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Political Rulers Authoriz'd and Influenc'd by GOD our SAVIOUR, to decree and execute JUSTICE:

A SERMON Preached at BOSTON: In the AUDIENCE of His HONOUR SPENCER PHIPS, Esq; Commander in Chief; The HONOURABLE His Majesty's COUNCIL, And the HONOURABLE House of Representatives, Of the Province of the Massachusetts-Bay in New-England, On MAY 30th. 1750.

Being the Anniversary for the Election of His Majesty's COUNCIL for the said Province.

By SAMUEL PHILLIPS, A. M. And Pastor of the South-Church in Andover.

Deut. xvi. 20.
That which is Altogether Just shalt thou follow, that thou mayest live, and inherit the Land.—

☞ The several Paragraphs which, for want of Time, were omitted in Preaching, are here inserted in their proper Places.

BOSTON; NEW-ENGLAND: Printed by JOHN DRAP [...]R, Printer to His Honour the Lieutenant Governour and Council.

1750.

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ORDERED, THAT Thomas Berry and An­drew Oliver, Esqrs. give the Thanks of this Board to the Rev'd Mr. Samuel Phillips, for his Sermon preached Yesterday before the General Court, being the Anniversary for the Election of Councillors; and desire a Copy thereof for the Press.

S. Phips.
Copy examin'd, per
J. Willard, Secr.
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AN Election SERMON.

PROVERBS VIII. 15, 16.‘By me Kings reign, and Princes decree Justice: By me Princes rule, and Nobles, even all the Judges of the Earth.’

WE have very great Reason, Sirs, to give Thanks to Almighty GOD, that our civil Liberties, as granted by the Royal Charter, are still continued to us:—And that the Anniversary for the Election of his Ma­jesty's COUNCIL for this Province is now revolv'd upon us:—Also, that we are invited by our Honourable Rulers on this weighty Occasion, to come up to the House of the LORD, and to enquire in his Temple; That is, in the most solemn manner to acknowledge HIM, first, by Prayer and Sup­plication with Thanksgiving: And then, by hearing what HE has to say unto us.

[Page 2] And O, that both You and I may be, by Him, enabled to speak, and hear, as it becometh the Gospel of CHRIST, and the Oracles of GOD!

The Words before us are the Words of Wisdom, who is no other but CHRIST, in whom are hid all the Treasures of Wisdom and Knowledge. 'Tis true indeed, by Wisdom we are sometimes, in Scripture, to understand an Attribute of the divine Nature; and sometimes Religion is hereby intended: But the Wisdom spoken of, or rather who speaketh, in my Text, is no other but the Second glorious Subsistence in the adorable Trinity: For, "personal Qualities and Properties, Affections and Effects are predicated of this Wisdom," as is obvious to any who will consult the Context, and the sub­sequent Chapter. As also Chap. 1. 20,—23. Where we read, not only of Wisdom's crying aloud to Sinners, and ex­postulating with them because of their Dilatoriness and Per­verseness, and exhorting them to turn at his Reproof; but moreover, a Promise is added, that if they would indeed turn unto GOD, then, I (says Wisdom) will pour out my Spirit unto you, I will make known my Words (i. e.) more clearly and effectually, unto you.—Which promise of pouring out his Spirit, &c. sufficiently evinces the Personality of this Wis­dom▪ Nor can this Person reasonably be tho't to be any other but the SON of GOD.

'Tis HE, I say, who tells us, as in the Text, by me Kings reign, and Princes decree Justice, &c.

Here we may take Notice of Three Things;

1. That the Words not only have respect to the King, who is supreme; but also to others who bear Rule under him; including, doubtless, the various Degrees and Orders of Men concern'd in the Civil Government, of what particular Title or Denomination soever; for, both the Legislative and the Executive Powers are here specify'd; Judges as well as Kings.—Yea, and the Words do most probably refer also to the various Forms of civil Government which are in the World; for the [...]anner of Expression is applicable to each of them.

[Page 3] 2. 'Tis plainly hinted to us, when the civil Powers may be said to Rule well, viz. when they decree Justice, that is, just and good Laws (the Abstract being put for the Con­crete) and not only Decree, but also Execute the same: For otherwise, the Decrees wou'd be quite vain and insignificant. Kings and others in subordination to them are not exalted, meerly, that so they might be in a State of Superiority over their Fellow-Men: No, they are to Rule; but then their manner of Rule must be suited to the Ends of civil Society, and for the promoting of the public Good; which necessarily implys the Executing as well as the Decreeing of Justice.

3. and lastly; We are expressly told, by whom it is that Kings reign, and Princes decree Justice.—By Me, says the Wisdom of GOD, or the Son of GOD. Q. D. They derive their Authority from Me: And moreover, by Me, are they quickned and enabled, first, to Decree; and then, to Execute just and good Laws; and thereby to answer the great End of their exalted Station.

Some read it, For me; others, In me, Kings reign—But I shall consider the Text according to our Translation, which is the same with the Marginal reading.

So that, from the Words we may note this

DOCTRINE. That it is from the LORD JESUS CHRIST that Kings and all other civil Rulers do derive their Authority: And it is by Him also, that they do exercise the same in a due manner.

This may be spoken to under two Propositions.

1. That Kings and all other civil Rulers derive their Au­thority from CHRIST. And 2. It is by him also, that they exercise the same in a due manner.

PROP. I. That Kings and all other civil Rulers do derive their Power and Authority from CHRIST.

By Me, says Wisdom, Kings reign—: And By Me, Princes rule, and Nobles, even all the Judges of the Earth.

This I shall, 1. In a more general Way (in some measure) evince the Truth of. And then, 2. For further Illustration, [Page 4] shall mention in what Respects, civil Rulers may be said to derive their Authority from CHRIST.

First; I am, in a more general Way (in some measure) to evince the Truth of this Proposition.

Here then let it be considered.

That all Power both in Heaven and on Earth is given un­to CHRIST. True indeed; as he is GOD co-essential, and co-eternal with the Father, so, he is equal with him in Power and Glory: But as God-Man and Mediator, so all Power was given to him. This Doctrine was known and receiv'd under the old Testament; for it was not only Decreed, that the Messiah shou'd have the Kingdom, but also this Decree was published. Psal. 2. 6,—9. and Psal. 45. 6, 7. and to the same Purport, in many other Scriptures of the old Testament.—And agreeable hereto, our LORD JESUS himself told his Disciples, as in Mat. 28. 18. All Power is given unto me in Heaven and in Earth. And John 5. 22. The Father judgeth no Man, but hath committed all Judgment unto the Son:—And this same Doctrine was afterwards taught by his Apostles; Thus Peter said, that JESUS CHRIST was LORD of all. Acts 10. 36. And the Apostle Paul says, as in Phil. 2. 9. 10, 11. GOD hath highly exalted him,—that at the Name of JESUS, every Knee should bow,—and and that every Tongue should confess, that JESUS CHRIST is LORD. And in Eph. 1. 20, 21, 22. And set him at his own right Hand—far above all Principality and Power—in this World, and that which is to come. And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the Head over all things to the Church. i. e. for the Benefit of the same.

SO that, 'tis evident, that our LORD JESUS CHRIST is the sole universal Monarch; and that by Donation and Unction from the Father. He ruleth not only in the Kingdom of Grace, but also in that of Providence: And may therefore very fitly say, as in my Text, By me Kings reign, &c. And so I proceed to say,

That our LORD JESUS CHRIST does actually exercise this his Kingly Power and Authority. He does not sit in Hea­ven, meerly, as a Spectator, or, only to behold the Things which are done here, upon the Earth, No; but he actually [Page 5] orders and over-rules according to his own good Will and Pleasure, and yet, always in Wisdom and Righteousness.—This is that Judge of all the Earth (spoken of in Gen. 18. 25.) who can doe no other but right. The Sceptre of his Kingdom is a right Sceptre.—And he is Wise as well as Righteous in all his Administrations, and is fitly stiled Wisdom, as in my Text.

Certainly, all such are grossly mistaken who imagine, either, that it is beneath the LORD JESUS, now, in his State of Exaltation, to regard Men and Things here below: Or, that it is too great a Burden for him to inspect and govern in all Affairs: For, He by whom all things were made, does not think it beneath him to govern the World: Nor is the Go­vernment of the same, in any measure tedious to him, who, as GOD, is present in all Places, and is also infinite in Power, and in all other divine Perfections:—As in making the World, He spake and it was done, he commanded and it stood fast; even so, by a Word's speaking, he can, now, put quite another Face upon Things, and make all the Commo­tions which are on the Earth, to serve his own Purpose and Glory: Yea, and he actually does so, from time to time; for he causeth the Wrath of Man to praise him, and the remain­der of Wrath he restrains. Psal 76. 10.—'Tis not only a truth that the Kingdom is CHRIST's, but moreover, he really presides as Governour among the Nations. Psal. 22. 28. He not only has [...]he Honour to sustain the Title and Character, but also acts the part, and does the Business of an Universal Monarch.—And it was with this View, Namely, to en­courage and embolden his Apostles to proceed in their Mi­nistry, notwithstanding all Oppositions, that he informed them, before his Ascension into Heaven, that all Power was given unto him.

But then,

Our LORD JESUS CHRIST does not ordinarily exercise his Power and Authority over Men, immediately, or by him­self only: Nay, but for the most part, he employs and im­proves some, by whom he ruleth over others of 'em.—True indeed; he sometimes executeth Judgment on his Enemies without the hand of Man? and this he does to make his [Page 6] Power known, and to proclaim his Holiness, as also to con­vince People of an over-ruling Providence, and that all around may hear, and be afraid to doe the like Wickedness. Psal. 9. 16. The LORD is known by the Judgment which he executeth; the Wicked is snared in the Work of his own Hands.—'Tis also true, that our LORD JESUS does some­times, in a very signal manner, protect and defend his fa­vourite Servants and People; viz. When he observes that otherwise, they, together with his own Cause and Interest, will suffer great Wrong: And from hence, many have been induc'd to acknowledge (as in Psal. 58. ult) Verily there is a Reward for the Righteous; verily he is a GOD that judgeth in the Earth.

But yet, I say, that the LORD JESUS does ordinarily ex­ercise his Authority over Men, by some of their own Species: For 'tis obvious to all of us, that some Men do actually bear Rule over others: And 'tis also evident from my Text, and from many others (which I shall have occasion to mention) that civil Rulers have and receive their Authority from CHRIST: They rule by and under him.

And this is to be further illustrated and confirmed,

Secondly; By shewing in what Respects Kings and other civil Rulers may be said to derive their Power and Authority from CHRIST.

Here then,

In the 1st place; Let it be remarked, that civil Govern­ment it self is an Institution of CHRIST. 'Tis not barely a Permission of Providence, no, but an Appointment of Hea­ven: The Distinction of Rulers and Ruled is not the Contri­vance of crafty and ambitious Men, no, but of divine Ordi­nation.

But then, to prevent a mistake; let it be here observed, that I am not now speaking of any particular Form of Go­vernment; for it does not appear, that any one Form or Species of civil Government is established by CHRIST: Nay, but this Matter seems to be left to the Genius and Prudence of each Nation and Language: And accordingly, 'tis easy to observe, that one Manner and Form of Government ob­dains in one Nation and Country; and another in another; [Page 7] and a third is different from both; and a fourth differs from all three.

But what I assert is, that CHRIST has appointed that there shall be civil Government in some Form or other: 'Tis of divine Original, from Heaven and not of Men, that there be Rulers over Men, and that they be taken from among Men.—The Gentiles had their Kings; yea, and a Principle of Self-preservation, which is a Branch of the Law of Nature, led them hereunto; and this Law of Nature is no other but the Law of GOD.—But then, the Examples and Precepts relating hereto, which are upon Record in the holy Scriptures, do render this Article incontestible.—For, it was the Angel of the Cov'nant, or, the Son of GOD, who long before his Incarnation, appeared unto Moses in a Flame of Fire out of the midst of a Bush, and appointed him to lead his People out of Egypt, and to be King in Jeshurun.—And Joshua had the honour assign'd to him, by the same divine Person, of leading the several Tribes into Canaan, and of making Room for them there.—After him, several Judges being au­thorized from Heaven, presided over Israel successively.—And then, there was a Succession of Kings, and that by the express Direction and Appointment of the most High.—I might have observ'd also, that even before the Death of Moses, it was the Pleasure of the LORD of Hosts, that there should be not only a Commander in Chief, but also Rulers under him, viz. Rulers of thousands,—of hundreds—of fifties, and—of tens. Yea, while Israel was in the Wilderness, a National Council was appointed, consisting of seventy Elders, and call'd the grand Sanhedrim.—By which it appears, that altho' the Jews were (for a season) more directly and im­mediately than any other People, under the divine Govern­ment (and therefore their Government is call'd a Theocracy) yet, it was the Will of GOD, that they shou'd even then, be under the Government of Men also, like themselves, and of their own Nation.

And when our LORD appear'd in the Flesh, he was so far from disclaiming civil Government, that, by what he said and did, he confirm'd and establish'd it; for, he exhorted the People to pay Tribute to Caesar; nor did he refuse to do the same himself.

[Page 8] And agreable hereto, the holy and inspir'd Apostles taught the same Doctrine, and have strictly enjoyn'd Christians to be in Subjection to the civil Authority, namely, as an Ordi­nance of GOD. Rom. 13. begin: 1 Pet. 2. 13, 14.

