« AnteriorContinuar »
likewise urges the fame, faying, Render to all their Jbues, Tribute to whom Tribute is due. Custom to whom Custom, Fear to whom Fear, Honour to whom Honour; Rom. 13.7. These are the Rights of Sovereign Princes, or the things of Ca/ar, which Christ and his Apostles require to be render'd to them, being absolutely necessary to the Support of Government, and the Defence of their Country: cut as there are some Rights of Princes, call'd The things that are Cæfar's, which are to be render'd to them, of which kind, we see, are Honour, Obedience, and Tribute; so there are,
Secondly, Some peculiar incommunicable Rights and Prerogatives, that belong to God only, call'd therefore The things that are God's. Of this kind are all Religious Worship or Divine Honour, together with a due Reverence and Regard to all facred things, that relate or belong to God• , as nis Ministers, his House, his Day, his Revenues, and the like: all which are properly his, and must be regarded as such.
1st, I say, AH Religious Worship belongs to God, and must be render'd to him and no other: so oar Saviour hath given us an express Charge, faying, Thou shalt worj&ip the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve; Matth. 4. 10. Divine and Sovereign Honours are due to him by the Right of Creation: for he that nude and upholds all things by the Word of his Power, may justly claim a peculiar Honour and Homage to be paid to him upon that account; the great Landlord and Proprietor of the World well may and ought to have a particular Service and Acknowledgment due to him, as a high Rent for all his Blessings: and this consists in adoring his infinite Power, Wisdom and Goodness to all his Creatures, in praying to him for all that we want, and in praising of him for all that we receive. This is a Tribute we all owe to the Supreme Being, 'tis peculiar to him, and to be paid to none else; in a word, 'tis one of the things of God that must be render'd to him.
zdly, Another is a due Reverence and Regard to all facred things, that relate and appertain unto God• , which is likewise to be carefully render'd to him. There are some Persons and Things that are set apart from all common and ordinary Uses, and consecrated to Holy and Divine Purposes; all which are faid to be Holy unto the Lord, for the Relation they bear to him as his, and must be respected ac cordingly: of this kind are God's Ministers, God's House,
the Lord's Day, the Lord's Portion of our Substance, or Sacred Revenue appointed for the Maintenance of the Altar, and those that attend his Service ^ all which being the Things of God, are to be render'd to him, arid to be respected for his fake. As,
(i.) Th& Ministers of the Gospel are faid to be God's , Ministers, set apart by his Qrder, and devoted to his Service, and therefore are to be look'd upon and treated as such: so St. Paul orders, Let a Man so account of M as of the Ministers of Christ, and Stewards of the Mysteries of God; i Cor. 3. 1. To these God himself hath aflign'd double Honour, faying, Count them that labour among you in Word and Doctrine worthy of double Honour, and esteem them highiy in Love for their Works; 1 Tim. 5. 17; 1 ThesT. 5. 13. though our licentious and degenerate Age scarce allow them single Honour, and instead of esteeming them highly, seek to bring them as low, and pour as much Contempt up, on them as they can. But these wilt be repaid in due time; for God reckons himself honour'd in honouring his Ministers, as a Prince does in respecting his Ambassadors, and counts himself despised in despising his Ministers, as the Prince does in the like case: for he that hearethyou, heareth me; (faith Christ) and he that desspifeth you, despifeth me; and he that desspiseth me, despifeth him that sent me. Luke lo. 16. And God himself hath declar'd, They that honour me I will honour^ but they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed; I Sam. 1. 30.
(2.) The Church or Temple is the House of God, and therefore to be reverenc'd and us'd accordingly: Christ calls the Temple his House, laying) My House is a House of Prayer; meaning, that it was set apart and consecrated for Holy Uses, and not to be desecrated or profan'd, by putting them to any other. Our Saviour never shew'd greater Indignation, than in whipping the Buyers and Sellers out of the Temple, faying, My House is the House of Prayer^ hut ye have made it a Den of Thieves. And elsewhere, make not my House a House of Merchandise; John 2. 16, 'Tis God's own Command, Te sisall reverence my Santluary; by so doing we honour God, whose House it is, shewing a Regard to the Place where his Honour dwells; which feeing call'd by his Name, and devoted to his Service, we are to separate It from all common, and use it only for Divine Offices, So shall we render unto Cod the things that
VoUV. Parti, . U are are God's v in doing otherwise we invade his House, and profane his Sanctuary^
(3.) The Lord's Day is another of the things of God, that is to be reverenc'd, and render'd to him :, for God hath reserv'd and set apart that Portion of Time for himself, and ltil'd it his: The seventh Bay is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; and hath therefore given a strict Charge, to remember that Day to keep it Holy, by resting on it from all bodily Labours, and to apply it wholly to spiritual and religious Exercises. And because of the Relation and Dependence that there is of these Holy Times, and Holy Places upon one another, God hath join'd them together in one Command, faying, Te stall sanctify my Sabbath, and reverence my SanEtuary; I am the Lord: Lev. 19.30. By so doing we render unto God the things that are God's, and without it we falsify with God, by depriving him of both.
