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to forgive the injuries they did him, which he exercised to the last; and in the heat of a merciless rebellion, could never forget his enemies were his subjects, when they had long since forgot him to be their king; which was too great a bias on 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 honor 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 these blessings inviolable to posterity. 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 passions with us.' And surely they forget themselves to be men, who would have our common infirmities remembered to his dishonor.
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 farther care, that their good 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 men take by which they rise into the view of the world, is an abridgment of their innocent liberty, and binds them to a stricter and severer self-denial. For there is a natural envy in men, which loves to see the honor 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 honor as well as duty, to pay a steady and regular obedience to the government. It is some excuse for the dishonor of the nation in the late rebellion, that we can show so brave a list of nobility and gentry who fell in defence of their king, and left the honor 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 honor 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, may learn that • loyalty to the crown" is the first and the noblest title of honor. 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 vigor 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 shown 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 labor to disturb the methods of our government at home; we must thank ourselves for the evils, which will always follow from the turbulent humors and distracted counsels of a nation. We have an enemy strong and cunning to deal with; an ancient rival of the power and honor 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 governors; we need only sacrifice our ill humors 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 fighting and contending for our religion ; it is now high time to practise it; and a better foundation we cannot lay than in the duties of the text, •To fear the Lord, and the king, and not to meddle with them that are given to change.
SUMMARY OF DISCOURSE II.
MATTHEW, CHAP. X.---VERSES 41. 42.
TOWARDS the beginning of this chapter, we read that our Saviour sent forth his disciples to preach the kingdom of God. That they might preach with authority, he endowed them with the gifts of the Spirit; and that they might attend on their ministry without distraction, he eased them of the care of providing for themselves, by giving them power to demand and to receive of those whom they instructed whatever their wants re'quired. It was not our Saviour's intention to make poverty a necessary qualification for their profession. This shown from Luke xxii. 35. compared with Matt. x. 9. 10. As the office of preaching the gospel was to be perpetual in the Christian church, so the right of maintenance was always to attend it: see 1 Cor. ix. 14. And since in this kind of charity the honor of Christ's name, and the promotion of his religion are immediately consulted, he has distinguished it by a more honorable and glorious reward: He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet, shall receive a prophet's reward, &c.
To receive a prophet sometimes signifies to receive his doctrine and become his follower; but in this place it cannot have this signification : reasons for this given. To receive a prophet in the name of a prophet, is to receive him because he is a pro. phet; that is, on account of his character and office, and the near relation which he bears to Christ : this topic enlarged on. In treating on the words of the text, two principal subjects are offered for consideration : I. the several degrees of charity mentioned in it, and wherein the excellency of one above the other consists : II. how truly Christian and excellent in its kind that charity is, which is the end and design of this annual solemnity.
I. If we begin our account at the verse immediately preceding the text, we shall find four degrees of charity enumerated, and distinguished by distinct promises. The first is that of receiving an Apostle; the second is that of receiving a prophet; the third, that of receiving a righteous man; and the fourth, that of relieving the meanest of Christ's disciples. Charity is distinguished into these different kinds and degrees, by the dignity of the persons who are its objects: for since the receiving a prophet shall intitle us to a prophet's reward, and the receiving a righteous man to a righteous man's reward, it is plain that the former act as far exceeds the latter, as the dignity of the one object is above that of the other.
To receive a prophet because he is our friend or relation, is but a common degree of kindness : the honor must be paid him, because he is a prophet : the motive and principle of our action must be taken into account; and in this fies the difference between the Christian and the moral virtue : the same object appears not in the same light in both cases: this point enlarged on, showing that the love of Christ is the foundation of Christian charity; and that Christ in his members is the object of it.
Hence one kind of Christian charity will differ from another in perfection, as it more nearly approaches the person of Christ, who is the object, and as it more strongly partakes of the principle, which is the love of Christ : and by this rule of proportion our Saviour has placed the several degrees of charity mentioned in the text: the objects of that charity are of four sorts; A postles, prophets, the righteous, and the little ones : they are ranked according to the dignity of their characters, which arises from the relation they bear to Christ, who is the head over all :