THE Bishop of SALISBURY'S THANKSGIVING SERMON Before the KING and QUEEN.

[Page]PRINTED, By His Majesty's Special Command.

A SERMON Preached at WHITE-HALL, On the 26th of NOVEMB. 1691. BEING THE Thanksgiving-Day FOR THE Preservation of the KING, AND THE Reduction of IRELAND.

By the Right Reverend Father in God, GILBERT Lord Bishop of SARUM.

LONDON: Printed for Ric. Chiswell, at the Rose and Crown in St. Paul's Church-Yard. MDCXCI.

A SERMON Preached before the KING and QUEEN, At WHITE-HALL, &c.

PROV. XX. 28.‘Mercy and Truth preserve the King; and his Throne is upheld by Mercy.’

THERE is no properer nor useful­ler way of praising God for the re­peated Blessings with which [...]he Crowns every Year, and by which he is establishing and perfecting that great Deliverance which he wrought for us Three Years ago, than to ob­serve the dependance of these blessings upon the fol­lowing of those Rules which he himself has prescribed: By this, we are preserved from the false opinion of a partiality of the Divine Providence towards our selves or others; or the supposing that it will still favour us, let us be or do what we please. And by this we are taught, that we ought not to expect the continuance of Gods Favour to us, any longer than we continue true to those Laws and Rules that he has given us. And there­fore in Psal. 107. where the blessings that God grants to [Page 2] those who in their extremities call upon him, are set forth with much Variety, and in a very Poetical Strain; the Conclusion of all is, Who is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the kindness of the Lord. If we are full of the sense of the Goodness of God both to our King and to our selves, in the preserving the King's Person, and in the maintaining the Throne, which are the two subjects of the present Thanksgi­ving; it is fit and proper for this occasion, to observe what may be supposed to be the conditions upon which such Blessings are granted, and upon the continuance in which, we may hope for the continuance and encrease of them. Since then Solomon was the wisest of Men, as well as of Kings, and that his Wisdom was, without doubt, chiefly applied to that which was his proper Business; we may very certainly depend upon his Ob­servation, tho' there had not been a special Inspiration accompanying it. He, in the Words of my Text, makes the preservation of Kings, to depend upon their Mercy and Truth: But he plainly insinuates, that Mercy had in this, the largest share; and therefore in the re­doubling of the Period, Mercy is only named; so that the weight and stress of his observation, and by conse­quence of this Discourse, must lye upon Mercy, tho Truth and Fidelity must likewise have its share.

The chief glory of Princes, and the chief of their Titles, tho they should swell them up with all the loftiness of the Eastern Courts, is, That they are God's Deputies and Vicegerents here on earth; that they re­present him, and by consequence, that they ought to resemble him. The outward respect paid them, carries a proportion to that Character of Divinity which is on them, and that supposes an imitation of the Divine Perfections in them. Every Man is made after the [Page 3] Image of God; and in the right of that, he hath a Domi­nion over this earth, and all its productions; over all the Beasts of the Field, the Fowls of the Air, the Fishes of the Sea: But as much as men are preferable to all these, so much ought Those who have Dominion over them, to excel all others in this Resemblance. It is a noble Thought in Plutarch, In Arts [...]de. That there are three things for which we adore the Deity, and in which we desire to re­semble it; Eternity, Power, and Goodness; for Eterni­ty, we all know we are Mortal, and cannot live for ever; the Elements and Frame of things last much longer; Power is a gift of Fortune, nor is it in it self any great matter; Storms and Thunders have more force, than the most migh­ty Potentates: But Virtue and Goodness, which lye within all mens reach, are the resemblances of the Supream Being, which make every man shine; and render those that are in Power and Authority, truly Divine. Plin [...]inlr [...] Quod e­nim pr [...] ­stabilius aut pul­chrius munus Deorum quam ci­stus & san­ctus & dii [...] simillimus Princeps? — qui nec minus hominem se quam homini­bus prae [...] ­se memi­nit. — sid [...]lissuna custo [...]li [...] Principis ipsius [...]a­no [...]ncia. The famous Pane­gerick has exprest this, not more nobly than truly: What greater, or usefuller gift can the Divinity bestow upon Mortals, than a Prince that is Virtuous and Holy, and that resembles the Gods themselves? (Pardon this ill-sounding expression of his Heathenism) who governs so as to remember, both that he himself is a Man, and that they are also Men over whom he is set; and that considers that his own Innocence is his best Defence, and his surest Guard. Crowns and Scepters when ill-placed, disco­ver the defects of those whose Minds are not equal to their Fortunes, and make them more conspicuous and sensible: But when those whom they adorn, have the Inward Ornaments of real Worth and Goodness, they give them all possible advantages, and set them in a true Light: For the brightness of Majesty, when not tem­pered with the softness of Mercy, is like a scorching Sun, who destroys every thing upon which his Beams [Page 4] do fall. The simplest Notions which all men have of God, as well as the discoveries which inspired Wri­tings give us of him, represent him as a Being, in which Truth and Goodness do dwell in perfection; which are the Attributes that we need the most, and to which we trust chiefly; in which we rejoyce daily; and for which we offer up our most solemn Adorations. There­fore whatever other Characters of Glory may appear upon Princes, be they ever so wise and vigilant, so brave and generous; let them have all the Arts of Go­vernment, all the Oeconomy and Conduct, all the Mag­nificence and Lustre possible; the vastest Treasures, the strongest Frontiers, and the most victorious Armies; yet where Mercy and Truth are wanting, where they are Perfidious and Cruel, they are rather the Repre­sentatives of him that was a Lyar and a Murderer from the beginning, than of that God, who is just and true in all his ways, and merciful and gracious towards all his works. If these are wanting, the greater they are in all other re­spects, they are the juster Resemblances of those Apo­state Spirits, the Princes of the power of the Air, who have great Dominions, and a vast activity, but it is all im­ployed to mischief and ruine; and as their Worshippers in some barbarous Nations, reckon that nothing works so powerfully for appeasing their anger, or procuring their favour, as Rivers of Gore; and that they are then best pleased when their Altars swim in humane Blood; so those who delight in Blood, in innocent Blood, and especially in the Blood of their own Subjects, shew what is the Original after which they Co­py, and the Pattern upon which they form them­selves.

