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VII. No man may vow to do any thing forbidden in the word of God, or what would hinder any duty therein commanded, or which is not in his own power, and for the performance whereof he hath no promise or ability from God. 9 In which respects, Popish monastical vows, of perpetual single life, professed poverty, and regular obedience, are so far from being degrees of higher perfection, that they are superstitious and sinful snares, in which no Cbristian may entangle himself.r
bread to eat, and raiment to put on; so that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God. And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house : and of all that thou shalt give me, I will surely give the tenth unto thee. 1 Sam. i. il. And she vowed a vow, and said, O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine hand-maid, and remember me, and not forget thine hand-maid, but will give unto thine hand-maid a man-child, then will I give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head. Psal. lxvi. 13, 14. (See letter n.) Psal. cxxxii. 2 to 5. How he sware unto the Lord, and vowed unto the mighty God of Jacob; surely I will not come into the tabernacle of my house, nor go up into my bed : I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to mine eye-lids, until I find out a place for the Lord, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob.
VII. q Acts xxiii. 12, 14. And when it was day, certain of the Jews banded together, and bound themselves under a curse, saying, That they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. And they came to the chief priests and elders, and said, We have bound ourselves under a great curse, that we will eat nothing until we have slain Paul. Mark vi. 26. And the king was exceeding sorry, yet for his oath's sake, and for their sakes which sat with him, he would not reject her. Num. xxx. 5, 8, 12, 13. But if her father disallow her in the day that he heareth ; not any of her vows or of her bonds, wherewith she hath bound her soul, shall stand: and the Lord shall forgive her, because her father disallowed her. But if her husband disallow her on the day that he heard it; then he shall make her vow which she vowed, and that which she uttered with her lips, wherewith she bound her soul, of none effect; and the Lord shall forgive her. But if her husband hath utterly made them void on the day he heard
them; then whatsoever proceeded out of her lips, concerning her * vows, as concerning the bond of her soul, shall not stand : her hus. band hath made them void, and the Lord shall forgive her. Every vow, and every binding oath to afflict the soul, her husband may establish it, or her husband may make it void.
, Matth. xix. 11, 12. But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men : and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake: he that is able to receive it, let him receive it. 1 Cor. vii. 2,9. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.
OF THE CIVIL MAGISTRATE.
God, the Supreme Lord and King of all the world, hath ordained civil magistrates to be, under him, over the people, for bis own glory, and the public good; and, to this end, hath armed them with the power of the sword, for the defence and encouragement of them that are good, and for the punishment of evil-doers.a
11. It is lawful for Christians to accept and execute the office of a magistrate, when called thereunto :b in the managing whereof, as they ought especially to maintain piety, justice, and peace, according to the wholesome laws of each commonwealth ;c so, for that end, they may lawfully, now Eph. iv. 28. Let him that stole, steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. 1 Pet. iv. 2. That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh, to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. I Cor. vii. 23. Ye are bought with a price, be not ye the servants of men.
I. a Rom. xiii. 1 to 4. Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be, are ordained of God. Whosoever, therefore, resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist, shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same. For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. 1 Pet. ii. 13, 14. Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake : whether it be to the king as supreme: or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evil-doers, and for the praise of them that do well.
II. b Prov. viii. 15, 16. By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth. Rom. xiii. 1, 2, 4. (See in letter a.)
c Psal. ii. 10, 11, 12. Be wise now, therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little : blessed are all they that put their trust in him. 1 Tim. ii. 2. For kings, and for all that are in authority ; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. Psal. lxxxii. 3, 4. Defend the poor and fatherless : do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked. 2 Sam. xxiii. 3. The under the New Testament, wage war upon just and neces. sary occasions.d
III. The civil magistrate may not assume to himself administration of the word and sacraments, or the power of the keys of the kingdom of heaven ;e yet, as the gospel revelation lays indispensible obligations upon all classes of
God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. 1 Pet. ii. 13. (See in letter a.)
d Luke íii. 14. And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying And what shall we do? and he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely, and be content with your wages. Rom. xii. 4. (See letter a.) Mat. viii. 9, 10. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me ; and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth: and to another, Come, and he cometh: and to my servant, Do this, and he doth it. When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no not in Israel. "Acts x. 1, 2. There was a certain man in Cesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band; a devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and rayed to God always. Rev. xvii. 14, 16. These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings ; and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.
