[Page]
[Page]

Mr. Cooper's Election Sermon, May 28. 1740.

[Page]

The Honours of CHRIST demanded of the MAGISTRATE

A SERMON Preach'd in the Audience of His EXCELLENCY the GOVERNOUR, The HONOURABLE the COUNCIL AND Representatives, Of the Province of the Massachusetts-Bay, in New-England, May 28. 1740. The Day for the ELECTION of His MAJESTY'S COUNCIL there.

By William Cooper, A. M.

Pastor of a Church in BOSTON.

John 5. 23. That all Men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father.

BOSTON: N. E. Printed by J. DRAPER, Printer to His EXCELLENCY the GOVERNOUR and COUNCIL, for J. EDWARDS and H. FOSTER, in Cornhil. MDCCXL.

[Page]

ORdered, That Jacob Wendell and Richard Bill, Esqrs; give the Thanks of this Board to the Rev. Mr. William Cooper, for his Sermon preached Yester­day before the General Assembly; and that they desire a Copy thereof for the Press.

Attest. Simon Frost, Dep. Secr.
[Page]

AN Election SERMON.

PSALM II. x, xi, xii.

Be wise now therefore, O ye Kings: be instructed ye Judges of the Earth.

Serve the LORD with Fear, and rejoice with Trembling.

Kiss the SON left He be angry, and ye perish from the Way, when his Wrath is kindled but a little: Blessed are all they that put their Trust in Him.

THIS anniversary Day which is now return'd upon us, may very well be call'd A Day which the Psal. 118. 24. Lord hath made; inasmuch as He has given us the happy Oc­casion of it, by putting our Fa­thers, and continuing us in the Possession of those invaluable Privileges, the Exer­cise whereof is the proper Business of the Day: [Page 2] And if we, and our People, do not rejoyce and shew ourselves glad in it, with a religious as well as civil Joy, our Stupidity and Ingratitude will be an Evidence, how unworthy we are of the Favours of Heaven wherewith we are distinguish'd.

WE again see the Princes, the Legislators of the People, even the People of the God of Abraham, gathered together; not only in the State-House to dispatch the publick Business, but in the Lord's-House to pay Him their publick Homage, and to learn their Duty to Him by inquiring in his Temple: Psal. 47, 9. And since the Shields of the Earth do belong unto God, it is fit He should in this Way be exalted by them.

OUR present Rulers desire this publick Day may continue to wear the Garb of Religion, not only out of Custom, and in Conformity to the Practice of their Ancestors; but, we trust, from a Sense of Duty, and because they inherit a good Measure of the same Spirit of Piety and Devotion, which was the distinguishing Glory of the Fathers of our Country.

I know your Excellency, and the honourable Counsellers, who have order'd me into the sacred Desk on this great Occasion, don't expect from me, either an Address of Compliment, or a Lecture in Politicks; both of which are as distant from my Genius, as they would be disagreable to my Cha­racter. That which you have called me to is, as a Gospel Minister, to direct you from the Word of God, and remember you of your Duty as Christian Magistrates; which I shall accordingly endeavour, by divine Help, with all Fidelity, and a proper [Page 3] Deference: And I don't know how I can better do this, than from the solemn Passage I have just read.

IF then you are come together to hear what God the Lord has to say unto you, the Message bro't you in his Name, by the unworthiest of his Mi­nisters, is this, Serve the LORD with Fear, and rejoyce with Trembling. Kiss the SON left He be angry, &c.

THE Psalm of which our Text is the Close, is a prophetick Discourse of the Kingdom of the Messiah. It foretells the Opposition which would be given to that Kingdom, when it should be set up in the World. Tho' the Laws of this Kingdom, and the Administration of it, are every way suited to make the Subjects thereof easy and happy; and the Nature of it is such, that if it did universally obtain, it would make the Kingdoms of this World resemble the Kingdom of Heaven; for it consists in Righteous­ness,Rom. 14. 7and Peace, and Joy in the Holy Ghost; yet such are the Prejudices of Men, that they not only refuse to become the Subjects of this Kingdom themselves, but do their utmost to prevent its Establishment and Spread in the World. And this Opposition is general, made by all sorts of Per­sons; not only the common Rout, from whom lit­tle better is to be expected, but the Kings and Ru­lers are engag'd in it; as if they tho't the Reign of Christ would eclipse their Glory, and diminish their Authority. These back their Strength and Power with Policy and Counsel. The Kings of the Earth set themselves, ver. 2, 3. and the Rulers take Counsel [Page 4] together, against the Lord, and against his Anointed, saying, Let us break their Bands asunder, and cast away their Cords from us.

BUT for the Comfort of all those who have heartily espous'd the Interests of Christ, and are the faithful Subjects of his Kingdom, the Vanity and Unsuccessfulness of this Opposition follow. Their Attempts will certainly be defeated, and their Counsels baffled, however confident they may be of carrying their Point. The most High controls their Rage, and derides their Folly. Why do the Heathen rage, 1. & 4. v. and the People imagine a vain Thing? He that sitteth in the Heaven▪ shall laugh, the Lord shall have them in Derision. For the Thing they attempt is not only unlikely, but impossible. The Kingdom of Christ is better establish'd than any of the Monarchies of the World. It is founded upon an irrevocable Decree of God the Father, from which he cannot recede in Point of Honour. This eternal Purpose and Resolve, which lay hid in the divine Counsels from the Days of Eternity, is publish'd with Solemnity:6, 7, 8. v. Yet have I set my King upon my holy Hill of Zion. I will declare the Decree; the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son, this Day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the Heathen for thine Inheritance, and the utmost Parts of the Earth for thy Possession. Nay; The Opposition will issue not only in a vexatious and shameful Disappointment, but in the dreadful, ut­ter and irrecoverable Ruin of all that are in the cursed Confederacy. The Honours of this divine King will be sufficiently vindicated; and they who would not submit to his gracious Sceptre, shall be broken with his iron Rod.v. 9. Thou shalt break them [Page 5] with a Rod of Iron, thou shalt dash them in Pieces like a Potters Vessel; so suddenly, easily, and irrepa­rably.

Now our Text is the Application of all this, by way of Counsel and Admonition, to Persons of the highest Rank and Order in the World, as more especially concerned in it. And here we may observe, 1, The Persons to whom the Counsel is address'd. 2, The Counsel that is given them. And 3, The Arguments and Motives with which it is enforc'd. These three Divisions of the Text may be the general Heads of our Discourse: And, if I mistake not, they will furnish us with Matter proper for this Occasion; and naturally suggest to us such weighty Things, as will concern every Per­son of whatever Degree or Station, in this large Assembly.

I. THE first Thing then that falls under our Observation is, The Persons to whom the Counsel in our Text is address'd: And these are the Kings and Judges of the Earth. That is, Sovereign Princes and their Under-Officers; all Magistrates, both the supream and the subordinate; those that have the legislative, and those that have the ex­ecutive Power, in the Government of any People.

THE Office of the Magistracy is here suppos'd at least; the Institution of Government conc [...]ed to if not asserted: For some Persons are here address'd as vested with Authority and Rule.

NOTHING in the World is plainer than this, That it is the Mind and Will of God that there [Page 6] should be Magistracy in the World; that Men should be govern'd by Laws and Polity, and kept in Order by this Means.

SURELY no one can doubt whether the Foun­dation of civil Government is laid in divine Institu­tion, who but reads, without a Comment, such Texts as these. Prov. 8. 15. By me Kings reign, and Princes decree Justice: By me Princes rule, and Nobles, even all the Judges of the Earth. Rom. 13. 1, 2. Let every Soul be subject unto the higher Powers. For there is no Power but of God: The Powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth, resisteth the Ordinance of God. 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 supream, or to Governors as 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 this is the Dictate of Reason, as well as the Voice of Scripture. The very Light of Nature gives a sufficient Indication of the Mind of God in this Matter: For all Nations, how barbarous so­ever, have united in some Kind of Government or other, for their common Peace and Safety; nor can any Number of Men continue any Time, with­out something of Law and Rule; which shews that Government is from God as the Author of Nature.

IT is as truly as commonly said, Nothing is more unequal than Equality. Neither the Beauty nor Benefit of the World will allow it. The Notion [Page 7] of Levelism has as little Foundation in Nature as in Scripture.1 Cor. 15 41. If we look up to the Heavens, there is one Glory of the Sun, and another Glory of the Moon, and another Glory of the Stars; neither are these of the same Magnitude and Lustre, but one Star differeth from another Star in Glory. And if we look round the Earth, we see it is not cast into a Level; it has Mountains and Plains, Hills and Vallies. Even so in the political World, there are the Distinctions of Superiours and Inferiours, Rulers and Ruled, publick and private Orders of Men: Some sit on the Throne of Majesty, some at the Council Table, and some on the Bench of Justice; and some hold subordinate Places of Pow­er; while others serve their Generation only in a private Capacity.

AMONG the native Spirits of Heaven, the holy Angels, who have their abode in the Realms of Light and Purity above, where there are no Lusts to be restrain'd, it is suppos'd there are not only different Degrees of Excellence, but different Offi­ces and Employments. It has been tho't a suffici­ent Foundation for this Conjecture, that we read of Thrones, Col. 1. 16. Dominions, Principalities and Powers, in the heavenly Places. And if Man had retain'd his primitive Holiness, and his Nature not been stain'd with Sin as now it is, there would doubt­less have been Government in this lower World, and within the Circle of Paradise it self; not co­ercive or punitive, for there could then be no "Occasion for that; but directive, and conservative" of Superiority and Inferiority, such as will be in the heavenly State after our Saviour shall have delivered up the Kingdom to God, even the Father.

[Page 8] BUT how necessary is Government, even in the severer Restraints of it, for Man in his present fallen and corrupt State? To how much greater a Height wou'd Wickedness rise, if there were none to be a Terror to evil Doers? If all Men were left to their unrestrain'd Liberty, what an uncomfortable and dangerous Place would this World be? What vexatious and uneasy Compa­nions wou'd Men be to one another? And how wou'd this Earth resemble the Hell of the Damned? They that now enjoy the Pleasures and Advanta­ges of Society, wou'd be ready to wish they could dwell solitary in the Wilderness. And good Men more especially wou'd have Reason to utter David's Complaint, with a heavy Accent, Wo is me, that I sojourn in Mesech,Psa. 120. 5. that I dwell in the Tents of Ke­dar! Among a People rude and barbarous, hate­ful and hating; govern'd not by Reason and Re­ligion, but only by Will and Lust.

THEREFORE God's good Will to Men, and Concern for their Happiness, appears next to the Gospel and the Ministry of it, in the Institution of Magistracy; his appointing that Men, in their present State, shou'd be govern'd by Men. If the World was to be constantly govern'd by God in a more immediate way, by a Voice from Heaven, and such awful Appearances of the divine Majesty as those on Mount Sinai, when he delivered his Law to his People Israel; as this would not so well agree with that State of Probation the World is now in, in which Men are to walk by Faith and not by Sight, 2 Cor. 5. 7. so it would not suit the present Frailty of our Nature.

[Page 9] THE People of Israel found this by Experience, in the Day when God promulg'd his Law to them, in a way suited to his own Majesty and Greatness. They could not bear it. They were struck into such Amazement and Terror, as to make it their humble Request that he would please to go into a Method of Government more suted to Spirits in Flesh;Exod. 20. 19. and that they might no more hear the Voice of the Lord, least they shou'd die: And God granted their Request, and in Condesention to their Weak­ness and Infirmity, when the Government over Israel was a Theocracy, he used the Ministry of Men in the Management of it. Truly, the ac­curate Wisdom and compassionate Goodness of God are seen, in governing as well as teaching us by Men like our selves.

THIS does not indeed lessen the Obligations to Obedience; for he that despiseth, despiseth not Man but God: But it is a very good Reason why we shou'd make favourable Allowances for the Defects and Failings of Rulers. They are but Men; of the same Make and Constitution with Others, of like Passions and Appetites, under all the Weak­nesses and Corruptions of human Nature since the Fall, and beset with the like and with some pecu­liar Temptations. We should not therefore place an undue Confidence in them, nor expect too much from them. To be sure, a perfect Conduct and Administration we must not look for. And their Mistakes and Mismanagement, whether in private or publick Life, shou'd not be too severely censur'd. To pray more for Rulers, and talk less against them, wou'd many Times be a better Way to get some Things amended.

[Page 10] I don't mean that out of Reverence to Autho­rity, we shou'd resign common Understanding, and the publick Interest, to Men in Power: Nor wou'd I be tho't to deny the Right which every private Man, as he is a Member of the Body, and his Interest is involv'd in that of the Publick, has to judge of the Conduct of publick Affairs. No; I am too deep in the Principles of Liberty, to mean any thing like this. But this I say, the Censure of Rulers should be in matters of which we are able in some good Measure to form a Judgment, upon Things apparent, and where Facts may be compar'd together; and always manag'd with De­cency, and temper'd with Charity.—Nor shou'd we presently vote those to be ill Men, Enemies of their Country, regardless of its Interests, or design­ing its Ruin, who don't judge with the Populace, or go into the Measures which others think best. For Persons equal in Integrity and Love to their Country, may judge very differently about the publick Interests.

WHAT we have spoken of the divine Instituti­on of Government, you all understand to be meant of Government it self, and not of any particular Form or Model of it: For one is no more appoint­ed by God than another; but every People are left to judge for themselves, to frame such a Con­stitution as may best answer the Ends of Govern­ment for them, and to alter and change that too at Discretion, and by common Consent.

THE Kingly Government is mentioned in our Text; but is not to be understood exclusive of o­ther Forms. And all Persons are for Conscience sake to yield Obedience to the Laws and Magis­trates [Page 11] under which they live, and from which they receive the Benefit of Protection; whether in Kingdoms or Common Wealths; and whether the Government does or does not descend by he­reditary Right.

The same Model of Government would not suit every People; their Genius, Scituation, and other Circumstances are so [...]rious. It is therefore an Instance of the Kindness of God that he has not prescrib'd one for all Nations. And by the various Forms of civil Government, which there are among the Nations of the Earth, the Wisdom of God in the Government of the World in general, is ren­dred the more illustrious and admirable.

OF the various Forms of civil Government which are in the World, some are undoubtedly much better than others, and it is a greater Happi­ness to live under one than another of them. The Consideration of this shou'd make us thankful for our Privilege as ENGLISH-MEN; which is to live under the happiest Constitution in the World, if compar'd in its proper Lineaments with other Governments. For as was justly observ'd by a noble Patriot of the last Age ‘This Govern­ment has as it were extracted the Good of all other Constitutions, having avoided the two Extreams of Tyranny and an unbounded Liberty; no Government under the Sun being so exact a piece of Symetry, having so nicely pois'd the Prerogative and Property that they are mutu­ally assistant of each other.’

[Page 12] AND if we consider our selves as NEW-ENGLISH MEN, our Obligation to Thankfulness rises still higher: For we enjoy not only the Immunities and Liberties of natural Subjects born in the Realm of England, but have some additional ones granted and affirmed to us by a Royal Charter, which is as a Hedge about our dearest and most valuable In­terests: So that none can with more Justness, and greater Propriety than our selves, use those thank­ful Words of the Psalmist,Psal. 16. 6. The Lines are fallen to us in pleasant Places, yea we have a goodly Heritage. May there never be among the Sons of New-Eng­land, Heb. 12. 16. any such profane Person as Esau, who despised and sold his Birth-right!

