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its licentiousness, forges chains for itself and for the community. The right of free discussion is not the right of uttering what we please. Let nothing be spoken or written but truth. The influence of the press is exceedingly diminished by its gross and frequent misrepresentations. Each party listens with distrust to the statements of the other, and the consequence is that the progress of truth is slow, and sometimes wholly obstructed. Whilst we encourage the free expression of opinion, let us unite in fixing the brand of infamy on falsehood and slander, wherever they originate, whatever be the cause they are designed to maintain.

But it is not enough that truth be told. It should be told for a good end; not to irritate, but to convince; not to inflame the bad passions, but to sway the judgment and to awaken sentiments of patriotism. Unhappily the press seems now to be chiefly prized as an instrument of exasperation. Those who have embraced error are hardened in their principles, by the reproachful epithets heaped on them by their adversaries. I do not mean by this, that political discussion is to be conducted tamely, that no sensibility is to be expressed, no indignation to be poured forth on wicked men and wicked deeds. But this I mean,—that we should deliberately inquire, whether indignation be deserved, before we express it; and the object of expressing it should ever be, not to infuse ill will, rancor, and fury into the minds of men, but to excite an enlightened and conscientious opposition to injurious measures.

Every good man must mourn, that so much is continually published among us, for no other apparent end, than to gratify the malevolence of one party, by wounding the feelings of the opposite. The consequence is, that an alarming degree of irritation exists in our country. Fellow citizens burn with mutual hatred, and some are evidently ripe for outrage and violence. In this feverish state of the public mind we are not to relinquish free discussion, but every man should feel the duty of speaking and writing with deliberation. It is the time to be firm without passion. No menace should be employed to provoke opponents, no defiance hurled, no language used which will, in any measure, justify the ferocious in appealing to force.

The sum of my remarks is this. It is your duty to hold fast and to assert with firmness those truths and principles on which the welfare of your country seems to depend; but do this with calmness, with a love of peace, without ill will and revenge. Use every opportunity of allaying animosities. Discourage, in decided and open language, that rancor, malignity, and unfeeling abuse, which

so often find their way into our public prints. Remember, that in proportion as a people become enslaved to their passions, they fall into the hands of the aspiring and unprincipled; and that a corrupt government, which has an interest in deceiving the people, can desire nothing more favorable to their purposes, than a frenzied state of the public mind.

My friends, in this day of discord, let us cherish and breathe around us the benevolent spirit of Christianity. Let us reserve to ourselves this consolation, that we have added no fuel to the flames, no violence to the storms, which threaten to desolate our country. Though dishonored, though endangered, it is still our country. Let us not forsake it in this evil day. Let us hold fast the inheritance of our civil and religious liberties, which we have received from our fathers, sealed and hallowed by their blood. That these blessings may not be lost, let us labor to improve public sentiment, and to exalt men of wisdom and virtue to power. Let it be our labor to establish in ourselves and in our fellow citizens the empire of true religion. Let us remember that there is no foundation of public liberty but public virtue, that there is no method of obtaining God's protection but adherence to his laws.

Let us not despair of our country. If all that we wish cannot be done for the state, still something may be done. the good principles, in the love of order and liberty, by which so many of our citizens are distinguished; in the tried virtue, deliberate prudence, and unshaken firmness of the chief magistrate, whom God in his great goodness has given to this Commonwealth; in the value of the blessings which are at stake; in the peculiar kindness which God has manifested towards our fathers and ourselves; we have motives, encouragements, and solemn obligations to resolute, persevering exertion in our different spheres, and according to our different capacities, for the public good. Thus faithful to ourselves and our country, and using vigorously every righteous means for restoring peace and confirming freedom, we may confidently leave the issue to the wise and holy providence of Him who cannot err, and who, we are assured, will accept and reward every conscientious effort for his own glory and the good of mankind.



Ar such a moment as the present, when every mind is fixing a fearful attention on the state of the country, it is impossible that a religious instructer should escape participation in the common feeling. His sacred calling does not require him to separate himself from the community, to forget that he is a citizen, to put off the feelings of a man. The religion which he teaches inculcates public spirit, and a strong and tender concern for all by whom he is surrounded. He would be unworthy his sacred function, were he not to love his country, and to sympathise with its prosperous and adverse fortunes. The religion, which it is his duty to dispense, regards men in all their relations, and affords instructions suited to every condition whether of individuals or communities. You will not then consider me as leaving the province of a religious teacher, if I speak to you of the dangers, and claims of our country, if I address you as citizens, and attempt to point out your duties at the present solemn period.

