The character of a good ruler. As it was recommended in a sermon preached before His Excellency the governour, and the Honourable Counsellors, and Assembly of the Representatives of the province of Massachusetts-Bay in New-England. On May 30. 1694. Which was the day for election of councellors for that province.
Willard, Samuel, 1640-1707., Massachusetts. General Court.
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As it was Recommended in a SERMON Preached before his Excellency the GOVERNOUR, and the Honoura|ble COUNSELLORS, and Assem|bly of the REPRESENTATIVES of the Province of Massachusetts-Bay in NEW-ENGLAND. On May 30. 1694. Which was the Day for Election of COUNSELLORS for that Province.

By Samuel Willard, Teacher of a Church in Boston.

Boston Printed by Benjamin Harris, for Michael Perry, under the West End of the Town-House. 1694.

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Published by Order of Authority.

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Christian Reader,

_I Am not Ignorant that we are fal|len into a critical time, in which it is hard for a man to look or speak, without some odd reflection made up|on him: I was therefore far from being ambitious of appearing on the Stage in this juncture, either in speaking on such an Occasion as produced the following Ser|mon, or in committing it to the World in Print; knowing how much I should be Exposed thereby. Though on the other side, I am not of that sullen Humour, to shun a Service, wherein I may expect to meet an Affront, when called by God to it, and an advantage is Offered me of doing good. I am none of these Flatterers that will paint a Vice with the Vizar of a Vir|tue upon it: Nor yet of those Male Con|tents Page  [unnumbered]whom nothing can please, but they seek to pick an hole in every thing that is done. I can bless God heartily for men in Authority, who seek the weal of our Israel, making it their Stu|dy and Endeavour to Advance the Interest of Religion and Righteousness among their Peo|ple: and can remember that they are men, and may mistake; and endeavour to cover rather than discover their Infirmities. I do therefore crave your candid Interpretation of the following Discourse. I counted my self bound in Conscience if I spake any thing, to Level it to the Occasion; and to that end, reckoned nothing more proper, than to represent, as in a Glass, the fair face of a Well-ordered Government, with some of the advantages accruing therefrom, together with the inconveniences naturally consequent on the contrary; that all Ranks of Men in a Civil Capacity may be helped thereby in what they ought to pursue, and what to avoid. It is a Rule in Mathematicks, Rectum est in|dex sui et obliqui. Here may we see our Duty and our Danger; the Psalmist saith, Psal. 119.105. Thy Word is a Lamp to my Feet, and a Light to my Path. If any, whether he be in Place of Rule, or un|der Subsection, will try himself by this, and amend himself by the direction of it, I have all I aim at: if he shall improve it to Re|flect upon others, the blame will be his own. I am sensible how unfit I was to Undertake Page  [unnumbered] in a thing so much too big for me: all that I can say, is that I studied to bring all as near as I could to the Unerring Scripture; and to husband a short time as profitably as I might. If what is thus emitted may be for Gods Glory, and the Benefit of his Peo|ple in this Province, let him have the whole Praise: To his Blessing I Commend it,

Who am the least and most unworthy of Gospel Ministers. Samuel Willard.

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He that Ruleth over men, must be just, Ruling in the Fear of God.

