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man nature and with history, that its effects are great and invaluable. Now I maintain, that Christianity, by having made a large proportion of the inhabitants of Europe either partially or in the main virtuous, has on that account powerfully disposed them to entertain sentiments hostile to those oppressive systems of government which at present subsist; and, when a proper occasion calls for their assistance, and the great interests of mankind are at stake, to exercise that degree of activity, and personally to encounter those dangers, which cannot but be attendant on the establishment of a new order of things. He who is acquainted with the deplorable state of morals in the heathen world, at the aera of Christ's appearance, and with the imbecility of the efforts which philosophy had employed to check the growth of vice, cannot, I think, but suspect, that, had that religion never been revealed, there would not have been a sufficient portion of virtue, disinterestedness, and public spirit now existing among mankind, to accomplish those important changes in the political world, of which reason and scripture authorise us to cherish such pleasing hopes. On this subject I cannot transcribe any passage more in unison with my ideas, than the following sentiments of one of the most elevated members of the English hierarchy. 'True Christianity will produce true patriotism and public spirit. By its commanding influence over the soul, it will keep under, and bring into subjection, all those irregular passions which render men rapacious, sordid, selfish, and corrupt, indifferent and inattentive to the public, devoted solely to the pursuit of some favorite object, or the gratification of some implacable resentment, to which they are at any time ready to prostitute their consciences, and sacrifice the true interest of their country. From all these vile impediments to the discharge of our duty, Christianity sets us free, and substitutes in their room the noblest and most generous sentiments. It gives that dignity and elevation of soul, which is superior to every undue influence, either of popularity or of power. It lays down, as the foundation of all disinteBested conduct, that great evangelical virtue, self-denial:
it teaches us to deny, to renounce ourselves; to throw entirely out of our thoughts, our own prejudices, interests, and passions; and, in every public question, to see nothing, to regard nothing, but the real welfare of our country.—It extends our prospect beyond the present scene of things, and sets before us the recompences of a future life; which, as they make us richer, enable us to be more generous, than other men. They whose views are wholly centured in this world will too often prefer the emoluments of it to every other consideration: but they, who look towards an inheritance in another state of existence, can afford to give up to the general welfare, a few advantages in this".'
From the regular practice of Christianity courage also will be likely to result. 'A consciousness of having discharged our duty, of being at peace with God, and of living under his gracious superintendence, will give us a spirit, a firmness, and intrepidity of soul, which nothing else can inspire. Supposing all other circumstances equal, the sincere Christian will have many incitements to face danger with a steady countenance, which the irreligious cannot have. Under the defence of the Most High, he has less cause to fear the worst, and more reason to hope the best, than those that live without-God in the world. The wicked, therefore, Jlee when no man pursueth, but the righteous are bold as a lion". Even death itself has, to the real Christian, no terrors—Instead of being to him, as it is to the wordly man, the extinction of his hopes, it is the consummation of
52 The following is the statement of another writer, the ingenious Dr. Duchal. 'The selfish spirit of this world stands in direct opposition to charity j as the one prevails, the other must give way. He that thinks and acts as if he were made only for himself j as if he were alone in the midst of the earth; as if he were to take care of nothing hut his own interest, and regard his neighbors no otherwise than as they may be the means of promoting it; who thus aci^ as if he had no principle but selflove in him, and therefore as to las moral frame is really monstrous; such an one, I say, must be an utter stranger, as to true charity, so to the Christian spirit.' Christianity, indeed, 'strikes at the very root of this temper.' Dr. Duchal's Sermons, vol. I. p. 96.
53 Prov. XXVIII. 1.
them, and puts him in possession of those heavenly trea. sures on which his heart is fixed. He, therefore, goes on with cool undaunted composure to the discharge of his duty, whatever difficulties, whatever dangers may stand in his way; conscious that he is acting under the eye of an Almighty Being, who can both protect and reward him ; who has commanded him, if it be necessary, to lay down his life for his brethren”; and who will never suffer him to be a loser in the end, even by that last and greatest sacrifice to the public good”.” Thus then it appears from the testimony of a prelate who stands high in royal favor, that Christianity, by implanting in the bosoms of its genuine followers disinterestedness and courage, eminently qualifies them for taking an active and zealous part in the subversion of every profligate government, and in the erection of a new and more benevolent system. Nor let it be supposed, that the precepts of Jesus, which enjoin the practice of patience and the forgiveness of injuries, prohibit our resistance to the tyranny of princes. On this point another of our prelates, who is also distinguished by the smiles of royalty and an aversion to French principles, may safely be listened to. “The use of the natural passion of resentment is not,’ says the bishop of Worcester, “superseded by the law of Jesus. For the legitimate use of this passion is to quicken us in repelling such injuries, as would render human life wholly burthensome and uneasy to us, not of those petty affronts and discourtesies, which afflict us much less by being dissembled and forgiven, than by being resented and returned. Now Christianity does not require us to renounce the right of nature in repelling injuries of the former class. The law in question, as explained by our Lord himself, does not, we have seen, import thus much : and for the rest the appeal is open to the principles of nature and common sense.—The practice of the apostles (the best comment on the law) shews, too, that, on certain critical and urgent occasions, they scrupled not to take advantage of those principles. So that universal! /, as it would seem, where the ends of self-preservation, or of prepollent public utility, require and justify resistance in other men, there it is left free for Christians, likewise to resist evil; the purpose of their divine legislator being, in this instance, to explain the law of nature, and to guard it from the abuse of our hasty passions, not to abrogate, or suspend it.' The gospel 'allows men to assert their essential civil interests by every reasonable exertion of firmness and courage; nay, inculcates those principles of a disinterested love for mankind, and what is properly called a public spirit, which make it their duty to do so. And they will not do it with the less effect, for waiting till the provocation given appear to all men to be without excuse. The fury of a patient man is almost proverbial: and, particularly, in this case, it is to be expected, that, when the natural incitement to resistance, long repressed and moderated, comes at length to be authorised by necessity, and quickened by a sense of duty, it will act with a force and constancy, not a little formidable to those, against whom it is directed. There is no danger, then, that true patriotism should suffer by the meek principles of peace56.'
54 1 John III. 16. 55 Bp. Porteus's Serm. p. 261, 265.
The following is the statement of an enlightened man, who was himself alike distinguished by a spirit of piety and a spirit of patriotism. 'In vain shall we expect to meet with an heart, truly animated with zeal for its country'3 cause, in a breast which is destitute of piety to God. Let history unfold" her instructive page; her records will establish the truth of this great, this important maxim, that there is no reliance upon that steady persevering virtue, which true patriotism requires, where the principles of religion and of public spirit are not inseparably united.—The beneficial efficacy of religion, in controlling that selfish principle, to which all the disorders of human life are to be referred, is so apparent, that the worst of men have fre
56 Hurd's Serm. preached at Lincoln's Inn, vol. III. p. 288, 803. Vol. II. N n
quently been induced to assume the appearance of it, though their hearts are strangers to its real power and practice57.'
In order to estimate, to what extent, Christianity will be serviceable to the cause of civil liberty, on any important crisis, by predisposing men to stand forward in the rank of its defenders, and enabling them worthily to support the character, there are some other circumstances, to which it will be necessary briefly to advert. Let it be remembered, that, in the present state of the European governments, now that they are arrived at an unexampled pitch of corruption, when they are guarded by an immense number of interested supporters, who are so powerful from their wealth, their functions, and the multitude of their dependants; a more than ordinary proportion of virtue and of firmness seems requisite in the community, in order to effect a reform of abuses and to accomplish a change in the system. In some countries, the struggle is likely to be obstinately contested; and a small matter, perhaps, would be sufficient ts turn the scale. Never were the holders of loans, the fulfillers of contracts, and the expectants of places, equally numerous; with respect to those, who reap emolument from stations in the army, the navy, or the church, together with those who fill legal, financial, and municipal situations; never did they constitute throughout Europe a body of persons, so averse to reformation, and devoted to the cause of tyranny. In this situation of things, in cannot then be doubted, that, at the period when the happiness of all is about to succeed to the oppressions of the few, every friend of his country, who combines activity with virtue, must prepare to make numerous sacrifices.
But whatever sacrifices it ma}' be necessary to make, whatever dangers it may be necessary to encounter, it cannot be doubted, that there are circumstances, in which it would be criminal not to oppose, in the most open manner, the plunderers of mankind. The following extract is from a dignitary of the church, whose literary productions are
57 Dr. Jebb's Works, vol. II. p. 44, 49.