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maxim of the Roman orator is a very good one; SALUS POPULI SUPREMA LEX ESTO; Let the safety and welfare of the people be the supreme law of government; the safety of a king and his people is closely connected together, and the one is included in the other: it is an observation of an heathen moralist, that "he is mistaken, who thinks that a king is safe, where there is no safety from him; for, adds he, security is by compact and covenant, to be established and confirmed through mutual security." Justice, prudence, and clemency, are virtues highly becoming kings1.
11. There are duties to be performed by subjects to magistrates.
1. To honour them, and shew reverence to them, Roin. xiii. 7. 1 Pet. ii. 17. Next to the fear of God, is the honour of the king; yea, the fear or reverence of God and the king is joined together, Prov. xxiv. 21. There is a semblance of divine Majesty in a king, which makes him the object of fear and reverence. Kings are called gods, because they are in God's stead, his vicegerents, and personate him; I said, ye are gods, Psalm lxxxii. 1, 6. 2. As subjects are to think honourably, they are to speak respectfully of rulers; Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people; no, not in thought, nor in the bedchamber, in the most secret place, since, sooner or later, it may be discovered and the person be brought to condign punishment. Exod. xxii. 28. Eccles. x. 20. they are reckoned as the vilest and most abandoned among men, and as such described, who despise government, and are not affraid to speak evil of dignities, 2 Pet ii. 10. Jude verse 8. we should speak evil of no man, particularly of magistrates, and more especially of the king, as supreme; not of his person, nor of his administration; there are arcana imperii, secrets of government, which we know nothing of, and it is not proper we should; were they to be known in common, the good designs of government would be defeated by the enemy. The springs of action in government we are not acquainted with, and only judge of them by the success of them; which is a fallacious way of judg ing. A thing may be well-planned, and wisely concerted, at the time it was, all circumstances considered, nothing better; and yet by one unforeseen accident or another, the design of it is defeated; and because it met not with success, is condemned as a piece of bad policy. 3. Subjects should speak to a king with great reverence and respect; Is it fit to say to a king, Thou art wicked? Job xxxiv. 18. it is not descent and becoming; no, not to a wicked king. But if a king does wickedly, must he not be told of it, and reproved for it? He may, but not by every impertinent and impudent fellow; only by persons of emiuence, in things sacred and civil, and that in a respectable manner; and perhaps no instance can be given from the word of God, of a king being reproved by any but a prophet, or one sent of God. Herod, a wicked prince, was reproved
y Cicero de Legibus, l. 3. c. 11. Errat enim siquis existimet tutum esse ibi regem, ubi nihil a rege tutum est. Securitas securitate mutua paciscenda est, Seneca de Clementia, 1. 1. c. 19 • Nullum tamen clemtia ex omnibus magis quam regem aut principem decet, Seneca de Cic. mentia, . . z...
by John the Baptist, and a reason given for it. David a good prince, was reproved by Nathan the prophet, sent of God to him; which reproof he delivered in a descent manner, wrapt up in a parable, and he took the proper opportunity to apply it; which had the desired effect. But such language Shimei used to David, was not fit to be used to a king, 2 Sam. xvi .74. Civil magistrates, supreme and subordinate, are to be prayed for, 1 Tim ii. 1, 2. for their health, happiness, and prosperity, and the peace of their government, and the continuance of it; for in their peace is the peace of subjects, Jer. xxix. 19. — 5. They are to be submitted to and obeyed in all things, which are not contrary to the laws of God, and the fundamental laws of the kingdom; for otherwise God is to be obeyed, and not men, Acts iv. 19. 6. They are to be be supported in their government, by a payment of lawful tribute, tax, and custum; Render to all their dues; tribute to whom tribute is due, custom to whom custom, Rom. xiii. 7. This is a doctrine taught not only by the apostle, but by Christ himself, and confirmed by his own example and practice, Matt. xxii. 21. and xvii. 27. Government cannot be supported without such methods; and without government there is no safety of a man's life and property; bet he must be exposed to a banditti of robbers, plunderers, and levellers, and who would strip him at once of all he has would not any wise man part with some of his substance to secure the rest? without government, as the Roman orator says, "not a family, nor a city, nor a nation, nor all mankind, nor the whole nature of things, nor the world itself, can stand." And government cannot be maintained without defraying the expences of it, which are many and large, by the payment of tribute and taxes, which ought to be done cheerfully; nor should any illicit methods be taken to defeat the payment of them, which is foolishly called cheating the king, and that is said to be no sin; whereas men hereby cheat themselves, cheat the public, of which they are a part; some individuals may avail themselves by such unlawful practices, but the public suffers, and so does every honest man; and it is the very means of the multiplicity of taxes complained of, for if a duty is laid on one commodity, and it is defeated by such iniquitous practices, either it must be increased on that commodity, or laid upon another.
