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will guard and guide our rulers; that he will turn the invader from our shores; or, if he shall otherwise appoint, that he will be our shield in battle, and will send us deliverance. For these blessings let us daily besiege the mercy-seat of God, deeply convinced that he controls the destinies of armies and nations, that he gives or withholds success, and that without him all exertion is unavailing. By this it is not intended that we are to do nothing but pray; that we are to leave our shores without defence, or neglect any means of security. God gives us powers that we should exert, weapons that we should wield them. We are to employ every resource which he grants us; but, having done this, we must remember that on God, not on ourselves, depends the result of our exertions. The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong.
God gives victory, and to him let every eye and heart be directed. You who have no other weapons, contend with your prayers for your country. -It will not be imagined from these remarks, that by importunity of prayer God can be bent to favor an unjust cause. But when our cause is just; when, instead of waging offensive war, we gather round our city and shores for defence, we may be assured that sincere prayer, united with sincere purposes of obedience, will not be lost. Prayer is a proper and appointed acknowledgement of our dependence, an essential means and branch of piety; and they who neglect it have no reason to hope the protection, which they will not implore. Let us then take heed, lest the tumult of military preparation make us forgetful of the Author of all good, lest in collecting armies and raising walls of defence we forsake the footstool of the Almighty, the only giver of victory.
3. This is a time when we should all bring clearly and strongly to our minds our duties to our country, and should cherish a strong and ardent attachment to the public good. The claims of country have been felt and obeyed even in the rudest ages of society.
The community to which we belong is commended by our very nature to our affection and service. Christianity, in enjoining a disinterested and benevolent spirit, admits and sanctions this sentiment of nature, this attachment to the land of our fathers, the land of our nativity. It only demands, that our patriotism be purified from every mixture of injustice towards foreign nations. Within this limit we cannot too ardently attach ourselves to the welfare of our country. Especially in its perils, we should Ay to its rescue with filial zeal and affection, resolved to partake its sufferings, and prepared to die in its defence. The present moment, my friends, calls on us for this fervent patriotism. The question now is, not whether we
will carry invasion, slaughter, and desolation into an unoffending province, not whether we will give our strength and wealth to the prosecution of unprincipled plans of conquest, but whether we will defend our firesides and altars, whether we will repel from our shores an hostile army. On this question our duty is clear. However unjustifiable may have been the measures by which we have been reduced to this mournful extremity, our right to our soil and our possessions remains unimpaired; the right of defence can never be wrested from us; and never, whilst God gives means of resistance, ought we to resign our country to the clemency of a foe. Our duties as patriots and Christians are plain. Whilst we disclaim all share in the guilt of that war which is bursting on our shores, we should resolve, that we will be true to ourselves, to our fathers, and to posterity, that we will maintain the inheritance which we have received, that whilst God gives us power we will not receive law as a conquered people
We should animate our patriotism at this moment of danger, by reflecting that we have a country to contend for which deserves every effort and sacrifice. As members of this Commonwealth, in particular, we have every motive to invigorate our hearts and hands. We have the deeds of our fathers, their piety and virtues, and their solicitude for the rights and happiness of their posterity, to awaken our emulation. How invaluable the inheritance they have left us, earned by their toils and defended by their blood! Our populous cities and cultivated fields, our schools, colleges, and churches, our equal laws, our uncorrupted tribunals of justice, our spirit of enterprise, and our habits of order and peace, all combine to form a commonwealth as rich in blessings and privileges as the history of the world records. We possess, too, the chief glory of a state, many virtuous and disinterested citizens, a chief magistrate who would adorn any country and any age, enlightened statesmen, and, I trust, a fearless soldiery. Such a community deserves our affection, our honor, our zeal, the vigor of our arms, and the devotion of our lives. If we look back to Sparta, Athens, and Rome, we shall find, that, in the institutions of this Commonwealth, we have sources of incomparably richer blessings, than those republics conferred on their citizens in their proudest days; and yet Sparta, and Rome, and Athens inspired a love stronger than death. In the day of their danger, every citizen offered his breast as a bulwark, every citizen felt himself the property of his country. It is true, a base alloy mingled with the patriotism of ancient times, and God forbid that a sentiment so impure should burn in our breasts. God forbid, that like the Greek and the Roman, we should carry fire and slaughter into other countries, to build up a false fleeting glory at home. But whilst we take warning by their excesses, let us catch a portion of their fervor, and learn to live, not for ourselves, but for that country, whose honor and interest God has intrusted to our care.
4. The times especially demand of us that we cherish a spirit of fortitude, courage, and resolution. The period of danger is the time to arm the mind with all the force and energy of which it is susceptible. In communities, as in individuals, there is a proneness to excessive alarm. Especially when untried, unexperienced dangers approach, imagination is prone to enlarge them; a panic spreads like lightning from breast to breast, and before a blow is struck, a people are subdued by their fears. There is a rational fear, which we ought to cherish, a fear which views in all its dimensions approaching peril, and prepares with vigilance every means of defence. At the present moment we ought not to shut our eyes on our danger.
