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All these confiderations however were below the trafcendental dignity of the Revolution Society, Whilft I continued in the country, from whence I had the honour of writing to you, I had but an imperfect idea of their tranfactions. On my coming to town, I fent for an account of their proceedings, which had been publifhed by their authority, containing a fermon of Dr. Price, with the Duke de Rochefaucault's and the Archbishop of Aix's letter, and feveral other documents annexed. The whole of that publication, with the manifeft defign of connecting the affairs of France with thofe of England, by drawing us into an imitation of the conduct of the National Affembly, gave me a confiderable degree of uneafinefs. The effect of that conduct upon the power, credit, profperity, and tranquillity of France, became every day more evident. The form of conftitution to be fettled, for its future polity, became more clear. We are now in a condition to difcern, with tolerable exactness, the true nature of the object held up to our imitation. If the prudence of referve and decorum dictates filence in fome circumstances, in others prudence of an higher order may justify us in fpeaking our thoughts. The beginnings of confufion with us in England are at prefent feeble enough; but with you, we have seen an infancy ftill more feeble, growing by moments into a strength to heap mountains upon mountains, and to wage war wage war with Heaven itself. Whenever our neighbour's house is on fire, it

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I cannot be amifs for the engines to play a lit tle on our own. Better to be despised for too anxious apprehenfions, than ruined by too confident a fecurity.

Sollicitous chiefly for the peace of my own country, but by no by no means unconcerned for your's, I wish to communicate more largely, what was at first intended only for your private fatisfaction. I fhall ftill keep your affairs in my eye, and continue to addrefs myself to you. Indulging myfelf in the freedom of epiftolary intercourfe, I beg leave to throw out my thoughts, and exprefs my feelings, juft as they arife in my mind, with very little attention to formal method. I fet out with the proceedings of the Revolution Society; but I fhall not confine myself to them. Is it poffible I fhould? It looks to me as if I were in a great crifis, not of the affairs of France alone, but of all Europe, perhaps of more than Europe. All circumftances taken together, the French revolution is the most aftonishing that has hitherto happened in the world. The most wonderful things are brought about in many inftances by means the most abfurd and ridiculous; in the most ridiculous modes; and apparently, by the most contemptible inftruments. Every thing feems out of nature in this ftrange chaos of levity and ferocity, and of all forts of crimes jumbled together with all forts of follies. In viewing this monftrous tragi-comic fcene, the moft oppofite paffions neceffarily fucceed, and sometimes mix

with each other in the mind; alternate contempt and indignation; alternate laughter and tears; alternate fcorn and horror.

It cannot however be denied, that to fome this ftrange fcene appeared in quite another point of view. Into them it infpired no other fentiments than thofe of exultation and rapture. They faw nothing in what has been done in France, but a firm and temperate exertion of freedom; fo confiftent, on the whole, with morals and with piety, as to make it deferving not only of the fecular applaufe of dashing Machiavelian politicians, but to render it a fit theme for all the devout effufions of facred eloquence.

On the forenoon of the 4th of November laft, Doctor Richard Price, a non-conforming minifter of eminence, preached at the diffenting meetinghoufe of the Old Jewry, to his club or fociety, a very extraordinary mifcellaneous fermon, in which there are fome good moral and religious fentiments, and not ill expreffed, mixed up in a fort of porridge of various political opinions and reflections: but the revolution in France is the grand ingredient in the cauldron. I confider the addrefs tranfmitted by the Revolution Society to the National Affembly, through Earl Stanhope, as originating in the principles of the fermon, and as a corollary from them. It was moved by the preacher of that discourse. It was paffed by thofe who came reeking from the effect of the fermon, without any cenfure or qualification, expreffed or implied.

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If, however, any of the gentlemen concerned fhall wish to feparate the fermon from the refolution, they know how to acknowledge the one, and to difavow the other. They may do it: I

cannot.

For my part, I looked on that fermon as the public declaration of a man much connected with literary caballers, and intriguing philofophers; with political theologians, and theological politicians, both at home and abroad. I know they fet him up as a fort of oracle; becaufe, with the beft intentions in the world, he naturally philippizes, and chaunts his prophetic fong in exact unifon with their defigns.

That fermon is in a ftrain which I believe has not been heard in this kingdom, in any of the pulpits which are tolerated or encouraged in it, fince the year 1648, when a predeceffor of Dr. Price, the Reverend Hugh Peters, made the vault of the king's own chapel at St. James's ring with the honour and privilege of the Saints, who, with the "high praises of God in their mouths, and a "two-edged fword in their hands, were to execute judgment on the heathen, and punishments upon the people; to bind their kings with chains, " and their nebles with fetters of iron *." Few harangues from the pulpit, except in the days of your league in France, or in the days of our folemn league and covenant in England, have ever breathed lefs of the spirit of moderation than

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this lecture in the Old Jewry. Suppofing, however, that fomething like moderation were vifible in this political fermon; yet politics and the pulpit are terms that have little agreement. No found ought to be heard in the church but the healing voice of Chriftian charity. The cause of civil liberty and civil government gains as little as that of religion by this confusion of duties. Those who quit their proper character, to affume what does not belong to them, are, for the greater part, ignorant both of the character they leave, and of the character they affume. Wholly unacquainted with the world in which they are fo fond of meddling, and inexperienced in all its affairs, on which they pronounce with fo much confidence, they have nothing of politics 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 fo 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 dif courfe. The hint given to a noble and reverend lay-divine, who is fuppofed high in office in one of our univerfities, and to other lay-divines "of "rank and literature," may be proper and seasonable, though fomewhat new. If the noble Seekers fhould find nothing to fatisfy their pious fancies

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

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