Napoleon Bonaparte’s Testimony of Jesus Christ and Christianity

Napoleon Bonaparte quotes regarding Jesus Christ

Napoleon Bonaparte regarding Jesus Christ [Click to enlarge]

Editors Note: The comments of Napoleon are recorded in various instances and I haven’t found any two that record them in exactly the same way; therefore I am providing you with two different instances here that have some similarities and yet are different, the differences being so diverse and profound I find it necessary to provide them both.

GEN. W. W. BURNS, Asst. Commissary General, U.S.A., sends us, with the request that we should publish, Napoleon’s remarkable testimony to the mysterious power of Christianity, which has become famous through the report of Las Casas. Though it is no doubt familiar to many readers, it is so eloquent an acknowledgment by one of the greatest of men of the existence of a greater than man, that we reproduce it here as requested. In sending it Gen. Burns says:

“The disposition of education is to substitute reason for faith in religion. The intellect, proud of its achievements in science and philosophy, assumes celestial wings, and, like Icarus, would mount to the spheres to find out infinity. The first flight of infidelity makes essay upon the divinity of Christ. The conception by the Virgin was above the known laws of nature, and therefore beyond the finite reason of man. The major premise of a logical syllogism being a mystery and not a received axiom is, to reason, a false assumption from which philosophical truth cannot be deduced. Logic is stopped at the base, and the gods of reason, without faith, must sweep the “divinity of Christ from their horizon.” Mystery, not being a received finite axiom, is false. Nature is admitted true, and deduction, follow, that man is but an animal dies when his heart ceases to beat. Faith is a delusive hope; there is no place for a soul beyond the grave. Since reasoners accept only received deductions from grater reasoners, the fall of ingenious Icarus may be checked to save from destruction by spreading opinions from the acknowledged greatest mind the world has known, and, because of its greatness, associated with infidelity. The following from the lips of Napoleon to Las Casas (himself an infidel), may, therefore, be timely. Nothing could be added without weakening this almost divine discourse.”

There exists an infinite Being compared with whom I, Napoleon, with all my genius, am truly a pure nothing. I perceive him, God; I see him; have need of him; I believe in him. . . . I know men, and I affirm that Jesus, Christ, was not a man. Superficial minds see a resemblance between Christ and the founders of empires the gods of other religions; that resemblance does not exist. There is between Christianity and whatever other religion the distance of infinity. The religion of Christ is a mystery which subsists by its own force, and proceeds from a mind which is not a human mind. We find in it a marked individuality, which originated a train of words and maxims unknown before. Jesus borrowed nothing from our knowledge. He exhibited in himself the perfect example of his precepts. Jesus is not a philosopher; for his proofs are miracles, and from the first his disciples adored him. In fact learning and philosophy are of no use for salvation; and Jesus came into the world to reveal the mysteries of heaven and the laws of the Spirit. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and myself founded empires; but upon what did we rest the creation of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ alone founded his empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men would die for him, It was not a day or a battle which achieved the triumph of the Christian religion in the world. No, it was a long war, a contest of three centuries, begun by the apostles, then continued by the flood of Christian generations. In this war all the kings and potentates of the earth were on one side; on the other I see no army, but a mysterious force: some men scattered here and there in all parts of the world, and who have no other rallying point than a common faith in the mysteries of the cross. I die before my time, and my body will be given back to the earth to become food for worms. Such is the fate which so soon awaits him who has been called the Great Napoleon. Paganism is the work of man, Numa, Lycurgus, Memphis, Confucius; Mahommed, and the gods I recognize as beings like myself .. legislators, lawgivers (nothing announced them as divine), with foibles and errors which ally them to humanity. It is not so with Christ; every thing in him astonishes me. His spirit overawes me, and his will confounds me. Between him and whoever else in the world there is no possible term of comparison. He is truly a Being by himself. His ideas, His sentiments, the truths which he announces, His manner of convincing, are not explained, either by human organization or by the nature of things. His birth and the history of his life; the profundity of his doctrine, which grapples the mightiest difficulties, and which is, of those difficulties, the most admirable solution. His gospel, His apparition, His empire, His march across the ages and the realms—everything is, for me, a prodigy. A mystery insoluble, which plunges me into a reverie from which I cannot escape; a mystery which is before my eyes, there, a mystery which I can neither deny nor explain. Here I see nothing human—the nearer I approach the more carefully I examine; every thing is above me—everything remains grand, of a grandeur which overpowers me. His religion is a revelation from an intelligence which certainly is not of man. There is there a profound originality which has created a series of words and of maxims before unknown. Jesus borrowed nothing from our sciences. One can find absolutely nowhere, but in him alone, the imitation of the example of his life. He is not a philosopher, since he advances by miracles, and from the commencement his disciples worshiped him. He persuades them far more by an appeal to the heart than by any display of method and of logic. Neither did he impose upon them any preliminary studies or any knowledge of letters. All his religion consisted in believing. In fact, the sciences and philosophy avail nothing for salvation, and Jesus came into the world to reveal the mysteries of heaven and the laws of the spirit. Also, he has nothing to do but with the soul and to that alone he brings his Gospel. The soul is sufficient for him as he is sufficient for the soul. Before him the soul was nothing; matter and time were the masters of the world. At his voice everything returns to order; science and philosophy become secondary. The soul has recognized its sovereignty. All the scholastic scaffolding falls as an edifice ruined before one single word—faith. What a master! and what a word ‘ which can effect such a revolution. With what authority does he teach us to pray! He imposes his belief and no one, thus far, has been able to contradict him: first, because the Gospel contains the purest morality, and also because the doctrine which it contains, of obscurity, is only the proclamation and the temple of that which exists where no eye can see and no reason can penetrate. Who is the insensate who will say no to that intrepid voyageur who records the marvels of the icy peaks which he alone has had the boldness to visit? Christ is that bold voyageur. One can doubtless remain incredulous, but no one can venture to say, it is not so. Unquestionably, with the skill of thinking, one can seize the key of the philosophy of Socrates and Plato, but to do this, it is necessary to be a metaphysician, and moreover with years of study one must possess special aptitude. But good sense alone, the heart, an honest spirit, are sufficient to comprehend Christianity. The Christian religion is neither idealogy nor metaphysics, but a practical rule, which directs the actions of man, corrects him, counsels him, and assists him in all his conduct. I search in vain in history to find the similar to Jesus Christ or anything which can approach the Gospel. Neither history nor humanity, nor the ages nor nature, can offer me anything with which I am able to compare it or explain it. Here everything is extraordinary. The more I consider the Gospel, the more I am assured that there is nothing there which is not beyond the march of events and above the human mind. Even the impious themselves have never dared to deny the sublimity of the gospel, which inspires them with a sort of compulsory veneration. What happiness that book procures for those who believe it I What marvels those admire there who reflect upon it!

All the words there are embedded, and joined one upon another, like the stones of an edifice. The spirit which binds these words together is a divine cement, which now reveals the sense, and again vails it from the mind. Each phrase has a sense complete, which traces the perfection of unity, and the profundity of the whole. Book unique where the mind finds moral beauty before unknown. and an idea of the Supreme, superior even to that which nature suggests. Who but God could produce that type, that ideal, of perfection, equally exclusive and original?……..

Christ proposed to our faith a series of mysteries. He commands with authority, giving no other reason than those tremendous words—I am God… He, declares it. What, an abyss he creates by that declaration between himself and all fabrications of religion. What audacity, what sacrilege, what blasphemy, if it were not true! I say more: the universal triumph of an affirmation of that kind, if the triumph were not really that of God himself, would be a plausible atheism, an excuse and a reason for it.

Moreover, in propounding mysteries, Christ is harmonious with nature, which is profoundly mysterious. Human life is a mystery, in its origin, it organization, and its end. In man and out of man everything in nature is mysterious. The creation and the destiny of the world are an unfathomable abyss, as also the creation and destiny of each individual. Can one wish that religion should not also be mysterious? The Gospel is not a book, it is a living being, with an action, a power which invades everything that opposes its extension. . . . What a proof of the divinity of Christ: with an empire so absolute, he has but a single end-the spiritual amelioration of individuals the purity of conscience, the union to that which is true—the holiness of the soul. Christ speaks and at once generations become his, by stricter, closer ties than blood–by the most sacred, the most indissoluble of all unions. He lights up the flames of love, which consumes self-love, and prevails over every other love. The founders of other religious never conceived of this mystic love, which is the essence of Christianity, and is beautifully called charity. In every attempt to effect this thing, namely, to make himself beloved, man deeply feels his own impotence. Christ’s greatest miracle, therefore, is the reign of charity.

What an abyss between my deep misery, and the eternal kingdom of Christ, which is proclaimed, loved, and adored, and which is extending over the whole earth! Call you this dying? Is it not living rather? The death of Christ is the death of a God, which would be the annihilation of the universe.

It is also recorded one day, Napoleon was speaking of the Divinity of Christ; when General Bertrand said:—

“I can not conceive, sire, how a great man like you can believe that the Supreme Being ever exhibited himself to men under a human form, with a body, a face, mouth, and eyes. Let Jesus be whatever you please,—the highest intelligence, the purest heart, the most profound legislator, and, in all respects, the most singular being who has ever existed: I grant it. Still, he was simply a man, who taught his disciples, and deluded credulous people, as did Orpheus, Confucius, Brahma. Jesus caused himself to be adored, because his predecessors, Isis and Osiris, Jupiter and Juno, had proudly made themselves objects of worship. The ascendency of Jesus over his time was like the ascendency of the gods and the heroes of fable. If Jesus has impassioned and attached to his chariot the multitude, if he has revolutionized the world, I see in that only the power of genius, and the action of a commanding spirit, which vanquishes the world, as so many conquerors have done—Alexander, Caesar, you, sire, and Mohammed—with a sword.”

Napoleon replied:—

“I know men; and I tell you that Jesus Christ is not a man. Superficial minds see a resemblance between Christ and the founders of empires, and the gods of other religions. That resemblance does not exist. There is between Christianity and whatever other religions the distance of infinity.

“We can say to the authors of every other religion, ‘You are neither gods, nor the agents of the Deity. You are but missionaries of falsehood, moulded from the same clay with the rest of mortals. You are made with all the passions and vices inseparable from them. Your temples and your priests proclaim your origin.’ Such will be the judgment, the cry of conscience, of whoever examines the gods and the temples of paganism.

“Paganism was never accepted as truth by the wise men of Greece; neither by Socrates, Pythagoras, Plato, Anaxagoras, or Pericles. On the other side, the loftiest intellects, since the advent of Christianity, have had faith, a living faith, a practical faith, in the mysteries and the doctrines of the gospel; not only Bossuet and Fenelon, who were preachers, but Descartes and Newton, Leibnitz and Pascal, Corneille and Racine, Charlemagne and Louis XIV.

“Paganism is the work of man. One can here read but our imbecility. What do these gods, so boastful, know more than other mortals; these legislators, Greek or Roman; this Numa; this Lycurgus; these priests of India or of Memphis; this Confucius; this Mohammed’?-absolutely nothing. They have made a perfect chaos of mortals. There is not one among them all who has said any thing new in reference to our future destiny, to the soul, to the essence of God, to the creation. Enter the sanctuaries of paganism: you there find perfect chaos, a thousand contradictions, war between the gods, the immobility of sculpture, the division and the rending of unity, the parceling out of the divine attributes mutilated or denied in their essence, the sophisms of ignorance and presumption, polluted fêtes, impurity and abomination adored, all sorts of corruption festering in the thick shades, with the rotten wood, the idol, and the priest. Does this honor God, or does it dishonor him? Are these religions and these gods to be compared with Christianity?

“As for me, I say, No. I summon entire Olympus to my tribunal. I judge the gods, but am far from prostrating myself before their vain images. The gods, the legislators of India and of China, of Rome and of Athens, have nothing which can overawe me. Not that I am unjust to them. No: I appreciate them, because I know their value. Undeniably, princes, whose existence is fixed in the memory as an image of order and of power, as the ideal of force and beauty: such princes were no ordinary men.

“I see, in Lycurgus, Numa, and Mohammed, only legislators, who have the first rank in the State; have sought the best solution of the social problem: but I see nothing there which reveals Divinity. They themselves have never raised their pretensions so high. As for me, I recognize the gods, and these great men, as beings like myself. They have performed a lofty part in their times, as I have done. Nothing announces them divine. On the contrary, there are numerous resemblances between them and myself,—foibles and errors which ally them to me and to humanity.

“It is not so with Christ. Every thing in him astonishes me. His spirit overawes me, and his will confounds me. Between him and whoever else in the world there is no possible term of comparison. He is truly a being by himself. His ideas and his sentiments, the truths which he announces, his manner of convincing, are not explained either by human organization or by the nature of things.

“His birth, and the history of his life; the profundity of his doctrine, which grapples the mightiest difficulties, and which is of those difficulties the most admirable solution; his gospel, his apparition, his empire, his march across the ages and the realms,—every thing is for me a prodigy, a mystery insoluble, which plunges me into reveries which I can not escape; a mystery which is there before my eyes; a mystery which I can neither deny nor explain. Here I see nothing human.

“The nearer I approach, the more carefully I examine, every thing is above me; every thing remains grand,—of a grandeur which overpowers. His religion is a revelation from an intelligence which certainly is not that of man. There is there a profound originality which has created a series of words and of maxims before unknown. Jesus borrowed nothing from our science. One can absolutely find nowhere, but in him alone, the imitation or the example of his life. He is not a philosopher, since he advances by miracles; and, from the commencement, his disciples worshiped him. He persuaded them far more by an appeal to the heart than by any display of method and of logic. Neither did he impose upon them any preliminary studies, or any knowledge of letters. All his religion consists in believing.

“In fact, the sciences and philosophy avail nothing for salvation; and Jesus came into the world to reveal the mysteries of heaven and the laws of the spirit. Also he has nothing to do but with the soul; and to that alone he brings his gospel. The soul is sufficient for him, as he is sufficient for the soul. Before him, the soul was nothing. Matter and time were the masters of the world. At his voice, every thing returns to order. Science and philosophy become secondary. The soul has reconquered its sovereignty. All the scholastic scaffolding falls, as an edifice ruined, before one single word,—faith.

“What a master, and what a word, which can effect such a revolution! With what authority does he teach men to pray! He imposes his belief; and no one, thus far, has been able to contradict him: first, because the gospel contains the purest morality; and also because the doctrine which it contains of obscurity is only the proclamation and the truth of that which exists where no eye can see, and no reason can penetrate. Who is the insensate who will say ‘No’ to the intrepid voyager who recounts the marvels of the icy peaks which he alone has had the boldness to visit? Christ is that bold voyager. One can, doubtless, remain incredulous; but no one can venture to say, ‘It is not so.’

“Moreover, consult the philosophers upon those mysterious questions which relate to the essence of man and the essence of religion. What is their response? Where is the man of good sense who has never learned any thing from the system of metaphysics; ancient or modern, which is not truly a vain and pompous ideology, without any connection with our domestic life, with our passions? Unquestionably, with skill in thinking, one can seize the key of the philosophy of Socrates and Plato. But, to do this, it is necessary to be a metaphysician; and moreover, with years of study, one must possess special aptitude. But good sense alone, the heart, an honest spirit, are sufficient to comprehend Christianity. The Christian religion is neither ideology nor metaphysics, but a practical rule which directs the actions of man, corrects him, counsels him, and assists him in all his conduct. The Bible contains a complete series of facts and of historical men, to explain time and eternity, such as no other religion has to offer. If it is not the true religion, one is very excusable in being deceived; for every thing in it is grand, and worthy of God. I search in vain in history to find the similar to Jesus Christ, or any thing which can approach the gospel. Neither history, nor humanity, nor the ages, nor nature, offer me any thing with which I am able to compare it or to explain it. Here every thing is extraordinary. The more I consider the gospel, the more I am assured that there is nothing there which is not beyond the march of events, and above the human mind. Even the impious themselves have never dared to deny the sublimity of the gospel, which inspires them with a sort of compulsory veneration. What happiness that book procures for those who believe it I What marvels those admire there who reflect upon it!

“All the words there are embedded, and joined one upon another, like the stones of an edifice. The spirit which binds these words together is a divine cement, which now reveals the sense, and again vails it from the mind. Each phrase has a sense complete, which traces the perfection of unity, and the profundity of the whole. Book unique! where the mind finds a moral beauty before unknown; and an idea of the Supreme, superior even to that which creation suggests. Who but God could produce that type, that idea of perfection, equally exclusive and original?

“Christ, having but a few weak disciples, was condemned to death. He died the object of the wrath of the Jewish priests, and of the contempt of the nation, and abandoned and denied by his own disciples.

“‘They are about to take me, and to crucify me,’ said he. ‘I shall be abandoned of all the world. My chief disciples will deny me at the commencement of my punishment. I shall be left to the wicked. But then, divine justice being satisfied, original sin being expiated by my sufferings, the bond of man to God will be renewed, and my death will be the life of my disciples. Then they will be more strong without me than with me; for they shall see me rise again. I shall ascend to the skies, and I shall send to them from heaven a Spirit who will instruct them. The Spirit of the Cross will enable them to understand my gospel. In fine, they will believe it; they will preach it; and they will convert the world.’

“And this strange promise, so aptly called by Paul ‘the foolishness of the cross,’ this prediction of one miserably crucified, is literally accomplished; and the mode of the accomplishment is perhaps more prodigious than the promise.

“It is not a day, nor a battle, which has decided it. Is it the lifetime of a man? No: it is a war, a long combat, of three hundred years, commenced by the apostles, and continued by their successors and by succeeding generations of Christians. In this conflict, all the kings and all the forces of the earth were arrayed on one side. Upon the other, I see no army but a mysterious energy, individuals scattered here and there, in all parts of the globe, having no other rallying sign than a common faith in the mysteries of the cross.

“What a mysterious symbol, the instrument of the punishment of the Man-God! His disciples were armed with it. ‘The Christ,’ they said, ‘God, has died for the salvation of men.’ What a strife, what a tempest, these simple words have raised around the humble standard of the punishment of the Man-God! On the one side, we see rage and all the furies of hatred and violence; on the other, there are gentleness, moral courage, infinite resignation. For three hundred years, spirit struggled against the brutality of sense, conscience against despotism, the soul against the body, virtue against all the vices. The blood of Christians flowed in torrents. They died kissing the hand which slew them. The soul alone protested, while the body surrendered itself to all tortures. Everywhere Christians fell, and everywhere they triumphed.

“You speak of Caesar, of Alexander, of their conquests, and of the enthusiasm which they enkindled in the hearts of their soldiers; but can you conceive of a dead man making conquests, with an army faithful, and entirely devoted to his memory. My armies have forgotten me even while living, as the Carthaginian army forgot Hannibal. Such is our power! A single battle lost crushes us, and adversity scatters our friends.

“Can you conceive of Cæsar as the eternal emperor of the Roman senate, and, from the depth of his mausoleum, governing the empire, watching over the destinies of Rome? Such is the history of the invasion and conquest of the world by Christianity; such is the power of the God of the Christians; and such is the perpetual miracle of the progress of the faith, and of the government of his Church. Nations pass away, thrones crumble; but the Church remains. What is, then, the power which has protected this Church, thus assailed by the furious billows of rage and the hostility of ages? Whose is the arm, which, for eighteen hundred years, has protected the Church from so many storms which have threatened to ingulf it?

“Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and myself founded empires. But on what did we rest the creations of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ alone founded his empire upon love; and, at this hour, millions of men would die for him.

“In every other existence but that of Christ, how many imperfections! Where is the character which has not yielded, vanquished by obstacles? Where is the individual who has never been governed by circumstances or places; who has never succumbed to the influences of the times; who has never compounded with any customs or passions? From the first day to the last, he is the same, always the same; majestic and simple; infinitely firm, and infinitely gentle.

“Truth should embrace the universe. Such is Christianity,—the only religion which destroys sectional prejudices; the only one which proclaims the unity and the absolute brotherhood of the whole human family; the only one which is purely spiritual; in fine, the only one which assigns to all, without distinction, for a true country, the bosom of the Creator, God. Christ proved that he was the Son of the Eternal by his disregard of time. All his doctrines signify one only and the same thing,—eternity.

“It is true that Christ proposes to our faith a series of mysteries. He commands with authority, that we should believe them,—giving no other reason than those tremendous words, ‘I am God.’ He declares it. What an abyss he creates by that declaration between himself’ and all the fabricators of religion! What audacity, what sacrilege, what blasphemy, if it were not true! I say more: The universal triumph of an affirmation of that kind, if the triumph were not really that of God himself, would be a plausible excuse, and the proof of atheism.

“Moreover, in propounding mysteries, Christ is harmonious with Nature, which is profoundly mysterious. From whence do I come? whither do I go? who am I? Human life is a mystery in its origin, its organization, and its end. In man and out of man, in Nature, every thing is mysterious. And can one wish that religion should not be mysterious? The creation and the destiny of the world are an unfathomable abyss, as also are the creation and destiny of each individual. Christianity at least does not evade these great questions; it meets them boldly: and our doctrines are a solution of them for every one who believes.

“The gospel possesses a secret virtue, a mysterious efficacy, a warmth which penetrates and soothes the heart. One finds, in meditating upon it, that which one experiences in contemplating the heavens. The gospel is not a book: it is a living being, with an action, a power, which invades every thing that opposes its extension. Behold! it is upon this table: this book, surpassing all others [here the emperor deferentially placed his hand upon it], I never omit to read it, and every day with the same pleasure.

“Nowhere is to be found such a series of beautiful ideas; admirable moral maxims, which pass before us like the battalions of a celestial army, and which produce in our soul the same emotions which one experiences in contemplating the infinite expanse of the skies, resplendent in a summer’s night with all the brilliance of the stars. Not only is our mind absorbed; it is controlled: and the soul can never go astray with this book for its guide. Once master of our spirit, the faithful gospel loves us. God even is our friend, our father, and truly our God. The mother has no greater care for the infant whom she nurses.

“What a proof of the Divinity of Christ! With an empire so absolute, he has but one single end,—the spiritual melioration of individuals, the purity of the conscience, the union to that which is true, the holiness of the soul.

“Christ speaks, and at once generations become his by stricter, closer ties than those of blood,—by the most sacred, the most indissoluble, of unions. He lights up the flames of a love which prevails over every other love. The founders of other religions never conceived of this mystical love, which is the essence of Christianity, and is beautifully called charity. In every attempt to affect this thing, viz. to make himself beloved, man deeply feels his own impotence. So that Christ’s greatest miracle undoubtedly is the reign of charity.

“I have so inspired multitudes, that they would die for me. God forbid that I should form any comparison between the enthusiasm of the soldier and Christian charity, which are as unlike as their cause!

“But, after all, my presence was necessary: the lightning of my eye, my voice, a word from me, then the sacred fire was kindled in their hearts. I do, indeed, possess the secret of this magical power which lifts the soul; but I could never impart it to any one. None of my generals ever learned it from me. Nor have I the means of perpetuating my name and love for me in the hearts of men, and to effect these things without physical means.

“Now that I am at St. Helena, now that I am alone, chained upon this rock, who fights and wins empires for me? who are the courtiers of my misfortune? who thinks of me? who makes effort for me in Europe? Where are my friends? Yes: two or three, whom your fidelity immortalizes, you share, you console, my exile.”

Here the emperor’s voice trembled with emotion, and for a moment he was silent. He then continued:—

“Yes: our life once shone with all the brilliance of the diadem and the throne; and yours, Bertrand, reflected that splendor, as the dome of the Invalides, gilt by us, reflects the rays of the sun. But disaster came: the gold gradually became dim. The rain of misfortune and outrage, with which I am daily deluged, has effaced all the brightness. We are mere lead now, General Bertrand; and soon I shall be in my grave.

“Such is the fate of great men! So it was with Caesar and Alexander. And I, too, am forgotten; and the name of a conqueror and an emperor is a college theme! Our exploits are tasks given to pupils by their tutors, who sit in judgment upon us, awarding censure or praise. And mark what is soon to become of me: assassinated by the English oligarchy, I die before my time; and my dead body, too, must return to the earth, to become food for worms. Behold the destiny, near at hand, of him whom the world called the great Napoleon! What an abyss between my deep misery and the eternal reign of Christ, which is proclaimed, loved, adored, and which is extending over all the earth! Is this to die? is it not rather to live? The death of Christ—it is the death of God!

For a moment the emperor was silent. As General Bertrand made no reply, he solemnly added, “If you do not perceive that Jesus Christ is God, very well: then I did wrong to make you a general.”

Whatever else one may say in response, it is difficult to explain this away as mere eloquence. In fact, it was to counter mere eloquence and such artificial power that Napoleon said what he did. With unbelievable insight, he saw how Jesus Christ conquered. It was not by force, but by winning the heart.

Sources: Army, Navy, Air Force Journal & Register, Volume 18, 1881 and numerous other sources that record various instances of Napoleon’s words concerning Jesus including the Christian Classics Ethereal Library @ http://www.ccel.org/

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Christmas; Christ’s Nativity: The Manifestation of Christ, or Epiphany.

The Child of Promise and The Nativity of Christ

“The Greek word signifies manifestation, and hath been of old used for Christmas day, when Christ was manifested in the flesh; and for the day wherein the star did appear to manifest Christ to the wise men, as appears by Chrysostom and Epiphanius. For the antiquity of the day, Augustin says, The solemnity of this day, known throughout all the world, what joy doth it bring in!”—” This feast has several appellations amongst the Greek fathers, sometimes it is called, the day of sacred illumination, (Gregory Nazianzen); sometimes the Theophany, the manifestation of God. It often imports Christ’s birth-day; now is the festival of the Theophany, or Christ’s nativity. Yet sometimes they are distinguished, The nativity of Christ and the Theophany, &c. are to be accounted for holidays. And again, The first festival is that of Christ’s birth, the next is that of the Theophany, (Epiphanius). But of all the names most usual, and most frequently applied to it, is this of Epiphany, though under the patriarchate of Alexandria communicated both to the nativity and baptism of Christ.”

I.— The manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles.

The order of divine providence, to a contemplative mind, affords one of the strongest evidences of the over-ruling power of Almighty God, in arranging and completing the purposes of his will for the final benefit of all his creatures. The establishment and administration of nations, and even the successive transactions of every man’s life, sufficiently declare, “this is thy hand, and thou Lord hast done it.” The motive may not always be visible to the limited view of man, but the effect is always visible; or at least, may be deduced from the variety of combinations which every man sees before him. In nothing is this observation more conclusive, than in a comparison of the volume of Scripture with the general history of the human race; and still more, with the history of the human heart.

The manifestation of our blessed Saviour to the world, is the grand key of those unsearchable riches, which the grace of God has given to mankind. He was first manifested by the voice of prophecy, generally, and obscurely, in the early ages; afterwards, more fully revealed in the family of David; and at last, expected and received in the manger at Bethlehem. Could this have been thought possible? Could it ever have been imagined, that he who came specifically into the world to save sinners, and to establish for himself a spiritual kingdom, a kingdom, sooner or later, to comprehend all people, nations, and languages, should be received in a stable amongst the meanest of mankind? But this was an indispensable link in the history of redemption. The more wonderful, because the more unlikely.

Our Lord’s nativity, doubtless, was his first personal manifestation to the Jewish nation, to whom his Gospel was to be first offered. Connected with this was the manifestation of himself, at his baptism by John, by a miraculous appearance, and a miraculous voice. “Then Jesus when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water; and lo! The heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him; and a voice from heaven saying, This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. We cannot imagine any exhibition of himself more impressive, illustrious, or sublime. And if we refer on this occasion to the inspired words of the Evangelical Prophet, the scene before us becomes our own. “Behold my servant whom I uphold, mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth. I have put my Spirit upon him, he shall show forth judgment to the Gentiles.

It will not be supposed that great events can be accomplished without great  manifestations. There must be something of no common nature to mark the circumstance, and direct the attention. Though some mystery hangs over the disclosure of the wandering star to the wise men of the East, none whatever attaches to the object of their journey. The appearance of a star of an uncommon description was likely to attract the notice of celebrated men belonging to a nation long distinguished for their study of astronomy. How they were made acquainted with the expected, or actual birth of Christ, does not appear. The Chaldeans were a wise and an inquiring people, and might have heard, or read of, the predictions relative to the Messias from the books of Moses, through the information of travelling Jews; or they might have had the circumstance particularly revealed, an opinion I am inclined to adopt, as they were warned by God in a dream to return by a different road. However it was, a star of so particular a description pointing out distinctly to them a line of road leading to the very object of their search, was a pre-disposing cause of their journey; and a miraculous interposition of Divine Providence to reveal the new-born Saviour to a remote region of the Gentile world.

The leading of the star was a moral movement, and every step of the Magi was on sacred ground. They had a Saviour in view, and were little molested with the difficulties of their journey. Christian traveller! dost thou see any resemblance to thyself? The Gospel is thy star, and the heavens above thee are clear. Thou hast no Alps to climb, nor torrents to obstruct thy path; but thou hast dangers to encounter which they never felt, perverse passions and pernicious principles; thou art way-laid by temptations—the world, the flesh, and the devil, are inveterate enemies in that wilderness which thou must pass. But look upward! thou hast a guide and protector as well as them; the star is as visible to thee, as to any of the eastern sages. If the star was emblematic of the Gospel, thou hast the reality of what they only had the figure. The bright and morning star is thine. There was a time in the course of their journey, that the wise men lost sight of the friendly star. They were searching at Jerusalem, and saw it not . Their interview with Herod was of a dangerous nature, and excited both the jealousy and cruelty of the tyrant. Their fears might be proportionate. They departed, it may be, dejected with disappointment from the holy city on their road to Bethlehem; but they had not proceeded far, when the star again appeared, and “they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.” Thus the man that mourneth for his sin committed against conviction, fallen from prospects of holy hope through the infirmity, and perhaps worse than the infirmity of the flesh, when he again beholds the blessed star of salvation beam upon his soul; when the faith which once led him over floods of ungodliness, and the barren sands of an Arabian desert, begins again to influence his breast, and the spirit of divine love to re-assure his heart, then does he resemble the wise men of the East, rejoicing at the re-appearance of their star, and warmly pursuing their path to the place where the Saviour lies. Happy is the man that recovers from his sin, from the hiding of God’s face, with all the fatal consequences of such a privation; happy in the acquisition of that treasure which the wise men found at Bethlehem; most of all happy, in being taught by the grace of God how to value it! Their own treasures presented to the holy babe, were trivial in comparison with those which he had to bestow. Gold, and frankincense, and myrrh, might be appropriate marks of their own characters and country, and might not be without an allusion to the heavenly Prince, the object of their journey; but the offering of a convert of the Gospel, the offering of one wearied and heavy laden with the burthen of his sin, where was that to be found, but in the very bosom of him whom they came to worship.

Blessed Lord! accept thine own offering; neither the calves and goats of the Jews, nor the lip-labour of the Christian, if I may use a term too degrading for the holiness of his profession, can be a sufficient offering for thee, who art all in all to us. Let us, impressed with this, conviction, approach the humble cottage of the lowly Jesus, and present our own gifts before him; not indeed earthly treasures, to whatever they may allude; not costly presents, such as have too often deceived men of this world; neither with ashes on our heads, nor sackcloth on our persons, but such as the Gospel, pure and unadulterated, rejoices to present, a pure faith, a contrite heart, and an holy conversation.

But our contemplation on the Chaldean manifestation of Christ does not end here. Herod’s cruelty was itself a manifestation of its cause. How shall we reflect on the case of the poor infants who were slaughtered on this sad occasion? Even with that comfort which the Gospel only can bestow. No death is premature which the Almighty has designed; nor any injury inflicted, which the Son of God cannot cure. In infancy, every man may be satisfied with death. If unsinning life may be presented as an offering, through the merits and mediation of him who merited all for us, Oh! let the tear be checked which is shed for a dying babe. Nature may make some resistance, but grace is the healing balm. These poor infants resemble the souls under the altar, in the book of St . John’s revelation, who were “slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held. It may be said that they were baptized in blood. True; it was the blood of Christ which taketh away the sin of the world. Youth and age are as nothing in the sight of him, to whom a thousand years are as one day. “Cease, then, from man, whose breath is in his nostrils, for wherein is he to be accounted of?”

II.—The manifestation of Christ by his First Miracle.

To rejoice at every manifestation of the Saviour to the world is a Christian feeling, and must be considered as a manifestation of the increase of our Christian faith. Blessed are the people that are in such a case! and truly blessed is the heart that can sympathize in so holy an affection, that can go on from grace to grace, till he appears before the Lord in Zion.

Our Lord’s manifestations of himself were gradual; like that of the morning, which first irradiates the hills, then penetrates to the depths of the valleys. Each ray brings an accession of light, till the whole atmosphere is sensible of the blessing. If the revelation of natural beauty makes such an impression on the mind, what may we not expect, what, indeed, do we not experience, when the deepest recesses of the soul become the receptacles of spiritual joy, and the “whole of man’s existence is absorbed in the high conception? I speak this under correction; for being compounded of body as well as soul, our warmest aspirations must accord with our relative situation. This union cannot be forgotten, and when rationally, though spiritually established, it must afford the just measure of every religious feeling.

It was a manifestation of our Lord’s person and character, when, at an early period of his life, he was discovered by his mother, sitting in the midst of the learned rabbis in the temple at Jerusalem, hearing them and asking them questions. His proficiency, natural rather than acquired, amazed his hearers, and astonished his mother, who had reason to believe that the Son of Miracle was destined to sustain a character of undefined greatness. The immediate effect of this voluntary appearance is unknown; but, doubtless, it led the way to the disclosure of his future character, and was a link of that chain which bound in one, both the Jewish and the Gentile world: and though Scripture is silent on the subject, it is possible that a Nicodemus, or a Joseph of Arimathea, might be influenced to believe, from a remote circumstance, in the divinity of his character; and, finally, to adopt that acknowledgment of it afterwards, so honourable and valuable to themselves.

The true character of Jesus was, if I may so say, in abeyance with respect to his public history, till he had attained the usual age of public teachers. He then stepped forward with that divine dignity, which accompanied him to the end of his short ministry upon earth.

That which attracts attention in any great character must be something above the ordinary efforts of mankind; something allied, as it were, to a divine original: and though in the common dispensation of God’s Providence, the course of nature is smooth and undisturbed, yet, when his will is to be displayed for purposes higher than man’s understanding, he speaks a language that must be heard, and in accents derived from himself—the clouds pour out water, the air thunders, and his arrows are abroad. Miracle is the signal of God’s peculiar interference at the delivery of the law. The grandeur of the scenery is equal to the importance of the occasion. The Gospel also has its introduction. It is, indeed, a covenant of mercy, and therefore introduced with a milder designation of God’s will. Here miracle is equally conspicuous; but the lenient hand of the Saviour distributes it under a different principle. The law says, the soul that sinneth, it shall die—the Gospel, come unto me and ye shall live. There are also inward as well as outward miracles; miracles of grace as well as miracles of glory. The conversion of a sinner’s heart, and magnifying the glory of God by a miraculous interposition, are conspicuous proofs that God is in us of a truth.

It pleased the Almighty, that the first manifestation of the Saviour in his public capacity, should be made by a miracle. The nature of the miracle was appropriate to the circumstance. The person of our Lord had been miraculously attested at his baptism by John. A few, a very few friends had attached themselves to him at this period, by the tie of an affectionate friendship, founded on the holy character which they believed him to possess. These friends, with relatives of his temporal state, were present with him at a marriage feast, probably of one of his family; unconscious that, at that time, he would give any proof of the divine nature of his character. How unconscious are many of us of the moment, or circumstance, which decides the most important event of our whole lives! This observation must be obvious to every reflecting man. A journey is often commenced which, to many, never ends. We enter an apartment, careless and unconcerned, when the presence of a particular person, or an unexpected offer, gives a turn to every prospect of our hearts. This marriage festival, which brought present enjoyment to some, gave salvation to many more. It gave an impulse, through the grace of God, to the first ministers of the Gospel, and showed them the way, through many long and painful travels, to experience the blessings and happy consequences of an apostolic mission.

The order of divine providence is here as minutely followed, as in any other part of our Lord’s various life. The first manifestation of his glory by his first miracle, was apparently undesigned as to every outward circumstance. It was not made in the temple, the most eminent monument of the glory of God; it did not take place in the holy city, where great kings and great prophets had usually assembled; it did not occur in the mansion of the rich, or in the camp of the warrior, where numerous retainers might have maintained his cause, or fought his battles; but it happened in the humble cottage of a poor man like himself, unable to supply all things necessary on a memorable occasion. His mother’s anxiety was excited: for, when they wanted wine, she said unto him,—” They have no wine.” In that country, wine was not the luxury, but the necessary of life: and when he liberally and miraculously supplied the want, justly might they wonder, and lay the first foundation of that faith on which they were to be built up unto eternal life. “This beginning of miracles,” says the Evangelist, “did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory, and his disciples believed on him’.”

Though the conversion of a world was to be the consequence of our Lord’s manifestation, it was necessarily to commence from one point: for in all things there must be an impulse, as well as a final consequence. Here were friends to be convinced, as well as adversaries to be repelled. Both were ready to fill the ranks. Had they been as ready for conviction, or conciliation, the mystery would have been over. But not so, “great is the mystery of godliness.” “A great and effectual door is opened, and there are many adversaries. The harmony, however, of a family of love, as on this occasion, is a picture deserving the contemplation of everyone who would study the intrinsic beauty of Christian society; “after this, Jesus went down to Capernaum, he and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples.”

The object of this miracle was to make Jesus known, as well as to confirm the faith of those who, in a short period, were to become missionaries of the Gospel. Eye-witnesses of such transactions were to be selected for the first preachers. Such was also the selection of witnesses of our Lord’s resurrection.

There is a consistency between this miracle, and the time, place, and persons, when, where, and by whom, it was performed. It had been tauntingly said of Christ, “Is not this the carpenter’s son? Whence hath this man all these things*?” The performance of the miracle was an answer to the inquiry. Even his brethren were convinced.

But Jesus not only manifested himself, but his glory. The word glory, in its spiritual sense, is attributed to Christ in its most extensive signification. The glory of the Lord is an expression continually occurring in Scripture; and no man can read it with out an overwhelming apprehension of that Majesty which no man hath seen or can see; an eminence and splendour which surpass human conception, and when we see “the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ,” we have a reflected glory which was communicated to man for the most beneficial purpose of man’s redemption. “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto themWhen these expressions of love reach the heart, the glory of the divine union will excite every better feeling, and produce an animation and joy, as if touched with celestial fire.

Lose not a transport so seldom felt, so quickly lost. Be as one of the heavenly host, even now beholding and contemplating the magnificence of the Saviour. “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

III.—Christian Missions.

No man can be satisfied of the value of our Christian faith on its true principle, without earnestly endeavouring to extend its advantages both within, and without his power. If salvation be the end of religion, and the knowledge of religion be derived from the word of God, we have here the first step of those many travels to which the zealous missionary is directed. “When thou art converted,” said our Lord to St. Peter, “strengthen thy brethren .” This was not a general, but a particular admonition. But as universal precepts include particular duties, we may imagine that the conversion of brethren was to be propagated from man to man, as all the benefits of society extend to every member of a community.

When we look around us, do we not wish that all we see were Christian? When we observe ordinary habits become public nuisances, and knowing that we reside in a reputed Christian country where salvation has been preached, and even, where, I trust, it has been found; when we reflect upon the relays of sin that pass along our streets, and still more, of what is concealed from our eyes, are we not disgusted at such circumstances, and feel our hearts sink at so appalling a prospect; and finally, under such an impression, is it not our endeavour, by God’s grace, to lessen the iniquity at least by one? He who takes this view of his situation, must necessarily strive to improve it, and to propagate a saving faith within his sphere as an indispensable duty.

But as every duty has its own qualification, so has even the solemn duty of conversion. The mark may be missed by an improper use of the means. A true zeal must be according to knowledge; otherwise we may mar the very blessing it might have been our happiness to procure. This is not the place, however, to draw distinctions. If Christian missions are necessary, a self-evident proposition, they must be supported; but to make them available, they must be derived from that legitimate authority, originally and especially deputed by the voice of inspiration. I mean not to make any observation on the good men who cross sea and land to make a proselyte; but I have often regretted, that more effectual measures had not been adopted for the promotion of this good cause, within the bosom of our own excellent Church.

The propagation of the Gospel, though miraculously rapid at its first institution amongst the civilized nations of the world, was left to find its way in savage countries, and in remote regions of the globe recently or slowly inhabited, by ordinary means, and by the intrinsic value justly attributed to it by pious, zealous, and intrepid neighbours. We will not speak of late or early propagation of the Gospel, because, to the Almighty Ruler of the universe, a thousand years are as one day; and to the happy country, whenever or wherever converted to pure Christianity, we need only reckon by the same measure of time. That which I would wish to inculcate is, that conversion is a duty of all times and seasons as well as in all places, and incumbent on persons of every age and station. The opportunities of life indeed, are different with respect to every event, but if the heart be right, the duty will find its proper place, and God himself will point out the opportunity. If we travel with our eye under this direction, we can follow the Lord’s leading through the most wonderful tracks, and accomplish his purpose by ways nothing less than miraculous.

Within the memory of man, ships of discovery have been sent out into regions not known, and among people the most unlikely to be brought under the cross of Christ. See! the prophecy is fulfilling, ” all nations shall call me blessed.” At various periods in the history of the world, certain impulses seem to prevail in the developement of new facts. The extension of trade, and the astonishing application of the mechanical arts, constitute new powers in the hand of man. These powers arise from new combinations in the reasoning faculties, and produce effects attributable only to the God of reason; the consequence, therefore, is, that the ways of God are carried into effect in a manner derivable only from himself. Thus it is that the trading ship with its Bible on board, is a messenger of heaven; whilst the vessel itself traverses the ocean unconscious of its treasure.

Though all the Apostles were missionaries, St. Paul was the original missionary of the Gentile Church. Not only his preaching and epistles, but the very circumstances of his travels, were appropriate to his mission. What was his shipwreck on the island of Melita, but a part of this design? When they saw the viper on his hand, was it merely considered as an accident by his heathen spectators? This man is a murderer, they said. But when he shook it off, and found no harm—This man is a god. He was a prisoner at Rome,—why? that he might spread the knowledge of the Saviour, and make proselytes in Nero’s prison as well as in Nero’s palace. It is even said, that this great missionary visited Britain. Certain it is, his doctrines came early to this island. In what state did they find our Saxon ancestors ?—oppressed with the cruel rites of Druidism; rude, ignorant, and idolatrous. How great then are the blessings which a mission has brought to us! Let gratitude, founded on the depths of religion, return the obligation, by doing to others what others have done for us; and may we never fail to express that gratitude with faithful hearts to the Giver of all goodness and lover of souls, who hath called us, and our forefathers, out of darkness into the marvellous light of the Gospel.

It is thus that the same benefits are destined to travel round the world. Every man may lend a helping hand. A man may travel by his prayers; he may travel by his bounty; he may be a missionary by his fireside; in humility of mind, and rich in spirit, he may do all this—neither will his labour be in vain in the Lord—he may cast his treasure on the waters, and it will return after many days.

God uses his own means to accomplish his own ends. The Gospel was never thought of when Cook landed at Otaheite. Yet see the change! I can only draw a general conclusion from the circumstance. But there is more in contemplation in the eye of Providence than can be drawn by the most reflecting mind from the events of the most interesting narrative. “I shall see him, but not now, I shall behold him, but not nigh; there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Scepter shall rise out of Israel.” The star travelled with the wise men from Chaldea, till it became fixed over the revealed Saviour at Jerusalem. The manifestation of Christ is still in progress; nor will it cease till the Gospel of ” the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations’.”

But in casting my eye over the extensive labours of a missionary life, I must not omit other duties, with which we ought to be better acquainted—the mission which presents itself to us at home. And if I add, that this is preparatory to the great and comprehensive plan for the conversion of a world, I trust that I should begin at the right point. Even under the pleasing duties of a parish minister, he cannot but feel discouraged by the carelessness of some, and the obstinate resistance of others, neither of whom he can by any means consider as converts of the Gospel. Here there is ample scope for missionary labours within a narrow compass.

An eminent and eloquent divine, though not of our Church, produces this argument in favour of national establishments of religion.

“An establishment,” he says, “when rightly viewed, has greatly more in it of the character and power of a missionary operation. It may be regarded as an universal home mission. It works aggressively over all the land. That was a prodigious progressive movement which it made at the outset, when it first planted its churches, and chalked out its parishes, and so caused the voice of the Gospel to be heard throughout the whole length and breadth of the territory. And, then, if rightly followed up, we shall discern in its internal workings the same character; for each minister in his own little vineyard is provided with ample scope, and is placed in the best vantage-ground for the high and holy functions of a Christian missionary. It is true that his pulpit is stationary, and there must be some predisposition for Christianity among those families of his people, who are drawn to it by a process of attraction on the Sabbath. But his power is moveable; and by a process of aggression through the week, he can go forth among all the families of his people, even among those who have as little of predisposition for Christianity as exists in the remotest wilds of Paganism. We have not to traverse oceans and continents in order to perform the essential work of a missionary, or to assail an immortal spirit which is not in quest of salvation for itself, with the calls and overtures of Heaven’s high embassy. There is a moral as well as a physical distance which must be overcome; and in the act of doing it, the parochial clergyman may have to face such difficulties, and to force his way through such barriers of dislike, or prejudice, or delicacy, that in the prosecution of his calling, he may, without half a mile of loco-motion, earn the proudest triumphs, and discharge the most arduous functions; and, in short, evince all the sound characteristics of a most deep and devoted missionary. We must not overlook the great Christian good achieved, whether in those rare and transient visitations by which they intersect our land, or in that multitude of fabrics, where they permanently emanate the lessons of the Gospel, and by which they have beautified, with frequent spots of surpassing verdure, the face of our island.”

See also:The Wisdom and Love of God as Shown by His Creation by Noah Webster

Source: Reflections adapted to the holy seasons of the Christian and ecclesiastical year: By John Brewster (1834)

The Child of Promise and The Nativity of Christ

LivingNativityThe Child of Promise.

The word promise, in the Christian acceptation of the expression, is attended with such a pleasing contemplation, that we are prepared to pursue the train of imagination with an alacrity that delights, and a zeal that leads to a conclusion which satisfies the warmest expectation. The land of promise has become proverbial; and we pursue the wanderings in the wilderness till we arrive, with the Israelites, at a country flowing with milk and honey, a country abounding in everything that could please the eye or gratify the senses. That land of promise to the sons of Jacob, was merely an emblem of a spiritual kingdom to the sons of the Gospel. For who is our leader through the wilderness of the world? Who is he that strikes the rock, and bids the living water flow through the Christian camp? One who was indeed the child of promise long before the patriarchal dispensation spread itself abroad in the land of Canaan. By faith, even in the most early days, the elders obtained a good report; and by faith, Abel offered an acceptable sacrifice ‘. This could not have been the case without an original revelation. And if we penetrate a little nearer to the first spring of salvation, we shall witness a grateful promise indeed, that the offspring of our first parents, who brought sin into the world and all our woe, should ultimately bruise the serpents head, and “through death, destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil. That this is a great mystery must be acknowledged; but, as a confirmed doctrine of the Gospel, must be believed—believed, not merely as an historic fact, but as the foundation of our Christian dispensation. The purpose doubtless is most beneficial; and though the Almighty has permitted the enemy of our salvation to “walk about seeking whom he may devour’,” we may rest assured that he will be permitted to devour none but those who, virtually or really, renounce the allegiance of our God and Saviour.

If we have evidence of this inestimable promise, disbelief of it becomes tenfold sinful. The distinction of the Apostle is this—” Because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith’.” When we perceive, then, a long train of prophecy bearing on this one event, when we have been enabled to see that event accomplished; when we live after the fact, and are made acquainted with the inestimable benefits to be derived from it; that the child of promise has bruised the serpent’s head, by being himself bruised, and put to grief as a substitute for those who had been led astray by the wiles of the seducing serpent; when the blessings of his appearance have been felt in the breasts of the faithful; when the Comforter has come to soothe the orphan hearts of the miserable and heavy-laden—what can we say but that the voice of joy and gladness has cheered the desert, that “the branch of the Lord is beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel!”

To enumerate the prophecies, would here be out of place; but to lay the elect corner-stone on this foundation, as the peculiar grounds of spiritual deliverance, is to establish a principle, which infidelity, with its fullest train of sophistry, is unable to remove, or destroy.

As the original sin of our first parents was the sole cause of the loss of their happy abode, and degraded and obscured the fine faculties with which they were endowed; as that sin has been but too fatally transmitted to their posterity in every succeeding age, and is still predominant in our own; the Almighty, in the depth of his divine mercy and goodness, proposed a deliverer to propitiate for his fallen creatures. The plan of Providence, as declared in the Scriptures of truth, was intimated in every age, obscurely perhaps at first; but sufficiently intelligible to excite hope; afterwards, in language that could not be mistaken; till at length the time came that Christ burst upon the world and completed the general joy.

I speak here collectively—waiving the hardness of the Jew and the resistance of the Gentile:—but anticipating that day of Messiah’s triumph, that one day, if I may so say, when “the multitudes that went before and that followed, cried, saying, Hosannah to the Son of David: blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosannah in the highest!” Is there any one duly impressed with the necessity of a Redeemer, with the true value of a Deliverer—and such a Deliverer !—” the brightness of his Father’s glory, and the express image of his person,” and one “who, his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree;” is there any man so tame of soul, so destitute even of self-love, as not to hail his appearance with the most joyful acclamations?

This is, indeed, the advent of the child of promise: and to everyone who receives him graciously, he is the child of promise still: as he enters no man’s doors but with this benevolent assurance, this day is salvation come to this house . The promise is completed in the breast of every true believer—the fruit of David’s body now rests on David’s throne. Good old Simeon departed in peace when he had received the infant Jesus in his arms; and Anna, the venerable and aged’ prophetess, spake of him to all those that looked for redemption in Israel.

While our hearts are warm with expectation, let not our bodies faint with apprehension, either under the pressure of sin, sorrow, or affliction. These, indeed, are evils that no man can support without assistance far beyond his own; but he must not forget that help is at hand in the person of the promised child, who came with healing on his wings, with consolation sweet as his pure spirit, with salvation which his merits and his mercies only can communicate. “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” Rest then here on the omnipotence of this most explicit prophecy; repose with confidence that he who is all this, can bestow all that he possesses; and be assured, that the Prince of Peace is the holy child of promise.

May the benefits of this promise cheer and cherish the heart of every Christian: “looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.

The Nativity of Christ.

“When the fulness of time was come, God sent forth his Son.” We cannot have meditated truly on the preparation which was making for the greatest change which had ever taken place on the moral theatre of the world, if we perceive not the intrinsic value of the person to be introduced. Many great men have unexpectedly appeared at various periods, who, from unusual energy of mind or body, have occasioned great civil and political changes in their respective countries and stations. This age has not been without its instances. But, great as these changes may have been, they passed speedily away. Others may succeed; but none are permanent. New changes possibly form new habits: but do they form new men? We must look elsewhere for such a conformation. And such a change we have had, indeed such a change we now have in the blessed object of adoration on this day of Christ’s nativity.

A very partial and even prejudiced observer, is compelled to acknowledge that an important and visible change in the constitution of the world, took place as on this day of Christ’s nativity; the consequences of which will remain to the end of the world. Even the false apostles of later days, the instructors of new religions, wherever they may be found, are proofs of the existence of one pure fountain from whence their polluted streams have flowed; and when those streams shall be cleared from their defilements, which will be accomplished by an ethereal grace, all will flow together into the sanctuary of the Lord.

“When the fulness of time was come, God sent forth his Son.” A short selection of passages from the more remote and obscure prophecies to the recent and explicit, will at once illustrate the point of time alluded to by the apostle. “The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent’s head’.”—” In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed—” Of the fruit of thy body (David’s) will I set upon thy throne.”— “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Emanuel .”—” Behold! thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus. ” He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest, and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of his father David‘.”—” From henceforth,” said Mary the virgin, “shall all generations call me blessed‘.”

This day of our Lord’s nativity presents to us a yearly representation of this fulness of time. It reminds us of another day distinguished in the annals of sacred history, when the children of Israel were delivered from the captivity of Egypt; and may also call attention to ourselves when delivered from the bondage of sin: ” this day shall be unto you for a memorial, and you shall keep it a feast unto the Lord throughout your generations ; you shall keep it a feast by an ordinance forever.” Previous to this day, the Messiah appeared only in figure, in shadow, and prophecy, but on this day of his revelation to Israel, and through Israel to the world at large, the shadow fled, and prophecy was accomplished. Then, indeed, time was at the full. God sent forth his Son: he went forth from himself, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. The passage illustrates, the whole scheme of man’s redemption through Christ, from the pressure of the law of Moses, from the pains and penalties of sin and death, from natural depravity, to an assumption, by the Saviour, into the inestimable blessing of adoption: “and because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father!” The connexion now is as full as the time—” Christ taking our flesh, we rejoicing in his Spirit—he, by us, partaking of our nature—we, by him, partaking of the divine nature, both sealing our duty to him”!

A contemplation of the sacred books, revealing and recording every circumstance relative to him who is the light of the world, is wonderful in every view. They are satisfactory evidences of what God has done for the soul of man; clear as a plan of salvation, consoling to penitent sinners, encouraging to those who are the happy recipients of so inestimable a blessing. When these consequences are fairly understood and appreciated, the prophetic notice of our Lord’s coming, the supernatural circumstances of his birth, the vision of angels to the shepherds, the harmony of the celestial hymn, the painful journey of the wise men of Persia, the presentation of a valuable symbolic offering to an obscure infant in the manger of an obscure inn; and at a later period of the infant’s life, the extraordinary appearance and preaching of his avowed forerunner, St. John; and more, the splendid and miraculous revelation of the Holy Spirit at his baptism;—will be thought far from unseasonable preludes to our hymns of praise and thanksgivings to him, who thus brought tidings of great joy which shall be to all people.

Had the Jews been sensible of such a visitor, as they ought to have been from a knowledge of their own Scriptures; were we sensible of such a visitor, with both the Jewish Scriptures and our own before our eyes, how very different would have been their conduct, and how very different should be our own on the anniversary of this day of our Lord’s nativity! It would not merely be a periodical blessing, but every day would cause a spiritual rejoicing for a new state of existence. “This is the day which the Lord hath made, we will be glad and rejoice in it.”

Considered in this light, we have a fulness of subject, suitable to the fulness of time: a subject which seems to burst beyond common bounds, and offers such a plenitude of thought, as ought, indeed, to fill our hearts with gladness, and our tongues with praise. I do not, however, call upon myself or others to desire an excitement beyond our natural powers. An enthusiastic elevation of mind is no proof of a sound and holy faith. The calmness of our belief is the criterion of our wisdom. “The wisdom that is from above, is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. The subject indeed is high; and requires the highest attainment of spiritual understanding to reflect upon it with edification and improvement: but God has given us, on such occasions, not “the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” If our understanding be charged with righteousness, our Christian path will be as smooth, as if softened by the dew of the morning.

May my heart be prepared by divine grace for so holy a meditation! May it secure to me the calmness of piety; and then may I be allowed to open my eyes and exclaim with the servant of the prophet on the rapture of his master, “My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and the horsemen thereof!”

The day of Christ’s nativity must not pass away like common days; neither must it be distinguished by that thoughtless and licentious hilarity, which custom has shed around it. The cheerfulness of true religion requires nothing austere or morose, much less anything brutish or intemperate, to correct it. The domestic virtues are Christian virtues; they are graces emanating from the very spirit of Christianity, and diffusing such a love among family-society, as the angels of heaven may look upon with complacency and satisfaction. Blessed is that season which is made holy by the pleasing and pious intercourse of prayer and praise! Blessed are those Christian friends who meet together to praise God and be thankful: thankful, not only for the comforts they enjoy as members of a Christian family, but as part of an holy brotherhood, of “the general assembly and church of the first-born, which are written in heaven’;” as one of those that “have obtained a good report through faith, and have received the promise”.

The meditation is awful and interesting to which we are directed on this blessed day of our Lord’s nativity—it rests principally on the great doctrine of the day, salvation by Christ alone; “neither is there salvation in any other, for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” No obscurity attends the doctrine; neither can salvation be explained away by any moral argument. The original revelation of our Lord’s name and character to his reputed father, -cannot be misunderstood; “Mary thy wife shall bring forth a son, conceived in her by the Holy Ghost, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sin.” “The God of our fathers,” says St Peter, “raised up Jesus, whom ye slew, and hanged on a tree: him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins’.” How was this accomplished? Hallowed be the exposition to every feeling member of the Church of Christ!” I delivered unto you, first of all,” says St. Paul, “that which I also received; how that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures ‘.” And the beloved apostle expressly declares, “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”

To bring this home to the reflecting heart. We are, or ought to be well satisfied of the insufficiency of human merit; every man bears the evidence within his own breast; and I dare not think that any man can rest on his own merit. No man certainly, who does not greatly deceive himself. If he cannot rest on himself, he must look for help elsewhere. But where, in human life, can he find it? Poor human nature sinks beneath his grasp. No man may redeem his brother. But in the discovery made on this day of God, we have as much as God can send; as much as man can desire. “God sent forth his Son”—his great estimation of the person sent, is implied in the expression. Human feelings are those only by which we can arrive at any adequate conception of things divine. The name of Son needs no interpretation in a parent’s breast. And if we can imagine, even in a low degree, the infinite pureness of the Almighty’s love, then may we attempt to calculate the love of God, which passes all understanding. The Son, too, implies the human nature of Christ without which the object of his appearance would have been in vain. The world in which he appeared, and the character of that world, are consonant with the great purpose of his coming. “In this was manifested the love of God towards us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.”—” He sent his Son to be the propitiation [or, propitiatory sacrifice] for our sins ‘.” That is, to free us from all the evil consequences of sin, and endow us with all possible good; adopt us as beloved children, and invest us with an heavenly inheritance.”

Here then is disclosed, not only the fulness of time referred to in the birth of Christ, but the fulness of blessings attached to it. In consequence of the great event of this day, the circumstances of the world are changed. We were under the law, and subject to its penalties: we are under the Gospel, and expectants of its promises. Under the sentence of the law our very lives were jeopardied; under the benevolence of redemption we are not only rescued, but accepted. Our redemption is not restricted by cruel conditions, or by narrow bounds; the Son, thus given and received by faith in the pardoning mercy of God, through him, is all-sufficient; he is a common Saviour, and his gratuity “a common salvation.”In him shall all nations be blessed;” but not as all nations, or all sinners, but as redeemed, purchased by the blood of the Redeemer. It was a matter of purchase and delivery—” He gave his life a ransom for many,” for the many, the world. To make this redemption effectual it must be accepted in the beloved, the beloved Son of God, for “he that made Christ the Son of man, regenerates men to be the sons of God.”

As practical feeling is the proper result of sound faith, it becomes us to let no moment of reflection pass by without improvement in the contemplation of Divine truth. The fulness of time has brought before us a complete view of man’s salvation, let us inquire, whether our hearts have freely responded to such happy tidings? If they have, the convinced Christian will have great cause for rejoicing. No partial view of his religion will have produced a partial judgment of his condition, not relying on any personal call, he will still consider himself personally interested in an assurance of hope, resting on the firm basis of an assurance of faith.

As we rise by degrees through almost every situation of human life, so by degrees we rise from the humbling necessities of mortality to the triumphant glories of a better world. The progress, which at first is pleasant, at last is delightful. How exquisite the gradations of a Christian mind advancing daily in spiritual strength, daily rising from one eminence to another, and experiencing those sweet consolations, the happy consequences of an increase in religious knowledge! The Christian is springing upwards. At the first step he finds the fulness of comfort, that enviable state of mind, which may be felt, but cannot be described. After a hard day of conflict and of sorrow, he finds himself resting at ease on the bosom of a friend. But why represent in figure, what is best known in substance? The Spirit of God, which has guarded his footsteps in every movement of his variegated life, sheds a benignant glow around his heart, which thrills in every vein. Peace I leave with you—is the glad voice he hears—My peace I give unto you. From hence he springs forward again, in the fulness of duty, to perfect his day of holiness. This is the second step of advance in his growth of Christian grace. Here he calls to mind the wonderful arrangement of the Almighty, in the accomplishment of this day of salvation. The fulness of God’s mercy is manifested in the inscrutable, but sufficient dispensation of his Son. If we have received of his bounty, let us return of our fulness. But fulness of comfort, and even fulness of duty, however valuable in their separate stations, will both be incomplete, without that fulness of thanksgiving and joy, which is the third gradation of piety on this day of the Lord.

If this be a time of seasonable joyfulness, let it be on the best principles of spiritual enjoyment; connecting the passing scenes of a transitory life with the reversion of a goodly heritage, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

The meditating Christian will suffer no reflection to pass by him without improvement. Is this the day of Christ’s nativity? So is every day that rises upon the Christian’s soul. So is every day that finds him on his knees before this shrine. Such convictions are ever new—they spring daily like the tender grass, fragrant as the field which the Lord hath blessed.

Help us then, blessed Lord, so to live through this day of God, that we may indeed rejoice when the day-spring from on high shall visit us!

A double nativity; of our own, and of Christ.

“Unto Us a child is born, unto us a son is given”— the prophet Isaiah was as confident that the child whose high character he describes, (Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace,) would appear in a due season, as if he then stood before his presence. The angels, in a vision, announce the coming of this child on the very day of his nativity, to a company of unpretending shepherds, with an appropriation which cannot be mistaken. The prophet said, “Unto us a child is born;” the angel, “unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ, the Lord’.” The connection is extraordinary and important. The language of the angel is the interpreter of the voice of prophecy. He not only points out the child, but the end and design of that child’s appearance in the world. It is specifically declared that the nativity of Christ was intended to fulfill a peculiar purpose, and that the beneficial influence of it should extend to the remotest regions, and the most distant people. Unto you, he says, is born a Saviour; but lest the shepherds should suppose the revelation to be confined to themselves, he dispels their personal fears with this reviving and general promise:—,” I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people;” that is, according to the best Scripture interpretation, to all who shall beneficially to themselves lay hold on the good tidings o salvation through the means of faith.

The history of Christianity takes this direction from the first:—” Children of the stock of Abraham,” said St. Paul, “and whosoever among you feareth God, unto you is the word of this salvation sent.  But soon does he make the fatal distinction, “Seeing ye put the word of God from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, Lo! we turn to the Gentiles.” The Gentiles happily received the rejected doctrine of the cross: but “now” says the same Apostle to the Ephesians, “in Christ Jesus, ye who sometimes were far off, are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”

From these considerations, it is clear that this salvation is personal, and therefore interesting: for the Lord Christ came not for his own sake into this miserable world, but that he might succour and save us. Let us then diligently endeavour to believe the angel, that we may enjoy the benefit of his coming. This is the language of Scripture in every part: believe and ye shall be saved; so believe as to make the nativity of Christ your own; and so live as to show that your whole conversation flows from your pure and lively faith: for the Scripture says, “The just shall live by faith.” This is the very ground of Christianity in its purest interpretation; and the end of all Christian knowledge is this.

The object of our present contemplation is that of a double nativity, that of our own, and of Christ; and that, in connection with each other.

The birth of our Lord, however it was received on earth, was the cause of great rejoicing in heaven. This joy is so great in this celestial region, that it cannot be contained, but bursts forth in splendour and in glory, that it may be communicated to the world. In contemplating this revelation we are ready to say, “Had I been one of the shepherds, with what devotion would I have received this holy child! With how much diligence would I have served him! But this presumption is soon checked by the self inquiry, do I duly serve him now? Is my devotion as ardent, and my love as pure, as I imagine it would have been then ?”—We see Christ now walking before us in the person of the poor and miserable. Do we now relieve him? We see his glory spreading over all the world, and the Gospel of his kingdom taking possession of the heart, and yet we are neither affected by the magnificence, nor the interest of the sight; neither do we turn our eyes on our own wants, and on that spiritual part which we are called upon to bear in it.:

Again, we see our Lord in the manger, and in as lowly a mansion as ever received any of the human race. Had I been there this should not have been the case. But, alas! like the three disciples on the mount of transfiguration, we wist not what we say. Let us turn aside from all such vain inquiries, and busy ourselves in those only which will make us wise unto salvation.

Our Lord in his cradle was like a treasure hidden in the earth. Search for it, and find it; open it, and possess it; and then it becomes profitable and precious. Such is this nativity. Use it as the pleasure of the Lord designed it; reflect upon it with all its consequences; otherwise it will be no comfort and advantage—it will be no nativity to us. For if we know no more than the bare history of our Saviour’s birth, and the circumstances which occurred at it—that he was born poor and needy—that he was visited in a stable as a forlorn and helpless infant, and lay reposing in a manger, we might have sympathized with him as a fellow-sufferer, but we could not have profited from this more than from any other history. If we looked upon him as no more than one of ourselves, one born in the ordinary course of human life, and returning again to the dust like other men, what rejoicing could we have had on this day of his nativity? No—look further :—” God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself.” And if he was so at his crucifixion, he was not less so on the day of his nativity. Look at the host of heaven announcing the event; hear the song of glad tidings harmoniously descending from the clouds; and, then, if the Gospel be true, not all the arguments of the most insidious skeptic can wrest this overwhelming truth from the record of the Almighty. How, then, it becomes us to inquire, should we use the day of his nativity, whom we acknowledge as the Saviour, the Messiah, “Him that should come, and that we look not for another?” even as I have already said, that if we believe that he was born for us, according to the declaration of the angel that his nativity is ours.

To complete our meditation, we must bring it home to ourselves, by reflecting deeply on the nature of our own nativity. And here we must refer to the same records which have so clearly delineated the purity of our Saviour’s birth, and his celestial origin, before we can duly appreciate our own. Adam’s sin, and man’s degeneracy are too well known to make us strangers to the depravity of our nature. Death was the mark of punishment assigned to the commission of the original sin of man: and the continuance of death in the world, affords decisive evidence both of the sin and the recompense. But though temporal death is unavoidable by the sons of men, as partakers of the fallen nature of their parents, a restoration to spiritual life is graciously permitted to all those who are capable of receiving such a blessing, by means of the merits and mediation of him, who, mercifully and specifically appeared as the promised Saviour of the world. “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”

The best men under the first covenant, as well as under the second, have confessed, with heavy hearts, the original corruption of the nature of man. “In sin has my mother conceived me,” is a weight about the neck of every man born into the world; and the longer he lives, the stronger is the evidence. Our nativity, therefore, has but a melancholy presage: and “if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us ‘;” the Gospel truth, as well as the truth of our declaration. This will admit of self-evident proof. It is not because a man may say, “I am possessed of rational faculties, and an understanding heart, therefore I will not sin.” Experience is against him. God “destroys the wisdom of the wise, and brings to nothing the understanding of the prudent,” that no flesh should glory in his presence. Men of all learning and of all knowledge have sinned, and come short of the glory of God, as well as those who have had few opportunities of adding to their original stock of attainments. Here then we are all equal, and all bowing before the equitable throne of God. And here should we all have perished, if the wisdom of God had not been wiser than men, and found out for us a nativity not our own. “Christ was made sin, or a sin-offering for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. To deliver us from the effects of our natural nativity, God sent another nativity, which behoves us to be without spot or blemish, that it might make this unclean and sinful nativity pure.

This is that holy nativity, both of our own and of Christ, which we are called upon to celebrate on the anniversary of our Saviour’s birth. Happy is the man that can celebrate his spiritual birth on the same occasion. “If ye shall keep these,” says Luther, “then both the holy nativity of Christ shall be a help and comfort unto you, and also, ye shall be spiritual children of his mother, as Christ Jesus is her child according to the flesh.” In this discussion we have faith in its purest light, and we have love, the effects of faith, in its most brilliant colours.

This is then that most excellent provision which the ‘Lord hath provided for us; but of which none can experience the benefit, but those who accept it through faith. No man can easily believe this, but he that feeleth what his own nativity is; for he that feeleth not his own misery, can have no feeling for the nativity of Christ. If we are truly sensible of the original taint of sin, of our actual guilt and incessant propensity to evil, we shall then see the necessity of a restoration through the grace of God to that image of the Almighty in which man was first created.

This is an enviable situation for any Christian to attain: and the reverse of it, as we value the safety of our souls, carefully to be avoided. For if we feel not the weight of our sins, neither as yet feel the bitterness of them, the history of our Lord’s birth slides coldly to the heart—we may hear it, indeed, but it makes no impression; it never enters into our understanding, nor excites that warm feeling of danger which may rouse our attention, and, by divine grace, rescue us from a precipice, only one degree remote from everlasting ruin. If we really did believe that this nativity was for our advantage, we should fear neither sin nor death; and, therefore, to make this festival effectual to all its holy purposes, a faithful Christian must doubt nothing, that this nativity is as well his, as it is the Lord Christ’s. Let the heart have some confidence in this persuasion, otherwise it will be in a most evil case. This was signified by the angel, when he said, unto you he is born; as if he had said, whatever he is, or possesses to bestow, it is yours. He is your Saviour, and is able to deliver you from the wrath to come, and is truly your ” wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.

When we have meditated on a subject suitable, not to one day, but to every day of every Christian’s life, piously and religiously, are we not well assured that the angel has, indeed, brought us tidings of great joy; as it cannot but be that our hearts must be glad, when we enjoy this Saviour as our own?

When we are bent down with misery and sin, when we are oppressed with calamity and distress, and there remains no comfort or assistance within us, or without us, in a world of trouble; when the heavy heart cannot lift up itself above its burden, the situation is indeed deplorable and sad:—” I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me; refuge failed me, no man cared for my soul’:”—but when we conceive a trust which rises above the world, and are satisfied that Christ’s nativity is ours, and that the benefit of his coming reaches to us, under every circumstance of life or death, then the Sun of Righteousness rises upon the soul, and all creation is gladdened by its beams:—” This is the day which the Lord hath made, we will rejoice and be glad in it’!”

See also:The Wisdom and Love of God as Shown by His Creation by Noah Webster

Source: Reflections adapted to the holy seasons of the Christian and ecclesiastical year: By John Brewster (1834)

Quote by Thomas Jefferson You’ll Never Hear From The Democrats

JeffersonContrary to what liberals, democrats, progressive and the revisers of history say Jefferson most definitely believed in God, served the Lord and followed the precepts of Jesus Christ. You’ll notice he says “our” when referring to the Christian religion as in this example: the Holy Author of our religion” as a further example continue to read…He was against forcing people to serve God, yet I must point out the Bible itself teaches that God wants willing servants, serving out of love, not slaves serving out of fear or the whip.

Mr. Jefferson has observed in one of his private letters, “that the writer of these essays was the first man who ever called in question his religious sentiments, and much more, that ever branded him with the appellation of Atheist” He further observes, ” from my earliest youth I have ever had a great and reverential regard, for religion and for the ordinances of God: but at the same time, I do believe that there are those who are set for a defense of the gospel, who abuse its privileges, and trample upon the sacred rights of conscience. For it will be acknowledged by all, that conscience is the throne of God in the heart of man; and whoever requires a violation of conscience, requires more than ever God did: But it was to guard against these trampler’s upon the rights of conscience, that the bill for establishing religious Freedom in this state, was introduced into the house: and whether it will prove beneficial or injurious to society generally, must be left to God and posterity.” As the previous remarks quoted from the pamphlet, were principally founded on the bill for establishing religious freedom in the state of Virginia, we will subjoin the act for the benefit of our readers, many of whom, perhaps, have never seen it: An ACT for establishing Religious Freedom, passed in the assembly of Virginia, in the beginning of the year 1786.

Shepard“Well aware that Almighty God hath created the mind free; that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments’ or burdens, or by civil incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of our religion, who being Lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was in his Almighty power to do; that the impious presumption of legislators and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who, being themselves but fallible and uninspired men have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavoring to impose them on others, hath established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world, and through all time that to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves, is sinful and tyrannical; that even the forcing him to support this or that teacher not of his own persuasion, is depriving him of the comfortable liberty of giving his contributions to the particular pastor whose morals he would make his pattern, and whose powers he feels most persuasive to righteousness, and is withdrawing from the ministry those temporal rewards, which proceeding from an approbation of their personal conduct, are an additional incitement to earnest and unremitting labors for the instruction of mankind; that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, more than oyx opinions, in physics or geometry; that therefore the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence by laying upon him an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages to which in common with his fellow citizens he has a natural right; that it tends also to corrupt the principles that very religion it is meant to encourage, by bribing, with a monopoly of worldly honors and emoluments, those who will externally profess and conform to it; that though indeed these are criminal who do not withstand such temptation, yet neither are those innocent who lay the bait in their way; that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles, on supposition of their ill tendency, is a dangerous fallacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty, because he being of course judge that tendency, will make his opinions the rule judgment, and approve or condemn the sentients of others only as they shall square with or differ from his own; that it is time enough for the rightful purposes of civil government, for its officers to interfere when principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order; and finally, that truth is great and will prevail if left to herself, that she is the proper and sufficient antagonist to error, and has nothing to fear from the conflict, unless by human interposition disarmed of her natural weapons, free argument and debate, errors ceasing to be dangerous when it is permitted freely to contradict them.

Be it therefore enacted by the General Assembly, That no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burdened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.

And though we will know that this assembly, elected by the people for the ordinary purposes of legislation only, have no power to restrain the acts of succeeding assemblies, constituted with powers equal to our own, and that therefore to declare this act irrevocable, would be of no effect in law, yet we are free to declare, and do declare, that the rights hereby asserted are of the natural rights of mankind, and that if any act shall be hereafter passed to repeal the present or narrow its operation, such act will be an infringement of natural right.”

source: The life of Thomas Jefferson: esq., LL. D., late ex president of the United States
See also: Thomas Jefferson Biography
Thomas Jefferson Notes of Religion October 1776
THE GREAT SEAL OF THE UNITED STATES
Thomas Jefferson Concerning Jesus and Plato
Thomas Jefferson Defines What a True Republic Is
Thomas Jefferson Notes on the Illuminati and Free Masons
MORALITY OF GOVERNMENT by Thomas Jefferson 1810
The Importance of Free Speech and The Free Press in America
Eulogy of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams by Daniel Webster
Patrick Henry may well be proved a Prophet as well as a Statesman
Thomas Jefferson: Encroaches on Liberty & Rights by Government
Thomas Jefferson First Annual Message as President December 1801
Thomas Jefferson Concerning the Political Party Divisions of the Nation
Jefferson Foresaw and Prophesied about This Time in American History
Thomas Jefferson Constitutional Powers Usurped by the Supreme Court
THOMAS JEFFERSON CONCERNING IMMIGRATION and IMMIGRANTS
Thomas Jefferson and John Adams Explain Why Muslims Turn to Terrorism
RELIGIOUS VIEWS OF THOMAS JEFFERSON; source: The Jefferson Bible
Prophetic Letter from Thomas Jefferson to James Madison; Paris Dec 20, 1787
Passage of the Potomac through the Blue Ridge Mountains by Thomas Jefferson
THOMAS JEFFERSON: VIRGINIA BILL FOR ESTABLISHING RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
 
A SUMMARY VIEW OF THE RIGHTS OF BRITISH AMERICA by Thomas Jefferson 1774
Preface To Resolutions of Virginia and Kentucky by James Madison and Thomas Jefferson
KENTUCKY RESOLUTIONS by Thomas Jefferson 1798
Virginia Protest Prepared by Jefferson for the Legislature of Virginia
Thomas Jefferson to Archibald Stuart on Amending the Virginia Constitution
Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry and Henry’s Virginia Resolutions of 1765
 
 
The Truth about the current political parties in America and their origins by Thomas Jefferson and others

THE HAND OF GOD IN AMERICAN HISTORY by Rev Morgan Dix July 4th 1876 NYC

Morgan Dix3The Hand Of God In American History. A Discourse By Rev. Morgan Dix, D. D., Delivered At Trinity Church, New York, July 4th, 1876.

Glory be to God! and here, throughout the land, far and near, through all our homes, be peace, good will and love. As one family, as one people, as one nation, we keep the birthday of our rights, our liberty, our power and strength. Let us do this with eyes and hearts raised to the Fountain of all life, the Beginning of all glory and might; with words of praise and thanks to God who rules on high; for He is the living God and steadfast power, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and His dominion shall be even unto the end. Wherefore as He is our strength and hope, let all begin and all go on, first and ever, with glory to God Most High. There are great things to think about to-day; the growth of the people, unparalleled in history; the vastness of their empire, a wonder of the latter days; the bands by which the mighty frame is held together—so slight to the eye, so hard to break; the many races welded into one; the marvelous land, with its oceans on all sides, its lakes themselves like lesser oceans, its icebergs and glaciers, its torrid deserts, its mountain ranges and rich, fat valley land, its climates of all kinds, its rivers, which would have seemed of all but fabulous length, its wealth in all that rock, and earth, and water can supply; and then the people—active, able, full of enterprise and force, acting with the power of a myriad of giants, speaking one language, living under one flag, bound by common interests, and, as to-day, kindled by one common feeling of devotion, pride, joy, hope, sure there is enough to think about to-day, enough to fill the soul and almost make the head giddy. But let these things be spoken of elsewhere; let others dwell upon them. We have a definite share in the national celebration: let us not forget our part, which is to lift to God a great voice which He shall hear amid all the other voices of the hour. Why do we gather here? Is it to recount the praises of men and their mighty achievements? Is it to make display of our national greatness, to tell over our victories and conquests in divers scenes of conflict, to celebrate the names and acts of chieftains, statesmen, and rulers of the land, of brave and patient people who gave fortune, life, and sacred honor to the State, of any of those who deserve remembrance to-day? Let this be done elsewhere, as is right and fitting; let men stand up when it is convenient, and set oration and address do honor to the dead and the living, point the moral of our history, hold up the ideals of patriotism, virtue, and unselfish love of home and native land.

Morgan Dix2But we must be about our Father’s business; we have other words to speak, deeper, further-reaching; our work here is to offer praise and glory to God; to bless Him in His relations to the nation as its Lord and King, as Ruler and Governor, as Providence, law-giver, and Judge. Without God nothing of what we properly value to-day could have been. Without God there could have been no nation, nor nation’s birthday. It is He that hath made us and kept us one. The office of the Church is to bless and sanctify the nation’s feast day. She cannot be indifferent nor unmoved. We are citizens of the earthly house as well as of the heavenly. We act in that double capacity in praising God Almighty, while with our brethren we keep the feast. And oh! what ground for thankfulness to-day. Think of the mighty hand that hath led us and upheld us through these hundred years—what it has done for us—what that right hand of the Most High hath wrought I look back to the humble beginnings—to the poor little Colonists with their scant store, and their modest ambitions; think of their long-suffering patience, and also of their honorable resolve not to submit to oppression and injustice; remember the band of men who met together, just one hundred years ago, to sign the Declaration, how they did it—not, as popular legends tell us, with transports of enthusiasm and amid bell-ringing and general jubilation, but in secret session of Congress. With an awful sense of what it meant. With a vision of the gibbet and the axe before their eyes, and well aware of the toil, and blood, and grief that it must cost to maintain their manly attitude before the world. Think with what dread and sinking of heart, with what tears and partings, with what conflicts of spirit, and what doubts as to the duty of the hour, the foundations were laid; and let us have a tender heart toward the old fathers of the State, the men who took their lives in their hands, and so brought the new nation to the birth, and then amid what untold trials and sufferings they carried on their war! Think of the great hearts ready to break, of the starved and ragged armies with that mighty spirit under their hunger-worn ribs, more frequently retreating than advancing, wasted by sickly summer heat, and often in winter standing barefoot in snow; that squalid, sorrowful, anxious force working their sure way through cloud, and storm, and darkness to the victory, perfect and finished, at the end. It is touching to read the memorials of those days, and to think of all that has come since then; how we are entered into their labors, and are at peace because they went through all that; they sowed in tears and we reap in joy. So then let there be thanks to God for the past, out of which He has evoked the present grandeur of our State, and let us remember what we owe to those who went before, for a part of that debt is obvious; to imitate the virtues and return to the simple mind, the pure intention, the unselfish devotion to the public weal which marked the founders of the Republic. It is a far cry to those days, but there still shine the stars which guided them on their way, the light of heaven illuminating the earth, the bright beacons of honesty, truth, simplicity, sincerity, self-sacrifice, under which, as under an astrological sign, the little one was born. Pray heaven those holy lights of morality and public virtue may not, for us, already have utterly faded away. Surely it. is a marvelous thing to see how nations rise and grow; how they gather strength; how they climb to the meridian of their noonday light and glory; how they blaze awhile, invested with their fullest splendors at that point, and thence how they decline and rush downward into the evening, and the night, and the darkness of a long, dead sleep, whence none can awake any more. This history is not made without God. His hand is in it all. His decrees on nation and State are just, in perfect justice, as on each one of us men. And must it all be told over again in our case? Is there no averting the common doom? Must each people but repeat the monotonous history of those who went before? God only knows how long the course will be till all shall be accomplished. But certainly we, the citizens, may do something; we may live pure, honest, sober lives, for the love of country also, as well as for the love of Christ. We may, by taking good heed to ourselves, help to purify the whole nation, and so obtain a lengthening of our tranquility. We want much more of this temper; we need to feel that each man helps, in his own way, to save or to destroy his country. Every good man is a reason in God’s eyes why He should spare the nation and prolong its life; every bad man, in his vicious, selfish, evil life, is a reason why God should break up the whole system to which that worthless, miserable being belongs.

If we love our country with a true, real love we shall show it by contributing in ourselves to the sum of collective righteousness what it may be in our power, aided by God’s grace, to give. They are not true men who have no thanks to bring to the Lord this day. They are not true men who simply shout and cry, and make noisy demonstration, and speak great swelling words, without reason, or reflection, or any earnest thought to duty, to God, and the State. From neither class can any good come; not from the senselessly uproarious, not from the livid and gloomy children of discontent. They were thoughtful, patriotic, self-sacrificing men who built this great temple of civil and religious liberty. By such men only can it be kept in repair and made to stand for ages and ages. No kingdom of this world can last forever, yet many endure to a great age. The old mother country, England, in her present constitutional form, is more than 800 years old—a good age, a grand age, with, we trust and pray, many bright centuries to come hereafter, as good, as fair. Let us remember that for us, as for all people, length of days and long life and peace depend on the use we make of our gifts, on the fidelity with which we discharge our mission. And that is the reason why every one of us has, in part, his country’s life in his own hands. But I detain you from the duty of the hour. We meet to praise not man, but God; to praise Him with a reasonable and devout purpose; to bless him for our first century, for this day which He permits us to see, for our homes, our liberties, our peace, our place among the powers of the earth. It is all from him, whatever good we have, and to him let us ascribe the honor and the glory. And let us say, with them of old time.

Blessed art Thou, O Lord God of our fathers; and to be praised and exalted above all forever.

And Blessed is Thy glorious and holy name; and to be praised and exalted above all forever.

Blessed art Thou in the temple of Thine holy glory; and to be praised and glorified above all forever.

Blessed art Thou that beholdest the depths and sittest upon the cherubims; and to be praised and exalted above all forever.

Blessed art Thou in the glorious throne of thy kingdom; to be praised and glorified above all forever.

Blessed art Thou in the firmament of heaven; and above all to be praised and glorified forever.

Yea, let us bless the Most High, and praise and honor Him that liveth forever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation. And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; and He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth.

See also: The Wisdom and Love of God as Shown by His Creation by Noah Webster
THE SOURCE AND SECURITY OF AMERICAN FREEDOM AND PROGRESS by Courtlandt Parker 1876
INDIVIDUAL PURITY THE HOPE OF FREEDOM’S BLESSINGS by Charles Sprague 1791-1875
AMERICA! FAIREST OF FREEDOM’S DAUGHTERS by Jeremiah E. Rankin 1828-1903
Joseph Baldwin: Address 1892, to National Teachers Association in New York
True American Patriotism Defined by Hon. Curtis Guild and H. F. Kinnerney 1876
A PRAYER FOR THE NATION by Rev. William Bacon Stevens July 4, 1876
THE GREAT AMERICAN REPUBLIC A CHRISTIAN STATE by Cardinal James Gibbons 1834-1921
THE GRAND MISSION OF AMERICA by Joseph H. Twitchell, July 4, 1876
SCORN TO BE SLAVES by Dr. Joseph Warren 1741-1775

RISE OF CONSTITUTIONAL LIBERTY by Dr. Richard Salter Storrs July 4 1876

RS StorrRise Of Constitutional Liberty An Oration Delivered By The Rev. Dr. R. S. Storrs, At The Academy Of Music, New York, July 4, 1876.

Mr. President—Fellow-citizen : The long-expected day has come, and passing peacefully the impalpable line which separates ages, the Republic completes its hundredth year. The predictions in which affectionate hope gave inspiration to political prudence are fulfilled. The fears of the timid, and the hopes of those to whom our national existence is a menace, are alike disappointed. The fable of the physical world becomes the fact of the political; and after alternate sunshine and storm, after heavings of the earth which only deepened its roots, and ineffectual blasts of lightning whose lurid threat died in the air, under a sky now raining on it benignant influence, the century-plant of American Independence and popular government bursts into this magnificent blossom of a joyful celebration illuminating the land!

With what desiring though doubtful expectation those whose action we commemorate looked for the possible coming of this day, we know from the records which they have left. With what anxious solicitude the statesmen and the soldiers of the following generation anticipated the changes which might take place before this Centennial year should be reached, we have heard ourselves, in their great and fervent admonitory words. How dim and drear the prospect seemed to our own hearts fifteen years since, when, on the fourth of July 1861, the XXXVIIth Congress met at Washington with no representative in either House from any State south of Tennessee and Western Virginia, and when a determined and numerous army, under skillful commanders, approached and menaced the capital and the government—this we surely have not forgotten; nor how, in the terrible years which followed, the blood and fire, and vapor of smoke, seemed oftentimes to swim as a sea, or to rise as a wall, between our eyes and this anniversary.

“It cannot outlast the second generation from those who founded it,” was the exulting conviction of the many who loved the traditions and state of monarchy, and who felt them insecure before the widening fame in the world of our prosperous Republic. “It may not reach its hundredth year,” was the deep and sometimes the sharp apprehension of those who felt, as all of us felt, that their own liberty, welfare, hope, with the brightest political promise of the world, were bound up with the unity and the life of our nation. Never was solicitude more intense, never was prayer to Almighty God more fervent and constant— not in the earliest beginnings of our history, when Indian ferocity threatened that history with a swift termination, not in the days of supremest trial amid the Revolution—than in those years when the nation seemed suddenly split asunder, and forces which had been combined for its creation were clenched and rocking back and forth in bloody grapple on the question of its maintenance.

The prayer was heard. The effort and the sacrifice have come to their fruitage; and to-day the nation—still one, as at the start, though now expanded over such immense spaces, absorbing such incessant and diverse elements from other lands, developing within it opinions so conflicting, interests so various, and forms of occupation so novel and manifold—to-day the nation, emerging from the toil and the turbulent strife, with the earlier and the later clouds alike swept out of its resplendent stellar arch, pauses from its work to remember and rejoice; with exhilarated spirit to anticipate its future; with reverent heart to offer to God its great Te Deum.(1)

Not here alone, in this great city, whose lines have gone out into all the earth, and whose superb progress in wealth, in culture, and in civic renown, is itself the most illustrious token of the power and beneficence of that frame of government under which it has been realized; not alone in yonder, I had almost said adjoining, city, whence issued the paper that first announced our national existence, and where now rises the magnificent Exposition, testifying for all progressive States to their respect and kindness toward us, the radiant clasp of diamond and opal on the girdle of the sympathies which interweave their peoples with ours; not alone in Boston, the historic town, first in resistance to British aggression, and foremost in plans for the new and popular organization, one of whose citizens wrote his name, as if cutting it with a plowshare, at the head of all on our great charter, another of whose citizens was its intrepid and powerful champion, aiding its passage through the Congress; not there alone, nor yet in other great cities of the land, but in smaller towns, in villages and hamlets, this day will be kept, a secular Sabbath, sacred alike to memory and to hope.

Not only, indeed, where men are assembled, as we are here, will it be honored. The lonely and remote will have their part in this commemoration. Where the boatman follows the winding stream, or the woodman explores the forest shades; where the miner lays down his eager drill beside rocks which guard the precious veins; or where the herdsman, along the sierras, looks forth on the seas which now reflect the rising day, which at our midnight shall be gleaming like gold in the setting sun —there also will the day be regarded, as— a day of memorial. The sailor on the sea will note it, and dress his ship in its brightest array of flags and bunting. Americans dwelling in foreign lands will note and keep it.

London itself will today be more festive because of the event which a century ago shadowed its streets, incensed its Parliament, and tore from the crown of its obstinate King the chiefest jewel. On the boulevards of Paris, in the streets of Berlin, and along the leveled bastions of Vienna, at Marseilles and at Florence, upon the silent liquid ways of stately Venice, in the passes of the Alps, under the shadow of church and obelisk, palace and ruin, which still prolong the majesty of Rome; yea, further East, on the Bosphorus, and in Syria; in Egypt, which writes on the front of its compartment in the great Exhibition, “The oldest people of the world sends its morning-greeting to the youngest nation;” along the heights behind Bombay, in the foreign hongs of Canton,(2) in the “Islands of the Morning,” which found the dawn of their new age in the startling sight of an American squadron entering their bays—everywhere will be those who have thought of this day, and who join with us to greet its coming.

No other such anniversary, probably has attracted hitherto such general notice. You have seen Rome, perhaps, on one of those shining April days when the traditional anniversary of the founding of the city fills its streets with civic processions, with military display, and the most elaborate fire-works in Europe; you may have seen Holland, in 1782, when the whole country bloomed with orange on the three-hundredth anniversary of the capture by the sea-beggars of the city of Briel, and of the revolt against Spanish domination which thereupon flashed on different sides into sudden explosion. But these celebrations, and others like them, have been chiefly local. The world outside has taken no wide impression from them. This of ours is the first of which many lands, in different tongues, will have had report. Partly because the world is narrowed in our time, and its distant peoples are made neighbors, by the fleeter machineries now in use; partly because we have drawn so many to our population from foreign lands, while the restless and acquisitive spirit of our people has made them at home on every shore; but partly, also, and essentially, because of the nature and the relations of that event which we commemorate, and of the influence exerted by it on subsequent history, the attention of men is more or less challenged, in every centre of commerce and of thought, by this anniversary. Indeed it is not unnatural to feel—certainly it is not irreverent to feel—that they who by wisdom, by valor, and by sacrifice, have contributed to perfect and maintain the institutions which we possess, and have added by death as well as by life to the luster of our history, must also have an interest in this day; that in their timeless habitations they remember us beneath the lower circle of the heavens, are glad in our joy and share and lead our grateful praise. To a spirit alive with the memories of the time, and rejoicing in its presage of nobler futures, recalling the great, the beloved, the heroic, who have labored and joyfully died for its coming, it will not seem too fond an enthusiasm to feel that the air is quick with shapes we cannot see, and glows with faces whose light serene we may not catch! They who counseled in the Cabinet, they who defined and settled the law in decisions of the Bench, they who pleaded with mighty eloquence in the Senate, they who poured out their souls in triumphant effusion for the liberty which they loved in forum or pulpit, they who gave their young and glorious life as an offering on the field, that government for the people, and by the people, might not perish from the earth—it cannot be but that they too have part and place in this Jubilee of our history! God make our doings not unworthy of such spectators! and make our spirit sympathetic with theirs from whom all selfish passion and pride have now forever passed away!

The interest which is felt so distinctly and widely in this anniversary reflects a light on the greatness of the action which it commemorates. It shows that we do not unduly exaggerate the significance or the importance of that; that it had really large, even world-wide relations, and contributed an effective and a valuable force to the furtherance of the cause of freedom, education, humane institutions, and popular advancement, wherever its influence has been felt.

Yet when we consider the action itself, it may easily seem but slight in its nature, as it was certainly commonplace in its circumstances. There was nothing even picturesque in its surroundings, to enlist for it the pencil of the painter, or help to fix any luminous image of that which was done on the popular memory.

In this respect it is singularly contrasted with other great and kindred events in general history; with those heroic and fruitful actions in English history which had especially prepared the way for it, and with which the thoughtful student of the past will always set it in intimate relations. Its utter simplicity, as compared with their splendor, becomes impressive.

