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duced examples of falsehood and perjury in the gods themselves, to whom he appealed. But as revealed religion has given us a more clear idea of the Divine nature, he, whom we appeal to, is Truth itself, the great Searcher of hearts, who will not let fraud and falsehood go unpunished, or "hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” And as with regard to the Deity, so likewise with regard to man, the obligation of an oath is stronger upon Christians than upon any other part of mankind; and that because charity, truth, mutual confidence, and all other social duties, are carried to greater heights, and enforced with stronger motives, by the principles of our religion.
Perjury, with relation to the oaths which are at present equired by us, has in it all the aggravating circumstances which can attend that crime. We take them before the magistrates of public justice; are reminded by the ceremony, that it is a part of that obedience which we learn from the gospel; expressly disavow all evasions and mental reservations whatsoever; appeal to Almighty God for the integrity of our hearts, and only desire him to be our helper, as we fulfil the oath we there take in his presence. I mention these circumstances, to which several other might be added, because it is a received doctrine among those, who have treated of the nature of an oath, that the greater the solemnities are which attend it, the more they aggravate the violation of it. And here what must be the success that a man can hope for who turns a rebel, after having disclaimed the Divine assistance, but upon condition of being a faithful and loyal subject? He first of all desires that God may help him, as he shall keep his oath, and afterwards hopes to prosper in an enterprise, which is the direct breach of it.
Since, therefore, perjury, by the common sense of mankind, the reason of the thing, and from the whole tenor of Christianity, is a crime of so flagitious a nature, we cannot be too careful in avoiding every approach towards it.
The virtue of the ancient Athenians is very remarkable in the case of Euripides. This great tragic poet, though famous for the morality of his plays, had introduced a person, who, being reminded of an oath he had taken, replied, “I swore with my mouth, but not with my heart." The impiety of this sentiment set the audience in an uproar; made Socrates (though an intimate friend of the poet) go out of
the theatre with indignation; and gave so great offence, that he was publicly accused, and brought upon his trial, as one who suggested an evasion of what they thought the most holy and indissoluble bond of human society. So jealous were these virtuous heathens of any the smallest hint, that might open a way to perjury.
And here it highly imports us to consider, that we do not only break our oath of allegiance by actual rebellion, but by all those other methods which have a natural and manifest tendency to it. The guilt may lie upon a man, where the penalty cannot take hold of him. Those who speak irreverently of the person to whom they have sworn allegiance, who endeavour to alienate from him the hearts of his subjects, or to inspire the people with disaffection to his government, cannot be thought to be true to the oath they have taken. And as for those, who by concerted falsehoods and defamations endeavour to blemish his character, or weaken his authority, they incur the complicated guilt both of slander and perjury. The moral crime is completed in such offenders, and there are only accidental circumstances wanting, to work it up for the cognizance of the law.
Nor is it sufficient for a man, who has given these solemn assurances to his prince, to forbear the doing him any evil, unless, at the same time, he do him all the good he can in his proper station of life.
Loyalty is of an active nature, and ought to discover itself in all the instances of zeal and affection to our sovereign: and if we carefully examine the duty of that allegiance which we pledge to his Majesty, by the oaths that are tendered to us, we shall find that "We do not only renounce, refuse, and abjure any allegiance or obedience to the Pretender,' but, swear to defend King George to the utmost of our power, against all traitorous conspiracies and attempts whatsoever, and to disclose and make known to his Majesty, all treasons and traitorous conspiracies, which we shall know to be against him."
To conclude, as among those who have bound themselves by these sacred obligations, the actual traitor or rebel is guilty of perjury in the eye of the law; the secret promoter, or well-wisher of the cause, is so before the tribunal of conscience. And though I should be unwilling to pronounce the man who is indolent or indifferent in the cause of his
prince, to be absolutely perjured; I may venture to affirm, that he falls very short of that allegiance to which he is obliged by oath. Upon the whole we may be assured, that, n a nation which is tied down by such religious and solemn engagements, the people's loyalty will keep pace with their morality; and that, in proportion as they are sincere Christians, they will be faithful subjects.
No. 7. TUESDAY, JANUARY 13.
Veritas pluribus modis infracta: primum inscitiâ reipublicæ, ut alienæ ; mox libidine assentandi, aut rursus odio adversus dominantes. Obtrectatio et livor pronis auribus accipiuntur: quippe adulationi fœdum crimen servitutis, malignitati falsa species libertatis inest.
