Page images

king, as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evil-doers, and for the praise of them that do well. Let us honour and dutifully subject ourselves, according to the will of God, to our gracious Sovereign King George, our rightful and lawful King by virtue of the laws of Scotland, pointed at in the claim of right, and upon which was founded the late happy Revolution. Let us adore that bountiful providence, by which his grandfather [Frederick Elector Palatine of the Rhine], having lost one kingdom [that of Bohemia], besides his private estate, in the cause of the Protestant religion, three kingdoms are now conferred on the grandson. Let us thank our God, who did so seasonably bring him to the throne, and that in peace, to the surprise of all parties, so as we were like men that dreamed. Let us suppose that the Popish Pretender had effectuated his purpose, what a case had we been in this day! Yet rejoice with trembling; it is hard to say that Heaven and these sinful nations are become friends yet. Let us be dutiful to subordinate magistrates under him, and honour those whom God has honoured by their office, saying to them, Ye are gods. Let us not stumble atheists, Jacobites, and malignants, against our holy religion, by contempt of the magistrate. We read the Bible, where subjection is commanded to subjects oft and again, even to magistrates that were enemies to Christianity. We are the fol. lowers of that Jesus who paid his tribute, and taught the people of the Jews, who were more solemnly covenanted with God, and more strictly bound up in the choice of their kings, than any nation under heaven, yet not to deny their tribute to Cæsar, the Heathen Roman' emperor, who then was their chief magistrate, Matth. xxii. 19,-21.

Secondly, I shall shew the duty of magistrates to their subjects, which I shall only name.

1. They ought to establish good laws among their subjects, and to see them duly executed, Zech. viii. 16. 2 Chron. xix. 5, 6, 7.

2. To govern them with wisdom, justice, and clemency, 2 Chron. i. 10.

3. To punish evil-doers, and encourage them that do well, Rom. xiii. 3.

4. To protect them, and provide for their common safety,

1 Tim. ii. 2; to see to their prosperity, and not to oppress them, Prov. xxviii. 16.

5. Lastly, They ought to promote true religion, and advance the interest of Christ's kingdom among their subjects, Isa. xlix. 23. Some will have the magistrate to be the fountain of church-power. Others leave him nothing to do in religion but to defend the church, and execute her acts, Thus go the Papists. Truth goes the middle way, allowing the magistrate a cumulative, though not a privative, power in church-matters; and though he ought not to exercise a spiritual function, yet he can command and oblige ministers and other church-officers to do their duty, authoritatively call them to do it. And this is no more to usurp churchpower, than a ministers charging magistrates from the word, is to usurp civil power. See Confession of Faith.

There are other relations that import a mere preference; as, betwixt the aged and the younger, the weaker in gifts and

the stronger, and between equals. First, As to the relation betwixt the aged and the younger,

1. I shall consider very briefly the duties of the younger to the aged, for these are fathers and mothers in scripture. language, i Tim. v. 1.

(1.) They ought to submit to them, so as to follow their wise advice, and not to stand upon the points with them, but to be ready to yield to them, where lawfully it may be done, 1 Pet. v. 5.

(2.) They ought to honour them, and carry respectfully to them. The Ancient of days, commands us to honour old age, Lev. xix. 32.

2. The aged ought, (1.) To be ready to profit the younger sort by their good advice, to tutor them, as Eli did young Samuel, 1 Sam. iii. 9. (2.) To give them the example of a virtuous and holy life, Tit, ii. 2.

Secondly, The duties of the weaker in gifts to the stronger are,

(1.) To reverence and respect them for the gifts of God in them, Gen. xlv. 8. (2.) To be willing and ready to learn of them. (3.) To beware of judging harshly of them in things wherein they have a greater liberty than them, Rev, xiv. 3.

The duties of the stronger in gifts are, (1.) To communicate cheerfully to them what God has given them, and so to help them by their giftş. (2.) To encourage them, and bear with their infirmities, Rom. xv. 1.

Lastly, The duties of equals are,(1.) To regard the dignity and worth of each other, and carry respectfully to them. 1 Pet. ii. 17. (2.) To carry modestly towards one another, preferring in honour each other, Rom. xii. 10. (3.) To en: deavour after and rejoice in one another's welfare as their Own, ver. 15, 16.

II. I proceed now to shew, what is forbidden in the fifth commandment. According to our Catechism, it forbids

the neglecting of, or doing any thing against the honour and duty which belongeth to every one in their several pla: ces and relations."

This question is a field as large, or rather larger than the former, in so far as to one duty several sins are opposed : but fearing that ye cannot bear enlargement, having heard so much already on these relations, I shall contract my dis. course on this into a very narrow compass.

