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jects, and to obey: obedience is the actual per-| teach men to obey their governors, but as a formance of commanded duties. Subjection is little dog submits unto a mastiff, or so far as their the root of obedience, and virtually contains it: convenience persuades them, but not for conobedience is the fruit of subjection, and sup. science in obedience to God. They teach men poses it. If God be your master, show it by his to look to no higher end than common prefear, or service : it is not calling Christ our servation and liberties, and not to expect proking, but obeying him before all, that will prove tection or reward from the absolute sovereign. us subjects. “ Not every one that saith unto me, In a word, they entice all princes and people into Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of hea- damnable rebellion against the Lord; as much as ven : but he that doeth the will of my Father if they should entice all constables and justices to which is in heaven.'—* I beseech you therefore, hold their places without dependence on the prince. brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present But God teaches us that there is no power but of your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God: the powers that be, are ordained of God: God, your reasonable service: and be not con- whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth formed to this world, but be ye transformed,' or the ordinance of God; and they that resist, shall turned into other men,' by the renewing of your receive to themselves damnation : for he is the mind, that you may prove what is that good, that minister of God to us for good ; even the minacceptable and perfect will of God.'—' And this ister of God, an avenger to execute wrath upon is the will of God, even your sanctification.'— him that doeth evil.' —- Wherefore we must needs • Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conin the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the science' sake.'—For they are God's ministers same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh, continually attending upon this very thing ; and hath ceased from sin : that he no longer should for this cause we must pay them tribute.'-—- Sublive the rest of his time in the flesh, to the lusts mit yourselves to every ordinance of man for of men, but to the will of God.' Yea, we should the Lord's sake, for so is the will of God.' —
stand perfect and complete in all the will of God," Judge righteously between every man and his and by the power of the word of God every brother, ye shall not respect persons in judgthought should be brought in obedience unto ment, but shall hear the small as well as the great; Christ. Our obedience should be public and you shall not be afraid of the face of man : for exemplary, 'for so is the will of God, that with the judgment is God's.'-—' And he said to the well-doing we put to silence the ignorance of fool- judges, take heed what ye do; for you judge ish men.'—' Obedience is better than sacrifice.' not for man, but for the Lord, who is with you Whatever you do, therefore, keep close to the in the judgment; wherefore let the fear of the law of God.
Lord be upon you. But our atheistical politi4. To this end we must labour to know the cians would teach rulers that they are none of law, and be acquainted with God's will. The the ministers of God, and that they judge for book of nature must be studied: the holy scrip- man only, and not for him. The nature of all tures must be searched, and meditated in both true obedience is such as Paul describes in childay and night. Princes must have this book con- dren and servants, that takes its rise and motives tinually in their hands. Rich and poor must learn from the Lord: * Children, obey your parents in it, that they may obey it.
the Lord, for this is right.'--Servants, be obe5. Our subjection to God obliges us to a dient to them that are your masters, according subjection to the officers that he sets over us. to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleIf any man say to judges, justices, and consta- ness of your heart, as unto Christ : not with eyebles, “I will obey the king, but you are not service, as men-pleasers, but as the servants of kings, therefore I will not obey you,' he shall Christ, doing the will of God from the heart ; suffer as disobeying the king in his officers. with good-will, doing service as to the Lord and Contempt of magistrates and ministers, reflects not to men.' on God.