WE have been saying, GOD has in Kindness to Men appointed that they shou'd be govern'd by Men; yet, He has been too good and kind to leave them to be govern'd by Men according to their ar­britrary Will and Pleasure. The End of Govern­ment is the publick Peace and Safety; when therefore this is neglected, and the Ordinance of Government only made an Engine of Tyranny and Oppression; when the Constitution is subver­ted, the Liberties and Properties of the People invaded, their Religion and Laws made a Sacrifice to the Superstition, Ambition, or Covetousness of the Prince that is over them; when this is really the Case, as it has been in our own Nation, doubt­less the Remedy is left in their own Hands, and every Man is under higher and earlier Engage­ments to the Community in general, than he is to the supream Magistrate.

[Page 13] HE that has freed his People from their spiritual Task-masters, has not left them under the Power of earthly Tyrants. The Rules of Obedience laid down in the Gospel oblige none to submit to un­lawful Impositions. It is mention'd to the Reproach of Issachar, that the Men of that Tribe wanted the true Spirit of Liberty;Gen. 49. 14, 15. Issachar is a strong Ass, couching down between two Burdens: He bowed his Shoulder to bear, and became a Servant unto Tribute.

AND tho' GOD has not prescrib'd any one Form of Government in Scripture, yet he has therein given general Rules to be observ'd by all that are in Government. The civil Magistrate's Com­mission is thus limited by the great Monarch of the World,1 Sam. 23▪ 3. He that ruleth over Men must be just, ruling in the Fear of God.

AND that they may'nt be unmindful of the Duties of their Station, he has appointed another Order of Men to be their faithful and humble Monitors; I mean, the Ministers of Religion. For Ministers are as truly the Magistrates Teachers, as Magistrates are their Governours: And as we must put our People in Mind to be subject to Principa­lities and Powers, Tit. 3. 1. to obey Magistrates; so we must put Magistrates in Mind to be subject to the Lord Jesus Christ, and use their Power in a Subserviency to the Interests of His Kingdom.

THIS leads us to the second Thing to be con­sider'd in the Words, which is,

[Page 14] II. THE solemn Counsel here given to earthly Rulers of all Degrees: Serve the LORD; Kiss the SON.

THE same Person is here meant by the Lord, and the Son; namely, the Lord Jesus Christ, God­man, Mediator.

THE Duty requir'd is express'd two Ways. They must serve him, as those that are in Subjection to him, in all the Instances of Devotion and Obedi­ence. They are to kiss him; with a Kiss of Adoration and Worship: They that worship'd Idols kiss'd them;1 King. 19. 18 for we read of the People, their kissing of Baal, and kissing the Calves.—With a Kiss of Allegiance and Loyalty: Hos. 13. 2. So when Samuel anointed Saul, he kissed him, and said, It is because the Lord hath anointed thee to be Captain over his Inheritance. 1 Sam. 10. 1. And with a Kiss of Affection and Love: So 'tis a common Custom in the World for Friends to salute one another: And the Usage in some Courts, is to kiss the Hand of the Prince, in token of Subjection to his Government, and Affection to his Person.

I take the Words to be comprehensive of the Duty of Rulers in their double Capacity; the private and the publick; as Christians and as Ma­gistrates.

1. RULERS are, as Men and as Christians, oblig'd to the general Service of Christ, in common with others. And the Service of Christ includes in it, real inward Religion, and practical Godliness in all the Parts of it.

[Page 15] HERE many Particulars offer themselves to our Tho'ts, which are in themselves worthy of En­largement: But I must content my self with a few comprehensive Hints, in opening to you the Character of a Servant of Christ in his single or private Capacity.

A Servant of Christ is one who has parted with his old Masters; fallen off from his Allegiance to,Isa. 26. 13. and renounc'd the Service of those other Lords which have had Dominion over him; Satan and the World.

HE has actually submitted to the Government of the Lord Jesus Christ,Psal. 119. 106. taken his Yoke upon him, and sworn Allegiance to him.

AND now,

HE obeys all his Laws, and makes his Will the Rule of all his Actions; how contrary soever to his own Will or Humour, Ease or Interest. He sits at the Feet of his divine Master, and makes that Inquiry,Acts 9. 6. with a sincere Resolution to obey, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? Or,Luk. 14. 25. Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal Life?

HE therefore attends upon all his Institutions, those Ordinances which Christ has appointed to shew his Authority over, and Care for his Church. He religiously observes the Sabbaths of the Lord, constantly frequents the solemn Assemby, reverently hears his Word preach'd by his Ministers, and de­voutly attends upon the Administration of the holy Sacraments. 1 C [...] He will neglect none of these, lest he [Page 16] should seem to shew Contempt to him that has appointed them, or want the Badge and Livery of his great Lord and Master.

MOREOVER,

HE follows his divine Master's Example, and desires to copy the Life of the holy Jesus into his own; and will follow no Man, of what Name or Figure soever, any farther than he sees him to follow Christ. [...] Cor [...]1. 1

THE Servant of Christ does also resign to his Conduct without Reserve, and is determin'd to follow the Lamb whither soever he goes, and not to turn from following after him, [...]om. 14. 4. whatever Opposition and Danger may be in the Way.

ONCE more,

A true Servant of Christ makes the Glory of Christ his chief and governing Aim; and, both habitually and actually, directs his Actions, in the best Manner he can, towards this great End. It is his highest Ambition to please his Master in Hea­ven, and he will make all lower Designs give Place to this. He pursues his Honour and Appro­bation in every Relation wherein he stands, in every Station he fills, and with every Talent com­mitted to him. And in this he labours, that whether present or absent, [...] [...] 5.9. both in this World and the next, he may be accepted of Him; and then 'tis a small Thing with him to be judged of Mans Judgment. 1 Cor. 4. [...].

[Page 17] To this Service of Christ there are some speci­al Adjuncts annex'd in our Text, Joy, Fear, and Trust. Serve the Lord with Fear, and rejoice with Trembling: Blessed are they that trust in him.

THE Service of Christ should be accompanied with Rejoycing. Psa. 149. 2. Let the Children of Zion be joyful in their King. They should rejoyce that they have such a Master to serve; and shew themselves cheerful in his Service, as those that chuse it, and are not forc'd into it; as those that like it, and would not go free from it. So the People of Ju­dah in the Days of Asa bound themselves to the Service of GOD, not only with great Solemnity, but with great Cheerfulness, and all possible Ex­pressions of Joy. They sware unto the Lord with a loud Voice, 2 Chro. 15. 14, 15. and with Shouting, and with Trumpets, and with Cornets. And all Judah rejoyced at the Oath: for they had sworn with all their Hearts, and sought him with their whole Desire.

BUT this rejoicing well consists with Fear and Trembling, and should be always temper'd there­with.Heb. 12. 28, 29. We shou'd serve the Lord with Fear, and rejoice with Trembling, because as he is a gracious so he is a jealous GOD, who can't be deceiv'd and will not be mocked; who regards the Intention as well as the Action; who looks into the Heart, and sees thro' all Disguises. His Servants there­fore should always maintain a holy Jealousie lest they come short of his Approbation and Accept­ance; and at the same time that they rejoice in the Hopes of his Favour, should tremble in the Tho'ts of ever falling under his Displeasure. And while we thus submit to the Lord Jesus Christ, [Page 18] and serve him with holy Joy and Fear as our So­vereign, we must also trust in him as our Saviour; and renouncing all other Dependance whatsoever, as satisfactory and meritorious, must repair to his Obedience and Atonement, as the only Refuge of guilty Souls, and Ground of a Sinners Accept­ance with GOD: We must so trust in Christ as to have no Confidence in the Flesh; and never go about to establish a Righteousness of our own, but submit our selves to the Righteousness of God; Phil. 3. 3. de­siring to be found in Him, 9. v. not having on our own Righteousness which is of the Law, but that which is thro' the Faith of Christ, the Righteousness which is of God by Faith— This it is to serve the Lord: This is a brief general Account of personal Reli­gion, and real Christianity; which may be summ'd up in these two Words, Subjection to and De­pendance on the Lord Jesus Christ.

