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THIRTEENTH DAY.-MORNING. guilty of smuggling, or conveying away clandes
tinely goods for which the legal tribute has not soul be subject unto the higher powers. been paid. “For this cause pay ye tribute also; For there is no power but of God; the powers for they are God's ministers, attending continually that be are ordained of God, Rom. xiii. 1.
upon this very thing. Render, therefore, to all their We meditate, this morning, on the duties of sub- dues ; tribute to whom tribute is due, custom to jects to their civil rulers.
whom custom.' We are not at liberty to refuse to 1. Obedience. On this point scripture is full pay, on the general plea of being displeased with and express. “Let every soul be subject unto the application of taxes; they are due on our part, the higher powers,' or superior authorities. We if they be actually demanded according to law should hold a very high standard of submission and the existing constitution. When Christ was to civil governors. The only limitation is when asked if it was lawful to give tribute to Cæsar, they require what is contrary to the will of God; the heathen emperor, he answer in the affirmathen it becomes not only lawful, but a positive tive, and enjoined it, in the words, "Render unto duty, to refuse to comply; and in such instances Cæsar the things which are Cæsar's, and unto of disobedience, instead of being guilty of any God the things which are God's.' thing that deserved to be stigmatized as rebellion, 4. Prayer. God alone can qualify rulers for men of God have exhibited some of the noblest their office, and direct and prosper them in it. examples of human virtue and religious courage. 'I exhort therefore,' says the apostle Paul, “tbat, Such noble examples were furnished by those who first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, would not destroy the male infants of the Israel and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for ites at the command of Pharaoh king of Egypt; kings, and for all that are in authority ; that we by the three Hebrew youths, who said to Nebu- may lead a quiet and peaceable life all in godlichadnezzar, ‘Be it known unto thee, O king, that ness and honesty.' we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the These are the chief duties of subjects to rulers; golden image which thou hast set up;' by Daniel, and it is to be observed that they are not limited to who, when Darius had made a decree that whoever any one form, but applicable to every form of should ask any petition of any god or man for government; they are due to the powers that be, thirty days, save of Darius himself, should be to the existing authorities. There are, in free, or cast into the den of lions, paid no attention to the comparatively free countries, constitutional means decree, but went on to worship the Lord as before; of improvement. What degree of tyranny can and by the apostles, who, when they were strictly justify open resistance is a very delicate question. commanded, by the supreme council of the nation, Surely there is nothing in the word of God which not to teach in the name of Jesus, proceeded to can be fairly interpreted as intended to check the preach notwithstanding, and when called to progress of national improvement, to rivet the account for doing so, answered, “We ought to chains of despotism, and to keep the sword in the obey God rather than man. Nothing, however, hand of merciless tyrants that would oppress, and but such strong and conscientious grounds as even slay, the servants of the Lord. these can be fairly pleaded in defence of not sub- While such are the duties that subjects owe mitting to the decrees of supreme rulers, judges, to the authorities that already exist, they have and magistrates. We are sacredly bound to obey also, in free countries, like ours, a very important them, in a free country, as long as they act duty to perform with regard to the election of agreeably to the laws, within the limits of their rulers and legislators, whose appointment depends own jurisdiction, and in a way not requiring of us on their voice. They ought to choose men of what is sinful.
good principles and good character, men of piety 2. Honour, or civil respect. Though rulers and morality, who are disposed to respect all the may not be personally characterized by special laws, civil and ecclesiastical, already made, and, excellence, their station and rank are entitled to (if they are to have legislative power), disposed honour. “Render to all their dues;” “fear to whom to support measures for the glory of God, and fear; honour to whom honour. This precept the real good of the people. Electors may err; seems to discourage that stiffness, which, under but surely they should aim right, and have a the pretence of Christian simplicity, by disputing fixed determination to choose virtuous men. In such forms, may rather indulge pride, and occasion cases where they cannot find men in every reproach.
