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apply to a something with which re- | be led to see that a true saint and a ligion has little or nothing to do. genuine patriot were not two disHow this impression has become so tinct characters, but that patriotism very general, it may not perhaps be was but one feature of that characvery easy to determine; but that
ter which constitutes a genuine such an opinion has obtained a wide saint. circulation, no one, who is much Another cause, probably, which conversant with the opinions of has given rise to this very destrucmen, can possibly doubt.
tive error which we are now endeaBut, notwithstanding this opinion vouring to trace to its origin, is that may have become popular with very prevalent mistake, which exmany, and its influence may be ists among many of the pious, of widely spread and extensively felt; conceiving that there is a kind of it is an opinion which, we fear not opposition between religion and the to declare, has its basis in the gross common duties and affairs of life. est error.
Many seem to think, that nothing This error may perhaps have partly deserves the name of religion, exoriginated from the practice,which is cept those acts of devotional worvery prevalent in states, of appoint- ship by which we are supposed to ing persons to places of distinction pay our respect immediately to the and trust who are totally destitute Deity. All other actions, they apof the recommendations of religion pear to imagine, ought to be ranked and virtue. When such appoint under a very different head than ments frequently take place; and, that of religion. We think this when it appears that money and in conception, wherever it may have terest, rather than true merit, have had its origin, exceedingly absurd. been the causes which produced Devotional exercises are not rethem, men are very apt to conclude ligion; they are only expressions of that wealth, however it may be pro it, and may be viewed as calculated, cured, and that interest and influ like any other of our actions, to ence which wealth commands, are have a reciprocal influence on the of more advantage to promote any principle from which they spring. one to honour in the state, than that Religion, which consists in rectitude religion which teaches us to fear of heart and purity of principle, God and to do good to our fellow produced by a sound faith in the docmen. Were the practice of appoint trines of the gospel, prompts us to ing to offices of state, therefore, worship God; but, when we have different, in those political commu continued to worship God for some nities into which mankind are divid time, the influence of the habit, ed, we have little doubt but that the which repeated acts of this kind naassociations of men also, in regard turally generates, is felt in strengthto the connexion of religion and ening the principle which gave them politics, would naturally undergo a birth. The exercises of devotion, similar change. Were those of consequently, may be considered in sound sentiment and inflexible in one sense as a proof of our regenetegrity invariably stationed at the ration, and in another as means helm of public affairs, men would be of grace, appointed by God, to aid apt to conclude, that there was in
our progress towards heaven. deed some connexion between that From these remarks, then, it will principle which binds us to worship appear obvious, that acts of worship and reverence our Creator, and that can only be considered as ranking conduct which we ought to observe among the other good works which when we are promoted to situations may be denominated the fruits of of trust in that country or nation to religion. When one loves and does which we belong. They would then | good to his neighbour, therefore, in
obedience to the will and command
case. They do not consider that ment of his God, he certainly endea the very circumstance for which they vours to honour him, as well as when
contend, namely, a separation be. he bows the knee before him in the tween the characterof a saint and poattitude of devotional homage. The litician, was the very thing which led one of these acts, consequently, to that chief mischief, against which cannot be justly viewed as opposed they pretend, by their wise politics, to the other. They spring from the to guard themselves and their prosesame principle-tend ultimately to lyted disciples. The separation of the same point-and derive their saint and politician, soon produced difference of aspect from the cir separate interests in the church and cumstances merely in which the ac state; the clergy, therefore, endeator is placed when he performs each. voured by craft to secure their inteWhen he engages in any devotional rests; and the statesmen, by means exercise, he approaches God imme not more honourable, strove to fordiately, and tenders to him the ho tify theirs ; but as the former apmage of his heart; but when he does peared to have the air of religion on a good action to his neighbour, his their side, they by degrees obtained conduct does not seem to point so an advantage over the latter. Hence immediately to God; and therefore, the ecclesiastical interest rose comthis latter action is considered as pletely above that of the state, and having far less connexion with re consequently proved, in the hand of ligion than the former. But this a designing and worldly priesthood, idea is entirely wrong. For he who the means of entirely subjugating does not love his brother whom he the political powers of Europe. hath seen, cannot be supposed to love The power which the clergy thus his God whom he hath not seen. 1 obtained, made the secular princes John, iv. 20. Hence, so far are the glad to court their notice and infludevotional acts of religion and the
Princes were afraid to incur common duties of life from being their displeasure, because the exopposed to each other, that it ap communication of the church was pears evident, on strict and proper felt to be a visitation of a most awful examination, that he who does not kind. Thence sprung that slavish carefully attend to the performance fear and abject superstition which, of both, cannot, according to the for a long time, involved the Eurodoctrines of Biblical religion, be pean states in the grossest ignorance reckoned among the spiritual chil and most degrading barbarism. Thus dren of the living God.
