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weight of their malevolence. Surely these pliant consciences might have had some pity on the souls of their victims !

14. Such then is the human temper, where principle and common honesty have no sway. Who then will cry up the dignity and the goodness of human nature? Alas! it is fearfully lapsed and corrupted; and requires something more than moral precepts to rectify it. Be assured it is the same in all ages, and in all places. It is true all are not equally hurried away with vicious tempers, though the best men on earth are, in their nature, prone to them. Reflection has done much to control the froward propensities, but true religion is their only remedy.




1. IF in Sacred and Church History we are furnished with such lamentable fruits of evil temper, our surprise can scarcely be increased at similar discoveries in that department which only professes to embrace what relates to the civil and moral condition of men.


2. Every reader of ancient and modern history will acknowledge that the whole chain is little else than one vast concatinated developement of the human temper in its native propensities. The venerable John Newton very properly asks, What is the history of mankind but a diffusive exemplification of the scripture doctrines concerning the dreadful nature and effects of sin, and the desperate wickedness of the heart of man?'

3. Through all the ponderous folios we recognize little else than an incessant conflict of imperious and impetuous tempers: kings against kings, rulers against rulers, nations against nations, families against families, neighbours against neighbours, wars and fightings, strifes and bickerings, civil commotions, secret mutinies, open

violence, kindred at variance, friends at quarrel, litigious animosities, rebellion against governments, regicide, parricide, fratricide, homicide, suicide, lawless outrage, intrigues, deceptions, frauds, thefts, cruelties, murders, &c. Such is the rapid glance at the main heads, each of which is filled up with sufficient seasoning of correspondent tempers.

4. We see kingdoms rise and fall; kings murdered by restless aspirants, and these, in turn, conspired against in like manner, insomuch that few crowned heads have expired on the pillow. We may illustrate this by a reference to the Roman history, beginning with Commodus, in the year 180, and ending with Valens, in 378. During this period, inclusively, there were thirty-eight emperors!

24 were murdered!

8 were killed!
5 died naturally,

1 abdicated.

You have only to divide the period of 198 years by 38, to ascertain the frail average of royal life in that age, which is considered by writers on prophecy to be the period of the red horse, spoken of in the book of Revelation. Perhaps I ought, in fairness, to contrast with the above, the preceding period, viz. from Domitian, in 96, to Commodus, in or about the year 180: during this peaceful period only five emperors occupied the throne. This is considered to be the period of the white horse. Gibbon says 'it was the happiest time in the Roman history. Bredow calls it the golden period.'

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5. The earlier parts of our English history are

scarcely less tragical than that of other nations; and the commotions which have transpired throughout Europe during the last fifty years, present but a dark and humiliating picture of the human temper.


6. Nothing can be wider from truth than the vulgar notion that wealth and titles, and particularly royalty, necessarily make their possessors happy. That kings, even prosperous kings, are far from happiness history abundantly shews. On this point I cannot quote a better or more credible author than M. Rollin: Philip, king of Macedon, and father of the great Alexander, had every thing abroad that could yield to his glory and happiness; but he found the utmost uneasiness at home; division and trouble reigning in every part of his family. The ill-temper of Olympias, his wife, who was naturally jealous, choleric, and vindictive, raised dissensions perpetually in it, which made Philip almost out of love with life. Not to mention that, as he himself was not a faithful husband, it is said that he experienced on his wife's part the infidelity he so had justly deserved.' Indeed his private character was in many respects most exceptionable. Ambition and personal indulgence were his ruling passions, and he cared not by what sort of means he attained his ends. His planning the secret assassination of the great and amiable Philopoemen, is a foul and lasting stain upon his character, and indicates but too plainly the intriguing and wicked temper of the man.

7. Treating of Dionysius, the elder tyrant, or

1 Ancient Hist. vol. vii. Lempriere's Clas. Dic.

king of Syracuse, who governed thirty-eight years, the same author writes, This history will present to our view a series of most odious and horrid crimes. On the one side we behold a prince, the declared advocate of justice, liberty, and laws, treading under his feet the most sacred rights of nature and religion, inflicting the most cruel torments upon his subjects, beheading some, burning others for a slight word, delighting and feasting himself with human blood, and gratifying his inhuman cruelty with the sufferings and miseries of every age and condition: I say, when we behold such an object, can we deny a truth, which the pagan world itself hath confessed, and which Plutarch takes occasion to observe in speaking of the tyrants of Sicily, that God, in his anger, gives such princes to a people, and makes use of the impious and the wicked to punish the guilty and the criminal. On the other side, when the same prince, the dread and terror of Syracuse, is perpetually anxious and trembling for his own life, and abandoned by day and night to remorse and regret, can find no person in his whole state, not even his wives and children, in whom he can confide, who will not exclaim with Tacitus, 2 That it is not without reason the oracle of wisdom has declared, that if the hearts of tyrants could be seen, we should find them torn in pieces with a thousand evils; it being certain that the body does not suffer more from stripes and torments than the minds of such wretches, from their crimes, cruelties, and the injustice and violence of their proceedings.'

1 Ancient Hist. vol. vi p. 14.

2 Tacit. Annal. 1. vi. c. 6.

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