« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
beyond this would be dangerous weakness in government. It might open a door to the wildest enthusiasm, and to the most mischievous attacks of political disaffection working upon that enthusiasm. If you encourage and authorise it to fall on the synagogue, it will go thence to the meetinghouse, and in the end to the palace. But let us be careful to check its farther progress. The more zealous we are to support Christianity, the more vigilant should we be in maintaining toleration. If we bring back persecution, we bring back the antichristian spirit of popery; and when the spirit is here, the whole system will soon follow. Toleration is the basis of all public quiet. It is a character of freedom given to the mind, more valuable, I think, than that which secures our persons and estates. Indeed, they are inseparably connected together: for, where the mind is not free, where the conscience is enthralled, there is no freedom. Spiritual tyranny puts on the galling chains: but civil tyranny is called in to rivet and fix them. We see it in Spain, and many other countries; we have formerly both seen and felt it in England. By the blessing of God, we are now delivered from all kinds of oppression. Let us take care that they may never return.
IN PRAISE OF VIRTUE.
VIRTUE is of intrinsic value and good desert, and of indispensable obligation; not the creature of will, but necessary and immutable; not local or temporary, but of equal extent and antiquity with the Divine Mind; not a mode of sensation, but everlasting Truth; not dependent on power, but the guide of all power. Virtue is the foundation of honour and esteem; and the source of all beauty, order, and happiness in nature. It is what confers value on all the other endowments and qualities of a reasonable being, to which they ought to be absolutely subservient, and without which, the more eminent they are, the more hideous deformities and
the greater curses they become. The use of it is not confined to any one stage of our existence, or to any particular situation we can be in, but reaches through all the periods and circumstances of our being.-Many of the endowments and talents we now possess, and of which we are too apt to be proud, will cease entirely with the present state; but this will be our ornament and dignity in every future state, to which we may be removed. Beauty and wit will die, learning will vanish away, and all the arts of life be soon forgotten; but virtue will remain for ever. This unites us to the whole rational creation, and fits us for conversing with any order of superior natures, and for a place in any part of God's works. It procures us the approbation and love of all wise and good beings, and renders them our allies and friends.But what is of unspeakably greater consequence is, that it makes God our friend, assimilates and unites our minds to his, and engages his almighty power in our defence. Superior beings of all ranks are bound by it no less than ourselves. It has the same authority in all worlds, that it has in this. The farther any being is advanced in excellence and perfection, the greater is his attachment to it, and the more he is under its influence. To say no more; it is the law of the whole universe; it stands first in the estimation of the Deity; its original is his nature; and it is the very object that makes him lovely.
Such is the importance of virtue.-Of what consequence therefore is it, that we practise it.-There is no argument or motive, which is at all fitted to influence a reasonable mind, which does not call us to this. One virtuous disposition of soul is preferable to the greatest natural accomplishments and abilities, and of more value than all the treasures of the world.-If you are wise then, study virtue, and contemn every thing that can come in competition with it. Remember, that nothing else deserves one anxious thought or wish. Remember, that this alone is honour, glory, wealth, and happiness. Secure this, and you secure every thing. Lose this, and all is lost. PRICE.
THE SPEECH OF BRUTUS ON THE DEATH OF CESAR.
ROMANS, Countrymen, and lovers! hear me for my cause; and be silent, that you may hear. Believe me for mine honour, and have respect to mine honour, that you may believe. Censure me in your wisdom, and awake your senses, that you may the better judge. If there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of Cæsar's, to him I say, that Brutus's love to Cæsar was no less than his If then that friend demand, why Brutus rose against Cæsar, this is my answer: Not that I loved Cæsar less, but that I loved Rome more. Had you rather Cæsar were living, and die all slaves; than that Cæsar were dead, to live all freemen? As Cæsar loved me, I weep for him; as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was valiant, I honour him; but as he was ambitious, I slew him. There are tears for his love, joy for his fortune, honour for his valour, and death for his ambition. Who's here so base, that would be a bondman? If any, speak; for him have I offended. Who's here so rude, that would not be a Roman? If any, speak; for him have I offended. Who's here so vile, that will not love his country? If any, speak; for him have I offended.-I pause for a reply.
None?-then none have I offended-I have done no more to Cæsar, than you should do to Brutus. The question of his death is enrolled in the Capitol: his glory not extenuated, wherein he was worthy; nor his offences enforced, for which he suffered death.
Here comes his body, mourned by Mark Antony; who, though he had no hand in his death, shall receive the benefit of his dying, a place in the commonwealth; as which of you shall not? With this I depart, that, as I slew my best lover for the good of Rome, I have the same dagger for myself, when it shall please my country to need my death. SHAKSPEARE.
GLOCESTER'S SPEECH TO THE NOBLES.
BRAVE Peers of England, pillars of the state,
In winter's cold, and summer's parching heat,
How France and Frenchmen might be kept in awe ?
HENRY V. TO HIS SOLDIERS.
WHAT'S he that wishes for more men from England?
To do our country loss; and if to live,
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
I am the most offending soul alive.
No 'faith, my lord, wish not a man from England:
This day is call'd the feast of Crispian :