Mr. Eells's Election Sermon,

May 12. 1748.


The wise Ruler a loyal Subject.

A SERMON Preached in the Audience OF THE General Assembly OF THE Colony of Connecticut, On the Day of their Anniversary ELECTION in Hartford, MAY 12th, 1748.

By Nathanael Eells, M. A. Pastor of a Church in Stonington.

Psal. xcvii. 7. —Worship him all ye Gods.
Heb. i. 6. And again, when he bringeth in the First-begotten into the world, he saith; And let all the Angels of GOD worship him.
Deut. iv. 6. —For this is your Wisdom and your Understanding.

Some things omitted in the Delivery, now in­serted in their proper places.

N. LONDON, Printed and Sold by TIMOTHY GREEN, Printer to the GOVERNOUR & COMPANY, 1748


Ordered, THat Hezekiah Huntington Esq; and Colonel John Williams return the Thanks of this Assem­bly to the Reverend Mr. Natha­nael Eells, for his Sermon deli­vered before them on the 12th Day of May Instant, and desire a Copy thereof that it may be printed.

George Wyllys Secr.

An Election SERMON.

PSALM II. 10, 12.‘Be wise now therefore, O ye Kings: be instructed, ye Judges of the Earth. Kiss the Son—.’

TIS easie and useful to observe how the Word of God frequently re­presents the Ruler of his People in a twofold Light: In the One, we behold him raised up by di­vine Appointment & Providence to Rule and Judge the People; In the other, we view him on a Level with every Subject to be ruled and judged by the same Laws and Lord. With relation to the former of these Capacities, we have had frequent Discourses upon these Occa­sions, have seen the civil Ruler fixed in his Post, cloathed with Authority from the great Gover­nour of the World, made the Minister of his Providence, A Revenger to execute Wrath upon him that doth evil, Rom. 1. 3. 4. and a Protector to defend him that doth well. And have heard the People put in mind to be subject to Principa­lities and Powers, to obey Magistrates, Tit. 3. 1. not only for wrath, but also for Conscience sake. [Page 2] It mayn't then be unseasonable to treat of civil Rulers in their subjected Capacity, as under the Law to Christ, and in Conformity to the in­spired Preacher in our Text, declare their Ob­ligations to Zion's King, who demands their Submission and Obedience.

In this Psalm the Spirit of Prophesy testifies and declares the mighty opposition that would be made to the Redeemer's Kingdom, the Victories and triumphs of his Grace, and the extent of his Empire notwithstanding, that he should have the Heathen for an Inheritance, and the uttermost parts of th [...] Earth for a Possession, ver. 8. And that his Oppose [...]s who wou'd not submit to his Sceptre should be broken with a rod of Iron, and dasht in pieces like a Potter's Vessel, ver. 9. His invincible power should ruin them suddenly, easily and irrecoverably. To all which is subjoined the moving & pertinent address in our Text, Be wise now therefore, O ye Kings: be instructed, ye Judges of the Earth. Kiss the [...]on, i. e. Learn Wisdom & Instruction from these memorable Events, these evident Displays of mercy and wrath; that you resist not his Authority, nor contemn his Laws, but cast down your Crowns & Sceptres, your Honours and Interests at his Feet. This advice belongs to all both high & low, rich & poor together, for all are equally concern'd to become obedient to the Lord from Heaven. Only 'tis directed to [Page 3] Kings and Judges, the Heads & Leaders of a People, whose Examples have ordinarily a prevailing Influence upon those under them. Their Obedience to the Faith opens a great Door and effectual unto the Gospel of Christ, and their Disobedience shuts up the Kingdom of Heaven against Men. Thus mightily prevail'd that argument, Joh. 7, 48. Have any of the Rulers, or of the Pharisees believed on him?

The intervening verse contains the general Matter of Duty enjoined on them, together with the Direction how to qualify it. Serve the Lord with Fear, rejoice with trembling, v. 11. Serve the Lord, for he is your Maker and Pre­server, Friend and Benefactor, Redeemer and Judge. With Fear, with awful Fear & solemn Caution, for the Lord is a holy & jealous God, who cannot be deceived & will not be mocked, who accepteth not the Person of Princes, nor re­gardeth the Rich more than the poor, Job 34. 19. Who will cut off the spirit of Princes, and is ter­rible to the Kings of the Earth, if they rebel a­gainst him, Psal. 76. 12. With filial Fear and Reverence, for he is a God of tender mercies and great Kindness, and delights in them who are free & chearful in his Service. And thô you rejoice in all that the Lord has done to and for you, in that he has honoured you before his People, and set you among Princes & great Men on the Earth, and has brôt you under the [Page 4] Dispensation of his Grace; Yet consider that absolute rejoicing is the Condition and Em­ploy of Angels, and not of Men, who are to qualify this grateful Exercise with trembling, lest they receive the Grace & Goodness of God in vain, lest being lifted up to heaven, exalted high in Honours and Privileges, they are brôt down to Hell. Raised Circumstances prove a Snare to many, Joh. 5. 44. How can ye believe who receive Honour One of another, and seek not the Honour that cometh from God only? And the great do fall when the Lord arises to dis­pense Judgment. Psal. 110. 5, 6. He shall strike thrô Kings in the Day of his Wrath, and shall wound the Heads over many Countries. There­fore rejoice with trembling. Thus their Duty in General is set forth and qualified.

The more particular Command to them be­gins the 12th ver. Kiss the Son,—This figu­rative Expression may be understood, and ap­plied by us agreeable to its literal Significancy and use, in three respects.

1. We kiss the Mouth, as a visible expression of real Love and Esteem; accordingly we are to testify that hearty and unfeigned Love we have for Christ, that he is dear and precious to us, that Pearl of great price for which we rea­dily part with all that we may obtain it.

2. We kiss the Hand, in token of Trust and Confidence; signifying in this Place that we re­pose [Page 5] our Souls in Christ for Safety and Salva­tion, repair to him as our way to the Father, and Intercessor with the Father; Rely upon his Merits, Righteousness and Mediation for Heal­ing, Justification and eternal Life.

3. We kiss the Foot, to signify Submission and Obedience: Thus we kiss the Son, to de­clare our Subjection & Loyalty to him as our Lord & King, owning his right to rule us and our Willingness to be ruled by him, chearfully taking upon us his yoke of Government, re­nouncing all other Lords that have had Do­minion over us, and devoting our selves entire­ly to him. And in this Sence of the Phrase, Kiss the Son, shall I discourse to you under the following Doctrine, Viz.

DOCTRINE. Subjection to Christ, or receiving him as Lord and King, is the Rulers truest Wisdom.

  • I. First, I shall treat of Subjection to Christ, or receiving him as Lord and King.
  • II. Secondly, Shew that this is the Rulers truest Wisdom.

I. First, We are to treat of Subjection to Christ, or receiving him as Lord and King. Which is an essential part of saving Faith, the distinguish­ing Character of a real Christian, and the most satisfying Evidence to our selves & others tha [...] we belong to him and shall be saved by him [Page 6] For he is the Author of eternal Salvation unto all them that Obey him, Heb. 5. 9. And as this is a matter of the highest Importance and of uni­versal Concern, so 'tis my Duty to speak as the Oracles of God, 1 Pet. 4. 11. Not with excellency of Speech (for the ostentation of Parts) not with enticing words of man's Wisdom; but with great plainness of Speech: And this is not to debase our Office, but to magnify it; for we preach not our selves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, 2 Cor. 4. 5.

