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by the attractive lustre of magnanimous, and unsullied virtue, is a truth, which the utmost perverseness of human nature could not impugn; for, then, the greater their power, the more munificent their patronage, the more enlarged their influence, and the more captivating their example--we may confidently expect results proportional to the extent of the resources, from which their privileges emanate. * Nor is it
* As our constant motto is "fas est ab hoste doceri"—to receive instruction from an enemy; we desire to point out to our readers a Sermon, from which we ourselves have frequently derived the greatest delight :-it is one of the eloquent Massilon's, and is in his highest strain of impassioned fervour and pathos. The subject is “ On the Vices and Virtues of the Great," from Mat. iv. 8-9. We will translate three passages from it. “ Persons of an exalted rank resemble a public pageant, upon which every eye is fixed; they are those houses built upon a summit, the sole situation of which renders them visible from afar; those flaming torches, the splendour of which at once betrays and exposes them to view. Such is the misfortune of greatness and of rank ; you no longer live for yourselves alone; to your destruction or to your salvation is reserved the destruction or salvation of almost all those around you : your manners form the manners of the people; your examples are the rules of the inultitude; your actions are as well known as your titles; it is impossible for you to err unknown to the public, and the scandal of your faults is always the melancholy privilege of your rank.” Again—“ What advantage for the people when they find their fathers in their judges
- the protectors of their helplessness in the arbiters of their condition -the consolers of their sufferings in the interpreters of their interests! What abuses prevented! What tears wiped away! What crimes avoided! What harmony in families! What consolation for the unfortunate! What a compliment even to virtue, when the people are rejoiced to see it in office, and when the world, all wordly as it is, is, nevertheless, well pleased to have the godly for its defenders and judges !” And lastly" What an additional fund of comfort for the multitude, in the Christian and charitable use of your wealth ! You shelter innocence; you open asylums of penitence for guilt; you render virtue lovely to the unfortunate by the resources which they find in yours; you secure to husbands the fidelity of their wives--to fathers the preservation of their children—to pastors the safety of their flocks; peace to families-comfort to the afflicted – innocence to the deserted widowm-an aid to the orphangood order to the state--and, to all, the guardainship of their virtue, or the cure of their vices.” The above are a few of the public blessings, which, Massilon enumerates, as proceeding from the bright and virtuous examples of the Great.
otherwise in the natural world, * where the rivulets and fertilization of the plains, are continually increased and multiplied, by the force and exuberance of those ever-flowing, collected reservoirs, which the laws of nature, unalterably, assign to the commanding situation of the loftiest hills. Had such been not the
* We cannot but observe, that the Harmony between the Moral and Physical World, is one of the most instructive and exhaustless topics, which can come before the mind of the Christian philosopher. The observation of Lord Bacon is strikingly just, when he remarks, in speaking of the advantages reaped by Religion from philosophy “ As the Psalms and other Scriptures do often invite us to consider and magnify the great and wonderful works of God; so if we should rest only in the contemplation of the exterior of them, as they first offer themselves to our senses, we should do a like injury unto the majesty of God, as if we should judge or construe of the store of some excellent jeweller, by that only which is set out toward the street in his shop.” Again-“Our Saviour saith, you err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God; laying before us two books or volumes to study, if we will be secured from error; first, the Scriptures, revealing the will of God; and then the creatures, expressing his power : whereof the latter is a key unto thc former : not only opening our understanding to conceive the true sense of the Scriptures, by the general notions of reason and rules of speech; but chiefly opening our belief, in drawing us into a due meditation of the omnipotency of God, which is chiefly signed and engraven upon his works.” (Bacon's Advancement of Learning, Book i.). Among the numberless treatises written upon this topic, we would beg to mention the following, as handling this most interesting subject in a truly Christianlike manner. The imperishable monument, which the genius and piety of Bishop Butler raised in his “ Analogy of Religion,” supplies an unanswerable argument to objections ; and deserves to be ranked as the very first treatise on this branch of Theology. With it we may add the pious and accomplished Hervey's “ Reflections on a Flower-Garden”-“ Descant upon Creation”-“Contemplations on the Night”-“ The Starry Heavens,” and his " Winter-Piece.” Sturm's “ Reflections on the Works of God,” particularly, that for March xxii.“ Sophron, or Nature's Characteristics of the Truth, in a course of Meditations on the Scenes of Nature" by the Rev. H. Lee--this, perhaps, is one of the most learned, elegant, searching, and pious works in the whole compass of publications on this subject--the work most unaccountably, is generally unknown. Flavel's “ Husbandry Spiritualized.” “The Scripture Garden Walk”--this production is most particularly worthy of perusal; it has come from the pen of a young lady of very great promise and acquirements,---who has not ventured to give her name--London, 1832, (Hatchard and Son.). Dr. Chalmer's
appointment of a controlling Providence, the rich luxuriance, and fruitful vegetation of our earth, had nigh languished, in the frequent deficiency of equality, and insipid dulness of inanimation. But when any of the Aristocracy of our land descend from the greatness of their dignity,* and mingle indifferently amid the ruder passions of their inferiors-it is true, they
Astronomical Discourses, and his Sermon I. in the St. John's Church Sermons, on Ps. cxix. 89-91. In Bishop Horne on the Psalms, are many of the most sublime, and pathetic passages, drawn from a contemplation of the wonders of the physical world--in the Bishop's Commentary on Psalm xix., this is pre-eininently the case, where there is an allusion made to a Sermon of the Rev. G. Watson on “Christ the Light of the Wcrld," and which, on this subject, is one of the most admirable in the English language : the same might be said of Archbishop Leighton's two Sermons on “ Christ the Light and Lustre of the Church.” Jenyns' “Internal Evidence of Christianity,” in his Conclusion. Bp. Watson's Letters to Gibbon, in Let. vi.; and Letters to Paine, in Let. x. Dr. Gregory's Letters on the Christian Religion, in Let. iv. In the Scottish Pulpit, edited by Rev. R. Gillan, Edin. 1823, there is a most eloquent and powerful Sermon by Rev. T. Wright, No. xv. on the “ Analogy between the Operations of Divine Providence in Creation and in Redemption,” from Gen. i. 2-4. Of writings on the same subject, we might mention the two excellent Sermons, by the Rev. Claudius Buchanan, on “The Three Eras of Light," from Gen. i. 3. And finally we cannot omit including in this list “A course of Lectures on the Figurative Language of the Holy Scripture,” by the Rev. Wm. Jones of Nayland: the Creation, in many of its important branches, as referring to Christianity, is most luminously elucidated in these Lectures, as also in many other of Mr. Jones' voluminous treatises.
