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ture has no part of its character, of which more striking examples are given in every part of the globe. What is it that stirs in the breasts of ordinary men when the enemies of their country are named ? Whence are the prejudices that fubfist between dif. ferent provinces and villages of the same empire and territory? What is it that excites one half of the nations of Europe against the other? The statesman may explain this conduct upon motives of national jealousy and caution; but the people have dislikes and antipathies, which proceed from sentiment, not from reasoning. Among them the materials of war and diffenfion are laid without the direction of gov. ernment, and sparks are ready on every occasion to kindle into a flame.
This being the disposition of the people, happy is that institution which prevails in a part of this island", of putting arms into the hands of the people, of making every citizen a soldier in his turn, and by this means having a force at hand to rise in arms at any sudden emergency. When such a system of military arrangements takes place, the profperity of a state becomes independent of single men; there is a wisdom which never dies, and a valour which is immortal. A state may hire troops, but valour is not to be bought; the wealth of a nation will procure soldiers to fight its battles, but let it not be for. gotten, that the possessions of the fearful are easily seized, that a timorous multitude falls into rout of it. self. Ramparts may be erected, and the implemėnts of war may be furnished, by a pacific people ; but let it be remembered as an eternal truth, that
• Originally published before the institution of the Scottish Militia
there is no rampart which is impregnable to valour, that arms are only of consequence when they are in the hands of the brave, and that the only price of freedom is the blood of the free. When an ancient Spartan was asked what was the wall of his city ? he pointed to a band of brave men; a defence more permanent and more effectual than the rock and the cement with which other cities are fortified.
Lastly, The public welfare consists in the national character. That righteousness exaltech a nation, and that vice is not only a reproach, but also a depression to any people, are truths so universally received, as to require little confirmation. All lawgivers in all ages have thought so, and made it their object to cul. tivate justice and temperance, and fortitude and in. dustry, conscious that public virtue is the source of public happiness. Philosophers and moralists have been of the same opinion, and have taught, with one consent, that the morality of the people was the stability of the government, and the true source of public prosperity. Practice and experience have confirmed the truth of these speculations. If we consult the history of the most renowned nations that have made a figure in the world, we shall find, that they rose to greatness by virtue, and sunk to nothing by vice; that they obtained dominion by their temper. ance, their probity of manners, and a serious regard to religion; and that when they grew dissolute, corrupted and profane, they became flaves to their neighbours, whom they were no longer worthy to govern. Public depravity paves the way for public ruin. When the health and vigour of the political constitution is broken, it is hastening to its decline.
When internal symptoms of weakness appear, the least external violence will accomplish its dissolution. Besides the natural tendency of virtue to make nations great and happy, if we have just notions of divine Providence, if we believe that the perfections of God are at all concerned in human affairs, virtuous nations will be his peculiar care, and under his im. mediate protection ; he will counsel their counsel. lors, cover their armies in the day of battle, and crown them with victory and peace.
HEBREWS ix. 27,
It is appointed to men once to die ; but after this the
- judgment. ,..
DEATH is the conclusion of all events; of all that ever have been, and of all that ever will be, The schemes of the base, the plots of the ambitious, the projects of the visionary, the studies of the learn. ed, all terminate here. However different the paths be that we take in life, they all lead to the grave. Whilst, therefore, we make death the subject of contemplation, and meditate upon the house which is appointed for all living, let us take this thought along with us, that we shall bear a part in those scenes which we now describe, and that we are med. itating on a fate which will one day be our own.
In the first place, Let us consider death as an event, the period of which is uncertain.
In the days when Noah entered into the ark, they did eat, they drank, they married, they were given in marriage; and the flood came, and destroyed them all. On the day that Lot went out of Sodom, they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded ; and it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. As it was in the days of Noah and in the days of Lot, even thus, my friends, shall it be to you when the day of death cometh. In the present state of things, the
foul of man is blind to futurity. Surrounded with material objects, and occupied in present affairs, we make these the sole objects of attention; we find in them the only sources of attachment, and overlook those spiritual and distant events on which our future life and happiness depend. Hence, we are always surprised with our latter end, and the day of
the Lord cometh' like a thief in the night. No in?struction can make us so wise as to consider our lat
ter end; no warning can incite us to set our houses in order, that we may die; and no example give the alarm so strong, as to set us on ferious preparation for meeting with God. Void of thought, and careless of futurity, we live on from day to day, like the viaim that plays and dances before that altar where its blood is to be shed. Even after the longest life, and under the most lingering sickness, death comes unexpected; the arrow is still unseen that strikes through the heart...
This is not peculiar to a few men; it describes a general character, and is exemplified in all the clarses of life. This infatuation does not arise from ignorance. You all know that death is certain ; you all know that it is generally unexpected. You afsent to every thing that we can say upon this head, that there is no action of life, but what may lead to its end, and no moment of time but what may be your last. You need not be informed, that death spares no age; your own observation presents you with many instances of persons cut off in all periods of life. In that church-yard you see graves of every length; on those monuments of mortality, you read the histories of the promising boy, of the blooming