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not be withheld ; yet a short season of expectation, and the blessing of increase shall amply reward the labourer's anxiety and care. I see the abodes of misery and vice sought out by the ministers of consolation ; the offspring of the poor, once left unpitied to the dominion of their own fierce and evil passions, growing up beneath the sound of the gospel of peace; and, lastly, the bonds of Christian fellowship beginning to be felt and acknowledged by those who should never have allowed themselves to differ. Surely all this will not prove ineffectual and vain! For my own part, if I were allowed to see the first-fruits of that harvest for which prayer has so long been exercised, and expecta. tion undoubtingly entertained, methinks I could pass from earth almost in the spirit described by the Epicurean poet,-a contented and satisfied guest, not because I have drained the chalice filled with the pleasures of life to the dregs, and found a second draught denied, but as taught from my own experience, by peace and anxiety, by joy and sorrow, by the comforts as well as by the anxieties of a sufficiently varied and protracted career, that every dispensation of severe trial or unhoped-for deliverance which has attended my condition of existence here, bas been mercifully meant to qualify and prepare me for one far better and more permanent hereafter.
ON NATIONAL STABILITY AND DECAY.
Yea, all that it inherits, shall dissolve,
Leave not a rack behind. States and nations have been compared, with reference to their rise, greatness, de- We are not, however, to conclude that, cline, and fall, to the individuals of whom because Egypt and Assyria, Greece and they are composed. Infancy, youth, man- Rome are no more, there is an absolute hood, old age, and death have their resem- term in the destinies of nations which they blances, it is thought, in kingdoms and em- cannot outlast. On the contrary, we have pires, where man exists only as a compo- many reasons to believe, that, as the duranent part or rather particle. It does not, tion of a people is connected, under imhowever, follow from any logical deduction portant circumstances, with sacred and easily imagined, that because men grow moral causes, there must be great differold, states must therefore grow old, or that ences in what may be termed the constiempires must expire for no other reason tutional health and tendency to longevity than that the transitory beings who consti- in different states; and that some may, tute them are daily and hourly dyingconsequently, approximate to that divine Nations have, undoubtedly, from small and intellectual vigour, which is almost beginnings, attained eminence, and have wholly without the principle of decay. then declined and become extinct; and In the nations that have declined and these stages of their existence have not fallen in ancient times, and in those in inaptly been paralleled with corresponding which we may now perceive symptoms of stages in human life; but the similitude decline, there may always be observed a may be correct, and yet very erroneous if distinction of interests between those who converted into an argument. The natural exercise the powers of government, and life of man is dependent upon natural those who are governed,-between sepates, causes, while the duration of an empire or and the people-between sovereigns, and its fall is generally to be traced to causes subjects—between the rich, and the poor. purely moral and political. The former It is also worthy of remark, that, where the belong to the material world—a world of government and the governed have been decay and mutation ; the latter to the intel- most assimilated in their interests and their lectual world, where deterioration and dis- rights, there have been most stability and solution are the consequences of error and general prosperity. Unhappily, (we know evil, and where change ought to be un- of none in which such an assimilation of known, except in the gradations of increas- rights and interests has ever been brought ing excellence.
