Imágenes de páginas

by their respective pastors,be no less represented and inforced. As, therefore, your instruction becomes more immediately our province, it is hoped we will be forgiven, in the present Essay, through grace, to point out the new duties, which, to us, arise from this new relation. Nor, in doing so, can the servants of Christ be said to slide from their proper sphere, since the apostle of the Gentiles, in this letter to eminent minister of the gospel, gave ji so particularly in charge. And if it was the duty of paslois so lo teach, and of Christians to practise, wh^n kings and those in authority were mostly Heathens, what a forcible argument to it must necessarily arise from the important consideration of our king, and those now in authority, being, by profession at least, Christians.

Though the letter is addrest to Timothy alone, you'll easily fee, that the duties in our text were rjo* recommended as incumbent exclusively on him ; but as equally and irwifoensibly binding upon all to whom the'knowltge of this Epistle ssiould come. Without any critical remark upon the words at all, this conclusion might be justly fonmed; but it will appear with greater evidence, if it's observed, that the huper pantoon may be rendered of ah men, .us well as for them. In that point of light, the universal obligation of thofe duties will bear no dispute, Paul being, thereby, represented as exhorting all men, to make supplication, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, for kings, and for all that are in authority.

Besides, if the benefits arising from a well constituted government, are diffused through all the different orders of men, it must follow, by a most natural consequence, that the proper returns of duty, should, from all quarters, terminate in such governors. .


If this appears to be the case, from the light of nature-itself, can the consequence, with any tolerable grace, be denied,—when the authority of a divine revelation is put into the scale? There, as a duty to the Prince of the kings of the earth, Christians are enjoined to comply with the design of this text.

The nature and importance of the duties under view, are vastly mistaken, if men consider them as appendages only to the Christian practice, what may be neglected with impunity, or slightly discharged with approbation; for our inspired author, in his exhortation to Timothy, sets them on tha very front, makes them lead the van, and, by, calling for the performance of them first of all, insinuates, that, in the estimateof heaven, they are duties of the highest consequence, and cannot be neglected, nor performed with indifference, but at the peril,—the highest peril, of the unhapy delinquent. The different terms used, by out apostle, in «xpresiing this comprehensive duty, serve to show— the great extent, as well as necessity of it.

Supplications may imply the deprecation of evil,— penal, moral, and natural. Deprecating penal evils ^respects deliverance from the guilt of lin, and from all die wrath incurred by it, due to it, and consequent upon ir, whether as to foul or body, as to time or eternity. Moral evil consists in the disconformity of the heart and practice to the'image and law of God, in the pollution and dominion of sin, in what renders men unlike God, unmeet for enjoying, incapable of serving him; and deprecation*, in that view, has the removal of that evil as its proper subject. Natural evil, again, which may only be deprecated, in as sar, as to infinite wisdom and goodness seems best, takes in all the afflictions and disasters of life, all that is paining to the body, $3 that is perplexing to the mind, all that is distressing in a personal or relational regard, and, in one wordy it takes in adversity in its whole breadth and. length, under whatever colour, of whatever kind, to whatever degree, for whatever duration, and with whatever circumstances, common or peculiar, known or unknown, it may be atteuded.

Prayers may imply the more direct exercise of, imploring or petitioning ;—which is so extensive,, recording to their circumstances whom it respects, that we cannot possibly condescend on all the particulars of it.—All special and spiritual blessings; all .purchased and promised good; all common and di- . flinguishing savour; all outward and inward prosperity; all personal, stational, and relational mercies; grace here, glory hereafter, and every good thing;—all these are comprehended in the subject of prayer.—Without excluding those for temporal benefits, petitions for benefits of a saving kind, seem, from the following context, to have been more especially in the apostle's eye; where we are told, as an argument for inforcing this exhortation, that God "will have all men," i. e. men of all sorts, kings, and those in authority not excepted, "tfy *' be saved, and to come to the knowlege of the*H> "truth," vers. 4. If we take up the matter ia \ this point of light, then, prayer is to be made, more ,% particularly, for convening, renewing, persevering grace; for light and life; love and liberty; peace and .pardon ; access and acceptance; spiritual riches aud righteousness; furniture for work and warsare ; strength and comfort; sealing and establishing influences; with whatever else may be wrapped up in the bosom of the gofpel salvation, as enjoyed or expected by the heirs of promise.

lntei cessions may be applied, with equal justice, to deprecation or petition, that term signifying pro7 peiiy the interposition of one person for another.


According to this view, Christians are called to make the inteiest of others their own, to interest themselves in it, to exercise a generous concern about if, and to deprecate evil, or implore good, with the sincerity and earnestness the particular cafe doss, or may, require. This view of the term is justified from the expletive argument used by Paul, to recommend the duty; "for, (lays he) there is one "God, and one Mediator between God and man, "the man Christ Jesus," vers. 5. and, therefore, would he have said, it is indispenstbly binding upon all Christians, to make intercession for kings, and for all that are in authority.

Giving of thanks, as itstands in this passage, says, that Christians are not only to bear the burdens of others, but to.feel with them in their joy and happiness, and to feel in such a manner and measure, as proper sentiments and expressions of holy gratitude shall have place. There is, perhaps, something more noble, sublime, and disinterested, in giving thanks for others when in prosperous circumstances, than in exercising a concern about them when iat adversity. Adversity is some how naturally productive of pain, wherever it is observed ; from what principle in the irregeaerate we will not now say; whereas prosoerity, discovered in the lot of others, frequently in all, always in most, begets envy and discontent: but the Christian virtue here recom* mended, will, according to the vigour and exercise of it, be expressed in grateful returns to^God, for what excellencies, natural, gracious, or/acquired, have place in others, for what happiness is bestowed upon them, for what good is done by them, for what advantages they enjoy, for what usefulness they are capable of, and for every thing, that, to such persons themselves, is a proper ground of thanksgiving and praise, \

E % These'

These duties are not merely to be thought of, ia their propriety, value, and excellence; nor only to be set about, in way of purpose or promise; but, if the apostle's words have any meaning at all, they are to he actually performed,—performed instantly, resolutely, and constantly: for the exhortation bears, that "supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giv"ing of thanks be made." As Paul was directing Timothy how to act in the discharge of his ministry, it will scarce be dispu-ted, that public worship is particularly intended. The obligation upon every Christian, in his personal capacity, to make conscience of these generous duties, by no means supercedes the necessity of Christians their performing them, as samilies, societies, or churches.—So sar from supercedirtg that necessity, it insinuates, proves, and highly corroborates the important truth.

The apostle was no less in earnest himself, than he would have Christians to be in this matter: he did not express the obligation of these duties with the coolness of a philosopher; but with all the -warmth, the pathos and address of the saint, as well as the dignity and mein oT a public teacher: "I exhort therefore," said he. In the preceding chapter he had touched on his savourite theme, the exceeding riches of grace toward his own soul; declared the distinguishing efficacy the death of Christ might have on the chief of sinners; and delivered a solemn charge to Timothy, enforced by the apostacy of Hymeneus and Alexander from the saith ; and, to these interesting sacts he resers, now, as a poignant argument, by the particle there/are. Seeing in me, would he have said, there is an example of a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an injurious person, obtaining mercy; seeing the death of .Christ lays a foundation os hope, respecting sinners, ;tl>e chief of them not excepted ; jc-u need oot despair

« AnteriorContinuar »