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Title: Considerations on Religion and Public Education
Author: More, Hannah, 1745-1833
Language: English
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    CONSIDERATIONS
    ON
    RELIGION AND PUBLIC EDUCATION,
    WITH
    REMARKS
    ON THE _SPEECH_ OF
    _M. DUPONT_,
    DELIVERED IN THE
    NATIONAL CONVENTION
    OF
    FRANCE.
    TOGETHER WITH
    AN ADDRESS TO THE LADIES, &c.
    OF
    _GREAT BRITAIN and IRELAND_.

    [Decoration]

    BY HANNAH MORE.

    FIRST _AMERICAN_ EDITION.

    PRINTED AT _BOSTON_,
    BY WELD AND GREENOUGH.
    SOLD at the MAGAZINE OFFICE, No. 49, State Street.
    MDCCXCIV.



[Decoration]

A PREFATORY ADDRESS TO THE LADIES, &c. of GREAT BRITAIN and IRELAND, IN
BEHALF OF THE FRENCH EMIGRANT CLERGY.

[Decoration]


If it be allowed that there may arise occasions so extraordinary, that
all the lesser motives of delicacy ought to vanish before them; it is
presumed that the present emergency will in some measure justify the
hardiness of an Address from a private individual, who, stimulated by
the urgency of the case, sacrifices inferior considerations to the
ardent desire of raising further supplies towards relieving a distress
as pressing as it is unexampled.

We are informed by public advertisement, that the large sums already so
liberally subscribed for the Emigrant Clergy, are almost exhausted.
Authentic information adds, that multitudes of distressed Exiles in the
island of Jersey, are on the point of wanting bread.

Very many to whom this address is made have already contributed. O let
them not be weary in well-doing! Many are making generous exertions for
the just and natural claims of the widows and children of our brave
seamen and soldiers. Let it not be said, that the present is an
_interfering_ claim. Those to whom I write, have bread enough, and to
spare. You, who fare sumptuously every day, and yet complain you have
little to bestow, let not this bounty be subtracted from another bounty,
but rather from some superfluous expense.

The beneficent and right minded want no arguments to be pressed upon
them; but I write to those of every description. Luxurious habits of
living, which really furnish the distressed with the fairest grounds for
application, are too often urged as a motive for withholding assistance,
and produced as a plea for having little to spare. Let her who indulges
such habits, and pleads such excuses in consequence, reflect, that by
retrenching _one_ costly dish from her abundant table, the superfluities
of _one_ expensive desert, _one_ evening's public amusement, she may
furnish at least a week's subsistence to more than one person,[A] as
liberally bred perhaps as herself, and who, in his own country, may have
often tasted how much more blessed it is to give than to receive--to a
minister of God, who has been long accustomed to bestow the necessaries
he is now reduced to solicit.

Even your young daughters, whom maternal prudence has not yet furnished
with the means of bestowing, may be cheaply taught the first rudiments
of charity, together with an important lesson of economy: They may be
taught to sacrifice a feather, a set of ribbons, an expensive ornament,
an idle diversion. And if they are thus instructed, that there is no
true charity without self denial, they will _gain_ more than they are
called upon to _give_: For the suppression of one luxury for a
charitable purpose, is the exercise of two virtues, and this without any
pecuniary expense.

Let the sick and afflicted remember how dreadful it must be, to be
exposed to sufferings, without one of the alleviations which mitigate
_their_ affliction. How dreadful it is to be without comforts, without
necessaries, without a home--_without a country_! While the gay and
prosperous would do well to recollect, how suddenly and terribly those
for whom we plead, were, by the surprising vicissitudes of life, thrown
from equal heights of gaiety and prosperity. And let those who have
husbands, fathers, sons, brothers, or friends, reflect on the
uncertainties of war, and the revolution of human affairs. It is only by
imagining the possibility of those who are dear to us being placed in
the same calamitous circumstances, that we can obtain an adequate
feeling of the woes we are called upon to commiserate.

