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THE DUTY OF AMERICA [SER. XILE “ ligion of Mahomet, or of the Grand La“ ma : and for this plain reason, that the “ case assumes that we are a Christian “ people, and the morality of the country is “ deeply ingrafted upon Christianity, and “not upon the doctrines and worship of “ these impostors.”
As a Christian people, then, the inhabitants of the United States have the right to regulate their own political compact, and no one can consistently object to such regulations. To no people has God given such an opportunity to govern themselves, as he has to us. All our acts, therefore, must be considered the acts of our choice. This is peculiarly the case with the federal constitution. The United States adopted it deliberately, of their own accord, in time of peace, with no foreign power to compel them. Though it be thus the choice of a Christian people, in it are not recognized even the existence and government of God, much less the authority of his revealed Word. The head of a family would not allow a system of conduct to be introduced into his family which permitted blasphemy, idolatry, or atheism ; and we must yet learn that a head of a family has greater power to suppress irreligion and error than the head of a nation.
Understand me rightly in these remarks. I dislike and reprobate the modelling of churches by civil power, and the exclusive establishment of any particular denomination. Such establishments I hope will never take place in this country; for I consider them a grievous evil. But I do not hesitate to say, that propriety, reason, and the Word of God require from us, as a Christian people, two things,
Ist, The recognition of the existence and providence of God, and,
2d, The acknowledgment of his revealed truth.
No persons ought to be eligible to any offices of trust among us, who cannot stand the test in these two things. This remark, you will recollect, is founded upon this acknowledged principle, that every people have the right to regulate their concerns as they see fit or choose. Now, as the people of these United States profess to be a Christian people, they, by regulating their concerns as they saw fit, have given the lie to their profession. Their political consti
tution is atheistic as well as unchristian. Pro fessing themselves to be a Christian people, the adoption of such a constitution, as it contradicts their profession, makes them chargeable with irreligion. .
A nation as such can only be known through their government. As no provision has been made to secure a nominally Christian government, or even a government recognizing the existence and providence of God, the nation are guilty of indifference to the truths of God's Word. In this indifference we see plainly their ignorance of these truths, and their departure from God. He has taught us that civil government is his ordinance. The form he has left optional to us; but the character of the magistrate he has described with minute accuracy. We have minutely attended to the form about which God says nothing in his word, and have utterly neglected the qualification of the men who administer government, though He has given us line upon line on that subject.
2. Our political conduct as a people, under our constitution, is another national sin. · The principal fact in our conduct, to which I refer, is our choice of officers. In no coun
try is the right of choice so free and undisturbed. How have we exercised this right? Consistently with the atheistic spirit of our constitution, we have acted in an atheistic manner. The first question to be answered previous to our elections is, what are the candidate's political sentiments ? The inquiry into his moral and religious character, if ever instituted, is made after the previous question is answered. Political principles, and not moral or religious character, constitute the test of a man's fitness for an office among us. We ask not, as God has commanded us to ask, Is the man just? Will he rule in the fear of God? But, is he a federal, or a republican ? By thus substituting our opinions in the place of God's own rule, we have subjected ourselves to his righteous displeasure.,
Recollect what I have already observed, that God says nothing about forms of government in his Word: but is particular even to minuteness about the character and qualifications of those who administer government. Is not our conduct in this respect then a gross national transgression? We have cast off fear, and despised his directions. The nation are to blame, if at any
time men govern them who neglect the authority of God's Word, and cast contempt upon his grace. If such men are chosen, their infidelity and immorality are chosen by the people ; for it is impossible to separate between the intellectual and moral qualifications of men, in our choice of men.
3. Our abuse of past mercies and judgments dispensed towards us, is another national sin.
Of the former we have had abundance since the revolution. Need I remind you of our prosperity, and the unparalleled increase of our wealth? Nor have we been left without warnings. The pestilence which walketh in darkness and wasteth at noon day, has invaded many of our principal cities, and thinned the ranks of our estimable citizens. These mercies and judgments have been dispensed to the nation at large. The parts of it which have more immediately experienced them, have been memorials to the rest of God's goodness and beacons of his justice. But how have we improved the one and the other? Prosperity has made us proud, and adversity has not inclined our hearts to the Lord. You know