[Page 5]A true picture of the Deity, is a Prince, that loves his people, and is tender of them; that renders them safe by his Protection, and happy by his Justice: That is true to his promises, and careful of his Laws: And that how severe so ever he may be in punishing offences against others, and in maintaining the peace and order of the Community, yet is gentle to offences against him­self: except when his care of the publick obliges him to let the Law take its course: And even then, private revenge is so far from being his motive, that he is for­ced to do Violence to his own Inclinations, which are always gentle and Compassionate.

A Prince so tempered puts a temptation upon his peo­ple, (if they are not under the conduct of a Religion that guides them by surer Lights) to suspect that he is allied to the Divinity it self; and is something of a God in humane appearance: And therefore no wonder if af­ter his death they follow him with Divine Adorations. And as this in barbarous Ages gave the rise to almost all the Idolatry of the Greeks, so even in more polite Times the Roman Historian observes,Jul. Capit. Nemo illum plaugendum censuit: oertis omnibus quod a Diis comoda­tus ad Deos Rediisset. that no man made any shews of mourning or lamentation at Marcus Aurelius's Funeral, all men holding it for certain, that as he had been lent to the World by the Gods; so he was then gone back to take his place again among them. To us who know better things, this is certain, that a bad King is one of the severest Instances of Gods anger against a Nation: A Plague heavier than either Famine, Sword, or Pestilence. For how sensible or afflicting soever these may be, they are no sooner over than all their ill effects go off with them: Whereas a Prince whose ill Example has corrupted a Nation, or whose ill designs have divided and distracted it; leaves behind him a ferment which will be work­ing [Page 6] perhaps for some Ages after he is asleep in his Grave: On the other hand a Prince that is just and true, gracious and merciful, shines with so be­nigne an Influence that as a good season not only gives us warm and healthful Air while it lasts, but does also ripen those Fruits of the Earth, upon which we must subsist after it is gone; so by his good Government that is duly tempered between rigorous severity and too Indulgent goodness, he no [...] only makes his Subjects happy, during so blest a Reign, but lays the foundations of a Felicity which will be more lasting then the Princes them­selves, who tho they are called Gods, yet must die like men. There is no need of the Art and Elo­quence of a studied Paneygrick to set forth the happiness of such a Government: It speaks it self, and is well perceived, tho it may neither be de­cent nor indeed scarce possible to set it out in words. It argues a defect in the Subject, when Art and Skill must be imployed to raise it. Pompous figures, big words, and a laboured Me­thod are false lights which are only necessary for Counterfeits: And as the Arts of Juglars can Im­pose no belief when every one is before hand per­swaded, that their performances are only the sleights of hand, so it is as vain an attempt to perswade men that they are happy when they know they are not so; as it is a needless one to enlarge upon that which all men feel better then any one can describe. It becomes this place and this day better to observe what God has made the means of preserving the persons and upholding the Throne of our Kings, that so by adhearing steadily to these we may secure the blessings that we have in hand [Page 7] and promise our selves such a progress in them that the next return of a day of this kind, may be to celebrate an entire deliverance from all our Enemies; a Peace abroad as well as we have it now at home, of which the advances made this Year are to us a good pledge, if our Relapses do not retard and set it back.

We sent away our King with Fasting and Prayer: we seemed then all sensible how great a hazard every one of us run, in all those dangers to which we knew he would be ready to expose himself: It is to be hoped that many continued to send their most earnest Prayers after him. We wished to hear of action, but we wished and trembled at the same time: We knew he was not like those Princes who never fail to take care of themselves, whatever they may do of their People: and will keep themselves at a sure distance, when by a very unjust division they leave the danger wholly upon others, while they as­sume the honour intirely to themselves. We trembled, for as Davids men said, not more truly than we might do upon this occasion, that his life was worth ten Thousand of us, 2. Sam. 18. 3. so we were sure that danger could have no other effect upon him, but to make him run the deeper into it, till he should break through it: Our wishes for action, and our fears for his person were things so Interwoven that it Heaven has not granted us that we wished for, it was that we might be saved from what we feared, since an entire Victory with that loss had been our ruine. God has now brought him back to us in safety, and with this fresh lustre on him, that as the Ene­my by their extravagant rejoycing last year, upon his supposed death, shewed how much they appre­hended [Page 8] his Life; so this year by their constant de­clining of all actions, how much soever invited and provoked to it by him, and by the attack that was made just after his leaving the Army, shewed that they considered him as an Army alone: Or as the Soul that gave Life and Spirit to all the rest. But they found that he had been so long among them and was so newly gone from them, that the power­ful Influence wrought still in his absence. We have had many Instances, in every season, and in both Elements how watchful Providence has been about that Life, that secures all ours, and renders them comfortable and happy to us: had it not been for this, the second Gunpowder Plot had proved as fatal as the first was intended to be. In defeating the first the good nature of the discoverer, and the sagacity of the Prince had their share, but here Providence in­terposed without an Instrument: The train was fired and had its first effect, but the invisible direction appeared in that Critical Minute next to a Miracle, the dismal Treachery was defeated, and the Traytors were discovered. Can we but open our thoughts a little to measure all the terrible effects of one dreadful moment, the destruction of a great part of the Army, and but too probably the loss of that sacred Life, which if it had escaped the first Violence of the fire, must have perished in the fatal train of Consequences that would have followed upon it: Who is so fond of life as to desire to have outlived the fate of Religion, of England and of Europe; with which that black night seemed big; after that darkness who would have desired to have enjoyed the light any more; or to have beheld those Scenes of horrour and spectacles of misery that must have followed, and have seen [Page 9] Europe divided between its Eastern and Western devourers. But that a train so dextrously laid, and so success­ful in its first Operations, should have no farther effect but to shew at once both the greatness of the danger, and the yet greater care of Heaven, to teach more precaution, and to discover the blackness of our Enemies, looks, as if every Year were to pro­duce a new and unlookt for wonder; and that the Cannon Ball upon the Boyne, and the Bombs upon the Eure, are instances vying one with another, both in the nearness of the danger, and in the greater nearness of that favour which compasses the King about as with a Shield: Such an extraordinary pre­servation may justly swallow up ones thoughts so entirely, that other things may be forgot by the transport it raises Yet upon due recollection tho this is enough to fill us with deep acknowledgments; we have another Scene of wonders before us.

Our Neighbouring Island had been long in a most terrible Convulsion, the Seat of War and Rapine: the Fire and the Sword, had gone over the breadth and the length of it, and had turned it to a heap of Ruines and Ashes. The Inhabitants reduced on the sudden, from a full Plenty, to the Extremities of Misery; multitudes of all Ranks and Ages, and of both Sexes, were forced to fly hither, and sink under the heavy Load of Want. It is true, they found Relief both from the Royal Bounty, and the Charity of this Nation: but after all, as Charity is a Word of hard digestion to a generous Mind, so their Numbers made, that every ones share must be small where so many wanted. Our Enemy had created to us a vast distraction on that side, which supported the Spirits and Hopes of our [Page 10] secret, and perhaps, our most malicious Enemies here at home. The slow motions at the beginning of the Summer, together with some other accidents, made all people apprehend that the miseries of that King­dom were like to lie upon it yet one year lon­ger. But the unexampled Courage of our Army, and the great Zeal and Fidelity of those that com­manded it, broke through all Obstacles; in a se­ries of Actions, every one of which will pass down to Posterity among the Wonders of Military Valour, and the Prodigies of Gallantry and Suc­cess; and, in conclusion, when relief was so near, when they were pressed with no necessities, but those which their own fears or disorders threw them into, so that there was all possible reason to fear another cruel Winter, as well as a fourth bloody Summer; That Kingdom is intirely reduced, and in that, the Civil War is at an end, and our Kings are possessed of the Love and Duty, or at least, of the fear and dread of all their Subjects.

Here we have all that can work, either on our Compassion for our Brethren, or our care of our selves to raise and fill our Hearts with Joy and Glad­ness. Our miserable Brethren, who for a great while never lay down without looking for a dreadful Alarm of flames about them, or of Enemies no less merciless than these, and, next to the fury of their cruel Enemies, were most affraid of some of their unruly Friends; they do now lie down and sleep in Peace, and are setting about the Cultivating of their wasted Fields, and the Re-building their ruinated Cities. We are delivered from the danger, as well as the charge of that devouring War, and being now quiet at home, we are more at leisure, and in a better capacity to [Page 11] look abroad into the World, and to reassume that which is the true Honour, as well as the Interest of this Government, (how much and how fatally so­ever it may have been, not only neglected, but be­trayed for almost a whole Age;) of adjusting the Scales, and maintaining the Ballance of Europe.

These are such signal Blessings, that it may seem a diminution of them, to bring lesser matters into the Account, which yet deserve well to be remem­bred: Every one of them carries shining Characters upon it of Gods care of us, and his goodness to us. All that related either to our selves, or our Allies, has been visibly under that Protection; our concerns have been every where safe, and in many places Glorious and Triumphant. Our Enemies have failed in their Undertakings, and most of ours have suc­ceeded: Our Wealth and Trade has been preserved, and our Fleets have returned with this Glory, That no Enemy durst look upon them. We are now in Peace and Safety, in Plenty and Abundance: and let us look abroad, and see if there is any Nation un­der Heaven that has half the Blessings to answer for that we have. Thus it is plain, that our King has been wonderfully preserved, and his Throne no less wonderfully upheld.

Our next enquiry must be, what share Mercy and Truth, but more eminently Mercy, may have in this. Mer­cy is that Divine temper that makes us both pity the miserable, and forgive the injurious; the former of these is more Universal and Natural to Mankind, the second is more Heroical and Divine, it works in op­position to the sense of Injuries, and the resentment which arises out of that, which if not check'd by [Page 12] better thoughts, and a nobleness of Soul, raises a ferment that works strongly in ungoverned Na­ture.

The elevation of Princes, as it raises them above the common miseries of Mankind, so it very often makes them Insensible of those Calamities which their Subjects suffer often by their means; they are so accustomed to be slattered by others, that by de­grees they come to slatter themselves, as if they ought to take no share in other mens troubles. But as the Divine Goodness extends to all, and his tender mercies are over all his Works; so Princes that pity the miserable, and provide for them, that give both access and redress to their Complaints, that protect them by their Justice, and relieve them by their Mercy, and that with the Roman Empe­rour, reckon that day lost in which no occasion has been given them of doing good, of making a sad Heart glad, and a miserable Family easie; Such Princes, I say, by imitating the Supream Being in one of its fairest and lovliest Perfections, come under its particular care. They have also instead of other Taxes, the Praises and Prayers of great Multitudes ascending up continually as Incense be­fore God:4. Dan. 27. These according to Daniels Advice to a very bad King, are a redeeming their Iniquiries, and do procure a lengthning of their Tranquillity: And if they could have such effects in favour of an Idolatrous Tyrant, what may PRINCES that are Good and Religious expect from them? What may they not expect from them? They by such Acts of Mercy, procure to themselves many Affectionate and Zealous Subjects. even [Page 17] those who do not need this Instance of their Mercy, yet must love them for it; they know they may need it, so they have that reserve for misfortune. In a word, this forces the love of Mankind, and draws down the favour of Heaven: yet, after all, a good and generous Nature finds no difficulty in such acts of Mercy. Treasure is not much exhausted by them, and the true Pleasure that they give a noble Mind, seems to be Reward enough: Therefore we must next look to acts of Mercy of another sort, where Nature is more heated, and has a biass another way. Mercy to the Injurious is certainly the harder per­formance: Where the Dignity of the Person exalts one to so high a Sublimity, the Insolence of an In­jury gives a particular sharpness, which is heightned if done with scorn, and delivered in opprobrious words; if there is black Ingratitude as well as deli­berate Malice in it; if there is a Venom in the spite that makes it both restless and poisonous; and if it has ill Effects at present, and may probably have worse afterwards. When all these concur in Offences against Princes, it must be acknowledged, that acts of Mercy, done after such Provocations, carry so very near a resemblance to that Infinite Goodness, which is kind to the unthankful and the evil: Luke 6.35. That, all things considered, Mortals can scarce rise up to a higher pitch of Conformity.Psalm 55. 12, 13. David found in him­self, that if an Enemy had reproached him, he could have born it; but it was his equal, (one whom he had made so by his Friendship,) his guide, and his ac­quaintance: And this was too hard for him, his Heart burnt within him: and he broke out into such Com­plaints and Wishes upon it, that it is not easie to know how to explain or justifie them.

