Called Unto Liberty, Benjamin Colman: 1730, Founding Era Sermons
Benjamin Colman (1673–1747). One of the prominent clergymen of his day, Colman became in 1699 the first pastor of Boston’s Brattle Street Church, where he found himself at odds with Increase and Cotton Mather because of certain of his views that deviated from strict Congregationalism. His B.A. and A.M. degrees were from Harvard, and he was awarded an S.T.D. by the University of Glasgow. In 1724 he declined the presidency of Harvard, but he served as one of its trustees (1717–28) and remained an overseer, in addition to his ministry at Brattle Street Church, until his death. A prolific author with more than ninety published titles to his credit, he was a supporter of the evangelical movement stirred by the Great Awakening and was a commissioner of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in New England and for Parts Adjacent. Thrice married, Colman was survived by his third wife, Mary Frost.
The sermon reprinted here was preached at the Thursday Lecture in Boston on August 13, 1730.
For the Pillars of the Earth are the Lord’s, and He hath set the World upon them.
1 Sam. ii. 8.
The words are part of a raptrous and heavenly song, utter’d by a devout, inspir’d and transported mother in Israel, upon a great and joyful occasion. If the Divine Eternal Spirit please to inspire and speak by a gracious woman, it is the same thing to us, and requires our reverend attention as much, as if he raise up a Moses or an Elias, or make his revelations by a Paul or John.
Samuel, the rare and wonderful son of inspir’d Hannah, never outspake his lovely mother in any of his prayers or acts of praise. Eli would have sat at her feet, and laid himself in the dust, at the hearing of this flowing torrent of fervent devotion from her beauteous lips; and saints thro’ all ages hang on the heavenly music of her tongue.
Great things are here said of God, and of his government, in the families and kingdoms of men; and such wise and just observations are made, as are worthy of deep contemplation by the greatest and best of men. Had she like Deborah been the princess of the tribes of Israel, she could not have spoken with more loftiness and majesty, with more authority and command; nor better have address’d the nobles and rulers, the captains and the mighty men; to humble and lay ’em low before God.
“She celebrates the Lord God of Israel,* his unspotted purity, his almighty power, his unsearchable wisdom, and his unerring justice”:
In the praises of these she joys and triumphs, her heart was exalted and her mouth enlarged.
“She adores the divine sovereignty in its disposals of the affairs of the children of men; in the strange and sudden turns given to them; in the rise & fall of persons, families & countries. “She observes how the strong are soon weakned, and the weak are soon strengthned, when God pleases: How the rich are soon impoverish’d, and the poor inriched on a sudden: How empty families are replenish’d, and numerous families diminished[”]: All this is of the Lord;
He maketh poor and maketh rich, He bringeth low and lifteth up: He raiseth up the poor out of Dust, and lifteth up the Beggar from the Dunghill; to set them among Princes, and make them inherit the Throne of Glory; For the Pillars of the Earth are the Lord’s, and He hath set the World upon them.
Thus my text is introduced as a reason for those dispensations of God towards a person, a family, or a people, which at any time are to us most surprising and admirable.
1. The things spoken of are great and mighty; the Pillars of the Earth. The earth is a vast fabrick, and in proportion to its mighty bulk must its pillars be.
The metaphor is plainly taken from architecture; as in stately, spacious and magnificent structures we often see rows of pillars, to sustain the roof and lofty towers. But whether we apply this manner of expression to the natural or moral earth, it is figurative and not literal.
The natural earth has no pillar. The will and word of God is its only basis. It seems to us who dwell on it fix’d and immoveable in the air. It keeps it’s place and line there, as if it were set on some lasting solid pillars, and never mov’d at all.
We darkly philosophise upon the point, and talk of the poles of heaven; which are more unintelligible to a common audience than the pillars of it. We speak obscurely of the earth’s being fixed on it’s own center. And we discourse more intelligibly of the secret power of magnetism which is in matter; whereby bodies mutually attract or gravitate toward each other; by which the mighty globes of the universe preserve their distance, motion and order.
This seems to be the only natural pillar of the earth: The amazing work and power of God. And the planets which roll in the same circle with us, have all of ’em the same pillars. That is to say, all bodies thro’ the whole solar system attract or gravitate toward each other, with forces according to their quantities of matter.
