Page images
PDF
EPUB

be told, that we owe a regard to our own consciences, as well as theirs, and that though

troversy, between the kings of England and Scotland, and commanded king Edward of England either to give up his claim, or to send his procurators to the apostolic see, to shew his right, and to receive such orders from the pope, as justice and equity might require. The lords and commons then assembled in parliament, at Lincola, sent Boniface this answer, on the king's behalf"Whereas our most dread lord Edward, by the grace of God, the noble king of England, caused your letters to be read openly before us, touching certain occurrences of state, between him and the king of Scotlaud, we did not a little marvel at the contents thereof, so strange and wonderful, as the like hath never been heard of.

We know, (most holy father) and it is well known in this reaim, and also to other nations, that the king of England ought not to make answer for his right before any judge, ecclesiastical or secular, by reason of the free estate of his royal dignity and custom, without breach, at all times, inviolably observed. Wherefore, after treaty had, and diligent deliberation, this was our resolution, —that our king ought not to answer in judgment, nor to send procurators or messengers, to your court, seeing that tendeth manifestly to the disinheriting of the right of the crown, the overthrow of the state of the kingdom, and the breach of the liberties, customs, and laws of our fathers, for the keeping whereof we are bound, by the duty of an oath, and will (by God's help) maintain and defend, with all our power and strength." Dated at Lincoln, Anno Dom. 1301, & Anno Edvardi primi 29. The christian has this important lesson to recollect

T

we rejoice in that toleration which defends and protects them in the full exercise of their religious worship, we see no reason to part with our own security.

and practise, obedience to the laws, and support to the magistrate in the execution of them. This is his duty, and it is his safeguard, - for rebellion against lawful authority, upon any plea, is as the sin of witchcraft. It is a man's entering into a league with Satan, against the order of nature and providence, and the well-being of mankind, and his own soul. The contriver of revolutions, and the beginner of civil or religious strife in a country, is as one who letteth out water from an em. bankment of the sea,-- he drowns the fields, and meadows, and villages, in the neighbourhood, and is soon after seen himself, a carcase floating upon the borders of the food.

In the history of the primitive saints, we read of many who were slain, for the truth's sake, of none who slew others for the sake of truth,-can we suppose that Peter, the pretended founder of the Romish church, would have attempted to depose a lawful sovereign, for not listening to his instructions ? Do we find any direction, or encouragement to such a thing, in any of his writings ? his zeal once induced him to draw his sword, and cut off the bigh priest's servant's ear, yet I believe he never could have been persuaded to become a Faux, a Garnet, or a Catesby. His master had taught him a better lesson, "put up thy sword again into its place. He that taketh the sword shall perish with the sword.”

Of all the civil constitutions under heaven, the British is demonstrably the best. It has been long tried, and stood the rudest tests ; the lapse of ages tends only to invigorate and render it more effective. It is, through its excellence, under the Almighty, that an inconsiderable island has acquired the resources, energy, and strength of the mightiest continental empire. It is the object of God's peculiar care ; because it is most like his own administration.* It is an honor to be born under it, a happiness to live under it, and a glory to defend and support it. It is like that mighty tree described by the prophet, widely diffused in its roots, and vast in its stem. Its branches are spread over all the earth, and under them, fowl of every wing find shelter. It is the envy of the nations of the world, and should be the boast of its own sons-God alone can overthrow it, but he will not destroy the work of his own hands. It is the nursery of every thing pure in religion, sound in policy, good in law, wise in counsel, deep in learning, and sublime in science, and, let its enemies know it, resistless, in might. Britons, value your privileges, guard your constitution, and protect your king ; add the sensibilities of love, to the duties of loyalty, and pray with fervent supplication, that his remaining course may be like that of the summer sun, when he sets at last, slowly and serenely in the west, amid the blessings of a grateful world.

* See a loyal, ingenious, and learned Lecture on the Origin and End of Civil Government, by Adam Clarke, LL.D.

[ocr errors]

CHAPTER VIII.

ON THE LORD'S SUPPER.

This do in remembrance of me.

Luke xxii. 19.

Tue foundation of all religion, is the love and fear of God. His will is the rule of our conduct; it is generally evident from the nature of his laws, that they are holy and intended for our benefit. It is always to be concluded that they are so, from the consideration of his purity, wisdom, and good

But whatever we may know concerning them, they demand our obedience. He is the fountain and the measure of truth and good. He is the sovereign lawgiver. The perfection and happiness of his reasonable creatures, depend upon their conformity to his will.

ness.

Our holy religion, by its doctrines and precepts, marks out to us, one plain line of duty, it presents it more largely to our view

« PreviousContinue »