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demned by the righteous judgement of their God, are consigned over to the executioners of eternal vengeance.
A consideration of these important truths suggesteth the best rules for the conduct of those who are concerned in human judicatories.
Mindful, therefore, of "that man by whom "God shall judge the world in righteousness, he who sitteth on the seat of judgement, as the representative of an earthly sovereign, will consider himself likewise as his minister, "by whom kings "reign, and princes decree judgement," and at whose bar kings and princes, with all in authority under them, must one day appear. At present "God "standeth in the congregation of princes," observing the manner in which they exercise the power delegated to them; but hereafter he shall sit as a judge even of them, who, by reason of that delegated power are styled gods. The care then of the magistrate, when he goeth up to the judgement-seat, will be, to put on righteousness as a glorious and beautiful robe; and to render his tribunal a fit emblem of that eternal throne, of which justice and judgement are the habitation.
Mindful of those holy and exalted personages, who shall sit with their Lord upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel, they to whom the laws of their country commit the lives and properties of their fellow subjects, will not suffer themselves to be biassed by any worldly considerations. They will neither be intimidated by the frowns of the mighty, nor seduced by the promises of the opulent, to de
part one step from the disinterested uprightness and integrity which characterize the apostles of the Son of God.
Mindful of that true and faithful witness which every man carries in his bosom, which no gift can blind, no power can silence, or prevent its appearing to testify concerning his thoughts, his words, and his actions at the last day, they who are called upon to give evidence, will do it with simplicity and sincerity; neither palliating the crimes of the guilty, nor aggravating the calamities of the wretched, but so speaking "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth," as their consciences will hereafter infallibly do, and as they expect help from the God of their salvation in that dreadful hour.
Mindful of that blessed and gracious Spirit, who now "maketh intercession for us with unutterable "groanings," and who shall plead our cause at the judgement-seat of Christ, the advocate will rejoice in the godlike task of patronizing the injured and oppressed; of contributing, by his skill and industry, towards the elucidation of truth, the detection of villany, and the vindication of innocence. But he will never employ his learning for the establishment of falsehood, nor display his eloquence in favour of injustice.
Mindful of their happy lot whom mercy shall receive to glory, and of their sad estate whom justice shall hurry away to torments, we shall all provide against that day which is to determine our fate for everlasting ages. Should a door of hope be opened to those unhappy wretches who are now reserved in
chains, to be brought forth to judgement before an earthly judge, how eagerly would they press into it? Could sorrow for their past offences, and unfeigned resolutions of amendment, procure the royal pardon, restore them to a state of probation, and enable them to lay hold on life, how thankful would they be for the offer, how readily would they close with the proposal! This favour is graciously vouchsafed to us. For, "behold, now is the accepted time; behold, "now is the day of salvation. The judge standeth "before the door," but his entrance is not yet. The evangelical act of grace continueth in full force, and all are invited to partake of the benefits of it; that so having repented, and believed the Gospel, having kept the faith in a pure conscience, and kept it unto the end, they may obtain their pardon under the seal of the living God, and receive the promised reward in the day of eternal recompense. For "there is no "condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, "who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." While, therefore, we bless God, who preserveth to us the administration of justice in our land, let the present solemnity, by reminding us of the trial we likewise must undergo, be made profitable in things pertaining not only to this life, but also to that which is to come; that so, when we shall all meet again, after our separation by the chances of life and the stroke of death, we may remember that we met on this day; and remember with pleasure, that we met not in
THE ORIGIN OF CIVIL GOVERNMENT.
ROMANS, XIII. 4.
He is the minister of God to thee for good.
IT is impossible for any one to consider, with attention, the harmony in which all the parts of the natural world conspire to act for the benefit of the whole, without feeling an ardent desire to learn by whom, and in what manner, they were first framed and compacted together; how the agents were suited to the patients, and the causes proportioned to the effects; so that the former have ever since operated invariably in the production of the latter; and the result hath been an uniform obedience to the laws originally imposed upon inanimate matter. A diligent survey of the blessings for which the moral world is indebted to civil polity, and the due execution of its edicts, must needs excite a curiosity equally earnest and equally laudable, to inquire into the origin of so useful and necessary an institution; to know at what time, and under whose direction, a
machine was constructed, capable, by a variety of well-adjusted springs and movements, of controlling the irregularities of depraved nature, and of ensuring to us, amidst the restless and contradictory passions and affections of sinful men, a quiet possession of our lives and properties.
A "state of nature" hath been supposed by writers of eminence upon this subject, "when men lived "in a wild and disorderly manner; and, though "they had a principle of restraint from religion, and
a kind of general law that exacted punishment of "evil doers, yet as the administration of this law was "in common hands, and they had no one arbiter or judge, with authority over the rest, to put this law, "with any regularity, in execution; so, from the ex
cess of self-love, many mutual violences and wrongs "would ensue, which would put men upon forming "themselves into civil societies, under some common "arbiter, for remedy of this disorder."-And it hath been, accordingly, concluded, that "the civil magi"strate was called in as an ally to religion, to turn "the balance, which had too much inclined to the "side of that inordinate self-love."
In the "wild and disorderly state" here supposed, when mankind were mere savages, it is not easy to conceive how they had obtained "a principle of re"straint from religion," or "a kind of general law "that exacted punishment of evil-doers." And it is no less difficult to imagine, what benefit could accrue to them from either; since, as the religion had no priest to teach and enforce it, the law had no magistrate to promulgate and to execute it. "The ad