To discipline and direct our meditations, and reflections, in the various circumstances of life, and occurrences of providence, is no small or un­important duty. In every event of providence there is a voice; the heart of the wise should study to answer, and meet the just expectations of a mer­ciful and righteous Sovereign.

We inhabit a world subject to many and great changes, by any of which our interests may be sud­denly and materially affected. The changes in the heavens and in the earth are reacted in the walks of civil, political, and social life. And no man knoweth what may be on the morrow, or what may be the issues of the passing day. But, as men, and as christians, we believe these changes are not the effect of chance, or of uninterested design; they are a part of the majestic government of him, who is above all changes, 'the same yesterday, to day, [Page 6] and forever.' In this view, the importance of at­tending to the volume of providence is greatly in­creased; and the duty of regarding the work of the LORD, and of considering the operations of his hand, appears more eminent.

We live in an eventful period—a period, replete with changes, serious in their nature, and extensive in their operation and consequences. We hear of wars and rumors of wars, read of nations rising up against nations, and kingdoms against kingdoms, and tremble for the fate of empires, involved in wild confusion, apparently tottering to their base.

Remote from the scene of terror, and preserved hitherto, in a good degree of tranquillity, by the smiles of heaven, upon the wisdom of our counsels, the purity of our principles, and the firmness and independence of our patriots, we flattered ourselves with the hope of impunity and peace. But the melancholy tidings, which the last week saluted our ears, carried from town to town by the reiterated knell of death, excite a just and alarming appre­hension that GOD is coming out in ways of judg­ment against us, and calling home his servants from the gathering storm.

WASHINGTON, the great—the GENERAL the STATESMAN, the COUNSELLOR, the FRIEND of AMERICA and of MAN is DEAD! He, who combined a greater assemblage of talents, virtues, and excellencies necessary to form the su­pereminent human benefactor, than are perhaps left to any survivor, is no more. Weep, O AMERICA, defended by his arm, in the time of danger, guided by his wisdom, prudence, and patriotism, in scenes [Page 7] of political embarrassment and perplexity, taught by his counsels and example in prosperity and ad­versity, weep o'er thy FATHER suddenly taken from thy head.

Whatever shades, envy or malice, party spirit or ingratitude, may attempt to draw over the vir­tues or exploits of our departed Sage, it will be universally acknowledged, that 'a Prince and a Great Man has fallen among us.' To pay no tri­bute of respect to the memory of such a Benefactor would be the height of ingratitude; and to at­tempt no religious improvement of an event in providence, that has so deeply wounded the public mind, would be a height of impiety at which mod­ern infidelity might blush, and modern stupidity shudder.

It will not, however, be expected that I should at­tempt to delineate the character of GENERAL WASHINGTON, or to do justice to the merits and exploits of this first and best of men. This is a theme that requires other talents, and other data, than I possess, and will doubtless command the ex­ertions of the most brilliant geniuses in poetry and prose. I shall only say, That the MAN, whom we lament, appeared, specially designed, raised, and formed by Heaven, for the times in which he lived: the spheres in which he moved, and the events of which he was to be the important instrument; that no man ever discovered more patriotic firmness and integrity, or more disinterestedly served his fellow men, and that he never ceased to deserve well of his country.

To endeavour to direct and regulate your feel­ings [Page 8] and reflections on so affecting an occasion, and to assist you in making a religious improvement of an event so impressive in its nature, and interesting in its probable consequences, falls more immedi­ately within my province; and is a duty which it would be unpardonable for a minister not to at­tempt, tho' he should fall far below his wishes, or the expectations of his hearers.

Apprehensive that the first impression, from a shock so great, so sudden, and unexpected, must be of the depressing kind, I chose the words of my text to meet a spirit of despondence, and check the fainting soul, sinking in the day of rebuke. The LORD liveth—WASHINGTON, the great and good; great in himself, great in all stations, in principle, purpose; and execution; illustriously great in scenes of difficulty, de­manding human energy and decision, is DEAD: but He who made him great still lives—lives above all changes, and reigns above control.

The Sovereign Proprietor of talents, in various proportion, bestows them upon his servants. To one he gives ten talents, to another five, and to others one; filling up the intermediate spaces, as occasion and circumstances require. The most dis­tinguished of our race have nothing but what they receive. A native sense of this, a regular and de­vout acknowledgment of dependance upon divine providence, and of indebtedness to divine influence and inteposition, formed a luminous trait in the character of our departed General. To glory over others, for that which is altogether received, is the mark of a little, or a base mind; as it is of an ig­norant and unprincipled one, not to acknowledge the author of its benefits. The talents with which [Page 9] we are intrusted, add not a cubit to our stature; in our improvement of them consists our glory and reward. Our illustrious fellow citizen, who was honored with as many talents as were ever intrust­ed to mortal man; and who honored himself more than others by his use and improvement of them, is called to his account, leaving a bereaved country, and a weeping nation, crying, 'My father; my fa­ther; the chariots of Israel and the horsemen there­of.' Yet, the LORD liveth, who intrusted him with these talents. The source is inexhausted, and inexhaustible, from whence they were derived; with GOD is the residue of the spirit. He can form and furnish other characters as exactly suited to ex­isting or expected circumstances, as our departed Hero, Statesman, & Politician, was to those threatening ones, which have passed over us. 'Have passed over us,' exclaims the alarmed and fainting soul! "Never was there a season of more imminent danger to our country; never a time that called louder for those peculiar talents, which distinguished this illus­trious Patriot, this best of men. Europe is in con­vulsions. The nations, with whom we have prin­cipal connection, are most deeply interested in the threatning scene; envying our growing greatness, they are respectively jealous of its preponderating influence, and fruitful in expedients to convert it to their own benefit. An important negociation is now depending with the French nation, the success of which must depend more upon interested than honorable views and motives—When they shall hear that WASHINGTON is dead, the soul of our armies, the center of our union, the inspirer of our counsels, whose name was a host, and his virtues a pavilion, revered by the virtuous, and dreaded by the unprincipled of all climes; they will spurn our [Page 10] generous and pacific overtures, repeating the in­dignities they have already offered. Other rival or despising nations will rise in their exactions, in­juries, and insults, when they see, that our defence and glory are departed from us."

