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Fourth Sermon on 2 Thessalonians Chapter 2




Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or is
worshipped; so that he, as God, sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself
that he is God.2 Thes. 2:4.

IN this matter of Antichrist we have made this progress:First, That he arose
upon, and by a falling away from, the ancient pure state of Christianity.

Secondly, That the Holy Ghost points him out by his names and titles, which are
two:'the man of sin,' wherein he is resembled to Antiochus; and 'the son of
perdition,' wherein he is resembled to Judas. As Antiochus, he is one that by
force and power should change the laws and ordinances, and compel men to his
abominations. As Judas, he should betray Christ by a kiss for worldly gain, and
be one that is in pretence an apostle, but indeed a real adversary to Christ.
Now, after the apostle had pointed at him by his names and titles, he describeth
him by his practices, wherein his names and titles are verified; for here he
proveth that he should be as Antiochus, by his exalting himself above all that
is called God, which is said of Antiochus, Dan. 11:36, 'And the king shall do
according to his will, and he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god,
and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods;'and as Judas, one
sitting in the temple of God; that is, he sitteth there as exercising a public
ecclesiastical office, yea, challenging the highest seat in it. He sitteth there
potestate regiminis, by the power of his government; be doth Cathedratica
potestate praesidere (Estius). His sitting there as chief shows him as Judas;
his sitting here as God, and exalting himself above all that is called God,
showeth him Antiochus.

But to handle the words more closely, Antichrist is here set forth:I. As
opposite to Christ; o antikeimenoV, one set to the contrary, that is, in respect
of pride chiefly. Christ was the pattern of humility, Antichrist is the king of
pride; Christ would not so much as assume to himself an authority to divide the
inheritance between two brethren Luke 12:14, 'Man, who made me a judge or a
divider over you?' but Antichrist will depose kings, and dispose of kingdoms.

II. The instances of his pride:-(1.) In exalting himself above all human power:
'Who exalteth himself above all that is called God, or is worshipped.' (2.) A
usurpation of divine honour: 'He, as God, sitteth in the temple of God, showing
himself that he is God.'

Let us open these things more particularly:

1. He is represented in the term o antikeimenoV as one diametrically opposite to
Christ, and contrary to him, who is the true head and Lord of the church: Acts
10:36, 'He is Lord over all;' but Antichrist opposeth himself, that is, showeth
himself in a quite contrary appearance. That which is most remarkable in Christ,
and should be in all his followers, is humility. He expressed a wonderful
contempt of the riches and greatness of the world, and all the honour which is
of man; taking the form of a servant, and making himself of no reputation, and
living a mean, inferior life. He 'came not to be ministered unto, but to
minister, and to give his life a ransom for many,' Mat. 9:28. He kept no state,
nor affected pomp of attendants; though he were Lord of all, yet 'he became
poor, to make us rich,' 2 Cor. 8:9. But it may be this was proper to him; doth
he expect it from his servants and officers in the church? Yes; this is the
grace which he hath recommended to all his followers: Mat. 11:29, 'Learn of me,
for I am meek and lowly.' But especially to the ministers of the gospel: our
Lord foresaw what spirit would work in them, and therefore he forewarned them of
pride and lordliness: Mat. 20:25, 26, 'Ye know that the princes of the earth do
exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon
them; but it shall not be so among you but whosoever will be great among you,
let him be your minister.' Among Christ's servants, he that is chief must be
chief in service, even as a servant unto all: Luke 22:26, 'He that is chief, as
he that doth serve.' Domination, greatness, principality and power, is allowed
in the civil state, for there it is necessary; yet it is excluded the church.

This affecting of pre-eminence and chiefness is the bane of the church it is
taxed as a great sin in Diotrephes, 3 John 9be it either over heir
fellow-labourers, or the people of the Lord. You see how tender the apostles
were in this point; everywhere they disclaim this affectation of lordship: 2
Cor. 1:24, `Not that we are lords of your faith, but helpers of your joy.' And
Peter recommendeth it to his fellow-elders: 1 Peter 5:3, `Neither as being lords
over God's heritage, but being examples to the flock.' And if the apostles would
not assume lordship, who may? It is true, there is a government in the church,
and the people are to obey their guides, Heb. 13:17, and to 'have them highly in
honour, for their works' sake,' 1 Thes. 5:13; but yet the pastors of the church
should govern by light and love, not by pomp and force, and not be known by such
pomp and authority as begets fear. Well, now, let us see the opposite state. If
humility and meekness be in the very essence of Christianity, and woven
throughout the whole frame of it, then it is antichristian to be lordly and
proud, especially in them who pretend to be successors of Christ and his
apostles. Now, in the Pope and his adherents, you will see the most odious pride
set forth that ever the world was conscious unto, without any cloak and shame.

