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hocence and Happiness, he feem'd to SERM. have conquer'd all Concern for him- I. felf; and, like a true Father of his People, was chiefly folicitous for the Peace and Welfare of his People: His dying Words breathed nothing but Pity and Tenderness towards his Subjects, who were to furvive his Fall, and to feel the fad Effects of it. And, therefore, to thofe, who with weeping Eyes then beheld that bloody Scene, and to us, who with like Grief now look on, at a Distance, may we fuppofe the Royal Sufferer (confiftently with the Character he then maintain'd) to fay,--- Weep not for me; but weep for yourselves, and for your Chil
This, I am fure, is an Inftruction, which the Day it felf feems naturally to afford us, and which I fhall, therefore, pursue in both its Branches; fhewing you,
1. Firft, That we mifplace our Grief, if we employ it in bewailing and laB 4 menting
menting our Martyr'd Sovereign; And, II. Secondly, That the true End of these annual Humiliations is, to weep for our felves, and for our Children; to deplore the Guilt which our Forefathers contracted by this inhuman Deed, and which, we have Reafon to fear, is not even yet fully Expiated.
I. In the early Ages of the Church, the Custom was annually to observe thofe Days on which the Martyrs were Crown'd (fuch was the Language of that Time) not with dejected Looks, or any outward Expreffions of Sorrow; but with the Solemnities ufual on Birth-Days (and fuch alfo they were ftyled) even with all poffible Inftances of devout Exultation and Joy. Upon these Occafions, pious Chriftians flock'd to the Places, where those faithful Servants of Chrift flept, or had feal'd the Truth of their Testimony with their Blood: There
they held their facred Affemblies (as SERM. they afterwards built their Churches;) I. There they made their Euchariftick Oblations, and celebrated their Feasts of Love; gave Thanks to God for the exemplary Vertues and Graces, which adorn'd the Lives and Deaths of thofe holy Perfons, and excited themselves into like Degrees of Chriftian Zeal and Fervor.
Their Behaviour in these Cases should be the Rule of ours, and teach us to observe this Anniversary in such a Manner, as may render it most honourable to the Dead, and most useful to the Living. To that end, it will become us, not vainly to indulge our Grief, or our Refentments, in behalf of our much injur'd Prince; not fruitlefly to spend our Time in lamenting his Misfortunes; but rather to employ it in magnifying the Grace of God, which enabled him so constantly to endure them, and fo heartily to forgive the Authors of them; which arm'd him with such a wondrous De
SERM. gree of Meeknefs and Patience; inI. fpired him with fuch Christian Magnanimity and Courage, as made him fhine with a greater Luftre in the Depth of his Sufferings, than he did in his moft flourishing Circumftances; and put off his Crown after a more glorious Manner, than he first wore it on the Day of his Corona
Indeed, the Mind of Man, fill'd with vain Idea's of worldly Pomp and Greatnefs, is apt to admire thofe Princes moft, who are moft fortunate, and have fill'd the World with the Fame of their fuccefsful Achievements. But to those, who weigh things in the Balance of right Reason, and true Religion, it will, I am perfuaded, appear, that the Character of this excellent King, even while he was in his lowest and most afflicted State, had fomething in it, more truly Great and Noble, than all the Triumphs of Conquerors: Something, that rais'd him as far above the most prosperous Prin
ces, as they themselves feem rais'd a- SERM. bove the rest of Mankind.
Many Kings there have been, as happy as all worldly Felicity could make them; and fome of these have distinguish'd themselves as much by their Vertues, as their Happiness. But the Poffeffors of thofe Vertues, being feated on a Throne, difplay'd them from thence with all manner of Advantage; their good Actions appear'd in the best Light, by reafon of the high Orb, in which they moved, while performing them: Whereas, the Royal Vertues, which we this Day celebrate, fhone brightest in Affiction, and when all external Marks of Royal State and Dignity were wanting to recommend them. thers, perhaps, may have been as Juft, as Beneficent, as Merciful, in the Exercise of their Royal Power, as this good King was: But none furely did ever maintain fuch a majeftick Evennefs and Serenity of Mind, when defpoiled of that Power; when ftript of