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fortified by an unanimity of sentiments, so is it mocked and disturbed by any contrariety. Hence the eagerness, which most people discover in a dispute ; and hence their impatience of opposition, even in the most specu. lative and indifferent opinions.
This principle, however frivolous it may appear, seems to have been the origin of all religious wars and divisions. But as this principle is universal in human nature, its effects would not have been confined to one age, and to one sect of religion, did it not there concur with other more accidental causes, which raise it to such a height, as to produce the greatest misery and devastation. Moft religions of the ancient world arose in the unknown ages of government, when men were as yet barbarous and uninstructed, and the prince, as well as peasant, was disposed to receive, with implicit faith, every pious tale or fi&tion, which was offered him. The magistrate embraced the religion of the people, and entering cordially into the care of sacred matters, naturally acquired an authority in them, and united the ecclefiaftical with the civil power. But the Chriflian religion arising, while principles directly opposite to it were firmly established in the polite part of the world, who despised the nation that first broached this novelty ; no wonder, that, in such circumstances, it was but little countenanced by the civil magistrate, and thut the prieithood was allowed to engross all the authority in the new sect. So bad a use did they make of this power, even in those early times, that the primitive persecutions may, perhaps, in parı*, be ascribed to the violence instilled by them into their followers. And the same principles of priesly government continuing, after Christianity became
* See NOTE (C).
the established religion, they have engendered a spirit of persecution, which has ever since been the poison of human society, and the source of the most inveterate factions in every government. Such divisions, therefore, on the part of the people, may justly be esteemed factions of principle; but, on the part of the priests, who are the prime movers, they are really factions of interest.
There is another cause (beside the authority of the priests, and the separation of the ecclefiaftical and civil powers) which has contributed to render CHRISTENDOM the scene of religious wars and divisions. Religions, that arise in ages totally ignorant and barbarous, confift mostly of traditional tales and fictions, which may be different in every sect, without being contrary to each other; and even when they are contrary, every one adheres to the tradition of his own sect, without much reasoning or disputation. But as philofophy was widely spread over the world, at the time when Christianity arofe, the teachers of the new sect were obliged to form a system of speculative opinions; to divide, with some accuracy, their articles of faith ; and to explain, comment, confute, and defend with all the fubtilty of argument and fcience. Hence naturally arose keenness in dispute, when the Christian religion came to be split into new divisions and heresies : And this keenneís affifted the priests in their policy, of begetting a mutual hatred and antipathy among their deluded followers. Sects of philosophy, in the ancient world, were more zealous than parties of religion; but in modern times, parties of religion are more furious and enraged than the most cruel factions that ever arose from interest and ambition.
I have mentioned parties from affeEtion as a kind of real parties, beside those from interest and principle. By parties from affection, I understand those which are
founded on the different attachments of men towards particular families and persons, whom they desire to rule over them. These factions are often very violent ; though, I must own, it may seem unaccountable, that men should attach themselves so strongly to persons, with whom they are no wise acquainted, whom perhaps they never saw, and from whom they never received, nor can ever hope for any favour. Yet this we often find to be the case, and even with men, who, on other occasions, discover no great generosity of spirit, nor are found to be easily tranfported by friendship beyond their own interest. We are apt to think the relation between us and our sovereign very
close and intimate. The splendor of majesty and power bestows an importance on the fortunes even of a single person. And when a man's good-nature does not give him this imaginary interest, his ill-nature will, from spite and opposition to persons whose sentiments are different from his own.
E S S A Y VIII.
Of the PARTIES of GREAT BRITAIN.
"ERE the BRITISH government proposed as a
subject of speculation, one would immediately perceive in it a source of division and party, which it would be almost impossible for it, under any administration, to avoid. The just balance between the republican and monarchical part of our constitution is really, in itself, so extremely delicate and uncertain, that, when joined to men's passions and prejudices, it is impossible but different opinions must arise concerning it, even among persons of the best understanding. Those of mild tempers, who love peace and order, and deteft fedition and civil wars, will always entertain more favourable sentiments of monarchy, than men of bold and generous spirits, who are passionate lovers of liberty, and think no evil comparable to subjection and flavery. And though all reasonable men agree in general to preserve our mixed government; yet, when they come to particulars, fome will incline to trust larger powers to the crown, to bestow on it more influence, and to guard against its encroachments with less caution, than others who are terrified at the most diftant approaches of tyranny and despotic power. Thus are there parties of PRINCIPLE involved in the very nature of our constitution, which may properly enough be denominated chose of Court and COUNTRY.