Originally delivered, and now published, at the joint request of the two Societies.

Shall not the Judge of all the Earth do right?

Gen. xviii. 25.

The Memory of the Just is blessed.

Prov. x. 7.



To the Honorable [...]dier-General ARNOL­DUS VANDER [...], President, and the other Members of the American Revolution Society, in South-Carolina;
And to the Honorable Major-General MOUL­TRIE, President, and the other Members of the State Society of the Cincinnati,

THE following Discourse, preached and published at their request, is, with profound res­pect for their persons, sincere attachment to the cause which they, as societies, support, and the utmost veneration for the character of the illus­trious Person, by whose death it was occasioned, humbly inscribed,

By their Sincere Friend, And devoted Servant In the Gospel, RICHARD FURMAN.

SERMON, etc.

PSALM xxxix, 9.

"I was dumb, I opened not my mouth, because thou didst it."

THE great soul of our beloved Washington, has left the world.—Accounts, not to be disputed, have announced his death.—It is an event long to be remembered by Americans.— The melancholy tidings have vibrated on our ears, in saddest accents; they have penetrated our hearts, exciting sensations not to be describ­ed; and have produced, in copious effusion, sin­cere, but unavailing tears.—On this day, the anniversary of that which gave him to his coun­try and to mankind—the day, which, in honor of his virtues, you were used to devote to festi­vity and joy; we are met, for the first time, in the house of God, to deplore our loss of him;— to weep over his urn; and to collect such instruc­tions from his death, as the solemn event is suited [Page 2] to inspire. This observance of the day was first the voluntary choice of the respectable societies, I have the honor to address, at whose command I appear in this affecti [...] [...]blic service; but the Representatives and [...] Magistrate of the na­tion, influenced by the same sentiments of gra­titude, love, and respect for the deceased Hero, Statesman, and Patriot, have added their sanction, by recommending such observance of it to the citizens at large.

With the millions of America, therefore, we unite in paying an affectionate tribute of respect to the memory of this first of Americans;—this friend of religion, of liberty, and of man.

To assist us in the pious intentions and duties of the day, the text under consideration has been selected. For this purpose it appears strictly ap­propriate, and furnishes excellent instruction.

It presents to our view, a great and good man, suffering some distressing bereavement, or heavy affliction from the hand of God.—Feeling the keenest sensibility, and a struggling of all the tender or violent passions of his soul, he is prompt­ed to murmur, or bewail his loss in strains of hopeless grief.—But turning his eyes toward Heaven, viewing the majesty of God, the wis­dom of his counsels, the righteousness of his go­vernment, the perfections of his nature, and, especially, his transcendent goodness and mercy, he is awed into silence;—he stills the commotion of his breast, with arguments derived from these sources; and resigns himself to the sovereign plea­sure of his God; listening with profound atten­tion, to the imposing dictates of the heavenly [Page 3] mandate:—To the voice of Providence, which speaks to man in afflicting dispensations.—Con­scious of the sincerity of his heart, and the up­rightness of his inte [...] and at the same time, no doubt, exercisin [...] [...] [...]umble affiance in the divine faithfulness, c [...]passion, and protection, he expresses his sentiments, and recounts his con­duct, in a direct, devotional address to the Deity: "I was dumb, I opened not my mouth, because thou didst it."

The several important doctrines suggested in the text, if taken into consideration and treated abstractly, would be found worthy of our most serious attention; but this our time, and other existing circumstances, will not admit. I shall therefore unite doctrinal discussion of the sub­ject, with its application to that mournful event, we this day recognise and lament.

In the execution of this design, let us consider, the greatness of the loss and affliction we have sustained, in the death of the illustrious General, and late President, Washington;

Adduce the reasons which require our resigna­tion, and submission to the Divine will, so mani­fested; And,

Point out the proper method of improving the important, mournful event.

The first intention has its accomplishment in our taking a just view of the character, services, and influence of this great man; and of the pre­sent state of our country.

The character of the General is so conspicuous in the American history, where his great actions are recorded;—has been presented to our view [Page 4] in such a variety of engaging forms, in transac­tions intimately connected with our first inter­ests and tenderest feelings; and has, justly, been so often the subject of eulogy, that it is not ne­cessary we should enter into a particular investi­gation: and were we to attempt it, the limits of a volume would be found too confined.— Where also should we find the Raphael-hand that could draw it to the life, and present it to our view in all its pleasing attitudes and glowing colours?

