Billeder på siden

dling, and inexperienced in all its affairs, on which they pronounce with fo much confidence, they have nothing of politicks but the paffions they excite. Surely the church is a place where one day's truce ought to be allowed to the diffenfions and animofities of mankind.

This pulpit ftyle, revived after so long a difcontinuance, had to me the air of novelty, and of a novelty not wholly without danger. I do not charge this danger equally to every part of the difcourfe. The hint given to a noble and reverend lay-divine, who is fuppofed high in office in one of our univerfities,* and other lay-divines "of rank and literature," may be proper and feafonable, though fomewhat new. If the noble Seekers fhould find nothing to fatisfy their pious fancies in the old ftaple of the national church, or in all the rich variety to be found in the wellafforted warehoufes of the diffenting congregations, Dr. Price advifes them to improve upon non-conformity; and to fet up, each of them, a separate meeting-house upon his own particular principles. It is fomewhat remarkable that this reverend

Difcourfe on the Love of our Country, Nov. 4, 1789, by Dr. Richard Price, 3d edition, p. 17 and 18.


Those who diflike that mode of worship which is pre"fcribed by publick authority ought, if they can find no worship "out of the church which they approve, to fet up a separate wor-“ship for themselves; and by doing this, and giving an example of

"a rational

reverend divine fhould be fo earneft for fetting up new churches, and fo perfectly indifferent concerning the doctrine which may be taught in them. His zeal is of a curious character. It is not for the propagation of his own opinions, but of any opinions. It is not for the diffufion of truth, but for the spreading of contradiction. Let the noble teachers but diffent, it is no matter from whom or from what. This great point once fegranted their religion will

cured, it is taken for

be rational and manly. I doubt whether religion all the benefits which the calculating

would reap
divine computes from this "

[ocr errors]

great company of great preachers. It would certainly be a valuable addition of non-defcripts to the ample collection of known claffes, genera and species, which at present beautify the hortus ficcus of diffent. A fermon from a noble duke, or a noble marquis, or a noble earl, or baron bold, would certainly increase and diverfify the amusements of this town, which begins to grow fatiated with the uniform round of its vapid diffipations. I fhould only ftipulate that these new Mefs-Johns in robes and coronets fhould keep fome fort of bounds in the democratick and levelling principles which are expected from their titled pulpits. The new evangelists will,

a rational and manly worship, men of weight from their rank and literature may do the greatest fervice to fociety and the "world." P. 18, Dr. Price's Sermon.

I dare fay, disappoint the hopes that are conceived of them. They will not become, literally as well as figuratively, polemick divines, nor be difpofed fo to drill their congregations that they may, as in former bleffed times, preach their doctrines to regiments of dragoons, and corps of infantry and artillery. Such arrangements, however favourable to the cause of compulsory freedom, civil and religious, may not be equally conducive to the national tranquillity. These few restrictions I hope are no great ftretches of intolerance, no very violent exertions of defpotism.

But I may fay of our preacher, "utinam nugis "tota illa dediffet tempora fævitiæ.”—All things in this his fulminating bull are not of fo innoxious a tendency. His doctrines affect our conftitution in its vital parts. He tells the revolution fociety, in this political fermon, that his majesty" is almost "the only lawful king in the world, because the only one who owes his crown to the choice of his

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

people." As to the kings of the world, all of whom (except one) this archpontiff of the rights of men, with all the plenitude, and with more than the boldness of the papal depofing power in its meridian fervour of the twelfth century, puts into one fweeping claufe of ban and anathema, and proclaims ufurpers by circles of longitude and latitude, over the whole globe, it behoves them to confider how they admit into their territories


thefe apoftolick miffionaries, who are to tell their fubjects they are not lawful kings. That is their concern. It is ours as a domeftick interest of some moment, seriously to confider the folidity of the only principle upon which thefe gentlemen acknowledge a king of Great Britain to be entitled to their allegiance.

This doctrine, as applied to the prince now on the British throne, either is nonsense, and therefore neither true nor false, or it affirms a most unfounded, dangerous, illegal, and unconstitutional pofition. According to this fpiritual doctor of politicks, if his majesty does not owe his crown to the choice of his people, he is no lawful king. Now nothing can be more untrue than that the crown of this kingdom is so held by his majesty. Therefore if you follow their rule, the king of Great Britain, who moft certainly does not owe his high office to any form of popular election, is in no refpect better than the reft of the gang of ufurpers, who reign, or rather rob, all over the face of this our miferable world, without any sort of right or title to the allegiance of their people. The policy of this general doctrine, fo qualified, is evident enough. The propagators of this political gospel are in hopes their abstract principle (their principle that a popular choice is neceffary to the legal exiftence of the fovereign magiftracy) would be overlooked, whilst the king of Great Britain was not


affected by it. In the mean time the ears of their congregations would be gradually habituated to it, as if it were a firft principle admitted without difpute. For the prefent it would only operate as a theory, pickled in the preferving juices of pulpit eloquence, and laid by for future ufe. Condo et compono quæ mox depromere poffim. By this policy, whilft our government is foothed with a refervation in its favour, to which it has no claim, the fecurity, which it has in common with all governments, fo far as opinion is fecurity, is taken away.

Thus these politicians proceed, whilft little notice is taken of their doctrines; but when they come to be examined upon the plain meaning of their words, and the direct tendency of their doc. trines, then equivocations and flippery conftructions come into play. owes his crown to the

When they fay the king

choice of his people, and

is therefore the only lawful fovereign in the world, they will perhaps tell us they mean to fay no more than that fome of the king's predeceffors have been called to the throne by fome fort of choice; and therefore he owes his crown to the choice of his people. Thus, by a miferable fubterfuge, they hope to render their propofition fafe, by rendering it nugatory. They are welcome to the afylum they seek for their offence, fince they take refuge in their folly. For, if you admit this interpretation, how does their idea of election differ from


« ForrigeFortsæt »