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nation turbulent spirits, who would permit no law to prevail but their own will; and, if there were nothing to hinder them, would set the world on fire to make themselves considerable. Tribute is, therefore, due from every people, in return for the protection they receive : and if the government of the most absolute tyrant is better than the force of a lawless multitude : that is, if one bad man without law is a less evil than an hundred thousand, the purchase (dear as it may be) is certainly worth the price to those who are blessed with a regular establishment.
Our common interest will oblige us to consider, that the strength of every government against its fo. reign enemies depends on the affection of its own natu, ral subjects; so that they are its worst enemies, who endeavour to lessen that affection; for when a nation is out of humour with its governors, and careless of its establishment, it is of course weak and defenceless. Great things may be done, when the people are united with one heart and mind under the person of their prince. How small and contemptible an insect is the bee? yet, when the whole swarm is assembled, and kept together by an attachment to their leader, they are invincible; neither inan nor beast can stand against them. Every loyal nation hath the same advantage : but then we are to remember, that the union, in which their strength consists, is the gift of God; who maketh men to be of one mind for their common preservation. .
Under this head of interest, our honour is concerned: for the honour of the people is involved in that of their king. We must judge of states as we do of families. Does it not add to the reputation of any family, when there is a good understanding ainong the members of it; especially if the father of it is well esteemed, and treated with veneration by those who are under him, his children and his servants ? But it is a sure sign, that the family is either very wicked, or very vulgar, when a proper deference is wanting from the children to the parents; the disgrace of their ill behaviour returns with double weight upon themselves ; according to that admonition of the son of Sirach, Glory not in the dishonour of thy father ; for thy father's dishonour is no glory unto thee : for the glory of: a man is from the honour of his father. Whatever accusation there may be ground for, it is weak and cruel in a son to take it up: he should leave that to the worst enemies of the family, whose malice is waiting for the ruin of them all. But if the father is virtuous and honourable, then the son is a wretch, who can delight himself with the dishonour of such a parent. All this is applicable to those subjects, wheresoever they are to be found, who search for accusations, who feed upon grievances, who shout for joy on any disadvantage to their native country, and publish its distress - to all the world, making ten times more of it than is
true. If duty could not restrain such, policy and common sense should be sufficient to guard them from so unnatural and ridiculous a crime.
To conclude; we live in a country, where the fear of God, and the honour of the king, are inculcated by the laws of the state, and all the forms and doctrines of the church. Let us be thankful to God that they are still preserved to us; and that our profession is such, as duty, wisdom, interest, and honour, will never fail to recommend. There is nothing to seduce us from the practice of this profession, but false ideas of liberty, with which unthinking minds are easily captivated: and complaints of slavery and grievances, with which weak and unbridled tempers are easily terrified. Against the ill effects of these, give me leave to observe, not as a politician (for I do not aspire to that character) but as a minister of Jesus Christ; that there is no true liberty but in the service of God; and that the greatest of all grievances is sin, as fatal to societies, as to individuals. The only free men, properly so called, are they whom the Son of God hath made free from the bondage of fin: the slavery is all on the other side; with those who are subject to their own turbulent lusts and paffions, by which they are as effectually enslaved as the wretch who is chained down to drudge at the oar, all the days of his life : his servants ye are to whom ye obey whether of sin unto death, or of obedi. ence unto righteousness. : Pride, vanity, avarice, envy, hatred, ambition, extravagance, and impatience: these are the tyrants of the children of disobedience, who, while they are under the dominion of such masters, are generally the most forward to hold out the temptation of liberty, and promise it to all their followers; but the beggar may as well promise crowns and scepters. Of such inen St. Peter gives us this character, that they speak evil of dignities; and while they promise liberty are themselves the servants of corruption. Tied and bound with the chain of their vices, and probably of their debts, they commence arbiters of freedom; and would have us believe, what great quietness we should enjoy, and what very worthy deeds would be done by their providence. .
It is a mistake of the worst tempers only to suppose that liberty consists in contradiction ; for if that were true, then the more unreasonable the contradiction, the greater the liberty. Every society is a body, the members of which being appointed to different offices, should all conspire to the same end for the good of the whole. Hath the tongue no liberty, but
in uttering imprecations, and calling down vengeance upon its owner? Have the hands no liberty, but when they are lifted up against the head, or striking at the heart? It is the honour of the feet, that they can support the head by which they are animated and directed; it is the honour of the hands, that they can defend the vital parts, and repel the adversaries of the body : this is their proper employment, and when the order of nature is observed, the whole system will be in safety, which is all the liberty good men will ever expect in a world so full of mischief and danger.
As to grievances, it must be owned we have our share; and no government in the world is without them; but it is the unhappiness of this nation, to be more disturbed with imaginary than with real evils. The sick man may suffer much from his distemper; but he often suffers much more from his dreams, and throws himself into certain destruction, while he is flying from the terrors of a vision. It is no such easy matter for people in a lower sphere, especially in this age of scandal and defamation, to know when and how their superiors are in fault. The inhabitant of the valley blames the dimness of the air, and sees a mist spread over the hills and higher grounds; which to those in a better situation, appears to rise out of his own soil, and to settle upon the place of his own babitation. But then, have governors no faults, and are we to see nothing amiss in them ? undoubtedly they have their faults, if they are mortal men, together with many dif
ficulties, misfortunes, and mortifications from their of· fice ; under all which, it is our duty to pray for them, and not to revile them; to pray that God will give them grace to amend their faults, and assist them by his good providence, in the critical affairs of their
country; approving ourselves as true Christians, servants of God, and friends of mankind. · Let not then any heathen principles, any visionary notions of liberty, interpose to debauch our minds with disaffection, and thereby givé occasion to foreign enemies, whose envy will always be active, and is even now awake, to foment our divisions, and to triumph in all the unhappy effects of them* Not many years are passed since we might justly be accounted the first people in the world. Nothing can support us in that high rank, but loyalty and unanimity, without which, a kingdom that hath attained its utmost greatness, must soon fall with its own weight.
May therefore the King immortal and invisible, in whose hand are all the nations of the earth; who, according to his good pleasure, sendeth counsel in peace and success in war, give us all grace, in our several stations, to correct what is amiss, to hold fast what is good, to restore what is lost, to preserve what is ready to perish, and to see the things that belong to our peace, before they are hid from our eyes! Amen. ;
* Those enemies have now disarmed themselves, by falling into the doctrine of licentiousness, against which this discourse was directed