Page images
PDF
EPUB

what Discountenance they have laboured under, what Prejudice they have suffered in their Mi. nistry, who have adhered to the Cause of Truth: But it is certain that the Face of things is now too melancholy to bear any longer falle Appearances; and common Danger has united Men, who not long ago were artfully inflamed against each other, into some Regard of their common Safety. .

When the World is in this Temper, those of our Pastors, whose exemplary Lives and charitable Dispositions both adorn and advance our holy Religion, will be the Obje&s of our Love and Admiration; and those who pursue the Gratifications of Pride, Ambition, and Avarice, under the sacred Chara&er of Clergy. men, will not fail to be our Contempt and Derision.

Noise and Wrath cannot always pass for Zeal; and if we see but little of the publick Spirit of Englismen or the Charity of Chriftians in others, it is certain we can feel but little of the Pleasure of Love and Gratitude, and bur faint Emotions of Respect and Veneration in our selves.

It will be an Action worthy the Ministers of the Church of England, to distinguish themselves for the Love of their Country; and as we have a Religion that wants no Affistance from Artifice or Enlargement of Secular Power, but is well supported by the Wisdom and Pie. ty of its Preachers, and its own native Truth, to let Mankind see that we have a Clergy who are of the People, obedient to the fame Laws, and zealous not only of the Supremacy and Prerogative of our Princes, but of the Liber

ties of their Fellow-Subjects: This will make us who are Your Flock burn with Joy to see, and with Zealto imitate your Lives and A&ions. It cannot be expe&ted but that there will be, in so great a Body, light, superficial, vain, and ambitious Men, who being untouched with the sublime Force of the Gospel, will think it their interest to infinuate Jealoufies between the Clergy and Laity, in Hopes to derive from their Order a Veneration which they know they cannot deserve from their Virtue. But while the most worthy, conspi. cuous, learned, and powerful of your sacred Fun&ion are moved by the noble and generous Incentives of doing Good to the Souls of Men, we will not doubt of seeing by your Ministry the Love of our Country, due Re. gard for our Laws and Liberties, and Resent. ment for the Abuse of Truth, revive in the Hearts of Men. And as there are no Instru. ments under Heaven so capable of this great Work, that God would make you such to this divided Nation, is the hearty Prayer of,

Gentlemen,

Your most Dutiful,

and most Obedient

Humble Servant,

• RICHARD STEEL E.

P R E F A CE.

I Never saw an unruly Crowd of People cool I by Degrees into Temper, but it gave me an

Idea of the Original of Power and the Na. ture of Civil Inftitutions. One particular Man has usually in those Cafes, from the Dignity of his Appearance, or other Qualities known or i. magined by the Multitude, been received into Sudden Favour and Authority; the Occasion of their Difference has been represented to him, and the Matter referred to his Decision.

This first Step towards acting reasonably has brought them to themselves; and when the Person, by an Appeal to whom they first were taken out of Confufion, was gone from amongst them, they have calmly taken further Measures from a sense of their common Good

Absolute unlimited Power in one Person seems to have been the first and natural Recourse of Mankind from Disorder und Rapine; and Such a Government must be acknowledged to be better than no Government at all: But all Re. Ariflions of Power made by Laws and Participation of Sovereignty among several Persons, are apparent Improvements made upon what began in that unlimited Power. This is what seems reasonable to common Sense; and the Manner of maintaining absolute Dominion in one Person,

where

where ever it fubfifts, verifies the Observation : For the Subječtion of the People to such Authority is supported only by Terrors, Sudden and private Executions, and Imprisonments; and not as with bappy Britons, by the Judgment, in Cases of Liberty and Property, of the Peers, and Neighbours of Men accused or prosecuted. This absolute Power in one Person, as it is ge. nerally exercised, is not indeed Government, but at best clandestine Tyranny, supported by the Confederates, or rather Favourite-Slaves of the Tyrant.

'I was glad to find this natural Sense of Power confirmed in me by very great and good Men, who have made Government, and the Principles on which it is founded, their professed Study and Meditation. · A very celebrated Author has these Words;

The Case of Man's Nature standing as it does, some kind of Regiment the Law of Nature doth require; yet the kinds thereof being many, Nature tieth not to any one, but leaveth the Choice as a thing arbitrary. At the first, when some certain kind of Regiment was once approved, it may be that nothing was then further thought upon for the Manner of governing, but all permitted unto their Wirtom and Discretion which were to rule; Prill by Experience they found this for all Parts very inconvenient, so as the thing which they had devised for a Remedy did indeed but increase the Sore which it should have cured. They saw that to live by one Man's Will became the Cause of all Mens Misery. This constrained them to come unto Laws, wherein all Men might see their Duties before

band,

[ocr errors]

hand, and know the Penalties of tranfgrefsing them. Men always knew that when Force and Injury was offered, they might be Defenders of themselves; they knew that how: soever Men might seek their own Commodi. ty, yet if this were done with Injury to 0thers, it was not to be suffered, but by all Men and by all good Means to be withstood.

Finally, They knew that no Man might in Reason take upon him to determine his owa Right, and according to his own Determina. tion proceed in Maintenance thereof, inal: much as every Man is towards himself, and them whom he greatly affecteth, partial; and therefore that Strifes and Troubles would be endless, except they have their common Consent all to be ordered by some whom they should agree upon.

Mr. Stanhope, in Defence of Resistance in Cafes of extream Necesity, cites this memora. ble Parage from Grotius;

If the King hath one Part of the Supream Power, and the other part is in the Senate or People; when such a King mall invade that Part that doth not belong to him, it shall be lawful to oppose a just Force to him, because his Power doth not extend so far: Which Position l hold to be true, even though the Power of making War mould be vested only in the King, which must be under: stood to relate only to foreign War: For as for Home, it is impossible for any to have a Share of the Supream Power, and not to have likewise a Right to defend that Share.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »