« 上一頁繼續 »
with the king, liad a settled gloom upon his mind and visage: and upon the king's asking why his countenance was so sad, he ingenuously answered, “Why should not my countenance “ be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers' “ sepulchres, lieth waste, and the gates thereof « are consumed with fire?”
In the New Testament, besides the many instances of the love of their country shewn by his disciples and followers, particularly by St. Paul, there is a very remarkable one of Christ himself: for we read, that when, upon his way to Jerusalem, he was come so near as to com. mand a view of the whole place, he stopped short, and attentively beheld the city; he fixed his eyes on it with a mournful and melancholy silence, sadly reflecting on the dreadful judgments of God ready to fall upon it; till at last, to ease the bitter anguish of his soul, he wept over it, and broke forth into this affectionate expostulation, saying, “If thou hadst known, “ even thou at least in this thy day, the things “ which belong unto thy peace! but now they “ are hid from thine eyes.”
And yet, notwithstanding this illustrious example, which must have the greatest weight and influence with all real Christians; and notwith
standing that universal benevolence which is made the test of a Cloristian, it has been ridiculously asserted by a noble writer and his ignorant followers, that the love of our country, as well as private friendship, are purely voluntary duties, a sort of works of supererogation in a Christian, being no where enjoined in the Gospel of Christ. It certainly is true, that there is no direct or express precept to be found there for either of these duties : but what occasion was there for such a precept, after so express a coinmand to love all mankind without distinction, even our very enemies not being excepted ?
Indeed it inay with the greatest justice be affirmed, that the christian law, by commanding us to love even our enemies, has thereby carried the duties of friendship and of the love of our country to the highest perfection of which they are capable: For what an ardent, what an overflowing affection must that man have for his country and his friend, the supports as well as sources of so many comforts to him in life, who can even pardon the tongue that insults, can forgive the hand that smites, can bless the enemy that persecutes, and, in imitation of his divine Master, pray for the very murderer, whuse ruf fian violence deprives him of life?
Having endeavoured to establish the general duty of the love of our country, I shall now proceed to consider the particular reasons and motives which we have to love our own.
Now these arise from the peculiar blessings and privileges which we enjoy in it. In the first place, we have the happiness to live in a country, which abounds with all the necessary supports and substantial comforts of human life; and these, in general, more various and excellent in their kind, than are to be met with in any other part of the known world. And though it cannot boast of the settled seasons, the azure skies, the bright warm sunshine, the delicious fruits of some more southern climates; yet let it be remembered, that neither are we, on the other hand, subject to their scorching heats, their ferocious animals and venomous reptiles, nor to their frequent and horrible alarms and devastations from earthquakes, hurricanes, and volcanoes.
Again : Our situation as an island is of all the most desirable, not only for the advantage it affords us of carrying on a most extensive commerce, but also for the security it gives us against the attempts of our foreign enemies. And to this, under God, it is owing that England has
never been, for many centuries past, the seat of war with a foreign enemy; a consideration which cannot but at this time very sensibly affect every Englishman, and make him applaud his own good fortune, when he contemplates the dreadful scenes of complicated misery which have lately desolated the now dismembered provinces of the British empire in America, or the still more dreadful scenes of bloodshed and barbarity which now overspread the Gallic empire. .
But what should above all engage our affection to our country is the excellency of its constitution, under which our lives and property, and what should be as dear to every man as either of these, our liberties, both civil and religious, are secured to us by the strongest guards and fences, which the wisdom of man, aided by long experience, could devise or effect. A man who is not ready both to do and suffer any thing for the safety and prosperity of such a country, can have nothing that is good or great in him. His heart must be a stranger to every social and humane affection, and leanness must have entered deep into his soul :-He must be unaffected with shame and reproach, regardless of posterity, utterly void of all sentiments of gratitude, and either an enemy or a stranger to his own true interest; for every man's true interest is inti
mately connected with the public good. · And for this reason * a great Athenian patriot, when his countrymen were repining and murmuring at the losses they had suffered in carrying on a
long and fatal war, very justly called upon them * to be more attentive to the public calamities,
than to any thing which had befallen themselves; telling them, that of the two it was much better for individuals to live under a prosperous state, though they were at the same time unfortunate as individuals, than to enjoy the greatest good fortune under a distressed and declining one: since, whilst the public continued safe and flou-. rishing, private men had many resources left, by, which they inight repair their losses; whereas let any individual be as great and happy as his heart can wish, with all his greatness he must be finally involved and irrecoverably lost in the common fall and ruin of his country.
I shall endeavour, thirdly, to point out the manner and effects in which the love of our. country is to shew itself.
Now there is nothing more talked of, nothing more universally professed by all parties, than the love of our country; so that were we to at
* Thucyd. Lib. II. Pericles orat.