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and guardians of cur spiritual welfare ; and that the adverse government of the world, whose unseen miseries we are also about to disclose, hath many warnings of an unhappy mind and an uneasy. condition, to remove men away from the evil star under which they pass their lives. These goods and ills with which the soul is visited, according to the choice it makes, are the only instruments which God has employed in order to make way for his revealed law. He hath not endeavoured to work upon men by the high places and emoluments of the earth ; nor bribed their senses, like the God of Mahomet, with indulgence here and higher indulgences hereafter ; nor ministered to vanity or pride or ambition or any of the inordinate affections with which the world tempts the nature of man. Riches and possessions and beauty and pleasure are not proffered by him as the rewards of obedience, which he requires in the frown of every thing that nature loves, and in the eclipse of every thing in which the world glories.
Hence it cometh to pass, that between the peaceful, spiritual rewards of religion, and the outward ambitious rewards of the world, there is waged a contention for the heart of man; and a division takes place of those who cleave to the divine constitution from those who reject it. This division supersedes every other distinction in the eye of God, who is concerned chiefly for the honour of that institution which he hath been at so much pains to reveal. He hath made an appeal to every good and noble principle of nature, he hath introduced it with a moral grandeur which made the host of heaven to admire, at a sacrifice whose value none but himself doth know, and he has sustained it with every advantage present and to come: and, having done so much, he standeth to a side and waiteth the determination of man. From earliest youth to latest age we are solicited to accept his overtures ; our former delinquencies are offered to be · cast into the shade, and our late obedience to be accepted, as if it had been yielded from the very beginning of life. It argues in the heart by which such easy and advantageous offers are rejected, a callousness and deadness to the voice of God, in lieu of which, it is not to be expected that any attainments in knowledge, reputation, or morals will compensate. Our Creator is not served with the powers which he gave, nor is our Preserver acknowledged for the blessings which he sent, nor our Father loved in return for that love wherewith he hath loved us—our King is held at noughtour Redeemer is trampled under foot-heaven is not sought
hell is not eschewed: meanwhile the world is courted, the approbation of our fellow-men is hunted after, every fleeting pleasure is grasped at, and every phantom of hope pursued ; and, though life be as unstable as the morning cloud, it is doated on and preferred to all which God is able to bestow. In sum, God in his most gainly attributes arrayed, is rejected for the sake of this world, clothed though she be with sickness and sorrow and change, and every symptom of speedy dissolution.
It is reasonable to expect that such wicked contempt of all that our Creator can do for our honour and advantage, should draw down upon our heads fatal consequences both in this life and that which is to come. Either it argues in the heart which remains impassive under such overpowering inflyences, a stupidity or obstinacy which cannot long co-exist with the finer parts of human nature, or it argues that heart so overmastered by some adverse sinful influence, as will likely carry it headlong into evil excesses. Accordingly it will be found that the fruit of deliberately rejecting the constitution of God, when conscience hath presented it in its proper amiable bearings, is either to sink the unfortunate party out of the region of the noble and the good into besotted callousness and brute-like indifference to honourable avocations, or to drive him into the arms of some restless prone ambition, which pricks him with constant discontent, and urges him onward without control. There are, indeed, multitudes in every Christian land who get so involved with other knowledge and with other affairs, as never during the whole of life to come to the knowledge or the feeling of its value ; these do not pay so dear a forfeit to their offended conscience and their despised God, but remain under the guidance of unrenewed nature and the sanction of worldly profit. But being once known and felt, coolly to reject this dispensation of law and grace is to commit a suicide upon the highest faculties of our nature and the highest hopes of our being. While to remain in voluntary ignorance of so sacred a treasure is attended with a barrenness and poverty of soul in the greater number; and when some are found of a spontaneous fertility, they are incident to many a chilling and hostile invasion, unrelieved by any of that resource and consolation which the smile and sustenance of their good father would have afforded them. I know how boon Nature of her ownself hath suggested deeds which blaze through dark ages like stars in the vault of night, and I know how bountiful a mother she is still in bearing sops and daughters strong
in virtue and desirous of glory. But I know as well how " they come to their own, and their own acknowledge them not.” Their fiobler parts disqualify them for vulgar sympathies, and their nobler aims draw down upon them vulgat envies and evil speakings. Power, rude power, often strips their early blossoms, and nips in the bud a new and noble fruit which might have propagated its kind over the fertile earth ; or they languish for want of kindred, like exiles upon a foreign shore, whose noble nature the barbarous people never know. Their devices are abortive, or drop still-born, or die immature for want of fostering care. In proof of which I might adduce the unhappy sons of genius, “ falled on evit days and evil tongues ;” patriots crushed as rebels by arbitrary power ; discoverers treated as innovators by calculate ing self-interest, and inventors, whose inventions have enriched thousands, perishing themselves of cold neglect. I might show how each of these stood in need, and suffered for the want, of some such aid and encouragement as the revealed constitution of God, which is a prop to the mind when alt earthly succour hath failed, and an encouragement to good when all countenance of men is withdrawn. I might show how every noble endowment of nature, and every form of virtuous pursuit is sustained in practice, and enhanced in our own esteem by this noble law of liberty. But this I consider to have been already done in the conclusion of the preceding Part, where was argued out its application to the noble parts of human nature ; and in the opening of this Part, where was argued out its tendency, when adopted, to exalt and purify our conduct. Now, therefore, I would turn from the indi. vidual, and show how this our constitution of divine government would operate to the welfare of society at large.
This is a wide and difficult field, but one which by good management may be brought within bounds, and be made to exhibit in a most triumphant way the excellence of the divine constitution. The well-being of civil society is afflicted chiefly with two evils--the inactivity of some of her members, and the over activity of others--the stupor of one part, and the over excitement of another_sluggishness and discontent, In pursuing onwards its slow course to perfection, the political or civil state of man between these two evils is like a vessel which lags in her course from an excess of burden, or is driven out of it by an excess of wind and sail. There is a nice adjustment between the lethargy of the great masses of society which hold back, and the active restless spirits which move its condition forward. The one of these, this constitu
tion of which we treat, would stimulate into life, while it repressed the other into moderation ; and would thus bring out a broader, more secure impulse towards excellence over the parts of the political constitution.
The greater number of almost every state are sunk into a mere animal being, consuming food, propagating their kind, labouring the earth, manufacturing its commodities into various shapes, and transporting them from place to place. Few of whom remember that they are descended from the skies and instinct with ethereal being, or make account of their great Father in the heavens and make arrangements for returning to him at length. Narrow life spanneth their hopes and expectations, the impure earth yieldeth them all their joy ; their common intercourse is in idle talk, vain parade, vulgar jest, brutal excess, and savage sports. They thirst not after immortality, they live not for things above, they meditate not on things believed ; there is no eternity in their thoughts, no control over their nature, save for the convenience or by the compulsion of society, no energy of their own accord after perfection, no grandeur of character, no godlike deeds, no everlasting honour or renown.
God doth know I would not misrepresent my fellow-creatures whom his hand hath formed in a common mould, or rudely discover the nakedness of their condition, but it irks the heart to contemplate the deep beds of degradation into which the masses and multitudes of mankind are found for want of the discipline wrought upon the heart by this constitution, which alone availeth to produce virtue, magnanimity, peace, and all the finer fruits and conditions of the soul. I know not what fearful misgivings upon the sanity of human nature come over my mind when I behold the condition of unregenerate men, while I feel assured that there is in the religion disseminated abroad a power and faculty to raise them to the highest attainments of reflective and hopeful creatures. I feel as if the better part of man were writhing, like the camp of Israel when bitten of fiery serpents, under a deforming deadly disease, for which the specific, a thousand times approved, was brought before them to their very hand; but through obstinacy, through a very love of misery and death, the infatuated people perished from present happiness and future hope.
Who can feel otherwise when he looks upon the most numerous class in every land, sunk into a brute-like contentment with food and raiment, the pasture and the housing of their separate conditions ? Unreasoning, unenlightened,
they live upon mere animal gratifications, drudging with cattle their weary life, or fulfilling in mechanical employments those offices which the five mechanical powers cannot be perfected to perform. They drudge, they refresh themselves for further drudgery. They sleep, and wake to drudgery again. Oh! it is unsightly to behold the immortal soul of man born and bred up to toil, toiling hard through wearisome years, untutored in truth, unfed from the fountain of intelligence, ignorant of the great salvation, and unsanctified by the Holy One, descending into the grave at length, of God and of man all unknowing and unknown. And, if possible, to sink their condition still lower, in this death of the intellectual and spiritual faculties of nature, all the animal and brutal passions come alive, run loose, and at times stir into fearful commotion the quiescence of their being. Their holy days are days of dissipation, their cups crowned with licentious and blasphemous talk, their raptures intoxication and brutal excess. To take my instance at home, I could weep for the condition of this class, even in England, though it be the land of brave and of free men, the bulwark of religion in the latter times, and that hath long been the refuge and asylum of the persecuted stranger. By the very excess of their free and mana ly spirit, and the want of the fear of God, which is the only fear that can control the minds of English people, it hath come to pass, that they willingly degrade themselves into excesses into which foreign nations are not brought by all their slavery. Our fairs are scenes of iniquity scandalous to be looked upon, our intemperance is proverbial over the world, our prize-fights a cruel game elsewhere never played at, our forgeries, our thefts, our murders not surpassed, if equalled, in the most barbarous lands. The innocent sports of our villages, for which weary labour was wont to relax himself, the cheer and contentment which blessed the interior of our cottages, and the plenty and beauty which bloomed around their walls, the home-bred comfort and cleanliness, with all the Arcadian features of old English life, live no longer, save in the tales of ancestry, Hard and incessant labour, broken with fierce gleams of jollity and debauch, poorhouse dependance and poorhouse Jiscontent, nocturnal adventures of the poacher and the smuggler and the depredator, sabbath breakings, sabbath sports, and sabbath dissipations are now too much the characteristics of our city and our rustic people.
And yet our people are a noble stock which with pruning will bear you excellent fruit, they are a rich soil that will