If these fears are just and rational, as probably they are, and this tribute of respect is due to the virtues and talents of the great deceased, yet let us meet these fears with the language of the text, and pay divine honors to the perfections of Jehovah. 'The LORD liveth, and blessed be our rock, and let the GOD of our salvation be exalted.' 'He sitteth in the congregation of the mighty, He judgeth a­mong the gods.' 'He is the wonderful counsellor, the Prince of peace!' It is indeed God's usual me­thod to work by probable means and instruments; yet he can accomplish his purposes without them; and often displays the glory of his administration by disappointing the most rational expectations; and pouring the blush upon all human conjecture. 'He turneth wise men backward, and maketh diviners mad!' He has intimate access to the hearts of men, and can influence and overrule them at his plea­sure. 'There is no counsel, understanding or might against the LORD!' 'He can look upon every one that is high and bring him low; he can make a little one to become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation.' If national pride and insolence, impiety and profaneness should take occasion, from the afflictive visitation of heaven, to tyrannize and oppress, to treat with insolence and scorn those whom 'GOD hath wounded', let us remember 'the LORD liveth.' In such a case, may we not expect the special interposition of providence, and the dis­play of divine aid in the mount of difficulty. 'If [Page 11] thou seest the oppression of the poor, marvel not at the matter; He who is higher than the highest re­gardeth, and there be higher than they.' Tho' we have great reason for deep humiliation under this bereaving stroke, which has weakened our defence, and veiled our glory; and cannot but be concerned for its probable influence upon our foreign interests and relations, yet we have no sufficient cause for terrifying fears, or desponding apprehensions; for, the LORD lives, who has ever been the shield and defence of America, permitting no weapon formed against her, ultimately, to prosper. 'He is a strong hold in the day of trouble, he knows all them that trust in him.'

Scarcely are these fears soothed, respecting our foreign relations, e'er others more formidable arise, respecting our domestic interests, expressed in ac­cents like these. "While our honor and prosperity, our safety and comfort, if not our existence as a nation, depend upon our union; upon harmoniz­ing and concentrating public sentiment and affec­tion, the great band of our union is broken. The Man greatly beloved, universally esteemed, and the ob­ject of confidence in the camp and the Senate house—who has once and again hushed the voice of fac­tion, silenced the clamour of party, and conciliated contending interests and designs, is removed from the midst of us, and this at a time when division and animosity are at a threatning height, and dis­cord, discord, drowns the voice of reason, of patri­otism, of interest, and of religion."

The justness of these accents thickens indeed the gloom of this afflictive event, and darkens the shades in which it is shrouded; giving us reason to [Page 12] apprehend that GOD in judgment is visiting us, preparing sorer chastenings for an ungrateful peo­ple. Ancient dispensations of providence may lead us to conclude, that, in mercy to our deceased Guardian, of whom we had rendered ourselves un­worthy, GOD has called him off from the evil that is coming, upon the country which he emancipated. By this event, so afflictive to us, tho' we have rea­son to hope, joyful to him, saving him the morti­fication of seeing the evil accelerated, by any farther disregard of his parental advice and intreaty, which he poured forth, with such ardent affection, when he retired from the patriarchal Chair. We have rea­son to fear that GOD is angry with us; but, that we provoke him no farther. Let us lay to heart this awakening stroke, 'let us hear the rod, and him that hath appointed it,' and let us give no occasion for the repetition of the complaint by the prophet. 'The righteous dieth and no man layeth it to heart, and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous are taken away, from the evil to come.' But while we carefully avoid 'despising this chastening of the LORD;' let us as carefully avoid 'fainting under his rebukes'. Our earthly media­tor between contending parties indeed is dead. He whose voice was harmony, and his accents peace, is shrouded in the tomb; but, our heavenly Peace. Maker still lives. 'He has the hearts of all men in his hands, to turn them as the rivers of water.' 'He stilleth the raging of the sea, the noise of its waves, and the tumults of the people'. The human heart, indeed, ceases to beat, that was the center of American affection; the tongue is silent in the grave, that poured forth the most conciliating strains of persuasive eloquence; yet he being dead still speak­eth to us, in that admirable address to the people [Page 13] of these States which he poured forth with so much patriotic ardor, and parental concern, when he retired from the chair of State. This legacy, more valuable than the bequest of millions, will be reviewed and perused with affectionate emotion; the tears of grateful sensibility, which it cannot fail to excite, may so water the precious seed that it shall spring up to a plentiful harvest; and the spirit of the address, caught by every bosom, may so har­monize public sentiment, and correct the errors of patriotic ardor, as that all shall turn indignant from foreign influence and intrigue, and glory only in the title of Americans. Happy, thrice happy coun­try, could this be effected! The spirit of our de­parted Washington would look down with trans­port upon such a fruit of his departure; and con­sider it the consummation of his earthly glory. GOD is able to effect this.

While we pay the tribute of grateful respect to the memory of our departed Hero, and mingle our tears with a weeping country, let us not indulge desponding apprehensions, but rest on the assurance that the LORD lives, that it is his prerogative to bring light out of darkness, and good out of evil, and charge his darkest providences with the highest blessings.

Loudly does this event summon us to 'cease from man whose breath is in his nostrils;' and as loudly does it call us to trust only in the LORD. If so much worth and excellence must fail, let us despair of finding, below the skies, an object of human confidence. And let our trust be in GOD, all ra­tional expectation is from him. Has there not been 'verily' a fault in us, in this particular? May not our [Page 14] merciful FATHER design to correct our impiety, by this grievous stroke? We have venerated and extoled him, who was greatest among men—Have we suitably remembered who made him great? We have honored and praised the Defender of his country, the Guardian of her rights—but, have our praises ultimately arisen to the throne of GOD, who alone forms and furnishes human benefactors? WASHINGTON is no more with us, to receive our ascriptions, to be the occasion of festal assemblies, or the object of patriotic homage, but the LORD liveth, to receive our acknowledgments. To him, they are most justly due, that He raised up for us such a character, furnishing him with talents admi­rably suited to the parts assigned him on the theatre of time. That he crowned with success all his va­rious enterprises in his country's cause—That He made him great in the field, great in the cabinet, and still greater in his retreat from public life; crowning all his glory, with a resplendent lustre, by the eminence of his private virtues, and the con­sistency of his religious ascriptions. When a grate­ful country loaded him with praises, he laid his laurels at the feet of Him who ruleth in the Heavens: exclaiming with the Psalmist. 'Not unto me, not unto me, but to thy name be the praise.' The Idol of an Empire vanisheth, but, the LORD lives to receive our acknowledgments. To him the tribute of praise is due, to him let the incense of ascription rise.