Leaving, therefore, this arduous service to a master's hand, we shall only attempt a sketch.

In treating of his character, we must briefly touch on his history.

General George Washington was the third son of an opulent gentleman of Virginia, who traced his descent from the eldest of two brothers of the name, who had migrated to that country from York or Lancashire, in Great Britain, about the year 1660. They were men of property when they left their native land, and secured to them­selves, as settlers in this, the usual advantages attendant on wealth and respectability of charac­ter; which both themselves and descendants ap­pear to have uniformly possessed.

The General was born on the eleventh day of February, old stile, in the year 1732. While very young, he began to manifest that greatness of mind, and excellency of disposition, which have since shone so conspicuously in his charac­ter. His companions at school have declared, that they never discovered in him any profanity in language, or indecency of behaviour; and [Page 5] that they often suffered reproof, from their pa­rents or guardians, by the comparison which was drawn between his conduct and theirs.

Though he did not enjoy the advantages of a collegiate education, yet, he was furnished, un­der a competent tutor, with an opportunity of gaining acquaintance with classical learning. But so strong was his inclination for the mathemat­icks, that his genius could not be long confined to the study of the dead languages. In mathe­matical science he was said to have made consid­erable progress; as well as in whatever belongs, in general, to an English education. That logick and oratory must in some early part of his life, have engaged his serious attention, is very natu­rally concluded, from the classical purity and el­egance of his stile; and from the clear, concise, and nervous manner of his reasoning.

A respectable testimony has been given to his improvement in science, by the emulation with which several of the most eminent American seminaries conferred on him their literary ho­nors.

When he began his military career we are not quite certain; as the historical accounts and other sources of information which have been consulted, respecting this and some other consequent transac­actions of his life, are not so particular as could be wished. By some accounts, it is said he had acted as an adjutant; and by others, that he raised a company of volunteers in the capacity of cap­tain, for the defence of the Virginia frontiers. In either of these cases, and both are probable, he must [Page 6] have entered on military service when very young, and made rapid advances; for we find him with the rank of major at the age of 21, when, in the year 1753, he was sent by governor Dinwiddie to negociate with the French commandant on the Ohio. In the following year, he distinguished himself as colonel commandant on the Ohio sta­tion, by the total defeat of a party of French sent to dislodge him; and by his subsequent de­fence of the unfinished fort Necessity, against a force vastly superior to his own. In the year 1755 he was present at the battle of Mononga­hela, and acted as aid to general Braddock. Had his prudent advice and courageous offer been ac­cepted by that haughty, confident commander, it is probable the fatal and shameful defeat of the day would have been prevented: and had not his courage and conduct, at the head of the provincial troops, interposed, after the fall of Braddock, the remainder of the British regulars must have been cut to pieces.

Having thus established, in early life, an exalt­ed character for courage, prudence, patriotism, and wisdom, mature beyond his years, he reti­red at, or before, the peace of 1763, from mili­tary employments; at least, from the regular service; but was generally, if not always, a re­presentative of the people in the provincial as­sembly. In this station, the principles of liberty, of government, and of general law, must have seriously employed his mind.—By this previous acquaintance with both military affairs and legis­lation, Divine Providence gradually prepared him for those high stations which he afterwards fill­ed:—for [Page 7] the important part he acted in the re­volutionary war, and in the establishment, or­ganization and government of these United States.

The state of Virginia, sensible of his abilities and worth, appointed him one of that band of worthies, which composed the congress of '74; and on the 15th of June 1775, congress ap­pointed him commander in chief of the Ameri­can armies.

Under his conduct they supported, amid mani­fold disadvantages, an arduous and successful op­position, during an eight years war, against the superior force of British and auxiliary veterans, headed by their ablest generals. By him they were conducted to victory and renown.

Having finished the defensive, revolutionary war, which terminated in the acknowledged inde­pendence, freedom, and peace of his country, he voluntarily resigned his commission, on the the 23d of July, 1783, into the hands from which he received it; and retired, covered with glory, to the peaceful shades of private life.

