Government the pillar of the earth. A sermon preached at the lecture in Boston, before His Excellency Jonathan Belcher, Esq; captain general and commander in chief, &c. August 13th 1730. / By Benjamin Colman. ; [Two lines from Isaiah]

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Government the pillar of the earth. A sermon preached at the lecture in Boston, before His Excellency Jonathan Belcher, Esq; captain general and commander in chief, &c. August 13th 1730. / By Benjamin Colman. ; [Two lines from Isaiah]
Colman, Benjamin, 1673-1747.
Boston, in New-England: :: Printed for T. Hancock, at the Bible and Three Crowns near the town-dock.,

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Belcher, Jonathan, 1682-1757.
Sermons -- 1730.
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"Government the pillar of the earth. A sermon preached at the lecture in Boston, before His Excellency Jonathan Belcher, Esq; captain general and commander in chief, &c. August 13th 1730. / By Benjamin Colman. ; [Two lines from Isaiah]." In the digital collection Evans Early American Imprint Collection. University of Michigan Library Digital Collections. Accessed July 24, 2024.


I. The Governments and Rulers of the Earth are it's Pillars.

The Pillar is a Part of great Use and Honour in the Building: So is Magistracy in the World. One Style in Scripture for it is, Foundations and Corner-stones. Where we read of the Chief* 1.1 of the People, in the Hebrew it is the Corners. We read also of the‖ 1.2 Foun|dations of the Earth being out of Course. The mea|ning is, the Government of it was so. Kings bear up and support the Inferior Pillars of Government, and a righteous Administration restores a dissolving State: Psal. lxxv. 3. The Earth and all the Inhabitants thereof are dissolved: I bear up the 'Pillars of it.

In like manner, Wise and faithful Ministers are Pil|lars in the Church: Which is built on the Prophets and Apostles, JESUS CHRIST being the chief Corner|stone, Eph. ii. 20. The Prophet Jeremiah was made by GOD an Iron Pillar: And of Peter, James and John we read, that they seemed to be Pillars: Gal. ii. 9. They were deservedly so reputed, and truly so in the Church of CHRIST. Famous are the LORD's Words

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to Peter, Matth. xvi. 18. Thou art PETER, and on this Rock will I build my Church. And when John had the Vision of the New-Jerusalem, descending out of Heaven from GOD, it is said that the Wall of the City had twelve Foundations, and in them the Names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb.

Now the Design and Use of Pillars in a Building is one of these two, or both together: 1. For Strength to uphold it, or 2. For Beauty to adorn it.

1. The Governments and Rulers of the Earth are its Pillars in respect of Strength to uphold and sup|port the Virtue, Order and Peace of it. Pillars should be made strong, and commonly are so; of Stone and Marble, Iron and Brass. And it had need be a strong Rod to be a Sceptre to Rule, Ezek. xix. 14. Magis|trates need be strong, for Government is a great Weight; and it is laid upon their Shoulders. Moses felt the Weight and said, I am not able to bear this People alone.

2. The Governments and Rulers of the Earth are it's Pillars for Ornament, to adorn it. Pillars in a fine Buil|ding are made as beautiful as may be; They are plan'd and polish'd, wrought and carv'd with much Art and Cost, painted and gilded, for Sight▪ as well as Use. As the Legs are to a Body, comely in it's goings: Such are Pillars in a stately Structure for Beauty to the Eye. It is the allusion of the Spouse, recounting the Beauties of her BELOVED, Cant. v. 15. His Legs are as Pillars of Marble, set upon Sockets of fine Gold. A bold and elegant Comparison, becoming the Pen of Solomon, who had built the Temple of GOD with all it's Pillars. They represented the Strength of CHRIST and his Stability, to bear the Weight of the Govern|ment laid upon Him; and also the Magnificence of the Goings of GOD our King in the Sanctuary: Like|wise the Steadiness of the Divine Administration. So Those in power and Magistracy are to be supposed, Men adorn'd with superior Gifts, Powers and Beauties of Mind: Men that adorn the World wherein they Live, and the Offices which they sustain. And then their

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Office adorns them also, and sets them in conspicuous Places, where what is great and good in them is seen of all.—To be sure, Government and Magistracy adorn the World as well as preserve it.

1. Magistrates uphold and adorn the World, as Pillars do a Fabrick, by employing their superior Wis|dom and Knowledge, Skill and Prudence, Discretion and Judgment for the publick Good. These Accom|plishments are to be supposed in the Civil Order, and they render 'em the Pillars of the Earth.

