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forget God, yet, in proportion as the fear of God is wanting in the heart, in that same proportion will these other fears enter in and dwell there: and a thoughtful and sensible person can no more enjoy himself in such company, than if he were daily beset with ruffians and murderers. All the base passions which murder a man's soul, murder his peace at the same time: and this is what he gets by a dislike to the fear of God. Therefore, as it is the worst of folly to live without the fear of God, it must be the beginning of wisdom to have it, and be directed by it. But folly in this world leads to misery in another ; which is the most dreadful consideration of all. Who can express or conceive the amazement of those, who have lived here without the fear of God, when they shall see the day of vengeance approaching, and all the terrors of the last judgment gathering round about them! Then shall that fear of God come upon them, which now for a while they can put away: and the hearts of those, who now seem to care for nothing, shall sink and melt away within them. What would they then give, if they had but been wise enough to attend to instruction while the day of grace lasted ? What will then become of their proud speeches, and their looks of defiance ? when they shall remember their folly in the bitterness of their souls, and be afraid to lift up their heads towards heaven, where their Judge is now revealed to every eye, no longer to be despised and insulted, but attended with millions of the heavenly host; seated on a throne, rendered majestic and terrible, with dark clouds and flames of fire,
For the present hour, we talk of these things, as distant from us; yet when they shall be displayed before our sight, the interval between this time and that will seem but as a moment. What are we then
to do, but to set the Lord alway before us; who, if he is our fear now, he will be our defence then : and in the mean time, we shall find our fears of all other things lessening every day, and our hopes increasing ; till an acquaintance with God shall give us a foretaste of the peace and liberty of that glorious kingdom, in which we shall serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness.
The precept in the text, which at this time deserves the serious consideration of all Christian people in this kingdom, is founded on that common doctrine of the Scripture, that kings and rulers have their authority from God, and that upon this account they are to receive honour from men.
To prevent all mistakes, give me leave to observe, in the first place, that it can never hurt kings and rulers to tell them so. Are the clergy the worse men, when they consider themselves as the servants of God? May they do as they please, because they are the ininisters and stewards of a Master, who is no respecter of persons, and from whom, if they fail, they will receive the greater condemnation. That would be a strange inference : and the same observation is applicable to civil governors. All power heing originally inherent in God as his own property, power is a talent committed by him to man: and as the abuse of this is more extensive in its ill effects than the abuse of any private endowment, it must be strictly accounted for; therefore this doctrine can do no harm: there is no flattery in it; it is a fearful consideration.
With respect to ourselves, the consequence is plain;
3.1 Fod, it must be
I renting of which, - TI Esil it is also our
Ire; which de p. 223 God; that
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I that the wrath, Iko against those who immer must therefore be
ita Duet be erecuted: Cuéllu izainst govern
u nascit, because its Jetron se observation of 5. Lisat to the Judges 0 ke like authority;
e not for man, but suze im Jaégment. And the ..:Tikes to the people: “ take L'urbedience is de ben, but
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cial duty; and we cannot -3 Is that honour when they 13 Is. I eskort, said the
i este sugplications, preurs, in**.=!1! ...ziks, be made for all men;
ra in authority, that we .* sit life in all godliness
trenies of the Christians 3. sey abue voured to make
seopie of suspicious bezer sind acse interests
i ze empire. But i nave submission
and quietness which they never failed to observe towards all that were in authority over them.
Our duty, then, is clear from such precepts as cannot be evaded, and such examples as are taken from the purest times of the Gospel, when obedience to heathen persecutors was a trial far more severe to flesh and blood, than the practice of common loyalty to the friends and protectors of Christianity.
The wisdom of adhering to this duty, is the next thing to be considered. And surely it must be the wisdom of men enlightened by the word of God, and blessed with great improvements of science, to proceed on true principles ; to walk in that light which they have, and not to emulate the darkness of heathens, or the confusion and rapine, of barbarians. The Scripture teaches us, that there is no power but of God; that, as he is the maker of the world, all the property of the world is originally vested in him; that kings hold of him; and the people of their kings: and our laws recognize this doctrine, by making all property revert to the crown, upon any act of treason or rebellion. Some embrace another opinion, that there is no power but of the people, which position being contrary to that of the scripture, they cannot both be true. The question about power may easily be solved, if we do but distinguish rightly between physical or natural power, and power of authority. It can never be denied, that an armed multitude is superior in physical power to any defenceless man, with all his honours and titles about him; as smoke and ashes, shot upwards from the bowels of the earth, can put out the light of the sun: but in this there is no power of authority; and it may be turned against all the law, and all the reason in the world. A gang of robbers have power over the helpless traveller in