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to my neighbour, obediently to my sovereign, lovingly to my wife, and faithfully to my people; otherwise I cannot live holily unto God. And therefore, if I would be thoroughly religious, I must farther endeavour to fix my resolutions with regard to the several duties the Most High expects from me in all these particular relations I bear to him, during my sojourning here on earth.
I am resolved, by the grace of God, to honor and obey the king or prince, whom God is pleased to set over me, as well as to expect he should safeguard and protect me, whom God is pleased to set under
THE King of kings and Lord of lords, the great and glorious Monarch of all the world, having enacted many gracious laws, is pleased to set over every kingdom and nation such persons as may put them in execution. So that I cannot but look upon a lawful king as truly a representative of the most high God, as a parliament is of the people; and am therefore persuaded, that whosoever rebels against him, rebels against God himself, not only in that he rebels against the ordinance of God, and so against the God of that ordinance, but because he rebels against him whom God hath set up as his vicegerent, to represent his person and execute his laws in such a part of his dominions.
Hence it is that these two precepts, Fear God and Honor the king, are so often joined together in holy writ; for he that fears God's power, cannot but honor his authority, and he that honors not the king that represents God, cannot be said to fear God who is represented by him. And hence likewise it is, that God hath been as strict and express in enjoining us obedience to our governors, as to himself; for, thus saith the Lord of hosts, Let every soul be subject to the higher powers-why? because there is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God.
And he has denounced as great a judgment against such as rebel against the magistrate he hath ordained,
as against those that rebel against himself; for whosoever resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God; and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. So that the wrath of God shall as certainly fall upon those that rise up against the king, as upon those that fight against God. And no wonder that the punishment should be the same, when the fault is the same; for he that fights against his king, fights against God himself, who hath invested him with that power and authority to govern his people, representing his own glorious majesty before them.
Upon this ground it is that I believe the wickedness of a prince cannot be a sufficient plea for the disobedience of his subjects; for it is not the holiness, but the authority, of God that he represents, which the most wicked, as well as the most holy, person may be endowed with and therefore, when the gospel first began to spread itself over the earth, though there was no Christian king, or supreme magistrate of what title soever, to cherish and protect it, nay, though the civil powers were then the greatest enemies to it, yet even then were the disci ples of Christ enjoined to submit themselves to every ordinance of man, for the Lord's sake. Insomuch that did I live amongst the Turks, I should look upon it as my duty to obey the Grand Seignior in all his lawful edicts, as well as the most Christian and pious king in the world; for suppose a prince be never so wicked and never so negligent in his duty of protecting me, it doth not follow that I must neglect mine of obeying him. In such a case, I have another duty added to this; and that is, to pray for him and to intercede with God for his conversion; for thus hath the King of kings commanded, that prayers, supplications, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made, as for all men, so, more especially, for kings, and those that are in authority; that we may live a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty. So that whensoever I address to the court of heaven, I must be sure to remember my sovereign on earth, thạt God would be pleased to enable his servant to reign on earth, as himself doth in heaven, in righteousness and mercy. But especially in case of any seeming or real default or
defect, though I do not think it a subject's duty to judge or censure his, sovereign's actions, I am to be the more earnest in my prayers and intercessions for him; but upon no account to fight or rebel against him.
And, if I am thus strictly obliged to honor, obey, and pray for a bad prince, how much more should I pay those duties to one, who represents God, not only in his authority, but in his holiness too! In this case sure, as there is a double engagement to reverence and obedience, so I am doubly punishable if I neglect to show it, either to the prince himself or those that are set under him; for the same obligations that lie upon me for my obedience to the king, bind me likewise to obey his inferior officers and magistrates that act under him, and that for this reason, because, as he represents God, so they represent him; and therefore, whatever they command in his name, I look upon it as much my duty to obey, as if it were commanded by his own mouth, and accordingly do, from this moment, by the grace of God, resolve to put this duty into practice.
I am resolved, by the same divine grace, to be as constant in loving of my wife, as cautious in choosing her.