Wisdom is both Strength and Beauty, a Defence and Ornament. So Solomon shines among Kings, for the Wisdom of GOD was in Him. GOD gave him Wis|dom and Knowledge exceeding much, and Largeness of Heart even as the Sand upon the Sea-shore. Angels excel in Strength, and Rulers should be wise as the Angels of GOD. The Government is laid on CHRIST because in Him are hid all the Treasures of Wisdom and Knowledge. He is the Wisdom of GOD and the Power of GOD. As GOD at first founded the Earth by his Wisdom, and by his Understanding established the Heavens; so by the Communication of Wisdom and Understanding to some, He preserves the Order and Happiness of Others on it. What is said of a House is true of a State, "Thro' Wisdom it is builded, and by Understanding it is established, and by Know|ledge shall the Chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant Riches: A wise Man is strong, yea a Man of Knowledge increaseth Strength* 1.3.

But then, Is the Pillar for Ornament? What is more beautiful than Knowledge and Wisdom? What more adorns a Man, a Place, a Country? The Queen of Sheba came far to hear the Wisdom of Solomon, and Huram was as much struck as she was: 2 Chron. ii. 12. Blessed be the LORD GOD of Israel, who hath given to David the King a wise Son, endued

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with Prudence and Understanding, who may build a House for the LORD, and an House for the King|dom.

2. Integrity, Uprightness, Faithfulness added to Knowledge and Wisdom, makes Men strong and beau|tiful Pillars, whether in Church or State. Every Man is ready to pretend to a Competency of Wisdom, and as ready to proclaim his own Goodness; but a faithful Man who can find? Prov. xx. 6. He is a rare and beau|teous Spectacle, as Moses, Joshua, Samuel, Jehojada, Hezekiah and Nehemiah, in their Times, and to the End of Time. All that rule over Men should be like to These, just Men Ruling in the Fear of the LORD; and then they are to the World as the Light and Rain, without which the Earth must perish. As Dark|ness vanishes before the Light, so a King that sitteth upon the Throne of Judgment scattereth away all Evil with his Eyes. DAVID, that Pillar of Israel, came into the Government with that noble Purpose and Re|solution, Psal. lxxv. 3. When I shall receive the Con|gregation, I will judge uprightly. So he fed Them in the Integrity of his Heart, and led them by the Skil|fulness of his Hands. GOD's Righteousness and Faith|fulness, Justice and Judgment, are the Foundation of His everlasting Government, the Habitation of His Throne. See the Pillars of the Divine Government, Psal. xxxvi. 5, 6. Thy Faithfulness reacheth to the Clouds, thy Righteousness is as the great Mountains. Nor can the Kingdoms and Provinces on the Earth stand, but on the like Basis of a just and righteous Humane Government. Psal. lxxii. 3. The Mountains shall bring Peace to the People, and the little Hills by Righteousness.

Both the Superior and Inferior Magistrates shall minister abundantly to the Stability and Tranquility of the State.

3. A publick and enlarged Spirit for the common Weal and a single Regard thereunto, without suffering our selves to be misled by private and selfish Views: This renders Men Pillars to the World, in the Places wherein Providence sets 'em. And so,

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4. A Spirit of Peace and Love, Meekness and Hu|mility, Candour and Gentleness; whereby Persons are ready to unite their Counsels, and act in Concert with one another; paying a just Deference one to another and preferring one another in Honour; glad to receive Light from any one, and well pleased to reflect it from them; all pursuing one End, as the many Pillars in a great House stand quietly near to one another, and all help to bear it up: This Spirit of Power, and of Love, and of a sound Mind, render men strong and beautiful Pillars of the Earth. But if the Peace of GOD rule not in Mens Hearts; if their Passions shake 'em and they clash with one another; the House tot|ters, the high Arches above cleave asunder, and the Roof falls in; as when Sampson bow'd the Pillars of Dagons House, and buried the lewd assembly in one vast Ruine.

5. A Pillar implies Fortitude and Patience; Reso|lution, Firmness and Strength of Mind, under Weight and Burden: Not to be soon shaken in Mind, nor moved away from what is right and just; but giving our Reason in the Meekness of Wisdom, and hearing the Reasons of others in the same Spirit of Meekness, to form an impartial Judgment, and abide by it; But yet with Submission to the publick Judgment and De|termination. The unstable are as Water, and more fitly likened to the Waves of the Sea, then to a Pillar on Shore. And the irresolute, discouraged and sinking Mind is at best but a Pillar built upon the Sand; which falls when the Wind blows and the Storm beats upon it, because of its weak Foundation.

There is a Passive Courage, ever necessary in an ac|complish'd Ruler, as much it may be as an Active. The Pillar stands regardless thro' the Weather beat on it, or tho' Dirt be cast on it. True it will wear under the Injuries of Time, but it looks still great, and stands while it wears away. The wise, the meek & strong Moses stood as many Shocks, as ever Man did from an impatient, murmuring, ungrateful People.

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But this for the first Head; The Governments and Rulers of the Earth are its Pillars.


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