A X. SERMON, DELIVERED IN THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, IN GREENSBOROS ALA.; ON SABBATH, DECEMBER 22, 1851 BY GEORGE BELL, LICENTIATE OF THE PRESBYTERY OF TUSCALOOSA. TUSKALOOSA : PRINTED BY M. D. J. SLADE. 1851. ./. CORRESPONDENCE. GreenshQro\ January 10th, 1851. Rev. Grorge Bell, Dear Sir, — ^We had the pleasure of hearing the Ser- mon, prepared for Thanksgiving Day, which you, by request of Session, delivered in the Presbyterian Church, on the 22d ult. In common with others who heard your Address, we believe its publi- cation would tend to promote the cause of truth, of sound morality, and true patriotism. We therefore hope you will favor us with a copy for publication, as soon as your convenience will permit. Your's, Respectfully, . LEM'L D. HATCH, J. M. WITHERSPOON, JAS. D. WEBB, JOHN H. PARRISH, V. BOARDMAN, J. C. MEREDITH. Greensboro\ January 10th, 1851. Gentlemen, — I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of this day, and in compliance with your request, do hereby send you a copy of the Discourse delivered in your Church on the 22d ult. With gratitude for your kindness, I am, Gentlemen, your's, truly, GEORGE BELL. Rev. Lem. D. Hatch, Dr. /. M. Witherspoon, Dr. John \ H. Parrish, Messrs. /. D. TFe6&, V, Boardman^ and V /. C. Meredith. ) Digitized by the Internet Archive in 2010 with funding from Lyrasis IVIembers and Sloan Foundation http://www.archive.org/details/sermondeliverediOObell SERMON. •And thou Solomon, my son, know thou the God of thy fathers, and serve Him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts. If thou seek Him He will be found of thee, but if thou forsake Him, He will cast thee off forever." — 1 Chronicles, xxviii, 9. The Church of God was once in Egypt — but the Egyptians persecuted it. They cried unto God, and God heard them, for His people never cry to Him in vain. Then He led them away to a far oflf country through the Red Sea, and through the bar- ren wilderness, until He had delivered them from their ene- mies, caused them to walk on dry land through the river of Jordan, and planted them in that land which was the glory of all lands. From the time of Joshua until the time of David, God led them on to victory, until, at length, Jerusalem was ta- ken from the Jebusites, and that city, which has since become associated with some of the most stirring incidents in the world's history, became the metropolis of the Jewish nation — the city of God — where He recorded His name — the pride and glory of every Jew ; rather than forget which, he would part with the use of speech, or with the skill of his right hand. The Jews found all their prosperity in seeking the Lord. They sought Him in Egypt, and He was found of them there : they sought Him at the Red Sea, and He was found of them there : they sought Him in the rocky wilderness, where there was no wa- ter — no corn-fields waving with golden harvest — no fig-tree for the weary pilgrim, and where, not unfrequently, the hoof of the traveller's horse strikes on the skeleton bones of the famished way-farer — and here, also, He was found of them : they sought Him in their conflicts with their enemies, and He was found of them. They sometimes neglected to seek Him, and then, they but stood still, or wandered from the right way ; but always when they sought Him, then, the Lord, true to 6 His promise and His covenant, went before them, and tlie God of Jacob was their rereward. Thus they found the verification of His faithfulness, in that He had said, " None shall seek my face in vain," but " they that seek me early shall find me.'* Knowing this, as well from the history of his own nation, as from his own personal experience, David, now about to depart, and when devolving upon his son Solomon, and upon the Jew- ish nation under him, all the fruits of the toils and sufi'erings of their forefathers — knowing that God would be found of them that seek Him, and that their precious rights and privileges could only be preserved in time of peace, by cleaving to that same Almighty Security, through whose grace they had at first been obtained — knowing, that adherence to God and His Truth, is the only lasting foundation for a nation's prosperity, the dying Father thus afiectionately admonishes his Son : — - " And thou, Solomon, my son, know thou the God of thy Fa- *' thers, and serve Him with a perfect heart, and with a wil- " ling mind, for the Lord searchethall hearts, and understand- " eth all the imaginations of the thoughts. If thou seek Him " He will be found of thee ; but if thou forsake Him He will *' cast thee ofi" forever." Such was the death-bed advice of David to Solomon ; or, considering each of them as representatives of their respective generations, and their respective eras — for David's was a time of war, and Solomon's was a time of peace : such was the ad- vice of the patriarchs who fought, who sufi"ered, and who con- quered, to those more favored and more fortunate, who suC' ceeded them, and who, entering into the peaceful possession of their new inheritance, and into those religious privileges for which their fathers had contended, were permitted to " sit eve- ry one under his own vine and own fig tree, none daring to make them afraid. ' ' This was a good advice of the dying King, and ! had they followed it, we should not have had, as at this day, to point the finger to Palestine, and say, Behold what desolations God hath wrought there ! Behold how that land mourneth, weeping for her captive children ! But in addition to the