In a distress so wide and comprehensive, many are prevented from giving
by that common excuse--"That it is but a drop of water in the ocean."
But let them reflect, that if all the individual drops were withheld,
there would be no ocean at all; and the inability to give much ought
not, on any occasion, to be converted into an excuse for giving nothing.
Even moderate circumstances need not plead an exemption. The industrious
tradesman will not, even in a political view, be eventually a loser by
his small contribution. The money raised is neither carried out of our
country, nor dissipated in luxuries, but returns again to the community;
to our shops and to our markets, to procure the bare necessaries of
life.

Some have objected to the difference of _religion_ of those for whom we
solicit. Such an objection hardly deserves a serious answer. Surely if
the superstitious Tartar hopes to become possessed of the courage and
talents of the enemy he slays, the Christian is not afraid of catching,
or of propagating the error of the sufferer he relieves.--Christian
charity is of no party. We plead not for their faith, but for their
wants. And let the more scrupulous, who look for desert as well as
distress in the objects of their bounty, bear in mind, that if these men
could have sacrificed their conscience to their convenience, they had
not now been in this country. Let us shew them the purity of _our_
religion, by the beneficence of our actions.

If you will permit me to press upon you such high motives (and it were
to be wished that in every action we were to be influenced by the
highest) perhaps no act of bounty to which you may be called out, can
ever come so immediately under that solemn and affecting description,
which will be recorded in the great day of account--_I was a stranger
and ye took me in_.----



[Decoration]

_The following is an exact Translation from a_ SPEECH _made in the
National Convention at Paris, on Friday the 14th of December, 1792, in a
Debate on the Subject of establishing Public Schools for the Education
of Youth, by Citizen_ DUPONT, _a Member of considerable Weight; and as
the Doctrines contained in it were received with unanimous Applause,
except from two or three of the Clergy, it may be fairly considered as
an Exposition of the Creed of that Enlightened Assembly. Translated
from_ Le Moniteur _of Sunday the 16th of December, 1792_.

[Decoration]

What! Thrones are overturned! Sceptres broken! Kings expire! And yet the
Altars of GOD remain! (Here there is a murmur from some Members; and the
Abbé ICHON demands that the person speaking may be called to order.)
Tyrants, in outrage to nature, continue to burn an impious incense on
those Altars! (Some murmurs arise, but they are lost in the applauses
from the majority of the Assembly.) The Thrones that have been reversed,
have left these Altars naked, unsupported, and tottering. A single
breath of enlightened reason will now be sufficient to make them
disappear; and if humanity is under obligations to the French nation for
the first of these benefits, the fall of Kings, can it be doubted but
that the French people, now sovereign, will be wise enough, in like
manner, to overthrow those Altars and _those Idols_ to which those Kings
have hitherto made them subject? _Nature_ and _Reason_, these ought to
be the gods of men! These are my gods! (Here the Abbé AUDREIN cried out,
"There is no bearing this;" and rushed out of the Assembly.--A great
laugh.) Admire _nature_--cultivate _reason_. And you, Legislators, if
you desire that the French people should be happy, make haste to
propagate these principles, and to teach them in your primary schools,
instead of those fanatical principles which have hitherto been taught.
The tyranny of Kings was confined to make their people miserable in this
life--but those other tyrants, the Priests, extend their dominion into
another, of which they have no other idea than of eternal punishments; a
doctrine which some men have hitherto had the good nature to believe.
But the moment of the catastrophe is come--all these prejudices must
fall at the same time. _We must destroy them, or they will destroy
us._--For myself, I honestly avow to the Convention, _I am an atheist_!
(Here there is some noise and tumult. But a great number of members cry
out, "What is that to us--you are an honest man!") But I defy a single
individual, among the twenty-four millions of Frenchmen, to make against
me any well grounded reproach. I doubt whether the Christians, or the
Catholics, of which the last speaker, and those of his opinion, have
been talking to us, can make the same challenge.--(Great applauses.)
There is another consideration--Paris has had great losses. It has been
deprived of the commerce of luxury; of that factitious splendour which
was found at courts, and invited strangers hither. Well! We must repair
these losses.--Let me then represent to you the times, that are fast
approaching, when our philosophers, whose names are celebrated
throughout Europe, PETION, SYEYES, CONDORCET, and others--surrounded in
our Pantheon, as the Greek philosophers where at Athens, with a crowd of
disciples coming from all parts of Europe, walking like the
Peripatetics, and teaching--this man, the system of the universe, and
developing the progress of all human knowledge; that, perfectioning the
social system, and shewing in our decree of the 17th of June, 1789, the
seeds of the insurrections of the 14th of July and the 10th of August,
and of all those insurrections which are spreading with such rapidity
throughout Europe--So that these young strangers, on their return to
their respective countries, may spread the same lights, and may operate,
_for the happiness of Mankind_, similar revolutions throughout the
world.

