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But surely their objection does it honour. It shews 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 persons of men, neither regards the transient and petty distinctions of rank, but shews 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 solid, and such as no earthly power can confer or alienate: and would to Heaven that they, who trust in worldly riches and honours, could but behold in a true light, their real poverty and dishonourable state, when destitute of grace, or, in other words, destitute of the favour of the Almighty Sovereign, the Lord of Lords, and the King of Kings * !
* “ Nescit religio noftra personas accipere, nec conditiones bominum, sed “ animos infpicit singulorum. Servum ac nobilem de moribus pronunciat. “ Sla apud Deum libertas eft non servire peccatis. Summa apud Deum " eft nobilitas clarum effe virtutibus.”-Our religion knows not to accept the persons of men ; neither does it regard the external condition, but the internal disposition. It pronounces man a lord or a Nave according to his morals. The only liberty in the fight of God is, not to be the servant of fin. The highest nobility before him is, to become ile · lustrious for virtue.
Hieronymus ad Celantiam, Ep. 14. « Ευγενεια δε, η της εικόνος τηρησις και προς το αρχετυπον εξομοιωσις,
ην εργαζεται λόγος και αρετη."--Nobility is the prefervation of the image of God, a resemblance of the great model of all excellence, both which are efficted by reason and virtue. Greg. Naz. in Orat. II.
« Ευγενειαν δε λεγω, ουχ ην οι πολλοί νομιζουσιν απογεαλλ' ην " ευσεβεια χαρακτηριζει και τροπος, και η προς το πρωτον αγαθον ανοδος .”When I speak of nobility, I mean not that which the vulgar herd deem such. 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 universal Prevalence of the Holy Spirit -the ge
nuine Grace of the Gospel_highly conducirse to the Happiness of civil Society, as well as of Individuals.
men should 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 sanction them in a body, are, as separate members, insincere friends of vir tue, and hypocritical profeflors of religion. Of. fensive war, and treacherous violation of the most solemn treaties, could never be countenanced by whole nations of Christians, if the individuals were actuated by the sentiments of true Christianity *.
It has been said, that we are not to look for the effects of Christianity in national acts or public councils. Why not? Are they not men and Christians, who perform national acts, and compose public councils ? When a man gives a vote for any public measure, or advises the supreme magiftrate, does he drop the Christian in the voter or the counsellor ? Common sense revolts at the idea of the fame men's renouncing their identity, fplitting themselves into several characters, and acting in one inconsistently with their most serious duties and folemn engagements in another, which, at the same time, they profess zealously to support. Misery unutterable arises to the human race, from this duplicity *. The fanctity assumed in one character throws a false glare and varnish over the villainy praclised in the other, and makes · it pass current by authority.
* « Magistrate, or minister, or lawyer, or merchant, or artificer, " or whatsoever thou art, remember that thou art withal a Chriftian."
A man who is a real Christian, not a political conformist only, will be a Christian in his public conduct, as well as in his private. He will be a Christian statesman and member of parliament, 110 less than a Christian father, husband, and neighbour.
Now, no man is a Christian in name only, when his Christianity arises from the operation and evidence of the Holy Ghost. 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 happiness, but guided in all his conduct by the sentiment of love or benevolent affection, called, in Scripture, charity. The law of kindness governs all his actions. His wisdom is gentle ; and he uses power, if he possesses it, in imitation of the all-powerful Being above, in diffusing blessings among all who are within the fphere of his influence.
Suppose, then, kings and rulers of all descriptions under the benign operation of the Christian spirit, and consequently 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 Christianity, and opposing the Nave-trade, and then throw all his weight into the scale which already predominates for the most unchristian practices of unjust and unnecessary wars; would it be an admisible excuse to say, 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 Christianity. Unjust and unnecessary * wars immediately cease. The prophecies of Isaiah are accomplished.
Swords and spears are converted into pruning hooks, and plough-shares. The lion dandles the lamb, without an inclination to devour it.
The people, feeling the blessings of such government, and actuated by the gentle affections of charity, become cordially attached to it, and to each other. Universal tranquillity reigns. The whole society, 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, display the vital efficacy of the gospel, and prove that it is not a cunningly devised fable, in vented by priests for the support of kingly power; but the lively energy of God, actuating the human bosom, and restoring man to that perfection of nature, by the second Adam, which was lost by the disobedience of the first in Paradise.
The truest patriotism, therefore, is to revive or diffuse genuine Christianity; to teach men to seek and to find the grace of God through Christ Jesus. This is the philosophy which should be taught from the chairs of our universities, 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 science, but too often by a violence of passion and malignity of temper, which feem to evince that he does 1100 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 substantives like shadows.
The epithets just and necessary being applied to all wars, may be numbered among the perpetua epitbeta of Homer. Righteousness exalteth a nation. Proverbs 14.
Christianity Christianity is so far from unfitting man for society, as the calumniators have said, that its graces and virtues are peculiarly social. It teaches every thing that is just and kind. It is the false, mistaken, hypocritical, and, above all, the POLITICAL Christianity, which has been the cause of mischief and misery This has ever been used as a cloak for maliciousness. But where the Spirit of God, the living gospel of immediate grace, goes hand in hand with the written gospel, there every thing lovely, friendly, and beneficial, is the natural and unavoidable result. 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 seek folace under its expanded foliage! The throne that is established in righteosness is fixed on the rock of ages; and the people who have the Lord for their God and King, shall never know the woes of captivity and desolation *.
Christian Philofophy purifies society by purifying the fountain of all human actions, the heart of man. Heathen philosophy often consisted of nothing more than fine sayings, pleasing to the imagination, but leaving the heart uninfluenced and the conduct unreformed.
* “ The political views of Constantine, in the establishment of “ Christianity, were to attach the subjects of the empire more firmly « to himself and his successors, and the several nations which com. « posed it, to one another, by the bonds of a religion common to all « of them; to soften the ferocity of the armies ; to reform the li66 centiousness of the provinces; and, by infusing a spirit of modera. « tion and submission to government, to extinguish those principles “ of avarice and ambition, of injustice and violence, by which so " many factions were formed, and the peace of the empire so often" and so fatally broken. No religion was ever so well proportioned,
nor fo well directed, as that of Christianity seemed to be, to all 66 these purposes."
Lord BOLINGBROKE. K4