to any degree of perfection, or in which it Empires have fallen, it is true, and
een more or less counteracted by haps not one of those now in existence, the selfishness of individuals or of combi
- even that of Britain, which stretches nations and factions, who have sought and eastward and westward, and incessantly established their own particular interests at beholds the light of the sun reflected from the expense of the people over whom they its colonies or its provinces, may not be acquired, by talents or intrigue, a paramount found, except as a name, upon the earth, sway. In the despotisms of Egypt and at that fatal day, when the globe itself, Asia, there seems always to have been a
portion of the priesthood, and a party say this to detract in the smallest degree about the throne, who shared among them from the sublime imaginings of Mr. Bulwer the wealth of the people, and the only respecting the nature of man when enpoint in which the enslaved populace par. lightened by knowledge, and purified by ticipated in the proud interests of their religion : on the contrary, I am certain that rulers, was that of the most abject depend- sone well-meaning Calvinists impede, in ence : their subsistence was the precarious no slight degree, the progress of civilizawages of their obedience, and the chain of tion, by the terms in which they speak of servitude extended from the throne to the the fall and the depravily of the human humblest tiller of the soil. There have not soul. Man, it is manifest, is capable of high been wanting writers, however, who have intellectual attainments and great moral excontended that the gradation of dependence cellence; and he is permitted by his Creator found in a pure despotism, is the perfection to proceed with hope in the acquirement of of political constitutions, and that under an science, in the enlargement of his virtuous absolute monarch there is a more complete sentiments, and in his acquaintance, through consolidation of the interests of the com- the Almighty word, with the Almighty himmunity, than under any other form of self. We may look forward, then, with government. Such writers argue thus, that the highest expectation, but we must look were mankind completely enlightened, with forward also with humility; sensible, from respect to the mutual dependence of their history, and from the prospect around us, real interests,
- were those real interests what infirmity, what ignorance, what selfish correctly understood, — did the spirit of viciousness has frequently blinded and enChristianity prevail among us as it ought slaved us ! to do,—then might a people entrust them- That dependence which gives strength selves to the dominion of a single ruler, and duration to nations, must not be that and leave their happiness entirely to the which has hitherto been observable in descare of him, and of such counsellors as he potisms: it must be mutual. This was might choose to select. A distinguished partly the case in the republics of Greece, liberal author of the present day, in his but a want of political organization, and a interesting work upon England, has not mixture of slavery with liberty, rendered hesitated to startle the friends of freedom, the stability of those republics less perfect who are among his principal admirers, than even ihat of the despotisms over which with the intimation, that civilized men, as they triumphed. They were small, yet they find knowledge diffused among them, their deeds were mighty, and they carried and with knowledge virtuous and religious the arts to an astonishing height of excelsentiments, will gradually cease from the lence. This resulted from the assimilation of political factions and contentions, and volun- rights which existed among the citizens, and tarily relinquish the anxieties and the sus- enabled them to act upon any public occapicions implied in the very idea of a sion with unity. But this assimilation of representative defence against the wrongs rights (I speak of Athens, in particular,) and errors of the executive power, and was not attended with an assimilation of entrust themselves with confidence to the interests, and, consequently, it did not setutelage of a virtuous monarchy. Yes- cure a constant harmony of action ; for, under the dominion of that being who instigated by selfishness, their very equality preached the doctrine of universal benevo- of political claims encouraged their compelence, and who, personifying in himself the tition for wealth, distinction, and power, human race, taught us that obedience to and their liberty continually degenerated the Divine will is perfect freedom, the into licentiousness and turbulence. There truths of Christianity will be our only was scarcely any established diversity of statutes, and Christ himself our only sove- rank among the free-born citizens ; but reign; but, on the earth, and amid its wealth, power, and splendid rather than empires, we have hitherto seen nothing to useful talents, created diversities which were encourage mankind to trust their welfare perpetually fluctuating from family to fa. to the despotism of a single man. Even mily, and from individual to individual ; so were it possible that our progress in know- that all was excitation, exertion, intrigue, ledge should effect such an improvement in corruption, envy, and servility. Such a state our nature, that we might seldom be of society is undoubtedly advantageous to deceived in looking for harmlessness in the fine arts, to eloquence, to the drama, to one another, yet must we never expect, every species of public display: it furnishes that, in any merely human state, we shall the contemplative philosopher also with ever be able wholly to lay aside the wisdom materials for moral theories, but the virtues of the serpent-which is caution. I do not are known only in the conversations and in
