Imágenes de páginas

and legislators who through servility, corruption, or tyranny, who through ignorance, superstition, or prejudice, have ordained institutions to this purpose, may be said to have issued edicts, and these they may have enforced by penal sanctions; but they have not, properly speaking, established laws: for it is essentially necessary that the object, and the matter of law, be fundamentally holy, just, and good; or in other words, consistent with the ordinations of God, and the rights of man-Dr Peckard.


The blessings of Revelation are meant to improve human nature progressively, not to change it suddenly and totally-to correct, not destroy, the influence of national opinions, customs, and institutions to mitigate, not annihilate, physical evils, and to forward their proper uses, as furnishing opportunities for moral good among creatures whose industry, patience, fortitude, and benevolence, are to be exercised in a state of moral discipline.-Dr Parr.


That religion is false which, professing to be intended for the use of all nations, is distorted in its doctrines, and narrowed in its precepts, by the prejudices and manners of any one particular age, and any one particular country. That religion is probably true which, challenging the enquiries, and demanding the obedience of every age and every country, is calculated to promote their temporal as well as eternal interest; to co-operate with every useful quality in their government, laws, and manners; and gradually to correct whatever is defective and injurious in them.-Dr Parr.


Mankind appear to be in league against their own interests, and betray the same spirit in matters

of secular concern as in those of religion. Let a wiser and better course of things be exhibited ever so clearly, or enforced with the utmost cogency, no practical alteration is admitted, or only after repeated struggles against its adoption. The battle with error and apathy must be fought again and again; and often those who make the most strenuous efforts in the cause, never live to witness its triumph, or reap the fruits of their exertions.W. B. Clulow.


We e may improve the moral as well as political state of that country, by assisting in the establish- . ment or execution of salutary laws. We may shew the sincerity of our patriotism by the general activity of our benevolence, and by our solicitude to promote alike the spiritual and temporal welfare of those who are endeared to us by social intercourse. We may be industrious, and the encouragers of industry. We may be learned, and patrons of learning. We may be innocent, and the protectors of innocence. By our counsels we may suggest, or by our contributions we may facilitate, extensive projects for the employment of the idle, the reformation of the dissolute, and the relief of the sick, the aged, and the indigent. We may enlighten ignorance, correct prejudices, restrain intolerance, assuage animosities, and diffuse around us the blessings of Christian charity. We may direct our neighbours, our families, our countrymen, to the knowledge of every Christian truth. We may animate them at once by precept and example, to the practice of every Christian duty. In reality, every accession to national virtue brings with it an additional security for national prosperity: and surely, he who, by the authority of his station or the influence of his advice, accustoms a whole people to the love of truth, justice, and mercy, to faith in Christ,

and piety towards God, has a splendid claim to be ranked among the most useful friends of his country, and the noblest benefactors of mankind.

Dr Parr.


The main labours of existence should ever be for periods of tranquillity, as these form the rule, and seasons of disturbance and war the exception. The Chinese seem to have acted most steadily on this axiom, their chief energies having been directed for ages to the cultivation of the arts of peace. It is not without reason that among this extraordinary people, the civilians or men of letters take precedence of the profession of arms.-W. B. Clulow.


War, though it may be undertaken, according to popular opinions and popular language, with justice, and prosecuted with success, is a most awful calamity it generally finds men sinners, or makes them such; for, so great is usually the disproportion between the provocation and the punishment, between the evil inflicted or suffered, and the good obtained, or even proposed, that a serious man cannot reconcile the very frequent rise, and the very long continuance of hostilities, to reason or to humanity. Upon whom, too, do the severities of war fall most heavily? In many cases, they by whom contention is begun, or cherished, feel their influence extended, their dependants multiplied, and their wealth, in the regular and fair course of public business, increased. While fields are laid waste, and cities depopulated, the persons by whose commands such miseries take place are often wantoning in luxurious excess, or slumbering in a state of unfeeling and lazy repose. The peaceful citizen is in the meantime crushed under the weight of exactions, to which, for "conscience sake," he submits;

the industrious merchant is impoverished by unforeseen and undeserved losses; and the artless husbandman is dragged away from those who are nearest and dearest to him, in order to shed the blood of beings as innocent and as wretched as himself, to repel injuries which he never felt or suspected, and to procure advantages which he may never understand or enjoy. Such are the aggravating circumstances belonging to war, when it is carried on against a foreign enemy, even though it be disarmed of many terrors which accompanied it in less enlightened and less civilized ages.-Dr Parr.


Under the natural order of things, the unfolding of an intelligent, self-helping character, must keep pace with the amelioration of physical circumstances, the advance of the one with the exertions put forth to achieve the other; so that in establishing arrangements conducive to robustness of body, robustness of mind must be insensibly acquired. Contrariwise, to whatever extent activity of thought and firmness of purpose are made less needful by an artificial performance of their work, to that same extent must their increase, and the dependent social improvements, be retarded. The difference between English energy and Continental helplessness is due solely to difference of discipline. Having been left in a greater degree than others to manage their own affairs, the English people have become selfhelping, and have acquired great practical ability: whilst, conversely, the comparative helplessness of the paternally-governed nations of Europe, is a natural result of the state-superintending policyor the reaction attendant on the action of official mechanisms.-Social Statics.


Few are sufficiently aware how much reason most of us have, even as common moral livers, to thank

God for being Englishmen. It would furnish grounds both for humility towards Providence and for increased attachment to our country, if each individual could but see and feel how large a part of his innocence he owes to his birth, breeding, and residence in Great Britain. The administration of the laws; the almost continual preaching of moral prudence; the number and respectability of our sects; the pressure of our ranks on each other, with the consequent reserve and watchfulness of demeanor in the superior ranks, and the emulation in the subordinate; the vast depth, expansion and systematic movements of our trade; and the consequent interdependence, the arterial or nerve-like net-work of property, which make every deviation from outward integrity a calculable loss to the offending individual from its mere effects, as obstruction and irregularity; and lastly, the naturalness of doing as others do; these and the like influences, peculiar, some in the kind and all in the degree, to this privileged island, are the buttresses, on which our foundationless welldoing is upheld even as a house of cards, the architecture of our infancy, in which each is supported by all.-S. T. Coleridge.

« AnteriorContinuar »