While our praises are presented, as most justly due, for the distinction confered, upon our age and nation, by the life and virtues of so eminent a Be­nefactor. Let us earnestly pray, that God would sanctify, to an afflicted and weeping country, the [Page 15] grievous rebuke of his providence in summoning him from us. That He would heal the breach, which his hand has made. That He would cause a double portion of the spirit of his ascending favo­rite to rest upon his successors in office; and cover them respectively with his falling mantle. That He would take us into his holy keeping, and be himself our Father, Guide, and Guardian. That He would give us grace, religiously, to improve a providence so affecting, and learn the lessons it is designed to teach.

In what piercing accents does this event pro­claim, the frailty and feebleness of man—the vanity of all earthly honors and distinctions. He, who has been the 'terror of the mighty, in the land of the living,' has no terror for the tyrant death. He, who has been the shield of thousands in the time of danger, and the confidence of millions in the season of perplexity, has no shield against death's fatal arrow, nor power in the day of dissolution. Rank, station, and merit make distinctions and difference among men here; and they promote the order of society, and the happiness of social inter­course. But death confounds them all.

" Earth's highest honors end in, here he lies;
" And dust to dust, concludes her noblest song."

What little cause is there for human pride, envy, or ambition. He is the deserving man, who acts well the part assigned him, performs the duties of his station, with life and vigor, and moves with firmness and dignity in his sphere. What a striking comment is the event we deplore upon passages of scripture like these. 'What is man whose breath is [Page 16] in his nostrils, and wherein is he to be accounted of:' 'It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in Princes.' 'Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher, all is vanity.'

But, while this afflictive event teaches us the frailty and feebleness of man, the folly of trusting in an arm of flesh, or boasting, in human honor, however eminent; does it not teach us the high importance of the Gospel revelation, in which 'life and immortality are bro't to light.' And ought it not to excite the liveliest gratitude that we are in possession of this inestimable treasure; and by the light derived from its divine Author, can pierce the shades of death, and look with comfort to brighter scenes? What accumulated horror rests on the clo­sing scene of life, if, viewed as the end of our ex­istence, the grave of our hopes and expectations? How does the mind shudder at the idea, and the heart revolt from the apprehension, that the most distinguished and eminent of our race, no less than the most infamous and useless should sink in the gulf of utter annihilation? but the light of nature leaves them in one common ruin. Revelation alone assures us that when 'the dust returns to the earth as it was, the spirit returns to GOD who gave it,' that the happy soul honored with an approving sentence from the lips of JESUS, shall pass from glory to glory, in progressive elevation, far beyond the limits of our present conception. This brings light into the shades of death, consistency and glory into the mazy scenes of time, and proclaims the pro­priety of our cheerfully confiding in the governing providence of GOD, and humbly submitting to his sovereign hand.

Let us duly prize this inestimable treasure, and [Page 17] scrupulously watch against every attempt to wrest it from us. Let us imbibe the spirit of the Gos­pel—embrace its doctrines, obey its precepts, and imitate the example of its divine Author. He wept at the tomb of Lazarus, comforted the hearts that were torn with anguish, raising their thoughts from the darkness of death to the brightness of the morning of the resurrection. Thus let us do on the present mournful occasion.

Our beloved WASHINGTON is dead. 'The eye of him that hath seen him will see him no more.' He has no more a portion in the land of the living. But he will rise again, and we must meet him at the bar of GOD. Let us shew our­selves worthy of so great a character, and act becoming our relation to him as our political FA­THER, SAVIOR, and BENEFACTOR. Let him live in the lively remembrance of a grateful country. Let his counsels be honored—his example be im­itated—his generous disinterestedness, firmness, and patriotism be emulated—and his modesty, piety, and perseverance be copied by all ranks in life. And while we gratefully exult in this uncommon gift of Heaven, so long continued to us, and praise GOD for the blessings of which he was the honored instrument; let us act worthy of such a Sire. Standing fast in the liberty wherewith he has made us free, let us never sacrifice our birth right at the shrine of ambition, nor lose our inheritance in the vortex of Discord.



WHAT mean these emblems of mourn­ing, with which I stand surrounded? What event has shrouded the sacred desk in sable? Why these traces of deep-wrought sorrow on every counte­nance, and these badges of grief on every arm?

"Art thou a stranger in America, and knowest not the cause of these appearances? GOD has come out in ways of judgment against us, covered with a cloud our dear country in his anger, smote the pil­lars of it that they tremble, and filled every loin with pain; summoning from our head, by the re­lentless messenger of death, our political FATHER, SAVIOR, and BENEFACTOR. He has broken [Page 20] the golden pipe, the conduit of his choicest national blessings, and has dried up the stream which water­ed and refreshed the whole land. He has called home the favorite instrument of his most extensive benediction; who, by the splendor of his talents, the disinterestedness of his patriotism, the purity of his character, the firmness of his principles, and the lustre of his exploits, stands unrivalled among the sons of fame. WASHINGTON is dead! who led our armies to victory, and our country to indepen­dence and peace; who presided in conciliating the jarring interests of America, and combined them in a Constitution of General Government, which strengthened us in our weakness, raised us in our depression, surrounded us with honor, and rapidly advanced us in the career of national prosperity. The man to whom all eyes were directed in the day of danger, and in whom, when helpers failed, our hopes were centered, and who was ever ready to extend his shield, and spread his pavilion at the call of his country, is suddenly summoned from his in­tercourse with mortals. These emblems of grief are tokens of respect to departed worth, expressing the sorrow of our hearts, and evincing a desire to conform to the aspects of Providence, and meet the voice of GOD summoning to deep humiliation."

