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gion is a way open to happiness, to which the rich and the poor have equally admittance; it is that only which can make all circumstances of life easy, and is necessary as well to teach us 'how to abound,' as how to suffer need :' for this reason then, a prince concerned for the happiness of his people cannot be unconcerned for the interest of religion. But, farther; the welfare and prosperity of civil societies, as such, depend on the influence which religion has on the minds and manners of the people human laws are often transgressed with impunity, often easily evaded; and sometimes, for want of due execution, they lose their force and vigor; but the law never dies in a heart seasoned with religion, and conscious to itself that it owes obedience to the ruler, not only for wrath, but for conscience' sake.' Faction sometimes grows too strong for lawful power; and who then shall refrain the madness of the people, who already think themselves superior to their prince, and know none higher than he to be afraid of? Religion only can subdue the wild passions of men, and make the ruler secure against their attempts; so that in this sense it may be truly said that the throne shall endure for ever, which is established in righteousness.


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These advantages can never be wanting under the conduct of a prince who governs in the fear of the Lord: the sense of his own duty, and his regard for the honor of God, will incline him in all cases to promote and encourage the service of his Maker; and to fill up that character, which, when justly sustained, is both the ornament and strength of the crown, defender of the faith.' To such princes the church of God owes her temporal prosperity, her liberal maintenance, and in great measure even the purity of her religion: to such she owes the temples of God, which are in every nation the truest indications of royal piety and magnificence: to such princes—but whither am I going? Methinks my country chides me whilst I deal to such princes in common those praises which seem to be the distinguishing marks, the excellencies peculiar to our own. Happy Britain! that canst, so easily discover the features of thine own prince, whenever the image of a good one is set before thee! Religion indeed is so much both the practice and the care of our good queen, that in this respect her enemies

(if such a princess can have enemies) must confess that the world has seldom seen her equal, never her superior. In the midst of outward pomp and glory, how constant, how regular is her devotion! how just and becoming her behavior in the presence of God, that even those who attend at the altar may profit by the example! With how tender an eye of compassion did she regard the poverty and distress of the Christian priesthood; and how did she consult the honor of God and religion, providing by her royal bounty that the altar should be attended, not by the servants of men waiting for bread, but by the freemen of the Lord! Ages to come shall give glory to God for her, when they shall behold those monuments of her piety, which are now but just rising from their foundations; a glory that will not be the less hers, though we acknowlege (as in justice and gratitude we always must) how readily her faithful Commons enabled her to support the charge of so expensive an undertaking.

This prospect is so pleasant, that here I could delight to dwell; but the time, which spends much faster than my subject, bids me proceed.

Let us then take a transient view of the happy effects of this religious principle, the fear of God, in the political government of a just prince.

Human nature is much the same in all parts of the world; there are the same passions and inclinations to be found in men of different countries; and therefore it is in vain to search nature, to find the causes why some nations enjoy inward peace and tranquillity, whilst others are exposed to misery and confusion. The difference seems to lie in these two points; the laws and constitutions of several countries, and the execution of those laws. Princes who can forget the character of their Master, whose power they exercise, may easily forget the character of their subjects, over whose persons they reign; and though he that ruleth over men' ought to be just, because men are rational creatures, and have a right to be governed by the laws of reason and justice; yet it is no wonder that the ruler who does not 'fear God,' should not regard men.' Power and greatness are in themselves great temptations, mighty corrupters of the heart of man; and unless there be the

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fear of God to restrain those evil effects of worldly grandeur, it must happen that he that has the most power will be least able to use it well; and consequently want of religion in the prince must always end in the slavery and misery of the people. But when a ruler acts under the sense of God's supreme dominion, and knows that there is no proper legislative power but that of the Almighty; that the part intrusted to him is a ray issuing from the divine fountain; he will so use his power as not to disgrace the giver of it, and exert it in laws and constitutions worthy of the great original from whence they flow: such laws must always be honor to the throne, safety and prosperity to the people. With us the legislative power is more happily administered than in any known part of the world; and I may have leave in this august assembly to congratulate with my country that she lives under no law that is not of her own choosing: a privilege which is the glory of Britain, purchased with the blood of our ancestors, and ought never to be parted with but together with our own. But how is this happiness completed, when we have a princess on the throne, as ready to give life to any law for the public good as her people can be to ask it; who takes no other pleasure in her power but in making it beneficial to her country; and then only thinks she reigns when she can do good to mankind!

