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piety, their birth, their wisdom, their valour, or their property; and, thirdly, the house of commons, freely chosen by the people from among themselves, which makes it a kind of democracy,-as this aggregate body, actuated by different springs, and attentive to different interests, composes the British parliament, and has the supreme disposal of every thing, there can be no inconvenience attempted by either of the three branches, but will be withstood by the other two, each branch being armed with a negative power, sufficient to repel any innovation which it shall think inexpedient or dangerous. Here, then, is lodged the sovereignty of the British constitution; and lodged as beneficially as is possible for society; for in no other shape could we be so certain of finding the three great qualities of government so well and so happily united. If the supreme power were lodged in any one of the three branches separately, we must be exposed to the inconveniences of either absolute monarchy, aristocracy, or democracy, and so want two of the three principal ingredients of good polity, either virtue, wisdom, or power. If it were lodged in any two of the branches—for instance, in the king and house of lords-our laws might be providently made, and well executed, but might not always have the good of the people in view : if lodged in the king and commons, we should want that circumspection and mediatory caution which the wisdom of the peers is to afford : if the supreme right of legislature were lodged in the two houses only, and the king had no negative upon their proceedings, they might be tempted to encroach upon the royal prerogative, or, perhaps, to abolish the kingly office, and thereby weaken, if not totally destroy, the strength of the executive power. But the constitutional government of this empire is so admirably tempered and compounded, that nothing can endanger or hurt it, but destroying the balance of power between one branch of the legislature and the rest. For if ever it should happen that the independence of any one of the three should be lost, or that it should become subservient to the views of either of the other two, there would soon be an end of our constitution. -Blackstone.
THE POWER OF CHRISTIANITY.
In an extraordinary manner, Christianity adapts itself to the circumstances of the poor; and we shall not hesitate to say, that the amount of temporal happiness introduced into the lowest family by making it religious, far exceeds what will follow on making it rich. It is not that religion will exclude want and remove trouble; though it must not be overlooked, that we generally find the religious family more thriving, just because those vices will be unknown, and those virtues cultivated, which respectively obstruct and promote the prosperity of a household. But if religion augments not the substance, it communicates contentment; and the poor man, contented with his poverty, is a far happier and more dignified being, than the rich man, restless and dissatisfied in his abundance. This it is which Christianity does for the poor : it does not substitute the luxurious banquet for the bread and the water, but it makes the family feel that the bread and the water are more than they deserve, and as much as is for their good; and this gives a relish to the scanty fare which would make it unwillingly exchanged for the lordly feast. Christianity does not diminish the labour for the obtaining the livelihood, but it sends a man to work in the strength of his God, and thus so braces him for exertion, that the demand upon his energies seem lightened. Christianity does not prevent the entrance of sorrow, but it produces such submission to the will of a wise and compassionate Father, as lessens the burden, and causes it to be felt as intended for good. Christianity does not shield from death, nor secure its possessor from long-continued disease ; but it shows death despoiled of its sting, and the grave of its victory; and so nerves for the last conflict, as to take away its terrors. And if Christianity effect all this, where will you find us the engine by which so much may be done towards improving the human condition? What will introduce so general a contentment? What will so augment the sum total of happiness? What will ease so many hearts ? What will dry so many tears, scatter so many anxieties, excite so many hopes ? What will apply a helping power to the oppressed and suffering, as with wearied spirits, and overtasked strength, they grapple with hardships-animating to patience, and even inspiring them with thankfulness ? Oh, it will be to im. prove the condition of our peasantry, to banish murmuring and discontent, to exchange uneasiness and anxiety for quietness and confidence, to provide an antidote to evil in its worst shapes, to furnish a never-failing succour of care, an inexhaustible source of consolation, a guide that will never deceive, a hope that will never make ashamed. Thus an improvement is effected in the exact degree that Christianity is diffused. Religion has such a power of softening what is most rugged, and enlightening what is darkest, and sustaining under the heaviest pressure, and directing in the most perplexing circumstances, that, as nothing can supply its place, so its possession more than compensates every other want. He that has it, may be said to be wealthy in his poverty, and he who is without it, to be a beggar in his abundance: and believing that God has distributed the allotments of life more equally than is generally thought, so that the greatest cares accompany the greatest advantages, and thus the average of comfort may be not far from uniform—we believe that not any thing but religion is wanting to raise the very lowest to respectability and happiness. It were vain to talk of covering the whole land with opulent families; neither, if it were done, should we have it covered with happy families : but it is not less vain to talk of covering the land with contented families: this it is that Christianity, operating wonderously on all the trials, as well as all the duties of life, is both designed and adapted to effect. Let, therefore, Christianity gain entrance into the cabins and hovels of our country, and there will presently break upon the lower orders that golden age, which has yet only existed in the dreams of poets. The poorest, feeling themselves heirs of God, yea, joint-heirs with Christ, will bear cheerfully the afflictions which are “ but for a moment ;” and those who have to struggle with trouble in its most appalling forms,“ knowing that tribulation worketh patience, and patience experience, and experience hope,” will present the aspect of undismayed, and even rejoicing men, not to be overborne, because sustained from on high; not to be disheartened, because secure of immortality. And if Christianity, admitted into the homes, and woven into the hearts of the peasantry, would thus elevate the poorest families, and ensure them as large a measure of happiness as consists with a state of moral disciplinethen the opposite proposition must also be true, namely, that the wealthiest families, void of religion, want the chief element, whether of honour or of happiness, and thus the proof supplied corroborates the assertion, that“ righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people." -Rev. H. Melville.