(Numberless applauses arose, almost throughout the whole Assembly, and
in the Galleries.)

[Decoration]

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote A: Mr. Bowdler's letter states, that about Six Shillings a
week included the expenses of each Priest at Winchester.]



[Decoration]

REMARKS

ON THE

SPEECH of Mr. DUPONT,

ON THE SUBJECTS OF

Religion and Public Education.

[Decoration]


It is presumed that it may not be thought unseasonable at this critical
time to offer to the Public, and especially to the more religious part
of it, a few slight observations, occasioned by the late famous Speech
of Mr. Dupont, which exhibits the Confession of Faith of a considerable
Member of the French National Convention. Though the Speech itself has
been pretty generally read, yet it was thought necessary to perfix it to
these Remarks, lest such as have not already perused it, might, from an
honest reluctance to credit the existence of such principles, dispute
its authenticity, and accuse the remarks, if unaccompanied by the
Speech, of a spirit of invective and unfair exaggeration. At the same
time it must be confessed, that its impiety is so monstrous, that many
good men were of opinion it ought not to be made familiar to the minds
of Englishmen; for there are crimes with which even the imagination
should never come in contact.

But as an ancient nation intoxicated their slaves, and then exposed them
before their children, in order to increase their horror of
intemperance; so it is hoped that this piece of impiety may be placed in
such a light before the eyes of the Christian reader, that, in
proportion as his detestation is raised, his faith, instead of being
shaken, will be only so much the more strengthened.

This celebrated Speech, though delivered in an assembly of Politicians,
is not on a question of politics, but on one as superior as the soul is
to the body, and eternity to time. The object here, is not to dethrone
kings, but HIM by whom kings reign. It does not here excite the cry of
indignation that _Louis_ reigns, but that _the Lord God omnipotent
reigneth_.

Nor is this the declaration of some obscure and anonymous person, but an
exposition of the Creed of a public Leader. It is not a sentiment hinted
in a journal, hazarded in a pamphlet, or thrown out at a disputing club:
but it is the implied faith of the rulers of a great nation.

Little notice would have been due to this famous Speech, if it had
conveyed the sentiments of only _one_ vain orator; but it should be
observed, that it was heard, received, _applauded_, with two or three
exceptions only--a fact, which you, who have scarcely believed in the
existence of atheism, will hardly credit, and which, for the honour of
the eighteenth century, it is hoped that our posterity, being still more
unacquainted with such corrupt opinions, will reject as totally
incredible.

A love of liberty, generous in its principle, inclines some good men
still to savour the proceedings of the National Convention of France.
They do not yet perceive that the licentious wildness which has been
excited in that country, is destructive of all true happiness, and no
more resemble liberty, than the tumultuous joys of the drunkard,
resemble the cheerfulness of a sober and well regulated mind.

To those who do not know of what strange inconsistences man is made up;
who have not considered how some persons, having at first been hastily
and heedlessly drawn in as approvers, by a sort of natural progression,
soon become principals;--to those who have never observed by what a
variety of strange associations in the mind, opinions that seem the most
irreconcileable meet at some unsuspected turning, and come to be united
in the same man;--to all such it may appear quite incredible, that well
meaning and even pious people should continue to applaud the principles
of a set of men who have publicly made known their intention of
abolishing Christianity, as far as the demolition of altars, priests,
temples, and institutions, _can_ abolish it; and as to the religion
itself, this also they may traduce, and for their own part reject, but
we know, from the comfortable promise of an authority still sacred in
this country at least, that _the gates of hell shall not prevail against
it_.

Let me not be misunderstood by those to whom these slight remarks are
principally addressed; that class of well intentioned people, who favour
at least, if they do not adopt, the prevailing sentiments of the new
Republic. You are not here accused of being the wilful abetters of
infidelity. God forbid! "we are persuaded better things of you, and
things which accompany salvation." But this _ignis fatuus_ of liberty
and universal brotherhood, which the French are madly pursuing, with the
insignia of freedom in one hand, and the bloody bayonet in the other,
has bewitched your senses, and is in danger of misleading your steps.
You are gazing at a meteor raised by the vapours of vanity, which these
wild and infatuated wanderers are pursuing to their destruction; and
though for a moment you mistake it for a heaven-born light, which leads
to the perfection of human freedom, you will, should you join in the mad
pursuit, soon discover that it will conduct you over dreary wilds and
sinking bogs, only to plunge you in deep and inevitable ruin.

Much, very much is to be said in vindication of your favouring in the
first instance their political projects. The cause they took in hand
seemed to be the great cause of human kind. Its very name insured its
popularity. What English heart did not exult at the demolition of the
Bastile? What lover of his species did not triumph in the warm hope,
that one of the finest countries in the world would soon be one of the
most free? Popery and despotism, though chained by the gentle influence
of Louis XVIth, had actually slain their thousands. Little was it then
imagined, that anarchy and atheism, the monsters who were about to
succeed them, would soon slay their ten thousands. If we cannot regret
the defeat of the two former tyrants, what must they be who can triumph
in the mischiefs of the two latter? Who, I say, that had a head to
reason, or a heart to feel, did not glow with hope, that from the ruins
of tyranny, and the rubbish of popery, a beautiful and finely framed
edifice would in time have been constructed, and that ours would not
have been the only country in which the patriot's fair idea of well
understood liberty, and of the most pure and reasonable, as well as the
most sublime and exalted Christianity might be realized?

But, alas! it frequently happens that the wise and good are not the most
adventurous in attacking the mischiefs which they perceive and lament.
With a timidity in some respects virtuous, they fear attempting any
thing which may possible aggravate the evils they deplore, or put to
hazard the blessings they already enjoy. They dread plucking up the
wheat with the tares, and are rather apt, with a spirit of hopeless
resignation,

    "To bear the ills they have,
    "Than fly to others that they know not of."

While sober minded and considerate men, therefore, sat mourning over
this complicated mass of error, and waited till God, in his own good
time, should open the blind eyes; the vast scheme of reformation was
left to that set of rash and presumptuous adventurers, who are generally
watching how they may convert public grievances to their own personal
account. It was undertaken, not upon the broad basis of a wise and well
digested scheme, of which all the parts should contribute to the
perfection of one consistent whole: It was carried on, not by those
steady measures, founded on rational deliberation, which are calculated
to accomplish so important an end; not with a temperance which indicated
a sober love of law, or a sacred regard for religion; but with the most
extravagant lust of power, and the most inordinate vanity which perhaps
ever instigated human measures; a lust of power which threatens to
extend its desolating influence over the whole globe; a vanity of the
same destructive species with that which stimulated the celebrated
incendiary of Ephesus, who being weary of his native obscurity and
insignificance, and prefering infamy to oblivion, could contrive no
other road to fame and immortality, than that of setting fire to the
exquisite Temple of Diana. He was remembered indeed, as he desired to
be, but only to be execrated; while the seventh wonder of the world lay
prostrate through his crime.

It is the same over ruling vanity which operates in their politics, and
in their religion, which makes Kersaint[B] boast of carrying his
destructive projects from the Tagus to the Brazils, and from Mexico to
the shores of the Ganges; which makes him menace to outstrip the
enterprises of the most extravagant hero of romance, and almost
undertake with the marvelous celerity of the nimbly footed Puck,

    "To put a girdle round about the earth
    "In forty minutes."----

It is the same vanity, still the master passion in the bosom of a
Frenchman, which leads Dupont and Manuel to undertake in their orations
to abolish the Sabbath, exterminate the Priesthood, erect a Pantheon for
the World, restore the Peripatetic Philosophy, and in short revive every
thing of ancient Greece, except the pure taste, the wisdom, the love of
virtue, the veneration of the laws, and that degree of reverence which
even virtuous Pagans professed for the Deity.

It is surely to be charged to the inadequate and wretched hands into
which the work of reformation fell, and not to the impossibility of
amending the civil and religious institutions of France, that all has
succeeded so ill. It cannot be denied, perhaps, that a reforming spirit
was wanted in that country; their government was not more despotic, than
their church was superstitious and corrupt.

But though this is readily granted, and though it may be unfair to blame
those who in the _first outset_ of the French Revolution, rejoiced even
on religious motives; yet it is astonishing, how any pious person, even
with all the blinding power of prejudice, can think without horror of
the _present_ state of France. It is no less wonderful how any rational
man could, even in the beginning of the Revolution; transfer that
reasoning, however just it might be, when applied to France, to the case
of England. For what can be more unreasonable, than to draw from
different, and even opposite premises, the same conclusion? Must a
revolution be equally necessary in the case of two sorts of Government,
and two sorts of Religion, which are the very reverse of each other?
opposite in their genius, unlike in their fundamental principles, and
widely different in each of their component parts.

That despotism, priestcraft, intolerance, and superstition, are terrible
evils, no candid Christian it is presumed will deny; but, blessed be
God, though these mischiefs are not yet entirely banished from the face
of the earth, they have scarcely any existence in this country.

To guard against a real danger, and to cure actual abuses, of which the
existence has been first plainly proved, by the application of a
suitable remedy, requires diligence as well as courage; observation as
well as genius; patience and temperance as well as zeal and spirit. It
requires the union of that clear head and sound heart which constitute
the true patriot. But to conjure up fancied evils, or even greatly to
aggravate real ones, and then to exhaust our labour in combating them,
is the characteristic of a distempered imagination and an ungoverned
spirit.

Romantic crusades, the ordeal trial, drowning of witches, the torture,
and the Inquisition, have been justly reprobated as the foulest stain of
the respective periods, in which, to the disgrace of human reason, they
existed; but would any man be rationally employed, who should now stand
up gravely to declaim against these as the predominating mischiefs of
the present century? Even the whimsical Knight of La Mancha himself,
would not fight wind mills that were pulled down; yet I will venture to
say, that the above named evils are at present little more chimerical
than some of those now so bitterly complained of among us. It is not, as
Dryden said, when one of his works was unmercifully abused, that the
piece has not faults enough in it, but the critics have not had the wit
to fix upon the right ones.

It is allowed that, as a nation, we have faults enough, but our
political critics err in the objects of their censure. They say little
of those real and pressing evils resulting from our own corruption,
which constitute the actual miseries of life; while they gloomily
speculate upon a thousand imaginary political grievances, and fancy that
the reformation of our rulers and our legislators is all that is wanting
to make us a happy people.