Truly there is cause for all that we see, there is just occasion for all that we feel. Too great honor, which falls short of divine, cannot be paid to the memory of a character so distinguished. Too great grief, which does not sink into despondence, cannot be exhibited at the loss of such a Benefactor. Let America be hung in sable; let the voice of joy and gladness, of vain mirth and dissipation, be silent in her borders, until the aspects of Providence brighten, [Page 21] and the cloud, which covers her, be taken up. Let the heart of the wise be in the house of mourning, till it effectually learn the vanity of man, the sove­reignty of GOD, and the wisdom of trusting unre­servedly in him. Let the heart of the devout un­ceasingly pour forth its supplications to the repairer of breaches, and the restorer of paths to dwell in, that he would heal the breaches of our land, by reason of which it shaketh; and that he would make plain paths for our feet in this day of our re­buke, 'that the lame among us may not be turned out of the way, but effectually healed.'

I endeavored, you will recollect, to take early notice of this afflictive event, and pay a small tribute of respect to the memory of departed worth. My esteem and veneration for our deceased Guardian and Benefactor would induce me to repeat the at­tempt, were I not conscious, that any strains of mine would be like the pebbled rivulet to the streams of eloquence, which will be poured forth upon the occasion, or like the dim, trembling taper to the blaze of day.

Leaving in a measure this theme and the event which has occasioned it, I would lead your attention to another, which this has indeed suggested; but which you will acknowledge to have been attended with effects, far more interesting and important to mankind. It is the death of the SON of GOD. For a contemplation of this scene the transactions of the past week, and the event which occasioned them may have prepared the mind; and the duty of the day calling us to commemorate the dying love of CHRIST, renders it a subject highly proper [Page 22] for our meditation. The attending circumstance of his death, which I design to make the subject of some remarks, is recorded—


WHAT an astonishing event was this! What a mighty cause must there have been to have produced such an effect—to have occasioned such a scene! We have seen the earth covered with dark­ness in the absence of the sun during the hours of rest; but this commenced at high noon, when the sun was at its meridian altitude, and had reached the zenith of its splendor. For the Jews began to reckon their time from our six o'clock in the morn­ing, so that their sixth hour was mid-day, and their ninth, three in the afternoon, including that part of the day in which the light and heat are most powerful. We have seen partial darkness, during a short season, and over a limited space, owing to eclipses of the sun by the interference of the moon. This can happen at new moon only, nor can it pos­sibly continue for the space of three hours; but the darkness at the death of CHRIST demonstrably happened at the time of full-moon, when no such interference could possibly take place. CHRIST was crucified at the time of the Jewish Passover, which happened upon the fourteenth day of the first month; and their months, if not in the begin­ning, yet towards the decline of their state always began with the new moon. This is attested by Josephus, a Jewish priest, and therefore an unexcep­tionable [Page 23] witness, who expressly asserts, that the Day of Expiation, and consequently all other feasts were reckoned by the age of the moon. This must have been a preternatural and miraculous eclipse, a black covering spread over the light of heaven. We have seen cities, states, and countries covered with gloom, and their inhabitants dressed in sable, at the ex­tinction of civil, political, and religious lights, at the death of eminent and exalted characters; but never did we see the light of heaven suspended, and the whole land covered with darkness.

What was the mighty cause of this phenome­non?—the dreadful plot which spread this sable scenery? A cause more than sufficient, a mystery at which heaven and earth wonder and adore. The SON of GOD was then hanging on the cross—the SAVIOR of the world was then bleeding on Mount Calvary—the light of Heaven was trem­bling to its extinction—and, what was more than all, the spotless, innocent, and divine JESUS was dying under the insults and revilings of rebel worms. The envious and malicious rulers of the Jews had extorted a sentence of crucifixion from the pusil­lanimous Roman governor, and early in the morn­ing they prepare for its execution. They load our SAVIOR with his cross, and lead him forth to Calvary; by the third hour they stretch him on the wood, raise him between Heaven and earth in company with two notorious malefactors, and with hearts harder than adamant 'sit down to watch him.' Those who passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, and insulting him with the declara­tions he had made, that he would build the temple in three days, and that he was the Son of GOD. Chief Priests, Scribes, and Elders, forgetting the gravity of age, and descending from the dignity of their stations, mocked him also, and said 'he saved [Page 24] others, himself he cannot save.' Even the thieves, crucified with him, 'cast the same in his teeth.'

This was too much for the light of Heaven to behold. The sun withdrew from a spectacle so awful, the foundations of the earth were shaken, and 'there was darkness over all the land from the sixth hour to the ninth.' This doubtless silenced their cruel invectives, and induced an awful sus­pence, and uncertainty of what would be the issue. During these three long hours, we do not read, that a word escaped the lips of our SAVIOR. His soul, retired within itself, was probably in the ut­most agony, conflicting with the powers of dark­ness. The surrounding darkness was an emblem of the greater darkness, which shrouded his soul under the hidings of his Father's face. At the ex­piration of this scene of horror, JESUS cried with a loud voice 'Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani! My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me!' breathing a prayer of forgiveness for his betrayers and mur­derers, 'he cried again, and yielded up the ghost.'

But are any ready to ask, "why was this tre­mendous event permitted? why was this glo­rious character immolated?" O my brethren, had there not been a cause it would not have taken place. "Could he not have rescued himself from the hands of ruffians, and looked his foes into con­fusion?" Had he not been bound with other bands, than those the soldiers used, he would readily have rescued himself from sufferings; but he was bound with cords of love and compassion towards a guilty world. We had rebelled against our Sovereign, were prisoners of justice and objects of wrath. Upon us the full vials must have been poured, and we must have weltered in everlasting woe, had not [Page 25] JESUS offered himself our surety and mediator. 'He who knew no sin was made a sin offering for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.' 'GOD laid upon him the iniquity of us all,' 'and he bore our sins in his own body on the tree, that by his stripes we might be healed.' He could not then be released from his sufferings without relinquishing his object. Therefore he cries in the full prospect of his sufferings, 'I have a baptism to be baptised with, and how am I strait­ened till it be accomplished.' His love for a guilty world was 'stronger than death, which many waters could not quench nor floods drown. Therefore he shrunk not from the prospect; therefore he delivered not himself from his anguish, nor refused to drink the cup, necessary to be drank to save a guilty world, though mingled to the brim with the bitterest ingredients. This indeed was love, benev­olence, and compassion like a God. 'Though he was in the form of GOD, and thought it no robbery to be equal with GOD, yet he made himself of no reputation and took upon him the form of a ser­vant;' and for as much as the objects of his love and compassion 'were partakers of flesh and blood, he also took part of the same,' and put himself into a capacity of being 'in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.'

