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Happy is that people that is in
such a Case: Yea, Happy is that People whose God is the Lord.
MONGST the various Thoughts that present themselves to our Minds, none are more agree
able than those, which relate to our own Hape piness. There's a particular Satisfaction that attends both a Review of Blessings receiv’d, and a Contrivance for those we want; and this, besides the Pleasure of it, Providence invites us to this Morning. 'Twas not long since, that God was pleased to bestow a signal Blessing on this Kingdom on this Day: He then by a kind Hand led to our Throne, one who has prov'd a Nursing Mother to us her Subjects: And how can we better begin this joyful Day, than by considering the publick Mercies we share in, and what is further necessary to make us a happy Nation?
THIS Practice we have an encouraging Example of before us; for David, the sacred Penman of this Psalm, having gratefully remembred the Favours he and his People had received, and reckon d up, and pray'd for what he still defir'd, in my Text (according to our Transation) he anticipated their Happiness when his Requests fhould be granted : Happy is that people that is in such a Case.
IN treating of these Words, I fhall not confine my self to the State of Israel, to which they particularly refer; but shall beg leave to observe this Method.
I. TO Mhew you what Things are required to make a Nation or People happy.
II. HOW we may obtain and prolong these Blessings. And
III. THEN conclude with some suitable Reflections on the whole.
: I, I shat mention to you the Things that are required to make a People happy,
ist. ONE Thing required, is good Government, a Freedom from Licentiousness on one Hand, and Absolute Monarchy on t'other.
THE Beauty of the visible World consists much in the wise Disproportion of its Parts. To see an humble Valley, and then a tall Mountain, at once overlooking and defending it, is a very pleasing Prospect. And one of the greatest Ornaments to a Kingdom, is a proper Distinction in its Members : For a Body to be without a Head, or with one that overloads and opprelles it, is equally monstrous : And for a People to be without a Governour, or with one left to his own Rage and Fury, is equally grievous. Should Anarchy obtain amongst us, was every one to be his own Judge and Lawgiver, wę should run into endless Confusions; there would be no Safety or Security, but as 'tis amongst the Inhabitants of the Forrest, the Weak must fall a Prey to the Strong, and the Meek and Innocent to the more Cruel and Devouring. Was an unlimited Monarch advanced to our Thronę, one that was neither circumscribed by Law himself, nor gave any but his Will to his People, he may at plcąsurc act the Tyrant, and we must submit like tame Slaves : Nothing we poffest could be call'd our own; ibis arbitrary King, as the Prophet expresses it, i Sam. 8.
Might take our Sons, and appoint them for himself, our Daughters to be Confe&tionaries, our Fields, and Vineyards, and Olive-yards, even the best of them, and give them to his Servants; our Men-Servants and Maid-Servants, and goodlieft young Men and Alles, and put them to his Work, and we should be bis Servants. Then we should have no Incouragement for Increase or Improvement ; for when we had lain in our best Provisions, should this Lyon grasp it in his Paw, like the meaner Herd we must fly and leave it : Then we should have no Liberty or Freedom left, but should be forced to submit to any Chains by which he should confine or load us. To be plac'd therefore between these two Extremes, must be safest and most desirable. To be sway'd by a measured Scepter; to sit beneath a fixed and yet sufficiently exalted Throne, must be necessary to the Happiness of a People.
2dly. Another Thing required to make a People happy, is the pure Religion and Worship of God.
Let a Nation be cloathed with all the Charms of Wealth and Greatness; if it has nothing else to recome mend it, 'twill make but a poor and mean Figure. There's something to be regarded by Mankind, belides the external Ornament: The rational World must be judg’d, not so much by outward Appearance, as the internal Furniture and Accomplishment. Men have Souls as well as Bodies; and unlels they are handsomly adorned, they have but little, very little, to boast of. As long as Ignorance, Superstition, or Idolatry cloud a Na. tion, in vain does the Sun of Prosperity shine upon it. 'Tis not a grand Alliance, a brisk Trade, or Security from Enemies, that can eftablish the Happiness of a Kingdom: The Safety and Felicity of Societies, is owing to God alone: All the Mercies that fall on any part of the World, are dropt from Heaven; and tho they are sometimes, yet they are not usually rain'd indifferently on any Soil: But God, like a wise Husbandman, scatters his Favours most on that Ground that produces beft. If we trace the Footsteps of Antiquity, look into either fafred or prophane History, we mall find, that our Heae · venly Father has been very different in his Carriage to his Children: The Perverse and Stubborn have been feverely chastised, whereas the Dutiful and Obedient have been cherished, rewarded, and encouraged. When the Israelites, God's peculiar People, went astray from their Fold; God, their Shepherd, departed from them, suffered them to fall a Prey to such as worried and de voured them : But as soon as ever they discovered their Wanderings, and were willing to return to their ancient Pastore, he gladly received them, and willingly fed and led them again. When they turned not aside from following the Lord, but served him with all their Hearts, he for his great Name's Sake, would not forsake them: But if they did wickedly, they and their King were to be consumed, 1 Sam. 12. latter part of that Chapter. Solomon's Remark is continually verify'd, That tho' Sin is a Reproach to any pcople, Righteousness exalteth a Nation, Prov. 14. 34. In God's Church, as well as in his Temple of old, his Glory may be seen. Where the Ark is lodg'd, the People, like Obededom, are generally blessed. They who rightly bow at the Footstool, are mercifully regarded from the Throne : They who embrace God's Revelations, honour his Institutions, follow his Directions, add nothing to, nor diminish from his prescribed Worship; those are particularly and signally loved and favoured: Whereas they who reject those Discoveries he has made, and those Rules he has given ; or, if they receive them, are not content with their Plainness, but must adorn or compleat them by their own Inventions, surely such reflect on the Wisdom, question the Mercy, and usurp the Government of God, and fall one time or other be remarkably punished. Therefore the true, the pure Religion, is absolutely necessary to the Happiness of a People.