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VI.

DISC. ceffion to be made by all men for all men,

to manifest the love we bear for one another, as members of Him, who, at the right hand of God, ever liveth to make interceffion for the whole race of mankind. Our prayers are united with his, and by him offered to the Father; his merits, like the cloud of sweet incense from the altar, ascending with them, to render them effectual. Effectual, in some manner, they must be, when rightly made ; otherwise, we should not have been exhorted to make them. The falutary influence produced on our own minds by a performance of the duty, has been sometimes assigned as the only reason for it's being enjoined. That influence is

and falutary indeed, seeing it is impossible we should long bear ill will to those, whom in our prayers we beseech God to bless with every kind of blessing in time and eternity. It is an excellent method, therefore, of softening the temper, and inducing a mild, merciful, and forgiving disposition in the person interceding. But to say that no benefit accrues to the person or persons for whom inter

great

ceflion

VI.

ceffion is made, what is it but to contradict DISC. the whole tenor of Scripture, which shews us in so many instances the regard vouchsafed by Heaven to the

prayers of men, and the favours granted in consequence of them. It is necessary for us to settle ourselves firmly in the belief of this point, because no man will persevere in doing that which he

apprehends himself to do to no purpose. As to the manner in which the divine Being orders and adjusts his various dispensations, we can no more comprehend it, than a fly on one of the columns of the building in which we are now assembled, can comprehend the magnificence of the whole, or the proportion of the several parts. He will certainly perform that which he has

promised: how he will perform it, is a consideration which belongs to him, and not to us. Proceed we therefore to the immediate subject of the day, namely, the duty of making intercession for kings, and for all that are in authority. The reasons on which this duty is founded shall be considered, as they respect God; as they respect those

who

D'IS C. who govern; and as they respect those who

are governed.

VI.

I. As they respect God, it would indeed be sufficient, that he has enjoined the duty, even though we could afsign no other reason. There is no danger left He should be too absolute. Whenever he commands, we have nothing to do, but to obey; and we shall always find our account in it. “ This” says the Apostle in the words immediately following the words of the text-" This “ is good and acceptable in the fight of « God our Saviour;" of God who is our Saviour, or, of our Saviour who is God; for it holds either way. But what are we, finful men, thy unworthy servants, O Lord, that we should be sufficient to do any thing that is good and acceptable in thy fight? What are we, if, when thou art graciously pleased to say so, we should either refuse or neglect to do it?

But there is a very obvious reason why this is deemed good and acceptable in the

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• VI.

our

The Duty of praying for Governors. 113 fight of God our Saviour. It is an acknow- Disc. legement of his providence, his power,

and his goodness : of his providence, as superintending and directing the affairs of men ; of his power, as being able to protect, preserve, and prosper those for whom our prayers are preferred; and of his goodness, as being willing fo to protect, to preserve, and to prosper them. What the act of interceffion thus implies, is expressed, with wonderful sublimity, in the daily collect for the king, when we style God,

os “ Lord and heavenly Father, high and

mighty, King of kings, Lord of lords, " the only ruler of princes, who does from « his throne behold all the dwellers upon " earth;” and therefore « beseech him with “ his favour to behold our most gracious

sovereign lord,” who reigns over us. This is a noble confeffion of the unlimited extent, the undoubted fuperiority, of divine Providence; a powerful argument for confidence that we shall obtain the petitions we ask; and as powerful an argument against impeding the success of our prayers, by

finning

VOL. III.

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VI.

DISC. finning at any time in his presence,

¢ who " from his throne does thus behold all the dwellers upon earth.” If God be on our right hand, we should suffer ourfelves to be neither seduced, nor terrified.

There is yet another confideration to be urged in the cafe before us. When we intreat the Almighty, that he would protect and preserve government amongst us, we intreat him to protect and preserve that, which is his own appointment, and by all good and conscientious men is to be obeyed as such. All power is originally and effentially in God; from him it defcends to man. Pontius Pilate, about to pass sentence on the innocent Jefus, was not making a due ufe of his even then, that power was by the innocent Jesus recognized and allowed. * Thou “ couldeft have no power at all against me,

except it were given thee from above." Accordingly by our Apostle we are told, s. There is no power but of God; the s powers that be"-the powers subsistingfare ordainod of God." So far as relates

power; but

to

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