[Page 18]It is a Consideration apt to beget Rage even in the mildest Breasts, of those against whom the Injury does not work immediately, to see a sort of Men who live safe under the justest and gentlest of all Go­vernments, go about with a restless Fury, endea­vouring to overturn it, to corrupt the Minds of the Nation, and to debauch them from the Duty and Gratitude that they owe to Princes, who seem born for the good of Mankind, for the Protection of Re­ligion, and for raising the honour of the Nation, that was sinking into such a shameful degeneracy, that a mighty Influence and great Examples were ne­cessary to restore us to that from which we had fal­len. If these were only the practices of those of a different Religion, we might the better bear them, because we could expect no other from them: But the Reproach is more sensible, as well as the Dan­ger is greater, from false Brethren, who like the Men of Smyrna that called themselves Jews, but were not, and were of the Synagogue of Satan, Rev. 2. 9. may call themselves English Men and Protestants, but are of the Synagogue of the great Enemy (for that is the signification of the word Satan) of our Nation, of our Religion, and of Mankind. They seem to have persuaded themselves and study to persuade all others, That what we may have heard of his Cruelty, are only Tragi­cal Stories aggravated far above the Truth; that we need fear nothing, tho' we should fall under the heaviest of all Plagues, even his Tyranny; but might be safe and happy under his Protection, and in his Friendship: and tho' the best Soils of Europe, even those of his own Religion, no sooner become a prey to him than they are immediately Fields of Blood and Bones, and Scenes, of Horrour and Cruelty; yet [Page 19] we have an unnatural Race among us, that are so far in love with him, that even this dismal Prospect cannot cure it. It cannot be denied, but that in all this there is great and just ground of provocation: But those who are called up to the higher Regions of human Nature, the Elevation of whose Souls is pro­portioned to that of their condition, as they have a greater compass in their Prospect, so they have ano­ther pitch of sublimity in their Minds. They know that Mercy does then shew its utmost force, when it is the most provoked. Natures stampt upon with the Divine Image, feel more Pleasure in Pardoning than the most spiteful can do in Revenging Injuries. The Interest they have in their People makes them reckon it a real diminution of their own strength; when any Member of the Body is cut off: they feel the force of a generous action upon themselves, as they scorn the terrours of dreadful things, and are apt to make such Experiments upon others to see how far the Ingenuity of Mankind can be wrought on; and their Courage makes them despise Danger from a forgiven Enemy. For tho' the trial succeed­ed ill with Caesar, yet they do highly esteem that great saying of his, That it was better once to die, than to live always in fear. The Princes whose Names shine the brightest in History, are those whose Cle­mency shewed it self, in the greatest Instances, and after the highest Provocations.1 Sam. 10.9, 10.