* It were hardly necessary to advert to the very unlimited dignity, which the most profound, philosophic politician of modern ages Montesquieu, ascribes to the Aristocracy; regarding them as a curb on popular power (de le’Esprit des Lois, liv. iii. chap. iv.) -- as the support of the throne (Ibid. liv. viii. chap. ix.)—and as being essential to a Monarchy (Ibid. liv. ii. chap. iv.). Montesquieu also states, that “the laws of a Monarchical government should endeavour to support the Nobility, in respect to whom, honour may be, in some measure, deemed both child and parent” (Ibid. liv. v. chap. ix.). To preserve the honour and spirit of Monarchy, Montesquieu asserts-“it is contrary to the spirit of Monarchy, to admit the Nobility into commerce. The custom, says he, of suffering the Nobility of England to trade, is one one of those things, which has there mostly contributed to weaken the Monarchical government” (Ibid. liv. xx. chap. xxi.). It is absolutely impossible to contradict Montesquieu's demonstrable positions, respecting the privileges, and
may possess the same power:—their influence however, is now as destructive, as it was formerly advantageous to the weal of society. Their feelings, insensibly, will intermix with the perturbed current of popular frenzy, and a convulsive commotion must inevitably ensue from this unmanageable, heterogeneous mass of weakness, ambition, hatred, jealousy, and license ;of this also, we have a lively emblem in the regions of nature, when from a failure of the just equilibrium of her mightier elements—a collision inevitably takes place; and for a season, dreadfully fatal desolations rapidly flow from her frightful commotions; to which succeed a covering of the sky in a canopy of pitchy darkness—the whole face of nature reddened by the streams of the lightning's electric flash-and an upheaving of the hugest rocks, when within the interior recesses of our globe, its bowels are fermented and inflamed, by the conflagration of subterraneous fires.
Now that there should be found, any of the Aristocracy of the land, so basely treacherous to the honour, and so plainly hostile to the spirit of their order, as to abandon the great bulwarks of principle so far, as to add to the increasing fuel and restless tumult of popular passions, the weight of their example and influence of their authority, is one of those unaccountable and anomalous incidents, that can neither be explained, nor easily understood. Are they so ignorant of the genius of their illustrious institution, as not to know, that they form the principal ligature, and surest safety-barrier of society? Should they not regard themselves as holding an independent station between the highest and lowest orders of the state ; so attempering absolute power and curbing democratic usurpation, as to preserve the equipoise of parties inviolate, and to maintain the fabric of society impregnable? Do they not know that the monstrous giant of popular power should be bound, like Gulliver in the fable, with a thousand minute cords, and unseen hinderances ? If, neither religion, nor principle, nor honour, nor patriotism, nor the public weal, nor public morals, nor common consistency, nor common sense can convince them of their delusionhow soon-how very soon, would they regard the warning-voice of the annals of the world, if the still remaining mounds were irrecoverably demolished-if the fiend-like spirits of modern revolutionists could realize their aspirations, which now no longer hide themselves under the vizard of hypocrisy, but openly infuse into the minds of all within their reach, the tincture of their deeply seated gall of rancorous jealousy-yea, from eyes surcharged with the venom of rage and malice, darting their malignant scowl, at all that stands associated with the privileged orders, and established system of society! What if they saw the bloody phantom of another reign of terror and anarchy, revelling in unsightly horrors beneath the Sun of Britain, directed by those miscreants, who have fury nestling in their corrupted hearts, blasphemy rampant on their polluting lips, and a torch threatening havoc in their murderous grasp ! Ah! but then perhaps in the undistinguished mass, they would unite in the general lamentation of the virtuous and good! Nay, in such a case the mob would spurn their present treacherous alliance-would reject their present affectation of singularity-would scorn their present passion for popular distinction—and would disdainfully withhold from them their present hire, which they may now enjoy, as a price for perfidiously abandoning their proper ranks, and deceitfully poaching upon the manors of the devotees of innovating factions, political unions, and revolutionary democrats! Thus without any temptation they might, forsooth, claim some of the praises of honourable patriotism, and chivalrous virtue; but futurity is not so much for our present contemplation, as to make it suit for an agreeable relief,
rights of the Nobility, except as he himself remarks, we convert our venerable Monarchy into rank despotism, or a wild democracy. By infringing their immunities, then of course, either the power of the Sovereign, or the mob, becomes necessarily unrestricted, and perfectly despotic.