And all their business is to get power; what designs they have for preferment in
the world, how studiously they have, and do prosecute it, they blush not to own
openly before angels or men. This worldly ambition to rise higher and higher is
their design and trade of life. As the bishop of Rome, at first, from the chief
pastor of that city, affected to be an archbishop over the suburban towns and
cities; then, a patriarch over many cities; and because two opposed him in Italy
a long time, Ravenna and Milan, he gets power over them, and then he must be
oecumenical bishop over all the world. But Constantinople resisteth for a long
time, yea, arrogateth within the empire the same titles. Who more earnest
against it than Gregory, whom they call the Great, and more forward to charge
the assuming of this title as antichristian? But then, when once they began, by
powerful means and many indirect courses, to be owned as universal bishop, they
enlarged their bounds, not only over the ecclesiastical power, but civil, and
all kings and princes must stoop to them, as well as bishops. So that here was
the progress and gradation:First, from the chief presbyter, a bishop over many
presbyters in the same city; then, a metropolitan over many bishops in one
province; then, a patriarch over many provinces in one diocese (for in the Roman
division there were seven provinces in one diocese); then, universal bishop in
the whole world; then, the only shepherd and bishop, and others but his
substitutes. Pretty steps of ambitious encroaching f But yet exalting himself
farther, he challengeth all power in heaven and earth; and the like is practised
by his followers at this day in the church of Rome. From private priests they
grow up into some prelature, as archdeacons, deans; then a bishopric; then a
better or richer; then archbishops, cardinals; then pope. And the devil is grown
so impudent, by the help of these churchmen, as that it is counted a great piece
of spiritual wisdom, publicly owned in the world, to be able, by these steps, to
get higher and higher, and lord it over God's heritage; as if ambitious
affectation were the honour of Christianity, and gospel humility would expose
the church to scorn, and pomp and grandeur were a greater ornament to religion
than grace; when, in the meantime, they have nothing to prove them to be true
pastors of the church but Judas's kiss, a little owning of Christ to countenance
their ambition.

II. The particular instances wherein the pride of Antichrist is set forth are
two:

1. His exalting himself above all human powers: 'He opposeth and exalteth
himself above all that is called God, or is worshipped.' Here the object is set
forth by two terms:-(1.) All that is called God; (2.) Or worshipped. They both
belong to the same thing.

[1.] That which is called God, that is, magistrates, princes, and kings: Ps.
82:1, 'He judgeth among the gods;' and ver. 6, 'I have said, Ye are gods; all of
you are children of the Most High;' and John 10:34,35, 'It is written in your
law, I said ye are gods. If he call them gods unto whom the word of God came,
and the scripture cannot be broken,' &c. God hath clothed magistrates with his
own honour so far that he hath put his name upon them; and their eminency is a
part of his image, as it lieth in superiority, dominion, and power. Though
magistrates be but like their brethren as to their common nature, yet in respect
of their office they have the glorious title of gods conferred upon them; as
being his vicegerents, and bearing his person in government, they are honoured
with his name. So that, without impeachment of blasphemy, those that excel in
the civil power may be called gods. Now, over these Antichrist exalteth himself,
that is, above all kings and potentates.

[2.] The other notion is,' h sebasma; we render it, 'or is worshipped.' The
Greek word is, whatever is held in the highest degree of reverence, whatever is
august or illustrious; as the emperors of Rome were called Sebastoi: Acts 25:21,
Paul 'appealed to be referred to the hearing of Augustus;' it is tou Sebastou,
not Augustus Caesar, who was then dead, but his successor. Well, then, here is
the character of Antichrist: that he exalteth himself above all civil authority
authorised and permitted of God, not only above ordinary magistrates, but kings
and emperors. Now, we find in history no less than twenty kings and emperors
trampled under foot by the Pope of Rome, some of whom he had excommunicated and
deposed from their kingdoms, and their people dispensed withal in denial of
their subjection to them; others brought to cruel, shameful deaths, and their
kingdoms miserably rent and torn, to the destruction of millions of men, by
their means. He that hath any knowledge of the histories in Christendom cannot
but know these things; how he treadeth on their necks, kicketh off their crowns
with his feet, and hath brought them to the vilest submissions. And if kings and
emperors have received more spirit and courage, and the Popes of Rome learned
more modesty nowadays, thanks is due to the light of the gospel, which hath
shined so far and to such a degree as to the consuming of Antichrist, though not
to his utter destruction.

2. The next instance of his pride is his usurpation of divine honour, expressed
in two clauses:-(1.) The one showeth the usurpation itself, 'That he, as God,
sitteth in the temple of God;' (2.) The other, the degree of it, 'showing
himself as God.' Both must be explained and vindicated.

[1.] For the usurpation itself, 'he sitteth as God in the temple of God.' By the
temple of God is meant the church: 1 Cor. 3:16, 17, 'Know ye not that ye are the
temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the
temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which
temple ye are.' So 2 Cor. 6:16, `What agreement hath the temple of God with
idols? for ye are the temple of the living God.' The external visible church,
which professeth the faith of Christ and beareth his name; so that the place
wherein Antichrist shall arise is the visible Christian church; not Rome ethnic,
but Christian.

But is, then, the church of Rome the church of Christ?

Ans. It was one part of it before it was perverted; it usurpeth still that name;
it retaineth some relic of a church, mangled as it is. Saith Calvin in his
Epistles: 'I think I have given some strong reasons that it yet retaineth some
show of a church.' Now in this temple of God he sitteth as an officer and bishop
there, as I before explained it and whereas other princes are said to reign so
many years, the Pope is said to sit so long. It is his sedes, his cathedral or
seat. And again, here he is said to sit as God, that is, as God incarnate, for
Christ is the true and proper Lord of the church; none should reign there but
he. And the name of this man of sin is not Antitheos, but anticristoV; not one
that directly invadeth the properties of the supreme God, but of God incarnate,
or Christ as Mediator: he sitteth negatively, not as a minister, but positively
as supreme lord upon earth, whom all must adore and worship, and kings and
princes kiss his feet. In short, he usurpeth the authority due to Christ. Now I
shall prove that by a double argument:First, By usurping the titles due to
Christ; for he that will make bold with names will make bold with things; as to
be sponsus ecclesiae, the husband of the church, as Innocent called the church
sponsam suam, his spouse; caput ecclesiae, the head of the church, which is
proper to the Saviour of the body; supreme, visible, and universal head, which
only Christ is, who hath promised to be with her to the end of the world, and
will be visible to those who do at length approach his court in heaven, where
his seat is; to be chief pastor, Christ's own title: 'And when the chief
shepherd shall appear,' 1 Peter 5:4; to be pontifex maximus, the greatest high
priest, whereas Christ alone is called 'the high priest of our profession,' Heb.
3:1, and 'the great high priest over the house of God,' Heb. 4:14; so his
vicar-general upon earth; whereas the ancient church attributed this to the Holy
Ghost, calling it Vicariam vim Spiritus Sancti, he supplies his room and
absence. Now titles including power, certainly they are not to be usurped
without warrant. Therefore to call the Pope the chief and only shepherd, and the
like, it is to usurp his authority to whom these things originally belong.

Secondly, He doth usurp the thing implied by the titlesthe authority over the
church, which is only due to God incarnate. Supreme authority may be considered,
either as to the claim, right, property, and pre-eminence which belong to it, or
to the exercise.

1. The claim and right pretended. He sitteth as God in the temple of God; that
is, by virtue of his office there, claimeth the same power that Christ had,
which is fourfold:

(1.) An unlimited power over all things both in heaven and earth. This was given
to Christ, Mat. 28:18, and the Pope, as his vicar, challengeth it. But where is
the plea and ground of the claim? For one to set up himself as a vice-god
without warrant, is rebellion against Christ. To set himself in his throne
without his leave, surely none is fit to have this authority that hath not his
power to back and to administer and govern all things for the church's good,
which power God would trust in the hands of no creature.

(2.) A universal headship and supremacy over all the churches of Christ. Now,
this supreme power over all Christians is the right of God incarnate, and
whosoever challengeth it sits as God in the temple of God; and it is very
derogatory to the comfort of the faithful that they should in all things depend
upon one man as their supreme pastor, or else be excluded from the hope of
salvation. Certainly this power, as to matter of fact, is impossible to be
managed by any man, considering the vast extent of the world, and the variety of
governments and different interests under which the people of God find shelter
and protection, and the multitude and diversity of those things which are
comprised in such a government; and, as to matter of right, it is sacrilegious,
for Christ never instituted any such universal vicar and bishop. It is a dignity
too high for any creature: none is fit to be universal head of the church but
one that is God as well as man.

(3.) Absolute authority, so as to be above control. When a mortal man should
pretend to be so absolute as to give no account of his actions, that it shall
not be lawful to be said to him, What doest thou? and all his decrees must be
received without examination or complaint, this is such a sovereignty as belongs
to none but God: Job 9:12, 'Behold, he taketh away, who can hinder him? who will
say unto him, What doest thou?' Now, this is in their canon law, that the Pope
is to be judged by no man; that though he should lead millions of souls into
hell, none can say Domine, cur ita facis? (Lord, what are you doing?)

(4.) Infallibility and freedom from error, which is the property of God: he
neither is deceived nor can deceive. 'Let God be true, and every man a liar.'
Now, that corrupt and fallible man should arrogate this to himself, such an
unerring in judgment, is to usurp divine honour in matter of right and in matter
of fact. For the Pope to arrogate this is as great a contradiction to all sense
and reason as if a man sick of the plague, or any other mortal disease, should
say that he was immortal, and in that part wherein the disease was seated.

2. As to the exercise, there are two acts of supreme authority.--

(1.) Legislation.

(2.) Judgment.

(1.) Legislation: It is the peculiar and incommunicable property of Christ to be
Lord and lawgiver to the church; Isa. 33:22, 'The Lord is our judge, the Lord is
our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; ho will save us.' God alone hath such
interest in his people as to prescribe supreme or universal laws to them, and we
are his subjects: James 4:12, `There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to
destroy.' Now, whosoever will make laws that shall immediately bind the
conscience, they invade Christ's sovereignty. This is spiritual tyranny, and the
worst sort of tyranny, to arrogate a power over the subjects of Christ and their
consciences as lord of their faith. He that taketh upon him to rescind and make
void his institutions and ordinances, and set his own in their place, and give
that reverence and honour to them which only belongeth to the ordinances of
Christ, he is Antichrist, whatever he be.

(2.) As to judgment: It is an exercising an authority no less than divine, so to
take upon him to absolve man from his duty to God, or the penalty which sin hath
made his due. The one is done by dispensations, the other by indulgences: and
therefore whoever by dispensations antiquates and dispenses with the laws of God
himself is thus guilty; as dispensing with marrying the brother's wife. Nay, one
of the Popes dispensed with one that took his own sister to wife. I do not
allege this so much for the particular facts, but to show the power which they
challenged to be inherent in themselves. Bellarmine saith, Christ hath given
Peter and his successors a power faciendi peccatum non peccatumto make a sin to
be no sin; and again, 'If the Pope, should err in forbidding virtues and
commanding vices, the church were bound to believe vices to be good and virtues
to be evil,' which certainly is to set man in the place of God. As to
indulgences: as to pretend to give pardons for sin for so many years, a thing
that God himself never did; to pardon the sin before it was committed, that is,
to give a license to sin: so for the highest crimes to absolve men, upon a
little attrition or trouble about the sin,to do all this and more than this as
of right, is to sit in the church of God as God.'