The life of our SAVIOR was devoted to our ser­vice; to the communication of the most important instruction, and to the deliverance of the human mind from the horrors of superstition, and the doubts and fears of ignorance, error, and delusion. He distributed the fruits of his beneficence where-ever he went, relieved every afflicted object which sought his aid, and finally died for our guilty race [Page 26] under the forementioned circumstances. By his death he appeased the wrath of Heaven, 'spoiled principalities and powers,' which had brought us into vassalage, 'triumphing over them on the cross,' and purchased for us eternal redemption. Words are too feeble, language too inadequate to give us any idea of the glory of this personage, or of the obligation we are under to this 'Captain of Salvation,' this mighty Deliverer of the human race.

We have heard of eminent characters raised up among mankind, who seemed to surpass the com­mon class of mortals, as much perhaps as angels sur­passed them. We read of heroes, sages, and states­men, who have devoted their lives to the service of their fellow men, and who have been gloriously in­strumental in defending, delivering, and exalting their country. We have seen one, who perhaps stands at the head of the catalogue, who was born for his fellow men, lived the Defender, Guardian, Father, and Benefactor of his country, and whose death has covered it with universal gloom. But raise your eyes, Christians, and behold an object more stupendous! Raise your eyes, mortals, and behold the divine JESUS—a personage so exalted, that all the angels of GOD were commanded to worship him. HE, laying aside his glory, and taking the form of a servant, devoted his life, not only to the service of a country and an age, but to the service of the world throughout all generations. HE vo­luntarily sacrificed his life for their salvation; en­during the wrath of GOD, and a conflict with Devils, that they might be delivered from the wrath to come, and from the vassalage of Satan, and be exalted, not to the most distinguished height of [Page 27] earthly splendor merely, but to 'crowns▪ of glory' in the regions of immortality 'which shall never fade away,' to heights of felicity in those blessed abodes, 'which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered in the heart of man to con­ceive.' And all this, for whom? For his friends?—For the well-deserving?—For the virtuously un­happy? No, my brethren. For his enemies—for the ill-deserving—for voluntary rebels to his crown and dignity. 'GOD commendeth his love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, CHRIST [...] for the ungodly.' Wonder, O Heaven! be astonished, O Earth! and let universal nature praise and adore! What a tribute of praise is due to such a benefactor! What obligation we are under to such infinite beneficence!

Though there is no term of comparison between this divine personage, and the most exalted of the creation, though all nations are before him, 'as the drop of the bucket,' and the highest human character must be lost in the smallest of his glories; yet may I not, with adoring reverence, take occasion from your present feelings, and the event which has excited them, to reason with you upon your duty to the divine JESUS, whose embassador I am, and to whom I would espouse you.

You have tears of gratitude, affection, and respect for our beloved WASHINGTON, when you call to mind his virtues, his disinterestedness, and bene­factions. Nor are they censurable. They are a tribute justly due to worth like his; and lost must be the heart to human sensibility, which is not con­scious of emotion when he is the subject of reflec­tion. But where are your tears of grateful adoration [Page 28] for our SAVIOR? who was infinitely glorious, the joy of Heaven, the beloved of the FATHER, the friend of sinners, and the infinite benefactor of the human race. You are affected with the death of our venerable Patriot, Christian, and Sage. The emblems of mourning, which every where strike our eyes, are expressions of your grief; and are you not affected with the death of JESUS, who died that we might live—do you not grieve for the tremen­dous cause? You resolve that the memory of WASHINGTON shall never be obliterated from your throbbing hearts—you dwell upon his virtues, his talents, and his exploits; and will you forget the blessed JESUS—will you not contemplate his divine perfections, read the history of his life, and admire the atchievements of his mercy? What eye will not gaze upon the resembling portraits of our departed General, left behind to aid our recollec­tion? Will you then, my dear friends, turn away your eyes from beholding the emblems of the SA­VIOR, which he has appointed to refresh our memories, and affect our hearts? The dear RE­DEEMER could not leave behind the picture of himself. No limner could draw his divine perfec­tions. But he constituted bread and wine, adminis­tered at his table, to be the emblems of his body and blood, and the memorials of his death; and will you not gaze upon these wonderful bequests? You will read and respect the dying counsel and advice of our political Father; you will hide it in your bosoms, and copy it in your lives; and why, my dear friends, will you not hear the dying charge of JESUS, 'This do in remembrance of me.'

But the subject is too tender, the remonstrance too affecting. I will leave the rest to your own reflec­tions, [Page 29] humbly hoping that He, whose prerogative it is to work by what means he pleases, will so accom­pany this afflictive visitation with the energy of his spirit, and the influences of his grace, that we shall all be excited seriously to consider our duty, and re­ligiously perform it; then may our beloved WASH­INGTON be again hailed the SAVIOR of his country, and to us, no less than to himself will 'the day of his death be better than the day of his birth.'



OUR preceding discourse contained some remarks upon the new and extraordinary phenome­non mentioned in the text. They were designed to prove that the darkness could not be the effect of any natural cause, but was a miraculous attesta­tion to the tragedy then acting on earth, expressing the sympathy of heaven with the divine sufferer.

The glorious IMMANUEL, by whom the heav­ens were spread, the earth founded, and the race of men created, nailed to the accursed tree, was then suspended between heaven and earth, an object of insults and abuse, for rebel worms! The innocent and holy JESUS was then shedding his precious blood, and offering his life, an expiatory sacrifice, for the sins of men; nay more, He was spoiling principalities and powers, who had led us captive, [Page 32] and drinking the cup of divine wrath filled to the brim by our sin and transgression. Nature, sym­pathising with its dying Lord, was convulsed at the tremendous spectacle. The sun withdrew his rays—the heavens spread their sable curtains—and earth was wrapt in awful gloom. Here we find the cause of these hours of darkness, of this tem­porary extinction of the light of heaven.

