Imatges de pÓgina
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was likely to be compensated to the joint stock of happiness, by the advantages which America would receive from it. The contested claims of sovereign ftatės, and their remote dependences, may be submitted to the adjudication of this rule with mutual safety. A public advantage is measured by the advantage which each individual receives, and by the number of those who receive it. A public evil is compounded of the same proportions. Whilft, therefore, a colony is small, or a province thinly inhabited, if a competition of interests arise between the original country and their acquired dominions, the former ought to be preferred, because it is fit that if one must necessarily be facrificed, the less give place to the greater; but when, by an increase of

population, the interest of the provinces begins to bear a considerable proportion to the entire interest of the community, it is possible that they may

fuffer so much by their subjection, that not only theirs, but the whole happiness of the empire may be obstructed by their union. The rule and principle of the calculation being still the fame, the result is different; and this difference begets a new situation, which entitles the subore dinate parts

of the state to more equal terms of confederation, and, if these bé refụsed, to independency:

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CHAP. IV.

OF THE DUTY OF CIVIL OBEDIENCE, AS

STATED IN THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES.

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affirm that, as to the extent of our civil

rights and obligations, Christianity hath , left us where she found us; that she hath neither altered nor ascertained it; that the New Testament contains not one passage, which, fairly Interpreted, affords either argument or objection applicable to any conclusions upon the subject that are deduced from the law and religion of

nature.

The only passages which have been seriously alleged in the controversy, or which it is necelsary for us to state and examine, are the two following ; the one extracted from St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans, the other from the First General Epistle of St. Peter :.

ROMANS, xiii. I " Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God;

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" the powers that be are ordained of God. " Whosoever therefore resifteth the power re“ fisteth the ordinance of God: and they that 66 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 the sword in vain; for he is the “ minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath

upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must “ needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also “ for conscience fake. For, for this cause pay you

tribute also: for they are God's ministers, « attending continually upon this very thing. “ Render therefore to all their dues : tribute to “ whom tribute is due, custom to whom custom, " fear to whom fear, honour to whom honour."

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1 Peter, ii. 13-18. “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of " man for the Lord's fake : whether it be to the “ King as supreme; or unto Governors, as unto “ them that are sent by him for the punishment k of evil doers, and for the praise of them that

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“ do well. For so is the will of God, that with “ well-doing ye may put to silence the igno"rance of foolish men : as free, and not using

your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.”

To comprehend the proper import of these instructions, let the reader reflect, that upon the subject of civil obedience there are two questions; the first, whether to obey government be a moral duty and obligation upon the conscience at all: the second, how far, and to what cases, that obedience ought to extend: that these two questions are so distinguishable in the imagination, that it is possible to treat of the one, without any thought of the other; and lastly, that if expressions which relate to one of these questions be transferred and applied to the other, it is with great danger of giving them a signification very different from the author's meaning. This distinction is not only possible, but natural, If I met with a person who appeared to entertain doubts, whether civil obedience were a moral duty which ought to be voluntarily discharged, or whether it were not a mere submission to force, like that which we yield to a robber who holds a pistol to our breast, I should represent to him the use and offices of civil government,

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the end and the necessity of civil subjection; or,
if I preferred a different theory, I should explain
to him the social compact, urgę him with the
obligation and the equity of his implied promise
and tacit consent to be governed by the laws of
the state from which he received protection;
or I thould argue, perhaps, that nature herself dic-
tated the law of subordination, when the plant-
ed within us an inclination to associate with our
species, and framed us with capacities so various
and unequal.-- From whatever principle I set
out, I should labour to infer from it this conclu-
fion, “ That obedience to the state, is to be

numbered amongst the relative duties of hu

man life, for the transgression of which we shall “ be accountable at the tribunal of divine justice,

whether the magistrate be able to punish us for " it or not;" and being arrived at this conclufion, I should stop, having delivered the conclusion itself, and throughout the whole argument expressed the obedience, which I incul cated, in the most general and unqualified terms; all reservations and restrictions being superfluous, and foreign to the doubts I was employed to remove.

If in a short time afterwards I should be accosted by the same person, with complaints of

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