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A SERMON, DELIVERED AT NEWBURYPORT, ON THE 2nd FEBRUARY, 1800.

BY REV. JOHN BODDILY, Minister of the second Presbyterian society in said town.

(PUBLISHED BY REQUEST.)

Printed at Newburyport, by EDMUND M. BLUNT, 1800.

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Sermon.

ACTS vii. 22.And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds.

FROM the beginning, the world has been favored in every age, with one or more eminent characters, who have distinguished themselves, in a very remarkable man­ner, by their virtues, in promoting the public good.—The Great Governor of the Universe, when about to confer any special favor upon any particular nation or people, has permitted them to be brought into straits and difficulties, that in raising up and inspiring some highly favored character among them, with wisdom and courage to superintend the affairs of the body politick, they might be convinced they owed their deliverance to HIM, who sitteth upon the flood and rudeth King for­ever. In this chapter we have the dying testimony of Stephen, relative to the deliverance of Israel, after four hundred years bondage, by Moses, one of their own na­tion, whom the Lord had chosen as their leader, whose life was preserved amidst innumerable dangers, and who, under the direction of Providence, was brought up in [Page 4] the court of Egypt and was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, who were then famed for all manner of polite literature, particularly philosophy, astronomy and hieroglyphics. Moses receiving his education at court, had opportunities of improving himself by the best of au­thors, the best of tutors and the best of conversation in all the arts and sciences and had a genius for them; by this means, he detected and confuted the astrologers and magicians of Egypt and the way was paved for his en­tering upon the difficult and arduous task of delivering his own nation from their long captivity and bondage.—Being advanced to the office of prime minister of state, the favorite of heaven and the friend of the friendless Jews then under the hand of the oppressor, he was ren­dered conspicuous by his courage, conduct and success, and being prepared by human helps and divine emula­tion, he became mighty in words and in deeds. After the miracles he wrought and the deliverances he procur­ed for Israel, as an honest and faithful servant of God, He ascribed all the glory to Him in whose cause he em­barked and by whose power he had been sustained. Up­on all occasions, he consulted the Lord and proved by his exemplary conduct that he feared and served the God of Israel.

[Page 5] BEING called together by the Executive and Legisla­tive authority to celebrate the auspicious birth of the illustrious GEORGE WASHINGTON, who was born February 22d, 1732, whose name alone strikes earthly titles dead, and to mourn his death, which took place December 14th, 1799, while authority commands and duty supports that authority, gratitude and affection, which are the most powerful constraints, lay us under the most pleasing, yet painful necessity of complying with the wishes of our rulers and of uniting with millions of our fellow-citizens in paying a small tribute to the mem­ory and sublime virtues of our deceased and beloved de­liverer, guardian and father, and which humble tribute will no doubt be annually paid, while the page of histo­ry continues to hand down to posterity the peculiar Ex­ploits and singular Virtues of one of the greatest of Men that ever inhabited this lower world. Like Moses, he was singularly eminent in the following respects: First, In wisdom—Secondly, In words—Thirdly, In deeds.

FIRST, Eminent in wisdom. Though Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, yet the first and greatest mark of his wisdom appeared in his regard to the divine authority, in choosing GOD for his por­tion, embracing the promise of Christ expressed in Ju­dah's [Page 6] blessing, Gen. xlix. 10, "The sceptre shall not de­part from Judah, nor a law giver from between his feet, until SHILOH come: and unto him shall the gather­ing of the people be." Thus proving like a wise man, that the concerns of the Soul were of infinitely greater importance than those of a temporal nature; he regula­ted his conduct accordingly, as one made wise unto sal­vation. So our illustrious Father deceased, was a parta­ker of that wisdom which is from above which is "Pure, peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocri­sy," therefore a man of prayer, a man of faith and a Man of God—He evidenced his religion by the strictness of his morals, the integrity of his heart and his love to his country. No [...] influenced by corrupt principles or self­ish motives, the happiness of mankind lay near his heart, and his affection and zeal burst forth in liberating this extensive empire from the galling yoke of European tyranny. Long had oppression reigned and deluged this land with human blood. The mournful cries of widows, orphans and dismembered families had long been heard; yet not heard in vain. May we not adopt the language of a celebrated writer?

