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point is commonly mistaken, especially by the lawyers; who, of all others, seem least to understand the nature of government in general ; like under-workmen, who are expert enough at making a single wheel in a clock, but are utterly ignorant how to adjust the several parts, or regulate the movements.
To return, therefore, from this digression : It is a church-of-England man's opinion, that the freedom of a nation consists in an absolute unlimited legis.ative power, wherein the whole body of the people are fairly represented, and in an executive, duly limited ; because on this side, likewife, there may be dangerous degrees, and a very ill extreme. For, when two parties in a state are pretty equal in power, pretensions, merit, and vir. tue, (for these two last are, with relation to parties and a court, quite different things,) it hath been the opinion of the best writers upon government, chat a prince ought not, in any fort, to be under the guidance or influence of either ; because he declines, by this means, from his office of presiding over the whole, to be the head of a'. party: which, besides the indignity, rendas him answerable for all public mismanagements, and the consequences of them: and, in whatever state this happens, there must either be a weakness in the prince or ministry, or else the former is too much restrained by the nobles, or those who represent the people.
! To conclude: A church-of-England man may,
Now, because it is a point of difficulty to chufe an exact middle between two ill extremes, it may be worth enquiring, in the present case, which of these a wise and good man would rather seem to avoid. Taking, therefore, their own good and ill characters, with due abatements and allowances for partiality and passion, I should think, that, in order to preserve the conftitution entire in church and state, whoever hath a true value for both, would be sure to avoid the ex. tremes of Whig for the sake of the former, and the extremes of Tory on account of the latter.
I have now said all that I could think conveni. ent upon so nice a subject, and find I have the ambition common with other reasoners, to wilh at least that both parties may think me in the right; which would be of some use to those who have any virtue left, bu are blindly drawn into the extravagancies of either, upon falfe representations, to serve the ambition or malice of designing, men, without any prospect of their own. But if that is not to be hoped for, my next wish should be, that both might think me in the wrong: which I would understand as an ample justification of myself, and a sure ground to believe, that I have proceeded at least with impartiality, and perhaps with cruth.
Ο Ν Τ Η Ε Τ R IN IT Y.
1 Epistle general of St. JOHN v. 7. For there are three that bear record in heaven,
the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghoft; and these three are one.
THIS day being set apart to acknowledge our
I belief in the eternal Trinity, I thought it might be proper to employ my present discourse entirely upon that subject : and I hope to handle it in such a manner, that the most ignorant
* These fermons are curious, and curious for such reasons as would make other works despicable. They were written in a careless hurrying manner; and were the offspring of necessity, not of choice : so that one will see the original force of the Dean's genius more in these compositions, that were the legitimate sons of duty, than in other pieces that were the natural fons of love. They were held in such low esteem in his own thoughts, that, fome years before he died, he gave away the whole collection to Dr. Sheridan, with the utmost indifference : “ Here,” says he, “ are a bundle of my old fermons. You may “ have them if you please. They may be of use to you ; they " have never been of any to me.” The parcel given to Dr. Sheridan confifted, as I have heard, of about thirty-five fermons. Three or four only are published; and those I have read over with attention. ORREBY.
among you may return home better informed of your duty in this great point, than probably you are at present. .
It must be confessed, that, by the weakness and indiscretion of busy, or, at best, of well-meaning people, as well as by the malice of those who are enemies to all revealed religion, and are not content to possess their own infidelity in silence, without communicating it, to the disturbance of mankind; I say, by these means, it must be confessed, that the doctrine of the Trinity hath suffered very much, and made Christianity suffer along with it. For, these two things must be granted: First, That men of wicked lives would be very glad there were no truth in Christianity at all; and, secondly, If they can pick out any one single article in the Christian religion, which appears not agreeable to their own corrupted reafon, or to the arguments of those bad people who follow the trade of seducing others, they presently conclude, that the truth of the whole gospel must sink along with that one article. Which is just as wise, as if a man should say, because he : dislikes one law of his country, he will therefore observe no law at all; and yet that one law may be very reasonable in itself, although he does not allow it, or does not know the reason of the lawgivers.
- Thus it hath happened with the great doctrine of the Trinity; which word is indeed not in scripture, but was a term of art, invented in the