privileges and possessions oftheir forefathers, nations in- herit also their obligations and responsibilities ; and although it may not be true of Israel, as a nation, for God shall yet have mercy upon their descendants, yet it was true of all, even of Israel, who sinned against Him, and who failed to seek Him, just as it shall be of all who, in whatever land they may be found, shall follow their example, that the Lord did indeed cast them off for ever. In the view of their declension, as a nation, you are ready to pronounce sentence, " Israel hath sinned, and the Judge of all the earth hath done right." But it is not so much our duty to judge, and to condemn, as it is to take warning, lest by forsaking the Lord and His Truth, we should fall after the same example of unbelief. Your condition, as a nation, though circumstantially differ- ent from that of Israel, is yet strikingly similar and analogous. About two hundred years ago, the people of God, in many of the counries of Europe, were called upon to suffer persecution, so that it was then with your forefathers as it had been with the sons of Jacob in Egypt ; and there are few things so cal- culated to rouse our sympathies, or awaken our admiration, as the sad narratives of that period, to be found in the martyrolo- gies of England, and Scotland, and Erance. This was indeed the time for the patience of the Saints, and for them that kept the commandments of the Lord, and the faith of Jesus, and blessed were they who died in the Lord. This was a time of sore wasting, at the immediate instance of a reigning Popery — a time of the desolations of God's anger, who then made the wrath of even His enemies to praise Him. In England and in Scotland, prompted by the true spirit of Popery, of which, when you have read the narrative of Fox, in his Book of Martyrs, and of Neale, in his History and Lives of the Puritans, you will say, that it was not only ferocious, but infernal ; the zealous supporters of the semi-popish gov* ernment of England, put to death, by their cruel instruments of tortui'e, or burnt at the stake, or dispatched with their cruel musketry, and with but little warning, many thousands of men, women and children, born and unborn. In France, in the times of Charles IX, the Huguenots were slain in hecatombs. At the massacre of St. Bartholomew alone, you will find, by referring to the authorities mentioned in Buck's Theological Dictionary, that about a hundred thousand were suddenly put to death, and that subsequent to the revocation of the edict of Nantes, such cruelties were practised by the agents of Roman- ism upon the people of God, exceeding those of Nero or Dio- cletian — the news of which was welcomed at Rome, and cele- brated in a very solemn manner by the Pope and his Cardi- nals, in a great festival ©f thanksgiving to God for such dis- tinguished blessings to the See of Rome, and to the Christian world — such cruelties as are calculated to make you shudder — to make you blush and hang your head to think yourself a man, when you contemplate this not only almost, but altogether Sa- tanic cruelty, cold-blooded and calculating, that is resident and not always dormant in our depraved human nature. In this time of trial, multitudes, following the example of Israel, sought the Lord, and, as in the case of Israel, the Lord was found of them, and coming in the promptitude of His interposition into this midnight gloom. He made his suffering people, in all these lands, the inheritors of a providence strikingly similar to theirs, for He pointed them by the finger of His Providence to a far off land, where the Covenanter of Scotland, the Puii- tan of England, and the Huguenot of France, might meet to- gether under happier auspices, and worship the God of their fathers, according to their consciences. They were men of whom the old world was not worthy, and for whom, therefore, He provided a way of escape. He led the way for them, and prospered them ; and so what Canaan was to the weary Israel- ites, this land was to your pilgrim forefathers — the sanctuary ■which the Lord opened as a resting place from oppression. Here they first found that resting place ; and here, amid the depths of the silent forest, with mingled feelings of sorrow and joy — sorrow, because of the drooping recollection of their na- tive hills, and their brethren left behind — and joy, because of the bright hopes which this new land presented, they assem- bled together to break up the silence of the great wilderness, with songs never before sung on these shores, and with hearts •/ <»? 9 Under tlie smitings of Divine love in tins deliverance to praisd the Lord, for his goodness, and for his works of wonder to the children of men, and to seek also his blessing upon themselves and upon their offspring, in this the land of their adoption* But this was not all. The parallel holds good still further : for no sooner had they realized the glorious liberties of their religion, than, like Israel, again they are called on to buckle on their armor for another struggle — ^the vindication of their civil rights, and those of their posterity. But they are ready for the conflict ; for those who are bold enough to claim and assert their religious freedom, cannot submit to vassaldom or serfdom, like the Russian or the Turk. These two things go hand in hand — Civil and Religious Li'berty. True, in the first' instance, to their Savioux and his Covenant, they are now true to themselves and their descendants, and wives and mothers bid their husbands and their sons God speed, in this all but hope-- less enterprise : « " But Freedom's battles, once begun, Bequeathed by bleeding sire to son, Tho' baflied oft, are ever won.