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midable rebellion, in favour of a bigotted member of that communion. How then fhall we fupport, and strengthen effectually, an establishment, fo effential to our happiness? By hearty and active loyalty, honeft and difinterested public spirit, firm and friendly union; but above all, by serious repentance, and amendment of our ways, with fervent prayers to the great difpofer of all things for his protection. And may it please him to deliver us, in time to come, as, bleffed be his name, he hath in time paft; not for our righteousness, but for his own mercies fake; to break the power of the ungodly and malicious*; abolish perfecution, tyranny and injustice, amongst men; and graciously haften the promised time, when the wolf fball dwell with the lamb, and the leopard lie down with the kid: when none shall hurt or defroy in all his holy mountain; for the earth fhall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the Seat.

* Pfal. X. 17.

+ Ifa. xi. 6, 9.




Preached in the Parish Church of St Mary, Lambeth, October 25. 1761.

TIT. iii. 1, 2.

Put them in mind to be fubject to principalities and powers, to obey magiftrates; to be ready to every good work:

To Speak evil of no man; to be no brawlers, but gentle showing all meeknefs unto all men.

THIS "HIS is the first anniversary of the day, on which we loft, very unexpectedly, a fovereign, under whofe just and mild and prudent administration we had lived, in freedom, fafety and plenty, above thirty-three years. The mercy of Providence, unworthy as we are of it, hath filled his place with a most pious and gracious, amiable and respectable prince; who hath hitherto given us cause to hope, from his government, for every thing that we can wish. Our joint thankf givings have juft now, with the greatest reafon, been offered up to God for fo important a bleffing; together with our earneft prayers, which indeed we repeat as often as we affemble here, for his long life and profperity. But the moft accepta ble expreffion of our gratitude will be, to perform, every one of us, diligently the feveral duties of loyal fubjects, that belong to our respective stations. And these the paffage of fcripture, which I have read to you, comprehends fo fully, and ranges them in fo natural an order, that explaining and enforcing the precepts of it, as they lie there, will give a fufficient view of all that is incumbent on us in this man.



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Put them in mind to be fubject to principalities and porvérs, to obey magiftrates. Thefe phrafes have the fame meaning: only the variety of them ferves to set forth the obligation the more completely, and press it the more earnestly: as indeed there are few, that deferve a greater regard.


Human kind; from early ages, have lived collected into large numbers and our nature and circumftances plainly require, that we should. We experience an inward propenfion to affemble and unite: and are by the faculty of fpeech peculiarly qualified for it. We have many affections, and the feeds of many virtues, planted in us; which a more folitary life would give us very little room to exercise or cultivate and many wants and neceffities belong to our condition, which nothing can tolerably well supply, but an extenfive intercourse of man with man. We cannot therefore either improve or enjoy ourfelves, as God defigned, but in fociety: and fociety cannot fubfift, without a due fùbordination of one part of it to another; that is, without government and obedience. The appetites, the paffions, the caprices of men; would be always leading them to difquiet their neighbours, if they were not reftrained by authority. And a public direction is further neceffary, both for defence against external dangers, and for eftablishing inward order in the community. For even the best meant endeavours of each particular for the general benefit, would be almost always ineffectual, and often prejudicial, unless they were conducted by the general wisdom. Then befides, the civil power is eminently useful, by the fanctions of its laws, to what concerns us yet more nearly, the reformation of our morals, and bettering our tempers. For though rewards and punishments have no immediate efficacy to make à change within: yet regulating our behaviour will of courfe by degrees contribute to mend our hearts. Human laws indeed cannot extend to all our actions: but to many of the most material they can: putting it out of men's power to do the evil, which elfe they would, or stopping them short before they are gone far: faving fome by fear, making others wife by experience, extirpating the incorrigible; and obliging every one to fet all around him a pattern of innocent and regular living. But then laftly, as a right belief in God, and his va VOL. IV.