7. Hence also you must learn, that God's au6. Yea, hence we must practically understand thority is the highest authority, and there is inin what respect to obey our governors : not mere- deed no such thing in the world as true authority ly as the officers of men : not only as chosen by that is against him, or not subordinate unto the people ; but as the officers of God, that from him. Therefore if men command us to disobey him have their authority. The atheistical politi- God, by neglecting that which is a duty, or by cians that derive authority no higher than the sinning against him, their commands are from a sword, or the people's choice, or natural strength, I disobedient will of their own, but from no au
thority: and it is better in such cases to obey | Laws are but shadows if there be no execution. God than man. So many prophets, apostles, and 'O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness ; other martyrs, would not have been sacrificed by fear before him all the earth.'—Say among the the fury of persecutors, if they had thought it heathen, that the Lord reigneth. As his projust to obey them before God. God never gave mises, so his peremptory threatenings shall be any man authority against him, nor to nullify fulfilled. He will not revoke his stablished laws his laws. The acts of a justice or constable for fear of hurting wilful sinners, who will not against the king, or beyond their power, are pri- fear his judgments till they feel them. • Let all vate or rebellious acts, and not authoritative. the earth fear the Lord, let all the inhabitants of So are the laws of men that are against God. the world stand in awe of him : for he spake, Yet note well, that though we must rather dis- and it was done ; he commanded, and it stood obey men, than God, yet we may not forcibly fast.' Mark also the present judgments of the resist, when we may not obey them. And in Lord, and rush not on his indignation. For the some cases (as if a king would ravish a woman, Lord is known by the judgments which he exeor the like) when it is lawful to resist his deed, cuteth : the wicked is oft snared in the work of it is not lawful to resist his state, and disturb his own hands. Though the wicked contemn the government of the commonwealth. Obey God, and say in his heart, thou wilt not require men cheerfully when God forbids it not : but see it,' yet they shall find that "he beholdeth misthat God be your absolute sovereign, whose laws chief to requite it with his hand, and that he is can be dispensed with by none.
the helper of the fatherless and poor that commit If parents or masters command you to break themselves unto him.'—• The Lord's throne is the laws of God, obey them not. Despise them in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the not, but humbly deprecate their displeasure, and children of men : the Lord trieth the righteous ; obey them in all other things ; but in the unlaw- but the wicked, and him that loveth violence, his ful thing, obey them not: no, not if they were the soul hateth.' greatest princes upon earth. But say as the 9. The sovereignty of God is a comfort to three witnesses of God, ' we are not careful to his loyal subjects. They may be sure that he answer thee in this matter : if it be so, our God will protect them, and make good his word. whom we serve is able to deliver us from the Behold he cometh, and his reward is with him. burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out The righteous judge at his appearing will give of thy hands, O king: but if not, be it known the crown of righteousness to all them that love unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy his appearing,'—let the nations be glad and gods, nor worship the golden image which thousing for joy, for thou shalt judge the people hast set up.'
righteously, and govern the nations upon earth.' What I have said of magistrates, in the two - Let the heavens rejoice, and the earth be glad, last cases, I mean of pastors in the church. They before the Lord ; for he cometh, for he cometh must be obeyed in and for the Lord; but not to judge the world with righteousness, and the against the Lord. Saith Paul of the churches people with his truth.' of Macedonia, “they gave their ownselves to the 10. Lastly, the knowledge of God as our soLord, and unto us, by the will of God.'— He vereign king, must cause us to desire and pray that heareth you heareth me, and he that des- for and promote the glory of his kingdom, and piseth you despiseth me.' And yet the leaven the obedience of his subjects in the world: that of the pharisees must be avoided : and an angel his name may be hallowed, by the coming of his from heaven be held as accursed, if he should kingdom, and the doing of his will on earth as preach another gospel. And I would not have it is in heaven, must be the matter of our daily flatterers to set either princes or pastors above requests to God. It must be the grief of every the angels of heaven. Though yet in other re- subject of the Lord, to think of the heathen and spects we may be still obliged, as I said before, to infidel parts of the world ; and to see the rebelhear and to obey them.