And indeed; this divine Institution is an unspeakable Fa­vour to Mankind: Alas! what wou'd Men do, if they had no Rulers to controul them, but even like the Fishes in the Sea, or, as the wild Beasts in the Desart, the greater devour the less?

And now, I say, seeing civil Government is an Institution of our LORD Redeemer, therefore Kings and all subordinate Rulers, do, in this respect, derive their Authority from him.

But then, besides this,

2. Kings and other civil Rulers are, Themselves, of our LORD's appointing and advancing. Some Kingdoms, indeed, are Hereditary and others Elective; but however, the Powers that be, are ordained of GOD. (Rom. 13. 1.) Here the A­postle by a Metonimy of the Adjunct for the Subject, puts the Power for the Person, in whom it is lodg'd. And "if the Power itself be of GOD's ordaining, so likewise are the Persons invested with it: For, Power to act always supposes some Subject invested with that Power, and that in order to the exerting of it."

'Tis evident to all Men, that there are many and different Posts of Honour and Service in one and the same Form of Administration: Some are in higher, and others in lower Stations. We read (in 1 Pet. 2. 13, 14.) of the King as Supreme, and of Governours as sent by him: And besides these, there are different Ranks and Degrees of Men, and accordingly, have different Business assign'd them. Some are concern'd in the Legislative, and others in the Executive part, and some in both.—But whoever they be that are vested with Authority, they are introduc'd and advanc'd thereunto by our LORD JESUS CHRIST.—I don't mean, as in former Times, in a way of special Nomination, or imme­diate Designation; No, but in a Mediate way and manner: That is, by the Mediation of Men, and according to the divers Constitutions of Kingdoms and States: But then, the all governing Providence of the LORD of all the Earth is [Page 9] always concern'd herein: As they are vested with his Autho­rity, and hold under him, so 'tis He, who in his Providence, promotes them to Honour and Dignity. 1 Sam. 2. 8. He raiseth up the Poor out of the Dust—to set them among Prin­ces—for the Pillars of the Earth (meaning civil Rulers) are the LORD's, and he hath set the World (of Mankind) upon them; to be, under him, guided and govern'd by them. And agreably, in Psal. 75. 6, 7. Promotion cometh not from the East, nor from the West, nor from the South; but GOD is the Judge, he putteth down one, and setteth up another. These Shields of the Earth are said to belong to GOD: Be­cause they both rule under him, and are set up by him.

And this holds true, not only with respect to such, who rule in and over the Israel of GOD; but also, as to those, who bear rule over the Heathen. And agreably, we read of some Heathen Princes, that they were exalted by GOD. He raised up Pharaoh. Exod. 9. 16. And he calls Nebuchadnezzar his Servant. Jer. 25. 9. And he styles Cyrus, his Shepherd, and his Anointed. Isa. 44. ult. and 45. 1. And the same is true concerning all others; for, GOD reigneth over the Hea­then. Psal. 47. 8.

Yea, and even such Rulers who prove themselves to be no other but Tyrants, these also are exalted by the most High.—Such an one as Hazael, who discover'd more of the Beast than of the Man, yet, GOD had shewed to the Prophet, that he should be King over Syria; yea, and foretold what Enor­mities and Barbarities he wou'd be guilty of. 2 Kings 8. 12, 13. Not, that the Abuse of Power is from GOD, No, but yet the Power it self is his.

Nor is it at all inconsistent with the Government and Per­fections of GOD, sometimes to advance such to bear rule over Men, whom he fore-knows will be no better than Beasts of Prey: Nay, but he illustrates his Holiness, and preserves the Honour of his Government, while he thus punishes a sinful People for their Wickedness. And a very dreadful Punish­ment, truly it is, For, as a roaring Lyon, and a ranging Bear so is a wicked Ruler over the poor People. Prov. 28. 15.

I may add,

3. That civil Rulers may be said to have and to hold their [Page 10] Power and Authority from CHRIST, and to rule by him, in that, they bear Rule, but only during his good Pleasure. As it is he who exalts them, so it is he (and no other) who holds their Souls in Life, and who continues them in their exalted Stations.—Whenever he pleaseth, he removeth them from their Seats of Dignity, either by Death, or in some other Way: For, by him the Bows of the mighty are broken, and [...]e sometimes [...] Contempt upon Princes.—As Advance­ment, so Abasement is from him. And when he speaks the Word, it is not in the Power of Princes, nor of their Victo­rious Arms, to prolong either their Lives or their Reign: For, every one must bow to him, as well the King as the Subject; and who can stay his Hand, or may say unto him, W [...] ▪ doest th [...]? The very high and haughty [...], tho' he tho't himself above Controul, yet, was bro't to acknowledge, and that in the most open and publick manner, the Authority and Sovereignty of the GOD of Hea­ven. D [...]. 4. 34, 35.

In a Word▪

It is the LORD JESUS CHRIST, who upholds Kings, and all in Authority under them, whether they be considered as Men, or as Rulers: They receive both their Authority for Government, and their Power for Action from him: And they can't perform one Act of Power, nor yet move one single Step without him, nor one Moment longer than he pleaseth.

This may suffice for the first Proposition.

PROP. II. It is also from and by CHRIST that Kings and other civil Rulers do exercise their Power and Authority in a due manner.

By me, says he, Kings reign, and Princes decree Justice, or, just and good Laws.

Not the Abuse, but the due Exercise of Power is from him: He can't be the Author of Confusion, or of any Sin; but from him cometh down every good and every perfect Gift.

Now under this Head, 1. I may show, What is imply'd in Princes decreeing Justice: Or, when civil Rulers may be said to exercise their Authority in a due manner. And then, [Page 11] 2. Evince and Prove, that it is from CHRIST, that they so do.

First; I am to show, what is imply'd in Princes decreeing Justice; or, when civil Rulers may be said to exercise their Authority in a due manner.

And in General;

It implies, that they should have the several Qualifications, which are necessary to sit them for Government: And also denotes, that their Authority ought to be improv'd and ex­ercis'd for promoting the good of the Public:—For, it is not the End of the Institution, that some Men may have the Opportunity, meerly, to serve themselves; No, but that they may be Benefactors to the People, or, Ministers of GOD unto them for good.

And now, this cannot be unless they both Decree and Ex­ecute Justice.—You observe I said, Execute as well as Decree Justice: For, altho' that be not express'd in the Text, yet, it is necessarily imply'd, because the Executive Power is inse­perable from Rule and Government: Without the Exercise of this, a Power to decree Justice wou'd be of no avail.

But to be more Particular;

1. It implies, that Rulers shou'd be able Men; that is, shou'd be furnished with a good measure of Knowledge and Wisdom, according to their respective Posts and Stations in the Kingdom or Common-wealth.—Every Man, and every Ruler in particular, shou'd be well acquainted with his BIBLE, and improve the same as the Man of his Counsel:—But then, besides this, he shou'd have a right understanding of the Constitution he is under, both civil and religious, and especially the former: As also, a good Acquaintance with the Laws of his Country.—Nor may he, if in an exalted Station, be ignorant of the Manners and Customs of the Peo­ple, that so he may descry to what Dangers they expose them­selves; and being furnish'd with Wisdom, may be capable of forming a right Judgment what Methods wou'd be the most probable Means of Prevention.—And in short, he should be acquainted with Books and Men too, and in particular, with the State of the Province, that so, having understanding of the Times, he may know what is most seasonable to be said or done in this or that particular Juncture, and may provide [Page 12] accordingly.—It was the Commendation of the Heads of the Tribe of Issachar (1 Chron. 12. 32.) that they had under­standing of the Times, to know what Israel ought to do. And 'tis mention'd (Est. 1. 13.) as an Essential Part of the Cha­racter of States-Men, viz. that they are such as know the Times. And truly, without this Knowledge, a People can­not be provided, from one Time to another, with such Laws as are just and good, suitable and proper.

2. This Decreeing of Justice does also imply, that in a mixed Government, such as Our's is, there ought to be special Care taken to preserve, what may be call'd "a Ballance of Power" For, neither Part of the Legislature, may with any show, either of Honour or Justice, invade the Province of the other; Nay, but by so doing, the Political Fabrick it self must soon fall, and thereby Government be at an End. Such is the good Constitution in Britain, and so among our selves, "that the Powers of each are limited, and bro't to an happy Poise; Power and Priviledge are so twisted together, and inlaid in the Foundation of the Constitution, as not to bear a Separation without a mutual Destruction". So that, I say, it is the first Point of Justice and Righteousness in a Kingdom or Province, to act up to the Constitution.

3. This Decreeing of Justice implies also that such civil Rulers as are vested with the Power of making Decrees, or enacting Laws, ought to endeavour, so far as shall be consistent with the Rules of Justice, to preserve the Peace and Safety of their People, as also to promote their Prosperity and Flourishing, and that in all Regards; because these are the great Ends of Government.

For Instance;

The Laws which they enact, and the Resolves which they come into, from Time to Time, should be such as tend to promote the public Weal, and yet such only as are Just and Right: Not Might, but Right should influence and govern them in this important exercise of Power, otherwise their Persons and Authority too will soon be had in Contempt.—Here I shall say in few Words; That all Just and Proper Laws should be provided for the preserving of a People in the quiet Possession and Enjoyment of their Liberty and Pro­perty, [Page 13] or, of their Rights, natural, civil and religious; and for the Recovery of the same, when unjustly taken away or di­minished.—Also L [...]ws for the detecting and severely punish­ing Fraud, Forgery and Perjury: And for the putting an effectual stop ( [...] possible) to Prophaneness and Intemper­ance, and every other Branch of Immorality: And also, for the Encouraging of Learning, Vertue and Piety.—Nor do I understand, why Christian Rulers, now, as well as the Romans, of old, may not provide Sumptuary Laws, viz. for Retrenching Excesses and Extravagancies in Diet and Apparel (especially the [...]) and to encourage Diligence and Fru­gality: For, this is but a Point of Justice towards such, who will not otherwise be Just, either to themselves or to their Creditors.

And truly, the Sanctions as well as the Laws themselves, should savour of Justice and Righteousness; the Penalty being in proportion to the Nature of the Crime; and the Crime to be weigh'd, not only as an Evil in it self, but more­over, as it affects and injures the Public.

And not only should good Laws be provided, but it is also the unquestionable Duty of a Legislature to keep the public Faith, and fulfill the public Promise, as near as possible. And to take Care to discharge the public Debt, as soon as may be: And to see that no Person suffers Damage, by reason of his having served, or, for his having credited the Public.

And it can be no other but Just and Right that there be a strict and even a sacred Regard had to all such Leagues, and Contracts, as have been enter'd into with one or more Nati­ons, altho' they be ever so untam'd and savage.—'Tis one essential part of the Character of civil Rulers, that they be Men of Truth: And accordingly, if one or more of their People are so wicked as to Defraud, and much more, if (to wreak their Malice) they venture to Murder one or more of such a Nation; then, those bold Transgressors ought, upon Conviction, to be made the Examples of public Justice for their more than doubly aggravated Enormity: This is one way, in which civil Rulers ought to [...] the [...] of their People's Peace, and the lengthening out their Tranquility.

[Page 14] Nor may the higher Powers be unmindful in a Time of Peace, to provide, in some measure at least, for War; because such a Time may be justly expected, nor do we know how soon it may come.—And Oh! what an Advantage wou'd an Enemy have against a secure and defenceless People! Yea, they, by their Indolence, do even tempt their Neighbour-Nations to break their League with them, that so they may make a Prey of 'em. King Asa had so much Prudence as to provide for War, while the Land had rest. 2 Chron. 14. 6, 7. Nor need we look far from Home, to find the like Example.

I shall just add,

That it belongs to the Legislative Powers to take the most effectual C [...]re, that so, the true and certain Value of the Me­dium, which is current among their People, may be preserv'd invariable; that so they may have a sure Rule and Standard to guide them (continually) in their Commerce, and for the Prevention of Fraud and Oppression.

But then, besides this; It will be but an Act of Justice, in the said Honourable Powers to make effectual Provision also, that all and every of the People's Weights and Measures, by which they Buy and Sell, may be preserv'd from Time to Time, in a Due Regulation: For otherwise, the wicked and crafty will impose upon or defraud the simple and honest. Prov. 20. 23. Divers Weights are an abomination to the Lord, and a false Ballance is not good. Deut. 25. 13, 14, 15.—Thou shalt have a perfect and just Weight; a perfect and just Measure shalt thou have.

In a Word;

Unless the Legislators decree Justice, how is it possible, that such Men, with whom the Executive Power is lodg'd, shou'd minister Justice to the People? If the Foundations are out of Course, what can the Righteous do? A special Care ought therefore to be taken, both in the Choice of Represen­tatives and Councillors, that such Men may be Elected, who walk uprightly and work Righteousness, and speak the Truth in their Hearts.—More of which afterwards.

But then;

Altho' there be ever so many wholesome, just and good Laws provided, yet, they avail not, if there be not a due Execution of the same.

[Page 15] Wherefore;

4. The decreeing of Justice further implies in it a proper Care for the due Execution of such Decrees.—The Executive Power (as was before noted) is inseperable from Rule and Government; and therefore, it highly concerns such a Part of the Honourable Legislature to whom it appertains, always to make Choice of and appoint those Persons for this Busi­ness, who are best qualified for, and are most likely to answer the true end and intention of their respective Offices; such as will not bear the Sword in vain, but approve themselves the Ministers of GOD, and Revengers to execute Wrath upon them that do evil: As also, commend and protect all those who are quiet and peaceable in the Land.

And I may add; that when any who are appointed to execute the Decrees of Justice, are evidently Delinquent; or if they shall exceed the Limits of their Commission, to the detriment of the Public, or even of any particular Person, doubtless, they ought (in Terrorem) to suffer Disgrace in proportion to their Offence; as also, to make good all Damages.—

But on the other hand; all such who are not only skillful in the Law, but are also diligent and faithfull in the Discharge of the Trusts reposed in them, ought to have the Praise of it, yea, and a Reward for it, that is, higher and greater Honours confer'd upon them.—Their Commissions shou'd rise with their Accomplishments for, and their Applications to, the service of the Public: That so, all around may see and know, that the Preference is given to such as are faithful in the Land.—And truly, this wou'd be an excellent means to bring Vertue and Faithfulness more and more into Repute among all the People.

In a Word; 'Tis a seasonable and prudent Execution that gives Life to the Decrees of Justice; and without this, they will be but a dead Letter: For, the bare Promulgation of the same will not suffice to restrain such as are vitiously dis­pos'd; No; but they must see and feel too (when there is just Occasion) that the civil Authority is in good earnest;—otherwise, Vice will grow still more rampant, and seek to bear down all before it.—If there be no more but the shaking [Page 16] of the Spear, this will only be laugh'd at by all such who love to run into an excess of Riot.

To proceed;

5. The decreeing of Justice does also imply, that whatso­ever has any tendency to obstruct, either the Decreeing or the Executing of Justice, ought to be avoided and detested; and consequently, that all civil Rulers shou'd shake their Hands from holding of Bribes. i. e. "Tho' it be thrust into their Hands, yet they may not hold it, but shou'd shake it out, looking upon it as an Affront."—For alas! What unrigh­teous Resolves wou'd be, many times, come into; and how often wou'd unjust Petitions be granted, and such as are just be rejected, if a Legislature, or the major Part of the same, should come into the Method of taking Gifts (of what Name or Kind soever) of one or t'other of the Parties concerned! Yea, if they be, by far, the minor Part, yet being Men of Influence, 'tis highly probable, that they may easily gain their Point, and obtain an unrighteous Vote; and yet, they them­selves (for the present) not be sensible of the injustice of it: And the Reason is, because, as saith the Scripture, a Gift blindeth the Wise.—And so like wise, if Pests of Honour and Profit may be purchased with Money, then, many times, such Persons who are least qualified for them, will sustain them; which wou'd be exceedingly to the detriment of the Public.—And it is as true, that if a Magistrate does judge for Reward, or give Judgment in favour of him who giveth Gifts, this wou'd be no other but a selling of Justice (if I may term it, Justice) to the highest Bidder.

It was a Law in Israel, in order to prevent the giving of false Judgment, and it is of perpetual Obligation, for it is a Branch of the Moral Law, viz. (Deut. 16. 18, 19.) Judges and Offices shall thou make,—and they shall judge the People with just Judgment; thou shalt not wrest Judgment; thou shalt not respect Persons, neither take a Gift, for, a Gift doth blind the Eyes of the Wise, and pervert the Words of the Righteous.

Civil Rulers of every Denomination shou'd be Men of Truth and [...]ters of Coveteousness; for, the love of Money is the Root of all Evil. They should be Men of a public [Page 17] Spirit, and have at Heart the Weal of the State, much more than the making of any private Gain to themselves. Not the Fear of Man, nor yet Respects to a Friend or Party, but a tender Regard to Justice shou'd direct and influence all their Councils and Administrations. Deut. 16. 20. That which is altogether just shalt thou follow. Or, as it is in the Original, Justice, Justice shalt thou follow. i. e. "They must adhere to the Principles of Justice, and act by the Rules of Justice; must labour to do right to all, and beware of doing wrong to any."

But yet, we may not wholly exclude Compassion and Cle­mency from the Character of civil Rulers: For truly, the exercise of this is sometimes a necessary part of Righteous­ness, and particularly, in a King or his Representative; for as the Throne is said to be establish'd by Righteousness. Prov. 16. 12. So it is also said to be upheld by Mercy. Prov. 20. 28. That is, when the exercise of Mercy will not be at all preju­dicial to the public Weal; but on the contrary, has a direct tendency to promote the same: With this Limitation and Proviso, Pity and Compassion in a Ruler, will come under the general Head of Justice and Righteousness.

But then,

6. The Words further imply, that civil Rulers shou'd be Patterns of Righteousness in their Business and Commerce of a private Nature; as also, bright Examples of every other Vertue: For, with how very ill a grace does a Man of bad Morals pretend either to decree or execute Justice! Such an one wou'd be a constant Self-contradiction, and wou'd pro­bably do more hurt than good; and therefore, it is insisted upon in the Oracles of GOD, that Rulers shou'd be Men of Vertue; Just Men, Men of Truth, &c. Here then,

(1. They shou'd be exemplary for Commutative Justice, and render unto all their dues; yea, study to do Justice to all, in their Persons, Goods and good Name.—'Tis evident, that most Men who are cloth'd with Authority, have Busi­ness of a private (as well as of a public) Nature; Now I say, it becomes and concerns them (in particular) to deal justly with all, and thereby to instruct and incite the People to con­duct honestly one towards another: And not by using any [Page 18] mean Artifices, and least of all, by running over the Law, teach and encourage People to do the like, and thereby, to defraud and devour one another; and at the same time, render their Persons as well as their Authority contemptible.

And yet, I don't intend, that Rulers may be so exactly and strictly just to themselves, as not to be examples of Charity: For truly, the exercise of this Vertue towards proper Objects is an act of Justice as well as of Beneficence in all Men, ac­cording to their several Abilities; and wou'd be peculiarly amiable as well as influential in the Leaders of a People.—And indeed, sometimes, the civil Authority, as such, is oblig'd in Justice, to take Cognizance of the Case of one or more Persons, and to dispence Relief out of the public Stock.

But then, they should not only be fair and honest in their Dealings, and true and faithful to their Promises, as also kind to such as are in Need, after the Example of Job, who was a Man in Authority; But moreover,

(2. They shou'd labour to exhibit every other Vertue in their Conduct among Men.—

I shall just hint at some of 'em. As, first, Meekness: For surely, all such who rule over Men ought to have the rule over their own Spirits:—Nor is this at all inconsistent with a regular Zeal for the Glory of GOD, and the People's Weal; as is undeniably evident from the Instance and Example of Moses, who was very meek above all the Men which were upon the face of the Earth; and yet, was eminently faith­full to him that appointed him. The Wrath of Man worketh not the Righteousness of GOD.—Again; They shou'd be ex­emplary for Humility. I don't mean, that they should be of a dastardly and timerous Spirit, but condescending to Men of low degree: Not too familiar, and yet not puffed up, but discover­ing a due sense of the weight and importance of the Trust repo­sed in them.—Even as I well remember a Gentleman, * who was, for many years Speaker of the Honourable House of Representatives, and afterwards One of his Majesty's Council for this Province, and also One of the Judges of the Inferiour Court for the County of Essex, was spoken of by such who [Page 19] had the Opportunity to observe him, that the more he was advanced, the more humble he appeared to be: And truly, he had an excellent Character in all other respects.—May such Examples be more common!—Again; they should be Patterns of Temperance in the use both of Meats and Drinks, and particularly of the latter: For, otherwise, they will not only be unfit to bear rule, but will render themselves the very Scorn of the Multitude.—Moreover; they should also be Examples of Chastity: For, the Reverse to this is one of those Vices which destroyeth Kings. Prov. 31. 3. Whoredom, as well as Wine, takes away the Heart. Hos. 4. 11.—And without doubt, they shou'd retain and discover a public Spirit, or, a Paternal Love to their Country; and (as Political Fa­thers) should be unweary'd in their Studies and Applications to promote the Weal of the People; as Mordecai, who sought the Wealth of his People, and spake Peace to all his Seed. Esth. 10. 3. They shou'd rather suffer in their private In­terests, than be profuse and lavish in disposing of the public Money; and yet, they may not be sparing of the same, when there is a fair Prospect of procuring thereby, to the People, that which will answer much better than Money.—And Wisdom is profitable to direct in this matter; and indeed, in every other matter relating to Government: Pilots have need of Prudence, and such are Magistrates to a People. Take ye wise Men, said Moses, and I will make them Rulers over you. And I must add; that they shou'd be Men of Courage: For, this is an Endowment highly necessary. Prudence without Courage will not avail, but these in Conjunction bode well to a People.—Nor may I omit to say, that they ought to live Frugally, and not run into all the Extravagancies of the Age: And even, in all other respects, shou'd behave wisely in their own Houses; and thus, while they preserve a public Spirit, must take care also to discharge the Duties of whatever pri­vate Relations they sustain.

'Tis a just Observation, that when OEconomy, Honesty and a public Spirit do obtain among a People, then they are in the Road to Prosperity. And doubtless, Political Fathers ought to be shining Examples of the same.

What I say, is, that the exhibiting of Vertue, by Rulers, [Page 20] in the several Branches thereof, is highly necessary in order to reform a People: The making of wholsom and good Laws, and a due Execution of the same is indeed a proper means; But yet, if such who make and execute them, are not ver­tuous themselves, then, the People will incline to think, that their Rulers aim at nothing more than to keep them in Awe, and to oblige 'em to support them in their Vice, as well as their Grandeur: The People will not be perswaded, but that they may live as they list, when they observe [...] as they are very apt to do, that it [...]s the manner of their Superiours, or of many of them, so to do.—But now, on the other hand, if Rulers are vertuous themselves, then, the common People will be led to think, that truly 'tis high Time for them to be so too: yea, and will be, much the rather, dis­posed to endeavour it, agreeable to that Observation, Precepts teach, but Examples were Men: But then, there is a pecu­liar Force in the Examples of Superiours, and especially of Rulers; and hence is that Proverbial saying, that all Men will fellow the King's Example.

Once more;

7. The decreeing and executing of Justice implies in it Religion as well as Vertue. The Ruler must do honour to GOD, as well as seek to promote the Peace and Prosperity of Men: He must heedfully observe the first as well as the se­cond Table duties. Political Rulers shou'd not only be able Men, and Men of Truth, but also such as fear GOD, * as Joseph, Gen. 42. 1 [...]. I fear GOD; and Nehemiah, Chap. 5. 15. So did not I, because of the fear of GOD. The GOD of Israel said, he that ruleth over Men must be just, ruling in the fear of GOD. That is, he shou'd have such a sence of GOD and of his holy Religion upon his Mind, as not only to stand in Awe, that he Sins not; but may also study the things that please GOD, and that in Worship, as well as at other Times.—For Instance; he shou'd keep up the Practice of the Duty of Prayer, both in his Closet and Fa­mily. If he be not a Man of Prayer, he quite degrades himself, and is unworthy, as also unfit, to have the Rule over [Page 21] Men. And not only Closet and Family Worship, but also Fa­mily-Instruction and Government, shou'd be by him main­tain'd: If he does not rule well his own House, how shou'd he govern well in public Affairs? And then, besides this, the publick Worship of GOD ought to be, in the stated Seasons for it, willingly and devoutly attended by him: Like that good King David, he shou'd rejoice, when-ever he is invited to go up to the House of the LORD▪ yea, and when he is there, he shou'd reverence GOD's Sanctuary.—All such whom GOD has, in his Providence, advanc'd to Places of public Honour and Trust, are peculiarly oblig'd, viz. in point of Gratitude to him, and for the sake of setting a good Example before others, as well as for their own personal Benefit, to do Ho­nour and pay Homage to him in the most public manner: And truly, such of them who neglect to do this, not only incense the Wrath of GOD against them, but also bring a Ble­mish on their own Character, as Rulers; for it is quite shame­ful, when any who are thus exalted, and expect, therefore, that their Fellow-Men will be in Subjection unto them, yet, they themselves will not do Homage to him who is univer­sal Monarch, the most high GOD, and the possessor of Heaven and Earth; but choose rather for some weak (not to say wicked) Reason, to be excused.

Nor is it eno' that they be Righteous and Religious before Men; but moreover, they should be Lovers of Justice because of the Beauty, as well as for the Benefit of it, and because it is a part of the divine Image: As Sin, in all the Instances of it, shou'd be odious to them, because of it's Deformity, and as it is the abominable thing which the Soul of GOD hates; even so, Justice or Righteousness, not only in a strict, but also in a larger sense of the Word, viz. as it intends Holiness, of an universal Rectitude of all our Actions relating both to GOD and Man, shou'd be their Delight and Ambition.

This is what wou'd add a shining Lustre to all their other good Qualifications, and wou'd not only cause them to be reverenc'd by bad Men, but also render them the delight of good Men, yea, of good Angels, and which is infinitely more, of the good GOD.

I don't say, that every good Man is qualified to be a Ruler [Page 22] in the Common-Wealth, but a good Man (caeteris paribus) will certainly make the best Ruler: I mean, one, who, in the Judgment of rational Charity, has a living, holy Principle within him, and so, has the Interest of CHRIST, as well as the Prosperity of the People at Heart, and bears a dutiful Regard to his SAVIOUR's Authority in all his Actions.

