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PII. THE BRITISH CONSTITU.
IV. KINGLY GOVERNMENT.
SENTATION & REFORM,
BY JOHN YOUNG,
PRINTED FOR, AND SOLD BY WILLIAM CREECH;
ALSO BY BRASH AND REID, GLASGOW.
your 12.3.42 46466
T is long fince the inhabitants of Britain have been
termed a nation of politicians. And it is one privilege, by which we are distinguished from most other nations on the face of the earth, that on political, as well as other subjects, every man.is allowed to think for himself, to express, and even to publish his thoughts, without fear of danger; so long as he propagates no 0pinions subversive of public order and peace. But never were the minds of men so intent upon political subjects, nor so many pens employed in political discussions, as fince the year 1789. The surprising revolution that then took place in France, together with certain publications, which then made their appearance in Britain, raised such a fermentation in the minds of men, more especially in the lower ranks of life, as perhaps no former period ever witnefico. Various circumstances have occurred since that time, which have served to keep up that fermentation. And, though people now find it convenient to be a little more guarded, both in their expressions and in their conduct, than they once were, the fame politia cal enthusiası still occupies their minds; it is ready to burft forth with redoubled violence, whenever an occafion shall offer :--And who knows what occasion of that kind these critical times may produce? It is, therefore, the part of every good citizer, and of every true Chrif
tian, to contribute his endeavour to stem the torrent, or to prevent it from taking such a direction as may overwhelm all in confusion and ruin.
It may be thought foreign to the business of a minister of the Gospel to intermeddle in political disputes ; and, if these disputes are viewed in a light merely political, there may be some justice in the thought. But every political opinion must either be agreeable or disagreeable to the word of God: every political duty is enforced by the authority of God in his law: and every political crime is an act of moral depravity. Gospel mi. nisters ought to lay before their people whatever they have received of the Lord : to inculcate every duty that God requires of them; and faithfully to warn them against every sin that He has prohibited. If, through their neglect, the people under their charge fhall fall into finful courses, the people may perish in their iniqui. ty; but their blood must be required at the watchmen's hands. Upon this principle, the writer of these pages holds himself fully justified in laying them before the world ; more especially when he takes into consideration the following things.
He does not consider the pulpit as a proper place for either a full or a frequent discuslion of political subjects. However important those duties are which we owe to one another, as members of society on earth,—the doctrines of the cross of Christ, and the concerns of an eternal world, are of more importance ftill. And upon these chiefly he thinks it his duty to insist on the Lord's Day. Much less does he think it proper to follow their example who make public prayer a vehicle for conveying their political sentiments to their hearers. As he considers himself, when preaching the Gospel, as the messenger of God to men; and therefore would make conscience of delivering that, and that only, which he has in commission from God :-so, in public prayer, he considers himself as the mouth of the congregation to God; and, therefore, dare express nothing to which he has not reason to think that the whole congregation will say-Amen. His views of the present state of public affairs are pretty well known, both to his own congregation, and to others about the place where he resides ; but the grounds upon which these views are built, he has never had an opportunity fairly to state: and this he. now does the more willingly, in hopes that it may be useful, not only to his own congregation, but also to the public at large.
He has the honour to belong to a body of Diffenters who have always distinguished themselves by strenuous contendings in behalf of Christian liberty and the rights of the people, as members of the church of Christ: and, he is apprehensive that some may consider the whole fociety as equally strenuous in behalf of what fome now call the political rights of man; while he is convinced that these two sorts of rights have no connection with, or relation to one another. He has seen, with deep concern, that, by the active part which fome difsenters, both in England and Scotland, have taken in the present disputes,-an odium has been brought upon the diffen. ting interest, in the eyes of government and its adherents, which will not be easily wiped off. By this means, he is afraid, a very strong bar is placed in the way of the Legislature's granting that indulgence to Protestant diffenters, which they seem disposed to extend to every other denomination of men. And he knows, that though the principles of the Secession church, with relation to the civil government in this nation, have been fully laid before the world fifty years ago; and though Secedert