Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

hath got possession of them. They erect themselves into Controllers of the conduct of their Governors; they prescribe laws to the Legislature; and rise in tumults against the sentence of public Justice. In profperity, they are insolent; in adversity, outrageous. A People turbulent and servile ; mutinous and corrupt; impatient in want ; improvident in abundance; and equally unawed by the uplifted hand of Heaven and the Magistrate.

That Parfimony and fimplicity of manners, which had long supported their station in ease and credit, are now loft in the distreffes attending luxury and riot. Hence, mad factions, and criminal associations, which shake, and threaten to overturn, the very

foundations of Society.

now, wherewith shall this unfavoury Body be falted? They are ready to tell you, with that air of Sovereignty which they have assumed-By their large and extensive Commerce; that spring-tide of Riches ; which they believe (if they believe in any thing) will set the shattered Vessel

And now,

of the Commonwealth, now stranded by these wretched Pilots, once again on float.

But this gilded pageant will only add to our disorders. For a flow of wealth, which, regulated by the essential qualities of a virtuous People, would have set all to rights, will serve only to extend the luxury, to encourage the dissipation, and to enflame the insolence and riot, of a lawless crew of miscreants.

II. The MINISTERS OF RELIGION acquire their honoured character from their LOVE OF TRUTH, manifested in the cultivation of GOOD LETTERS. And none have surpassed the English clergy in the glorious exercise of these essential qualities. They rose to that distinction, and, indeed, they could rise no otherwise, by the mutual aid which those two qualities imparted to one another.

Now if ever the Salt of this sacred order should become vapid (which Heaven avert!) by a coldness for Truth and an indifference for Letters, one may easily guess what contrivances will be employed, and to how

i little

little purpose, to preserve appearances, when the virtue and efficacy of things are lost.

An affected MODERATION will try to soften, when it cannot warm, that rigid coldness ; and a blush of MODESTY will be assumed to animate that lifeless indifference. But these painted virtues will not bear the weather : this moderation will fade, and betray the pallid hue of IGNORANCE ; and this modesty soon appear to be only the varnish of SCEPTICISM.

Now though counterfeits do, in the very act, bear testimony to the excellence of the genuine qualities they usurp (and we know that MODESTY commonly attends, and always adds a lustre to Truth , and MODERATION best recommends the Teachers of it to the world); yet counterfeits can never supply the place of those Virtues they have dispossessed.

III. MINISTERS OF STATE, next to Ministers of Religion, deserve our highest reverence. Their Salt, or effential qualities, are WISDOM and Good Faith. On these the success as well as justice of public

measures

Ee

measures depend. These make them beloved at home, and confided in abroad. Such have been those Pilots of the Commonwealth, who, from time to time, have safely steered the public vefsel through all those dangers to which the stormy and tempestuous nature of our Free Constitution perpetually expose it.

Now whenever it shall happen, that this Ministerial Salt shall have lof its favour, is become insipid or corrupt, no expedients (though EXPEDIENTS be the Statesman's Asylum) will afford us its Virtue. Yet CUNNING and CIRCUMVENTION have been so long employed to hold the place of Wifdom and good Faith, that it, at length, became a question, which of these two kinds was the native and genuine Salt of the Politician ; though the History of Mankind had amply explained the difference; and long experience had so fully convinced the Statesman himself, of the small use of cunning and circumvention in the conduct of public affairs, that he had learned to turn them, with more success, for the advancement of his own ; in evading the force of

that opposition he was unable to withstand ; and in engrossing more power than he knew how to use.

IV. But now, from the partial and subordinate stations in Society, let us come to the whole Gonimunity itself; and see what is the Salt, and what are the essential qualities of this vast Body, this Leviathan, of whom it is said upon Earth there is not his like *, in whose parts and power and comely proportion (to use the language

of the sacred Writer) are contained two Societies, the civil and the religious: to each of which, every individual, in a different capacity, belongs.

belongs. The essential quality of the civil, is the love of man, manifested by the service of the Public : the essential quality of the religious, is the love of God, manifested in the practice of virtue and piety.

1. For, in tlie first part, individuals arsociating to obtain those worldly blessings which civil policy only can beftow, the genuine and most natural concerti of each

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »