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It is not within my province, to paint the political greatness of Britain, at a moment
it is man's duty as well as interest to oppose, and his merit as well as happiness to subdue, instituted two capital ordinances, Civil Government, and Religion : supports as necessary for the moral world, as the Sun and Moon for the natural; the one to sustain and cheer us in this vale of miseries; the other to direct our benighted footsteps towards the happier regions of light and immortality. į “We may be certain therefore, that the same Providence which keeps the celestial orbs in their courses, will be ever watchful that these two moral lights suffer no extinction or irretrievable decay. For as neither comets above, nor ignes fatui below, can supply the use of those luminaries, fo neither can despotic rule, or wild fanaticism, fupply the use of these.
" Yet as the moral world, for very obvious reasons, is infinitely more subject to disorder than the natural, it may sometimes happen that these moral lights Thall suffer such dreadful eclipses, and have their splendour so polluted and impaired, as to shine purely no where, and brightly only in some small obscure corner of the globe. Thus, for instance, the blessing of civil liberty, the source of all human happiness, was, for many ages, totally extinct; and the knowledge of the Deity himself, the fountain-head of truth, was, for as many more, confined within the narrow limits of the land of Israel.
« Now this being the precarious condition of the moral world in general, let us fee what may be the actual state of Civil Government and Religion at present on the earth.
« As to the former, if we look round us, from the nearest to the remotest continent, we shall no where find a society JOL. II.
when so many other states are either blotted from existence, or are sinking with disgrace
founded on the true principles of civil liberty. Either the nature of its convention hath been so ill conceived (as in the East), that the absolute despotic form hath been mistaken for the immediate institution of heaven; and, con fequently, every species of free government for essential licence and impiety: or else, where the rights of mankind have been better understood (as in the West), where the three legitimate forms, the Monarchic, the Aristocratic, and the Popular, have been truly discriminated; yet men, seeing that civil freedom was naturally confined to these three forms, erroneously concluded, that each of them, sepa. rately and unmixed with the other two, was able to sustain áll the rights and advantages of it; not considering that, while they operate singly, they are but the same tyranny in a different shape : for while each form exists alone, the whole fovereignty resides in a part only of the community, which subjects the rest to despotic rule.
« But true and lasting liberty results from the skilful combination of the three forms with one another; where each of the orders, which governs absolutely in each form, hath its due share of the fovereign power, and no more. Here all impotency of rule is eternally excluded; for no man, or body of men, can exercise tyranny over itself.
“ A government thus truly free, is like one of those sovereign medicines so much spoken of, where each of the various ingredients, of which it is composed, does; together with its virtues, contain such noxious qualities, that, if used fimply and alone, might occafion great dif. orders; but when skilfully intermixed with the rest, the
- whole 3
into ruin. Other pens must describe the glorious contrast she exhibits, when compared
whole hath corrected the noxious qualities, and exalted the falutary virtues of each part. .
« Whenever such a well composed fociety becomes despotic, it must be by the silent dissolution of its complex form; as when one order usurping on the rest, hath gotten the whole of the sovereignty to itself.
With so happy a Constitution of government hath it pleased Divine Providence to bless this isand; the honoured repository of sacred freedom, at a time when almost all the other civilized nations have betrayed their trust, and delivered up civil liberty, the most precious gift of nature, for a prey to their fellow creatures. i
« Now the preservation of this sacred ordinance being no less necessary to the temporal welfare of man, than the knowledge of the true God is to his spiritual ; we must conclude, that the same gracious Providence would be now no less watchful for the preservation of the British nation; than it was of old for the Jewish; yet still speaking the same language to both— I do not this for your fakes, but for my holy Name's fake,..
"If we turn from Government to Religion, we shall . have the same reason to adore the gracious Majesty of Heaven, still working for his holy Name's fake, that is, for the general good of mankind. For though it would be vanity to boast in this case, as in the other, that true Religion, like Civil Liberty, is to be found only in Great Britain, when we behold the Protestant faith, professed in the purity of the Gospel, in so many of our kindred Churches on the continent; yet this we cannot but declare, and should always acknowledge with the utmost gratitude, that the Church of England, by means of the mighty power
with all the Powers on earth, in fpirit, in principle, in public faith, unsullied honour,
of its Imperial Head, is become the fortress and bulwark of the Protestant profession throughout the world; and, therefore, we may be affured, the object of God's peculiar regard, whose special Providence works chiefly for general ends *...
" In the course of this quarrel it hath been sometimes said, the present combustion in Europe was to be regarded in the light of a religious war, against a confederacy ani. mated by Romish superstition and tyranny; and sometimes again, that it broke out and was carried on only for the discussion of our civil interests. But in whatever shifting lights it may suit the ends of Politicians to present it, the Lord of Hofts himself, by so visibly fighting our battles, hath fully decided the question, and in the midst of victory hath declared it to be indeed a religious war : for human presumption itself will never venture to account for such distinguished mercies to a sinful nation, any otherwise, than by confidering Great Britain in the light of the fole remaining trustee of Civil Freedom, so of the great bulwark of Gospel Truth. . . ." Let us, therefore, humble ourselves before the Sovereign Majesty of heaven, confess our total unworthiness of these distinguished mercies, and echo back again to the throne of grace those awful words which once proceeded from it--- We confess, O Almighty Father, that the great things which thou hast done for us, were not done for our fakes, but for thy holy Name's fake.” Warburton's Sermons, vol. iii. p. 190. Edit. 1767. . * See Mr. Erskine's and the Pope's Letters to the Bishops, from the Sun of Sept. 23, 1801. This proposal was rejected by 13 of the 19 Bishops now resident in London, with the exception of the Archbishop of Aix, a very remarkable circumstance : because by this refusal these Bishops virtually deny the papal claim to supremacy and infallibility--the great supporters of the popith systein.
loyalty, justice, charity—in trade, opulence, and population—in the splendour of her victories, since unconnected with the powers. The could not, cannot save; and in the magnanimity of her conduct, amidst unprecedented provocations.
But it is strictly my office, to mention with exulting gratitude, that Britain's Sovereign has not listened " to the spirits, which already have tempted so many of the kings of the earth to join the league against the Prince of Princes z" - that, foremost to honour his religion, protect his servants, and give glory to his name, HER KING, and HER PEOPLE, collectively considered, have as yet stood firm against the assaults and artifices of Infidelity, because these circumstances prove the prosperity of this country to accord, as strictly as the adversity of other nations, with the explanatory, principle derived from these researches into the Prophecies.
For, while, with the whole world, I attribute in the most decided manner the present state of this kingdom to the measures early adopted and steadily pursued by its
..? Rev. xvi. 13, 14.