Page images
PDF
EPUB

tal Glory, more by his Fidelity to his dear Athenians, than by his military Exploits ; and thought it the greatest Conquest of his Life, that his Country-men never had any Cause to lament under his just Conduct, or mourn in black Gowns ; till after his Death, at his deserving-Funeral. Plutarch observes, that a common Trespasser in this point, is his own Prisoner upon the fact committed, his own Tormenter, his own Judge, his own Condemner, and his own Executioner Himself. Self Consciousness, if sincere, needs no other Witnesses, nor Jury, nor Carnifex.

A N ambitious, wicked, unjust Man, either covetous or cruel, cannot long feast away his Conscience and solace it with Drinking, Gaming or Pastime into Oblivion ; but must tremble at last, fafting at the Table of Plenty and Pleafore, like flatter'd Damocles, under the naked Sword hanging over his Head by a single Horse-Hair. But, and if this harden'd Sinner can rejoyce yet, it is all forc'd Meat and feigned Mirth, to hide his Remorse: well-diffembled only in Imitation of those condemned Prisoners in the Dead Warrant ; that sometimes play at Cards or Dice with Halters about their. Necks, as it were in State, before they be strangled.

His Punishment indeed may be longer a.coming perhaps; but it is inevitable, without a hearty Penitence and a sufficient Restitution : the flower, the heavier it will fall at last; let it be never so lame. God's Revenge against Murder is not to be stinted to a Point of Time'; but it will certainly pursue and overtake the guilty Fautors, as well as cruel Accomplices of it ; as sure as Horace ever liv’d or writ an Ode. However, in the mean while, the Refusal of. doing Justice to injurid People, is a dangerous Piece of Injustice among sovereign Princes themselves, and has been fa tal to their short-liv'd Reigns. How often has it prov'd the Death or Undoing of the negli. gent Refusers ? Philip the First, King of Macedon, was Dain for it by Pausanias, a mean Person ; upon his Remifness in revenging the Wrong done bim by Antipater, Demetrius was abdicated and driven out of the Kingdom without a Battle, by a Revolt of his Army to Pyrrhus; for reje&ting the Requests of his Soldiers, and throwing the Supplications of his Subjects into a River. Henry of Sweden was depos’d by the Nobility, and the Government given to his younger Brother ; for stabbing a Gentleman that was asking him for Justice : upon which he liv'd and dy'd a Prisoner, or an exil'd Prince, without any Restoration that I ever yet heard or read of in History. How justly these Revolutions were effe&tually obtained, God only knows the Truth. There have been later Barbarities of this Nature in Europe. But what Need of any more Instances, which would over-swell the Bulk of this Volume ?

CRUELTY, on the other Side, more particularly, is a brutal Vice ; notoriously.abominable among Savages, and extremely odious to humane Nature. No People like such soure Sapces of Government, as Severity. Englijho Stomachs always had an Aversion against them. They love Fustice and Mercy well mingled, without Gall and Vinegar. Clemency is the truest Glory of a crown'd Head ; the chiefest Ornament of a . Diadem ; the furest Preservati: on of a Monarchy. As the wise Man fays, Prov. XX. Ver. 28. Mercy and Truth preserve

the

ibe King: and his Throne is upholden by Mercý. Observe M. Torquat us the Consul's over-great Cruelty, in cutting off his own Son's Head, for fighting valiantly out of his Rank; altho' be came-off with Victory over his Enemy. Copsider also Aufidius's over-much Severity, in Naying his own Son, with a barbarous Sarcasm in his Mouth, of unwishing his Generation and Nativity, for taking Part with Catiline, the Roman Conspirator; byt whether he design'd more than Julius Cafar did effect, and accomplish'd by restoring the original Form of Government again to his native