This is the good Man; yea, and he is very often in Scrip­ture, call'd by the Name of the Righteous Man: Nor indeed, may we depend upon any other, but one of this Character, to decree or execute Justice, at all Times,—'Tis true, a Man that is destitute of the Fear of GOD, and who is a Stranger to vital Piety and to the Power of Godliness, may do some very worthy Deeds, in his Day and Place (as Tertullus said of and to Felix) for, Men's Honour and Worldly Interest will oftentimes incline and prompt them this Way: But what I say, is, that a Man void of the Fear and Love of GOD, and of Faith in CHRIST, will not adhere closely and steadily, and at all times, to the Word of Truth and Righteousness, but will deviate from the same when he can serve a turn thereby: And, in a Word, Self is at the bottom in such a Man; and altho' he be industrious to cloak and hide it, yet, in reality, this is what he regards much more than any thing else in this World, or even in Heaven it self, for, it is his Idol; and therefore, the public is not in safety while in his Hand.

And this may suffice for the first general Head under the 2 d. PROP. which was to show, what things are Imply'd in Rulers decreeing and executing Justice.

I proceed now, more briefly,

Secondly; To Evince and Prove, that it is from CHRIST, that they so do.

Here then, let us consider,

1. That the best Rules which Political Rulers have to guide and govern themselves by, both for the enacting and execut­ing Just and good Laws, are from the LORD JESUS CHRIST.

'Tis certain, that neither the Legislative nor the Executive Powers may act their own Will and Pleasure; Nay, but his, who authorizes and improves them; and therefore, such of [Page 23] them who have the Opportunity for it, are oblig'd to consult his revealed Mind and Will, and to take their Measures (chiefly) from thence, and not conform to any State or States-Men any further than is consistent with this divine Rule and Pattern.

And Thanks be to GOD our SAVIOUR, that the Sacred Oracles are at hand; and all of us, Rulers and others, have the Opportunity, not only to read, but also to hear the same explain'd and apply'd, and so to learn what is good, and what the LORD our GOD requireth of us.—And it was en­joyn'd on the Kings of Israel in particular,* that they shou'd have a Copy of the divine Law, and read therein all the Days of their Life, that they might learn to fear the LORD, and to keep his Statutes, and might not turn aside, either to the right hand or to the left.

And truly, 'tis no less necessary now, that Kings and even all subordinate Rulers shou'd consult the HOLY BIBLE, and the Moral Law in particular; for, this is of perpetual Obliga­tion, and accordingly was Ratified by our SAVIOUR, and is enjoyn'd upon us by him, as the Rule of Life; And this, if rightly understood, and duly consider'd, in it's several Pre­cepts and Branches, wou'd be (in the main) a sufficient Di­rectory for our Conduct, whether we be in private or public Station.

The Christian Magistrate is Custos utriusque Tabulae: He must keep all the Words of this Law; that is, not only be obedient to all the Commandments, and thereby, set a good Example before others (as was before shown,) but also shou'd protect them from Insult, and take care that others submit and conform to them.

So then, civil Rulers may not think, that the weighty Affairs of State, and much less their own Business of a private Nature, will excuse them from reading and hearing the Word of GOD: They ought to be the Ministers of GOD unto People for their good; and therefore, it concerns them to learn yet more thorowly, what is the good and acceptable and perfect Will of GOD.

[Page 24] And Oh, that Rulers in general, thro'out the Land and Nation, wou'd be pleased more frequently and devoutly to consult the sacred Scriptures, as also to attend the public Preaching of the Word! This would be, not only an Ho­nour to them, but also a Token for good, both to themselves and to their People; and especially, if they wou'd improve it as the Man of their Counsel: For, what-ever some may think of it, yet, here are such Maxims of Wisdom, and such Rules of Justice and Equity, as are not elsewhere to be found. Indeed, many other Books are of use, but yet, none come up to the Writings of Moses and the Prophets, of CHRIST and his Apostles.

And I may proceed to say, that not only Christian Rulers, but such also who have the Government over Heathen Nati­ons, and even all the Judges of the Earth, are beholden to CHRIST for all those good Rules and wholsome Laws which obtain among them.—Several of those Nations did formerly receive many Principles of Wisdom from the Jews, who were then conversant among them: And doubtless, many of them, more lately, from the Mouths of Christians: And all this must be ascribed to the kind Providence of the King of Nations.

But then, besides this, they have the Light of Nature; and so have some sence of Justice and Equity, of Honour and Purity, and of Love and Charity: The Light of Nature, not only forbids Murder, Lying, Stealing, Perjury, &c. but also teacheth Obedience to Parents, Pity to the miserable, as also the Conservation of public Peace and Order; yea, and it dictates to such who are inquisitive about that matter, many suitable Methods for that End: So that, the Heathen are a Law unto themselves; and accordingly, their Consciences do either accuse or excuse them, as they do, or do not, observe the same.—And now, this Law and Light of Nature, as well as that of Scripture, is from the LORD JESUS CHRIST: Unto him is Mankind indebted for those poor Remains of the divine Image which survive our primative Apostacy; For, this is he, who lighteth every Man that cometh into the World. John 1. [...]. Moreover,

2. Not only good Rules, but also the Ruler's good Qualifi­cations for Government are from the LORD JESUS.

[Page 25] As there are different Posts and Offices in the civil Govern­ment, so, some Men need more and greater Endowments and Abilities than others: One Station requires a greater degree of Skill, Courage and Resolution than another does.—And 'tis also certain that each Man's Qualifications are from CHRIST: Thus we are taught in my Text, By me Kings reign, and Princes decree Justice. And in the preceeding Verse, Coun­sel is mine, and sound Wisdom; I am Understanding, I have Strength. And in Chap. 2. 6. The LORD giveth Wisdom, &c.

This is that Prince of the Kings of the Earth, who gave King Solomon his Wisdom, and made him to be so judicious a Prince, and even the wisest of all Men.—And when Saul was made King over Israel; 'tis said, that the LORD gave him another Heart. That is, he was (thereupon) qualified more than before for public Service, and had a Spirit for Government: Being immediately call'd of GOD, he was also (in some measure) immediately qualify'd for that high Sta­tion.—Not that we may expect civil Rulers, now, in these Days, to be furnish'd and prepar'd for public Service, in such an immediate and extraordinary manner; No, but Choice should be made of such who appear to be the best qualified for it, and then Prayer ought to be made daily by them for themselves, and by others for them, that they may be still more and more so.

Nothing is more easy to observe than that some Men's Natural Parts are much greater and brighter than some others: And it is the LORD JESUS who makes this differ­ence;—for, no Man is more capable than he makes him to be.—And the same is true, when some Men, by means of Education and close Application, acquire a greater measure of Knowledge and Understanding than others; for, this is owing to the Blessing of CHRIST on those Means: All our Powers both Natural and Acquired come from him. He giveth Wisdom to the Wise, and Knowledge to them that know Understanding. Dan. 2. 21.—But then, I shall add, that when a Man has a Principle of Righteousness, I mean, a gra­cious and holy Principle implanted in him, this is a special Gift of CHRIST, by the Energy of the divine Spirit.

Again,

[Page 26] 3. Not only the Qualifications, but also the Skill and Will and Power to improve the same in a due manner, is from CHRIST: The readiness of Mind and ability of Body, to act, as well as the Principle and Habit of Vertue and Good­ness, is from him.—Alas! how many neglect the Gift which is in them, and may be said to hide or bury their Talents: And there are others still more wicked, for, they pervert their Powers, both of Body and Mind; instead of doing good, they do abundance of mischief.—But then, on the other hand; there are some who are not only dispos'd, but fully determin'd (notwithstanding any Temptations to the con­trary) to doe what good they can, in their Places, and exert themselves accordingly: And these whether they be vested with Authority, or not, are under the kind Influence of CHRIST, who worketh in us both to will and to do, of his good Pleasure.

And now, I say, seeing the good Rules for Government, as also the Ruler's good Qualifications, together with an Heart to improve them aright, are from CHRIST, it follows, that it is by him, that they both decree and execute Justice.

One more,

4. It is by him that they rule, inasmuch as all the Success of their wise and just Decrees and Administrations is from him: Neither the Decree, nor the utmost Care to execute the same wou'd answer any good end without his Blessing.—We are too apt to think, that Men of superior Parts and great Un­derstanding, and more especially, if they are great Politicians, will do some eminent Service in the State; yea, that many great and worthy Deeds will be done by them: But how often has it been found, that the help of Man is vain.—If CHRIST be forgotten, or neglected, and the Blessing of Hea­ven be deny'd, then, the Counsel of the deepest Politician is turned into Foolishness: For, he leadeth Councellors away spoiled, and maketh the Judges fools.—But on the other hand; when a due Regard is paid to the Authority of Hea­ven, and CHRIST espouses their Cause, then, both Councellor and Judge go on prosperously; because he, unto whom all Judgment is committed, is nigh to them, both to direct their Path, and to succeed their Measures.

[Page 27] And this may serve for the Illustration and Confirmation of the 2 d PROP.

But yet, before I come to the Application, I shall just de­sire you to Remark, that all this is said to be done by him, who is WISDOM.

And truly, the Wisdom of the Son of GOD is very conspi­cuous herein, namely, in Appointing that the generality of the humane Race should be under the Rule and Government of some of the same make and frame with themselves: And then, in Qualifing and Authorizing some to bear Rule; and in disposing others to submit.—

I say, here is Wisdom, as also Goodness and Kindness: For, as humane Societies cannot subsist without Government, so neither wou'd it, at all suit with the Nature of Man, in its present frail state, to be under the immediate Government of the most High, "and to be directed only, from time to time, by a Voice from Heaven, accompanied with such Appear­ances, as would become the Majesty of Heaven and Earth": For, this would so fill us with amazement, as to unfit us for Service, and instead of bringing us near to GOD, wou'd ra­ther drive us further from him: And accordingly, we read, that when our first Parents heard the Voice of the LORD GOD, they hid themselves. Being Guilty, they absconded: And surely, we are all Guilty, and may justly tremble at the Tho't of GOD's appearing and speaking unto us.—We are also told,* that the People of Israel said unto Moses, speak thou with us, and we will hear; but let not GOD speak with us, lest we die.—And GOD was pleased to grant them their Request.

I shall only just add, that the Wisdom, as also the Kindness of him, who is the Head over all things to the Church, are very evident, not only in Governing, but also in Teaching us by Men like our selves, whose Terror shall not make us afraid, nor their Hand be heavy upon us.

I proceed now to the

[Page 28]

APPLICATION.

And,

1. If civil Government be (as we have heard) of divine Institution, this teaches us, that great is the Error of such who plead for a perfect Level among Men.—These impeach the Wisdom, as also despise the Mercy and Goodness of the SON of GOD.—Yea, the Notion of Levelism is not only a Defiance to the Will and Wisdom of CHRIST, but also con­tradicts the Reason and Experience of Mankind in general. It was a very dreadful time in Israel, when there was no King there, but every Man did that which was right in his own Eyes, which was no other but to do evil in the sight of the LORD.

2. We Learn, that our LORD JESUS CHRIST is most fitly styled, KING OF KINGS, and LORD OF LORDS. For, they all derive their Authority, as also receive their Qualifica­tions from him; and do hold by, from and under him, and during his good Pleasure.

And truly, he is not only more high, but in all other re­spects, more excellent that any, yea, than all the Kings of the Earth conjunctly consider'd.—He is the SON OF GOD, whereas earthly Kings are but the Sons of Men; of the Earth, Earthy.—He is Prior to them in point of Existence, for▪ he is from Everlasting, as well as to Everlasting.—He is the Creator, and they but Creatures, and his Creatures.—He has infinitely better Attendants.—And his Presence and Fa­vour is unspeakably more desireable.—None among the Sons of the mighty may be compar'd with him, for his Un­derstanding is infinite: He does all things well, nor is there the least degree of Imprudence in any of his Decrees or Ad­ministrations, and is therefore fitly stiled Wisdom: Known unto him are all his Works from the Beginning to the End [...] but as for the Potentates of the Earth they are but short-sighted, and therefore often go into Measures, which are not for their Interest; tho' indeed, thereby the LORD JESUS [Page 29] serves his own Designs; for their Hearts are in his Hand.—Neither is any thing too hard for him, for he is not only the universal Monarch, but the Almighty, and therefore can easily dash in pieces, Princes and their Subjects, as so many Power's Vessels: He is also able and ready to save; a present help to his People in all their Times of Trouble.—And he is a Bring of unspotted Purity.—Nor can be deceive any who trust in and submit unto him: 'Tis better therefore to trust in the LORD, than to put confidence in Princes.—He is m [...]re ready to forgive such as have rebell'd, upon their Repentance and Submission.—And is more lowly and condescending: The very meanest among Men may have free Access to him, and to the Father by him; for, he is no Respecter of Persons.—And his Mercy endureth to all Generations: He is the [...]me Yesterday, to Day, and for ever, and changeth not.—And in a Word; he is the chief among ten thousands, and altogether lovely.

3. Seeing Kings and other civil Rulers derive their Au­thority from CHRIST, and do rule by and under him, this may teach them that they must certainly give account to him, how they have discharg'd their respective Trusts.