When, five centuries and a half before, on the fifteenth of June, and the following days, in the year of our Lord 1215, the English barons met King John in the long meadow of Runnemede, and forced from him the Magna Charta—the strong foundation and steadfast bulwark of English liberty, concerning which Mr. Hallam has said in our time that “all which has been since obtained is little more than as confirmation or commentary,”—no circumstance was wanting, of outward pageantry, to give dignity, brilliance, impressiveness, to the scene. On tho one side was the King, with the Bishops and nobles who attended him, with the Master of the Templars, and the Papal legate before whom he had lately rendered his homage.(3) On the other side was the great and determined majority of the barons of England, with multitudes of knights, armed vassals, and retainers, (4) With them in purpose, and in resolute zeal, were most of those who attended the King. Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury, the head of the English clergy, was with them; the Bishops of London, Winchester, Lincoln, Rochester, and of other great sees. The Earl of Pembroke, dauntless and wise, of vast and increasing power in the realm, and not long after to be its Protector, was really at their head. Robert Fitz-Walter, whose fair daughter Matilda the profligate king had forcibly abducted, was Marshal of the army—the “Army of God, and the Holy Church.” William Longsword, Earl of Salisbury, half-brother of the King, was on the field; the Earls of Albemarle, Arundel, Gloucester, Hereford, Norfolk. Oxford, the great Earl Warenne, who claimed the same right of the sword in his barony which William the Conqueror had had in the kingdom, the Constable of Scotland, Hubert de Burgh, seneschal of Poictou, and many other powerful nobles—descendants of the daring soldiers whose martial valor had mastered England, Crusaders who had followed Richard at Ascalon and at Jaffa, whose own liberties had since been in mortal peril. Some burgesses of London were present, as well; troubadours, minstrels, and heralds were not wanting; and doubtless there mingled with the throng those skillful clerks whose pens had drawn the great instrument of freedom, and whose training in language had given a remarkable precision to its exact clauses and cogent terms.

Pennons and banners streamed at large, and spearheads gleamed, above the host. The June sunshine flashed reflected from inland shield and muscled armor. The terrible quivers of English yeomen hung on their shoulders. The voice of trumpets, and clamoring bugles, was in the air. The whole scene was vast as a battle, though bright as a tournament; splendid, but threatening, like burnished clouds, in which lightnings sleep. The king, one of the handsomest men of the time, though cruelty, perfidy, and every foul passion must have left their traces on his face, was especially fond of magnificence in dress; wearing we are told, on one Christmas occasion, a rich mantle of red satin, embroidered with sapphires and pearls, a tunic of white damask, a girdle lustrous with precious stones, and a baldric from his shoulder, crossing his breast, set with diamonds and emeralds, while even his gloves, as indeed is still indicated on his fine effigy in Worcester cathedral, bore similar ornaments, the one a ruby, the other a sapphire.

Whatever was superb, therefore, in that consummate age of royal and baronial state, whatever was splendid in the glittering and grand apparatus of chivalry, whatever was impressive in the almost more than princely pomp of prelates of the Church,—

The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
And all that beauty, all that wealth can give,—

all this was marshaled on that historic plain in Surrey, where John and the barons faced each other, where Saxon king and Saxon earl had met in council before the Norman had footing in England; and all combined to give a fit magnificence of setting to the great charter there granted and sealed.

The tower of Windsor—not of the present castle and palace, but of the earlier detached fortress which already crowned the cliff, and from which John had come to the field—looked down on the scene. On the one side, low hills enclosed the meadow; on the other, the Thames flowed brightly by, seeking the capital and the sea. Every feature of the scene was English save one; but over all loomed, in a portentous and haughty stillness, in the ominous presence of the envoy from Rome, that ubiquitous power surpassing all others, which already had once laid the kingdom under interdict, and had exiled John from church and throne, but to which later he had been reconciled, and on which he secretly relied to annul the charter which he was granting.

The brilliant panorama illuminates the page which bears its story. It rises still as a vision before one, as he looks on the venerable parchment originals, preserved to our day in the British Museum. If it be true, as Hallam has said, that from that era a new soul was infused into the people of England, it must be confessed that the place, the day, and all the circumstances of that new birth were fitting to the great and the vital event.

That age passed away, and its peculiar splendor of aspect was not thereafter to be repeated. Yet when, four hundred years later, on the seventh of June,(5) 1628, the Petition of Right, the second great charter of the liberties of England, was presented by Parliament to Charles the First, the scene and its accessories were hardly less impressive.

Into that law—called a Petition, as if to mask the deadly energy of its blow upon tyranny—had been collected by the skill of its framers all the heads of the despotic prerogative which Charles had exercised, that they might all be smitten together, with one tremendous destroying stroke. The king, enthroned in his chair of state, looked forth on those who waited for his word, as still he looks, with his fore-casting and melancholy face, from the canvas of Van Dyck. Before him were assembled the nobles of England, in peaceful array, and not in armor, but with a civil power in their hands which the older gauntlets could not have held, and with the memories of a long renown almost as visible to themselves and to the king as were the tapestries suspended on the walls.

Crowding the bar, behind these descendants of the earlier barons, were the members of the House of Commons, with whom the law now presented to the king had had its origin, and whose boldness and tenacity had constrained the peers, after vain endeavor to modify its provisions, to accept them as they stood. They were the most powerful body of representatives of the kingdom that had yet been convened; possessing a private wealth it was estimated, surpassing three-fold that of the Peers, and representing not less than they the best life, and the oldest lineage, of the kingdom which they loved.

Their dexterous, dauntless, and far-sighted sagacity is yet more evident as we look back than their wealth or their breeding; and among them were men whose names will be familiar while England continues. Wentworth was there, soon to be the most dangerous of traitors of the cause of which he was then the champion, but who then appeared as resolute as ever to vindicate the ancient, lawful, and vital liberties of the kingdom; and Pym was there, the unsurpassed statesman, who, not long afterward was to warn the dark and haughty apostate that he never again would leave pursuit of him so long as his head stood on his shoulders.(6) Hampden was there, considerate and serene, but inflexible as an oak ; once imprisoned already for his resistance to an unjust taxation, and ready again to suffer and to conquer in the same supreme cause. Sir John Eliot was there, eloquent and devoted, who had tasted also the bitterness of imprisonment, and who after years of its subsequent experience, was to die a martyr in the Tower. Coke was there, seventy-seven years of age, but full of fire as full of fame, whose vehement and unswerving hand had had chief part in framing the Petition. Selden was there, the repute of whose learning was already continental. Sir Francis Seymour, Sir Robert Phillips, Strode, Hobart, Denzil Holies, and Valentine—such were the commoners; and there, at the outset of a career not imagined by either, faced the king a silent young member who had come now to his first Parliament at the age of twenty-nine, from the borough of Huntingdon, Oliver Cromwell.

In a plain cloth suit he probably stood among his colleagues. But they were often splendid, and even sumptuous, in dress; with slashed doublets, and cloaks of velvet, with flowing collars of rich lace, the swords by their sides, in embroidered belts, with flashing hilts, their very hats jeweled and plumed, the abundant dressed and perfumed hair falling in curls upon their shoulders. Here and there may have been those who still more distinctly symbolized their spirit, with steel corslets, overlaid with lace and rich embroidery.

So stood they in the presence, representing to the full the wealth, and genius, and stately civic pomp of England, until the king had pronounced his assent, in the express customary form, to the law which confirmed the popular liberties; and when, on hearing his unequivocal final assent, they burst into loud, even passionate acclamations of victorious joy, there had been from the first no scene more impressive in that venerable Hall, whose history went back to Edward the Confessor.

In what sharp contrast with the rich ceremonial and the splendid accessories of these preceding kindred events, appears that modest scene at Philadelphia, from which we gratefully date to-day a hundred years of constant and prosperous national life!

In a plain room, of an unpretending and recent building—the lower east room of what then was a State-house, what since has been known as the “Independence Hall”—in the midst of a city of perhaps thirty thousand inhabitants—a city which preserved its rural aspect, and the quaint simplicity of whose plan and structures had always been marked among American towns —were assembled probably less than fifty persons to consider a paper prepared by a young Virginia lawyer, giving reasons for a Resolve which the assembly had adopted two days before. They were farmers, planters, lawyers, physicians, surveyors of land, with one eminent Presbyterian clergyman. A majority of them had been educated at such schools, or primitive colleges, as then existed on this continent, while a few had enjoyed the rare advantage of training abroad, and foreign travel; but a considerable number, and among them some of the most influential, had had no other education than that which they had gained by diligent reading while at their trades or on their farms.

The figure to which our thoughts turn first is that of the author of the careful paper on the details of which the discussion turned. It has no special majesty or charm, the slight tall frame, the sun-burned face, the gray eyes spotted with hazel, the red hair which crowns the head; but already, at the age of thirty-three, the man has impressed himself on his associates as a master of principles, and of the language in which those principles find expression, so that his colleagues have left to him, almost wholly, the work of preparing the important Declaration. He wants readiness in debate, and so is now silent; but he listens eagerly to the vigorous argument and the forcible appeals of one of his fellows on the committee, Mr. John Adams, and now and then speaks with another of the committee, much older than himself—a stout man, with a friendly face, in a plain dress, whom the world had already heard something of as Benjamin Franklin. These three are perhaps most prominently before us as we recall the vanished scene, though others were there of fine presence and cultivated manners, and though all impress us as substantial and respectable representative men, however harsh the features of some, however brawny their hands with labor. But certainly nothing could be more unpretending, more destitute of pictorial charm than that small assembly of persons for the most part quite unknown to previous fame, and half of whose names it is not probable that half of us in this assembly could now repeat.

After a discussion somewhat prolonged as it seemed at the time, especially as it had been continued from previous days, and after some minor amendments of the paper, toward evening it was adopted, and ordered to be sent to the several States, signed by the president and the secretary; and the simple transaction was complete. Whatever there may have been of proclamation and bell-ringing appears to have come on subsequent days. It was almost a full month before the paper was engrossed, and signed by the members. It must have been nearly or quite the same time before the news of its adoption had reached the remoter parts of the land .

If pomp of circumstances were necessary to make an event like this great and memorable, there would have beeu others in our own history more worthy far of our commemoration. As matched against multitudes in general history, it would sink into instant and complete insignificance. Yet here, to-day, a hundred years from the adoption of that paper, in a city which counts its languages by scores, and beats with the thread of a million feet, in a country whose enterprise flies abroad over sea and land on the rush of engines not then imagined, in a time so full of exciting hopes that it hardly has leisure to contemplate the past, we pause from all our toil and traffic, our eager plans and impetuous debate, to commemorate the event. The whole land pauses, as I have said; and some distinct impression of it will follow the sun, wherever he climbs the steep of Heaven, until in all countries it has more or less touched the thoughts of men.

Why is this? is a question, the answer to which should interpret and vindicate our assemblage.

It is not simply because a century happens to have passed since the event thus remembered occurred. A hundred years are always closing from some event, and have been since Adam was in his prime. There was, of course, some special importance in the action then accomplished—in the nature of that action, since not in its circumstances—to justify such long record of it; and that importance it is ours to define. In the perspective of distance the small things disappear, while the great and eminent keep their place. As Carlyle has said: “A king in the midst of his body-guards, with his trumpets, warhorses, and gilt standard-bearers, will look great though he be little; only some Roman Carus can give audience to satrap ambassadors, while seated on the ground, with a woolen cap, and supping on boiled peas, like a common soldier.”(7)

What was, then, the great reality of power in what was done a hundred years since, which gives it its masterful place in history—makes it Roman and regal amid all its simplicity?

Of course, as the prime element of its power, it was the action of a People, and not merely of persons; and such action of a People, has always a momentum, a public force, a historic significance, which can pertain to no individual arguments and appeals. There are times, indeed, when it has the energy and authority in it of a secular inspiration; when the supreme soul which rules the world comes through it to utterance, and a thought surpassing man’s wisest plan, a will transcending his strongest purpose, is heard in its commanding voice.

It does not seem extravagant to say that the time to which our thoughts are turned was one of these.

For a century and a half the emigrants from Europe had brought hither, not the letters alone, the arts and industries, or the religious convictions, but the hardy moral and political life, which had there been developed in ages of strenuous struggle and work. France and Germany, Holland and Sweden, as well as England, Scotland, and Ireland, had contributed to this. The Austrian Tyrol, the Bavarian highlands, the Bohemian plain, Denmark, even Portugal, had their part in this colonization. The ample domain which hero received the earnest immigrants bad imparted to them of its own oneness; and diversities of language race, and custom, had fast disappeared in the governing unity of a common aspiration, and a common purpose to work out through freedom a nobler well-being.

The general moral life of this people, so various in origin, so accordant in spirit, had only risen to grander force through the toil and strife, the austere training, the long patience of endurance, to which it here had been subjected. The exposures to heat, and cold, and famine, to unaccustomed labors, to alternations of climate unknown in the old world, to malarial forces brooding above the mellow and drainless recent lands—these had fatally stricken many; but those who survived were tough and robust, the more so, perhaps, because of the perils which they had surmounted Education was not easy, books were not many, and the daily newspaper was unknown; but political discussion had been always going on, and men’s minds had gathered unconscious force as they strove with each other, in eager debate, on questions concerning the common welfare. They had had much experience in subordinate legislation, on the local matters belonging to their care; had acquired dexterity in performing public business, and had often had to resist or amend the suggestions or dictates of Royal governors. For a recent people, dwelling apart from older and conflicting States, they had had a large experience in war, the crack of the rifle being never unfamiliar along the near frontier, where disciplined skill was often combined with savage fury to sweep with sword or scar with fire their scattered settlements.

By every species, therefore, of common work, of discussion endurance, and martial struggle, the descendants of the colonists scattered along the American coast had been allied to each other. They were more closely allied than they knew. It needed only some signal occasion, some summons to a sudden heroic decision, to bring them into instant general combination; and Huguenot and Hollander, Swede, German, and Protestant Portuguese, as well as Englishman, Scotchman, Irishman, would then forget that their ancestors had been different, in the supreme consciousness that now they had a common country, and before all else were all of them Americans.

That time had come. That consciousness had for fifteen years been quickening in the people, since the “Writs of Assistance ” had been applied for and granted, in 1761, when Otis, resigning his honorable position under the crown, had flung himself against the alarming innovation with an eloquence as blasting as the stroke of the lightning which in the end destroyed his life. With every fresh invasion by England of their popular liberties, with every act which threatened such invasion by providing opportunity and the instruments for it, the sense of a common privilege and right, of a common inheritance in the country they were fashioning out of the forest, of a common place in the history of the world, had been increased among the colonists. They were plain people, with no strong tendencies to the ideal. They wanted only a chance for free growth; but they must have that, and have it together, though the continent cracked. The diamond is formed, it has sometimes been supposed, under a swift enormous pressure, of masses meeting, and forcing the carbon into a crystal. The ultimate spirit of the American colonists was formed in like manner; the weight of a rocky continent beneath, the weight of au oppression only intolerable because undefined pressing on it from above. But now that spirit, of inestimable price, reflecting light from every angle, and harder to be broken than anything material, was suddenly shown in acts and declarations of conventions and assemblies from the Penobscot to the St. Mary’s.

Any commanding public temper, once established in a people grows bolder, of course, more inquisitive and incentive, more sensible of its rights, more determined on its future, as it comes more frequently into exercise. This in the colonies lately had had been the most significant of all its expressions, up to that point, in the resolves of a popular ass3mblies that the time had come for a final separation from the kingdom of Great Britain. The eminent Congress of two years before had given it powerful reinforcement . Now, at last, it entered the representative American assembly, and claimed from that the ultimate word. It found what it sought. The Declaration was only the voice of that supreme, impersonal force, that will of communities, that universal soul of the State.

The vote of the colony then thinly covering a part of the spaces not yet wholly occupied by this great State, was not, indeed, at once formally given for such an instrument. It was wisely dejayed, under the judicious counsel of Jay, till a provincial Congress could assemble, specially called, and formally authorized, to pronounce the deliberate resolve of the colony; and so it happened that only twelve colonies voted at first for the great Declaration, and that New York was not joined to the number till five days later. But Jay knew, and all knew, that numerous, wealthy, eminent in character, high in position as were those here and elsewhere in the country—in Massachusetts, in Virginia, and in the Carolinas—who were by no means yet prepared to sever their connection with Great Britain, the general and governing mind of the people was fixed upon this, with a decision which nothing could change, with a tenacity which nothing could break. The forces tending to that result had wrought to their development with a steadiness and strength which the stubbornest resistance had hardly delayed. The spirit which now shook light and impulse over the land was recent in its precise demand, but as old in its birth as the first Christian settlements; and it was that spirit—not of one, nor of fifty, not of all the individuals in all the conventions, but the vaster spirit which lay behind—which put itself on sudden record through the prompt and accurate pen of Jefferson.

He was himself in full sympathy with it, and only by reason of that sympathy could give it such consummate expression Not out of books, legal researches, historical inquiry, the careful and various studies of language, came that document; but out of repeated public debate, out of manifold personal and private discussion, out of his clear sympathetic observation of the changing feeling and thought of men, out of that exquisite personal sensibility to vague and impalpable popular impulses which was in him innately combined with artistic taste, an idea nature, and rare power of philosophical thought. The voice of the cottage as well as the college, of the church as well as the legislative assembly, was in the paper. It echoed the talk of the farmer in home-spun, as well as the classic eloquence of Lee, or the terrible tones of Patrick Henry. It gushed at last from the pen of its writer, like the fountain from the roots of Lebanon, a brimming river when it issues from the rock ; but it was because its sources had been supplied, its fullness filled, by unseen springs; by the rivulets winding far up among the cedars, and percolating through hidden crevices in the stone; by melting snows, whose white sparkle seemed still on the stream; by fierce rains, with which the basins above were drenched ; by even the dews, silent and wide, which had lain in stillness all night upon the hill.

The Platonic idea of the development of the State was thus realized here; first Ethics, then Politics. A public opinion, energetic and dominant took its place from the start as the chief instrument of the new civilization. No dashing maneuver of skillful commanders, no sudden burst of popular passion, was in the Declaration; but the vast mystery of a supreme and imperative public life, at once diffused and intense—behind all persons, before all plans, beneath which individual wills are exalted, at whose touch the personal mind is inspired, and under whose transcendent impulse the smallest instrument becomes of a terrific force. That made the Declaration; and that makes it now, in its modest brevity, take its place with Magna Charta and the Petition of Right, as full as they of vital force, and destined to a parallel permanence.

Because this intense common life of a determined and manifold People was not behind them, other documents, in form similar to this, and in polish and cadence of balanced phrase perhaps its superiors, have had no hold like that which it keeps on the memory of men. What papers have challenged the attention of mankind within the century, in the stately Spanish tongue, in Mexico, New Granada, Venezuela, Bolivia, or the Argentine Republic, which the world at large has now quite forgotten! How the resonant proclamations of German or of French Republicans, of Hungarian or Spanish revolutionists and patriots, have vanished as sound absorbed in the air! Eloquent, persuasive, just, as they were, with a vigor of thought, a fervor of passion, a fine completeness and symmetry of expression, in which they could hardly be surpassed, they have now only a literary value. They never became great general forces. They were weak, because they were personal; and history is too crowded, civilization is too vast, to take much impression from occasional documents. Only then is a paper of secular force, or long remembered, when behind it is the ubiquitous energy of the popular will, rolling through its words in vast diapason, and charging its clauses with tones of thunder.

Because such an energy was behind it, our Declaration had its majestic place and meaning; and they who adopted it saw nowhere else

So rich advantage of a promised glory,
An smiled upon the forehead of their action.

Because of that, we read it still, and look to have it as audible as now, among the dissonant voices of the world, when other generations, in long succession, have come and gone!

But further, too, it must be observed that this paper, adopted a hundred years since, was not merely the declaration of a People, as distinguished from eminent and cultured individuals—a confession before the world of the public State-faith, rather than a political thesis—but it was also the declaration of a People which claimed for its own a great inheritance of equitable laws, and of practical liberty, and which now was intent to enlarge and enrich that. It had roots in the past, and a long genealogy; and so it had a vitality inherent, and an immense energy.

They who framed it went back, indeed, to first principles. There was something philosophic and ideal in their scheme, as always there is when the general mind is deeply stirred. It was not superficial. Yet they were not undertaking to establish new theories, or to build their state upon artificial plans and abstract speculations. They were simply evolving out of the past what therein bad been latent; were liberating into free exhibition and unceasing activity, a vital force older than the history of their colonization, and wide as the lands from which they came. They had the sweep of vast impulses behind them. The slow tendencies of centuries came to sudden consummation in their Declaration; and the force of its impact upon the affairs and the mind of the world was not to be measured by its contents alone, but by the relation in which these stood to all the vehement discussion and struggle of which it was the latest outcome.

This ought to be, always, distinctly observed.

The tendency is strong, and has been general, among those who have introduced great changes in the government of states, to follow some plan of political, perhaps of social innovation, which enlists their judgment, excites their fancy, and to make a comely theoretic habitation for the national household, rather than to build on the old foundations—expanding the walls, lif ting the height, enlarging the doorways, enlightening with new windows the halls, but still keeping the strength and renewing the age of an old familiar and venerated structure. You remember how in France, in 1789, and the following years, the schemes of those whom Napoleon called the “ideologists” succeeded each other, no one of them gaining a permanent supremacy, though each included important elements, till the armed consulate of 1799 swept them all into the air, and put in place of them one masterful genius and ambitious will. You remember how in Spain, in 1812, the new Constitution proclaimed by the Cortes was thought to inaugurate with beneficent provisions a wholly new era of development and progress; yet how the history of the splendid peninsula, from that day to this, has been but the record of a struggle to the death between the Old and the New, the contest as desperate, it would seem, in our time as it was at the first.

It must be so, always, when a preceding state of society and government, which has got itself established through many generations, is suddenly superseded by a different fabric, however more evidently conformed to right reason. The principle is not so strong as the prejudice. Habit masters invention. The new and theoretic shivers its force on the obstinate coherence of the old and the established. The modern structure fails and is replaced, while the grim feudal keep, though scarred and weather-worn, the very cement seeming gone from its walls, still scowls defiance at the red right-hand of the lightning itself.

It was no such rash speculative change which here was attempted. The People whose deputies framed our Declaration were largely themselves descendants of Englishmen; and those who were not, had lived long enough under English institutions to be impressed with their tendency and spirit. It was therefore only natural that even when adopting that ultimate measure which severed them from the British crown, they should retain all that had been gained in the mother-land through centuries of endurance and strife. They left nothing that was good; they abolished the bad, added the needful, and developed into a rule for the continent the splendid precedents of great former occasions. They shared still the boast of Englishmen that their constitution “has no single date from which its duration is to be reckoned,” and that “the origin of the English law is as undiscoverable as that of the Nile.” They went back themselves, for the origin of their liberties, to the most ancient muniments of English freedom. Jefferson had affirmed, in 1774, that a primitive charter of American Independence lay in the fact that as the Saxons had left their native wilds in the North of Europe, and had occupied Britain—the country which they left asserting over them no further control, nor any dependence of them upon it—so the Englishmen coming hither had formed, by that act, another state, over which Parliament had no rights, in which its laws were void till accepted.(8)

But while seeking for their liberties so archaic a basis, neither he nor his colleagues were in the least careless of what subsequent times had done to complete them. There was not one element of popular right, which had been wrested from crown and noble in any age, which they did not keep; not an equitable rule, for the transfer or the division of property, for the protection of personal rights, or for the detection and punishment of crime, which was not precious in their eyes. Even Chancery jurisdiction they widely retained, with the distinct tribunals, derived from the ecclesiastical courts, for probate of wills; and English technicalities were maintained in their courts, almost as if they were sacred things. Especially that equality of civil rights among all commoners, which II all am declares the most prominent characteristic of the English Constitution— the source of its permanence, its improvement, and its vigor— they perfectly preserved; they only more sharply affirmatively declared it. Indeed, in renouncing their allegiance to the king, and putting the United Colonies in his place, they felt themselves acting in intimate harmony with the spirit and drift of the ancient constitution. The Executive here was.to be elective, not hereditary, to be limited and not permanent in the term of his functions; and no established peerage should exist. But each State retained its governor, its legislature, generally in two houses, its ancient statute and common law; and if they had been challenged for English authority for their attitude toward ;the crown, they might have replied in the words of Bracton, the Lord Chief-Justice five hundred years before, under the reign of Henry the Third, that ” the law makes the king;” “there is no king, where will, and not law, bears rule;” “if the king were without a bridle, that is the law, they ought to put a bridle upon him.”(9) They might have replied in the words of Fox, speaking in Parliament, in daring defiance of the temper of the House, but with many supporting him, when he said that in declaring Independence, they “had done no more than the English had done against James the Second.”(10)

They had done no more; though they had not elected another king in place of him whom they renounced. They had taken no step so far in advance of the then existing English Constitution as those which the Parliament of 1640 took in advance of the previous Parliaments which Charles had dissolved. If there was a right more rooted than another in that Constitution, it was the right of the people which was taxed to have its vote in the taxing legislature. If there was anything more accordant than another with its historic temper and tenor, it was that the authority of the king was determined when his rule became tyrannous. Jefferson had but perfectly expressed the doctrine of the lovers of freedom in England for many generations, when he said in his Summary view of the Rights of America, in 1774, that “the monarch is no more than the chief officer of the people, appointed by the laws, and circumscribed with definite powers, to assist in working the great machine of government, erected for their use, and consequently subject to their superintendence;” that “kings are the servants, not the proprietors of the people;” and that a nation claims its rights, “as derived from the laws of nature not as the gift of their chief magistrate.” (11)

That had been the spirit, if not as yet the formulated doctrine, of Raleigh, Hampden, Russell, Sydney—of all the great leaders of liberty in England. Milton had declared it, in a prose as majestic as any passage of the Paradise Lost. The Commonwealth had been built on it; and the whole Revolution of 1688. And they who now framed it into their permanent organic law, and made it supreme in the country they were shaping, were in harmony with the noblest inspirations of the past. They were not innovating with a rash recklessness. They were simply accepting and re-affirming what they had learned from luminous events and illustrious men. So their work had a dignity, a strength, and a permanence which can never belong to mere fresh speculation. It interlocked with that of multitudes going before. It derived a virtue from every field of struggle in England; from every scaffold, hallowed by free and consecrated blood; from every hour of great debate. It was only the complete development into law, for a separated people, of that august ancestral liberty, the germs of which had preceded the Heptarchy, the gradual definition and establishment of which had been the glory of English history. A thousand years brooded over the room where they asserted hereditary rights. Its walls showed neither portraits nor mottoes; but the Kaiser-saal at Frankfort was not hung around with such recollections. No titles were worn by those plain men; but there had not been one knightly soldier, or one patriotic and prescient statesman, standing for liberty in the splendid centuries of its English growth, who did not touch them with unseen accolade, and bid them be faithful. The paper which they adopted, fresh from the pen of its young author, and written on his hired pine table, was already in essential life, of a venerable age; and it took immense impulse, it derived an instant and vast authority, from its relation to that undying past in which they too had grand inheritance, and from which their public life had come.

Englishmen themselves now recognize this, and often are proud of it. The distinguished representative of Great Britain at Washington may think his government, as no doubt he does, superior to ours; but his clear eye cannot fail to see that English liberty was the parent of ours, and that the new and broader continent here opened before it, suggested that expansion of it which we celebrate to-day. His ancestors, like ours, helped to build the Republic; and its faithfulness to the past, amid all reformations, was one great secret of its earliest triumph, has been one source, from that day to this, of its enduring and prosperous strength.

The Congress, and the People behind it, asserted for themselves hereditary liberties, and hazarded everything in the purpose to complete them. But they also affirmed, with emphasis and effect, another right, more general than this, which made their action significant and important to other peoples, which made it, indeed, a signal to the nations of the right of each to assert for itself the just prerogative of forming its government, electing its rulers, ordaining its laws, as might to it seem most expedient. Hear again the immortal words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident; * * that to secure these [unalienable] rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to altar or to abolish it, and to institute a new government, laying its foundations in such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”

This is what the party of Bentham called “the assumption of natural rights, claimed without the slightest evidence of their existence, and supported by vague and declamatory generalities.” This is what we receive as the decisive and noble declaration, spoken with the simplicity of a perfect conviction, of a natural right as patent as the continent; a declaration which challenged at once the attention of mankind, and which is now practically assumed as a premise in international relations and public law.

Of course it was not a new discovery. It was old as the earliest of political philosophers; as old, indeed, as the earliest communities, which, becoming established in particular locations, had there developed their own institutions, and repelled with vehemence the assaults that would change them. But in the growth of political societies, and the vast expansion of imperial states, by the conquest of those adjacent and weaker, this right, so easily recognized at the outset, so germane to the instincts, so level with the reason, of every community, had widely passed out of men’s thoughts; and the power of a conquering state to change the institutions and laws of a people, or impose on it new ones,—the power of a parent state to shape the forms and prescribe the rules of the colonies which went from it,—had been so long and abundantly exercised, that the very right of the people, thus conquered or colonial, to consult its own interests in the frame of its government, had been almost forgotten.

It might be a high speculation of scholars, or a charming dream of political enthusiasts. But it was not a maxim for the practical statesman; and whatever its correctness as an ideal principle, it was vain to expect to see it established in a world full of kings who claimed, each for himself, an authority from God, and full of states intent on grasping and governing by their law adjacent domains. The revolt of the Netherlands against Spanish domination had been the one instance in modern history in which the inherent right of a People to suit itself in the frame of its government had been proclaimed, and then maintained; and that had been at the outset a paroxysmal revolt, against tyranny so crushing, and cruelties so savage, that they took it out of the line of examples. The Dutch Republic was almost as exceptional, through the fierce wickedness which had crowded it into being, as was Switzerland itself, on the Alpine heights. For an ordinary state to claim self-regulation, and found its government on a Plebiscit, was to contradict precedent, and to set at defiance European tradition.

Our fathers, however, in a somewhat vague way, had held from the start that they had right to an autonomy; and that act of Parliament, if not appointments of the crown, took proper effect upon these shores only by reason of their assent. Their characters were held to confirm this doctrine. The conviction, it first practical and instinctive, rather than theoretic, had grown with their growth, and had been intensified into positive affirmation and public exhibition as the British rule impinged more sharply on their interests and their hopes. It had finally become the general and decisive conviction of the colonies. It had spoken already in armed resistance to the troops of the King. It had been articulated, with gathering emphasis, in many resolves,of assemblies and conventions. It was now, finally, most energetically, set forth to the world in the great Declaration; and in that utterance, made general, not particular, and founding the rights of the people in this country on principles as wide as humanity itself, there lay an appeal to every nation:—an appeal whose words took unparalleled force, were illuminated and made rubrical, in the fire and blood of the following war.

When the Emperor Ferdinand visited Innsbruck, that beautiful town of the Austrian Tyrol, in 1838, it is said that the inhabitants wrote his name in immense bonfires, along the sides of the precipitous hills which shelter the town Over a space of four or five miles extended that colossal illumination, till the heavens seemed on fire in the far-reflected upstreaming glow. The right of a people, separated from others, to its own institutions—our fathers wrote this in lines so vivid and so large that the whole world could see them ; and they followed that writing with the consenting thunders of so many cannon that even the lands across the Atlantic were shaken and filled with the long reverberation.

The doctrine had, of course, in every nation, its two-fold internal application, as well as its front against external powers. On the one hand it swept with destroying force against the nation, so long maintained, of the right of certain families in the world, called Hapsburg, Bourbon, Stuart, or whatever, to govern the rest; and wherever it was received it made the imagined divine right of kings an obsolete and contemptible fiction. On the other hand, it smote with equal energy against the pretensions of any minority within the state—whether banded together by the ties of descent, or of neighborhood in location, or of common opinion, or supposed common interest —to govern the rest; or even to impair the established and paramount government of the rest by separating themselves organically from it.

