« הקודםהמשך »
larity of wicked and unprincipled demagogues, such as ever will be found, and are always then most to be feared, when they obtrude the impertinence of iheir harsh measures and violent counsels upon the nation's state of calamity and difficulty, when most that nation needs the calm and calculating clearness of understanding, whereby alone the causes of its calamity may be ascertained ; and that benevolent and dispassionate firmness of heart, whereby alone the remedy may be applied, which justice sanctions, and which wisdom guides. The furious declaimers, and the ruffian demagogues, are ever the tyrant's janizaries, and midst the tumult of excited passions, oppression sits upon her adamantine throne, and laughs to scorn the impotent war of waters borne against the rock of her firm continent; but the voice of the people is the voice of God, and when that is heard, the mightiest of the earth, the sceptered sovereign, and the crested Lord, are dust and ashes.
3. Sycophancy to men who have done nothing to serve their country is also a capital moral offence against the duty of patriotism. It pays to the thief what is due only to the honest man.;. in which case, the payer is as bad as a thief. Reason, tberefore, suggests, and eternal justice commands, that ere we pay a come, pliment, as fitly as ere we, pay our money, we should know whether it is due or not; and ere we doff our bonnet to nobility, we should know. what nobility is made of, or what the thing in office bath done, that any other thing in that office might not have done as well: because all that is paid for so much is paid for nothing ---for worse than nothing—for the maintenance only of the overbloated, formandizing, eating and drinking aristocracy of vile and worthless men, at the hard expence, kmay be, of a starving and a disregarded people. The patriot, therefore, will ever rene der unto Casar the things that are Cæsar's--but, just exactly that, and nothing more!
4. The debt of gratitude to those who have loved and served their country, to those who have so lived amoug. men, that for their existence mankind have been the better; is a debt which every benevolent heart will pay with raptures of unfeignable satisfaction; and when the virtuous Antoninus put on the unfading wreathe of a grateful people's lore, it was something to feel that though Nero had worn the purple and the diadem, Nero wore not that!
The positive duties of patriotism will necessarily be seen to absorb all considerations of personal friendship. In that the duty of promoting the happiness of a many, rather than of a few, and consequentially (should so severe a necessity require it) the duty of sacrificing the happiness of a few, to that of the many, is identical with our obligation to promote any body's happiness.
In the case then of the immediate interest of a particular friend coming in direct opposition to the great interest of the common
wealth, as when, for instance, our particular friend or immediate benefactor, should require our vote to bring him into some important place in the government, for which we are conscious that he is incompetent, or that his coming in, must keep another out who is more competent, though he may be no friend of ours, though he be out especial enemy, it would be our duty-a duty as binding on us as to pay the debt we owe, to set side our friend and vote for our enemy; nay, to set aside ourselves and make room for the cleverer and the fitter man. This did Aristides, when he surrendered his own glory to the good of his country; and gave his voice for the promotion of his rival and personal enemy, Themistocles, in preference to himself, because his honest heart thought that Themistocles would serve his country better.
By onr obligation of patriotism, we are bound to consider every efficer of the State, as a servant of our country, and the supreme magistrate himself as only the supreme servant. And on our country's behall, we are bound to sumnion them often and heedfully to the remembrance of their responsibility, lest, like other servants, for lack of prudent housewifery, they should become, intoxicated (a mighty-taking vice with them), and rob their masters; which to avoid, we should do all we can to keep temptation out of their way, by never conniving at any thing which we suspect to be wrong with a view to conciliate them, and ever lending: our glad and grateful co-operation to all measures, and to all persons, that are likely to operate as a check upon them. So will they feel the unspeakable satisfaction of knowing themselves to be honest, and we of knowing that we shall have done our part to make them so. ,
Our part as to ourselves, of the great duty of patriotism, involves, the grand obligation of acting with a view to the benefit of our example: upon others; and therefore implies our study of the propriety and fitness of all our public actions, or of all actions of a nature or likelihood to become public. This propriety, in every one of us, in life or death, should be paramount to all considera tions whatever. There is none so humble, but there is a sys-> tem of which he is the illuminating sun, and within which the : bright shining of his example may light up a galaxy of virtue. But all preceptloses itself in the splendour of that example which since last I saw you has illuminated the world--the dying Talma!, who, in the article of death, abjured the wicked and degrading superstition that had enslaved his country, and avowed the name of his own, and of the world's emancipator; that name which is above.every name the wisest, best, and greatest of mankind, Voltaire! «« . Let there be no priests !' exclaimed this glorious man; and a few moments before his death he murmured in a faint voice, • Voltaire-Voltaire-as Voltaire*.'' For this, his noble death,
* EXAMINER, No. 978.;
the members of this, our Society of Universal Benevolence, will complete his funeral rites this day, and, in the sacred libation of the first and fullest draught, pledge the immortal memory of Talma ! --FAREWELL.
(Continued from p. 512.)
At the time of the Revolution, a new order of things commenced. Not only was the government placed on a new foundation, but the sentiments of the nation assumed a new character. From that day, the people regarded themselves as the arbiters of their destiny. From that day, they considered the institutions of the country, civil and ecclesiastical, as made for them, and not them for the institutions. From that day, the right of thinking, and of delivering their thoughts, both respecting go. vernment, and respecting religion, they assumed as their own; and spurned the advocates of slavery, who would rob them of that invaluable possession.