-" And thus at length, because of the good hand of God that wag upon them, they vindicated that full national inheritance of civil and religious freedom, an inheritance which you are ready to say, exists no where in such measure in all the world be- sides ; and now, that that inheritance has been transmitted ta you as your birthright, and theirs who shall come after you, you are ready to pay the tribute of veneration to the departed dead — to the many brave and the many noble who joined the rush of youthful warriors from the mountains, and from the plains, and from the valleys, and who, with a valor that would have done honor to the sons of ancient Greece, launched out upon the alternative of the Grecian watchword which they had adopted, " Let us fight for our liberties, let us conquer or die.'* These were the patriarchs who fought, who suffered, and who conquered, and who redeemed for their descendants, this rich legacy of which you are now the inheritors and the guardians ; but with the inheritance, civil and religious, which they have 2 . 10 bequeathed to you, remember, that you inherit also the -weighty responsibilities ; and now that the revolutionary era is passing away, and a time of war is giving place to a time of peace, i^t becomes you to reflect what is the language of tliep past to you of this generation. Are not your conquering ancestors recog- nizing you as their heirs, thus addressing you as from their death beds, in the very language, or in the very sentiment, of David's generation, to the more fortunate one that followed : " Thou Solomon, my son, know thou the God of thy fathers, and serve Him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind ; for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts. If thou seek Him, He will be found of thee, but if thou forsake Him, He will cast thee off forever." Your liberties secured to you by the blood of the Savior, are thus all the more highly recommended to you, that under him, and by his faithful servants, they have been thusr easserted ; yom^ religious freedom, by the blood shed in the Old World, and by the victims whose ashes were given to the winds of heaven with those of the faggot, and your civil freedom, by the blood shed in the New World, and by those countless victims who, falling in battle, were not heard of any more — whose flesh melted away on the spot where they fell, and whose bones, sinking into the ground, and being overgrown with the grass, have been trodden upon by the unconscious traveler, who, while he breathes in the atmosphere of precious liberty, walks all unknowingly over the bones of the forgotten patriot. No doubt you are in some measm-e thankful for your liberties, and it would ofi'end you if we should say any thing to cast a stain upon the memory of your patriots. This is just as it should be ; but while you cherish the memory of your forefathers, re- member, the God of your forefathers is not to be forgotten. All the merit of this result, and ali the glory are His. It is good that you should cherish gratitude to your forefathers, but it is good also, that you should mark the finger of God in those events which concern your national existence and your na- tional prosperity, in those outstanding proofs of His peculiar 11 Providence, and in tliat goodness wliicli is tlie only source of your pre-eminent privileges as a people. It is a noble result that has been achieved, but it is well to remember that power and that grace which are the true origin of all the innumera- ble benefits, temporal and spiritual, which distinguish this na- tion. It is desirable to have a full view of this great work of deliverance and mercy, the result of which is so glorifying to God, so creditable, under Him, to Protestant America, and to our common evangelical Christianity, and which is so calcu- lated to impress us with a sense of our obligations to that God who doeth according to His pleasui'e in the armies of heaven and among the inhabitants of this earth. It is well that we should discern that this is the fruit of evangelical Christianity; for, though this is an opinion in regard to which many will dif- fer from us, yet we believe that he does not understand aright either the organization of this Republic, or the character of evangelical truth, who does not recognize that the one is the offspring of the other, and that the United States Constitution excels all others only in this, that its characteristic principles are no inventions of the wise statesmen to whom they are so often ascribed, but such as are to be found in the divine record, true, and just, and immortal. Long will it be before any -false system, such aS Puseyism, or Socinianism, or Popery, or Infi- delity, can present such a result as this — such energy, such liberality, such philanthropy, such daring for conscience sake, such moral and religious elevation. These results, while they are collateral arguments in favor of the gospel of Christ, should encourage true Christians, amid all their difficulties, to seek that God who will be found of them, and more particularly should impress upon us the obligation to give God thanks, to humble ourselves for our short-comings, and to seek the Lord with renewed zeal ; for failing this, then, the word of the Lord hath gone out against us : ^' If we forsake Him, He will cast us off forever." Many of you, perhaps, may have thought no more about the special Providence of God towards this coun- try, than towards any other on the face of the earth ; or some of you may have perhaps judged erroneously, or with preju- 12 dice, ascribing to some other cause, sucli as your republican form of government, or your more than ordinarily wise legis- lators, the rich inheritance of your privileges ; but when you rise above such narrow views, and contemplate this country in* the light of evangelical Christianity, as an asylum which Grod provided for the truth in times past, and as destined to render important services to Christianity in the future, sxirely you can- not fail to regard it as a nation which God's own hand hath planted, and on which he has, therefore, peculiar] and special claims. That we may discern this more fully, let us look at the providence of God in connexion with its origin; at the men- and at their principles, which had more particularly to do with its establishment ; and in noticing the facts in this history, while we are compelled to proclaim the crimes of Europe, we may discern at the same time those peculiar providences in re- gard to the origin of this nation of which we speak, as well as the faithfulness of the Great Head of the Church, who, when his people are in danger, cometh to their aid, and that right early. It is a fact of great importance, both in regard to the state of religious persecution in England, and in regard to the char- acter of the first settlers here, that in the reign of Charles I, and his coadjutor, the celebrated Laud, Archbishop of Canter- bury, whose semi-popish principles are now being revived iji England, that not less than twenty-one thousand two hundred of the Puritans emigrated to New England. A voyage across the Atlantic was a much more arduous undertaking than it is now, and yet, in that period — the reign of Charles — S'overal hundred vessels crossed that ocean, carrying multitudes of suf- ferers in the cause of Christ, who preferred to brave all the hardships and dangers of a settlement in the wilderness, amid disease and amid savage Indians, and under a disastrous cli- mate — for this was its character while yet uninhabited by Eu^ ropeans — rather than remain at home, to be compelled to the alternative of suffering death, or to conform to the supersti- tious and idolatrous religion of that country. Men may tall^ f>f charity now, when speaking of that monarch, who was be- 13 headed, whom the Episcopal Church of England denominate an illustrious martyr, and whose martyrdom, as they are pleased to term it, is every year celebrated there in a special service which you will find in their prayer books ; but look at this fact — at the numbers who suffered at home, and then at the num- bers who were compelled to emigrate, and when a monarch thus becomes the murderer of his own subjects, tell us not of the divine right of kings, which Episcopal writers are wont to urge. , He was a murderer in his life, and was not unjustly iiuuiUjml with them in his death. Under the military rule of Cromwell, there was an important change of affairs, and that was indicated by the cessation of any farther emigration dur- ing his period ; but when again the persecution was resumed, at the restoration of the Second Charles, the faithful were again compelled to emigrate, not from England only, but from Wales and from Scotland. Even before this period, four thou- sand Presbyterians from Scotland and from the north of Ire- land, had landed on the shores of Kew England. These were afterwards, and in the progress of oppression, vastly enlarged. The government of Charles judged it their interest to suppress and annihilate the entire Presbyterianism of Scotland, and in their attempts to do so, the sufferings were most calamitous. The whole force of the laws of his kingdom, (and some enacted for this express design, enjoining uniformity to the established religion under pain of death,) were leveled at the absolute de- molition of all the Scottish Presbyterian churches, that they might give place to a more than semi-popish Episcopacy ; but the Christian heroism of many thousands cheerfully submitting to the loss of all things, even life itself, bade defiance to their murderous design, and the result over which they had to la- ment was this, that the Presbyterianism of Scotland had only been rooted out to the extent that it was burnt out. Under the pressure of this persecution, many thousands of Scottish families emigrated to this country, bringing their servants and laborers along with them, nor did they forget to bring their faithful pastor, whose services contributed not a little to the stability and prosperity of their infant settlements. That the 14 » Presbyterians from Scotland and from the north of Ireland, ■while they have added so largely to the numeric strength of this country, have largely contributed also to form the religious character of the United States, particularly in the middle and southern parts of the country, and by consequence, in the cor- responding parts of the Valley of the Mississippi, which have been colonised from them, is too plain to be called in question ; and as these early emigrants were not only Protestants, but decidedly of a religious character, they did much to give a reli- gious tone to the districts in which they established themselves, being those precisely which stood most in need of such an in- fluence. So that in this, we have another proof of the evan- gelical character of the first founders of this nation, and