELIN.

LONDON, Printed for Samuel Carr, at the King's-Head, in St. Paul's Church-Yard, 1678.

Imprimatur,

T. Turner, R.P.D.no Episc. Lond, a sacris Domest.

PAg. 3. line 4. for em in read examine. P. 4. l. 5. blot out the. P. 7. l. 4. blot out of. P. 8. l. 21. for of read for. P. 20. l. 8. for or read of, leaving out the Comma before it. P. 25. l. 1. make a full Point instead of the Interrogation. P. 29. l. 4. after Case make a Comma instead of the full Point. P. 30. l. 25. blot out Christians, and read Christian before Church.

To the Honourable Sir Hugh Windham, AND Sir Robert Atkins, Knights, Justices of his Majesties Court of Common-Pleas, and Judges of Assize for the Mid-land Circuit.

MY LORDS,

IT was deliver'd to me as a Message from your Lord­ships, that it was your desire I should print the Sermon, which I had the honour to speak in the hea­ring of your Lordships last Assi­zes at Northampton. All I gather'd from it then was, that I was oblig'd to have a grateful Sence of the In­couragement I thought your Lord­ships intended to give me, by ex­pressing so favourable an opinion of my weak, though well-meant Performance. But afterwards, [Page]when I receiv'd a second Message of the same import, I concluded it was a Command your Lordships expected should be observ'd. In all dutiful submission therefore I send it abroad, but humbly beg that it may pass under the Protection of your Lordships Names. For I so well know my own Inability to write any thing that will bear a de­liberate reading in this critical Age, that I should never have had the confidence to expose this to it, if I could any other way have made it appear, that I am,

My Lords,
Your Lordships obedient, humble Servant, DAVID LLEWELIN,
ROM. 3.31. latter part, We establish the Law.

The whole Verse runs thus:

Do we then make void the Law through Faith? God forbid; yea, we establish the Law.

THE Apostle, in this Chapter, has been reasoning with some Judaizing Christi­ans, vvho were willing to receive Christ as the promised Messiah; but yet thought they could not attain to be just in the sight of God, without observing the letter of the whole Law of Moses; but vvith that they thought they might. To confute this Error, St. Paul proves, that they could never obtain the grace of Justification by being the Di­sciples of Moses; and that the only means vvhereby they could obtain it, vvas, to become Christ's faithful Disciples, and give themselves entirely up to be go­vern'd by his Doctrine. And this, in few vvords, seems to be the main scope of all the Apostle's discourse here about Justification. But then he foresaw, that the per­sons vvith vvhom he had to do, might object, that by this kind of Argumentation, he made the Law of Moses [Page 2](vvhich vvas deliver'd by the Eternal GOD Himself to their Forefathers) to be utterly void, and of no use. To vvhich he answers, [...], no such matter; far be it from us; yea, we establish the Law. We establish the Law. These are the vvords of my Text. And vvith your pa­tience and favour, I shall discourse of them in this me­thod; I shall make three Enquiries:

  • 1. What the Apostle would have us understand by Law here. And this will take up the most time, because there is the most difficulty in it. But that I may clear it,
    • 1. I shall consider, vvhat Law is in general.
    • 2. I shall make a distribution of the Laws of Moses, into those that were design'd to govern the inward Affections with re­spect to God and Man, as their Objects; and those that were made to regulate the outward Actions, as they have relation to God and Man too.
    Then I shall distinguish between the Righteousness, and the Letter of all these Laws. And by that means (I hope) the first Query will be satisfied.
  • 2. I shall examin what the Apostle means by Esta­blishing. And,
  • 3. Who the We are in my Text, that can have au­thority to establish the Law.

Having done this, I shall indeavour to shew how the Righteousness of all the Laws of Moses is establish'd by the Gospel; and so I shall conclude with an Infe­rence or two, exhorting all Christians to pay obedience [Page 3]to Laws, and honour to Magistrates, as they are com­manded by the Precepts of that Religion which they profess. I begin with the

I. Mentioned Particular, which is to em in, In what sense the Apostle uses the Word Law in my Text. And for the clearing of this, I shall not make any Discourse about the Origination of the word [...], concerning which there is some doubt among Grammarians. I shall think it sufficient, if I can shew what the thing is which the Apostle means by the Word. And in order to that, I think it may be useful to give some account, what Law is in general. But by the way, I hope no body will think me so vain in my Imaginations, as to believe that my business in this place, at this time, is to tell my Lords, the learned Judges, what Law is; no, that is far from my thoughts. But if by difcoursing of Law, which I am led to by my Text, I can convince others, that they are obliged by the Christian Religion to observe the Laws which they come to dispense, and to be affected with reverence and gratitude to Persons, that are employed in an Office so weighty in it self, and so beneficial to our Country; I humbly conceive I shall do the proper work of a Divine upon the present occa­sion; and I shall abundantly have all I aim at. In pur­suance of which I thus proceed:

A Law is a Precept of a Superior, by which his Subjects are oblig'd to do or omit something, the doing [Page 4]or omission of which (respectively) does tend to the Glo­ry of God, and the Good of Men. This I take to be a true definition of the Law. But that it may appear so, I shall give a brief account of the Terms. In the

First Place, I call the Law a Precept rather than a Rule, because a Law extends to the Soul; and in that respect the word Precept is agreeable and proper; but Rule is a Metaphorical word, and therefore not so fit to be used in a Definition of this nature, because genu­inely it signifies a material Instrument, which Artifi­cers make use of.

2. By Superior, I mean one that has Authority to make a Law, whether that Superior be God, or any Magistrate that derives Authority from him. But

3. Because no Superior Power, but that of God and Christ, does extend to all Men, and this Definition is intended to take in Human Laws, as well as Divine; I put in the word Subjects, which in respect of Divine Laws are all Mankind, with relation to Human Laws, they are only such as are under the Authority of the Ma­gistrate who makes the Law.

