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 15, 2024.


USE. I shall now make a few Reflections, by way of practical Inference and Improvement.

1. See the Divine Wisdom and Goodness in Ordain|ing and Establishing a Magistracy and Government in the World. It is one of the many great Instances, where|in the SUPREAM GOVERNOUR of the World has taken Care for the universal and perpetual Weal of it. And they that would be lawless and ungoverned, despising Dominion and speaking Evil of Dignity, Distinction, Authority and Rule among Men, act as madly and mis|chievously as one would do, that should go into a House and sap the Foundation of it, till it fall upon him and crush him to Death.

It is one evident Mark of the Romish Imposture, and of the Spirit of Antichrist, that it has invaded, usurp'd upon and subverted the Authority of Kings and Princes, Governments and States, over their Subjects. The Popes Claim of Supremacy transfers the Allegiance of Subjects to a foreign Power, and absolves 'em from their Oaths. This alone is a sufficient Mark of the Beast and of the Man of Sin. What Confusion and Vexation has the World suffered from this insolent & monstrous Doctrine! And how strange is it that so many Kingdoms and Na|tions of Europe should so long wander after it, to their infinite Misrule & Distraction! But the Word & dread|ful Judgment of GOD must be fulfilled on a wicked World.

The Reformed Churches took early Care to protest against this Doctrine of Devils. They declared for a "conscientious Subjection and Obedience to the Laws and Magistrates under which they liv'd, and by whom they were protected & defended in their just Rights and Liberties.

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Every Kind of Magistracy (say the Helvetian Chur|ches) is instituted by GOD, for the Peace and Hap|piness of Man, and all Subjects should own the Good|ness of GOD in the Institution of a Magistrate, by honouring Him as the Minister of GOD.

These are some of the just and true Principles of the Protestant Religion, according to the Oracles of GOD in this Matter: Rom. xiii. 1,—5. 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, resist|eth the Ordinance of GOD.—Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for Wrath (or fear of Punishment) but also for Conscience sake. Render therefore unto all their Dues, Tribute to whom Tribute is due, Custom to whom Custom, Fear to whom Fear, and Honour to whom Honour. Tit. iii. 1. Put them in mind to be subject to Principalities and Powers, to obey Magistrates. 1 Pet. ii. 13, 14, 15, 16, 16, 17. Submit your selves to every Or|dinance of Man for the LORD's sake; whether it be to the King as supream, or unto Governours as unto them that are sent by Him: For so is the Will of GOD. Let us very gratefully observe these Precepts, for they are very graciously given us for the Good of the World.

2. Are Magistrates the Pillars of the Earth? Are they the LORD's? and has He set the World upon them? Let us then devoutly observe the Governing Providence of GOD in disposing of Persons and Offices, both with respect unto our Selves and Others.

As to our Selves, let GOD lead, and Providence open our Way, and let us follow humbly & obediently. Let us think soberly of our selves, and not vainly pine after Honour and Power, or wickedly push for it like Absa|lom. But neither need we hide our selves like Saul, when the Divine Call is plain, nor insist on Excuses like the meek and accomplished Moses. Or if again Provi|dence lays us by, why should we not retire with Samu|el's Humility and Greatness of Soul.

And then as to Others, Let us not think our selves neglected or overlook'd, be envious and discontent, if GOD prefer them. Suffer the MOST HIGH to rule in the Kingdoms of Men, and to give the Provinces that belong

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to 'em to whomsoever He will. Let us know and keep our own Place, and do our Duty to Those whom GOD sets over us.

Let People reverence & honour their worthy Rulers, and let the Highest among Men be very humble before GOD. They are Pillars, but of the Earth. The Earth and its Pillars are dissolving together. Government abides, in a Succession of Men, while the Earth endures, but the Persons, however good & great, must die like other Men. We must not look too much at the Lofti|ness of any, nor lean too much on any earthly Pillar: Put not your Trust in Princes, nor in the Son of Man in whom there is no Help: His Breath goeth forth, he returneth to his Dust. Nor may the Highest among Mortals behold themselves with Elation & Security, as the vain King of Babylon once; but let them fear and tremble before the GOD of Heaven, who inherits all Nations, and stands in the Congregation of the Mighty, and judgeth among the Gods.

3. Are Rulers the Pillars of the Earth; are They the LORD's? and has He set the World upon 'em? Let all that are in Public Offices consider their Obligations to be PILLARS, in the Places wherein Providence hath set 'em.