III. e 2 Chron. xxvi. 18. And they withstood Uzziah the king, and said unto him, It appertaineth not unto thee, Uzziah, to burn incense unto the Lord, but to the priests the sons of Aaron, that are consecrated to burn incense: go out of the sanctuary, for thou hast trespassed, neither shall it be for thine honour from the Lord God. With Mat. xviii. 17. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man, and a publican. And Mat. xvi. 19. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven. 1 Cor. xii. 28, 29. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? are all prophets ? are all teachers ? are all workers of miracles? Eph. iv. 11, 12. And he gave somę, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors, and teachers ; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. 1 Cor. iv. 1, 2. Let a man so account of us, as of the mi. nisters of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. Rom. x. 15. And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! Heb. v. 4. And no man taketh This honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.
people who are favoured with it, magistrates, as such, are bound to execute their respective offices in a subserviency thereto, administering government on Christian principles, and ruling in the fear of God, according to the directions of his word ; as those who shall give an account to the Lord Jesus, whom God hath appointed to be the jodge of the world.f
Hence, magistrates, as such, in a Christian country, are bound to promote the Christian religion, as the most valuable interest of their subjects, by all such means as are not inconsistent with civil rights ; and do not imply an interference with the policy of the church, which is the free and independent kingdoin of the Redeemer; oor an assumption of dominion over conscience.?
IV. It is the duty of people to pray for magistrates,h to
f Isa. xlix. 7, 23. Thus saith the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, and his holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers; kings shall see and arise; princes also shall worship ; because of the Lord that is faithful, and the holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee. And kings shall bo ihy nursing-fathers; and their queens thy nursing-mothers; they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet, and thou shalt know that I am the Lord: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me. Rev. xxi. 24. And the nations of them, which are saved, shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. Col. iii. 17. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. 2 Sam. xxiii. 3. The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over mən must be just, ruling in the fear of God. 2 Cor. v. 10. For we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
g Psal. ii. 10, 11, 12. Be wise now, therefore, ye kings; be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling: Kiss the son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. John xviii. 36, 37. Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world. If my, kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I shouid not be delivered to the Jews : but now is my kingdom not from hence. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth, heareth my voice. James iv. 12. There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another ? Rom. xiv. 4. Who art thou that judgest another man's servant ? to his own master he standeth or falleth: yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. (See also letters e and f.)
IV. h 1 Tim. ii. 1, 2. I exhort, therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all
bonour their persons,i to pay them tribule and other dues, to obey their lawful commands, and to be subject to their authority for conscience sake. Infidelity, or difference in religion, doth not make void the magistrate's just and legal authority, nor free the people from their due obedience to him ;m from which ecclesiastical persons are not exempt. ed in much less hath the Pope any power or jurisdiction over them in their dominions, or over any of their people ; men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
i 1 Pet. ii. 17. Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.
k Rom. xiii. 6, 7. For, for this cause pay your tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually rpon this very thing. Render, therefore, to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due, custom to whom custom, fear to whom fear, honoar to whom honour.
2 Rom. xiii. 5. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. Tit. iii. 1. Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work.
m 1 Pet. ii. 13, 14, 16. Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme: or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evil doers, and for the praise of them that do well. As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the ser vants of God.
n Rom. xiii. 1. Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God; the powers that be, are ordained of God. Acts xxv. 9, 10, 11. But Festus, willing to do the Jews a pleasure, answered Paul, and said, Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these things before me? Then said Paul, I stand at Cæsar's judgment-seat, where I ought to be judged ; to the Jews have I done no wrong, as thou very well knowest. For if I be an of. fender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die : but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Cæsar. 2 Peter ii. 1, 10, 11. But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. But chiefly them that walk after the flesh, in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government: presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities : whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord. Jude 8 to 11. Likewise, also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. Yet, Michael, the archangel, when contending with the devil, he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. But these speak evis of those things, which they know not : but what they know naturally, as brute-beasts ; in those things they corrupt themselves. Wo unto them; for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gain-saying of Core.