WHether the Ordination of Civil Government be an Article of the Law of Nature, and it should accordingly have been established upon the Multiplication of Man|kind, although they had retained their Pri|mitive integrity: Or whether it have only a Positive right, and was introduced upon mans Apostasy; is a question about which all are not agreed. The equity of it, to be sure, is founded in the Law natural, and is to Page  2 be discovered by the light of Nature, being accordingly acknowledged by such as are strangers to Scripture Revelation; and by Christians it is reducible to the first Com|mand in the Second Table of the Decalogue; which is supposed to be a transcript of the Law given to Adam at the first, and writ|ten upon the Tables of his Heart. For tho', had man kept his first state, the Moral I|mage Concreated in him, consisting in, Knowledg, Righteousness, and True Holiness, would have maintained him in a perfect un|derstanding of, and Spontaneous Obedience to the whole duty incumbent on him, without the need of civil Laws to direct him, or a civil Sword to lay compulsion on him; and it would have been the true Golden Age, which the Heathen Mytholo|gists are so Fabulous about▪ yet even then did the All-Wise God Ordain Orders of Superiority and Inferiority among men, and required an Honour to be paid accordingly. But since the unhappy Fall hath Robbed man or that perfection, and filled his heart with perverse and rebellious principles, tending to the Su••••sion of all Order and the re|ducing of the World to a Chaos: necessity requires, and the Political happiness of a People is concerned in the establishment of Civil Government. The want of it hath Page  3 ever been pernicious, and attended on with miserable Circumstances. When there was no Governour in Israel, but every man did what he would, what horrible outrages, were then perpetrated, though Holy and Zealous Phinehas was at that time the High|Priest? and we ourselves have had a Spe|cimen of this in the short Anarchy accom|panying our late Revolution. Gods Wisdom therefore, and his goodness is to be adored in that he hath laid in such a relief for the Children of men, against the mischief which would otherwise devour them; and en|graven an inclination on their hearts, gene|rally to comply with it. But this notwith|standing, mens sins may put a curse into their blessings, & render their remedy to be not, better, possibly worse than the Malady, Government is to prevent and cure the dis|orders that are apt to break forth among the Societies of men; and to promote the civil peace and prosperity of such a people, as well as to suppress impiety, and nourish Re|ligion. For this end there are to be both Rulers, and such as are to be Ruled by them: and the Weal or Wo of a People mainly depends on the qualifications of those Rulers, by whom we are to be Governed. Hence that Observation, Eccles. 10. 16, 17. Wo to thee, O Land? when thy King is a Child, Page  4 and thy Princes eat in the morning. B'essed art thou, O Land! when thy King is the Son of Nobles, and thy Princes eat in due season for strength, and not for Drunkenness. There is then much of Gods Kindness or Displea|sure to be Read in his Providential dispo|sing of this Affair. God saith of them, Hos| 1 13. 11. I gave them a King in mine Anger.

We have therefore the Character of a Good RULER Recommended to us in the Word of GOD, and Exemplified in some who deserved that Epithete, not only to let men know when GOD favours them with such a Blessing, that they may re|turn Him His deserved Praise for it; but also, both to Instruct such into whose hands it falls, how to Demean themselves in their Authority, so as to be a Common Good; and to direct those unto whose trust it is Committed, what manner of Persons they ought to introduce, if they would either Please GOD, or Consult their own and their Peoples Welfare.

Such a Character we find is given in our Text; and we may suppose David intended for an Instance of it.

Page  5 The words are introduced with greatest solemnity, to give them the deeper impressi|on on the hearts of those that read them, and are concerned in them. They are the words of David, whom God had exalted to the Government over His People Israel, and instructed in his Duty: who was Gods own Anointed by an Extraordinary calling And they are his Last words, Probably not that he ever spake, but some of his dying words, and the last that he uttered by a Pe|culiar Prophetical Inspiration, & they were not his own words, but such as the Spirit of God dictated to him, and spake by him, whereof he was only the Instrument of their being committed to record. They therfore came out of the Mouth of the God and Rock of Israel: and surely there must be unspeak|able Importance in words Ushered in with so Majestical a Preface. I might here tell you the divers readings, occasioned by the curt expression of the Hebrew Text, but I shall not spend time in it, since the general current of Interpreters runs the same way with our Translation. And I need but briefly acquaint you that the import or sense of the words is variously understood: some apply them to God himself and ac|cordingly read the words as a continued description of him: he that Ruleth 〈◊〉 men;Page  6that ruleth men to fear God. Others apply them to Christ, as typified by David; and take them to be a Prophesy of his Mediato|rial Kingdom: and then they read it, shall be just, ruling the fear of God: i. e. Divine Institu|ted worship: pointing to the abrogating of the legal, and bringing in of the Gospel administrations: but then the Type also must be respected, at least under a shadow: and so they suppose that Davids Typical Govern|ment is represented. Others take them ac|cording to the sense of our Translation, not to be a prediction but a precept, giving us to understand what manner of persons such are required to be, by the Divine Man|date, and that it was left as a Rule to them who should succeed.

In the words there are two things to be observed.

1. The Subject spoken of; He that Ruleth over men He that Ruleth] The word Im|ports one that hath any Dominion, right, or authority over either Persons or things; and is here applicable to all those degrees of men that have any mark of Authority upon them; whether the King as Supream, or any Ministers under him, under what Character or title soever:

Over men] the word [Adam] is fre|quently used to express the Commonalty, or Page  7 People that are to be Governed: but how|ever, there is or ought to be a vast difference between the Government of Men and Beasts; though some Brutish men may deserve to be treated as Brutes. Man is a Reasonable Creature, and of the same order of being with them that Govern him, and ought to be managed accordingly.

2. The Duty incumbent on such an one: He must be Just, Ruling in the Fear of God. Some suppose that the double Office of the Civil Magistrate is here pointed at, who is Cusros utriusque Tabulae, who is to maintain Justice towards men, & Piety towards, God. Others suppose the latter Expression to be Exegetical to the former.

[Just] i. e. One that makes Conscience to observe and keep to the Rule of Righte|ousness in all his Administrations, he ought not to Exert his Power Illimitedly, and Arbitrarily, but in Conformity to the Law of God, and the Light of Nature, for Gods Honour, and the promoting of the common benefit of those over whom he bears Authority. And hence,

[Ruling in the Fear of God] And if he doth not so, he cannot be Just: and by the Fear of God we may either understand an holy Reverential Fear, entertained in his heart, which must Govern him, or else he Page  8 will never Rule well. For though every good man will not make a good Ruler, yet it is scarce to be believed that a man will Acquit this Office well without Piety. Or else it may be taken Metonimically, for the Rules of Gods Word, and those parti|cular Precepts which direct men how to carry themselves in every Station: which are therefore called the Fear of God, be|cause they serve rightly to Regulate our Fear of him. Where it is said [he must] it doth not suppose that all who have such Authority with them, do so Rule: woful experience too frequently proves the contrary: but that it is their Duty, and a matter of great Importance for them to attend it. Hence.


It is of highest Consequence, that Civil Ru|lers should be Just Men, and such as Rule in the Fear of God.

Where shall we find any one Text in Scripture Ushered in more remarkably than this? I may not tarry here to draw out this Character in its full dimensions, and give it all its Colours; but must only make some brief Glances.

Page  9Civil Rulers are all such as are in the ex|ercise of a rightful Authority over others. These do not all of them stand in one equal Rank, nor are alike influential into Govern|ment. There are Supream and Subordinate Powers: and of these also there are some who have a Legislative, others an Executive Power in their Hands; which two, though they may sometimes meet in the same per|sons, yet are in themselves things of a diffe|rent Nature. There are Superiour Magistrates in Provinces, and such as are of Council with them, and Assembly-men, the Representatives of the People. There are Judges in Courts, Superiour and Inferiour; Justices of the Peace in their several Precincts: and in each of these Orders there Resides a measure of Authority.

Now, that all these may be Just, it is firstly required, that they have a Principle of Moral Honesty in them, and Swaying of them: that they Love Righteousness, and Hate Iniquity: that they be Men of Truth, Exod. 18. 21. for every man will act in his Relation, according to the Principle that Rules in him: so that an Unrighteous man will be an Unrighteous Ruler, so far as he hath an Opportunity.

They must also be acquainted with the Rules of Righteousness they must know Page  10 what is Just, and what is Unjust, be Able men, Exod. 18. 21. For, though men may know and not do, yet without Knowledge the Mind cannot be good. Ignorance is a Foundation for Error, and will likely pro|duce it, when the man applies himself to act: and if he do right at any time, it is but by guess, which is a very poor Commendation.