Country, let the Learned judge. Remark likewise Piso the Proconsul's crueller Fact than either of the Former, beyond Controversy, in condemning a poor Soldier to die for killing his Comrade, without ful Proof: For at the very Instant of Execution, the Fellow-Soldier came back again alive; whereupon the Captain, in Ho. nour, respited the Matter, and acquainted the Pro with it. But Piso was so inrag'd, that he put them all Three to Death, with the most inhumane Barbarity, as well as Abuse of his Authority and Power in Martial Discipline. Such murdering Cruelties deface the very image of Humanity ; cast the blackest Blemishes upon the Face of National Virtue; and would change qur Seats of Justice and Mercy and Judgment, into Butchers-Shambles or Slaughter-Houses. Hear the divine Alarum then of the inspir'd Prophet, Jer, XXII. Ver. 3, 4, 5. Thus faith the Lord, execute ye Judgement and Righteousness; and deliver the Spoiled out of the Hand of the Oppreffor: and do no Wrong, do no Violence to the Stranger, the Fatherless nor the Widow ; neither med innocent Blood in this Place. For if ye do this

Toing indeed, then shall there enter-in by the Gates of this House, Kings sitting upon the Throne of David

But if ye will not hear these Words, I wear by my Self, saith the Lord, that this House fall become a Desolation ; and be laid as wast as a Wilderness, as it follows in the Context. Let us therefore hearken to these judicial Threats, and our own temporal Deliverances from any future Usurpation, Capti. vity or Destruction! Inclemency, in a Word, by the Rule of Contraries, in Comparison of Royal Mercy or Compassion; is the most grievous, onnatural, and unfociable of all National Vices by Example. No Vice is more exempli. fy'd, either in facred or prophane History. No sin but Rebellion was ever more exemplarily punih'd by divine Vengeance. As to this point, concerning the Denonciations of God's Wrath against the unrighteous and unmerciful Go. vernours of the Earth; there are two excellent Chapters in the Holy Bible, Isa. XIV, and Ezek. XXI, too long to insert here: which I would recommend, as well-worth any serious Reader's Perusal at Leisure, upon this melancholy Profpe&t of Affairs.

II. EASINESS af Access will always be accounted one of the most glorious Chara&ters, either of a great or a good King. It sets-off all his Royal Virtues a-fluttering in the Eyes of the Beholder, upon the Approach of an humble Address. It surprizes the admiring Supplicant with a condescending Humility, and ennobles his Attendance by a willing Recepti

It makes him familiar with his people, and his People faithful to his Majesty in their Submillion. How gloriously Noble, and admira. bly Amiable must Affability and Courtesy ap

pear

on.

.

pear in a Prince; which immediately leads his loving Subjects into an obliging Captivity, by graciously hearing their Complaints of Injury; or Requests of Favour! Upon fuch great Graces or personal Civilities granted, theit absolote Obedience and Loyalty becomes a Debt, as well as a Duty; and the King is only their Creditor by his Royal Bounty, Condescension or Compassion. It has already render'd fome crown’d Heads in Foreign countries Famous during their Lives, and still brightens-up their immortal Memories with more Lustre in Chroe! nicle. When the meanest Subject can have immediate Access to his gracious Sovereign, and the Honour of being readily admitted, not only to deliver his own Addresses in Person ; but also to receive an Answer from the Mouth of the King himself, by a wonderful Humilia. tion: What an inexpressible Satisfa&ion of Mind must it needs be to the poor Petitioner He will be sure then to hear what he has to trust to, more than all the fair Complements, speedy Promises, and dilatory Performances of Court-Favourites. He can be no longer kept in Suspence, for Want of knowing his Supremni's final Resolution, which must be deem'd some sort of Happiness, though it prove perhaps to his Disadvantage: even by being put out of Pain, and dispatch'd from any farther Troubles, Fatigues, or Uneasinesses of a long Attendance in the lingring Expectation, and Dependance in Hope of some present Preferment or Relief. Happen as it will, suppose the worst, the e peditious Result will make him fome Amends for his Difappointmene,

ÉUT

« PreviousContinue »