lion of the profane among us; and that the 8. The knowledge of God's sovereignty, must laws of God are unknown or despised by the most teach us to fear his righteous threatenings, of men. Alas ! how very many are ruled by and reverence his justice, and prepare ourselves their lusts, self-conceit, corrupted wills, and the to be judged by him. He rules by his laws, and customs of the world, or the will of men! but so by threatenings and promises, which he will how few are ruled by the laws of God! O how make good. It is not a painted fire that he should it grieve an honest heart, to see God's threatens. Judgment is a part of government. kingdom hindered by infidelity, and weakened,
divided, and disturbed by popery, and heresy, to him of being his own children. All is from and dishonoured by scandal and impiety, as it love, and in a way of love, and for the exercise is ! And to see the multitude, and the violence and demonstration of love: so that when I call and industry of corrupters, dividers and destroy God our benefactor,' I precisely distinguish ers : and the fewness, the coldness, and remiss- this last part of his relation to us from the rest : ness of the builders, the healers and restorers! but when I call him “a Father,' I mean the same All you that are loyal subjects to your Lord, la- thing, or relation which a benefactor signifies; ment these ways of rebellion and disobedience, but with fuller aspect on the foregoing relations, and the diminutions and distempers of the sub- and joining of them as they are perfected all in jects of his kingdom, and the unfaithfulness and this. negligence of his ministers : and bend your Here I shall briefly name the benefits on cares, desires, and prayers, to the promoting of which this relation of God is founded. 1. God's kingdom in you, and in the world, and Even in creating us, he acted as a benefactor, befriend not any thing that hinders its pros- giving us the fundamental good of being, and the perity.
excellency of manhood. 2. By setting us in a
well furnished world, and putting all things under CHAP. XV.
our feet, and giving us the use of creatures. 3. The third of these relations, and the next point By entering into the relation of a governor to in the knowledge of God, to be spoken of, is, us, and consequently engaging himself to terms that he is our most loving father, or bountiful of justice in his dealing with us, and to protect benefactor. As he is good, so he doth good. us, and reward us, if we did obey ; and making As he is the chief good, so he bestows the us capable of an everlasting happiness as our greatest benefits : and therefore is thence, by end, and appointing us sufficient means therea necessary result, our most bountiful benefacto. These benefits denominated God the great
The term · Father comprehends in it all benefactor or father unto man, in the state of bis his three great relations to us. 1. A father creation. gives being to his children, and therefore hath But then, moreover, he is a common benefacsome propriety in them; and God is the first tor also. 4. By so loving the world, as to give cause of our whole being, and therefore we are his only begotten Son, to be their Redeemer; a his own.
2. A father is the governor of his sufficient sacrifice for sin. 5. By giving out his children: and God is our chief governor. 3. promise or covenant of grace, and making a A father tenderly loves his children that are proclamation of pardon, reconciliation, and eterchild-like, loving and obedient to him; and seeks nal life, to all that will accept it in and with their felicity: and so doth God love, and will Christ, to gospel ends. 6. By sending forth the make happy, his loving and obedient children, messengers of this grace, commanding them to who have not only their being from him as their preach to every creature the gospel, or word of Maker, but their new being, or holy nature, from reconciliation committed to them, and to beseech him as their sanctifier. This last being the men, in Christ's stead, as his ambassadors, as if end and perfection of the rest, doth communi- God himself did intreat by them, to be reconciled cate its nature to the rest, as the means. And so, to God. 7. By affording some common mercies 1. The new nature that God thus gives us in without, and motions of his Spirit within, to seour regeneration, is not from his common love, cond these invitations. But though by this but is an act of special grace, proceeding from much God hath a title to their dearest love, yet his special, fatherly love. 2. The government they have no title to his highest benefits, nor are that he exercises over them, as his regenerated in the nearest relation of children or beneficiaries children, is not a common government, such as to him. is that of the mere law of nature, or of works; But, 8. When he begets us again to a lively but it is a special government by a law of grace, hope, by his incorruptible seed, and gives us a justifying, saving law, or covenant ; together both to will and to do, and when the Father with an internal illuminating, quickening, guid- effectually draws us to the Son, renews us ing spirit, with church-state, officers, and ordi- according to his image, takes away our old nances, all suited to this way of grace: even as and stony hearts from us, gives us new and his dominion or propriety by redemption, and tender hearts, and gives us to know him, and our sanctification and resignation, is not a com- love him as a father; then is he our Father in mon propriety, but a gracious relation to us as the dearest and most comfortable sense, and we our own father, who hath the endeared relation are his children, that have interest in his dear. est love. 9. Therefore we have his Spirit, and sun by its light, will never see it! These beams pardon, justification, and reconciliation with him. come down to invite our minds and hearts to 10. Also we have special communion with him God; and if we shut the windows, or play till in prayer, praises, sacraments, and all holy ordi- night, and they return without us, we shall be nances and conversation. 11. We and our ser- | left to utter darkness. vices are pleasing to him, and so we are in the The mercies of God must imprint upon our light of his countenance, and under a special pro- minds the fullest and deepest conceptions of mise of his protection and provision, and that all him, as the most perfect, suitable, lovely object things shall work together for our good. 12. to the soul of man ; when all our good is origiAnd we have the promise of perfection in ever- nally in him, and all flows from him, that hath lasting glory.
