Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

and patent rights, the gordian-knot is cut; the philosopher's stone is found. Now, Whig and Tory—the convention that framed the United States constitution, and the Hartford Convention—the rights of men and the claims of monarchs are all one! This connection of discordant ingredients reminds me of the Frenchman's punch: he put water into it, to make it weak—rum to make it strong—sugar to make it sweet—and limes to make it sour. The mixture was very palatable to his taste, and the only misfortune was, it punched his senses out of his head. If this remarkable amalgamation should gain its designed object, to flatter Congress to assume the payment of that debt, which was created in this state with party views, to run down the administration and supplant it, it would not be the greatest wonder that has happened in the world, since the year one, if the toes of the image, which are partly of iron and partly of clay, should break in pieces. The subject crowds into my mind a circumstance which took place in Ireland. A Friar was admonishing a man and his wife for contention, and reminded them that they two were one. "By St. Patrick," said Paddy, "if you were to come to our door at some times, you would think that we were twenty."

If these observations proceed from mean suspicion, let them be exploded by every one; for that base temper of mind, like a crow after carrion, is always hunting after faults: it pleases not God, and is contrary to all men ; it reprobates every man and every measure. It makes no allowance for the embarrassments that frequently assail the government, when out of two or more evils, the administration is compelled to choose one of them: and if it has some claim to merit, for its ingenuity in exposing the evils of monarchy, hierarchy, and rotten laws, and pulling down what is bad; yet it has no faculty in building up that which is good. But manly jealousy is a noble virtue, absolutely necessary for the preservation of liberty. Without this, aspiring men, who love themselves too well to love others enough, will climb the tree of pre-eminence, and when they have gained a lofty seat, kick the ladder down, that no others may rise. We live in a world where men, when out of office, talk like whigs, but in office, they act the tyrant.

Notwithstanding there are some defects yet existing in our institutions and laws, yet the lines are fallen to us in pleasant places: we have a goodly heritage. Compare the United States with most of the nations, and we enjoy a paradise. Yes, our extensive country, reaching from Yellow Stone to Passamaquaddy, and from the Atlantic to never—containing all the soils, climes, lakes and rivers necessary for life, we are a world within ourselves, and by attention to agriculture, manufactures and inland commerce, under the fostering hand of government, and smiles of Divine Providence, we need not go abroad for joy. And with a million of well trained militia we have not much to fear, by land, while our navy guards us from unfriendly

[blocks in formation]

It was, however, a maxim with Cæsar, "That nothing was done, while anything remained undone." One thing, at least, remains undone in this commonwealth, viz., to place religion on its proper footing. Before the revolution, many of the colonies had religious establishments among them. Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania had none. Dur. ing the war, or since its close, all the old states have altered their constitutions, and revised their laws, to place religion where it ought to be, except Massachusetts. All the new states, that have been formed since the revolution, have left religion to stand on its own merit. How strange it is, that Massachusetts should boast of its singular wisdom and piety, for holding fast that, which the other states justly reproach it for. I was in hopes, when the patent-office was demolished at Washington, that no one society, in any town of Massachusetts, would get a patent with the exclusive right to all the new-born—profane and strangers, within its limits. This, however, is the case. The convention that revised the constitution have confirmed the old firm of law and religion—church and state--hypocrisy and cruelty. It is true, that all religious societies may screen themselves from the lash of any other, if they will avail themselves of the weapon (corporate power) that does all the mischief; but no provision is made for individuals. Children, the irreligious and emigrants, are all claimed by one society. The language of it is this: "You shall join religious society or be whipped; and, when you join, you shall pay your quota of cents; for, no penny, no pater noster."

Instead of the second and third articles of our declaration of rights, if something like the following was inserted, it would be highly gratifying to one at least I believe to many thousands.

"The legislature have no right, and shall assume no power, to establish any religion—force any man to support any--give one religious sect any preference to another—proscribe any man for heresy—appoint any holy. days for worship—compel any man to attend public worship, or cease from labor—give any legal reward for religious services, or require any religious test to qualify for office."

This proposed amendment may be viewed in the light of licentiousness, by some, and, as bordering on blasphemy, by others; the substance of it, however, is adopted in all the states, except Massachusetts, and enjoyed in the city of Boston, in distinction from other towns in the commonwealth.

Almost two centuries past, Roger Williams was ejected from Salem, and banished from Massachusetts, for contending for the same doctrine-that rulers, in their official capacity, had nothing to do with religion. The contrary opinion prevailed in the colony--that legislatures had a divine right to prescribe religion for the people; and, that magistrates had the same right to judge of doctrines and their tendencies. This claim occasioned the Baptists to be whipped, the Quakers to be hanged, and the

witches to be gibbeted. Admit of the principle, that religious opinions are objects of civil government, or in any way under its control, and the broad stair is laid in the case that leads to the inquisition. Admit of the principle, and the rights of the people rest upon the good will of the legislature, and the benevolence of towns; whereas, they ought to rest upon a footing, out of the reach of the ill will of the legislature, and the malevolence of towns. Though the tree may be hewn down, yet, the just liberty of the people is not secure, while the stump is preserved with a band of iron and brass.

That the stain on our revolution—the reproach of this commonwealth, and perplexity of thousands, may be removed, it is ardently wished that the root of bitterness many be erased from our constitution, and that all laws which have proceeded therefrom may be repealed.

I close, by observing that here is an arm seventy years old, which, as long as it can rise to heaven in prayer, or wield a pen on earth, shall never be inactive, when the religious rights of men are in jeopardy. Was there a vital fibre in my heart, that did not plead for rational religious liberty, I would chase the felon from his den, and roast him in the flames.

FORM OF A CHARGE TO A CANDIDATE AT HIS
ORDINATION.

That part of the solemnities of the day which is assigned to me, is to exhibit the charge of God to the ministers of his word. Notwithstanding there is no account in the New Testament, that the apostles, elders or brethren, ever repeated a formal charge to a candidate at the time of his ordination to the ministry, yet the charge is found in the scriptures, and there can never be a better time to rehearse it, than at the hour of ordination. Therefore, in the name of Christ Jesus, before an august assembly of angels, by the appointment of this council, and in the fellowship of this church, I charge you to take heed to your spirit. Moses erred for want of this. For want of this, James ond John sought to bring fire from heaven to destroy the Samaritans. Remember, the servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle unto all men; patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose. Be thou, therefore, an example to the flock, in spirit, in faith, and in charity. I charge you to take heed to your conversation. Let your conversation be with grace, seasoned with salt, as becomes the gospel of Christ, that it may minister edification to those that hear. When conversing on religious subjects, use not craftiness, nor handle the word of God deceitfully, but use great plainness of speech. Understand yourself, and seek to make others understand you. When conversing about temporal things, for necessary uses, always speak the truth. Let not the love of gain, or of fame, direct your tongue from plain truth. of loss, or of reproach, cause you to dissemble. Though truth may faint in the streets for awhile, yet it is great, and will finally prevail. It is difficult to describe a more hateful character than the man who pretends to have a great concern for the truth of God, and none for the truth of his own word. I charge you to study to show yourself approved of God. Search the scriptures, give attendance to reading, let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. The scriptures will make you wise unto salvation, and furnish you with matter both to feed the lambs and sheep of Jesus, and stop the mouths of gain. sayers.

Let not the fear

I charge you to take heed to yourself in all your relations of life, as child, husband, father, neighbor, citizen and Christian. Let your light shine

so bright, that none can justly accuse, but contrarywise, seeing your good works, may glorify your Father who is in heaven. If you live after the flesh in common life, when you are in the pulpit, the people will say, "it is a pity he should ever come out," and whenever you are out of the pulpit, they will say, "it is a pity that he should ever go in." Always remember, that actions speak louder than words. Precepts without examples, in a preacher, have a poor effect.

I charge you to take heed to your doctrine. In doctrine, be uncorrupt, sound in the faith. The gospel of salvation is summarily comprehended in these words, "ruin and recovery." The human family are ruined by sin, all have sinned, all are included in unbelief. There is none that doeth good, they are all out of the way. They are at enmity with God, in alliance with Satan, under the dominion of sin. These are the characters, my brother, to whom you are sent. And thou, O son of man, cause them to know their abominations. Labor to convince them of the error of their way. Point out their sins, not merely as misfortunes, but as acts of wilful rebellion against the God of love. Discover to them the danger they are in, of dying in their sins, and never going where Christ is. Tell them, that God calls men ev. ery where to repent. Justify repentance towards God, and assure them that unless they repent, they will all perish. Set forth the purity of God's holy law, which is the eternal rule of right, which from the relations that exist between God and man, and between man and man, will be binding as long as the perfections of God, and the faculties of man continue. For with, out a knowledge of the law, men will quiet themselves in a life of sin. But when you find any who are pricked in the heart, crying out "I am undone," and asking the important question, "what shall I do to be saved," then fly like the prophetic seraphim, with the living coal of gospel promise, saying to the self-condemned, heart-sick sinner, "Believe on the Lord Je. sus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." Represent Christianity as the reli gion fur sinners. Hold forth the Saviour as able, and willing to save all that come unto him. Point out the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world. Describe him as coming into the world to seek and save that which was lost. Proclaim the blood of the Lamb as the price paid to redeem sinners, and the efficacy of his grace to cleanse from the pollution of sin. Repeat the gracious calls of Jesus to heavy laden sinners, "Come unto me, and I will give you rest"—"Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." When any appear to have obtained pardon by believing in the Lord Jesus, and give reasonable evidence of it, if any such first propose it, saying, "Lo, here is water, what doth hinder me to be baptized?" then go down with such a one into the water, baptize him, and then come up out of the water. But if any give satisfactory evidence that they are true believers in Jesus, and gladly receive the word, if any such do not propose it themselves, preach to them like Ananias," And now, why tarriest thou

« FöregåendeFortsätt »