4. I say, Subjects are oblig'd. And the Obligation by which they are ty'd to observe Laws, consists in the Sanction of some Reward, or Punishment, or both; and that either express'd, or left to the discretion of the Judg. But Rewards are not ordinarily annex'd to Hu­man Laws; for they account a Man sufficiently re­warded [Page 5]for his obedience, if he can live quietly and safe­ly in the civil Society whereof he is a Member; and this is a very valuable Reward, and very inviting to those that consider it. However Human Laws seldom express any thing but the Punishment, knowing that the frail Nature of Man is more apt to be driv'n by Fear, than led by Love. But God obliges us to obey his Laws by Promises, as well as Threatnings, and those as expresly and amply propounded, being very desirous that we should obey him of choice, rather than by compulsion.

5. In the last place. I add, as necessary to explain the Nature of Law, the true End of all Laws, which is express'd in two parts, the Glory of God, and the Good of Men. But these two are so closely link'd together, that they are inseparable, and so become in effect as one; for there is nothing done among Men which tends to the Glory of God, but it does at the same time make for the Benefit of Men, in rendring him favourable and propitious to them; and God is so great a Lover of Men, that whatsoever is beneficial to them, is look'd upon by him as redounding to his own Glory, which he thinks to be advanced by nothing, more than the happiness of his Creatures.

Now what I have said of a Law in general, might be truly affirm'd of any particular Law in the whole body of Moses's Writings, That it was a Precept of [Page 6]a Superior, by which his Subjects were oblig'd to do or omit something, the doing or omitting of which did tend to the glory of God and the good of Men. But all those Laws which were delivered by Moses are not alike, either in the Matter or in the Obligation; and therefore there must be a Division made, whereby we may distinguish one from another; and such Divisions as are useful in order to a clear and distinct Notion of the Mosaic Law, would equally serve for a right ap­prehension of Law in general. For Moses delivered an entire Body of all sorts of Laws, that were necessary to promote the glory of God, and the good of Men, in that State and those Circumstances in which he and his People then were. And Laws of the same kind always were since the World grew populous, and while it is so, ever will be necessary in order to the same End, though not in the same Form. But the Apostle in my Text speaks of Law with manifest reference to the Insti­tutions of Moses; for my Text is a part of his Disputati­on against such as wrangled with great zeal, though with little discretion, for the perpetual and entire ob­servation of the Letter of Moses's Law; and therefore aiming at an explanation of the Apostle's sense, I must speak of Law too, as he does, with respect to that which was delivered by Moses.

Now the whole Body of that Law has been divided into Moral, Judicial, and Ceremonial Laws; but this [Page 7]Division is not so exactly agreeable vvith the Laws of a true Division, which are chiefly two.

  • 1. That the Parts of the Division ought to comprehend the whole of of that which is divided into them; but they do not so in this Distribution: For those Laws, vvhich require obedience from the inward Man, by enjoyning Men to love God above all things, and their Neighbour as themselves, vvere delivered as Laws by Moses; and yet they cannot be included in any of those Terms, because in true speaking they can none of them reach further than the outward Actions.
  • 2. The second Rule of a good Division requires that the Members should be op­posite, so that they cannot be affirmed of one another: But it is otherwise in this Partition; for the Moral Laws vvere most or all of them Judicial, in respect of the ad­ministration of them; and consequently many of the Judicial Laws vvere Moral as to the matter of them; and most or all the Ceremonial Laws vvere Judicial, as falling under the cognizance of Magistrates, and some of them Moral in relation to the Matter; and this, if vve take Moral, as it is usually understood, to signify some­thing that is unalterably and indispensably good; but if we take it in its genuine sense, for something that per­tains to Manners, the Judicial and Ceremonial Laws too in the whole and every part vvere both Moral.

So that the Terms of that Division are ambiguous, and a Man cannot speak of one Member, but he may be [Page 8]thought to mean something of another; and therefore the Distribution of the Laws into Moral, Judicial, and Ceremonial, is not so fit a Ground to build upon by one that would set up a clear and distinct Explication of that which the Apostle calls Law in my Text: the Terms may be useful in other respects, but to signify the three distinct integral Parts of the Mosaic Law, they cannot so well be used. I leave them therefore here, and proceed to distinguish thus.

There are in the Body of Moses's Laws, some laid down for the government of the inward Affections, of the Heart or Mind; and some were made to regulate the outward Actions. Those that were intended to rule the Inner-man, as the Scripture terms it, vvere of two sorts; the

  • 1. Required, that the Heart should be rightly affect­ed towards God, vvith a Love that priz'd him above all things. The
  • 2. Demanded of every Man such a Love to his Neighbour, as vvas to take its measure from that kind­ness which he had of himself.

Those Laws that concern the outward Actions of Men vvere likewise twofold. The

  • 1. Was to determine their outward Actions in those things that concern'd their behaviour in the external Worship of God. And here the Lavv descended to many Particulars, concerning holy Persons, Times, [Page 9]and Places, Sacraments, Sacrifices, Purities, and Purifi­cations. But some things in this Ritual part of their Re­ligion were left to the determination of those that did preside in it. Among other things Prayers, and the Forms of them, vvhich vvere to be presented in Confes­sions, Supplications, and Thanksgivings, respectively, vvith the several sorts of their Sacrifices. But,
  • 2. There were Laws to determine the Actions of Men in respect of one another, to determine the Natu­ral, or Moral Law, of doing by others, as they would be done by themselves, in many particular cases, concern­ing several Relations, in which they stood to one ano­ther, as Members of a Society. And in cases concerning their Lives and Limbs, their Beds, their Goods, their Reputations, and the Law in these kind of cases between Man and Man, vvhether pecuniary or criminal, vvas very particular in assigning such Punishments for Trans­gressors, as God savv vvere most useful, and like to have the best effects among that sort of People to vvhom the Lavv vvas given, in the Circumstances they then stood. But after all this particularity, many things of this kind too were left to the discretion of the Judg, which could not be determin'd expresly by the Law, in all the most minute particulars. And though the Ma­gistrates vvere bound not to determine any thing in any case contrary to what God had express'd in the Lavv; yet vvhere God had not express'd his Mind in any par­ticular [Page 10]there the determination of the Magistrate vvas to be receiv'd as the Mind of God, vvho in other Ca­ses vvas Himself their immediate Lavv-giver.