Again, he must be one that respects the Cause, and not the persons in all his Ad|ministrations, Deut. 1. 17. Ye shall not respect Persons in Judgment, &c. if his Affections Oversway his Judgment at any time, they will be a crooked Biass, that will turn him out of the way, and that shall be Justice in one mans case, which will not be so in another.

Farthermore, he must be one whom nei|ther Flattery nor Bribery may be able to remove out of his way, Deut. 16. 19. Thou shalt not wrest Judgment, thou shalt not Respect Persons, neither take a Gift; and hence he must be one who hates both Ambition and Covetousness, Exod. 18. 21. Hating Covetousness; which word signifies, a Gree|dy Desire, and is applicable to both the fore cited Vices: for if these Rule him, he will never be a just Ruler.

Page  11 Finally, he must be one who prefers the publick Benefit above all private and separate Interests whatsoever. Every man in his place, owes himself to the good of the whole 〈◊〉 if he doth not so de|vote himself, he is unjust: and he who either to advance himself, or to be Re|venged on another, will push on Injuri|ous Laws, or pervert the true Intention of such as are in Force, is an unjust man: and he who is under the influence of a Narrow Spirit, will be ready to do so, as occasion offers.

Nor is this Justice to be lookt upon as separate from the Fear of God, but as influenced and maintained by it. He therefore that Ruleth in the Fear of God, is one who Acknowledgeth God to be his Soveraign, and carries in his heart an Awful Fear of him: who owns his Commission to be from him, and ex|pects ere long to be called to give in an Account of his managing of it: which maketh him to study in all things to please him, and to be afraid of doing any thing that will provoke him.

And accordingly, he is a Student in the Law of God, and Meditates in it Day and Night; making it the Rule into which he ultimately resolves all that he Page  12 doth in his place. We find that in the Old Law, the King was to write a Copy of it with his own hand, and to make use of it at all times: Deut. 17. 18, 19.

If he hath any thing to do in the making of Laws, he will consult a good Conscience, and what may be pleasing to God, and will be far from framing mischief by a Law. And if he be to execute any Laws of men, he will not dare to give a judgment for such an one as directly Crosseth the Command of God, but counts it ipso facto void, and his Conscience acquitted of his Oath.

Yea the Fear of God will make him not to think himself Lawless; nor dare to bear witness, by Laws and Penalties, against sins in others, which he countenanceth and en|courageth by living in the Practise of himself: but to use utmost endeavours that his own life may be an exemplification of Obedience, and others may learn by Him, what a Veneration he hath for the Laws that are enacted for the good of Man-kind.

In a word, he is one that will take care to promote Piety as well as Honesty among men; and do his utmost that the true Reli|gion may be countenanced and established, Page  13 and that all Ungodliness, as well as Un|righteousness, may have a due Testimony born against it at all times. So he resolves Psal. 75. 10. all the horns of the wicked also will I cut off; but the horns of the righteous shall be exalted.

It then follows that we enquire of what great moment or consequence it is that these should be such: and there is a three|fold respect in which the high importance of it is to be discovered by us.