But within the compass of four years, the exi­gencies, and call of his country, again requiring him to engage in national transactions; he be­came a member, and president of the convention, which framed the constitution of the United States: And on its adoption by the States, was, by the unanimous voice of the citizens, called to the first magistracy in the union. Having fin­ished the constitutional term of his appointment, as President; a second unanimous vote, re-elect­ed him to the same important office; and had he not voluntarily retired, a third, or fourth, in all [Page 8] probability, had this been requisite, would have continued him in it to the end of his life.

Long worn in the fatigues and dangers of the field, and pressed with the weighty, complicated cares of government, he must, at this time of re­tirement, have sighed for repose; especially at his advanced stage of life, and when all the charms of relative and domestic enjoyment united their influence to invite him to his pleasing home.

His intention and hope therefore, were, no doubt, fully expressed in the declaration made to the citizens at large, in his farewell address:— "Of appearing no more in a public character." But once more his country called, and he obeyed. The hostile appearance in Europe, respecting A­merica:—Threats and insults, menacing a blow, roused all the patriot and soldier in his breast. He spurned the thoughts of ease, of indulgence, and, as it were, even the infirmities of age, when the honor and safety of his country required exertion! —Again he accepted the command of the Ameri­can forces; again he appeared terrible in arms!

In the cares, rather than the dangers, of this new appointment (for the last were not permit­ted,) he suffered, at the high disposal of all-ru­ling Heaven, the arrest of death, on the 14th of December, 1799.—With manly fortitude he met the awful summons; and in the 68th year of his age, complacently surrendered his soul into the hands of his Creator and his God.

By a regular view of his character, we shall discover in him, a man endowed with superior gifts of nature—a great general—an able states­man, and just magistrate—a true patriot—a man of exalted virtues, and religion.

[Page 9]The firmness and vigor of his constitution, the manly, dignified appearance of his person, the comprehension of his mind, the correctness of his judgment, and his persuasive powers in eloquence, or written addresses, were at once happy and honorable to himself, and eminently useful to mankind.

He possessed, in an eminent degree, the quali­ties of a great general;—wisdom and foresight in forming his plans; promptness and courage in the execution. Impenetrable secrecy watch­ed over his military councils; prudence and quick discernment directed his choice and confi­dence in agents. The influence he exerted over an heterogeneous body of raw, inexperienced sol­diers, of which his army generally consisted, so as to unite and inspire them with patience and fortitude, under all the wants, and disadvantages they suffered; and to face with courage the en­emy, superior in numbers, discipline, and the means of war, whenever a proper occasion of­fered, was truly admirable. Add to this, his skillful manoeuvring, so as to deceive, delay, or elude the foe; and the command he maintained over himself. In dangers and sufferings he was not unreasonably depressed; in victory not ar­rogant, vainly elated, or secure. He was the eye, the ear, the heart, the soul of the army: Ever attentive, ever watchful:—Alive to the wants and sufferings of the soldiers; but resolute to restrain their irregularities and check their in­solence.—As a general, he was honored by the great Frederick.

He gave an earnest of his great abilities as a [Page 10] statesman, by first suggesting the idea of a federal government, in the circular letter he addressed to the governors of the different states, at the close of the war: And he eminently display­ed them, during his eight years administration, as President of the United States.

They appear by his recommendations to the national legislature; by the prudent use he made of the power lodged in his own hands; by his appointments to office; and by his suppression of insurrection. But the highest honor is done to his character as a statesman, by his placing this country in a state of neutrality, when the flames of war were kindling in Europe; by the effect­ual measures he took to counteract the attempts of those who would have drawn or plunged us into them; and by the excellent maxims and counsels of his farewell address.

So just was his administration, that he might, with the greatest propriety, have addressed the citizens of the United States, in the language of Samuel, the Prophet and Judge of Israel: "Whose ox have I taken; whose ass have I taken; whom have I defrauded; or whom have I oppressed?"

But to his country he was more than just:— He was the true, the generous patriot. For her welfare he consecrated the services of his early youth, of his manly prime, and of his declining years. For the arduous services of commander in chief of the armies, and president of the Uni­ted States, during a term of near twenty years, he received no pecuniary compensation: His gen­erous soul refused it! He sought no rewards but [Page 11] the rewards of virtue! He laboured, only to render his country free, independent, and happy!—What opportunities had he at the head of the army, for amassing wealth, had this been his object? And what rewards might he not have received had he yielded, like the traitor Arnold, to the overtures which proposed his betraying the cause of liber­ty?