III. There are various reasons to be given, why subjection and obedience should be yielded by subjects to magistrates.
1. Because that magistracy is by the ordination and appointment of God; The powers that be, are ordained of God, Rom. xiii. 1. it is he that sets up one and puts down another, Psalm lxxv. 6, 7. Dan. ii. 21. By me kings reign, says Wisdom, and princes decree justice, Prov. viii. 15. not that it may be that any particular form of government is of God; there are divers forms; as monarchy. which is the government of one man; aristocracy, which is the government of the chief and principal persons in a nation; and democracy, which lies in the people which is the best sort of government I will not take upon me to
Cicero de Legibus, 1. 3. c. 9.
2. To resist
say; but this I will venture to say, that the worst government is better than none at all; perhaps a mixt government may be best, made up of all three; as our's is: there is an appearance of monarchy in the king, of aristocracy in the nobles, and of democracy in the commons, chosen by the suffrages of the people. Moreover, it is not this or that particular man in government, that is of God; he 'may assume that to himself which does not belong to him, and so is not of God, but of himself; or he may abuse the power he is possessed of, which though by divine permission, and may be for a scourge to a people; vet not of God's approbation it is not therefore this or that form of government, or this or that particular person, but government itself that is of God; for there is no power but of him; what Adam had over the creatures, the husband has over the wife, parents over their children, and masters over their servants, it is of God; and so is the power magistrates have over subjects, John xix. 11. and therefore are to be obeyed. 2. To resist them, is to resist the ordinance of God, Rom. xiii .2. Not that magistrates are above the laws; but are to be subject to them, and are liable to the penalty of them, when broken by them; they are under the laws, but over men; so says Cicero"; "the laws preside over magistrates, and magistrates over the people; and, adds he, the magistrate is a speaking law, and the law a mute magistrate." So that these have a close connection with each other; the laws are binding on magistrates, and they are to govern according to them; and when they do that which is wrong, or attempt it, they may be resisted; as Saul, when he would have put his son to death, for the breach of an arbitrary law of his own, and which his son was ignorant of; but the people would not suffer him; and they were in the right: so Uzziah, when he went into the temple to offer incense, which to do was a breach of the law of God, then in being; Azariah, and fourscore priests more, followed him, and withstood him, and they had the approbation of God; for before the king could get out of the temple, he was smote with a leprosy. But a king, or a civil magis
ate, is not to be resisted in the execution of lawful power and authority.3. Such who resist, shall receive to themselves damnation, or judgment; either temporal judgment from men or from God; as did Korah, Dathan, and Abiram; or eternal judgment; for those who despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities, the blackness of darkness is reserved for ever and ever, Jude verse 7, 8, 11, 13. There are other reasons to be gathered from Rom. xiii. enforcing odedience to civil magistrates; taken from their being the ministers of God for good, for civil good, the protection of men in their lives, liberties, and properties; and for moral good, for the restraint of vice; for if the fence of magistracy was plucked up, vice would issue in like an inundation, and carry all before it; see Judg. xxi. 25. and from their being encouragers of good works, and the executors of the wrath of God on evil men; and by good men are to be obeyed, not for wrath's sake, or for fear of punishment, but for conscience sake; and a good conscience cannot be exercised without obedience to them.
De Legibus, 1. 3. c. 9.
OF GOOD WORKS IN GENERAL.