Wholesome laws, whatever tendency they have to public good, have no effect but as they are prudently administered and vigorously executed; the welfare therefore of kingdoms does in great measure depend on the steady and wise exercise of the executive power: for though the touch of the sceptre may animate the law and give it being, yet it is this power which gives it energy and operation, and teaches it how to influence the lives and manners of the people; how to make them at once good and happy. In the management of a corrupt ruler, it is oftentimes made a snare to the lives and fortunes of the best subjects; but where the fear of God directs the prince, the law is always a protection to the innocent, a terror to the wicked. In all human laws there is an imperfection, which would often make justice degenerate into cruelty, were not the rigor of the letter left subject to be moderated

by the reason and equity of the governor; for it being impos sible to form a rule that shall regard all the various circum. stances that attend human actions, the law can in many cases consider one action but in one light, and annexes the same punishment to the same crime, wherever found, not considering, what it cannot foresee, the aggravations or alleviations which may arise from the circumstances of offenders: and yet in the eye of reason and equity there is no truer maxim than this, duo cum faciunt idem, non est idem; from whence it comes to pass that oftentimes the material action and the moral action, that is, the action considered in all its circumstances, are in one and the same instance of different kinds; in which case the letter of the law may find a crime, where reason and equity can find no criminal; or at least not one deserving to suffer the severity of the law. This is the proper field for the exercise of royal mercy; for arbitrary mercy, that does not regard the offender's merit, is rather humor than goodness, and is destructive of the constitution; whereas true mercy always supplies the defects of it for the mercy of the prince is not opposed to the cruelty of the law, (for the law has no intention, to be cruel,) but it comes in to relieve the law against the imperfections to which all human constitutions are subject. Justice herself is blind, and wants the royal touch, which gives her the eyes of mercy to distinguish between the crimes of malice and inadvertency.

From this view of the executive power, it is easy to judge how great the difference is between a prince who rules in the fear of the Lord, and one who has not God in all his thoughts. Even mercy, the choicest flower of the crown, and which has the kindest aspect on the subject, may in an ill hand become oppressive to the people; and so it always does when it is used to countenance or protect the wicked against justice; and to set those who do not love the law above the fear of it but when the sword of justice is sent forth, not to execute the will of man, or serve his passions, but to purge the land from iniquity, and to root out oppression from the earth; when mercy follows close behind, to screen the ignorant, the inadvertent, the unfortunate offenders, who sinned not out of malicious wickedness, from the rigorous blows of justice; then may it

properly be said that mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.'

I should injure the character of our excellent queen, should I seem to labor in the application of these praises to her, which are so much her own, that I doubt not but every one here has been beforehand with me in blessing God for these rare endowments of his princess. Some reigns, however full of glory, yet give us a secret horror when we see our annals stained with the richest blood of the three kingdoms; when we see the sword always naked, but cannot discern the hand that guides it, and are left doubtful whether it strikes the blows of justice or resentment. But posterity shall find no such pain in reading the history of these times, which will appear as one continued scene of glory and happiness, and shine like the 'morning light when the sun riseth, even like the morning that has no clouds.' And this leads me, in the second place, to consider,

II. How great a blessing a just prince is to his people; which is represented in the text under the similitudes of the rising sun, and the florishing grass springing out of the earth.

Good laws duly executed are as much the happiness of the people as they are the support of the crown; without them liberty would be our ruin, and instead of enjoying our freedom, we should perish in our licentiousness; for liberty does not consist in being free from all restraints; ifit did, the wild inhabitants on the coast of Africa might more justly boast of their liberty than we do. Civil liberty is the child of the law, and thrives best under the guardianship of its parents; and therefore a just prince, as he will most regard the law, will always be the best patron of his people's liberty: such a prince has no separate interest from his country; he looks on himself as the head of the body; and if any member grieves, he suffers with it : he can never cast an envious eye on the privileges of his people, which he esteems as his own, and values even as the jewels of his crown. How happy are the people who are in such a case! how blessed is the nation whose prince 'feareth God!'

For, farther, the very example of such a ruler has a natural tendency to promote the peace and welfare of the kingdom.

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