It is the opinion of many, that this darkness was confined to the land of Judea, upon which the principal guilt of the crucifixion rests. The com­mon translation of our Bible is favorable to such an opinion, but the original is as favorable to an universal darkness. It is however of little conse­quence which it was; a darkness, confined to the land of Judea, was no less a miracle, under existing circumstances, than a darkness commensurate with the globe. There was no sufficient natural cause of the former, and the same power, that miracu­lously suspended the rays of the sun from a portion of the globe could as easily suspend them from the whole. That the Jews should attempt to suppress this miracle, or, since they could not do that, to lessen it as much as possible, was to be expected, considering their obstinate unbelief, consummated by the ridiculous tale invented to confute the evidence of the Savior's resurrection. "But," say the advocates for partial darkness, "there was not the same cause for the silence of heathen writers, who speak very little of this darkness." If there were no monuments of this event among them, it would be presumptive evidence that the darkness did not reach them; but one learned and judicious com­mentator says, that, 'some of the ancients appealed to the annals of the nations concerning this ex­traordinary [Page 33] eclipse, at the death of CHRIST, as a thing well known, and which gave notice to those parts of the world, of something great then in doing.' Another mentions, by name, Phlegon as taking notice of this darkness; and most say, that, Dionysius of Heliopolis in Egypt was filled with so much wonder, astonishment, and just conviction, of the miraculousness of the event that he exclaimed 'Aut Deus naturae patitur, aut mundi machina dissolvitur.' The God of nature suffers, or the uni­verse is dissolving. So justly thought this renowned Philosopher, ignorant of the tragedy then acting in Judea. The Roman Centurion and the guard which he commanded, for the purpose of aiding and su­perintending the awful transactions of the day, who may be supposed to have been selected for their uncommon insensibility, and congeniality to the occasion, when they saw the darkness, the earth­quake, and the things that were done, lost their con­fidence and stupidity, exclaiming, Surely, this was the SON OF GOD.

Never did prodigies, like these at the death of CHRIST, mark any other triumph of the King of terrors. Great men have fallen—the greatest, the wisest, and the best, for 'No man hath power over the spirit, to retain the spirit, neither hath he power in the day of death, there is no dis­charge in that war.' 'The LORD hath taken away the mighty man, and the man of war, the judge, the prophet, and the prudent, and the an­cient, the captain of fifty, and the honorable man, and the counsellor, and the cunning artificer, and the eloquent orator.' GOD may have given, some times, premonitions of the death of eminent characters, that an afflicted people might be prepared [Page 34] for their bereavement.—So deep has been the wound from the loss of men, in whom all that was great and good centered, that the country they have blessed has seemed to sympathize with its inhabitants, and put on, as ours now does,* a dreary and joyless ap­pearance; the hoarse sounding winds, and the chil­ling blasts may be imagined to respond to the sighs and groans of the orphan family; but, never was there a death, except this of our divine SAVIOR, at which the heavens spread their sackcloth, dressing them­selves in darkest shades, and earth groaned to its lowest centre.

Does not this striking difference at the death of CHRIST loudly proclaim his infinite superiority to all mortals, and afford us an important argument and evidence of his proper divinity? I pay respect to human greatness, especially when allied to human virtue, and devoted to defend and bless mankind. Every token of veneration, gratitude and love, that falls short of divine, is but a just tribute to excel­lence like that, of which America has lately been bereaved. But may I not pertinently take occasion, from this event and the emotions it excites, to bring into view our glorious EMMANUEL, and shew how much he excels all human excellence; how justly he is intitled to the highest homage, supreme love, and everlasting remembrance of our indebted race.

There are those, who deny divine honors to our SAVIOR, or at least, strip him of his royal crown and diadem, by disclaiming his title to divine per­fections. They place him high, indeed, in the crea­tion [Page 35] of GOD, the first-born of every creature, as the model after which all human souls should be created; but they place him far below the dignity and honor of a divine person, and think him intitled to the homage that is paid him, more from his delegated power and authority, than his innate worth and excellence. Others there are, who consider CHRIST as no other than a mere man. They allow him, in­deed, to be an extraordinary man, raised up and furnished as a supereminent Prophet, commissioned to publish the will of GOD to men, and by his in­structions and example to recover them from the paths of error, ignorance and superstition, into which they had unhappily declined; that, in execution of his commission, he attested the truth of his doctrines by his sufferings, and sealed them with his blood. Still, others there are—(it is a lamentation they are so many, and an astonishment they are so active in their ruinous attempt!) who reject the whole christian revelation, representing the Gospel as 'a cunningly devised fable,' its history a forgery, and its author an impostor. Blush, O human intellect, at such an abuse of intelligence, shudder, O my soul, at blasphemy so daring!

While this latter class will feel themselves but little interested in what can be said upon this sub­ject, for they ridicule and insult the story of the crucifixion, with all its tremendous scenery; I would ask the two former classes, who subscribe to the truth of the Gospel history, and believe this miracu­lous darkness attending the death of CHRIST, tho' they deny his divinity, and proper atonement for sin; why this unexampled appearance, and astonish­ing phenomenon? Why this sympathy of nature with the dying JESUS? Great men have died in [Page 36] every possible situation. The highest human bene­factors have expired in scenes of their greatest useful­ness—in the full career of glory—and when they have reached its summit. Sages and Legislators, Philoso­phers and Moralists, who have wasted the mid-night lamp, and the mid-day sun, to reform and bless their fellow men, have had their purposes broken off, and left their benevolent wishes unaccomplished. And Prophets and Apostles, sealing the truth of their doctrines with their blood, have expired under every species of torture and ignominy, which the wit and malice of their enemies could invent: yet heaven and earth moved on their usual courses, silent, and uninterested spectators of the scenes. The greatest and the best of men with us has died, the defender of our rights, the avenger of our wrongs, our political Father, friend and Benefactor, the glory of his country, and the boast of the human race; but we had no premonition of the event, no attend­ing testimonials of his death. The inhabitants of our land have felt the shock, and every where exhibit emblems of grief; but, the earth has maintained her usual steadiness, and the heavens have exhibited their accustomed brightness. Why was the death of Jesus so greatly distinguished from the deaths of all the worthies that have ever fallen? Why should the earth tremble to its lowest base, and the sun expire for three long hours? O, my brethren, the Centu­rion gives us the true reason, 'Doubtless this was the SON OF GOD.' And Dionysius of Heliopolis rea­soned and concluded justly, the GOD of nature suf­fered. By which is not intended, that the divine nature, simply considered, suffered; but the divine nature was so united with the human nature in CHRIST JESUS, that the person, who was dying on the cross, without the gates of Jerusalem, was, [Page 37] in every proper consideration, a divine person; GOD and man mysteriously united, constituting that 'mystery of godliness, GOD manifest in the flesh,' into which angels pry with profound astonishment. And this divine personage was then dying in agony, not merely to attest the truth of his doc­trines, and seal his testimony with his blood, but to make expiation for the sins of men, and pre­sent an adequate atonement for their guilt. He was conflicting with the powers of darkness, to rescue us, captives, from their chain. He was suffering that we might be happy—dying, that we might live—bearing the wrath of GOD, that we might enjoy his smiles, and reign with him forever.

Here was reason sufficient for the mighty differ­ence between the death of CHRIST, and the deaths of all who have ever fallen, abundant cause for all the prodigies that attended his crucifixion, nay, is it not matter of wonder, that the hosts of heav­en had not interfered and rescued their belov­ed? They would, had not he, from compassion to man, restrained their ardor. Is it not matter of surprize that nature had not expired, in convul­sive agonies, at the affecting spectacle? It would, had not he sustained it, by his mighty power, that the scriptures might be fulfilled, and the great salvation be effected.

Whatever homage, therefore, is due to created excellence, or human worth, infinitely higher is due to the LORD JESUS CHRIST. However deep the impression, made upon the human heart, by the death of the most eminent, useful, and disinter­ested human Benefactor, deeper should be the im­pression from the death of CHRIST. No one will imagine that these remarks intend the least reflec­tion [Page 38] upon the emotion that has been excited in the public mind, by the death of our beloved WASH­INGTON, or that they convey the remotest degree of censure, upon the tribute of grateful respect, that has been, so universally, paid to his memory. To have been unmoved at such bereavment, would have been the highest reflection upon our sensibili­ty, and to have withholden the tribute of mournful respect would have proved us impious and ungrate­ful. Every token of human respect that a widow­ed country can bestow will fall short of the merit of its illustrious Guardian. When this Father of his Country was performing his continental circuit, visiting the several apartments of his great family, to gratify the wishes of his affectionate children and give the patriarchal blessing; as he approached this town, a just and laudible zeal was exhibited, by every class of citizens, to remove every obstacle out of the way, 'to make the crooked ways straight, and the rough places plain.' The pleasing solicitude then displayed to give honor to the illustrious de­fender of our rights, and prepare the way for his approach, suggested to me the propriety of discour­sing to you upon the importance of preparing the way for the approach of the 'KING OF GLORY' and of removing every obstacle to his favoring us with a visit, who has ransomed and redeemed his people, and wrought out eternal salvation for them. Is there less propriety, that, from the death of this great man, whom 'the multitude of his brethren delight to honor,' and from the multiplied tokens of respect paid to his memory, I should take oc­casion to discourse to you upon the importance of paying all possible homage to the LORD JESUS CHRIST, our once crucified, but now exalted Redeemer, at whose feet, the highest of the heav­enly [Page 39] hosts, how in low prostration? Is▪ it not acting in character, as a Minister of CHRIST, who 'wishes above all things' that the whole family of earth, might be influenced to reverence and adore, to love and serve the divine SAVIOUR, to take every proper occasion to discourse of his glories, and recommend him to the homage of guilty de­pendents?

If departed spirits have any knowledge of the transactions on earth, and the death of our ad­mired General should be the mean of affecting any heart more deeply with a sense of the death of CHRIST; or of exciting it to pay its unre­served homage to him—the venerable shade, of our departed WASHINGTON, would more rejoice in this fruit of his death, than in all the triumphal arches, marble statues, or mournful monuments that a grateful country will raise to his memory. Will he not, then, approve my attempt, to direct your tears, shed at his death, into the channel of weeping for your dying Jesus, and to elevate your veneration for his embalmed memory, to divine veneration of the adorable IMMANUEL, 'who is over all GOD blessed forever.' Did not our chris­tian Hero, while running his career of glory, bow dependent at the throne of grace, did he not ascribe all his honors and successes to the interpo­sing influence of an overruling Providence? Is he not now, as we fondly hope, casting his crown at the feet of JESUS, with a, 'not unto me, not unto me, but to thy name be the praise?' And, will he not be pleased, that earth should, this day, resemble heaven, and his family left behind, should, at humbler distance, be imitating his exercises, and preparing for his joys? 'They mourn the [Page 40] dead aright who live as they would wish.' This is the improvement of the death of others, which reason and religion require of us, that we should rise from the creature to the Creator, 'and set our affections on things above where GOD is, and where CHRIST is at his right hand.'

Who will not be ambitious to have portraits and pictures of our departed Patron and Bene­factor? Who will not think them the ornaments of their best apartments? Who will not make them the subject of conversation, and the occasion of recalling to a grateful remembrance, the virtues and exploits of their admired original? While pro­priety may exclude pretended resemblances of the Saviour! will you not by meditation render fami­liar to you his divine perfections, engrave his virtues on the tablet of your hearts; and make him and his benefits the subject of conversation, on proper occasions, that love may be enkindled in your own breasts, quickened in the breasts of others, and 'believing you may rejoice with exceeding joy?'

A grateful public will doubtless erect, in one place and another, statues of the deceased, and adorn their public places with portraits large as the life, and with historic paintings emblematic of his deeds; and grateful individuals, on public political occa­sions, will flock to behold them, with emotions honorary to departed worth. And will any be un­concerned to have public places of worship, where GOD may record his name? or neglect to assemble where he will accept their vows, and manifest him­self in his own institutions?

