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"thanks for all men," in general, "for kings and "eminent persons" in particular.
If the making, the interpreting, and carrying into execution the laws, belong to them, dots it not, at once, appear, how much is in their power, to r*nder the Christian's life quitt and peaceable; to give him no temptation to ungodliness, by persecution; nor to dilhonesty, by oppression? Whence, the propriety of the mean recommended in our text, for reaching the end mentioned by the apostle, is so obvious, that he who runs may read.
But, on this part of the subject, we will not now enlarge. From what observations have been made, the following conclufions will appear to be natural and easy.
That, when men ly under no temptations from the severity,of laws, or rigour in those who carry them into execution, to the practice of ungodliness or dishonesty, their giving indulgence to the one or the other, must be a heinous aggravation of the crime. Aggravation of it, we say, because such a practice would be criminal in any, whatever situation ; but if so,—where godliness cannot be profesied, unless at the peril of life and liberty; nor honesty cultivated, unless at the risque of poverty and want; what must be the crimson hue, and what the scarlet dye of thefe offences, where no such temptations, from the government, or our governors, sall in our way?
Temptations, did I say, from the government, or our governors, to the praflice of ungoodliness or dilhonesty? The reverse, my bretheren, of this, is the delightful truth; for, toward the suppression of wickedness and immorality of all kinds, we have many salutary laws; though it must be confessed, to whose ignominy every one must fee, that in the execution of them there has been a lasting. ing, perhaps, an universal.desect. That reproach, however, bids sair to be soon wiped away, since, by a recent proclamation from the throne> the carrying of those laws into immediate execution, against all-ofsenders without distinction, is expressly commanded; and commanded, as the executors of the law shall be answerable to their royal master.'
In place, therefore, of our lying under any temptation to such ignoble and dissolute practices, the temptation is happily thrown, by our sovereign, into the opposite scale.
That under the present government, distinguished for mildness and forbearance, if men lead not a quiet and peaceable lise, it must be accounted •for from another cause; their own turbulent spirits, gamely, with a stupid ingratitude for liberties and privileges, the acquiring whereof cost our sathers so much blood and treasure. And if the cause arises from themselves, it is their own saults, and they alone shall bear it, if timeous reformation intervene
That our dear young king should have a constant and particular share in our concern before God. Tho', as tosome, the indifpensible nature of this duty may have never occurred before, a« it appears Dow, to demonstration, from our text, let none be so haidy, none so disobedient, as continue in the neglect, or practical contempt of it. Imagine it not enough to join in the public prayers for him, and those in authority; but carry the petitions and supplications with you, in-your samily and personal ar*: proaches to God. With what considence can you expect he will be made a blessing to you, if you* are not, though expressly enjoined, at the pains to ask it I Shall he take the weight of the government upon his shoulders, and will you, in.the exercise of prayer and supplication, bear no part with him? Would there, let the prayerless say, in the event of our great hopes becoming abortive, be the least propiiety in your murmurings and complaints? Let the exhortation, my brethren, on all the accounts suggested, be chearfully and immediately complied with. And jnay the Lord give us understanding in all things.
E X C I S I O N;
Trodblers Of The Church CharacterIzed AND CUT OFF *.
- G A L A T. V. 12.
I would they were even cut off which trouble you.
THIS letter was wrote by the apostle of the Gentiles, and addressed to the churches of Galatia. The date of it is uncertain; and, there-. ifcre, the opinions of the learned, concerning that circumstance, are various. Paul, here, had two ends, particularly, in view: one, the reproof of the Galatians, for receiving doctrines subversive of the gospel which he had preached amongst them; the other, the vindication of his own character and authority, as an apostle of Christ, which the Judaising teachers had endeavoured to undermine. Having discussed both these, our apostle warmly exhorted his correspondents, to stedsastnefe and perseverance in the persuasion of gofpel .truths; the
* This sermon was preached on the 8th of April, 1762; at the admission of the Rev. Mr. Alexander Moodie, to the parish of Riccarton. ,
enjoyment of gospel privileges; and the performance of every scriptural ditty.
Though the apostle saw cause for administering the sharpest rebukes to these churches, for giving heed to salse, anti christian teachers; he, by no means, thought the teachers themselves inculpable, nor meant that they should be unpunished: en the contrary, he found sault with them once, again, and again, chap, i. 7. and v. 10, 12.—With regard to the reprooss such teachers had exposed themselves to, Paul wrote, probably, as a prophet in the tenth verse; "He that troubleth you foali "bear his judgment, whosoever he be:" and, in the words of our text, expressed his tvi/b towards the accomplishment of that prediction or threaten-' ing.—From thai yerse, some imagine the apostle had one particular heretic in his eye: but, as they are spoke of in the plural every where else through the epistle, we apprehend it is much more probable, that 'the churches of Galatia were pestered with many such blind, or designing, guides.
The grand error, into which they drew the Christian converts, will appear in the sequel; and, therefore, we shall only How observe, that it was, iflL the apostle's estimate, ruining to souls; and so mil- ■ chievous to the interests of the gospel, as extorted, from his holy soul, a wish, which, at first sight, would seem inconsistent with the Christian gentleness and forbearance, lo eminently examplified ia Paul's whole character :-r-at first fight, we said; because, in prosecution of this subject, we hope to make it appear, in how many respects the wish, under consideration, may, consistently with a gofpel meekness and benevolence, be both adopted and justified.
Our method, through divine assistance,- shall be,