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are formed by the morality of the gospel, they must, unless they wish to be stigmatized as profligates, behave with fome degree of decorum. Where the conduct is uniform and consistent, charity, I allow, and even justice will lead us to put the best construction upon the motive : but when we see men uneasy under restraints, and continually writing in favour of vices which they dare not openly practise, we are justified in imputing their fobriety not to principle, but to the circumstances attending their situation. If, fome of those gentlemen who have deserted the Christian ministry, and commenced profeffed infidels, had acted years ago as licentiously as they have done of late, they must have quitted their fituation fooner, and were they now to leave their country and connexions, and enter into such a state of society as would comport with their present wishes, their conduct would be more licentious than it is.
On these principles that great and excellent man, Prefident WASHINGTON, in his farewel address to the people of the United States, acknowledges the neceflity of religion to the well-being of a nation.
“ Of all the dispositions and habits “ which lead to political prosperity," he says, “ Religion and morality are indispensable supports. “ In vain would that man claim the tribute of pa“triotism, who should labour to fubvert these great
pillars of human happiness, these firmeft props “ of men and citizens. / The mere politician, equal
ly with the pious man, ought to respect and to so cherish them. A volume could not trace all “ their connexions with private and public felicity. “ Let it be fimply asked, where is the security for
property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are “ the instruments of investigation in the courts of “ justice ? And let us with caution indulge the “ fupposition, that morality can be maintained « without religion.
Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds “ of peculiar structure ; reason and experience “ both forbid us to expect, that national morality
can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”
Upon the whole, the evidence of this chapter proves that Christianity is not only a living principle of virtue in good men, but affords this farther blefling to society, that it restrains the vices of the bad. It is a tree of life whose fruit is immortal. ity, and whose very leaves are for the healing of the nations,
Christianity is a fource of happiness to individuals and society : but Deism leaves both the one and the other without hope.
HOUGH the happiness of creatures be not admitted to be the final end of God's moral government, yet it is freely allowed to occupy an important place in the system. God is good; and his goodness appears in his having so blended the honour of his name with the felicity of his creatures, that in seeking the one they should find the other. In so important a light do we consider human happiness as to be willing to allow that to be the true religion which is most ad apted to promote it.
To form an accurate judgment on this subject, it is necessary to ascertain wherein happiness conGsts. We ought neither to expect nor defire in the present life such a state of mind as wholly excludes painful sensations. Had we less of the exercises of godly forrow, our facred pleasures would be fewer than they are ; or were we unacquainted with the afflictions common to men, we should be lefs able to fympathize with them, which would be injurious not only to society, but to ourselves, as it would deprive us of one of the richest sources of enjoyment.
Mr. Hume, in one of his effays, very properly called The Sceptic, seems to think that happiness lies in having one's inclinations gratified ; and as different men have different inclinations, and even the same men at different times, that may be happiness in one case which is misery in another. This sceptical writer, however, would hardly deny that in happiness, as in other things, there is a false and a true, an imaginary and a real; or that a studied indulgence of the appetites and paflions, though it should promote the one, would destroy the other. The light of nature, as acknowledged even by deists, teaches that self-denial, in many cafes, is necessary to self-preservation ; and that to act a contrary part would be to ruin our peace and destroy our health.* I presume it will be granted that no definition of happiness can be complete, which includes not peace of mind, which admits not of perpetuity, or which answers not the necefsities and miseries of human life.
But if nothing deserve the name of happiness
which does not include peace of mind, all criminal pleasure is at once excluded. Could a life of unchastity, intrigue, difhonour and disappointed pride, like that of Rousseau, be a happy life? No, amidst the brilliancy of his talents, remorse, shame, conscious meanness, and the dread of a hereafter, must corrode his heart, and render him a stranger to peace.
Contrast with the life of this man that of Howard. Pious, temperate, just, and benevolent, he lived for the good of mankind. His happiness consisted in serving his generation by the will of God. If all men were like Rousseau, the world would be much more miserable than it is : If all were like Howard, it would be much more happy. Rousseau, governed by the love of fame, is fretful, and peevish, and never satisfied with the treatment he receives : Howard, governed by the love of mercy, shrinks from applause, with this modest and just reflection, “ Alas, our best performances have such a mixture of fin and folly, that praise is vanity, and presumption, and pain to a thinking mind.” Rousseau, after a life of debauchery and shame, confesses it to the world, and makes a merit of his confeffion, and even presumptuously supposes that it will avail him before the Judge of all: Howard, after a life of fingular devotedness to God, and benevolence to men, accounted himself an unprofitable fervant, leaving this for his motto, his last testimony, CHRIST IS
Can therс be any doubt which of the two. was the happiest man?
Further, if nothing amounts to real happiness which aclmits not of perpetuity, all natural pleasure, when weighed against the hopes and joys of the
d!, will be found waiting. It is an expreffve
characteristic of the good things of this life, that they all perish with the using. The charms of youth and beauty quickly fade. The power of relishing natural enjoyments is foon gone. The pleasures of active life, of building, planting, forming schemes, and achieving enterprizes foon follow. In old age none of them will flourish ; and in death they are exterminated. The mighty man, and the man of war, the judge and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient, the captain of fifty, and the honourable man, and the counsellor, and the cunning artificer, and the eloquent orator, all descend in one undistinguished mass into oblivion. And as this is a truth which no man can dispute; those who have no prospects of a higher nature must often feel themselves unhappy. Contrast with this the joys of the gospel. These, instead of being diminished by time, are often encreased. To them the soil of age
is friendly. While nature has been fading, and perifhing by flow degrees, how often have we feen faith, hope, love, patience, and resignation to God in full bloom. Who but Christians can contemplate the loss of all present enjoyments with fatisfaction ? Who else can view deatlı, judgment, and eternity with desire ? I appeal to the hearts of unbelievers, Whether they have not many milgivings and revoltings within them; and whether in the hour of folitary reflection they have not fighed the wish of Balaam, Let me die the death of • the righteous, and let my last end be like his !
It is observable that even Rouffeau himself, though the language certainly did not become his lips, affected to derive confolation in advanced life from Christian principles. In a Letter to Voltaire bae says, “ I cannot help remarking, Sir, a very