an- other instance of the divine interposition in behalf of a coun- try, whose whole history is one continued illustration of the goodness and mercy of God. From a very early period, the persecuted Protestants of Prance sent a large contribution of her members to the colon- ization of America. So that the influence from this quarter also was in favor of our evangelical Christianity. Indeed, the first Protestant mission that was ever projected was by that nation, at the instigation of Calvin, and in the very year in which that great Reformer died ; but it was not till the revoca- tion of the edict of Nantes, in 1685, that there was such an overflowing emigration of French Refugees into these British Colonies. The very next year, a settlement of eleven thou- sand acres was granted by the British Government, and ex- clusively appropriated for their accommodation. This French settlement was soon vastly increased under Charles II and the Prince of Orange, particularly the latter, who furnished facilities for the emigration of the Huguenots from England, whither, in the immediate emer^-ency, they had fled for refuge. It is owing to this extensive importation of French Protestants, that so many families of French extraction, and bearing French names, are now to be found in the evangelical communions of America. The first contributions of Germany to your American popu- 15 latlon were Protestants, those who had been driven out of the Palatinate of the Khine by the cruelties of Louis XIV, multi- tudes of whom, having been in the first instance dispersed over Europe, ultimately migrated to this country in such numbers that, in the year 1682, they constituted the third part of the population of Pennsylvania, numbering, at the lowest calcula- tion, one hundred thousand, and multitudes followed them dur- ing the last century to different States, so much so, that in point of numbers, they rank next in order to the emigrants of British extraction. Smaller parties, such as the Moravians, the Protestant Poles, and a few hundreds of the Waldenses, have also, while seeking refuge from persecution, contributed to the early Protestantism of this country. ]!Sor are the Swedes and the Dutch to be overlooked. The first, as early as the year 1638, at the in- stance of the Great Gustavus Adolphus, who, however, did not Hve to see his project fulfilled, sent forth emigrant ships con- taining seven hundred persons ; while the second — the Dutch — were among the earliest colonists of America. They did not leave their country on account of persecution, for the high honor belongs to Holland, of having been the grand and almost only asylum in Europe for the persecuted of all these countries. Trade and commerce were the inducements in their case ; but though their character was rather commercial than missionary, yet their influence as a people was exerted on the side of evan- gelical religion, and consequently, on that also of civil and re- ligious liberty. Such is a hasty enumeration of the materials that originally made up the American population, and thouorh, in some respects, they were very varied, yet you perceive that in one particular, they all agreed — in their attachment to evan- gelical Christianity ; and we do not doubt but it was this prin- ciple of religious unity, and no merely fortuitous concurrence,, no selfish alliance as fellow countrymen, that prepared the way for that national alliance, that confederation of their strength, without which, these had been to this day the dependent States of Great Britain, subject to a colonial government, while Ame- rican Independence had been a thing unheard of and unknown. 1 (5 But for this, it liud been with you as it is with Hindostan,- where, because of the idolatrous, and therefore, heterogeneous elements of which it is composed, and notwithstanding that it contains six times the j^opulation of Great Britain, the entire country is frowned into fear and subjection by a few detach-^ ments of the British army, ^hefic , because of the absence of that bond of unity and strength which bound together the lit- tle brotherhood of the first Americans, so that, standing side by side, they could maintain nobly their righteous cause, and withstand even' the might and the chivalry of England*.. In the absence of this, the entire extent of Ilindostan, from the Himalaya Mountains to Cape Comorin, with its 150 millions, is held in hopeless subjection, and that by a small island situ- ated at the distance of a hemisphere. We believe that we can- not be wrong in asserting — though many will call it in ques- tion, or positively deny it — that this country owes its prosperi- ty, its pre-eminence, and more particularly its liberties, not so much to the wise statesmen, and to that constitution whicb their skill projected, not so much to your republicanism and free institutions, to all of which they are by most individuals mainly ascribed, as to the religious character of its first found- ers. Being themselves deeply imbued with that spirit of free- dom which the word of God inspires — for whether it be under- stood of civil or religious liberty, they only can possess it, who are emancipated of God ; whom the truth makes free, they are free indeed, and all other freedom is but licentiousness— being thus imbued, they did, as the fruits of that evangelical Chris- tianity to which they adhered through suff'ering, give origin icy that civil constitution, and these republican institutions : and these, therefore, instead of being the parents, were in the first instance only the ofi'spring, and are now the guardians, of your religious freedom. We have referred to the evangelical character of the first settlers. There were no infidels, no scofi'ers among the early emigrants. There were no inducements for such to emigrate at that early period. These were all left among the inglorious conformists of England. Nor were there any Roman Catholics. 