That they are Mortal, is evident to all; for, we see, that wise Men die: Tho' they are sometimes stiled gods, yet they are so by Office only. Psal. 82. 6, 7. I have said, ye are Gods, but ye shall die like Men: All their Authority together with all their Riches and Grandeur can be no security to them against the Arrests of the King of Terrors.

And not only must they die, but give Account of their Doings to their LORD and MASTER; viz. how they have improv'd their Authority, and all the other Talents which he has be­trusted them with.—Yea, even Monarchs themselves, tho' accountable to none upon Earth, but act their own Will and Pleasure without Controul, yet, must all appear at WISDOM's Bar, and receive their Sentence from his Mouth, Namely, either, Come ye Blessed—, or, Go ye Cursed—. Nor will there lay any Appeal from his Judgment-Seat, for, his Sentence will be absolute and decisive.

4. Do Kings and all other civil Officers rule BY and under CHRIST, then they may easily infer, that they ought to Rule [Page 30] for him, and to act and conduct, in their several places, so as to be unto him, for a Praise, Honour and Glory.

'Tis impossible for them to be in Favour with him, unless they chearfully submit to be instructed and govern'd by him; and then, evidence that they so do, by being diligent and faithful in the discharge of their respective Trusts, and by setting such an Example, even in the whole of their Conver­sation, as to adorn the Doctrine of CHRIST in all things.—Oh, how sad a thing is it, when such who have the Rule over others, (yet) have no Government over themselves, but are meer Slaves to their own vile Affections and Lusts, so as to go or come, according as they are solicited by the Flesh, and fleshly-minded Men! O how dreadfull (they so con­tinuing) will their Account be!—But on the other hand; Good and Joyful will their's be, who, now, wisely and faith­fully consult, and endeavour to promote, the Honour of CHRIST, and the Welfare of the People; not only of those under their Government, but also, to enlarge the Kingdom of the LORD JESUS.

These are the great ends which they must keep in view, as they would answer the design of their Promotion.—And indeed, they are oblig'd to prosecute the same, both by the Law of Justice and Gratitude; for, they can't make returns suitable to the Honour conferr'd on them, unless they exert themselves to advance the Honour of CHRIST, and of his holy Religion, and thereby, to promote the Weal of their Fellow-Creatures.

What! Has CHRIST put Honour upon them, and are they regardless of his Honour? then, they are both unjust and ungrateful to their LORD and Benefactor, and he will highly resent it.

Nor indeed, can they be said to act up to the Dignity of their exalted Stations, unless they are sollicitous to answer the great and good design of the same: This is the way for them to honour and adorn their respective Offices, and so, to get Honour to themselves. Such as honour me, says GOD, I will honour; but they who despise me, shall be lightly esteemed. The way to be great, is to be good, and to do good: And the way to be had in Contempt, is, to make light of CHRIST [Page 31] and his Laws: Or, if these Men have a little Honour at pre­sent, it shall soon be laid in the Dust: Nor may they marvel at the matter, seeing it is no other but the natural Product of their own Mis-conduct.

Wou'd to GOD, that those Words in Psal. 2. 10, 11, 12. may be very heedfully regarded by Kings, and even by all in subordinate Authority! viz. Serve the LORD with Fear, and rejoice with Trembling: Kiss the SON, lest he be angry and ye perish from the way. That is, they shou'd give him the Ho­nour of all their Advancements and Attainments, not only by a verbal acknowledgment, but also by an humble and du­tiful Submission to him in all things.

5. Seeing it is from Christ, that Kings and all other Politi­cal Rulers do derive their Authority, as also exercise the same in a due manner, this may teach us, that it is the Peoples In­terest, as well as Duty, to Study the things that please him.

Wou'd you have good Rulers set up, and continu'd over you? Or, wou'd you have the Presence of CHRIST with them, to direct them to the most proper Measures, and then to animate them to prosecute the same, and finally, to give the desired Success to their wise and just Administrations? Why, in order to this, the People must return, every one, from his evil way, and learn to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with GOD. Or, in other Words, they must pay a religious Regard to the several Duties, both of Natural and Revealed Religion, and do all in the Name of CHRIST.

'Tis readily acknowledg'd by all, that the Safety and Pros­perity of a People does very much depend, under CHRIST, upon their having wise and good Rulers: Surely then, it concerns People (if they wou'd consult their own Welfare) to get and keep in good terms with him, by whom Kings reign, and Princes decree justice. That is, Not only to pro­fess themselves his Disciples, but also to labour to approve themselves his loyal Subjects, in all regards.

And I can't forbear to add my unfeigned Wish, that a proper Respect may be had to the Declaration of the Synod for Reformation * in Answer to that Question, What are the [Page 32] Evils which have provoked the Lord to bring his Judgments on NEW-ENGLAND?

6. Our Text and Doctrine plainly teach us, unto whom we ought to give Thanks for good Government, and for all the Benefits and Comforts of it, viz. to the incarnate Word and Wisdom of GOD; but not exclusive of the other glorious Subsistences in the God-head.

Here then, let me say, in a few Words; that unto him belongs the Honour of Founding the ENGLISH, and best of civil Constitutions: As also, that the same abides Firm and Ur [...]ker, notwithstanding the repeated Efforts of Hell and Rome, to subvert it: And for the happy Settlement of the Succession in the PROTESTANT Line, and the Illustrious House of HANOVER: And that we have a delightful Prospect in the numerous Branches of the Royal Family: And that we have at this Day, not only a Protestant Prince on the British Throne, but a King who is, and has been, tender of the Peo­ple's Interest, and studious to promote the Prosperity of the Nation, and therefore, has merited the honourable and sacred Character of a Nursing Father Yea and he has extended his Paternal Regards to his Subjects in America; and to the People of this Province in one Respect and another.—For all which Favours we owe our grateful Acknowledgments to our inthroned JESUS:

As also, for the Continuance of the Priviledges granted by the Royal Charter; and particularly, the Favour of Electing our own Councellors; which is "a Privilege above the In­habitants of Great Britain it self" and tho' lightly tho't of by some, yet, may very justly be esteemed "as an Hedge about us, and much too valuable to be parted with"

And we may not omit to give Thanks to our supreme Lawgiver, King and Judge, for all that Direction, Assistance and Success, which has been vouchsafed by him, at one time and another, to the Government immediately over us.—And that altho' there be some things which wait to be rectify'd, yet it may be truly said, that we still enjoy most of our plea­sant and precious Things.

[Page 33] And Oh, that we and our Children may so know, as to improve the same in the best manner; left, otherwise we pro­voke New-England's most indulgent Benefactor to hide them from our Eyes!

7. Seeing Political Rulers derive their Authority from CHRIST, and rule under him, this teaches us, that it is the unquestionable Duty of the People to submit to them, and that for Conscience sake.—That is to say, unless they shall so per­vert their Authority, as to decree and administer in such manner, as has a direct tendency to overthrow the Protestant Religion, or to deprive the People of their Liberty and Pro­perty; or, in a Word; unless they violate their Oath, and appear no other but as Enemies to the civil and religious Constitution.—

For altho' I constantly teach Submission to the King as Supreme, and unto Governors as being sent by him, and in due Proportion, to all others who are cloathed with Authority; yet, I cou'd never see Reason to countenance the Doctrine of Passive-Obedience and Non-Resistance in the Latitude which some have pleaded for.—Which I mention, not that I think we are at present in any Danger—: And GOD grant that we never may!

But to proceed;

What I have to say under this Head is, that civil Rulers ought (in token of People's submission) to be Address'd by them in a Respectful manner, agreable to the Stations which they severally sustain.—Nor is it a light Evil to disobey their just and lawfull Commands—And they ought to be honourably Supported according to their Rank and Character, and that without Grudging. Our Saviour himself paid Tri­bute-Money: And the Apostle directs and exhorts (as in Rom 13. 7.) Render to all their Dues; Tribute to whom Tribute is due, Custom to whom Custom, &c.—Nor may the People omit to pray for all such who have the Rule over them. 1 Tim. 2 begin. I exhort, that Prayer be made for Kings, and for all that are in Authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable Life in all Godliness and Honesty: (then it fol­lows) [Page 34] for this is good and acceptable in the sight of GOD our Saviour: By whom (as you have heard) Kings reign, and Princes decree Justice.—And not only shou'd the People pray for their Rulers, but as there may be occasion, should also exert themselves in the Defence, both of their Persons and Authority, when unjustly assaulted; or even, when in danger of being insulted by any Adversary, whether foreign, or from among themselves; for, this is just and right in the sight of GOD and Man.

8. If civil Rulers do abide in their several Stations, and exercise their Authority, so long as CHRIST pleases, and no longer, This should teach us to eye his Hand in the Removal of Kings and other civil Powers from their Seats of Dignity, whether it be by Death, or in some other way.

As it is his Prerogative to exalt them, so likewise, to re­move them: 'Tis he who bringeth low, as well as lifteth up. Nor may we disregard so grievous a Dispensation, as is that of a People's Bereavement of good Rulers, or even, but of One such. The Loss it self ought to be lamented: And the Anger of an holy and good GOD, which is evident therein, ought to be laid to Heart: And this should incite us to con­sider of the evil of our Ways; for it is because of the Sins of a People, that GOD is provoked, sometimes to remove one or more of their wisest and best Men, and in the midst of their usefulness too. Isa. 3. 1,—4.

And I may add,

9. That our Text and Doctrine teach us, unto whom we are to look to Repair so wide a Breach; even, unto GOD our Saviour: For, with him is the residue of the Spirit; so that he can raise up others as good as those who went before. He changeth the Times and the Seasons: He removeth Kings, and setteth up Kings. Dan. 2. 21. And the same is true with respect to all subordinate Powers.—So then the People ought, on such an Occasion, to be looking unto him, and be waiting on him by Prayer and Supplication with penitent Confession of Sin, as also a general Reformation: Nor may Thanks­giving be omitted, for his having given such and such good Rulers, and that he continu'd them so long, and for the many Benefits reap'd by their Counsels and Administrations.

[Page 35] Once more;

10. and lastly; Do Kings and all others in Authority de­rive the same (tho' in a mediate way) from the LORD JESUS, hence let all good Christians be excited to an holy Joy in him. Indeed all the Earth have reason to Rejoice because of the Equity of his Government, Psal. 97. 1. The LORD reigneth, let the Earth rejoice; let the multitude of Isles be glad thereat. But then, more especially, let the true Children of Zion be joy­ful in this their King. Psal. 49. 2.—Rejoice in him, because of what he is in himself; and because of what he has done, and will yet do; for in him all the great and precious Pre­mises are Yea and Amen.—Be joyfull in him, as the Son of GOD, and as the only Mediator between GOD and Man; and as the GOD of your Salvation; who has begun the good Work in you, and has promised to make all things to work together for your good; and has undertaken to keep you by his mighty Power, thro' Faith unto Salvation.—In Days of Prosperity, let your Joy centre in him: And in times of Adversity, still rejoyce in him; for he has hitherto been your best Friend, nor are the treasures of his goodness, in the least measure di­minished* Yea, in the midst of the greatest Revolutions, you may triumph in him, and so triumph over the most threat­ning Dangers, and say as the Psalmist, in Psal. 46. 1,—5. GOD is our Refuge, &c.—And even, upon your Sick and Death-Beds you may be joyful in him (Psal. 149. 5.) For, this GOD is your GOD for ever and ever; he will be your Guide even unto Death. Psal. 48. ult.

But then, special Privileges demand answerable Obedience: Wherefore let it be also your Joy and Delight to do his Will, and that in all things relating both to GOD and Man. Yea, let your Light so shine before Men, that they may see your good Works, and glorifie your Father, who is in Heaven.

But it is high time for me to proceed, agreable to good Custom, to a more particular APPLICATION:

[Page 36] Wherefore, I shall, in the first place, and with all dutiful Respect, Address my self unto your HONOUR, our Commander in Chief, who with the Honourable Board, have order'd me, tho' most unworthy, into the awful Desk, this Day:

May it please your HONOUR,

I perswade my self that it will not be disagreable, if, on this Occasion, I take the Liberty just to mention the Name, and essay to revive the Memory, of his Excellency, Sir WILLIAM PHIPS, Kt.

We are not unmindful, that that Gentleman, your Ho­nourable Relative, receiv'd from his Majesty KING WILLIAM, of glorious Memory, a Commission to be Governour in Chief in and over this Province, immediately, upon the granting of the present ROYAL CHARTER:

And we have Reason sufficient from the Account given us, in the History of his Government, to conclude, that he exerted himself to his utmost, to serve his Country, and was very faithful in the Discharge of that high and weighty Trust.

And we are in no doubt, but your Honour will still uphold and preserve the Reputation of his and your own Honour­able Family, by studying to answer the great and good Ends of Rule and Government over the same Province.

SIR; I assure you from the Oracles of GOD, that 'twas indeed, no other but the LORD Redeemer, who, in his all-governing Providence, dispos'd his present Majesty, whom GOD preserve, to grant you that Honourable Commission and Title, which, for several Years past, you have sustain'd.*

And 'tis the same Incarnate Word, and Wisdom of GOD, who has, Providentially, appointed your Honour, for the Time being, to be the First and Chief in the Administration over us: Which I believe, was not at all desired by you; But being now called hereunto, your Honour will not be wanting to defend and secure the Royal Prerogative (which we, as becomes a Loyal People, desire you wou'd do) and at the same time, will have a kind and tender Regard to the Just Rights and Privileges of the People under your Care.

