Sermon on the Election of a Lord Mayor
Job 29:14-17
I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment was as a robe and a diadem.

Job's reflections on the flourishing estate he had once enjoyed did at the same time afflict and encourage him.

I. WHAT A PUBLIC BLESSING A GOOD MAGISTRATE IS: a blessing as extensive as the community to which he belongs; a blessing which includes all other blessings whatsoever that relate to this life. The benefits of a just and good government to those who are so happy as to be under it, like health to vigorous bodies, or fruitful seasons in temperate climes, are such common and familiar blessings that they are seldom either valued or relished as they ought to be.

II. THE OUTWARD MARKS OF DISTINCTION AND SPLENDOUR WHICH ARE ALLOTTED TO THE MAGISTRATE. Of these the robe and diadem, mentioned by Job, are illustrations. It was intended thus —

1. To excite the magistrate to a due degree of vigilance and concern for the public good. The magistrate was made great, to inspire him with resolutions of living suitably to his high profession and calling.

2. To secure the magistrate's person, in which the public tranquillity and safety are always involved.

3. To ensure that the magistrate is had in due estimation and reverence by all those who are subject to him. It is in the civil government, as in the offices of religion; which, were they stript of all the external decencies of worship, would not make a due impression on the minds of those who assist at them. The solemnities that encompass the magistrate, add dignity to all his actions, and weight to all his words and opinions.

4. To aid the magistrate to reverence himself. He who esteems and reverences himself will not fail to take the truest methods towards procuring esteem and reverence from others.

III. THE DUTIES OF THE MAGISTRATE. The chief honour of the magistrate consists in maintaining the dignity of his character by suitable actions, and in discharging the high trust that is reposed in him, with integrity, wisdom, and courage. Reputation is the great engine by which those who are possessed of power must make that power serviceable to the ends and uses of government. The rods and axes of princes and their deputies may awe many into obedience; but the fame of their goodness, and justice, and other virtues will work on more; will make men not only obedient, but willing to obey. An established character spreads the influence of such as move in a high sphere, on all around and beneath them. The actions of men in high stations are all conspicuous, and liable to be scanned and sifted. They cannot hide themselves from the eyes of the world as private men can. Great places are never well filled but by great minds; and it is as natural to a great mind to seek honour by a due discharge of a high trust, as it is to little men to make less advantages of it. A good magistrate must be endued with a public spirit, and be free from all narrow and selfish views. He must impartially distribute justice, without respect of persons, interests, or opinions. Courtesy and condescension is another happy quality of a magistrate. Bounty also, and a generous contempt of that in which too many men place their happiness, must come in to heighten his character. Of all good qualities, that which recommends and adorns the magistrate most, is his care of religion; which, as it is the most valuable thing in the world, so it gives the truest value to them, who promote the esteem and practice of it, by their example, authority, influence, and encouragement.

(F. Atterbury, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment was as a robe and a diadem.

WEB: I put on righteousness, and it clothed me. My justice was as a robe and a diadem.

Clothed with Righteousness
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