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its glories, I stretched out my hand from my elevation, and said, let the proud inhabitants of these palaces think as they will of their own importance, because their limbs. are robed in purple, and their tables loaded with gold and silver, and heaped with the luxuries of Europe and the Indies; but the sage looks down upon these wretches as the eagle upon the silk-worm enclosed within its web; for in their souls they are only prisoners, who cannot abandon the leaf to which they cling; while the sage wanders on the mountains of liberty, and sees the world under his feet, or soars aloft upon the wings of contemplation, converses with the Deity, and walks a m C ‹ the
While I was thus speaking, a serious solemnity overclouded the countenance of my guide; his fraternal arm dropt from my fhoulder, and his eye darted a threatening glance, even to the inmost recesses of my soul. Wretch! cried he, is it then for this end that you have tasted upon earth of these pleasures of heaven? That your name has been rendered great among the nations? That every faculty of your soul has been exalted, in order to be exercised with more freedom and perseverance in the knowJedge of truth through the ages of eternity? And now that you are thought worthy to suffer persecution;-now that your wisdom fhould turn to your advantage;—and your heart be as richly adorned with virtue, as your spirit has hitherto been with knowledge,-now is every spark of gratitude extinguished, and your soul murmurs against your God?
Here I awakened from my delightful dream, saw myself cast, from all the glories of heaven, down to my dark and solitary dungeon, and watered my couch with a flood of tears. Then through all the darkness which surrounded me, I raised my eye, and spoke thus: Oh God full of Love! has the Nothing which owes its existence to thee
presumed to censure thy holy ways? Has the dust which. received a foul from thee, ascribed to the account of its own deservings what was only the gift of thy mercy? Has the wretch whom thou hast nourished in thy bosom, and' to whom thou hast given from thy own cup so many cordial drops of happinefs, has he forgotten his obligations to thee? Strike immediately his eyes with blindness; let him. never again hear the voice af friendship; let him grow gray in this dismal dungeon! With a willing spirit will he submit to it, thankful for the remembrance of the pleasures that are past, and happy in the expectation of futu rity.
It. was my whole soul, Viviani, which I poured forth in this prayer; but it was not the murmur of discontent, but the voluntary resignation of gratitude, which was heard and attended to by that God who still reserved me for so much happinefs; for do I not live here in freedom? and has not my friend, this very day, carried me forth a-mong the flowers of the spring?
Here he felt for the hand of his scholar, in order to. give it a grateful squeeze; but Viviani seized upon his, and carried it with veneration to his lips.
STATE OF NATURE.
From Plowden's Jura Anglorum.
TR HE state of nature, in which all philosophers consider man, and the rights and properties inherent in his nature, is a mere theoretical and metaphysical state, pre-existing only in the mind, before the physical existence of any human entity whatever. As this state of nature, then, nes ver had any real existence, so also the various qualities, properties, rights, powers, and adjuncts annexed unto it, are mere creatures of the imagination, attributable only to
man in this ideal state of speculation; they bear the same sort of analogy to the physical state of man in society, as principles and properties of mathematical points and lines bear to be the practical rules of mechanics. As well might we attempt to handle and manufacture a mathemacal point, as to move only upon the principles of this state of nature, being placed by the beneficence of our Creator in the physical state of society. Some of our greatest philophers, as is often the case, to avoid pleonasm, and in the full glare of their own conviction, have omitted to say, in exprefs words, that this state of nature, in which they considered man in the abstract, never had an actual, physical, or real existence in this world; and this omifsion has, perhaps, occasioned the error of many modern illuminators, who, from ignorance, have confounded the two states together; or, from designed malice, have transplanted the attributes and properties of the one into the other.
It requires no argument to prove when the physical civilized state of society commenced; for, from the commencement of this must be dated the impossible existence of the state of pure nature. Mr Locke establishes this commencement from the formation and co-existence of our first parents, Adam and Eve; and he draws the necefsity of it from the intrinsic nature and exigencies of man, as he has been actually formed and constituted by his Creator.
This fact, then, is incontrovertible; that the only individual, who can be said, in any sense, to have existed in the state of nature, was Adam, before the formation of his wife. But how these rights could be exercised by him in that forlorn state of solitude, I know as little as I do of the period of its duration. When, therefore, we. speak generally of the rights of man, we ought to be understood to speak of those rights which are attributable to man in the civilized state of society. Thus every dis
cussion of the actual exercise of the rights of man, im ports necessarily the contemplation of the social civil man, and no other..
In the theoretical, or supposed transition of man, from the state of nature to the state of society, such natural rights as the individual actually retains, independently of the society of which he is a member, are said to be retained by him, as a part of those rights which he is supposed to have possessed in the state of nature. Such are the free and uncontrouled power of directing all his animal motions; such the uninterrupted communication and intercourse of the soul with its Creator; such the unrestrained freedom of his own thoughts; for so long as an individual occasions no harm, and offers no offence to his neighbour, by the exercise of any of these rights, the society cannot controul nor check him in the exercise of them.
But in this transition, the surrendered or exchanged rights were so irrevocably transferred from the individual to the body at large, that it no longer remained at the liberty or option of individuals to reclaim, either in the whole or in part, those rights, which had so become unalienably vested in the community.
It is as singular, as it is unaccountable, that some of the illuminating philosophers of the present day fhould, even under the British constitution, claim and insist upon the actual exercise of these natural rights of man; when it is notorious, even to a demonstration, that the exercise of them would be efsentially destructive to all political and civil liberty, could they really be brought into action. For it is self-evident, that the perfect equalization of mankind, such as is attributable to this imaginary and merely speculative state of natural freedom, would prevent every individual from acquiring an exclusive right or property in any portion of this terraqueous globe, or in
any other particle of matter, beyond that of his own corporeal frame. Liberty pre-supposes the pofsibility of acquiring and reaping the advantages of property; a right of receiving and giving aid and protection; and a power of bettering one's own condition, and providing for one's fa mily; it pre-supposes virtue, in holding out its rewards; and the rewards of virtue necefsarily induce distinction and and preference of the virtuous over others, which are ef sentially contradictory to perfect equalization. The extent of this proposition, men are all born equally free," must include each individual human being, or it says nothing; but it admits of no other than that original sense of equality, inherent in the metaphysical efsence of man, which is not applicable to the physical existence of social men, since it is essentially incompatible with the existence of society, which denominates man social.
An Englishman will conceive no liberty where there is no law, no property, no religion. The preservation of these constitutes the sum total of those rights and liberties for which he will even sacrifice his life.
Upon what ground
then, fhall an Englishman, even in theory, admit principles into civil government, which would justify the peasant in seizing the lands of his lord, the servant, in demanding the property of his master, the labourer, that of his employer, the robber in purloining his neighbour's purse, the adulterer in defiling the wife of another, the outlawed in reviling, contemning, and violating the laws of the community?
The greatest mischiefs arise from the misunderstanding. and misapplication of terms. Millions of lives have been sacrificed in disputes and controversies upon the tenor and tendency of words. General abstract propositions are su per-eminently liable to this evil, as appears in many calamitous instances of our own country. The use of words. and terms can only be, to convey to others the real mean.