To shew then what Subjection to Christ in­tends or implies in it. We say,

1. First, It implies in it a Belief of his Divi­nity, that he has Right and Authority to rule & govern us. The great Apostle resolves the Ob­stinacy and Rage of the roman Governour and Rulers of the Jewish Church toward Christ in­to their Ignorance of his Royalty: 1 Cor. 2. 8. Which none of the Princes of this world knew: For had they known it, they would not have cru­cified the Lord of Glory. Had they known who Christ was, that he was the Lord of Glory, the Messiah, the Prince, Dan. 9. 25. They wou'd have withheld their impious hands, and not have crucified their King. This our Saviour pleaded on their behalf when nailed to the cross, suffering the dire Effects of their Malice, Luk. 23. 24. Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.

[Page 7] The once humbled & suffering state of the Redeemer was for a Stone of stumbling and Rock of offence to the House of Israel: They wou'd not have this Man, so mean of Paren­tage, so low in outward circumstances, to rule over them: Yet to prevent offence we hear the Holy Ghost when foretelling his Incarnation, at the same time giving him those Titles which bespeak him very God, our rightful Sovereign. Isa. 9. 6, 7. Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the Government shall be upon his Shoulder: And his Name shall be called, Won­derful, Counseller, the mighty God, the everlast­ing Father, the Prince of Peace. Of the In­crease of his Government & Peace there shall be no End, upon the Throne of David and upon his Kingdom to order it, and to establish it with Justice and Judgment, from henceforth even for Ever. Opposite hereto is the Socinian Creed which acknowleges Christ but as a meer Man, denies the Lord that has bought us the Glory due to his Name, and makes void that Godly Subjection to him which we owe. It robs our Religion of One of its chief & peculiar Glories, and rejects the Head-corner Stone in the Chri­stian Building. Thus the foolish Builders in the jewish Church did, to their own Overthrow and Dispersion. We see fulfilled in them those awful words, Mat. 21. 44. Whosoever shall fall on this Stone, shall be broken: But on whomsoever [Page 8] it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. That People are broken, and become as Powder or Dust that is scattered over the Face of the Earth. Why then wou'd any, thro' the pride and naughtiness of their Hearts, revive that dangerous Creed which was the Root of the Jews Infidelity & Ruin; and in Vindication of which they cou'd not answer a word, when Christ put that plain convincing Question to them, Mat. 22. 43, 44, 45. He saith unto them, How then did David in spirit call him Lord, saying, the Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou on my right hand, 'till I make thine Enemies thy footstool? If David then call him Lord, how is he his Son? They did not, or they wou'd not know the Messiah to be Lord, "which Truth was the only Key to unlock this Difficulty." But blessed be God, who hath hid these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them unto Babes, hath divinely taught so many of the Sons and Daughters of men this Mystery of Godliness, God manifest in the Flesh. That David's Son is David's Lord; hath unveiled their Eyes to behold him sitting on a Throne high and lifted up; Isa. 6. 1. Having on his Vesture and on his Thigh a Name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS, Rev. 19. 16. So that it is fitting that all Principality and Power, great as well as mean Men should be Subject unto him. To embrace, to contend [Page 9] earnestly for this important Article of the Christian Faith, Be wise, O ye Kings, be in­structed ye Judges of the Earth.

2. Secondly, Subjection to Christ implies the Knowlege of his Laws and the receiving of them and them only as the Rule to govern us. With­out Consent there is no Subjection: And Qui non senitit, non consentit. He that understands not the Law, can't consent to it as his Rule. The Gospel is called the word of the Kingdom, Mat. 13. 19. As containing the Laws and E­dicts of the King of Heaven to the Children of Men, to which our Understandings must hum­bly submit. And this is the great End of that Commission which Christ gave the twelve, Mat. 28, 19. And the great Work of his standing Ministry in the Church, even to give People plain, full and faithful Information of the Do­ctrines of the Gospel, that they may know the things which belong to their Peace, and if they rebel they may have no cloak for their Sin.

Our Lord is no friend to a blind Obedience, 'tis a reasonable Service he expects & demands of Men. Blind Guides he cautions against, because they are going to Destruction, and leading their followers with them, Mat. 15. 14. If the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the Ditch.—These blind Guides are they who know not the Laws of the Kingdom of God, or pervert and corrupt them: And to Deliver [Page 10] the world from such, our King came into it to Execute the office of a Prophet, to be the Light of Men, Luk. 2. 32. A Light to lighten the Gentiles, and the Glory of his People Israel, i. e. A more bright and glorious Light unto them; To free the Law from the gross & in­jurious Interpretations, whereby the Teachers of it had debased and perverted it, to declare its true and genuine meaning, that it might become quick and powerful, to Enlighten the Understanding, and strike the Conscience. On this account 'tis said, Mat. 7. 29. He taught as One having Authority, and not as the Scribes. And as he spake the Mind of God truly, so like­wise openly in the places of publick Concourse, to the Intent that all might hear & understand, and none be able to Impeach him of Falacy & Design. Joh. 18. 20. I spake openly to the world, I ever taught in the Synagogue, and in the Tem­ple, whither the Jews always resort, And so had opportunity to Examine his Doctrine, and in secret have I said nothing. To take private Methods to propagate Opinions, or [...]o use the Apostle's Expression, To creep into houses, 2 Tim. 3. 6. Is the Scripture Mark of a Seducer. Ig­norance and Error covet Secrecy at first, and creep not abroad 'till the Air is darkened and poor Travellers toward Zion are benighted, and know not whither they go. Further, our Lord [...]ght plainly & familiarly the things that per­tain [Page 11] to the Kingdom of God, that Knowlege might be increased among the ignorant and un­learned, and the Obedience of all might be the Result of Understanding and Judgment.

Now then he Expects that we Submit to these Laws only which he has given us. He will no more speak to us by Voice or Vision, Dream or Revelation, or by any visible consti­tuted head in his Church and Kingdom. Bind up the Testimony, seal the Law among my Disci­ples, Isa. 8. 16. That nothing be taken from it, or added to it. Whatever we religiously ob­serve that is not to be found therein, is Will-worship or Superstition. And these never promo­ted substantial Piety, but have ever prey'd upon the Vitals of it. God is not honoured, nor Men profited by setting up their Posts by his Posts, and their Altars by his Altar; and making hu­mane Inventions as binding upon Conscience, as divine Institutions. Such things have arisen from and been imposed by Persons affecting Singularity, or gratifying a proud, self-exalting & lordly Temper. A small acquaintance with ecclesiastical hystory sufficiently evidences what an Enemy humane Impositions have been to the Laws of Christ's Kingdom. How contra­ry they have wrought to the pure Designs of the Gospel, how they have destroy'd that Peace & Charity, which is the bond of perfectness, and to which we are called, Col. 3. 14, 15. How they [Page 12] have struck at and wounded our Lord Jesus in his Authority and Subjects, have lacerated and torn his Mystical Body, the Church; and kin­dled that Fire among his followers, which he came to extinguish; and brôt on that Cruelty and Bloodshed, which among other things, he meant to prevent, by his own Sufferings, and laying down his Life for his Sheep.

Surely, Christ, The Wisdom of God, knows best what Laws will befriend & serve his own Kingdom, and these he has furnished us with, and confined us to, as the only Rule of Faith and Practice, and they are sufficient to make the Man of God perfect, 2 Tim. 3. 17.