Novv I suppose St. Paul in my Text has a respect to all these Species of the Mosaic Lavv, as vvell those that concern the outward Carriage of Men towards God, and one another, as those that directed their inward Af­fections towards their Creator, and their Neighbour. I say, I conceive, the Apostle by the vvord Law has an aim at all these Laws, though not at the precise Form, and at every Part of them, as they descend to Particulars. But therefore that vve may come nearer to a right ap­prehension of his Sense, 'tis necessary vve should have recourse to a Distinction which he makes use of, (i. e.) the Letter of the Law, and the Spirit or Righteousness of the Law. The first of these is as the Laws Body, which is subject to various Changes and Alterations. The se­cond is as its Soul, which is the same for ever. We find this Distinction, Rom. 3.25, 26, 27. Curcumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the Law; but if thou be a breaker of the Law, thy Circumcision is made Uncircumcision; i. e. Circumcision is of beneficial use to thee, if upon the consideration of that thou keepest the Righteousness of the Lavv, to which thou wert obliged by that Cere­mony; but otherwise thou art in no better Condition upon the account of that outward literal Ceremony, than if thou hadst never been circumcised at all. Then [Page 11] v, 26. Therefore if the Uncircumcision keep the Righteousness of the Law; (there is one of the Terms of the Distincti­on, the Righteousness of the Law) shall not his Uncircum­cision be counted for Circumsion? i. e. If an uncircumcised Person do observe that eternal Righteousness of the Law, vvhich consists in true Charity to God and his Neighbour, and those material Duties that are naturally and easily deducible from thence, vvhich is the end of all the Ce­remonial and Forensic Laws that God prescribed to your Nation; if he thus fulfil the Mind and Will of God, shall not he, think you, be looked upon as favourably as if he had engaged himself to the same thing, by sub­mitting to the outward Ceremony of a carnal Com­mandment, vvhich God never gave for its own sake, nor ever gave at all to him, nor to any but the Jews on­ly? Then, v. 27. Shall not Uncircumcision, which is by Nature, if it fullfil the Law, judg thee, who by the Letter and Circumcision doest transgress the Law? Here in this Verse the Apostle does manifestly express the same thing by the vvord Law only, without any addition, vvhich in the former Verse he calls the Righteousness of the Law. Before he says, If the Uncircumcision keep the Righteousness of the Law; and here, If Uncircumcision, which is by nature, fullfil the Law, (i. e the Righteousness of the Lavv) shall it not judg thee, who by the Letter and Circumcision doest transgress the Law? (i. e.) Shall it not judge thee, vvho observing something of the Letter of the [Page 12]Law, dost notwithstanding transgress the Righteous­ness of the Law. Here we have the other Member of the Apostle's Distinction, viz. the Letter of the Law, and that plac'd in opposition to the Righteousness of the Law. Novv I suppose it may be evident, without using any more words about it, to any one that does but consider the design of the Apostle's Discourse, that by the single word Law in my Text, to which and beyond it the same Discourse is carried on, he does mean the same thing that he does in the 26 and 27 Verses, i.e. the Righteous­ness of the Law. But here by the way we must take no­tice for the prevention of Mistakes, that by the Letter of the Law, as it stands in opposition to the Righteous­ness of the Law, vve are not to understand all the Law that is vvriten; for that vvhich the Apostle means by the Righteousness of the Lavv is vvritten too in the In­stitutes of Moses, but yet the Obligation to observe that does not depend meerly upon the Letter, as the other does: for if that had not been vvritten, vve had been obliged to practise it, and might have seen our obliga­tion by the natural light of that Reason which God has given us, if vve vvould have made an unbyass'd use of it: But in the other Case it is not so, for such positive Laws, as are meant by the letter of the Law, concern particular People for whom they are made, the good­ness of the things enjoyn'd by them depending upon Circumstances, which when they alter, as they often [Page 13]do, it is necessary the Laws should alter too. But the E­ternal Law of Right and Wrong concerns all the World, it ever did, and ever will do. And this (I conceive) is that which the Ancients mean by Law, when they speak such high things of it; As Plutarch says from Pindar, in his little Tract directed to an unlearned Prince for his Instruction; [...]. Law is the Ruler of all the immortal Gods, as well as mortal Men. And in Euripides's Tragedy of Hecuba, when that unhappy and desolate Queen made her Ad­dress to Agamemnon, for relief against Polymnestor, King of Thrace, that had basely betrayed his Trust in de­stroying her Son Polydore, who had been committed to his Protection, with a great Treasure, in the declining e­state of Troy. She seems to conjure him to take her Cause in hand by this Sacred Name of Law, I am a weak Woman, and now become a Captive, says she,

[...]
[...]

But the Gods are strong, and the Law which governs them, and they'l be assistant to you in so just a Cause, that's impli'd. Here the grave Poet tells us, the Gods are govern'd by Law; and we say something of the same nature, when we say, God cannot do an ill or an unjust thing; for we do not mean by it, onely that God cannot do such a thing, because whatsoever he does is good and just, [Page 14]for that reason, but whatsoever is in it self evil is so in­consistent with his Nature, that he cannot do it, and so in some sense he may be said to be govern'd by the E­ternal Law of Good and Evil: Yet perhaps it may be more agreeable to the Modesty of a Christian to say, the Omnipotent and only Wise God will not, than to say he cannot do any thing.