17 . As early, indeed, as the year 1634, a British colony of this last kind had begun under favorable auspices, but it soon ceased, and for a century and a half, was not attempted to be revived. The early settlers, British, French, and German, were all Pro- testants, and, under God, this was not only a wise, but a mer- ciful arrangement. Had these States been peopled by the vo- taries of the church of Rome, wherein would you have differed at this day from Spain, or Italy, or Mexico ? and what a con- trast would this have been with your free and enlightened con- dition, as members of an evangelical communion? What ig- norance ! what degradation ! what moral debasement ! Was it not well ordered, that Popery was not suffered, in any strength, to invade this country till Protestantism had erected her tem- ples, and thrown the broad shield of her constitution over her new-born institutions of science and learning, and had gained such an ascendancy as to render the assault on the part of popery, at least for a long period, vain and hopeless. Is there no indication here, that God intended this immense colonial field as the palladium of evangelical Christianity — as the Ca- naan of his chosen people, that, coming forth from Babylon, and shaking off the abominations of her superstitions, the true church of God might arise from the dust, and putting on her strength, might array herself on the Lord's side, and make ready against that day when the Lord shall shake terribly the earth, and summon the nations to that great controversy which he shall have with the world and its unrighteousness, in the great day of the Thermopylae of the world, the day of the great battle of the Lord God Almighty ? And if such was God's design in establishing this nation, where is the proof of your labors in accomplishing it? Are you prizing the gospel of Christ as you ought ? Are you serving the Lord with a per- fect heart and with a willing mind, and are you sending such an influence abroad as will tend to perpetuate, — I will not say your wealth, your trade and commerce, — but as will perpetuate that evangelical Christianity to which you owe so much, in its progress among yourselves and among all nations ? 3 18 . . We perceive that the newly created Romish Archbishop of New York, has been weighing your Protestantism in the baf- ance ; and if his opinions be correct, this country must be on the eve of a great change, and a great calamity. His present judgfiient is, that your religion is languishing ; that it is ready to die ; that it has become superannuated, having no more power or energy left ; and his prophecy is, that it will soon vanish away, giving place to the primitive claims and preroga- tives of the Universal Bishop and Vicar of Jesus Christ. If this be a true prophecy, then we say, wo be unto you ! If in this vineyard which God has planted and water'ed, you yield him only thorns and briars, and become traitors to your evan- gelical religion, then, in all probability, this will be the result ; and if Satan bring hither the instruments of his dominion, and more particularly that master-piece contrivance for despotising over nations, then farewell to all your boasted freedom. What ! will not the Constitution protect us, to which the nation is sworn and pledged ? No, nor will any thing else save you. Popery is a conception too deep, and an achievement too mighty. Many speak of it as if it were a very harmless thing, but they are profoundly ignorant, both of its present spirit and its past history. They are deceived by its chameleon color ; and while it teaches nothing but error, they fancy that it is the truth, rightly explained ; and while it sheds nothing but pesti- lent darkness, they are charmed into the belief, that the true light shineth. Oh ! it is an ample net, and well contrived, framed for the delusion and bondage of the world, and for en- slaving the souls and bodies of men. It is no partial error, like that of the Gnostics, framed out of mystic imaginations ; or like that of the Arians, framed out of the proud arguments of reason ; or like that of the Munster Anabaptists, framed out of the licentiousness of the will ; — but a stupendous deception, and a universal counterfeit of truth, having a chamber for every natural faculty of the soul, and an occupation for every energy of the spirit. It is the contrivance of sublime subtlety, and while the badges of its triumphs, its necklaces, beads, and amulets and grotesque dresses, look extremely inojQfensive, yet 19 they hold with the tenacity of iron. It was that very yoke which your fathers could not bear, and against which they lifted up their testimony as the great bane and scourge of Eu- rope; and if now you shall so far forsake the. Lord and his truth, as to give up this land to Rome, then we repeat it, Wo be unto you! Popery, wounded of late in the vitals, is now putting forth her dying struggles in her extreihities. In Eng- land, tempted by the increasing faithlessness of the established church, she is now seeking to reassert her former sway; and from the present aspect of afifairs in that country, and judging from the Pr^ier's