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Dr. Mayhew's SERMON Occasioned by the DEATH OF THE Prince of Wales.

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A SERMON Preached at BOSTON in NEW-ENGLAND, May 26. 1751. Occasioned by The much-lamented DEATH of His Royal Highness FREDERICK, PRINCE of WALES, &c. &c. &c.

BY JONATHAN MAYHEW, D.D. Pastor of the West-Church in BOSTON.

BOSTON; NEW-ENGLAND: Printed and Sold by RICHARD DRAPER in Newbury-Street, and DANIEL GOOKIN, in Marlborough-Street. 1751.

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A SERMON occasioned by the Death of His Royal Highness FREDERICK, Prince of Wales, &c.

PSALM CXVIII. 9 V.IT is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in Princes.

IF we do not think too highly of ourselves, but soberly, as we ought to think, it is very well. We are certainly weak, indi­gent creatures. Indeed all men are, in some degree, conscious of their own na­tural and unavoidable imperfection. Why else do they not tarry at home, glorying in their own self-sufficiency; and take up satisfied with what they find there, instead of wandring abroad to find something on which they may rest secure; something in which they may be quiet from fear of evil, and in patience possess their souls? Is [Page 6] any man so satisfied with himself? Does any man feel such omnipotence within, [...] to make him scorn an alliance with every thing extrinsic to himself, in order to his avoiding evil and pro­curing good? No: All, all with one consent, have recourse to some foreign aid, to make up that deficiency which they find at home. They do not, indeed, all place their hope in the same objects; their expectations are variously founded, some on one thing and some on another. Some Trust in-chariots, and some in horses; while others make gold their hope, and say unto the fine gold, Thou art my confidence. And as all feel a cer­tain internal want and poverty, which makes them go abroad to beg an alms, so all actually find that which serves to relieve them in some mea­sure; to buoy up their spirits, and to preserve them from that despondency into which they must unavoidably be plunged, had they nothing to trust to but themselves.

IT is beyond the design of this discourse, to show what vain and slender props those are in ge­neral, on which the most lean for support, and rest to their weary and heavy laden minds; how weak; how insufficient they are for that purpose, while they are possessed; and how soon they must wholly fail. We are led more particularly to consider, how little reason there is for us to place [Page 7] our trust even in the Princes and Potentates of the earth, who have doubtless the most natural claim to it of any thing in this world: And, at the same time, also to consider the reasonableness of placing it in Almighty God, who is the confi­dence of the ends of the earth.

IT is natural and, indeed, reasonable for people to exercise some sort and degree of dependence one upon another; upon persons in the same rank of life with themselves; and to repose a mutual confidence in each others good offices. This is just; because a Man may not only be pro­fitable unto himself, as every one that is wise is; but his righteousness may also profit the son of man, and be instrumental to the happiness of o­thers, as well as to his own. This makes it reason­able for mankind in common to rely, in a certain measure and proportion, one upon another. But nevertheless, as we find it observed in the verse immediately preceeding that which you heard me read, It is better to trust in the Lord, than to put confidence in man.

Moreover,

As it is natural and just for men to place some hope in others, in persons in common life, their equals; so it is still more naturally and just for them to put their trust in those that are ex­alted [Page 8] to stations of power and dignity; in their kings and other civil rulers; in those who have, or are like soon to have, the administration of the public affairs devolved upon them; in the good management of which, the welfare of every indi­vidual is more or less concerned. These persons, by how much greater their power and influence are, and their obligations stronger, than those of men acting in a private station; by so much more are they the natural objects of our confidence. But still it is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence [even] in Princes. An inferior and subordinate trust may be fitly placed in those who are called gods in this world; but the God of heaven, whose ministers for good, whose ser­vants and instruments, they are, ought to be our first and last resort; the supreme object of our hope and dependence. This will equally appear, whether we consider the moral or the natural imperfections of the greatest monarchs of this world, compar'd with the perfections of Him whose throne is in the heavens, and who judgeth among the gods.

TRUST in any person or being, if it be a rea­sonable trust, presupposes in him certain qualities and powers as the proper ground of it. Other­wise you are sensible it would be as rational to put our trust in the serpent, as in Him that was to [Page 9] bruise his head; as proper to put confidence in a bear or a tyger; in an ape or a crocodile; or in the idols of the heathen, which are vanity and a lye; as in the living and true God.