Saul, while under the Influence of the Divine Spirit, and of that new Heart that was given him at his Exaltati­on, how much soever he degenerated afterwards, when he forsook that Conduct and was forsaken by it, set a noble Pattern in his first Advancement, which is re­markable in all its Circumstances. He was told by the [Page 20] Prophet Samuel, 1 Sam. 10.1. that God had designed him to be King of Israel, and he felt the earnest of that in a Prophetical Spirit that rested on him. Soon after, the whole Nation fell into a great fermentation, and a hot canvassing for the Crown: He who knew where all must end, yet would not make one step towards it; he did not go about to manage Intrigues and render himself Popular, but withdrew and shut him­self up all the while: At last the matter was put to a decision by Lots, and the Lot fell on him. He did not upon that rush out with any unbecoming Joy, but staid till he was addressed to for it. Then he was received and proclaimed King.Chap. 1 [...].24, 26. Immediately upon that he went into the Country, probably without any great affectations of Pomp or State: He considering his new Dignity as a Trust from God, a Tie to his People, and an Authority vested in him, not to make himself look Big, but to make his People truly Great and really Happy: They whose heart God touched followed him: They distinguisht aright be­tween the Forms of Majesty, and that true Sublimi­ty of Mind, which makes Kings great in themselves. But the men of Belial who could not bear the Yoke,Verse 27. nor be kept within the bounds of Law and Justice, who had a notion of a King, as a Creature of Pomp and Pageantry, of Vice and Luxury, and of Pride and Insolence; that should have authorized Rapine and have dissolved Law; and who knew well that they would make a Figure about such a Prince, and were the only proper Instruments that he could Im­ploy; now when they saw a new Scene, and a Court that could not be for them, they resolved they would not be for it: They said, How shall this Man save us? and they brought him no Presents. In that [Page 21] Infancy of Kingship among the Jews, the Crown had no other Revenue, but the free gift of the People: Not given in a body, for every one brought his Be­nevolence apart. And then some of those ungovern­able Men, who perhaps had been among the first and hottest of those who desired a King, when they had one, intended to keep him low, and not to furnish him with that which was necessary to sup­port the Government. Upon all this Saul held his peace; he not only overcame, but quite supprest his resentments: And tho' he resolved that his Mercy should triumph over their Perverseness, yet he staid till he might do that with Advantage: Some per­haps imputed his silence to coldness and insensibili­ty, others to a sense of his seebleness, but no doubt they thought that he laid up in all his Mind, and re­solved to take severe Revenges as soon as he durst adventure on it; but very few could imagine that he resolved to connive at all, till some great occa­sion should be offered him to shew his Care of his People, and his Zeal for the Publick; after which, he might with a better grace extend his Clemency, to those who deserved it so little: This was so great a thought, that few could suspect it, because few were capable of it. But a Prince, whose Soul is raised to a level with his Fortunes, has a nobler sence of things, far above the fretful peevishness of little and angry Minds. A remarkable Occasion gave Saul the advantage, that he looked for.1 Sam. 17.3. Nahash King of Ammon, a Cruel and an Idolatrous Tyrant, pushed on with a desire of Glory, and of enlarging his Frontier, did, against the Faith of Treaties, In­vade the Country, and besiege Jabesh Gilead: the poor Inhabitants, struck with terrour, offered to [Page 22] Capitulate; he who was sincere, though brutal, not like those who offer any Conditions, that they may be once possessed of a Place, though they do not intend to observe them, told them he must make sure of them; and since the way of War in those days was chiefly in Archery, in which nothing can be done without the direction of the right Eye, he told them he must thrust out all their right Eyes. To this Con­dition, hard as it was, the besieged agreed, if they should not be relieved within Seven days: They gave notice of their Extremities to their Country­men on the other side of the Water; who upon that wept, they broke out into feeble Mournings and Com­plaints. Saul was then looking after his Cattel, and perhaps some thought him capable of no higher Cares: But upon the News, he gathered together as great an Army as was possible on the sudden, and in great Marches came to Jabesh in time, and did so entirely defeat the Ammonites, that two of them were not left together: And then it appeared, that Saul, for all his coldness and silence, had all the Flame in him that became his great Post, and that urgent Occasi­on: Upon this the Men of Belial looked a little out of countenance, and began to be afraid for them­selves; if the People had seen them, probably they would not have staid for the forms of Justice, but in the first Rages of their Fury, have taken the shorter way, and have run upon them without Or­der. The Body of the Nation, full of Resentment, move Samuel, that a search might be made for those that had said,Verse 12. Shall Saul Reign over us, that they might be brought out, and then they would put them to death; They would ease their King both of the trouble of Prosecuting, and of the reproach of a severe Execu­tion; [Page 23] they would both Impeach and Execute. But the hitherto well kept silence, was now broke through: Saul would not be so much as Passive, when so much Blood was in danger to be shed; and since his People had not Temper and Union enough to sue to him for an Indemnity; he prevents the Ap­plications of the Guilty, and the Intercession of their Friends, by an Act of Grace, prononunced in these words, There shall not a man be put to death this day, V. 13. for to day the Lord hath wrought Salvation in Israel: Samuel saw well how this must needs end, and that so Eminent an Act of Mercy, would both settle and uphold his Throne; therefore he diverts the People from their zealous, but ill-governed heat; and di­rects them to go to Gilgall, V. 14. the Place of their Publick Assemblies, and to renew the Kingdom there; which was done with that Solemnity, that both Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly: Upon all this, I shall make no other remark, but that the thing which hath been, is that which shall be, and there is no new thing under the Sun.

Another Eminent Act of Mercy meets us in David's Story;2 Sam. 19 22. who when he was in one of the lowest Ebbs of Fortune, was affronted by Shimei, who followed him with the Insolence of flinging Stones, as well as Curses at him; but neither at that time, when the freshness, as well as the unusualness of the Injury, might have justified the utmost rigour, nor after­wards upon his re-establishment on the Throne, would he give way to the demands of Justice against him. He bore the Injury decently at first, and for­gave it graciously at last. The reason that he gave for it, agrees with the Maxims in my Text, Do not I know that I am this day King over Israel? There was no [Page 24] need of Acts of Severity to bring him to the Throne, but of Acts of Mercy to uphold him in it; and there­fore he reckons those that called for Justice in so un­seasonable a time, his Adversaries.

Augustus began his Reign with great Severities, which were extorted from him by Mark Anthony; who, no doubt, had often pressed Caesar, tho' in vain, to the same courses, and could not fail to per­suade the Nephew from his Uncle's Fate, that there was but one sure way to be safe from his Enemies. Such Counsels well became a Creature of Vice and Pleasure; who, intending to abandon himself to his Luxury, knew he could not be secure as long as so many brave Romans were left alive. But as soon as Augustus got out of his Conduct, he shewed how well he deserved Power, that could use it as he did. A remarkable Instance of this is related by Seneca. Cinna that was descended from the Great Pompey, as well as from the Famous Roman, whose Name he carried, conspired against him, after he had received large Accessions both of Wealth and Honour from him, and was in high Favour with him. All was discovered, and in the first emotions of Anger, Au­gustus resolved on extreme Severities. His Friends were brought together to Consult about it, for he honoured some of his Court with that familiar Ti­tle; but his Heart, Nobler than theirs, turned him to softer Councils. He broke out into those memo­rable words,Non est tami Vita, ut si ego non periam cum mul [...]i per­dendi sunt. Life is not worth all this, that it should be preserved by the destruction of so many Persons. He communicated the matter to the Empress Livia, who was upon that occasion more governed by the Ten­derness, than the Fearfulness of her Sex: She told him he had tried Severity enough, and that therefore [Page 25] he had best do, as Physicians, who when one sort of Medicines do not succeed, change their Course, and try another: This Advice suiting with his own Incli­nations, prevailed. So he sent for Cinna, and in a Conversation of two Hours, he set before him the Kindness he had shewed him, and the Baseness and Blackness of his Crime, the Folly as well as the Ingra­titude of it, in such terms, that after he had almost killed him with his Discourse, which he drew out to the greater length, that being all the Punishment to which he had condemned him; he revived him, in conclusion, with so entire a Pardon, that he kept him still about him, and found him ever after that both faithful and affectionate. And thus he not only gain­ed him, but all the Romans likewise, who were for­ced to confess, that he deserved to govern the whole World, who had learned to govern his own Passions and Resentments. Upon this Seneca observes truly,Lib. de Clem, Regibuscertior est, ex mansue­tudine securi­tas: quia fre­quens vindi­cta paucorum odium repri­mit, omnium irritat. Volun­tas oportet an­te saeviendi quam causa de­ficiat. That Princes become safest by their Gentleness; that Se­verities may perhaps chastise the Insolence of a few, but they provoke Mankind, and make that Hatred become ge­neral, which was before particular only to a few: And that for rendring Princes universally amiable, it must appear, that their Mercy flows from the want of Will to punish, and not from the want of Provocation.

