The Freeman's Directory; Or, well accomplished, and faithful Rulers discribed:

A DISCOURSE, Delivered at the Freemen's Meeting in Killingworth, APRIL 11th, 1768.

And now published at the Desire and Expence of many who hear'd it.

By ELIPHALET HUNTINGTON, A.M. Pastor of the first Church in KILLINGWORTH.

Ye have been called unto Liberty, only use not Liberty for an Occasi­on to the Flesh; but by Love serve one another. GAL. v.13.
Ye ought to be quiet, and do nothing rashly. ACTS xix 36.

HARTFORD: Printed by GREEN and WATSON, at the Heart & Crown, opposite the Court-House, 1768.


The Freeman's Directory, &c.

PSALM c1.6.‘Mine Eyes shall be upon the faithful of the Land, that they may dwell with me: He that walketh in a perfect Way, be shall serve me.’

ALL those in whom is the spirit of wis­dom, are, in an influential manner sen­sible, that the true prosperity of states and kingdoms (under God) depends up­on the good qualifications of rulers and counsellors. Of this, king David was fully sensible; wherefore he determined to look well to the accom­plishments of those whom he chose to stand around him.

The words now read, and the psalm in which they are contained, were composed by David, between the times of God's promising him the kingdom, and his actual and plenary possession of it; which appears from the second verse, where he thus addresses him­self to God, O, when wilt thou come unto me? q. d. when wilt thou fulfil thy gracious promise, and give me to sit upon the throne of Israel? He expresses a settled determination that no one should be admitted into his house, as a domestic servant, or into his court as a counsellor, unless free from a vicious character— [Page 4] free from an assuming, corrupt and deceitful mind and conduct. Mine eyes, says he, shall be upon the faithful of the land (in conformity to my glorious antitype) upon those who are governed by a spirit of wisdom, integrity and goodness, for in them is the fa­vourable presence of God. The real and enduring prosperity of the people are the most likely to be se­cured. No state or community on earth can flourish, or subsist, unless God is present to counsel its counsel­lors, and succeed their endeavours. Now, the pro­mise of his favourable presence and assistance, is pe­culiarly to them that fear him, and walk, in his perfect way: Such therefore, were the persons upon whom holy David had his eyes, to search them out, to favour and advance them, from among the people, to fears of government. He well knew, that as the throne is established by righteoussness,a thosse who surround it, must walk in a perfect way. This was so rivetted in his mind, that he repeatedly expresses his settled de­termination, to make himself a pattern, by ordering his conduct according to God's will, and entertain none in his court but such as walked by the same rule. It was not, with him, a sufficient recommendation for high advancement, to be forward and warm in pur­suit of it. To be of quick apprehension, of polite address, or learned in politics. Though the latter of these are good, yet the king after God's own heart, did not confine his views wholly here; he extended them farther in quest of qualifications more divine and God-like. As God invested him with a right to promote to honor and government, he esteemed it ne­cessary, in order to be free from abusing and forfeiting [Page 5] this privilege, to see well to the real worth, and suffici­ent accomplishments of those he called to public ser­vice in the state. This is highly worthy of our seri­ous attention. Since God, in his good providence, has seen fit to indulge us in this colony with this pow­er, of electing our rulers, and this day calls us to the service, we are bound, with impartiality and faithful­ness, as in the presence of God, and accountable to him, to improve this privilege which was, and still is in many places, the sole prerogative of kings. Every abuse of this most valuable liberty, is a forfeiture—and a forfeiture may soon be followed with total loss. But we may farther meditate upon this general ob­servation from the words, viz.

‘That it is a duty incumbent on us, and on all who have a right to, and are active in advancing men to places of public trust and eminence, carefully to have our eyes upon, and give our suffrages for those who are well qulified, and are faithful.’ Here we may consider,

Who we are to view, and act for, as well quali­ed for public trust. Then,

Shew the duty and necessity of giving our suffrages for such, and consider some arguments for it.

Now, by the faithful and well qualified, we are not to understand those only who are of our own particular taste, sentiments or party. 'Tis possible a man may think and act in conformity to, and in conjuncti­on with us, and still be unfaithful to his God, his country, and his king. A person may greedily adopt, and drink in our scheme of religion and politicks, and yet be essentially unqualified for a public ruler.

