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know not wherefore they are come together. On the other hand, he will endeavour to be a pattern of contentment and good order. If called to suffer in common with others from the circumstances of the times, he will suffer according to the will of God; and if only called on to retrench some of his accustomed superfluities, he will do it with cheerfulness and gratitude for the blessings he still enjoys.
7. A considerate Christian will be the more quiet and peaceable in a time like the present, from a fear lest the progress of religious and moral improvement should be checked by the disturbances which are excited amongst the lower ranks of the community. The greatest exertions have lately been made, and are now making, to extend the blessings of religious knowledge throughout the state. All are taught to read, and the Bible is put into every hand. Now, though the impiety of the traitorous and discontented commonly at once detects their motives, and places all religious persons on their guard against them, yet if they should unhappily pervert in only a few instances the knowledge disseminated among the poor to seditious purposes, and should substitute the licentious pamphlet for the Bible, a serious impediment to the progress of instruction may possibly arise. All who are unfriendly to the real improvement of the common people will gladly seize the occasion
of discrediting the cause; and the cheering dawn of knowledge may thus for a moment be overcast. The advancement of education then, whilst it multiplies readers and thinkers, must continue, as it now is, to be strictly connected with the principles of religion and good order. The power given to the poor must be joined still with sound moral feelings to employ it aright. Humility and obedience to the laws, a regard to conscience, contentment with their lot, industry, piety must be imbibed together with the elements of knowledge, or those elements will lose all their value. The Christian then, in a season of alarm like the present, will be anxious to inculcate on all around the genuine effects of religious education, and to exhibit the wholesome fruits which arise from it 4.
8. In such circumstances the care of each man should be to occupy himself with his own private duties. As long as men are engaged in discharging the daily and numerous duties which their several stations require, and are anxious to be godly and contented in those stations, they will have little inclination to lend themselves to the designs of the disorderly. Their time It is only
4 The exemplary patience and loyalty of the distressed manufacturers in Spitalfields during the whole winter, has been publicly acknowledged to arise from the spread of religious education, and the circulation of the Scriptures, in
and thoughts will be filled. They will not allow their attention to dwell on comparisons between their own condition and that of others, but keep it fixed on what is immediately before them. This will promote tranquillity of mind. Envy, discontent, vain curiosity, calumny, sedition, will be excluded. Like the auditors of an interesting public discourse, they will be wholly occupied in what they are about, and will not concern themselves to observe, who is before them, or who behind them, whether others are better accommodated than themselves, or whether many be not much worse. when the business is interrupted, or when the hearer's attention to it grows idle and remiss, that we think of the place in which we are seated 5. To fill up our duties in life to God's glory, to suffer patiently under his will, and to wait for his aid and succour, is the way of consolation under trouble, and of deliverance from it. And even, if God has placed us in the most painful circumstances, and we are exercised with sickness, and disappointed in our attempts to support our families, and have nothing to occupy our minds but our troubles, still this will be no reason why we should aggravate our afflictions by disloyalty and sedition, and add sin to sorrow.
Rather we should confine our
5 Dr. Paley.
thoughts still to our immediate duties, those of diligently labouring, so far as we have opportunity, and patiently suffering where we have not. A peaceful, meek, respectable sufferer is always the first to be pitied and relieved; whilst noise, and clamour, and discontent make all real troubles worse, and invent a great many imaginary ones. To covet the stations of others, and to wish to seize them through the medium of public uproar and confusion, is not only wickedness but folly; it is to increase all our difficulties; it is not only to venture out to sea in a storm, but to venture for nothings. It is God's blessing which alone can relieve us, and God's blessing is to be waited for in a spirit of obedience and resignation. He has promised never to leave us nor forsake us. He has said that the lions shall lack and suffer hunger, but they that fear the Lord shall want no manner of thing that is good. And therefore we may rely on his watchful providence in our utmost straits; and without meddling with the duties or faults of others, and least of all those of our governors, may occupy ourselves with
9. Finally, if any line of conduct is likely to bring down God's blessing on ourselves and our country, and to remove from us his present chas
tisements, it is that which I am now recominending, and which flows from the principles I have laid down throughout this discourse. When God contends, he will overcome. We shall gain nothing by a spirit of rebellion and discontent. We shall obtain no relief by following our own proud and hasty spirit. We shall find no alleviation by listening to desperate and ungodly men, and by unjustly blaming our rulers, which is in fact to contemn the authority and ordinance of God. Like the wild bull in a net, we shall by these means only increase and aggravate our misery. But if we take another course, and turn to Him that smiteth us, and seek the Lord of Hosts; if by true repentance and amendment of life we each reform ourselves; if by humble confession of sin we admit the justness of the divine punishments, and by a hearty forsaking of it take away the occasion of them; if by piety and contentment under comparative misfortunes, and by patience and submission under greater ones, we wait for God's deliverance; if by prayer and supplication for kings and all that are in authority over us, we bind the several orders of the state together in mutual affection and subordination; if by a loyal and Christian spirit and conduct we propose a good example to others, and diffuse sound principles of religion and morals to all about us; and if, finally, by a cordial reception