I hate that drum's discordant sound,
Parading round, and round, and round:
[Page 7] To thoughtless youth it pleasure yields,
And lures from cities and from fields,
To sell their liberty for charms
Of tawdry lace and glittering arms;
And when AMBITION's voice commands,
To march, and fight, and fall, in foreign lands.
I hate that drum's discordant sound,
Parading round, and round, and round;
To me it talks of ravag'd plains,
And burning towns, and ruin'd swains,
And mangled limbs, and dying groans,
And widow's tears, and orphan's moans;
And all that misery's hand bestows,
To fill the catalogue of human woes.

England once free, the glory of the earth; now load­ed with crimes, usurping the right of universal empire, has stained her hands with human gore, and become the land of despotism—her rulers the most cruel of oppres­sors—

The laws are hateful—inhumanly severe—
For ev'ry trifle, blood. For sheep, or oxen,
Blood must flow. For a few paltry guineas—Blood.
Thro' all the penal page, 'tis nought but blood.

Millions have lately fallen, as unpitied victims at am­bition's shrine—

* One murder made a villain,
Millions a hero—Princes were privileged
[Page 8] To kill, and numbers sanctified the crime.
Ah! why will Kings forget that they are men?
And men that they are brethren? why delight
In human sacrifice? why burst the ties
Of nature, that should knit their souls together
In one soft bond of amity and love?
Yet still they breathe destruction, still go on
Inhumanly ingenious to find out
New pains for life, new terrors for the grave.
Artificers of death! still monarchs dream
Of universal empire growing up
From universal ruin.—Blast the design,
GREAT GOD of hosts nor let thy creatures fall
Unpitied victims at AMBITION's shrine.

To rescue mankind from these dreadful woes, was the labor and toil of the late illustrious character. For this he was raised up and qualified—for this he fought—for this he prayed, and in the possession of this he rejoi­ced. In the victories he obtained, and in the nation's quiet enjoyment of these invaluable blessings, he sheath­ed his sword, retired to his shade and glorified his God.

SECONDLY, Eminent, or mighty in words. Few they were but weighty; as well chosen, as the subjects which called for them were important. The gentleman, the scholar, the statesman, the warrior and the christian shine forth in his letters of correspondence, on all pub­lic [Page 9] lie as well as private occasions, while his diction in his farewell address and last legacy to his dear countrymen and fellow-citizens, discovers his genius and eloquence. His word was a law—not enforced by arbitrary authori­ty, but by reason and argument, and as cheerfully was he obeyed as he humbly commanded. His words were fitly spoken, therefore, like apples of gold in pictures of silver.

THIRDLY. Eminent, or mighty in deeds. Read the history of the revolution—Contemplate the blessings en­joyed as the fruit of his labors, and with me you will join in ascribing the glory to God, as the author, while acknowledging the merit and praise due to his wisdom, courage and prudence, as the instrument. Eulogium upon eulogium and oration upon oration has been deliv­ered and circulated through the union to make the im­pression of his virtues upon our minds more plain and clear, and to emulate our youth with becoming ardour to imitate his bright example, that generations yet to come may see and be astonished at the great things the Lord has done for this highly favored nation, through the indefatigable labors of this great man. These Ame­rican shores are now become the grand assylum for the [Page 10] oppressed of every nation, and here may be found the footsteps of an indulgent providence, while drops of mercy are in many parts falling to cheer us with the de­lightful prospect of the wilderness being turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field into the garden of the Lord.

