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strangers, or from a strange land. They are bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh. Multitudes will soon have sons, brothers, husbands, fathers, relatives, and friends on that distant coast. And if they are not to be left to the power of temptation,—to go forth like Lot, as he went to the vale of Sodom, only with worldly motives, and like him to danger and ruin, where even angels could not save all his family,--then the gospel must go with them, and the spirit of God attend them.
We cannot but hope and believe, that in this, one of the most wonderful movements of this wondrous year, God has purposes of mercy for our land and the world; that He designs the planting of free States and Christian institutions, and the extension of commerce, the arts, and the Protestant religion; and that, on the rolling wave, He will roll civilization, and in the end salvation, to a nation born in a day. But we must co-work with Him. Our prayers must ascend, and our efforts be put forth, and our gifts be sent, if we would see the gospel extended as fast and widely as our population spreads. When “HOME MISSIONS” meant the supply of a few feeble churches in New England, and a few more in New York and Ohio, feeble efforts might have been sufficient. But now that OUR HOME has grown to be a Continent; its roof the broad arch of heaven, its rooms the prairie and the forest, its halls the valleys of our mighty rivers, its walls two oceans on the east and west, and the torrid and frozen zones on the north and southnow, if we would keep that home, our house, in order, social, civil, moral, religious, we must not be wanting in corresponding prayer and benevolence. Now that "Home Missions” has come to signify providing the gospel for half
a world, our faith and effort must expand with its necessities. Said a gentleman, recently, in view of these necessities, “I must quadruple my subscription for Home Missions this year, for the special purpose of sending the gospel to California. All should feel the same spirit, and as far as possible imitate so good an example.
3. Our subject suggests a word to those who are going forth to that distant part of our land.—A gentleman once speaking with a young man who was comparatively a stranger, asked what were his plans for the future. "I am now a clerk,” said the young man, "and my hope is to succeed, and get into business for my. self.” “And what then?" said the gentleman. “Why, then, I hope to prosper, and be able to set up an establishment of my own." "And what next?" "Then to continue in business, and accumulate wealth." " And what next?" "To retire from business, and enjoy the fruits of my labors." "And what next?" "It is the lot of all to die," said the young man thoughtfully," and I cannot expect to escape.” “And what next ?" once more said the enquirer. “But alas ! the young man had no answer; he had no purposes or plans that reached beyond the present life! Thoughtful for time, he had no thought for eternity! Wise for this world, he was acting the fool for the next?
Many, yes, all of you have your plans for this world. Step by step, it may be, you could tell what next, and next, and on for years, or perhaps even down to old age! But ask yourself one question, What if death should meet you at some early stage of that future—what then? Or even, if you live to old age, still, what then? What, when life shall end, and sickness and death shall come? What when eternity must be entered, and you must go and give up your account to God ?— Tell me, O! tell me, what then--WHAT THEN ?
BY REV. W. A. SCOTT, D. D.
Of New Orleans, La.
HOPE OF REPUBLICS; OR THE ELEMENTS OF PERMANENCE
IN MODERN CIVILIZATION.*
" There shall no man be able to stand before you; for the Lord your God shall lay the fear of you and the dread of you upon all the land that ye shall tread upon, as He hath said unto you.”—Deut. 11 : 25. It has been said of Lafayette, that he was worthy of Liberty, for his stout and noble soul never despaired of her cause. Betrayed, duped, and dying disappointed of the emancipation of his own country, in his own day, he lifted up his eyes to Heaven, and consoled his breaking and magnanimous heart, with the vitality, virtue, freedom, and greatness of future generations. Though born among a haughty aristocracy, his heart was with the people, and his creed their sovereignty. The ambition of a throne was base in his eyes. Despots and kings were with him synonymous terms. Had he not been Lafayette, his highest aim would have been to be a Washington. Generous and glorious Frenchman! ever dear to American Liberty—the more your tomb retreats into the shade of time, the more radiant will it be with glory to the eyes of posterity. And as the image of the sacred mountain, to which millions and generations of devotees are wont to go, grows in proportion as it recedes from view, until it stands
* Delivered on Thanksgiving Day, Dec. 21, 1848, in the Presbyterian Church, in Lafayette Square, of wbich Dr. Scott is Pastor.--Ed.
out aloft and solitary in the confines of the horizon, so Republican France, and all regenerated nations, in all coming ages, will send their sons on a pilgrimage of generosity, chivalry, truth and liberty, to thy tomb.
Some historians profess to have discovered a law that renders the permanent prosperity of nations a moral impossibility. They tell us that all flesh is grass, and the glory of man is as the flower of grass, both of man as an individual, and of man associatedthat nations, like billows, rise and decline--that all things have their ebbing and flowing.
