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DECEIVERS ALONE DECEIVED. 267
of the whole, and therefore the less should be sacrificed for the sake of the greater. That is, the law should be honored, and the pirates should be hanged. But these principles, founded in the nature and relations of all moral government, are fundamental and glorious in that which is the only perfect moral government in the universe, the government of God. This I endeavored to enforce, and commend to his approbation. We have violated his law, and it must be supported. This can be done conceivably in either of-two ways only ; one, by execution of the law, and our consequent punishment and perdition; the other, by that sacrifice of the Son of God, with repentance and faith in him, which makes justice honorable, while mercy is triumphant, which magnificently sustains the law and the prerogatives of the lawgiver, while it makes, and demonstrates, and commends the way of grace reigning through righteousness to eternal life by Jesus Christ, our Lord. But alas ! I could make seemingly a slight impression only on the mind of my illustrious friend. In one of our episodes, as he often made animadversions on the clergy, he intimated that some of the secular magnates deceived them occasionally with a kind of courtesy, by wholesale, to their office and to them, thinking it quite enough to get a smiling pledge of their good-will, as the result of their own bland concession to religion in general, or to its forms, and its claims, and its officials, as established in society. I replied assentingly, for I had often observed, as others have, the same thing; but added that the deceiver there was alone the deceived, as an ordinary result, and that the ministers of Christ, those that are his ministers, both know more of such men, and see further into their ways, their wiles, their tactics, their motives, their sins, and their retributions, than the dotage of their own vanity or their shallowness commonly apprehends. In this regard I commended Mr. Adams for his honesty and for his great superiority to that low and mean policy to which we were
268 NEWPORT AND PROVIDENCE.
referring—a degradation in hypocrisy of which there lives not the man on earth, I judge, that would accuse him. He utterly scorned all such duplicity, all such servility and moral baseness. The people of venerable old Newport, that city of exciting and manly memories, reading afar the presidential signals at the mast-head of the steamer, crowded to the wharf as we approached it, where the Fulton was to touch. They received him with loud patriotic cheers, and every eminence near was populous with gratified spectators. They joyed spontaneously to see and to greet the great civic father of their young and mighty nation. The old gentleman, hat in hand, returned the pleasing signals, and, like a plain and patriarchal citizen as he was, shook hands cheerfully with multitudes, who crowded perilous on board to enjoy the momentary gratification and valued honor—though its memory was not so transient. Their valedictory cheering, too, was tenacious, oft-repeated, and long-continued, till it died in the distance away, still visible, and heartily returned, even when no longer audible to us or them. At Providence, the intelligent capital of their gallant and enterprising little state, our sail terminated. Crowds of their busy and curious population had obeyed some concerted signal, and were waiting to welcome the president of their country. Cheers were all in cordial uproar as we approached. The governor and his aids, the lieutenant governor, and other distinguished citizens, occupied the front ranks, and did the hospitable honors to their distinguished guest—only that he was too transitory to suit their notions or their desires. Soon afterward, the president's coach and four appeared gallantly in sight, which himself and others of us having occupied, with a fine-looking and quite conscious and intelligent driver humoring the reins, we were wheeled away in fine style, amid the enthusiastic and stentorian outbreaks of the self-complacent sovereign
BRIEF AND TERMINAL REFLECTIONS. 269
people ; and after a pleasant drive of some forty miles, we arrived safe in the evening at Boston. It is common, we are told, in some rural parishes in New England, for the pastor regularly to occupy the morning of the Lord's day with doctrinal discussion, establishing certain favorite or orthodox positions; and in the afternoon, to come to the IMPROVEMENT, or the PRACTICAL REFLECTIONs, or the SPIRITUAL USEs, or the proper INFERENCEs from the subject. So, from such INTERVIEws with such a personage, one might write a volume of instructive commentary and speculative analysis. But possibly the facts and statements which must be the premises of all such philosophy are rather to be viewed, in the present instance, as more instructive and more valuable in their simple appearance to the reader, leaving his own mind to its own workings and inductions in the matter. Often, indeed, has the recollection of what is here narrated recurred with a thrill of moral interest to my own mind, and eminently has it been suggestive, and perhaps instructive and profitable. Truth compels me to add, that it is always painful too. But what men's motives are, and what their characters, if now ambiguous or mysterious, will soon be manifested and notorious to all. I make one reflection, that the religion of our Lord Jesus Christ is no pensioner on the favor of the footstool. It depends on no man, but on God alone. Every man depends on it passively, if not actively ; it depends on God, and God depends on himself; so that religion is excellent, irrespective of majorities, however poor in worldly state and glory, and when devoid of all human opinion and patronage. Hence, too, the imperfections and the faults of professing Christians are no excuse for the irreligious. Therefore, Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches; but let him that glovieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord, who exercise loving-kindness, judg
