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from exposure—no power can protect them from punishment. Yes, my brethren, whether such princes will hear, or whether they will obey, verily there is a God who judgeth the earth. That God weigheth actions in his own righteous balancefrom eternity to eternity he is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Great joy, then, must it be to us, that while we pay the tribute of commendation due to our sovereign, we can at the same time look back with affection and respect to those relatives who have lately been summoned to their last solemn account. Scarcely have our tears ceased to flow for the loss of a princess more extensively perhaps, and more unfeignedly beloved through every class of the community than any person of the same rank whose memory is come down to us. Within a few days before the demise of his kind father, a prince of the blood paid the last debt of nature ; and surely, as Englishmen and as Christians, we must remember, with the highest satisfaction, that by his good conduct he endeavoured to expiate the frailties of youth, that with a kind of punctuality and sensibility by no means common among princes, he had been anxious to lessen his own personal gratifications for the benefit of his creditors; that within the doors of his own house he was a kind master, a faithful husband, and a tender father; and that in his external intercourse with society he was eminently distinguished as the active and ardent patron of many charitable institutions. And can it be doubted but that the judgment, the feelings, and the habits of a grand-daugh
ter and a son were to the very
affected by the near view and the frequent contemplation of moral excellence in their illustrious relative?
From the particulars just now stated to you, some practical inferences may be drawn for our own edification. We see that no earthly grandeur can shield the possessor from that stroke of death, to which we are ourselves exposed. We see that a power of bestowing wealth and titles upon favourites or ministers, or heroes, has a less firm hold upon the love and reverence of mankind, than the habitual exercise of virtue. If, then, our sovereign kept a watch over the treacherous or the violent impulses of his passions, we, my brethren, must find, in the contemplation of his self-command, additional motives for shunning sensual excesses. In the ordinary transactions of life, in the structure of a house, in the choice of furniture or situation, in the culture of a farm, or the decorations of a garden, in the purchase of a picture or a statue, and even in the form and colour of a garment, you would find, and be almost vain of finding, increased pleasure, if you could say, that the taste and judgment of a sovereign resembled and had guided your
But why should you dissemble from yourselves or other men, the honest pride you might feel, that
had been more resolute in struggling with your irregular appetites, because you remembered that they had been successfully resisted by a fellow-creature, more exposed to their assaults than you are accustomed to be in your humbler situation?
Happy, then, most happy will it be for of my hearers, if upon meeting the personage whose death we deplore, at the awful tribunal of our common Judge, you, in the hearing of angels, archangels, and the spirits of just men made perfect, should proclaim aloud, that in escaping from many dangerous temptations, in multiplying the comforts of your wives, your children, and your domestics, in promoting habits of temperance and industry among your inferiors, and encouraging your dependants, your neighbours, and your friends to be grateful to their Redeemer, and obedient to their God, you had been animated by the example of your beloved and revered King.
ON THE OPENING OF THE WINDOW IN HATTON CHURCH.
DEUTERONOMY xii. 1–4.
If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or dreamer of dreams. For the Lord thy God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your
soul. Ye shall walk after the Lord your God, and
fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.
heart and your
Upon many profound and comprehensive questions which concern the credibility and efficacy of revelation, the authority of the teacher is no less to be kept in view than the truth of the doctrine. Where a proposition is laid down which clashes with our clear and sober conceptions of right, we may justly argue from unsoundness in the precept to imposture in him who delivers it. But the coincidence between a duty presented to us and our previous apprehension of moral rectitude supplies no argument, at once direct and decisive, in favour of any extraordinary mission in him, who teaches that duty with precision, or urges it with earnest
* June 1794.
The claim to supernatural authority, being itself extraordinary, must be supported by appropriate and peculiar evidences; and so far as the history of human affairs, or the reflections of the human understanding have hitherto conducted us, that evidence is to be found only in miracles or prophecies, which are themselves a distinct species of miraculous interposition. Wherever, then, a religion, professing to rest on this broad and solid basis of miracles, challenges our belief, it is our right and our duty to examine the proofs by which it is accompanied. But when the validity of those proofs is once admitted, the authority of the teacher is unalterably established, and every pretension that would weaken what he has commanded, or every injunction which contradicts what he has asserted, is to be heard with distrust and jealousy, or rejected with scorn and indignation. We know, indeed, that the facts which he has communicated to us involve no necessary impossibility, and that the rules he has laid down are approved by our moral sense ; and this knowledge, according to the general laws of association, may strengthen our confidence. But granting the same advantages to the competitor, allowing his assertions not to be clogged with any higher improbability, and his directions not to be debased by any internal impurity, we are still bound to reject such claims as would destroy the authority of his predecessor, unless we suppose God to be