But having found (I think) the right Notion of the Word Law, that it signifies the Righteousness of the Law, as the Apostle uses it in my Text: I am novv, according to my propounded Method, to En­quire,

II. What he means by Establishing: And fevv Words will dispatch this. By Establishing, he means a Prop­ping or Strengthning, a making that to stand which was ready to fall; that I take to be the sence of [...]. And there was need enough thus to establish the Righte­ousness of the Law; for it was just hidden, and ready to fall to the ground, through the various misinterpreta­tions, and many idle Traditions, that were set up a­gainst it by the Scribes and Pharisees. What in Nature can be more natural than Gratitude to Parents? this was ever accounted a Fundamental Law of Nature: And yet they rendred this great Commandment of God and Nature void of Effect, through a foolish Invention and Tradition of their own. Thus we read, Mark 7. 10, 11, 12, 13. Moses said, Honour thy Father and Mother, [Page 15]and whosoever curseth Father or Mother, let him dy the death. But ye say, if a Man shall say to his Father or Mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a Gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me, he shall be free; and ye suffer him no more to do ought for his Father or his Mother; making the Word of God of none effect through your Tradition, which ye have deliver­ed, and many such like things do ye. We have our Saviours Word here, that they were guilty of this foul abuse of the Law, who were great disputers for it in pretence and shew; and that they were guilty in many other Instances like this, of making void such fundamental Laws of God and Nature by their Traditions: And then sure 'twas high time to rescue the Righteousness of the Law from such abuses, and to set it fast and firm upon better Ground, than it stood amongst the Jewish People. But who was sufficient to do this? why the Apostle tells us in my Text, We establish the Law, we keep it from falling, and set it firm and fast. But then,

3. Whom does the Apostle mean by this We? him­self only, or others besides himself? And in what re­spect could he understand it of himself, or others? To this I answer, that the Apostle might mean only himself by the We in my Text, as he does in many places of his Writings, speaking of himself alone in the plural number, as other Authors also do; but in some places by we he means himself, and all other true A­postles [Page 16]and Teachers of the true Doctrine of the Go­spel, in opposition to those false Apostles and corrupt Teachers, who preach'd things disagreeing with Evan­gelical Law; and such were they he disputes against in the Chapter from whence I take my Text, who urg'd the obligation of the letter of Moses's Law beyond what was consistent with the Authority & Religion of Christ. And so 'tis likely the Apostle by we in my Text might mean all that taught the true Doctrine of the Gospel, reckoning himself in that Number; and then his Sence is this, All that assert the Doctrine of Christ's Gospel in Truth do establish the Law. But in what respect can this be said of them? how can they establish the Law? by their own Authority? No, but by the Authority of Christ, and those Lessons which he taught, and which he gave them Commission to declare to others. This then is the Conclusion of this Matter, the Christian Religion and all that preach the true Doctrine of it, do establish the Righteousness of the Law. But now for further Illustration of this we must enquire, How it is that they establish the Righteousness of the Law, with respect to those several Parts into which I divided it. And,

1. For those that were made to govern the inward Affections, and were expressed in those two great comprehensive Precepts, of loving God above all things, and their Neighbour as themselves. We may be assu­red this is entirely established by the Gospel, and all [Page 17]the true Preachers of it, if they establish the Righteous­ness of the Law, for this is all Righteousness; there is nothing of the Letter in this. For if there had never been letter vvritten of Moses's Lavv, vve had been ob­lig'd to this: As soon as ever any Person comes to the use of his Reason, and knows by natural Discourse, who God is, that he is his Creator, and the Author of all the good he does at present possess, or can ever hope to enjoy; it is most evidently necessary to conclude, that such a Being, to whom he is so highly beholden, ought to have the chief Place in his Heart, vvhich is express'd by that predominant Affection of his Love. And as soon as ever he can apprehend hovv great effici­ency there is in every Mans loving his Neighbour as himself, to vvork the happiness of Mankind, and hovv impotent every thing else is to secure it without this; he must needs be overcome by the reasonableness of the thing to acknowledge, that himself and all other Persons are oblig'd so to love one another. And novv vve are more strongly oblig'd to these Duties than ever, not because Moses vvrote them, but because it is the E­ternal Lavv of God, and establish'd by Christ; and yet the Obligation does not lie all in this, that in reason and duty we ought to obey vvhatsoever God, our Creator and greatest Benefactor does command us by his Son, whom he sent from Heaven to confirm us, that this is his Will; but we are infinitely oblig'd by our own In­terest [Page 18]to love God above all things, and our Neighbour as our selves, because Christ hath setled the Law, vvhich commands us to do this by a Sanction of greater vveight and strength, than ever had been clearly under­stood before he appear'd in the World himself to ac­quaint us vvith it; i. e. a Promise of Eternal Felicity in a World durable and glorious, vvhich must succeed this vve now inhabit, to all those that are careful to observe these Duties; and a Threatning of endless Misery after this Life, to all such as disobey that Eternal Law, which enjoyns them. And thus that Law which was deli­ver'd by Moses, for the right disposing of our inward Affections both towards God and Man, is establish'd by the Gospel, and all that preach the Doctrine of it in Sincerity and Truth. Let us now consider, How the Righteousness of those Laws, which Moses laid down for the Direction of Mens outward Actions to­wards God, and their Neighbour, is establish'd by it. These I shall speak of apart, as requiring a more distinct Consideration. And I shall speak