THE BENEFIT OF GOOD LAWS.
The stateliness of houses, the goodliness of trees, when we behold them, delighteth the eye: but that foundation which beareth up the one, that root which ministereth unto the other nourishment and life, is in the bosom of the earth concealed : and if there be occasion at any time to search into it, such labour is then more necessary than pleasant, both to them which undertake it, and for the lookers on.
In like manner the use and benefit of good laws, all that live under them may enjoy with delight and comfort, albeit the grounds and first original causes from whence they have sprung, be unknown, as to the greatest part of men they are.
Since the time that God did first proclaim the edicts of His law upon the world, heaven and earth have hearkened unto His voice, and their labour hath been to do His will. “ He made a law for the rain; ” He gave His “ decree unto the sea, that the waters should not pass His commandment.” Now if nature should intermit her course, and leave, altogether, though it were for awhile, the observation of her own laws; if those principal and mother elements of the world, whereof all things in this lower world are made, should lose the qualities which now they have; if the frame of that heavenly arch erected over our heads, should loosen and dissolve itself; if celestial spheres should forget their wonted motions, and by irregular volubility turn themselves any way as it may happen; if the prince of the lights of heaven, which now, as a giant, doth run his unwearied course, should, as it were through a languishing faintness, begin to stand and to rest himself; if the moon should wander from her beaten way, the times and seasons of the year blend themselves by disordered and confused mixture, the winds breathe out their last gasp, the clouds yield no rain, the earth be defeated of heavenly influence, the fruits of the earth pine away, as children at the withered breasts of their mother no longer able to yield them relief; what would become of man himself, whom these things do now all serve ? not plainly, that obedience of creatures unto the law of nature is the stay of the whole world ?-Hooker.
THE PLEASURE OF STUDY AND CONTEMPLATION.
I CAN wonder at nothing more than how a man can be idle; but of all others, a scholar; in so many improvements of reason, in such sweetness of knowledge, in such variety of studies, in such importunity of thoughts : other artizans do but practise, we still learn ; others run still in the same gyre to weariness, to satiety; our choice is infi. nite ; other labours require recreations, our very labour recreates our sports; we can never want either somewhat to do, or somewhat that we would do. How numberless are the volumes which men have written of arts, of tongues! How endless is that volume which God hath written of the world! wherein every creature is a letter: every day a new page. Who can be weary of either of these? To find wit in poetry; in philosophy, profoundness; in mathematics, acuteness ; in history, wonder of events; in oratory, sweet eloquence; in divinity, supernatural light, and holy devotion, as so many rich metals in their proper mines; whom would it not ravish with delight ? After all these, let us but open our eyes, we cannot look beside a lesson, in this universal book of our Maker, worth our study, worth taking out. What creature hath not his miracle ? what event doth not challenge his observation ? And, if, weary of foreign employment, we list to look home into ourselves, there we find a more private world of thoughts which set us on work anew, more busily and not less profitably: now our silence is vocal, our solitari. ness popular; and we are shut up, to do good unto many; if once we be cloyed with our own company, the door of conference is open; here interchange of discourse (besides pleasure) benefits us; and he is a weak companion from