THOSE qualities in any being, which are a just foundation on which to build our hopes, are re­ducible to the heads of goodness, wisdom and pow­er. It is only an indigent creature, as was intima­ted before; one that stands in need of some pro­tection and assistance from without; one whose a­bilities are not equal to his own wa [...]s and neces­sities; it is only such an one, that is the subject of that affection which we express by the terms trust, hope, confidence, and the like. It is incompatible to, and can take no place in, a being that is per­fect, self-sufficient and independent. And as that affection of the human mind which is expressed indifferently by those several terms, presupposes a certain indigence and poverty of nature, from whence it arises, so, when rightly fixed and ter­minated, it equally supposes certain properties and affections in some other being, corresponding thereto; or a being that is fit to have confidence reposed in him: Who surely can be no other than one whose beneficent disposition, whose know­ledge and whose abilities, may afford a supply of that good and felicity, the absence and desire of which, are implied in trust or hope. A being that [Page 10] is averse to the doing of good to us, is certainly unfit to have confidence placed in him for what we want: so also is one that either knows not our wants, or how to relive them: and he is equally so, who is unable to do it; tho' he had both a disposition for it, and knowledge sufficient to di­rect his actions.

You see then, that these three things must con­cur and unite, at least in some degree of them, in that being who is, in any measure, a sutable object of human confidence. And from hence the conclusion seems very obvious, That that being who possesseth these qualities in the greatest measure, must also be the highest object of trust. According to the proportion in which any one is inclined to befriend us; knows how to do it, and has ability for it; in the same proportion is our hope to be fixed on him. The most perfect being, then, must certainly be the fittest to be re­lied on, not only by us, but all other dependent creatures. And who this is, surely no one in this assembly needs to be informed.

BUT if you please, we will apply the general principle laid down above, a little more particu­larly to the point in hand, by some reflections on the apparent deficiency of all earthly princes and sovereigns, with relation to those qualities which [Page 11] are the foundation of a rational trust; while God is possessed of them, in an unconfined, unlimited manner. The order in which they have already been mentioned, may possibly serve our purpose as well as any other. We will therefore keep to it; and, accordingly, being with goodness.

UNDER this term you will here understand the moral qualities in general; for, indeed, from this source they all flow; and in this they all termi­nate again; since he that loveth another, hath fulfilled the law. Justice and mercy; fidelity and righteousness, and the like virtues, distinguished one from another by particular names; seem only so many different modifications and exertions of that one great principle of goodness, regulated, as to the exercise of it, by reason, or wisdom. And it must be acknowledged that many princes have been adorned with these moral excellencies in a great degree; so that their own subjects, and for­eign states in league with them, might have con­siderable dependence upon them; and indeed, have actually been happy under their smiles and patronage. Such glorious princes we ourselves have been blest with. But surely it will be no re­flection upon the best of earthly sovereigns, to say that their goodness falls infinitely short of that of the Universal Sovereign; who is good to all; righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works; [Page 12] and all whose subjects either have partaken, or do now actually partake, of his beneficence. For God is Love; and none absolutely good besides him. No earthly monarch is perfectly devested of moral imperfections: And those who have heretofore administred public affairs with the great­est integrity and clemency, have nevertheless de­viated from the rule of right in some instances, to the hurt of those who confided in them. There are not wanting instances of those, who, in the first part of their reign, have justly procured to themselves universal love and respect; and yet have, long before the close of it, stained their hands, and royal character, with violence, oppressi­on and blood: Becoming the curse and scourges, instead of the guardians, of such as trusted in them. Even Nero was esteemed a prince of great justice and clemency, the former part of his time: But what was he afterwards? A royal monster, and imperial butcher! The same is true of many others likewise. So that subjects can never have an absolute security, that even the best of kings will not alter their measures; and op­press and devour, instead of defending, them. They are as liable to fall, and turn away from their righteousness, as other men. It is a great mistake to imagine that any state of earthly power and greatness, can make a man independent; exalt him above the reach of temptation, or remove him be­yond [Page 13] a possiblity of doing the most cruel, unjust and shameful things. As men rise to wealth and power and grandeur, their old passions often rise with them; or some new and unnatural ones start up in their breasts, to lead them astray. There are no bounds that can be set to human folly and extravagance, any more than madness can be con­trolled and regulated by reason—No bounds set, unless it be by Him, who says to the raging ocean, ‘Thus far shalt thou come, and no farther; and here shall thy proud waves be stayed.’ Nor indeed does it appear (surely not in this age of the world) but that those who are fixed in the highest seats of worldly power and magnificence, have still their wants and cravings, of some sort or other, as much as the vulgar; and can be in­duced to as great and shameful wickedness. Any man may possibly be drawn away of his own unnatural lusts and inticed, how much soever he may be exalted above the rest of the world: Whereas God, and He only, cannot be tempted with evil; because it is He, and only He, that is truly and properly independent.

But if even the best of princes may not be ab­solutely relied on, what will you think of the worst? or of those that are no better than other people usually are? There are many princes in the world, or at least there have been many, who [Page 14] could not be trusted at all; perfidious, cruel, des­potic and unrighteous men; whose power has been employed for destruction, and not for salvation; for bringing misery and ruin upon their subjects, instead of promoting the common felicity. You will all readily acknowledge that there have been such princes in the world. And do you ima­gine that our own nation has been wholly free from them formerly, as, God be thanked, it has been for several of the last reigns? Have there not been kings upon the throne of England, who have impiously violated all their solemn oaths and engagements to their people; as if they had sworn, only in order to show how little they either feared God or regarded man?—Kings who have robbed their subjects of their rights and substance, by laying taxes upon them in an illegal manner?—Kings that have set up the most iniquitous and arbitrary courts?—Kings that have corrupted law­yers and judges, to uphold them and their crea­tures, in all their unrighteous and opp [...] measures?—Kings that have been the encouragers and patrons of persecution for religion?—Kings that were for taking away all our civil and sacred priviledges?—Kings that were for introducing popery and arbitrary rule amongst a free people—Kings that were for governing, not by fixed, standing laws, but standing armies?—Kings, un­der whose administration no man's conscience, or [Page 15] money, or life, could be secure a single day?—Are the very names of CHARLES and JAMES forgotten!—Or do you not remember there was once a royal House of Stewart!—One might almost venture to assert, that it were better to trust, not only in the Lord, but even in the Prince of the power of the air, than in some other princes whose history we have read; and in whom scarce any one ever trusted, without being deceived and mocked and abused; and having reason afterwards to be ashamed of his confidence.

So that you see it is by no means safe to place an intire trust in earthly princes; not even in the best, and much less in others. For men of high degree are often a lie, while men of low degree are vanity. Nor indeed are the latter ever more vanity, than in that blind and undue confidence which they often place in the former. But in God we may securely confide. For he is immu­tably good and faithful. Tho' earthly thrones may be polluted and dishonoured with falshood and unrighteousness; yet justice and judgment are always the habitation of His: mercy and truth go before. His face.

BUT if we could suppose the goodness of princes to be perfect, like that of God, so that we might always depend upon their best en­deavours [Page 16] to serve us; yet their wisdom and saga­city would not be equal to the goodness of their intentions. For which reason it would not be proper to place an unreserved confidence in them. It is a very ancient observation, and sufficiently verified by the experience of later times, that great men are not always wise. A king may be a child in more respects than one. Good sense is not en­tailed with the crown▪ on the elder branch of the male line. Human laws cannot make wisdom hereditary, tho' they may things of inferior value—thrones and scepters. And what great degree of trust is there to be placed in a weak, short­sighted prince, whose head has nothing but a crown to adorn it? Be his intentions ever so good, nothing considerable is to be hoped from him: and indeed he may probably destroy, while he means to save. Especially since he is continual­ly exposed to be misled by crafty and designing courtiers, who will stick at no measures, however ruinous to the public, in order to advance their own power and fortune. By these he may be prompted to make foolish wars and foolish peaces with his neighbours, to the impoverishing and distressing of his own subjects; and to the loss of many thousands of their lives: And in short, be led to do an hundred other things to the detri­ment of the public. Nor have there been wanting examples of whole nations brought to ruin, by well-meaning, [Page 17] but impolitic, princes, under the influ­ence of wicked counsels.

BUT let your prince be wise as well as good; what is human wisdom at best, compared to that of the only wise God? All human policy and sa­gacity, are mere ignorance, if put in competition with His, who sees all the connexions and depen­dencies of things, not only within the limits of one earthly empire, but thro' the empire of the uni­verse. The wisest of kings might join with Da­vid in that humble acknowledgement—O God, thou knowest my foolishness.—God taketh the wise in their own craftiness: and whatever he purposes, with relation to the welfare, or the destruction, of any nation, there is no wisdom nor understand­ing nor counsel against the Lord. So that his wis­dom, no less than his goodness, may be safely confided in; tho' the best and wisest princes may mistake in their measures.