WE may collect from it, How great a Thing it is to be a Christian indeed! And the Reason we have to fear that Christ has but few true and real Servants, among those who wear the christian Name, and take upon them the christian Cha­racter.

Now, Kings and Judges are as strictly bound to serve the Lord in all the Instances of personal Religion, and practical Godliness, as any of their People. Rom. 10. 12. For there is the same Lord over all; who stands in the same Relations to them that he does to others; as Creator, Lawgiver and Judge. There is the same infinite Distance between Him and them, that there is between Him and the lowest of their Subjects. They are under the common Obligations of Christians, by their Birth in and [Page 19] Baptism into the christian Church, and their Pro­fession of the christian Religion. They must be sav'd, if ever they are so, upon the same Terms, and in the same Way, that others are. In Matters of Religion, in the Concerns of Salvation, they are without Priviledge or Dispensation. The Gospel makes no Distinction between them and others in these Things; but the Commands of it are address'd to them in common with Persons of lower Degrees in Life. Psal. 49. 1, 2. Hear this all ye People; give ear, all ye Inhabitants of the World: Both Low and High, Rich and Poor to­gether. Psal. 148. 11, 12. Kings of the Earth, and all People; Princes and all Judges of the Earth. Both young Men and Maidens, old Men and Chil­dren; let them praise the Name of the Lord.

IF there is any Difference, these are more strictly bound to observe the Laws of Christ than others; because the Eminency of their Station, will make their Conversation to be the more observ'd; and their Example will be like to have the greater Influence upon Inferiours. A City set upon a Hill cannot be hid; was our Saviour's Observation: And he made it for the sake of that Exhortation and Charge which follows,Mat. 5. 14, 12. Let your Light so shine before Men, that they may see your good Works, and glorifie your Father which is in Heaven.

2. RULERS are to serve the Lord Jesus Christ in their publick Capacity, and in the Exercise of their Office as Magistrates. And it is in this Capacity more especially that our Text addresses them.

[Page 20] AND so they are to consider themselves as Christ's Ministers and Stewards, plac'd in their Stations to serve him and his Interests.

THEREFORE,

THEY must not seek Themselves, and their own Things, Phil. 2. 21. to the Neglect of the Things of Jesus Christ. If they are covetous and Self seeking, and aim at Nothing but gratifying their own Ambition, raising Themselves and Families, enlarging their Honours and Estates, this is not to serve Christ, but to serve themselves of him; and to prostitute their high Office to low Ends.

MUCH less must they carry on any cross De­signs, or do any thing in Opposition to his King­dom, or that may damage his Interests. They must not therefore persecute his Saints, silence his Ministers, hinder the free Exercise of his holy Re­ligion, or do any Thing that may obstruct the Work of the Gospel; as the Rulers of the Jews did when they imprison'd the Professors of Christi­anity, and forbad the Apostles to preach in the Name of Jesus.

THEY must make no Laws that are repugnant to, or inconsistent with the settled Laws of Christ's Kingdom. For altho' GOD has given this Power to all Kingdoms and Nations to make Laws for the better Support and Government of themselves, yet he has not given them Leave to repeal any of his own Laws, nor to enact any Thing contrary to them. It is usual for a Prince, when he grants a Charter to a City or Company within his Domi­nions [Page 21] & to give Power therein to make By-Laws for the Management of the Affairs of that Commu­nity, provided they be no way repugnant to his own or the common Laws of his Kingdom; if they be, they are null from the beginning. And so are those Laws made in any particular Kingdom of the World, if they be in the lest contrary to any of the common Laws of the World, those which the King of Kings hath made for all Man­kind, both Kings and People to observe. In such a Case,Acts 5. 29. the general Law is, that we must obey GOD rather than Man.

THE BIBLE therefore, which is the great Statute Book of Heaven, must be consulted by the Rulers of a People, and they must frame their Ad­ministration by the general Laws there laid down. The Kings of Israel were commanded by GOD to write for themselves a Copy of the Law, and to read therein all the Days of their Lives, Deut. 17, 18, 19. that they might learn to fear the Lord their God, and to keep all the Words of his Law. And Jehojada gave to Joash the Testimony with the Crown, 2 Kings, 11. 12. when he anointed him King. Which carries this Instruc­tion in it, That those in Government over GOD'S People, shou'd acquaint themselves well with his holy Word, and shou'd have an inviolable Re­gard to the Laws of Christ in the whole of their Administration.

MOREOVER,

CHRISTIAN Magistrates must employ their Power for the Advancement of Christ's Kingdom▪ They are in a Lieutenancy to Christ; and so they are to concur with Him in carrying on the same [Page 22] Design for which all Power is given to Him, Matt. 28. 18. both in Heaven and in Earth.

TRUE indeed, the Care of Souls is not commit­ted to the civil Magistrate; nor may he extend his Power to force Articles of Faith, or Modes of Worship, on the Consciences of Men: For Con­science is exempt from every Jurisdiction but Christ's; and He alone must reign there. Yet we must not run into the other Extream, and say that the Magistrate has nothing to do in Matters of Religion.

AS they rule by Christ, so they are oblig'd to rule for Him; and therefore to protect and en­courage the Practice of his holy Religion; to guard and defend GOD'S sacred Name, Day and Institu­tions, from the Insults of those who wou'd openly profane and trample upon them; and to restrain and punish those Vices and Immoralities, which are as contrary to the Laws of Christ as they are to the Welfare of Societies: For the very End of their Office is, the Punishment of evil Doers, 1 P [...]. 2. 14. and the Praise of them that do well; and this is the Design of their Institution,1 Tim 2. 2. that under them we may lead quiet and peaceable Lives in all Godliness and Honesty.

IN a word,

THEY shou'd openly profess the Religion of Christ, publickly espouse his Cause, and zealously promote it as far as ever their Authority and In­fluence will reach; and should strenuously set themselves against every thing that is opposite to his Interest, against the Works and Kingdom of [Page 23] the Devil which our blessed Saviour came into the World to destroy. 1 Joh. 3. 8.

THERE is a War carried on in this World, between the rightful King and the usurping God of it; between Christ and Satan; and whoever stands neuter, Magistrates, who are Christ's Officers, must not: If they do, they are Traitors to his Crown and Government, and must expect from him the highest Resentment, and the severest Punishment. Which leads us the third and last thing observ'd in the Words.

III. THE Arguments and Motives with which the divine Counsel here given to the Kings and Judges of the Earth is enforc'd.

AND the

1st REASON or Argument may be taken from the Wisdom of such a Conduct. Be wise now there­fore, O ye Kings: be instructed ye Judges of the Earth. Serve the Lord, &c.

WISDOM is a very requisite Qualification in Rulers. Without this they will make but a poor Figure, and both their Persons and Authority fall into Contempt. Now, to serve the Lord, Behold! this is Wisdom. When Rulers do this, they en­gross all the Rules of Policy into one.

FOR,

THIS is the way to have the Presence of Christ with them in their Administration, to direct their Counsels, and succeed their Endeavours for the publick Good; without which their own Policy and Power will be in vain; the wisest Schemes will be baffled, and the most promising Enterprizes [Page 24] defeated. Whatever the wise Men after the Flesh may think, the Rules of Religion steadily pursu'd by those entrusted with the publick Affairs of a People, will be found to conduce more to the true Ends of Government, than all the Maxims of carnal Policy. 1 Sam. 23. 3, 4. He that ruleth over Men must be just, ruling in the Fear of God: And he shall be as the Light of the Morning, when the Sun riseth, even a Morning without Clouds; as the tender Grass springing out of the Earth by clear shining after Rain. i. e. The religious Ruler will be a great common and extensive Blessing, like the Light and Rain of Heaven.

