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ESSAY IX.

On the Prayer for the King's Majesty.

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HE wisest of men has declared, that “ ra

“ word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver," the external part of which, consisting of silver curiously engraved, is beautiful and valuable; but its internal part so far exceeds, that its true excellence cannot be ascertained till it be closely examined. Whatever was the precise idea intended by the author of this allusion, the passage affords a striking illustration, as it may be applied to the religion of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though some degree of beauty may be discovered therein by a careless observer, its superlative excellence can only be comprehended by one who looks through the network of silver to the golden fruit which is contained within. A man who would form just notions of Christianity, must draw near and survey the symmetry of its parts; and also the effects which it is designed and calculated to produce on its votaries in every situation and relation, both in the present and the future world. The system of the Bible is not like a “ whited sepulchre," of which the outside only will bear inspection; but it may be compared to the glorious orb of day, which, though revolving continually on its own axis, presents in every direction a luminous appearance. The works of man are often lovely, when viewed at a distance, VOL. 1.

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or with the naked eye; but the works of God will bear the strictest scrutiny under every advantage which the eye is capable of receiving. “ The glorious Gospel of the blessed God” is not only beneficial to the individual who feels its influence, producing peace in his conscience, mildness in his temper, and contentment in his bosom, while it changes the ferocious lion of the forest into a gentle and patient lamb: it not only conduces to domestic comfort, making men to be of one mind in a house, and converting the wild uproar of contentious debate into the peaceful language of prayer, praise, and hea.. venly intercourse; enabling husbands and wives, "parents and children, masters and servants, to fill up their several situations with mutual satis. faction and benefit: but its influence on society at large is equally benign. If the spirit of Christianity reign in the hearts of Kings and of those who are in authority, it diffuses its salutary influence on all around, like a river, which as it flows through an extensive country, spreads fertility over all its borders, filling the hearts of thousands with joy and gladness. If it possess the bosom of a subject, it makes him a quiet and peaceable, an affectionate and useful member of society; producing in every mind, where it finds admission, so far as it prevails, without a single exception, loyalty to the constituted anthorities, and obedience to the laws of the country in which the favored partaker of it lives. How different from all this is the genius of infidelity, in the effects which it produces on the heart of the individual, on the comfort of domestic life, and also on the peace and well-being of ciety! The last hours of the unhappy Voltaire

a lively comment on the wretched con

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dition in which infidelity leaves its deluded ads vocates, as to the state of their own souls. Though he had for a long course of years .employed both genius and learning in the impious effort of erecting a fortress on the foundation of Atheism, which should be tenable against the artillery of a guilty conscience and the fears of death and judgment, the walls of the whole fa·bric mouldered into nothing at the blasting of the breath of God's displeasure, and left the miserable builder a defenceless prey to anguish and despair.

Similar to this was the experience of another of the sceptic tribe, the apostate Julian ; who, after a life of philosophical unbe

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• The above account is fully justified by the Abbè Barruel, in his Memoirs illustrating the History of Jacobinism. From this curious and interesting work it appears, that Voltaire and his associates of the French academy had carried their antipathy to Christianity so far, that the horrible expression, Crush the wretch, (by whom they meant our most adorable Lord and Saviour) was the watch-word of the party, which they used continually in their private correspondence. It is not therefore to be wondered 'at, that these impious men should be made distinguished objects of Divine displeasure. The Abbè Barruel, from the most incontestable authority, gives such a description of their end, as strikes the mind with the deepest horror. Voltaire, during his last illness, which continued for three months, recanted his infidel opinions, confessed to a priest, and declared that he died in the holy catholic church. The whole time of his sickness was employed in alternate supplication and blasphemy. The remembrance of his conspiracy against: Him, whom he now invoked in vain, was continually present to his mind. His physicians, particularly Mr. Tronchin, and the Mareschal de Richelieu, fled from his bedside, declaring the sight too terrible to be sustained, and that the furies of Orestes could give but a faint idea of those of Voltaire.

The Abbè, in the sequel of this valuable work, asserts that several of the other conspirators died in the same horrors of soul with their wretched chief. . The reader, if he be a friend to revelatiou, will be highly gratified by a perusal of the whole account.

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lief, and of active enmity against Christ and His church, having received a mortal wound from a lance in the Persian war, and being conscious of his approaching end, filled his hand with his own blood, and, casting it into the air, cried, "Vicisti, O Galilæe-O Galilæan, thou

hast conquered." If those who are placed in authority "neither fear God nor regard man,' they are under no restraint from acts of injustice and cruelty, except that which arises from motives of self-interest and fear of personal sufferings. It is unnecessary to add how insufficient these considerations are to check the furious current of the human will, when freed from all apprehension of the Divine vengeance. The effects of infidelity on the conduct of the go. verned are depicted to the life in the present age, and are so glaring as to make it unnecessary that they should be pointed out. * A man without God is ready for every evil word and work. If death be an eternal sleep, farewell at once to all the comforts of social life. Its ties are instantly broken, and its cords burst asunder. So soon as this becomes' the prevailing creed, we shall thenceforward live on the same terms

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* " Voltaire was the father of the sophisters of impiety, and before his death he becomes the chief of the sophisters of rebellion. He had said to his first adepts, Let us crush the altar, and let not a single altar, nor a single worshipper, be left to the God of Christians; and his school soon resounded with the cry of, Let us crush the sceptre, and let not a single throne, nor a single subject, be left to the kings of the earth!" The above paragraph, extracted from the two last pages of Barruel's first volume, displays the connection that subsists between infidelity and rebellion. The second volume more strongly points out the pernicious tendency of infidel principles to subvert the obedience of subjects, and to shake the basis of every earthly government, whether monarchical, aristocratical, or democratical.

with each other as bears and tygers. Every man will become a prey to his neighbour, so often as superior power promises success to an assault, and unbridled appetite demands his property or life.

The true genius of the religion of Jesus appears in a most amiable light in the prayers of our church which respect civil government, especially those for the King and Royal Family. That it is the duty of every Christian subject to pray for the supreme magistrate and for all that are put in authority under him, will be contro verted by no persons who really receive the Scriptures as a revelation from God. . A charge

. of disaffection to “ the powers that be” has often been laid against persons professing godliness. But whatever reason may have been justly given for such an indictment by some who have ayowed themselves members of the Christian community, most certain it is that Christianity has never been the cause of sédition. Our Lord · himself was charged with being an enemy to Cæsar: but the reader needs not to be informed how totally unfounded was the accusation, since on every occasion our adorable Saviour shewed Himself an obedient subject, both of paternal and civil government, and hath set us an example that we should follow His steps. Charity, which 'hopeth all things, wishes to find that the charge too often brought against His disciples may prove equally unsupported, But, how-' ever that be, the character of His religion is to be estimated, not from the misrepresentations of its enemies, nor from the misconduct of its tended friends, but from the plain and decisive precepts of the New Testament.

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