« PreviousContinue »
government. Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?” Ramsay's Life of Washington, p. 294.
True virtue, and sound morality are impossible without the light, and influence of revealed religion. Exclude it entirely, and great intellectual powers, and a warm enterprising temperament in a free government, especially in times of trouble, produce as violent, and disorganising effects upon the political body, as do the muscles, and nerves of a strong athletic person, violent spasmodic contractions, wringing out the life, and soul when under the influence of a lock jaw.
If the christian religion is true; if it is really the salt of the earth, the light of life, and the essential, and only beati. fying mean to the human race; if man, from the necessity of nature, is, without this religion, earthly, sensual, and devlish; its operations upon the mind, and characters of men, must be commensurate with their relations, and duties, whether, individual, social, or civil; religious, moral, or political, in or. der to produce its appropriate effects. A people possessing a free government cannot perpetuate it without conscientiously regarding of this great preservative mean in its application to those relations, and duties.
As I formerly observed, I again repeat, that no person can be a correct, and safe politician, in the present unparalleled crisis of the world, without the information derived from prophesy, He who rejects that light is as unable to guide the bark of state, or to preserve a course of safe, and sound policy to America, as a mariner is unable to steer a vessel, upon the stormy deep, without chart or compass. Excluding the knowledge from that quarter, by which alone sound discretion can be employed, the warmer the zeal, and prompter the measures, the exertions will only endanger the safety of the country, and too probably precipitate it into inevitable ruin. None but those who realize the fact, that God gove erns the world, and that the Gospel contains a develop. ment of the principles, and duties of men, and nations, can, consistently, and in truth, concur in opinion with me. It is through the revelation of his will, and purposes, contained in the scriptures, that we learn that the present state of things is, ere long, to change-that wickedness will be put. down, and that nations, as well as individuals, shall acknowl. edge God's reign... The period has arrived, in the progress of the administrations of heaven, to that state of Gospel renovation, that.no other alternative is leít, than either to submit to the reign of the Gospel, or feel the chastising displeasure of its author. The first, and essential object to be regarded by the people of the United States, in order to escape the almost universal sufferings which threaten, is one which, without this view of the relations of our world, and the dispensations of heaven, will, in all probability be the last to be attended to; that is, the reformation of them. selves, to be produced by practically realizing the connex. ion which subsists between the Gospel of God, and the duties, and happiness of a people. I wish not to be understood as meaning that the social, and civil concerns of our country can be administered without the rational exercise of the minds of enlightened stateman; but the reverse. No degree of knowledge which was ever imparted by the immediate revelations from God, were designed to super. sede the right use of the faculties; but only to afford the mean, the light and knowledge which were necessary for being thus employed and this is the very use which must be made of the word of God; if not before, it will afier, great national sufferings. Neither do I wish to be understood as meaning that the American governments are precluded the right, according to Gospel principles, of engaging in war, and prosecuting it with vigour; the reverse of this is true. The very contexture, and first principles of natural, and social existence are for the purpose of self-preservation. The passions, selfishness, and ambition of men, and nations, of ten make war necessary on the part of a religious people. It is in that case an evil incidental to fallen, depraved humanity. But when that necessity is constructive only, or is produced in the mind by ideas of false honour, vain glory, passion, prejudice, or ambition; or should it be righteous in ito self, and prosecuted by minds governed by those influences, it cannot fail producing, either directly or reniotely, disas. trous consequences. This proceeds from the necessity of things; for where these infuences, &c. govern , there cannot be
svisdom in devising ways, and means or in their applica tion to practical purposes. The fitness of things which exist in the order that God has established in relation to the proper influence of his religion upon human pas.. sions, and the reflections to which it prompts, forms the stable basis of the origin, and preservation of a free govern. ment, contrary to the maxim of modern philosophy. The history of the Jewish government is written in the old scriptures for the instruction of christian nations, and people; and to demonstrate the inseparable connection which exists ber tween obedience to God's laws, and commands, and their happiness. It is impossible for any mind, even in speculation, to separate the ideas, and principles of revealed reli. gion from the Republics of America, and do the subject justice; they form the very life, and soul of them; it is by their influence upon the intellectual, and moral characters of men, that they are made capable of free governments, of forming, and preserving them..
