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St. Paul is of this Mind, for as he was a most zealous Interceffor himself for others, and a moft zealous Recommender of that Practice to all those that he wrote to; so he also fufficiently declares how much he himfelf stood in need of other Peoples Prayers; tho' he was an Apostle and an inspired Man, nay, a particular Favourite of Heaven, and consequently might be presumed to have as much Power with God upon his own single Account, as any Man whatsoever, yet he frequently begs of the Church that they would be earnest in Prayer to God for him. I befeech you, Brethren (faith he to the Romans, ch. xv.), I befeech you for the Lord Jesus Christ's Sake, and for the Love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your Praya ers to God for me. And again, to the Corinthians, You also helping together by Prayer for us, that for the Gifts bestowed upon us, by the Means of many Perfons, Thanks may be given by many on our Bebalf. Where he plainly declares, that the Grace bestowed upon him was to be accounted the Effect of the Church Prayers, and as such it ought to be a Matter of their Thankfgiving. Laftly (faith he), in the ivth of the Coloffans, Continue in Prayer, and watch in the same with Thanksgivings, withal praying for us also, &c. You see how folicitous and concerned the Apostle was to have the Benefit of the Church Prayers. And if fuch a Man
as he could be supposed to need them, or to defire them; How much more must we be fupposed to do both ? And consequently how much more are we concerned in the · Duty here recommended to us of making Supplications and Prayers, Intercessions and Thanksgivings, for all Men; for Kings and all that are in Authority ?
And that leads me to my third and last Head.
Prayer and Interceffion you see are to be made for all Men. But then the Apostle adds, for Kings and all that are in Authority. Which is much as if he had faid, It is our Duty to pray and give Thanks for all Men, but more particularly and especially for Kings and all that are in Authority. And certainly, there is great Reason for this, that above all other Persons in the World, Kings, and Princes, and Governors fhould have daily Prayers offered up to God for them ; not only because we owe most to them, as being obliged to them under God for the Peace, and Quietness, and Security we enjoy in the Possession of our just Rights, and therefore we must be prejumed in point of Gratitude to think ourfelves obliged to pray for them; not only because they most need our Prayers, as having of all other Persons the most difficult and intricate Poft to manage, and being to combat with the greatest Temptations
of of all Sorts ; which if we do well confider, we should want common Humanity, if we were not so far concerned for them, as most heartily to put up our Prayers to God on their Behalf, to affist and direct them; but also in this other Respect, which comes nearer to us, and which I touched on before, namely, the Influence that their Actions and Succeffes have upon the whole Body of Men under their Charge. The good or evil Fortune that happens to Princes is of an universal Concernment: We do all of us .partake in the Happiness or in the Disasters of their Government: They cannot do amiss, but it some way or other affects the Community; and we private Perfons feel the Consequences of their Miscarriages. : As, on the other Side, their Happiness and Prosperity, their Virtue and Goodness, their attending to wise and sober Counsels, their Love of Piety, and Encouragement of the true Religion, are publick Blessings. Every Person among us has
a Share in the Benefits of them: So that by · praying most earnestly for them, for their
Wealth and Happiness, for their Advancement and Increase of true Wisdom and Piety, we do in effect pray for the same Blessings to be derived upon our Country. In praying for their Welfare, both Spiritual and Temporal, we do in Consequence pray for the Good of all our Neighbours,
our Relations, our Families, whose Happiness is wrapt up in their good Governinent, and doth, in a great measure, depend upon it.
And the fame Reasons that oblige us to pray for Kings, will oblige us to give Thanks for them allo ; which is the other Thing we are to consider in this last Part of the Apoftle's Charge, Let Intercessions and giving of Thanks (faith he) be made for all Men ; for Kings, and all that are in Authority. And this is our solemn Business on this Day, wherein we are met, according to the ancient and laudable Custom of this and other Nations, to celebrate the Anniversary of her Majesty's happy Accession to the Imperial Throne of this Kingdom. A Blessing without doubt this is, tho' there was no more in it than the having a lawful Sovereign quietly and peaceably succeed to the Crown of her Ancestors; I say, this very thing alone, though there was no Regard had to other Considerations, is, without doubt, a great Blessing, and must be acknowledged to be so by all those that will compare the Benefits and Advantages we receive, by a peaceable uncontested Succeflion to the Government, with the horrible Mischief, and dismal Consequences, either of Anarchy, or of a Government not confirmed by the People, and therefore to be maintained by Force and Violence. And, in Truth, when St. Paul gave this Ex
hortation to give Thanks for Kings, and those that were in Authority, the People to whom he wrote could have no greater Inducement to put it in Practice than this I have now mentioned; namely, that at that Time they had a Government peaceably settled amongst them, by which they were kept from Confusion; and they had Magistrates which took some Care of Property ; but yet the supreme Governor, the King at that Time was no other than Nero, as wicked and brutith a Prince as ever sat on a Throne; and those that had Authority under him, the Roman Governors, that were sent by him into the Provinces, took generally more Care of themselves, than of the People committed to their Charge; and all of them to a Man were Opposers and Persecutors of the Christian Religion. Yet even at such a Time, and in such a Juncture as this, did the Apostles order that Intercessions and Thanksgivings for Kings and all in Authority Thould be put into the publick Liturgies. ..O how ought this Consideration now to prevail with all Christians, most devoutly and chearfully to offer up their Prayers and Thanksgivings to God for virtuous and good Princes ; Princes that are in the same Interests, and of the same Religion with their People; when, according to St. Paul's Rule, they are bound to pray and give Thanks for any Prince, even such a Prince as Nero!