Neither are we to confine this important character to those who are peculiarly obsequious to us. To [Page 6] those who we imagine in all controversies in which we may be concerned will be ever ready to espouse our cause, (whatever it is) and be servent and active in promoting us; our private interests, or friends. This would favor too strongly of self and party.

'Tis with much disapprobation St. Judeb mentions some, who thus have men's persons in admiration, be­cause of advantage. So, we are not to understand by this, such only as are wise and faithful in their own matters, awake to their own personal interests, and neglectful of the publick. But,

1st. We are to understand by the well qualified, men of approved varacity. I trust there is none of you my friends, but what think it worthy of your care, to elect those to represent and govern you, on whose va­racity you may safely rely: you would be fearful of reposing even the least confidence in any you esteem­ed defective in this point. Our public affairs, and particular circumstances; call for a just representation: and such a representation we can never be assured of, either at home or abroad, unless our public concerns are committed into the hands of men possessed of this virtue. We shall not be likely to have our real wants supplied, or grievances redressed, unless made known to such, as have the power of redressing them in the light of truth. Those who preside in the republick or kingdom, must be informed of the true state of the people, before they can minister to them according to their needs. Doubtless, for want of due information, given to the heads of government, communities and states have often long groaned under calamities from which they might soon have had relief, if matters of [Page 7] fact had been justly related. We always need the help and supports of truth. So Jethro counselled Moses,c Thou shalt provide out of all the people, men of truth. Holy David says,d He that worketh deceit, shall not dwell within my house. This was a virtue Solomon had found very chearing and valuable in ambassadors; he says,e A faithful ambassador is health.

Again, they must be men of impartiality and justice. God, the supreme head of the universe, is a God of truth, and without iniquity,f so he delights in these virtues, and would have all the children of men pos­sess them—in an especial manner those who govern under him. He would have all under his government, partake the benefits of equity and justice: wherefore he says,g He that ruleth over men, must be just. As every person has an unalienable right to equity and justice, rulers must be such as will admi­nister these, faithfully and impartially, and hear the small, and do them justice as well as the great. If there is no proper regard to these in rulers, our estates, our most valuable privileges, yea, our lives, will have but a very slender security. We are bound to give our voices for such as we, with greatest probability judge, will never desert the path of righ­teousness, or the common safety, from the tear of frowns, the hope of rewards, or the adulations of the insincere and designing. The prophet Isaiahh points out who is worthy, and shall be owned of God. He that walketh righteously—that despiseth the gain of op­pressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes—he shall dwell on high.

Where there is a partial administration, you may [Page 8] expect that the wicked will be promoted and justified, and the righteous be overthrown in judgment. That the offending and vexatious will appear in high pla­ces, when the innocent, and his just cause, shall be neglected or turned aside. We can't rationally ex­pect that rulers who are partial, tempered in the heat of party, will properly concern themselves for the good of the whole political body. Their peculiar friends and party interests, will very much terminate their pursuits, whilst the general welfare is trampled upon. Not that they are to be regardless of individu­als, for they are to rule for the particular good of eve­ry one, which will encompass the whole; wherefore 'tis incumbent on us, to afford a promoting hand to such as are most likely to conduct with due reference to these, and to [...] herein. But,

Farther to answe [...] this character, they must be men of found understanding, of firm and steady resoluti­on. It is evident, such us are ignorant of the things of our peace, cannot judiciously, and with success, pursue them. Though, 'tis true, there is a possibili­ty of their taking right measures; but who of us would be willing to risk his own, and the common safety, upon a mere possibility? Wou [...]d it not be an argu­ment of weakness, should you place your most valu­able measures under the slenderess security? Would you hazard your own, and the public's ALL upon a weak and insufficient bottom? Would you, in a tem­pestuous sea, commit your life, and every thing valu­able, to the guidance of an unskilful pilot? To con­duct wisely, our care for the security of our valuable effects should be proportionate to their real valuable­ness. Wisdom is a defence; more so than many mighty.