His conduct uniformly justified the declaration he made on his appointment as general, that "in assuming the character of a soldier, he did not relinquish that of a citizen." That unre­mitted care he exercised to preserve the military, in due subordination to the civil power, reflects the highest honor on his public character; and proves the genuineness of his patriotism.—He might, like Cromwell and others, have surround­ed the legislature with armed men; have obtru­ded on their deliberations to awe them with his presence; and, to effect the purposes of ambi­tion, have amused the people with the cry of liberty and republicanism. But so far was he from adopting such measures; that when by designing men, through the medium of the army's wants, rebellion and violence were exci­ted, and were ready to burst forth with destruc­tive fury; he, to his immortal honor, risked all his popularity with the soldiers and their love of him; exerted all his eloquence and influence; interposed his authority, and— prevented the evil. It was his intention that his country should be really free, and that the source of power should be preserved pure. He well knew, that when soldiers dictate to a state, her liberties are gone.

[Page 12]The conduct he observed toward the British admiral, Lord Howe, and the adjutant-general Patterson; and to the French ambassador, Genet, shows, that however he would patiently bear per­sonal injuries, or in a dignified manner overlook slights of a private nature, he would suffer none which affected the honor of his country. His concern for her honor, and happiness, extended to future ages—hence that valuable legacy, his farewell address.

So much has been already said of his virtues (and must be said when his character is the theme) that it is only necessary to enumerate some of the chief of that bright assemblage which appeared in him. His temperance, candor, courage, mod­eration, modesty, justice, humanity, magnanim­ity, benevolence, and generosity, shone forth through the whole circle of his public and pri­vate life.—The tears shed over André, whom political justice and the laws of war suffered not to live, and his concern for Asgil, shew his hu­manity in an amiable light, having in them even an enemy for its object. His generosity to his country extended to the expenditure of money in her cause, as well as to his free personal ser­vices.—Shares in the canals of Virginia to a con­siderable amount, which that state presented to him under impressions of gratitude and respect, were by him appropriated to the important use of educating the American youth.—Besides this, he gave, yearly, a liberal sum, from his own for­tune, for the support of a school in Alexandria; and by his will the benefaction is rendered per­manent.—Of his hospitality and kindness many were partakers.—His eminently possessing the [Page 13] relative, domestic, and social virtues was strong­ly evidenced by sighs and tears in the late mo­ving scene which was exhibited at Mount Ver­non, when his beloved remains, amid his weep­ing family, friends, and neighbours, were deposi­ted in the silent mansion of the dead.

His modesty cast a softening shade over all his other virtues. It attended him to the last, when his praise filled every mouth but his own, and his fame had extended to every part of the civilized world.—Amid all his attainments he retained a sense of the imperfections of human nature: these, as a wise man, he discovered in himself: the discovery, united with a sense of his obliga­tions to his God, prevented him from becoming vain: and both these, as a good man, he was rea­dy to acknowledge.

That the General possessed a high sense of the importance and excellency of religion, his public declarations on almost every occasion abundant­ly manifested. God's superintending Provi­dence; his special interposition in favor of the just and innocent; his attention to the prayers of his supplicating people; and the necessity of religion, for the support of morality, virtue, and the true interests of civil society; are articles which he has fully stated in them, and zealously supported. In the stile of genuine devotion, and gratitude, he acknowledged the interposition of Heaven in the great events of the revolution, and pledged himself to supplicate the Almighty in behalf of his country, and of his companions in arms.— With such professions he entered on his offices, of general and president; and with such he re­tired from them. But as no words can so well [Page 14] express his views, and feelings, as his own; let us hear him on some of these occasions.

In his last general orders, at the disbanding of the army, he says:—"And being now to con­clude these his last public orders, to take his ul­timate leave of the military character, and bid a final adieu to the armies he has so long had the honor to command; the commander in chief, can only again offer in their behalf his recom­mendations to their grateful country, and his prayers to the God of armies.—May ample justice be done them here; and may the choicest of Hea­ven's favors both here and hereafter attend those, who under the divine auspices, have secured in­numerable blessings for others!—With these wishes, and this benediction, he is about to retire from service.—The curtain of separation will soon be drawn—and the military scene, with him will be closed for ever!"

On delivering his commission to the president of congress, his words are: "I resign with satis­faction the appointment I accepted with diffi­dence, a diffidence in my abilities to accomplish so arduous a task; which was superseded, howe­ver, by a consciousness of the rectitude of our cause, the support of the supreme power of the union, and the patronage of Heaven.