the writings of such a people, who, in the the mind in a state of ignorant exhaustion, clash and confusion of their immediate in- a prey to discontent and turbulence. The terests, have no time to put them in prac- senators and the citizens of Rome had no tice. Life in Athens had no repose; exist- assimilation of interests, except in war; in ence was one continued struggle : but the peace their jealousies broke forth, and a intellect, ever in action, was ever bright season of domestic broils always succeeded and acute; and the Athenians, though they a campaign of glory. As the milijary were never happy, were always splendid. renown and the distant conquests increased, Men of capacity were always at the head so did the dissensions of the patricians and of their affairs, but men of pure principle plebeians, and the still more sanguinary * Though the Athenians," says an
among the patrician factions themhistorian,* somewhat partial to them,“ were selves, increase also. The wealth of Rome sometimes directed by persons of integrity, had not its source in industry or in comvirtue, patriotism, and magnanimity, they merce. The trade and even the agriculture too often listened to the counsels of many of these masters of the world were chiefly whose characters were the reverse; for he conducted by slaves, and they were accordwho could best offer the incense of adula- ingly ill-managed, and uncertain in their tion to the people, was most certain of their returns and their produce. The wealth of confidence and esteem. Such qualifications the Romans was the plunder and tribute of as these enabled the turbulent and licentious conquered and enslaved nations. It was demagogues, who most resembled the audi- always casual, sudden, and temporary, ence, generally to prevail in the popular exactly like the supplies of robbers; so assembly; and the reward which real merit that no city ever suffered more by rapid deserved, was carried off by specious and transitions froin wealth to wretchedness, even noxious qualities."
than did Rome during the last century of Not in the cold and settled servitude of a the republic. Rome declined and fell, despotism, nor in the restless fervour of because, by her devastations, she had exdemocratic competition, do we discover hausted the world; and when she sunk, that mutual connexion and assimilation of unable to resist the hordes of barbarians interests between man and man, in which that assailed her, to how dreadful a state of the happiness and stability of a state are to wretchedness were those people of Asia, be expected; and I turn from Asia and Africa, and Europe found to have been Greece, to inquire in what degree the har- reduced, which to the very last she ravaged, monizing principle existed in Rome. The and from which she had drawn the latest government of Rome, during the period of dregs of her supplies. the republic, was an aristocracy ; but the It is not, then, in a state like that of plebeians, or common Roman citizens, were Rome, that that unity of interests, on which aristocrats as respected the rest of the world, national stability is founded, is to be met and looked upon kings and satraps as in- with. We must seek it elsewhere; and I finitely beneath them. There was a com- turn towards Christian Britain with the mon feeling in early Rome, more extensive most earnest hope of a more favourable and more intense than is perceptible in any result. Perhaps there is no people among other people recorded by history; this was whom the reciprocity of connecting interests a feeling of national pride, which rendered is so well understood and acted upon as it the glory of Rome a principle paramount is among Englishmen; and if it be not yet to every other in the bosom of every indi. sufficiently felt and acknowledged by us, vidual. It was, in reality, the religion of there can certainly be no doubt of the proRome, to which its brilliant mythology was gressive state of that principle in the British merely secondary and subservient. Never- community, both theoretically and practitheless, strong and diminant as this prin- cally. Nothing can impede that progress; ciple of public glory and of the honour we see daily that the distinctions of society, and greatness of Rome undoubtedly was, it which in the days of feudalism were broad must be regarded as an external rather than and hereditary, are becoming almost iman internal motive of action; an impulse perceptible; and persons of what are termed for display and unity abroad, not a source the lower orders, are attaining that intelliof comfort and concord at home; a trum- gence, and power of investigation, which pet-sound, which, when, as a summons to mentally obliterates all the distinctions of arms, either for defence or conquest, it was rank. It would be strange, indeed, that men heard, was instantly obeyed with ardour thus situated, should not perceive that the and delight, but which, as it ceased, left prosperity of individuals is mutually depen.
dent on the prosperity of the whole, and * Aspin's Systematic Analysis of Ancient History. gradually set aside all such customs and institutions, which, having originated in the bill enlarged the basis of that assimilation military feudalism of the Norman invaders, of rights and views, by which this country or in the dominion of the papal church over has hitherto steadily proceeded in the acuour ignorant forefathers, serve only to im- mulation of wealth, and in diffusing and pede as well the reciprocity of both rights securing prosperity. Impediments still and interests, as the spread of the spirit of exist, and, perhaps, from the imperfections Christianity.
