« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
What distinguishes this Pamphlet from those which have
been written on the same subject.-Nothing but Soripture and Reason can make the Colonies properly submit to Great Britain.
THE Author of these letters considers the American controversy chiefly in a religious light, which gives him an opportunity of making some remarks, that have probably escaped the attention of other writers on this subject. The duty of paying taxes to the protective power, is so strongly connected with Christianity, that the Colonists must practically give up the Scriptures, or submit to the reasonable demands of the British Legislature. It is to be wished, that we had made use of the Bible, in this controversy. For, how much soever that venerable book is disregarded by some of our great men, the bulk of the Americans, and our religious patriots in England, dare not despise it. Mr. Evans, for one, speaking of the doctrine defended in these sheets, says,
6 Should you indeed prove it to be a SCRIPTURE-doctrine, &c., I am not afraid to promise you the most absolute submission to it as a Christian. The authority of SCRIPTURE I revere above every Other :” The contested doctrine is here defended by Scripture against Mr. Evans; and if he stand to his “promise," we may hope soon to see him give the Colonists an example of due “ submission."
When a great empire is divided against itself ;when a powerful Mother-country, and a number of strong Colonies, draw up all their forces to encounter
each other in the field ; - when the two contendi powers are subdivided into a warm majority and heated minority, ready to begin a second intestine wa -and when every individual is concerned as an sufferer, or spectator, in the bloody tragedy which acted ; it is natural for all lovers of their country, ask, How can the dreadful controversy be ended ? Is by the dictates of Scripture and Reason, or by the forc of arms ?
If the author is not mistaken, arms (though usefu in their place] will never properly end the contest Should we overpower the American Colonies, they will remain unconvinced. Far from being reconciled to their Mother-country, they will still look upon her as an imperious step-mother, who adds tyranny to oppression, and murder to robbery. Nor will they submit to her any longer than the force, which has subdued them, shall continue to press and keep them down. And what shall we gain by this method, but perplexity, danger, and continual alarm ? The condition of the Colonists will be as wretched as that of indignant prisoners, who are under a military guard : And our state will be as uncomfortable as that of a Jailor, who watches over a numerous body of desperate captives, intent upon making their escape at the hazard of their lives. Un. der God, far more may then be expected, in the issue, from Scripture and Reason than from arms. Beasts and savages can be conquered by fire and sword ; but it is the glory of men and Christians to be subdued by argument and Scripture. Force may indeed bend the body, but Truth alone properly bends the mind. Whilst our armies prepare to engage the majority in America with the dreadful implements of war, it will not therefore be amiss to engage the ecclesiastical minority in England, with the harmless implements of controversy. On some occasions, one pen may do more execution than a battery of cannon: A page of well-applied scripture may be of more extensive use than a field of battle: And drops of ink may have a greater effect than 'streams of blood. If a broadside can sink a man of
Far, and send a thousand men to the bottom : A good argument can do far more: For it can sink a prejudice, which fits out an hundred ships, and arms, it may be, fifty thousand men. How inferior then is the spear of Mars, to the sword of the Spirit! And how justly did Solomon say, "A wise man is strong ;' especially if he is mighty in the Scriptures, which can make us wise to Salvation !
The author dares not flatter himself to have the knowledge of Logic and Divinity, which are requisite to do his subject the justice it deserves : But having for some years opposed false orthodoxy, he may have acquired some little skill to oppose false patriotism: And having defended Evangelical obedience to God, against the indirect attacks of some ministers of the Church of England; he humbly hopes, that he may step forth a second time, and defend also Constitutional obedience to the KING, against the indirect attacks of some ministers, who dissent from the established church. Those whom he encounters in these sheets, are the leading, ecclesiastical patriots of the two greatest cities in the kingdom ; Mr. Evans, being the champion of the minority in Bristol, as Dr. Price is in London.
The capital arguments of these two gentlemen are bere brought to a triple test against which they cannot decently object. And, if the author's execution keeps pace with his design, their politics are proved to be contrary to Reason, Scripture, and the Constitution. Should his proofs be found solid, and the public vouchsafe to regard them; the boisterous patriotism, which has of late disturbed our peace, will give place to sober and genuine patriotism ; the political mistake which produces our divisions, will be plucked up by the roots ; the minds of our uneasy fellow subjects will be calmed ; our bloody contest for supremacy will give place to a sweet debate between parental love, and filial duty : Parental love will overcome the Colonies with benign, lenient and endearing offers of pardon and peace ; whilst filial duty will disarm the mother country by kind and grateful offers of manly submission.
The arguments, by which Mr. Evans tries to support his American politics, are shown to be contrary: I. To sound reason : II. To plain Scripture: And, IIL To the British Constitution.
Tue interests of Truth are often as much promoted, by the inconclusiveness of the arguments with which she is attacked, as by the force of the reasons with which she is defended. If my Vindication of the Calm Address has thrown some light upon the American controversy, your Reply, Sir, in the issue, may possibly throw much more. Supposing that plain Truth can be compared to a good steel ; and keen error to a sharp fint; I venture to say, that the more any one strikes the steel with such a flint, the more will the fragments of the broken stone shew the superior solidity of the impugned metal; and the more easily will sparks be collected to light the bright candle of Truth. The publie will judge, which arguments, yours or mine, will serve the cause of truth, by Aying to pieces in the controversial collision.