respect to their mind, they should take those who Payment of taxes. Christians should act come nearest to the proper standard. "ly in this respect, and by no means be Strong reasons exist for subjects carefully fulfilling the duties they owe to their rulers. Civil | moderation and self-command. "It is not for government, in the general sense, is founded in kings, 0 Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, the will of God, not in an imaginary social com- nor for princes strong drink; lest they drink, and pact; and therefore, to disobey, without just forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any cause, is an offence against God. «The powers of the afflicted.' Diligence is also needful to the that be are ordained of God. Whosoever, there- good management of public affairs,—the intense fore, resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance and persevering application of the mind and powers of God; and they that resist shall receive to to the various important subjects which fall to be themselves damnation, or condemnation. The settled. “The honour of kings is to search out a danger of resistance is great, in all cases, in this matter.' world, and in unjustifiable cases, in the next world. Rulers, to be good rulers, should be pious, Civil government is instituted for good ends. “ ruling in the fear of God.' There is no security •He,' the ruler, “is the minister of God for good,' for the discharge of any duty whatever without to be a terror to evil-doers, and an encouragement the prevalence of religious principle. Those who to those who do well. Disobedience on the part fear not God, are very ready to disregard man. of some tends to a state of anarchy, which is the The need of religion, however, is peculiarly great worst possible state of society, even a bad govern- in rulers. Their duties are arduous, and their ment being better than none. The happy conse- temptations are many: hence the necessity for their quences to the peace and prosperity of a nation, being decidedly under the influence of inward and resulting from the discharge of these duties, should sincere piety. It is their duty to show a good weigh powerfully with every good man. Upon example. Their station is conspicuous; they are the whole, let Christians feel the sacred obliga- like a city set on a hill which cannot be hid. The tions under which they lie to demean themselves influence of power, rank, wealth, splendour, and as good subjects; and let them attend to the fashion is very great, either for good, or for evil. words of the apostle, ver. 5. •Wherefore ye must In whatever way the great lead, multitudes needs be subject, not only for wrath,' or out of a usually follow. It is their duty, without interferregard to the displeasure of the ruler, and fear of ing with the spiritual independence of the church, punishment, 'but also for conscience sake.' to encourage religion in their official, as well as
private capacity. Jehovah says to the church,
Kings shall be thy nursing-fathers, and their queens
thy nursing-mothers.' •And the sons of strangers THIRTEENTH DAY.-EVENING.
shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall * The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake civil rulers is clemency. Justice should be tem
minister unto thee. Another important duty of to me, He that ruleth ocer men must be just,
• Where the word of a king
pered with mercy. ruling in the fear of God; 2 Sam. xxiii. 3.
is, there is power; and who may say unto him, With what plainness and beauty does king David, What doest thou ?' But princes must take care under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, and not to become oppressors. A discretionary power therefore, in unerring terms, describe some of the is lodged with them to remit, or mitigate punishchief duties of civil rulers! First. He that ments, which should be cheerfully, though judiruleth over men must be just. Justice is an ciously used. They should seek to govern rather essential ingredient in the character of good by persuasion and love, than by fear and force: rulers. Justice requires them, in the capacity of and they should be much employed in preventlegislators, to enact equitable laws ;-in the capa- ing evil, that there may be but little necessity city of judges, to decide impartially according for punishing it. They should seek to promote, to these laws; in the executive capacity, to put by all proper means, the prosperity and happithese laws in force. Rulers must not use their ness of those who are under them. They should power to injure, or oppress: they must employ it avoid selfishness, and cherish a benevolent spirit, to defend the good, and to restrain the evil; and remembering that they are raised up, not that they must be very conscientious in carrying out they may receive the incense of flattery, and the principles on which they are called to act, shine in splendour and gratify their pride and without any partiality.
luxury, but that they may be blessings to the In connection with justice, certain other virtues community. are also requisite to form the character of good The sweet Psalmist of Israel, guided by the rulers. They should be temperate, characterized, Spirit of the Lord, employs, in the fourth verse, not by excess of luxurious indulgence, but by the following beautiful comparisons to describe the cheering and happy effects of the government of case; yea, happy is that people whose God is such a just, pious, and kind ruler: “He shall be the Lord.' as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds: as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain. It is certain that God, in his provi
FOURTEENTH DAY-WORXING. dence often blesses nations for the virtues, and punishes them for the crimes, of their princes. Thus saith the Lord God unto the shepherds, What evil may come on nations in consequence
Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed of the wickedness of their kings, is exemplified in
themselres! should not the shepherds feed the Jeroboam and Ahab;-what good, in David, flocks?' Ezek. xxxiv. 2. Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah, and Josiah.
WHOEVER enters on the great work of the It would tend powerfully to prompt rulers to Christian ministry ought himself to be an enlightthe faithful discharge of their various duties, were ened, believing, converted, and truly religious they properly to consider, and habitually remem
· Unto the wicked God saith, What hast ber, that their authority is delegated, ---that they thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou themselves are the subjects of the King of kings, shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth ?' Nay, and responsible to him. They are expressly religion must not only exist, but be in a thriving called God's • ministers,' or servants. "He is the state, in a minister's own soul, in order to his minister of God to thee for good;' he is the going on vigorously, and in order to his having a minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath reasonable expectation of much success in his upon him that doeth evil.' * They are God's ministry. “Restore unto me the joy of thy salministers, attending continually upon this very vation, and uphold me with thy free spirit; then thing:' Rom. xiii. 4, 6. While this relation to will I teach transgressors thy ways, and sinners God is very honourable to them, the thought of shall be converted unto thee.' Supposing that it should keep them humble and dutiful, and ministers personally know, believe, and obey the remind them that it is his honour and not their truth, the following are some of the chief duties own they should seek to promote; his holy will they owe to their people. and not their own caprice they should exert It is their duty to feed the flock; that is, to themselves to work out. The hour is coming, instruct them. Knowledge is the food of the too, when rulers will have to stand before the mind. Jehovah makes this gracious promise to bar of Him that accepteth not the persons his people, Jer. iii. 15, 'I will give you pastors of princes, nor regardeth the rich more than according to mine heart, who shall feed you with the poor. Surely such considerations should knowledge and understanding. Now, the chief lead rulers to study and pray that they may act way in which they feed, that is, instruct, or teach, for the glory of God and the good of man, accord- the people, is by the public preaching of the word. ing to the rules of the unerring word. They should Whatever other means may be useful, this is the learn a lesson from the command given to the most useful of all. In order to preaching being king of Israel, Deut. xvii. 18, 'It shall be when effectual, it must be sound, sensible, plain, varied, he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that solemn, earnest, doctrinal, experimental, practical, he shall write him a copy of this law in a book, discriminating, decided, faithful, and affectionate. out of that which is before the priests the Levites: But it is also the duty of ministers to feed, or and it shall be with him, and he shall read therein instruct, their flock, in private. "I have showed all the days of his life; that he may learn to fear you, and have taught you publicly, and from the Lord his God, to keep all the words of his house to house,' Acts xx. 20. The visitation of law, and these statutes, to do them: that his families and of the sick, and the religious instrucheart be not lifted up above his brethren, and tion of the young, are laborious and important that he turn not aside from the commandment to parts of ministerial duty. So, also, is personal the right hand, or to the left; to the end that he dealing with individuals, especially such as are may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his under concern about their souls. “Remember,' children in the midst of Israel. Happy the king said Paul, “that by the space of three years I that so acts! for, great as is his honour on earth, ceased not to warn every one night and day with it shall be far greater in heaven. IIappy, too, tears.' the people who are so governed, and who mani- Another duty of ministers is to rule their fost corresponding dutifulness on Christian prin- flocks. They have to take the oversight' of ciple! Happy is that people that is in such a them. They who speak to the people the word
of God are said to have the rule over them,' | the properly exercised mind, the most refined and Heb. xii. 7, 17, 24. They should exercise the exquisite pleasure. “Now after forty years preachgovernment and discipline of the church, impar- ing of Christ, I think I would rather beg my tially, firmly, and tenderly.
bread all the labouring days of the week, for an Ministers should also watch over and defend opportunity of publishing the gospel on the sabtheir flocks. The church, the fold of Christ, is bath, than without such a privilege, to enjoy the still exposed to be infested by raging lions, and richest possessions on earth,' said Mr Brown. 'I ravenous wolves; still exposed to persecution, do not wish for any heaven upon earth, besides that and temptation, and to seducing teachers, John of preaching the precious gospel of Jesus Christ x. 12, 13.
to immortal souls,' said Henry Martyn. My Again, ministers owe their people a good witness is above,' said Rutherford to his flock, example. They should be ensamples to the 'that your heaven would be two heavens to me, flock.' •Be thou an example of the believers, in and the salvation of you all as two salvations to word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in me.' Let every pastor whose heart is in his faith, in purity,' 1 Tim. iv. 12. Every false step work, think of these examples, and be encouraged a minister takes will bring dishonour on religion, to proceed. Let him think, too, of the exam cast a stumbling-block in the way of inquirers, of the holy prophets and apostles, particularly of grieve the people of God, and give occasion to the apostle Paul. Above all, let him think of his enemies to blaspheme. Whereas, the minis- the perfect pattern, “the chief Shepherd,' the ter who is very exemplary in his life is likely to 'good Shepherd, who gave his life for the sheep,' be thought in earnest, and to be useful in his of whom it is said, “He shall feed his flock like preaching
a shepherd; he shall gather the lambs with his The minister, too, who would be useful, must arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall abound in prayer. It is the Spirit that quick- gently lead those that are with young.' eneth, the flesh profiteth nothing. God only can give the increase. I once said to myself, in the foolishness of my heart,' writes a devoted minister, what sort of a sermon must that have been
FOURTEENTH DAY.—EVENING. which was preached by Peter when three thou
* And we bescech you, brethren, to know them sand souls were converted at once? What sort
which labour among you, and are over you in of sermon! Such as other sermons. There is
the Lord, and admonish you ; and to esteem nothing to be found in it extraordinary. The
them very highly in love for their work's sake, effect was not produced by his eloquence, but by
1 Thess. v. 12, 13. the mighty power of God present with his word. This can only be expected in answer to earnest SUPPOSING ministers to be, with reasonable alprayer. The word of God cautions ministers lowance for human infirmity, enlightened, pious, very strongly against selfishness, and enjoins on and faithful, what are the chief duties which their them great disinterestedness. They must not people owe to them? 'feed themselves, or make it their object to 1. They should esteem them very highly :secure their own profit, their own aggrandize- the apostle expressly teaches, in writing to the ment, and their own indulgence. On the con- Thessalonians; “We beseech you, brethren, to trary, they should aim supremely at the glory of know them who labour among you,' that is, to God and the salvation of souls
, and be willing to acknowledge them in their true character, and deny themselves, and to labour, and endure hard to esteem them very highly,” for their work's sake.' ship, and suffer, in the cause.
The ridicule, obloquy, hatred, and contempt, with How solemn the thought of the infinitely which the ministerial office, and the most faithful important results of the ministry! They are unto men who hold it, are frequently loaded, are preGod a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are eminently sinful, and ought to fill those who are saved, and in them that perish. To the one they thus guilty with shame and remorse. are the savour of death unto death; and to the think lightly of the ministerial office.