"The successful termination of the war has verified the most sanguine expectations; and my gratitude for the interpositions of Providence en­creases with every review of the momentous contest.—I consider it as an indispensible duty to close this last act of my official life, by recom­mending the interests of our dearest country to [Page 15] the protection of Almighty God, and those who have the superintendency of them to his holy keeping!"

These sentiments are yet more fully expressed in the superexcellent speech delivered to con­gress, at his entering into office as president; and make a distinguished figure in his valedictory address to the American people. To these I refer you.—

His regular attendance on divine worship, and frequently enjoining an observance of it, while in office; the respect the ministers of religion experienced in his company and at his table— and, above all, his strict morality and many vir­tues, on his own principles showed, that these pro­fessions were not words of course; but the gen­uine sentiments of his heart. The whole con­spires to induce the belief, that he was more ful­ly acquainted with the sublime doctrines of christianity, and their gracious, experimental in­fluence on the heart, than there was occasion to declare in these communications he made to the public.

In a word, he was the friend, the father, the ornament of his country!

His public services, recorded in the page of history, too numerous, too vast to be here de­scribed, we shall not now attempt to repeat. But retaining, as he did, the powers of body and mind, in an eminent degree, he was still capa­ble of rendering many more of essential import­ance.—Let us turn our attention to,—

His influence in the nation; and the existing circumstances of our national affairs.

[Page 16]His virtue was tried—his character was known: His abilities were acknowledged—his exeperience was great: He possessed the confidence and the love of his country. He was a kind of rallying point to all its citizens who possessed the least share of virtue; however diversified in senti­ment. Those who did not approve all his meas­ures; yet never for a moment, called in question the uprightness of his intentions.—While he lived, all competition for the command of the army was in a manner impossible.—An Ameri­can army was, at all times, ready to follow him in any enterprise; to face with him any danger. He was respected by our friends;—he was for­midable to our enemies.

Unhappily for America, at this time, when it has pleased the great Arbiter of heaven and earth to call him hence; union in principles and pub­lic measures, though greater than at a former period, is not so complete as it ought to be. War still deluges the nations of Europe in blood. Our differences with one of the most potent are not yet adjusted;—and the rival powers, at va­riance, are endeavouring to gain an ascendency in our councils; or to awe us into compliance with their wishes and interests. At this event­ful period,—while the dark clouds of political commotion still hover in our eastern and south­ern horizon, portending a storm; and while it re­mains uncertain, whether our state vessel shall have to contend with the conflicting elements, or be anchored safe in the haven of peace; our ablest pilot is snatched from the helm!—While the alarm of war is still sounding; the chariot [Page 17] and horsemen of our American Israel has taken his upward flight!—The loss is great; it is sensibly felt by all. The venerable president, the con­gress, the public ministers, the army, the semin­aries of learning, the churches and ministers of Christ, the people of the United States at large, acknowledge it, and mourn.

But let us now consider the reasons which re­quire our submission to the divine will, manifested in this event.

A forcible one occurs at first view: It is the act of God:—Of him, who has a sovereign right and propriety in, and over all worlds, and all their inhabitants:—Of him whose goodness is in­finite.

Had the ruffian hand of an assassin, or the en­emies to liberty, perpetrated, or but attempted, his death; thousands, I had almost said, millions, of swords would have been drawn by patriotic A­mericans, and in their hands have flamed for vengeance. But to oppose the will of heaven, or murmur at its accomplishment, is impiety, folly, and madness. In the acts of God, unerring wisdom, united with justice and goodness, directs all events, both of the moral and natural world.

Washington was to America the valuable gift of God: he had a right to resume his own gift at his pleasure.

The event we mourn is the common lot of man: "The Fathers, where are they? And the Prophets, do they live for ever?"

To the good man, death is desirable: It ter­minates the toils and sufferings of life; and leads to perfect bliss—to never-ending joys.

Our beloved patriot had lived to a good old [Page 18] age. Had he lived much longer, he must, ac­cording to the common course of nature, have suffered those infirmities and decays, which im­pair, if not destroy the comfort and usefulness of life; and rob it of respectability. Greatness in ruins is a mournful sight: To himself, therefore, this might be the most desirable time for his de­parture.

