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demagogue. In the one case, he might become, like Peter the Hermit, the leader of a modern crusade against the

possessors of some new land of golden promise; or, like Cromwell, become the saintly Protector of the lives, and liberties, and purses of the nation. In the other, he merely accommodates himself to the prevailing humour and follies of the times, and plays the Clodius or Catiline for the same meritorious ends. There is no honesty—no moral principle—in either case.

Again, the object of notoriety, or worldly distinction, may be secured — when the popular sentiment favours- by a course of open, undisguised, downright, malignant infidelity. And the man, who, in one age or country, might have aspired to be an orthodox persecuting Pope or Cardinal, may, in another, be equally gratified in becoming a skeptical, scoffing Voltaire or Paine. So long as political distinctions—civil offices continue to be the principal objects of ambitious pursuit in our country,--so long will the aspirants to office persevere in courting and flattering the people in order to reach them; and the system will vary with every change in the popular feeling.

Religion, whether true or false, Christian or infidel, has ever proved a most efficient engine in exciting and inflaming the popular mind—and with what tremendous effect it has been frequently wielded, let history tell. How often has the desperate adventurer rode triumphant into the high places of power and splendour amidst the storms and tempests occasioned by religious frenzy and fanaticism? How often has the cunning politician, in seasons of religious fervour, put on all the sombre pious exterior of a pharisee of the strictest sect, and made long prayers in the corners of the streets and in the public markets, to be seen of men and to be rewarded by their homage?

The pharisees of old, we happen to know, were the popular favourites of their day, and were universally admired and revered for their imposing piety: whilo Christ himself was, at the same time, accounted a glutton and a wine-bibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. The same kind of ostentatious religion takes with the people still. They are captivated with a grand display of religion; with eloquent and earnest and pathetic prayers, and sermons; with loud and angry and authoritative denunciations of all plain matter-of-fact men, who choose to think that religion is an every-day concern, which ought to be manifested in every action of life, as well as at set times and on set occasions. They are delighted with a furious exterminating zeal, which would unchurch, excommunicate and gibbet all who do not exactly pronounce every prescribed shibboleth of the dominant party; with all that affectation of humility which obtrudes itself upon the vulgar gaze by the mere trickery of external singularities; while the pride and ambition of a thousand Wolseys lurk within the bosom of the popular saint.

If, then, my hearers, you dread the approaches of priestly domination—of ecclesiastical despotism-of political pharisaism — be up and doing without delay. Scatter the light of divine truth far and wide over

VOL. III.-32

this free and happy land. Religious liberty has never existed in any other land. Here, the grand experiment is now making for the first time, to ascertain whether religion can be maintained in any form, or to any salutary extent, without the tender mercies of the civil ruler -without a kirk or church establishment. Let us boldly persevere in this experiment: regardless of the sneers, and predictions, and ominous anticipations and fears and wishes of all transatlantic friends and foes. If we are true to ourselves—to our country—and to our God, the experiment will succeed gloriously. But, without the Bible, there will be no religion,—and no security against the sinister machinations of the selfish, the artful, the ambitious, of every name and form.

Every enemy of the Bible is, whether conscious of it or not, an enemy to civil and religious liberty, and to all the dearest rights of man. Infidelity is always ambitious, intolerant, persecuting and tyrannical. When priests begin to oppose the circulation of the Bible, you may be sure it is because their craft is in danger. When priests, in our country, seek to withhold the Bible from the people, you may set them down as fairly enlisted in the traitorous project of effecting a union of Church and State—as aiming at an ecclesiastical supremacy over the consciences, the fortunes and the persons of the people. By their actions, ye may know them.

I am aware that Bible Societies have been objected to, as forming a part of that grand religious conspiracy which is said to be already at work in sapping the foundations of our whole political fabric. The charges and the calumnies of sheer ignorance or malignity it is impossible to confute or repel. It is very true that combination is strength: and that union of counsel and effort is necessary to effect any important object whatever. Solitary man is feeble and powerless—and, I may add, useless. Wicked men, artful men, ambitious men, have always understood this matter perfectly: and hence they diligently labour to concentrate the affections, the zeal, the wealth, and the physical force of the multitude upon their favourite schemes and enterprises. We have associated professedly for a good object. If we have either been ourselves deceived, or attempted to deceive others, let our credulity and our hypocrisy and our deeds of darkness be duly exposed; and let us fall beneath the indignant frowns of an insulted and injured community. We crave no indulgence—and we dread no scrutiny.

This good work, as we believe it to be, of distributing the Bible to the destitute, was first systematically undertaken, about twenty-five years ago, by the British and Foreign Bible Society — the parent of all similar institutions.

Of the history, statistics, transactions, peculiar objects and advantages of Bible Societies, I discoursed, at large, at a former anniversary of this society.

The American Bible Society, at their annual meeting in May, 1829, resolved to supply every destitute family in the United States with a Bible in two years from that time.

Our Bible Society, heartily approving the noble resolution of the Parent Institution, and being desirous to share the honour of carrying it into effect, have determined to spare no reasonable efforts to offer the Bible to every family in Davidson County and throughout Middle Tennessee, within the current year-or sooner if practicable.

Upon these subjects also, in their various bearings and applications to ourselves and others, I had the honour to address a considerable audience of my fellow-citizens, on a recent occasion: and that they were not indifferent to the calls of Christian charity, their liberal contributions at the time amply evinced. Let them not be weary in well-doing; and let others go and do likewise. I shall not repeat what I have heretofore pronounced in your hearing upon any of these topics.

The business details of our Society, as conducted by the Board of Directors, during the preceding year, will be learned from the official Report about to be read by the Secretary.

The weighty considerations and eloquent appeals, which such an occasion and such a theme might be expected to elicit, will be urged home upon your hearts and consciences by the distinguished individuals who are yet to address you. While we listen therefore to the facts and statements, to the arguments and persuasions of our honoured friends, let us try to estimate the value of that sacred treasure which we now possess. Let us conceive, if we can, what our lot might have been without the Bible—and hence learn to compassionate the unhappy condition of our fellow-men who are still strangers to its heavenly influence. What sum

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