THIS is also the best way to secure and exalt their own Character. For, if a serious and strict Regard to Religion runs thro' their Conduct, both in private and publick Life; if they appear to act in the Fear of God, and with a governing View to the Honour of Christ, this will certainly make them look more great and venerable in the Eyes of the People, than any shining Titles or glitter­ing Badges of Honour which they wear: This will procure them not only outward but inward Reverence. When Piety is found in Conjunction with Greatness, the Person shines with a diviner Lustre, and the Authority wherewith he is vested strikes into a greater Awe, and more powerfully constrains Submission and Obedience. So Joshua was magnified in the fight of all Israel.Josh. 4. 14.

THUS they will be likely to sit easy in their Posts of Honour; not only from the Consciousness of their own Integrity, which will always give them inward Peace, and raise their Minds above the Censures and Clamours of ignorant and disaffected [Page 25] Persons; but also from the Acceptance which their faithful Endeavours will find among the Generality of their People. For as bad as the World is, when the Righteous are in Authority, Prov. 29. 2. the People rejoice. Common People, and even vici­ous People, are under such a Conviction of the Ex­cellency of Virtue and Religion, that they can't but take Satisfaction when they see it exalted to great Dignity.

MOREOVER,

THIS is the most likely way for them to be establish'd and continued in their Authority, and to have their publick Opportunities and Advantages lengthned out by that GOD in whose hand their Times are. For it stands in the Book of GOD as an Argument why the King should above all Things mind Religion, To the end that he may pro­long his Days in his Kingdom. Deut. 17. 20. Agree­ably (as one observes) we find in the History of the Kings of Judah, that generally the best Reigns were the longest, except when GOD shortned them for the Punishment of the People, as Josiahs. Or, this will minister pleasing Reflections to them, and give them a Satisfaction divinely calm, if they see Others fill the Stations they have held; or in the near Approach of Death, and Prospect of their final Account to GOD the Judge of all. Be wise now therefore, O ye Kings; be instructed ye Judges of the Earth: Serve the Lord, &c.

2. IF we consider the Dignity of this glorious Person whom the Kings and Judges of the Earth are commanded to serve, there will appear the [Page 26] highest Reason why they shou'd obey the Com­mand: He is the LORD; the SON.

CHRIST is here spoken of both with Respect to his eternal Deity, and his Office of Mediator. He is the Son of GOD by eternal Generation; and he is the Son of Man, i. e. God-man, Mediator: And all Men are bound to serve him, not only on Ac­count of his eternal Deity, but his Office as Me­diator. His Supremacy over the World, is a Prerogative annex'd to his being Head of the Church. For GOD hath now set him at his own right Hand, Eph. 1. 21. far above all Principality, and Power, and Might, and Dominion, and every Name that is named, not only in this World, but in that which is to come; and hath put all things under his Feet, and given him to be Head over all Things to the Church, which is his Body. So that he is Lord Paramount of the whole Creation. He has a Title both by Inheritance and by Appointment. A natural and delegated right. A natural one, as he is the true GOD,John 1. 3. by whom were all things made that are made; and a delegated one, as he is Mediator: So he is invested by the Father, who is the Fountain of Power, with the sole Administration of Govern­ment, in the Kingdom of Providence as well as of Grace. Thus he is the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, Psal 72 11 the blessed and the only Potentate: All Kings shall how down before him, and all Nations shall serve him.

THE Title and Character of Lord given to Christ in the Text, suggests to us these following Reasons why the Kings and Judges of the Earth, Rulers of all Degrees, should serve him.

[Page 27] 1. HE is the LORD, and so their Authority is deriv'd from him. It is so with respect to the Constitution of Government it self: for Dominion and Rule are his Appointment in the World; the Original of Power is from Heaven, as has been shewn already.—And it is so with respect to the Designation of the Persons cloathed with it. In whatever Way, by whatever Means and Methods, Men are advanc'd to their several Stations, the Providence of the Lord Jesus Christ is to be ac­knowledg'd and ador'd therein. For both Riches and Honour come of thee; 1 Chron. 29. 12. and in thy band it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. We many times see strange and unexpected Turns, and are surpriz'd at the sudden Disgrace of some," and Elevation of others: But we should consider" that the most high ruleth in the Kingdom of Men, Dan. 4. 12. and giveth it to whomsoever he will. Preferments depend not on the Will of the People when they chuse, nor on the Will of the Prince when he appoints; but on the Will of GOD who has all Hearts in his Hand. This is a great Truth re­specting GOD's providential Government of the World, which the Psalmist has instructed us in, Psal. 75. 6, 7. Promotion cometh neither from the East, nor from the West, nor from the South; but God is the Judge: He putteth down one, & setteth up another. When there are Candidates for an Elec­tion into a Post of Government, and a Struggle among the Electors, the King of the World sits Umpire, and in a powerful tho' invisible Way, de­termines the matter, so as to bring about his own Counsels, and serve his own Purpose. The Lot is cast into the Lap, Pro. 16. 33. but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord. This is a good Reason why they [Page 28] who are in publick Stations shou'd serve Christ in them, because He has plac'd them where they are▪ Since of him, and thro' him, are all things, as the Fountain and Conveyance; all things shou'd be to him, Rom. 11. 36. as the ultimate End. So the Rivers pay a constant Tribute to the Sea, whence they all come.

2. HE is the LORD, and so their Authority is dependant on him. They are dependant on him as to the Exercise of their Rule. He has not given them an absolute Power, but restrain'd and limited them by certain general Rules and Instruc­tions, to which they must conform. The Glory of his Supremacy he will not give to another—And they are also dependant on him as to their Continuance in their Authority. They hold their Places only during Pleasure. He that gave them their Commission, can revoke or superceed it whenever he pleases.

IT was an Instance of the papal Pride and Arro­gance, when the Pope after he had crown'd an Emperor kneeling, immediately with his Foot kick'd off his Crown again, as an emblematical Boast of his Power to make and unmake Kings at his Pleasure. But this is a Right which belongs to, and is actually exercis'd by Christ the Lord, who is God over all blessed for ever: Rom. 9. 5. A Flower in his Crown, who is King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. He removeth Kings, Joel 2. 21. and setteth up Kings. Psal. 76. 12 He cut­eth off the Spirit of Princes, and is terrible to the Kings of the Earth.

[Page 29] Now Dependance is always reckn'd a very good Reason for Service and Obedience: When this is the Case, Duty and Interest unite to strengthen the Obligation.

3. HE is the LORD, and so their Power is in Subserviency and Subordination unto His. Rom. 13. 7▪ They are called his Ministers. Whatever Power they have it is but ministerial, and in order to Service. A Servant entrusted by his Lord may have many encouraging Priviledges and Advantages for himself; yet the great End of his Employment and Advancement is his Masters Service and Pro­fit. The Honour and Power of Rulers do not terminate in themselves▪ as if the Design of GOD in the Institution of Magistracy, was only to gra­tify a few particular Men, by raising them above the common Rank, and putting them into Au­thority for their Persons Sake, and only to make them look great. No! His End is the Service that is expected from them to GOD and Man, the Church and the World: And the Dignity is af­fix'd to the Person, as an Encouragement to, and a necessary Means of doing that Service▪ Their Places and Offices are given them with Reference to the Duty expected from them. And he is an unworthy Servant who when his Master has put him into an honourable Office, and given him large Encouragement to be faithful in the Business of it, only grows proud and insolent, and becomes regardless of his Masters Honour, and negligent of his Service.

4. HE is the LORD, and so they are account­able to him for their Conduct. Every Master ex­pects [Page 30] an Account from his Servants, what they have done in the Business he has employ'd them in; and will take a proper Season to inquire into it.Matt. 25. The Lord of these Servants cometh, and will reckon with them, for the Improvement of their Power, Honour and Influence, which were Talents committed to them to occupy for Him.

