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III. It gives suitable rules and laws to the superior and inferior members of societies, whereby they may walk in mutual, agreeable duty towards one another.
Societies are either civil or ecclesiastical. Civil societies are either publick or private.
I. There are civil, publick societies ; such as the empires, kingdoms, principalities and several states of the world. Christianity does not inpose one form of civil government on all nations. It leaves that to be adjusted by the genius, convenience and wellfare of each people. It takes care of the safety, peace and honour of the government, when it is settled, And so,
I. Governors are directed to be just and faithful in their offices, as those that are to do good by their authority and to act for God. For rulers are not in their place and office) a terror to good works, but to the evil.--- For he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doth evil. They are God's ministers, attending continually on this very thing. Then,
II. Subje&ts are taught to yield due subjection, obedience, honour and Support to their Governors. Wherefore ye must needs be subject not only for wrath(for fear of the sword and of punishment), but for conscience fake (for conscience towards God; Religion must command loyaity). Render therefore to all their dues; tribute to whom tribute is due, custom to whom custom, fear to whom fear, honour to whom honour, and this subjection must be yielded both to the coveraign, and to those that are commission'd by him. And because christianity arose under a monarchy, express charge is given to pay all homage to the monarch or soveraign prince. Render to Cæsar, the things that are Cæsar's. Submit your selves to every ordinance of man (or human constitution in government) for the Lord's fake; whether it be to the king (emperor, or king or other monarchical potentate) as supreme, or unto governors (as deputies, viceroys, commilfioners, lieutenants, and presidents of provinces and others, that are fent N
by him for the punishment of evil doers, and for the praise (and encou. ragement) of them that do well
/ II. There are civil societies, that are private ; usually contain'd with. in the walls of an house; and these are families or housholds. These nature immediatly ordaineth ; and they are rudiments or seminaries of larger societies. In these there are usually divers relations. And they have all suitable duty prescribed them.
I. There is the great, prime relation of the conjugated pair ; of hufband and wife. This was instituted in the state of innocency ;. and is supported and dignified by the christian institution. The venerable founder thereof, though he would not enter into that relation himself, would yet grace a nuprial solemnity with his own presence, and rather than admit a deficience in the entertainment, would make a miraculous provision of extraordinary wine. Now here in this relation,
1. The husband is ordered to treat the wife with all care, tenderness, compassion and endearing affection. To this end, the highest example of love is here proposed to imitation; even that of the mediator himself towards his redeemed spouse. Husbands love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it. So ought men to love their wives, as thiir own bodies (for they two are one flesh); and no man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourisheth, and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church.
II. The wife is injoined all suitable deference, regard and affection to the husband. He being the superior relative, the duty to him is denoted by the name of reverence. And the wife see, that she reverence her hufband. Neither his tenderness towards her, nor her affection to him must impair the honour and cftccm.
II. In these domestick focieties, there is naturally and usually the relation of parints and children. This is a primary reason of the foregoing relation. And here,
I. Parents are required to be prudently affectionate to their children, and to train them up in religion and for God. And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; educate them in such knowledge and discipline, as will subject them to the Lord Christ.
II. Children are taught honour and obedience to their parents, as duty to God, and beneficial to themselves. Children, obey your parents in the Lord (and for the Lord); for this is right (a piece of natural equity); Honour thy father and thy mother, (which is the first commandment with promise) that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
III. In these natural societies, there is usually the relation of masters and servants. And these also have their respective duties allotted them. As,
I. Masters are obliged to be just, compasionate, and good to their sera vants. And ye masters, do the same things (the same equitable, good things) unto them (to the servants), forbearing threatning (injurious, intemperate threatning); knowing that your master also is in heaven (who is indulgent now, and will, in time, call you to account) neither is there respect of persons with him. (In his judgment, masters will not be ref. pected more than servants. The law must be the rule to both).
II. Servants are charged to be faithful and diligent in all their business, as those that must expect a judgment to come. Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh (in this secular relation; though they may not yet be of your religion) with fear and trembling (with humility and ready obeysance) in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ (who commands the obedience); not with eye-service, as men-pleasers (not as those that intend to please men only) 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. Then,
II I here
II. There are ecclesiastical societies; such as are appointed by the in. stitution it felf; in which the worship of God and of the Lord Christ is to be perform'd and preserved, proselites to be further instructed, and built up in the exercise of their holy religion, and made meet for the kingdom of heaven. The philosophers had their schools; the jews had and have their synagogues ; Mahomet has his mosques. It is meet the Lord Christ fhould have his seminaries and assemblies, who has higher things to teach, and far more evidence to give, that he is of God and with God. These focieties are called churches, and more particularly the churches of Christ ras being called and gathered unto the Lord Christ) and the churches of God (as being designed and devoted to the name and honour of God, and. owned by him). In these churches, there is the superior and subordinate part. The superior part is to lead in worship, to teach, guide and govern the subordinate part, according to the mind of the Lord Christ, and the di&tates of his institution. Both parts have their respective duties prescri bed and inforced. As,
1. The superior part. The pastors, bishops, overseers and ministers are not to domineer and tyrannize; but to be humble and compasfionate to souls, diligent in teaching them, affectionately concern'd for their spiritual good, guiding them in wisdom and love, by holy word and ex. ample, in the way to eternal life. Take heed to yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you over seers (inspectors or intendants) to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his on blood. (A most pathetick motive.) The elders, which are a. mong you, I exhort, who also am an elder, and a witness (an eye-wieness) of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory, that Shall be revealed (when our Lord shall come again), feed the flock of God which is
among you, taking the oversight (the careful inspection) thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filt by lucre (and as those that study this world), but of a ready mind (as for the Lord Christ); noither as being lords over God's heritage (it is not yours, but God's), but being ensamples to the flock. And then, when the chief shepherd
fall appear (who is Lord of you and of the lock too), ye shall receive a crown of glory, that fadeth not away. Then,
II. The subordinate part, the Aock (as it is called) and the members of the flock, are obliged to honour and support their inspectors, and follow the instructions and conduct of their faithful guides. And we beseech you, brethren, to know them (to acknowledge and respect them) that labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admoniss you, and to esteem them highly in love for their works fake. Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit your selves; for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief; for that is unprofitable for you.
The members of the sacred flocks have also their duties in reference to each other; duties of love and peace, of mutual prayer, asistance, encouragement and contribution. So that the christian religion supports and fortifies natural and necessary societies ; and, were it faithfully practised,, would the great blesing of the world.
The Christian Institution as it comes with Authority,
so it gives us the most lively Examples of its own purity and holiness.
T comes with the authority of heaven, in the attestation it brought a:
long with it. And they went forth and preached every where; the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following (or attending) it: (a) With authority in the speaker; in his person; the Lord from heaven. In his way of speaking Te have: heard, that it was said by tkem of old, Thou shalt not kill; and wholo(a) Mark. Chap. ult.