[2.] And showing himself that he is God: that is meant, not of what he
professeth in words, but what he doth in deed. It is not said that he saith he
is God, but apodeikunta, he showeth himself, or sets forth himself as God. The
reason of the thing showeth it:-(1.) Antichrist gets power by seduction, or the
deceiveableness of unrighteousness; therefore does not openly call himself the
true and only God. He is represented as a false prophet, that speaketh lies in
hypocrisy. If one would openly and plainly profess himself to be God, he might
be a frantic usurper, but could not be a cunning seducer, and few would be so
stupid and senseless as to be led by him. (2.) Antichrist, whoever he be, is to
be a Christian by profession, and to have a high and great charge among the
visible professors of Christianity. He is a secret adversary, that groweth upon
the apostasy or degeneration of the Christian state. Now, such pretends
observance and obedience to Christ, and therefore he would not openly declare
himself to be God, and he sitteth in the temple and church of God, as before.
And it is a mystery; all which imply crafty conveyance, and that he doth not
openly assume the godhead, but slily and secretly, which doth not mend the
matter; for the insinuating, devouring, unsuspected enemy is the most perilous
and pernicious; as Joab to Amasa, and Judas to Christ. (3.) Antichrist is
plainly a man. Now, for a man to disannul all religion, and set up himself
directly as God, is improbable. Nero, Nebuchadnezzar, Simon Magus would be
adored as gods; they did not deny other gods, nor a greater God above them;
therefore it is the arrogance of works is intended. If Antichrist will show
himself as God, certainly he will sweeten his blasphemy with some hypocrisy, as
that he is the vicar and vicegerent of God. (4.) His showing himself as God, is
either accepting or doing such things, which if they did rightly belong to him,
they would show that he is God. Two persons I find in scripture charged for
usurping divine honours. The one, Herod Agrippa, who was smitten by an angel for
not giving God the glory, when the people cried, 'The voice of God, and not of
man,' Acts 12:22: his fault was accepting what was ascribed by others. The other
is the prince of Tyre: Ezek. 28:2, `Because thy heart is lifted up, and thou
hast said I am God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seat; yet thou
art a man, and not God, though thou set thy heart as the heart of God.' His
fault was taking upon him, as if he were God, to accept divine honours, to do
those things which would make him equalise himself to our Lord Christ, blessed
for ever. So doth he show himself that he is God. (1.) His accepting
Antichrist's disciples, who call him our Lord God the Pope, supremum numen in
terris, a certain deity upon earth. That the Pope hath the same consistory with
God, and the same tribunal with Christ; that he is lord of heaven and earth;
that from him there are no appeals to be made, no, not to God himself; that the
Pope may do all that God doth; that he is the husband of the church, and the
foundation of faith (Council of Lateran, sess. 4); Alter Deus in terra; that the
words of the Pope in cathedra are for certainty of truth equal to the
scriptures; that he can change the form of sacraments delivered by Christ, or
decree contrary to scripture. If any do object that these were the applauses of
his flatterers and claw-backs, it is true they were so uttered; but those
flatteries of the canonists and Jesuits do come to be received doctrines among
them; and whereas divers popes have directed special commissions for perusal of
the works of the learned, with authority to expunge and purge out whatsoever is
not orthodox, many better things have come under censure, but these things stand
still, as being very pleasing to his holiness's humility, and so not to be
altered: besides, many of these things have been spoken to his face without
rebuke.Conc. Latt., sess. 2. He is called the high priest and king that is to
be adored by all, and most like unto God-(sess. 9). It is said, the aspect of
thy divine majesty dazzleth our eyes, and that of the 72d Psalm applieth to him,
`All the kings of the earth shall worship him, and all nations shall serve him.'
Now, to accept and approve of these flatterers is to show himself that he is
God: (2.) By doing such things as if he were God, not by the usurpation of the
formal name, as by arrogating to himself such things as belong to God, his right
and property, to take upon himself to be lord of consciences, to command what
faith is to be believed, suppressing the true doctrine of Christ, and setting up
his own inventions, dispensing with God's laws, taking upon him to pardon sins.
One article for which Luther was condemned is this: that it is not in the power
of the church or Pope to make new articles of faith; another, that the best
penitence of all is the new life. Qui facit Deos divosque Deo major est (He who
makes God and divine things is greater than God.) The Pope doth canonise saints,
and his decrees must be received as oracles, &c.

