« 上一頁繼續 »
just, to be studious of the peace and welfare' of the society of which he is now a member. Thus may the secular politician learn to be a better christian, and the christian to be a better subject than he was before.
To contribute in any measure to these happy effects; to convince, though it were but a single individual among his countrymen, of the special obligation he is under both to be a good subject and a good christian; as it is the most earnest wish of the author, so he has endeavoured, in order to gain his end, to place his country in the fairest light that truth will admit. And if there be any reflections in the ensuing work which may seem to cast a shade over the present state of our public affairs, either civil or religious, and to raise ominous conjecture respecting our future destiny, this, it is hoped, will neither be made an objection to the work itself, nor to the design
rather excite the reader to use his utmost endeavours to avert the omen, and to employ every measure in his power, that may tend both to secure and advance the general welfare.
In excuse for the number and length of the quotations may be alleged the opinion of some competent judges, who have thought, that every book should contain as few bare references as possible to other books; since these might either not be found at hand, or, if at hand, might, by the very act of turning to them, unseasonably divert the reader's attention. It is to obviate these inconveniences (which the writer himself has often experienced) and not merely to swell the volume, that, instead of a bare reference, the passage itself is commonly produced; and it is hoped that such readers as find this precaution unnecessary, will pardon it in favour of others who are less
What may be the success of this imperfect essay, the author is not prepared to hazard a conjecture. On the one hand, he is encouraged by the indulgent manner in which a former work * was received by the public; while, on the other, he is checked by a sense of his deficiencies, especially on a subject where he is less in possession of that near and actual experience, which in all practical cases is the great master. This however is not meant as a plea for his book, should it be found, on the whole, a bad one, but as a reason why it is not better; and he trusts it may induce, the reader's favourable allowance, that, instead of a bold demand upon his justice, he thus comes forward with a modest appeal to his candour and generosity.
But though the author readily waves all
* Rural Philosophy, or Reflections on Knowledge, Virtue, and Happiness, chiefly in reference to a life of challenges and pretensions on the score of abilities, he would presume to put in his claim for a share of moderation and impartiality; and this claim, he flatters himself, will not be refused by such as are themselves distinguished for these qualities. From the violent of all parties, whether they are prerogative tories or republican whigs, high churchmen or rigid dissenters, or under whatever name or ensign they appear, he can expect no particular favour, nor even scarce indulge a hope, that he shall entirely escape their censure. Leaving such, therefore, to their own way, till further reflection or experience may lead them to a better, it is to those free and independent spirits, who know how to prefer the whole to a part, and to steer a middle course both in church and state, that, next to the patronage of heaven, he looks for support and countenance; and it is by their judgment
CONTAINING A VIEW OF CIVIL GOVERNMENT IN
Sect. W.-The Influence of civil Government on Virtue
perty.................... - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -