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these mysterious intrigues ; so that we shall lose SERM. our labour and time, shall discompose our minds,

LV. shall plunge ourselves into vain errors or anxious doubts.

4. It should keep us from conceitedness and con- Job xl. 4. fidence in our own wisdom; for how can we conceit Psal.Ixxiii. highly of that, or much confide in it, which we find 22. xxxix. so unable to penetrate the reason of most common and obvious appearances; so nonplust in its inquiries, so defeated in its expectations, so mistaken in its judgments of things ?

5. It should preserve us from infidelity, and from despair upon account of any cross accidents occurring here; for it is unreasonable to disbelieve a notion, otherwise well grounded, because we cannot assoil scruples or cavils drawn from matters inscrutable to us; it is foolish to despair of a good event upon appearances, whereof we cannot apprehend the full reason or final result.

6. It should prevent our taking offence, or being 2 Kings XX. discontented at any events rising up before us; for Matt

. xvi. to be displeased at that, which a superior wisdom, 23. unsearchable to us, doth order, is to be displeased at we know not what, or why, which is childish weakness; to fret and wail at that, which, for all we can see, proceedeth from good intention, and tendeth to good issue, is pitiful frowardness.

7. It should guard us from security, or from pre- Eccles. viii. suming upon impunity for our miscarriages; for seeing God doth not always clearly and fully discover his mind, it is vain from God's reservedness to conclude his unconcernedness; or because he is now patient, that he never will be just in chastising our offences.

8. It should quicken our industry in observing


II. V. 12.

SERM. and considering the works of Providence; for since LV.

they are not easily discernible, and the discerning Isa. xxvi. them in some measure is sometimes of great use, it

is needful that we be very diligent in contemplation of them; the fainter our light is, the more attent we should be in looking; the knottier the subject, the more earnest should be our study on it.

9. It should oblige us to be circumspect and wary in our conversation ; for the darker the way is, the more careful should be our walking therein, lest we err, lest we stumble, lest we strike on somewhat hurtful to us.

10. It should engage us constantly to seek God, Jer. x. 23. and to depend on him, for the protection and con

duct of his grace, which is the only clue that can lead us safely through this intricate labyrinth of worldly contingencies.

11. In fine, it should cause us humbly to admire 6. xcii. 5. and adore that wisdom, which governeth the world

in ways no less great and wonderful, than just and Apoc. xv. holy: for, Great and marvellous are thy works, O 3. xix. 2. Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways,

O thou King of saints.

Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Psal. xxxvi.




HEB. xiii, 17.

Obey them that have the rule over you. OBEDIENCE unto spiritual guides and governors SERM. is a duty of great importance; the which to declare LVI. and press is very seasonable for these times, wherein so little regard is had thereto: I have therefore pitched on this text, being an apostolical precept briefly and clearly enjoining that duty; and in it we shall consider and explain these two particulars : 1. The persons to whom obedience is to be payed. 2. What that obedience doth import, or wherein it consisteth: and together with explication of the duty, we shall apply it, and urge its practice. .

I. As to the persons, unto whom obedience is to be performed, they are, generally speaking, all spiritual guides, or governors of the church, (those who speak to us the word of God, and who watch Heb. xiii. for our souls, as they are described in the context,) expressed here by a term very significant and apposite, as implying fully the nature of their charge, the qualification of their persons, their rank, and privileges in the church, together consequently with the grounds of obligation to the correspondent duties toward them. There are in holy scripture divers names and phrases appropriate to them, each of


7, 17.


i Tim.v.


i Thess. y. 12.

Matt. xx.

SERM. them denoting some eminent part of their office, or LIV.

some appurtenance thereto; but this seemeth of all most comprehensive; so that unto it all the rest are well reducible : the term is ýyoúpevou, that is, leaders, or guides, or captains ; which properly may denote the subsequent particulars in way of duty, or privilege, appertaining to them.

1. It may denote eminence of dignity, or superior

ity to others : that they are, as it is said of Judas and Acts xv. 22. Silas in the Acts, žvòpes únyoúpevou ÉV áðendors, principal

men among the brethren: for to lead implieth precedence, which is a note of superiority and preemi

Hence are they styled upoegtūtes, presidents Rom. xii. 8. or prelates ; oi apõron, the first or prime men; os

ueícous the greater, majors, or grandees among us :

He, saith our Lord, that will be the first among Luke xxii. you, let him be your servant; and, He that is

greater among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve; where ó peltor and ó ýyoumevos (the greater and the leader) are terms equivalent, or interpretative the one of the other ;

and our Lord in those places, as he prescribeth huPhil. ii. 29. mility of mind and demeanour, so he implieth dif

ference of rank among his disciples: whence to 1 Tim. V. render especial respect and honour to them, as to

our betters, is a duty often enjoined.

2. It doth imply power and authority: their superiority is not barely grounded on personal worth or fortune; it serveth not merely for order and pomp; but it standeth upon the nature of their office, and tendeth to use: they are by God's appointment enabled to exercise acts of power; to command, to judge, to check, control, and chastise in a spiritual way, in order to spiritual ends, (the regulation of God's worship and


1 Thess. y. 13

Matt, ii. 6.

į Pet. v. 2.

service, the preservation of order and peace, the pro- SERM. moting of edification in divine knowledge and holi-_LVI. ness of life ;) so are they ýyouuerol, as that word in common use (as the word “gener, of kin to it) doth signify, captains and princes, importing authority to command and rule ; (whence the Hebrew word swa, a prince, is usually rendered by it; and ó ýyoú- Matt. ii. 6. uevos is the title attributed to our Lord, to express his kingly function, being the same with ápxmyös, the prince or captain;) hence are they otherwise styled Acts V. 31. KuBeproers (governors), éníO KOTO (overseers or su- 1 Cor. xii. perintendents, as St. Hierome rendereth it), pastors, Acts xx. 28. (a word often signifying rule, and attributed to civil

Ps. Ixxviii. governors,) upeo Bútepor (elders or senators; the word ?1. denoteth not merely age, but office and authority), 2 Sam. v. 2. TIMEROŪTES, such as take care for, the curators i Tim. iii. or supervisors of the church: hence also they are 2 Tim. ii. signally and specially in relation unto God styled Rom. xv. δούλοι (the servants), διάκονοι (the ministers), υπηρέται 16. (the officers), destoupyoà (the public agents), olkovópos 2. iii. 9. vi. (the stewards), ouvepyoà (the coadjutors or assist- 2 Cor. vi. 4. ants), apéoßeus (the legates), änyedon (the angels or Gal

. iv. 14. messengers), of God; which titles imply, that God Apoc. i. 29. by them, as his substitutes and instruments, doth administer the affairs of his spiritual kingdom : that as by secular magistrates (his vicegerents and officers) he manageth his universal temporal kingdom, or governeth all men in order to their worldly peace and prosperity; so by these spiritual magistrates he ruleth his church toward its spiritual welfare and felicity.

3. The word also doth imply direction or instruction ; that is, guidance of people in the way of truth and duty, reclaiming them from error and sin : this, as it is a means hugely conducing to the design of

Cor. iv. I,

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