It is true that the flower blossoms only to fade. It is true that all things earthly are changing, changeable, and passing away, except the tendency to change. That alone is immutable. The history of man seems to be rising or falling. Birth, progression, decay-manhood, its vigor, maturity, and decline. And so brief is manhood's stay on this summit, that we cannot tell when it reaches the highest point, nor when it begins to go down. And must it be thus with every nation? Like a tree, is there a time for a nation to be born, take root, spread its branches, yield its fruit, and then decline, decay, fall into oblivion? It is a fixed law of the universe, that communities, like individuals, of which they are composed, no sooner attain their manhood, than they hasten to decrepitude and decay? Has the all-wise Creator ordained that nations may advance, grow till they reach their meridian glory, and that, then, without a pause, they must decline? I do not believe there is any such law in existence. I do not believe that Ineffable Goodness has ordained any such statutes concerning the fall of nations. Again and again the Sacred Scriptures promise ever-enduring prosperity to the Hebrews, if they would continue steadfast in their obedience. There was then no necessity for them to decline. It is admited that the law of progress and decay belongs to physical objects; but it is denied that it does necessarily attach to the intellect, and to moral and relig. ious subjects. It is admitted that the mind may fail in some of its external expressions of functions—as in the failing of the memory
- that brilliant intellect may sometimes degenerate-grow feeble for the want of exercise or by dissipation, or be oppressed with the infirmities of age. But it is earnestly denied that this is always so, or that it is absolutely necessary; and if it is admitted, as it must be, that in any solitary instance a great mind goes on improving, or even holding its own, during the entire period of the body's decline from its highest maturity to death, so that at the moment of dissolution the soul goes out ou its pilgrimage from the body to the regions of eternity unimpaired; then, we have enough from this solitary instance, to prove that it is possible for mental, moral, and spiritual excellence to remain unimpaired to the moment of death: and consequently, what is possible of one mind is possible of many minds of the minds of a whole nation. And as
moral goodness is not effected essentially by the material organization with which the soul is encompassed while in this world, so the mind and its habitudes of goodness and piety, are not, by any inexorable fatality, subjected to the physical laws tbat govern the decay and dissolution of material habitation; and in a mind that not only remains without decay, but goes on improving, both in intellectual strength and moral excellence, up to the moment of its elimination from the body, we have all the essential elements of prosperity and perpetuity. The developments of a nation in wealth, in arts and arms, are its Physiques. These belong to its material organization. These are things that are subject, in some degree, to changes, like those of the seasons of the year. But the intellect
, the moral and spiritual habitudes of a nation, may be preserved as indestructible as individuality in morals--as imperishable as individual immortality. It is
"mind, mind alone,
It does not matter who has wealth, nor where it is. It is mind that governs it. It does not matter what becomes of the magnificence or vanity of material things; the mind lives, and its habitudes of virtue and piety, or their opposites, are its eternal costume. It is true of the individual physical man, that he is born, grows to greater or less maturity, and then falls into feebleness, and finally into the grave. And it is true of individual man, moral, intellectual, spiritual, that there is a time when he begins to exist, and that he progresses thenceforward, either in holiness or moral turpitude; but it is not true that he ever ceases to exist. Every soul that has ever been born into the world is still alive. Not a single intellect that has ever emanated from Jehovah, has been or ever will be annihilated. This world does not comprise all men's history. Man is not a mere animal or vegetable, that comes forth in obedience to certain physical laws, grows, ripens, and rots--then, indeed, we might fold our hands and wait our destiny, content with Napoleon's philosophy: “It is written in Heaven.” But since this world is obviously not man's goal--not the fruition but the embryo of his existence--since a thousand arguments, and a thousand and one experiences, prove that this world is probationary, and in order to a righteous retribution, some shadowings forth of which only are now visible--since it is the way of Providence to carry on the government of human things in successive and gradually advancing dispensations, as a preparation for the appearance of the new heavens and the new earthsince a law of progress is inherent in intellect-since mind in thousands and millions of instances continues to advance and ex. pand to the last moment of its continuance in the body-since in. dividual mind and personal virtue do, in millions of instances, continue to advance, to expand, to grow higher, and more and more perfect, without any pause at any mundane height, and never decline-since this is confessedly true of individual virtue and individual intellect, in at lea some of the persons that compose communities; and that, too, not of a few or an insignificant number, is it not palpable that a nation, composed entirely of such, may continue to advance in everything excellent without any decline.
While I deny that there is any necessity of Fate for a nation to fall from its glory, I admit there is danger that the cup which intoxicated Babylon, Tyre, Cartbage, Athens, and Rome, may intoxicate us. There is danger that the dizzy heights which they knew not how to keep, may so turn our heads that we may not be able to stand on them. But there is no fatal necessity that it should be so. We are able to stand, but free to fall. While there is danger that wealth and refinement will lead to luxury, vice, degradation, and decline, we possess in Christianity all that is necessary to counteract any such tendencies. The mental vigor and tender charities of the gospel are sufficient to resist the law of decay seen so palpably in the once proud and powerful States of the old world.' The Bible, and the Bible alone, can preserve the monuments of our greatness from becoming the monuments of what has been. The intellectual and moral elevation and active benevolence of the gospel, are abundantly sufficient for the glory and perpetuity of a nation. If it be asked, whether it shall
ever be said of us, as of the republics of former times, that we were a great people in our day, but that, like them, we have gone glimmering into the dream of things that were—"a schoolboy's tale, the wonder of an hour"- I reply, the answer to the inquiry is in the hands of us and our children. God has left all our future in our own hands. If we can succeed in giving to our native born, and to the millions of the old world cast upon our shores in their infancy and youth, an effective education—including under this term such training as shall render their faculties prompt and active; personal independence and yet subordination, sobriety, neatness and industry-such solid knowledge as shall enlarge to the utmost the meanest of subsistence, by enlarging the capacities of usefulness to their fellow-citizens—such knowledge of themselves as shall inspire them with hope and with the confidence that they are men—FREEMEN—whose bodies and minds and families are really the objects of divine and human benevolence—and such moral and religious instruction as sball inspire them with just views of crime, and associate the idea of happiness with that of honest independence—as shall fill their hearts with a sense of the Divine Being and of their final accountability to Him, and with sentiments of fervent charity towards and sympathy with their fellow-man; if by the continued prosecution of agriculture and of the true principles of trade and commerce, we can develop