GOOD works, or actions, are of various sorts. There are natural actions, which respect the animal life; such as eating, drinking, &c. which, when done in moderation, and not to access, are good, and are necessary for the preservation of health and life. And there are civil employments, trades, businesses, and occupations of life, men are called to; and it is good to attend them; and they are necessary for the support of a man and his family, and that he may do good to others, and are for the credit of religion. These, by some, àre thought to be meant by good works, in Tit. iii. 14. There are relative duties, or good works, to be performed by husbands and wives, parents and children, masters and servants, magistrates and subjects, before treated of. And there are acts of beneficence and charity to fellow-creatures and christians; which are called doing good, and are acceptable and well pleasing to God, Heb xiii. 16. Gal. vi. 10. There are some good works to be done to men, as men, and are comprehended in that general rule of Christ's, Matt. vii. 12. and others to believers in Christ, who are by love to serve one another. Some are of a positive kind, in obedience to a positive law of God, the effect of his sovereign will and pleasure; such were the institutions and ordinances of divine service observed under the former dispensation, and baptism and the Lord's supper under the present. Others are of a moral nature, done in agreement to the moral law, and to the law and light of nature, binding upon all, in all ages. And of good works some are materially, or as to the substance of them, and in appearance good, when they are not circumstantially good; or as to the circumstances of them; nor radically, and as to the principle of them: such were the virtues of the heathens Austin calls splendida peccata, shining sins; and such the works done by Herod, on hearing John; and by the Pharisees, who were and did things outwardly righteous before men, but at heart wicked; it is not barely doing bonum, a good thing; but doing that good thing bene, well. The circumstances requisite to a good work, are,
1. That it be according to the command and will of God; as every évil work or sin is a transgression of the law of God, and a want of conformity to that; so every good work is in agreement with it, and a conformity to it. By this rule many works are cut off from being good works, done by the Pharisees of old, and by Papists now, though they may have a great show of religion and holiness, because they are done according to the precepts and traditions of men, and not according to the commands of God. 2. That it spring from love to God, and not influenced by any sinister and selfish motive; The end of the commandment is charity, or love; love to God, is the root and spring of obedience to it, and is the motive induced to it, Tim. i. 5. John xiv. 45.
3. It must be done in faith; for what is not of faith is sin, and so no good work; without faith it is impossible to please God; herein lay the difference. between Abel's work and Cain's; the one was done in faith, the other not, 6. 4. It must be done to the glory of God,
Rom. xiv. 23. Heb. xi. 4, 1 Cor. x. 31. The Pharisees prayed, and fasted, and did alms; but all to be seen of men, and to get glory from them, but sought not the glory of God; and so were not good works; good works are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God, Phil. i. 11. Now concerning these may be observed, I. The springs and causes of them.
1. The efficient cause is God, who works in his people, both to will and to do; gives the inclination to a good work, and power to perform it. Every action, as an action, is of God, by whom we move; and a good work is not only of God, as an action, but as a good action, who is the fountain of all goodness; the beginning, progress, and perfection of a good work are of God, and so prayed for, Heb. xiii. 21. - 2. The influential cause is the grace of God; it was by that the apostle Paul did works more abundantly than others, and to that he ascribes them; and through that had his conversation in the world, in simplicity and godly sincerity. The grace of God, both as a principle and as a doctrine, teaches influentially to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly, Tit. ii. 11, 12. - 3. Good works, that are truly such, are owing to union to Christ; men are created in Christ Jesus unto good works, Eph. ii. 10. they are first in Christ, as branches in the vine, and then bring forth the fruit of good works; as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it is in and abides in the vine, so neither can any except they are in and abide in Christ, who is the green fir tree, from whom all their fruit is found. - 4. Faith in Christ is productive of them; the heart is purified by faith in the blood of Jesus, which purges the conscience from dead works, whereby men are better fitted to do good works, or to serve the living God; faith without works is dead; and works without faith are dead works: a living faith produces living works; not that the life of faith lies in works; but, as Dr. Ames observes, works are second acts, necessarily flowing from the life of faith. Faith, some call it the internal, instrumental cause of works; the external instrumental cause of works is,- 5. The word of God; as faith comes by hearing it, so the obedience of faith; the word, written and read, preached and heard, is a means of making the man of God, whether in a public or private character, thoroughly furnished unto all good works, 2 Tim. iii. 16. Luke viii. 15.
II. The nature and properties of good works.
1. The best of works, which are done by the best of men, and in the best manner, are but imperfect; there is sin in them all; there are none found perfect in the sight of God, however they may appear before men, Eccles. vii. 20. Rev. iii. 2. knowledge of the will of God, the rule of them, is imperfect; and Synops. Purior. Tholog. Disp. 34. § 9
Medulla Theolog. 1. 2. e. 7.8.35,