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Tim. ii. 1, 2. I exhort therefore, that first of all, fupplications,
prayers, interceflions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men ; For kings and all that are in autbority ; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty.
THE accession of GEORGE III. to the British
1 throne, is the reason why we have pitched on these words, as a proper subject of your present attention. The relation between kings and sub. jects being mutual, the duties of that relation must be no less fo. Those incumbent on the sovereign, will possibly be recomended by such public teachers as are more immediately in trusted with the care of his soul. These binding upon the subjects, should,
by their respective pastors, be no less represented and inforced. As, therefore, your instruction becomes more immediately our province, it is hoped we will be forgiven, in the present Eslay, through grace, to point out the new duties, which, to us, arise from this new relation. Nor, in doing so, can the fervants of Christ be said to side from their proper sphere, since the apostle of the Gentiles, in this letter to an eminent minister of the gospel, gave it fo particularly in charge. And if it was the duty of pastors so to teach, and of Christians to practise, when kings and those in authority were mostly Heathens, what a forcible argument to it must, necessarily arise from the important consideration of our king, and those now in authority, being, by profession at least, Christians.
Though the letter is addrest to Timothy alone, you'll easily fee, that the duties in our text were not recommended as incumbent exclusively on him ; but as equally and indispensibly binding upon all to whom the knowlege of this Epiftle should come. Without any critical remark upon the words at all, this conclusion might be justly formed; but it will appear with greater evidence, if it's observed, that the huper pantoon may be rendered of all men, as well as for them. In that point of light, the universal obligation of those duties will bear no dispute, Paul being, thereby, represented as exhorting all men, to make fupplication, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, for kings, and for all that are in authority. . Besides, if the benefits arising from a well constituted government, are diffused through all the different orders of men, it must follow, by a molt natural consequence, that the proper returns of duty, should, from all quarters, terminate in such governors.
If this appears to be the case, from the light of nature itself, can the consequence, with any tolerable grace, bc denied, when the authority of a divine revelation is put into the scale? There, as a duty to the Prince of the kings of the earth, Christians are cnjoined to comply with the design of this text,
The nature and importance of the duties under view, are vastly mistaken, if men consider them as appendages only to the Christian practice, what may be neglected with impunity, or nightly dil. charged with approbation ; for our inspired author, in his exhortation to Timothy, sets them on the very front, makes them lead the van, and, by calling for the performance of them forst of all, insinuates, that, in the estimate of heaven, they are duties of the highest confequence, and cannot be neglected, nor performed with indifference, but at the peril, -the highest peril, of the unhapy delinquent,
The different terms used, by our apostle, in expressing this comprehensive duty, ferve to show the great extent, as well as necessity of it.
Supplications may imply the deprecation of evil,-penal, moral, and natural. - Deprecating penal evils 'respects deliverance from the guilt of fin, and froin all the wrath incurred by it, due to it, and con: fequent upon it, whether as to soul or body, as to time or eternity. Moral evil consists in the discon. formity of the heart and practice to the image and law of God, in the pollution and dominion of sin, in what renders men unlike God, unmeet for en. joying, incapable of serving him; and deprecation, in that view, has the removal of that evil as its proper subject. Natural evil, again, which may only be deprecated, in as far, as to infinite wisdom and goodness feems best, takes in all the afflictions and disasters of life, all that is paining to the body, all that is perplexing to the mind, all that is distressing
in a personal or relational regard, and, in one word, it takes in adverty in its whole breadth and leogth, under whatever colour, of whatever kind, to whatever degree, for whatever duration, and with whatever circumstances, common or peculiar, koown or unknown, it may be attended.
Prayers may imply the more direct exercise of, imploring or petitioning ;-- which is fo extensive, according to their circumstances whom it respects, that we cannot poslibly condescend on all the par. ticulars of it.-All special and spiritual bleflings; all purchased and promised good; all common and di. stinguishing favour; all outward and inward profperity; all personal, stational, and relational mer. cies; grace here, glory hereafter, and every good thing;---all these are comprehended in the subject of prayer. Without excludiog those for temporal benefits, petitions for benefits of a saving kind, leem, from the following context, to have been more especially in the apostle's eye ; where we are told, as an argument for inforcing this exhortation, that God - will have all men,” i. e, men of all sorts, kings, and those in authority not excepted, " to “ be saved, and to come to the knowlege of the “ truth,” verf. 4. If we take up the matter in this point of light, then, prayer is to be made, more particularly, for converting, renewing, persevering grace ; for light and life ; love and liberty; peace and pardon ; access and acceptance; spiritual riches and righteousness; furniture for work and warfare; strength and comfort; fealing and establishing influences; with whatever else may be wrapped up in the bosom of the gospel-falvation, as enjoyed or expected by the heirs of promise.
Interceflions may be applied, with equal juftice, to deprecation or petition, that term fignifying pro. perly the interposition of one person for another.
According to this view, Christians are called to .. make the interest of others their own, to interest themselves in it, to exercise a generous concern about it, and to deprecate evil, or implore good, with the sincerity and earnestness the particular care does, or may, require. This view of the term is justified from the expletive argument used by Paul, to recommend the duty; “for, (says he) there is one “ God, and one Mediator between God and man, “ the man Christ Jesus,” verf. 5. and, therefore, would he have said, it is indispenfibly binding upon all Christians, to make intercession for kings, and for all that are in authority. . .
Giving of thanks, as it stands in this passage, says, that Christians are not only to bear the burdens of others, but to feel with them in their joy and happiness, and to feel in such a manner and measure, as proper sentiments and expressions of holy gratitude shall have place. There is, perhaps, something more noble, sublime, and disinterelled, in giving thanks for others when in prosperous circumstances, than in exerciGng a concern about them when in adversity. Adversity is fome how naturally productive of pain, wherever it is observed ; from what principle in the irregenerate we will rrot now fay; whereas prosperity, discovered in the lot of others, frequently in all, always in most, begets envy and discontent: but the Christian virtue here recommended, will, according to the vigour and exercise of it, be expressed in grateful returns to God, for what excellencies, natural, gracious, or acquired, have place in others, for what happiness is bestowed upon them, for what good is done by them, for what advantages they enjoy, for what usefulness they are capable of, and for every thing, that, to such perfons themselves, is a proper ground of thanks. giving and praise.