[Page 9] There is a very rare composition requisite to com­pleat the character of a well-accomplished and faithful ruler; but it is a composition most worthy of our cri­tical search: 'tis a composition which (blessed be God) may be found on earth. There is really need of a spirit of wisdom and understanding as well as of in­tegrity, in those we constitute fathers and protectors, of their country: unless our legislature are knowing, what will be our system for civil government and justice? the wise king of Israel was sensible, that every other qualification short of this, would leave him very unfit for the head of government. That the success and equity of his administrations depended heres wherefore in preference to all other state accomplish­ments, he prays to God for this,i Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart, &c. Men for rule must have a spirit of discernment. Able even at a distance to discover threatning evils, and avoid them; and things tending most to the public emolument, and pursue them. I should account that person either unwise, or brought to straits, who chose one blind for his guide. It was the direction of Moses to the people of Israel,k Take ye wise men, and understanding &c.

'Tis evident a man's practical integrity and good­ness, can't exceed the bounds of his knowledge; wherefore the publick will have but little benefit from those, who have but little understanding in politics.

So likewise there is required magnanimity and firmness of resolution in our political heads. Where those are wanting in any, our public and private interest would be very unsafe in their hands. The preservation of our most important and darling privi­leges [Page 10] would be very precarious: for altho' 'tis no remarkable discovery to see a person firm and resolute in his endeavours for the security of his private inter­est; yet 'tis rare to find a man who will conduct thus, with regard to the common welfare. There is gene­ral cause of this apostolic complaint, "all seek their own, &c." tho' this may not be universal. Now the civil magistrate would be very deficient, if destitute of a publick spirit, and true greatness of soul: without this patriotic virtue, all our boasted privileges would be likely tamely to be given up, even upon the slightest attack. There is a spirit of fear, which God has not given, from which rulers should be free; and a spirit of power, or fortitude & of a sound mind, which he has given, and which they should possess.l

He who from such a spirit of fear—from a secret hope of [...]egal rewards, or aggrandisement, will desert and give up to ruin, the political edifice at it's first apparent shake, and leave his fellow subjects to be buried in its ruins, is too much like the unfaithful shepherd, with much dishonour mentioned by our Saviour,m who even at the distant prospect of the de­vourer, was eager to give up to ruin, his defenceless charge.

But on the other hand 'tis possible they may be too adventrous—by being too precipitant in catch­ing hold to save the ark, they may be instrumental in its overthrow. As the former may plunge them­selves and the state in ruin for want of fortitude, and true publick spirit; so these by being too ardent, and consequently too unguarded in their measures, may prove equally fatal.

[Page 11]There is a proper medium between these extremes worth looking after—a medium which if we could be so happy as to discover, and generally unite in, we might expect that the publick safety would rest upon the firmest basis. So likewise those who are unsta­ble, and contiually wavering, even with the smallest breeze—who appear to do nothing by found judg­ment and steady resolution, are not likely to promote and secure the lasting good of the community. You at once grant that so respectable and [...]onderous a fa brick requires the most solid foundation, and sup­ports. Conscious of this, king Solomon leaves this direction to his son and successor,n Meddle not with them that are given to change.

But we may go on to observe, that the well accom­plished for rule, must be men of faithfulness: this holy David mentions as a summary of the good qua­lities of those he determined should compleat his court and serve in the state. Mine eyes, says he, shall be up­on the faithful—there is much contained in this—there is faithfulness to God—faithfulness in the temporal and spiritual interests of the people. God, whose dominion is universal, demands the first and princi­pal regard of all; wherefore, we can't suppose he who is negligent and regardless of his duty to him, will conscientiously discharge his duty to his fellow men.

The civil magistrate is saido to be the minister of God: wherefore he should have his eye to him. Unless he believes that God is, can he obey him? he should ma­nifest his faithfulness to him, by believing in him, as to that essential mode of subsistance in which he has [Page 12] revealed himself. By believing in Jesus Christ as the King eternal, and the only saviour—by embracing his truths, and walking according to them. Now we can not suppose that those who are regardless of his laws, will regard man's. A steady and uniform attendance to the duties which he owes to God, will recommend to publick confidence.

To add yet farther, we shall do well to take a sur­vey of the past transactions and conduct of those we endeavour to promote to dignified stations. It is un­questionably a good recommendation for advance­ment, where any have been faithful in the places which they have filled heretofore, or fill now, and in the trusts which have been reposed in them. Such we may with a good degree of safety continue to confide in. We may farther trust him, who has given sufficient proof of his good abilities, and fidelity. But should we not be suspicious of him, who had betrayed a trust, and esteem him unworthy of future confidence? you would not readily trust to a bow, which had proved deceitful, or boldly tread where your feet had well nigh slipt.