To conclude:- The revelations of God assure us, that the time is not very far distant, when the present state of society will be changed, when the Gospel, and glory of God will fill the earth as the waters cover the great deep. Before'' that timearrives the wickednations of the earth are to drink deep of the cup of bitterness, and trembling. The present crisis of the world is portentous of that period. The whole habitable globe is in a state of commotion. The governments of the Old World are shaking to their centre, and our own country is wrapped in the flames of war. The end, however, which ushers in the millenial state, has not yet arrived. The vintage of God's wrath is yet to come. The people of America ought to observe the signs of the times as explained by scripture, and learn righteousness when the judgments of the Lord are upon the earth. A great change must be effected in their minds; and, in an especial manner, in those of the professors of religion, before peace, and happiness, return to the inhabitants of the United States upon lasting principles. It is melancholy to see that sectarianism, and its consequences, are the most serious obstacles to the prevalence of that unity of spirit in the bonds of peace upon which the great reformation depends. We ought to read the oracles of God so as to profit by them in all holi
ness of life, and conversation. Neither a hearty reprobatioix of the corruptions of Popery; nor an abhorrence of the impious imposture of Mahomedanism; nor a detestation of the diabolical principles of Anti-Christ; nor zealous exertions to redress the injuries, and insults which we as a nation have received from the two great belligerents of Europe, are alone sufficient to prepare us for the kingdom of heaven, or the favour of God. We have much to do in correcting our own sins; and until that is done, we have no assurance that our country will be preserved from the great wreck of governments, and empires, which are going on to fulfil the high purposes of the Almighty. The first, and great truths to be realized towards correcting the crying sins of America are, that God reigns, and must be obeyed, and that his word is declarative of his will, and is the para. mount rule of political, social, arid religious life. Were the Legislators, and Rulers of America practically to realize these truths, as wise pilots of her bark, they would not permit it to leave the shore at the time that storms, and tempests are beating upon the whole earth, and sweeping from their foundations the oldest empires, and threatening almost universal desolation. “Blessed are they that read, and they that hear the words of God's prophecy; and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” Upon the reading, hearing, keeping, and observing these things, depends the salvation of Americas
42, line 9 from top, for spiritual matter, read spiritual matters,
-34, erase they, the second word in the line.
A TABLE OF CONTENTS. Introduction, . * - - - • Chapter 1st. Natural Religion, and Atheism
investigated, with a view to their refutation,
considered, - - - - - - Sect. 2. The discovery of a Creation, or a
First Cause, independent of Nature, by the exercises of the mind upon its own powers, and operations, and on the objects, and laws
of Nature, impossible, r - - Sect. 3. The same subject continued, - . Sect. 4. The name, and character of God, as
Creator, and the relation which man, and the sensible world bear to him, &c. were first learnt by Revelation in words, and were established by Miracles. The knowledge which thus originated has been perpetuated
by record or oral tradition, - - Sect. 5. Mr. Locke's opinion examined, and
refuted, in which he asserts, “That we derive from Nature all the simple ideas of which we are possessed; and that Tradition. al Revelation cannot communicate any;"
with illustrative proofs, &c. - - . Sect. 6. The passages of Scripture which are
thought to support Natural Religion, examined, and proven to be inapplicable to that
purpose, - - - - - Sect. 7. The opinions which existed amongst
the Heathen Philosophers, relative to a God, the immortality of the soul, &c, traced to
Revelation, - - - - - Sect. 8. A short recapitulation of the principles
established in the foregoing Sections, &c. Chapter 2. An inquiry into the origin, nature,
and effects of the Christian Faith, Introduction.