1. In respect to the Glory of God.

Civil Rulers are Gods Vicegerents here upon earth; hence they are somtimes hon|oured with the title of Gods, Psal. 82 6. I have said ye are Gods. Government is Gods Ordinance; and those that are Vested with it, however mediately▪ introduced into it, have their rightful authority from him. Prov. 8. 15,16. By me Kings Reign, and Princes Decree Justice. By me Princes Rule, and Nobles, even all the Judges of the Earth, and they that are from him, should be for him, and ought to seek the Honour of him who is King of Kings, and Lord of Lords: which they only then do, when they manage their whole Interest and Page  14 Power with a Design for his Glory; & accordingly manage themselves in all their Ministrations by the Statutes of his King|dom; which none will ever do, but they that are Just, Ruling in the Fear of God. Righ|teousness and Religion flourishing in these, will be as a Torch on an Hill, whose Light and Influence will be vastly extensive: e|very one will be advantaged to see their good works, and to Glorifie God for and in them. Their very Example will have the force of a Law in it, and win many by a powerful Attraction, to the avoiding of sin, and practising of Righteousness. They will be a good Copy, that many will be ambitious to write after: and their faithful Administrations will render them a Terror to Evil Deers, and an Encouragement to them that do well; which will advance the very end of Government. Whereas the Evil De|portment, and Ill Management of Rulers, who are unjust, and void of the Fear of God, is an open scandal, and of a more pernicious tendency than the wickedness of others; inasmuch as their Example is a discouragement to them that are well disposed, and animates those that are set in their hearts for iniquity, and they are thereby emboldned to shew their heads, and to declare their sin as Sodom: hence Page  15 that Remark of the Psalmist, Psal. 12. 8. The wicked walk on every side, when the vi|lest men are exalted. Those that would bear their Testimony against Impiety and Debauchery, are frowned on and neg|lected; and such as would Nourish them are Countenanced: and either good Laws to suppress them are not provided, or they are laid by as things Obsolete, and of no Service: and thus all Abominations come in upon a People as a Blood, and the Name of God is wofully dishonour|ed by this means: and hereupon the last and most excellent end of Government comes to be frustrated, and what is there that we can conceive to be of greater weight than this? if this be lost, the Glo|ry of such a people is gone.

2 In regard to the weal of the People over whom they Rule.

A People are not made for Rulers, But Rulers for a People. It is indeed an Honour which God puts upon some above others, when he takes them from among the People, and sets them up to Rule over them, but it is for the Peoples sake, and the Civil felicity of them is the next end of Civil Policy; and the happiness of Ru|lers Page  16 is bound up with theirs in it. Nor can any wise men in authority think themselves happy in the Misery of their Subjects, to whom they either are or should be as Chil|dren are to to their Fathers: We have the Benefit of Government expressed, 1. Tim.2: 2. a quiet Life and a peacable, in all Godliness and honesty. and it lies especialy with Rulers, under God, to make a People Happy or Miserable. When men can injoy their Liberties and Rights without molestation or oppression; when they can live without fear of being born down by their more Potent Neighbours; when they are secured against Violence, and may be Righted against them that offer them any injury, without fraud; and are encouraged to serve God in their own way, with freedom, and and without being imposed upon contrary to the Gospel precepts; now are they an happy People. But this is to be expected from none other but men just and Pious: they that are otherwise, will themselves be oppressours, and they that are induenced by them, and dependent on them, will adde to the grie|vance. They that should look after them Will Do it fast enough: Yea every one will usurp a License to do so to his Neigh|bour upon an advantage: and such a peo|ple must needs groan under an intollera|ble Page  17 burden. Besides, it is a great Truth, that the Mercies and Judgments of God come upon a people, according as their Rulers carry themselves in managing of the Trust which God hath committed to them. Just and Zealous Rulers, are men that Stand in the Gap, and keep off Judg|ments from a sinning people; God sought for one such, Ezek. 22. 30. they turn away wrath, when it hath made an inroad, so it is recorded of Phine has that he did, Ps. 106. 30. and God is wont to Bless such a People, as He did Israel and Judah in the days of David, Solomon, Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah, and Josiah: wheras when these fall into such sins as God is Provoked at, the People are like to Smart for it. There is such an influence with the Prevarications of these men, that, in the righteous judgment of God, those under them suffer grievously by it. This the Heathen observed in the course of Pro|vidence, and made that remark upon it, Delirant reges, plectuntur Achivi. Thus David numbers the People, and Seventy Thousand of the men of Israel die for it, 2 Sa. 24. Yea such may be the influence of the Male-administration of Rulers, though done without malice, and in an heat of misgui|ded zeal for the People of GOD; as Sauls act in Slaying the Gibeonites is recorded to Page  18 have been 2 Sam 21 2. that the Guilt may ly long upon a Land, and break out in Terrible Judgments a great while after, and not be expiated till the sin be openly con|fessed, and the Atonement sought unto.