The present is indeed a solemn period. The sad reverse which this country exhibits astonishes as well as depresses us. But a few years ago, we stood on the height of prosperity. Amidst the storms which desolated nations, we were at peace, and the very storms seemed freighted with blessings for our tranquil shores.-And is it true, that from this height we have sunk so low, that our commerce is swept from the ocean, that industry has forsaken our cities, that the husbandman has resigned the ploughshare for the sword, that our confidence is changed into fear, that the tumult of business has given place to the din of arms, that some of our citizens are perishing in foreign prisons, and others shedding their blood on a foreign soil, that hostile fleets scatter terror through our coasts, and flames through our cities, that no man feels secure, that the thought of invasion and slaughter mingles with the labors of the day, and disturbs the slumbers of the night, and that our national government, empoverished, and inefficient, can afford us no protection from such imminent danger ? Yes—this is true; we need no reasoning to convince us of its truth. We see it in the anxious countenance, in the departing family, in the care which removes our possessions, in the obstructions and perplexities of business, and in the events which every day brings to our ears. At such a mo



ment, it becomes each man to ask himself what are his duties, what the times demand from him, in what manner he may contribute to the public safety. It is a time for seriousness, for consideration. With prosperity, we should dismiss our levity. The period of duty may to many of us be short. Whilst it continues, let it be improved.

1. The first remark I shall make is, that it becomes every man at this solemn moment, to reflect on his own character and life, to inquire what he has done to bring down judgments on his country, to confess and renounce his sins, and to resolve on a sincere obedience of God's commands. We ought to remember that we live under a moral government, which regards the character of communities as truly as of individuals. A nation has reason for fear, in proportion to its guilt; and a virtuous nation, sensible of dependence on God, and disposed to respect his laws, is assured of his protection. Every people must indeed be influenced in a measure by the general state of the world, by the changes and conflicts of other communities. When the ocean is in tumult, every shore will feel the agitation. But a people faithful to God will never be forsaken. In addition to the direct and obvious tendency of national piety and virtue to national safety and exaltation, a virtuous community may expect peculiar interpositions of providence for their defence and prosperity. They are not indeed to anticipate visible miracles. They are not to imagine, that invading hosts will be annihilated like Sennacherib's by the arm of an angel. But God, we must remember, can effect his purposes, and preserve the just, without such stupendous interpositions. The hearts of men are in his hand. The elements of nature obey his word. He has winds to scatter the proudest fleet, diseases to prostrate the strongest army. Consider how many events must conspire, how many secret springs must act in concert, to accomplish the purposes of the statesman, or the plans of the warrior. How often have the best concerted schemes been thwarted, the most menacing preparations been defeated, the proud boast of anticipated victory been put to shame, by what we call casualty, by a slight and accidental want of concert, by the error of a chief, or by neglect in subordinate agents. Let God determine the defeat of an enemy and we need not fear that means will be wanting. He sends terror, or blindness, or mad presumption into the minds of leaders. Heaven, earth, and sea are arrayed to oppose their progress. An unconquerable spirit is breathed into the invaded; and the dreaded foe seeks his safety in dishonorable flight.


My friends, if God be for us, no matter who is against us. Mere power ought not to intimidate us; He can crush it in a moment. We live in a period when God's supremacy has been remarkably evinced, when he has signally confounded the powerful, and delivered the oppressed and endangered. At his word, the forged chain has been broken; mighty armies have been dispersed as chaff before the whirlwind; colossal thrones have been shivered like the brittle clay. God is still wonderful in counsel and excellent in working;' and if he wills to deliver us, we cannot be subdued. It is then most important that we seek God's favor. And how is his favor to be obtained ? I repeat it—He is a moral governor, the friend of the righteous, the punisher of the wicked; and in proportion as piety, uprightness, temperance, and christian virtue prevail among us, in that proportion we are assured of his favor and protection. A virtuous people, fighting in defence of their altars and firesides, may look to God with confidence. An invisible, but almighty arm surrounds them, an impenetrable shield is their shadow and defence.

It becomes us then to inquire, how far have we sustained the character of a pious and virtuous people? And whose heart does not accuse him of many sins? Who can look round on his country, and not see many proofs of ingratitude to God, and of contempt of his laws? Do I speak to any, who, having received success and innumerable blessings from God, have yet forgotten the giver? to any who have converted abundance into the instrument of excess? to any, who, having been instructed by the gospel, have yet refused to employ in well doing the bounty of Heaven? to any, who are living in habits of intemperance, impurity, impiety, fraud, or any known sin? To such I would say, You are among the enemies of your country, and, should she fall, among the authors of her ruin. Let then this season be something more than an occasion of formal confession. We owe to ourselves and our country deep sorrow for our sins, and those sincere purposes of reformation, which more than all things, bring down blessings from Heaven.

2. Having recommended penitence in general as suited to the present moment, let me particularly recommend one branch of piety which the times demand of us. Let us each be instant and fervent in prayer. Let us pray to God, that he will not forsake us in this dark and menacing day; that he will remember the mercy shown to our fathers; that he will crown with success our efforts in defence of our possessions, our dwellings, and our temples; that he will breathe an invincible courage into our soldiers; that he

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