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princes. Hear it, my Lord :-" Judah and Israel were many, as the sand which is by the sea in multitudes, eating and drinking, and making merry! And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig-tree, from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon.”* Behold the effects of peace and equity! How beautiful the picture! See a nation numerous as the sand, and happy as children making a holiday! No complaints of excessive population; none, of the want of bread! Peace poured out the horn of plenty ; poverty and want were banished from the borders of this happy land! King Solomon passed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom; and all the kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom.-And all the drinking vessels of king Solomon were of gold ; and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold; none were of silver; it was not any thing accounted of in the days of Solomon.—The king made silver in Jerusalem as stones, and cedar trees made he as the sycamore trees that are in the low plains, in abundance.”+ Such, my Lord, was the first kingdom in our world founded in truth and justice. The reign of Solomon lasted forty years, a space which, although brief, sufficed to raise the kingdom of Judah and Israel to a pitch of true greatness, and to diffuse among its people a felicity without parallel on our earth. The sight of such a fact suffices to fire the breasts of benevolent and patriotic men with the most intense indignation! Had the kings of Europe, for the last five hundred years, been wise and good, and their governments been pacific and just, what, by this time, might have been the state of its nations ?
* 1 Kings iv. 20—25.
† 2 Chron ix. 20, 22,
It will probably occur to your lordship, that what Solomon was among the Jewish, that Numa was among the Roman kings. The analogies are very remarkable; while the success of Numa demonstrates that, for purposes of human improvement, even defective and erroneous institutions of religion, administered by virtuous men, possess a power infinitely greater than all the infidel and atheistical philosophy of Europe. Numa was undoubtedly the Solomon of the Romans. In his early youth, he spent not his days in the pursuit of pleasure, nor in schemes of ambition, but in the worship of the gods, and in anxious inquiries into their nature and their power. When the Romans pressed him to accept the crown, his answer bespoke his worth and wisdom. “My genius,” said he, “is inclined to peace; my love has long been fixed upon it, and I have studiously avoided the confusion of war. I have also drawn others, as far as my influence extended, to the worship of the gods, to mutual offices of friendship, and to spend the rest of their time in tilling the ground and feeding cattle. The Romans may have unavoidable wars left upon their hands by their late king, for the maintaining of which you have need of another, more active and more enterprising. Besides, the people are of a warlike disposition, spirited with success, and plainly enough discover their inclination to extend their conquests. Of course, therefore, a person who has set his heart upon the promoting of religion and justice, and drawing men off from the love of violence and war, would soon become ridiculous and contemptible to a city that has more occasion for a general than a king."
* Plutarch's Numa.
This is, to say the least, strange language from such a man as Numa; and not less strange was the reception given by the Romans to these enlightened sentiments. They increased, rather than diminished, the popular desire. As Numa drew nigh to Rome, the senate and people, struck with love and admiration of the man, met him on his way; the women-always the chief sufferers from war-welcomed him with blessings and shouts of joy ; the temples were crowded with sacrifices ; and, according to Plutarch, “ so universal was the satisfaction that the city might seem to have received a kingdom, instead of a king.” During the lengthened reign of this extraordinary monarch,—a period of forty-three years, peace was never once disturbed. The effect of his wise and righteous government is thus described : “Not only the people of Rome were softened and humanized by the justice and mildness of the king; but even the circumjacent cities, breathing, as it were, the same salutary and delightful air, began to change their behaviour. Like the Romans, they became desirous of peace and good laws, of cultivating the ground, educating their children in tranquillity, and paying their homage to the gods. Italy then was taken up with festivals and sacrifices, games and entertainments ; the people, without any apprehension of danger, mixed in a friendly manner, and treated each other with mutual hospitality; the love of virtue and justice, as from the source of Numa's wisdom, gently flowing upon all, and moving with the composure of his heart. Even the hyperbolical expressions of the poets fall short of describing the happiness of those days.
• Secure ARACHNE spread her slender toils
The vengeful swords and once far-gleaming spears ;
Nor robs the eyelids of their genial slumber.' We have no account of either war or insurrection in the state during Numa's reign ; nay, he experienced neither enmity nor envy; nor did ambition dictate either open or private attempts against his crown."*
The reign of Numa extended three years beyond that of Solomon; and his death, which occurred when he was between eighty and ninety years of age, overwhelmed his subjects in unexampled sorrow.
6. The senators carried the bier, and the ministers of the gods walked in procession; the rest of the people, with the women and children, crowded to the funeral, not as if they had been attending the interment of an aged king, but as if they had lost one of their beloved relations in the bloom of life; for they followed him with tears and loud lamentations."+ These intense regards were not confined to his own people; surrounding nations “strove to make the honours of his burial equal to the happiness of his life, attending with crowns and other public offerings.”+ In all this, my Lord, we have a further illustration of the surpassing worth of moral greatness. Mankind, with all their errors, are never slow to appreciate it. Rome and her allies might well mourn the decease of this pacific king, for it was the speedy prelude to war and all its horrors. The misfortunes of his successors added fresh lustre to his character. Of the five who followed, three were traitorously slain, a fourth came to an untimely end; the fifth was driven from his throne, and lived long in contempt and exile. Tullus Hostilius, who immediately succeeded Numa, opened wide the fountain of
* Plutarch's Numa.
evil which had been shut for nearly half a century. He ridiculed and despised many of the best institutions of Numa, especially those of a religious character, as tending to render the people soft and effeminate, and to indispose them for war-the chief source, as he thought, of human glory.
The experiment of Numa was one of extreme importance both to the moral philosopher and the divine. It was made upon a mass of the most impracticable materials that were ever assembled under the form of society. We have only to think of banditti, bucaneers, pirates, and marauders,-of men of lost characters, desperate fortunes, of abandoned habits, of great boldness and personal bravery,---of men inured to conflict, blood, and slaughter, in order to form an accurate conception of the character of his subjects, on his accepting the crown. His biographer thus explains the process
of their civilization "Persuaded that no ordinary means were sufficient to form and reduce so high-spirited and intractable a people to mildness and peace, he called in the assistance of religion. By sacrifices, religious dances, and processions, which he appointed, and wherein himself officiated, he contrived to mix the charms of festivity and social pleasure with the solemnity of the ceremonies. Thus he soothed their minds, and calmed their fierceness and martial fire. Sometimes, also, by acquainting them with prodigies from heaven, by reports of dreadful apparitions and menacing voices, he inspired them with terror, and humbled them with superstition.”
The following statement by the biographer presents a fact of great moment in the history of idolatry. “His regulations concerning images seem to have some relation to the doctrine of Pythagoras, who was of opinion that