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But furely their objection does it honour. It fhews that the doctrine is favourable to the whole ruman race; that it is not narrow, partial, unjust; but, like the Author of all good, whence it flows, accepts not the perfons of men, neither regards the tranfient and petty diftinctions of rank, but fhews favour to the meek and lowly, and to all that are good and true of heart, whether in the palace or in the cottage.
Take comfort, ye poor and despised brethren; for God, by his gospel, has promised to bestow on you riches and honours, durable as they are folid, and fuch as no earthly power can confer or alienate: and would to Heaven that they, who truft in worldly riches and honours, could but behold in a true light, their real poverty and difhonourable state, when deftitute of grace, or, in other words, deftitute of the favour of the Almighty SOVEREIGN, the Lord of Lords, and the King of Kings * !
*Nefcit religio noftra perfonas accipere, nec conditiones bominum, fed "animos infpicit fingulorum. Servum ac nobilem de moribus pronunciat. "Sola apud Deum libertas eft non fervire peccatis. Summa apud Deum
eft nobilitas clarum effe virtutibus."-Our religion knows not to accept the perfons of men; neither does it regard the external condition, but the internal difpofition. It pronounces man a lord or a flave according to his morals. The only liberty in the fight of God is, not to be the fervant of fin. The highest nobility before him is, to become illuftrious for virtue. Hieronymus ad Celantiam, Ep. 14.
σε Ευγενεια δε, η της είκονος τηρησις, και προς το αρχετυπον εξομοιωσις, ην εργαζεται λόγος καὶ αρετη.”——Nobility is the prefervation of the image of God, a refemblance of the great model of all excellence, both which are effected by reafon and virtue. GREG. NAZ. in Orat. II.
« Ευγενειαν δε λέγω, υχ ην οι πολλοί νομίζουσιν' απαγει αλλ' ην σ ευσέβεια χαρακτηρίζει καὶ τροπός, καὶ η προς το πρώτον αγαθον ανοδος . When I speak of nobility, I mean not that which the vulgar herd deem fuch. Far from it. I mean that which piety and good morals characterize; and a return to the first good, to the original state, from which human nature has fallen. Idem. in Orat. 23.
The univerfal Prevalence of the Holy Spirit-the genuine Grace of the Gospel-highly conducive to the Happiness of CIVIL SOCIETY, as well as of Indi
IT T always appeared to me an absurdity, that men fhould act in their corporate capacity on fuch principles as, in their individual and private ftate, they would deem profligate. Public acts are the acts of private men; and wherever public acts are immoral and unchristian, it may be concluded, that those who fanction them in a body, are, as feparate members, infincere friends of virtue, and hypocritical profeffors of religion. Offenfive war, and treacherous violation of the most folemn treaties, could never be countenanced by whole nations of Chriftians, if the individuals were actuated by the fentiments of true Chriftianity *.
It has been faid, that we are not to look for the effects of Chriftianity in national acts or public councils. Why not? Are they not men and Chriftians, who perform national acts, and compofe public councils? When a man gives a vote for any public measure, or advises the fupreme magiftrate, does he drop the Chriftian in the voter or the counsellor? Common fenfe revolts at the idea of the fame men's renouncing their identity, fplitting themselves into feveral characters, and acting in one inconfiftently with their most serious
*"Magiftrate, or minifter, or lawyer, or merchant, or artificer, "or whatsoever thou art, remember that thou art withal a Chriftian.' Bp. SANDERSON.
duties and folemn engagements in another, which, at the fame time, they profefs zealoufly to fupport. Mifery unutterable arifes to the human race, from this duplicity *. The fanctity affumed in one character throws a falfe glare and varnish over the villainy practifed in the other, and makes it pafs current by authority.
A man who is a real Chriftian, not a political conformist only, will be a Chriftian in his public conduct, as well as in his private. He will be a Chriftian ftatefman and member of parliament, no lefs than a Chriftian father, husband, and neighbour.
