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VI.

SER M. preme : I answer that it cannot relate to one

without relating to the other, because Government cannot be managed in the World but by Deputed and Inferior Officers'; because the Christian Religion (as St. Peter testifieth) commands the Obedience required in it, with Respect to both ; because otherwise, the Argument urged by some for the Magistrate's uncontrollable Authority, drawn from our Lord's acknowledging the Power of Pilate to be from Above, who was but a Deputed Governor, must fall to the Ground ; because both Supreme and Inferior are said, by many, to act as one Authority, by the fame Divine Commision; and fo are equally borne out by it against all Oppofition, or at least equally elevated above all Prétenses of Subječts to judge concerning their Condu&t : And because it is as impofsible, according to the Reasoning of some Men, to op

any

Instance the lowest Officer in Authority, without opposing the Supreme ; as it is faid to be, to oppose the Supreme, without opposing God himfelf, whose Vice-gerent he is. I proceed, in the second Place,

II. To consider if this Account of St. Paul's Behaviour will not give us Light into the true Interpretation of the Doctrine delivered by Himself, and others, in the New Testament,

concerning

pose in

VI.

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concerning Government; and lead us to some s E R M.
Obfervations of Importance to Governed Socie-
ties, and to that in particular to which we be- m
long. For can any one think that these
Passages were recorded for nothing, but to
serve for an Embellishment of St. Paul's Story?
Or can any one think, that St. Paul had a re-
gard to his own particular worldly Interest in
these Parts of his Conduct ? He, that had suf-
fered, and knew he was to fuffer, much
greater Hardships? He, that was ready to give
up his Life for the sake of Christianity, and to
follow his Master through all Indignities,
and all Persecutions, when the Glory of God
should call him to it? No, it was fomething
more than his own Part in this world which
engaged him to thew himself after this man-
ner; for this he could with the greatest Eafe
have neglected. But the Happiness of Hu-
man Society, and the good Estate of the Infe-
rior Part of Mankind, moved his Soul to a
generous Indignation against every thing in
Government which favoured of Tyranny; and
kindled in his Breast a Zeal for every thing
which it was fit for Subjects to enjoy. Let us
therefore see, if his Behaviour will not lead us
to some useful, and important Thoughts, rela-
ting to Cbristians incorporated in Civil Societies.

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SERM. 1. I need not take particular Notice that St. VI. Paul thought it not beneath a Christian, and

an Apostle, to concern himself with his Rights and Privileges, as He was a Subject of the Roman State.

He knew, as well as any since his Time, that he belonged to a City above, whose Builder is God; He knew that his chief Concern was Eternity and Heaven; He knew that no Tyrannical Magistrate could rob him of his Innocence, or of his Salvation: And yet he considered

he considered himself likewise as a Member of Human Society, and acted the Part of one who had a just Sense of the Privileges of his Citizenship here on Earth, as well as of that Citizenship in Heaven, which he speaks of to the Philippians, and Ephesians. And why should it be thought unworthy of any other Preachers of the Gospel, to imitate so great an Example, in the same

great

Concern for the Good of Human Society ? To pro. ceed,

2. Let St. Paul himself answer all those who have on his Authority pretended to exalt the Executive Power above all Laws; and above the very Ends of that Office for which they were instituted. He, it is plain, knew nothing of this: Nor did he

carry

the Obligation of a quiet Submission to any such Instances es were contrary to the Design of that Office.

Let

Let them learn from himself, that when he SERM. speaks highly of Magistrates, it is of such who VI. are Gods indeed in Human Society; such as maintain the Character and Dignity of their Station, by answering the Ends of it; and that when they descend to invade the Privileges they were ordained to guard, He knew no such profound Respect to be due to them. Let them learn from Him, that the Laws of the Roman State were above the Executive Power ; and that mere Authority of the Magistrate could not make That to be Law, which was against the written Laws; or oblige Him to comply with what was injurious to his Civil Privileges : and consequently, that he understood not his Master's Doctrine concerning the Governors of this World, to be destructive of the Privileges and Happiness of the governed Society; and that he himself, in his own Doctrine, delivered in other Places, meant nothing contrary to these. Let them learn from his Practice, which is certainly the best Interpreter of his own Doctrine, and that of his Master and Fellow- Apostles, that when He faith, there is no Power but of God, the Powers that be are ordained of God; and that when his great Master acknowledges the Power of Pilate to be from Above, no more could be meanț, than that it was agreeable to God's Will that some

Persons

SER M. Persons should be invested with Power for the vi. good of Human Society : but not that God had

made them uncontrollable in acting against his Commission, and to the Ruine of their FellowCreatures. And let them remember, that when St. Paul commanded Respect, and forbad Opposition to the Higher Powers; and that when St. Peter commanded the fame Subjection both to the Supreme and Deputed Magistrates; They were confidered as acting the best part in the World ; and nothing intended by this to oblige Subjects to a Quiet Submission to such illegal and unjuft Conduct, as affects and shakes the Univer fal Happiness. And,

3. If they still repeat the old Question, Who shall judge of the Invafon of Privileges ? Let the fame St. Paul answer them, who, in the Capacity of a Subject, more than once is recorded (in the short History we have of his Actions) to have presumed to judge concerning his own Privileges, against the Invasion of the Magiftrate ; and to have done this, as by a Right belonging to every Member of the same Society. His Christianity did not make him forget that he was a Roman: And as a Roman, he judged that he had the Privileges of a Roman : And that his Christianity did not oblige him to give up these to any Mortal, as long as He could with Honour keep them. The Possibility of his

mistaking

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