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trust to meet you all in Heaven, both white and black! both white and black !!” And at six o'clock in the evening of the 8th day of June, he died full of davs and full of honours. In death we look
“As some tall tower or lofty mountain's brow
Such was the man, and such his death, whose virtues and whose services have called us together on this occasion. Long may his memory live. Long may his virtues be cherished and practised by American Citizens.
DISCOURSE ON THE DUTY OF A PATRIOT,
SOME ALLUSIONS ON THE LIFE AND DEATH
PRONOUNCED JULY 6, 1845,
GEORGE W. BETHUNE,
INISTER OF THE THIRD REFORMED DUTCH CHURCH, PHILADELPHIA.
“For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he
commanded our fathers that they should make them known to their children; that the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born, who should arise ånd declare them to their children, that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments.” -Psalm lxxviii. 5, 6, 7.
AMONG our many national sins, there is none more likely to provoke divine chastisement, yet less considered or repented of, even by Christians, than ingratitude for political blessings. That there are evils among us, no one will deny; that changes might be made for the better, it were unreasonable to doubt; and, concerning methods of removing evil, or working good, we may differ widely, yet honestly. Evil is inseparable from human nature, the best human schemes are capable of improvement, and human opinions must be various, because they are fallible. It is a narrow, unthankful spirit, which, brooding over imperfections, or sighing after greater advantages, or bitterly condemning all who think not the same way, refuses to perceive and acknowledge the vast benefits we actually enjoy. Never was there a revolution at once so just and so successful as that which won our country's independence; never, except in the Bible, have the rights of man been so clearly and truly defined as in our constitution; never did greater success attend a social experiment than has followed ours. Since the establishment of our confederacy, tumults, insurrections, and violent changes, have been busy in all the civilized world besides. Throne after throne has fallen, and dynasties have been built up on the bloody ruins of dynasties. In some nations the people have wrung, by force, partial concessions from hereditary rule; in others, after convulsive, misdirected efforts, they have been crushed again by the iron hoof of despotism; nor is the voice of a prophet needed to foretell a long, desperate struggle of uprising humanity with the powers of political darkness; while the bloody discords and constant confusion of other republics on the same continent with ourselves, demonstrate the incompatibility of freedom with ignorance and superstition. Ours is now, with the exception of the Russian and British (if, indeed, the passage of the Reform Bill was not an organic change), older than any monarchical government in christendom. The increase of our population from less than three millicns to twenty, in seventy years, multiplies many times any former example; yet, notwithstanding the enormous migration to us from various countries, where free principles are unknown, our wide land has more than enough room for all: growth in numbers has been a chief cause of our growth in wealth, and our laws, strong as they are liberal, have proved themselves sufficient to compose, maintain and rule all in concord, prosperity and power. You will search in vain for another example of a vast nation governed, without troops or armed police, by their own will. It is not five years since, that our people, spread out over an immense territory, after a contest in which the utmost enthusiasm excited both parties, changed their rulers. Yet not a bayonet was fixed, nor a cannon pointed, nor a barricade raised, to guard the place of suffrage. The ballot, falling noiselessly as snow upon the rock, achieved the result. Within the last twelvemonth, the stupendous process has been repeated as peaceably and safely. Each of the great political sects, which divide the popular vote, has triumphed and been beaten. Much there has been to censure in the harsh recrimination and unfraternal bigotry on either side; but when the decision was reached, though the long-rolling swells which succeed the storm did not at once subside, and here and there some violent partisan may have betrayed his vexation, the surface became calm, and the noise soon died away. Every true patriot, submissive to the oracle of the polls, whether wisdom or error, said in his heart, GOD BLESS THE PEOPLE!
