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that not only thou, but all who hear me this day, were both almost and altogether such as I am, except these bonds * ! And at this day, among those highly-injured Africans, whose civil: emancipation has of late been so nobly attempted, some, we have reason to believe, by the spread of the gospel among them, are emancipated from the thraldom of sin, and made denizons of heaven. Whether this be always the case with their oppressors, or even with their advocates, is a point which may deserve their most serious consideration. Certainly, whoever has a heart to tyrannize over the meanest of his fellowcreatures, must forfeit every claim to the dignity of moral freedom. · Nor has a patriot much to boast of his superior character, if, while he promises liberty to others, he himself is a slave of depravity; such a patriot, preaching political freedom in chains of moral bondage, is just the reverse of Paul the apostle.
It is only in the kingdom of God that a spirit of liberty is universal, and runs through
* Acts, chap. xxvi,
every rank of subordination. Even the enslaved negro, (as now observed) if a subject of this kingdom, is free in the most exalted sense, by holding, as it were, in capite, under the great Lord of the universe.
If such then be the ennobling nature of moral liberty ; if, with it, the most oppressed African is free, and, without it, the freest Briton is a slave; let the reader be persuaded to use every endeavour to secure its possession, by becoming a subject of that kingdom where alone it can possibly exist.
The Influence of Civil Gorernment on Virtue
and IIappiness, from the Relation it bears to Property.
Another principal object of government is property ; while this is left unprotected, and open to depredations, society can never rise above a savage state; no flocks and herds will be reared, no lands will be cultivated, no regular provision will be made for the supply of human wants. It is only a secure enjoyment of what is acquired, that will stimulate industry, and quicken invention; that will accumulate stock, and produce those various arts that are necessary to the existence and order of civil life.
In this progress of society from rudeness to refinement, it may be proper to consider three periods, and the aspect that each of them bears upon virtue and happiness. The first will detain us little; the two latter will demand a more particular attention.
I. On the period preceding the full establish· ment of laws, or of any regular means of human subsistence.
Little need be said to show the discouragements that lie in the way to virtue and happiness during this period.
Let us suppose a number of colonists to plant themselves in a country that is barren or uncultivated, where the labour of many years would be necessary, before they could sit down without solicitude for the next day's provision; and where as many years more must be added, before they could settle a system of laws and regulations adapted to their present circumstances. It is evident that such a state of insecurity and anxious toil, while it threatened the utter extinction of a feeble virtue, would put the most confirmed and vigorous to a severe trial. Nor is it less obvious, that such a situation would be equally unfavourable to true enjoyment.
What is here asserted in a particular case, must hold true of political communities in general, previous to the complete establishment of laws and government, and before labour is provided with fit materials and
instruments, and distributed into its proper channels. For the truth of this, were it not sufficiently evident of itself, we might 'appeal to the testimony of universal history.
II. The second period is, When the mass of citizens are able to provide comfortably for themselves and families by moderate labour, and not without it; und when those of a superior rank are neither by their number nor wealth of sufficient influence to disturb this system of mediocrity.
It has been observed in a former section, that no political skill can permanently raise a society above the necessity of moderate labour in the bulk of its members *. This is so far from being a circumstance to be regretted, that, on the whole, it is highly favourable to the cause of virtue and happiness, to which few things are more adverse than the want of regular occupation; and
** If there be any exceptions to this, they can only be found in a few highly-favoured climates, where nature furnishes almost of herself all that is needful for human subsistence.