of human nature, must ever exist, to that There is a pacific change gradually pro- perfect assimilation of such rights and inceeding among us, which, if it sometimes terests, which ardent minds, in their beneseems to threaten violence, almost imme- volent and christian anticipations, are perdiately subsides and flows on in its regular, mitted to imagine; but, if we may not look in its destined course. It may indeed be for perfect happiness, we are not forbidtraced, and sometimes observed in a turbu- den, either by reason or religion, to dislent state, from 'almost the earliest periods courage the hope of approximating slowly of our history. When the Norman barons, and distantly to a state upon earth, in in resisting the tyranny of the crown, found which men, labouring together for their it necessary to call upon the representatives mutual advantage, may bestow a healthful of industry and of personal wealth in the stability to their own nation. It is the part cities and towns, to share with them and of a christian patriot to promulgate, as the sovereign in the legislature of the king- extensively as he can, the idea of this wide dom, an assimilation of many rights and assimilation of interests in his native interests was established. Other rights of country; and it is with no small degree the people were claimed and admitted at of satisfaction that I have, during many ensuing periods, so that, instead of bringing years of a life devoted to speculations of down the aristocracy by violence, as was this character, traced in this country the ruinously and hastily done at an early progress of that assimilation in the conperiod of the French revolution, the people necting ties of all classes with each other, were elevated, by accessions to the rights of which removes farther and farther from us, their representatives, to a level with the those circumstances to which the decliné aristocracy. An evil resulted from this ap- and fall of empires have hitherto been proximation, which manifested itself strongly assigned. during the reign of George the Third ; but the remedy grew up by the side of the evil, and at length obtained sufficient strength to surmount it, and materially if not wholly to subdue it. The representatives of the
God Invisible. people became more assimilated with the Much is seeing feeling man actuated by aristocracy, in whose rights they had been the objects around him. All his powers permitted so largely to participate, in in- are roused, impelled, directed by impresterest also, so closely, that in a great degree sions made on his sensitive organs, yet the interest of wealth and power had becoine objects of sense have only a definite force distinct and separate from the interest of upon him. A hundred-weight crushes a the people. The laws were made by the man's strength to a certain degree, and no aristocracy in one house, and by servile more; he sustains it, and bears it away. dependents on, and the wealthy aspirants On the edge of the ocean he may tremble to, aristocracy in the other. The people at the vast expanse, but he tries the depth were not forgotten by this legislative asso- of the shore, finds it but a few feet, and no ciation, but they were thought of as the longer fears to enter it. The waves cannot sources of the production of wealth which overtop his head; or, is it deeper,- he can was forestalled by an enormous national swim, and regards it no longer with fear. debt, and drawn up into reservoirs under Nay, he builds a ship, and makes this tre. the disposal of those who held the govern- mendous ocean his servant, wields its vast. ment itself at their disposal, by every ness for his own use, dives to its deep means of taxation. It was then that the bottom to rob it of its treasures, or makes struggle of the people of this country be- its surface convey him to distant shores. A came more intense and more agitated than much smaller object shall affect him more, the constant competitions of the Athenians; when his senses are less distinctly acted but it was not turbulent, or politically in- upon, but his imagination is somewhat jurious. It served to extend that sense of roused. He travels in the dark, he starts at the connecting interests of society, on wbich, a slight but indistinct noise, he knows not I contend, that the solidity and duration of but it may be a wild beast lurking, or a empires are to be founded. The reform robber ready to seize on him. Could he 20. SERIES, NO. 42.-Vol. IV.
