« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
It was not till the storms of his public life were over, that he gave his attention practically to religion. The influence of a pious mother left always on his mind a firm faith in Christianity, and a profound reverence for its doctrines and institutions; but, like too many others, he procrastinated the great duty of “repentance towards God, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ."
When in Cincinnati fifteen years ago, a beautiful young lady asked him to write in her album. He wrote
When I can read my title clear
To mansions in the skies,
ANDREW JACKSON." Politicians saw in this cant, pretence, or imbecility. Those that knew General Jackson's early life, saw in it the principles of piety planted by a departed mother, and struggling in a masculine intellect and conscience with the excitements and temptations of the world.
While at Washington, President Jackson has often sent for clergymen visiting the city, to conduct prayer in his family. This showed his respect for religion at that period, and renders his subsequent conversion less wonderful. About seven years ago, he united with the Presbyterian church in Nashville, of which the Reverend Doctor Edgar is pastor.
Doctor Edgar, at his grave, gave a touching account of his conversion to God, and bore testimony that in the church he had developed a consistent Christian character. Convinced of his duty to serve God by a public profession, he stood up before the world as a disciple of Christ. We only regret, as he doubtless regretted, that he had not thus consecrated himself early in life.
1.-His death, though in the course of nature, teaches us first, hou vain is all earthly good. General Jackson had all the world could give him of office and honour. He lived almost fourscore years ; but “ all the world gave it has taken away.” His ear is deaf to human applause. He moulders like the beggar in his shroud. The strong arm is palsied—the stout heart is still the voice which has moved armies and agitated a continent, is silent. What a lesson does this read to earthly ambition-how humbling to human pride!
The deceased took this humbling view of death, when he refused to have his remains laid in a sarcophagus which three thousand years had spared, and the partiality of friends had presented. “Let me
“ be buried,” said he, 's in the earth--by the remains of
beloved companion. I wish to be buried in a plain, unostentatious manner, without any pomp.”
His epitaph, fixed upon by himself, is :
“ANDREW JACKSON, BORN 15th OF MARCH, 1767,
DIED 8th OF JUNE, 1845.” He would not mock the humiliation of the grave, by attempting to garnish it with earthly splendour. He would let death utter its scornful and unbroken rebuke of human pride, avarice, and ambition.
II.—The death scene of General Jackson shows our need of religion. The light which cheered his pilgrimage through the dark valley was no reflected glory from splendid victories and lofty political stations. The huzzas of millions made no music for his dying ear. If he found peace then, and he did find it, it was in the evidence that God had forgiven his sins and renewed his heart. It will be so with us. We toil and strive for the world, but in dying, all the treasure that will avail us will be the hope of God's favour and eternal life.
III.— The death scene of General Jackson discloses a motive to begin early to serve God and our generation. On the Sabbath, two weeks before he died, the Lord's supper was administered in the Presbyterian church near his residence. Unable to go out, he desired sonce more” to receive the sacram ent inhis chamber. At the close, he said, “When I have suffered sufficiently the Lord will take me to himself, but what are my sufferings compared to my Saviour, who died for me on the accursed tree.”
On the Sabbath, the day he died, he first fainted and was supposed to be dead; but revived. He called all his little grandchildren and the members of his family—took each of his grandchildren by the hand, and blessed and kissed them all. He told them they had good parents — to keep the Sabbath and read the Testament. « Where,” he says, “is my daughter Mary? God will take care of you for me. I am my God's. I belong to him. I go but a short time before you.” His grandchildren began to cry. “What is the matter, my dear children? Have I alarmed you? O, do not cry-be good children, and we shall meet in Heaven.” Turning to the servants, he said—“I want to meet you all, white and black, in heaven.” Having exhorted them in an eloquent strain for half an hour, he sunk away and calmly expired.
What an affecting and sublime spectacle! The aged soldier and statesman, the idol of half the nation, is slowly expiring. He has but a few hours to live, he is all weakness and pain, but he rouses himself from the gathering torpor of death, and for half an hour gives eloquent counsel to all “to prepare to meet God.” If children, and youth, and servants, needed such counsel from his lips, they need it from ours. If conscience will not let us die in peace without discharging our duty in this respect, let us begin early, and in our days of health beseech all around us to be reconciled to God.
General Jackson would take the sacrament in his sick chamber. He asked it as a privilege. Who in health then, are justified in neglecting this ordinance as it is administered before them in the sanctuary? Let us learn the virtues of a death-bed while we have health to exercise those virtues in acts of piety.
I thank God that he led General Jackson in the face of this nation to honour, in his last years and hours, the Bible—the Sabbath, the church and its sacraments—and the great doctrine of salvation alone through the atonement of Calvary. We hope those who loved him will hasten to follow this his final example.
He was always a brave man, but he achieved his greatest triumph, when he humbled his pride at the foot of the cross, and gained a hope which gave him victory over death.
His civil and military renown may fade amid the mists of coming ages; but God grant that his noble and impressive testimony to the truth and value of the Christian religion, may live in the hearts of men until the pillars of this great globe shall crumble, and time itself be no more. Amen.
COMMUNICATED DECEMBER 10, 1832,
PRESIDENT OP THE UNITED STATES.
WHEREAS a convention assembled in the state of South Carolina have passed an Ordinance, by which they declare “ That the several acts and parts of acts of the Congress of the United States, purporting to be laws for the imposing of duties and imposts on the importation of foreign commodities, and now having actual operation and effect within the United States, and more especially” two acts, for the same purposes, passed on the 29th of May, 1828, and on the 14th of July, 1832, “åre unauthorized by the constitution of the United States, and violate the true meaning and intent thereof, and are null and void, and no law,” nor binding on the citizens of that state or its officers; and by the said Ordinance it is further declared to be unlawful for any of the constituted authorities of the state or of the United States, to enforce the payment of the duties imposed by the said acts within the same state, and that it is the duty of the legislature to pass such laws as may be necessary to give full effect to the said Ordinance :
And whereas, by the said Ordinance, it is further ordained, that, in no case of law or equity, decided in the courts of said state, wherein shall be drawn in question the validity of the said Ordinance, or of the acts of the legislature that may be passed to give it effect, or of the said laws of the United States, appeal shall be allowed to the Supreme Court of the United States, nor shall any copy of the record be permitted or allowed for that purpose;
and that any person attempting to take such an appeal shall be punished as for a contempt of court :