Those who have evidenced a serious concern for the publick good, and done all in their power to promote and secure it; (if otherwise qualified) bid the fairest to answer the great ends of government. By past faithfulness, they recommend themselves, to honour­ary advancement, and more important trusts. Thus God in things spiritual, gives grace for grace. So our blessed saviour asserts this truth,p He that is faith­ful in that which is least, is faithful also in much. Like principles will most probably govern him in greater [Page 13] matters, which governed him in those that were less, tho 'tis confessed that not every one who is faithful in the lower offices of the state, is qualified for the highest—these may be too weighty for his shoulders. As hath been shewn, there are other qualifications re­quisite: there must be a good understanding, & a publick spirit; a spirit of universal benevolence, which influences to an intimate concern for the good of the community, and of mankind in general.

The qualified patriot is ambitious not only to serve himself, or a partial interest, but to build up, and en­tail lasting happiness to the common wealth—a hap­piness which shall rejoice the hearts of ages, and ge­nerations, which come after him. He esteems it con­temptible—'tis beneath him, to "coil himself up in his own contracted shell." He possesses true great­ness of soul, which can't be confined to party, or fac­tion, but extends as far as possible in promoting par­ticular, and publick happiness. He is continually watchful for the preservation of the religious and civil rights of the people; and contends earnestly, and with perseverance, that the foundations may not be re­moved.

It is necessary that magistrates, and all civil rulers should be such as will seriously regard, highly prize, and be engaged for the security of our religious as well as civil enjoyments: wherefore they should be men of real piety—men of the serious profession & practice of christianity.

Rulers may possibly do well in things temporal, & not in things spiritual; thus Joash, king of Israel, did that which was right in the sight of the Lord—Yet the high places were not taken away—He also took all the [Page 14] hallowed things of the house of the Lord, which his good predecessors had gathered, and gave them to Hasael king of Syria. q Their religious matters lay in a most me­lancholly and affecting waste.

'Tis acknowledged that men destitute of the pure principles of the divine life, may have much under­standing in politicks, be most skilful in a plan, and of a correct and proper address: they may be instru­mental to the publick emolument—yea, they may from various motives, be induced to exert themselves in the cause of religion. But is it probable, that man who has not the fear, the love, and saving truths of God in his heart, will be as steadfastly engaged to maintain the cause of true religion at all adventures, against all unjust claims and oppositions, as he who really possesses these divine virtues?

Rulers are to be nursing fathers to the church as well as to the state: wherefore they must have a most tender love and affection for it's head, and [...] all it's members: it should even be graven upon the palms of their hands, and lie nearer their hearts than children. If they have these sentiments rooted in their hearts they will be inspired with that laudable ambition, "which is a powerful source of good," in advancing the prosperity of our Zion, which is our glory, more than with an ambitious notion of popularity & preferment; for real christianity will form the heart to virtue, and even mould it into the divine image, & benevolent sentiments of its glorious author. Other principles are unstable, and may soon be shaken or rooted out of the mind, but these are established upon an immoveable foundation.

[Page 15] We observe, in the history of the Jews, that when their chief rulers were really men of God, and ruled in his fear, they generally flourished in success and prosperity, both in things spiritual and temporal. Blessed art thou, O land! blessed art thou, O Zion, and people of God, when such are exalted! Is this the case with us? then our hopes for the establish­ment of our most dear, spiritual enjoyments, and their being perpetuated, may triumph over our disquieting fears of the irreparable loss of them. When rulers, instead of being examples of christian faith and puri­ty, are examples of renouncing and slighting the pe­culiar doctrines of grace, and the fundamental arti­cles of the christian religion—when they are in prac­tice, examples of impiety, we may expect that sur­prizing evils will ensue—that error and wickedness will be prevalent, and the cause of the dear Redeemer be clad in mourning.

