« PreviousContinue »
The Summer Morning.-JOHN Clare.
THE Cocks have now the morn foretold,
While every leaf that forms a shade,
'Tis sweet to meet the morning breeze,
Now let me tread the meadow paths,
And hear the beetle sound his horn;
YES, it would have grieved
Your very soul to see her evermore
Her eyelids drooped, her eyes were downward cast;
Her body was subdued. In every act
But yet no motion of the
While by the fire
We sat together, sighs came on my ear,
I knew not how, and hardly whence they came.
For her son's use, some tokens of regard,
In God's good love, and seek his help by prayer.
And took my rounds along this road again,
Ere on its sunny bank the primrose flower
She knew not that he lived;
if he were dead,
She seemed the same but her house
In person and appearance;
The floor was neither dry nor neat; the hearth
The bark was nibbled round by truant sheep.
The light extinguished of her lonely hut,
And they whose hearts are dry as summer dust,
But he was welcome; no one went away
But that it seemed she loved him.—
She was a woman of a steady mind,
Christian Patriotism.-ROBERT HALL.
THE principles of freedom ought, in a more peculiar manner, to be cherished by Christians, because they alone can secure that liberty of conscience, and freedom of inquiry, which is essential to the proper discharge of the duties of their profession. A full toleration of religious opinions, and the protection of all parties in their respective modes of worship, are the natural operations of a free government; and every thing that tends to check or restrain them, materially affects the interests of religion. Aware of the force of religious belief over the mind of man, of the generous independence it inspires, and of the eagerness with which it is cherished and maintained, it is towards this quarter the arm of despotism first directs its attacks; while, through every period, the imaginary right. of ruling the conscience has been the earliest assumed and the latest relinquished. Under this conviction, an enlightened Christian, when he turns his attention to political occurrences, will rejoice in beholding every advance towards freedom in the government of nations, as it forms not only a barrier to the encroachments of tyranny, but a security to the diffusion and establishment of truth. A considerable portion of personal freedom may be enjoyed, it is true, under a despotic government, or, in other words,
a great part of human actions may be left uncontrolled; but with this an enlightened mind will never rest satisfied, because it is at best but an indulgence flowing from motives of policy, or the lenity of the prince, which may be at any time withdrawn by the hand that bestowed it. Upon the same principles, religious toleration may have an accidental and precarious existence, in states whose policy is the most arbitrary; but in such a situation, it seldom lasts long, and can never rest upon a secure and permanent basis, disappearing, for the most part, along with those temporary views of interest or policy on which it was founded. The history of every age will attest the truth of this observation.
Though Christianity does not assume any immediate direction in the affairs of government, it inculcates those duties, and recommends that spirit, which will ever prompt us to cherish the principles of freedom. It teaches us to check every selfish passion, to consider ourselves as parts of a great community, and to abound in all the fruits of an active benevolence. The particular operation of this principle will be regulated by circumstances as they arise, but our obligation to cultivate it is clear and indubitable. If we are bound to protect a neighbor, or even an enemy, from violence, to give him raiment when he is naked, or food when he is hungry, much more ought we to do our part towards the preservation of a free government, the only basis on which the enjoyment of these blessings can securely rest. He who breaks the fetters of slavery, and delivers a nation from thraldom, forms, in my opinion, the noblest comment on the law of love, whilst he distributes the greatest blessing which man can receive from man; but next to that, is the merit of him who, in times like the present, watches over the edifice of public liberty, repairs its foundations, and strengthens its cement, when he beholds it hastening to decay.