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prayer for others is the best preparation for pouring out our own complaints before God, with confidence and comibrt: and did we more generally begin, as our Lord hath taught us, "Hallowed be thy name, thy "kingdom come: thy will be done, in earth, as in "heaven:" we should more generally conclude with animated alacrity, "For thine," O Lord, "is the "kingdom, and the power and the glory, for ever and "ever." Amen.
RIGHTS OF GOD.
Produce your cause, saith the Lord; bring forth your strong reasons, saith the King of Jacob. Isaiah xli. 21.
Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the hohen: I will be crafted in the earth, Ps, klvi. 10,
"IHE Rights at Man" have of late engrossed much of the publick attention: and though by transgression, man hath forfeited all rights, in respect of God, except to the wages of sin; jet in reference to his fellow creatures, he has many and" valuable rights, of which he cannot without injustice be abridged. He has a right, with some restrictions, to enjoy the produce of his own labour and ingenuity, to leave it to his children Op friends, and to possess what others have left to him He has a light to think and judge for himself, and io follow his own inclinations; provided he be not inclined to injure, or molest, other men: and he has a right to liberty of conscience; unlessi his conscience should excite him to disturb the peace and good order of the community.
Many other rights of men might be mentioned, which are TUJequivocal, intelligible, and indisputable, if we consider him in society: for, an absolute state of nature must be universal hostility, in which every man would be his own defender and avenger; and all would be prompted by their selfish passions to annoy each other, except as restrained by fear, conscience, •r attachment to a few individuals.
However, justice is still the same, and /iower is in every case' dis'inct from right: and though we must give up many things, to which we should otherwise be entitled, in order to possess the immense advantages of civilized society; yet, laws should certainly be so made and executed, that all may enjoy as much liberty as can consist with the existence, energy, and roainte'* Uance of government.
But some things are at present insisted on, as " the Rights of * Man," which are not well understood, and are incapable of a precise and determinate definition. Whatever they may seem in theory, they are absolutely impracticable in the present condition of human nature; and every attempt to establish them Wilt probably produce confusion and mischief.
This is not, however, my principal objection to these specu* lations. Let the men of the world try what they can do to mend their present condition; whilst the disciples of Him, "whoso. "kingdom is not of this world," may be contented to take matters as they find them, and peaceably to keep on their way to« better and more enduring inheritance. But the most affecting circumstance is, that whilst warm disputes about the Rights of Alan occupy the attention of multitudes, the Rights of God are proportionably disregarded. The eager disputants on both sides of the question too much overlook them; but many on one side most outrageously trample upon, and even blaspheme them; as if the great Creator aione had no rights! Or as if it were one of the rights of man to despise and defy him, in whom he lives moves, and exists!
It will not, therefore, I trust, be deemed unseasonable at this juncture, if an advocate, (though a feeble one,) venture forth to plead in behalf of the Iiightx rf Clad; as he. is thp Creator, providential Benefactor, and moral Governor of the universe; and in respect of his dealings with those creatures which have rebelled against him. Such is the intention and plan of the ensuing treatise; by which I would endeavour, in this day of scepticism and infidelity, to establish the faith of believers, and to assist them in " giving a reason of the hope that is in them:" and to obviate some specious objections which philosophizing deists or scepticks have started against revelation, or some of the doctrines, commandments, or transactions contained in it: and at the same time I shall attempt to lead men's attention to religion, as true and practical wisdom, and their grand interest both here and hereafter. Since, therefore, our subject is of the greatest importance to every man, I would intreat the reader to consider it with patient and serious application, as well as with candour and impartiality; nor can it justly be censured as irrational, if he be reminded to accompany the perusal with prayer to the Father of lights, and the Giver of every good gift, to bestow upon him that wisdom which comes from above, and which guides the humble and teachable in the way to everlasting felicity.