The principles of just and equitable government were, perhaps, never
more fully established, nor public justice more exactly administered.
Pure and undefiled religion was never laid more open to all, than at
this day. I wish I could say we were a religious people; but this at
least may be safely asserted, that the great truths of religion were
never better understood; that Christianity was never more completely
stripped from all its incumbrances and disguises, or more thoroughly
purged from human infusions, and whatever is debasing in human
institutions.

Let us in this yet happy country, learn at least one great and important
truth, from the errors of this distracted people. Their conduct has
awfully illustrated a position, which is not the less sound for having
been often controverted, That no degree of wit and learning; no progress
in commerce; no advances in the knowledge of nature, or in the
embellishments of art, can ever thoroughly tame that savage, the natural
human heart, without RELIGION. The arts of social life may give a
sweetness to the manners and language, and induce, in some degree, a
love of justice, truth, and humanity; but attainments derived from such
inferior causes are no more than the semblance and the shadow of the
qualities derived from pure Christianity. Varnish is an extraneous
ornament, but true polish is a proof of the solidity of the body; it
depends greatly on the nature of the substance, is not superinduced by
accidental causes, but in a good measure proceeding from internal
soundness.

The poets of that country, whose style, sentiments, manners, and
religion the French so affectedly labour to imitate, have left keen and
biting satires on the Roman vices. Against the late proceedings in
France, no satirist need employ his pen; that of the historian will be
quite sufficient. Fact will put fable out of countenance; and the crimes
which are usually held up to our abhorrence in works of invention, will
be regarded as flat and feeble by those who shall peruse the records of
the tenth of August, of the second and third of September, and of the
twenty first of January.

If the same astonishing degeneracy in taste, principle, and practice,
should ever come to flourish among us, Britons may still live to exult
in the desolation of her cities, and in the destruction of her finest
monuments of art; she may triumph in the peopling of the fortresses of
her rocks and her forests; may exult in being once more restored to that
glorious state of _liberty and equality_, when all subsisted by rapine
and the chace; when all, O enviable privilege! were equally savage,
equally indigent, and equally naked; may extol it as the restoration of
reason, and the triumph of nature, that they are again brought to feed
on acorns, instead of bread. Groves of consecrated misletoe may happily
succeed to useless corn fields; and Thor and Woden may hope once more to
be invested with all their bloody honours.

Let not any serious readers feel indignation, as if pains were
ungenerously taken to involve their religious, with their political
opinions. Far be it from me to wound, unnecessarily, the feelings of
people whom I so sincerely esteem; but it is much to be suspected, that
certain opinions in politics have a tendency to lead to certain opinions
in religion. Where so much is at stake, they will do well to keep their
consciences tender, in order to do which they should try to keep their
discernment acute. They will do well to observe, that the same restless
spirit of innovation is busily operating under various, though seemingly
unconnected forms. To observe, that the same impatience of restraint,
the same contempt of order, peace, and subordination, which makes men
bad citizens, makes them bad Christians; and that to this secret, but
almost infallible connexion between religious and political sentiment,
does France owe her present unparalleled anarchy and impiety.

There are doubtless in that unhappy country multitudes of virtuous and
reasonable men, who rather silently acquiesce in the authority of their
present turbulent government, than embrace its principles or promote
its projects from the sober conviction of their own judgment. These,
together with those conscientious exiles whom this nation so honourably
protects, may yet live to rejoice in the restoration of true liberty and
solid peace to their native country, when light and order shall spring
from the present darkness and confusion, and the reign of chaos shall be
no more.

May I be permitted a short digression on the subject of those exiles? It
shall only be to remark, that all the boasted conquests of our Edwards
and our Henrys over the French nation, do not confer such substantial
glory on our own country, as she derives from having received,
protected, and supported, among multitudes of other sufferers, at a time
and under circumstances so peculiarly disadvantageous to herself, _three
thousand priests_, of a nation habitually her enemy, and of a religion
intolerant and hostile to her own. This is the solid triumph of true
Christianity; and it is worth remarking, that the deeds which poets and
historians celebrate as rare and splendid actions, and sublime instances
of greatness of soul, in the heroes of the Pagan world, are but the
ordinary and habitual virtues which occur in the common course of action
among Christians; quietly performed without effort or exertion, and with
no view to renown; but resulting naturally and necessarily from the
religion they profess.

