Page images

countenance to that pretence, viz. that the doctrine of paffive-obedience and non-refiftance, was the darling doctrine of the church of England; and which, in all likelihood, proved very ensnaring to King James the Second. Though, fince that time, it has been justly exploded, arraigned *, and condemned in, and by our British Parliament.

This being the cafe, it may perhaps be thought, that the principle I have now under confideration, was the influencing principle upon the minds of our legiflators, at the restoration, in fetting apart the anniversary referred to; and upon the minds of the paftors of our church, in compiling a form of divine fervice for the celebration thereof. However, this, I think, is evident, that the purpose which this anniversary has been generally made to ferve, has been for the clergy to preach up the doctrine of paffive-obedience and non-refiftance in the moft abfolute and unlimited fenfe; and to fright the people into it, by pouring out their bulls, not of excommunication, but of eternal damnation, upon those who refift the prince, under any circumstances, or upon any pretence whatever. And, this, I think, is to caft black and odious colours upon the oppofite principle, viz. that principle upon which our late happy revolution

* See the Trial of Dr. Sachewerel

is founded; and confequently, to traduce and vilify the revolution itself. Numberless are the fermons which have been preached on the occafion, and many of them have been fuited (to all appearance at least,) to anfwer this very purpose: fo that, the principle upon which the late happy revolution is founded, has been treated with the utmost contempt; with this view no doubt, to render it, and those who adhere to it, moft odious and vile in the eyes both of prince and people. Though, it must be owned, that the doctrine of paffive-obedience and non-refiftance has been preached and inculcated more fparingly, fince the family of the house of Hanover has been happily fettled upon the British throne, than heretofore. And, I prefume and hope, that this family will be wiser, than to be taken in that fnare, which (in all probability) two of our princes have already fallen by. And, not to trust to paffive-obedience and nonrefistance principles, nor yet to paffive-obedience and non-refiftance profeffors, who can fhift their principles, or at least act contrary to them upon any occafion. This is most evident, in what they did, and the fhare they bore in the revolution, by joining in the oppofition that was made to King James the Second: and therefore, as I faid before, I hope, and prefume that this family will be wifer than to trust to them, or to


be led away by the found of words. To this I may add, that the noble ftand for liberty, which was made by the people of this nation at the late happy revolution, laid the foundation and prepared the way, for advancing this illuftrious family from the dukedom of Brunswick to the kingdom of Great Britain; which was done with this view no doubt, that they might be the faithful guardians of our liberties. And therefore, if there be any prudence, if there be any gratitude, if there be any vertue, if there be any praife; then moft undoubtedly, this family will think on these things. But to return. Upon the whole of what I have obferved on this head, it may be thought to appear, that it is not exceedingly plain and evident what that principle is, upon which the anniversary folemnity of the 30th of January is founded.

If it be founded upon that principle which I have now been confidering, then it is manifeft, that the two anniversaries Dr. Croxall referred to, are founded upon two contradictory and incompatible principles; principles, which are as oppofite and contrary to each other as light is to darkness. And if this be the cafe, why then do we any longer halt between two opinions, and not give up one or the other? If one, be the truth, and our duty; let us wholly adhere to it, and give up the contrary: and, if



the other, be the truth, and our duty; let us wholly adhere to that, and give up its contrary this furely, being the fairer, the more ingenuous, and the more honeft part. I now argue, upon a fuppofition that the two anniversaries referred to, are founded upon two contradictory and incompatible principles. Whereas Dr. Croxall fuppofes, that this is not the cafe; and, that upon a cool and impartial deliberation, thofe principles may be observed mutually to correfpond with, and illuftrate each other. Now, if this be the cafe, then furely, it will be proper to enquire, what those two agreeing principles are, or rather, whether there be not one common principle, which may be confidered as the ground and foundation of them both: and, which alone can in reafon justify our governours, in appointing the two anniverfaries referred to; the one as a day of fafting, and the other as a day of thanksgiving; and which anniverfaries founded upon this principle, mutually point out the political behaviour both of prince, and people. That there is such a principle I grant; and what it is I come now to fhew.

The publick good (with refpect to this world,) is the chiefest and highest object of our defires, and of our cares and endeavours to fecure, because the good of each individual is contained in it, and bound


up with it and confequently, the publick good is itfelf most valuable, and therefore ought in reason to be preferred to all other things which may come in competition with it. This being the cafe, from hence it will follow, firft, that he who contributes moft to the happiness and fecurity of the fociety, does the greatest good and is the greatest benefactor to it; and therefore is in reafon entitled to the greatest honours and rewards the fociety is capable of conferring upon him. And on the other fide, it will follow, fecondly, that he who does the greatest injury to and is deftructive of the common happiness; fuch an one does the greatest evil, and is therefore guilty of the highest and moft heinous of crimes. And,

As government was not ordained for the fake of governours, but for the fecurity of the common happiness; (that is, government was not instituted for the fake of the honours and advantages which governours may reap from it, confidered abstractedly from the common good; but, it was ordained as a neceffary means to guard and fecure the common happiness, and for governours themselves as harers in that happinefs, and to fecure them in the enjoyment of those greater honours and advantages, which a faithful execution of the trust repofed in them, entitles them to:) fo, in reason, the means ought always to give C 2


« PreviousContinue »