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2. Another subject of thankfulness is the increasing OPULENCE of the kingdom. Perhaps, at no former period of the world have the blessings of wealth and plenty been more generally, for more largely, distributed in a nation, even to the lowest members of society, than in ours at this time. We have certainly no record of such a general prosperity in the recent history of mankind. And the source of this wealth is obvious. Our commerce extends to the uttermost parts of the earth ; there is probably « no “ speech nor language,” where the British name does not begin to be known; and the produce of every clime is brought to our shores. The danger, indeed, is, lest opulence should produce luxury; and the products of other countries, being too much concentrated with us, should become, after long use, necessary, in a manner, to the comfort of our existence.
3. But there is a blessing of another character, snd of a higher order, and that is POLI
While we contemplate the dense clouds which envelope and darken the intellectual horizon of other nations, preparing them for that humiliating and abject servitude which nearly awaits them, we shall consider the preservation of our civil and religious liberties as a chief theme of our thanksgiving on this day. These liberties are not only preserved to us, but they seem to be strengthened
and confirmed by their duration. In what perfect harmony, for example, are those apparently discordant parts of our excellent constitution at this time; and how peaceable are those seemingly opposite interests which compose it! In every age of our history our conSTITUTION bath been extoled; but there certainly never was a period when it appeared in more beautiful proportion, or had attained so nearly to a ståţé of perfection, as the present. Who, then, was the author of this constitution of which we boast ? Was it the peculiar wisdom of the Danes which constructed it? or of the Saxons, or of the Normans, or of the natives of the island ? What is the name of the great legislator who conceived the mighty plan? Was it created by chance or by design? And now that it is formed, can any other nation execute a plan after the great model ? We know well by whose counsel and providence our happy government hath been begun and finished. OUR CONSTITUTION IS THE GIFT OF GOD. · And we have to acknowledge his goodness for this blessing, as we thank him “ for life, and breath, and all things." This
* Monsieur de Lolme calls the British constitution" the “ discovery of a most important secret.” ' It is not“ to be " ascribed to the confined views of man ;"_"to his imperfect
sagacity."-" The world,” he adds, “ might have grown
honour he hath done to our nation, in order that he might execute by us (we would believe) his own great designs, in the fulness of time. The divine wisdom hath ordained for us a constitution in which great power and pure religion grow up together ; an union which hath never been known to exist in a great empire, to an equal extent, since the commencement of the Christian era.
Now let us reflect a moment under what circumstances the various blessings above-enumer ated have been continued to us ;this domini, on, opulence, commerce, constitution, and li. berty-in short, this existence, as a powerful, free, and happy people. They have been preserved to us while the powers of the civilized world combined for our destruction, and have assailed our very existence as a nation. How strange would it have appeared to our fore. fathers, nay, how remote from all political calculation, even of recent times, had it been as. serted, that Great Britain would, one day, wage equal war with the whole of Europe ! and that, in the tempest of a revolution, convulsing the world, this nation should remain firm and unshaken, amidst the general wreck of mighty
old, generations might have succeeded generations, still seek
ing it in vain." See Mr. Biddulph's Sermon, on the Jubilee.
kingdoms! The government of Israel was a theocracy. God was their king; and he sometimes interposed visibly in their behalf, and fought for them from heaven. But surely if we admit the existence of a superintending providence at all, we must believe, that the dia vine interposition hath been exercised in fav. our of this country. What statesman, fifty years ago, would have believed that this nation ever could be what she now is, execute what she has done, or endure what she has suffered ! Surrounded by the flames of war for a series of years, she remains to this hour unhurt, untouched on her own shore! It is commonly said, that the most extraordinary event, in the annals of the world, is the revolution of France, and its suddenly-acquired dominion. But there is another event, which is, perhaps, no less remarkable; and that is, the DEFENCE of Britain against that power.
II. We have now to review those blessings of a religious and spiritual nature, for which we ought, on this day, to express our gratitude as a Christian nation. We have already noticed the préservation of the state, during a long period of imminent peril. We are now to express an equal gratitude for the continued preservation of the CHURCH. And here there are two sub. jects of thankfulness, first, that our national church remains sound and entire in her doctrines, and in her polity; and secondly, that true religion is increasing generally throughout these realms.
1. We have, in the first place, to adore the divine goodness, that the faith of our church hath remained impregnable and unmoved by the shock of infidelity. There was a time, even within the period of the present reign, when the progress of religious unbelief was awfully rapid amonst Christian nations. Infidelity was the germ of those revolutions which have destroyed the social and political relations of Europe. It is well known, that the
power which is now overwhelming kingdoms, first appeared in the character of infidelity. And its spirit, probably, still pervades the body, though it hath assumed a religious form. It hath assumed sucli á form necessity ; for a monarchy, which is a type of the government of God, cannot well subsist without the acknowledge. ment of a religion.
We have, therefore, to 'magnify the divine anercy that our church remains firm and unshaken in the doctrines of her founders ; in those scriptural doctrines which no national church of equal extent that we know of, in any age or country, ever exhibited in greater purity, or for a greater length of time. Survey the whole circle of Christian churches in the world at this day; contemplate, dispassionately, their individual character and efficiency, since the