This spirit was nourished by the new government; which, being assailed, by the adherents of the old, with all the arguments which the obligation of being obedient to established power, solely because established, could by zeal and ingenuity be worked into, was under the necessity of defending itself by arguments drawn from the propriety of revolting against established power, whensoever an evil or the producer of evil, and from the concomitant and inseparable propriety of the people's deciding for themselves on the goodness or badness of every institution. This was the only solid ground on which the new government could be defended against the advocates of the old. And fortunate was the necessity which put such doctrines in circulation with all the influeuce government to secure their diffusion and acceptance. Hence the sober and maply writings of Locke on the subject of government, laying the will and approbation of the people as its only legitimate foundation. And with the writings of Locke, those of many other eminent authors in a similar strain.
In such a state of the public mind, and such a state of the government, the disposition of the clergy to strive for the monopoly of the religious influence was obliged to manifest itself with great caution. In such circumstances the faintest indications are as valid proofs of the disposition, as the strongest displays when'. the power was all in their hands.
Our time will not admit of our ransacking the subsequent history to select the best illustrations. We must set down such particulars as a general recollection can supply.
The first great incident, as respects this subject, is the Act of Toleration. It is well known how imperfect, as an instrument for securing religious liberty, the Act of Toleration was: and how much it was necessary to pare the bill down for the purpose of gaining so many of the more moderate churchmen as to afford it a chance of passing: · Yet Burnett informs us that on account of the share he had in forwarding this muti, lated, this imperfect, this cramped, and mis-named liberty of conscience, he lost the confidence, and incurred the hatred of the church.
The last volumes of Burnett's history, from the accession of William and Mary downwards, afford most remarkable evidence of the persecuting propensities of the English church. We recommend these volumes to the attentive perusal of our readers, as abounding with the most important information which is to be found in any part of our history. The different fortubes of the histories of their own times by Clarendon and Burnett, are a curious proof of the power which 'the clergy have hitherto possessed of misleading the public mind, and spreading false opinions favourable to themselves. The narrative of Burnett lets out many facts which tell against the clergy. That of Clarendon discloses none which it can conceal, and none without as thick a varnish, to hide their real complexion, as it is in his power to lay on. Burnett's is the superior prodnetion in every respect; in fidelity, in knowledge, in judgment, nay even in style. Yet admiration of Clarendon, with contempt of Burnett, was a fashion which the clergy contrived to set, and which up to this hour they have successfully maine tained.
There are few men to whom this country is more indebted than to Bishop Burnett. To him, perhaps, more than to any other man, it is owing, that the church party did dut overwhelm the government of William and Mary (they were very near accomplishing it); when either a return to the preceding slavery of the nation, or a civil war, would have been the inevitable consequence. Fortunately the crown had the nomination of bishops : fortunately a sufficient number of vacancies took place, to give the crown a majority in the upper house of Convocation; and fortunately Bishop Burnett was the most active, the most able, and the most eluquent man both in that house, and in the House of Peers : where, greatly, by his means, the influence of the Court still maintained an ascendancy, while that of the clergy carried every thing before it, in the lower house both of Convocation and Parliament.
We shall now exhibit some specimens of the evidence which the volumes of Burnett afford. .
So early as the year 1689, the very year in which the Act of Toleration' passed, he says, “ The clergy began now to shew an implacable hatred to the nonconformists, and seemed to wish for an occasion to renew old severities against them. But wise and good men did very much applaud the quieting the nation by the toleration, It seemed to be suitable, both to the spirit of the Christian: religion, and to the interest of the nation. I was thought-very unreasonable, that while we were complaining of the cruelty of the church of Rome, we should fall into suet practices among ourselves; chiefly, while we were engaging in a war, in the progress of which we would need the united strength of the whole nation. “ This bill gave the king great content,
He in his own opinion always thought, that conscience was God's province, and that it ought not to be imposed upon : and his experience in Holland made him look on toleration as one of the wisest measures of geverument. He was much troubled to see so much ill humour spreading among the clergy, and by their means over a great part of the nation. He was so true to his principle herein, that he restrained the heat of some, who were proposing severe acts against priests.".-Vol. iv. p. 21.
Take another, a similar specimen in 1698 :-" All this while it was manifest, that there were two different parties among the clergy ; one was firm and faithful to the present government, and served it with zeal; these did not envy the dissenters the ease that the toleration gave them; they wished for a favourable opportunity of making such alterations, in some few rites and ceremonies, as might bring into the church those who were not at too great a distance from it; and I do freely own that I was of this number. Others took the oaths, indeed, and concurred in every act of compliance with the guvernment, but they were not only cold in serving it, but were always blaming the administration, and aggravating misfortunes: they expressed a great esteem for Jacobites, and in all elections gave their votes to those who leaned that way; at the same time, they shewed great resentments against the dissenters, and were enemies to the toleration and seemed resolved never to consent to any alteration in their favour. The bulk of the clergy ran this way, so that the inoderate party was far out numbered. Profane minds had too great advantages from this, in reflecting severely on a body of men, that took oaths, and performed public devotions, when the rest of their lives was too public and too visible a contradiction to such Oaths and prayers."--Vol. iv.
. Also in 1700:-—" The toleration of all the sects among us, had made us live more quietly together of late, than could be expected