For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Will you then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good…
It is one degree of thrift to bring our debts into as few hands as we can. Our debt here we cannot bring into fewer than these three:
I. OUR DEBTS TO GOD. Consider them to be our sins, and we dare not come into reckoning with Him, but we discharge ourselves entirely on our Surety, Christ; but yet of that debt we must pay an acknowledgment, an interest, as it were, of praise for all we would have and prayer for all we would have.
II. OUR DEBTS TO MAN. Our creditors are —
1. Persons above us. To these we owe in matter of substance, tribute, and custom; and in matter of ceremony, fear, and honour.
2. Persons below us to whom we owe counsel to direct them and relief in compassion of their sufferings.
III. OUR DEBTS TO OURSELVES.
1. Some of these are to be tendered at noon, i.e., to be paid in our best strength and prosperity in the course of our lives.
2. Others are to be tendered at night at our deaths.Conclusion: Render therefore to all their dues.
1. For your debt to God we bring you to Church. This is no place to arrest in, but yet the Spirit of God calls upon you for these debts. Praise Him in His holy place, and pray to Him in His house, which is the house of prayer.
2. For your debts to man we send you to court to pay those owing to superiors; to hospitals and prisons to pay those owing to inferiors. And though courts and prisons be illpaying places, yet pay your debts of substance and ceremony, of tribute and honour, at court; and your debts of counsel and relief to those who need them in the darkest corners.
3. For your debts to yourselves, make even with yourselves all the way in your lives, lest your payment prove too heavy, and you break, and your hearts break when you come to see that you cannot do that upon your death bed.
(J. Donne, D.D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: