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In the institution of your order, as well as in all your conduct during the war, you have so far adorned the character which I had long since conceived of the good Soldier and Patriot, that I am almost tempted (you will forgive the vanity) of assuming to myself some part of the merit--at least of hinting the foundation of the Order of the Cincinnati.
From a Sermon delivered in this place, in the midst of the late war, (viz, on the Feast of St. John, the Evangelist, 1778,) before your illustrious General and President, now the President of the United States, you will give me leave to quote a passage, viz.
“No government is to be considered of divine original, but as it resembles God's own govern
ment; round whose throne, justice and mercy wait. “ And all governments must be so far divine, as the “ laws rule, and every thing is ordered, under God, "s by free and common consent.
" To contend for such governments, with a holy, enlightened and unquenchable zeal, is the highest “ temporal glory. Wherefore, we dwell with rap
ture upon the records of former renown, and con
template with veneration those transcendent scenes " of Heroism; in which we behold the Brave and the “ Free wearing upon their swords the Fate of mil" lions; while the divine Genius of Victory, espous"ing their cause, hovers over their heads with ex
panded wing; reaching forth the immortal wreath " that is to surround their triumphant brow; and “ smiling upon the decisive moment that is to fix the happiness of unborn generations!
They who (from a sense of duty to God and “their country, seeking that Liberty and Peace « which Heaven approves) have thus acted their part, " whether in more elevated or inferior stations, form “the first class in the roll of Worthies. And when “ they descend again into private life, casting behind " them vain pomp and fastidious pride, to mingle " with their fellow citizens in all the tender charities " and endearing offices of society and humanity, their “ characters, if possible, become still more illustrious. “ Their very maims and scars are nobly honourable. “ The respect, which they command, grows with " their growing years; and as they descend to the " horizon of life, it is like the Sun in serene and set
ting glory-with orb more enlarged and mitigated, “though less dazzling and splendid. Even their
garrulous old age, while it can only recount the “ feats of former days, will be listened to with atten" tion; or should they survive all the active powers " both of body and mind, yet still, like some grand “ structure, tottering and crumbling beneath the hand “ of time, they will appear majestic even in ruins, « and venerable in decay!
“ And, when at last the messenger, Death, who " comes to all, shall come to them, undaunted they “ will obey his summons; in conscious hope of be
ing speedily united and beatified with their com
patriots and fore-runners, in the mansions of end« less bliss.
Such, to name no more, was the character* of " Cincinnatus in ancient times, rising awful from
In a note annexed to this Sermon, which was dedicated to General Washington, a short account was given of the life and character of Ciaeinnatus.
“ the Plough' to Save his Country, and, his Country “ Saved, returning to the Plough again, with in-“ creased dignity and lustre. Such too, if we divine
aright, will future ages pronounce the character of “ a Washington to have been. But his presence on “ this occasion, as a brother*, forbids me to add “ more-Seek to derive virtue from his example ; “ let your principles animate you with intrepidity in " the hour of danger, and humanity in the moments “ of triumph.”
Thus far on that occasion-And now gentlemen, having said all that seems necessary to you as a distinct body, and respecting your honourable claim to the title of Cincinnati, I trust that I shall obtain an equal attention from you to my second head of discourse; in which
and every member of the community here assembled are alike interested. Nay, as examples, to lead the attention of others to that Spiritual Salvation, which remains to be more fully treated of, perhaps you are more interested than others; and more may be expected from you, as you have nobly avowed the principle-That the Soldier's glory cannot be completed, without acting well the part of the Good Citizen and Good Christian!
But, before I proceed further-It having been declared, that the great design of the Cincinnati on this day is to commemorate the blessings of religious and civil Liberty; and the Churches in this city, having for some years past, made use of a particular Service composed for that
• He was present as'a Mason, but his name was not mentioned from the pulpit, only the words " Character of a" VOL. II.
strange that the said service hath been omitted on the present occasion. To this I am instructed, by the Right Rev. Bishop and Paster of this Church, to answer-That, although such a service was, with a pure, a pious, and patriotic design, proposed by a Convention of our Church some years ago, yet it was never received into general use; nor did it appear that any other religious denomination of Christians in the Union, were disposed to follow the example, or to make a similar provision for commemorating the day. This, however, would have had but little weight with us, if it had been considered by the members of our Church as a religious rather than a political institution. But being convinced by the remarkable scarcity of worshippers, which attended the Service, on former returns of this day, that the multitude were too much drawn off, by the external parade of shews and rejoicings, from an attention to religious duties (except when the day fell on Sun. day) what was originally introduced as a proposal, is now omitted in an authoritative Liturgy established by the late general Convention of our Church. The religious observation of the day, however, will always be encouraged, as it is on the present occasion, when a similar disposition shall call for it.
I proceed now to consider more fully that Spiritual Salvation, which Almighty God, after “having made bare his holy arm,” to rescue us from temporal calamity, hath promised to extend “ to all the ends of the earth."
By this Salvation, as mentioned in our text, I need scarcely observe to a Christian audience, that we are to understand the knowledge and practice of the blessed Gospel of Jesus Christ; to which is annexed not only the promises of temporal happiness in this life, but the rich reward of eternal happiness in the life to come.
To be convinced of the suffi. ciency of the blessed Gospel, for the great purposes of this mighty Salvation, is the chief wisdom of man. For therein is contained that wisdom, which is of God; that true knowledge, without which all else, that is called knowledge, is nugatory and vain! The further we carry our inquiries into the works of Nature and Providence, the more we are convinced of their greatness, and our own insufficiency to comprehend them: the length, the breadth, and the depth, far out-measure our scanty line, without de. riving help from on high. We find many things of the utmost importance for us to know, which yet baffle all our efforts, and elude our most eager researches.
The creation and various revolutions of the world which we inhabit, the fall and redemption of man, the last judgment and an eternal world to comethese are grand and interesting concerns, in which no wisdom of our own could instruct us, unless the Lord had been pleased to reveal himself concerning them.
Can we, then, neglect or despise that heavenly system of truth, by which he hath made himself known to us in those great points? Shall we not rather take it to our bosoms, search into its depths, and reverence it as containing the words of eternal life; as being the richest legacy which heaven could give, or, man receive?