the goodness of a means, and finally himself is Now as you see how God is our benefactor all; not to love God then, is not to love goodor most gracious and loving Father, let us next ness itself; and there is nothing but good that see what this inust work on us.
is suited to our love.' Night and day therefore 1. Goodness and bounty should shame men should the believer be drawing and deriving from their sin, and lead them to repentance. from God, by the views and tastes of his precious Love is not to be abused and requited with un- mercies, a sweetness of nature, and increase of kindness and provocation. He that can turn holy love to God, as the bee sucks honey from grace into wantonness, and do evil because the flowers. We should not now and then for grace hath abounded, or that it may abound, a recreation light upon a flower, and meditate shall be forced to confess that his damnation is on some mercy of the Lord ; but make this our jast. He that will not hate his sin, when he work from day to day, and keep continually sees such exceeding benefits stand by, and hears upon our souls, the lively tastes, and deep immercy, and wonderful mercy, plead against it, pressions of the infinite goodness and amiableand upbraid the sinner with ingratitude, is like ness of God. When we love God most, we are to die a double death, and shall have no more at the best, and most pleasing to God; and our sacrifice for sin.
lives are sweetest to ourselves : and when we 2. The fatherly love and benefits of God call steep our minds in the believing thoughts of the for our best returns of love. The benefits of abundant fatherly mercies of the Lord, we shall creation oblige all to love him with all their most abundantly love him. Every mercy is a heart, and soul, and might: much more the be suitor to us from God. The scope of them all nefits of redemption, and especially, as applied is this, "My son, give me thy heart.' Love by sanctifying grace, to them that shall be heirs him that thus loves thee. Love him, or you of life, it obliges them by multiplied strongest reject him. O wonderful love! that God will obligations: the worst are obliged to as much regard the love of man! that he will enter love of God as the best ; for none can be obliged into a covenant of love ; that he will be related to more than to love him with all their heart, &c. to us in a relation of love ; that he will deal but they are not as much obliged to that love: with us on terms of love; that he will give us we have new and special obligations; and there- leave to love him, who are so base, and have so fore must return a hearty love, or we are doubly loved earth and sin! yea, and that he will be so guilty. Mercies are love's messengers, sent from earnest a suitor for our love, as if he needed it, heaven to win up our hearts to love again, and when it is only we that need! But the paths entice us thither. All mercies therefore should of love are mysterious and incomprehensible. be used to this end. That mercy that doth not 3. As God is in special a benefactor and faincrease, or excite and help our love, is abused ther to us, we must be the readiest and most diliand lost, as seed that is buried when it is sowed, gent in obedience to him. Child-like duty is and never more appears. Earthly mercies point the most willing and unwearied kind of duty. to heaven, and tell us whence they come, and Where love is the principle, we shall not be eyefor what. Like the flowers of the spring, they servants, but delight to do the will of God, and tell us of the reviving approaches of the sun : wish, O that I could please him more! It is a but like foolish children, because they are near singular delight to a gracious soul to be upon us, we love the flowers better than the sun ; for- any acceptable duty; and the more he can do getting that the winter is drawing on. But good, and please the Lord, the more he is pleasspiritual mercies are as the sun-shine that more ed. As fatherly love and benefits are the fullest immediately depends on, and flows from, the sun and the surest, so will filial duty be. The heart itself. And he that will not see, and value, the is no fit soil for mercies, if they grow not up to holy fruits. The more you love, the more cheer- | revealed in the gospel, be the most wonderful fully will you obey.
