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The measures of parliament, constituted as parliament now is, are national measures. The sin is the sin of the country. And what is it prominently marks the character of the country, against all the struggles of the Church of Christ in the midst of it, but an intense money-getting spirit; regardless of all the sufferings of others, if property may be enlarged ; and a consequent fearful oppression by the wealthy, of the lower orders; and a re-acting hatred of the upper classes in the lower ? This is eminently seen, as the author has observed on another occasion, in the state of the agricultural poor and the factory children. Let us remember how full the Scripture is of strong testimonies against oppression, and grinding the faces of the poor ; what stern reproofs are given against oppressors, especially where professing religion, and how constantly the ruin of countries is ascribed to this cause, and we may indeed have just fears that heavy judgments hang over our country. An unholy thirst for gain, without reference to God's will and glory, or the good of man, shoots very deep into the heart of our land, and spreads very wide over it. The greater part of the misery that now oppresses our country is from making haste to be rich, and this connected with widely spread and largely received false and infidel political principles of the wealth of nations being their prosperity, without reference to moral character. Hence men eagerly pursue the accumulation of property, whatever distress or ruin it may bring on others, justifying themselves by that which should be their guard, the general practice. Exod. xxiii. 2; Matt. vii. 13. But instead of attaining security and happiness by this selfishness they are labouring utterly in vain. Hab. ii. 13. The word of God speaks repeatedly and most strongly against this really self-destructive course, and shows the great personal danger of pursuing riches to the oppression of the poor. Prov. xxix. 20, 21; Isaiah, v. 8-10; Jer, vi, 23; viii, 9, 10; xxii. 13
-17; Micah, ii, 1–3; Hab. ii. 9—11; and James, v. 1-4. May the eyes even of those making a credible profession of godliness, be opened to see, and their resolutions strengthened to renounce, this great evil. Whatever present losses their singularity may occasion them, their real gain will be unspeakably great. The vanity and emptiness of all excuses founded on the misconduct of the poor, for neglecting their real misery, will be apparent to a Christian.
“The real character of this idolatry of wealth is an apostacy. When we have ceased to trust in the Lord, we trust in idols (1 Tim. vi. 17): when we have ceased to delight in the Lord, we delight in idols. Nothing is more clear than that covetousness is idolatry (Ephes. v. 6; Col. iii. 5): nothing is more clear than that idolatry is apostacy (Deut. vii. 4; xiii. 1-10), and that apostacy of a nation is connected with national judgments. 2 Kings, xvii.; 2 Chron. 36.*
Many other signs of a growth of apostacy might be mentioned which are set before us in the Scriptures (2 Peter, ii. 10–22, and Jude, x. 16) and too apparent in Christendom.”
* The great exertions of so many professors of religion, chiefly among Dissenters, to set aside all national establishments of religion, which they openly avow is, in their view, the root of all evil in the Church of Christ ; and the vast strength of the current of Papal and infidel men who join in this stream, and their influence upon those in power' at this day, is another fearful indication of approach to national apostacy. The heavenly host rejoiced (Rev. xii. 10, 11) in that na. tional triumph of Christianity which such mistaken men would, in their self-wisdom and ignorance of God's word, overthrow. Let not any be deceived by piety of expressions and intermingling of prayers and praises, or peaceful professious or pretences of conscience; as we nationally honour God and maintain his truth, he will nationally honour
Let us remember the sure word of prophecy, and how we are guarded against the Korah spirit of this age (Numbers, xvi. ; Jude, xi.), and may we before it be too late, like Nebuchadnezzar, be brought to give the glory of our kingdom to God. Dan. iv. 31–37.
FALSE PRINCIPLES OF PHILOSOPHY-LIBERTY.
LIBERTY THE RULING PRINCIPLE-IN MORALS-THE SELFISH SYSTEM
OF MORALS-LIBERTY IN EDUCATION-BOOKS TEACH BETTER THAN
IN SIN-DEMOCRACY -- MODERN LIBERTY
POWER-AMBITION A VIRTUE-LIBERTY IS LICENTIOUSNESS-MONEY
MAKING A VIRTUE-LUXURY A VIRTUE-VANITY A VIRTUELI
BERTY IN RELIGION-CHRISTIANITY A STEP-NO MAN ANSWERABLE
FOR HIS CREED-IMPUNITY OF CRIME-WHAT REAL LIBERTY IS.
The principles and opinions which prevail in all subjects at any one time in a country, are so much the same in character, and so interwoven one with another, that it is difficult to disentangle any one or more from the rest, and to exhibit them separately. It is still more difficult to discover the error and disprove the wisdom of any policy or opinion; because the bent of the public mind is uniform, and a habit, and the premises as well as the conclusions, have the same foundation and the same character, and are the result of inclination, and bias, and taste, which are supreme in argument.
The one ruling principle exhibits itself in different shapes; appearing to the familiar eye distinct in spe
cies and genus, according to the difference of the subjects in which it operates. It is easier to expose and assail the leading principle itself, than to analyze and invade any one or more of the various forms and appearances which it assumes, each of which is a support and a defence of all the others.
Political licence is essentially one in principle with religious dissent; and this with the passion for invention and change; with rationalism in religion, and pantheism. The selfish system of morals, the present principles of political economy, the worship of wealth, the praise of luxury, the oppression of the poor, the passion for commercial enterprise, and mechanical invention, infidelity and revolution, rebellion against God and
man, have one and the same origin, are one and the same thing :--and that one thing is Liberty. Liberty is the cant word, and charm, and token, among all orders and classes; and unites all peoples and languages together in one crusade of division and separation. Liberty has power to take peace from heaven and earth. Liberty is the watch-cry of domestic feud, of civil war, of foreign invasion and aggression,-of hatred, rebellion, ambition, aggrandizement, robbery and tyranny. Liberty is both the lock and the key to all argument and proof. Since liberty is the one essential ingredient in all the developments of modern policy, and liberty is the one point and premise conceded, the beginning and the end of philosophy and politics, the Alpha and Omega, the datum and quæsitum,every argument is always in a circle, only arriving at
the same point; and no wonder it is easy, -and no wonder every step is dogmatism itself, and incontrovertible.
Let us endeavour nevertheless to test some one or a few of these dogmas by a denial at least; and to bring them to a comparison with some independent system, or other fixed point :—though to find out a region free from the disturbing influence of this our centre of force, we must almost stretch our observation beyond the reach of parallax.
In the department of ethics, “ the selfish system of morals” is that which is predominant and characteristic of the philosophy of the age. The apparent consequences and tendency of things, that is, their usefulness and expediency, constitute them right, according to this system. This is identical in its principle with Epicureanism. And like Epicureanism it is, and is found to be, inconsistent with the obedient worship of God. It constitutes man the legislator and judge of his own rule of action; and rejects and deposes God as the judge of right and wrong, the divider of good and evil, of light and darkness. This cannot long consist with a belief in God's word. And accordingly the Epicureans rejected God from all interference with sublunary concerns; and with a real pride, but affected humility, and rendering a philosophic honour, but actual insult, founded in the weakness of men, above which they professed to raise Him,-attributing pride and idleness to the Almighty,-deposed Him from his omnipotence and omniscience. And “the selfish system of morals” is effectually undermining the belief in revelation.