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profligacy, originating in this source, will be rapidly diffused through all the gradations of Society.
It is this condition of a people, this general depravation of morals, which is the last calamity that can befall a state--when the whole mass is corrupted, no excellence of Political Institutions, no wisdom of the Legislator, no justice of the Ruler, can be of any avail. The influence of law is always less powerful than the restraints of Conscience, and how, indeed, shall the laws of man be enforced in a Community where the Laws of God are set at defiance?
Such a State may for a time be distinguished by every external mark of prosperity-extended dominion, accumulated wealth, and successful cultivation of the arts—but its prosperity is not happiness : its magnificence and luxury, however imposing, are a poor and inadequate compensation for the absence of mutual confidence and mutual kindness, of temperance and contentment, of the dignity of virtue, and the consolations of religion.
The Ruler then who would be just to his people, whilst he approves himself the faithful and zealous guardian of their civil rights, will preserve their morals from the contagion of vice and irreligion, by "ruling in the fear of God;" by withholding his favor from the base and licentious; by exalting the wise and good to distinction and honor; and by exhibiting in his own deportment an example of those virtues which it is his duty to cherish in others ; remembering, that his responsibility bears a proportion to the height of his station, and that he who sits on a Throne is under peculiar obligations to holiness, as having to answer, at the great Tribunal of Judgment, not only for his own personal conduct, but for the influence of his manners and actions on the present, and future happiness of millions.
He who thus rules in the fear of God, shall doubtless be to his people was the light of the morning when the sun riseth, as a morning without clouds;" for they will receive from him, what are lastly to be considered, the benefits of good government.
The first benefit of good government is, that it places strength on the side of right, and assures to every subject (as far as this can be effected by human ability) the possession of his just claims, determining them by its impartial wisdom, and enforcing them by its irresistible power.
There are men who seem to imagine, that all political Institutions are only contrivances of the powerful for their own advantage. But this is the very reverse of the truth; for by means of these institutions, the weak are raised to a level with the strong, and the equality of Society is preserved. More generally, the benefits of Civil Government may be considered as flowing from
the superintendance which it exercises over the welfare of the Community; a superintendance, which averts, or abates an innumerable variety of evils, and secures a multiplicity of interests.
The application of political science to actual practice is embarrassed with infinite difficulties, from the complexity of considerations involved, and the uncertainty of all events which are affected, in any degree, by the passions or opinions of men. In the constitution of governments the most nicely adapted to the wants and dispositions of the people, some errors will always betray the imperfection of human nature, and some abuses, in the arlministration of public concerns, must be expected from its frailty.
But if he who undertakes to correct these defects, is disposed to consider every oversight as a mark of incapacity, every error as a proof of guilt ; if he seeks to persuade the unthinking and ignorant, that the laws under which they live cannot be good, because they are not perfect, he undermines the foundations of national strength, and, by taking from government the support of public opinion, endangers the best security for Civil Peace.
To fortify the authority, and recompense the cares of him who is placed at the head of a System thus difficult in its administration, and thus beneficial in its effects, both policy and justice require that his Station be invested with grandeur. His services to the State, if performed with fidelity, are not over-paid by the largest revenues and the highest honors. These are both necessary to maintain the respect by which Governments subsist, and due to the Benefactor of the People.
Yet are not these the things on which the greatness and felicity of Kings depend, and which constitute the cloudless morning of him that ruleth in the fear of God. The Prince who acts habitually on this great principle of religion, will find his firmest support, and his highest reward here on earth, in the veneration and gratitude of his Subjects.
Under such a Ruler, we have ourselves experienced the truth of this assertion. We have seen a religious reign, during more than half a century, improving the morals of Society. We have seen the Throne of England established by righteousness, amidst the wreck of surrounding Thrones, and while other governments, shaken almost to dissolution, were crumbling to pieces on every side.
We have seen the just Monarch, who ruled us in the fear of God, rewarded with the steady and zealous affections of his people ; retaining in his afflictive retirement their unabated reverence, followed to his Tomb by their sincere regrets, and beyond it by their grateful recollections.
On the Son, and Successor of this venerable King, now rests our hope of Britain's weal ; and if we may build our expectations of the future on our experience of the past, we have just ground for hope, in looking back to the eventful period of the Regency,
The Sovereign about to receive the Imperial Crown of his Ancestors, is not new to the cares and duties of his high Station.
When called to the exercise of the Royal Authority, he found the Country involved in a war, which threatened our very existence as an Independent State.
Through his stedfastness in the hour of peril, (under the Providence of God) that War has been brought to a conclusion, glorious to the National Fame and Character, perhaps beyond any parallel in the annals of our History-glorious, above all, in the moderation of the triumph-glorious in the magnanimity with which, undazzled by the splendors of Conquest, and unsubdued by the prospects of Ambition, the Victor confined himself to the only legitimate object of War, the achievement of a lasting Peace.
Under the government of a Prince, who has shown such fortitude in public dangers, and such wisdom in public prosperity, we have reason to anticipate all the blessings of a firm and prudent policy—we have reason to trust, that he will place his glory in the moral greatness of his Country, that the true interests of the Nation will be consulted by a Patriot Reign, and the Throne established in the hearts of a loyal and happy people.
Let us, then, in conclusion, implore the Almighty, of his infinite
mercy, to accept and confirm the solemn engagements which are made on this day in his presence ; let us beseech Him, in the ever-prevailing name of Christ, to multiply his blessings on the head of our Sovereign, and so to direct and prosper his Councils for the maintenance of true Religion and the good of his people, that he may long continue to hold the Sceptre of righteousness, in the abundance of peace and glory.