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be afterwards invited to occupy her place in the family? What would be the situation of children in countries where divorce prevailed? “ The father, having released himself from one wife, and married another, would soon forsake the second for a third ; this for a fourth ; and thus onward, without any known limit.—Who does not see with a glance, that even where humanity and principle reigned, these friendless beings would soon be neglected by the stepmother in favour of her own offspring. What must be their fate, where lewdness had succeeded to principle, and humanity had already been frozen out of the heart?"

Such is the importance of the perpetuity of the marriage-contract to the usefulness and even to the stability of this institution.






It is probable that the first government known among mankind was patriarchal.

The account which is given to us in the Pentateuch of the longevity of man in the early ages of the world, and of the habits of pastoral life which prevailed, naturally leads us to this conclusion.

A consideration of the circumstances in which mankind are introduced into the world, and in which they are prepared for the duties and employments in which they are afterwards to engage, strengthens this opinion. Combined from the beginning into families or small communities, they are trained up under a system of discipline; and by being accustomed to render obedience to parental authority, they can afterwards more readily yield whatever subjection the arrangements of Providence may require from them.

Nor can we doubt that the parental authority would, more or less, continue during the parents' life. It would be revered by his offspring after his death ; and they being united together by affection and habit, would be led, from motives of convenience and security,

" to transfer their obedience to some one of the family, who, by his age or services, or by the part he possessed in the direction of their affairs during the lifetime of the parent, had already taught them to respect his advice, or to attend to his commands."

In this way we may account for the origin of a tribe or clan, which as it increased in affluence and power would extend its authority; so that surrounding families would incorporate themselves into it, that they might enjoy its protection.

Various causes might contribute to render this authority, vested in the chief of the clan, hereditary, His own personal accomplishments, his mental superiority, his skill in war, and wisdom in peace, would raise him in the estimation and affection of his clans. men; and what could be more natural than to transfer the affectionate obedience to his son which they had given to him as their leader and commander ? When the sovereign power had been in the same family for some generations, prejudice, interest, indolence, and even reason, would suggest motives for rendering the possession perpetual.

But though in this way we are able to account for the origin of civil government, we still require to be informed of the grounds on which it is a duty in us to render it obedience. Why should I be called upon to obey laws which were framed by my ancestors, and to observe institutions which are enforced by mere human authority? Does it not seem incongruous that millions of mankind, whose physical force when combined seems irresistible, should submit to the control, direction, and enactments, of a few of their fellow-creatures. These enactments, in many instances, are not agreeable to my understanding, my taste, or to what I conceive to be the good of society; and why should I obey them? To these inquiries I reply, without entering into the

I speculations of philosophers concerning the grounds of obedience to civil government, that Divine Reve, lation clearly shews it to be the will of God, that obedience should be given to the existing anthorities.




Christianity, while it has left our civil rights unimpaired, has clearly defined the character, and, in general, the duties of rulers and of subjects, in regard to each other. It has strongly inferred the duty of obedience to government. The principal passages in which this is enjoined are the following :

“ Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers: for there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: for he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not

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