It was never the doctrine of the fathers that the people of Kent, Cornwall, or Lincoln, might sever themselves from the rest of England, and, while they had their voice and vote in the public councils, might assert the right to govern the whole, under threat of withdrawal if their minor vote were not suffered to control . They were not seeking to initiate anarchy, and to make it thenceforth respectable in the world by support of their suffrages. They recognized the fact that the state exists to meet permanent needs, is the ordinance of God as well as the family; and that He has determined the bounds of men’s habitation, by rivers, seas, and mountain chains, shaping countries as well as continents into physical coherence, while giving one man his birth on the north of the Pyrenees, another on the south, one on the terraced banks of the Rhine, another in English meadow or upland. They saw that a common and fixed habitation, in a country thus physically defined, especially when combined with community of descent, of permanent public interest, and of the language on which thought is interchanged— that these make a People; and such a People, as a true and abiding body-politic, they affirmed had right to shape its government, forbidding others to inter-meddle.

But it must be the general mind of the People which determined the questions thus involved; not a dictating class within the state, whether known as peers or associated commoners, whether scattered widely, as one among several political parties, or grouped together in some one section, and having a special interest to encourage. The decision of the general public mind, as deliberately reached, and authentically declared, that must be the end of debate; and the right of resistance, or the right of division, after that, if such right exist, it is not to be vindicated from their Declaration. Any one who thought such government by the whole intolerable to him was always at liberty to expatriate himself, and find elsewhere such other institutions as he might prefer. But he could not tarry, and still not submit. He was not a monarch, without the crown, before whose contrary judgment and will the public councils must be dumb. While dwelling in the land, and having the same opportunity with others to seek the amendment of what he disapproved, the will of the whole was binding upon him and that obligation he could not vacate by refusing to accept it. If one could not, neither could ten, nor a hundred, nor a million, who still remained a minority of the whole.

To allow such a right would have been to make government transparently impossible. Not separate sections only, but counties, townships, school districts, neighborhoods, must have the same right; and each individual, with his own will for his final law, must be the complete ultimate State.

It was no such disastrous folly which the fathers of our Republic affirmed. They ruled out kings, princes, peers, from any control over the People; and they did not give to a transient minority, wherever it might appear, on whatever question, a greater privilege, because less defined, than that which they jealously withheld from these classes. Such a tyranny of irresponsible occasional minorities would have seemed to them only more intolerable than that of classes, organized, permanent, and limited by law. And when it was affirmed by some, and silently feared by many others, that in our late immense civil war the multitudes who adhered to the old Constitution had forgotten or discarded the principles of the earlier Declaration, those assertions and fears were alike without reason. The People which adopted that Declaration, when distributed into colonies, was the People which afterward, when compacted into states, established the Confederation of 1781—imperfect enough, but whose abiding renown it is that under it the war w as ended It was the same People which subsequently framed the supreme Constitution. “We, the people of the United States,” do ordain and establish the following Constitution,—so runs the majestic and vital instrument. It contains provisions for its own emendation. When the people will, they may set it aside, and put in place of it one wholly different; and no other nation can intervene. But while it continues, it, and the laws made normally under it, are not subject to resistance by a portion of the people, conspiring to direct or limit the rest. And whensoever any pretension like this shall appear, if ever again it does appear, it will undoubtedly as instantly appear that, even as in the past so in the future, the people whose our government is, and whose complete and magnificent domain God has marked out for it, will subdue resistance, compel submission, forbid secession, though it cost again, as it cost before, four years of war, with treasure uncounted and inestimable life.

The right of a People upon its own territory, as equally against any classes within it or any external powers,this is the doctrine of our Declaration. We know how it here has been applied, and how settled it is upon these shores for the time to come We know, too, something of what impression it instantly made upon the minds of other peoples, and how they sprang to greet and accept it. In the fine image of Bancroft, “the astonished nations, as they read that all men are created equal, started out of their lethargy, like those who have been exiles from childhood, when they suddenly hear the dimly-remembered accents of their mother-tongue.”(12)

The theory of scholars had now become the maxim of a State. The diffused intellectual nebulous light had got itself concentrated into an orb; and the radiance of it, penetrating and hot, shone afar. You know how France responded to it; with passionate speed seeking to be rid of the terrific establishments in church and state which had nearly crushed the life of the people, and with a beautiful though credulous unreason trying to lift, by the grasp of the law, into intelligence and political capacity the masses whose training for thirteen centuries had been despotic. No operation of natural law was any more certain than the failure of that too daring experiment. But the very failure involved progress from it; involved, undoubtedly, that ultimate success which it was vain to try to extemporize. Certainly the other European powers will not again intervene, as they did, to restore a despotism which France has abjured, and with foreign bayonets to uphold institutions which it does not desire. Italy, Spain, Germany, England—they are not Republican in the form of their government, nor as yet democratic in the distribution of power. But each of them is as full of this organific, self-demonstrating doctrine, as is our own land; and England would send no troops to Canada to compel its submission if it should decide to set up for itself. Neither Italy nor Spain would maintain a monarchy a moment longer than the general mind of the country preferred it. Germany would be fused in the fire of one passion if any foreign nation whatever should assume to dictate the smallest change in one of its laws. The doctrine of the proper prerogative of kings, derived from God, which in the last century was more common in Europe than the doctrine of the centrality of the sun in our planetary system, is now as obsolete among the intelligent as are the epicycles of Ptolemy. Every government expects to stand henceforth by assent of the governed, and by no other claim of right. It is strong by beneficence, not by tradition; and at the height of its military successes it circulates appeals, and canvasses for ballots. Revolution is carefully sought to be averted, by timely and tender amelioration of the laws. The most progressive and liberal states are most evidently secure; while those which stand, like old olive-trees at Tivoli, with feeble arms supported on pillars, and hollow trunks filled up with stone, are palpably only tempting the blast. An alliance of sovereigns, like that called the Holy, for reconstructing the map of Europe, and parceling out the passive peoples among separate governments, would to-day be no more impossible than would Charlemagne’s plan for reconstructing the empire of the West. Even Murad, Sultan of Turkey, now takes the place of Abdul the deposed, “by the grace of God, and the will of the people;” and that accomplished and illustrious Prince, whose empire under the Southern Cross rivals our own in its extent, and most nearly approaches it on this hemisphere in stability of institutions and in practical freedom, has his surest title to the throne which he honors, in his wise liberality, and his faithful endeavor for the good of his people. As long as in this he continues, as now, a recognized leader among the monarchs—ready to take and seek suggestions from even a democratic Republic—bis throne will be steadfast as the water-sheds of Brazil; and while his successors maintain his spirit, no domestic insurrection will test the question whether they retain that celerity in movement with which Dom Pedro has astonished Americans.

It is no more possible to reverse this tendency toward popular sovereignty, and to substitute for it the right of families, classes, minorities, or of intervening foreign states, than it is to arrest the motion of the earth, and make it swing the other way in its annual orbit. In this, at least, our fathers’ Declaration has made its impression on the history of mankind.

It was the act of a People, and not of persons, except as these represented and led that. It was the act of a People, not starting out on new theories of government, so much as developing into forms of law and practical force a great and gradual inheritance of freedom. It was the act of a People, declaring for others, as for itself, the right of each to its own form of government without interference from other nations, without restraint by privileged classes.

It only remains, then, to ask the question how far it has contributed to the peace, the advancement, and the permanent, welfare, of the People by which it was set forth; of other nations which it has affected . And to ask this question is almost to answer it. The answer is as evident as the sun in the heavens.

It certainly cannot be affirmed that we in America, any more than persons or peoples elsewhere, have reached as yet the ideal state, of private liberty combined with a perfect public order, or of culture complete, and a supreme character. The political world, as well as the religious, since Christ was on earth, looks forward, not backward, for its millennium. That Golden Age is still to come which is to shine in the perfect splendor reflected from Him who is ascended; and no prophecy tells us how long before the advancing race shall reach and cross its glowing marge, or what long effort, or what tumults of battle are still to precede.

In this country, too, there have been immense special impediments to hinder wide popular progress in things which are highest. Our people have had a continent to subdue. They have been, from the start, in constant migration. Westward, from the counties of the Hudson and the Mohawk, around the lakes, over the prairies, across the great river—westward still, over alkali plains, across terrible canons, up gorges of the mountains where hardly the wild goat could find footing— westward always, till the Golden Gate opened out on the sea which has been made ten thousand miles wide, as if nothing less could stop the march—this has been the popular movement, from almost the day of the great Declaration. To-morrow’s tents have been pitched in new fields; and last year’s houses await new possessors.

With such constant change, such wide dislocation of the mass of the people from early and settled home-associations, and with the incessant occupation of the thoughts by the great physical problems presented—not so much by any struggle for existence, as by harvests for which the prairies waited, by mills for which the rivers clamored, by the coal and the gold which offered themselves to the grasp of the miner—it would not have been strange if a great and dangerous decadence had occurred in that domestic and private virtue of which Home is the nursery, in that generous and reverent public spirit which is but the effluence of its combined rays. It would have been wholly too much to expect that under such influences the highest progress should have been realized, in speculative thought, in artistic culture, or in the researches of pure science.

Accordingly, we find that in these departments not enough has been accomplished to make our progress signal in them, though here and there the eminent souls “that are like stars and dwell apart” have illumined themes highest with their high interpretation. But History has been cultivated among us, with an enthusiasm, to .in extent, hardly, I think, to have been anticipated among a people so recent and expectant; and Prescott, Motley, Irving, Ticknor, with him upon whose splendid page all American history has been amply illustrated, are known as familiarly and honored as highly in Europe as here. We have had as well distinguished poets, and have them now ; to whom the nation has been responsive ; who have not only sung themselves, but through whom the noblest poems of the Old World have come into the English tongue, rendered in fit and perfect music, and some of whose minds, blossoming long ago in the solemn or beautiful fancies of youth, with perennial energy still ripen to new fruit as they near or cross their four-score years. In Medicine, and Law, as well as in Theology, in Fiction, Biography, and the vivid Narrative of exploration and discovery, the people whose birth-day we commemorate has added something to the possession of men. Its sculptors and painters have won high places in the brilliant realm of modern art. Publicists like Wheaton, jurists like Kent, have gained a celebrity reflecting honor on the land; and if no orator, so vast in knowledge, so profound and discursive in philosophical thought, so affluent in imagery, and so glorious in diction, as Edmund Burke, has yet appeared, we must remember that centuries were needed to produce him elsewhere, and that any of the great Parliamentary debaters, aside from him, have been matched or surpassed in the hearing of those who have hung with rapt sympathetic attention on the lips of Clay, or of Rufus Choate, or have felt themselves listening to the mightiest mind which ever touched theirs when they stood beneath the imperial voice fn which Webster spoke.

In applied science there has been much done in the country, for which the world admits itself our grateful debtor. I need not multiply illustrations of this, from locomotives, printing presses, sewing machines, revolvers, steam-reapers, bank-locks. One instance suffices, most signal of all.

When Morse, from Washington, thirty-two years ago, sent over the wires his word to Baltimore, “What hath God wrought,” he had given to all the nations of mankind an instrument the most sensitive, expansive, quickening, which the world yet possesses. He had bound the earth in electric network.

England touches India to-day, and France Algeria, while we are in contact with all the continents, upon those scarcely perceptible nerves. The great strategist, like Von Moltke, with these in his hands, from the silence of his office directs campaigns, dictates marches, wins victories; the statesman in the cabinet inspires and regulates the distant diplomacies ; while the traveler in any port or mart is by the same marvel of mechanism in instant communication with all centres of commerce. It is certainly not too much to say that no other invention of the world in this century has so richly deserved the medals, crosses, and diamond decorations, the applause of senates, the gifts of kings, which were showered upon its author, as did this invention, which finally taught and utilized the lightnings whose nature a signer of the great Declaration had made apparent.

But after all it is not so much in special inventions, or in eminent attainments made by individuals, that we are to find the answer to the question, “What did that day a hundred years since accomplish for us?” Still less is it found in the progress we have made in outward wealth and material success. This might have been made, approximately at least, if the British supremacy had here continued. The prairies would have been as productive as now, the mines of copper and silver and gold as rich and extensive, the coal-beds as vast, and the cotton-fields as fertile, if we had been born the subjects of the Georges, or of Victoria. Steam would have kept its propulsive force, and sea and land have been theatres of its triumph. The river would have been as smooth a highway for the commerce which seeks it; and the leap of every mountain stream would have given as swift and constant a push to the wheels that set spindles and saws in motion. Electricity itself would have lost no property, and might have become as completely as now the fire-winged messenger of the thought of mankind .

But what we have now, and should not have had except for that paper which the Congress adopted, is the general and increasing popular advancement in knowledge, vigor, as I believe in moral culture, of which our country has been the arena, and m which lies its hope for the future. The independence of the nation has reacted, with sympathetic force, on the personal life which the nation includes. It has made men more resolute, aspiring, confident, and more susceptible to whatever exalts. The doctrine that all by creation are equal,—not in respect of physical force or of mental endowment, of means for culture or inherited privilege, but in respect of immortal faculty, of duty to each other, of right to protection and to personal development, —this has given manliness to the poor, enterprise to the weak, a kindling hope to the most obscure. It has made the individuals of whom the nation is composed more alive to the forces which educate and exalt.

There has been incessant motive, too, for the wide and constant employment of these forces. It has been felt that, as the People is sovereign here, that People must be trained in mind and spirit for its august and sovereign function. The establishment of common-schools, for a needful primary secular training, has been an instinct of Society, only recognized and repeated in provisions of statutes. The establishment of higher schools, classical and general, of colleges, scientific and professional seminaries, has been as well the impulse of the nation, and the furtherance of them a care of governments. The immense expansion of the press in this country has been based fundamentally upon the same impulse, and has wrought with beneficent general force in the same direction. Religious instruction has gone as widely as this distribution of secular knowledge.

It used to be thought that a Church dissevered from the State must be feeble. Wanting wealth of endowments and dignity of titles—its clergy entitled to no place among the peers, its revenues assured by no legal enactments—-it must remain obscure and poor; while the absence of any external limitations, of parliamentary statutes and a legal creed, must leave it liable to endless division, and tend to its speedy disintegration into sects and schisms. It seemed as hopeless to look for strength, wealth, beneficence, for extensive educational and missionary work, to such churches as these, as to look for aggressive military organization to a convention of farmers, or for the volume and thunder of Niagara to a thousand sinking and separate rills.

But the work which was given to be done in this country was so great and momentous; and has been so constant, that matching itself against that work, the Church, under whatever name, has realized a strength, and developed an activity, wholly fresh in the world in modern times. It has not been antagonized by that instinct of liberty which always awakens against its work where religion is required by law. It has seized the opportunity. Its ministers and members have had their own standards, leaders, laws, and sometimes have quarreled, fiercely enough, as to which were the better. But in the work which was set them to do, to give to the sovereign American people the knowledge of God in the Gospel of His Son, their only strife has been one of emulation—to go the furthest, to give the most, and to bless most largely the land and its future.

The spiritual incentive has of course been supreme; but patriotism has added its impulse to the work. It has been felt that Christianity is the basis of Republican empire, its bond of cohesion, its life-giving law; that the manuscript copies of the Gospels, sent by Gregory to Augustine at Canterbury, and still preserved on sixth century parchments at Oxford and Cambridge—more than Magna Charta itself, these are the roots of English liberty; that Magna Charta, and the Petition of Right, with our completing Declaration, were possible only because these had been before them. And so on in the work of keeping Christianity prevalent in the land, all earnest churches have eagerly striven. Their preachers have been heard where the pioneer’s fire scarcely was kindled. Their schools have been gathered in the temporary camp, not less than in the hamlet or town. They have sent their books with lavish distribution, they have scattered their Bibles like leaves of autumn, where settlements hardly were more than prophesied. In all languages of the land they have told the old story of the Law and the Cross, a present Redemption, and a coming Tribunal The highest truths, most solemn and inspiring, have been the truths most constantly in hand. It has been felt that, in the highest sense, a muscular Christianity was indispensable where men lifted up axes upon the thick trees . The delicate speculations of the closet and the schools were too dainty for the work; and the old confessions of Councils and Reformers, whose undecaying and sovereign energy no use exhausts, have been those always most familiar, where the trapper on his stream, or the miner in his gulch has found priest or minister on his track.

Of course not all the work has been fruitful. Not all God’s acorns come to oaks, but here and there one. Not all the seeds of flowers germinate, but enough to make some radiant gardens. And out of all this work and gift, has come a mental and moral training, to the nation at large, such as it certainly would not have had except for this effort, the effort for which would not have been made, on a scale so immense, except for this incessant aim to fit the nation for its great experiment of self-regulation. The Declaration of Independence has been the great charter of Public Education; has given impulse and scope to this prodigious Missionary work.

The result of the whole is evident enough. I am not here as the eulogist of our People, beyond what facts justify. I admit, with regret, that American manners sometimes are coarse, and American culture often very imperfect; that the noblest examples of consummate training imply a leisure which we have not had, and are perhaps most easily produced where social advantages are more permanent than here, and the law heredity has a wider recognition. We all know, too well, how much of even vice and shame there has been, and is, in our national life; how sluggish the public conscience has been before sharpest appeals; how corruption has entered high places in the government, and the blister of its touch has been upon laws, as well as on the acts of prominent officials. And we know the reckless greed and ambition, the fierce party spirit, the personal wrangles and jealous animosities, with which our Congress has been often dishonored, at which the nation— sadder still—has sometimes laughed, in idiotic unreason.

But knowing all this, and with the impression of it full on our thoughts, we may exult in the real, steady, and prophesying growth of a better spirit, toward dominance in the land. I scout the thought that we as a people are worse than our fathers! John Adams, at the head of the War Department, in 1776, wrote bitter laments of the corruption which existed in even that infant age of the Republic, and of the spirit of venality, rapacious and insatiable, which was then the most alarming enemy of America. He declared himself ashamed of the age which he lived in! In Jefferson’s day, all Federalists expected the universal dominion of French infidelity. In Jackson’s day, all Whigs thought the country gone to ruin already, as if Mr. Biddle had had the entire public hope locked up in the vaults of his terminated bank. In Polk’s day, the excitements of the Mexican War gave life and germination to many seeds of rascality. There has never been a time—not here alone, in any country—when the fierce light of incessant inquiry blazing on men in public life, would not have revealed forces of evil like those we have seen, or when the condemnation which followed the discovery would have been sharper. And it is among my deepest convictions that, with all which has happened to debase and debauch it, the nation at large was never before more mentally vigorous or morally sound.

Gentlemen: The demonstration is around us!

This city, if anyplace on the continent, should have been the one where a reckless wickedness should have had sure prevalence, and reforming virtue the least chance of success. Starting in 1790 with a white population of less than thirty thousand —growing steadily for forty years, till that population had multiplied six-fold—taking into itself, from that time on, such multitudes of emigrants from all parts of the earth that the dictionaries of the languages spoken in its streets would make a library—all forms of luxury coming with wealth, and all means and facilities for every vice—the primary elections being the seed-bed out of which springs its choice of rulers, with the influence which it sends to the public councils—its citizens so absorbed in their pursuits that oftentimes, for years together, large numbers of them have left its affairs in hands the most of all unsuited to so supreme and delicate a trust—it might well have been expected that while its docks were echoing with a commerce which encompassed the globe, while its streets were thronged with the eminent and the gay from all parts of the land, while its homes had in them uncounted thousands of noble men and cultured women, while its stately squares swept out year by year across new spaces, while it founded great institutions of beneficence, and shot new spires upward toward heaven, and turned the rocky waste to a pleasure ground famous in the earth, its government would decay, and its recklessness of moral ideas, if not as well of political principles would become apparent .

Men have prophesied this, from the outset till now. The fear of it began with the first great advance of the wealth, population, and fame of the city; and there have not been wanting facts in its history which served to renew, if not to justify the fear.

But when the war of 1861 broke on the land, and shadowed every home within it, this city,—which had voted by immense majorities against the existing administration, and which was linked by unnumbered ties with the vast communities then rushing to assail it,—flung out its banners from window and spire, from City Hall and newspaper office, and poured its wealth and life into the service of sustaining the Government, with a swiftness and vehement energy that were never surpassed. When, afterward, greedy and treacherous men, capable and shrewd, deceiving the unwary, hiring the skillful, and moulding the very law to their uses, had concentrated in their hands the government of the city, and had bound it in seemingly invincible chains, while they plundered its treasury,—it rose upon them, when advised of the facts, as Samson rose upon the Philistines; and the two new cords that were upon his hands no more suddenly became as flax that was burnt than did those manacles imposed upon the city by the craft of the Ring.

Its leaders of opinion to-day are the men—like him who presides in our assembly—whom virtue exalts, and character crowns. It rejoices in a Chief Magistrate as upright and intrepid in a virtuous cause, as any of those whom he succeeds. It is part of a State whose present position, in laws, and officers, and the spirit of its people, does no discredit to the noblest of its memories. And from these heights between the rivers, looking over the land, looking out on the earth to which its daily embassies go, it sees nowhere beneath the sun a city more ample in its moral securities, a city more dear to those who possess it, a city more splendid in promise and in hope.

What is true of the city is true, in effect, of all the land. Two things, at least, have been established by our national history, the impression of which the world will not lose. The one is, that institutions like ours, when sustained by a prevalent moral life throughout the nation, are naturally permanent . The other is, that they tend to peaceful relations with other states. They do this in fulfillment of an organic tendency, and not through any accident of location. The same tendency will inhere in them, wheresoever established.

In this age of the world, and in all the states which Christianity quickens, the allowance of free movement to the popular mind is essential to the stability of public institutions. There may be restraint enough to guide, and keep such movement from premature exhibition. But there cannot be force enough used to resist it, and to reverse its gathering current. If there is, the government is swiftly overthrown, as in France so often, or is left on one side, as Austria has been by the advancing German people; like the Castle of Heidelberg, at once palace and fortress, high-placed and superb but only the stateliest ruin in Europe, while the rail-train thunders through the tunnel beneath it, and the Neckar sings along its near channel as if tower and tournament never had been. Revolution, transformation, organic change, have thus all the time for this hundred years been proceeding in Europe; sometimes silent, but oftener amid thunders of stricken fields; sometimes pacific, but oftener with garments rolled in blood.

In England the progress has been peaceful, the popular demands being ratified as law whenever the need became apparent. It has been vast, as well as peaceful; in the extension of suffrage, in the ever-increasing power of the Commons, in popular education. Chatham himself would hardly know his own England if he should return to it. The Throne continues, illustrated by the virtues of her who fills it; and the ancient forms still obtain in Parliament. But it could not have occurred to him, or to Burke, that a century after the ministry of Grenville the embarkation of the Pilgrims would be one of the prominent historical pictures on the panels of the lobby of the House of Lords, or that the name of Oliver Cromwell, and of Bradshaw, President of the High Court of Justice, would be cut in the stone in Westminster Abbey, over the places in which they were buried, and whence their decaying bodies were dragged to the gibbet and the ditch. England is now, as has been well said, “an aristocratic Republic, with a permanent Executive.” Its only perils lie in the fact of that aristocracy, which, however, is flexible enough to endure, of that permanence in the Executive, which would hardly outlive one vicious Prince.

What changes have taken place in France, I need not remind you, nor how uncertain is still its future. You know how the swift untiring wheels, of advance or reaction, have rolled this way and that, in Italy, and in Spain; how Germany has had to be reconstructed; how Hungary has had to fight and suffer for that just place in the Austrian councils which only imperial defeat surrendered. You know how precarious the equilibrium now is, in many states, between popular rights and princely prerogative ; what armies are maintained, to fortify governments; what fear of sudden and violent change, like an avalanche tumbling at the touch of a foot, perplexes nations. The records of change make the history of Europe. The expectation of change is almost as wide as the continent itself.

Meanwhile, how permanent has been this Republic, which seemed at the outset to foreign spectators a mere sudden insurrection, a mere organized riot! Its organic law, adopted after exciting debate, but arousing no battle and enforced by no army, has been interpreted, and peacefully administered, with one great exception, from the beginning. It has once been assailed, with passion and skill, with splendid daring and unbounded self-sacrifice, by those who sought a sectional advantage through its destruction. No monarchy of the world could have withstood that assault. It seemed as if the last fatal Apocalypse had come, to drench the land with plague and blood, and wrap it in a fiery gloom. The Republic,

“pouring like the tide into a breach.
With ample and brim fulness of its force.”

subdued the rebellion, emancipated the race which had been in subjection, restored the dominion of the old Constitution, amended its provisions in the contrary direction from that which had been so fiercely sought, gave it guaranties of endurance while the continent lasts, and made its ensigns more eminent than ever in the regions from which they had been expelled. The very portions of the people which then sought its overthrow are now again its applauding adherents—the great and constant reconciling force, the tranquillizing Irenarch, being the freedom which it leaves in their hands.

It has kept its place, this Republic of ours, in spite of the rapid expansion of the nation over territory so wide that the scanty strip of the original states is only as a fringe on its immense mantle. It has kept its place, while vehement debates, involving the profound^st ethical principles, have stirred to its depths the whole public mind. It has kept its place, while the tribes of mankind have been pouring upon it, seeking the shelter and freedom which it gave. It saw an illustrious President murdered, by the bullet of an assassin. It saw his place occupied as quietly by another as if nothing unforeseen or alarming had occurred. It saw prodigious armies assembled, for its defence. It saw those armies, at the end of the war, marching in swift and long procession up the streets of the Capital, and then dispersing into their former peaceful citizenship, as if they had had no arms in their hands. The General before whose skill and will those armies had been shot upon the forces which opposed them, and whose word had been their military law, remained for three years an appointed officer of that government he had saved. Elected then to be the head of that government, and again re-elected by the ballots of his countrymen, in a few months more he will have retired, to be thenceforth a citizen like the rest, eligible to office, and entitled to vote, but with no thought of any prerogative descending to him, or to his children, from his great service and military fame. The Republic, whose triumphing armies he led, will remember his name, and be grateful for his work; but neither to him, nor to any one else, will it ever give sovereignty over itself.

From the Lakes to the Gulf, its will is the law, its dominion complete. Its centripetal and centrifugal forces are balanced, almost as in the astronomy of the heavens. Decentralizing authority, it puts his own part of it into the hand of every citizen. Giving free scope to private enterprise, allowing not only, but accepting and encouraging, each movement of the public reason which is its only terrestrial rule, there is no threat, in all its sky, of division or downfall. It cannot be successfully assailed from within. It never will be assailed from without, with a blow at its life, while other nations continue sane.

It has been sometimes compared to a pyramid, broad-based and secure, not liable to overthrow as is obelisk or column, by storm or age. The comparison is just, but it is not sufficient. It should rather be compared to one of the permanent features of nature, and not to any artificial construction:—to the river, which flows, like our own Hudson, along the courses that nature opens, forever in motion, but forever the same; to the lake, which lies on common days level and bright in placid stillness, while it gathers its fullness from many lands, and lifts its waves in stormy strength when winds assail it; to the mountain, which is shaped by no formula of art, and which only rarely, in some supreme sun-burst, flushes with color, but whose roots the very earthquake cannot shake, and on whose brow the storms fall hurtless, while under its shelter the cottage nestles, and up its sides the gardens climb.

So stands the Republic:

Whole as the marble, founded as the rook,
As broad and general as the casing air.

Our government has been permanent, as established upon the old Declaration, and steadily sustained by the undecaying and molding life in the soul of the nation. It has been peaceful, also, for the most part, in scheme and in spirit; and has shown at no time such an appetite for war as has been familiar, within the century, in many lands.

This may be denied, by foreign critics; or at any rate be explained, if the fact be admitted, by our isolation from other states, by our occupation in peaceful labors, which have left no room for martial enterprise, perhaps by an alleged want in us of that chivalric and high-pitched spirit, which is gladdened by danger and which welcomes the fray. I do not think the explanation sufficient, the analysis just .

This people was trained to military effort, from its beginning. It had in it the blood of Saxon and Norman, neither of whom was afraid of war; the very same blood which a few years after was poured out like water at Marston Moor, and Naseby, and Dunbar. Ardor and fortitude were added to its spirit by those whose fathers had followed Coligni, by the children of those whom Alva and Parma could not conquer, or whom Gustavus had inspired with his intense paramount will. With savages in the woods, and the gray wolf prowling around its cabins, the hand of this people was from the first as familiar with the gunstock as with mattock or plough; and it spent more time, in proportion to its leisure, it spent more life, in proportion to its numbers, from 1607 to 1776, in protecting itself against violent assault than was spent by France, the most martial of kingdoms, on all the bloody fields of Europe.

Then came the Revolution, with its years of war, and its crowning success, to intensify, and almost to consecrate this spirit, and to give it distribution; while, from that time, the nation has been taken into its substance abounding elements from all the fighting peoples of the earth. The Irishman, who is never so entirely himself as when the battle-storm hurtles around him; the Frenchman, who says “After you Gentlemen,” before the infernal fire of Fontenoy ; the German, whose irresistible tread the world lately heard at Sadowa and Sedan —these have been entering representatives of two of them entering by millions, into the Republic. If any nation, therefore, should have a fierce and martial temper, this is the one. If any people should keep its peaceful neighbors in fear, lest its aggression should smite their homes, it is a people born, and trained, and replenished like this, admitting no rule but its own will, and conscious of a strength whose annual increase makes arithmetic pant.

What has been the fact? Lay out of sight that late civil war which could not be averted, when once it had been threatened, except by the sacrifice of the government itself, and a wholly unparalleled public suicide, and how much of war with foreign powers has the century seen? There has been a frequent crackle of musketry along the frontiers, as Indian tribes, which refused to be civilized, have slowly and fiercely retreated toward the West. There was one war declared against Tripoli, in 1801, when the Republic took by the throat the African pirates to whom Europe paid tribute, and when the gallantry of the Preble and Decatur gave early distinction to our navy. There was a war declared against England, in 1812, when our seamen had been taken from under our flag, from the decks of our national ships, and our commerce had been practically swept from the seas. There was a war affirmed already to exist in Mexico, in 1846, entered into by surprise, never formally declared, against which the moral sentiment of the nation rose widely in revolt, but which in its result added largely to our territory, opened to us California treasures, and wrote the names of Buena Vista and Monterey on our short annals.