(4.) The tenth Part of our earthly Substance is another thing that is God's, and must therefore, by our Saviour's Rule, be render'd to him v for God, who gives all, hath reserv'd that part for himself, as a high Rent and Acknowledgment for all the rest, which he hath made payable to his Ministers, who attend his Service, and serve at his Altar; and to detain it from them either in whole of In part, is the heinous Sin of Sacrilege. Hence we find God himself complaining of some Mens robbing of him in Tythes and Offerings; and the denying or depriving him of his Part, brings a Curse instead of a Blessing upon all the remaining Parts of their Possessions: And therefore we are bid to honour God with our Substance, which is by a full and fair Payment of what is his, that we may find the Benefit and Comfort of all the rest. And this Right of God Almighty being confirm'd by human as well as by divine Laws, the withholding of it must be a Transgression of both -, and they that do so, neither give to Cæfar the things that are Cæfar'/, nor to God the things that are God's.
Thus-1 have briefly shew'd both the things that are CæEirV, or the Rights of Sovereign Princes, viz.. Honour, Obedience and Tribute; as also, the things that are God's, or the Rights of the great Sovereign and Ruler of the World. viz.. Religious Worship, which is due to him only j and some Divine Honours and Respects that are to be paid to Sacred Persons and Things, for the Relation they bear to him. It remains only to pup you foj mjiul «f a, cajeiul and conscientious Discharge of these Duties, by rendring to each what of right belongs to them. And,mmmm&mmmm
I/?, Let me mind you of rendring unto Cesar, or Sovereign Kings or Queens, the things that are theirs; that is, to honour their Persons as God's Vicegerents, with all the Expressions of inward and outward Honour, and to take care not to diihdnour them in Thought, Word or Deed*
idly. Let us render urito them all due Submission and Obedience to their Laws, owning and yielding to their Authority for God's fake, and not listening to any Suggestions or Temptations to the contrary.
$dly, Let us render Tribute unto them as Occasions shall require, which is here plainly commanded by our Saviour, and is necessary for the Safety both of Prince and People •, the denying whereof to a Lawful and Pious Prince of these Kingdoms, hath brought many Miseries and heavy Burdens upon them ever since. But above all,
Lastly, Let us be careful of rendring unto God the things that are God's; that is, by giving to him Divine Worship, and to none beside him, and likewise by paying all due Respect and Reverence to those Persons, Times and Places that are confecrated^to hinv, honouring his Ministers, hallowing his Sabbath, and reverencing his Sanctuary. And among the rest, let us not forget or neglect to render him that Sacred Part of our Substance, which he hath reserv'd and appropriated to his Service j remembririg the fad Fate of Ananias and Saphira^ who for withholding and alienating part of the Price of their consecrated Substance, were both smitten to Death by a sudden Stroke of Divine Vengeance: as we may read, Atts%. 1,2.
In a word, by rendring unto Cæfar the things that are Cæ-i farV, we may live quietly and easily here; and by rendring unto God the things that are God's, we shall live happily for ever hereafter: Which God grant, &c.
The Epistle for the Four and Twentieth Sunday after Trinity.
Coloss. i. 3 13. We give Thanks to God, and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, paying always for you, since we hear d of your Faith in Christ Jefuf, and of the Love that ye have to all the Saints, &C.
TH E Collect for this Day beseeches God to absolve his People from their Offences, that through his bountiful Goodness they may all be deliver'd from the Bands of those Sins, which by their Frailty they hare committed: which things cannot better be obtain'd than by frequent and fervent Prayer. And therefore the Apostle in. this Epistle puts up his hearty Prayers in the behalf of the Colojfians, that all Sin might decay and die in them, and that all the Graces of the Spirit might grow and flourish among them.
St. Paul had never personally preach'd the Gospel to these
Colo/sums, no not so much as been among them; for he tells us, Chap. 2. ver. 1. that they were some of them that had not seen his Face in the Flefi). But Epaphras, his FellowServant and Fellow-Prisoner at Rome., had planted a Church among them, and converted many to the Faith; and by him it was that he sent this Epistle to them, to encourage and confirm them in the Faith, to which the other had converted them.
So that the Epistle for the Day contains St. Paul's Prayer in the behalf of these Colojfians; which being much the same with that which he put up in the behalf of the Philippians, mention'd in the Epistle for the 22d Sunday after Trinity, I shall not need to repeat what is there treated of, but only consider what is here added to it. It consists partly of Thanksgivings for Mercies, which they had already received j