TWO SKETCHES FROM A WELL-KNOWN
have distinctly seen what alarmed him, he ing reptile, and only then shews carelesshad, unalarmed, gone on ;-it was only the ness and hardihood when their foe is almoving of the leaves, waved gently by the mighty! Without inquiring what Eliphaz wind. He stops to consider well, for he saw, let us apply these ideas to the supreme hears the sound of water falling, a gleam Spirit, let us - meditate on an object of infrom its foaming surface sparkles on his finitely greater, nearer importance - the eye, but he cannot tell how near he is to it, invisible God—the more impressively imor how distant; how exactly it may be in portant, because invisible. Let us, for a his path; how tremendously deep the abyss moment, suppose the contrary to be the into which he may fall at the next step; case : suppose the Deity to be the object had it been daylight, could he have ex- of our senses, he then loses much of his amined thoroughly, he had then passed it majesty; he becomes fixed to one spot, that without notice: it is only the rill of a small in which we can see him; must be distant ditch on the road-side; his own foot could from many other places; and, when revealhave stopped the trickling current. This ing himself in other places, must be far effort of indistinctness rousing the imagi- distant from us, even at a time when we nation, is finely depicted in Job iv. 14. most need his presence. Nay, we should Eliphaz describes it thus—“ Fear came begin to comprehend him, to philosophize upon me, and trembling which made all upon and attempt experiments with him, my bones to shake; then a spirit passed Were he vast as the starry heavens, we before my face; the hair of my flesh stood could measure him; bright as yonder sun, up; it stood still, but I could not discern we could contrive to gaze at him; energetic the form thereof." The senses, in this de- as the vivid lightning, we should bring him scription, are but slightly affected; the eye down to play around us : in no form can we could not discern any specific form, the conceive of his being the object of sense, touch could not examine the precise nature but we sink him to a creature, give him of the object; the imagination, therefore, some definable shape, reduce him to a had full scope. The mind was roused man, or a mere idol, and have need to beyond the power of sensible objects to provide him a temple made with hands stimulate it, and the body felt an agitation for his accommodation. If, indeed, there greater than if its senses had been more fully were any doubt of his existence-but that acted on; he trembled, and the hair of his man is incapable of reasoning, who reaflesh stood up. He could not discern sons thus. There are proofs enough that the form ; it might therefore be terrific in he is at our right hand, though we do not shape, or tremendous in size; “it stood see him; that he works at our left hand, still,” as if to do something to him; to though we cannot behold him. Instead speak—perhaps to smite, to destroy; and of asking, with the sneer of doubt, how could he guard against that which he “ Where is he?" or, carelessly thinking, could not see, could not tell what, or where shall God see?” a much more rational it was? That which (from what he could behaviour is, with awe and reverence, to discern, and still more from what he could
“ Whither shall I flee from thy prenot discern) seemed to be no mortal sub- sence?" “ Thou hast beset me behind and stance to which he was accustomed, and before, and laid thine hand upon me. with which, with care or courage, he might Could ny supposition take place even of deal safely; but a spirit, utterly beyond his momentary absence—that he were far impression, yet having unknown power off on a journey, or asleep and needs to impress him even to — who can tell must be wakened-it might be alleged, to what degree? The certainty of an object sanction the carelessness, provided they so near him, joined to the uncertainty of were aware of his absence, and knew the what might be its powers, intentions, and time of his drowsiness or distance. But natural operations, impressed him deeply an omnipotent Deity ought to fill us with awe, expectation, and anxiety. with seriousness, and the uncertainties of
How absurd, then, how contrary to all his operations—where ? how ?-when he their feelings in other cases, is the conduct will work-should fill us with deep, lasting, of infidels, who affect to despise God, to and constant awe! He exists ! The deny his existence, because they cannot see thought makes a temple in every place : him! or, without affecting this, do actually to realize it, is to begin actual wora neglect, forget, and do him despite, by ship: whatever I may be about--to inoccasion of this circumstance. Men who dulge it, is to make all other existence fade can be appalled by some distant danger, away. Amid the roar of mirth, I hear and grow courageous at one near at hand, only his voice; in the glitter of dissipawho trembles at a fellow-man or a crawl; tion, I see only his brightness; in the