That has been our military history; and if a People, as powerful and as proud, has anywhere been more peaceable also, in the last hundred years, the strictest research fails to find it. Smarting with the injury done us by England during the crisis of our national peril, in spite of the remonstrances presented through that distinguished citizen who should have been your orator to-day—while hostile taunts had incensed our people, while burning ships had exasperated commerce, and while what looked like artful evasions had made statesmen indignant —with a half-million men who had hardly yet laid down their arms, with a navy never before so vast, or so fitted for service— when a war with England would have had the force of passion behind it, and would at any rate have shown to the world that the nation respects its starry flag, and means to have it secure on the seas—we referred all differences to arbitration, appointed commissioners, tried the cause at Geneva, with advocates, not with armies, and got a prompt and ample verdict . If Canada now lay next to Yorkshire it would not be safer from armed incursion than it is when divided by only a custom-house from all the strength of this Republic

The fact is apparent, and the reason not less so. A monarchy, just as it is despotic, finds incitement to war; for preoccupation of the popular mind; to gratify nobles, officers, the army; for historic renown. An intelligent Republic hates war, and shuns it. It counts standing armies a curse only second to an annual pestilence. It wants no glory but from growth. It delights itself in arts of peace, seeks social enjoyment and increase of possessions, and feels instinctively that, like Israel of old, “its strength is to sit still.” It cannot bear to miss the husbandman from the fields, the citizen from the town, the house-father from the home, the worshipper from the church. To change or shape other people’s institutions is no part of its business. To force them to accept its scheme of government would simply contradict and nullify its charter. Except, then, when it is startled into passion by the cry of a suffering under oppression which stirs its pulses into tumult, or when it is assailed in its own rights, citizens, property, it will not go to war; nor even then, if diplomacy can find a remedy for the wrong. “Millions for defence,” said (Jotesworth Pinckney to the French Directory, when Talleyrand in their name had threatened him with war, “but not a cent for tribute.” He might have added, “and not a dollar for aggressive strife.”

It will never be safe to insult such a nation, or to outrage its citizens; for the reddest blood is in its veins, and some Captain Ingraham may always appear, to lay his little sloop of war along-side the offending frigate, with shotted guns, and a peremptory summons. There is a way to make powder inexplosive; but, treat it chemically how you will, the dynamite will not stand many blows of the hammer. The detonating tendency is too permanent in it. But if left to itself, such a People will be peaceful, as ours has been. It will foster peace among the nations. It will tend to dissolve great permanent armaments, as the light conquers ice, and summer sunshine breaks the glacier which a hundred trip-hammers could only scar. The longer it continues, the more widely and effectively its influence spreads, the more will its benign example hasten the day, so long foretold, so surely coming, when

The war-drum throbs no longer, and the battle-flags are furled.
In the Parliament of Man, the Federation of the World.

Mr. President: Fellow-Citizens:—To an extent too great for your patience, but with a rapid incompleteness that is only too evident as we match it with the theme, I have outlined before you some of the reasons why we have right to commemorate the day whose hundredth anniversary has brought us together, and why the paper then adopted has interest and importance not only for us, but for all the advancing sons of men. Thank God that he who framed the Declaration, and he who was its foremost champion, both lived to see the nation they had shaped growing to greatness, and to die together, in that marvelous coincidence, on its semi-centennial! The fifty years which have passed since then have only still further honored their work. Mr. Adams was mistaken in the day which he named as the one to be most fondly remembered. It was not that on which Independence of the empire of Great Britain was formally resolved. It was that on which the reasons were given which justified the act, and the principles were announced which made it of secular significance to mankind. But he would have been absolutely right in saying of the fourth day what he did say of the second: it “will be the most remarkable epoch in the history of America; to be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival, commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to Almighty God, from one end of the continent to the other.”

It will not be forgotten, in the land or in the earth, until the stars have fallen from their poise; or until our vivid morningstar of Republican liberty, not losing its luster, has seen its special brightness fade in the ampler effulgence of a freedom universal!

But while we rejoice in that which is past, and gladly recognize the vast organific mystery of life -which was in the Declaration, the plans of Providence which slowly and silently, but with ceaseless progression, had led the way to it, the immense and enduring results of good which from it have flowed, let us not forget the duty which always equals privilege, and that of peoples,, as well as of persons, to whomsoever much is given, shall only therefore the more be required. Let us consecrate our selves, each one of us, here, to the further duties which wait to be fulfilled, to the work which shall consummate the great work of the Fathers!

From scanty soils come richest grapes, and on severe and rocky slopes the trees are often of toughest fibre The wines of Rudesheim and Johannesburg cannot be grown in the fatness of gardens, and the cedars of Lebanon disdain the levels of marsh and meadow. So a heroism is sometimes native to penury which luxury enervates, and the great resolution which sprang up in the blast, and blossomed under inclement skies, may lose its shapely and steadfast strength when the air is all of summer softness. In exuberant resources is to be the coming American peril; in a swiftly increasing luxury of life. The old humility, hardihood, patience, are too likely too be lost when material success again opens, as it will, all avenues to wealth, and when its brilliant prizes solicit, as again they will, the national spirit.

Be it ours to endeavor that that temper of the Fathers which was nobler than their work shall live in the children, and exalt to its tone their coming career; that political intelligence, patriotic devotion, a reverent spirit toward Him who is above, an exulting expectation of the future of the “World, and a sense of our relation to it, shall bs, as of old, essential forces in our public life; that education and religion keep step all the time with the Nation’s advance, and the School and the Church be always at home wherever its flag shakes out its folds. In a spirit worthy the memories of the Past let us set ourselves to accomplish the tasks which, in the sphere of national politics, still await completion. “We burn the sunshine of other years, when we ignite the wood or coal upon our hearths. “We enter a privilege which ages have secured, in our daily enjoyment of political freedom. While the kindling glow irradiates our homes, let it shed its luster on our spirit, and quicken it for its further work.

Let us fight against the tendency of educated men to reserve themselves from politics, remembering that no other form of human activity is so grand or effective as that which affects, first the character, and then the revelation of character in the government, of a great and free People. Let us make religious dissension here, as a force in politics, as absurd as witchcraft.(13) Let party names be nothing to us, in comparison with that costly and proud inheritance of liberty and of law, which parties exist to conserve and enlarge, which any party will have here to maintain if it would not be buried, at the next cross-roads, with a stake through its breast. Let us seek the unity of all sections of the Republic, through the prevalence in all of mutual respect, through the assurance in all of local freedom, through the mastery in all of that supreme spirit which flashed from the lips of Patrick Henry, when he said, in the first Continental Congress, “I am not a Virginian, but an American.” Let us take care that labor maintains its ancient place of privilege and honor, and that industry has no fetters imposed, of legal restraint or of social discredit, to hinder its work or to lessen its wage. Let us turn, and overturn, in public discussion, in political change, till we secure a Civil Service, honorable, intelligent, and worthy of the land, in which capable integrity, not partisan zeal, shall be the condition of each public trust; and let us resolve that whatever it may cost, of labor and of patience, of sharper economy and of general sacrifice, it shall come to pass that wherever American labor toils, wherever American enterprise plans, wherever American commerce reaches, thither again shall go as of old the country’s coin—the American Eagle, with the encircling stars and golden plumes! In a word, Fellow-Citizens, the moral life of the nation being ever renewed, all advancement and timely reform will come as comes the burgeoning of the tree from the secret force which fills its veins. Let us each of us live, then, in the blessing and the duty of our great citizenship, as those who are conscious of unreckoned indebtedness to a heroic and prescient Past:—the grand and solemn lineage of whose freedom runs back beyond Bunker Hill or the Mayflower, runs back beyond muniments and memories of men, and has the majesty of far centuries on it! Let us live as those for whom God hid a continent from the world, till He could open all its scope to the freedom and faith of gathered peoples, from many lands, to be a nation to His honor and praise! Let us live as those to whom He commits the magnificent trust of blessing peoples many and far, by the truths which He has made our life, and by the history which He helps us to accomplish.

Such relation to a Past ennobles this transient and vanishing life. Such a power of influence on the distant and the Future, is the supremest terrestrial privilege. It is ours if we will, in the mystery of that spirit, which has an immortal and a ubiquitous life. “With the swifter instruments now in our hands, with the land compacted into one immense embracing home, with the world opened to the interchange of thought, and thrilling with the hopes that now animate its life, each American citizen has superb opportunity to make his influence felt afar, and felt for long!

Let us not be unmindful of this ultimate and inspiring lesson of the hour! By all the memories of the Past, by all the impulse of the Present, by the noblest instincts of our own souls, by the touch of His sovereign spirit upon us, God make us faithful to the work, and to Him! that so not only this city may abide, in long and bright tranquility of peace, when our eyes have shut forever on street, and spire, and populous square; that so the land, in all its future, may reflect an influence from this anniversary; and that, when another century has passed, the sun which then ascends the heavens may look on a world advanced and illumined beyond our thought, and here may behold the same great Nation, born of struggle, baptized into liberty, and in its second terrific trial purchased by blood, then expanded and multiplied till all the land blooms at its touch, and still one in its life, because still pacific, Christian, free!

Footnotes:
(1) Te Deum also known as Ambrosian Hymn or A Song of the Church is an early Christian hymn of praise, joy and thanksgiving.
O God, we praise Thee, and acknowledge Thee to be the supreme Lord.
Everlasting Father, all the earth worships Thee.
All the Angels, the heavens and all angelic powers,
All the Cherubim and Seraphim, continuously cry to Thee:
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts!
Heaven and earth are full of the Majesty of Thy glory.
The glorious choir of the Apostles,
The wonderful company of Prophets,
The white-robed army of Martyrs, praise Thee.
Holy Church throughout the world acknowledges Thee:
The Father of infinite Majesty;
Thy adorable, true and only Son;
Also the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.
O Christ, Thou art the King of glory!
Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.
When Thou tookest it upon Thyself to deliver man,
Thou didst not disdain the Virgin’s womb.
Having overcome the sting of death, Thou opened the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers.
Thou sittest at the right hand of God in the glory of the Father.
We believe that Thou willst come to be our Judge.
We, therefore, beg Thee to help Thy servants whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy
Precious Blood.
Let them be numbered with Thy Saints in everlasting glory.
Save Thy people, O Lord, and bless Thy inheritance!
Govern them, and raise them up forever.
Every day we thank Thee.
And we praise Thy Name forever, yes, forever and ever.
O Lord, deign to keep us from sin this day.
Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us.
Let Thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, for we have hoped in Thee.
O Lord, in Thee I have put my trust; let me never be put to shame.

(2) The Hongs were major business houses in Canton, China and later Hong Kong with significant influence on patterns of consumerism, trade, manufacturing and other key areas of the economy. They were originally led by Howqua as head of the cohong

(3) May 15, A.D. 1213.
(4)  “Quant a ceux qui se tronvaient du cOte des barons, il n’est ni nccessaire ni possible de les enumerer, puisque toute la noblesse d’Angletree r6unie en un seul corps, ne pouvait tomber sous le ealcul. Lorsque les pretentions des revoltes eurent ete debattues, le roi Jean, comprenunt son inf6riorite vis-a-vis des forces de ses barons, accorda sans resistance les lois et libertes qn’on lui demandait, et les conflrma par la cbarte.”
Chronique de Matt. Paris, trad, par A. Huillard Breholles. Tome Troisieme, pp. C, 7.
(5) Calendar of State Papers, Domestic Series, Charles L, 1628-9.
Rushworth’s Hist. Coll. Charles I., 625.
It is rather remarkable that neither Hume, Clarendon, Hallam, De Lolme, nor Macaulay, mentions this date, though nil recognize the capital importance of the event. It does not appear in even Knight’s Popular History of England. Miss Aikin, in her Memoirs of the Court of Charles I., gives it as June 8, [Vol. I, 216 ]; and Chambers’ Encyclopaedia, which ought to be careful and accurate in regard to the dates of events in English history, says, under the title “Petition of Rights:’ “At length, on both Houses of Parliament insisting on a fuller answer, he pronounced an unqualified assent in the usual form of words, – Soi’ fait comme il est d6sirj,’ on the 26th of June, 1628.”‘ The same statement is repeated in the latest Revised Edition of that Encyclopaedia. Lingard gives the date correctly.
(6) Welwood’s Memorials, quoted in Forster’s Life of Pym, p. 62.
(7) Essay on Schiller. Essays: Vol. II, p. 301.
(8) Works, Vol I p. 125.
(9)  Ipse autem rex, non debet esse sub homine, sed sub Deo et sub Lege, quia Lex facit regent. Attribuat igitur rex Legi quod Lex attribuit ei, videlicet dominationem et potestatem, non est enim rex ubi domiuatur voluntas et non Lex De Leg, et Cons. Angliae; Lib. I., chap 8, P. 5.
Rex autem habet superiorem, Deum. Item, Legem, per quam factus est rex. Item, curiam suam, videlicet comites, Barones, quia, comites dicuntur quasi socii regis, et qui habet socium habet magiatrum; et ideo si rex fuerit sine fraeno, i. e sine Lege, debent ei fraenum ponere; etc. Lib. II., chap. 16, P. 3.
The following is still more explicit: “As the head of a body natural cannot change its nerves and sinews, cannot deny to the several parts their proper energy, their due proportion and ailment of blood; neither can a King, who is the head of a body politic, change the laws thereof, nor take from the people what is theirs by right, against their consent. For he is appointed to protect his subjects in their lives, properties, and laws; for this very end and purpose he has the delegation of power from the people, and he has no just claim to any other power but this.” Sir John Fortescue’s Treatise, De Laudibus Legum Angliae, c. 9, (about A. D. 1470,) quoted by Hallam, Mid. Ages, chap. VIII., part III
(10) Speech of October 31, 1776: “The House divided on the Amendment. Yeas, 87; nays, 242.”
(11)  Rulers are no more than attorneys, agents, trustees, for the people, and if the cause, the interest and trust, is insidiously betrayed, or wantonly trifled away, the people have a right to revoke the authority that they themselves have deputed, and to constitute abler and better agents, attorneys, and trustees. —John Adams. Dissertation on Canon and Feudal Law; 1766. Works : Vol. III, pp. 456-7.
(12) Vol. VIII., p. 473
(13) Cromwell in sometimes considered a bigot. His rule on this subject is therefore the more worthy of record: “Sir, the State, in choosing men to serve it, takes no notice of their opinions; if they be willing faithfully to serve it, that satisfies. Take heed of being sharp, or too easily sharpened by others, against those to whom you can object little, but that they square not with you in every opinion concerning matters of religion. If there be any other offence to be charged upon him, that must, in a judicial way, receive determination.”—Letter to Major-General Crawford, 10th March, 1643.
Earls of Albemarle, Arundel, Gloucester, Hereford, Norfolk
See also:Christianity and the Founding of the United States the Simple Truth
The Consequence of Bad Legal Precedent in American Legislation
Wide Spread And Growing Corruption In The Public Service Of The States And Nation
THE FIRST CENTURY OF THE REPUBLIC by Judge Isaac W Smith 1876
THE PERPETUITY OF THE REPUBLIC by Joseph Kidder July 4th 1876
Open Letter to ALL Politicians and Bureaucrats, we’re coming for you
Constitution of the United States and it’s Governmental Operations (In Plain English so even Politicians, Lawyers and Bureaucrats can understand)
THE SOURCE AND SECURITY OF AMERICAN FREEDOM AND PROGRESS by Courtlandt Parker 1876 
THE DESTINY OF THE REPUBLIC by Lewis W. Clark 1876 New Hampshire
THE COST OF POPULAR LIBERTY by Brooks Adams July 4th 1876
The Practical Advance Of Human Freedom Under The Trumpet Call Made In 1776 by Charles F Adams
THE GRAND MISSION OF AMERICA by Joseph H. Twitchell, July 4, 1876
 

THE GRAND MISSION OF AMERICA by Joseph H. Twitchell, July 4, 1876

rev_joseph_h_twichellTHE GRAND MISSION OF AMERICA. AN ADDRESS BY REV. JOSEPH H. TWITCIIELL 1838-1918, A Lincoln Republican and the reported best friend of Samuel L. Clemens i.e. Mark Twain. Delivered At The Centennial Celebration At Hartford, Conn., July 4th, 1876.

This republic was ordained of God who has provided the conditions of the organization of the race into nations by the configuration of land and the interspaces of the sea. By these national organizations the culture and development of the race are secured. We believe that our nation is a creature of God— that he ordained it for an object, and we believe that we have some comprehension of what that object is. He gave us the best results of the travail of ages past for an outfit, separating us from the circumstances that in the existing nations encumbered these results, and sent us forth to do his will. We built on foundations already prepared a new building. Other men had labored and we entered upon their labors. God endowed and set us for a sign to testify the worth of men and the hope there is for man. And we are rejoicing to-day that in our first hundred years we seem to have measurably—measurably—fulfilled our Divine calling. It is not our national prosperity, great as it is, that is the appropriate theme of our most joyful congratulations, but it is our success in demonstrating that men are equal as God’s children, which affords a prophecy of better things for the race. That is what our history as a lesson amounts to.

There have been failures in particulars, but not on the whole; though we fall short, yet still, on the whole, the outline of the lesson may be read clearly. The day of remembrance and of recollection is also the day of anticipation. We turn from looking back one hundred years to looking forward one hundred. It is well for some reasons to dwell upon to-day, but the proper compliment of our memories, reaching over generations, is hope reaching forward over a similar period of time. Dwelling on to-day—filling our eyes with it—we can neither see far back nor far on. We are caught in the contemplation of evils that exist and that occupy us with a sense of what has not been done and of unpleasing aspects. True there are evils, but think what has been wrought in advancing the work of the grand mission of America. Do we doubt that the work is to go on? No! There are to be strifes and contending forces. But as out of strife has come progress, so will it be hereafter. Some things that we have not wanted, as well as some things that we have wanted have been done, yet on the whole the result is progress. It is God’s way to bring better things by strife. (The speaker here alluded to the battle of Gettysburg, where he officiated as chaplain in the burial of the dead—the blue and the gray often in the same grave—and said that the only prayer that he could offer was “Thy will be done, thy Kingdom come on earth as it . is in heaven.”

The republic is to continue on in the same general career it has hitherto followed. The same great truths its history has developed and realized in social and civil life are to still farther emerge. The proposition that all men are created equal is to be still further demonstrated. Human rights are to be vindicated and set free from all that would deny them—Is any law that asserts the dignity of human nature to be abrogated? Never. The Republic is to become a still brighter and brighter sign to the nations to show them the way to liberty. We have opened our doors to the oppressed. Are those doors to be closed? No; a thousand times no. We have given out an invitation to those who are held in the chains of wrong. Is that invitation to be recalled? No, never. The invitation has been accepted; and here the speaker alluded to the fact—which shows how homogenous we finally become as a nation, though heterogeneous through immigration—that the Declaration of Independence is read here to-day by a man whoso father was born in Ireland; the national songs are sung by a man who was himself born in Ireland; and the company of singers here, nearly all, were born in Germany. Then he passed to the subject of Chinese education in this country and spoke of Yung Wing and his life-work, alluding to him as the representative of the better thought and hope of China, and then paid his respects to that part of the Cincinnati platform which alludes to this race. So long as he had voted he had given his support to this political party whose convention was held at Cincinnati, but that platform wherein it seems on this point to verge toward un-American doctrine, he repudiated; “I disown it; I say woe to its policy; I bestow my malediction upon it.” Now, if there is any one here who will pay like respect to the platform of the other party the whole duty will be done. We are urged to-day in view of our calling, and of the fulfillment of the past to set our faces and hearts toward the future in harmony and sympathy with the hope we are to realize. Let every man make it a personal duty and look within himself. God save the Republic! May it stand in righteousness and mercy ; so only can it stand. If we forsake our calling, God will take away the crown He has given us. The kingdom of God will be taken from us and given to another nation which shall bring forth the fruits thereof.

See also:
The Consequence of Bad Legal Precedent in American Legislation
True American Patriotism Defined by Hon. Curtis Guild and H. F. Kinnerney 1876
THE SOURCE AND SECURITY OF AMERICAN FREEDOM AND PROGRESS by Courtlandt Parker 1876
PATRIOT SONS OF PATRIOT SIRES by Rev. Samuel Francis Smith 1808-1895

Joseph Baldwin: Address 1892, to National Teachers Association in New York
TRUE FREEDOM! A Poem by James Russell Lowell 1819-1891
THE GENIUS OF AMERICA by Hon. Dr. Felix R. Brunot July 4, 1876
A PRAYER FOR THE NATION by Rev. William Bacon Stevens July 4, 1876
Advice to Young People from Noah Webster Father of American Education

The Wisdom and Love of God as Shown by His Creation by Noah Webster
COURAGE! A Poem by Bryan Waller Procter 1787-1874
AIM HIGH! An Address by President Benjamin Harrison 1893
A GOOD NAME by Joel Hawes 1789-1867

A PRAYER FOR THE NATION by Rev. William Bacon Stevens July 4, 1876

William Bacon StevensPRAYER, by the Rev. William Bacon Stevens, D.D., L.L.D., (July 13, 1815 – June 11, 1887) Fourth Episcopal Bishop Of Pennsylvania.

Used at the Grand Centennial Celebration In Philadelphia, July 4, 1876.

O Almighty and Eternal God, we come before Thee to praise Thy glorious name, and to give Thee most humble and hearty thanks, for the inestimable blessings which as a Nation we this day enjoy.

We devoutly recognize Thy Fatherly hand in the planting and nurturing of these colonies, in carrying them through the perils and trials of war; in establishing them in peace; and permitting us to celebrate this hundredth birthday of our Independence. We thank Thee, O God, that Thou didst inspire the hearts of Thy servants to lay here the foundations of peace and liberty; to proclaim here those principles which have wrought out for us such civil and religious blessings; and to set up here a Government which Thou hast crowned by Thy blessing, and guarded by Thy hand to this day.

The whole praise and glory of these great mercies we ascribe, 0 God, to Thee! “Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name be all the glory, “for by Thee only, have we been led to take our present position among the nations of the earth. As Thou wast our Father’s God, in times past, we beseech Thee to be our God, in all time to come. Thou hast safely brought us to the beginning of another century of national life, defend and bless us in the same, O God, with Thy mighty power. Give peace and prosperity in all our borders, unity and charity among all classes, and a true and hearty love of country to all our people. Keep far from us all things hurtful to the welfare of the nation, and give to us all things necessary for our true growth and progress.

Bless O Thou Mighty Ruler of the Universe Thy servants to whom are committed the Executive, the Legislative and Judicial government of this land; that Thou wouldst be pleased to direct and prosper all their consultations to the advancement of Thy glory, the good of Thy Church, the safety, honor and welfare of Thy people; that all things may be so ordered and settled by their endeavors, upon the best and surest foundations, that peace and happiness, truth and justice, religion and true liberty may be established among us for all generations. Make us to know, therefore, that on this day of our Nation’s festivity, and to consider it in our hearts, that Thou art God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath, and that there is no God else beside Thee.

Enable us to keep Thy statutes and Thy judgments which Thou hast commanded, that it may go well with us and with our children; that we and they may fear Thy name and obey Thy law, and that Thou mayest prolong the days of this nation through all coming time.

Establish Thy kingdom in the midst of this land. Make it “Emmanuel’s land,” a “mountain of holiness and a dwelling place of righteousness.”

Inspire Thy Church with the spirit of truth, unity and concord, and grant that every member of the same in his vocation and ministry may serve Thee faithfully. Bless the rulers of this city and commonwealth, and grant that they may truly and impartially administer justice to the punishment of wickedness and vice, and to the maintenance of Thy true religion and virtue.

Pour out Thy Fatherly blessing upon our whole country, upon all our lawful pursuits and industries, upon all our households and institutions of learning and benevolence, that rejoicing in Thy smile, and strengthened by Thy might, this nation may go on through all the years of this new century a praise and a joy of the whole earth, so that all who look upon it may be able to say, “Truly God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved.” These things and whatsoever else we need for our national preservation and perpetuity, we humbly ask, in the name and through the mediation of Thy dear Son, to whom with the Father and the Holy Ghost, be ascribed all might, majesty, dominion and power, world without end.
Amen.

See also: Advice to Young People from Noah Webster Father of American Education

The Wisdom and Love of God as Shown by His Creation by Noah Webster
Founders on the 2nd Amendment
PATRIOT SONS OF PATRIOT SIRES by Rev. Samuel Francis Smith 1808-1895
Joseph Baldwin: Address 1892, to National Teachers Association in New York
Constitution of the United States and it’s Governmental Operations (In Plain English) ,
POLITICAL CONSTITUTIONS by Johannes Von Muller (1832),
Resistance to Tyrants is Obedience to God
Why our Forefathers firmly believed that Freedom and Liberty came from God
 

THE MIGHTY WORD “NO.” by Theodore L. Cuyler, 1822-1909

Theodore_L._CuylerThe most tremendous word in the English language is the short yet mighty word, “No.” It has been the pivot on which innumerable destinies have turned for this world and the next. Spoken at the right moment, it has saved multitudes from disgrace, from ruin. The splendid career of Joseph turned on the prompt NO spoken at the very nick of time.

Nehemiah’s simple, manly statement is, “So do not I, because of the fear of God.” Nobly said. We wish some young man would write those sharp ringing words in his note-book, and determine to make the same answer whenever he is tempted to do a selfish or wicked act. Daniel might easily have said to himself, Oh, everybody about the Court here drinks wine and lives high on the king’s meat. I do not want to be thought queer or puritanical.” He dared to be singular. “So did not I,” was the motto of this sturdy young teetotaler. If he had yielded to the current of temptation, and drifted with it, we never should have heard of such a man as Daniel.

All the people who make a marked success in life, and who achieve any good work for God, are the people who are not ashamed to be thought singular. The man who runs with the crowd counts for nothing. It is when he turns about and faces the multitude who are rushing on to do evil that he commands every eye. Then, by a bold protest, he may put a thousand to flight. Every young man must come out and be separate from sinners, if they wish to save their characters and their souls. The downward pull of sin is tremendous. To be able firmly to say, “Yet will not I,” requires the grace from above in the heart. There is a subtle pull also in the drift of fashion and usage which carries away every one who is not established on a Bible conscience. Three fourths of all the persons who are drowned on the seashore are swept out by the undertow. This is the secret influence which takes hold of so many church-members and carries them off into extravagant living, into sinful amusements, and all manner of worldly conformities. The bottom of the great deep is / strewed with backsliders. Every true Christian is bound to be a “non-conformist.”

goodcharacter3I would press the truth home upon every young man. Your salvation depends upon your ability to say NO.

The messmates of Captain Hedley Vicars sneered at him as a Methodist and a fanatic. A British soldier once told me that Vicars was a spiritual power in his regiment. We had just such Christian soldiers in our army during the war. In every school the difference is clearly marked between the boy who has moral pluck and the boy who is mere pulp. The one knows how to say, NO! The other is so afraid of being thought “verdant” that he soon kills everything pure and fresh and manly in his character, and dries up into a premature hardness of heart. I well remember the pressure brought to bear in college upon every young man to join in a wine dinner or to take a hand in some contraband amusement. Some timber got well seasoned. Some of the other got well-rotted, through sensuality and vice. The Nehemiahs at college have been Nehemiahs ever since. The boy was father of the man.

The only motive that could hold back the brave ” nonconformist” at Jerusalem was a godly conscience. “So did not I, because of the fear of God.” This ever fresh principle held him firm when temptation struck him as the undercurrents strike against the keel. Christ must be to you a pattern, and He must be to you a power. It is not enough to believe in Jesus. You must add to your faith “courage.” Then, with Christ as your model, and Christ as your Inward Might, you will always be able to face down temptation with the iron answer, ” So will not I.”

Theodore L. Cuyler, Feb. 17, 1894.

A PREVENTIVE “NO.”

“Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.
Avoid it, pass not by it. turn from it, and pass away.” Proverbs of Solomon

The Excellence of the Christian Religion by Noah Webster Published 1834 Part 2

The Wisdom and Love of God as Shown by His Creation 1834 by Noah Webster

The Excellence of the Christian Religion by Noah Webster Published 1834 Part 1

Political Evils and the Remedy for them by Noah Webster 1834

OXYGEN VOLUME 13

Pride and humility. — The great difference between the maxims of the world and the doctrines of the gospel, is, that human opinions spring from pride, and tend to foster it; whereas the doctrines of the gospel teach humility, and self-abasement. The maxims of the world serve to encourage self dependence in men, inducing them to rely on their own strength and resources for success, in business or policy, without seeking aid from the Almighty source of power. The gospel inculcates the opposite doctrine; it teaches that “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble.” It serves to make men humble, and to rely wholly on God for success, not only in spiritual concerns, but in the ordinary occupations of this world. In the pagan world, bravery and human efforts are everything; and God is nothing. In the christian system, human strength is nothing, and God is everything. In a christian country then, all government should be founded on Christian principles or should be directed to support them; and to such a system God will give success. All governments of a different kind will produce, as they have ever produced, innumerable evils while they last, and will ultimately sink into corruption and be ruined. All history is a tissue of facts confirming these observations.

  The Bible. — As the will of God is our only rule of action, and that will, can be fully known only from revelation, the Bible must be considered as the great source of all the truths by which men are to be guided in government, as well as in all social transactions. Other books, if in accordance with the Bible, may be read with advantage. But a large proportion of the books which fill our libraries have little or no bearing on the sound principles of morals and religion. They serve only for amusement, and occupy time in reading that might be more usefully employed. The first and most important duty of man is to furnish his mind with correct notions respecting God, his laws, and human duty; and then to exert his faculties, and direct his knowledge to the benevolent design of making others wiser and better. It was for these purposes, the revelation of God was given to men; revelations preserved in the Bible, the instrument of all reformation in morals and religion.

  Dignity of man, — The dignity of man, in the view of the world, consists in elevation of rank in society, superior intelligence, and high minded notions of honor. These are qualities which make men respected in society, and are of real value to the possessor. But these qualities may be and often are united, in the same character, with the foulest vices. There is another species of dignity which consists in the abhorrence of every vice, and in aiming at the excellence which has a resemblance to the divine perfections. God is the only perfect being, the only model of all excellence; and no man can be possessed of true dignity of character, without purity of heart, and a divine principle which elevates the affections above the love of that which God abhors and forbids. “Whatever God forbids is degrading, however fashionable it may be, and however esteemed among men. It is our first duty to seek the honor that comes from God.

Consistency of the scriptures, — The doctrines and precepts recorded in the scriptures all tend to the same point, that of displaying the character of God, and exalting the character of man by bringing it to a conformity with that of God. All vice and crime, whatever God forbids, tends to stain and lower human character; whatever God requires, love, justice, charity, benevolence, and all kindred virtues, tend to elevate human character. All vice and crime tend to annoy and diminish happiness; religion, pure morals and all the virtuous affections tend to produce or increase happiness. As in the physical world, God has made everything in the best manner to accommodate the human race, and everything is adapted to that end; so in the moral world, everything ordained by God is adapted to promote intellectual and religious improvement, and secure to men the greatest happiness of which they are susceptible in their present state of existence.

jesus_shepherd  Men co-workers with God, — God has not placed men upon the earth to live in idleness. He has made a soil to produce vegetables, but he has left men to sow, and plant and dress the fields. He has created trees, and stones, and clay, but he has not built houses; the materials are made, but men are to prepare and use them. He has furnished the earth and the sea with animals, but he has left it to men to take, to tame, to feed and to manage such as his wants require. He has deposited water, and coal and other minerals in the earth, where they lie safe without incommoding men; but he has left mankind to dig for them, and prepare them for use.