IT will farther illustrate and confirm the main point in view, if we consider to what a narrow sphere the power of the greatest monarchs is con­fined: Whereas God's kingdom ruleth over all, and none can stay his hand. Our sovereigns are, at best, but frail, weak creatures, being frequently unable to accomplish their well-meant designs for their subjects; so that the good which they would, [Page 18] they do not. They are not always able to preserve peace at home amongst their own people, or to protect them against the invasions and violence of foreign enemies. But all nations, before the Almighty, are as the small dust of the ballance. He stilleth the noise of the seas, and the tumult of the people; and maketh wars to cease.

THERE are many great and national calamities, which no earthly potentates have ability either to prevent or to remedy. For tho' Solomon says, that where the word of a king is, there is power; this is far from being true without any restriction. Will the king's word dispel the tempest that hangs over us? Will it arrest the thunder, and the lightning, anticipating the final conflagration, and striking terror thro' a guilty world? Will the king's word steady the earth when it trembles to its centre, threatning to swallow up his towns and cities? What will the royal mandate signify against the murrain, the plague and the pestilence, laying waste his dominions? Will these obey his majesty's command, and spare his subjects? Can the king call rain from heaven at his pleasure, to refresh the languishing earth? or keep his people alive in famine? Yea, do not contemptible in­sects baffle his power and sovereignty? the locust and the caterpillar; and prove themselves mightier than he? Whither then can we flee for succour, [Page 19] under these and such-like distresses, but to that God who sways an universal scepter, and whom all things obey?

AMIDST the confusions and disorders; the wars and tumults and mighty revolutions, of the world; the numerous calamities we are daily exposed to; it is manifest that all human power is but a poor refuge. The only security we can have, is in the strength and providence of the Almighty. It is he that is our refuge and strength; a very present help in trouble, when the help of man is vain. And therefore, says the Psalmist, will not we fear, tho' the earth be re­moved into the midst of the sea; tho' the waters thereof roar and be troubled; tho' the mountains shake with the swelling thereof—He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most high shall abide un­der the shadow of the Almighty—I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisom pestilence: He shall cover thee with his feathers; and under his wings shalt thou trust.

So far are the princes of the earth from being adequate objects of trust and hope to us, that they are not always able to protect them­selves. They totter and tremble upon their [Page 20] thrones, like a reed shaken with the wind; and must betake themselves to God for support, on whom is all their dependence. And is it not evi­dently vain for us to rely chiefly on those, whose great hope and security must be placed in a pow­er superior to their own?

BESIDES 'tis to be remembred that we have a future, as well as a present, interest depending: our souls are to be provided for, no less than our bodies. And on whom shall we rely for the safe­ty of them? Can our kings forgive our sins; and calm our troubled consciences? Can they pre­serve us from the wrath to come? and bestow upon us a blessed immortality? How great soever the power of our princes is, to succour and be­friend us, during this momentary life; yet surely when this has a period put to it, their power over us also ceases▪ When our mortal course is once finished, they have no more that they can do, whether to harm or help us. As to what is to follow after we leave this world, our only depen­dence is to be placed where it ought principally to be placed at present; in that God whose power extends to our immortal, no less than our mortal, part; and who can either destroy both soul and body in bell, or cause both to live and rejoice in heaven. God can be our sup­port and comfort, not only in the sun-shine of [Page 21] life, but in the valley of the shadow of death, which we must soon pass thro'. When all out­ward succour fails; yea, when our own flesh and heart shall fail us; He is still the strength of our heart, and our portion forever.

NOR indeed can we be certain-of protection from our earthly sovereigns, even while we live, because they themselves may die before us. It is appointed unto kings and princes once to die, as well as to slaves and beggars. And what secure confi­dence can be reposed in those, who will in a few days lose all the little power they have at present? Let your king be good; let him be wise; let him be great and powerful; the life of this earth­ly god is as precarious as that of men. The rulers and potentates of the world, are not com­monly blest with firmer nerves and sinews, and more robust constitutions, than the meanest of their subjects. They wither away, and fall with years, as others do; unless, perhaps, they find a premature death. A dagger, or a cannon-ball, or poison, is as fatal to the prince as the peasant. The lives of the great, are in continual jeopardy, either from secret treachery, or open violence. Sickness does not reverence the head that wears a crown, any more than one which has not so much as a cowl, or a cap to cover it. Death enters the royal court, as boldly as the cottage; the [Page 22] palace, as the prison. Too many of the rulers of the earth, are indeed apt to forget, in the great­ness of their pomp and power, and while they are giving law to others, that themselves are sub­ject to the great law of mortality. But search the tombs and monuments of the dead, and you will find royal dust and ashes and bones, as well as beggarly. And he that was, perhaps, once the terror of one half the world, and the hope and confidence of the other, is long since become the prey of virmin. The accutest antiquary might be puzzled to distinguish the scull of Caesar or Alexander, from that of Lazarus, were they yet intire; and the hand that sustained a scepter, from that which held a spade or a plough.* Death levels all; and is more properly an universal monarch, than any one who has yet aspired to that character. The great and small will lie down alike in the dust, and the worms shall cover them. This is the conclusion of all earthly power and splendor:—the end of human greatness and majesty. And verily every man at his best estate is altogether vanity.

