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ti Lord.” Here we find these two great apostles recommending to all Christians this duty of mutual subjection. For we may observe by St. Peter, that having mentioned the several relations which men bear to each other, as governor and subject, master and servant, and the rest which I have already repeated, he makes no exception, but sums up the whole with commanding “ all to be subject one to another.” Whence we may conclude, that this subjection due from all men to all men, is something more than the compliment of course, when our betters are pleased to tell us they are our humble servants, but understand us to be their slaves.

I know very well, that some of those who explain this text apply it to humility, to the duties of charity, to private exhortations, and to bearing with each other's infirmities; and it is probable the apostle may have had a regard to all these. But, however, many learned men agree, that there is something more understood, and so the words in their plain natural meaning must import ; as you will observe yourselves, if you read them with the beginning of the verse, which is thus ; “ Likewise ye younger submit your“ selves unto the elder; yea, all of you be subject “one to another.” So that, upon the whole, there must be some kind of subjection due from every man to every man, which cannot be made void by any power, preeminence, or authority whatsoever. Now what sort of subjection this is, and how it ought to be paid, shall be the subject of my present discourse.

As God hath contrived all the works of nature to be useful, and in some manner a support to each other, by which the whole frame of thie world, under his providence, is preserved and kept up; so among Vol. X.



mankind our particular stations are appointeď to each of us by God Almighty, wherein we are obliged to act, as far as our power reacheth, toward the good of the whole community. And he who doth not perform that part assigned him toward advancing the benefit of the whole, in proportion to his opportunities and abilities, is not only a useless, but a very mischievous member of the publick: because he . takes his share of the profit, and yet leaves his share of the burden to be born by others, which is the true principal cause of most miseries and misfortunes in life. For a wise man, who does not assist with his counsels; a great man, with his protection ; a rich man, with his bounty and charity; and a poor man, with his labour ; are perfect nuisances in a common. wealth. Neither is any condition of life more honourable in the sight of God than another; otherwise he would be a respecter of persons, which he assures us he is not: for he hath proposed the same salvation to all men, and hath only placed them in different ways or stations to work it out. Princes are born with no more advantages of strength or wisdom, than other men; and, by an unhappy education, are usually more defective in both, than thousands of their subjects. They depend for every necessary of life upon the meanest of their people : besides, obedience and subjection were never enjoined by God to humour the passions, lusts, and vanities of those who demand them from us; but we are commanded to obey our governours, because disobedience would breed seditions in the state.

Thus servants are directed to obey their masters, children their parents, and wives their husbands ; not from any respect of persons in God, but because otherwise there would


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be nothing but confusion in private families. This matter will be clearly explained, by considering the comparison which St. Paul makes between the church of Christ, and the body of man : for the same resemblance will hold, not only to families and kingdoms, but to the whole corporation of mankind. “eye,” saith he, “ cannot say unto the hand, I have

no need of thee: nor again the hand to the foot, I " have no need of thee. Nay, much more, those “members of the body which seem to be more fee“ble, are necessary: and whether one member suf« fer, all the members suffer with it; or one mem“ ber be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.” The case is directly the same among mankind. The prince cannot say to the merchant, I have no need of thee; nor the merchant to the labourer; I have no need of thee. Nay, much more those members, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary. For the poor are generally more necessary members of the commonwealth than the rich: which clearly shows, that God never intended such possessions for the sake and service of those to whom he lends them; but because he hath assigned every man his particular station to be useful in life, and this for the reason given by the apostle, “ that there may be no schism “ in the body.”

From hence may partly be gathered the nature of that subjection, which we all owe to one another. God Almighty hath been pleased to put us into an imperfect state, where we have perpetual occasion of each other's assistance. There is none so low, as not to be in a capacity of assisting the highest ; nor so high, as not to want the assistance of the lowest.

It plainly appears from what hath been said, that

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no one human creature is more worthy than another in the sight of God, farther than according to the goodness or holiness of their lives; and that power, wealth, and the like outward advantages, are so far from being the marks of God's approving or preferring those on whom they are bestowed, that, on the contrary, he is pleased to suffer them to be almost engrossed by those who have least title to his favour. Now, according to this equality wherein God hath placed all mankind with relation to himself,


will observe, that in all the relations between man and man, there is a mutual dependence, whereby the one cannot subsist without the other. Thus, no man can be a prince without subjects, nor a master without servants, nor a father without children. And this both explains and confirms the doctrine of the text: for where there is a mutual dependence there must be a mutual duty, and consequently a mutual subjection. For instance, the subject must obey his prince, because God commands it, human laws require it, and the safety of the publick makes it necessary; for the same reasons we must obey all that are in authority, and submit ourselves not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward, whether they rule according to our liking or not. On the other side, in those countries that pretend to freedom, princes are subject to those laws which their people have chosen; they are bound to protect their subjects in liberty, property, and religion, to receive their petitions, and redress their grievances : so that the best prince is, in the opinion of wise men, only the greatest servant of the nation; not only a servant to the publick in general, but in some sort to every man in it. In the like manner, a servant owes obedience, and diligence, and faithfulness to his master; from whom at the same time he hath a just demand for protection, and maintenance, and gentle treatment. Nay, even the poor beggar hath a just demand of an alms from the rich man ; who is guilty of fraud, injustice, and oppression, if he does not afford relief according to his abilities.

But this subjection we all owe one another, is no where more necessary than in the common conversations of life ; for without it there could be no society among men. If the learned would not sometimes submit to the ignorant, the wise to the simple, the gentle to the froward, the old to the weaknesses of the young, there would be nothing but everlasting variance in the world. This our Saviour himself confirmed by his own example ; for he appeared in the form of a servant, and washed his disciples feet, adding those memorable words, “ Ye call me Lord “ and Master, and ye say well, for so I am. If I w then your Lord and Master wash your feet, how “ much more ought ye to wash one another's feet?" Under which expression of washing the feet, is included all that subjection, assistance, love, and duty, which every good Christian ought to pay his brother, in whatever station God hath placed him. For the greatest prince, and the meanest slave, are not, by infinite degrees so distant, as our Saviour and those disciples, whose feet he vouchsafed to wash.

And although this doctrine of subjecting ourselves to one another may seem to grate upon the pride and vanity of mankind, and may therefore be hard to be digested by those who value themselves upon their greatness or their wealth : yet it is really no more than what most men practise upon other occasions. For, if our neighbour who is our inferiour comes to

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