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SERMON pleased to write it on our hearts. The word that I
have spoken, our Lord said, the same shall judge him in the last day. Let us not form the habit of putting that word from us now, to meet it again at the great day as our accuser and our judge. Let us begin by putting into practice its wise yet simple lessons, as we learn them from Sunday to Sunday. Let us gather now around Christ's Table, to seal our allegiance to Him as our Divine Teacher as well as our Almighty and most merciful Saviour. Let this coming week see in all of us some fruit of God's instruction today. And let us come together, week by week, as
persons who need and expect that instruction; as 1 Pet. ii. 2. persons desiring, to use St. Peter's expression, the
sincere milk of the word, that we may grow thereby.
EPISTLE FOR THE FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER
ROMANS XIII. 1–7.
1 LET every soul submit to superior authorities : for there is
no authority but from God, and those that are have been 2 appointed by God : so that he who resists the authority
withstands the arrangement of God; and they that withstand 3 shall receive for themselves judgment. For rulers are not a
terror to the good work, but to the evil. And wouldest thou
not fear the authority ? do that which is good, and thou 4 shalt have praise from it : for it is a minister of God to thee
for that which is good. But, if thou do that which is evil, fear it: for not in vain it bears the sword : for it is a
minister of God, an avenger for wrath to him that doeth that 5 which is evil. Wherefore there is a necessity to submit, not
only on account of the wrath, but also for the sake of the 6 conscience. For for this cause ye pay tribute also: for they
are officers of God, constantly engaged upon this very thing. 7 Render to all their dues : to him to whom you owe tribute,
tribute ; to whom custom, custom; to whom fear, fear; to whom honour, honour.
THE DOCTRINE OF OBEDIENCE.
ROMANS XIII. 7.
Render therefore to all their dues : tribute to whom tribute is due ;
custom to whom custom ; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.
The various precepts of the twelfth chapter are Sermon ended. The principle has been laid down: we are to present ourselves to God as a living sacrifice. We are to live as persons belonging to a different world from this in which we live ; belonging to eternity, not to time. In carrying out this principle, we are, first of all, to be humble; meaning by humility not “voluntary humility,” not condescension, of our own free will, to a place lower than that which we, all along, feel to belong to us; but a sober and therefore a low estimate of our own powers, our own merits, and our own rights. In the next place, we are to recognise our membership in a body; we are to think of ourselves as parts, as items, not as totals ; we are to do that which we are set to do, and qualified to do, with the same undivided attention, and the same simplicity of duty, with which an eye or a hand
1 A collection was made after this Sermon for the Pimlico Dis.
Sermon does its part in a human body, neither priding itself
upon its own work, nor intruding into another's. In the next place, amongst a multitude of separate duties, we are never to lose sight of love as the great and comprehensive office of every one; love, showing itself in kindness; love, showing itself in sympathy; love, showing itself in forbearance; love, showing itself in returning good for evil, and in conquering evil by good.
To-day we reach a further rule of Christian duty; that of obedience to constituted authority. Let every soul, every living person, submit to superior authorities : for there is no authority but from God: and those that are in existence have been appointed by God. So that he who resists the authority, the particular authority under which he is placed in any respect, withstands the arrangement, the ordinance or appointment, of God; and they that so withstand shall receive for themselves judgment; punishment here, and God's disapprobation and displeasure with it. For rulers are not a terror to the good work, to the well-doer, but to the evil. And wouldest thou not fear the authority, have no cause to dread the power of the human ruler? do that which is good, and, instead of punishment, thou shalt have praise from it: for it is a minister of God to thee for that which is good ; to bring thee safety, honour, and peace. But, if thou do that which is evil, fear it; thou hast cause