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promise as some men count slackness; but is long suffering to us ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Pet. 3. 3-4. 9. The long suffering, and mercy of God, are often mistaken for either a want of superintendance, or neglect of the concerns of men, and governments. It is remarkable, that God, in his administrations towards man, has ever communicated, by revelation, his will as their rule of conduct, and, even after transgression, has given them opportunities, and warn. ings to repent, previous to his sending his judgments, and and chastisements. He has demonstrated that he will be praised; if not by the willing sacrifice of the heart in sincere obedience; by the wrath of men. His judgments are. his strange work: his throne he must, and will maintain; and, if the disobedience of men forbid his reigning in mercy, he will in judgment; for he is wonderful in council, and excellent in working; justice, and judgment are the habitation of his throne; mercy, and truth go before his face. The vari ous speculations, and theorising upon politics, about the rights of men, sound policy, &c. will, ere long, give way, to the piercing convictions forced upon the conscience by the bloody horrors of war, intestine broils, and civil distractions, that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only safe rule of action, as well for nations, and governments, as neighbourhoods, and individuals. God is the Lord, and must be obeyed, as well in the exercise of political rights, and civil administrations, as in individual worship, and religious duties. He will be regarded as the Lord of the conscience. These things are urged home to the hearts of men, while religious parties, and denominations are too much wrapped up in the cob-webs of their own brain, and are more attentive to their own peculiar sectarian expla nations of scripture, than in the discharge of the great politi cal, moral, and religious duties of their profession.
No politician can understand the present unparalleled condition of the world, either as it relates to the true source of bleeding humanity, its design, and ultimate end, only as he is informed by the revelations of God himself in the scriptures. Nor is it possible to employ an antidote to, or avert the ruin which seems to threaten our world, but
from the same source. I know, that it is thought quite superstitious, and unphilosophical, to refer to the bible for political information relative to the duties or happiness of a people, or the destinies of nations, since the natural energies of the human mind were developed by the principles of MODERN PHILOSOPHY. Religious errors, and oppressions, and that very philosophy, are the efficient causes of the present deselation of the old world. Under the dispensation of heaven, they operate as the mutual scourges of each other. This same wretched philosophy, and the misapprehensions of the Gospel in the minds of the people of the United States of America, inregard to their political, and religious interests, duties, andpolicy, are amongst the great procuring causes of their present sufferings, and those which are impending. This disastrous state of things will progress in some form or other; or, if suspended, the causes will continue to exist, and be ready at all times to be put into activity, until the wisdom which is from above directs the conduct of our people, and governments in the exercise of their civil rights, and political operations. I am asked, how is this great reformation to be effected, and in what will it consist? I answer, that it is to be effected by the professors, and friends of christianity doing their duty in the exercise of their elective franchise, in their selection of proper persons for public office. The reformation will consist in God being recognized as the rightful, and gracious sovereign of our world, and in the principles, and spirit of christianity, being the rule of civil administration, and national policy. This is not to be effected by the civil establishment of religion; but by making the will of God, as revealed, the law of the mind, by which the civil, and religious duties of men alone can be perceived, felt, and properly regarded.
I cannot but think, that this subject can be placed in such a fair, intelligible, and strong point of view, as to produce an entire union of opinion, and an irresistible conviction of the importance, and necessity of observing the du ties which it imposes. In the first place, I ask, (in order to rouse the conscience, which has heretofore been lulled into a sinful repose by the impious maxim, that religion, and political rights, and blessings, have no connexion; and
to awaken the mind to a candid, serious investigation,) whether the worshippers of God, in this christian land, and the citizens of the United States, exist independent of, and without obligations to him, in the possession, and enjoy. ment of their civil rights, and privileges? The voice of every christian will answer in the negative. I again ask, what those dependancies are, what those duties, and how to be discharged? I answer, that it is not only in God we live, and move, and have our being, but that we are dependant upon him for those divine principles in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, by the influence of which man is qualified for a republican government, and, in the observance of which, a nation can only be prosperous, and happy. These principles in the divine economy of grace were given to man for his instruction, and by which to regulate his conduct, not to supersede the use of his intellectual, and moral powers, but to enlighten, direct, and govern them. They cannot produce a happy result, without being thus observed. When thus regarded, as the governing principles of grace, and truth, God is glorified in the happiness of man; which is the true design, and tendency of the Gospel dispensation. It is not less true in a political, than in a religious point of view. The command is, that whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. It may be asked, how is God glorified by a representative'government? I answer, by the public functionaries being regulated by his word, and commandments in their public administrations, and private conduct. Men of these principles, and character, can only be promoted to of fice by the suffrage of the people; and, of course, God's glory, and the social happiness of mankind in this respect, depends upon the right use of the principle of elective franchise. Here, then, we arrive, by a direct course of deduction, to the indispensible political duty of every christian, and enlightened friend of humanity. I do not mean that God will, by the immmediate operations of his Spirit, miraculously bless our nation for choosing of men to administer the government, who are devoted to his service, and glory. The happiness or misery of a nation is correspondent with the rectitude or depravity of its measures; and these are of a like complexion with the moral character, and principles of
the rulers. The only means which produce a pure, and undefiled heart, are the truths of the Gopel. Hence it is, "when the righteous are in authority the people rejoice, and when the wicked bear rule, the people mourn." Prov. 29. 2. Righteousness exalteth a nation; but sin is a reproach to any people. Prov. 14. 34. The legislative, executive, and judiciary branches of government, being occupied by enlightened, and pure christianity, would, of necessity, exhi bit an entirely renovated state of things. The glory of God, and happiness of mankind, would, of necessity, be the consequence. God would reign in peace, and man would live in happiness. Spiritual wickedness in high places would be put down, and God would be glorified in all things; his name would never be used but with suitable awe, and veneration. The Gospel becoming the law of the mind, and the ruling principle of the heart, man would cease to thirst for his fellows blood; and a conduct regulated by it, would disarm raging passion of its fierceness, and heap coals of fire upon the head of its unhappy possesThe consternating, and heart-piercing interrogatory of our Saviour, "What is a man profitted if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" would paralize inordinate desire, projects of ambition, &c. which lead to chicanery, corruption, and intrigue, and prompt to such a course of measures, and policy, as to make the people mourn, and nations to war against nations. The penitentiary system, which was certainly the growth of christianity in its origin, though probably not known or thought to be so by mankind in general, would be entirely completed, and regulated by its principles. The unhappy subjects of its operations, would, upon their entrance there be presented with a Bible; and, during their confinement, labour, and privations, which are well calculated to abate, or break the force of wicked habits, and passions, to tranquilize the mind, and bring it to reflection, would be tenderly, affectionately, and solemnly taught, the great truths of the Gospel, as the only mean of a radical reformation of mind, and conduct; of an intellectual, and moral regeneration. In its present plan, and economy, but little is effected in this way; the chief object seems to be, to make
money by the labour of the poor wretches; their bodily exertions in mechanical operations, and their occasional confinement in dark cells, are the chief objects of regard-they are sufficiently impressed with their degraded and base condition; but their ears are scarcely ever saluted by the cheering, and renovating voice of the Gospel. This part of the system savours of any thing else as much as of christianity. Bodily chastisements, unconnected with proper mental discipline, and moral instruction, can never produce abiding reformations.
This state of Gospel triumph would not only diffuse its blessings all around, upon every condition, and order of society, in the government in which we live, but it would extend its blessings to the savage tribes. The influences of the Gospel in civilizing the heathen nations, every person must admit. It not only exalts them to a proper sense of their own relations, and interests, by the knowledge of spiritual things which it imparts, but by the influence of this very knowledge, and the duties which it imposes, it changes their blood-thirsty nature into friendship, piety, and peace.
The opinions of mankind of interest, and happiness, are relative; they arise from the views the mind has of its connection with external things: the invisible, and everlasting relations which it sustains, and which are only ascertainable, and gan be perceived through the revelations of God's Spirit in the Gospel, exhibit a far more exceeding, and eternal weight of glory to the humble, and contrite heart; but a fearful looking for of judgement, and fiery indignation against the ungodly. Through the influence of these considerations, and the chastisements of heaven upon disobedience, the objects of sensuality, avarice, and ambition, are stripped of their improper attractions, and the cup of forbidden indulgence is dashed, and poisoned.
When the contracted, and bigotted notions about religion shall be cured, and those objections which arise from angry sectarian contentions, in the eyes of mankind, are obviated, and its true professors conscientiously perform their dutics, and obey their commandments of the Lord, then peace will be as a river, and righteousness as the waves of the sea. Isa. 48. 18. Then the reign of the Prince of Peace