[Page 37] And SIR,

Being a Native of the Province, you have had the greater Opportunity to be acquainted with the Genius of this People; as also with the State of the Province from Time to Time.—And being our Bone and our Flesh, you will doubtless Na­turally care for, and seek to promote, our Weal: And the rather still, because your Family as also your Substance are Imbark'd in the same Bottom with ours.

And moreover, SIR,

Having experienc'd the great Advantage of a Liberal Education, your Honour will, therefore, the more readily consult the Prosperity of our COLLEGE, and freely Consent to all such Resolves or Grants, which are needfull to encourage the Reverend President, and the Eminent Professors of that Learned House, so much the Glory of the Province.

And seeing your Honour has openly chosen the LORD to serve Him;—You will be inclin'd to seek the Peace and Flourishing of the several Churches within your Jurisdiction, And in order thereto, will Countenance the honourable Sup­port of their respective Ministers.

And we doubt not, SIR, but as Occasion may require, your Eye will be upon such, who are best Qualified, to Nominate and Commission them, and them only, for the Service of the Public.

And in a Word;

We Esteem and Respect your Honour, as under GOD, and the KING, our present Political Head; and we question not but you will, during your Administration, Consult the Wel­fare of this whole People, in all regards; and will also be accepted of the multitude of your Brethren.

And finally;

SIR, We Pray GOD our Saviour to direct all your Paths for you; as also, to think upon you for good according to all that you have done, or may hereafter do for this his People!

And now, in the next place;

I would in all humble manner, and yet, still mindfull of my own holy Calling, Address my Speech to the Honourable his MAJESTY's COUNCIL, and the Honourable HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, this Day, in General Court Assembled:

[Page 38] SIRS,

None of this great Assembly may be suppos'd to be igno­rant of the Business of this Day, nor to be unacquainted in whose Hands the Power of Election is lodg'd; Nor yet, are any but the tho'tless among the People, unmindful and insen­sible of how great Importance it is, that Men of true Wisdom and solid Goodness be selected from out of our Tribes, to sit at the Honourable Board: For, we do, or may know, that the Gentlemen who shall, this Day, be Elected (by the Re­presentative Body of this People, in Conjunction with his Majesty's Council now in being) and then be Approved by his Majesty's Representative, will not only be oblig'd, when desir'd, to assist the Captain General with their best Advice in all Articles relating to Government, and particularly, in that weighty one, of Constituting Judges and other civil Officers: As also, bear a Part in the Inspection and Govern­ment of the College: But besides all this, they will make one main Branch of our Legislature.

So that the Liberty of making choice of Councillors from among our selves, may justly be reckon'd one of the greatest of our present Charter Privileges: A Privilege, as was be­fore noted, above the Inhabitants of Great-Britain it self:—And in a Word, the Welfare of the whole Province in all regards, viz. as to Church, State and College, does under GOD, very much depend upon a wise and good Choice.—

Wherefore, much honour'd Gentlemen-Electors,

It highly concerns you, and all of us, to be still seeking Direction from above: As also, that you be very considerate and circumspect in this matter: And then, to be fully satis­fied in your own Minds and Consciences, that all such whom you shall give your Vote for, are, Matters being duly weigh'd, the most suitable and proper Persons, whom you know of, in the Province, for that honourable Station.

Be pleas'd to permit me here to say,

That as not Piety alone, so neither may Learning alone, or the greatest skill in Politicks, determine your Choice this Day: And much less, meerly a flowing Income, or, only some high Title of Honour.—But when these meet in one, as sometimes they do, such a Man is worthy of the public Voice.

[Page 39] 'Tis very desireable indeed, that they be Gentlemen of good Extract, and of large Interests; and doubtless a suffi­cient Number of such may still be found among us, and who also in other and better respects are duly Qualified.

But whatever else be lacking, yet, pray, endeavour to be satisfied, that they are Persons of a pious Principle, and that they have a good measure of Knowledge and Wisdom; not only acquainted with, but also Friends to our Constitution, both of Church and State; Well-wishers to our College, and the other means of Education; Lovers of GOD, and of all good Men, of every Denomination; most capable and best inclin'd to encourage and promote Piety towards GOD and Justice towards Men: And in a Word, Men approv'd of by the People of GOD in general, where-ever they are known: For, this was an ancient Rule, Deut. 1. 13. Take ye wise Men and understanding, and known among your Tribes, and I will make them Rulers over you. That is, such as were known to be wise and good Men, and had been all along approved of as such.

O SIRS, allow me to be so free and open, as to intreat of you, in the Name of HIM, who has, in his all-governing Pro­vidence, committed to you this Power and Privilege; and in the behalf of this whole People; and even for your own sakes, to exercise your selves, this Day in particular, to have Consciences void of Offence both towards GOD and Man.—Let not Favour nor Prejudice determine you for, or against any Man: Seek not your selves, nor meerly to oblige your Friend; but let the Honour of CHRIST and the Weal of this People be your great and governing Design.

As it is not a matter of personal Concern, but of the most public nature, so, the Eyes of all of us, both Ministers and People, are upon you, hoping that you will, one and all, act your part very faithfully and sincerely.

Yea, and more than all this, the Eye of HIM by whom Princes rule, will be upon you; nor indeed, will HE be far from you, For, he standeth in the Congregation of the mighty, and judgeth among the gods. He does and will see into, and thorow you, to observe, whether you are trifling or selfish in this weighty Affair; or whether, on the other hand, you have [Page 40] a due Regard to Person's Piety and other necessary Qualifi­cations: And suffer me just to put you in mind, that you must, each one, e're long, most certainly give Account to him, from what Principle, and with what Views, you shall manage the important Business of this Day.

'Tis Requir'd (you know) of Trustees, that they be found Faithful; pray consider your selves as such in this matter: Neither forget, that our Privileges, Civil, Religious and Aca­demical are too precious in themselves; and moreover, have been too dearly bought, to be put into the hands of such Men, who are either unskillfull or unfaithful.

But that I be not further tedious;

My Fathers, you have the whole Province before you: And I know of no better Rule for you to go by, than that of Jethro to Moses; and which was approved of by GOD him­self, viz. Exod. 18. 21. Thou shalt provide out of all the People, able Men, such as fear GOD, Men of Truth, and hating Covetousness, and place such over them.—Here 'tis said, able Men: Or, Men of good Sense and Courage, able to support the Authority of their Station, and equal to their Trust. Such as fear GOD: i. e. Conscientious Men, who not only believe the Being and Providence of GOD; but will move and act, decree and execute, as under his Eye; and therefore dare not do an ill Thing, nor indulge any sinister Views.—Men of Truth: Or, such who will not act a Part or betray a Trust; whose Fidelity and Steadiness may, on all Occasions, be re­lied upon. Hating Covetousness. i. e. Not only, not seek­ing, or not taking; but even abhorring whatsoever has any tendency to forestall their Minds, or bribe and byass their Judgments.

These are the Men who honour GOD, and whom he will honour with his Presence: As they are on his side, so will he be on their's.—But now, as for Men of a contrary Character; as they are not the friends of GOD (nor indeed of Men, unless when they can serve themselves) so neither may any other be expected, but that he will leave them to walk on in their own Counsels, and consequently, to bring Mischief both on themselves and their Dependents.

[Page 41] And finally; We earnestly pray, that GOD wou'd be pleas'd to direct this your Path for you, and to lead you in­to the Choice of such, who are Men after his own Heart: With him we humbly and gladly leave you, who has the Government both of the Church and World upon his Shoulder; and whose Name is called Wonderfull, Councellor, the Mighty GOD, the everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace.

And now, having thus spoken respecting the particular and special Business of this Day;

I presume it will not be taken amiss, if I go on to say, We humbly trust, that when the weighty Affair of the Elec­tion is over, that then, the several Branches of our Honour­able Legislature will be very mindful of HIM, by whom (as you have heard) Princes decree Justice, and will be daily seek­ing to HIM, to lead and guide you into such Acts and Resolves as shall be agreable to the Laws and Rules of his holy Word, and consequently will be good in his sight.

We desire to be very thankfull for all those just and whole­some Laws, which have been already Enacted, at one Time and another, by the Government of this Province, for the suppressing of Vice and Immorality, and for the encouraging of Vertue, Religion and good Literature among us. Ah! were it not for such Laws, we had doubtless, been in a most forlorn Condition long before this Day.

But pray, Gentlemen, be pleas'd to consider, whether some­thing further may not yet be done;

And particularly, first, for the prevention of that beastly Sin of Uncleanness; by which, I now more especially intend, the Sin of Fornication; which it seems, is made very light of by many among us; altho' it be expressly and frequently prohibited in the Oracles of GOD.—Also, something further, to suppress the Sin of Drunkenness; which is not only an heinous Transgression in it self, but is also big with all manner of evil, both moral and mischievous.—And O, that something may be done for the retrenching of Pride and Pro­digality, and for the bringing into fashion again Modesty and Frugality: For, alas! What will become of us, if our Super­fluities [Page 42] be not par'd off, the Support and Maintenance where­of is abundantly more Expensive than wou'd suffice to an­swer the whole Charge both of Church and State. O, how long shall this Country be spoken of by Travellers, as exceed­ing all others, (and not our Mother-Country only) in costly Fashions; and for Extravagance in manner of Living, as well as in their Attire; and those of the lower Rank among us, as muchas if not more than any.—And pray, may not some more effectual Method be taken to promote Industry; and especially to oblige such who are but Pests to a Common-Wealth, to become some way or other useful and beneficial to it: Or, if not useful, yet may they not be so confin'd, as to be restrain'd from being mischievous.—And not only Idle Persons, but also our Wast and Wilderness Loads must be Subdued and Improved, as we wou'd ever be a flourishing Province.—And O that we may be a People henceforth remark'd for Justice and Honesty, and no longer be spoken of as addicted to oppress one another!

And in a Word; whatever is further needful in order to cure us of the aforesaid, and other our Immoralities; and to prevent any new ones which may seem to threaten us, and to render and preserve us a vertuous People, we pray our Ho­nourable Legislature, in their great Wisdom to meditate the most proper Methods for, and by their Authority to see that the same be put in Execution.

And will your Honours allow me to be your humble Mo­nitor, and say, it is not eno' that Righteousness and other moral Vertues be cultivated and cherish'd, but moreover, Religion and the public Worship of GOD in particular, must come under your special Care: The first as well as the second Table being committed to the Custody and Protection of the civil Magistrate.

Will you be pleased therefore, to improve your Authority, that so the LORD's Day, in particular, may be more strictly observed, and the public Worship be more frequently attend­ed: For, GOD has given that Day to be a sign between him and his People; it is therefore, most highly offensive to him, when the same is profaned; nor may we wonder if he shall evidence his Resentment of it by his Judgments; and in par­ticular, [Page 43] in that awfull manner spoken of by the Prophet in Jer. 17. ult. If ye will not hearken unto me, to hallow the Sabbath-Day,—then I will kindle a fire in the Gates, and it shall devour the Palaces, and shall not be quenched.

And may it be also your Care, that a pious, learned and orthodox Ministry be duely encouraged and supported among us; even, as you wou'd express and testifie a dutifull Regard unto HIM, whose Embassadors they are, and by and under whom you rule.

'Tis well known, that our pious Progenitors founded the COLLEGE in Cambridge, chiefly with this View, that so, the Churches in the Country might, from time to time, have their Supply from that Fountain: And indeed, neither the civil nor ecclesiastical State can be preserved in a flourishing Condition without Men of good Learning.

However contemptibly some ignorant Persons may have spoken concerning Learning, yet 'tis certain, "that Learn­ing and the Gospel Ministry are vitally link'd with Religion: Religion will soon decay without Learning, and even die without a learned and faithful Ministry: And if we lose our Religion, what have we [...]ore? For, 'tis not only the best Religion in the World, out 'tis the very best thing that we have: So that our All very much turns upon an effectual, wise Care to see that Learning and the Gospel Ministry be well supported."

'Tis obvious to all who are acquainted with the History of the Country, that NEW-ENGLAND was originally Planted, not so much for Trade as for Religion, (viz. with an Eye not only to their own and their Posterity's spiritual weal, but also to the Christianizing of the Heathen;) And truly, the way for the former to flourish, is to be tender of the latter: But if Religion be not cherished, Trade will decay more and more; or, if it shou'd flourish, it will prove no other but a Curse to us.

I may not omit to add, that we are very thankfull to our honourable Rulers for their Smiles on the College hitherto; and do humbly and earnestly intreat the continuance of the same:—As also that there may be effectual Provision (if possible) that the good Laws concerning Inferiour Schools [Page 44] may not be eluded, as has too often been the Case; lest the Children rising up prove an ignorant and ungovern'd Gene­ration, and the succeeding ones be still more so.

We are also thankfull to Heaven for the good Laws which some former Assemblies have enacted for the Encouragement and Support of the Gospel Ministry among us, and especially for that Standing and Righteous Law, viz. ‘All Contracts and Agreements made, or that shall be made respecting Ministers Settlement or Maintenance shall remain good and valid ACCORDING TO THE TRUE INTENT THEREOF, and shall accordingly be pursued, put in execution and fulfilled.’

But alas! has not this just and good Law been too much disregarded by many People, for more than thirty Years past▪ And i [...] Justice shall be done for the Time to come, can this in any measure, make amends for past Deficiencies?