1. Of those Laws that were to regulate Mens out­ward Carriage in the Worship of God. And here that God should be worship'd by some outward service, is a thing so palpably righteous, that natural Reason cannot but assent to it, as soon as propounded. Again, it be­ing easy to collect, that God is a God of Order, and not of Confusion; it seems to be of the Righteousness [Page 19]of this Ceremonial Law, that all the Members of every Society should agree in some decent Rites, and wor­ship God in an uniform way, as the Jews did; and be­cause this cannot be without Laws to direct and oblige, it seems no less agreeable to common Sense, that there should be such Laws as may direct and oblige in this Case, as the Jews had. And because Laws signify no­thing but to make disorderly Persons despise and laugh at their Law-Makers, unless they be put in execution; and because they cannot be executed without Power, therefore it is necessary that there should be Magistrates invested with sufficient Power for that Work, as there were among the Jews. And all these things are so righ­teous, so reasonable in themselves, and so agreeable to the universal Sense of Mankind, that all Nations have consented to them, and reduced them to Practice. Thus Isocrates, that wise and learned Athenian Lawyer, in his Precepts to Demonicus, among other important Advices, gives him this, That he should worship God always, but especially in publick, with the Congregation; and he gives this reason of the latter, [...]; For by paying your attendance at the pub­lick Worship, you will at once (says he) both pay your duty to the Gods, and shew your self obsequious to the Laws of your Country. And this shews, that among the Athenians, the Ceremonial Law of their Religious Worship, was a part of the Civil Law of the Common-Wealth; and [Page 20]so 'twas with the Romans. And I conceive it were no difficult Task, to make the same appear to have been the Practice of most or all other Nations, concerning whom we have any Records; and surely there is much of concluding in the Argument of universal Consent. But it may seem more material to the present Case, as it concerns us, that when the Empire became Christian, the Ceremonial Law, or the Church, became a Part of the Law Imperial, till the Popes of Rome, by their Ar­tifice and Usurpation, made the Imperial truckle under the Pontificial Law. But in this Kingdom of England, things are put into the ancient Course again, and our Ceremonial Law is a Part of the Civil or Common Law of our Nation. And this seems to me much more agreeable to the Christian Doctrine, than what the Disciples of Rome on the one hand, and those of Geneva, on the other, do aim at, and contend for in their Wri­tings, and have done some of them with their Arms: For both these Parties, upon the account of their Au­thority in spiritual things, or in Order to spiritual things, as some of them cunningly express it, would engross all earthly Power; and this is a Charge, which I am sure might without much difficulty be made good a­gainst both these Parties, if it had not by diverse learn­ed Pens been sufficiently done already. But this could never be objected against the Clergy of the Church of England, truly so called. But to return, I think it doth [Page 21]appear, that what is enjoyn'd by Moses concerning the Worship of God, in general Terms, namely, That God should be worship'd with an external Service, and that this should be perform'd in an uniform Way; that there should be Laws to direct and oblige in this Matter; and that there should be Power to execute such Laws: I think, I say, it does appear, that all this in general is of the Righteousness of that Law, which is establish'd by the Gospel. But then, whatsoe­ver in the particular Matter and Form of the Mosaic Wor­ship was righteous, in opposition to the Letter; what­soever vvas substantial, in opposition to little accidental Circumstances; whatsoever was useful for all Mankind, and not proper to the present State and Condition of the Jews only, is establish'd by Christ in specie. Thus Prayer in all its Parts of Confession, Petition, and Thanksgiving, was a Part of their external Worship; and the Tongue is so apt and ready an Instrument to be us'd in the Worship of God, that all Nations, by the Direction of their own Reason, have us'd it as well as the Jews. And this Duty being always useful, fit and good for all People, of all Ages, and all Nations; our Saviour has made it of as large Extent as his Religion, which was design'd to be the Religion of the whole World, and which we hope will one day be so. But the Sacrifices of the Mosaic Law fell into disuse of themselves, for they were only intended to be us'd for [Page 22]a time, as Types and Shadows of that great Sacrifice which Christ was to offer for the whole World; and when that was offer'd, they had their End and Accom­plishment, and were therefore no longer of any use. To conclude this Point then, I say, our Saviour has establish'd the Righteousness and Substance of the Ritu­al Law of Moses,

  • 1. By enjoyning some things that were commanded by that.
  • 2. By instituting some o­thers, as Baptism and the Euch [...]ist, which were deri­ved from that too.
  • 3. By putting it into the Power of his Apostles, and their Successors, to direct such o­ther Forms and Ceremonies of outward Worship, as they should see most conducing to the great Ends of all Religion, i. e. the Glory of God, and the Good of Men, at the Times and in the Places where they should be concern'd. And,
  • 4. By investing the Secular Chri­stian Magistrates with Power to confirm such Directi­ons, by the Sanction of such temporal Penalties, as they should see fit in order to the same Ends.

And if we consider that in the Time of King David, and Solo­mon, (when certainly the Publick Worship of God was in its highest Glory among the Jews) as well as in after Ages, we find many things practis'd in their Divine Worship, which seem to have no Warrant at all from any express Command in the Law of Moses, which yet appear to have been very acceptable to God: I say, if we consider this, and the Consequent of it, which [Page 23]is, that even in the Jewish Oeconomy, many things per­taining to the outward Worship of God, were left to be dispos'd and order'd by the Discretion of those that were to govern; we shall have no reason to wonder that Christ has left it in the Power of Christian Gover­nours to appoint what they shall see expedient, decent, and orderly in the external Worship, who have so much greater Light from his Revelations, to guide them in it. And so I come to shew,