letter to the Bishop of Durham, we believe that another great struggle with that Anti-christian power is soon to commence. A similar attempt, in all probability, is in preparation for our own land, and if it shall be accompanied with that success which Archbishop Hughes anticipates; and if the light of evangelical truth shall thus be Cj[uenched, then your course as a nation shall be turned backwards — backwards towards ignorance and superstition, and downwards into the depths of moral and spiritual degradation. Your sanctuaries, having become temples of idolatry, shall be forsaken of the God of your fathers. Your Christianity, with all its blessings, civil and religious, will retrograde into the Middle Ages, and the great clock of your western continent will be put back for centuries. In conclusion, we would recommend, on the review of the past, in the first place, that you should cherish a spirit of thankfulness to God. We have reminded you of a few of the facts connected with the first settlement of this nation, shewing that its first founders were men of God, whom He in His all- wise Providence thus directed in laying the first foundations of this republic. They sought the Lord, and he was found of them ; and in answer to their prayers, he has caused the bless- ings of the fathers to descend upon the children ; and the con- sequence has been, that God has prospered you, even as it is this day. And ! is there not reason to give thanks for this, that while Asia, the first peopled of all our continents, is still shrouded under the darkness of Blmddism and Brahmanism 20 ' and Islamism; that wliile so many millions of that ancient world are groveling in the dust, little elevated above the Indi- ans of your western territories ; that while Africa, like the arid sands of its great desert, presents on the map of the world, only a vast picture of moral desolation, over which the Christian philanthropist weeps ; that while more than half of Europe groans beneath the Popish tyranny, and the other half, notwithstanding all their struggles, have not yet been able to vindicate their civil liberties ; ! is it not a cause of thankful- ness to you in this more favored land, that God hath put you in the front rank among the nations ; that he haslet upon you the distinguishing marks of His favor, so that you have risen to eminence by a process of rapidity hitherto unparalleled ; that He has, as it were, heaped upon you one great and distin- guishing blessing after another, civil, commercial, social, edu- cational and religious, till this land, more than all lands be- sides, has been made to blossom as the garden of the Lord. Give unto God the glory ; and while you seek to recognize His hand in conducting you to this prosperity, it becomes you to cherish towards the Great Ruler of the Nations, that spirit of gratitude, to which, as your God and the God of your fathers, he is so eminently entitled at your hands. What would other nations give for your preeminent privileges ! But a short time ago, the Hungarian patriot, Kossuth, now a voluntary exile in Asia, addressing an American, said, or gave expression to this sentiment, " "Were such a thing possible, as that a man should have the choice of his own birth-place, I had chosen to be a native of the United States of America ; for there is the favor- ite home of Liberty." This he said when mourning over the desolations of his native Hungary, which, but for the Arnolds, the traitors amongst themselves, might lately have resumed her place among the independent nations of Europe. But, in the second place, while we recommend you to glorify God in giving thanks, — we would suggest, also, that it is required of you that you humble yourselves before God for your sins and shortcom- ings, and that you should cherish a watchful and prayerful spirit, lest He should bereave you of your privileges, and cast 21 jou off from His favor. Have you served tlie Lord fully ? Are tliere no national sins over "wliicli you have to lament, sucli as covetousness, idolatry, and tlie worship of Mammon. God doth not send the pestilence for naught. He doth not chastise the innocent. Oh, let us be admonished ; let us repent, and return to the Lord, lest He continue or increase his judgments upon us, for He is strong to smite, as He is also to save ; and ■when His anger is kindled against us, who shall be able to stand ? But what ! you say, we are but a few individuals ; are w^e responsible for the future destiny of a great nation ? A nation, w^e a^iswer, is nothing in the abstract, but as composed of individuals, and though yoiu- fate be different from that of the nation considered collectively, i. e., though you may be accepted of God, while yet the nation shall be cast off, or the contrary ; yet, few as you are, youi* responsibility is so far in- volved here, that it shall influence either, in the one way or in the other; and whether this nation, backsliding from God, shall perisn, crumbling to ruins under the wasting influence of the latent elements of corruption, like Babylon or Rome ; or whether, having righteousness — that righteousness which ex- alteth a nation, emblazoned upon all her banners, she shall flourish and grow and perpetuate herself down to the world's grand and closing issues ; — certain it is, that your character as a believer, or as an unbeliever, while it shall carry along with it your OAvn sentence in the great crisis of life and death — shall lend also an impetus in the direction of good or evil, of blessing or cursing, of