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And, first, as to the relative duties of civil govern


In reference to civil government: The history of the Jewish nation, as recorded in the Old Testament, is a standing proof of civil government; and, as such, by the appointment of God. That it was regarded. as obligatory, and a great blessing, not only to the obedient, but also in a national point of view, may be inferred from the promise, "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come.' Without noticing more particularly what is said on this subject in the Scriptures of the Old Testament, we will quote from the New, Paul to the Romans: "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers; for there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God; and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: for he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience' sake. For, for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour." Chap. xiii, 1-7. "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for

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the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evil-doers, and for the praise of them that do well." 1 Peter ii, 13, 14.

Now these passages, rightly understood, teach the same doctrine. And what is it? Why, "subjection to the powers that be;" that is, to civil government; or, in the language of Peter, the "ordinance of man," (being framed by human skill.) And the reasons for this subjection are,—

1. That civil government is the ordinance of God; "For there is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God.”

2. That in resisting civil government, we resist God, it being his ordinance.

3. That civil government is good, to prevent evil, and promote good works,-as conducive to the individual and general welfare.

4. That civil government, being of Divine appointment, and great practical utility, is of penal and moral obligation. "Wherefore ye must be subject not only for wrath, but also for conscience' sake."

It will be observed by the attentive reader, that our subjection or obedience does not rest simply or exclusively on the authority of God, though that is sufficient, but also on the goodness of the ordinance itself; the importance of which we have heretofore seen as necessary to our existence. Man cannot live without society; society cannot exist without government.

We will, in the next place, notice the conjugal or marriage relation. And here husbands are commanded to love their wives, and be not bitter against them; but to treat them kindly, tenderly, &c.; and the reasons assigned in the Scriptures are,


1. That they are one flesh,-she being at the first taken from his side. Gen. xxii, 21–24.

2. By virtue of the Divine appointment they are to be considered one to the end of time. Matt. xix, 5, 6. And because of this tender and intimate relation, the apostle argues the impropriety of unkind treatment: For no man ever yet hated his own flesh.”

The wife is required to be in subjection to her husband. Such is the Divine command, whenever the subject is spoken of in the Scriptures. And the reasons assigned are,

1. That she was formed out of the body of the man. Gen. ii, 21–24.

2. That the woman being deceived, was first in the transgression. Gen. iii, 16; 1 Tim. ii, 11–14.

In the parental relation, parents are variously commanded to care for, instruct, provide, and not to provoke their children to anger, lest they be discouraged; but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord: and the motive brought to bear on this duty is an ap peal to the tenderness of parental solicitude for the present and eternal welfare of their offspring: "That it may be well with you and your children forever."

Children are commanded in all things to obey their parents; and the reasons are,—

1. It is right.

2. The first commandment with promise.

3. Well pleasing to the Lord.

The attentive reader will doubtless have observed that in all the relative duties above enumerated, there is an essential right and fitness, found in the very nature of them, that marks clearly their excellence, and commends them to our understanding as wise and good arrangements.

Let us see in the next place if the slavery relation is supported by the same weight of authority. And first we will quote from Eph. vi, 5-8: "Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good-will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free."

Now in this language of the apostle, which is the most complex, and therefore the most difficult, of any to be found in the Scriptures on this subject-hence, requiring more attention in its explanation-it appears to us the following principles are laid down.

1. The servant's obedience to his master.

2. His obedience to his master for the sake of Christ, as the servant of Christ; doing service as to the Lord and not to men.

3. That in doing this service for the sake of Christ, he does a good thing. Not good or right in itself, according to the eternal fitness of things, as are the duties of the relations above pointed out; but in the present disordered state of things, which the providence of God is superintending to the best possible issue, comparatively good, because done for his sake, and on his authority. This seems to us to be the legitimate and natural sense of the passage-the only one to which we can be conducted in its fair and candid examination. But in addition to this, the analogy of Scripture, if we pay any regard to its unity, shuts us up to this interpretation. For if the state or relation

of slavery was intrinsically good in itself, why should those in that condition be exhorted, "If thou mayest be made free, use it rather?" and those who had attained their freedom, commanded, "Be ye not the servants of men ?"

In view of the very similar language and sentiment found in the Epistles to the Colossians and Titus, we deem it unnecessary to do anything more than quote them. Col. iii, 22-24: "Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God; and whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ."

Tit. ii, 9, 10: "Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; not purloining, but showing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things."

With the passing observation that there is, as above, the same absence of an authenticating principle, naturally growing out of the relation; the whole weight of obligation resting on extraneous, or foreign considerations, the will of God. "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily as to the Lord, and not to men;" and, “that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things."

The next passage to which we will call attention, is found in 1 Tim. vi, 1, 2: "Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed. And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are

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