3. Thirdly, A cordial Subjection to Christ supposes that we like his Laws, are pleased with them. Account them all holy, just and good; excellently adapted to our State & Circumstan­ces: And upon tryal find that his Command­ments are not grievous, that his Yoke is easie & Burden light, Mat. 11. 30. Men of rebellious spi­rits have great enmity against the Gospel, great uneasiness under the Restrictions of it, think of Christ as a hard Master, attempt to throw off the yoke of his Government, wish some of his Laws erased out of the Bible, and try to evade the force of them. But the loyal Subject prizes this sacred bandage, binds these Laws continually upon his heart, & ties them about his neck, Prov. [Page 13] 6. 21. and will not let them go. He keeps them as his Treasure, desires them more than Gold, yea than much fine Gold, Psal. 19. 10. How sweet are thy words unto my Taste! yea, sweeter than Honey to my Mouth, Psal. 119. 1 [...]3.

4. Fourthly, To receive Christ as our King, supposes a Consideration of, and consent to the Inconveniences that may attend his Subjects. They must thrô much Tribulation enter into the Kingdom of God, Acts 14. 22. They must not only share in common with others the ordinary Calamities of Life, but endure many Troubles that are peculiar to the People of God; espe­cially at a time when Iniquity does abound, when Truth & Order are opposed, when false Brethren creep in, and blind Zeal pushes them on, the may they expect violent Assaults and opprobious Insults, and all manner of Evil spoken against them falsely. Wherefore that they might not take offence at the Cross, our Lord has beforehand propounded the terms of Discipleship, those that are most displeasing & contrary to Flesh & Blood. See Joh. 16. 4. where Jesus speaking to his Disciples of the Sufferings that were like to come upon them, says, These things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them, That you mayn't be shaken in your Minds, nor look on them as a wrong done you. Therefore we are directed to sit down & coun [...] [Page 14] the cost, and consider whether we are willing to part with our bodily Ease and worldly In­terests for the Advantages of Religion.

Some a [...] forward and resolute to press into the Kingdom of Heaven, who have not weighed this Matter. Of this sort was a certain Scribe who came to Christ with this precipitant Reso­lution, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest, Mat. 8. 19. Therefore our Lord who knew his heart, his rashness, and what he needed to consider more of, replies to him, ver. 20. The Foxes have holes, and the Birds of the Air have Nests; but the Son of Man hath not where to lay his head. Can you follow such a Master who has no Wealth to bestow upon you, no House to invite you to, or entertain you in? This likely stopt his mouth and changed his purpose; we have no answer from him. We can't be Disciples too soon, if we are willing to deny Self But Christ desires no followers who will Dishonour him more by their Apostacy than they do honour to him by their Profession. Mat. 16. 24. If any Man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his Cross and fol­low me.

5. Fifthly, Subjection to Christ, or Receiving him as King, directly intends a hearty and ho [...]y Obedience to his Laws. That men give up themselves to be ruled and governed by them: That they which live, shou'd not henceforth live [Page 15] unto themselves, but unto him which died for them and rose again, 2 Cor. 5. 15. His Servants are all holy. They are built up a spiritual House, an holy Priesthood, 1 Pet. 2. 5. 'Tis impossible in the Nature of things and by the Constitution of the Gospel, that Christ's Sub­jects should live in Sin. Rom. 6. 16. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield your selves Servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whither of Sin unto Death, or of Obedience unto Righteousness. Therefore we must renounce our Lusts if we wou'd join ourselves to the Lord. We must be made free from Sin (in its Dominion) if we wou'd be the Servants of Christ, and have our fruit unto Holiness, and our End everlasting Life, Rom. 6. 22. There are many that profess to Kiss the Son, yet cleave in Love to their Lusts. Many from Custom or blind Affection call him Lord, Lord, whom he will treat as wicked Servants; not as Subjects, but as Rebels, because they do not the things that he has commanded them. Mat. 7. 21. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, but he that doth the Will of my Father which is in Heaven.

6. Once more Sixthly, To take Christ as our King to reign in us, will ever accompany Sub­jection to him. He has given us Laws enough to ruin us, if he does not bow our Wills and encline our Hearts to observe them. The [Page 16] Kingdom of Christ is spiritual, 'tis within us. He reigns in his People, as well as rules over them: Otherwise we might become an easie Prey to our Lusts & spiritual Adversaries. For without him we can do nothing, Joh. 15. 3. The true Believer wou'd not on any account Ven­ture his Salvation with himself, upon his own [...]eeble Endeavours, but trusts his Concerns with the Lord Jesus. Hence we may say with the Prophet, Zech. 12. 8. He that is feeble shall be as David. Sensible of his own weakness, and taking hold of the strength of the Lord, shall conquer; because greater is he that is in us, than he that is in the world, 1 Joh. 4. 4. Such a King becomes us, who is able to fulfil in us all the good pleasure of his Goodness, and the work of Faith with power, 2 Thes. 1. 11. We now proceed to the Second General Head.

II. To shew that Subjection to Christ is the Rulers truest Wisdom. And this point I shall consider, and establish only with reference to their advanced State among Men, as they are God's Officers; from the five following Rea­sons.

1. Because Subjection to our Lord is the most essential & useful Qualification in a christian Magistrate; and that which adds a Glory to all his other Gifts & Endowments. When King David drew near the end of his Days & Reign, [Page 17] he assembles together the Princes of the Tribes and Captains, and in their Presence and for their Benefit, he gives this Charge to Solomon who was to sit on the Throne after him; A Charge that peculiarly respected him as he was to be Ruler and Head of Israel, 1 Chron. 28. 9. And thou, Solomon my Son, know thou the God of thy Father, and serve him with a perfect heart and a willing Mind. Other Qualifications there are which beautifie & adorn a Prince, but this of a heart devoted to God is chief of all; and will appear so under the apprehension of Death and Judgment, when our Thôts are fixt, and most likely to weigh things in an equal Balance.

This Qualification is most pleasing to God and beneficial to Men; and therefore challen­ges the first & chief Attention of our Rulers, whether of a Legislative or Executive Capacity. This is the main Ballast in a tempestuous Sea­son, the best Friend & help to stability & faith­fulness under all Temptations, when courted by the Flatteries of Fawners, or reproached by the Tongues of Male-contents. This renders Ru­lers true and upright in their respective Admi­nistrations, to pursue the great End of Govern­ment, which is the general Good and Benefit of Subjects. To protect the righteous, and punish the wicked: to countenance and support Men in the free Exercise & practice of Religion, that they may lead quiet & peaceable lives in all God­liness [Page 18] and Honesty, 1 Tim. 2. 2. And to secure to them their personal Rights & Properties against all Injury & Violence, that they may sit down every Man under his own Vine, and under his own Fig-tree, and that there may be none to make them afraid.

Devotedness to God is directly opposite to that selfish Principle which reigns in the world, which sends thousands to Hell, which is the grand Incendiary of Discord & Convulsions in Church & State, which has overturn'd Kingdoms on Earth, and rooted out the Rulers of them.

Magistrates in making Laws, as they are God's Officers they ought, as they are his loyal Subjects they will consult his word, make that the Man of their counsel, and frame all their Laws in agreement with his, which are the on­ly Standard: And in executing Laws, they will regard the End & Meaning of them more than the Letter, that they may do Justice and Judg­ment. And they will not dare from Favour or Affection to dispense with those Laws which their Oath and Office oblige them to Execute. They will punish those Transgressions with most Rigour which the divine Law is most severe against, and in those Cases where the hu­mane Law exceeds it, they will incline to mer­cy and acquittal.

The Fear of the Lord which is on these his Subjects, will deliver them from the Fear of [Page 19] Man which brings a Snare; and shut their Ears from hearing of Lies & false-hoods; and cause them to despise the Gain of Oppressions, and to shake their Hands from holding Bribes, Isa. 33. 15 Yea, this religious Principle will direct them to promote Men of Truth & Integrity to places of publick Trust. In their Eyes a vile person is contemned, but they honour them that fear the Lord, Psal. 15. 4.

2. A Life of true Piety or Devotedness to the Lord is the Rulers truest Wisdom, on the ac­count of the mighty Influence their Example has upon the common People. Nothing is more ob­vious than this, from the Reigns of the Kings of Israel and Judah: Often is it said of their wicked Princes, that they sinned and made Israel to Sin; Not that they forced them to it, but they led and Encouraged them in it by their own bad Examples and Counsels. And when good religious Princes sat on the Throne of David, who served the Lord God of their Fa­thers with all their hearts, they recovered the People from idolatrous worship, to the Exer­cise and Practice of true Religion, which is the main Pillar and foundation of publick Peace & Prosperity. Agreeable hereto is that Observa­tion of the wisest of Kings, Prov. 20. 8. A King sitting in the Throne of Judgment scattereth a­way all Evil with his Eyes. The Example of Rulers is a living Law. And as to matters of [Page 20] pure Religion, it has a much greater tendency and power to direct and Influence the People, than all the Laws they can make, and all the Sanctions they can add to them. The Pro­mises and Threatnings of temporal Rewards and Punishments can reach only Mens outward Actions, but a holy Life carries that Majesty and sweetness in it, which tend at once to awe the Conscience and gain the Affection & Imi­tation of Observers. May our Rulers in this sense be the Salt of the Earth to season a cor­rupt Age, that all may more and more savour the things that be of God.

I may add here, that it is the Rulers wisdom to live Godlily, with regard to those Murmurers and Complainers whom the Apostle Jude writes against, as the troublers & corrupters of Church and Common-wealth. Men of such a perverse and rebellious Spirit were not peculiar to his day, but our own times have brôt forth many of them, whose Practice, not to say their Reli­gion, has been, to despise Dominion, to speak evil of Dignities and revile the Rulers of God's People. 'Tis easie then to see the advantage of a divine Life in Rulers, not only as it will lift you up above all Fear of their Terror, but may sink them into shame and Confusion; and prevent the Minds of others being leavened with their corrupt Principles, and thro' the di­vine Mercy to them, they may by your good [Page 21] works which they shall behold, glorify God in the Day of Visitation. 1 Pet. 2. 15. For so is the Will of God, that with well-doing you may put to silence the Ignorance of foolish Men,—Which brings me to say Thirdly,

3. 'Tis the wisdom of Rulers to be pious, as this wins from the people a more hearty Respect and chearful Obedience. Not but the best of Kings may have some of the worst of Subjects. David had a Rebel and a Traitor in his King­dom & family; Yet ordinarily 'tis otherwise. Even bad Men have a Reverence for Religion, and respect them that bear God's Image and Likeness. Power when alone creates Fear. Wilt thou not be afraid of the Power? Rom. 13. 3. And this Fear of the Ruler, without a perswasion of his Piety, often begets perpetual Jealousies & Uneasiness in People: And these are strengthened from the many Instances wherein Power without Goodness has degene­rated into Tyranny & Oppression, and Wisdom into Craft and Design. Hence that in Prov. 28. 15, As a roaring Lion, and a ranging Bear, so is a wicked Ruler over the poor People. He is a Terror to them. But when Power is joined with Goodness, it begets Esteem & Confidence. Rulers so qualified are amiable in the Eyes of the People: Their Hearts naturally love them and can s [...]fely trust in them, knowing that they fear God & seek their Good. When the righ­teous [Page 22] are in Authority the People rejoice, Prov. 29. 2. They are delighted with their Persons, pleased with their Administrations. And then may Rulers themselves sit with Ease & Comfort in the Chair of State; Mercy (saith Solomon) and Truth preserve the King, and his Throne is upholden by Mercy, Prov. 2 [...]. 28.

4. To be religious is the Rulers wisdom, be­cause God often metes out Mercies or Judgments to a People, on the account of the good or bad behaviour of those that rule them. Many ob­servable Instances of this Nature are in the word of God, of his visiting the Iniquities of Kings upon their Subjects, and of his shewing Kindness to them for the Piety of their Princes. Because David sinned in numbering the People, many of them were destroyed with the Plague. Because Saul put the Gibeonites to Death con­trary to his Oath with them, the Lord sent three years famine among his People, even after his Death, 2 Sam. 21. 1. And yet in these pro­ceedings of Providence there is no Unrighteous­ness with God, because he never sends heavier Judgments on a People, than are meet for their own personal Offences; and he may take what Occasions his Wisdom thinks fit to punish them; And his taking such Occasions, is an ar­gument of real wisdom in Kings & Rulers not to be wicked, if they wou'd consult the Repose and Safety of their People: Yea, if they had [Page 23] regard but to themselves, for Princes are punished in the Destruction and Calamities of their Subjects. And their wisdom in this in­stance rises still higher, if we consider that the Lord rewards their Piety and good behaviour with many Blessings upon their People; with respect to this good Rulers are justly stiled the Shields of the Earth, Psal. 47. 9. An armour of Defence to its Inhabitants.

5. And lastly, To be truly pious or heartily devoted to God is the Rulers highest Wisdom, as this engages the Presence of God with them. Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin, The Lord is with you, while ye be with him: and if ye seek him, he will be found of you, 2 Chron. 15.2. Magistrates are but Men, weak, sinful, dependent Creatures; and without help from God no ways equal to the important Services of their Station, They need largeness and Pe­netration of Soul to render them able States-Men, to concert measures to promote the pub­lick welfare and Prosperity, and to Extricate the People out of incident Perplexities. They need Light & Direction to understand every cause between Man & Man, and Judge justly: They need divine Strength to sustain them un­der the Burden of Government; and powerful Grace to preserve them in the midst of the manifold Temptations that attend them, and which the world thinks not of. Common [Page 24] People are apt to envy them their Dignities & Honours; but if they felt the weight of their Burden, understood the Difficulties & Dangers of their Office; Considered the awfulness of that Charge which lies upon them, that they Judge not for Men, but for God, and as those that must give an Account; They wou'd not malign and Envy them, but pray to God for them; That he wou'd Confirm and strengthen them in all Goodness, and put within them a spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, a spirit of Counsel and might, a spirit of Knowlege and of the Fear of the Lord, Isa. 11. 2, 3. And when Piety and Power, Religion and Authority go hand in hand, then shall Rulers enjoy the Bles­sing of his special Presence, who standeth in the Congregation of the Mighty, and judgeth among the Gods, Psal. 82. 1.

The Application follows.

I. What hath been said may afford Light with regard to the Magistrates power in mat­ters of Conscience and eternal Salvation. If Christ is King in Zion, if we are to receive him as the One Law-giver, to be Subject to his Laws only, in matters of Faith and christian Practice; then no humane Authority has power to make Laws to bind Conscience & oblige Judgment; (to our own Master we stand or fall) But every Man is left to act his own Conscience & Judg­ment, [Page 25] what upon serious and humble Exami­nation he believes to be most agreeable to the Laws of the Redeemer's Kingdom. And this Principle is the Foundation of all acceptable Worship and true Religion, which always re­sult from the honest Enquiries & sincere Choice of Men. This was the main Bulwark of the Reformation from Popery, this is the Glory of Protestants, and the only Basis of a Cure for the Errors and Superstitions, that still remain in the christian Church.

The Power and business of the civil Ma­gistrate respect the Peace and Order of this World, the publick Good & personal Property of every Subject within his Jurisdiction▪ And whoever acts injuriously to these, becomes liable to paenal Correction, thô he may plead that he acted according to his Conscience. For as the Magistrate has no power to bind Conscience in matters of Religion, so neither has he Power to loose it in matters of State; to tolerate any actions that break the Peace and destroy the Constitution of that Government over which he presides.

To direct and Judge of Conscience belongs to the Lord of Conscience, the founder of our Religion; but to direct and judge of Actions and external Behaviour belongs to the earthly Ruler and Judge: And he has Right to punish those Actions which are hurtful to the publick [Page 26] Good, or private Rights of Subjects, without considering from what Principle these Actions proceed, or whether a man's Conscience is for or against them. For internal Principles, or Pretences of Conscience are not the ground and rule of Judgment in civil Courts; for this plain Reason, because perverse Spirits may use Con­science as a Cloak of Stubbornness, Luxury, Pride and Covetousness.

II. We may improve what has been offered to direct the Members of a Community into that Obedience which they owe to their lawful Rulers. That in faithfulness to Zion's King, they are in Duty bound to submit to them in the Exercise and Execution of that Trust and Authority which is reposed in them. Subjecti­on to Christ does not beget in Men Disregard to those who are appointed to rule over them: So far from this, that the more heartily we are devoted to the Lord, the more freely do we pay Respect & Submission to those Powers he has ordained. The Laws of Christianity bind Men to this, Rom. 13. 1. Let every Soul be sub­ject to the higher Powers. And 1 Pet. 2. 13, 14. Submit your selves to every Ordinance of Man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the King, as supreme; or unto Governours, as unto them that are sent by him. This Submission the A­postle argues from their Regard to Christ, For [Page 27] the Lord's sake; for the honour of his Person and Authority, for the Credit of his Religion. These Commands were given to Christians, when their Rulers were Heathen, and enforced upon them with awful Sanctions. Rom. 13. 2. Whosoever resisteth the power, resisteth the Or­dinance of God: And they that resist shall re­ceive to themselves Damnation.

Some thro' the Ignorance that is in them fondly oppose the Peace & Order of this world, to the Kingdom of Christ which is not of this world: These ought to consider that here is no Opposition; that as Christ's Kingdom is pure­ly spiritual, so it stands opposed only to the Kingdom of Sin and Satan: those spiritual wickednesses that are within us. It molests not the State, it is not hurtful to Kings & Provinces, it clashes not with the Power of Princes; it is no Enemy to the publick Peace, to the well-ordering of the State, but a Friend to them. Hence that Advice to the Children of Israel in their Captivity, Seek the Peace of the City, whe­ther I have caused you to be carried away cap­tives, and pray unto the Lord for it; for in the Peace thereof ye shall have Peace, Jer. 29. 7.

III. This Doctrine may Excite all to faith­fulness in the Discharge of the relative Duties of Life. Providence fixes the Relations of Men, the Gospel determines the Duties of these [Page 28] Relations, and Grace disposes to the perfor­mance of these Duties. Our King does not break these bands asunder, nor cast away these Cords from us, but makes them strong. Men of proud and aspiring Minds too often grow weary of the Yoke of Religion, of doing the work it assigns them, of walking in their own Line; They must lift up themselves into the Place of Others, and so make void the Com­mandments of God respecting themselves, their Station and Capacity. 'Tis not the Spirit of Christ that moves persons to act out of their Sphere which God has placed them in: for his Spirit meekens them to a Behaviour suitable to their State: Psal. 131. 1. Lord, my Heart is not haughty, nor my Eyes lofty; neither do I exercise my self in great Matters, or in things too high for me.

IV. Let all Examine into the Reality of their Subjection to Christ. There are multitudes that please themselves with the Thôts of being saved by the Death of Christ, who refuse to be go­verned by the Laws of Christ. They think to par [...]ake of the Privileges of Christianity, but neglect the Duties of it. They call Christ, Lord, Lord, but do not the things that he says. The Scripture cuts down all such hopes flat to the ground, 1 Cor. 6, 9. Joh. 15. 2, 6. Come then, let us search and see, whether we are subjected to Christ; let us bring the matter home to our [Page 29] Consciences, and deal impartially; for our King cannot be deceived, and will not be mocked.—'Tis not visibly to own Christ as our Prince and Saviour, to pray to him, and attend his Insti­tutions, that will denominate us his. But we must in Spirit call him Lord, have our Wills broken, and bowed to him, and hearts brought into Subjection. Is it thus with us?—Do we as his Subjects war against Sin, renounce the World, the Flesh & Devil? Do we hate Sin, and not regard Iniquity in our hearts? Do we love that Command which forbids our Sin? Are we pleased with the Purity of the divine Law? Do we agree to the self-denial Terms of the Gospel, and stand ready to part with our lawful Liberties & Delights, rather than desert our Lord? Be we Imitators of our Prince? Are we like to Christ, have we put on the Lord Jesus in heart and Life? Do we feel that con­trariety which is in us to his holy Nature and Will, and find the need of his gracious Aids and Influences? Do we heartily trust in him to strengthen us, and carry us on in our christian Course, that we may so run as to obtain?—He that lacketh these things is not purged from his old Sins. But if these things be in us, and a­bound, we may assure our hearts before God, that we have an Interest in his Favour, that we are the People of his Choice; that he will cause us to approach unto him, and will own us for [Page 30] his in the Day when he shall come to make up his Jewels.

V. Let all suffer the word of Exhortation which our Text directs me to bring you at this time. Kiss the Son by way of Loyalty & Sub­jection. Let every Soul be Subject to this high­est Power. I stand here this Day to proclaim Christ your King, to assert his Right to rule you, as he is your Maker, Preserver and Redeemer. We are not our own but his, for he hath bought us with a Price. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive all Honour, and Love and Obe­dience.—We can't serve a greater nor a better Master; nor be governed by more wise and beneficial Laws: We can't desire a more ho­nourable Employment than we are invited to, nor a more glorious Reward than is promised us, if we are faithful. Let us upon these mo­tives come in, submit our selves to God, and resolve every one for himself and his house, that we will serve the Lord. Let his Subjects be renewedly and more heartily devoted to him, and now vow Allegiance to their King. God is the Lord, who hath shewed us Light, bind the Sacrifice with Cords, even unto the Horns of the Alta, Psal 118. 27.

Let the Counsels of this Day be acceptable to all Orders of Men among us, and to those as­sembled in this house; To the chief of our Ru­lers, the Holy Ghost in the first place speaking [Page 31] to such, to learn Wisdom & Instruction because of the Influence of their Example on others, as well as the Importance of the thing to them­selves.

1. And here suffer me to begin my Address to them, as is fit in the Lord; and turn to your Honours, our GOVERNOUR and DEPUTY-GO­VERNOUR, and the other Honourable Gentlemen & worthy Members of our General ASSEMBLY. This day we may speak it to the Honour of the Lord Jesus, that this Colony has been blessed with a Succession of as Godly Rulers, Gover­nours and Magistrates, as likely may be found in the christian World. Who have been hearty Friends to the Redeemer's Kingdom, firmly Attached to our religious Constitution and In­terests, and in trying Times have strenuously stood up for their Defence; May the Lord preserve them pure and entire to our Children thro'out all Generations.

'Tis with great Pleasure, Much honoured Fa­thers, that we observe your professed Subjection to Jesus Christ and his Gospel; that we can meet you at his house, and his table, and can have fellowship together with him; that under your Countenance and encouragement, we do preach the Doctrines of his Grace, Publish and press on Men the Laws of his Kingdom. We are then the more bold towards you, to exhort you to act in your advanced Stations, worthy [Page 32] our common Lord & Master, becoming your Profession and Character, in all things shewing fidelity and Uncorruptness. Consider, That as Christ is Lord of all, so you are his Vice-gerents on Earth, commission'd and sent to defend his Cause, and do his work. Thô it is beyond the force of humane Laws to bind the Conscience and change the heart of Man: Yet it is in your power to oblige Men to many things, that are professedly agreeable to their Consciences; and to support & encourage those Institutions which Christ himself has appointed to enlarge and build up his Kingdom.

And here suffer me with all freedom to com­mend a few things to you, which greatly need and loudly demand your attention, in point of christian Loyalty.

(1) First, The depressed State of the Clergy in your Government, thrô the Injury they suffer from the Depreciation of our Paper Currency. If there was a just Computation of the Value of the Salaries their People agreed to give them, and of what they pay them, it would doubtless appear, that they are yearly deprived of several thousand Pounds of what in Justice and honesty belongs to them. If we move to our People to Consider of this matter, thô some a [...] [...]ree to do it, yet others oppose it; and say, That we have enough, that we live better than many in the Parish, the times are [Page 33] hard, and they can do nothing. If we debate the Case with them, and tell them it is but rea­sonable and honest, that their allowance for our Support should advance in proportion, to their demands upon us for the necessaries of Life we buy of them; They will not hear, but tell us, That we love to make trouble,—that we are too craving, and ought to trust Providence. This empty and Evasive talk is received by many where self-interest sways, as conclusive & smart reasoning, our Mouths are stopt with it,—We have waited in hopes of better times & tempers, 'till we are overwhelmed (many of us) with Debts, with worldly Cares and family Wants; So that we have but little time for reading and study; and then so perplext that we can't im­prove it as we ought, to prepare beaten Oyl for the Sanctuary. We are forced to Neglect ca­techising & personal Instruction, which are very necessary and useful to young People, to In­doctrinate them in the Principles of Religion, and guard them against the Infection of Error, the great need of which we have lately seen a­mong us. So that if we continue in our Office it must be under the additional Burden of the [Page 34] reproaches of our own Consciences, for so sadly omitting and so wretchedly performing the Duties of it: And after all, if things keep on the same course they have done, we must leave our pulpits, and betake our selves to some se­cular employment for a Livelihood. I don't say that this is the Case of all in the Ministry, yet he must be a stranger among us, that does not know that Ministers in General are great Sufferers; and that their Burden is heavier than their Complaint.

Some may tell us that the Law is open, and that we may help ourselves that way. But this wou'd not Countervail our King's Damage. They had as good tell us, to quarrel with our People, to quit our Office or continue useless in it; for these are the Consequences of such Law-Suits. And this wou'd but encrease Charge to our People in the End, and give an Opportunity, to ignorant & erroneous Teachers to trouble and corrupt the Churches.

We therefore under this Grievance, look to you, our honourable Legislature, in whose power alone it is to provide a suitable Redress. We commend it to you not as a Matter that may be done, but as your indispensible Duty, as Subjects to Christ & Officers under him, which infers a double Obligation upon you, to sup­port his Religion, and take such Care of his Ministers, that they may have Hearts & Time, [Page 35] to take heed to the Ministry which they have Re­ceived in the Lord, to fulfil it, Col. 4. 17.*

Casuistical Writers tell us, that as to those Possessions, Monies or Profits which are set a­part for pious Uses, or for the Maintenance of them that minister in holy things; Either by the Laws of a Community, or by the free-will Offerings of Men, that they can't be taken a­way, or with-holden in part by any without committing the Sin of Sacrilege. ‘For first, they say, it is certain, that it is as truly Theft as any other Robbery can be, Ministers ha­ving right to their Salaries by the same Law, which gives any other Man right to his E­state. And then secondly, It is another man­ner of Robbery than many think of, it is a robbing of God, whose Service they were [Page 36] given to maintain, and that we may not doubt of the Truth of this, it is no more than God himself hath said of it, Mal. 3. 8. Will a man rob God? yet ye have robbed me; but ye say, wherein have we robbed thee? In Tythes and Offerings. And what is the gain of this Robbery we may see in the next verse, Ye are cursed with a Curse.

I can't but think the with-holding from Christ's Ministers, their just and honest dues, is one of the crying Sins of our Land, that has provoked Almighty God to send down Judg­ments upon us, and righteously to withhold the Increase of our flocks and fields, and to multi­ply Debts upon them, who have kept his Dues in their own hand. In this case it was, that [...]od encouraged his antient People to return unto him, with the promise of a Blessing, Mal. 3. 10. Bring ye all the Tythes into the store-house, that there may be meat in my house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of Hosts, If I will not open you the Windows of Heaven, and pour you out a Blessing, that there shall not be Room enough to receive it. So that our Rulers by a faithful Discharge of their Duty in this point, will prove themselves Benefactors to their People. 'Tis likely that some persons will be displeased with me for this open & plain deal­ing, and tax me with Self-seeking; however for [Page 37] my part I can say, that I would gladly have spared my self, and you this trouble, cou'd I have done it consistent with the Fear of God, and my Character, as Preacher of Righteousness. If it was only our Persons that suffered, we wou'd be still and not open our Mouths: But it is the cause of Justice, and the Interest of the christian Religion that suffer, therefore we ought to cry aloud, and not spare.

(2) The next thing, Honourable Sirs, which needs your Attention is near akin to that alrea­dy mentioned, and respects those Lands, which have been sequestred by our pious Predecessors, for the Support of the Gospel Ministry. Whether it is agreable to the Law of God, that such Lands are sold, admits of Dispute. But whether it is [Page 38] agreable thereto, to keep the monies good in Value, for which they are sold, seems to be be­yond Dispute. For if this is not done, what [Page 39] hinders but that the Guilt of Sacrilege must en­sue? 'Tis well known, that in many of our Towns, these Lands have been converted into Paper Bills, (not lawful Money) the Value of which has sunk so fast, that the Lord's Inheri­tance is in great part wasted, and come to No­thing. And as to this thing, many Parishes are so circumstanced, that they need the help of the Legislature, not only your Wisdom to direct them, but your Authority to Oblige them to do that which is right. For the Self-interest of some, who have these Monies in their hands, and their Influence upon others, is like to con­tinue this growing Evil, unless you Interpose. To my knowlege, in one of our Towns, three thousand pounds in paper Bills, or thereabout, have been sunk within five years past. And if no Remedy is provided, these things may Oc­casion great Expence, and trouble in the Law in a few Years.