3 With Reference to Rulers themselves. It is, as we before Observed, a Dignity put upon them, to be preferred to Govern|ment over their Brethren; to have the oversight, not of Beasts, but of Men. But as there is a great Trust devolved on them, so there is an answerable Reckoning which they must be called unto: And however 〈◊〉 are setled in Authority by men, yet GOD, who Rules over all, hath put them in only Durante Bene Placito: they are upon their good Behaviour; they are Stewards, and whensoever GOD pleaseth, He will call for a Reckoning, and put them out. GOD sets up, and he pulls down; and he hath a respect to mens Carriages in his dealings with them. Godly and Zealous Phinehas got a Blessing for himself and his Posterity, Numb. 25. 11. &c. Whereas Saul procured for himself a Rejection, and the laying aside and almost Extirpation of his Family. We have this also instanced in Shebna and Eliakim Isa. 22. 15. &c. Yea, what did Jeroboam, what did Ahab, and many others procure Page  19 for themselves, by their ill Government, but the utter rooting out of their Names, and Posterity? The Fourth Generation may Rue that ever they derived from such Pro|genitors. The only sure way for Rulers to build up their own Houses, it to be such in their places as David was, of whom we have that Testimony, Psal. 78. 71,72. He brought him to Feed Jacob his People, and Israel his Inheritance. So he Fed them according to the Integrity of his heart, aad guided them by the Skilfulness of his hands. And although GOD doth not always peculiarly put a Brand in this World upon Impious and Unjust Rulers, yet there is a Tribunal before which they must stand e're long as other men; only their Account will be so much the more Fearful, and Condemnation more Tremen|dous, by how much they have neglected to take their greater advantages to Glorify GOD, and abused their Power to His Dis|honour, by which they had a fairer oppor|tunity than other men.

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All that I have to Offer by way of Improvement, shall be in a Three|fold Commendation of this TRUTH to us.

I. Let me propose it to such in whose hands it is to Appoint the Persons that are to bear Rule over this People; whether for the making of Laws to Govern by, or the putting of such as are made into Exe|cution: Whether Counsellors, Assembly-Men, or Justices of the Peace. Let this be your directory in exerting of this right. Civil Government is seated in no particular Persons or Families by a Natural right, neither hath the Light of Nature, nor the Word of GOD determined in parti|cular, what Form of Government shall be Established among men, whether Monarchi|cal Aristocratical, or Democratical: much less, who are individually to be acknowledged in Authority, and accordingly submitted to. Nevertheless the Holy Providence of God pre|sides Page  21 in this matter; sometimes, by a more. Immediate, and Extraordinary pointing to the Persons and Families: when by Revelation he declares his pleasure in it. Thus was Saul set up over the Kingdom of Israel; and af|terwards David was thus chosen of God, and an Entail made of the Crown on his Posterity: but this way hath long since ceased. Sometimes it is more mediate and or|dinary, and that is, either Forcible, when God Judicially delivers a People up to the will of their enemies, and the Conquerour gives Laws to, and appoints Rulers over such a People at his pleasure, and they are com|pelled to accept of them, little to their con|tent: which, as is not Elegible, so neither is it wont to be of duration: things violent use not to be Permanent. Or vo|luntary, which is by the free consent of a People, orderly, and without Compulsion establishing the Fundamentals of Government among themselves, and the methods of in|troducing Persons into authority: which Methods are not prescribed in Scripture, but remain points of Prudence, and may Law|fully be divers here and there. There are yet general Rules which both reason and Religion do point men to attend in this Case; and the weal or wo of a People do Page  22 very much depend therupon. And as it is a thing very grateful to men to have some hand and consent in the appointment of their own Rulers, so they do either make or mar themselves by the using or abusing of such a liberty. When this power is Im|mediately devolved upon some persons, they have great advantage to procure either the happiness or misery of their People. Such Electors therefore are under the obligation to be very wary in the application of them|selves to the Nomination of the persons for such a trust. A good Charter is Doubtless Preferible to a bad one; it is a great Pri|viledge to be secured from being hurt by any but our selves: but, let Charter Privi|leges be never so Excellent, Good Rulers only can make us Happy under them: and if they are not so, we suffer notwith|standing.

