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to weep in our impotence at a city laid in ruins. We need another protector, without whose favor we are never safe-Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain !
The best guardians of your property are the men who, morning and evening, implore the favor and protection of God; the righteous, for whose sakes God ever spares or mitigates his judgments; who implore God to be your defence by night, and who acknowledge his merciful protection with the returning light of day. These are our watchmen and our bulwark. Oh, when shall all learn to commit their property, their families, and their lives to God, as to a Father who is all wise and powerful and kind! Let the inhabitants of this city thus with one heart seek the Lord, and he will be “a fire," not within us for our destruction, but “round about us for our defence, and “a glory in the midst of us.
I add but one more reflection upon this event, viz. : That it is at once an emblem and a warning of the final destruction of the world. That terrific agent with which we have been called to contend is yet to rage and triumph on a broader field. How appalling was the sight of scores of buildings sending up their huge columns of flame and smoke till the moon and stars were hid ! But there shall yet be a conflagration in which cities shall vanish like smoke, forests shall be consumed, mountains shall melt like wax, the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat. Does it seem to you incredible ? Go view the ruins of a little fire kindled in the midst of us ; see the devastation produced by the explosion of gases pent up in a single chamber. Think then of the fires rolling and surging beneath our feet, of which volcanoes are but the flues giving vent to their superfluous rage ; think of the chemical agents held under bonds in the bowels of the earth, and causing it to quake and open and swallow cities in its mouth. God alone restrains these destructive agents. He has them under his control, and he has but to set them free and we shall see a world on fire, and hear explosions that rend the heavens. And he will set them free ; yes, proud scoffer, this world, once overflowed with water, shall yet, as one great furnace, flame. Oh, that great and notable day of the Lord, when all the artillery of his wrath shall be brought to bear upon his foes ! when the wild elements, from above and beneath, shall leap to avenge his insults; and he shall wind up the drama of our world by showing a guilty, God-denying race that he is the Lord, in letters of fire that shall be read and remembered in eternity. These heavens and this earth are by his word alone held back at any moment from destruction. They are “reserved to fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. That day is long delayed delayed that mercy may gather larger fruits—that Immanuel
may see of the travail of his soul. “Yet come it will, and as a thief in the night.” The men of that generation shall scarce arouse from
their midnight slumbers ere “the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, and the earth and the works that are therein shall be burnt up.” There is a day of fire yet to burst upon our world ; a day of judgment, when the Lord shall appear in flaming fire with his holy angels ; a day of retribution, when a fire shall go before him and shall “ devour his adversaries." Who shall abide the day of his coming, and who shall stand when he appeareth ?”' “Who among us shall dwell with devouring fire ; who among us shall dwell with everlasting burning." “ It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God”—for our God is a consuming fire! I warn you, dying fellow-men, to escape from that fire which burns to the lowest heli. You heard the cry of those who were struggling amid the flames ; you saw them leaving all and fleeing for their lives. Oh ! be in earnest to escape a greater danger. Look not behind yon, stay not in all the plain ; flee to that rock which only shall withstand the fires that dissolve the universe.
BY REV. THOMAS BRAINERD,
ON THE DEATH OF GENERAL JACKSON.
PREACHED IN THE PINE STREET CHURCH, SABBATH EVENING,
JULY 6, 1845. "I exhort, therefore, that first of all supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks be made for all men ; for kings and for all that are in authority ; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 1 Tiu. ii. 1, 2.
1. We are taught in this passage a respect for constituted authority. Almost any form of civil government is preferable to lawless anarchy, and therefore Christians subject even to Roman despotism were instructed to remember their rulers, as such, at the altar of prayer,
2. We are taught by the text the doctrines that God's providence legislates over all rulers, so that in answer to prayer he will so "rule rulers and counsel counsellors," that their course of government shall bless their subjects.
3. We are taught in this passage that Christians are to regard their civil duties and the welfare of their country as a part of their religious obligations and responsibilities. They are so to deport themselves in their offices of holy living and prayer as to bless mankind here as well as hereafter. And if it be the duty of Christians to pray for those in authority, because rulers have a great influence on the weal or woe of their country, it may also be the duty of religious teachers to define, illustrate, and enforce the duties men owe to their country, as a part of the duties demanded by God. This I purpose to do this evening.
4. We learn from the text who are the best rulers, and who the happiest subjects. Those are the best rulers who so rule that their subjects “lead quiet and peaceable lives in all Godliness and honesty." Quiet and peaceable lives in all Godliness and honesty” suppose the protection of just laws, property, person, freedom and life made secure, and the subject himself, estimating these blessings, pursuing a course of conduct marked by justice, temperance, moderation, benévolence and piety.
When these ends are secured a nation has the highest tokens of God's favor.
The topics started directly, or by inference, from the text, suggest rich materials for thought and illustration, but I do not now purpose to dwell upon them in detail. I have suggested them not only because they sustain the main principles for which I shall contend, but because they afford license to the sacred desk for the discussion of these principles.
In this discourse I propose, without obligation to any logical arrangement, to discuss generally the following topics :
What are the essentials of national happiness and prosperity ?
