Imatges de pàgina
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and structure of his body, and all the qualities and passions of his mind; he was purposely made too ignorant to know, and too indigent to supply his own neceflities; and is driven in spite of himself to ask the aid and affiftance of his fellow creatures.

There is scarce a pleasure, or satisfaction in life, which the highest and most exalted amongst us does not often stand in need of; nor any state so low or contemptible, but has its comforts to enjoy, and some benefits or advantages to bestow on others.

Men, indeed, at first lived in a wild and confused state of barbarous freedom and independency, without laws to restrain, or rulers to govern them; but experience foon taught them that order and harmony were necessary to guard, and fubordination to preserve their lives and liberties. Mutual complaints thereföre were foon made, and mutual subjection compliel with, till by degrees they had learned to thelter. themselves from tyranny and oppreffiori, under falutary laws and wholesome reítrictions, and to strengthen that by union which nature had left weak and defenceless. As ftates rose, and kingdoms were established, the clouds of ignorance began to diffipate, arts and sciences grew up and flourished, and have from time to time been ftrengthened and improved.

In the subsequent discourse therefore, calculated to raise in you a desire of unity, of charity, and brotherly love, that ye may be kindly affectioned one to another, I propose to lay

before

before

you

the advantages of union, as it may affect us in the various circumstances and connections of human life, whether we consider ourselves,

First, As Members of Society.
Secondly, As Friends and Relations.
Or, thirdly and lastly, As Christians.

And first, therefore, I shall consider it in regard to that influence which it should maintain over us, as members of that community to which we belong.

If we look back on the history of past times, and take a review of the rise, growth, and declension of those great states and empires which once shone so illustriously, and are now buried in ruins, it will be worth our observa tion to remark, that as they rose by piety and virtue to power and splendour, they funk again into oblivion by vice and folly. While Greece and Rome continued ; while every pri. vate man's ambition was centered in the public welfare, their lands were bleft with plenty, and their battles crowned with conquest. While they were unanimous, they were fuccessful, and while they were virtuous they were free. But no sooner had prosperity debauched, and luxury and intemperance enervated them, than they were quickly corrupted by sloth and avarice, and soon after enslaved and subdued by civil broils and diffentions.

How often, and how grievously our own nation hath suffered from domestic feuds; in what scenes of desolation and bloodshed she hath been many times involved by religious

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and

and civil cornmctions, and how miraculously the gracious hand of Providence hath delivered us from the enemy and avenger ; I need not, I believe, call to your remembrance.

To those discords and divisions, which but a few years since disturbed the peace and tranquillity of this nation, we were in a great measure indebted for the poor and contemptible figure we some time made, and for that almost universal depravity and corruption which had well nigh overwhelmed us; whilft, on the other hand, to our present harmony, agreement and unanimity, we may reasonably attribute no inconsiderable share of our late successes and of our present happiness; there. fore it may be of service to us to recollect, that whenever distress and calamity attacked us, it was not so much our strength and numbers, as our Unity which faved us.

As subjects, therefore, it is apparent our public peace and happiness muft depend on public unity; and as it happens in states and kingdoms, so will it ever do in private societies: in those which have been established in almost every country, for the carrying on, and improvement of trade and commerce, and the mutual interest of the members of them; or such as are meant only to relax the mind in the cheerful amusements of friendship and converfation ; and in regard to both, it is an indisputable and an invariable truth, that the profit and the pleasure will always rise, or decay, in proportion to that union and harmony from whence they originally sprung, and on which alone they totally depend.

Men,

Men, confidered as social creatures, derive their happiness from each other; and yet such is our pride, that it is with the utmost diffia culty we are persuaded to rely on others for that which we would fain draw from ourselves only: we would all gladly be what in this world we were never designed to be, all-sufficient, independent beings; and though it is a self-evident truth, and which one would think were obvious to every capacity, that all private safety, and the property of every individual, is founded on the welfare of the public; yet so blind is felf-love, that with the bulk of mankind we fee recourse must be had to law and authority ; they look on every endeavour to serve them, as so many acts of violence and oppression, and will not be easy, safe, or happy, unless compelled to it.

So necessary is mutual good-humour and complacency in conversation, and the common affairs of life, that men, conscious how seldom real good-nature is to be met with, have suba. stituted good-breeding in its room, which does indeed in some measure answer the end proposed, by checking that petulancy, which would otherwise disturb the peace of society; but after all, it is but à false jewel, which yields a faint momentary lustre : the true one will cost us but a very little more, which is of infinitely greater value, and so much longer duration. How much better then is the substance than the shadow! If it is amiable but to appear pleased and happy in each other, how much better is it to be really fo! Ee2

But

But it is not being in the same place, saying or doing the same things which will make us of the same mind one towards another; this is by no means the union recommended by the holy psalmist, the bond which he would unite us in, the bond of charity. The harmony which he would teach us, is the harmony of the mind. The union which he so warmly enforces, is the union 'of the heart; where that is wanting, the professions of the tongue are but as founding brass, and as the tinkling cymbals.

But if a fincere and undifsembled union of sentiments, if mutual complacency and good humour are so abfolutely necessary in our public commerce with mankind, how much more so must they be, in our private and more interesting concerns, which will appear still more evident, when we come to consider ourselves. Secondly, As relations and friends, where union becomes absolutely necessary to our joy and happiness, and where the want of it is attended with such fatal consequences.

God hath implanted in every breast the principles of love and benevolence, but left that principle should, like a drop of rain fall. ing into the ocean, lose itself in a multiplicry of objects; he hath graciously thought fit to direct it, as it were, into proper channels ; to confine it by inseparable connections, by the tics of kindred and the bond of natural affection. From this fountain flow all those domcfic sweets which alleviate the cares and enhance the bleilings of life. Those social du

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