So in the moral system, God has given powers and faculties to man, and laws to govern him; but he has left men to cultivate their own faculties, and apply them to the discovery of truth, to the invention of useful arts, and to improvement in government, morals, and religion. As in the natural world, the earth, if uncultivated, produces weeds and noxious plants ; so in morals and religion, the minds of men, if left without culture, produce whatever is evil, noxious to society, offensive to God and pernicious to human happiness.

The christian religion exalts the intellect and perfects the human character, — The principal object of religion is to correct the heart and purify it from whatever is wrong and inconsistent with the enjoyment of God. But the sublime views of God and of his works, which the scriptures exhibit, have a wonderful effect in strengthening the intellect and expanding its powers. What a sublime description of the omnipresence and omniscience of God, is given in the hundred and thirty ninth psalm? The sacred writers labor for words to express the character and perfections of God. They transport us to an extent in which we are lost in the vastness of their conceptions.

Equally effectual are the scriptures in refining our ideas, by representations of the purity and holiness of God. The more we know of God, the more just will be our conceptions of what is ennobling in our own conduct; and every step we take in imitating his perfections is an advance in elevation of character. This purity of mind, and this elevation and expansion of intellect are the beginnings of that ever increasing holiness, and that boundless enlargement of knowledge which are to complete the character and the felicity of the children of God, in, another world.

  Genuine religion. — We must be careful to distinguish the real religion taught by Christ and his apostles, from those systems which interested men have established. We find the true religion of Christ in the Bible only. It is a scheme wonderfully simple, the principles of which are all comprehended in two short phrases, love to God, and love to men. Supreme love to God, the source and model of all excellence, is the foundation of the whole system of Christianity; and from this principle in the heart flow all the benevolent affections and exercises, which constitute practical piety. The person who loves God supremely, will reverence his character and laws, and will extend his benevolent affections and charities to all his creatures. From this source will proceed love to man, and the careful performance of all moral and social duties.

See also: Non Revisionist Politically Incorrect History of Jesus Christ by Johannes von Müller 1832
Christianity and the Founding of the United States
Advice to Young People from Noah Webster Father of American Education
Divine Heredity

The Excellence of the Christian Religion by Noah Webster Published 1834 Part 1

The Excellence of the Christian Religion and the Reasons behind the Social Ills of American Society: by Noah Webster (Father of American Education) Published in 1834

Cross-at-Sunset3

See also: The Wisdom and Love of God as Shown by His Creation by Noah Webster

“It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ! For this very reason people of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity and freedom of worship here!” — Patrick Henry

  Reflections. — The histories written by the evangelists, and the Acts of the Apostles by Luke, contain narrations of events by far the most important that ever occurred on earth. The birth of the Savior, the doctrines he preached, the purity of his life, and his final sufferings and death, are themes on which angels may dwell with rapturous joy. Well then may men rejoice, when we consider that his appearance, his teachings, his obedience, and his sufferings were designed to redeem an apostate world ; to disclose the way by which mankind can be restored to the favor of God, which by their sins they had forfeited; and by which, the penalty of everlasting destruction which they had incurred, may be avoided.

Christ-our-pilotThe Christian religion has already changed the aspect of a large part of the world. It has banished idolatry and pagan superstition from many countries; it has civilized and softened the manners of nations; it has mitigated the cruelties of war; it has inspired a spirit of peace; it has raised the female part of our species from degradation and slavery; it has founded charitable institutions to alleviate the sufferings of the poor; it has introduced the true principles of civil liberty; it has begun to arrest the barbarous practice of enslaving our fellow men; it has changed or is changing the character of the whole world. After a lapse of eighteen hundred years, men have learned that they are bound to labor for the furtherance of the gospel; that this is the great, the principal duty of all Christian nations, to which all other schemes of improvement are subordinate; and the work will prosper; the gospel will triumph, till all men living shall bow to the scepter of Jesus Christ.

  Superior excellence of the Christian religion, — The first and most essential advantage of the religion of the Bible, is, that it proceeds from God himself by revelation. It has God for its author, and truth for its basis. No other system of religion has even a plausible claim to a divine origin. Men without revelation wander in darkness; they have no just notions of the creator of all things; they know not who made the world and themselves, nor why they were made; they know not any divine will or law, nor any authoritative rules which are to govern their actions; they have some crude notions of a superior power, but where he is, or what his character, they are utterly ignorant; hence they frame deities in their imaginations, and worship them; they pay homage to the sun and moon; or to animals on the earth; and making images of their deities, they worship stocks and stones, of any and every monstrous form. Thus they live without a knowledge of God, in ignorance and beastly vices, and die without hope, like the brutes. Such has been the condition of most nations from the earliest ages.

Advantages of revelation, — It was in accordance with the character of a benevolent Creator, that when he made a rational being, he should make known to him the author of his being, the purposes for which he was made, and the laws by which his reason should be regulated. God therefore revealed to man his character and will. He informs men that his essence is purely spiritual, and of course invisible to human eyes; that his attributes are almighty power and wisdom; perfect holiness, and pure benevolence; that he is sovereign of the world, and enjoins on all his rational creatures entire obedience to his will; that sin or disobedience to his law’s will certainly be punished with eternal banishment from his presence; but that his obedient subjects will be rewarded with endless happiness. Hence, although men must all die, yet there will be a resurrection from the grave, and all men will be judged according to their works; the good will be separated from the wicked; and the destiny of both classes will be irrevocably fixed.

  First duties of men, — The first and most important duty of men, or rational beings, is to make themselves acquainted with the author of their existence, his character and attributes, his will and laws, and what he enjoins us to do or forbear. Of God’s character, we may obtain some imperfect notions from his works, from the world in which we live, its structure, its productions, the arrangement of its parts, and the adaptation of each part and every production to its proper use. Our views of the Creator may be still further extended by surveying the heavens, and the harmony of the whole system of worlds. These give us exalted ideas of the Creator. But we must resort to revelation for the more accurate knowledge of God; his attributes; and especially of his moral government, in which we are most essentially concerned. In the scriptures only can we obtain a knowledge of God’s spiritual essence, his purity, holiness, truth, justice and benevolence. In the scriptures only can we learn for what purposes we were made, what God requires us to be and to do, to obtain his favor and protection in this life, and what is to be our fate after death.

Angels Obedience to God, — As God is a being of perfect holiness himself; he requires his rational creatures to be holy, that is, like himself, as the only condition of his favor. It is incompatible with God’s nature and attributes to approve any thing that is unholy or sinful; his nature repels from himself whatever is in opposition to it; and an unholy being could not be happy in his immediate presence, a single moment. Holiness or purity of heart implies an entire conformity to God’s will in principle, accompanied with a perfect obedience of life; or a constant desire and aim at such obedience.

Sin, — Sin is any voluntary transgression of God’s laws; or any voluntary neglect of the duties which he requires. Sins may be either sins of commission, that is, active violations of God’s law; or they may be sins of omission, that is, passive neglect of duty. The will and commands of God are revealed in the scriptures, with so much clearness, that every person of common understanding may learn from them what he is to perform, and what he is to forbear doing. Hence the first business of men is to read the scriptures, and learn the character and will of God and their own duties.

  Moral law, — The law by which the conduct of men in their several relations to God and their brethren of the human race, is to be regulated, is called the moral law. This proceeds from the will of God, is ordained by his authority, and adapted to promote his glory, and the happiness of mankind. It is sometimes stated in theories, that an action is right because it is useful; and that it would be right on account of its fitness, independent of a divine command. But we can know nothing respecting fitness or unfitness, except as they exist in the works of God; and as he originated whatever exists, his will or purpose must have preceded all created things, and all the relations of things to each other. Whatever is right and useful therefore, must be so because God has ordained it to be the means of promoting his designs in the general system of things; and whatever is evil and mischievous must be so, because God has ordained it to be subversive of his designs.

Shephard  The glory of God and happiness of his creatures, — We are told by the apostle Paul, that in whatever we do, we are to do all to the glory of God. The whole system of created things, and their relations to God and to each other, are so adjusted by the Creator, that the actions of his rational creatures, which are essentially right and best adapted to promote their interest and happiness, are in accordance with God’s will, and tend to his glory. In a perfect system of things, a God of infinite power, directed by infinite benevolence, would not suffer to exist any discordance, or discrepancy, between moral actions which affect his own character, and those which affect the interest and happiness of men. Such disagreement would imply imperfection in the Creator, which we cannot suppose to be possible.

First Commandment

  Supreme love to God, — The first and great commandment, Christ has informed us, is, to love the Lord our God, with all the heart and soul and strength and mind. And why? For this obvious reason: that God is the greatest and best being, indeed the only perfectly good being in the universe. This command then is in accordance with our reason, for that which is the best is most desirable, and tends most to our happiness. But in addition to this fitness, gratitude to God, our creator and constant benefactor, demands our warmest affections, for having made us what we are; for giving us all we have; and for offering us all we can desire, in a future life. Besides, supreme love to God leads or inclines us to love his works, his laws and his intelligent creatures. In short, it is the source of all good motives and principles in the human heart; and the exercise of this supreme love is a perpetual source of happiness to us in this life. In demanding this love then from men, God has consulted our happiness no less than his own glory. Here the two things are in perfect harmony.

Second Commandment

  Love to our fellow-men, — Christ informs US that the second command is like the first, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” The reasons are obvious; men are all one family, the children of the same father, formed with like capacities for improvement and enjoyment, and destined to the same end. The individuals of this great family are more or less dependent on each other; and while each is bound to take care of himself and his connections, he is bound so to conduct his own affairs, as not to injure or annoy his neighbors; on the other hand he is bound by the law of kindness, and the command of God, to do them good, whenever he can do it without injury to himself; and further, he is bound to relieve them in want and distress, even when such relief requires a sacrifice of time, labor or property. And the performance of these duties is accompanied with a reward, even in this life; for it gives us pain to see others in distress; we are always happier for making or seeing others happy. In this we observe that God’s command tends to advance our own happiness.

In the two commandments above mentioned, Christ has comprised the substance of the moral law, or the whole of religion. It is love to God and love to man.

  Idolatry — In the second commandment delivered to Moses on Mount Sinai, the worship of images, pictures, statues, or the likeness of any created thing, is strictly prohibited. But a large portion of mankind has never known this prohibition, and they constantly worship images. This is idolatry, that abominable sin which God hates; the sin which often brought most terrible judgments upon the Israelites. And if any persons professing to belong to the denomination of Christians, adore images or pictures, or pay homage or divine honors to any created being, they violate the express command of God. “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve,” is the express command of God. Deuteronomy 6:13, 10:20, Matthew 4:10.

The adoration of images, whether made of wood, stone, silver or gold; and of pictures on wood or canvas, is a mark of extreme stupidity; and shows the degraded state of human reason. Nor is it much less stupid to pray to saints or departed spirits. What can they do for men on earth? They cannot know who prays to them, nor what they pray for. They are not present with the worshiper: they are not omnipresent; and if they were, they could not help him. How degraded, how blind, and wretchedly ignorant, must be the persons who believe that pictures, or images, or departed souls, can afford them any assistance!

Third Commandment  

  Profaneness, — Among the sins prohibited by God, is profaneness. “ Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” This forbids all oaths and vain swearing, in which the name of the Supreme Being is used with levity and irreverence. Such use of God’s name implies, in the guilty person, a want of due regard to the majesty of God; and it tends to bring his sacred name and attributes into contempt with others. Then, a contempt of God leads to a disregard of his word, and an open violation of his laws. Nothing can be more pernicious than such contempt; for “the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom;” it is the spring, the source of all religion and piety; it is this fear which operates as the most powerful restraint on all the evil propensities of mankind; it is that without which there can be no effectual restraint of human passions, of lust, ambition, anger, and revenge. To weaken that fear in the human mind, is a great evil; to banish it, is to destroy the foundation of all religion and morals.

And of what use is profanity? Was any man ever wiser or happier for an irreverent use of God’s name? Did any man ever gain respect, or pleasure, or property, by profane swearing? Not at all; it is the most foolish and useless, as well as one of the most low, vulgar vices, that a man can commit. And in females, how shocking, how detestable! In this prohibition then, God, who requires from us supreme reverence, forbids nothing that is for our interest, our honor, or our happiness; but that only which is useless, and degrading to ourselves. Here again is a perfect coincidence of God’s will with our own interest and reputation.

Fourth Commandment

 The Sabbath. — “Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy,” is the express command of God. The Sabbath was instituted in commemoration of God’s finishing the work of creation. It was enjoined upon men for other important purposes, particularly for giving rest and refreshment to man and beast, when weary by labor; and to give man one day in seven, to be consecrated to the immediate service of God. This service of God is the means prescribed for improvement in divine knowledge; in religious and moral instruction; which is necessary to guide us in the way of truth and duty in this life, and to prepare us for the enjoyment of heavenly bliss in a future world. In all respects, the Sabbath is a most important institution so important, that where it is not observed, men degenerate not only in religion, but in morals and manners; and become a kind of half savages. What can be more offensive to the author of all our blessings, than a habitual neglect of this institution? How reproachful is it to men, who are every moment dependent on the sustaining power of the Almighty, to refuse a portion of their time to learn his will, to praise his goodness, and supplicate his favors, and the forgiveness of their offenses? The rest of the Sabbath is very useful in recruiting the strength of the body, and necessary in the formation of the moral and religious character. In both respects, the command of God tends to the interest and happiness of men, as well as to his glory.

Fifth Commandment

  Obedience to Parents, — “Honor thy father and thy mother,” is another express command of God. This duty has a special reference to the good order of society. Parents are the natural guardians and governors of their children, during their infancy and childhood. It is made the duty of parents to provide for them food, clothing and instruction; and a sense of this duty is strongly fortified by the affection of parents for their children. In return children are commanded to obey their parents. Ephesians, 6:1. No duties of men in society are more important to peace and good order than those of parents and children. Families are the origin of nations; the principles instilled into youth in families, and the habits there formed are the germs of the principles and habits of society and nations. If children are left without restraint and culture in early life, many or most of them will be rude in manners, and turbulent members of society. On the other hand, the subordination of children in families tends to favor subordination in citizens; respect for parents generates respect for rulers and laws; at the same time, it cherishes and invigorates all the kindly affections, which are essential to domestic happiness. In this command then we see the entire coincidence between the will of God and our own interest and happiness.

Sixth Commandment

  Homicide, — Homicide, or the killing of one man by another is expressly forbid by God’s law, “Thou shalt not kill.” This prohibition extends to murder, manslaughter and other species of intentional killing. This is one of the most aggravated crimes, which can be perpetrated by men; so enormous is it, that the punishment of it, both by divine and human laws, is death, “Whoever sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed.” Genesis 9:6. Life is the gift of God; and neither has one man a right to take another’s life without a legal judgment for that purpose, nor has a man a right to put an end to his own life. Suicide as well as murder is a foul crime. If one man were permitted to kill another, what a horrible world would this be! No man would be safe a single day; we should be in terror by day and terror by night.

But we are not only prohibited from killing others by violence; we are forbidden to do anything knowingly which will destroy life. We are required to avoid any act which, in its consequences, may impair health. Thus we may not sell or give to others unwholesome food or drugs: we may not furnish food or drinks which tend to shorten life; we may not injure our own health, by excess in eating or drinking, or labor; nor can we innocently require such excess of labor in our servants, or demand of them such an exposure, as to put their lives in peril. In this prohibition we see the goodness of God in guarding our safety.

At The Helm

Seventh Commandment

  Lewdness, — All carnal intercourse between the sexes, except in lawful marriage is forbidden. The evils that proceed from a violation of God’s law on this subject, are unspeakably great. The injuries to health, the dissipation of property, the ruin of female character, the destruction of family happiness, and the abandonment of all moral and religious principle, with the final loss of the soul, are among the woeful consequences of this wickedness. The institution of marriage was intended to prevent a promiscuous intercourse of sexes, which sinks men to brutes ; also to preserve chastity, and to foster all the kind and tender affections that contribute to bind society together, prevent broils jealousy and hatred, and unite mankind in harmony and peace. The man that disturbs the peace of a family by leading astray one of its members, incurs guilt next to that of murder. The restraints laid upon mankind by the law of God, in this particular, are essential to human happiness.

Eighth Commandment

  Theft,— “Thou shalt not steal,” is the brief command of God, which comprises the prohibition of taking property from others unjustly, in any manner whatever. In a strict legal sense theft is only the taking of property from another privately and fraudulently, or with a felonious intent; but in a scriptural sense, it includes robbery and piracy. And why is theft immoral? Because God has forbidden it. But it is immoral also for reasons arising from our own rights. Our right to property proceeds from our personal labor in acquiring it, from purchase or from gift. If a man earns a hundred dollars by his labor, that labor is a personal sacrifice, of which the money is the reward. If another man steals that hundred dollars, he takes the value of his services; that is, he has the use of the other man’s limbs without a consideration. This would be unjust; hence it is the law of God and of man that every man shall enjoy safely and quietly what he earns, what he buys with his earnings, and what is given or bequeathed to him, as the earnings of others.

  Fraud and cheating, — Every species of fraud and cheating is forbidden in the command not to steal. The methods employed by men to gain property without giving an equivalent for it are literally innumerable. One man defrauds by concealing the defects of an article which he sells, and obtaining for it more than it’s worth; another defrauds by substituting one article for another which appears to be like it; another defrauds by selling a less quantity than the purchaser believes to be contained in the vessel or package; another mixes articles together which are of different values, or puts with a valuable article something which is of no value, as in adulterating liquors, drugs, powders and the like. Others defraud in contracts or in labor, performing less than is stipulated. All such frauds are species of stealing, within the meaning of God’s prohibition. These and many others are all sinful; highly displeasing to God and injurious to our fellow men. And of what advantage is stealing and fraud? The man who steals or defrauds always feels uneasy, guilt torments him and especially the sight of the man whom he has defrauded, and, if detected, he is doomed to be infamous. If stealing and robbery were permitted the world would be a continued scene of strife and bloodshed. In this prohibition of theft therefore, God’s law is as really for our interest and happiness as for his glory.

Ninth Commandment

  Falsehood, — The command of God on this subject is “Thou shalt not bear false testimony against thy neighbor!” In other words, thou shalt not utter anything false to the prejudice of thy neighbor. This command forbids all lying, as well as false testimony in a court. Lying consists not only in affirming what one knows to be false; but in any action that is intended to deceive. This may be by a nod of the head or a motion of the finger. But the prohibition has an especial reference to slander or defamation. This is one of the most common, as well as most mischievous vices. A person’s reputation is his most valuable possession; indeed without a good name, a man of sensibility cannot enjoy any possession. Slander may be by direct falsehood or lying respecting another; or by propagating evil reports from others, knowing them to be false. Whatever is said with a view to lessen the reputation of others, must proceed from a malignant heart. That which is false ought never to be reported; and in many cases, truth to the prejudice of another, ought not to be told.

  Lying and perjury, — Whenever a man communicates to another that which is false making him to believe what is not true, with the intention to mislead him, he is guilty of lying. Truth is all important in the intercourse of men. We are connected in society by a thousand relations in business, which are necessary to our welfare; and which cannot be disturbed without serious injury. Falsehood destroys confidence in neighborhoods, fills men with distrust and jealousy; interrupts the harmonious transaction of business; often occasions loss of property, quarrels, lawsuits and endless broils.

Perjury or swearing falsely in courts of law and equity is the more criminal, as it may produce immense injustice and even destroy life.

  Punishment of falsehood, — What advantage is gained by defamation, lying or perjury? Suppose a person to gain a little property or transient gratification by deception, what is the consequence? If he is not detected, he must be forever tortured by a guilty conscience, for guilt never leaves a man at ease; and, if detected, he is universally despised and shunned: he forfeits the esteem and confidence of all others, and especially of all good men whose esteem is most valuable; he is distrusted in all his declarations; he is degraded. Such is his punishment in this life. But God is a God of truth; he requires truth in men, and he has declared that “all liars shall have their part in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone.” Revelations 21:8. In forbidding slander, falsehood and perjury therefore God has established a rule of action for our benefit, no less than for the glory of his character, and the consistency of his moral government.

Tenth Commandment

  Coveting, — The prohibitions in this command restrain us from coveting the goods of our neighbors. We are then not only forbidden to obtain by theft or fraud what belongs to others; but we may not even desire their possessions, which providence has withheld from us. This desire often or generally proceeds from envy, inordinate ambition, or from discontent with the allotments of providence. This prohibition extends to render sinful all gaming, lotteries and rash enterprises for the sake of gain. We are bound to rest contented with the portion of property which we gain by honest industry and other lawful means. What loads of guilt are incurred by men whose inordinate desire of riches leads them to the use of every species of unlawful means? What detestable and criminal schemes do men devise and practice to gain office and superiority of station! With what envy do the poor often behold the rich, and perhaps when the rich man has gained by laborious industry a condition which the idle and the vicious will not labor to obtain! But all repining at the affluence of others is forbidden by God; and this prohibition is for our good; for without contentment there can be little or no happiness in life.

Ephesians 4:31, Corinthians 3:8, Matthew 5:22, 39, 44.

  Anger, — Anger is a passion excited by an injury or supposed injury done by another. It is a passion easily provoked, and too often indulged without restraint. But however difficult it may be to suppress it, in cases of willful injury; yet the divine commands and our own peace require that we restrain it. A moderate degree of resentment or feeling of dislike will usually be felt, when we receive an insult or willful injury. But it is of great importance to accustom ourselves to restrain this passion. We should ever be silent, when insulted rather than to utter an angry retort. If a man insults us or treats us contemptuously, it is better to remain silent and leave him to his own reflections for a time; for he will generally relent, and regret that he has offended. It is a magnanimous act, to overlook an injury, and it never fails to soften the offender and command his respect. Besides anger is a passion that makes a person unhappy, while it lasts; and if indulged to excess, often ends in further provocation and outrage. The prohibition of anger is therefore for our own happiness, as well as for the peace of society and the glory of God.

Romans 1:29, 13:13, Titus 3:3, Proverbs 3:31, 1 Peter 2:1.

  Envy, — Envy is the uneasy feeling which is excited by seeing the prosperity, exaltation or superior good of another. It is a passion that torments its possessor and thus inflicts its own punishment. It implies also discontent with the portion of good which God has assigned to the envious person; and this discontent can never be justified. To overcome this passion or feeling is indispensable to our comfort in life. A repining at the good of others often impairs the health, and always the happiness of men; and it is sure to destroy friendship, alienate those who ought to love each other, and produce hatred and rivalries that interrupt the courtesies of life. In prohibiting this passion, God consults the happiness of men, as in all his other prohibitions.

Jealousy is another passion which torments its possessor; and this, like other evils, proves that whatever is wrong tends more or less to disturb or destroy the comfort and happiness of men.

  Revenge, — Revenge is the infliction of evil on a person in return for a wrong or injury received. This is one of the most detestable practices; it is a heinous sin, and implies a temper extremely malignant. Yet nothing is more natural than a disposition to revenge. It is predominant among savages and the source of endless hostilities and war. In no one particular is the gospel more singular and superior to all human schemes of morality, than in the doctrine of forgiveness of injuries. This doctrine is a distinguishing trait in the preaching and instructions of Christ and his apostles. Says Christ, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies; bless them who curse you, do good to them that hate you and pray for them who despitefully use you, and persecute you.” Matthew 5:44. The excellence of such precepts shows them to be from heaven; for men, without such precepts, have ever returned evil for evil, injury for injury, blood for blood. The practice of men has tilled the world with violence, cruelty, war and devastation; the precepts of Christ tend to soften and allay the malignant passions, restrain persecution, war and plunder, heal the wounds inflicted by injuries; preserve peace between friends and nations, and cherish all the kind and benevolent affections. In short, the restraints imposed on our passions by the commands of God, all tend to our own peace and happiness.

  Intemperance, — By intemperance is to be understood all excessive indulgence of appetites and passions; but more generally it signifies excessive eating or gluttony, and the excessive drinking of intoxicating liquors. Excess in eating or drinking is a beastly vice; a vice by which a man is degraded almost to a brute. Indeed in many cases, the drunkard is in a condition below the brutes, for he destroys the use of his powers and faculties, which the brute does not. All excess in eating and drinking impairs the health, and a habit of this kind often wastes the property, and destroys reputation and usefulness. Many a life is shortened by intemperate drinking; many a crime is committed in a state of intoxication, which the person, when sober, would shrink from with horror; many a wife and family is rendered wretched by the use of spirituous liquors; and the greatest part of the tenants of the alms house and state prisons are those who have been habitual drinkers of spirit.

  Effects of intemperance, — Temperance in eating and drinking insures health, and generally lengthens life. In the days of the patriarchs, there was probably no such thing as distilled spirit, and wine was the juice of the grape unadulterated. To the temperate habits of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, it is probable we may ascribe their longevity. It is more than probable that intemperance in eating and drinking, and the luxuries of the modern tables of the rich, have greatly shortened the usual period of human life. If men should drink water only, and eat no high-seasoned provision, using more vegetable and less animal food, there would be fewer diseases among men, and an increase in the length of life. In the indulgence of the appetites to excess and in cookery, men often gratify the taste at the expense of more permanent good, their freedom from dispepsy and other diseases, which annoy, if they do not destroy life. All excess in eating and drinking is forbidden by the laws of God, and this prohibition tends to secure us in the enjoyment of substantial good.

  War, — War is a state of hostility between nations; a contest for superiority, sometimes undertaken for plunder, as among savages; sometimes for conquest of territory; sometimes for a throne; sometimes to avenge an injury or insult to national honor; and sometimes for defense against an invading foe. The only war that can be justified is a defensive war; the resistance of an enemy, that attempts to take our lives or property. We have a right to defend our persons, our houses, goods and lands against an assailing foe. But almost all wars have been undertaken for plunder or conquest; millions and millions of the human race have been slaughtered in fighting to gratify the ambition of monarchs, or the lust of dominion in republics. Men, who are all of one family, are separated into tribes or nations under different governments; rival interests excite hatred; and when such interests rouse the passion for war, men become blood-thirsty and ferocious as tigers. What a heart-rending sight must be a field of battle, when thousands and tens of thousands of men, who ought to live as brethren, are engaged in the horrible work of shedding each other’s blood! When will nations lay aside the detestable practice of fighting for their rights? When will they constitute civil tribunals to decide national controversies, as suits between individuals are now decided? When will men shake off the remains of savage and barbarous customs, and assume the dignity of Christians?

  Slavery, — One of the consequences of war is slavery. In early ages, before men were civilized, tribes of barbarians made war on other tribes for plunder and for prisoners. Prisoners were made slaves, as they still are by some nations. Christianity has abolished this practice among most European nations; but until within a few years, these same nations have permitted the practice of purchasing prisoners of war in Africa, to be transported to America and enslaved. War is still carried on in Africa, among the barbarous tribes, to take captives to be sold and conveyed to America for slaves. England, France and the United States have restrained their subjects from this inhuman trade; but it is still carried on by other nations. This barbarous practice is one of the most alarming evils of the world; and the consequences of it no mortal can foresee.

 Causes of human misery, — The two general causes of the sufferings of men, are physical and moral evils. Physical events, such as diseases, storms, famine and earthquakes, are often unavoidable, and in that case are to be borne with resignation to the divine will. Many diseases however and other natural evils proceed from the ignorance, negligence or vices of men, and may be avoided. But moral evils constitute or produce most of the miseries of mankind and these may be prevented or avoided. Be it remembered then that disobedience to God’s law, or sin is the procuring cause of almost all the sufferings of mankind. God has so formed the moral system of this world, that conformity to his will by men produces peace, prosperity and happiness; and disobedience to his will or laws inevitably produces misery. If men are wretched, it is because they reject the government of God, and seek temporary good in that which certainly produces evil.

  Folly and absurdities of men, — God has commanded men to be temperate in the use of his bounties; but men abuse his goodness, riot in gluttony and drunkenness and destroy their health. God has furnished water in abundance, which man may have with little labor or none at all; and water used only when necessary, never produces disease; but men extract spirit from vegetable substances, and drink to excite lively feelings, which soon subside and leave the body in languor, and the practice, if continued ends in weakening, trembling, decay and death.

God has enjoined benevolence, kindness, charity, forgiveness of injuries, and justice in dealings; but men naturally follow the dictates of selfishness they withhold charities, revenge injuries, defraud their neighbors, and thus excite angry passions, enmities, hatred, lawsuits. Hence instead of social peace and happiness, they are harassed with quarrels and losses.

God has enjoined labor as the means of subsistence and health; but men avoid labor, if they can; they indulge in idleness and resort to vicious pastimes, and waste their time, their money, and impair their health. Men are often their own worst enemies.

Political Evils and the Remedy for them by Noah Webster 1834

The Excellence of the Christian Religion by Noah Webster Published 1834 Part 2

See also:

Resistance to Tyrants is Obedience to God
Advice to Young People from Noah Webster Father of American Education
Non Revisionist Politically Incorrect History of Jesus Christ by Johannes von Müller 1832
Non-Revisionist Politically Incorrect History of America from the Ancient Authors Part 1
Christianity and the Founding of the United States
Non-Revisionist Politically Incorrect History of the World With Biblical References Part 1
Divine Heredity

Advice to Young People from Noah Webster Father of American Education

NoahWebster1

See also The Wisdom and Love of God as Shown by His Creation by Noah Webster
Constitution of the United States and it’s Governmental Operations (In Plain English anyone can understand)

1. My young friends, the first years of your life are to be employed in learning those things which are to make you good citizens, useful members of society, and candidates for a happy state in another world. Among the first things you are to learn are your duties to your parents. These duties are commanded by God, and are necessary to your happiness in this life. The commands of God. are, “Honor thy father and thy mother.”—”Children, obey your parents in all things.” These commands are binding on all children; they cannot be neglected without sin. Whatever God has commanded us to do, we must perform, without calling in question the propriety of the command. ,

2. But the reasonableness of this command to obey parents is clear and easily understood by children, even when quite young. Parents are the natural guardians of their children. It is their duty to feed, clothe,protect, and educate them; and for these purposes it is proper and necessary that parents should have authority to direct their actions. Parents’ therefore are bound by duty and by right to govern their children; but the exercise of this right is to be regulated by affection. Parents have implanted in them a tender love for their offspring, which induces them to exercise authority over them with kindness.

3. It is proper that parents should be intrusted with the instruction of children, because children have every thing to learn, and parents are older, and have gained a knowledge of what their children want to know. Parents have learned what is right, and what is wrong; what is duty, and what is sin; what is useful, and what is hurtful to children and to men. And as children pass the first years of their life with their parents, they may be continually learning from their parents what is necessary or useful in the concerns of life.

4. It is not only proper that children should obey their parents, but their obedience should be prompt and cheerful. A slow, reluctant obedience, and that which is accompanied with murmurings,is not acceptable to parents, nor to God. A sense of duty should make a child free and ready to comply with a parent’s command; and this will always be the case where the child entertains a due respect for his parents. Love and respect render obedience easy and cheerful, and a willing obedience increases the confidence of parents in their children, and strengthens their attachment to them. But a cold and unwilling obedience, with a murmuring disposition, alienates affection, and inclines the parent to rigor and severity in the exercise of his authority.

