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to form any scheme either of private or public happiness.
With regard to individuals, where shall they find consolation under the various pressures of life, if they look for no God to rest upon? Whither shall they wander in search of happiness, if, in all the universe, they know not an object adequate to their most generous and elevated affections ? How shall they fill up the mighty void within, if those ever, active powers of the soul, which are soon cloyed with the things of this diurnal scene, and still han, kering after the great, the fair, and the wonderful in objects, do not center in him who is the first great, the first fair, and the first wonderful; in the contemplation of whom the mind may dwell, with astonishment and delight, through an unfailing duration?
With regard to the public, the magistrate may fright vice into a corner, and secure the being of societies; but their well-being depends entirely on the universal practice of those silent virtues, which fall not under the sanction of human laws. Nothing but the fear of God, and religious sanctions, can take cognizance of the heart, and make us " subject for conscience sake.” Nothing else can secure the practice of private veracity, fidelity, mutual trust, gratitude, and all the deep-felt offices of humanity, which are the main sources of public happiness.
It appears, then, to use the words of an ingenious divine, that in order to secure human happiness," and make the whole chain of duties hold firm and indis, soluble, the first link must be fastened to the throne
of God, the consummate standard of perfection*, “ with whom there is no variableness, nor shadow of turning?”
Thirdly, we are commanded to honour the king; that is, all those in general, who are lawfully vested with authority for the public good, as appears from the thirteenth verse. “ Submit yourselves, says the apostle, to every ordinance of man, for the Lord's sake; whether it be to the king as supreme, or unto governors as sent by him, for the punishment of evildoers, and the praise of such as do well.”
This duty is founded on the former ones. if we believe that God made us for happiness, and that our great happiness lies in friendly communion, we must think society, and whatever is essential to its subsistence, of divine original. Government, therefore, in some form or other, must be the will and appointment of God. But government, without honouring and regarding lawful governors, is impracticable. Hence, whatever the form may be, provided it is founded on consent, and a view to public good, the submission of individuals must be a most sacred duty.
Nay, though wicked men bear sway, as cannot fail sometimes to happen, yet still it must be a duty' to honour them on account of their station, because through them we honour that constitution we have chosen to live under. This is clear from the apostle's injunction to the Christians, not to molest the government under which they were born, but to honour
• Seed on the fear of God.
the king, who was then Nero, the most cruel of men, and their bitter persecutor. The reason is obvious. The Christians were but a few, and the constitution much older than their new sect, as it was then called. To redress grievances, and reform the state, was the business of the majority, who alone had power to make innovations; and any attempt in the Christians, however just, might have been construed into sedition, and would probably have been productive of more evil than good.
But it would be absurd to argue from thence, as some have done, that the apostle meant to enjoin a continued submission to violence; and that a whole people injured might, in no case, recognize their trampled majesty.
The doctrine of non-resistance is now sufficiently exploded; and may it be forever treated with that sovereign contempt, which it deserves among a wise and virtuous people. God gave us freedom as our birth-right; and in his own government of the world he never violates that freedom, nor can those be his vicegerents who do. To say they are, is blaspheming his holy name, and giving the lie to his righteous authority. Tbe love of mankind, and the fear of God, those very principles from which we trace the divine original of just government, would lead us, by all probable means, to resist every tyrant to destruction, who should attempt to enslave the freeborn soul, and oppose the righteous will of God, by defeating the happiness of man!
This, however, is to be a last resource; and none but the majority of a whole people, both in wisdom
and force, can determine in what cases resistance is necessary. In the scriptures, therefore, obedience is rightly inculcated in general terms. For a people may sometimes imagine grievances which they do not feel, but will never miss to feel and complain of them where they really are, unless their minds have been gradually prepared for slavery by absurd tenets.
From what has been said on these heads, I hope you will readily confess—that as soon might the rude chaos, or jarring atoms of certain philosophers, have jumbled into the order of the universe, without the forming hand of the Almighty architect, as men become fit for social happiness without brotherly-love, the fear of God, and regard for just authority.
Suffer me now to apply what has been said, by earnestly charging every one of this audience to a conscientious observance of these duties; for if there ever was a people, in a more peculiar manner, called to observe them, we who inhabit these colonies are that people. Being yet in our infancy, and surrounded with restless enemies, our strength, our success, and our future glory, depend upon our trust in God, our love and unanimity among ourselves, and obedience to that authority, which is necessary to collect our scattered rays, and pour them, with consuming force, upon the heads of our proud foes.
I shall not, at present, stay to exhort you farther to the first of these duties; Trust in God. It is the business of all our preaching; and the government of this province appeared of late so sensible of our entire dependence for victory upon the Lord of Hosts, that a day of public humiliation, to implore his aid and direction, was enjoined in terms that might do honour to any government. On that occasion, you heard how vain are all the inventions of men, when they seek not counsel of the Most High. You heard how the mighty have fallen, and how weak their boasted strength has been found, when they did not rest upon the living God.
What remains, then, is to charge you, and I am bound to charge you, to a sovereign regard for your civil constitution, and the just authority of your king. Without this we shall be as a body without a head, our strength uncollected, and ourselves an easy prey to every invader. And surely, if it be a duty in all cases for subjects to honour a king, vested with legal authority, and to support him in defence of that constitution they have chosen to be governed by, how much more must this be a duty to the best of kings, and best of constitutions! A king who is the father of his people, and the first friend of liberty! A constitution which is founded on common consent, common reason, and common utility; in which the governing powers so admirably controul, and are controuled by, each other, that it has all the advantages of all the simple forms, with as few of their inconveniencies as can be expected amidst the imperfections of things human.
In a discourse calculated to render our bencvolence as diffusive as light or air, it would ill become me to run into invectives, even against our worst enemies. But can we look round this great globe, and see such an immense majority of our species crouching under the galling yoke of a few human