So predominating is the power of an example we have once admired, and
set up as a standard of imitation, and so fascinating has been the
ascendency of the Convention over the minds of those whose approbation
of French politics commenced in the earlier periods of the Revolution,
that it extends to the most trivial circumstances. I cannot forbear to
notice this in an instance, which, though inconsiderable in itself, yet
ceases to be so when we view it in the light of a symptom of the
reigning disease.

While the fantastic phraseology of the new Republic is such, as to be
almost as disgusting to sound taste, as their doctrines are to sound
morals, it is curious to observe how deeply the addresses, which have
been sent to it from the Clubs[C] in this country, have been infected
with it, as far at least as phrases and terms are objects of imitation.
In other respects, it is but justice to the French Convention to
confess, that they are hitherto without rivals and without imitators;
for who can aspire to emulate that compound of anarchy and atheism which
in their debates is mixed up with the pedantry of school boys, the
jargon of a cabal, and the vulgarity and ill-breeding of a mob? One
instance of the prevailing cant may suffice, where an hundred might be
adduced; and it is not the most exceptionable.--To demolish every
existing law and establishment; to destroy the fortunes and ruin the
principles of every country into which they are carrying their
destructive arms and their frantic doctrines; to untie or cut asunder
every bond which holds society together; to impose their own arbitrary
shackles where they succeed, and to demolish every thing where they
fail.--This desolating system, by a most unaccountable perversion of
language, they are pleased to call by the endearing name of
_fraternization_; and fraternization is one of the favourite terms which
their admirers have adopted. Little would a simple stranger, uninitiated
in this new and surprising dialect, imagine that the peaceful terms of
fellow-citizen and of brother, the winning offer of freedom and
happiness, and the warm embrace of fraternity, were only watch-words by
which they in effect,

                  Cry havoc,
    And let slip the dogs of war.

In numberless other instances, the fashionable language of France at
this day would be as unintelligible to the correct writers of the age of
Louis the XIVth, as their fashionable notions of liberty would be
irreconcileable with those of the true Revolution Patriots of his great
contemporary and victorious rival, William the Third.

Such is indeed their puerile rage for novelty in the invention of new
words, and the perversion of their taste in the use of old ones, that
the celebrated Vossius, whom Christine of Sweden oddly complimented by
saying, that he was so learned as not only to know whence all words
came, but whither they were going, would, _were he admitted to the
honours of a sitting_, be obliged to confess, that he was equally
puzzled to tell the one, or to foretel the other.

If it shall please the Almighty in his anger to let loose this
infatuated people, as a scourge for the iniquities of the human race; if
they are delegated by infinite justice to act, as storm and tempest
fulfilling his word; if they are commissioned to perform the errand of
the destroying lightning or the avenging thunder-bolt, let us try at
least to extract personal benefit from national calamity; let every one
of us, high and low, rich and poor, enter upon this serious and humbling
inquiry, how much his own individual offences have contributed to that
awful aggregate of public guilt, which has required such a visitation.
Let us carefully examine in what proportion we have separately added to
that common stock of abounding iniquity, the description of which formed
the character of an ancient nation, and is so peculiarly applicable to
our own--_Pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness_. Let every
one of us humbly inquire, in the self-suspecting language of the
disciples to their Divine Master--_Lord, is it I?_ Let us learn to fear
the fleets and armies of the enemy, much less than those iniquities at
home which this alarming dispensation may be intended to chastize.