ONE would think that we, and indeed the whole british empire, have lately had such an affecting example of human frailty and mortality, [Page 23] as might, in a manner, supersede the necessity of all other arguments, and six our thoughts on the ever living God, as our only sure dependence and confidence. That illustrious personage, who is lately fallen like other of the Princes, and for whom at least three nations mourn, was not in­deed actually invested with the regal character and dignity; but only an heir to them: And according to men's way of guessing at future events, (for they can do no more than guess) was likely in the course of a few years to fill and adorn the British throne. His royal Father being already so full of days, that we cannot expect to enjoy the blessing of his life and reign much longer: Especially as the national impiety gives us too much reason to apprehend, that God may visit our transgressions with a rod, and our iniqui­ties with stripes. But while our present legal and gracious Sovereign has been hastning towards the decline of life, and the end of his righteous ad­ministration, the hopes of his subjects have been fixed on his royal Son, the heir of his crown and dominions. Nor, indeed, have there been many Princes rising up in the world, in whom the confidence of their future subjects could be so just­ly placed, as in Him—the heir, not only of the authority and highest titles, but of the prince­ly qualities, of his royal ancestors.

[Page 24] INDEED one must be little acquainted with the state of the world at present, or the history of former times, who is not aware how small a stock of real merit will usually go a great ways in per­sons of high birth and distinction; especially in those who have that great merit of having a crown in possession or reversion. A small share of good sense is enough to gain even the remote candidates for future empire, the reputation of wisdom; and Solomon himself must be robbed of his name, to grace half-fools and idiots. As little piety and virtue are also sufficient to procure persons in the higher classes of life, the character of excellent men, and even of Saints—While eminent good­ness among the vulgar and middle sort, passes wholly unobserved, or at least without its due praise; the same, or a much less degree of it, in people of figure and distinction, opens every mouth in its commendation; and all vie with one another in fulsom flattery and extravagance. The good fortune of these dignitaries, whether in church or state, together with the folly and wick­edness of parasites, are set in a strong and beauti­ful point of light by the poet, whose words may be thought sufficiently grave for this place—Un­less my memory fails me they run thus—

'Tis from high life, high characters are drawn,
A saint in crape, is twice a saint in lawn:
[Page 25] A judge is just, a chanc'lor juster still;
A gownman learn'd; a bishop, what you will:
Wise, if a minister; but if a king,
More wise, more learn'd, more just, more ev'ry thing.

IT is in short, so common and shameful a prac­tice to extol persons of mean accomplishments and little worth, merely because they possess great power and wealth and external dignity; that one is almost afraid to speak honourably of real merit in superior life, lest it should be looked upon as words of course, and base, servile flattery; the bad effects of which are not, perhaps, less, or fewer in number, than those of calumny and de­traction. The consideration now mentioned, to­gether with that of the difficulty of coming to any certain knowledge concerning the true cha­racter of great men at a distance, either while they live, or soon after they are dead; these conside­rations (not to mention my own insufficiency for such a task) have, in a manner, discouraged me from saying any thing particularly concerning the illustrious Prince, lately deceased. But least a total silence upon such an occasion, should be imputed to a worse cause, and construed into something far more criminal than caution and diffidence:

I shall just observe,

[Page 26] THAT if credit is due to reports that have crossed the Atlantic; to the general voice of the nation, and those particularly who have had the best opportunity to acquaint themselves with this Prince's character; we might have justly expected in Him, a good king; a true Father to His people; and such a common blessing as would have gone as far as any thing, towards allaying the national grief, when it should please Heaven to deprive us of Him, who now holds the British scepter.