It is hard to set forth any of the Vertues that become Princes, without some memorable Instance out of the Life of Marcus Aurelius, whom all Writers represent as the compleatest Pattern of a perfect Prince. In his time Avidius Cassius assum'd the Empire; probably dis­pleased with the Vices of the Emperour's Brother, whom he had made his Partner of the Empire: tho he found it more easy to give him a share of his Throne than of his Vertues. Cassius was a Man of great Pro­bity, [Page 26] and highly esteemed by Marcus Aurelius upon that account. His Brother wrote him a vehement Letter, setting forth the Danger of this Revolt, and how fatal it might prove to himself and his Children, if not check'd in time: and to sharpen him the more, he said, that Cassius called himself a vitious Fool, and him a learned Fool. For the truth was, Cassius had pub­lickly complained, that tho Marcus himself was a good Man, that led an exemplary Life, yet he gave way to the Vices of others, and did not imploy his Authority enough to repress them: which is the single Blemish that lies on his Memory. Marcus answer'd his Brother's Letter very coldly, he said it was writ in too earnest and too anxious a Stile; neither suitable to his Brother's Dignity, nor to his own Times. Upon the Head of his Children he writ,Liberi mei pe­reant, si magis amari merebi­tur Avidius quā illi: & si magis Reipublicae ex­pediat Cassium vivere quam li­beros Marci. May my Children perish, if Avidius de­serves the Love of his Country more than they; or if it is the Interest of the Commonwealth that he live rather than they. The Love of Marcus was indeed every-where so great, that Cassius had no other way to work against it, but to give out that he was dead. At last, Cassius was forsaken, and killed: upon that Faustina the Em­press writ most vehemently to the Emperour, pressing him to order a severe Inquiry after all the Complices of the Revolt, that so he might secure himself and his Family. To this he answered, that she writ as became her, to be concerned for him and his Children; but he would do what became him, he would pardon all Cassius's Friends, and write to the Senate to proceed gently in that Matter. Nothing became a Roman Em­perour better than Clemency. As for her apprehensions of Danger, she might depend upon it, that God would pro­tect him, and have regard to his Piety. He writ also to the Senate, and descended to the Language of praying [Page 27] them most earnestly, Oro atque ob­secro ut censu­ra vestra depo­sita, meam pie­tatem clemen­tiam (que) servetis. that they would do nothing that might rob him of his Piety and Clemency: That no Man's Life might be taken, but that such as they had already ba­nished might be recalled: he wished he could restore Life to those who had been killed on that occasion; and professed that if Cassius himself had fallen into his Hands, he would have only reproached him a little for his Errours, and then have preserved him: he desired therefore that no Hurt might be done to any of his Friends or Relations, but that they might live safe, Vivant igirur securi, scientes sub Marco se vivere. knowing that they lived under Marcus. And for his Complices, he desired that no further Enquiry might be made about them, that no Person might fall under any diminution of his Fame, or any Hardship or Re­proach whatsoever upon that account: and concluded all in these few, but weighty Words, Detis (que) hoc meis temporibus, Grant me this in return to what you enjoy by my Reign: Words that carry an Air of Pride in them, but it is of the noblest and best sort; and that could scarce have been said by any but him that had a right to say them. These are shining Passages in the Lives of those Princes, that have rendred them famous to all Posterity,Scis enim ubi vera Principis ubi sempiterna sit Gloria, ubi sint honores, in quos nihilflam­mis, nihil sene­ctuti, nihil suc­cessoribus li­ceat. and make them still live fresh and glo­rious, when the Memory of Tyrants gives Horrour and Detestation: For, as the Panegyrick has it, This is the true and lasting Glory of a Prince; these are the Honours that outlive them, which neither length of Time, envious Successors, nor the Flames themselves can de­face.

Shine then, Great Princes, with your own Glory, which makes you look brighter now, than you did in all the Attire of Majesty at your Coronation: This is a Lustre that you give your selves, and borrow not from Ceremony. Triumph in the Hearts of your [Page 28] People by your Vertues, and over your Enemies by your Mercy: this will cover them with Shame, and you with Honour; and tho it may not be due to them, yet it is due to your selves. This shews that you were born for Crowns, that you well deserve those you wear, but that greater ones are reserved for you: This gives you the Love of your People, which to you will be al­ways instead of Treasures, Fleets and Armies: for it will always supply you with every thing you need. May the Greatness of your own Minds be your con­stant Guides, rather than the Peevishness of spiteful Men, who may, as Parmenio did, suggest what was sit for Parmenio to do; but your Royal Hearts will al­ways move you to do what becomes an Alexander, or, to speak truer English, what becomes WILLIAM and MARY.