2. How the Christian Religion, and the Apostle in my Text, and all other Preachers of the true Doctrine of the Gospel, do, by the Authority of that and its Au­thor, establish the Righteousness of the Mosaic Law, which was design'd to govern the outward Carriage of Men towards one another. Now it is of the Righte­ousness of this Law, that we should do by all Men in all things, and all Circumstances, as honestly, as faithfully, and as fairly, as we would be done by our selves. It is of the Righteousness of it, that they who do any thing contrary to that Royal Law, as St. James calls it, should be punish'd according to the nature of their Fault; agreeable to that old Rhadamanthean Law, as it is called by Philosophers, Qui malè fecit, malum ferat. Let him that does Evil, suffer Evil. Yet by the way, it is not the ultimate End of the Law,Note: De Offic. l. 3. that any Man should suffer. The great Roman Lawyer, Cicero, tells us of a further and a better Aim that Laws [Page 24]have, Leges hoc spectant, hoc volunt, civium conjunctionem esse in­columen; This is the thing which the Laws look at, and would have, the Safety of the main Body of the Socie­ty for which they were made. And this they would have, though with the Punishment, or even the Cutting off of any corrupt disorderly Member, if it cannot be had otherwise. And this was spoken like a Man that was vvise and good according to the Light he had. But St. Paul, vvho besides that he was bred up to the Law too at the Feet of the great Gamaliel, had likewise his Understanding clear'd by a more resplendent Light from Heaven; he expresses it in better and more com­prehensive Terms, The End of the Commandment is Charity; i. e. It is the final Design of Law, that Men may ho­nour God with one Consent, and embrace one another with a pure and peaceable Love; and it aims at the Punishment of Evil-Doers no farther, than as they stand between the Law and this excellent Purpose of it; but so far it does, because the Experience of all the World does prove, that many Men will be impious, injurious, and unruly, unless there be Laws and Ma­gistrates to restrain them by force, when there is Occa­sion; therefore 'tis a thing most evidently righteous in its own Nature, and absolutely necessary for the Good of Mankind, that there should be Government in all Nations of the Earth; that there should be resident somewhere in every Society, an uncontroulable Power [Page 25]of Determining concerning Right and Wrong? for without this, i. e. Law and Government, neither any House, nor City, nor Nation, nor universal Mankind, nor all the Nature of things, nor the vvhole World it self, could consist. As Tully, after his wonted manner, most elegantly expresses himself;Note: Lib. 3. de Leg. Princ. And from thence he rationally exhorts, that since the Office of Magistrates is so useful, and indeed necessary, Men vvould not only observe and obey them, but reverence and love them too. And here that great Man speaks like a Christian: For upon the main, what­soever there is of substantial Righteousness and Equity in the Political Institutes of Moses, the Gospel confirms it by establishing Government & Governours, and enjoyning Submission, Love, and Reverence to be paid to them, in all Nations, under the Penalties of this Life, and that vvhich is to come. Thus St. Paul, by the Light he received from Christ, instructs and exhorts, Let every Soul be subject to the higher Powers, for there is no Power but of God, Rom. 13.1. Again, (v. 4.) the Ruler, or Magistrate, is the Minister of God to thee for good: but if thou do that which is evil, be afraid: for he beareth not the Sword in vain. For he is the Minister of God, a Revenger, to execute Wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not onely for Wrath, (or Fear of Punish­ment) but also for Conscience sake. And St. Peter agrees to a tittle vvith St. Paul, in this vveighty Point of [Page 26]Christian Doctrine; 1 Pet 2.13, 14, 15. Submit your selves to every Ordinance of Man, for the Lords sake: whe­ther it be to the King, as Supreme; or unto Governors, (or Judges, the vvord vvill vvell bear it) as unto them that are sent by him for the Punishment of Evil-Doers, and for the Praise of them that do well; for so is the Will of God. And here, I think, vve have the concurrent Determinations of both these great Apostles; that all Christians are bound in Conscience, and for the Lords sake, to ho­nour Governors, and obey their Laws, because it is the Will of God. And thus the Gospel establishes the Righteousness of Moses's Judicial Law, concerning the outward Behaviour of Men, one towards another, by giving Power to Magistrates, to punish all Faults, that by Word or Deed are committed against it. But the Gospel leaves the Letter or Form of that Law to the Magistrates disposing, as a thing that is alterable, and as a thing that, according as Circumstances shall alter in every Nation, ought to be alter'd, for the better securing of the great Ends of the Natural Law. For Illustration I shall use an Instance or two. And first, The Law of Stealing in the Mosaic Institutions vvas ratifi­ed only by this Punishment, That whosoever vvas guilty of it, should make in some Cases a twofold, and in some a fourfold Restitution; and that vvas all. The Punishment fell heavier upon some indeed, because in case a Man were not able to make such Restitution as [Page 27]the Law required, he vvas to be sold into Bondage, and Restitution to be made out of the Money for vvhich he vvas sold. But this vvas an accidental thing, Restitu­tion vvas all that vvas aim'd at by the Law. And the most ancient Laws of some other Nations inflicted no greater a Punishment for Theft, than a double Restitu­tion. But afterwards, when that vvas found ineffectu­al to give Men any tolerable Security, that they might enjoy their just Possessions without the disturbance of Thieves; then Theft was punish'd in some Nations with Banishment, others punish'd it by severe Scour­gings: But when all other Punishments prov'd insuffi­cient to satisfy the End of the Law, it became a Capital Crime, as it is at this day amongst us. But then we must consider, That it was the Design of God in framing those Laws which were deliver'd by Moses, (as it is of all other Law-Givers, who desire to imitate the great and good God,) to establish them by the Sanction of no greater Penalties, than what were necessary to secure the Ends vvhich the Laws did aim at. Now it may be presum'd, that God foresaw that the Punishment of a double, or at most a quadruple Restitution would be a sufficient Restraint upon Men, at that Time, and in that Nation, (to our Shame be i [...] spoken) to with-hold them from putting their Hands to their Neighbour's Goods; and in ordinary, and for the most part, Men might have a quiet Possession of what was their own, [Page 28]without danger of having their Rights invaded by Theft or Robbery, vvhich vvas the End of the Law. But vvhen it evidently appear'd, that Thieves increased extreamly, and that no Man vvas like to enjoy his Pro­priety in any thing he had, vvithout continual appre­hension of being disturb'd by the Fraud or Violence of such lawless Persons; certainly it was a most rea­sonable, and most righteous thing, to appoint a greater Punishment for that Crime. I will instance in one Case more, which may shew how righteous and fit a thing it is in some Circumstances, to alter the Forms and Penalties of Laws in the same Nation. The Decem-viral Law of the Romans, or the Law of the twelve Tables, decreed, That if any Man injur'd his Neighbour in his Body, by Assault and Battery, (this is our Phrase, but it is the Sence of that Law) he should pay five and twenty Asses, that is (some say) twenty Pence of our Money, perhaps 'tis more, but that is all one to my present business. It vvas not so great a Sum, but that one Lucius Veratius, a Person loose and rich, vvho vvas so mischievous as to take delight in striking Men over the Face vvith his Hand, vvould go about the Streets, and vvhen the Humor took him, vvould give any Man he met a good Flap o'the Face, and then command a Servant, that followed him for that purpose vvith a Bag of Aera, to pay five and twenty to the injur'd Per­son; and so the Law vvas satisfied. But vvhen the [Page 29]Magistrates saw that Penalty began to have so little Power over Mens Manners, they put it into the Judges Power to increase the Fine according to Discretion, and that the Penalty should be made greater in such a Case. And so the Form of the Law alter'd, that Men might vvalk the Streets about their honest Occasions, secure from Violence, vvhich vvas the Design of the Law, vvas the most reasonable thing in the World. It may be objected, that the Mosaic Law vvas more perfect than the Roman Law of the twelve Tables, though they had their Original from the old Attic Laws,Note: Grot. de Jure Bell. lib. 2. c. 1. and they theirs (as some say) from the Law of Moses; and no doubt this is true, that vve can find no Improvement of the Mosaic Law in the Law of the twelve Tables. But notwithstanding, the Law of Moses is not so perfect it self, but that there has been very good reason to al­ter the Form of that; as it appears from the Instance of Theft, and might do from the Lex Talionis, and several others, if there vvere any need to insist longer upon it. And that Example out of the old Roman Law does suffi­ciently prove all I produc'd it for, vvhich is only this, that Circumstances in one kind or other may so alter in any Nation, as to make it necessary to change the Form of Laws, by increasing the Penalties, when it is found that the present Penalties do not satisfy the Ends for vvhich the Laws were made; and so the contrary, by [Page 30]lessening the Penalties, when it is believ'd upon good Grounds, that lesser Penalties will secure the Ends for which the Laws were enacted. And so I conclude from what has been said in this Particular, that the Apostle, by the Authority of Christ and his Doctrine, does establish the Righteousness of those Political Laws, which Moses publish'd for the regulating the outward Behaviour of Men towards one another in the Jewish Nation, so that it ought to be observ'd by all Christian Nations. And has left the Let­ter, as a Pattern for all Christian Magistrates to make use of, so far as they shall see it useful for their People, and agreeable to the Ends of Government; but has laid no Obligation upon them to use the precise Form, any fur­ther than so. In like manner, that I may now joyn both together, and come to an end, the Apostle, as his great Master did, left the letter of the Ceremonial Law, which was laid down to govern the outward Behaviour of Man in the Worship of God, as a Pattern for Christian Governors to imitate in their forming Laws of that na­ture, [...] far as they should see it conducible to the Glory of God, and agreeable to the Design of the Christian Re­ligion, which was intended to be the Religion of the whole World, and not of the Jews only. And according­ly the Apostles, ancient Fathers, and Doctors of the Pri­mitive Church, Christians did imitate them in that out­ward part of Religion, which was left to their Ordering, and that in divers particulars. We are not therefore to [Page 31]think, as some have seem'd vainly to do, that as soon as ever Christ's Religion took place, the Civil and Ceremo­nial Laws of Moses became an Abomination, and were to be quite banish'd the World, as things altogether incapa­ble of any good use; For both those sorts of Laws were nothing but Determinations of the natural Law, in par­ticular Instances, after a particular Form. And that the natural Laws should be particularly determin'd in all Christian Societies, after some Form, so as to direct our outward Duty both towards God and Man, and ob­lige us to it by the Sanction of temporal Penalties, is a thing highly reasonable, because it seems absolutely ne­cessary, and that for these two Reasons.

