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by a tumultuary rabble. It is big with fleets and armies, can fortify itself with what laws it shall judge proper for its own defence, can command the wealth of the kingdom for the security of the people, and engage the whole Protestant interest of Europe in so good and just a cause. A disorderly multitude, contending with the body of the legislature, is like a man in a fit under the conduct of one in the fulness of his health and strength. Such a one is sure to be overruled in a little time, though he deals about his blows, and exerts himself in the most furious convulsions, while the distemper is upon him.
We may farther learn, from the course of the present rebellion, who, among the foreign states in our neighbourhood, are the true and natural friends of Great Britain, if we observe which of them gave us their assistance in reducing our country to a state of peace and tranquillity; and which of them used their endeavours to heighten our confusions, and plunge us into all the evils of a civil war. I shall only take notice, under this head, that, in former ages, it was the constant policy of France to raise and cherish intestine feuds and discords in the isle of Great Britain, that we might either fall a prey into their hands, or that they might prosecute their designs upon the continent with less interruption. Innumerable instances of this nature occur in history. The most remarkable one was that in the reign of King Charles the First. Though that prince was married to a daughter of France, and was personally beloved and esteemed in the French court, it is well known that they abetted both parties in the civil war, and always furnished supplies to the weaker side, lest there should be an end put to those fatal divisions.
We might also observe that this rebellion has been a means of discovering to his majesty, how much he may depend upon the professions and principles of the several parties among his own subjects; who are those persons that have espoused his interests with zeal or indifference; and who among them are influenced to their allegiance by places, duty, or affection. But as these, and several other considerations, are obvious to the thoughts of every reader, I shall conclude, with observing how naturally many of those, who distinguish themselves by the name of the High Church, unite themselves to the cause of popery; since it is manifest that all the Protestants concerned in the rebellion, were such as gloried in this distinction.
It would be very unjust to charge all who have ranged themselves under this new denomination, as if they had done it with a design to favour the interests of popery. But it is certain, that many of them, who at their first setting out, were most averse to the doctrines of the church of Rome, have, by the cunning of our adversaries, been inspired with such an unreasonable aversion to their Protestant brethren, and taught to think so favourably of the Roman Catholic principles, (not to mention the endeavours that have been used to reconcile the doctrines of the two churches, which are in themselves as opposite as light and darkness) that they have been drawn over insensibly into its interests. It is no wonder, therefore, that so many of these deluded zealots have been engaged in a cause, which they at first abhorred, and have wished or acted for the success of an enterprise, that might have ended in the extirpation of the Protestant religion in this kingdom, and in all Europe. In short, they are like the Syrians, who were first smitten with blindness, and unknowingly led out of their way into the capital of their enemy's country; insomuch that the text tells us,
When they opened their eyes, they found themselves in the midst of Samaria.'
No. 29. FRIDAY, MARCH 30.
Dis te minorem quod geris, imperas.
Hesperiæ mula luctuosa. Hor.
His being a day in which the thoughts of our countrymen are, or ought to be, employed on serious subjects, I shall take the opportunity of that disposition of mind in my readers, to recommend to them the practice of those religious and moral virtues, without which all policy is vain, and the best cause deprived of its greatest ornament and support.
Common sense, as well as the experience of all ages, teaches us, that no government can flourish which doth not encourage and propagate religion and morality among all its particular members. It was an observation of the ancient Romans, that their empire had not more increased by the strength of their arms, than by the sanctity of their manners: and Cicero, who seems to have been better versed than any of them, both in the theory and the practice of politics, makes it a doubt whether it were possible for a community to exist that had not a prevailing mixture of piety in its constitution. Justice, temperance, humility, and almost every other moral virtue, do not only derive the blessings of Providence upon those who exercise them, but are the natural means for acquiring the public prosperity. Besides, religious motives and instincts are so busy in the heart of every reasonable creature, that a man, who would hope to govern a society without any regard to these principles, is as much to be contemned for his folly, .as to be detested for his impiety.
To this we may add, that the world is never sunk into such a state of degeneracy, but they pay a natural veneratiou to men of virtue; and rejoice to see themselves conducted by those, who act under the awe of a Supreme Being, and who think themselves accountable, for all their proceedings, to the great Judge and Superintendent of human affairs,
Those of our fellow subjects, who are sensible of the happiness they enjoy in his majesty's accession to the throne, are obligéd, by all the duties of gratitude, to adore that Providence which has so signally interposed in our behalf, by clearing a way to the Protestant succession through such difficulties as seemed insuperable; by detecting the conspiracies which have been formed against it; and, by many wonderful events, weakening the hands, and baffling the attempts, of all his majesty's enemies, both foreign and domestic.
The party, who distinguish themselves by their zeal for the present establisment, should be careful, in a particular manner, to discover, in their whole conduct, such a reverence for religion, as may show how groundless that reproach is which is cast upon them by their enemies, of being averse to our national worship. While others engross to themselves the name of the church, and, in a manner, excommunicate the best part of their fellow subjects; let us show ourselves the genuine sons of it, by practising the doctrines which it teaches. The advantage will be visibly on our side, if we stick to its essentials; while they triumph in that empty denomination which they bestow upon themselves. Too many of them are already dipped in the guilt of perjury and sedition; and as we remain unblemished in these particulars, let us endeavour to excel them in all the other parts of religion, and we shall quickly find, that a regular morality is, in its own nature, more popular, as well as more meritorious, than an intemperate zeal.
We have likewise, in the present times of confusion and disorder, an opportunity of showing our abhorrence of several principles which have been ascribed to us by the malice of our enemies. A disaffection to kings and kingly government, with a proneness to rebellion, have been often very unjustly charged on that party which goes by the name of Whigs. Our steady and continued adherence to his majesty and the present happy settlement, will the most effectually confute this calumny. Our adversaries, who know very well how odious commonwealth principles are to the English nation, have inverted the very sense of words and things, rather than not continue to brand us with this imaginary guilt: for with some of these men, at present, loyalty to our king is republicanism, and rebellion passive obedience.
It has been an old objection to the principles of the Whigs, that several of their leaders, who have been zealous for redressing the grievances of government, have not behaved themselves better than the Tories in domestic scenes of life; but, at the same time, have been public patriots and private oppressors. This objection, were it true, has no weight in it, since the misbehaviour of particular persons does not at all affect their cause, and since a man may act laudably, in some respects, who does not so in others. However, it were to be wished, that men would not give occasion even to such invectives; but, at the same time, they consult the happiness of the whole, that they would promote it to their utmost in all their private dealings among those who lie more immediately within their influence. In the mean while I must observe, that this reproach, which may be often met with both in print and conversation, tends, in reality, to the honour of the Whigs, as it supposes that a greater regard to justice and humanity is to be expected from them, than from those of the opposite party: and, it is certain, we cannot better recommend our principles, than by such actions as are their natural and genuine fruits.
Were we thus careful to guard ourselves, in a particular manner, against these groundless imputations of our enemies, and to rise above them as much in our morality as in our politics, our cause would be always as flourishing as it is just. It is certain, that our notions have a more natural tendency to such a practice,