Our enemy is formidable. A veteran army, trained to war, accustomed to success, fresh from conquest, and led by experienced commanders, is not to be despised, even if inferior in numbers, and even if it have received a temporary check. But such an army owes much of its formidableness to the fearless spirit which habit has fostered; and the best weapon, under Providence, which we can oppose to it, is the same courage, nurtured by reflection, by sentiments of honor, and by the principles of religion. Courage indeed is not always invincible, and when God destines a nation to bondage the valor of the hero is unavailing. But it is generally true, that a brave people, contending in a just cause, possess in their courage the pledge of success. The instrument by which God rescues nations is their own undaunted resolution. Let us then cherish in ourselves and others, a firm and heroic spirit. Let us fortify our minds, by reflecting on the justice of our cause, that we are standing on our own shores, and defending invaded rights. Let us show that our love of peace has not originated in timidity, and that the spirit of our fathers still lives in their sons. Let us call to the support of our resolution the principles of religion. Devoting ourselves to God, and engaging in this warfare from a sense of duty, let us feel that we are under His protection, that in the heat of battle he is near us, that life and death await his word, and that death, in a service which he approves, is never untimely and is never to be shunned. Let us consider that life at best is short, and its blessings transitory, that its great end is to train us to virtue and to prepare us for heaven, and that we had far better resign it at once than protract it by baseness or unmanly fear. Death awaits us all, and happy he who meets it in the discharge of duty. Most happy and most honored of men is the martyr to religion, who seals with his blood those truths, on which human virtue, consolation and hope, depend; and next to him, happy is the martyr to the cause of his country, who, in obedience to God, opposes his breast to the sword of her invaders, and repays with life the protection she has afforded.
5. I have thus, my friends, set before you your duties to God and your country in this period of danger. Let me close with offering a few remarks on your duties to your enemies. You will remember that we profess a religion, which enjoins benevolence towards all mankind, even towards our personal and national foes. Let not our patriotism be sullied with malignant passions. Whilst we defend our shores with courage, let us not cherish hatred towards our invaders. We should not open our ear to every idle tale of their outrages, nor heap calumnies on their heads because they are enemies. The brave are generous. True courage needs not malignity to feed and inflame it. Especially when our foe is an illustrious nation, which for ages has defended and nurtured the interests of religion, science, and humanity; a nation to which grateful Europe is now offering acknowledgements for the protection which she has extended over the oppressed, and for the vigor with which she has cooperated in prostrating the bloody and appalling power of the usurper;—when such a nation is our foe, we should feel it unworthy and debasing to encourage a rancorous and vindictive spirit. True, she is sending her armies to our shores; but let us not forget, that our own government first sent slaughter and conflagration into her unoffending provinces. Let not approaching danger disturb our recollections, or unsettle our principles. If we are to meet her armies in battle, which God in his mercy forbid, let us meet them with that magnanimity, which is candid and just even to its foes. Let us fight, not, like beasts of prey, to glut revenge, but to maintain our rights, to obtain an honorable peace, and to obtain a victory
which shall be signalized by clemency as well as by valor. God • forbid, that our conflicts should add fury to those bad passions and
national antipathies, which have helped to bring this country to its present degraded and endangered condition.
I have placed before you your duties. God give you grace to perform them. In this day of danger, we know not what is before us; but this we know, that the path of piety, of virtue, of patriotism, and manly courage, leads to glory and to immortality. No enemy can finally injure us, if we are true to God, to our country, to mankind. In such a cause as ours, I trust, prosperity and victory will be granted us by the almighty Disposer. But whether success or disaster await us, we know that the world is passing away, and that all of us will soon be placed beyond the reach of its changes. Let us not then be elated or depressed; but, with a firm and equal mind, let us acquit ourselves as men and Christians in our several spheres, looking upward to heaven as our rest and reward.
NOTICE OF THE REV. S. C. THACHER.
[The Rev. S. C. THACHER, late Minister of the New South Church in Boston, died at Moulines, in France, Jan. 2, 1818, Ætat. 32. He had long been absent from this country, and had visited the Cape of Good Hope, for the recovery of his health. The following sketch of his character is taken from a discourse delivered in the church, where he had been accustomed to officiate, the Sunday after the accounts of his death were received.]
The news of Mr. Thacher's death, although not unexpected, spread an unusual gloom through the large circle in which he moved and was known. When we thought of his youth and virtues, of the place which he had filled and of the confidence he had inspired, of his sickness and sufferings, of his death in a distant land, and of the hopes which died with him, we could not but speak of his removal as mysterious, dark, untimely. My own mind participated at first in the general depression; but in proportion as I have reflected on the circumstances of this event, I have seen in them a kindness, which I overlooked in the first moments of sorrow; and though in many respects inscrutable, this dispensation now wears a more consoling aspect.
I now see in our friend a young man, uncommonly ripe in understanding and virtue, for whom God appointed an early immortality. His lot on earth was singularly happy; for I have never known a minister more deeply fixed in the hearts of his people. But this condition had its perils. With a paternal concern for his character God sent adversity, and conducted him to the end of his