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but certainly looks at the other with horror. Every tumult, productive of mischief, gives the friends of arbitrary power an opportunity for introducing the military, of arguing against all popular interference in that very government which the people support by their industry, and which, according to the law of God, nature, and reason, in extremities they have a right to controul by their supreme authority. There may be cases of the last necessity, which I shudder to think of, in which nothing but the power of the people, acting by force, can maintain or recover their usuped rights. Such must occur but seldom. May our country never experience them! There can be no good reason assigned why government should not be, like every thing else, continually advancing to all the perfection of which it is capable. Indeed, as the happiness of mankind depends more upon well-regulated and welladministered government, than on any thing subordinate in life or in arts, there is every reason for bestowing all the time which every passing generation can bestow, in bringing government to its utmost point of attainable perfection. It is the business and the duty of those who now live, as they value their own happiness and the happiness of their posterity, to labour in the reform of abuses, and the farther improvement of every improveable advantage. Would any man be listened to with patience, who should say, that any useful art or manufacture ought not to be improved by ingenious projectors, because it does tolerably in its present state, satisfies those who are ignorant of the excellence of which it is susceptible, and cannot be altered, even for the better, without causing some trouble, for a time, among those who have been accustomed to the present imperfect and erroneous methods of conducting it? No; encouragements are held out for improvement in all arts and sciences, conducive to the comfort and accommodation of human life. What, then, in the first art, the art of diffusing happiness throughout nations, shall he who attempts improvement be stigmatized as an innovator, prosecuted as a seditious intermeddler, and persecuted with the resentment of those who find their advantage in the continuance of error, and the diffusion of abuse and corruption? However courtiers may patronize silly establishments, which claim a prescriptive right to folly, inutility, and even mischievous consequences, the common sense of mankind will revolt against them, join in demanding reform, and in saying of old customs, when become nuisances by alteration of circumstances, that instead of being sanctified by long duration, they are now more honoured in the breach than the observance. But let the reformation be gentle, though firm; wise, though bold; lenient to persons erring, though severe against error. Let her not alarm the friend of liberty by sudden violence, but invite all to the cause of truth and justice, by showing that she is herself guarded, not only by truth and justice, but by mercy. Let us show ourselves, in seeking political reformation, what we profess to be, a nation of Christians, if not philosophers; and let not a groan be heard amid the acclamations of triumphant liberty, nor one drop of blood sadden the glorious victory of philosophy and Christianity over pride.
The Christian Religion favourable to Civil Liberty, and likewise to Equality rightly understood.
You seldom meet with infidelity in a cottage. You find evil and misery there, as in palaces; but you do not find infidelity. The poor love the name and religion of Jesus Christ. And they have reason to love them, if they only considered the obligations they are under to them for worldly comfort, for liberty, for instruction, for a due consideration in civil society. - - - The rights of man, to mention which is almost criminal in the eyes of despotical sycophants, are plainly and irresistibly established in the gospel. There is no doubt but that all his creatures are dear to the Creator and Redeemer; but yet, from motives of mercy and compassion, there is an evident predilection for the poor, manifested in our Saviour's preaching and ministry. These are very striking words; “The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.” The instruction, the consolation, the enlightening of the poor, are placed with the greatest of his miracles, the resuscitation of extinguished life. Who, indeed, did trouble themselves to care for the poor, till Jesus Christ set the glorious example? It was a miraculous thing, in the eye of the world, that a divine teacher should address himself particularly to those who could not reward him with a worldly recompence. But he came to destroy that inequality among mankind, which enabled the rich and great to treat the poor as beasts of burden.
He himself chose the condition of poverty, to show the rich and proud of how little estimation are the trifles they doat upon,
in the eye of him who made them, and who can destroy them at his pleasure.
Let us hear him open his divine commission. The words are very comfortable, especially after reading the histories of the tyrants who have bruised mankind with their rods of iron. We find them in the fourth chapter of St. Luke.
“ And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias; and when he had opened the book, he found the place wherein it was written:
“ The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath appointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind; to set at liberty. them that are bruised;
« To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
“ And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down, and the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him,
“ And he began to say unto them, This day is the scripture fulfilled in your ears.
“ And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth : and they said, Is not this Joseph's son?”
-And soon after, “ All they in the synagogue were filled with wrath, and rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill, (whereon their city was built,) that they might cast him down headlong."
Thus their aristocratical prejudices prevailed over the first strong feelings of gratitude and grace. The spirit of aristocracy displayed itself here in its genuine colours; in pride, cruelty, and violence. Many of the scribes (the lawyers) and pharisees -were pro
bably in the synagogue, and their influence soon prevailed on the people to show their impotent malice against their best friend and benefactor. In all ages, something of the same kind is observable. The proud supporters of tyranny, in which they hope to partake, have always used false alarms, false plots, cunningly-contrived nicknames and watchwords, to set the unthinking people against those who were promoting their greatest good. When Christ began to preach, we read, in the seventh chapter of St. Luke, that the multitude and the publicans heard him; but the scribes and the pharisees rejected the counsel of God towards them. They, like all persons of similar temper and rank, flourishing by abuses, could not bear innovation. The most powerful argument they used against him was this question:—Have any of the rulers and the pharisees believed in him 2 In modern times the question would have been, Have any persons of fashion and distinction given countenance to him 2 Does my lord—or my lady—or Sir Harry go to hear him preach 7—Or is he somebody whom nobody knows?—Such is the language of the spirit of despotism, in all times and countries. Three hundred years elapsed, in consequence of these prejudices, before the gospel was recognised and received at court. And I am sorry to say that the court soon corrupted its simplicity. The pride of life, always prevalent among those who assume to themselves good things enough to support and comfort thousands of individuals equally deserving, could never brook the doctrines of Christ, which favoured liberty and equality. It therefore seduced the Christians to a participation of power and grandeur; and the poor, with their rights, were often forgotten, in the most splendid periods of ecclesiastical prosperity,