270 BIBLE SOCIETY ADDRESS.
ment, and righteousness in the earth ; for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.—Jer. 9:23–24.
Our account of this memorable interview is now concluded. I therefore subjoin, as I have promised, his Bible Society address, pronounced nearly nineteen years after ; taken now from his own autograph, identified before me, and showing, as a chronometer of his life, the proofs of age in its formation of letters, and of the difficulty with which he executed the document, then so far advanced in his seventy-seventh year.
Fellow-citizens of the American Bible Society, and of this Assembly, - In taking the chair awarded to me as the oldest Vice-president of the American Bible Society, I deem myself fortunate in having the opportunity, at a stage of a long life drawing rapidly to its close, to bear at this place, the capital of our national Union, in the Hall of Representation of the North American people, in the chair of the presiding officer representing that whole people, the personification of this great and mighty nation, to bear my solemn testimonial of reverence and gratitude to that Book of books, the Holy Bible.
Thirty-five years have passed away since, in the State House at Boston, the capital of my native commonwealth, I became a member of the Bible Society; and although I have followed, with a deep interest, their continual exertions and the various fortunes of their success in distributing this Book, I think I have never been able to attend another meeting of the society from that time to this. Since that time one generation of mankind has passed away—another has arisen. In the midst of the painful and perilous conflicts inseparable from public life, and on the eve of that moment when the grave shall close over them forever, I may be permitted to
EACH GENERATION IMPROVING. 271
indulge the pleasing reflection that, having been taught in childhood the unparalleled blessings of the Christian gospel, in the maturity of manhood I associated with my brethren of that age, for spreading the light of that gospel over the face of the earth, by the simple and silent process of placing in the hands of every human being who needed, and could not otherwise procure it, that Book, which contains the duties, the admonitions, the promises, and the rewards of the Christian gospel. It is a soothing consolation to my last hours, that, having so long since associated in this cause with the fathers, I still find myself associated in it with the sons; that it has in the interval been perseveringly and unceasingly prosecuted with intense ardor, with untiring assiduity, and with animating and eminent success. In contemplating what may be termed the life and adventures of one whole generation of the race of man, the only member of the animal creation susceptible of the perception of good and evil, of virtue and vice, of right and wrong, there are in this, as there have been in all former ages, observing and reflecting men, especially in the decline of life, prone to depreciate the moral and physical character of the present age, and to glorify the past. Far more pleasing, and I believe more correct, is the conclusion, that the race of man, in his fallen estate, is placed by successive generations upon earth to improve his own condition and that of his kind ; and that this book has been furnished him, by the special providence of his Maker, to enable him, by faith in his Redeemer, and by works conformable to that faith, to secure his salvation in a future world, and to promote his well-being in the present. If this be true, the improvement of successive generations of men in their condition upon earth, and their preparation for eternity, depends in no small degree in the diffusion and circulation of this volume among all the tribes of man throughout the habitable globe This is the great and exclusive object for which, in the last generation, this society was instituted. The whole