I should encroach upon the office of the historian and do injustice to the character of the American Hero, were I to attempt to unfold his plans, to describe his exploits, his battles, his victories and the fruits of all, in the vast variety of blessed consequences which follow. While we admire the man, let us admire that wisdom which direct­ed his mind and conduct—that power which shielded him from every danger and that goodness which rendered him successful in promoting and establishing the liberty, independence and prosperity of his country; and let us bow with cheerful submission to the will of God in his removal from us, fully persuaded that the God of Ame­rica is at no loss to raise up an Elisha to catch the falling mantle of our deceased Elijah. Amidst all these prom­inent marks of wisdom and true excellency, Washington was but a man, a moral man and a sinner, who needed the blood of the covenant to atone for his guilt, the [Page 11] Christ to illuminate and renew his soul, as well as every other branch of the earthly family. Could he now be an eye witness of our devotion, and were it in his power to address us, instead of soliciting our homage and ado­ration, he would check that promptitude for creature worship▪ and with the angel say "See thou do it not, for I am thy fellow-servant, worship God." He would di­rect our attention to one infinitely more deserving our adoration, than even the most useful and celebrated mortal, even to CHRIST JESUS, and to the character of this glorious person I now call your attention, who was before Abraham and who is a greater than Solomon, even God's fellow, and in whom dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily—Who is both white and [...]ddy, the chief among ten thousand and altogether lovely—whose head is as the most fine gold, and whose locks are bushy and black as a raven—who came from heaven upon the kind errand of peace, who fought our battles, gained our victories and invites us to gather up the spoils—Our situation, as sinners, was deplorable in the extreme, hopeless and helpless as to any assistance we could afford or had any reason to expect, left like the new born infant in the open field to perish without any eye to pity or hand to save. An all-sufficient Redeemer was provided— [Page 12] What shall his name be called? IMMANUEL, "God with us." God in our nature, God on our side: He stooped from heaven to earth, he suffered the just for the unjust, ful­filled all righteousness, magnified the law, died to atone our guilt, ascended on high as the mighty conqueror, and now lives, ever lives to make intercession even for transgressors. Thus he fought our battles, vanquished our foes, obtain­ed a complete victory over sin, death and hell; received the approbation of his Father in these words of inspira­tion, "This is my beloved son, in whom I am well plea­sed," and opened the gates of life and salvation, with the most pressing invitation, and sure promise of acceptance, on our laying down the weapons of hostility, falling at the footstool of mercy and pleading the promise of his grace.

HE was endued with wisdom. "In him were hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge;" for "In him dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead," that "out of his fulness we might receive grace for grace."

HE was mighty in words—O what gracious words dropt from his lips! well might one say "His lips are like lilies dropping sweet smelling myrrh." The gospel of salvation in all its variety, beauty and sweetness is as "Good news from a far country."

[Page 13] HERE are warnings, reproofs, invitations and promises▪ Words of peace to his friends, but terror to his foes. In some instances they have been words conveying light and giving life; comforting, healing, supporting and establishing. In others, they have been the savor of death unto death. "If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost." While these words speak comfort to the mourner, they speak terror to the impenitent sin­ner.—Mighty in words by making use of the weakest of instruments to accomplish his great and glorious purposes, that the excellency of the power might be known to be of God and not of man. Mighty in deeds as well as in words. What has he not done to satisfy the demands of justice and make honorable the law which we have bro­ken?—What has he not done to make known his word of truth, in spite of all the opposition of earth and hell? What has he not done in order to bring home with al­mighty power and efficacy the word of salvation to the hearts of his people, and in guiding, guarding and com­forting them, and enabling them to persevere, that they might receive the end of their faith, even the salvation of their souls, and in crowning all their efforts with glory, honor, immortality and eternal life.—While therefore, some make the fruitless attempt, to deify the celebrated [Page 14] WASHINGTON, in whom was united such an assemblage of natural, moral and divine excellencies, the greatest or­naments of human nature, that in his countenance was portrayed the greatness of his soul and the dignity of his character, so that vice before Him stood abashed, and conscious guilt appal'd, shrunk back, while others have, in vain, attempted to make him an advocate above, ex­alting him to the skies upon the foundation of his virtues, thereby tarnishing his character as a Christian, dishonor­ing their maker, and eclipsing the glory of the Saviour of mankind—While others, again, considered his military, literary and personal accomplishments, as the price of his future rewards, they fully his reputation, and little think, he spake, he wrote, he fought and conquered for the in­terest of others, and with an eye to a state of futurity—Vain, deluded mortals! The Christian Hero is degra­ded by such romance. The nation is insulted, while re­ligion disowns the foundation on which such principles are built. Let us bow with reverence before the great Arbiter of the universe, and celebrate the birth, mourn the death and rejoice in the prospect of uniting with our beloved WASHINGTON in ascriptions of praise to HIM who hath conferred such inestimable favours on this happy land.

[Page 15] LET us not attempt to bring down the curse of Heav­en by turning from the worship of the Creator, to that of the creature.—Ever may we improve the blessings we enjoy, by acknowledging the hand which bestowed them with thankfulness and humility, expressed by the cheerful obedience of our lives to his will. As fallen sinners in bondage to sin and Satan, cry to this deliverer, enlist un­der his banner, trust to his wisdom and soon the battle will be over, the victory gained and salvation ascribed to him to whom alone it is due.

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