Now, no man is a Christian in name only, when his Christianity arifes from the operation and evidence of the Holy Ghoft. His very heart is converted. The whole man is renewed. He is no longer a proud, felfish, cruel being, greedily feeking his own fancied gratification at the expence of other men's happinefs, but guided in all his conduct by the fentiment of love or benevolent affection, called, in Scripture, charity. The law of kindness governs all his actions. His wifdom is gentle; and he ufes power, if he poffeffes it, in imitation of the all-powerful Being above, in diffufing bleffings among all who are within the fphere of his influence.
Suppofe, then, kings and rulers of all defcriptions under the benign operation of the Christian fpirit, and confequently firm believers and de
* As for instance, if a man were to gain weight and influence among the good and generous part of mankind, by defending Chriftianity, and oppofing the flave-trade, and then throw all his weight into the scale which already predominates for the most unchriftian practices of unjust and unneceffary wars; would it be an admiffible excufe to fay, that in his book he is a true Chriftian; but in the House of Parliament, like many others, a worldly politician, promoting the purposes of SELF-AGGRANDIZEMENT, at the expence or hazard of human happiness?
fenders of Chriftianity. Unjuft and unneceffary* wars immediately ceafe. The prophecies of Isaiah are accomplished. Swords and fpears are converted into pruning hooks, and plough-fhares. The lion dandles the lamb, without an inclination to devour it.
The people, feeling the bleffings of fuch government, and actuated by the gentle affections of charity, become cordially attached to it, and to each other. Univerfal tranquillity reigns. The whole fociety, both the governed and governing, co-operate in adding to the comforts and diminishing the evils of life; piety to God, and love to man, difplay the vital efficacy of the gospel, and prove that it is not a cunningly devifed fable, invented by priests for the fupport of kingly power; but the lively energy of God, actuating the human bofom, and restoring man to that perfection of nature by the fecond Adam, which was loft by the difobedience of the first in Paradife.
The trueft patriotism, therefore, is to revive or diffufe genuine Chriftianity; to teach men to feek and to find the grace of God through Chrift Jefus. This is the philofophy which should be taught from the chairs of our univerfities, and the pulpits of our churches. It would not then fall to the illiterate and fanciful mechanic, who often difgraces it, not only by ignorance of all other fcience, but too often by a violence of paffion and malignity of temper, which feem to evince that he does not poffefs what he fo warmly recommends to his audience.
* Homer has certain epithets, which the critics call perpetua epitheta; they have no particular meaning in the places where they are used, but accompany the fubftantives like fhadows. The epithets juft and neceffary being applied to all wars, may be numbered among the perpetua epitheta of Homer.
Righteoufnefs exalteth a nation. Proverbs 14.
Christianity is fo far from unfitting man for fociety, as the calumniators have faid, that its graces and virtues are peculiarly focial. It teaches every thing that is juft and kind. It is the falfe, miftaken, hypocritical, and, above all, the POLITICAL Christianity, which has been the cause of mischief and mifery. This has ever been used as a cloak for maliciousness. But where the Spirit of God, the living gofpel of immediate grace, goes hand in hand with the written gospel, there every thing lovely, friendly, and beneficial, is the natural and unavoidable refult. The root is good, and the fruit delicious and falubrious in the highest degree. May the tree spread its umbrageous branches over the land, and all the people take refuge and feek folace under its expanded foliage! The throne that is established in righteofnefs is fixed on the rock of ages; and the people who have the Lord for their God and King, fhall never know the woes of captivity and defolation *.
Chriftian Philofophy purifies fociety by purifying the fountain of all human actions, the heart of man. Heathen philofophy often confifted of nothing more than fine fayings, pleafing to the imagination, but leaving the heart uninfluenced and the conduct unreformed.
The political views of Conftantine, in the establishment of "Christianity, were to attach the subjects of the empire more firmly "to himself and his fucceffors, and the feveral nations which com"posed it, to one another, by the bonds of a religion common to all "of them; to foften the ferocity of the armies; to reform the li"centiouinefs of the provinces; and, by infufing a fpirit of modera. ❝tion and fubmiffion to government,, to extinguish thofe principles "of avarice and ambition, of injuftice and violence, by which fo 66 many factions were formed, and the peace of the empire fo often "and fo fatally broken. No religion was ever fo well proportioned, "nor fo well directed, as that of Chriftianity feemed to be, to all "these purposes." Lord BOLINGBROKE.