  • 1. Because the natural Law it self is communicated to us in so few and general Terms, and the Sentences of particular Men are so different, and so byass'd in par­ticular Cases, where their own Interests or Humours are concerned, as is known by the Experience of all Men, that if there were not particular Laws and Ma­gistrates in every Human Society, to determine the na­tural Law, and to determine Men in all Matters and Cases, whether of spiritual or temporal Concern, and to be more impartial in it than Men can be imagin'd to be, if every one was left to be his own Director and Judg, it were morally impossible that the Inhabitants of any Na­tion should live one day without Tumult and Confusi­on.
  • [Page 32]2. It is necessary that there should be some Form of Laws in all Christian Communities, to determine the natural Laws in particular Instances, under present Pe­nalties, because Christ himself in his Advancement and Confirmation of the natural Law, did ratify that in general, only by the Rewards and Punishments of a future World. And though that be the strongest Tye imaginable upon such as have Faith in it; yet there is so little Faith upon Earth, as our Saviour affirm'd of his own, and prophesi'd of future Ages, i. e. there are so few in this World, who do stedfastly believe the Re­wards and Punishments of that which is to succeed, that when Christ had taken away the Obligation of those Jewish Forms of Ceremonial and Forensic Laws, which were fitted to the Genius of that Time and People, and confirm'd under present temporal Penalties by God himself; if he had not establish'd the Righteousness of those Laws, by giving Power to the Governors of Christian People, to set up other Forms, more agree­able to the Religion which he came to plant in the World, and such as they should see most conducing to the common Peace and Welfare of their several Nati­ons and Societies; and if withal he had not invested them with Authority, to settle those Laws with a Sanction of Rewards and Punishments to be bestowed or inflicted in this present Life; he had left no possible means, as the World stands, of restraining the rude [Page 33]Passions and inordinate Desires of faithless carnal Men. But those few that had any fear of future Punish­ments, or any hope of eternal Rewards, had been left to be swallowed up first by such as had none; and then those wicked Ones themselves should have stood expo­sed to the Rapine and beastly Lusts of one another. Now because these Absurdities are consequent to an ut­ter Abolition of all Ceremonial and Forensic Laws: and because Christ, by himself and by his Apostles, whom he left with Commission to declare his Sence of things, has given some general Rules to direct Christian Governors in the forming of such Laws; and because he has consign'd ús over to the Jurisdiction of such as should have lawful Power to rule us, both in spiritual and temporal things; I conclude, that such have Pow­er to determine the Natural Law, by making particular Laws, both concerning the outward Expressions of our Religion in the Worship of God, and our outward Expressions of that Charity, which we owe to one ano­ther, i. e. concerning all things that belong to the com­mon Good, of which they whose Business it is are the proper Judges. And thus the Righteousness of the whole Law, which God gave by Moses, is establish'd. And 'tis in this Sence, as I apprehend with all humble submission, that the Apostle affirms in my Text, We establish the Law.

And now I could make many applicatory Deducti­ons from the Doctrine I have deliver'd, that might be [Page 34]of concern to us. But that I may not presume to make too much use of your Patience, I shall only beg the fa­vour to mention two briefly, which may be perhaps most suitable to the present occasion. And they are these:

  • 1. If the Apostle in my Text do by the Authority of Christ's Doctrine, establish the Righteousness of the whole Mosaic Law, in that sence which I have said; then he does by the same means ratify our Laws. From whence it fol­lows, that we cannot behave our selves like true Chri­stians in this matter, unless we make a Conscience of pay­ing obedience to them. Indeed there's nothing urg'd up­on us in the Gospel more expresly, or more earnestly, than to be meek and submissive, tractable and obedient to Laws and Government. If any Person then do pretend to Religion and Conscience, and act some outward parts of Piety, with all the shew and demureness imaginable. and yet indeavours to undermine Government, and in­validate Laws, either by publick Discourses, or secret Murmurs, we may certainly conclude that such a Person is no true Follower of Christ, and that whatsoever he acts of the outside of Religion, it is but the feigned shew of a pretending Pharisee. If therefore we are unwilling to be abus'd and cheated by their Arts, and Tricks of Hypo­crisy; if we desire to avoid the Imputation of being wilful and heinous Offenders against that pure & peace­able Religion, which Christ taught; and as we vvould avoid the bitter Consequents of this; let us be exhorted to keep the greatest distance we can from that Pride car­nal [Page 35]and spiritual, and those other worldly Lusts which tempt Men to be such Murmurers and Complainers, as St. Jude speaks of, which draw the Children of Disobedience, in contempt of Laws, to desire and indeavour turbulent Changes and Alterations, that so in a confus'd hurry they may mend their worldly Condition, tho with the ship­wrack of their Consciences. If we understand the value of Peace within our own Breasts, & if we have any aim at that Eternal Peace in the Kingdom of God, which can be the Reward of none but those who follow the things that be­long unto Peace among Men; let us carefully shun the Wicked­ness and Folly of those filthy Dreamers, as the Apostle calls them, who despise Dominion, and speak evil of Dignities, who are always censuring the Manage of Affairs in Government, which they do not understand; but in the Case of Obedi­ence to Laws, vvhich the Gospel lays down so plainly that they can't but understand it, like brute Beasts corrupt them­selves And as vve desire a true Title to the sacred Name of Christians, let us receive with Thankfulness the great Bene­fits vve enjoy by the good Laws of our Country, and let us with all lowliness of Mind express our Thanks by paying a Consciencious Obedience to them.
  • 2. If the Gospel do establish our Laws by commanding us to pay Honour to our Magistrates, from whom we receive the Bene­fit of them, as hath been said, and I think prov'd; Then let us be exhorted to bear that Love, Reverence and Gratitude towards them, which God requires we should when he bids us ho­nour them. And that first to the King as Supreme, under [Page 36]whose Government we have now for above these seventeen Years enjoy'd such Happiness, as hath seldom continu'd so long together, with so little disturbance, either in our own or any other Nation; as they know very well vvho turn o­ver the Histories of other Ages and Nations, besides our own. I say, Let the King, as Supreme, have the first place in our dutiful Respect. But then, as we are by the same Christian Doctrine bound, let us be exhorted in the next place, to pay it to Governors, that are sent by him for the Punishment of Evil­doers, and the Praise of them that do well. Let us pay the just respect we ow to all our Magistrates, from whose Admi­nistration of the Law we receive so many and great Ad­vantages. Let us pay an humbl [...] and grateful Observance to the Right Honourable, the Judges, who come into our Country, to pronounce impartially the Sentences of the Law; and to those worthy Justices, by whatsoever other Titles they are dignifi'd, who living in our Country, make it their Care to preserve our Peace, and to assist my Lords, the Judges, in securing our Lives and Limbs from Violence, our Goods from Fraud and Rapine, and our Names from Slander and Defama­tion. This we are bound to do by the natural Equity and Reason of the Thing, and by the Eternal Obligations of the Gospel; which that we may all obey in this and all other Instances of Duty, and at last receive the great Rewards of it, God of his infinite Mercy grant, for his Son Jesus Christ's sake, to whom with the Father, &c.
FINIS.

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