RULERS, as well as others, must appear before the Judgment of Christ; to give an Account as well of their publick as of their private Life. I saw the Dead small and great stand before God. Rev. 20. 12 And here surely is a powerful Reason why they shou'd endeavour to acquit themselves as good Stewards of the manifold Grace of GOD, that so when they must give an Account of their Steward­ship, they may do it with Joy and not with Grief, and may escape the Rebuke and Punishment of the wicked and unfaithful Servant. This brings me to a third Motive and Argument in the Text, which is taken from

3. THE high Displeasure of Christ, and the utter Ruin consequent thereupon, which those Rulers who refuse to comply with this Counsel, will bring upon themselves. Be wise now there­fore, O ye Kings; be instructed ye Judges of the Earth: Serve the Lord; Kiss the Son; lest He be ANGRY, and ye PERISH from the Way, when his Wrath is kindled but a little.

"THE SON can be angry, tho' he be the Saviour. Gracious and condescending as he is, he can be severely angry. He has Jealousy as well as Love; Wrath as well as Compassion and Grace. And [Page 31] if He be angry, who is the Mediator between GOD and Man, what will become of us? who then will interceed for us with a GOD already offended?

"CHRIST is call'd the Lamb; Rev. yet he is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah: and the Wrath of this King, of this King of Kings, is as the roaring of a Lion, and eno' to make the stoutest Heart to tremble.

A little of his Wrath is eno' to be the Destruc­tion of the Sinner. Lest ye perish in the way, in the Course of your Sin and Rebellion against him, when his Wrath is kindled but a little. How then can the proudest Sinner stand before his flaming Wrath, when his Jealousie burns like Fire.

THE Kings and Judges of the Earth must not think themselves above the Resentment of Christ, or too big for him to deal with. He will be angry with them as soon as with others; and they will be as little able to stand before his Indignation. Whatever Prerogatives they may lay claim to here, they will be of no Service to them in the Day of Death,Isa. 30. 33. and the Day of Judgment. Tophet is ordain'd of old, for the King it is prepared, that will not submit to this King of Kings, and become his Servant.

NAY, he will get himself more Honour upon these, in the Execution of his righteous Displeasure against them, if they refuse to honour him now: For in Proportion to the Talents which Men have neglected or misimprov'd in this World, will be the Degrees of Wrath inflicted on them in the next. And so we find the Kings of the Earth, and the great [Page 32] Men are the foremost of those who in the great Day of the Wrath of the Lamb, will run to the Rocks and Mountains for Shelter,Rev. 6. 15. as if his Face car­ried more of Displeasure in it towards them. Let the Rulers of the World then be so wise as to give their Power to the Lord Jesus Christ, that they may not fall under his Displeasure; that they may be accounted worthy to escape all these things which shall come to pass, Luke 21. 36. and to stand before the Son of Man. This Counsel in our Text is inforc'd by one more Argument, which we may not quite pass over; and this is

4. THE Happiness of this Submission: BLESSED are all they that put their trust in him. That thus Submit to him as their Sovereign, and put their Trust in him as their Saviour.

WHILE his Wrath burns against others, his Face will shine upon these. While his Appear­ance strikes others into killing Terrors, it will fill these with warmest Transports of Joy. Instead of that dreadful Order, Take the wicked and unpro­fitable Servant, Mat. 25. 30. and cast him into outer Darkness, they will hear that applauding commendation, Well done good and faithful Servant; Mat. 25. 21. and be bid to enter into the Joy of their Lord.

THEN subordinate Rulers who have well fill'd their lower Places, will have it said to them, Thou has been faithful over a few things, 23. v. I will make the Ruler over many things.

THEN the Kings of the Earth who religiously and dutifully cast their Crowns at the Feet of Christ, will have a weighter, brighter, and more [Page 33] durable one than that which they wore here, set upon their Heads; the heavenly Crown of Glory and Life, of which they will never be depriv'd.

IN a word,

ALL they who have rul'd for Christ, in their several Orders of Government, shall at the Con­summation of all Things, reign with Him for ever and ever; set down with him on his Throne, even as he is set down with his Father on his Throne. An Honour and Blessedness this, ineffable, incon­ceiveable! What an Incentive is this to the Men of Ambition, that seek and court Honour! But, Oh! where is the Faith of it?—The Thing is future and invisible, therefore few believe it, and seek after it, tho' it be not the less real and certain.

THUS I have discours'd upon the Text in the several Divisions of it; and must hasten to bring Home what has been said in a distinct Application to the two Divisions, of Rulers and Ruled, which take in this whole Assembly.

AND,

1. OUR honoured Rulers, of every Degree and Order in the Government, are taught what their Duty to Christ is, and what are His just Expecta­tions from them. Since he is the supream Lord, and the Fountain of Power: Since the Institution of Government is from Him, and your own De­signation to your several Trusts and Offices is by him: Since you are employ'd in Subordination to him, and with a View to the same Design for which he has receiv'd all power in Heaven and Earth: Since you depend upon him, who is Lord both of [Page 34] the Dead and Living, for the Continuance of your Lives and publick Advantages: Since you are accountable to him, and must very quickly ren­der up your Account: And since you will then, according as you acquit your selves now, either fall under his terrible Displeasure which is worse than Death, or receive the distinguishing Marks of his Favour, which is better than Life in all the Ho­nours or Injoyments of it: Since it is thus, I say, Duty, Gratitude and Interest conspire, all the Rules of Justice, Decency and Honour unite, to oblige you to act in your particular Posts and Stations, according to his Will, and for his Glory.

BUT it may be this Message of Heaven may the more awaken your thinking and active Powers, and come with a greater Force and Weight upon you, if it be more particularly applied.

WHEREFORE,

1. In the first place, let the Counsel of Hea­ven which has been given, be acceptable to your EXCELLENCY, to whom with a most dutiful Respect it is now address'd.

AND it is our great Pleasure and Happiness this Day, that we can address our Governour in Chief, as one who has openly chosen the LORD to serve him, and that in the Way of these Churches. Suffer me then, SIR, to remind you, That you publickly devoted your self to the Service of the exalted Son of GOD, when you had just entred the World in superiour outward Circumstances and Advantages; and it was a great Pleasure to your own and your [Page 35] Fathers Friends, and the Friends of Religion, then to observe it; from the Hopes it gave them that Christ and his People here would afterwards have much Service from you, by the Will of GOD: And doubtless you look upon your Covenant Obligati­ons to be strengthn'd, by the Honours to which Christ in his Providence has since advanc'd you.

A Servant of Jesus Christ, is a Character which Kings and Governours have no reason to be asham'd of; a Title which they shou'd be ambitious of: For it will be found their truest Honour, when all the Glory of this World shall vanish like a Blaze in Straw; and will turn to their greatest Advant­age, when all the Prerogatives they were possest of here, will be forgotten and useless.

THE Honour of Christ and his Interest are very much concern'd in your Excellency's Conduct and Administration. Religion is not in such a State at this Day, but it needs the Example of the greatest amongst us to render it more reputable and ho­nourable. But while your Excellency is seen to pay a solemn Regard to the Day of GOD, to at­tend with Reverence and Devotion upon his pub­lick Worship, and to live in the Practice of those private and publick Vertues which adorn the Chris­tian Character, this will go very far to prevent its falling into [...]rther Contempt and Neglect.

ESPECIALLY if together with this the Honours of the Government, which are so much at your Excellency's Disposal, are conferr'd on true Piety, and not given in Course or out of Compliment. I humbly conceive your Excellency cannot give a [Page 36] better Sanction and Security to the Religion that remains amongst us, than by this wise Distinction in your Commissions—And here, I think we shou'd be ungrateful to GOD and your Excellency, if we did not acknowledge the Countenance and Encouragement which the Religion of the Country has receiv'd, under your Excellency's Administra­tion, from your Example and Authority both.

PROVIDENCE has plac'd your Excellency over a People, who stand in a special Relation to Christ and are a distinguish'd Part of the Lot of his Inhe­ritance: And all your faithful Services to them, He will accept as done to Him. For I trust we are still belov'd for our Father's Sake; and for the Sake of a precious Number thro' the Land, who are yet faithful with the Saints.