(3) The Third thing, which we Commend to your Wisdom, Compassion and Justice, is the desolate & oppressed State of Widows and Or­phans; who have no Remedy in their power. The worldly Substance of poor Orphans, (as to their moveable Estates,) has about two thirds diminished in fifteen years last past, thro' the calamitous Depreciation of our paper Currency. God often speaks of the Case of these in his word, in the most moving & affectionate Lan­guage; [Page 40] represents the sin of Oppressing them as exceeding heinous, and threatens it with hea­vy Vengeance, That he will be a swift witness against those who oppress, or defraud the Widow and the fatherless, Mal. 3. 5. Resolves in his time to appear for them; For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the Needy, now will I arise, saith the Lord, Psal. 12. 5. And gives it in charge, to the Rulers of a People to do them Justice. Psal. 82. 3, 4. Defend the Poor and Fa­therless: Do Justice to the afflicted and needy: Rid them out of the Hand of the wicked. And wou'd not have them delay in this Matter. I have not caused (says Job that righteous Ma­gistrate) the Eyes of the Widow to fail: i.e. by long waiting to have Justice done her, Job 31. 16. Be Doers, then of this work. Our Lord will take it well of you, that in your Admini­strations, you visit the Fatherless and Widows in their affliction: This is pure Religion and Unde­filed before God and the Father, Jam. 1. 27. I'm perswaded, that Guardians must be deeply wounded for the wrong, that poor Orphans suffer, that are under their Care; and sad is their Case, and the Case of all others who are guilty of this wrong; if they expect a Cure from the Law of Man, without applying to the Gospel of Christ.

(4) Fourthly, We commend it to you as especially seasonable under the present Circum­stances [Page 41] of the Nations at War, to bear the strongest Testimony against that illicit Commerce which is carried on with our Popish Enemies, under the Colour of Exchanging Prisoners, or otherwise; to prosecute such offences with ut­most Severity of Law. Providence seems to fight against our Enemies by sending a great Dearth among them, and so to put a favourable Opportunity into our hands, to bring them to think soberly as they ought to think; and it may be to comply with just and reasonable Terms of Peace: And why shou'd any in Disloyalty to King GEORGE, and Dis­obedience to the King of Heaven, counterwork Providence, Aid and comfort our Enemies, and furnish them to distress us in our lawful Trade? Surely this arises from want both of Wisdom and Honesty; and justly deserves the Royal Displeasure, and Rebukes of Heaven.

(5) Once more Fifthly, Let me Observe to you, that, notwithstanding all your Care to have the Lord's Day sanctified, and worship in his house attended, these are still awfully profaned and neglected in the midst of us. So that in many Places, we can't ordinarily meet with a­bove half of the People, that might comfortably attend. And as the manner of some is, they forsake the assembling of themselves for Months together. Sure am I that this is not the way to gain Subjects to Christ, but to loose them; [Page 42] and to cause others to be cold in his Service, if not to dislike it. We wou'd rejoice to see ef­fectual Care taken in this matter, that we might have publick Opportunities to shew to them the way of Salvation by Jesus Christ, to invite them to Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and they perish in the way, and by cogent and perswasive Arguments, Compel them to come in, that his House, his Kingdom might be filled.

And now, our greatly beloved and Respected Rulers, we wish you divine Wisdom & Instructi­on, rightly to apply yourselves to these things, and all the Affairs that shall lye before you, that with great Unanimity, Fidelity & Success, you may promote the Tranquility of this Peo­ple, and the Religion of Jesus Christ: And in all things live and act as under the Observance of an all-knowing & impartial Judge, that you may give up your Account to him with Joy, and exchange the Honour & Burden of Govern­ment, for a far more exceeding & eternal weight of Glory.

2. In the Second place, I turn my Address to our Lawyers, Solicitors of Causes. Gentlemen, I have this Day been pleading the cause which you own, and now Solicit you, before the Lord Jesus our King, to be subject to his Authority and Laws. Kiss the Son. Your Wisdom and Advantage herein is abundantly manifest. This would guard you against the many dangerous [Page 43] Temptations which attend your calling, inspire you with Zeal to Vindicate Truth & Innocency, and Oppose every Cause which the Lord dis­owns. This wou'd make you boldly frown upon those malicious, troublesome People, who are vexing their Nei'bours with litigious Law­suits; and expose them, when need so requires, to publick Shame. This wou'd keep you from corrupting Justice, by confident Assertions and sophistical Pleas; ‘And from using the Law, which was made to protect Men in their Rights and Properties, as a means of over­throwing them.’ This wou'd direct you in all Causes, to assist the Jury, to Inform their Judgments, and not blind their Eyes, that the righteous may depart your Courts with Joy, and the wicked with sadness. This wou'd U­nite you to the speediest Issue of the Cases you Undertake, that you might not do Injustice, by Delays of Justice, and oppress your Clients, by creating needless and extraordinary Charge to them. This wou'd teach you that the Law is good, when a Man uses it lawfully, and then only; and influence you in all things, to quit yourselves like Men, who wait for the appearance of the Judge of all, and Expect then to receive a righteous and irrevocable Judgment.

Setting aside unavoidable Mistakes in difficult Cases, which the best of Men are liable to, I know of no Reason, that will Vindicate a Law­yer [Page 44] in pleading a bad Cause, unless to save his Client from suffering more than is right. I am pleased with the free dealing of a great & pious Writer with the Gentlemen of your Order, ‘It is a Matter, says he, that they who are stran­gers to your Profession, can scarce put any fair Construction upon; that the worst cause for a little money should find an Advocate among you! This driveth the standers by to this harsh Dilemma, to think that either your Understandings, or your Consciences, are very bad. If indeed you so little know a good Cause, from a bad, then it must needs tempt Men to think you very unskilful in your Profession: But if you know the Causes to be bad which you defend, and to be good which you op­pose, it more evidently bewrays a deplora­ble Conscience.‡‡ Sirs, if you wou'd honour your Profession and keep Peace in your Consciences, take Heed what you do, Consider that the Judgment is God's, and never plead a­gainst your own Judgment and Knowlege. Buy the Truth, and sell it not for the largest Fee.

3. In the Third Place, I turn my Discourse to the Ministers of Christ. Reverend Fathers and Brethren, After great Conflicts with my self, I have undertaken the Service his Honour has enjoined me, knowing that I am more fit to [Page 45] receive Counsel and Admonition, than to give it on this Occasion. Yet despise not my Youth, nor the faithful Application that I would make of this Subject to my self and you, respecting our personal Duty and Pastoral Work.

(1) Respecting our personal Duty. That we Kiss the Son, heartily believe in him as our Sa­viour, and submit to him as our Lord. Take heed to your selves, is the first Article in our Charge, Act. 20. 28. That you have the Truth of Grace in your hearts, and manifest the power of it in your Lives. That we are really such Persons, as we wou'd perswade others to be, that we commend Religion to our Hearers, not only by our preaching, but by our Example; being not like the Pharisees of old, who said and did not; but like the Apostles of our Lord, able to address our People in the same endearing Lan­guage, and say, Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so, as ye have us for an Ensample, Phil. 3. 17. ‘No Man was ever the more a Subject of Christ for being a Preacher, nor nearer Salvation, because he of­fers a Saviour unto others. Religion does not consist in being in Office under Christ, but in being in Subjection to Christ, chusing him for our Lord, and consenting to be his People.’ Let not our Hearts deceive us in this matter, lest that by any means, when we have preached to others, we ourselves should be cast-ways, 1 Cor. [Page 46] 9. 27. It must be a bitter Reflection to think▪ that they have made us the keepers of the Vine­yards, but our own Vineyard have we not kept, Cant. 1. 6.

