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not stand aloof. As we shall have begun an open controversy with him, he will contend openly with us. And never, since the earth stood, has it been so fearful a
thing for nations to fall into the hands of the living God. 55 The day of vengeance is in his heart, the day of judgment
has come; the great earthquake which sinks Babylon is shaking the nations, and the waves of the mighty commotion are dashing upon every shore. Is this then a
time to remove foundations, when the earth itself is 60 shaken ? Is this a time to forfeit the protection of God,
when the hearts of men are failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth ? Is this a time to run upon his neck and the
thick bosses of his buckler, when the nations are drink65 ing blood, and fainting, and passing away in his wrath ?
Is this a time to throw away the shield of faith, when his arrows are drunk with the blood of the slain ?
To cut from the anchor of hope, when the clouds are collecting
and the sea and the waves are roaring, and thunders 70 are uttering their voices, and lightnings blazing in the
heavens, and the great hail is falling from heaven upon men, and every mountain, sea and island is fleeing in dismay from the face of an incensed God? Beecher.
101. Universal spread of the Bible. It has been well said by a great politician of another country, by Edmund Burke, that “religion is the basis of civil society" —and especially, he might have added,
of a free state. And it has been said by a greater than 5 he, by our own Washington, that " of all the dispositions
and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports." And without pursuing the idea through all its illustrations, (for
which I have not time) what, I would ask, without their 10 genial influences, what is to moderate and chasten that
pride of self-government, that lust of power, which is generated and inflamed by all our institutions ? What is to prevent our liberty, great as it is, from lapsing into
licentiousness ? we hold, you know, (and rightly too,) 15 that all government is or ought to be, made and manag
ed for the benefit of the people. And we say
that ar the people” are the sovereigns of the country, the fountain of law and honor; and we appoint our rulers for
servants, to follow our instructions, and obey our will in 20 all things. And we maintain, (or many do) that we the
people can do no wrong, and that our voice is the voice of God. Here, you see, is absolute power, and it is the nature of absolute power, we know, to corrupt and
inflate its holders, and that whether they be many or 25 few. And what now, I ask you, is to save us from
the abuse of all this power ? What is to prevent our free democracy- especially when our country becomes crowded with people, as it will be by and by, even
through the woods and prairies, and our cities are chok30 ed with men, almost stilling each other with their hot
breath—what is to prevent our free democracy from following its natural bent, and launching us all, or those who come after us, into a wild and lawless anarchy ? I
know, that we plume ourselves, and with some rea. 35 son too, upon that principle of our government, almost
unknown to the ancients, which we are pleased to call our invention, or discovery, though we might more truly and modestly term it our felicity, growing out of our
situation and circumstances, by the good providence of 40 God, our elective franchise ; and this, we think, is to
save us from their fates. But what, I would ask our politicians, is to save our elective franchise itself } What is to make it worth having ? Wha is to make us
choose wise and honest men to make our laws? What 45 is to execute them after they are made ? What is to
save us the people from the ambition and treachery of our own elected servants ? What is to keep our servants from becoming our masters ? And what is to
save us from ourselves—from our own passions and vices, 50 the only formidable enemies of republics; the only one at least that we can or ought to dread ?
Our general intelligence and virtue—the general intelligence and virtue of all classes of our people with the blessing
of God Alınighty upon us—and nothing else. But this 55 intelligence and virtue are to be shed abroad, in a great measure, by the Bible, and the Bible alone,
It is quite
clear at least, I think, that they can never be diffused to any proper or sufficient extent through the mass of
the people, without a free and generous circulation of 60 this book. And all experience, I think, ancient and
modern, confirms my sentiment. You remember Athens—she was the eye of Greece—the eye of all the earth --and you remember how she rose, and flourished in
arts and arms, and diffused herself abroad, till she be65 came the light and beauty of the world. But now, alas!
how changed !-she sits among her fallen columns, and her broken shrines-accusing fate. And why? Her oracle is dumb; but I will answer for her-it is because
she had no Bible. True, she was religious enough, and 70 overmuch, in her own way and style. For she had al.
ways you know, a large stock of gods and goddesses, (such as they were) on hand, to suit the taste of every body. And she manufactured them at home, and
imported them from abroad. And she commanded her 75 philosophers to extol them, and condemned the books of
her atheist scribbler to the flames. And she built temples for them, and raised statues to them, as fine, and fair, and fashionable, as the genius of sculpture could
make them. And she had an altar for every one of 80 them that she knew or had ever heard of, or dreamed
about; and one more—and it was inscribed
life and immortality to light, to reveal him to her. In 85 vain, therefore, did she guard that statue of Minerva in
her temple. She had no Bible to diffuse the knowledge of God, and intelligence and virtue along with it, among her people—she had no Bible and she fell. And
what now, I ask you, is to save our city, our repub90 lic, from the same fate? That Bible which she want
ed; but which, I thank God, we have. Yes, the Bible, the Bible is our true palladium, sent down to us from Heaven, to preserve our freedom ; and will we guard it
with holy care—for we know that whilst we keep it, our 95 city cannot be taken, our country will be safe. Yes, and I cannot help imagining at this moment, remember
ing whose words I have been extending, with what joy that great and good man, whom we fondly and tru
ly call, The Father of our country, would have hailed 100 the day of this Society. O! if he could have seen its
light rising upon our land, with what zeal would he have come forward from the shade of his retirement, to enrol himself among its members and friends. With
what patriotic pride, with what Christian ardor, he 105 would have embraced our cause-and, like the good
old prophet in the temple, when he held up the young Desire of Nations in his arms, he would have exclaimed, “ Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace,
according to thy word : for mine eyes have seen thy 110 salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of
all people, a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel !" Alas! he“ died without the sight.” But, from heaven where he lives, on this
auspicious anniversary of our society, with the associ115 ated spirits of our venerable Boudinot, and Clarkson,
he looks down upon our institution with a smile of complacency, because he sees in all our toils new pledges for the peace, and safety, and freedom of his still beloved country.
Isaiah xiii. 1 The sentence against Babylon, which was revealed to
Isaiah the son of Amots. 2 On the lofty mountain, elevate the banner,
Lift up the voice to them,* wave the hand,
That they may enter into the gates of the tyrants. 3 I have given orders to my consecrated (warriors]
I have ordered my heroes (to execute] my indignation,
My proud exulters. 4 [Hark!] The noise of a multitude upon the mountains,
like that of a great nation! The tumult of kingdoms, of assembled nations !
Jehovah God of Hosts mustereth his army for battle. 5 They come from a distant land,
From the end of the heaven.
* The Medes.
Jehovah and the instruments of his indignation,
To lay waste the whole country. 6 Howl ye, for the day of Jehovah is near,
Yea, destruction from the Almighty is coming. 7 Therefore all hands shall hang down,
And every heart of man shall be melted. 8 They shall be in consternation,
Distress and anguish shall lay hold upon them,
Their faces shall glow like flames.
Dreadful is his anger and fierce indignation,
And to destroy sinners out of it. 10 For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof,
Shall not give their light ;
And the moon shall withhold her splendor. 11 For I will visit upon the land its evil,
And upon the wicked, their iniquity,
And the haughtiness of the tyrants will I bring down. 12 I will make a man more scarce than gold,
Yea men, than the gold of Ophir.
And the earth shall totter from its place;
In the day of his fierce anger.
And like sheep, which no one collects together.
And each fly to his own country. 15 Every one who is overtaken shall be thrust through, And all who are collected together shall fall by the
sword. 16 Their children shall be dashed in pieces before their