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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

Shall the inhabitant of Zion say


honesty," 1 Tim. ii. 2. Where

it is specified, what sort we should pray for, and to what end. As we are not to pray for all men absolutely; for some, as they are declared to be out of the precincts of Christ's mediation, so they must be out of our prayers: so there may be some in actual rule, that may be excepted out of the verge of the Christian prayers, as was said of Julian the apostate. But he that is a magistrate indeed, and in authority, the subjects are to pray and to give thanks for him, not as a man merely, but as a magistrate. Yea, though they be heathen magistrates, Ezra vi. 10. We may pray for all in authority, two ways; as men, and as kings. As men, we may pray for their salvation, or conversion, or taking them out of the way, if they be enemies to Christ's kingdom, according as they are stated; and upon condition, if it be possible, and if they belong to the election of grace. Though for such as are opposites to the coming of Christ's kingdom, as it is a contradiction to the second petition of the Lord's prayer, (thy kingdom come.) So, in the experience of the most eminent wrestlers, they have found less faith, and less encouragement, in praying for them, than for any other sort of men. It is rare that ever any could find their hands in praying for the conversion of the rulers. And though we pray that the Lord would convince them; yea, and confound them, in mercy to their souls; yet this must never be wanting in our prayers for tyrants, as men, that God would bring them down, and cause justice
overtake them, that God may be glorified, and the nation eased of such a burden. But if we pray for them as kings, then they must be such by God's approbation, and not mere possessory occupants, to whom we owe no such respect nor duty. For whatever the Hobbists, and the time serving Casuists of our day, and even many good men (though wofully lax in this point) homologating both doctrinally and practically their heathenish notions, say to the contrary; I hope it be in some measure made out, that tyrants are no more the ordinance of God, nor to be owned as his ministers and vicegerents, than the devil the prince of this world for the Lord's anointed, or Baal's priests for true ministers. If we pray for them as kings, we must pray for their peace, prosperity, and preservation, that their government may be blessed with success, their designs not frustrated, nor their desires disappointed. This we cannot pray for tyrants. 6. Albeit, we may pray for the peace of the nation, and for the government thereof, so far as it may conduce to our own and the church's tranquillity, that we may live a peaceable and godly life under it; yet this cannot be extended to the peace of tyrants, for whom the best prayer that we can bestow is, that the Lord would bridle and restrain them, that they may not mar the church's peace. That command, Jer. xxix. 7. "Seek the peace of the city, whithersoever I have caused you to be carried captives, and pray unto the Lord for it, for in the peace thereof shall you have peace," is apparent to have been but of a temporary nature, upon occasion of their captivity there, until the 70 years should be expired, having it also declared by God, that their own peace was bound up in that of Babylon's: for after that time they are taught the contrary carriage towards that city, to depart, and pray against it, and exult and rejoice in its ruin: "O daughter of Babylon, happy shall he be that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us, that dasheth thy little ones against the stones," Psal. cxxxvii. 8, 9. "The voice of them that flee out of the land of Babylon, to declare in Zion the vengeance of the Lord, the vengeance of his temple," Jer. l. 28. And Jer. li. 35. "The violence done to me, and to my flesh, be upon Babylon, shall the inhabitant of Zion say, and my blood be upon Chaldea, shall Jerusalem say." Certainly this is not the season to seek the peace of mystical Babylon, but to pray for the destruction thereof, and all its supporters: which we cannot do, if we pray for them that improve, employ, and apply all their power to support it, lest we pray contradictions; as many do, who pray against Babel's brats, and yet pray for the king; but the comfort is this, that nonsensical prayers will do little good, little hurt, but to themselves that pray them.

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