w^hich you shall have the praise or the .blame, to that entire commonwealth with which you now stand associated. The nation, like the human body, may be healthy or diseas- ed : It may be so healthy, as to resist a certain amount of corrupting influences, or it may be so diseased, that corruption shall gain the mastery, and then it shall verge to its utter de- cay. But when you live worthily, and serve the Lord with a perfect heart, then you are subtracting from the evil, and add- ing to the good ; and, on the principle that the righteous are the salt of the earth, you may, while yet your immediate anxi- 22 eties turn upon your own everlasting welfare, be lending a mightier influence to uphold and consolidate this nation in righteousnesSj than all the rich can with their wealth, or a whole host of noisy and clamorous politicians, with all their subtle skill and expediency. This Republic has had its origin in evangelical Christianity, and when, overlooking this, its prosperity shall be made to depend upon the skill of mere po- litical economists, then, we have the highest authority for say- ing, that your prosperity will end, and that God, being for- saken of 3^ou, will cast you off forever. The nation, considered as such, is mortal, you' who consti- tute it are immortal ; and so the primary consideration, whether it respect yourself or the nation, is, an interest in that king- dom which shall not be moved. Whether this nation shall be such as God shall approve or condemn, is a question only in regard to all its individuals, whether you shall obey God or disobey Him. Soon all the nations of the earth shall be dis- solved forever in their corporate existence, and stand in a new relation towards God. Remember, you shall not stand or fall in any general judgment upon the American nation. It shall not be recognized there, except in individuals, separately taken and separately judged. The Lord shall decide impartially in your case, for you shall be put in the balance alone, and judged in respect to those relations which you have sustained towards God "and towards this nation ; and when that solemn assize shall be holden, ! how important will it then appear, that you had followed in the footsteps of your forefathers, and that you had sought the Lord before the terrible day of His wrath had come. Were all of us who profess to be followers of Christ in this nation, to appropriate to ourselves the counsel of the Jewish king and statesman, and serve the Lord with a perfect heart and willing mind, how should this republic prosper, not ■only in preserving unimpaired your Protestant rights and reli- gious privileges, but in extending them also to the farthest lim- its of every continent and island of the sea. How much did your fathers accomplish in their generation ? What progress shall be made in yours ? Are you to go forward, or are you 23 to retrograde, and are you indeed to be swallowed up in the darkness of popery ? Does not the Providence of God indicate the path of duty; and does not He call upon you to arise and maintain His cause and His truth against all antagonism, until superstition shall die out of the earth, and until the blasphem- ' ing heathen shall rise up and call you blessed, for the new name in which you shall have taught them to trust ? With such a noble cause as this before you, and w^ith God as your leader, you might spread the sound of the joyful liberties, till the slumbering earth shall awake, and be shaken w^ith the noise of great gladness. This is no vision of romance — no mere dream of poetry or of song, but a thing that may be and that shall be realized. With such a sublime object as this, you might go forth to the conquest of Satan's dominions, under the banner af evangelical truth, until his wide empire should be shaken to its foundations. This cause is not unworthy of you, if you shall not be found unworthy of it. That banner under which your fathers fought and died, was by them borne up in perilous times. It has withstood the conflicts of six thousand yeaj's. It shall yet outlast greater trials and greater conflicts in the battle and in the breeze of conflicting moral elements. It shall survive till the funeral obsequies of sin, death and the grave, are past, and it shall wave in triumph, and in token of victory, over the citadels of all nations, when their pomp and their glory shall be swallowed up and lost amid the overpower- ing glories of Messiah's reign. With a prospect like this, and such experience of the faith- fulness of God, you might go far in advance of your predeces- sors, in that work which they so happily begun. With Salva- tion, and Righteousness, and Truth, as the moving principles of your life of devotion to God, you might so prosper in this Tvork of benevolence and love, that through your instrumen- tality, the American nation of Covenanters, of Puritans, and of Huguenots, should be hailed as a blessing by the perishing millions of heathendom, and by generations yet unborn, ' be- come a praise and a glory on the whole earth, and cause the chorus of the Redeemed to swell the louder^ as, attired in the 24 robes of victory, and riding in the cliariots of salvation, tliey shall enter in triumph into the possession of the " glorious lib- erties " in that far off land which is brighter than either the Canaan of the Israelites, or this happy land wherein you dwell, though it may have been, as it indeed has been, the safest re- treat from the oppressor, and, as the Hungarian patriot called it, the " favorite Home of Liberty."