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Psalm cxxii. 6.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
FELLOW-CITIZENS, we now affem. ble, in obedience to the command of our Sovereign, to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and for the prof. perity of those that love her. Loyalty to our king, and love to our country, are the passions which ought to animate us on this day". That attachment which good citizens bear to their country, has ever been esteemed a virtue of the highest class. Not to mention the Greeks and the Romans, the history of the Israelites, with which you are better acquainted, presents us with grand and striking instances of patriot. ism and public spirit. They never mention the names of Zion and Jerusalem, without gladness and rapture. The words which I have now read to you, seem to have come from the heart, and breathe this spirit in the most lively manner.
During their captivity, when they sat by the rivers of Babylon, the Jews thought upon Zion, and wept. When they prayed to Heaven, they turned their faces towards Jerusalem. At their return from captivity, they are described as halting on a hill, over which they had to march, taking a fond look of Judea, from which they had been banished so long; bursting into tears at the view, weeping as they went
• Upon a fast-day during the American war.
forward, at the recognisance of their ancient country, and their native land. Our Saviour, who was a pattern of all goodness, fet us an example of this virtue. He loved his country, and uttered that celebrated exclamation of patriotism,“ O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, “ How often would I have gathered thee, as a hen “ gathereth her brood under her wings !"
As we now meet to pray for the peace or welfare of our Jerusalem, (for in the language of Scripture, peace is put for all kinds of prosperity,) I shall endeavour to show you at this time, wherein the public welfare consists.
It consists in the national liberty, the national wealth and industry, the national defence, and the national character.
The first ingredient in the public happiness is liberty; a privilege invaluable, but frequently misun. derstood, and still more frequently abused. Abfolute liberty to do what we please, is absolute power. If one alone, or a few possess this, the rest are in lavery; if all have it, the whole must be in confusion. In order to prevent mutual encroachments, and as. certain each person's claims, liberty must be secured by a constitution, and guarded by law. In the state of nature, men are not only free, but independent; among the wandering tribes of savages, none claim authority over others; but as such a state cannot subfist long, whenever men enter into formed society, they give up some of their natural rights, in order to preserve the rest ; they no longer wield the sword of justice themselves ; it is given to the magistrate ; they intrust their property to the laws, and their protection to the king.
Still, however, that is the happiest form of government, which best secures the natural rights of men. It is here that the British constitution triumphs. Possessing advantages which no other form of government ever possessed, it stands forth the envy of the neighbouring nations, and a pattern to succeeding times. Liberty is the birthright of every Briton. That grand charter of Nature to her children is established and confirmed by law. The constitution, like the providence of Heaven, extends its gracious regards to all; while it protects the poor in the possession of their legal rights, it checks the insolence of the great, and sets bounds to the prerog- : ative of Majesty itself, saying to the king, “ Thus “ far, and no farther, does thy power extend.” All the members of the state are represented in the great council of the nation, and have a voice in the Legiflature; the subjects are taxed by their own consent." There is no despotic or discretionary power in any part of the constitution. No action must be deemed a crime, but what the laws have plainly determined to be such; no crime must be imputed to a man, but from a legal proof before his judges ; and these judges must be his fellow-subjects and his peers, who are obliged, by their own interest, to have a watch, ful eye over encroachments and violence. “We “ must ever admire as a masterpiece of political wis“dom, and as the key-stone of civil liberty, that stat6 ute which forces the secrets of every prison to be re“ vealed, the cause of every commitment to be declar“ ed, and the person of the accused to be produced, " that he may claim his enlargement, or his trial, 66 within a limited time." By these means, Great
Britain hath become what ancient patriots wished, a government of laws, and not of men. Highly favoured nation and happy people, if they knew their felicity, and did not upon occasions, by their own fault, turn the greatest of civil blessings into a curse!
In the second place, the national welfare consists in the national industry and wealth. It is a vulgar error to suppose, that the greatness of a nation depends upon the number of its inhabitants. It is not the number of the people, but their being usefully employed, that adds to the true grandeur and felicity of a state. A nation is a great family, where every member has a sphere marked out and a part to perform, and which, if it abounds with the idle, must fall to ruin. 6 Men crowd where the situation is tempt. “ing, and multiply according to the means of sub“ fistence." Present the proper objects ; let the me. chanic arts be cultivated ; let manufactures abound, and commerce flourish; and citizens will come from the east and from the west, and from the south and from the north. Every thing in the world is purchased by labour and by industry.
Our passions and desires are the causes of labour and industry. When a nation introduces manufactures and commerce, new desires are created, and new passions are raised; men increase the enjoy. ments, and refine upon the pleasures of life. Not satisfied with what is necessary, which is a vague term, and has a reference to the fancy, and to the habit of living, they look out for what is comfortable, what is elegant, and what is delicate in life. In order to supply these recent wants, the possessor of land, the manufacturer, and the merchant, redouble their la
bour and attention. Thus new industry is excited, greater numbers of men are employed, the grandeur of the sovereign, and the happiness of the state, come.. to coincide. By this means, a stock of labour comes to be laid up for public use.
Trade and industry are in reality nothing but a stock of labour, which, in times of peace and tran. quillity, are employed for the ease and satisfaction of individuals; but in the exigencies of state, may in part be turned to public advantage. The cultivation of these arts is favoured, and forwarded in our country, by that fecurity which we enjoy. What every man has, is his own. The voice of the oppressor is never heard in our streets. The hand of rapacious power is never stretched out to rob the industrious of the fruit of his labour.
Thirdly, The public welfare consists in the nation. al defence. The police of every well-modelled state has a reference to war and to national safety. The legislator of Sparta, one of the most famous of the ancient republics, thought that nations were by nature in a state of hostility; he took his measures accordingly, and observing that all the possessions of the vanquished pertain to the victor, he held it ridica ulous to propose any benefit to his country, before he had provided that it should not be conquered. A most necessary provision; for unless a state be sufficient for its own defence, it must fall an easy prey to every invader. It was the intention of nature, that nations, as well as men, should guard themselves. Hence lessons of war are delivered in Sacred Scripture, and principles of emulation and dissension are strongly implanted in the soul of man. Human na