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of discrediting the cause; and the cheering dawn of knowledge may thus for a moment be overThe advancement of education then, whilst it multiplies readers and thinkers, must continue, as it now is, to be strictly connected with the principles of religion and good order. The power given to the poor must be joined still with sound moral feelings to employ it aright. Humility and obedience to the laws, a regard to conscience, contentment with their lot, industry, piety must be imbibed together with the elements of knowledge, or those elements will lose all their value. The Christian then, in a season of alarm like the present, will be anxious to inculcate on all around the genuine effects of religious education, and to exhibit the wholesome fruits which arise from it 4.
8. In such circumstances the care of each man should be to occupy himself with his own private duties. As long as men are engaged in discharging the daily and numerous duties which their several stations require, and are anxious to be godly and contented in those stations, they will have little inclination to lend themselves to the designs of the disorderly. Their time
• The exemplary patience and loyalty of the distressed manufacturers in Spitalfields during the whole winter, has been publicly acknowledged to arise from the spread of religious education, and the circulation of the Scriptures, in that quarter.
and thoughts will be filled. They will not allow their attention to dwell on comparisons between their own condition and that of others, but keep it fixed on what is immediately before them. This will promote tranquillity of mind. Envy, discontent, vain curiosity, calumny, sedition, will be excluded. Like the auditors of an interesting public discourse, they will be wholly occupied in what they are about, and will not concern themselves to observe, who is before them, or who behind them, whether others are better accommodated than themselves, or whether many be not much worse. It is only when the business is interrupted, or when the hearer's attention to it grows idle and remiss, that we think of the place in which we are seated 5. To fill up our duties in life to God's glory, to suffer patiently under his will, and to wait for his aid and succour, is the way of consolation under trouble, and of deliverance from it. And even, if God has placed us in the most painful circumstances, and we are exercised with sickness, and disappointed in our attempts to support our families, and have nothing to occupy our minds but our troubles, still this will be no reason why we should aggravate our afflictions by disloyalty and sedition, and add sin to sorrow. Rather we should confine our
5 Dr. Paley.
thoughts still to our immediate duties, those of diligently labouring, so far as we have opportunity, and patiently suffering where we have not. A peaceful, meek, respectable sufferer is always the first to be pitied and relieved; whilst noise, and clamour, and discontent make all real troubles worse, and invent a great many imaginary ones. To covet the stations of others, and to wish to seize them through the medium of public uproar and confusion, is not only wickedness but folly; it is to increase all our difficulties; it is not only to venture out to sea in a storm, but to venture for nothing 5. It is God's blessing which alone can relieve us, and God's blessing is to be waited for in a spirit of obedience and resignation. He has promised never to leave us nor forsake us. He has said that the lions shall lack and suffer hunger, but they that fear the Lord shall want no manner of thing that is good. And therefore we may rely on his watchful providence in our utmost straits; and without meddling with the duties or faults of others, and least of all those of our governors, may occupy ourselves with
9. Finally, if any line of conduct is likely to bring down God's blessing on ourselves and our country, and to remove from us his present chas
tisements, it is that which I am now recommending, and which flows from the principles I have laid down throughout this discourse. When God contends, he will overcome. We shall gain nothing by a spirit of rebellion and discontent. We shall obtain no relief by following our own proud and hasty spirit. We shall find no alleviation by listening to desperate and ungodly men, and by unjustly blaming our rulers, which is in fact to contemn the authority and ordinance of God. Like the wild bull in a net, we shall by these means only increase and aggravate our misery. But if we take another course, and turn to Him that smiteth us, and seek the Lord of Hosts; if by true repentance and amendment of life we each reform ourselves; if by humble confession of sin we admit the justness of the divine punishments, and by a hearty forsaking of it take away the occasion of them; if by piety and contentment under comparative misfortunes, and by patience and submission under greater ones, we wait for God's deliverance; if by prayer and supplication for kings and all that are in authority over us, we bind the several orders of the state together in mutual affection and subordination; if by a loyal and Christian spirit and conduct we propose a good example to others, and diffuse sound principles of religion and morals to all about us; and if, finally, by a cordial reception
of the Gospel of Jesus Christ we obtain the favour of God and a hope of future felicitythen may we trust that God will interfere for us as a nation; that he will restore our trade and commerce to their ordinary prosperity; that he will grant us favourable weather for the ensuing harvest (of which indeed we have had, as we hope, the foretaste in the blessing of an unusually mild winter) that he will give wisdom to our senators, and to all in authority, in their conduct of public affairs; that he will bestow on us such a measure of success as may be for our real benefit; and that, above all, he will continue to employ us as a nation, not only as the protector and deliverer of the desolated liberties of Europe, and the object of admiration to mankind for our chivalrous fidelity and unexampled prowess in war, but as the instructor and guide of the world, as the instrument of disseminating our religion and our civilization to the furthest quarters of the globe, and as the means of holding up, as it were, a pillar of fire to mark out to the benighted nations the path to happiness and heaven; that so our piety may be as celebrated as our valour, and the beneficence of our religion as widely acknowledged, as the disinterestedness of our policy and the justice and splendour of our arms.