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'and dissolving parliaments, chusing and nominating commanders, and other officers for the' fit et or arnry, counsellors also, and officers of stare,—together with that of bestowing all honours of higher and lower nobility, at what time, and upon what persons, he pleascth. These are some of the great lines of that extensive power, lodged by Britain ia' her king, which, as it is sufficient to secure the respect due to enthroned majesty, should stir up Christians to the saithful discharge of the duties prescribed* by our apostle, that the sovereign may be under the direction and influence of heaven, in the exertion of it
** All that are in authority," have likewise, by the apostle's 'warrant, a claim upon Christians, for the concern to which our text has a respect. Anil as we imagine that civil authority is particularly intended, our present view shall be confined accordingly.
The king, as was said, is the fountain.of all civil authority and honour, the prerogative of making laws excepted; and, therefore, in exercising a due concern about him, Christians may be said to exercise a concern about "all in authority."
The true interest of the subjects, however, depending so much on those in eminent places, as the phrase might be rendered, it may not be unufeful to put you in mind of some of these eminent places, or persons filling them, which have a scriptural demand on the Christian's concern be¥ore God.
And shall we proceed to this, withpint admiring and adoring the divine goodness, in the wisdom that has appeared in our king's council, the saithfulness in his ministry, the bravery in his aimy, the intrepidity in his navy, and the harmony amongst all his servants, for several years past? These qualities my brethren, of thole in authority,
animated by the complication of them all, in their late loyal master, ha\e rendered Britain .respectable amongst different nations abroad, as well as endeared the eminent perions themltlves to their countrymen at home. And has not our present sovereign, given reaion for the further exercise of that gratitude to Jehovah our God, in the jud cious measure of continuing these lervants, in their respective offices, at least, for several months to come? Who knows hut this is the result of his asking, and getting wisdom from that God, *' who giveth liberal** ly, and upbraideth uoti" Can you ever reflect on his retiiing to his closet, if public same may be trusted, when fiist informed of 'the crown devolving upon him, without imagining that you see the royal, the lovely youth, prostrate before the King oj kings, and hear him, in the words of an illustrious eastern monarch, say, *' Give therefore, O "Lord mj God, unto thy servant, an understand"ing heart, to judge thy people, that I may dis'\cern between good and bad: for who is able to> "judge this thy so great a people ?** 1 Kings in. f). May the event demonstrate, that the same answer was given to him, from the hearer of prayer, which young Solomon received, "Behold, 1 have ** done according to thy words," vers. *i2.
To return. The eminent persons, whom Christians should remember, with concern, at the throne of grace, are those who are so, —-either in respect of extraction or office. The former include the whole peerage and grandees of the nation, with others, wholic circumstances in the world, set them on a Jevtl. l-or influence and capacity of usefulness. These, though employed in no office of the state or the crown, have much in their power, toward promoting or suppressing the interests of true Christ.«nity ; and, thaefere, that Christians may kad the
quiet quiet and peaceable life mentioned by the apoflle, it is .useful, it is necessary, that such persons be comprehended in their "supplications, prayers, irt"tercessions, and thanksgivings."
In this passage, however, it is more than probable, that those eminent in respect of office, are more chiefly pointed out. . Being entrusted by their king or country, with the concerns of the nation, the manner in which that trust is discharged, may, nay, must insallibly affect the interest of individuals.
Those with whom the legiflative power is lodged, claim our first regard; that public statutes may be always public blessings; and, if in any thing, oppression is enacted, that it may, by their authority, be repealed.
The king's council is an eminent place, and all it's members are'men in authority; that, therefore, they may so consult and advise, in what comes before them, as shall most secure the honour of their sovereign, and the good of their country, should be the burden of the Christian's concern in their behalf.
The secretaries of state are in such eminent place, as makes them no less need the intercession of Christians, than it intitles them to it. The receiving and making all dispatches from or to foreign parts; the representing the subjects to the sovereign, and the sovereign to the subjects, as to addresses and answers; the preparing business for the council-board, and making proposals of public concern to them. These and such things are their immediate province, and, on the right discharge of them, it is easy to see how much the common good must necessarily depend. Need I put you in mind of the singular benefits Britain and her colonies have reaped from that very quarter, since the commencement of the present war? The œinisterial character has been highly' honoured in the diligence, capacity, resolution, patriotism, and other diffusive virtues, so illustriously displayed in the conduct of one, equalty trusted by his king, and admired by h's country. Without meaning to derogate from the praise justly due to his noble and illustrious colleague, the ministry of a Pit will cut a resplendent figure in ths British annals, long after we are gathered to our fathers.
The gentlemen of the sword may be considered as likewise in authority, or eminent places: those of them we mean, who command in the fleet or army, and are entrusted by the government, with the execution of the most important orders. The peculiar risque they run, and danger to which they are exposed, should recommend them, and their' .brave followers, to the special concern of the church of Christ.
Need we mention the eminent places of judges and magistrates through the land, as what instruct their right to the "supplications, prayers, inter"cessions, and thanksgivings," of Christians? To their interpretation of the lawsi and interposition of authority, our peace and quiet, as men and Christians, are more immediately owing; and, therefore, by a particular concern for them, our gratitude to God should be more immediately expressed.
The college of justice, ia particular, has, to this kingdom, been, generally, and with great truth, considered as the most substantial blessing; for the senators of it are not only a proper check upon all inferior and less qualified courts; but the manner of their procedure in judgment is so modelled, that the mean and obscure are equally encouraged to expect the sairest hearing, and justest deliverance, from that bench, with the noble and the great.
Taking that court complexly,—in the characters and superior abilities of the judges, the extent of their privileges, the greatads of their power, the length of their attendance, the order, decorum, and solemnity of.their forms, the number and erudition of their barristers, together with the weight and influence of their decisions/it will, in Europe itself, be equalled by few courts of judicature, scarce excelled by any. While, therefore, Christians should exercise a holy gratitude to God, for such an effectual security from the caprice and oppression of their fellow-subjects, they are indispensibry bound to mSke intercessions for such as have the honour to fill those eminent places, that the spirit of their station may be given them; and that, in the saithful and judicious discharge of their office, they may, under God, be for the punishment of ,evil-doers, and for the praise of them that do well.
The end, to themselves, that Christians may propose by such concern "for kings, and all that are "in authority," should next sall under our view; namely, "that we may lead a quiet and peaceable "life, in all godliness and honesty." The kingdom of Christ is a kingdom of peace, and the end of it is quietness for ever; godliness, as Christians, and honesty, as men, are equally the ambition and endeavour of all its subjects: every lawful mean, to? ward the enjoyment of such quietness and peaces so as .to have freedom to exercise godliness and . honesty, is incumbent on them: that prescribed in our text, is not only lawful, but laudable; not only so,'but vastly conducive to the end in view; ,wherefore, without excluding motives.of the ge'nerous and disinterested kiad, it is evidently the interest, as well as the duty, of Christians, to make "supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving