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have saved the lives of a million of innocent people, How many more we know not : for the confusion being once begun, and among the people who have always given fashions to Europe, may last to the world's end, and be the immediate cause of its end. Look upon the natural world, and see how quiet and orderly it is under the Government of God. There his laws are never broken. The sun shines; the moon rises; the stars are in their prescribed stations; the tides ebb and flow at their time; the spring gives her flowers; the summer ripens the corn; and the autumn gathers it. Thus tranquil and orderly would human society be, if it would but be as obedient to the laws of God. Oh how devoutly is it to be wished, that the moral world were under an authority as wise and as irresistible ! But God has left man, as a free agent, to his own counsel; that, if he sees fit, he may break the divine laws, overturn the whole order of things, and terrify the nations of the earth with “blood and fire and pillars of smoke;” which words do well describe the present state of war in this last age of the world. The reason being now plain, why God hath appointed the rule of some over others; and it being fully shewn what a blessing it is, when this order is duly observed, and what misery follows when it is broken, we are now to examine what sort of people they are who despise dominion. Evil men you may be sure they must be ; and in one respect they act wisely; they do well to hate government; for it is pointed against themselves. A great philosopher of ancient Greece pronounced it impossible for man to be wise if he were not good; and he spoke the truth: for if you watch evil men closely, you will always discover that they are fools, and that their own tongues will *
make them fall; insomuch that he who seeth them shall laugh them to scorn. Our text therefore calls them dreamersj their opinions being as monstrous, as incoherent, as unprofitable, as ridiculous, and as unaccountable, as those of men that are asleep. One of their first devices is this: when they cannot openly deny the necessity of Government to the good of man; they speak evil of dignities; they rail at the persons that exercise it: either as persons weak in their understandings; or ill-intentioned; or insufficiently informed; or oppressive and tyrannical. If the laws cannot be spoken against (though they do this as often as they dare) they fall foul upon them that administer them, in order to make the laws themselves odious. The children of disobedience, who reject all authority, are particularly denominated as children of Belial, in whom he is said to work. Now if the Scripture tells us truly, that the spirit that is in us, our own human spirit, lusteth to envy, and that envy, and-hatred which always attends it, are natural lusts of the mind; what must men become, when there is an Evil Spirit working within, to impel them, and inflame them, till their tongues (as the Apostle speaks) are set onjire of hell? Then does all manner of seditious language break forth and abound, with such vain boasting and vile abuse as honest men cannot account for: but the Evil Spirit knows what he intends by it: he knows, that as the fiery tongues of the Gospel gave light and peace to the world, so his fiery tongues will spread discord and confusion, to the ends of the earth. All this is done directly, to raise discontents, and make government itself an odious thing. Their next step is to overturn it, by propagating false principles among the people. I called them principles; but having no foundation, they really are dreams. The first is this, that Vol. iv. A a
every man has rights; which is said with this design, that every man may be discontented, and may turn the world upside down by contending for them. There is no such thing in the world as the absolute right these persons talk about. There is no right without reason; and right will follow reason, so long as men speak sense. But in a dream, reason has no share ; so we find little of it here. We must ask, in what state of man is this right to be found? Man can have no right before he is born. To his birth he has no right; for it is the gift of God that he comes into the world at all. In his infancy he may have a right to be fed and nursed, because he cannot feed himself; but then his parents also, so long as he is dependent upon them, have a right to his obedience and service. If as he grows up, he refuses to work, he has no right to eat. If as he grows up he cheats and steals, he has no right to be exempted from suffering punishment as a felon: if he commits murder, he has no right to escape the righteous sentence of death. I say these things to shew that rights are in every case, the rights of justice; that every right must have its reason; and where there is no reason there can be no right. The rights of man must be the rights of man in society; and where there is society, there must be government: all the rest is either a vision, which is nothing; or it is the direct contrary to all right and justice; the assumed right of the wild beast beast in the desert, or the lawless murderer. If it were true that one man comes into the world with a right against another, it must be equally true, that the other comes into the world with an equal right against him ; and opposite rights amount to nothing: they can be no rights till there be some third preponderant power to decide between them; which third power is what we call government; and
till that interferes, the social compact is a state of war and violence, in which every man's hand is against every man.
But it may be imagined, that though single men have no rights, many men, whom we call the people, may have some right. I think not: for if one wave of the sea has no right; add all the other waves of the ocean, and you make the case worse. All the right they have is to ride over one another's heads, and dash one another to pieces. And this never fails to be the case when the experiment is tried among mankind: and therefore the Scripture puts together the noise of the waves, and the madness of the people. The winds and tempests drive the waves; and the winds of concupiscence, which will never beat rest, so long as man is man, drive the people.
But our dreamers say further, that all men are by nature equal: whence the practical inference follows, that as they are now in fact unequal, one half may rob the other half, till they are all reduced to the same level. This is the doctrine of those who are called Levellers. But call it what you will, any man may see, that the whole is a scheme of plunder; and that the reason given for it is no reason, because it has no foundation in nature. For, are all men born equal? No: not in any one respect whatever. Some are born wise, some foolish: and if we are to have a law that all men shall be equal, we may as well have a law that all shall be wise; all shall be tall; all shall be strong. Consider all men as members of a body. Is this body all head? Are all men heads? all made to direct—are all men eyes? all made to see for others? Are all hands, to work for others? all feet, to walk? all made for messengers? have all tongues to speak and teach? What absurdity is here 1 Change the order of the body in any one respect, and it is no longer a body, but a 'monster *. Are they men that caa reason thus in a dream, or are they not r The man that is awake will know: but he who is himself dreaming will not. But if men were all born equal, like the blades of wheat in a field of corn; or if it were in the power of man to make them equal, nothing could keep them so. If all the lands of a country were equally divided, the share of a single man would be small; and how is a poor man to occupy it? To furnish himself with stock and implements of husbandry, he must part with some of his land, which immediately makes him unequal; and so the plan miscarries at the first step. They who have of late invented or revived this equality, are themselves a proof of its absurdity: has equality set them at ease? has it indeed ever taken place amongst them? By no means: they are ravaging and destroying the countries on three sides of them, and they would ravage this country if they could. It is with them as naturalists tell us it is with the kingdom of bees: if their chief be lost, the rest turn thieves, and plunder their neighbours as far as they can. This is exactly verified in the nation who of late destroyed their king; and it is a fact which ought to open the eyes of this whole nation: but when men are under the power of visions in a dream, realities have no effect.
« When the first republic of these last days was begotten by rebellion, (as all republics are) they were going to make a law that all men should be equal: « but hold," says one wiser than the rest, "you must make a law first, that none shall be indu6"trious: for the industrious will soon be above the idle, do what"ever you will: and certain it is, equality can never be restored "again till the idle robs the industrious, and seizes the fruit of u another's labour-"