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fail to bless the Founder of an institution, that has thus vindicated the rights, and improved the affections of human nature; that has shown you how you may blend the softness of pity, and the nobleness of generosity, with the vigour of resolution ; how you may rise above fear and pride at the same instant, and superadd to the defeat of your enemies the yet greater conquest of yourselves ? - Let it never be forgotten, that when the bravery of this nation had, in the last war, overcome the forces of France, the piety of this nation cloathed and fed her prisoners.
Believe me, Gentlemen, nothing can be more unjust than the aspersion cast upon Religion by her adversaries, when they alledge, that she contracts and depresses the soul, by enslaving ic. to false terrors and selfish cares. Such indeed is the character of Superstition, her wretched counterfeit: but her natural and genuine tendency is the very reverse. While the expressly calls upon her followers 66. to “ be of good courage, to quit them like “ men, and be strong; to resist unto blood, “ striving against fin; and even to lay 66 down their lives for their brethren,” if necessary; she kindly delivers them from those fears, anxieties, and sordid passions, that would cramp and debase their hearts, and inspires them with disinterested benevolence, virtuous resolution, inward serenity, and immortal hope : or, to give you her description in three words from one who knew her well, she is “ the Spirit of “ Power, and of Love, and of a Sound « Mind.”
It has indeed been lately afferted by a sprightly writer who pleads her cause, that Valour, or active courage, is totally incompatible with the genius of Chriftianity. But he forgets that valour, like many other qualities, is fanctified and meritorious, or the contrary, just as it is under right or wrong direction. He “ objects not to the
« praise and honours bestowed on the va“ liant by those who enjoy safety and af“ Auence through the intervention of their " dangers and sufferings.” But suppose them to be actuated in this case by. benevolent and pious principles, (and certainly the supposition is not impossible) fall it yet be said, that they cannot be.christians ? The moral virtues themselves are not recognized by the Gospel, unless they are influenced by its precepts, or cultivated in subserviency to its ends. What is often esteemed valour, we readily. confess, has done infinite mischief among mankind : but the virtue, which properly deserves that name, has nothing to do with the fierceness of a savage, or the barbarity of a gladiator, or the impious desperation of a suicide, or the insensibility and turbulence of a Charles the Twelfth, or the Spirit of conquest in an Alexander the Great, as he was erroneously styled, or in any other public or private robber and destroyer whatsoever; nor yet with those laws of honour, as they are most absurdly called, which prompt a man in cold blood, with much form and deliberation, to affault the life of another, perhaps a companion, perhaps a benefactor, perhaps the father of a numerous family, perhaps a : person with whom the welfare of a community is nearly connected, and to hazard his own for a punctilio.- What shall I say more?- True valour has nothing to do with any kind of bravery that is not guided by the lights of reason, or excited by the calls of justice and humanity. With such instances of brutal or unhallowed sesolution a real christian has nothing to do: his principles disapprove and detest them; nor does he think himself warranted to repel every slight affront, every unessential injury, or yet implacably to resent the greatest wrongs, how much foever he may afterwards distrust or shun such as did them. But will it therefore follow, that he must never in any case exert an active Courage ? What! not in his own defence, or that
of a valuable connection, or an import tant interest, when dangerously attacked ? What! not in defence of his King, and the sacred or civil rights of his Country, when directly invaded, or visibly threatened ? It is impossible that those who embrace this doctrine (and they are a numerous sect) can have attended duly to the consequences, were it universally adopted : they would be dreadful : I mean, that till such time as “ the christian nations” became unanimously“ nations of christians," the best part of the human species must every where, and on all occasions, fall an unresisting prey to the worst; and law, and liberty, and property, and Religion herself, peradventure too the lives of her disciples, be tamely sacrificed to the demons of Avarice, Ambition, and Bigotry.
It may be worth remarking here, that when the Soldiers who had been convinced by the preaching of John the Baptift, came to ask him, "What they should do,' hey