5. Hence it is a primary duty of children, and as much their interest as it is their duty to”Honor their father and their mother.” This honor not only forbids the child to disobey his parents, but it forbids all rudeness and ill manners towards them. Children should manifest their respect for their parents in all their actions. They should be modest and respectful in their company, never interrupting them in conversation, nor boldly contradicting them: they should address them as superiors, and yield to their opinions and admonitions. This subordination of children to their parents, is the foundation of peace in families; contributes to foster those kindly dispositions, both in parents and children, which are the sources of domestic happiness, and which extend their influence to all social relations in subsequent periods of life.

6. Among the first and most important truths which you are to learn, are those which relate to God and religion. As soon as your minds become capable of reasoning, or excited by curiosity to know the causes of things, you will naturally inquire who made the world, who made you, and why were you made? You will understand, by a moment’s thought, that the things around you cannot have made themselves. You will be convinced that a stone or a mass of earth cannot have made itself, as it has no power in itself to act or move; it must then have had a creator, some being that had power to act or move, and to bring the stone into existence.

7. You observe that plants and trees grow, but they do not grow in winter, when it is cold; some degree of heat is necessary to their growth. You conclude then that wood and vegetable matter in itself has not the power of growth or increase. You see various animals, as dogs, and horses, but you know that they cannot create themselves; the first animal of every kind must then have had a creator, distinct from the animal himself. You see houses, and barns, and ships, but you know that they did not make themselves; you know they are made by men. You know also that you did not create yourselves; you began to exist at a time which you cannot remember, and in a manner of which you have no knowledge.

8. From such familiar observations and reflections, children may be convinced, with absolute certainty, that there must be a being who has been the creator of all the things which they see. Now when you think that of all the substances about you, not one can have been its own creator, and when you see the vast multitude of things, their variety, their size, their curious forms and structures, you will at once conclude that the Being who could make such things must possess immense power, altogether superior to the power of any being that you see on the earth. You will then be led to inquire who is this Being, and where is he.

9. Here not only children, but the wisest philosophers are brought to a stand. We are compelled to believe that there is a Being of vast and unlimited power, who has created whatever we see; but who he is, or where he is, we cannot know by our own observation or reason. As we cannot see this Being, we cannot, by the help of reason, know anything of his manner of existence, or of his power, except what we learn from his works, or from revelation. If we had been left to gather all our knowledge of the creator from his works, our knowledge of him must have been very imperfect. But the creator has not left mankind in ignorance on this subject. He has graciously revealed his character to man; and his revelations are recorded in a book, which by way of eminence, is called the Bible.

10. From the Bible we learn that God is a Spirit; hence we cannot see him. Spirit is not visible to human eyes. Yet we need not wonder that a substance which is invisible should possess amazing power. We cannot see the air or wind; yet we know by observation, that this fine, subtil fluid is a substance that supports our life, and when in rapid motion, it has immense force. We conclude then that a Being, consisting of pure spirit, may possess all the power necessary to the formation of the sun, moon, and stars, and every thing that we can see or feel. This great Being, in our language, is called God. He is a spirit that extends through the universe.

11. The scriptures inform us that God is not only all-powerful, but all-wise: and his wisdom is displayed in the admirable structure of whatever he has made; in the adaptation of every thing to its proper uses; in the exact order and beautiful arrangement and harmony of all parts of creation. The scriptures inform us also that God is a benevolent Being. “God is love,” and we have abundant evidence of this truth in the works of creation. God has not only made men and animals to inhabit the earth, but he has furnished the earth with every thing that is necessary for their support and welfare. The earth is stocked with plants, which are food for animals of various kinds, as well as for man; and plants and animals furnish man with food and clothing and shelter from the inclemency of the weather. The sea and rivers and lakes are also stocked with animals that supply food and other conveniences for man. The earth contains inexhaustible stores for supplying the wants and desires of living creatures.

12. We learn also from the Bible that God is a holy Being; that is, he is perfectly free from any sinful attributes or dispositions. If God was a wicked or malevolent Being, he would have contrived and formed every thing on earth to make his creatures miserable. Instead of this, we know from observation as well as experience, he has made every thing for their comfort and happiness. Having learned from the scriptures and from the works of creation, the character of God, and that he is your creator; the next inquiry is, in what relation do you stand to your maker, and what is his will respecting your conduct.

13. The first and most important point to be decided in your minds is that God is your Supreme or Sovereign Ruler. On this point, there can be no room for doubt; for nothing can be more evident than that the Being who creates another, has a perfect, indisputable right to govern him. God has then a complete right to direct all the actions of the beings he has made. To the lower animals God has given certain propensities, called instincts, which lead them to the means of their own subsistence and safety.

14. Man is a being of a higher order; he is furnished with understanding or intellect, and with powers of reason, by which he is able to understand what God requires of him, and to judge of what is right and wrong. These faculties are the attributes of the soul, or spiritual part of man, which constitutes him a moral being, and exalts him; to a rank in creation much superior to that of any other creature on earth.

15. Being satisfied that God is your creator and rightful governor, the next inquiry is, what is his will concerning you; for what purpose did he make you and endow you with reason? A wise being would not have made you without a wise purpose. It is very certain then that God requires you to perform some duties, and fill some useful station among other beings.

16. The next inquiry then is, what you are to do and what you are to forbear, in order to act the part which your maker has assigned to you in the world. This you cannot know with certainty without the help of revelation. But here you are not left without the means of knowledge; for God has revealed his will, and has given commands for the regulation of your conduct.

17. The Bible contains the commands of God; that book is full of rules to direct your conduct on earth; and from that book you may obtain all you want to know, respecting your relation to God, and to your fellow men, and respecting the duties which these relations require you to perform. Your duties are comprised in two classes; one including such as are to be performed directly to God himself; the other, those which are to be performed directly to your fellow men.

18. The first and great command is, to love the Lord your God with all the heart and soul and mind and strength. This supreme love to God is the first, the great, the indispensable duty of every rational being. Without this no person can yield acceptable obedience to his maker. The reasonableness of this command is obvious. God is a Being of perfect excellence, and the only being of which we have any knowledge, who possesses this character. Goodness or holiness is the only source of real happiness; it is therefore necessary to be holy in order to be happy. As the character of God is the only perfect model of holiness, it follows that all God’s creatures who are intended to be happy, must have the like character. But men will not aim to possess the character of holiness, unless they love it as the chief good. Hence the necessity of loving God with supreme affection.

19. Sin is the source of all evil. If sin was admitted into heaven, it would disturb the happiness of the celestial abode. Hence God has determined that no sinner shall be admitted into heaven. Before men can be received there, they must be purified from sin and sinful propensities. As this world is a state in which men are prepared for heaven, if prepared at all, it is indispensable that while they are in this world, they must be purified in heart, their evil affections must be subdued, and their prevailing dispositions must be holy. Thus when they are sanctified, and supreme love to God rules in their heart, they become qualified for the enjoyment of bliss with God and other holy beings.

20. It is true that, in this world, men do not become perfectly holy; but God has provided a Redeemer whose example on earth was a perfect model of holy obedience to God’s law, which example men are to imitate as far as they are able; and God accepts the penitent sinner’s cordial faith in Christ, accompanied with sincere repentance, and humble submission and obedience to his commands, in the place of perfect holiness of character.

21. The duties which you owe directly to God are entire, unwavering faith in his promises, reverence of his character, and frequent prayer and worship. Unbelief is a great sin, and so is profaneness, irreverence, contempt of his character and laws, neglect of prayer and of worship, public and private. All worship of images and saints, is an abomination to God; it is idolatry, which is strictly forbidden in the Bible; and all undue attachment to the pleasures, the amusements, and honors of the world, is a species of idolatry.

22. The second class of duties comprehends all such as you are bound to perform to your fellow men. These duties are very numerous, and require to be studied with care. The general law on this subject is prescribed by Christ in these words, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” You are bound to do that to others which you desire them to do to you. This law includes all the duties of respect to superiors, and of justice and kindness to all men.

23. It has already been stated to you, that you are to obey your parents; and although obedience to other superiors may not always be required of you, yet you are bound to yield them due honor and respect in all the concerns of life. Nothing can be more improper than a neglect or violation of this respect. It is a beautiful anecdote, recorded of the Spartan youth, that in a public meeting, young persons rose from their seats when a venerable old man entered the assembly. It makes no difference whether the aged man is an acquaintance or a stranger; whoever he may be, always give him the precedence. In public places, and at public tables, it is extreme rudeness and ill manners for the young to thrust themselves into the highest and best seats.

24. The law of kindness extends also to the treatment of equals. Civility requires that to them all persons should give a preference; and if they do not accept it, the offer always manifests good breeding, and wins affection. Never claim too much; modesty will usually gain more than is demanded; but arrogance will gain less. Modest unassuming manners conciliate esteem; bold obtrusive manners excite resentment or disgust.

25. As mankind are all one family, the rule of loving our neighbor as ourselves extends to the performance of all duties of kindness to persons of all nations and all conditions of men. Persons of all nations, of all ranks and conditions, high and low, rich and poor, and of all sects or denominations, are our brethren, and our neighbors in the sense which Christ intended to use the word in his precept. This comprehensive rule of duty cannot be limited by any acts of our own. Any private association of men for the purpose of contracting the rule, and confining our benevolence to such associations, is a violation of the divine commands. Christ healed the sick and the lame, without any regard to the nation or sect to which they belonged.

26. One of the most important rules of social conduct is justice. This consists positively in rendering to every person what is due to him, and negatively, in avoiding every thing that may impair his rights. Justice embraces the rights of property, the rights of personal liberty and safety, and the rights of character.

27. In regard to property, you are to pay punctually all your just debts. When a debt becomes payable to another, you cannot withhold or delay payment without a violation of his right. By failure or delay of payment, you keep that which belongs to another. But the rule of justice extends to every act which can affect the property of another. If you borrow any article of your neighbor, you are to use it with care and not injure the value of it. If you borrow a book or any utensil, and injure it, you take a portion of your neighbor’s property. Yet heedless people who would not steal twenty-five cents from another, often think nothing of injuring a borrowed utensil, to twice or five times that amount.

28. In like manner, one who takes a lease of a house or land, is bound to use it in such a manner as to injure it as little as possible. Yet how often do the lessees of real estate strive to gain as much as possible from the use of it, while they suffer the buildings and fences to go to ruin, to the great injury of the owner! This is one of the most common species of immorality. But all needless waste, and all diminution of the value of property in the hands of a lessee, proceeding from negligence, amounts to the same thing as the taking of so much of the owner’s property without right. It is not considered as stealing, but it is a species of fraud that is as really immoral as stealing.

29. The command of God,”Thou shalt not steal,” is very comprehensive, extending to the prohibition of every species of fraud. Stealing is the taking of something from the possession of another clandestinely for one’s own use. This may be done by entering the house of another at night, and taking his property; or by taking goods from a shop secretly, or by entering upon another’s land and taking his horse or his sheep. These customary modes of stealing are punishable by law.

30. But there are many other ways of taking other men’s property secretly, which are not so liable to be detected. If a stone is put into a bag of cotton intended for a distant market, it increases the weight, and the purchaser of that bag who pays for it at its weight, buys a stone instead of its weight in cotton. In this case, the man who first sells the bag, knowing it to contain a stone, takes from the purchaser by fraud as much money as the weight of the stone produces, that is, as much as the same weight of cotton is worth. This is as criminal as it would be to enter his house and steal so much money.

31. If butter or lard is put up for a foreign or distant market, it should be put up in a good state, and the real quality should be such as it appears to be. If any deception is practiced, by covering that which is bad by that which is good, or by other means, all the price of the article which it brings beyond the real worth, is so much money taken from the purchaser by fraud, which falls within the criminality of stealing. If a buyer of the article in Europe or the West Indies is thus defrauded, he may never be able to know who has done the wrong; but God knows, and will punish the wrong doer. It is as immoral to cheat a foreigner as to cheat a neighbor.

32. Not only property in money and goods is to be respected; but the property in fruit growing in orchards and gardens. A man’s apples, pears, peaches, and melons, are as entirely his own, as his goods or his coin. Every person who climbs over a fence, or enters by a gate into another’s inclosure without permission, is a trespasser; and if he takes fruit secretly, he is a thief. It makes no difference that a pear or an apple or a melon is of small value; a man has as exclusive a right to a cent or a melon as he has to a dollar,a dime or an eagle.

33. If in a country where apples are abundant, men do not notice the taking of a few apples to eat, yet this indulgence is not to be considered as giving a right to take them. Where the injury is trifling, men in neighborhoods may do such things by consent. But there are many species of fruit so rare as to be cultivated with much labor and protected with care. Such fruit is often valued even more than money. The stealing of such fruit is one of the most common crimes, and as disgraceful to a civilized and Christian people as it is common. Let every man or boy who enters another’s inclosure and steals fruit, be assured he is as guilty as one who enters another’s house and takes the same value in money.

34. If in making payment or counting money, a mistake occurs by which a sum falls into your hands, which belongs to another person, you are as much bound by moral duty to correct the mistake and restore the money to the rightful owner, as you would be not to take it by theft. If persons suppose that because this money falls into their hands by mistake, and the mistake may never be known to the person who has a right to the money; this makes no difference in the point of morality; the concealment of the mistake and the keeping of the money are dishonest, and fall within the command “Thou shall not steal.”

35. When a man is hired to work for another by the day, the week, or the month, he is bound to perform what he undertakes; and if no particular amount of labor is promised, he is bound to do the work which is ordinarily done in such cases. If a man hired to do a day’s work spends half the day in idleness, he defrauds his employer of a part of his due; that is, of one half the value of a day’s labor. If the price of labor is one dollar for the day, then to waste half the day in idleness is to defraud the employer of half a dollar; this is as dishonest as to take half a dollar from his chest.

36. When a mechanic contracts to build a house or a ship, he is bound to perform the work in the manner which is promised. If he performs the work slightly, and with workmanship inferior to that which is promised and understood at the time of contracting, he defrauds his employer. Neglect of duty, in such a case, is as essentially immoral as the positive act of taking property from another without his consent.

37. The adulteration of liquors and drugs is extremely criminal. By adulteration, the value of a thing is diminished; and if an adulterated liquor or drug is sold for that which is genuine, a fraud is committed on the purchaser. The adulteration of wines is one of the most common and flagrant immoralities in commercial countries. The adulteration of drugs may be even more iniquitous, for then the physician cannot rely on their effects in healing the sick. All classes of people, but especially the common people, are continually subjected to frauds by such adulterations. A glass of genuine unadulterated wine is scarcely to be found, and foul mixtures are often used as medicines, for no pure wine is to be had in the neighborhood.

33. Tho modes used to defraud men in the kind or in the quantity or quality of commodities offered for sale, are almost innumerable. They extend to almost every thing in which fraud is not easily detected. This is a melancholy picture of the state of society; exhibiting unequivocal evidence of the depravity of men. It shows that the love of money is the root of all evil—a principle so powerful in the human heart as to overcome all regard to truth, morality, and reputation.

39. In all your dealings with men, let a strict regard to veracity and justice govern all your actions. Uprightness in dealings secures confidence, and the confidence of our fellow men is the basis of reputation, and often a source of prosperity. Men are always ready to assist those whom they can trust; and a good character in men of business often raises them to wealth and distinction. On the other hand, hypocrisy, trickishness, and want of punctuality and of fairness in trade, often sink men into meanness and poverty. Hence we see that the divine commands, which require men to be just, are adapted to advance their temporal as well as their spiritual interest.

40. Not only are theft and fraud of all kinds forbidden by the laws of God and man, but all kinds of injury or annoyance of the peace, security, rights, and prosperity of men. The practice of boys and of men, who do mischief for sport, is as wrong in morality as it is degrading to the character. To pull down or deface a sign-board; to break or deface a mile-stone; to cut and disfigure benches or tables, in a school house, court house, or church; to place obstacles in the highway; to pull down or injure fences; to tarmsli the walls of houses or the boards of a fence, and similar tricks that injure property or disturb the peace of society, are not only mean but immoral. Why will rational beings indulge in such feats of mischief and folly? Men are not made to injure and annoy one another, but to assist them; not to do harm, but to do good; not to lessen, but to increase the prosperity and enjoyments of their fellow men.

41. But you are required to be just not only to the property, but to the reputation of others. A man’s reputation is dearer to him than his property, and he that detracts from the good name of another is as criminal as the thief who takes his property. Say nothing of your neighbor maliciously, nor spread reports about him to lessen his reputation. On the other hand, vindicate his conduct in all cases when you can do it with a clear conscience. If you cannot defend it, remain silent.

42. Nor are you to be less careful of the rights of others, than of their reputation and property. By the laws of creation, and by our civil constitution, all men have equal rights to protection, to liberty, and to the free enjoyment of all the benefits and privileges of government. All secret attempts, by associations, or otherwise, to give to one set of men or one party advantages over another, are mean, dishonorable, and immoral. All secret combinations of men to gain for themselves or their party advantages in preferments to office, are trespasses upon the rights of others.

43. In every condition of life, and in forming your opinions on every subject, let it be an established principle in regulating your conduct, that nothing can be honorable which is morally wrong. Men who disregard or disbelieve revelation often err from the true standard of honor, by substituting public opinion or false maxims for the divine laws. The character of God, his holy attributes, and perfect law, constitute the only models and rules of excellence and true honor. Whatever deviates from these models and rules must be wrong, and dishonorable. Crime and vice are therefore not only repugnant to duty, and to human happiness; but are always derogatory to reputation. All vice implies defect and meanness in human character.

44. In whatever laudable occupation you are destined to labor, be steady in an industrious application of time. Time is given to you for employment, not for waste. Most men are obliged to labor for subsistence; and this is a happy arrangement of things by divine appointment; as labor is one of the best preservatives both of health and of moral habits. But if you are not under the necessity of laboring for subsistence, let your time be occupied in something which shall do good to yourselves and your fellow men. Idleness tends to lead men into vicious pleasures; and to waste time is to abuse the gifts of God.

45. With most persons, the gaining of property is a primary object, and one which demands wisdom in planning business, and assiduous care, attention, and industry in conducting it. But it is perhaps more difficult to keep property than to gain it; as men while acquiring property are more economical and make more careful calculations of profit and loss, than when they hold large possessions. Men who inherit large possessions are particularly liable to waste their property, and fall into poverty. The greatest hereditary estates in this country are usually dissipated by the second or third generation. The sons and grandsons of the richest men are often hewers of wood and drawers of water to the sons and grandsons of their father’s and grandfather’s servants.

46. As a general rule in the expenditure of money, it is safest to earn money before you spend it, and to spend every year less than you earn. By this means, you will secure a comfortable subsistence, and be enabled to establish your children in some honest calling; at the same time, this practice will furnish the means of contributing to the wants of the poor, and to the promotion of institutions for civilizing and Christianizing heathen nations. This is a great and indispensable duty. ..

47. In your mode of living, be not ambitious of adopting every extravagant fashion. Many fashions are not only inconvenient and expensive, but inconsistent with good taste. The love of finery is of savage origin; the rude inhabitant of the forest delights to deck his person with pieces of shining metal, with painted feathers, and with some appendage dangling from the ears or nose. The same love of finery infects civilized men and women, more or less in every country, and the body is adorned with brilliant gems and gaudy attire. But true taste demands great simplicity of dress. A well made person is one of the most beautiful of all God’s works, and a simple, neat dress, displays this person to the best advantage.

48. In all sensual indulgences be temperate. God has given to men all good things for use and enjoyment; but enjoyment consists in using food and drink only for the nourishment and sustenance of the body, and all amusements and indulgences should be in moderation. Excess never affords enjoyment; but always brings inconvenience, pain, or disease. In selecting food and drink, take such as best support the healthy functions of the body, avoid as much as possible the stimulus of high-seasoned food; and reject the use of ardent spirits, as the most injurious and most fatal poison.

49. When you become entitled to exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be impressed on your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers, just men who will rule in the fear of God. The preservation of a republican government depends on the faithful discharge of this duty; if the citizens neglect their duty, and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted; laws will be made, not for the public good, so much as for selfish or local purposes; corrupt or incompetent men will be appointed to execute the laws; the public revenues will be squandered on unworthy men; and the rights of the citizens will be violated or disregarded. If a republican government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the divine commands, and elect bad men to make and administer the laws. Intriguing men can never be safely trusted.

50. To young men I would recommend that their treatment of females should be always characterized by kindness, delicacy and respect. The tender sex look to men for protection and support. Females when properly educated and devoted to their appropriate duties, are qualified to add greatly to the happiness of society, and of domestic life. Endowed with finer sensibilities than men, they are quick to learn and to practice the civilities and courtesies of life; their reputation requires the nice observance of the rules of decorum; and their presence and example impose most salutary restraints on the ruder passions and less polished manners of the other sex. In the circle of domestic duties, they are cheerful companions of their husbands; they give grace and joy to prosperity; consolation and support to adversity. When we see an affectionate wife devoted to her domestic duties, cheering her husband with smiles, and as a mother, carefully tending and anxiously guarding her children and forming their minds to virtue and to piety; or watching with conjugal or maternal tenderness over the bed of sickness; we cannot fail to number among the chief temporal advantages of Christianity, the elevation of the female character. Let justice then be done to their merits; guard their purity; defend their honor; treat them with tenderness and respect.

51. For a knowledge of the human heart, and the characters of men, it is customary to resort to the writings of Shakspeare, and of other dramatic authors, and to biography, novels, tales, and fictitious narratives. But whatever amusement may be derived from such writings, they are not the best authorities for a knowledge of mankind. The most perfect maxims and examples for regulating your social conduct and domestic economy, as well as the best rules of morality and religion, are to be found in the Bible. The history of the Jews presents the true character of man in all its forms. All the traits of human character, good and bad; all the passions of the human heart; all the principles which guide and misguide men in society, are depicted in that short history, with an artless simplicity that has no parallel in modern writings. As to maxims of wisdom or prudence, the Proverbs of Solomon furnish a complete system, and sufficient, if carefully observed, to make any man wise, prosperous, and happy. The observation, that “a soft answer turneth away wrath,” if strictly observed by men, would prevent half the broils and contentions that inflict wretchedness on society and families.

52. Let your first care through life, be directed to support and extend the influence of the Christian religion, and the observance of the sabbath. This is the only system of religion which has ever been offered to the consideration and acceptance of men, which has even probable evidence of a divine original; it is the only religion that honors the character and moral government of the Supreme Being; it is the only religion which gives even a probable account of the origin of the world, and of the dispensations of God towards mankind; it is the only religion which teaches the character and laws of God, with our relations and our duties to him; it is the only religion which assures us of an immortal existence; which offers the means of everlasting salvation, and consoles mankind under the inevitable calamities of the present life.

53. But were we assured that there is to be no future life, and that men are to perish at death like the beasts of the field; the moral principles and precepts contained in the scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws. These principles and precepts have truth, immutable truth, for their foundation; and they are adapted to the wants of men in every condition of life. They are the best principles and precepts, because they are exactly adapted to secure the practice of universal justice and kindness among men; and of course to prevent crimes, war, and disorders in society. No human laws dictated by different principles from those in the gospel, can ever secure these objects. All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.

54. As the means of temporal happiness, then, the Christian religion ought to be received, and maintained with firm and cordial support. It is the real source of all genuine republican principles. It teaches the equality of men as to rights and duties; and while it forbids all oppression, it commands due subordination to law and rulers. It requires the young to yield obedience to their parents, and enjoins upon men the duty of selecting their rulers from their fellow citizens of mature age, sound wisdom, and real religion—”men who fear God and hate covetousness.” The ecclesiastical establishments of Europe, which serve to support tyrannical governments, are not the Christian religion, but abuses and corruptions of it. The religion of Christ and his apostles, in its primitive simplicity and purity, unencumbered with the trappings of power and the pomp of ceremonies, is the surest basis of a republican government.

55. Never cease then to give to religion, to its institutions, and to its ministers, your strenuous support. The clergy in this country are not possessed of rank and wealth; they depend for their influence on their talents and learning, on their private virtues and public service. They are the firm supporters of law and good order, the friends of peace, the expounders and teachers of Christian doctrines, the instructors of youth, the promoters of benevolence, of charity, and of all useful improvements. During the war of the revolution, the clergy were generally friendly to the cause of the country. The present generation can hardly have a tolerable idea of the influence of the New England clergy, in sustaining the patriotic exertions of the people,under the appalling discouragements of the war. The writer remembers their good offices with gratitude. Those men therefore who attempt to impair the influence of that respectable order, in this country, attempt to undermine the best supports of religion; and those who destroy the influence and authority of the christian religion, sap the foundations of public order, of liberty and of republican government.

56. For instruction then in social, religious, and civil duties, resort to the scriptures for the best precepts and most excellent examples for imitation. The example of unhesitating faith and obedience in Abraham, when he promptly prepared to offer his son Isaac, as a burnt offering, at the command of God, is a perfect model of that trust in God which becomes dependent beings. The history of Joseph furnishes one of the most charming examples of fraternal affection, and of filial duty and respect for a venerable father, ever exhibited in human life. Christ and his apostles presented, in their lives, the most perfect example of disinterested benevolence, unaffected kindness, humility, patience in adversity, forgiveness of injuries, love to God and to all mankind. If men would universally cultivate these religious affections and virtuous dispositions, with as much diligence as they cultivate human science and refinement of manners, the world would soon become a terrestrial paradise.

See other articles on history:

The Failure of Marxism and Socialism

The Doctrine of Fascism, Fascism Defined by Benito Mussolini

Non Revisionist Politically Incorrect History of Jesus Christ by Johannes von Müller

Non-Revisionist Politically Incorrect History of the World With Biblical References Part 1

Christianity and the Founding of the United States

History of the Battle of King’s Mountain and it’s Heroes: Part I 1765 to May, 1780

American Statesman: Tribute to President George Washington Part 1

Jesus is the Rock the Church is built on, not Peter!

Jesus is the Rock, not Peter! I don’t normally go into Bible doctrine, however a friend, cousin and Patriot brother of mine mentioned on his Facebook timeline about a week ago. In referring to the vote 3 times by the Democrat National Convention 2012, to make God as part of their platform, and recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. They never achieved the 2/3’s vote needed as anyone who was watching could plainly hear and see. Addressing that I have to say, God has obviously NOT been part of the Democrat Parties platform for a very long time. It also shows the Democratic Party arrogance, vanity and ignorance, that they believe they could MAKE GOD part of ANYTHING!! Idiots! I would also say that it was HIS (Gods) choice not to be a part of their platform, because of the beliefs they hold that are contrary, to everything the Bible and His Son Jesus taught! If He didn’t stop being a part when the Democratic party supported the KKK, racism, etc. against blacks. Then He surely disassociated Himself from them when they decided to include abortion as part of their platform. Sorry to go off on that, I will get back to the point!

My friend posted the following:

“*Brutus Fullman– The downside to this argument is that Peter, the one who denied Him three times, became the rock upon which Jesus built His church. The upside is that their hatred of religious freedom means that leftists are no longer familiar enough with the Bible to point this out.”

Although I do not normally get into religious doctrine, because I do not want to offend any of my brothers and sisters who love and believe in the Lord Jesus, no matter the faith. I will on this occasion, simply because I am about the truth! Whether it is about history, the Bible, or otherwise. I am therefore going to point out that Peter was not the Rock at all! The whole Bible is about Jesus, and the New Testament is focused solely on Him! The passage of scripture that people use to say that Peter is the Rock is also focused entirely on the fact that Jesus is and was the Christ i.e. The Anointed One. It has to be noted: Jesus in the same Chapter called Peter, Satan, see verses 21-23.

As is with history, so it is with the Bible. When you look at the whole, instead of the parts, the truth is plain and simple. The Bible even talks about the simplicity that is in Christ Jesus. After you understand the whole, you can then understand the individual parts. I’m no great authority by any means, it is just simple common sense.

I also am not trying to change your beliefs, I am not arrogant, nor vain enough to think that I have that ability, only God can do that. I do believe however, that I am right, and that the scriptures bear witness of that. It is simply about the truth.

Mathew 16:13-20

13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?

14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.

15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?

16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.

The whole focus of the passage is on Jesus being the Christ, Jesus was just complimenting Peter for his faith in God. It has nothing to do with Peter being the Rock.

21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.

22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.

23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

The Bible refers to Jesus as the chief corner stone! Definition of Chief Corner Stone or foundation stone; it is the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation, the most important since all other stones will be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure.

Jesus also said referring to Deuteronomy 8:3 in Matthew 4:4 “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

You cannot therefore take one scripture or passage of scripture to make a statement of belief, when you ignore all the evidence that points out the error of that belief.

Again: more scriptures referring to Jesus as the chief corner or foundation stone.

The following passage from the Psalms 118 is also showing David’s faith in God, David referred to Christ as being his Lord, long before Jesus’ birth, and it also says that David was a man after God’s own heart.

Psalm 110:1 The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.

1 Samuel 13:14 But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the Lord hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the Lord hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the Lord commanded thee.

Acts 13:21 And afterward they desired a king: and God gave unto them Saul the son of Cis, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, by the space of forty years.

22 And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave their testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.

Onto the Psalm 118: passage

Psalms 118:14 The Lord is my strength and song, and is become my salvation.

15 The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous: the right hand of the Lord doeth valiantly.

16 The right hand of the Lord is exalted: the right hand of the Lord doeth valiantly.

17 I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.

18 The Lord hath chastened me sore: but he hath not given me over unto death.

19 Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, and I will praise the Lord:

20 This gate of the Lord, into which the righteous shall enter.

21 I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation.

22 The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.

23 This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.

24 This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

25 Save now, I beseech thee, O Lord: O Lord, I beseech thee, send now prosperity.

26 Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord: we have blessed you out of the house of the Lord.

27 God is the Lord, which hath shewed us light: bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar.

28 Thou art my God, and I will praise thee: thou art my God, I will exalt thee.

29 O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

Isaiah 28: I am including most of the passage, because as you read it, it could very well be talking about the United States at this time in history.

Isaiah 28:1 Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower, which are on the head of the fat valleys of them that are overcome with wine!

2 Behold, the Lord hath a mighty and strong one, which as a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, as a flood of mighty waters overflowing, shall cast down to the earth with the hand.

3 The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet:

4 And the glorious beauty, which is on the head of the fat valley, shall be a fading flower, and as the hasty fruit before the summer; which when he that looketh upon it seeth, while it is yet in his hand he eateth it up.

5 In that day shall the Lord of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of his people,

6 And for a spirit of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment, and for strength to them that turn the battle to the gate.

7 But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment.

8 For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean.

9 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.

10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:

11 For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.

12 To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear. (Holy Ghost poured out on day of Pentecost)

13 But the word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.

14 Wherefore hear the word of the Lord, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem.

15 Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves:

16 Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.

17 Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place.

Ephesians 2:19Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:

22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

And finally in 1 Peter itself:

1 Peter 2:1 Wherefore, laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,

2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,

5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.

7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,

8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

I cannot help but notice how, by what it says in the 8th verse, would you say that verse also fits the Democrat party? Is Jesus not a stumbling block and a ROCK of offense to them? It truly is amazing how the words in the Bible and the words of the Founding Fathers of this great Nation, (great because of the blessings of the Lord) judge and condemn the Democratic Party in the United States! No wonder they hate the Bible, the Founding and Christians so much!