I am sensible, that this is call'd a tender Point; but yet, I hope, not grievous to any who have a tender Conscience, and are willing in all things to live honestly.

Believe me, Sirs, I should very gladly wave it, and not trouble your Honours and this Audience with it, if I cou'd only perswade my self, that I may omit it, and yet be faith­ful to GOD and Man: But the truth is, I understand not how I can be said to be faithful to the [...], if I am silent in this matter; nor to him, who in a med [...]te way, has call'd me here this Day, to speak in his Name.

Will our honoured Fathers therefore be pleased, if only in kindness to the Province, and yet in the fear of GOD, to con­sider at Leisure, as follows, viz.

Whether the generality of the People do not live in the Sin of detaining from their Ministers a part of their just Due: My meaning is, do they not live under the Guilt of a manifest and long continued violation of that good Law of GOD and Man, which relates to, and strictly enjoins Justice and Equity? If not; then the matter ought to be wholly drop'd. But if so, then, whether there be not just Reason, both from the Word of GOD, and the nature of the thing to conclude, that the Province is under the Rebukes of a righteous GOD, partly, on this account?

[Page 45] And if so;

Then, whether it may reasonably be expected, that HE will be aton'd to the Province, (altho' we shou'd, in every other respect, become a reformed People) until this matter shall be adjusted; Righteousness between Man and Man, be­ing an essential branch of the Religion of our LORD and Saviour?

And lastly,

If this be the Case with us, whether some effectual Re­medy shou'd not be apply'd?

[King Solomon makes mention both of the Sin, and the ill consequence of it. Prov. 11. 24. There is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to Poverty.—And without doubt, an holy and righteous GOD does now in these Days, (as well as formerly) interpret the People's withholding from his Ministers, a part of their honest Due, as a Robbing of him: And if so; then, I humbly enquire, whether this Land must not be suppos'd to be (as was that of Canaan) under a Re­buke or Curse for this Sin? Be pleas'd carefully to peruse Mal. 3. 8,—12.

Not, that I am pleading for Tythes, no, but only for Justice and Honesty, agreable to the abovemention'd Law of this Province.

Not that I am under suffering Circumstances my self; having thro' the Mercy of GOD, some other small Means—as doubtless many of my Brethren also have:—But can it be tho't to be a right thing in the sight of GOD, that a Delin­quent (tho' capable) People, and not our respective Families, shou'd reap the Benefit of those other means?

'Tis said indeed by some (and inconsiderately eno') that the Law is open:—But we are humbly of the Opinion, that it properly belongs to the higher Powers, or to the honour­able Legislature, to take the Ministers of Religion under your special Care, and (without any Complaint of theirs) to make search, as may easily be done, whether a due Regard has been paid to the Law; and if not, to give effectual Orders that right may take place.

But in what particular Method,—it does not belong to me to suggest.

[Page 46] The Egyptian Princes, tho' Heathen, took an immediate Care of their Priests. Gen. 47. 22. The Land of the Priests, Joseph bought not, for they had a Portion assigned them by Pharoah, and did eat their Portion which Pharaoh gave them. *

And in Israel, the Priests and Levites had the special Countenance and Protection of the good Kings.—We have a more particular mention made of Hezekiah. 2 Chron. 30. 22. That he spake comfortably unto all the Levites, that taught the good knowledge of the LORD. And not only spake com­fortably to them, but did also take effectual care that they might have Justice done them. For we read in the next Chap. v. 4,—10. That he commanded the People to give the Portion of the Priests and the Levites (that is to pay in their Dues, according to the Law) that they might be encourag'd in the Law of the LORD. And we are told, that as soon as the Commandment came abroad, they bro't in the Tythe of all things. For where the Commanding Word of a King (or of a Legislature) is, there is power.

Also, that good Governour Nehemiah (in Chap. 13. 10,—13. When he perceived (without Complaint made by them) that the Levites had been wrong'd, in that, their Portions had not been given them; instead of blaming the People, he laid the Fault on the Rulers because of their Neglect. Then conten­ded I (says he) with the Rulers, and said, why is the House of GOD forsaken? Whereupon, all Judah bro't in the Tythe of the Corn, New-Wine and Oyl unto the Treasuries: And then, as one well expresses it, he provided that just and prompt Payment shou'd be made of their Stipends; and accordingly,

☞ (Treasurers, or) COMMISSIONERS were appointed to see it done; even such as were counted faithful; and they are express'd by Name. And not only Scripture, but even the Nature of the thing, or at least the Nature of Mankind, bespeaks the immediate Care of the honourable Legislature in this matter; for, it has a direct tendency to frustrate the true intention of the Ministerial Office for Men of that Order, Personally, and in a Course of Law, to Demand, that Justice [Page 47] be done them.—'Tis too evident to be deny'd, that this occasions uneasiness among People, yea, such an Alienation of Affection, as many times puts an end to their Usefulness; and consequently, it can't be the Will of CHRIST, that his Ministers shou'd be oblig'd to take that course for coming at Justice, (for certainly, he would not have any Institution of his made void and of no effect) and yet, it is his Will that they (as well as other Men) receive their honest Due, and be not in any measure defrauded. Rom. 13. 7, 8. Matt. 22. 21.

But I enlarge not—only shall just say, that I presume, the Liberty which was taken by Paul to Reason before Felix, concerning Righteousness—(when he was sent for, to preach) and that Governour's seeming Approbation of his Discourse may Apologize for the freedom which I have now taken be­fore the Guardians of our Holy Religion, in behalf of this People, and that I might deliver my own Soul.]

Finally; It is and shall be our humble and earnest Prayer to GOD, that no Guilt, on any account whatever, may lie on this Government, but that as you rule under, so you may rule for CHRIST: And that you may come, each one, to reign with him for ever and ever!—And in particular, we wish you, whom we highly respect and honour the best Conduct, as also Unanimity, and Dispatch of Business, the Year ensuing.

I proceed now, in few Words, and with suitable deference, to Address my self to the EXECUTIVE Powers over us; and first, to our Honourable and Worshipful JUDGES and JUSTICES;

Justice, we all know, must be executed as well as decreed; this Power therefore, ought always to be lodg'd with such Men who are best qualified and spirited for and unto this good Work.—And indeed, we have not a little Reason to be thankful, that so many of our Judges and Justices are Men of Wisdom and Righteousness, and that they do so well adorn their Office and Character by an exemplary Conduct. And O, that such Men may be from time to time, sought out and Commission'd, who shall administer Justice without Partiality, and yet exercise some degree of Compassion, when consistent with the Law of GOD and Man: For doubless a [Page 48] difference ought to be made between the presumptuous and the inadvertent Transgressor.

'Tis certainly a very great Trust Gentlemen, which is com­mitted to you; and a faithful Discharge of the same will greatly contribute to the Weal of this People, as also to your own Peace and Comfort.—Let me put you in mind of the Words of the good King Jehoshaphat to the Judges then in Commission, and which are worthy to be impress'd on the Minds of all the Judges and Justices in the Land, and even the World thro'out; viz. Take heed what you do, for ye Judge not for Man, but for the LORD, who is with you in the Judgment: Wherefore now, let the fear of the LORD be upon you, take heed and do it, for there is no Iniquity with the LORD our GOD, nor respect of Persons, nor taking of gifts. A Magistrate shou'd have an habitual Disposition to execute Justice; and that he may actually do so, shou'd not only be arm'd with Zeal and undaunted Courage, but moreover, must be diligent to find out the truth and merits of the Cause, and then, and not till then, to give Judgment upon it; after the Example of Job: I put on Righteousness, and it clothed me,—And the Cause which I knew not I searched out. *

And will the learned Gentlemen, the COUNSELLORS and PRACTISERS of the Law, suffer me to beseech you to bear in mind the great and good Intention of your Office; soil: To consult and endeavour the Benefit of Society more than your own private advantage: And in order to have Justice done to every Man, to labour to put always a due Sense and meaning on the Law; as also represent Facts in a true and clear Light.—Or, in other Words; to promote (when you may) an Agreement between Man and Man; and if that can't be obtain'd, then to plead for, and defend the Innocent and Injur'd; and to beware of going about to support any Cause which is evidently wrong and unjust; as knowing that you yourselves must e're long come into Judgment before HIM, who will not be prevail'd with to pervert Justice.—And O, that that great Day may be more tho't upon by all of us.

[Page 49] And let the Grand-Jurors, as also Tything-Men, remember that they are under the Oath of GOD; and that HE will be a swift Witness against them, if they violate or neglect the same.

And may our Juries from time to time, take the utmost Care to come at a right understanding of the Causes depend­ing, and to bring in such Verdicts, as they cou'd freely offer, if the LORD JESUS himself was personally and visibly upon the Bench.

I proceed now, to Address my reverend and much esteemed FATHERS and BRETHREN in the MINISTRY.—As the Ma­gistracy, so the Ministry is an Institution of the LORD JESUS CHRIST: And 'tis he who has called us to, and assisted us in, this good Work; and unto him are we indebted for all the Success which we have had.—And thanks be to him, that not­withstanding the Iniquities and Difficulties of the Times, we continue in his special Service unto this Day.—I humbly trust, Brethren, it has been in faithfulness to CHRIST, and in love to his Work, and to precious Souls, that we have, for so many Years, endur'd the shock, and not left the People as Sheep without a Shepherd.—And truly, whether it will be much better, for any term of Time to come, is very uncer­tain: But however, let us go on to the end, to serve our LORD and Master faithfully, and not listen to Temptations to desert, or to be negligent in any part of his Service; and then, we may depend on it, that HE will not be unjust, to forget our work and labour of Love for his Name's sake,—May we, each one, look well to his own Vineyard: And nextly, to the Souls under our immediate Care; be much in Prayer for them, as well as Preach frequently and scripturally to them: And O, that it may please GOD to teach both them and us to profit!

Let us, my dear Brethren, be tender of his Honour, who has put so great Honour upon us, as to appoint us to be some of his Embassadors to our fellow-men.—And as we wou'd hope to be still own'd and honour'd by him in our Work, let Him be the principal Subject of our Preaching: Nor can we treat on one more noble, he being the marrow and scope of the holy Scriptures; I mean the Doctrines of CHRIST, [Page 50] viz. of his Person, Natures, Offices and Benefits:—And next to these, let us preach all other the Principles of our holy Religion.

And while we endeavour to preserve the honour of the divine Sovereignty, we must also encourage the People to be waiting and hoping (in GOD's way) for the powerful Influ­ences of the divine Spirit, that they may be effectually turned unto GOD.

Nor may Moral Duties be omitted, nay, but must be fre­quently preached up, and as Duties requir'd and enjoyn'd by GOD our Saviour.—But then, we must also show People the necessity of their having a living holy principle within them, in order to their bringing forth such fruit as shall be well-pleasing to the holy one of Israel. A corrupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit: Cleanse first (says our Saviour) that which is within, that the outside may be clean also. Mat. 23. 26.

And I may add, that abundance of good may be done by Pastoral Visits prudently manag'd: And also by Catechising the younger Sort.

And I can't forbear to say, that it becomes us to testifie against all unchristian Separations; as also to beware of coun­tenancing in any measure, an ignorant and unlearned Ministry.

And let us continue, Brethren, to do Honour to our civil Rulers; and in our public Prayers and Sermons, and also by our Example, teach the People to do so too.

Men of the civil and sacred Order ought to be helpful to each other, in their Places, for the leading and guiding of the People. Psal. 77. ult. Thou leddest thy people like a flock, by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

And finally,

O, that We in the Ministry (in particular) may be excited to greater Industry in our Calling, considering that the time is hastning on, when we shall be no longer Stewards, but must go away to give account of our Stewardship.—We have had frequent Admonitions of the truth of this in the Providence of GOD: And now again, very lately in the Death of one of the Pastors of this Town: * A Man of solid Good­ness, [Page 51] as well as of good Learning; found in the Faith and of an excellent Spirit; wise to win Souls, and not sparing of his Pains: And in a Word, for I may not now enlarge, he was a burning and shining Light, a faithful and wise Ser­vant.

May the Spirit be doubled on the surviving Pastor! And may the bereaved Flock and Family be visited with the Con­solations of GOD!

And O, that all the LORD's Ministers, here present, may lay this sorrowful Dispensation to Heart, and while the Day lasts, be very diligent in doing the Work which is given us to do! And may our LORD, when he cometh find us all so doing!

And lastly;

Let me direct my self to the Body of the People.

Suffer, I beseech you, the Word of Exhortation, and be intreated to recall to mind, the main Intention, on which our Fathers came into this then howling Wilderness; Not on a Worldly design, no, but on the account of Religion; viz. that they might (without molestation) worship GOD with that Purity and Simplicity, which they look'd upon to be most agreable to the Gospel of CHRIST, and might leave the same as a Legacy to their Children: And they had an Eye also to the Instruction and Conversion of the Aboriginal Natives; which ought still to be Prosecuted.

And it is very evident, that GOD remarkably own'd and bless'd them, increas'd and establish'd them; and thanks be to GOD, we are, at this Day, in the possession and enjoyment of most of their external Privileges.—But yet alas! the Crown is fallen from our head, in that, now a Worldly Spirit threatens to eat out the Heart of Religion; yea, to destroy the very Name as well as the Power of it.

