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brethren, many besides the foregoing are to be regarded as belonging to this rank. In addition to those already mentioned, are to be enumerated all, whether high or low-rich or poor, who possess any authority whatever over their fellow creatures, either by public appointment or private influence. Not governors only, but “teachers, spiritual pastors, and masters.” These are they who are to be regarded as persons in authority. Many, even of the present congregation, in their capacity of masters, and heads of families, with their children and servants under them, may and ought to apply to themselves the language which is recorded in the text as having been addressed by the Almighty to the king of Egypt. They are all raised above their inferiors to shew the power of God; and not by the abuse of their influence, and by their deeds of tyranny and iniquity, but by their discreet use of the former, and likewise by sobriety, justice, and honesty, to endeavour that his name and his Divine Majesty may be declared throughout all the earth.
Such, brethren, is the lesson, imperfect though it be, which duty urges me to impart to those here assembled, who are possessed of any portion, be it never so small, of that authority which we have been contemplating. But, if this be the lesson which is adapted to the case of rulers and masters, there is likewise a lesson equally adapted to dependants and inferiors. Here, however, I would premise what I am about to remark on this head, by stating that, though many of the present congregation may be considered as possessing superiority and power, when their condition is compared with that of those who in some respect are beneath them, yet are we all of us in a state of dependence and inferiority, when compared with those who are invested with any superior magisterial or judicial appointment. There are many of this description which may be traced in a regular scale of ascent, from the lowest person in authority, until we arrive at the monarch seated on the throne. And if the whole of these, as we have seen them to be, are responsible to the Supreme Sovereign of the universe for a due and religious display of that power with which they are invested,—if, moreover, the very power which they possess, if abused or applied to an improper purpose, might be the ground of a most awful condemnation hereafter; common fairness would assure us that all within the limits of their authority ought to manifest a due submission towards them, and to evince an indisposition to commit any act of rebellion, or improper annoyance, which might urge them on to an indiscreet use of their influence; to such a use of it as will incur so serious a responsibility hereafter. It must, brethren, be evident to all, that different grades in the scale of society are fully necessary for the well
individual of which the community is composed. The analogy of nature and of art are amply necessary to corroborate this fact. The numberless stars which bedeck the canopy of heaven, are regulated in their movements by each other;
the influence of some of these is clearly superior to that of others, until we arrive at the highest point of power and perfection, and behold the supreme and eternal First Cause established on His place of exaltation, and directing the whole of these works of his creation by his own irresistible fiat. The same mutual dependence and succession may be observed in those smaller works of nature which adorn our terrestrial globe: and afterwards man, treading in the steps of his Maker, invents and perfects what he has invented, by keeping steadily in view the principle that nature has pointed out to him -a principle which implies gradation and succession, and a greater or less degree of power and influence.
Shall man, therefore, I would ask, comply with the whole of these well established laws, as far as it tends to the confirmation of his own superior authority, and yet refuse compliance with them, when they enforce his own inferiority and dependence ? Were he to attempt to do so, his own experience assures him, that he would do so to his own certain prejudice and disadvantage. selves” (I would exhort you in the words of an apostle) “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.” a Recollect that God has made us what we are, and it is our duty, therefore, cheerfully to submit to those whose authority has
a 1 Peter, ii. 13, 14.
been conferred upon them by the law of a civilized nation; which, as long as it remains unaltered, is certainly and assuredly the law of God. By thus doing, you will find, to your inconceivable felicity hereafter, that even the humblest individual—even he who solicits the alms of his neighbour, and is obliged to live upon the bread of charity, you will find that even such an one as this will be the means, in some degree, of causing the name of God to be proclaimed to the world at large. And if we can conceive the Lord Almighty saying to the proud monarch, “ For this cause have I raised thee up," so, likewise, may we conceive him to say, to the afflicted and distressed, as well as to all of intermediate rank, “ For this cause have I thrust thee down, for one and the same purpose: for to shew in thee my power, and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.”
INFINITE POWER AND MERCY OF JESUS.
JOHN vi. 5, 6.
“ When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a
great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread that these may eat? And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do."
Of all the miracles of our Lord's performance, there is none which more strongly evinces his pretensions to supernatural power than that which is alluded to in the text. In truth, if the subject be duly examined into, we shall find, if I mistake not, that the wonderful performance just mentioned belongs to the class of miracles which is the most calculated to prove to us the Divine commission of Jesus Christ, and that it was none other than the power of the Creator himself which enabled him to do such things as no man could by any possibility accomplish, unless God were with him. I do not, of course, mean to assert that
of Lord's performances, which are usually designated miracles, are in any way defective in respect of the purpose for which they were intended. If a miracle