It has been proposed to collect and publish, in one [Page 41] volume, the principal public communications of our departed Sage, Statesman, and Defender, that every successor in the stations he has filled, and the offices he has sustained, may have a general manual, and posterity be instructed by his uncommon ge­nius. Who would not possess such a volume? Who would not give it the most conspicuous place in his library, or have it nearer at hand for habi­tual use? Will you not thus honor the writings of the blessed JESUS, which contain the words of eternal life? Will you not give them a conspicuous place in your dwellings, and have them ever at hand for your instruction and comfort? I confess, my brethren, I have been sometimes grieved, to see the implements of amusement occupying the place of the word of GOD, in the dwellings of professing christians; and to find in every corner a novel or a romance,* while a Bible, if a tenant of the place, was scarcely to be found.

Ye parents and heads of families, you will doubt­less converse with one another, and with your children and dependents, upon the virtues and atchievments of our departed Hero and Statesman—you will tell them how much they are indebted to his valor, his wisdom and firmness, for the good land they possess, and the liberties and privileges with which it is distinguished; you will not cease the pleasing tale till emotions of respect, for him they never [...], swell their youthful bosoms. And will you not lead them to venerate and adore the [Page 42] divine SAVIOR, and aid their devotions by your family examples and prayers? Will you not con­verse with them upon the glories of CHRIST—and tell them how he labored, bled, and died for their sakes; is risen and ascended to be their intercessor in heaven, where he is preparing mansions for them that love him? Will you not continue the inter­esting theme, till their young hearts throb with grateful emotions, their eyes fill with the expres­sive tear, and they resolve to lay their blushing honors at the feet of JESUS?

Should you meet with any disposed to depreciate the worth of our illustrious Benefactor, to detract from the merit of his well earned praise, or fully the glory with which he died surrounded, ('for who can stand before envy,' or answer for the effects of party spirit and prejudice) would you not recoil indignant from such accents? Should you meet with essays, whose open or covert design, is to blast the fame of WASHINGTON, and reduce him to a level with common men; (for who can tell to what prostitution presses may descend) would you give them a patient reading; or feast your eyes on the unhallowed page?—And will you lend the listening ear, or the apparently grateful attention, to those who deny divine honors to the SAVIOR; and strip him of his royal crown and diadem? Will you, with pleasure read those monstrous essays which blaspheme the virtues of the bleeding JESUS, and represent him in characters and titles, that I forbear to name? Will you not turn, indignant, from such essays and consign them and their Authors to the oblivion they deserve?

Should you, my young friends, in your hours [Page 43] of business, or relaxation, find any disposed to make the venerable name of WASHINGTON, a mere ex­pletive in language, to use it in common conversa-without meaning or reflection—would not your patriotic ardor burn indignant at such abuse? Would you not reprove such profanation, and de­cline the company of those so ungrateful? And will you feel no emotion when you hear the name and attributes of Deity so abused, and our streets filled with oaths and curses? Will you not frown upon such debasing abuse of speech, retire from the polluted region, and leave to themselves those, whose minds are so vitiated, their lips so profane, and their hearts so destitute of all religious princi­ple? In fine. For I know not to what length I might extend the subject.

Had our beloved WASHINGTON, our political SAVIOR and BENEFACTOR, appointed a signifi­cative rite, expressive of his love to his country, of his exertions for its benefit, and of his ardent wishes for its prosperity, and left it in charge to remember him in its observance—With what readiness would you have attended upon it? How scrupulously would you have regarded his dying request? Would you have made it a necessary prerequisite, that you should fully see its beneficial tendency, or as fully comprehend all that his exalted mind might mean and intend? Would not gratitude to your Bene­factor, and confidence in his discernment, have surmounted lesser scruples, and made you respectful observers of his last request? Our adorable JESUS, has instituted a memorial of his dying love, a festal remembrance of his death, in the celebration of which, he is set before us, in some of the most affecting scenes of his mediation; upon which he [Page 44] has directed us to attend, 'in remembrance of him,' and 'shew forth his death till he come,'—yet how many neglect this expressive memorial, this dying request of the bleeding JESUS! What is the cause, my beloved Brethren? Have you veneration for created excellence—and have you not for excellence divine? Do you love and respect the instruments of temporal benediction—and do you not love and respect the Author of eternal blessings? Should not the friends of JESUS meet at his table? Should not they, who confide in his death, obediently shew it forth? But, are any ready to say, 'we see not the special benefit of this institution'—And dare you not confide in the dictates of unerring wisdom? Do any say farther. 'We fear we have not those exercises of heart which are due, nor that sense of the Savior's worth, and veneration for his memory which will render our attendance a sincere and ac­ceptable service.' My friends, should there be any of our fellow citizens, in this day of national mourning, who should withhold the tribute of respect, due to the memory of our departed Bene­factor, from a consciousness they did not feel that respect, which such tribute indicated—What advice would you give them? Would it not be, 'to divest themselves of prejudice—to review the virtues and talents, the character and exploits of the beloved WASHINGTON—to consider, candidly, his inviola­ble integrity, his disinterested patriotism, and unaba­ted ardor for his country's good, and emotions of re­spect, gratitude, and love will spontaneously arise.' The advice you would give in this case, will you, candidly, receive in one much more important? Divest yourselves of prejudice against the plan of the Gospel; listen to the accents of unerring truth, contemplate the glorious character of JESUS [Page 45] CHRIST; consider our extreme need of such a character; read the history of his love; view him represented to the world, as its only hope, in the types and shadows of the ancient dispensation; see him, actually, living on earth, scattering the shades of ignorance and superstition by his doctrine; and bringing life and immortality to light; follow him in his course of godlike beneficence dispersing blessings all around him; meditate upon the scenes exhibited in the garden of Gethsemane, and on the top of Calvary; behold the blessed Jesus, bearing our sins, carrying our sorrows, stricken, smitten of GOD, and afflicted, that he might expiate our guilt; hear him crying 'it is finished;' when he yielded up the Ghost; behold him rising from the dead, ex­alted to the right hand of the Majesty on high, as our Advocate and Intercessor, and preparing man­sions in Glory for all who love him; dwell upon these themes 'till your hearts melt, within you, and in the conquests of faith you can exclaim, with Thomas, 'My LORD, and my GOD:' And come surround his table, taste of his love, and prepare to dwell with him forever.


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