Mankind are greatly inclined to imitation; in an especial manner, to imitate those in places of emi­nence, and high life. Sensible of this, holy David resolved to behave himself wifely, in a perfect way.r If their examples are bad, we may expect that the wick­ed will walk on every side, and that immorality will pre­vail like the spreading leprosy. When the rulers among the people of the Jews were idolatrous, oppressive or any ways notoriously impious, impiety and wick­edness, even at once, in general deluged them. The real faults and imperfections of those in distinguish­ing seats of government, and of the polite world, are, in the view of many of lower characters, and of those who emulate them, even crowned with a [Page 16] sanction, and imitated as really enobling: from whence the accursed thing which God hates, and which brings final ruin, loses it's malignity, and when thus fashionable, sacreligiously puts on the pretended appearance of honor, and indicates a great and ad­ventrous soul. When this is the case with any peo­ple, what cause of lamentation and grief! O Term­pora, O Mores!

The impiety of princes and rulers, has often proved the corruption and calamity of the state: this history both sacred and human, puts beyond dispute.

We may now proceed to confider the duty of gi­ving our suffrages for such as are thus well qualified for public trust, together with a few arguments (in addition to what have been noticed) exciting to it.

Now, we are bound to this, as it is the will of God, that those who bear his name, should resemble his moral character. Rulers are called Gods,s from that faint resemblance they bear to him, the supreme Ruler. They are called thus, on account of the of­fice they are appointed to under him, to enact laws, to govern, to protect, and to administer justice; and it is his pleasure that they should conduct worthy of this most exalted and honorary title—that they should possess and honor all the moral perfections which be­long to the name. We may not only confider King David speaking in the text, but Christ, the blessed and only potentate, of whom he was eminently a type, and to whom his throne was promised. It is requir­ed by him, that those who are to rule for him, should be faithful, and walk in a perfect way. Yea, that all his subjects should, as far as possible possess, and exhibit [Page 17] all his most glorious moral excellencies. In an especial manner, rulers as his ministers, must like him be no respecters of persons, but imitate his most amiable character, by doing justly, loving mercy, and walk­ing humbly with their God.

Again, we should be animated to this, because 'tis our duty and wisdom, wisely to improve our privileges. It is a privilege truly great, for a people to have the free election of those that have the immediate rule over them; and it has ever been accounted and prov­ed so, by those who have had this power, and duly improved it. That people whose rulers are appointed by those whose distance necessarily keeps them in a de­gree unacquainted with their particular circumstances, (without any hurtful design in those that appoint them) are doubly liable to have such set over them, as care more for absolute dominion, and increase of wealth, than for justice and equity, or the real pros­perity of the community; perhaps for instances of this kind, we need not look into distant climes, or ancient records. Are not such more likely to bind heavy bur­thens upon mens shoulders, than those chosen by the people out of their own tribes, members incorporated in the same body?

But in the good providence of God, and clemency of our rightful King, we in this colony live in the free­est part of a kingdom, the best constituted of any of the kingdoms of the earth. Wherefore we are faith­fully to improve this liberty, and endeavour by all war­rantable measures to have it perpetuated. Every a­buse of it is impious, and exposes to a total, irreco­verable deprivation. And if this is lost by our miscon­duct, or abuse of it, the evil consequences will justly return upon our own heads.

[Page 18] But to proceed, we do well to consider that our most important interests (under God) are put into their hands—yea, the highest interests of every one of us. Rulers are not merely for the benefit of any particular person or party, but for the whole commu­nity. Every member of it (as such) has an equal right in them; so that if we strive to raise those into place, whom we imagine will be partial in favour of us, and of those that think with us, to the ne­glect of others, we act unrighteously, and endea­vour, to prevent others from their unalienable right. Now since every individual, and so the whole body is to be cared for, if we act from partial views, for favourers of a party, we counteract this plain direc­tion, Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. We are bound by all legal measure, to promote our own, and others good and happiness. Surely, you would not be willing to commit your most valuable effects, or those of your friends, to the custody of one who was unfaithful, and would embezzel and destroy them—to one weak and unable to defend them, or to one who would attend to ill advice and desert them. We learn that by weakness and ill advice, Rehoboam took measures which occa­sioned the revolt of ten of the tribes of Israel.

