Imatges de pÓgina

Doers. For as the Good and Virtuous do owę much of their Safety under God to the Sovereign Authority, and to the Administration of Justice, so the Safety of the Sovereign, and the Strength of Government is not a little owing under God to the Fi. delity, to the Honesty, Righteousness and in a word, to the good Conscience and the good Examples of Religious Men : Which is a thing so evident, that all Moral Virtue hath been almost constantly favour'd and encourag’d by the Laws of all Countries. And indeed the contrary does so manifestly tend to Confusion, and the utter Diffolution of all Governinent, that we need not fear the contrary will often happen; and this is so true, that we find St. Peter useth this Argument to the Church, to submit themselves to every Ordinance of Man. Submit yourselves to every Ordinance of Man for the Lord's sake, whether it be to the King as Supream, or unto Gcverngurs, as unto them that are sent hy him for the Punisiment of evil Doers, and for the Praise of them that do well. Which being spoken in this very Epiftle (chap. 2. v. 13, 14.) Who is be that will barm you, if ye be followers of that which is Good ? Implies, That the Benefits which Christians themselves received by Government, although it was by no means partial to them, were


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of themselves a good Reason why they should submit to it, and consequently, that mostly in Civil Governments there is so much Righteousness, that the Condition of a good Man is much better under them, than if there was no Government at all; and withal, that he is much more safe under Government for being a good Man, than if he were not.' To the

To the very fame purpose St. Paul discourseth, Rom. 13. where persuading to Subjection he saith, Rúlers are not a terror to the good Works, but to the evil : Wilt thou then not be afraid of the Power ? Do that which is good, and thou balt have Praise of the same. For be is a Minister of God to thee for good; but if thou do that which is evil, be afraid, for be beareth not the Sword in vain : For be is the Minister of God, a Revenger to ex. ecute Wrath upon him that doth evil. In which kind of Reasonings, the Apostle plainly proceeds upon this Supposition, That Government is very inuch for the Advantage of good Men. And therefore, if we take all together, it is more for the Interest of evil Men under a settled Government to forbear the doing of Injuries, than to do them; and that because it is manifestly the Interest of Government to Punish evil Doers, and to Protect them that Do Well. So that where the Innocence and Virtue of


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good Men fail of gaining the Good Will of any private Persons with whom they converse, it doth yet in a great measure difarın their Enemies of Power to hurt thein, by putting them most effectually under the Protection of Civil Governinent.

2. Let us moreover consider the Security they have by : that especial Providence of God, which takes care of them, and watches over them. God hath ordained Guvernment for the Punishment of evil Doers, and for the Praife of tbem that do well. Yet this Means of the Security of good Men doth not exclude a Particular Providence over them, which doth inore for them, than that other alone can do, and which sometimes delivers them, when the other cannot, And there, are Examples of this, not only in the Scriptures, but, as I verily believe, in all Ages, that Men might not want Senfible Instances of God's Care of Righteous Men, if they would observe them, that is, Such Instances as might effe&ually convince them, and lead them into a Belief of a Particular Providence over the Righteous, even when the Matter is not so plain, as sometimes it is : For in truth the Operations of Divine Providence are so mix'd with Şecond Causes, and it produces Good to them that fear God by such a Train of Human Means and Methods, that sometimes

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his Working is not so difcernable as at 0ther times. God could have reyeased to Ahasuerus the Innocence and Merit of Mordecai, and by many supernatural Ways prevented his and his Countrymen's Ruin ; but his Providence over them was nevertheless effectual in saving them by a more ordinary Method ; the King could not sleep. (Efb.6.) he calls for his Book of Memoirs to entertain himfelf that Night, and there he finds what Service Mordecai had done, and so Things were put into the natural Course for the Deliverance of Him and the Jews. Ít sometimes happens that good Men are by such a strange concurrence of Affairs, preserv'd and protected from Ill-Will, and secur'd from the Malice of their Enemies, that though they fee nothing, but the natural Operation of Second Causes, yet they cannot but ascribe that Conjuncture to a supernatural Guidance, by which they were put into that Order of Working, especially since both Reason and Scripture concur in this matter; for it is very reasonable to believe, that if there be a Providence which presides over all things, that Providence must be especially concern'd for the Welfare and Securīty of good Men : And the Scripture, as in several other places, so in the Context, assures us of it, viz. That the Eyes of the Lord are over the Righteous, and that

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his Ears are Face of the Lord is against them that do Evil : Which is one Reason why St. Peter infers in the very next Words, those of the Text, And who is be that will barm you, if ye be followers of that which is Good? For indeed they seem to be well fenc'd a. gainst all Harin, whose Virtue and Piety doth 'not only put them under the Protection of Maii, as much as cán be, but likewife more immediately under the Protection of God.

But to all this I know it will be obje&ed, That the Condition of the Church, in St. Peter's Time, shewed the contrary to what was by Him affirm'd, and by Us pretended. For the Jews persecuted the Christians with an industrious Malice, and the Empire was' by no means favourable to them: Nero hated them, and he and several other Emperors after him, made terrible Havock' of the Church, and the best Christians were still hunted after for their Destruction. And the like has happend in other Ages afterwards. How therefore can it be faid, who is be that will barin you, if ye

if ye be followers of that wbich is Good? How can these Things stand either with the Security of good Men supposed in the General in the Text, or with that Particular Reason for it now assign'd, viz,


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