to its conclusions on the natural right of man
Chap. XXXVIII} 1768. Dec.
Its citizens were inquisitive; seeking to know the causes of things, and to search for the reason of existing institutions in the laws of nature.
Yet they controlled their speculative turn by practical judgment; exhibiting the seeming contradiction of susceptibility to enthusiasm, and calculating shrewdness.
They were fond of gain, and adventurous, penetrating and keen in their pursuit of it; yet their avidity was tempered by a well-considered and continuing liberality.
Nearly every man was struggling to make his own way in the world and his own fortune; and yet individually and as a body they were publicspirited.
In the seventeenth century the community had been distracted by those who were thought to pursue the great truth of justification by faith to Antinomian absurdities; the philosophy of the eighteenth century had not been without an influence on theological opinion; and though the larger number still acknowledged the fixedness of the divine decrees, and the resistless certainty from all eternity of election and of reprobation, there were not wanting, even among the clergy, some who had modified the sternness of the ancient doctrine by making the self-direction of the active powers of man with freedom of inquiry and private judgment the central idea of a protest against Calvinism.
Still more were they boldly speculative on questions respecting their constitution.
Every house was a school of politics; every man was a little statesman, discussed the affairs of the world, studied more or less the laws of his own land, and was sure of his ability to ascertain and to make good his rights.
The ministers, whose prayers,