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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 confifts in an absolute unlimited legislative 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, renders him antwerable for all public mismanagements, and the consequences of them : and, in whatever state this happens, there must either be a weaknefs 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, with prudence and a good conscience, approve the profeffed principles of one party, more than the other, according as he thinks they best promote the good of church and state ; but he will never be fwayed, by passion or interest, to advance an opinion, merely because it is that of the party he most approves ; which one single principle, he loðks upon as the root of all our civil animofi, ties. To enter into a party, as into an order of friars, with so resigned an obedience to superiors, is
very unsuitable, both with the civil and religious liberties we fo zealously assert. Thus, the understandings of a whole fenate are often enDaved by three or four leaders on each side; who, instead of intending the public weal, have their hearts wholly set upon ways and means how to get, or to keep employments. But, to speak more at large, how has this spirit of faction mingled itself with the mass of the people, changed their nature and manners, and the very genius of the nation ? broke all the laws of charity, neighbourhood, alliance, and hospitality, destroyed all ties of friendship, and divided families againft themselves ? And no wonder it should be so, when, in order to find out the character of a perfon, instead of enquiring whether he be a man of virtue, honour, piety, wit, good sense, or learna ing; the modern question is only, Whether he be a Whig or a Tory ? under which terms, all good and ill qualities are included. L 3
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 wife 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 convenient 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, but 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 truth.
POSTHUPOSTHUMOUS SERMONS. *
S E R M ON I.
ON THE TRINITY.
i 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 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 among you may return home better informed of your duty in this great point, than probably you are at present.
These sermons 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 fons 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, some 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 sermons. 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 consisted, as I have heard, of about thirty-five sermons. Three ar four only are published; and those I have read over: with attention. ORRERY.
It must be confeffed, 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 filence, without communicating it, to the disturbance of mankind; I say, by these means, it must be confeffed, 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 reason, 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 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