But after all this fine doctrine in our new philosophy, concerning the centripetal forces of the sun and planets; a plain Christian is much more edified by the simple and vulgar account which the sacred pages give us of this mysterious thing:*“He stretcheth out the North over the empty space, and hangeth the Earth upon nothing! He hath founded it upon the Seas, and established it upon the Floods.” Which is to say, No man knows how or where, this vast material frame finds it’s basis and station.
Let us hear God again on the point, and say no more upon it;
Job xxxviii. Who is this that darkneth Counsel by Words without Knowledge? Gird up now thy Loins like a Man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou Me. Where wast thou when I laid the Foundations of the Earth? Declare if thou hast Understanding. Who hath laid the Measures thereof, if thou knowest? Or who hath stretched the Line upon it? Whereupon are the Foundations thereof fastned? or who laid the Corner-stone thereof?
We see then that the natural earth has no pillars, in any proper sense; Neither has the moral earth, (i.e. the inhabitants of it) any, but in a metaphorical sense: And so the princes and rulers of it are called it’s pillars; because the affairs of the world ly upon their shoulders, and turn upon their conduct and management, in a very great degree.
And thus the text explains it self, and is to be interpreted from the scope of our context; which speaks of the Bows of the mighty Men, and of the Thrones of Princes, and then adds—the Pillars of the Earth. So that by pillars we are to understand governours and rulers among men; but not the persons that bear rule, so much as the order it self, government and magistracy. For the persons may be weak and slender reeds, little able of themselves to bear up any thing; and here and there they may fall; but the order stands and doth indeed uphold the world.
2. The things said of these pillars of the earth are also very great: “They are the Lord’s, and He has set the World upon them.[”] That is to say, The order and happiness of this lower world, the peace and weal of it, depend on the civil government which God has ordained in it. All this is very elegant and rhetorical, a high and noble strain of speech, upon the highest subject that belongs to this our earth.
The Great God has made the governments and rulers of the earth it’s pillars, and has set the world upon them.
1. The governments and rulers of the earth are it’s pillars.
2. These pillars of the earth are the Lord’s.
3. He has set the world upon them.
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* of the People, in the Hebrew it is the corners. We read also of the†Foundations of the Earth being out of Course. The meaning 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 pillars in the Church: Which is built on the Prophets and Apostles, JesusChrist 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 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 support 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. Magistrates 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 building 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 government laid upon him; and also the magnificence of the Goings of God our King in the Sanctuary: Likewise 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 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 wisdom and knowledge, skill and prudence, discretion and judgment for the publick good. These accomplishments 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 Wisdom 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 Knowledge shall the Chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant Riches: A wise Man is strong, yea a Man of Knowledge increaseth Strength.*
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 with Prudence and Understanding, who may build a House for the Lord, and an House for the Kingdom.
2. Integrity, uprightness, faithfulness added to knowledge and wisdom, makes men strong and beautiful 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 beauteous 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 darkness 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 resolution, Psal. lxxv. 3. When I shall receive the Congregation, I will judge uprightly. So he fed them in the integrity of his heart, and led them by the skilfulness of his hands. God’s righteousness and faithfulness, 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,
4. A spirit of peace and love, meekness and humility, 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 totters, 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; resolution, 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 determination. The unstable are as water, and more fitly likened to the waves of the sea, than 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 accomplish’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.
But this for the first head; the governments and rulers of the earth are its pillars.
II. These pillars of the earth are the Lord’s.
The earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof; the world and they that dwell therein. All are God’s rightful propriety & dominion. The shields of the earth belong to him. These are the same with the pillars of it.
1. The Lord makes these pillars, forms fashions ’em, polishes and adorns ’em. He gifts, qualifies and furnishes all whom he calls out to public service. He makes the more plain and rough, and he orders the carved work and gilding in his house. He, the Father of Light & Glory, gives men their natural powers and excellencies; and all their acquired gifts are from him.
He looketh upon all the Inhabitants of the Earth, He fashioneth their Hearts alike, He considereth all their Works. In the Hearts of all that are wise-hearted He putteth Wisdom. Both Wisdom and Might are His: Counsel is His and sound Wisdom; He is Understanding, He is Strength; by Him Kings rule and Princes decree Judgment.*
He gave to David integrity, and to Solomon wisdom; and both were pillars of his framing.
2. Both the order & the persons are of the Lord’s ordering, constituting and appointing. Civil government is of divine institution, and God commissions and entrusts with the administration whom he pleases. The great King of the World has order’d a government in it, and he raises up governours, supream and subordinate. There is no Power but of God; the Powers that be are ordained of Him. He puts the scepter into the hand, and the spirit of government into the heart.
3. The pillars are the Lord’s, for he disposes of them as he pleases; places and fixes them where he will; rears ’em when he sees fit; and when he will removes, or takes ’em down: Or if he has no pleasure in them, breaks ’em to pieces and throws ’em away.
He removeth Kings, and setteth up Kings: For Promotion cometh neither from the East, nor from the West, nor from the South: But GOD is the Judge; He putteth down one and setteth up another: He leadeth Counsellors away spoiled & maketh the Judges fools: He looseth the Bond of Kings, and girdeth their Loins with a Girdle: He leadeth Princes away spoiled, and overthroweth the Mighty.†
Thus the sovereign GOD forms the pillars of the earth, prepares ’em, sets ’em up, ordains the places and times of their standing; takes ’em down and puts others in their room. He calls, and uses whom he will, inclines and spirits how he will, and improves to what degree he will. They are his therefore, and his is the greatness and the glory and the majesty! And to him it must be ascribed both by the persons endowed and raised by him, and by others interested in them: 1 Chron. xxix. 12, 13. Both Riches and Honour come of Thee, and in thy Hand is Power and Might, and in thy Hand it is to make Great, and to give Strength unto all: Now therefore, our GOD, we praise Thee, and bless thy Name for ever and ever.
But to do the utmost honour to the civil order among men, and to give yet greater glory to GOD, let us come to the third and last part of our text.
III.GODhath set the world upon the governments and rulers, whom he has made the pillars of it.
The natural world is in the hand of GOD, and is upheld in it’s being and order by his power. The moral world is most upon his heart, and govern’d in a way and manner suted to the nature and present state of man. And as he governs the spirits of men when he pleases by immediate impressions on them; so as more proper to the present order and happiness of mankind, he has appointed the government of men to be by men. So the peace, tranquility and flourishing of places are made to depend on the wisdom and fidelity of their rulers, in the good administration of the government. While the utmost misery and confusion befals those places where the government is ill administred. The reason is given in the text, GOD has set the World on this foot; it can’t stand on any other bottom. The virtue and religion of a people, their riches and trade, their power, honour and reputation; and the favour of GOD toward them, with his blessing on them; do greatly depend on the pious, righteous and faithful government which they are under.
GOD hath set: As well in the nature of things, as in his word. Government is not a creature of man’s lust and will, but of divine constitution, and from a necessity in the nature of things. The very being and weal of society depends thereon.
Government was not in the original of it assumed or usurped by any one man. For instance, not by Lamech before the Flood, nor by Nimrod after it. Indeed the spirit of tyranny, and the lust of dominion, seem to have began in them; but order & rule was before them. Mankind naturally went into that, and these were the men who made the first breaches on it; the one being of the race of Cain, the other of Ham; who have had some of their likeness in every place, and thro’ all generations; that would turn the world upside down and overthrow the foundations which GOD has laid.
In a word, magistracy, like the other ordinances of heaven, stands by the power and blessing of GOD; who effectually owns it and works by it, establishes the earth and it abideth. He has graven it deep in the hearts of men, even as the desire of happiness and self-preservation. He has as much ordained, that while the earth remaineth civil order and government shall not cease; as he has sworn that seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not. Both the one and the other equally continue to the world’s end, absolutely necessary to the life, comfort and welfare of mankind.
I shall now make a few reflections, by way of practical inference and improvement.
1. See the divine wisdom and goodness in ordaining and establishing a magistracy and government in the world. It is one of the many great instances, wherein 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 mischievously 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 nations of Europe should so long wander after it, to their infinite misrule & distraction! But the word & dreadful 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.[”] “Every kind of magistracy (say the Helvetian churches) is instituted by GOD, for the peace and happiness of man, and all subjects should own the goodness 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, resisteth 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, 17. Submit your selves to every Ordinance 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 Absalom. 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 Providence lays us by, why should we not retire with Samuel’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 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 loftiness 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.
Fathers of our country, let me freely say to you, that the devotion and virtue of our humble, but illustrious 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 overcometh 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 station 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 persons 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 triumphant arches, shall moulder into dust.
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 heavens 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 government of it, we cannot but congratulate in the most publick manner, with hearts full of joy, and sincere thankfulness 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 churches of our Lord Jesus, be graven deep upon your heart: And your faithful services to them be an everlasting 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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