Page images


SER M. Protestant Nation, in the Hands of a Popish

Prince : who at length took Poffeffion of the
Throne, to which He was thus called.

Nor had he enjoyed the Power long, before He obliged His Friends with frequent Trials of the Sincerity of their Professions. For, as it appears, He had so much better an Opinion of their Integrity, than his Predecessor had, that He really thought them in earnest; and resolved to hazard all, with a Dependence upon the Honesty of their Solemn Promises of Unbounded Submission. This, indeed, proved fatal to Himself in the Event: But; in all human Appearance, was much more likely to have

proved fatal to the whole Nation.

If We stop a little here, and consider this Unhappy Prince, possessed of all the Power our Laws could vest in Him, and flattered with a Power above all Laws; and arıned, in all human Appearance, with a sufficient Force to put his Resolutions in Execution ;: We may ask any Protestant in the Nation, if He will but put

himself into that Posture of Mind, in which every one felt himself at that Season, What was then become of the Blessing of this Day? And, what would it now have availed Us, that our Forefathers saw their Legal Con= ftitutio restored to them, and rejoiced to see it; if the very Restoration of it had proved, in



[ocr errors]

you confi

the Ifsue, the Ruine and Destruction of all the SERM.
Legal Rights of their Posterity.

But the Grand Design of Providence extend-
ed much farther. There is a Principal Part of

behind : And this was, to make it a lasta
ing Blessing. And the Way was laid for this,
in a Method, if you consider it in itself, the
most easy and natural; as Providence always
loves to work by human Means: if you consi-
der it in that great Variety and Viciffitude of
Circumstances attending it, the most instruc-
tive and useful to a Nation : And if
der it with regard to the many Probabilities that
seemed to weigh against the Success of it, lit-
tle less than miraculous. When it was fixed
by Providence to bring about the Restoration of
the Royal Family, and the Legal Constitution of
this Kingdom; and to continue it a Blefing to
the Generations to come; it was necessary, in
order to this, to make fuch a Disposition of
Affairs, as might be suitable, and adapted, to
the Accomplishment of it. But first, the Na-
tion was to feel many and various Trials; ma-
ny Viciffitudes of Hope, and Fear; many
Conflicts between the Attempts of Popery, and
Slavery, on the one hand, and the Strugglings
of true Religion and Liberty, on the other; be-
fore fo

a Work could be concluded. And
then, at length, the Embarrassments of Hu-



ser M. man Madness were to be disentangled, and all

the Plots and Efforts of Cunning and Power, united, in order to intail a Curse


all Pofterity, where God designed a Blessing, were to be dissipated, and scattered into Air.

With a view to this, a Prince was born Some Years before the Restoration, that He might be ripe, both in Age, and Abilities, for the performing the great Design, just when those Attempts should be ripening into Execution: And was afterwards, by a kind Difpofition of Providence, to make the way the easier, married into the Same Royal Family, from which He descended. And accordingly, when the Scene of Ruine was opened fo plainly, that no Eye was then too blind to see it, He

appeared in all the Maturity of Wisdom, and Vigor of Action: A Prince, inured to Labours and Hardships from his Birth; prepared for the great Work, by his personal Accomplishments'; directed to it, by his Descent, and his Marriage ; and qualified for it by his Interest and Authority Without, as well as by an Uncommon Greatnefs of Soul Within. Such a peculiar Conjunction of every thing defirable in the Person to Undertake a Work, hazardous enough, one woold imagine, to deter the Greatest Minds from thinking of it ; and Such a Disposition of the various Interests of the States and Kingdonos


of Europe, as both required and supported the serM. Undertaking; must appear very surprizing, in XI. lo critical a Moment of Time: When, if we speak within the compass of Human Views, nothing but so unparalleled a Combination of Circumstances could have afforded even the least hopes of Success.

The Event of this was happy beyond Expression : And the Madness of Popery and Arbitrary Rule, was stopped in the Vigour and Warmth of all its Power, and Hopes. But even yet, Something farther was wanting ; and That was, to fix the Succesħon to the Crown, in such a Manner, as the Experience of Feeling, and Common Sense in Judging, of necessity directed the Nation to do. This Day must have been marked with something very different from a Bleffing, if the Revolution had stopped where it began; and, after a little prefent Refpite, had delivered the Nation back again, into Popish Hands. And where indeed should We now search for the Blessing of the Restoration; if We did not see it, and feel it, in the Blesing of the Protestant Succession?

This was the Great View of Heaven, in its first Design. And, therefore, we see with Pleasure, that when it was resolved by Providence to make this Day memorable, by the Restoration of the Royal Family, and our Legal Constitu


SERM. tion, it was resolved by the same good ProviXII. dence, that, in the very fame Year, upon the

very Day before this Great Work was to be accomplished, a Prince should be born, in whom that Restoration, should in due Time centre, and to whom alone it should be reserved to compleat the Blessing for Us, and to transmit it down secure, to our Posterity, in his own Illustrious House.

This, I say, is the whole Scene of Providence which this Day opened ; and which, taken in one View, can alone be said to make it a Bleffing to Us, or to our Children after Us. If

you view the Restoration, without the Revolution, and the Protestant Succession; it leads you

directly to a Popish Prince, holding an Arbitrary Hand over all

Liberties : tearing up the Fences of all your Laws; fixing all Right in his own Will and Power; and persecuting all his Subjects into the Exercise of his own, Superftitious, Idolatrous, and Cruel Religion. And this is the whole of the Blessing, in which you would see it end at last. A Blessing, which may


be a fit Reward for the Slavish Bigotry of Papists ! But for Protestants fit only for Those of them who deserve it. And They deferve it, who chuse it ; whom no Experience, no Consideration, no Miracles of Providence,

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »