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own fault, turn the greatest of civil blessings into a curse!
No labour can be too unremitting, no vigilance too active, no public spirit too exalted and ardent, to preserve a constitution sound and unimpaired, which is the most glorious privilege, and the most valuable political inheritance, ever enjoyed by mankind.-
Hail, sacred Polity, by Freedom rear'd !
Hail, sacred Freedom, when by law restrain'd,
In darkness, wretchedness, and want enchain'd.
In arts unrivallid, oh! to latest days,
To godlike wrath the gen'rous bosom raise,
BEATTIE. How great are the privileges of living under the British constitution !
With grateful hearts, with joyful tongues,
His pow'r and mercy we proclaim :
And triumph in his mighty name.
Oh! still may God in Britain reign,
And all her sacred rights maintain ! Kippis. It is a sacred principle of our constitutional law, that “the king can do no wrong." Strange as this principle may appear on its first annunciation, and directly as it may appear to tend to despotism, it is, in point of fact, by its application, one of the main preservatives of public liberty and of general tranquillity. For while it is declared that the king can do nothing politically wrong, it is provided, that for all his public acts, his ministers and advisers are responsible to the nation at large, by the medium of the parliament, and of other legally constituted assemblies. Hence, whilst due respect is paid to the person and the character of the reigning sovereign, the propriety of bis measures may be canvassed with strictness, and even with jealousy; and those popular discontents which, in more arbitrary governments, would give rise to all the horrors of a revolution, are generally allayed by the easy and simple process of a change of administration. This establishment is well adapted to the manners and character of the inhabitants. The temper of the people, like their climate, is variable and cloudy, continually exhibiting the most striking contrasts; but their principles of action, like those of their government and their religion, are permanent and fixed :
Stern o'er each bosom, reason holds her state, With daring aims, irregularly great ; Pride in their port, defiance in their eye, I see the lords of human kind pass by ; Intent on high designs, a thoughtful band, By forms unfashion'd, fresh from nature's hand : Fierce in their native hardiness of soul, True to imagin’d right, above control, While e'en the peasant boasts those rights to scan, And learns to venerate himself as man. Having thus deviated a little from the subject of the pleasures of Travelling, to speak of the blessings and privileges of the British constitution, I shall finish the digression with the following lines, from the late excellent Sir Wm. Jones, on the Constitution of a State :
What constitutes a state ?
Thick wall, or moated gate;
Not bays, and broad-arm’d ports,
Men who their duties know,
Prevent the long-aim'd blow,
These constitute a state
When mild Religion, from above,
Descends, a sweet engaging form,
The bow of promise in a storm!
Sorrow, remorse, affliction, cease;
And all her paths are paths of peace.
And folly flies her chast’ning rod;
A temple of the living God.
Where bright celestial ages roll,
She points the way, and leads the soul.
The gate of paradise restord;
And drops his double-flaming sword.
May we the crown of glory gain;
MONTGOMERY. Religion is a source of the purest pleasures. When divested of the gloomy habiliments with which superstition has clothed her, she will answer the description given in the following lines :
Lo! a form divinely bright
Supreinely sweet her radiant face,
Faith, with sablime and piercing eye,, t'i And pinions Auttering from the sky; "
; Here Hope, that smiling angel, stands,
There Charity, in robes of white,
COTTON. , Religion is not only consistent with joy and cheerfulness, but is the only source from which they can steadily, though softly, flow into the human heart. It is superstition, not religion, that represents rational pleasure as incompatible with a pious and virtuous life.
Religion alone teaches man to understand his real dignity. Without it he is a poor feeble creature, absolutely lost among the innumerable host of rational and irrational, of visible and invisible, objects; an imperceptibly small particle, with which chance or fate, as it were, fills up a chasm in the immense system of nature. He exists, and he knows not why: he loves, and knows not wherefore : he has capacities and powers, and is uncertain how he ought to employ them. He seeks rest and lasting happiness, and is in a world where all is subject to change. He is dependent on a variety of chances, he is environed by numberless objects, and yet finds himself, in the midst of them, as if desolate and forlorn. At least he sees nothing before him, on which he can steadily fix, nothing that may not to-day or to-morrow be torn from him by death. And how insignificant must even his most important actions and contingencies appear to him, while he is surrounded by this darkness! His history is the history of a mole or other reptile, that comes into existence, provides for its sustenance, propagates its species, and then turns to dust. So poor, so contemptible must man appear to bimself; so wretched is he, when unenlightened by Religion! But how greatly does that raise him ! how great must the relations wherein he stands to the Deity, of which he is informed by Religion, make him! Now he knows, that the supreme Being, however immense the system of things produced by his benignity and power, does not overlook him; that he knows and loves him, that he provides for him, and over-rules his destinies. Now he has a ground of hope and reliance that will not fail him. Now he has a fixed object to which he may direct his desires, his affections, his efforts. Now he cannot doubt that he is designed for loftier purposes than the inanimate and irrational creatures that surround him can attain. Religion teaches him what God has done for man, what marvellous acts of power, of wisdom, and of tenderness he has wrought in his behalf. She teaches him that God will glorify himself in him, and that he will be also glorified by him. What grand ideas, what elevated sentiments and dispositions, must this produce in him! What a value must it communicate to his existence, to his conduct, to the events of his life, to his connections with outward objects.
Man, when he considers bis situation and circumstances, the frame of his body, and the endowments of his mind, cannot but be sensible of the blessings he enjoys, and the high place he holds in the creation of God. He sees the fair field of nature spread out for his walk and contemplation, his use and enjoyment. He sees every element minister to his wants or to his pleasures: he sees days and nights, times and seasons, revolve in such an order and succession as best suit his occasions. Who can behold the order, the proportion and symmetry, the colouring, the light and shades, the heights and depths, the variety and harmony, of this beauteous landscape of heaven and earth, without admiration and delight? But when he farther observes this magnificent scene subservient not only to his pleasure but also to his use, when he finds his senses refreshed by its colour and fragrance, his life supported and his wants supplied by its various productions, the winds blow, the showers descend, the seasons revolve, and the different elements uniting in their operations to promote