Indeed, Many Vices seem to abound in the midst of us, but this of Worldly-mindedness is become a general Malady; and truly it is of a fatal Aspect and Tendency; for, hereby the Word of GOD is choak'd and rendred unfruitful; and hence, People prove to be good for themselves only; yea, [Page 52] and that in so low and vile a Sense, as to destroy themselves, as well as injure the Public.

The first Lesson you have to learn, is, to Fear GOD. Wherefore, let Him, and not the World, have the Empire over you.

The next Lesson is, to Honour the King: And therefore, pray, continue to be dutiful and loyal Subjects to our right­ful and gracious SOVEREIGN: Yea, and not to him only, but to all such also, who have the immediate Rule over us: O beware, Brethren, of speaking evil of Dignities, and espe­cially, when it is apparent, that they exert themselves in our Service. Some it seems have been too apt to speak contemp­tibly of our Rulers; having heard, that they have been some­times bro't into such a strait, that they knew not what to do. But let me tell such People, that it wou'd better become you, to enquire, whether you have not had a hand in provoking the most high, at some Seasons, to scatter Darkness in their Paths? The Word of the Prophet Isaiah are very worthy of your Consideration. Chap. 29. 13, 14. Wherefore, the Lord said, forasmuch as this People draw near me with their Mouth, and with their Lips do honour me, but have removed their Heart far from me,—therefore, behold I will proceed to do a marvelous work amongst this People,—for the Wisdom of their wise Men shall perish, and the Understanding of their prudent Men shall be hid.—And now, enquire, has not For­mality in divine Service been exceeding prevalent in the Land? Alas! How greatly has a sluggish, or an heedless Disposition been indulg'd in our several Congregations! And how few, who appear to Worship GOD in Spirit and Truth! Yea, and GOD knows, whether there be not many among us, who wou'd seldom if ever attend the public Worship, were it not for shame or the fear of Man.

I deny not that our honourable Rulers themselves have their Imperfections, and doubtless they are sensible of it:—But what I say, is, let the People also learn to look at home, and labour to approve your selves unto GOD both in Worship and Conversation, and be much in Prayer for all such who have the Rule over you.—And in a Word; if both they and you shall be upright before GOD, then he will guide them [Page 53] by his Counsel, and will make their Path always safe, as well as plain before them.

But then, let me go on to say, that you ought not only, to honour and pray for our civil Rulers, in being, or, as such; but moreover to be very careful what manner of Men you shall make choice of from Year to Year, to Represent you at the Great and General Court: And omit not to beg of GOD (at the season for it) that He would lead you into the Choice of the most suitable Persons to take part in the Government over you. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

This, Brethren, of which I now speak, is a matter of very great Importance: For, be pleas'd to consider, that the Honourable House of Representatives do make One Branch of our Legislature; and not only so, but moreover, they have it under GOD, very much in their power, by reason of their Number, to determine, with the Consent of the Captain General, what particular Gentlemen shall constitute another Branch of the same.

Wherefore, as you tender the Weal of the whole Province, let every Town be very circumspect in this matter: And as you do, or ought to desire, that your several Representatives would conduct at Court, even so do ye in the Choice of them; viz. lay aside all Sinister Views, and don't seek meerly to gra­tifie a Friend, nor let a prospect of any personal Interest de­termine you in this weighty Affair: But choose ye out wise Men, and of a public Spirit; true Friends to the Province, and the Privileges thereof, Religious and Academical as well as Civil: But then, (I say) they must be Wise Men, as well as Zealous in their Country's Cause; because Zeal without Prudence will but hurry Rulers and their People with them into the depth of Misery: Yea, and they shou'd be Honest Men, I mean, such as have a principle of Justice within them, and have their Eyes open, so as to be able to See for their Neighbour as well as for themselves; and will deny them­selves rather than injure the Public, or even a particular Person.

And this leads me to exhort the whole Body of the People, to study to be Honest.—We set up for a Religious People; [Page 54] but our Religion is quite vain, if Honesty be so wanting, that People in [...]eral will be continually casting off the Yoke, and [...]nning over many of the good Laws both of GOD and Man, for the sake of some private Gain, to the injury of public Justice, as well as to the Detriment of some particular Members of the Community: Wherefore, I beseech you, to be in subjection to lawful Authority in all lawful things, and that not by constraint, but willingly, and for Conscience sake.

Yea, and suffer me in kindness to you, to desire you to learn to distinguish between the Sin of Covetousness and a Love to Justice; and don't Charge any Man, or Order of Men, with the Guilt of the Former, meerly, because he or they humbly desire no more than the bare exercise of the Latter; for this wou'd either discover gross Ignorance in you; or, which is much worse, wou'd favour of Malicious­ness.—'Tis certain, that Defrauding is not good Husbandry, but Honesty is the best Policy: Render therefore unto all their Dues; and owe no man any thing, but to love one another.—This is to be kind to your selves, and the way to become a delightsome Land,

But if, on the other hand, a People, and especially in a Protestant Country, will not be punctual to their own voluntary Obligations, according to the true and proper Intent and Meaning of the same, altho' as capable of fulfilling them as formerly, and more so; what else can be expected, but that a Righteous GOD will make DISTRAINT upon them, either by a Succession of Judgments, or else bring them un­der some Yoke more heavy than the present.

If a People who make as high a profession of Religion as any upon Earth (yet) will indulge Formality in Worship, as also neglect to do justly.—Some from a vain pretence of showing kindness to the Poor; tho' they are told by GOD himself that He loveth Judgment, and hateth Robbery, even for Burnt Offering.—And some, lest they should offend their Neighbours; Whenas they ought to set a good Example before them.—And others, because they can't see for their Neighbours, as they can for themselves, &c. [Page 55] What can such a Country expect, but to be involv'd in Dif­ficulties more and more?—If they will Oppress one another, GOD will press hard upon them, and so cause the Punishment to answer to the Sin, till He has made them the Tail and the very scorn of the Provinces.—They may groan under their Burdens, but may expect no relief, unless they, reform, and become devout and sincere in divine Service, and also pay a greater regard to the good Law of Equity and Justice.

Yea, and such a People's Sin and Danger are still the greater, if they dispise (not to say hate) him or them, whose Office obliges them to Reprove in the Gate: Or, if they are quite impatient when put in mind of their faults; altho' they can't but know, that it is the Indispensible Duty of their Mi­nisters to reprove, rebuke, and exhort as there shall be Occa­sion; yea, to cry aloud and not spare, to lift up their Voice like a Trumpet, and show the People their Transgressions and Sins.—When the Case is thus, the Watchmen are bro't to this sad Dilemma, viz. Whether to disobey GOD, or to displease Men. But then the Difficulty soon vanishes, if it be consider'd, that we are under infinitely greater Obligations to obey GOD, than we are, or can be, to please Men:—And this Maxim ought to be receiv'd and remembred by the People also, that so, they may be patient under seasonable reproof and admonition: Yea, it concerns them, not only to hear, but to humble themselves and reform, lest GOD shall in some more severe method of dispensation, so humble them, as to stain the pride of all their glory: For, those that walk in pride, he is able to abase.

Nor do I deny, that the Case is sometimes so, that the Watchman himself stands in need of being call'd upon:—Altho' People should beware of a captious, litigious Spirit, yet, if they, or any of them observe any thing in their Mi­nister's Doctrine or Conduct, which is inconsistent with the Oracles of GOD; or, do apprehend, that he is too remiss in the Discharge of any part of his Office; then doubless, they may and ought, in a proper decent manner, to put him in mind of it, and to say to him, as the Brethren of the Church in Colosse were directed to say to Archippus (Col. 4. 17.) Take heed to the Ministry which thou hast received in the LORD, [Page 56] that thou fulfil it.—You observe that I said, in a decent manner, and not magisterially; for, an Elder, whether in Age or Office, must be intreated as a Father. 1 Tim. 5. 1.

To Proceed;

Be ye not as Children tossed too and fro with every wind of Doctrine: Neither heap to your selves Teachers, having itch­ing Ears; for as there were false Prophets among the People in old time, even so, without doubt, there will be false Teachers among you: Wherefore, hold fast the form of sound Words in faith and love, which is in CHRIST JESUS.—And as I said, some Years ago, on a public Occasion,* so I say again, Hold fast, in particular, the Doctrine of Original Sin, and that of the Nature and Necessity of the New-Birth, and that of Justification by Faith without the Works of the Law, and that of the divine Decrees, as also that of the Saints Perseverance, viz. as taught you in the BIBLE; and agreable thereunto have been taught by the godly Reformers; and as they now stand asserted and explained in the famous Articles of the Church of England: And which if suitably improv'd, will mightily serve to promote practical Religion and vital Piety.

True indeed, you must have respect to all GOD's Command­ments: This is a faithful saying, and we constantly teach and affirm it, that they who believe in GOD, and in JESUS whom he hath sent, must be careful to maintain good Works: Yea, and you will be careful so to do, if you have a good Principle within you: Put then, you may not have the least Dependance on the same to justifie you before the Holy LORD GOD, but must Build on CHRIST, the Rock of Ages, and the Hope of all true Israelites.—To him you must look for Guidance, Strength and Righteousness: And the more you adore and rely upon Free Grace thro' JESUS CHRIST, in the way of well doing, the more will your Souls be in Health and Prosper.

And pray, let special Care be taken by Parents and Mas­ters, that so, the Rising Generation may be unto the LORD for a Praise and a Glory. Let your Children and Servants [Page 57] be under a due Regimen, as well as be Instructed in the Prin­ciples of our holy Religion, and in other useful Learning.—Be fervent in Prayer to GOD with and for them; as also Ex­hort and Caution, Charge and Watch over them for their good: And thus let a good Foundation be laid for the Gene­ration next succeeding, yea, for many Generations.—Think it not too much, I beseech you, to provide and support good Schools for their sakes: For certainly a part of your an­nual Incomes being thus expended, will turn unspeakably more to their real Advantage, than if otherways improved, and in the mean time, their Education be neglected: Good Instruction is much better for them, than Silver, and Know­ledge than the finest Gold.

And let me be an humble Petitioner to my Dear Country-Men, to bestow, in Imitation of your good Fathers, a Liberal Education on the most hopeful and promising of your Sons; that so, there may be a Succession of Men, capable of serving GOD and their Generation, both in the civil and sacred Order.

It has been matter of Grief, that any who call themselves Friends to Religion, do so contradict and dishonour the good Fathers of this Country, and the Founders of our University (which has prov'd so rich a Blessing to the Land) as to make light of Learning, and a learned Ministry: For, all such Per­sons, tho' perhaps they may not, at present, be sensible of it, instead of cherishing, are wounding Religion: Their Zeal is not according to Knowledge, nay, but in proportion to their own Ignorance, a blind, mis-guided Zeal: And altho' they acknowledge it not, yet most probably, takes its Rise from Pride of Heart, and a Fondness to be improv'd: And I may truly add, that there is more of the Hand of Satan in this matter than many imagine.

But to draw towards a Close;

As it is a true saying, that the best Constitution cannot with­out a proper Administration, make a People happy; so it is likewise a manifest Truth, that unless there be a Concurrence of the People with their Rulers, they cannot be in a flourish­ing State; for, no People can be made happy without their own Consent: And therefore let the People of this Province suffer me without Offence, to urge and inculcate upon you, [Page 58] the Necessity of avoiding the very appearance of that shameful and pernicious evil of Corahism, and to intreat and beseech you, chearfully to submit to every Ordinance of Man for the LORD's sake; and in Obedience to Him, as also for your own Benefit.

Yea, Brethren, Whatsover things are true,—honest,—just, pure,—lovely,—and of good report; if there be any vertue, and if there be any praise, think upon, and be found in the Practice of those things .—And let all be done in the Name of CHRIST, and after a godly sort; that so, your Praise may be, not of Man only, but of GOD also.

And O, let none of us, of what Order or Calling, Age or Language soever, be unmindful of Him by whom Kings reign, and Princes decree Justice; but let us Kiss the SON, and acknowledge Him as the LORD our Righteousness and Strength▪ and submit to Him, even, in all his Offices, as we wou'd partake in all his Benefits: For, He is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and no Man commeth to the Father but by him.

And Finally,

As our Honourable Rulers will doubtless be very cautious lest they give any just Occasion to any Man to speak evil of them; as also, will be much in Prayer both for themselves and for the People under their Government;

Even so, let us the LORD's Ministers bear them together with our most Gracious SOVEREIGN and the Ministry at Home, upon our Hearts, in our Addresses to the Throne of Grace; not in public only, but every Day, both in private and secret.

And let all the People both rich and poor, do the like; and in so doing, you will pray for yourselves.

And may it please GOD, this Day, and every Day, to hear us in Heaven, his holy dwelling place, and when he heareth, to forgive the Sins of the Land, and do for us, as the matter does or may require! And more especially, to make us to be an Habitation of Righteousness and Mountain of Holiness!

[Page 59] And then, We shall not only find favour in the Eyes of the KING and of his Councellors; but moreover, GOD will in all other respects also, cause his Face to shine upon us; yea, He Himself will take delight to dwell in the midst of us: And if He be with us and for us, who can be against us? Happy is that People whose GOD is the LORD.

O, that This GOD, may still be NEW-ENGLAND's GOD! And as He was with our Fathers, so may▪ He be with us and with our Children, and Children's Children, even to the latest Generation!

And let all the People say,

AMEN.

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