HIS Royal Highness had given sufficient proof of his being blest with such a degree of good sense, and solid understanding, as were necessary to make him a discrete and wise ruler. Nor was his educa­tion in the principles of superstition and tyranny, but such as became an Heir to the imperial throne of Great-Britain. His application to reading and study, especially in the last years of his life, was very great, and, perhaps, something singular in a modern Prince. Nor were his studies turned, as those of some other Princes have been, to such things as were rather ornamental, than useful; or as tended only to debase royalty into pedantry: But to those things which surely every British King ought to know—His duty to God and man—Himself—Human nature, and the various tempers and passions of mankind; in the know­ledge of which is chiefly founded the true art of [Page 27] governing—The nature and ends of civil govern­ment—The constitutions, and various interests of the several nations and states of Europe; and par­ticularly of those nations which He was to govern, had not Heaven determined otherwise.—

HIS attendance upon the worship of God was both more constant and more devout, than that of princes and courtiers usually is. And this, to­gether with that excellent example of the personal and social virtues, which he exhibited, had a very favourable and promising aspect upon the morals of the nation; the great need of reforming which, He was deeply sensible of.

HE was a zealous promoter of liberal arts and ingenuous learning in the nation; not chusing, as some politicians have done, to rule over fools and brutes, but wise men—A great encourager of husbandry, manufactures and commerce; (the true sources of national wealth and felicity:) And of all other designs in which he apprehended the public interest was concerned; of which he was doubtless among the best judges. And as he well understood the consequence and importance of the British Settlements in America, he was ac­cordingly desirous of cherishing and encouraging them. Nor had NEW-ENGLAND in particu­lar, a small share in His royal grace and affection. [Page 28] To which, indeed, one may say with modesty, it had not a less just claim, than any other remote part of the British dominions whatever; whether in respect of its stedfast loyalty to the illustrious House of Hanover; or its beneficial services to the crown and nation; the real interests of which, 'tis to be hoped, will never be thought separate, but the same.

THE Prince's conduct in domestic life; his ten­derness and fidelity to his most excellent Princess; his paternal care and affection; his good oecono­my, and every thing he did within the walls of the palace, shew'd the good and noble, the gene­rous and princely mind. This they did no less than that part of his conduct which fell under more general observation. And indeed every man's true temper and character are much better discerned, by his behaviour in common and private life, than in public; wherein goodness is more frequently aped and counterfeited, than really practised. Consider'd in this view, the Prince al­ways discover'd the humane and just, the well-natur'd and courteous man: which he did with­out degrading himself in the eyes of those about him, or forgetting that he was born to wear a crown, And had he lived to this, there is no reason to doubt but those virtues which appear'd so amiable, and shone so bright, in a narrower [Page 29] sphere, diffusing joy thro' his palace, would have been drawn forth into more public view, and exer­ted from the throne with peculiar advantage; to the joy and felicity of his greater family, the people of Great-Britain: All of them, I mean, except those strange men, who had rather be ruled by a papist, and Italian tyrant, than a protestant Prince, under the restriction of salutary laws.

AND this leads me to observe, that the Prince had a due abhorrence of popery and arbitrary government, as being both of them contrary to reason and christianity; inconsistent with the na­tural rights of mankind, and the truest happiness of human society. His own good sense doubtless suggested to him the impiety of such a religion; the injustice of this sort of government; and at­tached him firmly to the protestant interest, and a limited monarchy; such as our own. But it is not improbable that he was the more established in these glorious principles of a free government and free religion, by reflecting upon his discent; which was from an illustrious House, the Patrons and Bulwark of Liberty, from the very beginning of the reformation. Which reformation the prince himself was, indeed, desirous of seeing carried in­to greater perfection, and brought nearer to the primitive and christian model; especially in Eng­land. For it is said He was a great promoter of [Page 30] that late, important proposal for a Review; in order to the altering and amending of those nu­merous things in the national church, which have been so long grievous, not only to non-conformists, but also to great numbers of the best and wisest men of the established religion.

THE Prince's charitable donations towards the relief of the poor and sick; towards propagating christianity in the world; and upon other occa­sions, were many and liberal; such as become a prince. And we may reasonably suppose, that he was not a christian in name only, but in temper; having that divine principle in him, which worketh by love and good deeds; and forms the manners.

I Do not remember that His Royal Highness had ever an opportunity afforded him, to discover his military virtue.—However we know he dis­cover'd a much more excellent sort of heroism, than that which is shown in fields of battle, and the greatest martial atchievements. For he that is slow to anger, is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit, than he that taketh a city.

SUCH, in brief, was that excellent man, that good Prince, whose death the nation does now, and may, perhaps, long lament. And surely such qualities in the heir apparent, might justly raise [Page 31] the hopes and expectations of all, as they promi­sed a wise and pious, a righteous and clement successor, to the British throne: than whom a greater blessing of a temporal nature, scarce Hea­ven itself could have bestowed upon us. A person that so well understood how to govern himself, amidst the snares and temptations of a court, where it is not (God knows) always the fashion to be wise and virtuous; could not easily have fail'd to govern others with justice and wisdom; or, in the language of scripture, to have fed them according to the integrity of his heart, and guided them by the skilfulness of his hands.—But he is gone—gone from an earthly Kingdom, liable to changes and revolutions; to possess another, which hath more stable foundations; a kingdom that cannot be shaken; and in the peaceful enjoyment of which, there will be no pretender to disturb him.

