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with a more especial Eye of Mercy and Tenderness regard these orphan Kingdoms, and hide them under the Shelter of his Wings, till the Danger be overpaft.
2 Sam. xxiii. 3, 4. The God of Israel said, The Rock of Ifrael.
Spake to me; He that ruleth over Men must be just, ruling in the Fear of God:
And be shall be as the Light of the Morna ing when the Sun riseth, even a Morning without Clouds; as the tender Grass springing out of the Earth, by clear shining after Rain.
T HE Words read to you, are said to be
I the last of David, and uttered by the Spirit of the Lord, whose Word was in his Tongue. They are by some yewish Interpreters referred to the Days of the Meffiab, as foretelling the Righteousness and Increase of his Kingdom for evermore: but in this Sense, they can no otherwise relate to the
Mesah, than as they are pointed at him through David, who was a Type of that Great Prince of Peace and of Righteousness; and consequently, in their natural and literal Sense, they regard the temporal Government of David, and stand as a fit Instruction for the Princes of the Earth.
There is likewise some Doubt of the Time when these Words were first spoken: whether this Admonition and Promise were given David upon his first Entrance on his Kingdom, as a sure Direction to guide him through the Difficulties of Empire; and by him delivered as his last Words, and the best Legacy which he could bequeath, to those who were to succeed him in the Throne of Ifrael: or whether they were first conceived and uttered by David in the last Scene of his Life, and left with the Authority of a dying Father to his Sons, as containing the true Secret of governing happily; which he had learned, both from long Experience, and from the Influence of the Spirit of God. But in whichfoever of these Views we consider the Text, it comes to the same Thing; and we have the true Art of governing, by which a Prince may render himself and his people happy, de
scribed to us by the Wisdom of the Divine Spirit. He that ruleth over Men must be just, ruling in the Fear of the Lord.
It is an Happiness that we may justly glory in, that these Words are a proper Theme for this Day, the Subject of which is the Accession of our Prince to the Throne. Such a Description of the Ruler's Duty produced on the like Occasion, would in many Places be esteemed a Reproach to the Prince; and could yield no Fruit to the People, but a Sense of their Misfortune. Unhappy Countries ! where even fuch Scriptures have the Sound of Treason; but with us, the brighter Light they are placed in, the more Honour they reflect on the Throne, the greater Comfort and Consolation on the People : for though the Merit of good Government be the Prince's proper Praise, yet the Benefit of it is universal, and reaches even the meaneft of his Subjects.
The Prosperity of a Prince, who rules in the Fear of the Lord, is represented to us, in the latter Part of the Text, under very beautiful Similitudes : He fall be as the Light of the Morning, when the Sun rifeth, even a Morning without Clouds. The Sun is the great Spirit of the World, in the Light
of which all Things are made to rejoice ; perpetual Spring attends his Course ; all Things revive at his Approach, and put on a new Face of Youth and Beauty : Winter and Frost lag behind him ; Nature grows deformed, and the World fickens at his Departure. What the Sun is to the World, the same is a good Prince to his People : he is the Life and Soul of the Public ; his Influence produces Beauty, Order, and Regularity, and so animates every Member, that the whole Society is Harmony and Peace. This Difference there is, the Sun in his meridian Glory, strikes fome Parts with too fierce a Fire, and the Field fades under the Heat which should refresh it: but the just Prince, like the rising Sun in a clear Morning, shines with kinder Rays, and his Justice being always tempered with Love and Mercy, can never be destructive.
As this Similitude sets before us the Blessings derived from a just Prince to his People, so does the next represent to us the Stability of Kingdoms so happily directed. That Government is always in its Youth and Vigour that is under the Management of a wise Ruler ; its inward Constitution is healthful, and so confirmed in Strength, that