Page images
PDF
EPUB

too great a Bias upon the Minds of indifferent Men, when they saw the only way to escape being punished, was to take the Course that deserved it.

They, who consider the happy and envied Condition of our Government, in which are equally secured, the Dignity of the Prince, and Liberty of the Subject; the Blessing of a Church established in primitive Purity, wherein the Honour of Religion and God's Service is maintained without Superstition ; Obedience taught without Blindness ; can never sufficiently reverence the Memory of a Prince, who chose rather to lay down his Crown and his Life, than not deliver down thefe Blessings inviolable to Pofterity. They, who remember him, without any partial Affection, must allow him the Character of a noble and generous Prince, and Father of his Country. They, who think with Envy, and speak with Malice, of him, can say no worse, than, He was a Man of like Paffons with us. And surely they forget themselves to be Men, who would have our common Infirmities remembered to his Dishonour.

The Case is hard, if Princes have no Right to the Allowances made to all besides: harder, because, by their high Station, they

are more exposed to the View of the World; and few there are so modest, as not to think themselves wise enough to judge of their Actions. Private Persons have their Inclinations free from all Checks and Restraints, more than Innocence and Religion require : their Rule is, to preserve Integrity, and it will preserve them. But Men of Character have this further Care, That their God be not evil spoken of: a Lesson of infinitely more Difficulty, and greater Toil, by how much harder it is to please Men than God. To seek the good Opinion of the People, is Prudence in Men of public Characters : but is there a greater Slavery under the Sun, than to be obliged to live by the Opinion of those, who are neither wise enough to judge, nor to let it alone? · The Privilege that extends to the meanest Cottage, to choose their own Friends and Companions, is not without murmuring allowed to Kings : nor will it be permitted to the Dignity of some Characters, and Majesty of others, to stoop even to the innocent and harmless Enjoyments of Life: as if Princes and great Ministers had no private Cares ; but were capable of the constant Thoughts of public Business, and Religion. Every

Step

[ocr errors]

Step Men take, by which they rise into the View of the World, is an Abridgement of their innocent Liberty, and binds them to a stricter and feverer Self-denial. For there is a natural Envy in Men, which loves to see the Honour and Dignity of great Places, qualified with Trouble and Anxiety.

But Men who are distinguished by the Advantages of Birth and Education, should be above the common Prejudices and sordid Passions of the Vulgar; and think themselves obliged, in Honour as well as Duty, to pay a steady, and regular Obedience to the Government. It is some Excuse for the Dishonour of the Nation, in the late Rebellion, that we can shew so brave a List of Nobility and Gentry, who fell in Defence of their King; and left the Honour of their Death, a nobler Inheritance to their Families, than their Lands and Estates. The Imitation of their Virtue and Obedience need not to be pressed in this Audience ; where the Rules of Duty and Honour are better practised, than they can be taught. The noble Families have Examples of their own, to instruct them how they should behave themselves to their Prince and their Country: and in the History of their Ancestors,

inay

C4

may learn, that Loyalty to the Crown, is the first and the noblest Title of Honour. And surely thus much Good we may expect from the Evil of the late Times; that Men would learn at length to value the Blessing of a good Prince,

It is the Goodness of God to us, that, after so many Convulsions, we still enjoy our ancient Government ; that there is still Life and Vigour in the Religion and Liberty of England: a Goodness that on our Part requires the utmost Returns of Gratitude ; which can no way be so acceptably shewn, as in the worthy Use of the Blessings we enjoy. We shall but ill perform the Duty of this Day, unless we amend in ourselves the Errors we reprove in others. The Crown and the Virtues of the royal Martyr are once more joined together; let not then our Reproach be renewed by the repeated Want of Obedience and Affection. If, whilst our Governors watch with Care and Solicitude, to make us easy and happy in ourselves; strong and secure against our Enemies abroad; we labour to disturb the Methods of our Government at Home; we must thank ourselves for the Evils, which will always follow from the turbulent Humours, and distracted Coun

sels

fels of a Nation. We have an Enemy strong and cunning to deal with ; an ancient Rival of the Power and Honour of England; an Enemy to the Religion of Protestants, and the Liberty of Mankind : and if nothing else will, yet Interest would prevail with us to unite for our mutual Safety; and whilst our brave Countrymen expose their Lives to the Hazard and Fortune of War Abroad, in Defence of their Prince, and their Country; methinks the least that can be expected of us, is to be quiet and peaceable at Home. To save the sinking Liberties of Europe, is worthy a Queen of England; and if the Spirit of our Fathers be not degenerate in us, it will, it must rise to check the Progress of an ambitious Monarch; and it will ever be the Choice of an Englishman, rather to die by his Sword, than live by his Law: but our Lives and Fortunes are safe in the Conduct and Prudence of our Go. vernors; we need only facrifice our ill Hua, mours, to the Peace and Security of our Country; and be content to stand still and see the Salvation of the Lord. Let us at least be willing to be saved ; and, for the Sake and Defence of our Religion, submit to live by the Rules of it. We have been long

« PreviousContinue »