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they are most exposed to dangers and disasters; they have the natural infirmities of other men, and are far beyond them subject to temptations : wherefore if we love them, our country, or ourselves, if we regard the interests of truth, of piety, or the common good, we shall not fail to pray that God will afford them needful assistance in the administration of their high office. 9. Whereas God has declared that he hath a special regard to princes, as his representatives, the ministers of his kingdom, and this for the benefit of mankind, which is mainly concerned in their welfare, on that account our prayers for them are the more required; for it is a method of God, not to dispense special blessings without particular conditions, and the concurrence of our duty in observing his commands.
10. To engage and encourage us in this practice we may farther consider that such prayers duly offered with fervency and constancy, sincerity and zeal, do never want effect; which, if it be not always discernible, is certainly real, if not as perfect as we desire, as competent as the condition of things will bear: this subject enlarged on: the general efficacy of prayer considered : our reasonable hopes in the present instance. 11. Another general consideration is, that prayer is the only allowable way of redressing our case, if we suffer by or for princes : this point enlarged on: precepts of St. Paul considered : God's providence stated as the only sure ground of our confidence or hope for the preservation of church and state. 12. Seeing then that there are so many good arguments and motives for inducing us to pray for kings, it is no wonder that, to back them, we may also allege the continual practice of the church, in all times performing this duty in its most sacred offices. Exhortation of St. Paul on this head : practice of the church in this respect, as related by Tertullian : also as related by St. Chrysostom: prayers for the emperors were inserted in the Greek liturgies : reasons why the offices of the Romish church, and of those which truckled to it in latter times, were defective in
this point of service: ample manner in which our own church performs this duty.
Besides these general inducements to this duty, there are particular reasons which inforce it in the present season. Times of danger and distress, of guilt and deserved wrath, are most seasonable for recourse to the divine help and mercy in prayer: the gloomy days, the dissensions and animosities of parties, the universal licentiousness of all ranks, the general contempt of religious duties, and the heavy judgments that may be expected, dilated on. This first duty, prayer for kings, has been thus largely insisted on, by reason of its seasonableness to the present times.
II. The other, that of thanksgiving, need only be lightly touched. For,
1. As to general inducements, they are the same, or very like to those which apply to prayer; it being plain, that whatever we are concerned to pray for, when we want it, for that we are bound to thank God, when he vouchsafes to bestow it. 2. As for particular motives, no one can be ignorant or insensible of the grand benefits by the divine goodness bestowed on the king and on the nation, which this day call for grateful acknowlegement. The recital therefore of trite stories and obvious reasons being omitted, all are requested to practise this duty, and to join in the concluding acclamations of praise and thanksgiving to God.
ON THE KING'S HAPPY RETURN.
I TIMOTHY, CHAP. II.-VERSES 1. 2.
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, inter
cessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men : for kings, and for all that are in authority.
Saint Paul in his preceding discourse having insinuated directions to his scholar and spiritual son, Timothy, concerning the discharge of his office, of instructing men in their duty according to the evangelical doctrine; (the main design whereof he teacheth to consist, not (as some men conceited) in fond stories, or vain speculations,' but in practice of substantial duties, holding a sincere faith,' maintaining a good conscience,' performing offices of pure' and 'hearty charity ;') in pursuance of such general duty, and as a principal instance thereof, he doth here 'first of all exhort, or, doth exhort that first of all’ all kinds of devotion should be offered to God, as for all men generally, so particularly for kings and magistrates. From whence we may collect two particulars. 1. That the making of prayers for kings' is a Christian duty of great importance. (St. Paul judging fit to exhort thereto apūrov návrwv, before all other things ;' or to 'exhort that before all things' it should be performed.) 2. That it is incumbent on the pastors of the church (such as St. Timothy was) to take special care that this duty should be performed in the church; both publicly in the congregations, and privately in the retirements of each Christian : according to what the Apos
tle, after the proposing divers enforcements of this duty, subsumeth in the eighth verse; ‘I will therefore, that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath or doubting.'
The first of these particulars, that it is a duty of great in-. portance to pray for kings,' I shall insist on : it being indeed now very fit and seasonable to urge the practice of it, when it is perhaps commonly not much considered, or not well observed ; and when there is most need of it, in regard to the effects and consequences which may proceed from the conscionable discharge of it.
My endeavor therefore shall be to press it by divers considerations, discovering our obligation thereto, and serving to induce us to its observance : some whereof shall be general, or common to all times: some particular, or suitable to the present circumstances of things.
I. The Apostle exhorteth Christians to pray for kings' with all sorts of prayer : with Seyceus, or deprecations,' for averting evils from them ; with mpooevxai, or petitions,' for obtaining good things to them; with évteúčers, or occasional intercessions,' for needful gifts and graces to be collated on them: as, after St. Austin, interpreters, in expounding St. Paul's words, commonly distinguish ; how accurately, I shall not discuss : it sufficing, that assuredly the Apostle meaneth, under this variety of expression, to comprehend all kinds of prayer.
And to this I say we are obliged on divers accounts.
1. Common charity should dispose us to pray for kings. This Christian disposition inclineth to universal benevolence and beneficence; according to that apostolical precept, as we have opportunity, let us do good unto all men:' it consequently will excite us to pray for all men ; seeing this is a way of exerting good-will, and exercising beneficence, which any man åt any time, if he hath the will and heart, may have opportunity and ability to pursue.
No man indeed otherwise can benefit all : few men otherwise can benefit many: some men otherwise can benefit none : but in this way any man is able to benefit all, or unconfinedly to oblige mankind, deriving on any somewhat of God's immense beneficence. By performing this good office, at the expense of
a few good wishes addressed to the sovereign Goodness, the poorest may prove benefactors to the richest, the meanest to the highest, the weakest to the mightiest of men: so we may benefit even those who are most remote from us, most strangers and quite unknown to us. Our prayers can reach the utmost ends of the earth ; and by them our charity may embrace all the world.
And from them surely kings must not be excluded. For if, because all men are our fellow-creatures, and brethren by the same heavenly Father : because all men are allied to us by cognation and similitude of nature; because all men are the objects of God's particular favor and care: if, because all, men are partakers of the common redemption, by the undertakings of him who is the common Mediator and Saviour of all men ; and because all men, according to the gracious intent and desire of God, are designed for a consortship in the same blessed inheritance; (which inforcements St. Paul in the context doth intimate :) if, in fine, because all men do need prayers, and are capable of benefit from them, we should be charitably disposed to pray for them : then must we also pray for kings, who, even in their personal capacity, as men, do share in all those conditions. Thus may we conceive St. Paul here to argue : ‘for all men,' saith he, 'for kings;' that is, consequently ‘for kings, or particularly for kings;' to pray for whom, at least no less than for other men, universal charity should dispose us. Indeed, even on this account we may say, especially
6 for kings ;' the law of general charity with peculiar advantage being applicable to them: for that law commonly is expressed with reference to our neighbor, that is, to persons with whom we have to do, who come under our particular notice, who by any intercourse are approximated to us; and such are kings especially. For whereas the greatest part of men (by reason of their distance from us, from the obscurity of their condition, or for want of opportunity to converse with them) must needs slip beside us, so that we cannot employ any distinct thought or affection toward them : it is not so with kings, who by their eminent and illustrious station become very observable by us; with whom we have frequent transactions and mutual concerns : who therefore in the strictest acception are our neigh