Thus I have considered how the King is preserved, and the Throne is upheld by Mercy. If this is a sure Fence, and a good Bottom, we may all conclude that we are very safe. This speaks so much, that I may may well say nothing upon a Head, which is capable of no Censure on the one hand, how much soever the Narrowness of some angry and impatient Minds may have blamed the Excesses on the other. But little People must have low Thoughts; whereas exalted Souls have a compass of Mercy far beyond their mea­sure: and tho it is not to be denied, but that too great an easiness to forgive, may have some Mischiefs attend­ing it; yet happy is the Nation that is under Princes, who may be too good on some occasions, but can be cruel on none: especially, when that flows not from a feeble Easiness, but from true Principles, and a real firmness and strength of Mind.

[Page 29]But after all, Mercy hath its Bounds: and it is often fit, and sometimes necessary, that those who have long a­bused it, and have presumed much upon it, should feel the Weight of the Law, and the Burden of their own Crimes: If Mercy has its Limits, the next Fence in my Text has none at all. Truth does also preserve the King, and that does at all times, and upon all Occasions, bind equally.

The Notion of Truth is so plain, and the Necessity of it is so visible, that all Mankind seem to agree al­most equally, both in commending and in neglecting it; all Men claim it from the rest of Mankind, but al­most every Man pretends here to a dispensing Power for himself. The common Notion of Truth is an Op­position to all manner of Falshood, Doubleness or De­ceit: This is the Foundation of all Confidence, and the Cement of all Society; and it is not only the Ho­nour, but both the chief Strength and the best Treasure of Princes: This makes their Subjects depend upon them, and their Allies trust to them: the Pressures and the Fears of Men of low Degree, force them sometimes to make Lies their Refuge, they escape to it from a present Mischief, which to them is more sensi­ble than a lasting Inconvenience, that a Discovery which often comes and is always to be feared, will bring upon them. But Princes are exalted far above all those Occasions that poorer Men may have for a Lie, as long as their Designs are noble and good: when these grow bad, they must indeed betake themselves to as bad shifts, but those will soon be found out; and then though their Condition will free them from the Injuriousness of a Discovery, yet the Inconveniencies of it will hang upon them as long as they live: and therefore Solomon reckoned lying Lips in a Prince one [Page 30] of the greatest Incongruities that could be thought on. Happy those, who how hard soever it may be to have the Word, or obtain the Promise of a Prince, yet when they have it, know that they can trust to it, and depend upon it.

Truth stands sometimes for Integrity, in Opposition to Corruption and Bribery; this is that to which Princes in their own Persons are little subject, unless it be to betray a Confederate, or sell an Alliance; Ac­cidents that happen but seldom: but the best Courts and the worthiest Princes are subject to Corruption by Proxy, to have their Favour, and often their Justice too, and the Protection and Security of their People, set to sale, and that sometimes so grosly, as if an Au­ction were proclaimed to him that bids most. Men of Vanity, Avarice and Luxury, that design both to live profusely, and to raise vast Fortunes, cannot com­pass all this with regular Appointments, and fair Pur­chase; but rather than fail in it, they will prostitute themselves, and, as much as in them lies, the Honour of the Prince likewise: by this means a King suffers not only in the Esteem and Love of his People, but all his Affairs do likewise suffer sensibly, especially in critical Times. No Man thinks so much how to serve him, as how to rob the Publick; and every one reckons that he owes neither Gratitude nor Duty when he comes in as a Purchaser: the first Duty he thinks is to himself and his Family, to recover once what he laid out, that so he may live afterwards on clear Gains. One Emperor nailed to the Bench the Skin of a Judg that sold Justice; and another ordered a Favourite to be smoaked to Death, for selling the Credit he had with him, and said, It was fit that he should die by Air, who had sold it: If this Death was too witty, yet cer­tainly [Page 31] it was not too severe. Corruption is so apt to return to Courts, as a Plant that grows in its proper Soil, that many and great Examples will be necessary to root it out. Even Samuel's Sons took Bribes, and neither the Vertues of their Father, nor the Fall of Eli's Family, which was ruined for the sake of two bad Sons, could keep them from Corruption: and so indulgent are even good Governours to those they love, that Samuel, who had good Reason to know how dear Eli's Indulgence to his Sons stood him,1 Sam. 3.11. was yet too remiss himself in looking narrowly to his own Sons, which brought on him that publick Affront, that the People did openly reproach him with it, and for that very Reason desired a Change of Government.1 Sam. 8.5. This Evil is so common and so natural to Men of Pow­er, and the Poison of it is so pernicious, that Princes who desire to preserve themselves and their People, cannot use Care enough to watch over it.

There is yet a third Sense in which Truth stands fre­quently in Scripture; we find it often both in the Psalms and in this Book, signifies true Religion, and not only the Profession, but the Practice of it: Of all Men Princes are those who owe most to God; for as he has raised them to high Degrees of earthly Glory and Happiness, so he has put it in their Power to do the greatest Good to Mankind, and to make the World happy both in them and in one another: And as their Zeal for Truth in this highest and noblest Sense, is that which gives them the clearest Title to the Favour and Blessing of God; so true and unaffected Piety has a Beauty in it that strikes the greater as well as the better Part of Mankind; even Men that are resolved to be bad themselves, are sorry to see their Prince so; for they do clearly perceive the ill Effects which that [Page 32] may have upon the Community, and that it may end in their own Ruin at last: And all considering Princes will have many Occasions to observe, that Impiety and Vice are as hurtful to their Affairs, as to the greater, the vastly greater Concerns of Religion. What Fi­delity or Zeal, what Duty or Affection can be expect­ed from Men, who will be always truer to their In­terests and Lusts, than to their own Honour, or their Masters Service? that are Slaves to Pleasure, and whose Spirits are enervated, and their Hours, as well as Fortunes, devoured by Luxury. It is an Observation so obvious, that none can scape it, which gives one much Regret, but yet with it some Satisfaction, that our chief Misfortunes are owing to those Vices and Excesses, which have not been yet severely enough re­pressed and punished. But as you, Great Princes, have begun to shew your Dislike and Hatred at these, and not contented to teach your Court and Subjects by your Example, are resolved to imploy your Au­thority, in obliging them at least to the Decencies of Vertue and Religion: Go on and prosper in these no­ble Designs. What are Conquests and Triumphs, the wasting and dispeopling of Cities and Provinces, which make such a Figure in the false Estimate of the World, compared to the more real and solid Honours of reforming vitious Courts, luxurious Cities, and degenerated Countries? This is so hard, and will be such a decried Undertaking, especially by those who need it most, and who ought to promote it chiefly, that no small Degree of Courage and Resolution is ne­cessary to support those that set about it. Suffer me to repeat to you the Words with which God himself ani­mated Joshua on the like occasion;Josh. 1. 7, 8, 9. Be thou strong and very couragious, that thou mayst observe to do according [Page 33] to all the Law which Moses my Servant commanded thee: Turn not from it to the right Hand or to the left, that thou mayst prosper whither-soever thou goest. This Book of the Law shall not depart out of thy Mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein Day and Night; that thou mayst observe to do according to all that is written therein; for then thou shalt make thy Way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good Success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good Courage, be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed, for the Lord thy God is with thee whi­thersoever thou goest. These Words were said to Jo­shua, after he had shewed his military Courage upon great Occasions; and import, that besides the Magna­nimity of affronting Danger, there is a Courage in the Mind, necessary to repress Sin, and to maintain Ver­tue and Religion, that must compleat and perfect the other.

Happy you, that have it in your Power to be such Blessings to Mankind! May your Will equal your Power, and may all things bend to your Authority: May it be ever imployed in advancing the Honour of God, and the Kingdom of his dear Son! May your Persons be ever safe under his Protection, and your Government happy under his Influence! And may we at the Conclusion of every Year have fresh matter to rejoice in God, both on your Account and on our own, who hath done great things for you, and for us all, both in you and by you.

And let us all study that our Thankfulness to God, may at least bear some Proportion to his Goodness to us: Let us pay the Vows that we made to him in our Days of Fasting and Prayer: and as we desire another happy Year to conclude what is so far carried on in this, let us make such a right [Page 34] Use of our present Advantages, and such decent Re­turns for the Blessings that we have in hand, as may give us a Title to expect the compleating them in ano­ther Season. We are now almost in Sight of Land, and the Prospect is so fair, that nothing but our Sins and our Divisions can stop a Course of Success and Glory, that is near its last and highest Point. May no corrupt nor misguided Humours, no unjust Jea­lousies nor peevish Resentments, no Faction nor Ani­mosity in our Councils, retard or defeat those great De­signs which have been hitherto under such a visible Conduct and Blessing from above. Suffer me to sum up all in the Words of Samuel, upon an occasion not much unlike this:1 Sam. 12, 13, 14, 24. Now therefore this is the King and Queen that you have desired; and behold, the Lord hath set them over you; if you will fear the Lord and serve him, and obey his Voice, and not rebel against the Com­mandment of the Lord, then shall both you and the Kings that reign over you continue following the Lord your God. And a little after he redoubles the Exhortation: Only fear the Lord, and serve him in Truth with all your Heart, for consider how great things he hath done for you: May they be compleated! May they be lasting! and may they produce amongst us, all that for which they are intended! May our Princes still triumph! May their Councils be always wise; and their Forces ever pro­sperous! And may we and our Posterity after us re­joice long in our Kings! May they live long, and may their Names live for ever; and may all Nations call them blessed! May Religion and Vertue prevail and flourish, and the Church be established under them! May they ever preserve Mercy and Truth, that so they may be ever preserved, and their Throne always upheld by them! May Justice and Righteousness ever flow from [Page 35] them, and such an Abundance of Peace, as may make us both safe and rich, great and happy under their Pro­tection: so that both we and all round about us, when we reflect on the 88 of this Age, may almost forget the 88 of the former, and that our second 5th of No­vember may wear out the Remembrance of the 1st. And to conclude all, for I can rise no higher; May the Happy and Glorious Days of Queen Elizabeth be darkned and eclipsed by the more Happy and more Glo­rious Reign of KING WILLIAM and QUEEN MARY.

FINIS.

Books lately printed for Richard Chiswell.

SOME Remarks upon the Ecclesiastical History of the A [...]olent Churches of PIEDMONT. By PETER ALLIX, D. D.

A Vindication of their Majesty's Authority, to fill the Sees of the deprived Bishops, in a letter out of the Country, occasioned by Dr. B —'s Refund of the Bishoprick of Bath and Wells. 4to.

V. CL. GVLIELMICAMDENI, & Illustrium Vi [...]erum ad G. Gamut­num EPISTOLAE. Cum Appendice varii Argumenti. Accesseruit A [...]ndli [...] Regni Regis Jacobi I. Apparatus, & Commentarius de Antiquitate, Dignitate, & Officio Comitis Marescalli Angliae. Praemittitur G. Camdeni vita. Scriptore Thoma Smitho S.T.D. Ecclesiae Anglicanae Presbytero. 4to.

Memoirs of what past in Christendom from the War begun 1672, to the Peace concluded 1679. 8vo.

Remarks upon the Ecclesiastical History of the Ancient Churches of the ALBIGENSES. By PETER ALLIX, D. D. Treasurer of the Church of Sarum. 4to.

ADVERTISEMENT.

PROPOSALS will be shortly published by Richard Chis­well, for Subscription to a Book (now finished) intituled, ANGLIAE SACRAE, PARS SECVNDA; sive Collectio Historiarum, antiquitus Scriptarum, de Archiepiscopis & Episcopis Angliae, à prima Fidei Christianae Susceptione, ad annum MDXL. Plures antiquas de Vitis & Regni gestis Praesulum An­glicorum Historius sine certo ordine congestas complexa.

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