THOUGH it be not necessary for me to resolve upon marrying, yet it may not be improper to resolve, in case I should, to follow these rules of duty, first, in the choice of a wife, and, secondly, in the affection that I ought to bear towards her.
As for the first, I shall always endeavour to make choice of such a woman for my spouse, who hath first made choice of Christ as a spouse for herself; that none may be made one flesh with me, who is not made one spirit with Christ my Saviour; for I look upon the image of Christ as the best mark of beauty I can behold in her, and the grace of God as the best portion I can receive with her. These are excellencies, which, though not visible to our carnal eyes, are nevertheless agreeable to a spiritual heart, and such as all wise and good men can
not choose but be enamoured with. For my own part, they seem to me such necessary qualifications, that my heart trembles at the thoughts of ever having a wife without them. What, shall I marry one that is wedded already to her sins? or have possession of her body only, when the devil has possession of her soul? Shall such a one be united to me here, who shall be separated from me for ever hereafter, and condemned to scorch in everlasting burnings? No; if ever it be my lot to enter into that state, I beg of God, that he would direct me in the choice of such a wife only to lie in my bosom here, as may afterwards be admitted to rest in Abraham's bosom to all eternity; such a one, as will so live, and pray, and converse with me upon earth, that we may both be entitled to sing, to rejoice, and be blessed together for ever in heaven.
That this therefore may be my portion and felicity, I firmly resolve never to set upon such a design before I have first solicited the throne of grace, and begged of my heavenly Father to honor me with the partnership of one of his beloved children; and shall afterwards be as careful and cautious as I can, never to fix my affections upon any woman for a wife, till I am throughly persuaded of the grounds I have to love her as a true Christian.
If I could be thus happy, as to meet with a wife of these qualities and endowments, it would be impossible for me not to be hearty and sincere in my affection toward her, even though I had the greatest temptations to place them upon another; for, how could I choose but love her, who has God for her father, the church for her mother, and heaven for her portion; who loves God and is beloved of him? Especially when I consider, that thus to love her will not only be my duty, but my happiness too.
As to the duty, it is frequently inculcated in scripture, that husbands should love their wives, and that not with a common love, but as Christ loved his church, yea, as their own body; or, as themselves: and they are so to love them, as not to be bitter against them, not to be passionate or angry with them upon every light matter, nor suffer their resentments to rise to that height, No. I.
any occasion whatsoever, as to abate the least spark of conjugal affection towards them, but to nourish and cherish them, even as the Lord the church-in a word, to do all the kind offices they can for them in their civil capacities, and to help and forward them, by all means possible, in the way that leads to heaven; that, as they are united in the flesh, so they may likewise be united in the spirit, and raised and rewarded together at the general resurrection.
And as love is the great duty, so is it likewise the chief happiness, of a married state. I do not mean that love whereby she loves me, but that wherewith I love her; for if I myself have not a cordial esteem and affection for her, what happiness will it be to me to be beloved by her? Or rather, what a misery would it be to be forced to live with one I know I cannot love? As ever therefore I desire to be happy, I must perform my duty in this particular, and never aim at any other end in the choice of a wife, or expect any other happiness in the enjoyment of her, but what is founded in the principle of pure and inviolable love. If I should court and marry a woman for riches, then, whenever they fail or take their flight, my love and my happiness must drop and vanish together with them. If I choose her for beauty only, I shall love her no longer than while that continues, which is only till age or sickness blasts it, and then farewell at once both duty and delight.
But if I love her for her virtues, and for the sake of God who has enjoined it as a duty, that our affections should not be alienated or separated by any thing but death, then, though all the other sandy foundations fail, yet will my happiness remain entire, even though I should not perceive those mutual returns of love, which are due to me from her upon the same bottom. But oh the happiness of that couple, whose inclinations to each other are as mutual as their duties, whose affections as well as persons are linked together with the same tie! This is the chief condition required to make the state of matrimony happy or desirable, and shall be the chief motive with me to induce me to enter into it; for though it be no happiness to be beloved by one I do not love, yet it is certainly a very great one to be be