did both clergy and laity, by their Another circumstance, which has mutual jealousies, become divested tended, in these times, to separate of those religious principles which, the character of the saint from that if their influence had been felt, of the politician, in the judgment of would have restrained them from men, may be found in that ecclesio- pursuing those schemes, which political system, which seemed to brought upon the states to which grow out of Christianity, a few cen they belonged so much darkness turies after its first appearance.
and misery Many have thought, and many do This overwhelming evil, then, still think, that religion ought not might have been prevented, had the to be much encouraged in any state, statesmen of those times been men because it once seemed to lend its of enlightened piety; men influencaid to such a fabric as that to which ed by those principles which teach we have at present alluded. Those governors and legislators to regard, who thus judge, however, must be in all their transactions, the rights regarded as having formed their and comforts of the people, and opinion from a partial view of the men willing to throw the weight of
their influence into the government the whole history of man and of of the church, so as to have balanced states fully attests. More has alcorrectly the ecclesiastical scales, ways been effected, in states, by and prevented the preponderance of those habits which are generated clerical power. Had statesmen and under the influence of an enlightclergy thus amalgamated their in ened piety, than by all the threatfluence in the management of eccle ening enactments and pompous pros. siastical government and discipline, clamations, which have ever been the rights of private conscience, issued from the combined wisdom and the political liberties of man of a host of mere politicians. No kind, might have been secured, while state has ever long maintained its the interests of religion and morality comfort and its peace when its subwould neither have been impeded jects began to lose on their minds nor destroyed.
the influence of piety. Even the Having therefore thus endeavour ancient states, which possessed not ed shortly to trace the steps of that the knowledge of the true God, false reasoning, which seems to have found it more for their advantage led to the popular opinion that re to use the mythology of their poets ligion and politics have no necessary than to be destitute altogether of connexion, we shall now proceed the image of religion. to show, more directly, that the lat If the fact now stated be founded ter cannot really exist, in a sound in truth, what are we to think of state, without the former.
