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1 KINGS, viii. 66. “ And they blessed
“ the King; and went unto their tents “ joyful and glad of heart, for all the “ goodness that the Lord had done for “ David, his servant, and for Israel, his
“ people.” SINCE the great Jubilee in the days of SOLOMON, to which these words refer, there has not, perhaps, been a more august festival before the Lord, than the BRITISH Jubilee, which we celebrate on this day.
To constitute a Jubilee, in the highest sense, there must be a knowledge of the true God, a pure faith, a people exulting in the favour of the Almighty, a people ani
mated by loyalty to their king, “ Peace “ within our walls, and prosperity within “ our palaces.” It will heighten the grandeur of the occasion, if the people be powerful and stand conspicuous among nations.
All these particulars centre with us. They are to be found in our nation to an extent and degree never known, perhaps, by any other people. At the present æra Great Britain stands conspicuous in the eyes of the world; she assumes a commanding attitude ; and has become, by divine providence, the constituted guardian, in a manner, of the religion and liberties of men. And, behold, while occupying this exalted station, she announces a grand Jubilee, to be celebrated on the occasion of an event which rarely occurs to great empires,--the arrival of the fiftieth year of her monarch's reign.
It is to be wished, that an important use could have been made of this event ; that the impression of it could have reached all nations; that the trumpet of our Jubilee could have been heard by all the world. It would have accorded well with the character of this day, that an illustrious act of national mercy had commemorated it for
In strict conformity to the name we have given it, EVERY DEBTOR, REALMS, OUGHT TO HAVE BEEN RELEASED ;
.* And, then, should we
* It is not intended that dangerous persons should be released, and let loose on society, but only that there should be an universal pardon of forfeited life, except in cases of blood, for which there was no pardon by the divine law; and that there should be an universal release of prissoners confined for debt, to be granted from the national Treasury.--- Whatever the sum might be, which should be required for this purpose, a loan would be as readily granted, and as little felt in the present circumstances of the nation, for this beneficent design, as for any other national object. In cases of large debt, there might be a compromise with the creditors, who, no doubt, would be desirous to meet the views of the government, and to evince their own generous and humane character individually.
have done as a nation, what we are disposed to do as individuals. For this was the character of the Jubilee ordained by God; and that Jubilee was but a type of the generous compassion and enlargement of spirit, which should animate the hearts of men under the grace of the Gospel. If it be objected, that such a celebration of this festival would have been too vast and magnificent in its nature, and without precedent for its magnanimous character, we would observe, that Great Britain is THE MOST ENLIGHTENED NATION IN THE MOST ENLIGHTENED AGE; that she is exhibited as a pattern to mankind, in religion, in justice, and mercy ; and that the noblest principles of religion and humanity might be expected to be exemplified on this occasion ; for this is an event which may not happen again, under circumstances so favourable to a grand and salutary celebration, during the ages of the world. Had our religion been so exemplified by an imperial act of the kingdom itself, it would have been a great and illustrious display to nations near and remote, of our principles and character. As it is, these noble principles have been exemplified by millions of individuals, spontaneously, though privately, throughout the land; by intelligent and enlightened individuals, in, perhaps, every province, county, parish, city, town and village, in the kingdom.
And it is probable, that the operation of the loyal and benevolent virtues on this day will give a new impulse to the national patriotism and beneficence, and tend to strengthen and confirm our attachment to our religion, to our king, and to our country.
The words of the text so fitly express the object of the present solemnity, that we may adopt them with but little variation. For we also are now assembled “ to bless “ the King, and to be joyful and glad of “ heart for all the goodness that the Lord “ hath done for the king, his servant, and for