« ForrigeFortsæt »
coming, either in one respect or the other, the fer vants of men. In both respects try all things, and cleave to that which, according to the foundest dictates of your judgment, is the best. Shew re. spect to the great and mighty of the earth ; but flatter them not; crouch not in their presence, as if they were creatures of a superior order. Judge of their actions with discretion ; but judge of them by the self-fame laws by which you pronounce upon the actions of other men; and neither applaud nor approve of anything merely because it has been said or done by a man that is surrounded by particular pomp. Reverence the religion of the realm, and its teachers, and its rites. But decline not to examine the do&rines of that religion, to discuss the decisions of those teachers, and to judge of the propriety or impropriety of those rites. Allow full scope to the progress of human knowledge ; discountenance no decent investigation of received maxims and do&rines, be the consequence what it may. Truth can at length be no loser by it; and one perspicuous thought, thoroughly understood and deeply felt, is of more value, and does more good, than ten others, heard of one man and repeated to another, and understood of neither from principle and conviction.
Lastly, the more liberty ye enjoy, my pious hearers, the more let it operate that good in you which it is able and ought to produce. If you may worship God after your own principles, then
self of your
worship him with the greater cheerfulness and fervour; adore him so much the more in spirit and in truth, with understanding and sentiment. Are you allowed to think and to judge for yourselves in religious matters; reflect so much the more on those important concerns; let it be so much the more your most delightful employment to explore and to know them; endeavour the more to assure yourfaith by reason and argument.
Woe to him whom freedom to think, whom liberty of religion and conscience, renders indifferent to religion and truth, or inattentive to the voice of con. science! Instead of being tree, and of being better and happier by liberty, he only barters to his loss one lavery for another; and though he be not oppreffed by man, yet is he in bondage to his own lufts and passions. No, he who would not render himself unworthy of the privilege of seeing with his own eyes, and of pursuing his object in the way he has chosen for himself, should use his eyes
with so much the more assiduity, and walk his onward course with the greater circumspection. Do
you enjoy civil liberty; then observe the laws of the state and of the society to which you belong, with the readier and stricter obedience; for the main. tenance and observance of the laws is the basis of all liberty. Promote the welfare of that state, of that society with so much the more zeal, as it is the more intimately connected with your own, as you have and may have so much the more in.
fluence on its prosperity, as you find and enjoy in it so much the more protection and peace, security and happiness. Think and act in all respects with the greater liberality and public spirit, the farther you are exalted above the state of slavery. Contend all of you, in the last place, my dear friends, for that greater, that still more effential liberty of the wise man and the christian, who governs himself, who controuls his appetites and passions, seeks his happiness not so much in externals as in inward perfection, is never unmindful of his dignity, supports it in every condition, uninterruptedly follows the dictates of his reason and his conscience, and wills nothing but what God wills, and does nothing but what is in conformity to the will of God. Yes, this is the liberty which will compensate the want of any other, and will be constantly bringing us nearer to the mark of our high vocation.
O liberty, fair child of truth, necessary result of divine influence, fruitful parent of internal peace! Thou raiseit the mind above the tyranny of abject pafsion; not diffolved in the blandishments of bet, ter fortune, not terrified with the frowns of worse; capable of enjoying the blessings of one, incapable of suffering the injuries of the other! Fixed on the immoveable foundation of real virtue; unal. terable by any variety of accidental circumstance; stranger to all felfish views; thou extendest thy generous affection through all the charities of each relation ; enlarging thy own happiness in the unbounded wish for that of others ! By thee the good man, patriarch, prophet, apostle, martyr, is taught to triumph over poverty, over calumny, over tortures and death! Thou leadest him by the hand in humble confidence through the perplexities of this earthly labyrinth! Safe under thy conduct, he knows no fear but infamy, and his ruling hope is immortality!
The Value of Learning.
GOD, from thee proceed intelligence and wis
dom ; from thee proceed all the knowledge and sciences which lead and direct mankind; which bless and rejoice them in numberless ways. From thee, who dwellest in inaccessible light, and art thyself pure light, pure truth and perfection, from thee flow light and truth and happiness on us and on all intelligent beings! Thou hast planted in us all an ever active curiosity, an ardent thirst for the knowledge of truth ; given us capacities and powers for seeking and investigating it; opened to us va. rious sources for assuaging our thirst. And how many benefits, how many refreshments, how many satisfactions, how many felicities have thy children of mankind, already drawn from these sources; and how much blessing and delight do they not daily and hourly draw from them! Thanks and praise be to thee, author of all beings, father of all spirits, for having made us rational, intelligent