that sentiment which goes to estaThe term politics, if rightly un blish the opinion, that the safety of derstood, must certainly be consi. a state grows in proportion to the dered to mean that science which increase of the distance which is teaches how to frame judicious laws produced between religion and the and regulations for promoting the political creed of its statesmen and internal comfort and good order of legislators ? Is a state really safer, any particular state or community. when its governors and lawgivers These laws, therefore, that they are without the fear of God and may be effective, should have, in those honourable principles which their formation, regard to the na the religion of the Bible teaches, tural principles of those beings for than when its rulers and legislators, the government of whose conduct actuated and influenced by correct and proceedings they are framed. motives, become a terror to evil doers If it be found then that no legisla and a praise and protection to those tive enactments are sufficient to who do well? Let the consciences of deter men from vicious conduct those (if they have any conscience) without the aid and influence of cer who are continually guarding states tain constitutional principles; and against the influence of godly and that these constitutional principles | upright rulers give a categorical cannot be brought to bear with much answer to this question. If they are force upon human action unless disposed for the sake of consistency called into operation by the assist to answer it in the affirmative, we ance of a certain species of reli demand of them to show us, in the gious education; it must be granted, whole annals of political history, an we should think, that all the labours instance of a single state, which has of the statesman, if unaided by the stood stable and respectable, for influence of religion, will be inade any length of time, under the guidquate to construct a code of laws ance of a government such as that sufficiently effective to answer the which they recommend. great and important object at which But those, who espouse the senhe pretends to aim. That this is timent which we are now combating, not a mere gratuitous assumption may endeavour perhaps to evade the
force of our argument by asserting, tive spheres, give evidence, by their that our doctrine would to main proceedings, that they do indeed tain the necessity of every country desire to promote the temporal and having an ecclesiastical establish eternal comfort of those over whom ment. We do not see, however, their doctrines and their laws
may that this is a necessary consequence have any influence. of the doctrine which we are endea If then this doctrine be allowed vouring to inculcate. We have al to be correct, it must at the same ready attempted to show, that, by time be admitted, that it is the inleaving the government of the cumbent duty of the statesman to church entirely to the management lend the aid of his influence to the and control of the clergy, much demolition of all those establishmischief accrued to the political ments, in the community, which communities of Europe, which might may have a direct tendency to corhave been prevented, had a mode rupt the principles and destroy the of government more presbyterial morality of his fellow subjects. The been pursued. We have also en mere interest of individuals should deavoured to establish the fact, that have po influence in preventing religion does not consist in mere him from engaging in such an opeexternal
but ration. Ought the religious and in rectitude of heart and principle; moral principles of a whole comand, hence, we cannot see, that munity to be endangered for the when statesmen are required to temporal advantage of a few? This exemplify and recominend such a would be to sacrifice the comfort religion by their conduct and prac and stability of a whole state, to tice, that they are necessarily re gratify a few who care not to proquired to make laws to support and mote its general interest, unless it sanction any particular set of ec can be done without requiring them clesiastical rites, which would have to make a single relinquishment of a tendency to give any class of any thing which they consider proworshippers more weight and sta ductive to them of any temporal bility in the state than another. We advantage. Are those, then, who contend not for rites; but we con seem to be so destitute of every tend for principles. We say, let generous and patriotic feeling, so no grant be given, by the state, to much entitled to countenance and support any society of worshippers patronage, that the safety, honour merely because they assume a par and peace of the whole community ticular name and perform their must be risked, rather than they worship in a particular way; but should be disturbed in any one we say, at the same time, let not poi where their worldly interest statesmen become so irreligious and may appear to be concerned? Can immoral as to make the other sub it be sound policy, on the part of jects of the state suppose, that cor the statesman, to view with indifruption and profanity are the best ference the conduct of those indiqualifications to procure promotion; viduals who, thus to enrich themand that all honest principle and selves, are continually opening worthy conduct are to be disregard places of allurement and erecting ed as the degrading effects of cant, vehicles of amusement, to entice superstition and priestcraft. States away the youth of the state from men, and the teachers of religion those places of moral improvement and morality, should never be so which have been established, in completely separated in their prin- Christian communities, for the worciples and operations as never to ship of God and the inculcation of appear to meet on the same ground. lessons of sound religion and corThey should each, in their respec rect morality. Ought the youth of
the state to be taken from their tor should lead him to conclude,
unprejudiced observer will deny.
be such a work of reformation as that traced to the want of those princi. to which we have now alluded, their ples in the rulers, which true reliown moral conduct should be such gion requires them to possess. We as to give weight and authority to venture, therefore, to conclude our their proceedings. He who makes present remarks with this unqualilaws against immoral practices, fied, and, in the estimation of some ought not himself to be the first perhaps, too sweeping a declaration, transgressor of these laws. The
that that man, who is destitute of
T. G. M'I: