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AN EMBARGO LIBERTY. a
An embargo Liberty was never cradled in Massachusetts. Our Liberty was not so much a mountain as a sea nymph. She was free as air. She could swim or she could run. The ocean was her cradle. Our fathers met her as she came, like the goddess of beauty from the waves. They caught her as she was sporting on the beach. They courted her whilst she was spreading her nets upon the rocks. But an embargo Liberty; a handcuffed Liberty; a Liberty in fetters; a Liberty traversing between the four sides of a prison, and beating her head against the walls, is none of our offspring. We abjure the monster. Its parentage is all inland.
What lessons has New England, in every period of her history, given to the world ! What lessons do her condition and example still give How unprecedented; yet how practicall how simple; yet how powerful! She has proved that all the variety of Christian sects may live together in harmony, under a government which allows equal privileges to all,—exclusive pre-eminence to none. She has proved that ignorance among the multitude is not necessary to order, but that the surest basis of perfect order is the information of the people. She has proved the old maxim, that “no government, except a despotism with a standing army, can subsist where the people have arms,” is false.
Such are the true glories of the institutions of our fathers! Such the natural fruits of that patience in toil, that frugality of disposition, that temperance of habit, that general diffusion of knowledge, and that sense of religious responsibility, inculcated by the precepts, and exhibited in the example, of every generation of our ancestors | * * *
What, then, are the elements of the liberty, prosperity, and safety which the inhabitants of New England at this day enjoy! In what language, and concerning what comprehensive truths, does the wisdom of former times address the inexperience of the future ?
Those elements are simple, obvious, and familiar.
Every civil and religious blessing of New England, all that here gives happiness to human life, or security to human virtue, is alone to be perpetuated in the forms and under the auspices of a free commonwealth.
'From the “Centennial Address,” delivered in Boston, September 17, 1830, at the close of the second century from the first settlement of the city.
The commonwealth itself has no other strength or hope than the intelligence and virtue of the individuals that compose it. For the intelligence and virtue of, individuals, there is no other human assurance than laws, providing for the education of the whole people. These laws themselves have no strength, or efficient sanction, except in the moral and accountable nature of man, disclosed in the records of the Christian's faith; the right to read, to construe, and to judge concerning which, belongs to no class or caste of men, but exclusively to the individual, who must stand or fall by his own acts and his own faith, and not by those of another. The great comprehensive truths, written in letters of living light on every page of our history-the language addressed by every past age of New England to all future ages is this: Human happiness has no perfect security but freedom 5–freedom none but virtue;—virtue none but knowledge ; and neither freedom, nor rirtue, nor knowledge has any vigor, or immortal hope, except in the principles of the Christian faith, and in the sanctions of the Christian religion. Men of Massachusetts' citizens of Boston descendants of the early emigrants! consider your blessings; consider your duties. You have an inheritance acquired by the labors and sufferings of six successive generations of ancestors. They founded the fabric of your prosperity, in a severe and masculine morality; having intelligence for its cement, and religion for its ground-work. Continue to build on the same foundation, and by the same principles; let the extending temple of your country's freedom rise, in the spirit of ancient times, in proportions of intellectual and moral architecture, just, simple, and sublime. As from the first to this day, let New England continue to be an example to the world, of the blessings of a free government, and of the means and capacity of man to maintain it! And, in all times to come, as in all times past, may Boston be among the foremost and the boldest to exemplify and uphold whatever constitutes the prosperity, the happiLess, and the glory of New England .
JOHN QUINCY ADAMS.
The life of a statesman second to none in diligent and effective preparation for public service, and faithful and fearless fulfilment of public duty, has now been sketched, chiefly from materials taken from his published works. The light of his own mind has been thrown on his labors, motives, principles, and spirit. In times better adapted to appreciate his worth, his merits and virtues will receive a more enduring memorial. The present is not a
moment propitious to weigh them in a true balance. He knew how little a majority of the men of his own time were disposed or qualified to estimate his character with justice. To a future age he was accustomed to look with confidence. “Altero sacculo” was the appeal made by him through his whole life, and is now engraven on his monument. The basis of his moral character was the religious principle. His spirit of liberty was fostered and inspired by the writings of Milton, Sydney, and Locke, of which the American Declaration of Independence was an emanation, and the Constitution of the United States—with the exception of the clauses conceded to slavery—an embodiment. He was the associate of statesmen and diplomatists at a crisis when war and desolation swept over Europe, when monarchs were perplexed with fear of change, and the welfare of the United States was involved in the common danger. After leading the councils which restored peace to conflicting nations, he returned to support the administration of a veteran statesman, and then wielded the chief powers of the republic with unsurpassed purity and steadiness of purpose, energy, and wisdom. Removed by faction from the helm of state, he re-entered the national councils, and, in his old age, stood panoplied in the principles of Washington and his associates, the ablest and most dreaded champion of freedom, until, from the station assigned him by his country, he departed, happy in a life devoted to duty, in a death crowned with every honor his country could bestow, and blessed with the hope which inspires those who defend the rights, and uphold, when menaced, momentous interests of mankind. Close of the Memoir of J. Q. Adams.
ARCHIBALD ALEXANDER, 1772–1851.
Thr ancestors of Archibald Alexander were from the north of Ireland, and emigrated to Virginia in 1737. He was the son of William Alexander, and was born near Lexington, Rockbridge County, Virginia, April 17, 1772. In 1789, he became the subject of a “revival of religion” at his native place; and, in 1791, was licensed to preach the gospel by the Lexington Presbytery. In 1796, he accepted the Presidency of Hampden Sidney College, at that time in rather a languishing condition, and soon, by his wisdom and energy, imparted to it a more healthful and vigorous tone. He was often sent as a delegate to the General Assembly, which usually met in Philadelphia; and in 1806 he accepted a call from the Pine Street Church of that city, of which he continued pastor for six years. In 1810, the degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred upon him by the College of New Jersey; and, two years after, the General Assembly having established at Princeton a Theological Seminary, Dr. Alexander was chosen Professor of Didactic and Polemic Theology. Here he continued in the laborious discharge * of the duties of his professorship, with great ability and success, until within a short period of his death, which occurred on the 22d of October, 1851. That there have been some in the clerical profession of more learning, genius, and pulpit-eloquence than Dr. Alexander, none will deny; but no one has possessed in a higher degree that rare combination of every great and good quality, of wisdom and piety, which makes, on the whole, the deepest impression and exerts the widest influence. Men of all classes felt his power alike. Beyond any minister of his day, his preaching was equally acceptable to the learned and the illiterate, the old and the young, the untutored and the refined; and the works he has left, replete with wisdom, and instruction, and pious counsel, will remain an ever-enduring monument to his exalted worth.
The RIGHT USE OF REASON IN RELIGION,
That it is the right and the duty of all men to exercise their reason in inquiries concerning religion, is a truth so manifest that it may be presumed there are none who will be disposed to call it in question. Without reason there can be no religion; for in every step which we take in examining the evidences of revelation, in interpreting its meaning, or in assenting to its doctrines, the exercise of this faculty is indispensable. When the evidences of Christianity are exhibited, an appeal is made to the reason of men for its truth; but all evidence and all argument would be perfectly futile if reason were not permitted to judge of their force. This noble faculty was certainly given to man to be a guide in religion as well as in other things. He possesses no other means by which he can form a judgment on any subject or assent to any truth; and it would be no more absurd to talk of seeing without eyes than of knowing any thing without reason. It is therefore a great mistake to suppose that religion forbids or discourages the right use of reason. So far from this, she enjoins it as a duty of high moral obligation, and reproves those who neglect to judge for themselves what is right. But it has frequently been said by the friends of revelation, that although reason is legitimately exercised in examining the evidences of revelation and in determining the sense of the words by which it is conveyed, yet it is not within her province to sit
* At the end of the life of this good man, by his son, James W. Alexander, D.D., may he found a list of his various publications. They are fifty-two in number, including sermons and pamphlets. The following are the principal ones:—Evidences of the Christian Religion, 12mo, 1825; The Canon of the Old Testament A-certained, 12mo; Biographical Sketches of the Founder and Principal Alumni of the Log College, 12mo; A History of the Colonization of the Western Coast of Africa, 8vo; A History of the Israelitish Nation, 8vo; Outlines of Moral Science, 12mo; Letters to the Aged, 18mo: Counsels of the Aged to the Young, 18mo: Thoughts on Religious Erperience, 12mo; The Way of Salration Familiarly Erplained, in x Conversation between a Father and his Children, ISuo.
in judgment on the doctrines contained in such a divine contmunication. This statement is not altogether accurate. For it is manifest that we can form no conception of a truth of any kind without reason; and when we receive any thing as true, whatever may be the evidence on which it is founded, we must view the reception of it to be reasonable. Truth and reason are so intimately connected, that they can never with propriety be separated. Truth is the object, and reason the faculty by which it is apprehended, whatever be the nature of the truth or of the evidence by which it is established. No doctrine can be a proper object of our faith which it is not more reasonable to receive than to reject. If a book, claiming to be a divine revelation, is found to contain doctrines which can in no way be reconciled to right reason, it is a sure evidence that those claims have no solid foundation, and ought to be rejected. But that a revelation should contain doctrines of a mysterious and incomprehensible nature, and entirely different from all our previous conceptions, and, considered in themselves, improbable, is not repugnant to reason; on the contrary, judging from analogy, sound reason would lead us to expect such things in a revelation from God. Every thing which relates to this infinite Being must be to us, in some respect, incomprehensible. Every new truth must be different from all that is already known; and all the plans and works of God are very far above and beyond the conception of such minds as ours. Natural religion has as great mysteries as any in revelation; and the created universe, as it exists, is as lifferent from any plan which men would have conceived, as any Df the truths contained in a revelation can be.
But it is reasonable to believe what by our senses we perceive to exist; and it is reasonable to believe whatever God declares to be true.
In receiving, therefore, the most mysterious doctrines of revelation, the ultimate appeal is to reason. Not to determine whether she could have discovered these truths, not to declare whether, considered in themselves, they appear probable, but to decide whether it is not more reasonable to believe what God speaks than to confide in our own crude and feeble conceptions. Just as if an unlearned man should hear an able astronomer declare that the diurnal motion of the heavens is not real, but only apparent, or that the sun was nearer to the earth in winter than in summer; although the facts asserted appeared to contradict his senses, yet it would be reasonable to acquiesce in the declarations made to him by one who understood the subject and in whose veracity he had confidence. If, then, we receive the witness of men in matters above our comprehension, much more should we receive the witness of God.