IT will not be imagined that what has been said above, concerning the deceased and lamented Prince, is from any certain knowledge of the speaker; which is impossible upon many accounts. I presume no farther, therefore, than to say, from the best intelligence I have been able to gain in these remote parts, and in my low station, that nothing has been said but plain, sober truth; and that more might have been said with equal justice. It seems not consistent with the religion of JESUS [Page 32] CHRIST our blessed Redeemer, in whose mouth there was no guile; or indeed with a principle of manly simplicity and integrity, to flatter even living princes, and much less, dead ones, as the manner of some is. And one would think that a good man would rather lose the faculty of speech intirely, than prostitute it in bestowing that praise, which is due only to virtue and wisdom, upon vice and folly, however dignified by sounding titles, wealth and authority.—

THE death of this excellent person in the midst of his days, while his royal Father is in the decline, and his royal Son, only in blossom or bud, of life, is one of those dark and intricate steps of divine providence, which human reason is not able to trace, and throughly comprehend. That a Prince so well form'd for government; so calculated to make a people happy; should be cut down at the middle stage of life, without ever having scope and opportunity to exercise his regal virtues, by pos­sessing his hereditary throne—cut down at a time when he was likely, in the common course of human affairs, to be soon called upon the most public and important stage of action—at a time when the general expectation concerning him was raised to such a pitch; more nations than one, hoping to sit under his shadow with great delight—and when the next heir to the crown, (whom [Page 33] God preserve and bless) is, by so many years, a minor:—this, surely, is one of those secret things which belong to God; and for which he has cer­tainly wise reasons, however inscrutable to us. Infinite wisdom and goodness never act at random, extempore, and without design; but always ac­cording to the exactest rules, and for important ends: Nor, indeed, at all the less so, because short-sighted, mole-ey'd man, is not able to discern them.

WHILE, therefore, we mourn this, to us, ca­lamitous event, as every good Briton does, we ought humbly and patiently to acquiesce in it, as what was perfectly wise and righteous; saying with the inspired apostle upon another occasion—O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! Indeed however unable we may be to dive to the bottom of this and such-like providences, which are a great deep; we may be pretty sure that one use we are to make of them, is the learning of humility. We are to be disciplined by them to a modest tem­per and deportment; to an implicit, humble sub­mission to the will and conduct of the Almighty; not presuming ourselves to be competent judges of all the steps He takes in his administration of the world. So that our ignorance is, in a sort, our [Page 34] instructor and school-master, in one most impor­tant branch of human wisdom;—the knowledge, and habitual sense, of our own folly and weakness. Nor let us disdain to learn even of such a pre­ceptor—that pride was not made for man. God would not have such creatures to be vain and ar­rogant; or addicted to find fault with every thing they cannot perfectly understand, in the course of his providence; but to be still, and know that he is God; the Governor among the nations.

ANOTHER lesson we are to learn from this event, is doubtless that which was the subject of the former part of this discourse, namely, That it is better to trust in the Lord, than to put con­fidence in princes. We are admonished hereby, not to place our great security and happiness, in the governors and princes of the world; whose life is a vapor, like that of other men; and may perhaps be suddenly dissipated, both when we least expect it, and most need their assistance. From such weak and vain dependencies, we are naturally led up to the great Author of all our beings; the source of all our good; the sovereign Ruler of the world, by whom kings live and reign and decree justice: And at whose pleasure they also die—To Him we are led, as our rock and fortress; our only sure refuge, the only adequate object of our hope and confidence. And since [Page 35] we are under his almighty care and guardianship, we need not despair of having all our rea­sonable wants supplied; or of escaping those very evils, of which surely we have some reason to be apprehensive, with relation to the untimely death of this good Prince. Nothing is to be despaired of, that is truly good and proper for us, while infinite wisdom, power and goodness govern. The world, depend upon it, the world will never suffer shipwreck, and be wholly cast away, if God is pleased to take the helm, to steer and con­duct it; tho' all other pilots of the state should be washed over-board, and drown'd. So that even in the most dangerous and tempestuous seasons, we are not without consolation: We know where to take harbor and sanctuary, from the stormy wind and tempest; where to cast the anchor of our hope, till the sore calamities are over-past. Whoever dies, God survives; with whom we may acquaint ourselves; and be at peace. He lives and reigns the King eternal and immortal, tho' invisible to mortal sight; and only wise also, tho' human folly does not discern the wisdom of his conduct. Wherefore, while the Lord reigneth, let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of the isles be glad thereof—Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands—For the Lord is good, his mercy is everlasting, and his truth to all generations—Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help; and [Page 36] whose hope is in the Lord his God, which made heaven and earth; the sea, and all that is therein.

BUT you will remember that this is such an happiness as none can be intitled to, but those who love and obey the God in whom they trust. It is a solecism and contradiction for any to pretend to a pious confidence in God, and to solace them­selves in contemplating his power and providence▪ while they live in wilful rebellion against him; while they abuse his mercy, despise his justice, and scorn his thunder. If we would exercise a rational trust in God, and enjoy the happiness naturally resulting therefrom, we must be reconciled to him thro' the great Mediator betwixt Him and man; and obey his holy commandments. Other­wise the divine wisdom and power, and even good­ness, are rather a just ground of terror, than of consolation, to us▪ For there is no peace, faith my God, to the wicked.

THE great and sorrowful event we have been considering, may also serve as a warning to all persons, exalted to power and dignity in the world, not to grow vain and imperious; not to plume themselves upon their grandeur, and superiority over others: But to remember that they are also once to die, sooner or later; and to give an account of themselves to Him, who regardeth not the per­sons [Page 37] of princes;—to give an account, to what use they have applied their wealth and superior talents; whether to the glorifying of Him that gave them, and the good of their fellow-men; or to the dis­honoring of the One, and the injury and oppressi­on of the other—Alas! how many are there, with respect to whom this will be a most awful and terrible reckoning.—

THERE is, as there ought to be, a wide diffe­rence of rank and circumstance amongst mankind; in this world: But in the other, and before the judgment-seat of Christ, where all nations are to be gathered, these temporary distinctions will be all laid aside. In that vast multitude, which no man can number, there will be no distinctions of high and low, rich and poor, bond and free; there will be neither prince nor subject; emperor nor slave. You will see none in purple robes, with crowns and scepters and diadems; none in chains and shackles; but all, common men, the sinful posterity of Adam and Eve, waiting their final sen­tence from the Judge of all the earth: Who will do right, rendering to every one, not according to his former rank and station in the world, but according as his work has been.

WHEN we behold the princes and sovereigns of the world, daily doing homage to the king of [Page 38] terrors; casting down their crowns at his feet, and leaving all their royal pomp and honors in the dust; this surely admonishes us to guard against pride and insolence; against valuing ourselves upon those little advantages and distinctions which we are so prone to over-rate, and set a greater price upon than they deserve. 'Tis a solemn lec­ture against that vanity; against those swelling thoughts; against those towering imaginations, which are but too common in persons of wealth and power; of figure and distinction in the world. It bids them remember, that how high soever they are▪ yea, tho▪ they exalt themselves as the eagle, and build their nest among the stars; yet there is a God above who is able to bring them down; and to abase those that walk in pride: A God, in whose hand their breath is, and whose are all their ways.

MANY persons, when raised to great wealth and dignity, have been ready enough to flatter them­selves, and have actually been flattered by others, that they were not subject to death, like the vul­gar sort. But alas! these immortal Mortals are, nevertheless, long since dead, and become the sport of voracious insects! This also will be soon thy lot, O man! whosoever thou art, that now exaltest thyself, and deniest the God that is above. After thy skin, worms will destroy thy flesh, [...] and rioting on thee for a while, and then [...] [Page 39] themselves. Yet there is after this, another worm; one that dieth not; and a second death, far more terrible than the first. Wilt thou not then, O vain and thoughtless Mortal, forsake thy folly, till it is too late to be wise? In season consi­der thy latter end,—what thou art coming to; nor put far away from thee the evil day. For behold, ‘All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field; the grass withereth; the flower fadeth. Surely the people is grass.’ Neither wisdom nor power; neither splendor nor wealth, will reverse that sentence—‘Dust thou art; and unto dust shalt thou return.’ To use the words of the prophet, therefore, or rather of God himself; ‘Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom; neither let the mighty man glory in his might; let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth, glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord, which execute loving-kindness, judgment and righteousness in the earth.’

THE END.

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THE foregoing discourse was written in an hasty manner, without any intention to publish it: And tho' some alterations have since been made in it; yet the Author fears they are neither so many or great, as the Reader will think were necessary.

J. M.

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