Here then you are told what qualities are to be eyed in those whom you fix your Choise upon. Whatsoever other Rules discretion may point to be observed in this affair, yet these must always be of the Quorum. It is true, there are none without their failings; nor can we expect that the best of men will never do amiss; but yet Page  23 the Best are to be preferred, as they that will do it seldomest, and never of design. They that Fear God will be afraid wilfully to hurt men; they that are just will do justice, & that can wrong none. This is it which advantageth all other gifts, whether natural or acquired, to be truely serviceable to the promoting of the welfare of a People: with|out this, the more that men have of these, they are so much the more advantaged to do mischief. There is no misery greater, or less pitied, than what men foolishly bring on themselves; and none will be equally blamed for it, as they who were the guilty occasions of it, or more deserve it. Chuse such men, and then you may expect to be so Governed: if you desire that Holiness, and Righteousness may be promoted and encoura|ged, this is the best stroak that you can give to it: if you have a mind that Prophane|ness, and Debauchery should take place, and bear all down, here is the readiest way for it.

And if you will keep to the Rule pre|scribed in our Text, Beware of being mis|guided by Special Favour, Bribery or Faction

When Persons shall be crowded in, be|cause Page  24 they are our Friends, or have gained a room in our affections, without any respect to their meekness, but what our blind pas|sions judge of; or that they may have a way to support themselves by the Govern|ment; it is easy to tell what is to be ex|pected.

When places of Trust in Government are bought and sold, and he shall have them that will give most for them, we may well conclude that such a People are bought and sold too, and must only serve to make a good Market of.

When a People are divided into Factions; Just, and Wise, and good Men are renoun|ced, & not thought worthy to be made use of, because they favour not the Party that can sway; and such as are hotly zealous for the design, are counted, meerly by that zeal sufficiently qualified, and to be of all most worthy; this will not promote the Publick Good, but only gain to the one side a little more of advantage to do hurt.

2 Let me humbly offer this as a Copy for all that either are, or may be in place of Rule, to Write after, Allow me the Li|berty Page  25 to say this from GOD; that by what|soever Titles of, Excellent, Honourable, or Wor|shipful, you are known; you not only Rule under such as are your Superiors on Earth, unto whom you are accountable for what you do; but under GOD also, who is your Great SOVERAIGN. Your Authority is from Him, and ought therefore to be for Him, else will you be found false to your Trust. You Rule over His Subjects, and that not only upon a common account, as the whole World is His Kingdom, but one more Special, as the People under your Watch, are the Subjects of His GOSPEL KINGDOM: if you do that which is Right to them, He will be Pleased▪ but if you should do otherwise, their APPEAL is open to Him, and there is a COURT that will be called, wherein their CAUSE shall be Heard, and Adjusted.

Be you entreated, to measure all your administration by this Rule: Do all justly and in the fear of God. This is the way to be Blessings in your places, and to be the Blessed of the Lord. By this course you will make your people an happy people, and you your selves shall be Established. Thus shall you pull down a blessing on your own Page  26 heads, and upon the Land you dwell in. This is the way to be the Repairers of breach|es, and the Restorers of paths to dwell in.

To this end, be entreated to take care that Religion may Flourish; the True Fear of GOD, and Right Administration of His Or|dinances may be Promoted and Secured: that Righteousness may be done for men, and that Iniquity which defiles a Land, and pulls down Wrath, may be Purged away: that Drunkenness, and Swearing, Fornication, and Sabbath-Prephanation, and whatsoever hastens the Calamity of a Professing People, may be duely born Witness against. Let this be your Sincere Unbiassed Aim in all that you do.

Carry this with you, & let it Rule in the making of Laws: let the Word of GOD be consulted, and the Common Utility of the Subject be designed: For, though there be not a Body of Civil Laws drawn up in the Scriptures, to which every Pollity is to be confined, yet there are sufficient general directions, & Rules, to be gathered from thence; which may Regulate in this Affair.

