This volume contains two separate and entire series of Sermons: the one, upon the Conspiracy of the Gowries, preached upon the fifth of August, consisting of eight Sermons; the other, upon the Gunpowder Treason, preached upon the fifth of November, consisting of ten.
The Sermons in the first series were delivered at intervals between the years 1607 and 1622, both inclusive, before King James I. at Rumsey, Holdenby, Burleigh near Oakham, in the Cathedral Church of Salisbury, and at Windsor. The last Sermon, for 1623, was only prepared to be preached, but was never actually delivered. The whole may be considered as exhibiting in a clear and distinct light, the original source and subsequent derivation of kingly power; the sacredness of the persons of princes, as the anointed of the Lord; the protection afforded them from above, in the discharge of their royal functions; the extreme and desperate wickedness of those who presume, on any pretence whatever, to rise up in rebellion against their authority; and the certainty of drawing down the Divine vengeance upon their heads, and upon their posterity, if they attempt to do so. The arguments in support of these views, are for the most part drawn from Holy Scripture, supported by the authority of Catholic Fathers, and the decrees of Councils.
The Sermons in the second series were all delivered at Whitehall, before King James I., between the years 1606 and 1618, both inclusive. They are in some respects similar to the preceding, particularly as regards the rights of Kings; and are mainly occupied in the consideration of God’s infinite mercy in preserving the King and Parliament from the atrocious designs of traitorous conspirators, and of the necessity of keeping up a thankful remembrance of this great deliverance; of the lesson to be learned from the rebuke given to the disciples, who would have called down fire from Heaven upon the Samaritans; of the divine commission with which Kings are entrusted by the King of Kings; of the duty of fearing God and the King, and avoiding the seditious; of the causes to which the failure of the conspiracy in question is attributable, and of the various duties, both public and private, consequent upon the experience of this signal act of mercy.
Such is a brief outline of these discourses; and as they are conversant with principles of scriptural and therefore unchanging truth, they are not of mere temporary interest, referring to past generations with which we have no connection; but are calculated for the instruction of all who are willing to submit to the divine guidance, in their public and social, as well as in their individual relations.
The Editor has to acknowledge his obligations to the Rev. C. Seager, M.A., formerly Scholar of Worcester College, and also to the Rev. J. B. Morris, M.A., Fellow of Exeter College, for revising the Hebrew quotations which have occurred in the course of this volume.