Our difficulties, real or supposed, have arisen out of our advantages, for good and evil are mixed with all human affairs. The freedom of those institutions under which we live, has its price, which must be paid, so long as man is prone to abuse, by impatience and excess, those favours of Almighty God which yield happiness only when they are used moderately and religiously, Elated by prosperity, we have forced our growth too fast. We have attempted by plausible inventions to transcend the laws of trade and produc
tion. We have complicated the machinery of our interests until our clear, simple constitution, has become, in the hands of sophisticating politicians, a riddle of mysteries. The limits of habitation have been enlarged beyond the blessings of church and school-house. Vices and faults, peculiar to new settlements, have reached the heart of our legislation. To carry on our far-grasping schemes, we have strained our credit till it broke. Freedom of speech and of the press, has been abused to licentiousness by prejudice, rashness, and selfish ambition. Acknowledging as we do the rights of conscience in their broadest meaning, even the holy name of religion has been dragged upon the arena of party.
Our republic is not a paradise; our countrymen, like ourselves, are not angels, but frail, erring men. Our history has been an experiment. Mistakes have been made and will be made. It is thus that we are to learn. Shall we, in coward skepticism, overlook our immense advantages to hang our fears upon a few faults, or prognosticate the failure of a system which has accomplished so much, because it shares with others the imperfections of humanity? Is there a sober-minded man among us, who would be willing to encounter the oppressions of what are called strong governments, that he might escape from under our present system? Our faults are our own, and our misfortunes are consequences of our faults; but our political advantages are God's rich gifts, which it becomes us thankfully to receive and piously to improve. All our evils have their legitimate remedies, and there is no danger which may not be avoided by a wise care. Instead, therefore, of querulous fears and ungrateful discontent, the Christian patriot should zealously inquire what he can do to secure and advance the best welfare of our beloved land. Our holy text is full of instruction to this end.
The psalmist is describing the policy of God with Israel, the people whom he wished to know no king but himself, and therefore, the only safe policy for any people who would preserve their liberties from the encroachment of despotic rule.
“ He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers that they should make them known to their children ; that the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children, that they might set their hopes in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments."
We see here,
“They set their hopes in God; they forget not the works of God; they keep his commandments.”
SECONDLY: THE MEANS WHICH GOD HAS APPOINTED FOR CULTIVATING THIS CHARACTER.
“He established a law in Jacob, and appointed a testimony in Israel.”
THIRDLY: THE OBLIGATION UPON A CHRISTIAN PATRIOT ARISING FROM THIS PROVIDENCE OF JEHOVAH.
“He commanded our fathers that they should make them known to their children; that the generation to come might know them, even the children which might be born; who should arise and declare them to their children."
FIRST: THE CHARACTER OF A SAFE AND HAPPY PEOPLE.
They " set their hopes in God.” The man who looks to God as the source of his welfare, is lifted above temptation within and without. Conscious of a holy, heart-searching eye, upon him, his virtue will not be an outward semblance, cloaking from human sight, secret crime or selfish purposes. The opinions, fashions, or rewards of the world, will neither shape his principles nor modify his practice. He will fear to do evil, lest he should offend against God. He will do justice and love mercy, because he walks humbly with God.
His expectations of eternity will guard and sustain him in honesty. He knows himself to be immortal and God eternal; that vice, which no human scrutiny can detect and no human laws can punish, will meet a terrible vengeance, while good acts and purposes will be rewarded openly by Him, who seeth in secret, at the judgment day. The pains of virtue and the pleasures of vice, being alike transitory, are of little account in his estimation, who sets his hope in God, his Saviour, and his judge. He relies upon God, because He is merciful, and knows that he is safc, because God is Almighty
Were our nation, composed of such believers, how untroubled would be our peace ! how entire our mutual confidence! how free our affairs from intrigue, corruption, and wrong! The key would never be turned in the lock, the gibbet seen no more, and the prison doors stand open. No man would fear, but every man would love his neighbour, and the true interests of all be acknowledged by each as his own.
They “forget not the works of God.” When God is the trea sury of a man's hopes, he loves to trace the workings of God's wisdom and power, that he may know the sources upon which he can draw. He considers creation, and in its minuteness as well as its vastness, he reads certain proof of the same Power which made, ruling so perfectly, that nothing is overlooked, and so absolutely, that nothing is beyond his presiding will. He considers redemption, that God so loved the world as to give his only begotten Son as the deliverer of all who believe upon his name, and that all .