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severest hardships, considering that it /jserm. thank-worthy, if a man for conscience to'wards God indure grief, suffering wrongfully: Whereas (I fay) in the Apojilts days the state of Servants was absolute Slavery, 'tis Now on the contrary always to be Understood, that the Duty and Ob^ ligation of those in the lowest Station towards their respective Superiours in Hois kind, is such only as arises from Law and Contrast, and is wholly limited by those Measures. And This concerning the several particular relative Persons, to whom the Apostle designed his exhortation to extend.
^dly, The 'Third Particular observable in the Text, is the unbounded manner in which the Apostle expresses the General Duty of Subjection to Superiours, in every Relative Station of Life: Children, obey your Parents in all things: Servants, obey in all things your Majiers according to the FlejJo. So elsewhere: Let the Wives ( fays he) be subject to their own Husbands in every thing: And Tit. ii. 9. Exhort Servants to be obedient unto their own Masters; and to please them well in all
Vol. III. Z things.
Sum, things. R.eason, and the Nature os things, and the general Ufage of all language fhoweth, that in these and all other the like expressions, the phrase, in every thing, and in all things, must necesiarily be understood to mean only, in all things just, in all thing: lawful, in all things that are honest and fit to be done. In Human Writings, these general manners' of expression, arising from the known and vulgar use of Language, are never misunderstood; And therefore to misunderstand them in the Sacred Boob only, is mere Perverseness. The Gospel neither inlarges nor diminishes any Supericur's Power; it neither adds to, nor takes from any Inferiors Right. In These Coses, it only confirms and explains the Obligations of Nature; and inforces die Practice of the respective Duties, with stronger and more powerful Motives. As therefore in all other Writings, so in Scripture liker wife; the true, the natural, and evident Meaning of such Phrases as these, in all things, in every thing, and the like; is not what the word, all, suggests in its Jingle Signification; but what the vulgar sense of it is, in such expressions and sentences.
fences. When we are are taught that the S E R M. Commands of God, or the Laws of Truth xVand Right, are to be obeyed in all things .^^^ the nature of the Thing, not the force of the Jingle words, shows, that the Obedience is to be universal and without exception. In other cafes, where the very same words are used; (as, in the Text, Servants obey your Majlers in all things j) the nature of the thing There likewise no less plainly shows, that this obedience in all things is to be limited, by its consistency with the Commands of any Superiour Master either on Earth or in Heaven. In Æ language, the signification of every word necessarily depends upon the other words with which it is connected: And where no Controversy is concerned, nor Prejudice interposes, 'tis always understood, and cannot but be understood to be so, by all Understandings, and by all Capacities equally, from the Highest to the Meanest. When the Scripture mentions The Everlasting God, 'tis not the force of the word Everlastingt but the application of it to the First Cause and Author of all things, that makes it denote a true and Z 2 absolute
S E R M. absolute Eternity: For when the fame Scripture mentions the everlasting Mountains, 'tis understood by all men both of the greatest and of the smallest Understandings, that it there signifies only fucb a Duration, as is proper to the Subject of which it is spoken. These things are, in their men Nature, exceedingly evident r And yet where Party, or lnterefiT or Controversy is concerned, 'tis Wonderful tt> what a degree men have sometimes, even in so plain a case, imposed upon the ignorant, and upon the learned too. I shall mention but One Instance, and leave 0thers to be judged of by the fame proportion. In the question about Tranfubjlantiation, the Writers of the Church of Rome allege with great confidence^ that the natural, the literal, the first and obvious fense of the words, This is my Body, is plainly in favour of Their side os' the Question. And yet in reality, the very contrary to This, is evidently true. For the natural, the literal, the first and obvious fense of the phrase, is not that which arises from the signification of the word Body singly, but That which arises 2 from
-from its natural signification in such anS B R M; expression, wherein commemorative Bread is affirmed to be the Body of Him who is commemorated thereby. When a Picture is -spoken of, as being the person it represents; the natural, the literal, the firft and obvious fense of the expression, is not that 'tis really, but that 'tis representatively, That -person. When our Lord fays, 1 am the <true Vine; the question is not what the word, Vine, naturally signifies in other -cases j but what it 'There most naturally .and obviously signifies, when a Teacher -calls Himself a Vine, and his Followers its Branches. When Wisdom declares concerning herself, Ecclus xxiv. 21. They that eat me, shall yet be hungry, and they that .drink me, JhaJl yet be tbir/iy.; the natural and obvious, nay, the literal signification Jo£ the whole Sentence, arises fom what the terms, eat and drink, do Then most .naturally and obviously signify, when a
-but about imbibing and digesting a Doctrine. But to return from This Di