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A golden age would to man be more poifonous than Pandora's box ; a gift, sweet
on by infatiable avarice, and blinded by ambition Atill more insatiable, he banishes from his breast every sen. timent of humanity, and, eager for the destruction of his fellow-creatures, in effect defroys himself. When the days of blood and carnage are past, when the vapour of glory is dislipated, he looks around with a forrowful eye upon the desolated earth, he sees the arts extinct, the nations dispersed, and population dead : his happiness is ruined, and his power is reduced to no. thing. “ Great God! whose fole presence sustains the « creative power, and rules the harmony of nature's 61 laws! who from thy permanent celestial throne “ beholdelt the motion of the nether spheres, all-per“ fect in their course which knows no change ; who “ broughtest from out the womb of rest by endless se“ production those never ceasing movements; who ru“ lest in peace the infinity of worlds : Eternal God ! “ vouchfase at length to send a portion of that hea. 6 venly peace to calm the agitated earth. Let every o tumult cease : at thy celestial voice, no more be “ heard around the proud and clamorous shouts of “ war and discord. All bounteous Creator ! Author · “ of being each object of thy works partakes of thy “ paternal care ; but chief of all, thy chosen creature « man. Thou hast bestowed on him a ray of thine “ immortal light : deign to crown that gift, by pe. .“ netrating his heart with a portion of thy love. Soon “ will that heavenly sentiment, pervading his nature, " reconcile each warring and contradictory principle : “ man will no longer dread the fight of man: the * murdering blade will leep within its fheath : the
in the mouth, but bitter, bitter, in the ftomach. Let us then forbear repining; for the subject before us must afford convidtion, if any thing can, that our best course is to submit humbly to whatever befals, and to rest satisfied, that the world is governed by wisdom, not by chancé. What can be expected of barbarians, but utter ignorance of Providence, and of divine government ? But, as men ripen in the knowledge of causes and effects, the benevolence as well as wisdom of a superintending Being become more and more apparent. How pleasing is that observation ! Beautiful final causes without num
« fire of war will cease to dry up the springs of gene. “ ration : the human race, now languishing and wi" thering in the bloom, will bud afresh, and multiply: « nature, which now sinks beneath the scourge of mi. “ fery, sterile and desolated, will soon renew her wasted “ strength, and regain her first ferility. We, O God “ of benevolence, we thy creatures will second the “ blessing. It will be ours to bestow on the earth that 66 culture which best can aid her fruitfulness; and we “ will pay to thee the most acceptable of facrifices, in “ endless gratitude and adoration.”
How natural is this prayer ; how unaatural the state thus anxiously requested ? M. Buffon's devotional fits are fervent : pity it is, that they are not better directa
ber have been discovered in the material as well as moral world, with respect to many particulars that once appeared dark and gloomy. Many continue to have that appearance ; but, with respect to such, is it too bold to maintain, that an argument from ignorance, a slender argument at any rate, is altogether insufficient in judging of divine government? How falutary is it for man, and how comfortable, to rest on the faith, that whatever is, is the best!
SK E T C H
General View of Government.
THE progress of government, accurate
1 ly delineated, would produce a great volume: in the present work there is room but for a few hints. What are the qualities that fit men for society, is explained above ; but writers are far from being unanimous about what fits them for government. All agree, that submission to our governors is a duty : but they appear to be at a loss upon what foundation to rest that duty; as if it were not evident, that, by our nature, we are fitted for government as well as for society (a). If justice or veracity be essential to society, submission to government is no less so ; and each of these equally is declared by the moral sense to be our duty. But, to qualify man for government, the duty of submission is not alone sufficient : diversity of temper, and of talents, are also (a) Principles of Equity, p. 177. edit. 2.
necessary; and accordingly it is so ordered by Providence, that there are never wanting, in any society, men who are qualified to lead, as well as inen who are disposed to follow. Where a number of people convene for any purpose, some will naturally assume authority without the formality of election, and the rest will as naturally submit. A regular government, founded on laws, was probably not thought of, till people had frequently suffered by vicious governors *.
During the infancy of national societies, government is extremely simple ; and no less mild than simple. No individual is, by nature, entitled to exercise magisterial authority over his fellows ; for no individual is born with any mark of
* At first, when a certain regimen was one approved, it may be that all was permitted to the wisdom and discretion of those who were to rule; till, by expe. rience, this was found very inconvenient, so as the thing devised for a remedy did increase the fore which it should have cured. They saw, “ that, to live by 6 one man's will became the cause of all men's misery." This constrained them to come into laws, wherein all men might see their duty beforehand, and know the penalties of transgressing them ; Hooker's Eccl. Pol. l. 1. $ 10.