The first use is to give us a clear discovery where to find Antichrist; every
tittle of this is fulfilled in the bishop of Rome, that we need no longer be in
doubt, and say, `Is this he that should come, or shall we look for another?' Who
is the o antikeimenoV, but he that opposeth himself to that humble state and
frame wherein Christ left the church, and will be prince of all pastors, and
swear them to his obedience, and hath made such troubles in the world to make
himself acknowledged for head and chief? Who is he that exalteth himself above
all that is called God, and is eminent in the world, but he that takes upon, him
to deprive and depose emperors, kings, and princes, by his excommunications,
suspensions, interdictions, and decrees, discharging subjects of their
allegiance and oaths, and giving away their kingdoms; that doth crown and
uncrown emperors with his feet, and tread upon, them as one would do upon a
viper? Who is he that sitteth as God in the temple of Godthat is, affecteth the
honour due to our Lord Jesus Christbut he that doth thus imperiously aspire,
subesse Romano Pontifici definimus esse de necessitate salutis ('We define that
is necessary for salvation to be under the Roman Pope'); that takes upon him a
power to make a new creed, and say we are bound to obey him;. that saith he can
change the things which God hath commanded in his word, and dispense with them,
and so by his decrees make the commandment of God of none effect; and can
forgive sins, not only already committed, but to be committed, which God himself
never would do; that lords it over consciences, enslaving the world to his
usurpations: in short, that will be obeyed in those things which God hath
forbidden, and take upon himself an office which no human creature is capable
of? Who is he that showeth himself that he is God, but he that suffereth himself
to be decked with the spoils of God's own attributes; to be optimum maximum, the
best and chiefest, our Lord God the Pope, a visible deity; and will be adored by
all the potentates of the earth, with such veneration as greater could not be
given to Christ himself if he were corporally present, and will have all the
world to submit to his decrees as being infallible; that challengeth a power
over angels, purgatory, and hell? These things are as clear as daylight, and
ought to be regarded by us, partly that we may bless God, who hath freed us from
this tyranny, and have a liberty of judging of truth and falsehood out his holy
and blessed word; partly that we may stand fast in this liberty. Those that were
never pope-bitten know not the mischiefs that attend this spiritual tyranny; and
God grant that we never more know it to our bitter cost. Therefore, as Samuel
dealt with the Israelites when they would cast off the theocracy, or God's
government, under which they had been well and safely governed, unless they
forfeited the protection by their own sin, that they might be like all the
nations round about them, 1 Sam. 8:20;Samuel telleth them what would be the
manner of the king that should reign over them: 1 Sam. 8:11-13, `And he said,
This shall be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: he will take
your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his
horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots. And he
will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will
set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments
of war, and instruments of his chariots. And he will take your daughters to be
confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers. And he will take your
fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give
them to his servants,' &c.;so if such a wanton humour should possess us, that
we must have the religion of the nations round about us, consider whom you
receive spiritually to reign over youthe king of pride, who opposeth and
exalteth himself above all that is called God, or is worshipped, &c., one that
will not only devour your substance, but lord it over your consciences, and put
out the eye of your reason, that you may the better swallow his damnable errors,
pestilent superstitions, and idolatries, and bold usurpation on the authority of
Christ; or else burn your bodies with temporal fire, and cast out your name as
one to be condemned to that which is eternal. It is easy to open the flood-gate,
but when that is done, it is not so easy to call back the waters; and when you
come to discern the difference between the blessed yoke of Christ and the iron
yoke of Antichrist, it will be too late for a remedy to repent of your error.
The second use is to show us how things should be carried in the true and
reformed Christianity.

1. With such meekness, modesty, and mortification, that our religion may be
known to be established by a crucified Lord, whose doctrine and example do
visibly and eminently hold forth the contempt of the world. The pride and
ambition of the pastors of the church hath been the cause of all the evil in it;
therefore nothing so unsuitable to the gospel as a domineering spirit. We, that
are to preach heavenly-mindedness and self-denial, should not affect the
greatness of the world, lest our lives contradict our doctrine.

2. How eminent and exemplary we should be in our obedience to magistrates, for
this is to be opposite to the antichristian estate. God is very tender of the
honour of civil powers and authorities, and will have every soul to be subject
to them: Rom. 13:1, `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;' and again, 1
Peter 2:13, 'Submit to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake, whether it be
to the king as supreme, or to governors, as them that are sent by him.' Great
respect and submission is due to them for God's sake, and that we may commend
religion to the profane world, and live down the reproaches of the gospel. They
were branded as wicked men that were not afraid to speak evil of dignities, that
despise governments in their own hearts, or weaken the esteem of it in the
hearts of others by their speeches: 2 Peter 2:10, 'But chiefly them that walk
after the flesh in the lust of uncleanliness, and despise government;
presumptuous are they, self-willed; they are not afraid to speak evil of
dignities.'

3 What a wickedness it is to usurp divine honours! We do so when we take that
praise and admiration to ourselves which is only due to God: Acts 3:12, `And
when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye
at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our power or holiness
we had made this man to walk? The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob,
the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus, &c.; and his name, through
faith in his name, hath made this man strong, whom we see and know; yea, the
faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of
you all.'

 

Promoting a Greater Understanding of the Discovery of the Americas