What were the peculiar responsibilities of those who proclaimed our independence sixty-nine years since, and sustained it against a foreign power, and what are the duties peculiarly devolving on us to enrich and perpetuate our national blessings ?
What lessons have been furnished to this nation by the life and death of one whose recent departure has aroused public attention and sympathy?
I can of course but briefly touch points of such magnitude. What are the essentials of national happiness and prosperity ?
Negatively, national happiness and prosperity do not depend on extent of territory. It is indeed requisite that our territory should furnish fair scope for private enterprise and universal sustenance, but when we have already a domain which gives a plantation to every poor man who can invest two hundred dollars for its purchase--when our territory embraces the great rivers which conduct our commerce to the broad sea- —when our climate is varied enough north and south to furnish the productions of every latitude--when our territory is large enough to embrace the resources
of men and means to defend us from foreign aggression—it is obvious we have no motive for conquest or acquisition.
2. Great wealth is not an essential ingredient of national happiness. All experience tells us that the middle condition of society is the happiest. Great wealth tends to excessive and morbid refinement and indulgence-it tempts to avarice, idleness, profligacy and licentiousness. The palmy days of Rome, of Tyre, of Babylon, were their days of enterprise and relative poverty. When they compelled the world to pour its riches into their bosoms, they sunk into the dead and putrid sea of effeminate and animalized luxury.
3. National happiness does not consist in great military and naval strength. True we need the power to defend our rights and interests, but beyond this our indefinite preparation of the instruments of death only tempts to national bravado, to the lust of power and conquest, to oppression and legalized murder.
We have seen what are not essential to national happiness and prosperity. We are now prepared positively to state what are such essentials. And here allow me to make the very obvious remark, that a nation is not an abstraction, in distinction from the individuals of which it is composed. That is a happy nation in which there is the greatest amount of personal, social, family and neighborhood felicity. It is obvious, then, that those causes which minister to the greatest good of individuals are the real essentials of national prosperity. The moral, social and pecuniary degradation of the individuals of a nation, is the degradation of the nation itself, no matter what may be the form of its government, or the loftiness of its pretensions. Keeping this principle in mind, I remark that the first essential to national happiness is civil and religious freedom. God has made man a free moral agent, and designed him to act for himself, under the influence of self-love and
There is nothing which human nature more covets than liberty. Take away
han the consciousness of freedom and the right of self-government-assume that he is born to be the slave of the interest, ease and pleasure of kings or petty tyrants, and he feels degraded below the level of his race. The world becomes to him a prisonlarge, indeed, but sombre and hateful. The slave of despots may go to his task, but those cheering anticipations of benefit
. to himself and family which lighten the burdens of labor he can never know. The slave may eat and drink and dance in his chains, but his enjoyments are animalized, like those of the brute, to whose condition he is degraded.
Give a man liberty and he covets knowledge. Occupying his natural and Heaven-appointed condition of liberty, he loves light because it reveals his blessings and aids his aspirings, like the soaring bird that rises and floats in the airy element which God has
made its own. On the other hand, enslave a man, and he covets ignorance, like the mariner who closes his eyes against the vision of deadly rocks that he cannot shun. Where have new discoveries in science and new inventions in the arts originated ? Almost always among the free, who expected to reap the results of their genius. Slavery is a most bitter curse, because it leaves man with his wants, his woes and his labors, but takes away the motives designed to soften the burdens of human life. In this land we are blessed with liberty, and it deserves all the eulogies which Fourth of July orators have poured upon it. I have only to regret that our songs of joy, even in this land of freedom, are interrupted by the clanking chains of two millions of slaves. May God open the way for their final and safe emancipation !
II.—A second requisite to national happiness is individual industry in some useful occupation. The wealth of a nation is made up of the earnings of individuals. If any individual, by industry and carefulness in business, accumulate beyond his own necessities, present and prospective, he is to remember that the decrepid, the sick, the imbecile and aged poor, the helpless widow, the friendless orphan, are to be sustained by the savings of the young, the healthful and the enterprising--so that no man has an apology for idleness. An idle man usually sinks to a vagrant. An idle family, whatever may be its present wealth, is on a rapid pilgrimage to vice, crime, beggary and contempt.
A nation relinquishing industry and slow gains to embark in grasping speculation, presents a spectacle about as amiable, happy and hopeful as the gambling fraternities in our low grog-shops.
Every man, young or old, who spends time in idleness, would do well to remember that he is a missionary of moral corruption and universal beggary—that if his example were imitated we should have no country-or if we retained an empire, it would be a continent of darkness, pollution and vice. The Pharisee " thanked God he was not like other men.'' Our idler, rich or poor, fashionable or unfashionable, may reverse this, and thank God that others are not like him.
He who covets food, shelter and life's luxuries, without the industry to labor or the self-denial to save, has begun an apprenticeship to fraud and theft. When a nation is made up of such, it is unfit for liberty, and may covet the advent of an energetic despot as a boon from God.
III.-A third essential to national prosperity and happiness is Temperance. How widespread has been the prevalence of intemperance in our land ! 'It has absorbed more money than all the expense of our revolution—all the outlay of our second war with Great Britain. It has absorbed more money than all air