THEY are also your own People; and, as you have been pleas'd to say of them, Bone of your Bone, and Flesh of your Flesh. And we may suppose the Intenseness of your native Affection is encreas'd, by the publick Relation in which you have so long stood to them.

AND suffer me to say, Sir, the distress'd State of this People at this Day, loudly calls for your paternal Compassions, your wise Councils, and best Endeavours for their Relief. Their Case resembles that of the Jews in the Time of Nehemiah; and like them they look to their Governour for Help and Redress.

[Page 37] IT may be many think it is more in your Excell­ency's Power to gratifie and ease them, than it really is; and do not eno' consider the Restrictions you are under.

BUT you will at least discover your Tenderness for them in your Speeches from the Chair, and Representations of their State to the Government at Home; and even become an Intercessor for them, as in your Wisdom you judge you can serve them: This cannot fail to engage them to you more and more in Duty and Affection.

IF now I have gone too far in what I have said, I must rely on your condescending Goodness to forgive me. The Searcher of Hearts knows it proceeds, as from an ardent Affection to my dear Country, so from a sincere personal Regard to your Excellency, and an unfeigned Desire that your Excellency may long sit easy in the Chair of Go­vernment, and this People sit with Delight under your Shadow.

YOUR Power, Honour and Influence employ'd for Christ and for his People, this, SIR, will be a Crown which no Man can take from you: This will give you undisturb'd Serenity in a Recess from the Cares and Burthens of Government, and cause the Blessings of an obliged People to follow you into Retirement; or it will brighten the Shades of Death to you, and carry you from the Chair of Government, to the Sepulchre of your Fathers, with the publick Praises and Lamentations; and will finally give you a blessed Part in the noble Triumphs of the Saints of the most high, in the [Page 38] Fulfilment of that Word of our Saviour, If any Man serve me, John 12. 26. let him follow me: And where I am there shall also my Servant be. If any Man serve me, him will my Father honour.

2. LET this word of God be in the next Place address'd, with all Decency to the honourable his MAJESTY's COUNCIL, and the honourable House of REPRESENTATIVES, this Day in General Court Assembled. The Demand of the King of Heaven from you all is, That you serve Him, and shew your selves faithful to his Interests in your several publick Capacities, and this upon Pain of his highest Displeasure.

AND here I would first of all apply my self to you, as having the Power of Election to be exer­cis'd this Day. Herein you are entrusted with a singular Opportunity to serve Christ and this Peo­ple: And He that standeth in the Congregation of the mighty critically inspects you in, and will call you to a strict Account for the Management of this Day's Work.

IT is an Affair of no small importance you are to transact this Afternoon; to elect his Majesty's Council for the Province: These, in the Frame of our Government, do, as it were, stand between the King and the People, both of which do in a Sort meet in them; and while they are to guard the Prerogative of the one, they are to preserve the Pri­vilege of the other: They are one Branch of the Legislature, and bear a distinct Part in the framing and enacting of our Laws: Without their Consent on Civil Officers can be appointed in the Province; [Page 39] and the College, in which the Churches thro' the Land are so deeply concern'd, falls in Part under their Inspection and Government. These Things render it a Matter of no small Moment, who that Board consists of from Time to Time. And tho' they are chosen but for a Year, great may be the Benefit or Detriment of such a Choice; for in one Year are often laid the Foundations of many Genera­tions.

Let the Importance then of this Days Work lie with a due Weight upon the Mind of every one concern'd; and let none act in so weighty an Affair with a triffling, a partial, or a party Spirit. Let me tell you, Gentlemen, your Votes are not your own; you vote for Christ and for his People; and therefore must look to the Qualifications of those you vote for. You know the Rules of Election into Posts of Government prescrib'd in the Oracles of GOD: Consider them, and act un­der the Direction and Awe of them. The Advice of Moses and Jethro are indeed the Charge of GOD to Electors from Time to Time. Deut. 1. 13. Take ye wise men, and understanding, and known among your Tribes. Exod 18 21. Thou shalt provide out of all the people, able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness, and place such to be Rulers. Men of a general Character for Capacity, Integrity, publick Spiritedness, and Piety. Men of a Genius for Government, and who understand the civil and religious Interests of their People: True Men, that will act upon Principle, and not be daunted by Frowns nor Clamours: Men not go­vern'd by narrow and selfesh Views, but that can generously sacrifice their private Interest to that [Page 40] of the publick, when they stand in Competition: And Men that appear to act in the Fear of GOD in their private Life; for only such will act for his Glory in a publick Station; and they are the most likely to be favour'd with the divine Presence and Blessing.

IT were sad indeed, if among our Tribes, in the several Parts of our Land, there could not be found Persons of these Characters, eno' to fill every Seat at the Council Table. Your Business is to look for them—And may He who sits in the Heavens, and presides over the Affairs of the Children of Men, lead you in your Choice, to his own Glory, and the Advantage of this People; and therein give us a happy Token that He is still in the Midst of us!

WHEN the Election of this Day is over, the three Parts of the Legislature will come to act in their legislative Capacity: and they that give Law to others, must consider themselves as under the Law to Christ.

VAST is the Trust committed to you in this Capacity: The Vertue and Religion, the Liberties and Priviledges, the Trade and Riches, the Pro­tection and Defence of this People, are very much in your Hands. And you must be entreated by the Honour you bear to Christ, and your Allegi­ance to Him, to serve this his People in these and all their Interests, to the utmost Reach of your Power.

[Page 41] AND I suppose never did the State of this People call for more consummate Wisdom, tender Com­passion, inviolable Fidelity, and unceasing Sollici­tude for their Welfare, from their Fathers in the Government, than at this Day.

AN empty Treasury, a defence less Country, and embarrass'd Trade, are indeed melancholy Things. How to supply the one, fortify the other, and relieve the third, will to be sure be the Matters of your Attention. But here you expect no Advice from the Pulpit. And indeed the Wisdom of the wise seems to fail them, and humane Contrivance to be at a non plus. But when we know not what to do, our Eyes shou'd be unto the Lord: For he has said,Prov. 8. 14. 20. Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I lead in the Way of Righteousness, in the Midst of the Paths of Judgment. And innumerable Ways are open to his View, when all are shut up to ours.

AMIDST these Cares which will now press upon you, you will not forget that you are the Guardi­ans of Religion; but will do what you can to maintain the the Kingdom of Christ among us, in its Light, Purity and Glory. It is for the Sake of the Church that the World stands, and Christ is Head over all Things for the Church: Therefore they that rule by Him shou'd employ their Care and Power for that in the first and chief Place. So the Princes of Israel, in their March tho' the Wilderness, pitched their Standard, at the Com­mandment of God, Num. 2. 2 about the Tabernacle of the Con­gregation to secure it. You will therefore think it your Duty to strengthen the Hands, and en­courage the Hearts of the faithful Ministers of Christ; and do your Part that there may be a [Page 42] Succession of such in Times to come, by support­ing the Means of Education, and cherishing the College from whence the Churches look for their Supply: Your generous Smiles on that Society we thankfully acknowledge as an Instance of your just Care that Religion and Learning may still flourish amongst us.

WHETHER any new Laws need to be bro't forward, for the suppressing our growing immo­ralities, You, Gentlemen, who live in the several Parts of our Land, can best judge. But what will the best Laws signify without a vigorous Execu­tion? Let [...]e therefore in the next Place apply my self,

3. To the Executive Part of the Government over us; the Honourable Judges of our Courts, and Justices in our several Countys. Permit me to say to your Honours, You are Christ's Officers and Ministers, and must act for Him in that Part of Government which his Providence has assign'd you.