It is a other the savour of life unto life. Well may they very dignified office, as its origin is divine, and as exclaim, “And who is sufficient for these things!' its object transcends in importance that of every The difficulties and trials of the Christian minis- other. try are indeed very great; but so are its comforts 2. People should love their ministers. Their and encouragements. In the very midst of its reverence should be not of the nature which labours and anxieties, it brings along with it, to alarms and repels, but of the nature which
endears and attracts. As ministers should be the view of bringing the outward means of grace affectionately desirous' of their people's welfare, within the reach of the poorest, or by both these so this feeling should be met with corresponding methods conjoined, it is the imperative duty of Kaffection on the part of the people. The relation a Christian people to provide for the maintenis indeed very intimate and very endearing. If ance of the Christian ministry. Justice demands ministers be themselves very affectionate, and this. The welfare of the people also requires possessed of very amiable qualities, they deserve that their teachers should be exempted from the to be loved for their own sake; and if they are in necessity of seeking a livelihood by other means, earnest in their work, they should be loved 'for be at leisure to give themselves wholly to the their work's sake,' and according to the excellence pastoral duties, and be enabled to live in a state and greatness of their labours. If their hearers of decent respectability. “Let him that is taught would benefit by their ministry, they must cherish in the word communicate to him that teacheth in this affection to them. Benevolence, too, should all good things.' lead people to do all they can to comfort and 6. People should pray for their ministers. encourage
their ministers; and it is of great use, in Whatever exertions may be made, and whatever this way, for them to know that their hearers outward privileges may be enjoyed, all will prove love them.
in vain, unless the influences of God's Holy Spirit 3. They should attend to their instructions. be bestowed; and these influences are only proThe minister's, like the priest's lips of old, should mised, but positively promised, in answer to • keep knowledge, and the people should seek the prayer. Let all, then, who have any desire that law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the those who labour among them should be of use Lord of hosts.' They should wait regularly on to them, or to their fellow-worshippers, apply to his public ministrations, hailing the return of God, in earnest and persevering prayer, that he such seasons, and saying, or feeling as if they would accompany the ministry of the word with would say, · How beautiful are the feet of them that divine power which alone can make it effec that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tual for convincing and converting sinners, an tidings of good things!' They should listen to for building up saints in holiness and comfort them seriously, believingly, obediently. They through faith unto salvation. Let there be deep! should attend to their admonitions and reproofs. impressed on their consciences the duty of habi They should suffer the word of exhortation,' “and tually attending to this exercise, the exercise receive with meekness the ingrafted word, which express, particular, and full prayer, for a blessis is able to save their souls. They should also on their ministers, and their labours. Let then meet their minister and encourage him in his attend to this in secret, and in their families; an private labours for their instruction. They should let them join heartily in those parts of the publ all welcome his domestic and personal endeavours prayers that refer to the subject. • Brethre for their good. The young, in particular, should said Paul, “ pray for us, that the word of the La make it a point to attend the meetings he holds may have free course, and be glorified. i for their benefit.
there were far more true prayer, there wou 4. They should submit to the government and be far more success in particular districts, a discipline exercised by the ministers and other throughout the world. Let every Christi office-bearers of the church. Church rulers are say, and act on the saying, “For Zion's sal not, indeed, entitled to lord it over God's heri- I will not hold my peace, and for Jerusalen tage, or to assume dominion over their faith:' sake I will not rest, until the righteousness there but they are entitled to obedience in judging and go forth as brightness, and the salvation there acting according to the word of God. “Let the as a lamp that burneth. “Ye that make me elders that rule well be counted worthy of double tion of the Lord, keep not silence; and give hi honour, especially they who labour in the word no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerus and doctrine.' "Obey them that have the rule lem a praise in the earth.' over you, and submit yourselves : for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account,
FIFTEENTH DAY.—MORNING. that they may do it with joy, and not with grief; · Be kindly affectioned one to another with brother for that is unprofitable for you.'
love; in honour preferring one another, 5. They should see that their ministers receive
Rom. xii. 10. proper temporal support. Whether it be by the contributions of those only to whom they min- True benevolence, or love to man, is an essent ister, or by a legal and national provision, with feature of the Christian character, and a leadi