This command is broken, (1.) By neglect of the duties we owe to our relations, which ye have heard. (2.) By doing any thing against and contrary to these duties,

First, Husbands and wives break this command, and sin against one another, many ways. As particularly,

1. Against that tender conjugal love they owe to one another, is all unkindness, whereby, laying aside, and divesting themselves of natural affection, they are surly tn, careless of, and unconcerned for their relatives, or their comfort. Of this sort are their bitter speeches, reproaching and reviling one another. That selfishness, whereby they are at Đo pains to please one another in lawful things, and void of sympathy in one another's joys and griefs ; unreasonable suspicions and jealousies, whatever be done to please them s blazing abroad their own shame, in speaking to the discredit of their relatives ; contempt of and despising one another. All these are quite opposite to conjugal love.

2. Against that faithfulness they owe to one another, in respect of their bodies, is infidelity in the gross breach of the marriage-contract, deserting and leaving one another, and defrauding one another. In respect of their means, is alí idleness, mismanagement, and wastery, and in respect of their souls, is unconcernedness about them, being at no pains

tó instruct, admonish, and watch over one another; and if at any time they tell them of their faults, it is to their reproach, being before uthers, or in their passion, so that it can do no good. And much more when they become snares and hinderances to one another, instead of meet helps, leading and provoking their relatives to sin against God, and ruin their own souls.

Wives particularly sin against their husbands, by casting off all reverence to them, carrying themselves imperiously towards them, being disobedient, wilful, and untractable, and, like Vashti, Esth. i. 10, 11, 12. who would not come to the king, when sent for by him, will not go an inch by their own will co please them. It is not their honour to command, whose province God has made it to obey, Ezek. xvi. 30. Eph. v. ult.

Husbands sin against their wives in dealing untenderly with them, tyrannizing and domineering over them in a masterful way, not protecting them from the insults of others, nor providing for them; giving them that are their wives no trust, but making them, like Nabal, accountable to the utmost farthing ; nor encouraging and praising them when they do well; most of all in beating them, in use only with furious or mad men, Eph. v. 25. 29.

Secondly, As to parents and children :

1. Children sin against their parents by disobedience to them. Such are in the midst of the black roll, Rom. i. 30. and are in a near way to ruin, Prov. xxx. 17. So do they by all irreverence to them, and slighting and dishonouring them in word and deed, Deut. xxvii. 16. and much more by cursing of them, Exod. xxi. 17. Many, again, sin against God and their parents, being unteachable, and will not hearken to their instruction, Prov. v. 7. they will not take a sharp word trom them, but their hearts rise against them and it too, Prov. xii. 18. and others, though they will bear with words, yet they are stubborn, and will not submit to correction, Deut. xxi. 18, 19.' And what will we say of those that, like cursed Ham, make a jest of their parents informities, waste their substance, and prove unnatural and hard-hearted to them when they are old and in distress? Prov. xix. 26. Finally, they sin by disposing of themselves to callings, or in marriage, without consent of their parents Geri. xxvi. 34, 35. VOL. III.


2. Parents sin against their children many ways, while they are not concerned for them while infants ; but many are careless as to the bringing up of their children to some honest employment, but, by encouraging them in idleness, prove a snare to them. Most men, if they bring their chil. dren to be able to shift for a livelihood to themselves, think they have done enough, while they have not been at pains to bring them up for God. Many will learn them to work that will not learn them to read, pray, &c. What shall we say of those that will learn them to ban, swear, lie, pick and steal, and encourage them in such things ? Some kill their children by cockering of them; they indulge them fondly to their ruin. And how indiscreetly will parents dote on one child by another, where it is not grace but mere fancy, that makes the difference? Gen. xxv. 28. Some, on the other hand, are wofully harsh to their children, and break their spirits, by holding them so short by the head that they are driven to extremities, using them as drudges rather than as children, immoderately beating them when they are in a fault, and inveighing against them with bitter words, Col. iii. 21. indiscreet and untender dealing with them with respect to their callings or marriages.

Thirdly, As to masters and servants;

1. Servants sin against their masters by irreverent, disrespectful, and saucy carriage towards them, without any respect to the honour which God calls them to give to their masters. Many are disobedient, and will plainly tell, that they will not do what they are bidden; or if they do it, they will do it in such a manner, as shall vent their pride and passion. Though the scripture commands not to answer again, they will answer, and have the last word too, and by no means will submit to reproofs. Many are unfaithful to their masters, their service is eye-service, unfaithful service, either by their negligence and sloth bringing their master to loss, or by dishonesty in that which is under their hands. Some professing servants are by their way a scandal to religion in families where they are. Others are a plague to the family by the aversion they shew to every good thing or religious duty, as if their masters were no more concerned in them, if they work their work, Eph. v. 5, 6.

2. Masters sin against their servants, not allowing them sufficient maintenance, but niggardly pinching them, keeping

« PreviousContinue »