Let Rulers consider what they owe to GOD, who has rear'd and set 'em up; and to the Publick which GOD has set upon them. Let 'em seek Wisdom & Strength, Grace and Conduct from GOD, that they may answer the Title given 'em in my Text. Let 'em stand, and bear, and act for GOD; whose they are, and who has set 'em where they are. Let the publick Good be their just Care; that it may be seen that GOD has set the World in their Heart, as well as laid it on their Shoulders. Let 'em act uprightly, that they may stand secure and strong. Let 'em fear GOD, and rule by his Word, that they may be approved by GOD, and accepted always by Men with all Thankfulness.

As Government is the Pillar of the Earth, so Religion is the Pillar of Government. Take away the Fear of GOD's Government & Judgment, and humane Rule utterly falls, or corrupts into Tyranny. But if Religion rule in the Hearts and Lives of Rulers, GOD will have Glory, and the People be made happy.

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FATHERS of our Country, let me freely say to You, That the Devotion and Virtue of our humble, but il|lustrious ANCESTORS, (The first Planters of New-England,) laid the Foundation of our Greatness among the Provinces: And it is This that must continue and establish it under the Divine Favour & Blessing. Emulate their Piety and Godliness, and generous Regards to the Publick, and be acknowledged the Pillars, the Strength and Ornament of your Country!

But let me move You by a greater Argument, even a far more exceeding and eternal Weight of Glory, which the HOLY GHOST has set before you in a most illustrious Promise; Rev. iii. 12. Him that over cometh will I make a PILLAR in the Temple of my GOD, and he shall go no more out: And I will write upon Him the Name of my GOD, and the Name of the CITY of my GOD, which is NEW-JERUSALEM; which cometh down out of Heaven from my GOD: And I will write upon Him my NEW-NAME.

CHRIST will erect a Monumental Pillar, that shall stand for ever, in Honour of all Them who in their Sta|tion here, be they high or low, faithfully endeavour to uphold His Church and Kingdom.

It is a triumphant Promise taken from the Roman manner of Pillars rear'd to the Memory of Illustrious Per|sons and PATRIOTS, on which were inscrib'd their Names and worthy Deeds; together with that of the Empire, City or Province, which they were so happy as to serve and help to save.

Infinitely more Glory and Honour shall be done to Him who serves the Lord CHRIST, his Kingdom, People and Interest, in his Life here on Earth: When he comes into his Temple above he shall have a Pillar of Celestial Glory rear'd to eternize his Name; And on it shall be written (O Divine Honour!) "THIS WAS A FAITHFUL SERVANT OF HIS GOD, AND SAVIOUR, AND OF THE CHURCH ON EARTH.

There let Him stand for ever, "A Monument of free Grace, never to be defaced or removed." While the Names of famous Emperors, Kings and Generals, graven in Brass or cut in Marble, on stately Pillars and tri|umphant Arches, shall moulder into Dust.

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"So the Pillars in Solomon's Porch were broken down, and carried away by the Chaldeans: But He that is made a Pillar in the Celestial Temple shall go no more out. Yea the Pillars of the literal Earth and Hea|vens will shortly tremble, and be shaken out of their Place; but He that believes in CHRIST, and has His Glorious Name written on Him, shall remain unshaken and immoveable; and remain, like his living SAVIOUR, stedfast for ever.

This infinite and eternal GLORY we wish to all in this worshipping Assembly, the greater and the less, high and low, rich and poor together: As in the Act of Worship, we are all on a Level before the THRONE of GOD. And the lowest in outward Condition may be the Highest in Grace, and in the Honours that come from above.

But in a more especial manner we wish this Mercy and Blessing of our GOD and KING, out of His House to YOUR EXCELLENCY our GOVERNOUR: Whose Return to your Country, and your Advancement to the Govern|ment of it, we cannot but Congratulate in the most pub|lick manner, with Hearts full of Joy, and sincere Thank|fulness to GOD.

The LORD GOD of our Fathers, who hath spread our Heavens, and laid the Foundations of our Earth, make You a PILLAR to Us both in the State & Church.

As it hath pleased HIM to chuse, adorn & set You up; so may He please to fix & establish You, and long continue You a FATHER, and illustrious Blessing to Your People.

And may the Name of CHRIST, and of these Chur|ches of our LORD JESUS, be graven deep upon Your Heart: And Your faithful Services to Them be an Ever|lasting Name to You, which shall not be cut off.

So, not only erect Your Self a Pillar in every pious and grateful Heart, that loves our Civil and Religious Liberties; and let their Prayers and Blessings come upon You; but also lay a good Foundation against the World to come, for everlasting Fame and Renown, and to be called GREAT in the Kingdom of Heaven.

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