So farther, you may consider that the blessing of God is most likely to come to a people in, and attend the administrations of good and faithful rulers. As he loves righteousness and hates iniquity, so he loves those that work righteousness, and in this service he will establish their ways. Such as are wise and holy, have a peculiar promise of his favourable presence, and he will instruct them. David says, the secret of the Lord is with them that fear him, and he will teach [Page 19] them. So we find that God would not hide from faithful Abraham, the thing he was about to do to Sodom.w The holy records inform us, that he has signally blessed his people, when their rulers were just, ruling in his fear, he is with them in the judgment. When this is at any time the case with us, we may ex­pect that the Lord of hosts will be for a crown of glo­ry, and for a diadem of beauty unto us; and for a spirit of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment.x

This likewise should be a moving consideration to the present duty, that as rulers are to rule for God, we have bound ourselves by free & solemn oath, to help him by giving our votes as in our conscience we judge most for the good of this government, without respect of persons, or favour of any man. Now is such an oath binding? if it is, we are guilty of a most aggravated crime in counteracting it:—a crime of too deep a stain to be easily effaced. Is it not to be feared this is often much too little regarded, and that favourite men and schemes unreasonably biass our minds, and bear us away from the path of duty?

To add yet farther, we do well to consider, in the elections of this day, that we are to be subject unto those who are by us advanced to seats of rule. God commands us to be subject to principalities and pow­ers, and to obey magistrates; since this subjection and obedience is required of us, it highly concerns us to endeavour to promote those, to whom we may chearfully submit, and to whom we may do service as unto the Lord.—Not that we owe passive and blind obedience to all their commands, without any quali­fication—where their commands are contray to God's we are bound in conscience to refrain from them. When Saul told Jonathan that he should surely die, [Page 20] it being unjust, the people said, As the Lord liveth, there shall not an hair of his head fall. It is their just and righteous commands which we are bound by, and if they are not such, then we must see that we obey God rather than men.

But finally.—We should bear it upon our minds that we must account with God for this day's transac­tions. This should be a powerful incentive to a con­scientious attendance to the services of it—that God, who at one view pervades the universe, who searches the hearts, who knows all our ways, all our most se­cret springs of action, will soon call us before his aw­ful tribunal. Let this most solemn thought, excite us to a wise improvement of all our advantages—to an uniform, and steady attendence to all the parts of our duty, and engage us now and ever to conduct in the fear of God, in the uprightness and integrity of our souls, For happy—forever happy and blessed will those servants be, whom their Lord when he cometh shall find so doing.

I shall now conclude with a few inferences from what has been said.

First. We from hence learn, that we should endea­vour to obtain a just knowledge of the good accom­plishments of those we elect to represent, and rule over us. Moses commanded the people to take men for service in the commonwealth, who were known among their tribes &c. whose good qualifications they were well assured of. We act in the dark, and at too great a risk, if ignorant of those we give our voices for. If such a knowledge cannot readily be obtained, 'tis worthy of labour in pursuing after it, as we can't act according to the character of moral agents in this af­fair without a degree of it.

[Page 21]But as you are unable, universally, to have the be­nefit of personal acquantaince, with such as you call to publick service in the state, you will be ready to enquire how you may attain to such a knowledge? to this I reply; Not from those who are leading and hot in a party; it would be even a prodigy, to re­ceive a just and impartial character from such; for we find it frequently (not to say universally) true, that of whatever party they are, they are prone to give us partial information—You may predetermine, that men to their liking will be warmly recommended to yours; and those foreign from their taste will if pos­sible, be sowered to the taste of every body else. See­ing this is so frequently discoverable among us, we need be cautious upon whose recommendation we rely. There is occasion almost universally, where parties run high, to make more or less abatements, as we see the parties characterized, prejudiced for, or a­gainst those whom they characterize. It is an obser­vation which will generally bear, that in all warm con­troversies, you will find truth growing in greatest plenty in the happy medium.

2d. Are rulers God's ministers, bearing his name? then we should not rashly speak evil of them. We ought in regard to them, and to him who sent them, to speak of, and conduct towards them, with due respect and reve­rence. Should we indulge ourselves upon every trivial occasion to speak evil of them, we should transgress the commandment of God. 'Tis said, thou shalt not revile the Gods. And again, thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people. This is not only a violation of the divine law, but tends to bring them into contempt—to alienate peo­ple's minds from them, and subvert government. Railing came so much in contrast with the meeckness [Page 22] of Moses, that he could not practise it, even against the common adversary. The apostle Jude, paints the guilt of those who speak evil of dignities in a crimson dye. It is not from hence to be understood, that we are obliged to refrain from opening our mouths in disap­proving them, in order to obtain relief, supposing they are really hurtful and oppressive. There is a way open for us to seek for, and obtain deliverance, from oppressive and wicked rulers; the law is above the highest of them. But if we have occasion at any time to protest against their measures, it should be in the temper of meekness; not with haughty arrogance and clamorous bitterness: to pretend to judge and condemn them as evil, with our private decision, would be conducting, as tho' we partook of the di­vine prerogative to pour contempt upon princes; to lead counsellors away Spoiled, and to make the judges fools. By speaking reproachfully of rulers, as being weak, unfaithful or wicked, we reproach the body of the people by whom they are elected; yea, we even reproach ourselves, being members of this body. If they conduct unjustly, contrary to the fundamental rules of government, they are not above the law; but in a legal method are to be pointed to the path, and roused to a sense of duty, in that temper of charity which the gospel is full of.

3d. Hence, (if the things mentioned render a person well accomplished for a ruler) 'tis evident that no particular place of abode in the community can disqualify him. If any particular spot of ground can qualify for publick service, then those who have a laudable ambition for this service, must with un­wearied application search for it; yea, they must even sell all that they have to purchase it. This is too trifling a matter for the least contention. Tho' a [Page 23] principal ruler in the eastern, or western part of the government, may perhaps, honor those more frequent­ly with his presence and breath, who dwell near his qualifing place of abode, yet of how much more im­portance is it to all who belong to the community to be honoured, and blessed with his just and equitable administrations?

4th. Since every member of our corporation has an equal right with others in public rulers, we counteract equity & justice, if in our elections we are governed by self or any particular party. 'Tis manifest that party contentions and prejudices in any society or common­wealth, are of most disquieting, & hurtful consequences, and a small acquaintance with our public affairs, will convince that the present times are not free from them—can a kingdom or house divided against itself stand? Now when apprehensive of a fatal disease, an antidote may preserve health and life. When the natural body is in pain; and convulsed, there is need of some specific; so there is much incumbent on e­very one, to promote the health and quietude of the political body. In these days of foreign & domestic disputes, we should all (if from nothing else) from the principle of self preservation, be moved to throw by all party spirit—to cast out this old man with his deeds, & unite all our vigorous endeavovrs for the publick safety. The times are such that we verily want the wisest heads and the uprightest hearts; and if we and all the rest of the freemen in this colony, could in this, be of one heart, and do nothing thro' strife or partiality, we might reasonably hope, that our peace would be as a river, and our prosperity like that of the field which the Lord hath blessed. But if ye bite and devour one a­nother, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.

[Page 24] Lastly. Let the elections of this day, raise your minds above the rulers of this world, to him who is the prince of the kings of the earth, and to that peaceable kingdom of his, which can never be mov­ed; where, (if sincerely subjected to him) we shall all be made kings and priests unto God, in a more glorious manner, than any whilst here. May what has been said of obedience to civil rulers, remind us of our duty in yielding constant obedience unto God, whose requirements are all without exception, perfect­ly just and holy.

We may make choice of such to rule over us in ci­vil matters, as may be instrumental in maintaining peace, and administring justice. But would we be justified before God? would we enjoy peace with God? we must make choice of Christ who is our lea­der and commander, and submit to him as such. Tem­poral rulers, may protect from temporal evils, but Christ, the mighty God, can save us from those which are eternal. Rulers may likewise promote our present interests, but he whose kingdom ruleth over all, can bestow upon us, riches eternally enduring, and inex­pressibly more excellent. He is Lord over all, and all who submit to him as their protector, their saviour, and guide, shall be rewarded with distinguishing and everlasting favours.

It becomes us not only to exert ouselves for the ad­vancement of the kingdoms of this world; but princi­pally for the advancement of the kingdom, and in­terests of the dear Redeemer.

Let us all watch unto faithfulness, and walk be­fore God uprightly, and fulfil the duties of our re­spective places and characters unto death, and then we shall receive a crown of life, which will God of his great mercy grant, in Jesus Christ,


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