Page  27 Take heed of any Sinister Aims in what|soever Laws do pass: Laws made to streng|then a particular separate Interest, never did Good, but Hurt to a Body-Politick: that which may serve the present turn, may in a little time prove more Mischievous, than ever it was Advantageous. Remember, you cannot Repeal such Laws, when you will, or when you have advanced a design with them. Look then forward to the after Is|sues. It will be no small Aggravation of our Trouble, to be Wounded with a Shaft of our own making. Look for Changes in a World of Mutability, and lay in, as far as innocent Prudence may direct, for your Own, and your Peoples Safe|ty.

Keep to this also in all your Admini|stration or Application of Laws. Maintain a good Conscience in it, and let the Fear of God, and a Principle of Justice make you to lay aside all Sinister Respects. Let not Persons but Things Sway you in all your Dispensations; and when the case is the same, let the same sentence proceed from you: let neither Riches nor Poverty turn the Scale; neither Friendship nor Enmity Spoil the Sentence. Take no Gift in secret Page  28 to stop or Pervert Justice; nor misapply your power to take private or personal Revenge. When Cases are plain, do not obscure them; and when they are dubious Search them out: and let not flattery or Im|pudence prevail over you, but take his ad|vice in 2. Chron 16. 9. Thus shall you do in the fear of the Lord, faithfully, and with a perfect heart, Deal couragiously, and the Lord shall be with the good.

Remember the cause is Gods, and he will have the calling of it over again; where he will either applaud your fidelity, or condemn your unfaithfulness.

Do so also in your Exemplary conversa|tion. Do not do that your selves, which you ought in Duty, and oath, to punish in others; Embolden not wicked men to transgress by your example, and to excuse themselves upon your account. That Man who Will Violate the Laws which He is to Rule by, will soon neglect to Execute them on others, and bring reproach on himself where he doth.

3 Let it afford matter of Instruction to us all.

Page  29 Are these the Eminent Qualifications of good Rulers? it is no small concern that we have in this affair. It tells us that we ought Earnestly to Pray to God that we may have such always: and we pray for our selves when we so do.

Whatsoever other influence we may have into the appointment of those that are to Govern us, there is none that can hin|der us of this but our selves. God Over|rules the Lot, he Determines the Hearts of men, and he can make men after his own Heart: he Presides over every Elect|ion; and if we can prevail with him by importunate Prayer, our business is done. It is one of the Blessings that he will be sought unto for, by the House of Israel.

It calls us to be thankful to him for such when he bestows them upon us. God not a little displays his kindness to a people, when it is thus; and expects their gratitude to him for so Comprehensive a Mercy: there is nothing will sooner lose us this benefit than Ingratitude.

Let us Encourage them that are such, and that by a Cheerful acknowledgment Page  30 of them, Contentation under them, and candid Interpretation of them.

We are Governed by men of like infir|mitis with ourselves, wonder not if some|times they discover something of them: but when we know that their cordial endeavours are to do that which is right, and promote onrpeacable and Godly Living, let this please us.

And beware of Murmurings; GOD will not take it well of us, and can easily let us know a difference: and it is an Observa|tion that seldom misseth; That they who are most addicted to, are soonest weary of Changes.

In a Word, let us beware left we pro|voke an Holy and Jealous God to anger so as to give us men of another Spirit to Rule over us, or to withdraw His Spirit from them that do, and leave them to do things inconvenient.

Evil Rulers, and the Male-Administrations of good ones, are punishments which GOD doth inflict on a people that have provoked him to Anger against them, GOD gave Saul to Israel in his Wrath; and he left David Page  31 to Number the people because His Anger was kindled against Israel.

If we Apostatise from GOD, and grow weary of his ways, he knows how to Scourge us after this manner; and hath, not seldom, done so by his people on such occasions.

But if we be a people Fearing GOD and Keeping of His Commandments, He will Delight in us to Bless us, and to do us Good: and to give us Rulers after his own Prescription, Just Men, and Ruling in the Fear of God.