(2) Respecting our pastoral Work. Here we should Vindicate the Redeemer's Royalty, that in all things he may have the Preheminence▪ and teach Men to honour the Son, even as they ho­nour the Father, For Christ [...] over all God blessed for ever, Rom. 9. 5.

As Ministers in his Kingdom, we are to open the Nature of it, shew it to be a Kingdom of Light, opposite to that kingdom of Darkness in which Satan Rules: for which cause when Men become real Christians, are bro't to believe the Gospel & embrace it, they are said to be de­livered from the Power of Darkness, and transla­ted into the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, Col. 1. 13.

We are to teach Men that our Lord is to be obeyed by Reason & Understanding, Will and Choice, and not by meer Necessity or from blind Affection. That it is their Duty to search the Scriptures, and frame all their Conceptions of God and Christ, and divine things, according to the Pattern shewn to them in the Mount of his Word. And as the Priests Lips are to pre­serve Knowlege, so to drop & communicate it to them; We are not to put a Veil upon those Doctrines which are made clear, but so handle the word of the Kingdom, that Light & Truth [Page 47] may break forth with Power, and cast down those Imaginations that exalt themselves into the place of the knowlege of God, and bring Men into his Holy Hill▪ That all their Affections may be excited & animated from the clearness and Efficacy of Light & Truth, their genuine Source and Original; That their Love may a­bound more & more in knowlege and in all Judg­ment, Phil. 1. 9. That they may be preserved from superstitious Apprehensions and Fears of things which have no Existence, and from O­pinions that have no Sense or Truth in them; which are the main Pillars of Antichristian Worship; and the grand Source of the Freaks and flights, wildness & Extasies of Enthusiasts.

'Tis for want of divine Light, that there is no more true Life and holy living among the People of God. What ever plausible Profes­sions, shews of Affection & Devotion there may be, yet if divine Knowlege does not spring, ani­mate & govern them, they will languish & dry up like Leaves in Autumn: Or else these for­ward Professors will be in danger of falling off to strange Doctrines, and of following false and blind Guides whose Zeal and shews of Piety do exceed.

Thô Men are to be treated as moral Agents, yet many of them are govern'd more by their Appetites & Passions than by Reason and Judg­ment; therefore our Lord and Law-giver has [Page 48] annexed most tremendous Sanctions to his Laws, furnishing us herewith to dispute the Case with mens obstinate Wills & sensual Passions, to con­front impudent & hard-hearted Sinners, who will not hearken to the Truth: Against these we are to charge the Artillery of Heaven, to thunder out the wrath & Vengeance of a holy & jealous God, and shew 'em the amazing Danger of strength­ning themselves against the Almighty, of running upon him, even upon the thick Bosses of his Buck­lers; that we may drive these Sinners to a stand, beat 'em out of their strong holds, and make them see that except they repent, they shall pe­rish. And we shall find great need of this Ar­gument, (in these times wherein Iniquity does a­bound) effectually to warn Sinners to flee from the wrath that is to come. We must inculcate it upon them, that Christ will reign till his Ene­mies are his footstool. He will tread down the wicked, he will crush them under him, they shall fall and never rise again. Yea, the time is hast­ning when the Lord himself will come in power and great Glory, to ease himself of his Adversa­ries, and to avenge himself upon his Enemies, to punish them with everlasting Destruction from the Presence of the Lord & from the Glory of his Power. Then every Eye shall see him, Jews & Gentiles shall behold their King, and all the Nations of the Earth shall wail because of him. How then will the Despisers and Neg­lecters [Page 49] of Christ, his Laws & Salvation appear and feel? Now nothing daunts them, nothing makes 'em afraid; the Language of their hearts is like that of proud Pharaoh, Who is the Lord that we shou'd obey his Voice? But how will they be amazed and tremble when King Jesus shall appear with his mighty Armies, when they shall hear the Voice of the Arch-angel & the Trump of God, as thô the whole Host of Heaven were now summoned to fight the Lord's Battles, to fall upon the King's Enemies & destroy them; having this Commission, Those mine Enemies that would not that I should reign over them, bring them hither, and slay them before me. Thus know­ing the Terrors of the Lord, we are to perswade Men, perswade 'em to lay down the weapons of their Rebellion, and submit themselves to Christ Our King, to Kiss the Son, lest he be angry. Let us continue faithful in these things, in this Day of Trouble & Rebuke, under all the Trials, Re­proaches & Oppositions we meet with, and we shall rest, when the Lord Jesus shall come to be Glorified in his Saints, and to be admired in all them that believe, and shall share the Joys and Triumphs of that Day.

VI. And lastly, Is it wisdom in all to Kiss the Son, what glorious Times shall we then have when this wisdom shall be encreased! When Christ shall reign among us indeed in the Victo­ries of his Grace, when the Laws of his Kingdom [Page 50] shall Enlighten the Eyes, influence the Hearts, and direct the Lives of this People. Then Truth will spring out of the Earth, and Righteousness will look down from Heaven. And as the Pro­phet speaks, Isa. 40. 4, 5. Every Valley shall be ex­alted, and every Mountain and Hill shall be made low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain, and the Glory of the Lord shall be revealed. Then Pride shall be humbled, and Passion meekned, wrath turned into Love, and Contention swallowed up in Peace. The carnal Mind shall become spiritual, and the Idols of this world fall at the Presence of the Lord, as Dagon before the Ark. If Men wou'd re­ceive Christ Jesus the Lord, and walk in him, in all lowliness of Mind, in meekness & holy O­bedience, no such Miseries, as are now complai­ned of, wou'd be heard among us. The Wolf shall dwell with the Lamb, and the Leopard shall ly down with the Kid. They shall not hurt, nor de­stroy in all God's holy Mountain. Zion shall put on her Strength, & Jerusalem her beautiful Garments, Isa. 52. 1,—Then will the Lord be, not as a Stran­ger in our Land; not as a way-faring Man that turneth aside to tarry for a night, But he will dwell with us, & rejoice over us to do us Good, & will think Thôts of Peace towards us, of Good & not of Evil, to give us an expected End of our Troubles.

Yea, our Subjection to the Lord wou'd raise & strengthen our Faith in him, and Dependance upon him, & comfort us in all our Tribulations. [Page 51] For if he lives, we shall live also. The Lord reigneth, we will therefore rejoice. Many indeed are our troubles, our Fears & our Enemies, but the Lord is above them, and can remove them. Many are prophesying & wishing Destruction to our Churches and this People, like to that which befel Babylon the great for her Sins, but all their pleasing Thôts shall be like the Dream of a night Vision, which the Prophet elegantly ex­presses, Isa. 29. 8. It shall even be as when a hun­gry Man dreameth, and behold he eateth; but he awaketh, and his Soul is empty: Or as when a thirsty Man dreameth, and behold he drinketh; but he awaketh, and behold he is faint, and his Soul hath appetite; so shall the Multitude of all the Nations be that fight against Mount Zion. So shall the many be that disturb, divide & en­deavour to destroy the Churches of Christ in New-England; that Mount-Zion which the Lord does love, and will Establish (we trust) for Ever. Their Thôts shall be empty & Vain. The Lord bringeth the Counsel of the Heathen to nought, he maketh the Devices of the People of none Effect. For blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

Now let God arise, let his Enemies be Scattered, let all them that hate him flee before him: Let him govern the Nations upon Earth, and advance the Kingdom of his Son among all People and Languages, 'till every Knee shall bow at the Name of Jesus, and every Tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the Glory of God the Father.


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