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acts under the Sense of God's supreme Dominion, and knows that there is no proper legislative Power, but that of the Almighty; that the Part entrusted to him is a Ray issu"ing from the Divine Fountain ; he will so use his Power as not to disgrace the Giver of it, and exert it in Laws and Constitutions, worthy of the great Original from whence they flow : such Laws must always be Honour to the Throne, Safety and Profperity to the People.
With us the legislative Power is more happily administered than in any known Part of the World; and I may have Leave in this august Assembly, to congratulate with my Country, that she lives under no Law that is not of her own choosing: a Privi. lege, which is the Glory of Britain, purchased with the Blood of our Ancestors, and ought never to be parted with, but together with our own. But how is this Happiness completed, when we have a Princess upon the Throne, as ready to give Life to any Law for the public Good, as her People can be to ask it ; who takes no other Pleasure in her Power, but in making it beneficial to her Country; and then only thinks the reigns, when she can do good to Mankind!
Wholesome Laws, whatever Tendency they have to public Good, have no Effect, but as they are prudently administered, and vigorously executed; the Welfare therefore of Kingdoms does in great Measure depend upon the steady and wife Exercise of the executive Power: for though the Touch of the Sceptre may animate the Law, and give it Being; yet it is this Power which gives it Energy and Operation, and teaches it how to influence the Lives and Manners of the People ; how to make them at once good and happy. In the Management of a corrupt Ruler, it is oftentimes made a Snare to the Lives and Fortunes of the best Subjects; but where the Fear of God directs the Prince, the Law is always a Protection to the Innocent, a Terror to the Wicked. In all human Laws there is an Imperfection, which would often make Justice degenerate into Cruelty, were not the Rigour of the Letter left fubject to be moderated by the Reason and Equity of the Governor; for it being impossible to form a Rule that shall regard all the various Circumstances that attend human Actions, the Law can in many Cases consider one Action but in one Light, and annexes the same Punishment to
the fame Crime, wherever found, not confidering what it cannot foresee, the Aggravations or Alleviations which may arise from the Circumstances of Offenders : and yet in the Eye of Reason and Equity there is no truer Maxim than this, Duo cum faciunt idem, non eft idem ; from whence it comes to pass, that oftentimes the material Action, and the moral Action, that is, the Action considered in all its Circumstances, are in one and the same Instance of different Kinds ; in which Cafe the Letter of the Law may find a Crime, where Reason and Equity can find no Criminal; or at least not one deserving to suffer the Severity of the Law. This is the proper Field for the Exercise of royal Mercy; for arbitrary Mercy, that does not regard the Offender's Merit, is rather Humour than Goodness, and is destructive of the Constitution; whereas true Mercy always supplies the Defects of it : for the Mercy of the Prince is not opposed to the Cruelty of the Law (for the Law has no Intention to be cruel), but it comes in to relieve the Law against the Imperfections to which all human Constitutions are subject. Justice herself is blind, and wants the royal Touch, which gives
her the Eyes of Mercy to distinguish between the Crimes of Malice and Inadvertency.
From this View of the executive Power, it is easy to judge how great the Difference is between a Prince who rules in the Fear of the Lord, and one who has not God in all his Thoughts. Even Mercy, the choicest Flower of the Crown, and which has the kindest Aspect on the Subject, may in an ill Hand become oppressive to the People ; and so it always does when it is used to countenance or protect the Wicked against Justice ; and to set those who do not love the Law, above the Fear of it : but when the Sword of Justice is sent forth, not to execute the Will of Man, or serve his Passions, but to purge the Land from Iniquity, and to root out Oppression from the Earth ; when Mercy follows close behind, to screen the ignorant, the inadvertent, the unfortunate Offenders, who sinned not out of malicious Wickedness, from the rigorous Blows of Justice ; then may it properly be said, that Mercy and Truth are met together; Righteousness and Peace have kissed each other. : I should injure the Character of our excellent Queen, should I seem to labour in the
Application of these Praises to her, which are so much her own, that I doubt not but every one here has been beforehand with me, in blessing God for these rare Endowments of his Princess. Some Reigns, however full of Glory, yet give us a secret Horror, when we see our Annals stained with the richest Blood of the three Kingdoms ; when we see the Sword always naked, but cannot discern the Hand that guides it, and are left doubtful whether it strikes the Blows of Justice or Resentment. But Pofterity shall find no such Pain in reading the History of these Times, which will appear as one continued Scene of Glory and Happiness, and fhine like the Morning Light when the Sun riseth, even like the Morning that has no Clouds. And this leads me in the second Place to consider,
2. How great a Blessing a just Prince is to his People, which is represented, in the Text, under the Similitudes of the rising Sun, and the flourishing Grass springing out of the Earth.
Good Laws duly executed are as much the Happiness of the People, as they are the Support of the Crown; without them, Liberty would be our Ruin, and, instead of