* Jude, verfe 23.

rious difpenfations towards men, promotes, beyond all things, both the virtue and the happinefs of mankind; another chief advantage of good government is, that whereas without it, moft men would either through ignorance be deftitute of religious principles, or by their own folly, or the fraud of others, led into abfurd and pernicious ones; it kindly makes provifion for them of a rational method of inftruction and wor fhip; not obtruding it on them by force, but propofing and recommending it, which will always fuffice; and thus they are guarded, at once, from the dreadful evils both of impiety and superstition; and carefully taught to discharge the duties, and bear the afflictions, of human life.

Government therefore being fo powerfully conducive to the attainment of these most valuable ends, which doubtless our Maker defigned to be attained, the establishment of it in the world ought confequently to be regarded, as a most important law of God and nature, directly flowing from the conftitution of things. And what reafon teaches, revelation expressly confirme; declaring, that the civil power is the ordinance of God; and they, who exercise it, his miniers of good to men from which premifes the Apoftle's conclufion in the fame place is undeniable; wherefore ye muft needs be fubject, not only for wrath, but also for confcience faket. Whoever then refufes due fubmiffion to the authority, which Providence hath placed him peaceably under; though we ought to judge of him as charitably as with reason we can, if he pleads confcience for it; is, at leaft undefignedly, guilty of difobeying the appointment of Heaven, in a matter of the utmost consequence to the good of mankind. I do not, by this, enjoin obedience to whatever power may ftart up, and maintain itself, in times of public confufion, for a while, by the fword; but to fuch only, as is fully and quietly fettled, and acknowledged by the general confent of the community. Our duty becomes fuch, in this cafe, only for the fake of our common good. And therefore, not they who think they ought, and fay they would protect us, but they who can and do, are to be owned and obeyed. The nature of the thing, and the frequent viciffitudes. of human affairs, requires abfolutely, that this be the rule; and all the world have ever admitted it, excepting a handful


+ Rom. xiii. 5.


Rom. xiii. 1, 20 4.



of perfons in our own age and country; who undoubtedly deferve both pity and efteem, fo far as they go upon principle; but whofe notions, were they to fpread, would produce inextricable confufion throughout the earth.

And very happily fcripture is as clear in this point, as reafon. There is no power, faith St Paul, but of God: the powers that be, the several governments actually fubfifting in each nation, are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore refifleth the power, refifteth the ordinances of God*. Again, St Peter directs all Chriftians to fubmit themselves to every ordinance of man, every human establishment, for the Lord's fake: for fo is the will of Godt. And accordingly they did fo from the beginning of the gofpel; and amidst as many ufurpations and bad titles, in the Roman empire, as the history of any nation hath ever recorded, followed no other maxim, than that of obeying faithfully the authority, to which the Wisdom of Heaven, fuperintending all things, from time to time fubjected them. But when perfons have owned a government, not only by receiving and claiming the benefits of it, but by taking folemn oaths to it, and joining in public prayers for its prefervation: one or both of which I prefume we have all done, thefe additional ties render disloyalty afterwards, grofs perfidy and abandoned profligatenefs.

We cannot then reasonably doubt, to whom our fubmiffion is due; and we can feldom, if ever, doubt, at least in any point that will affect our practice, how far it is to be carried. If our fuperiors command us to do any thing, which we cannot lawfully, we ought to obey God rather than men 1. But otherwife we are to act as they require us; and if they treat us hardly, or manage the concerns of the nation wrongly, we are to bear it with patience. For confider; the affairs of government are always numerous and difficult; fometimes uncommonly intangled and perplexed. They, who manage them, are liable to the fame mistakes, fubject to the fame paffions, and exposed to more temptations, than other men. Therefore not only miscarriages and ill accidents will happen; but neglects and failures, partialities and grievances, must be expected in the behaviour of public perfons, as well as private. And whoever will not fit down contented under fome things of this E 2 † 1 Pet. ii. 13, 15.


Rom. xiii. 1, 2

Acis v. 29.

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