The war which the French have declared against us, is of a kind
altogether unexampled in every respect; insomuch that human wisdom is
baffled when it would pretend to conjecture what may be the event. But
this at least we may safely say, that it is not so much the force of
French bayonets, as the contamination of French principles, that ought
to excite our apprehensions. We trust, that through the blessing of GOD
we shall be defended from their open hostilities, by the temperate
wisdom of our Rulers, and the bravery of our fleets and armies; but the
domestic danger arising from licentious and irreligious principles among
ourselves, can only be guarded against by the personal care and
vigilance of every one of us who values religion and the good order of
society.

GOD grant that those who go forth to fight our battles, instead of being
intimidated by the number of their enemies, may bear in mind, that
"there is no restraint with GOD to save by many or by few." And let the
meanest of us who remains at home remember also, that even he may
contribute to the internal safety of his country, by the integrity of
his private life, and to the success of her defenders, by following them
with his fervent prayers. And in what war can the sincere Christian ever
have stronger inducements to pray for the success of his country, than
in this? Without entering far into any political principles, the
discussion of which would be in a great measure foreign to the design of
this little tract, it may be remarked, that the unchristian principle of
revenge is not our motive to this war; conquest is not our object; nor
have we had recourse to hostility, in order to effect a change in the
internal government of France[D]. The present war is undoubtedly
undertaken entirely on defensive principles. It is in defence of our
King, our Constitution, our Religion, our Laws, and consequently our
_Liberty_, in the sound and rational sense of that term. It is to defend
ourselves from the savage violence of a crusade, made against all
Religion, as well as all Government. If ever therefore a war was
undertaken on the ground of self-defence and necessity--if ever men
might be literally said to fight _pro_ ARIS _et focis_, this seems to
be the occasion.

The ambition of conquerors has been the source of great and extensive
evils: Religious fanaticism of still greater. But little as I am
disposed to become the apologist of either the one principle or the
other, there is no extravagance in asserting, that they have seemed
incapable of producing, even in ages, that extent of mischief, that
comprehensive desolation, which _philosophy, falsely so called_, has
produced in three years.

Christians! it is not a small thing--it is _your life_. The pestilence
of irreligion which you detest, will insinuate itself imperceptibly with
those manners, phrases, and principles which you admire and adopt. It is
the humble wisdom of a Christian, to shrink from the most distant
approaches to sin, to abstain from the very appearance of evil. If we
would fly from the deadly contagion of Atheism, let us fly from those
seemingly remote, but not very indirect paths which lead to it. Let
France choose this day whom she will serve; _but, as for us and our
houses, we will serve the Lord_.

And, O gracious and long suffering God! before that awful period
arrives, which shall exhibit the dreadful effects of such an education
as the French nation are instituting; before a race of men can be
trained up, not only without the knowledge of THEE, but in the contempt
of THY most holy law, do THOU, in great mercy, change the heart of this
people as the heart of one man. Give them not finally over to their own
corrupt imaginations, to their own heart's lusts. But after having made
them a fearful example to all the nations of the earth, what a people
_can_ do, who have cast off the fear of THEE, do THOU graciously bring
them back to a sense of that law which they have violated, and to
participation of that mercy which they have abused; so that they may
happily find, while the discovery can be attended with consolation, that
_doubtless there is a reward for the righteous; verify, there is a_ GOD
_who judgeth the earth_.


THE END.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote B: See his Speech, enumerating their intended projects.]

[Footnote C: See the Collection of Addresses from England, &c.
Published by Mr. Mc. KENZIE, _College Green_, DUBLIN.]

[Footnote D: See the Report of Mr. Pitt's Speech in the House of
Commons on Feb. 12, 1793.]

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's note


Printer errors have been changed and are listed below. All other
inconsistencies are as in the original.

Characters that could not be displayed directly in Latin-1 are
transcribed as follows:

_ - italics


The following changes have been made to the text:

Page 18: Changed "involve their religous" to "involve their religious".

Page 18: Changed "in order to which they" to "in order to do which
they".





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