LET your Courts therefore be always open'd in His Name: I mean that you pay Him your publick Homage, and adore him as the supream King, Law­giver and Judge, by solemn and open Prayer. This is done, I suppose, in our several Courts of Justice thro' the Land: And I think that all the Officers of the Court, and those who have Business at it, should be order'd reverently to attend—Realise his Presence, Presidency and Inspection, and act under the Awe and Influence thereof: For He standeth in the Congregation of the mighty, and Psal. 82. 1. judgeth among the Gods.—In dispencing publick [Page 43] Justice endeavour a Conformity to His Administra­tion.Psal. 45. 6. 7. For the Sceptre of his Kingdom is a right Sceptre: He loveth Righteousness, and hateth In­iquity.

IN civil Causes let there be shewn the most steady Impartiality, and unreproachable Integrity. The Charge which King Jehoshaphat gave to his Judges, is the Charge of the King of Heaven to you, Take heed what you do; 2 Chron. 19. 6, 7. for ye judge not for Man, but for the Lord, who is with you in the Judg­ment: Wherefore let the Fear of the Lord be upon you: For there is no Iniquity with the Lord our God, nor Respect of Persons, nor taking of Gifts.—And in criminal Cases, let the Edge of the Law be sharpned in Proportion to the Nature of the Crime, and the Boldness of the Transgressor. While you sit on the Seat of Judgment, Sinners should be­hold your Face as the Face of God, which is set against them that do wickedly: And the Day of Assize should be a little Image of that Day, when the Lord will come to judge the World in Righteousness, and the People with his Truth; and shall render Indignation and Wrath, Tribulation and Anguish, to every Soul of Man that doth Evil. The Judge on the Bench should be worthy of that Commen­dation, which Christ gave to the Angel of the Church of Ephesus, Rev. 22. I know thy Works: How thou canst not bear them which are evil.

BUT as the wise Constitution of our Government has put the Execution of our Laws very much in­to the Hands of a single Magistrate, so I would apply my self here to those who are in the Com­mission of the Peace thro' the Province.

[Page 44] You, Gentlemen, may do much in your single Capacity, to restrain the Sons of Wickedness; to stop the Mouths of profane Swearers and Cursers; to prevent Sabbath-breaking, Drunkenness and Idleness; and to break up such Houses as are Places of Debauchery, and Cages of unclean Birds. Courts can take Notice only of what is presented to them; but you can search out Iniquity, and fol­low it into its hiding Places. And let me beseech you for Christ's Sake, and charge you in his Name, to arise and exert your selves. For, is there not Occasion? Is not the present Generation loose and dissolute in Manners? Does not Iniquity come in upon us like a Flood? And Vice almost ride tri­umphant? Will you then let the Sword of Jus­tice rust in your Hands? Shall our good Laws prove a dead Letter, and lie by as waste Paper, only for want of a vigorous Execution? And shall the Enemies of GOD and Godliness, find Security under Christian Magistrates?—Certainly they who receive such an important Trust as the Ex­ecution of our Laws, and accept of the Honour attending the Title of Magistrates, should be faith­full in the Discharge of their Office.

THANKS be to GOD! We are bless'd under the present Administration with a Number of such Magistrates. And the Zeal of some of them in this Town is truly laudable, and has had a visible good Effect—Go on, Gentlemen, with new Re­solution and Vigour, in your pious Endeavours for the legal Suppression of scandalous Wicked­ness. Despise the little Flirts of some, and fear not the big Looks of any. Still say to the foolish, Deal not foolishly; Psal. 75. 4. and to the [...]icked, Lift not up the Horn.

[Page 45] YOU have the Law on your Side. Our Gover­nour has lately call'd upon and charg'd you in a seasonable Proclamation. Good People do bless you. And GOD will accept and reward you! So Jehoshaphat encourag'd the Ministers of Justice under his Government, to a resolute Discharge of their Duty;2 Chron. 19. 11. Deal courageously, and the Lord will be with the good.

II. IT is now Time for me to hasten to apply my self to the Body of the People, those who are only in a private Capacity, and fall into the Di­vision of the Ruled.

AND here I can be spar'd only a few short Hints.

LET me exhort you then to Thankfulness, that you live under Christian Magistrates, who are a Terror not to good Works, but to the Evil; and who countenance Religion by their Example as well as Authority. To use the Words of an emi­nent Person of our Order on this Occasion many Years ago, ‘Is it not a valuable Blessing, that we don't see such Madness and Folly set in great Dignity over us, which would make Vice reputable? That we don't see the first Chair of Government, the Council Table, and Seats of Judgment, fill'd with Men of infamous Lusts, whose Lives are the last Defiance to all that is sacred and divine, to Religion, common Honesty [Page 46] and Sobriety; openly wallowing in the grossest Pollutions of Sensuality? Ought not this to be esteem'd a Favour of Heaven, which challenges a Tribute of Gratitude and Praise.’ For the Lives of such Rulers would give a Sanction to Wickedness; and what a Torrent of it would then break in upon us, and bear away all Oppo­sition before it? It is an ancient Observation, and will always be found true, The Wicked, walk on every Side, Psal. 12. 8. when the vilest Men are exalted.

LET me also exhort you to reverence Govern­ment as an Institution of GOD and to treat Ma­gistrates as Christ's Ministers: And since the Ho­nour of Christ, as well as the publick Weal, is so much concern'd in their Administration, make Conscience of praying for them, constantly and fervently.—And also to be assisting in your several Stations to the Magistrate, that so the great and good Ends of civil Government may be attained.

FINALLY,

I am to demand Subjection and Obedience to the LORD JESUS CHRIST, from every one of you all. If Kings and Judges of the Earth, are to kiss the Son of GOD, and serve the Lord with Fear, Common People cannot be excus'd. Christ is your rightful Sovereign: But does he reign in your Hearts, and in your Lives? Are none of you in a foreign Service? He that hath your Obedience, the same is your Lord and King. To whom ye yield your selves Servants to obey, Rom 6 16 his Servants ye are to whom ye obey. To whom then do you yield the most chearful and constant Obedience? To the [Page 47] Commands of Christ, or the Solicitations of Satan, and your own Lusts?—The works of the Flesh are manifest, which are these, Drunkenness, Un­cleanness, Swearing, Sabbath-breaking, Wrath, Hatred, Variance, &c. How many by living in these Sins, and also in the Neglect of those holy spiritual Duties of Religion which Christ requires, trample upon his Authority, and declare They will not have this Man to reign over them? This is the Language of Sinners, Let us break those Bands asunder which bind us to Christ, and cast away his Cords from us!—But will You, O Sinner! persist in this Rebellion? If you do so but a little longer, it will issue in your utter Ruin, and his Power and Righteousness will raise Satisfaction and Glory to themselves from your deserved eternal Destruction. Luke 19. 27. But those mine Enemies, that would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.

HEAR then the Counsel of Heaven, and obey the Command of the Gospel this Day; every one of you without Exception. Kiss the Son, with a Kiss of Loyalty and Subjection; and henceforth serve in Holiness and Righteousness before him all the Days of your Life:Heb. 5. 9. For he is the Author of eternal Salvation, only to them that obey him.—Kiss the Son with a Kiss of Affection: 1 Cor. 16. 22. For if any Man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema, Maran-atha!—Kiss him in Token of Trust and Dependence:Act. 4. 12. For there is Salvation in no other, nor any other Name given under Heaven, whereby Men can be saved.—This is the only Way of Safety and Blessedness: For his faithful Subjects shall be preferr'd and rewarded, when he [Page 48] will take Vengeance on his Adversaries, and ren­der Wrath to his Enemies.

BUT I must break off—: And I know not how to conclude better than with repeating the solemn Words of my Text, as address'd to the whole Assembly. Be wise now therefore, O ye Rulers of all Degrees: Be instructed all ye People, high and low, rich and poor together, Serve the LORD with Fear, and rejoyce with Trembling: Kiss the SON, least He be angry, and ye perish from the Way, when his Wrath is kindled but a little: Blessed are all they that put their Trust in Him!

The END.

CORRECTIONS.

Page 5. l. 5th from the Bottom, read conceded.

P. 11. l. 8. for curious read various.

P. [...] After Judgment add Seat.

This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.