objective means; yet shall not these do it with4. From hence we must learn, both how God out the internal effective means. But when love is man’s end, and what are the chief means that doth shine to us so resplendently without us, in lead us to him.
the face of the glorious Sun of love, and is also 1. God is not the end of reason, nakedly con- set into us by the Spirit's illumination, that sheds sidered, but he is the end which love inclines us abroad this love in our hearts, then will the holy to, and which by love is attained, and by love fire burn, which comes from heaven, and leads enjoyed : the understanding of which would re- to heaven, and will never rest till it have reached solve many great perplexing difficulties that its centre, and brought us to the face and arms step into our way in theological studies. I will of God. name no more now, but only that it teaches us, 5. From the fatherly relation and love of God, how both God and our own felicity in the frui- we must learn to trust him, and rest our souls in tion of him, may be said to be our ultimate end, his securing love. Shall we distrust a Father; without any contradiction, yet so that it be emi. an omnipotent father! Therefore is this relanently and chiefly God. For it is a union, such tion prefixed to the petitions of the Lord's prayer, as our natures are capable of, that is desired, in and we begin with our Father which art in which the soul doth long to be swallowed up in heaven, that when we remember his love, and God; understand but what a filial or friendly our interest in him, and his all-sufficiency, we love is, and you may understand what a regular may be encouraged to trust him, and make our intention is, and how God must be the Christian's addresses to him. If a Father, and such a Father, end.
smite me, I will submit, and kiss the rod : for I 2. Withal it shows us, that the most direct know it is the healing fruit of love. If a Father, and excellent means of our felicity, and to our and such a Father, afflict me; wound me, deal end, are those that are most suited to the work strangely with me, and grieve my flesh, let me of love. Others are means more remotely, and not murmur or distrust him ; for he well undernecessary in their places; but these directly. stands what he doth ; and nothing that shall hurt Therefore the promises and narratives of the me finally can come from omnipotent paternal love and mercy of the Lord, are the most direct love. If a Father, and such a Father, kill me, yet and powerful part of the gospel, conducing to let me trust in him, and let not my soul repine our end: and the threatenings the remoter at his proceedings, nor tremble at the separating
Therefore as grace was advanced in the stroke of death. A beast knows not when we world, the promissory part of God's covenant or strive with him, what we intend, whether to cure, law, grew more illustrious, and the gospel con- or to kill him : but a child need not fear a killing sisted so much of promises, that it is called 'glad blow, nor a loving soul a damning death, from tidings of great joy. Therefore the most full such a Father. If he be a Father, where is his demonstration of God's goodness and loveliness love and trust ? to our hearers, is the most excellent part of all 6. If God be our Father, and so wonderful a our preaching, though it is not all. And there- benefactor to us, then thanks and praise must be fore the meditation of redemption is more power- our most constant work, and must be studied ful than the bare meditation of creation, because above all the rest of duty, and most diligently it is redemption that most eminently reveals performed. If the tongue of man, which is called love. Therefore Christ is the principal means his glory, be made for any thing, and good for of life, because he is the principal messenger and any thing, it is to give the Lord his glory, in demonstration of the Father's love, and by the the thankful acknowledgment of his love and wonders of love which he reveals and exhibits mercies, and the daily cheerful praises of his in his wondrous grace, he wins the soul to the name. Let this then be the Christian's work. love of God. For God will have external ob- 7. The children of such a Father should live a jective means, and internal effective means con- contented, cheerful life. Diligence becomes them, cur, because he will work on man agreeably to but not contrivances for worldly greatness, nor the nature of man. Though there was never cares for that which their Father hath promised given out such prevalent invincible measures of them to care for. Humility and reverence bethe Spirit, as Christ hath given for the renewing seems them, but not dejection and despondency of those that he will save, yet shall not that of mind, and a still complaining, fearful, troubled, Spirit do it without as excellent objective means. disconsolate soul. If the children of such a Father Though Christ, and the riches of his grace shall not be bold, confident, and cheerful, let