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ECCLESIAST. X. 17,
Blessed art thou, 0 Land> when thy King is the Son of Nobles:—
IT has been rightly obscrv'd, by the Masters of Reason , that Moral and Political Aphorisms are of deserved Credit, if usually, and for the most part they prove true: That they cannot ^universally hold in every instance, is evident from the Nature of Human Actions which, being nothing else but the uncertain, and, as it too often happens, perverse and unaccountable Determinations of the Will, must for that reason leave a great Contingency in the issues and events of things. Nevertheless, ought they still to be allow'd good in the design and intention of them because they are all fram'd, or ought to be, with regard to the highest probabilities, and most natural consequences of things; They proceed upon a Supposition, that Men in such and such Cases would always act as became themselves, agreeably to the directions of Right Reason: So that, were it not thro' the Violence of some blind and headstrong Appetite or Passion, that we.'are at any time diverted from the steady and regular conduct of our Actions, these proverbial Sayjngs would be verified in every particular. To
B instance instance in that, of this fame Author of the Text, in Prov. 22. Train up A Child in the way he Jhould go, and when he is old he will not depart from it a
Rule of singular benefit and advantage to Mankind} for what more likely Method can be contriv'd to engage Men in a Good Life, rhan to initiate them early in the Paths of Vertue, so soon as Infancy mall jtive way to the Season of Instruction? Yet this Course doth not alway meet with the like Success) even Solomon himself stands recorded in Holy Writ as an Exception to his own Rule. 'Tis not to be doubted that he was train'd up in the Way he mould go-, for he was under the Counsel and Direction, and, which was more, the influence of a pious Example in his Father 'David; and if this had been too little } yet that measure of Wisdom, wherewith he was endow'd beyond other Men, as also that strict ^ngs Prohibition, from the Mouth of God himself, to go after other Gods, might have supplied even the defect of Paternal Discipline, had that been wanting s nevertheless, as we find, by that short account Kings we haVC of his Life, he revolted from the true God *' to serve strange Gods, and fell into Idolatry. Thus also must it be remark'd with relation to. that Political Observation in the Words before us: That, altho* History may afford instances, where Nations have not been happy underPrinces that were nobly descended j yet tnis ought not to infringe the credit of the Aphorism i because the Condition'of any people may, at sometime or other, be distress'd and pitiable i, and yet the particular Form of their Gor vernment in no w^iq faulty, or defective. Wherever then Kingly Rule- and AutH^i^yJhaS; obtain'd, so qualified, as the Text mentions,' without the happy
consequence there aslign'd i whatever in that case may have obstructed the good influence, and hindered the desireable effects of it, ought not to be charg^upon any suppos'd inconvenience in that particular Form i since it may arise, and upon examination will be found to do so, from some one or other amongst a Variety of Causes equally incident to any kind of Polity whatever. The Truth then of Solomon's assertion is not affected by a few exceptions, and that Land may with reason good be pronoune'd happy, whose King Is the Son of Nobles.
In discoursing upon which Argument, I shall endeavour these two things.
I. First to illustrate the Truth of the Wife-Man's Assertion the Text.
II. Secondly to apply it to our own Nation, by examining how fat our Government resembles that, which He declares most conducive to the happiness of a Community. ■•
I. First to illustrate the Truth of the Wise- Man's Assertion in the Text j and this I shall endeavour by shewing,
I. First, that Monarchy, or where the Supreme Power is lodg'd in the hands of one, is, in its own Nature, the best Form of Government.
II. Secondly, that the Good and Welfare of the Subject is best provided for under this Form, when the Prince is of High Birth, and Noble Extraction.
r » ':J .1f; I-.-.. '■ Ijiu I. First, Monarchy in its own Nature is the best Form of Government. That Government in general .. i B i is is absolutely necessary for the preservation of Society* that it is the Great Column of the World, the Pillar that supports it from falling asunder, is a truth confess'd by all j at all times by Sober Men, sometimes by those who delight in Disorder and Confusion j for when they shall have serv'd themselves of what either their Ambition, Revenge or Avarice prompted them to > when they have gain'd their end, they desire forest quiet, and to be unmolested > and it is Government alone that can secure to them this: not insisting then upon this undoubted Truth } I proceed to examine what kind of Government is best able to recommend it self to a Society: And here I shall not descend to a particular comparison of the Advantages, wherein the three usual Forms thereof, Monarchy, Aristocracy and Democracy exceed each other •, but only enquire which ought to have the preference of the other; Kingly Government, or a Common-wealth; and which best provides for the Welfare of a Nation } to have the Supreme Power fix'd in one, or in more.
That Monarchy was the most ancient Government of the World, .we have rhe joint testimony of Sacred and Civil History, and it is equally certain that it has been of Universal extent: for there is no People, Nation or Language: but what is, or has been under if, a plain argument thatit is most agreeable . and natural to Mankind.
Wherever then any Popular Government hasobtain'd, if we trace its rife we shall find that it was in trodue'd by Ambition and Faction> and founded on Usurpation and Rebellion.
The first instance we have of a popular State was at Athens^ and not long after, other Cities of Greece ran that way: but what thr6 dissensions among themselves, whereby very bad Men came to bear Rule-, and contentions with their Neighbours for priority, Justin.lib. they never Were quiet till they were swallow'd up by * caP- lthe Macedonian Empire. Hie Greek Philosopher Aristotle, who liv'd near enough to those cimes, to DcReput,. be acquainted with the transactions of them, has +.ap. this remark concerning them, that the firjt Tolitj>, or 'H Common-wealth amongst the Greeks, after their***?*TM' Kings -mere laid aside, was of the Souldiery so that»»« "Salt appears, they came at last to be govern'd by aa^^^ Army, a fort or Government not much to be envied or applauded. Should we be oblig'd to consider the "* **'•»* Romans, who upon the expulsion of their Kings, having erected -a Common-wealth, made so great a figure in the World'tis well known, they continued not for any long space of time under the some Model, many were the Changes and Alterations of State, many were their Mutinies, and popular Insurrections, and more frequent would these have been, had nor their Wars abroad found them other employment.
In short they were never sctled, till the Administration of affairs did revert into its ancient Channel, and their Kings under the Name of Emperors did revive. And, which may farther be considered in behalf of the antient way of Rule which they abolish'd-, when upon any Emergency, they found themselves constraint, as frequently they did, to entrust the Supreme power with a Dictator, so often, did they tacitly confess the expediency and usefulness of Kingly Authority j to the remains of which aamongst them, they may truly be said to have ow'd all the Greatness they did arrive to-, for 'tis observ'd of them, by one of their best Historians, to this.