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go forth; for the wicked doth compass about the righteous, therefore wrong judgment proceedeth". Wo be to the shepherds of Israel, that do feed themselves. Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed; but ye feed not the flock, but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them'.
Thus saith the Lord, Hear the word of the Lord, O king of Judah, that sittest upon the throne of David, thou and thy servants: thus saith the Lord, Execute ye judgment and righteousness, and deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor; and do no wrong, no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, nor the widow; neither shed innocent blood in this place. For if ye do this thing indeed, then shall there enter in, by the gates of this house, kings sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots, and upon horses, he and his servants. But if ye will not hear these words, I swear by myself, saith the Lord, that this house shall become a desolation*. Shalt thou reign because thou closest thyself in cedar? Did not thy father eat and drink, and do judgment and justice, and then it was well with him'? But thine eyes and thy heart are not but for thy covetousness, and for to shed innocent blood, and for oppression, and for violence to do it. Therefore thus saith the Lord", I will give thee into the hand of them that seek thy life, and into the hand of them whose face thou fearest". Because he enlargeth his desire as hell, and is as death, and cannot be satisfied: Shall they not rise up suddenly that shall bite thee, and awake that shall vex thee, and thou shalt be for booties unto them? The Lord hath broken the staff of the wicked, and the sceptre of the rulers. He who smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke; he that ruled the nations in anger is persecuted, and none hindereth P.
h Hab. i. 4.
1 Ezek. xxxiv. 2, 3,4.
p Isa. xiv. 5, 6.
Jer. xxii. 1-5. "Jer. xxii. 25.
SECT. 8. Motives to reclaim oppressors,—and the purposes of a wise and pious prince.
O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help. I will be thy king. Where is any other that may save thee in all thy cities? and thy judges, of whom thou saidst, Give me a king and princes*? As a roaring lion, and a ranging bear, so is a wicked ruler over the poor people. The prince that wanteth understanding is also a great oppressor; but he that hateth covetousness shall prolong his days". God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods. How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the person of the wicked? Defend the poor and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and needy; rid them out of the hand of the wicked. And I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning". In that day shall the Lord of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty unto the residue of his people, and for a spirit of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment, and for strength to them that turn the battle to the gate.
When I shall receive the congregation, I will judge uprightly. I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way; I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes. A froward heart shall depart from me; I will not know a wicked person. Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: He that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me". All the horns of the wicked also will I cut off; but the horns of the righteous shall be exalted". SECT. 9. Subjects are bound to honour their rulers.
Put not forth thyself in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great men". The king's wrath is as the roaring of a lion; but his favour is
§ 8. Hos. xii. 9, 10. d Isa. i. 26.
Psal. ci. 2-4, 6.
§ 9. Prov. xxv. 6.
b Prov. xxviii. 15, 16.
Psal. lxxxii. 1-4. 'Psal. lxxv. 2.
as dew upon the grass b. Where the word of a king is, there is power; and who may say unto him, What dost thou? The wrath of a king is as a messenger of death; but a wise man will pacify it. In the light of the king's countenance is life, and his favour is as a cloud of the latter rain". If the spirit of the ruler rise up against thee, leave not thy place; for yielding pacifieth great offences. By long forbearing is a prince persuaded; and a soft tongue breaketh the bone. My son, fear thou the Lord and the king; and meddle not with them that are given to change. Fear God: honour the king".
SECT. 10.-To abstain from every thing injurious to them.
Who can stretch forth his hand against the Lord's anointed, and be guiltless? When they went from one nation to another, from one kingdom to another people, he suffered no man to do them wrong; yea he reproved kings for their sakes, saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.
The Lord knoweth how to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment, to be punished. But chiefly them that despise government; presumptuous are they, selfwilled; they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities ** Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people. Curse not the king, no not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bed-chamber, for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter *.
SECT. 11. To obey all their lawful commands.
I counsel thee to keep the king's commandment, and that in regard of the oath of God". And whosoever
will not do the law of thy God, and the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily upon him, whether it be unto death, or to banishment, or to confiscation of goods, or to imprisonment".
Let every soul be subject to 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; and they that resist, shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: for he is a minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain; for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For this cause pay you tribute also; for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues; tribute, to whom tribute is due; custom, to whom custom; fear, to whom fear; honour, to whom honour. Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work". Submit yourselves 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 evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men; as free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God,
SECT. 12. To submit to their decisions.
If there arise a matter in judgment between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke, being matters of controversy within thy
gates; then shalt thou come to the priests the Levites, and to the judge that shall be in those days, and inquire; and they shall show thee the sentence of judgment. And thou shalt do according to the sentence which they shall show thee; and thou shalt observe to do according to all that they inform thee. According to the sentence of the law, which they shall teach thee, and according to the judgment which they shall tell thee, thou shalt do; thou shalt not decline from the sentence which they shall show thee, to the right hand nor to the left".
SECT. 13. To pay tribute.
The Pharisees took counsel how they might entangle Jesus in his talk. And they sent unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man; for thou regardest not the person of men. Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Cesar, or not? But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? Show me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Cesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Cesar the things that are Cesar's; and unto God, the things that are God's. And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? Of whom do the kings of the earth take custom, or tribute? Of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free: notwithstanding, lest we offend them, go thou to the sea,
12. Deut. xvii. 8-11.
§ 13. Matt. xxii. 15–21.