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things; unworthy of the present advanced progress of mental improvement! Thus, they who meet to make laws for man, themselves contemn the laws of God; and the seat of the senator is become " the seat of the scornful.”
O for the ancient days!-the days of Chatham, or of Burke, or of Percival, or of Wilberforce : when religion was yet honoured, and reason, and truth, and eloquence, and the intrinsic strength of the cause bore off the victory ;- but now, our silver is become dross : what was our glory is rendered our disgrace; “for, behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts doth take away from us the mighty man, and the judge, and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient, the honourable man, and the counsellor, and the eloquent orator ; and babes rule over us.”
3. The next feature of the times I shall mention is-DISOBEDIENCE TO PARENTS. This is one of the signs of the last " perilous times," specified by the Holy Spirit. The commandment, “ Honour thy father and thy mother," the first commandment with promise, is now nearly as much forgotten as if it had been recalled; and the example of Christ himself, who, though the Lord of glory, was yet subject to his human parents, is nearly as much neglected, as if it had never been left us to follow. Parental discipline is relaxed. The young are froward from the womb, and prematurely allowed to be their own masters. The veriest
1 2 Tim. iii.
striplings esteem themselves wiser than their fathers and mothers, by many degrees ; such is their overweening conceit of the march of intellect.'
Children, not habituated to “ bear the yoke in youth,” never will endure it afterwards. From being disobedient to their natural superiors, they learn disrespect towards all,-pastors, masters, magistrates. They prove disloyal subjects ; “despise dominion ; ” yea, that of the king of kings himself. They neither fear God, nor regard man. They kick against all control, human and divine.
Presumptuous are they, self-willed; they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.” And thus it comes to pass, that families, which ought to be the nurseries of the church, where children should be trained up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, become in point of fact the seed-plots of rebellion, where subjects are nurtured for the prince of darkness, and whence contumacy and insubordination are propagated over the empire.
Persons, whose early culture is thus neglected, generally prove the most bitter plagues of society; worse than downright pagans themselves. For the latter are under some restraint—they own a religion, false though it be. Whereas these acknowledge no authority whatever. They “ have altogether broken the yoke, and burst the bonds."
And this leads me to notice,
4. THE SPIRIT OF EQUALITY now so rife : the growing want of respect manifested by the common people towards those, who, by their rank, educa
tion, and position in life, are plainly and undeniably their superiors. Scripture, justice, and the fitness of things unite in enjoining us to render unto all their dues,—“ tribute to whom tribute is due; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.” But such are the pride and insolence of the age, that the man of low degree appears to grudge his better the slightest token of respect. 6. The child behaves himself proudly against the ancient; and the base against the honourable.” They that are younger than we bear us in derision, whose fathers we would have disdained to set with the dogs of our flock.”
The Former of all things evidently intended that there should be a variety of ranks; for he gives a variety of endowments. In his word also, he denounces those who speak evil of dignities.” Indeed, his will in this particular is clearly evinced in the universal constitution of things. First, we tind a disparity in external nature : in the plants of the garden, in the flowers of the field; in the height of the trees and mountains ?
If these were all equal in size, where would be the beauty of the natural world ? Enchantment would give place to a bleak monotony. Again, are all the beasts of the earth, all the inhabitants of the deep, or all the tribes of the air respectively, of one form and power ? We know the very contrary to be the
And if we elevate our eyes to the spangled doom of night, does not one star differ from another star in glory? Again ; are there not diversities of
orders in God's church? “ And he gave some apostles, and some prophets; and some evangelists; and some pastors and teachers ;''1 helps, govern
Once more, ascending still higher in the scale of being, we find a variety of ranks in the celestial kingdom itself. We read of angels, and the archangel, of cherubim, and seraphim, of thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers. 3 Thus we find diversity in all departments of creation. It is, in fact, a great house, wherein are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth, and some to honour, and some to dishonour. And who can question, that this inequality tends at once to develope and illustrate the manifold wisdom of God, and to promote the general welfare of his creatures. The universe is a harp of innumerable strings; but were these all of one unvaried length and thickness, where would be the harmony ?
* Take but degree away, untune that string,
1 Eph. iv, 11.
3 Col, i. 16. 4 It is related of the celebrated Hooker, that while he was on his death-bed, the doctor found him one morning in deep contemplation, and on inquiring his thoughts, was answered, that he was medi. tating the number and nature of angels, and their blessed obedience and order, without which, peace could not be in heaveu ; and oh! that it might be so on earth!'-Lite by Walton.
(Between whose endless jar justice resides,)
Thus, the world by difference is in order found.' Equality never has been, or could be. Supposing there was a general equality to-morrow, it could not continue. Those individuals who are possessed of superior ability, industry, and principle, would of necessity ere long obtain a pre-eminence. As in the human body, some members are more strong and comely and honourable than others, yet all are indispensable to the general beauty and utility of the frame; so it is with the body of the state.
Accordingly, we find a difference of grade and condition in all ages and countries of the world. It is the universal arrangement. '
That such an arrangement existed from the beginning appears from the word of God. We read, in the book of Genesis, of kings, dukes, and lords. 3 Evidently therefore the Bible is leveller.
The spirit we have mentioned, however, is directly opposed to this constitution of things. Vain man would be wiser than God: would alter what was evidently the divine appointment. Many,
1 SHAKSPEARE-'Troilus and Cressida.' 2 The maxim is coeval with Homer-Ovk ayačov Tolukoi gavn.'
3 Chap. XIV. XXIII. XXXVI.