صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

JUSTICE.

1. Fw swords, in a just defence, are able to resist many unjust assaulters.

2.

Think not lightly of never so weak an arm which strikes with the sword of justice.

Remark.

Right is now so little regarded, either in the field, the senate, or the closet, that these sentiments have past into mere embellishments of style; for it is one thing to harangue boldly, and another to act bravely. When men have once sold their consciences, they are ready to speak, to fight, or to remain still, as their owners choose to command them. Interest stimulates all their movements; and it is only with an eye to the rewards of promotion, places, or patronage, that they either raise their arms or open their lips. How, then, can such men comprehend the strength that braces the sinews of him whose heart swells with the love of his country! how understand the eloquence of him whose soul expands with patriotism and overflows with zeal? He is the oracle of truth, and utters her dictates alone. Truth is a holy spirit, which repeats the animating promise of Divinity-" When ye shall be brought before governors, and kings, for my sake, take no thought how or what ye shall speak; for it shall be given ye in that same hour what ye shall speak; for it is not ye that speak, but my spirit which speaketh in ye!” Truth doth not need art; she inspires her votaries with spontaneous oratory; with a force of language, that pours upon the hearer in a torrent of fire, and 66.makes his heart burn within him !" He acknowledges the light that bursts upon his soul; he dares not to prosecute the evil he meditated; for there is no darkness to excuse and shroud his error. Such was the eloquence of Demosthenes, who, supported by

truth alone, maintained the justice of his cause in a corrupted and fearful city, against Macedon, and all its gold, and all its generals : Such was the eternal confidence in justice with which Leonidas, at the head of a few hundreds, opposed the millions of Xerxes, and saved Greece: Such is the dauntless spirit with which the private man encounters and overcomes the world, in the defence of friendship or humanity! And, when the cause we espouse, either in the field or the cabinet, is that of Right, men need not “ think lightly of our weak arms; for we strike with the sword of justice: and few swords, in a just defence, are able to resist many unjust assaulters."

1

3. A just man hateth the evil, but not the eyil-doer.

4. A just punishment may be unjustly done.

Remark.

The first of these two latter observations relates to the most difficult precept of our duty; a precept that is only to be practised by studying human nature, which teaches us, that inordinate desires (and how ready are the most innocent to break bounds !) are the fountain whence all errors flow. An accurate knowledge of the heart, and propensities of man, will shew us what little reason we have for hating the poor prodigal, who drinks his cup to the dregs. The fever is on our own lips; and as we estimate virtue by the difficulties of its struggles, we should pity the weakness which complied with a craving that we found so hard to deny. Thus, a sincere acquaintance with ourselves, teaches us humility; and from humility springs that benevolence, which compassionates the transgressors we condemn; and prevents the punishments we inflict, from themselves partaking of crime, in being rather the wreakings of revenge, than the chastisements of virtue.

5. The just, though they hate evil, yet give men a patient hearing ; hoping that they will shew proofs that they are not evil.

Remark.

For, actions that seem wrong, may, uponi elose investigation, be shewn to be right: good motives are not always crowned with success; and misfortune is apt to incur blame. Cold characters are the least likely to fall under censure; not having stimulus to move out of the beaten track, they remain behind a screen all their lives, alike inaccessible to the praise of the just or the animadversions of the unjust. In them, dullness is caution; cowardice, discretion; and insensibility, virtue. It is the ardent character who throws himself, body and soul, in the way of circumstances which demand opposition, that is the object of acclammation or opprobrium. - Men must be superior to the world, while they respect it, or be its slaves : and though virtue will never really offend, she must sometimes run the

« السابقةمتابعة »