THERE is no greater sign of a bad cause, than when the patrons of it are reduced to the necessity of making use of the most wicked artifices to support it. Of this kind are the falsehoods and calumnies which are invented and spread abroad by the enemies to our king and country. This spirit of malice and slander does not discover itself in any instances so ridiculous, as in those, by which seditious men endeavour to depreciate his Majesty's person and family; without considering, that his court at Hanover was always allowed to be one of the politest in Europe, and that, before he became our king, he was reckoned among the greatest princes of Christendom.
But the most glorious of his Majesty's predecessors was treated after the same manner. Upon that prince's first arrival, the inconsiderable party, who then laboured to make him odious to the people, gave out, that he brought with him twenty thousand Laplanders, clothed in the skins of bears, all of their own killing; and that they mutinied, because they had not been regaled with a bloody battle within two days after their landing. He was no sooner on the throne, than those, who had contributed to place him there, finding that he had made some changes at court which were not to their humour, endeavoured to render him unpopular by misrepresentations of his person, his character, and his actions. They found that his nose had a resemblance to that of Oliver Cromwell, and clapt him on a huge pair of moustaches to fighten his people with; his mercy was fear; his justice
was cruelty; his temperance, economy; prudent behaviour, and application to business, were Dutch virtues, and such as we had not been used to in our English kings. He did not fight a battle in which the Tories did not slay double the number of what he had lost in the field; nor ever raised a siege or gained a victory, which did not cost more than it was worth. In short, he was contriving the ruin of his kingdom; and, in order to it, advanced Dr. Tillotson to the highest station of the church, my Lord Somers of the law, Mr. Montague of the treasury, and the admiral at La Hogue of the fleet. Such were the calumnies of the party in those times, which we see so faithfully copied out by men of the same principles under the reign of his present Majesty.
As the schemes of these gentlemen are the most absurd and contradictory to common sense, the means by which they are promoted must be of the same nature. Nothing but weakness and folly can dispose Englishmen and Protestants to the interest of a Popish pretender: and the same abilities of mind will naturally qualify his adherents to swallow the most palpable and notorious falsehoods. Their self-interested and designing leaders cannot desire a more ductile and easy people to work upon. How long was it before many of this simple, deluded tribe were brought to believe that the Highlanders were a generation of men that could be conquered? The rabble of the party were instructed to look upon them as so many giants and Saracens; and were very much surprised to find, that every one of them had not with his broad sword mowed down at least a squadron of the king's forces. There were not only public rejoicings in the camp at Perth, but likewise many private congratulations nearer us, among these well-wishers to their country, upon the victories of their friends at Preston; which continued till the rebels made their solemn cavalcade from Highgate. Nay, there were then some of these wise partisans, who concluded, the government had hired two or three hundred hale men, who looked like foxhunters, to be bound and pinioned, if not to be executed, as representatives of the pretended captives. Their victories in Scotland have been innumerable; and no longer ago than last week, they gained a very remarkable one, in which the Highlanders cut off all the Dutch forces to a man; and afterwards, disguising themselves in their habits, came up as friends to the king's troops, and put them all to the sword. This story
had a great run for a day or two; and I believe one might still find out a whisper among their secret intelligence, that the Duke of Mar is actually upon the road to London, if not within two days' march of the town. I need not take notice, that their successes in the battle of Dumblain are magnified among some of them to this day; though a Tory may very well say, with King Pyrrhus, "That such another victory would undo them."
But the most fruitful source of falsehood and calumny, is that which, one would think, should be the least apt to produce them; I mean a pretended concern for the safety of our established religion. Were these people as anxious for the doctrines which are essential to the Church of England, as they are for the nominal distinction of adhering to its interests, they would know, that the sincere observation of public oaths, allegiance to their king, submission to their bishops, zeal against Popery, and abhorrence of rebellion, are the great points that adorn the character of the Church of England, and in which the authors of the reformed religion in this nation have always gloried. We justly reproach the Jesuits, who have adapted all Christianity to temporal and political views, for maintaining a position so repugnant to the laws of nature, morality, and religion, that an evil may be committed for the sake of good, which may arise from it. But we cannot suppose even this principle (as bad a one as it is) should influence those persons, who, by so many absurd and monstrous falsehoods, endeavour to delude men into a belief of the danger of the church. If there be any relying on the solemn declarations of a prince, famed for keeping his word, constant in the public exercises of our religion, and determined in the maintenance of our laws, we have all the assurances that can be given us, for the security of the established church under his government. When a leading man, therefore, begins to grow apprehensive for the church, you may be sure that he is either in danger of losing a place, or in despair of getting one. It is pleasant on these occasions, to see a notorious profligate seized with a concern for his religion, and converting his spleen into zeal. These narrow and selfish views have so great an influence in this city, that, among those who call themselves the landed interest, there are several of my fellow-freeholders, who always fancy the church in danger upon the rising of bank-stock. But the standing ab