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At a time when scepticism, shallow and superficial indeed, but depraved and malignant, is breathing forth its pestilential vapor, and polluting, by its unhallowed touch, every thing divine and sacred; it is consoling to a devout mind to reflect, that the great and the wise, and the good of all ages, those superior geniuses, whose splendid talents have elevated them almost above mortality, and placed them next in order to angelic natures-yes, it is consoling to a devout mind to reflect, that while dwarfish infidelity lifts up its deformed head, and mocks, these illustrious personages, though living in different ages, inhabiting different countries, nurtured in different schools, destined to different pursuits, and differing on various subjects, should all, as if touched with an impulse from heaven, agree to vindicate the sacredness of Revelation, and present with one accord, their learning, their talents and their virtue, on the gospel altar, as an offering to Emanuel.
This is not exaggeration. Who was it, that, overleaping the narrow bounds which had hitherto been set to the human mind, ranged abroad through the immensity of space, discovered and illustrated those laws by which the Deity unites, binds and governs all things? Who was it, soaring into the sublime of astronomic science, numbered the stars of heaven, measured their spheres, and called them by their names ? It was Newton. But Newton was a Christian. Newton, great as he was, received instruction from the lips, and laid his honors at the feet of Jesus. Who was it that developed the hidden combination, the component parts of bodies? Who was it, dissected the animal, examined the flower, penetrated the earth, and ranged the extent of organic nature? It was Boyle. But Boyle was a Christian. Who was it, that lifted the veil which had for ages covered the intellectual world, analyzed the human mind, defined its powers, and reduced its operations to certain and fixed laws? It was Locke. But Locke too was a Christian.
What more shall I say? For time would fail me, to speak of Hale, learned in the law; of Addison, admired in the schools; of Milton, celebrated among the poets; and of Washington, immortal in the field and the cabinet. To this catalogue of professing Christians, from among, if I may speak so, a higher order of beings, may now be added the name of Alexander Hamilton-a name which raises in the mind the idea of whatever is great, whatever is splendid, whatever is illustrious in human nature; and which is now added to a catalogue which might be lengthened-and lengthened-and lengthened, with the names of illustrious characters, whose lives have blessed society, and whose works form a column high as heaven; a column of learning, of wisdom, and of greatness, which will stand to future ages, an eternal monument of the transcendent talents of the advocates of Christianity, when every fugitive leaf, from the pen of the canting infidel witlings of the day, shall be swept by the tide of time from the annals of the world, and buri. ed with the names of their authors in oblivion.
To conclude. How are the mighty fallen!" Fallen before the desolating hand of death. Alas! the ruins of the tomb! The ruins of the tomb are an emblem of the ruins of the world; when not an individual, but a universe, already marred by sin and hastening to dissolution, shall agonize and die! Directing your thoughts from the one, fix them for a moment on the other. Anticipate the concluding scene, the final catastrophe of nature: when the sign of the Son of man shall be seen in heaven ; when the Son of man himselfshall appear in the glory of his Father, and send forth judgment unto victory. The fiery desolation envelopes towns, palaces and fortresses; the heavens pass away! the earth melts! and all those magnificent productions of art, which ages, heaped on ages, have reared up, are in one awful day reduced to ashes.
Against the ruins of that day, as well as the ruins of the tomb which precede it, the gospel, in the cross of its
great High Priest, offers you all a sanctuary; a sanctuary secure and abiding; a sanctuary, which no lapse of time, nor change of circumstances, can destroy. No; neither life nor death. No; neither principalities nor powers.
Every thing else is fugitive; every thing else is mutable; every thing else will fail you. But this, the citadel of the Christian's hopes, will never fail you. Its base is adamant. It is cemented with the richest blood. The ransomed of the Lord crowd its portals. Embosomed in the dust which it encloses, the bodies of the redeemed "rest in hope.” On its top dwells the Church of the first born, who in delightful response with the angels of light, chant redeeming love. Against this citadel the tempest beats, and around it the storm rages, and spends its force in vain. Immortal in its nature, and incapable of change, it stands, and stands firm, amidst the ruins of a mouldering world, and endures forever.
Thither fly, ye prisoners of hope !-that when earth, air, elements, shall have passed away, secure of existence and felicity, you may join with saints in glory, to perpetuate the song which lingered on the faltering tongue of Hamilton, “Grace-rich Grace."
God grant us this honor. Then shall the measure of our joy be full, and to his name shall be the glory in Christ.
BY RICHARD RUSH,
ON THE 4TH OF JULY, 1812, IN THE HALL OF THE HOUSE
OF REPRESENTATIVES, AT WASHINGTON: AT THE REQUEST OF THE COMMITTEE OF ARRANGEMENT FOR THE.. CELEBRATION OF THAT DAY.
Sensibly as I feel, fellow-citizens, the honor of having been selected to address you on such an occasion as this, I am not less sensible of the difficulties of the task. Not that there is any thing intrinsically arduous in a celebration, in this form, of the most brilliant political anniversary of the world; but as the subject has been repeatedly exhibited, under so many points of view, I am apprehensive of tiring, without being able to requite, the attention with which you may be good enough to honor my endeavors. The fruitful subject must still sustain me, and I proceed with unfeigned diffidence, and the most profound respect for this distinguished and enlightened assembly, to perform the office assigned me.*
During each return of this day for nearly thirty successive years, our country rested in all the security and all the blessings of peace. But the scene and the asp .ct are changed. The menacing front of war is before us, to awaken our solicitudes, to demand at the hands of each citizen of the republic the most active energies
* The President of the United States, Heads of Department, members of Congress, &c., as well as citizens and strangers, were present at the delivery of this discourse.
of duty; to ask, if need be, the largest sacrifices of advantage and of ease. The tranquillity, the enjoyments, the hopes of peace, are, for a while, at an end. These, with their endearing concomitants, are to give place to the stronger and more agitating passions, to the busy engagements, to the solemn and anxious thoughts, to the trials, to the sufferings, that follow in the train of war.
Man, in his individual nature, becomes virtuous by constant struggles against his own imperfections. His intellectual eminence, which puts him at the head of created beings, is attained also by long toil, and painful self-denials, bringing with them, but too often, despondence to his mind, and hazards to his frame. It would seem to be a law of his existence, that great enjoyment is only to be obtained as the reward of great exertion. - She shall go to a wealthy place," but her way shall be 6 through fire and through water.” It seems the irre- . versible lot of nations, that their permanent well-being is to be achieved also through severe probations. Their origin is often in agony and blood, and their safety to be maintained only by constant vigilance, by arduous efforts, by a willingness to encounter danger and by actually and frequently braving it. Their prosperity, their rights, their liberties, are, alas, scarcely otherwise to be placed upon a secure and durable basis! It is in vain that the precepts of the moralist, or the maxims of a sublimated reason, are levelled at the inutility, if not the criminality of wars; in vain that eloquence portrays, that humanity deplores the misery which they inflict. If the wishes of the philanthropist could be realized, then, indeed, happily for us, happily for the whole human race, they would be banished forever from the world. But while selfishnes, ambition, and the lust of plunder, continue to infest the bosoms of the rulers of nations, wars will take place, they always have taken place, and the nation that shall, at this day, hope to shelter itself by standing, in practice, on their abstract impropriety, must expect to