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Of the Revolution, &c.
159 cessity of putting extreme cases to elucidate the truth of our constitutional doctrine; but, though I make the largest allowances for the indelicacy, the indiscretion, the imprudence, the insolence, or the malice of this practice, still do I fee less evil in the consequences, than in one attempt to deny or difsemble the truth of the first principles of civil government.
Since this nation or community has de- Acts of parlia'posed its sovereign power with parliamentary aas of the poor
ple of England, deputies or representatives, there can be no act of parliament, which is not the act of the people of England ; nor can there be an act of the people of England, which is not an act of the parliament of England; whatever, therefore, may be said of the one, may also with strictness be faid of the other. If therefore this sense and meaning be properly attended to, little offence, or even difpleasure, can be taken at most of the propófitions, that have been lately hazarded by the different leaders or fomenters of the discontented minority. Thus, if we come truly and impartially to consider the three rights, which Dr. Price reminded his audience, at the Old Jewry, were gained by the revolution, we shall find nothing false in his politicotheologic affertion, but that we gained
tions are to be underitood.
them by the revolution; for the revolution gave no new rights to the gave no rights to the community, which the community.
community did not before possess; but, by affording an opportunity of calling these rights into action, like all other practical examples, it threw light upon the principles, from which the rights themselves originated.
The first of these is, the right to liberty of conscience in religious matters. I have before said, and, I hope, to the conviction of
my readers, that this is a right poffefsed by every
individual in such a transcendent and inPrice's propofi- defeasible manner, that he essentially holds
it independently of the community. The second is the right of resisting power when abused. Having before shewn, I hope also to the conviction of my readers, that all political power given or delegated by the community, is a trust, and consequently limited within certain bounds, it is evident and clear, that the community cannot be bound to submit to any excess of power, which they themselves have not afsented to. This afsent is formally given by every one, who continues to remain a member of that community, which delegated the power to the parliament; and it is this affent, that constitutes, the original compact between the governors and governed. The actual limitation of any
political power, is a metaphysical demonstration that it originated from, and depends upon a fuperior, who formed the limits. The transgreffion of these limits is a violation of the trust; it is either usurpation or tyranny, and consequently a direct breach of the original compact on the part of the governors; the governed cease to be bound to a power not assented to by them; there arises then a diffolution of the government, and the people have a right to resist the exactions of this assumed or usurped authority.
The third of these rights, which Dr. Price represents as gained or obtained by the revolution is, * The right to chuse our own governors, to cashier them for misconduct, and to frame a government for ourselves. The general substance of these propositions is certainly true; but the method, which this zealous apostle of liberty has adopted to convey the truth to his
Dr. Price, in the fame sermon, P: 35. 6 I would further direct you to remember, that though the revolu.
great work, it was by no means a perfect work; and that all was not then gained, which was necessary to put the kingdom in the secure and complete poffeffion of the blessings of liberty. In particular, you Thould recollect, that the toleration then obtained was imperfect; it included only those, who could declare their faith in the doctrinal articles of the church of England."
congregation, I must own, is rather of an infidious nature, and without judging very rafhly, we may be allowed to think it calculated to inspire his auditors with a discontented contempt for their governors, and excite them to an attempt to alter or subvert the present system and form of government. Whereas, since, as Milton says, the institution of magistracy is jure divino, I think I need not use argument to prove, that it is emphatically the duty of the ministers of God, to enforce from his sacred tribunal, the obligation of submitting to their authority. And, indeed, it must in justice be allowed, that this political evangelist does not leave his pulpit, without Thewing to his congregation, that he is fully aware of this first duty of his station. * “ There is undoubtedly a particular deference and homage due to civil magistrates, on account of their stations and offices; nor can that man be either truly wise, or truly virtuous, who despises governments, and wantonly speaks evil of bis rulers; or who does not, by all the means in his power, endeavour to strengthen their hands, and to give weight to their exertions in the discharge of their duty. Fear God, says St. Peter. Love the brotherhood. Honour all men.
Deference and homage due to civil magictrates,
king. You must needs, says St. Paul, be subjeat to rulers, not only for wrath (that is, from the fear of suffering the penalties annexed to the breach of the laws), but for conscience fake. For rulers are ministers of God, and revengers for executing wrath on all that do evil.” Were the whole tenor of Doctor Price's discourse conformable with this part of it, no other than the most desirable effects could have been produced by it; and in the encreasing duty and submission of his flock to the powers placed over them, would the fruits of their loyal pastor's address be discovered.
Mr. Locke, in the preface to his Treatise upon Civil Government, says; *“ he allows its juft weight to this reflection, that there cannot be done a greater mischief to prince and people, than the propagating wrong notions concerning government, that fo at last, all times might not have reason to complain of the drum ecclefiaftic." Now, if the congregation assembled at the Old Jewry understood and felt, as well as their pastor, that by the words, our own and ourselves, were meant and intended the whole community, completely represented by the king, lords, and commons, the first and third part of this