To which we may add, he had for his own ho­nor, and the honor of his country, completed a long course of great and dignified actions, with­out tarnishing his reputation; in such a manner as to give him full rank, if not precedence, a­mong the great characters of ancient or modern times;—and to make his example useful to fu­ture ages. Did Greece boast of Solon, Aristides, Leonidas, Timoleon, Epaminondas, and Aratus? or Rome, of Romulus, the Bruti, Cincinnatus, Fabius, Scipio, the Antonines, or Cato? Does modern Europe glory in her Frederick, Gusta­vus Adolphus, Marlborough, Hampden, or Sid­ney:—as heroes, statesmen, or patriots? It is sufficient for America that she has had a Wash­ington.—Heaven has made him to us both a Mo­ses and a Joshua.— His example will live, though his body returns to its primeval dust.

The cause in which this great man engaged, remains the same: and equally, we trust, the care of heaven. 'Twas the special favor of God to him, and to his country, which made him so eminently virtuous, great, and successful.—The genuine and enlarged liberty, both civil and re­ligious, brought about by the revolution, and in connexion with law and justice, constitutionally established in these United States, are important [Page 19] objects in God's moral government.—While these are preserved inviolate; and while we ac­knowledge the interposition of the Deity, suppli­cate his throne, fear his judgments, render thanks for his mercies, and honor religion by a temper and conduct correspondent to its principles,—as this great patriot and our ancestors have done; and as the body of our citizens, I trust, are dis­posed to do;—America will remain the object of divine care and favor.—If, therefore, one ho­nored agent is removed, another will be raised up to fill his place; to catch, as it were, his mantle, imbibe his spirit, and stand forth, under God, the guardian of our lives, liberties and laws.—'Twere impiety to repose in any creature, though an Archangel, our ultimate confidence for safety and defence.

We have, indeed, as individuals, been found wanting in our returns of gratitude, for the man­ifold and excellent blessings conferred on us by Providence. In too many instances we have abused our privileges; and perhaps▪ in some, have given that honor to the servants, which was due only to their Lord! This may be a rea­son for their removal;—not out of displeasure to them, nor ultimately to us; but for our hum­bling:—that we may feel our dependence on God, fear his holy name, and henceforth make his everlasting arm our trust.

This is an affecting consideration. Under conviction of its truth, well may we be dumb with religious awe in the divine presence as pen­itents: and with silent admiration and gratitude contemplate his goodness, long-suffering, and mer­cy; by which we are continued in the possession [Page 20] of so many valuable blessings; and by which we are encouraged to hope for blessings yet to come.

Furnished with such powerful reasons to con­sole our grief, and silence our repining; let us turn our thoughts to the improvement we should make of this mournful event:

And, in the first place, let us learn sincere and humble resignation to the sovereign pleasure of Almighty God, in this, and every other afflicting dispensation of his providence. For this pur­pose, let us bring home to ourselves the argu­ments which have been suggested, respecting the character and prerogatives of Deity; the frailty, dependence, duty, and interests of man; espe­cially those arguments which immediately ap­ply to the death of our departed friend. Thus let us moderate our grief and make it useful. Not to be affected on this occasion, would argue want of sensibility—want of virtue: But to set bounds to our grief, and turn its tide into a pro­per channel, is the work of reason and religion.

The great events and happy consequences of the revolution, in which General Washington acted so distinguished a part, are so inseparably connected with his history and character; that a review of the latter necessarily brings the for­mer before us in all their importance and excel­lency. By beholding them in this connexion, our love and veneration are encreased to the ex­cellent man, who was honored by heaven as the [...] of so much good to his country: And we are constrained to offer our tribute of gratitude and praise to God for the gift of so valuable a citizen: —To thank him, also, that the excellent Wash­ington was continued to us so long, to guard the [Page 21] liberties, his conduct and valor won;—to guide our councils, by his wisdom; and, by his bright example, to teach us virtue.

Let his grateful country honor his memory. Let her citizens recount the instances of his gen­erosity and patriotism;—his heroic deeds, his toils, his dangers, and his triumphs!—This I am confident they are disposed to do: And that a­mong all descriptions of them, none will be found more forward and active therein, than the ho­norable societies I this day address.—A society formed by the officers of that patriotic army, which fought the battles of the glorious revolu­tionary war, under his conduct; to whom he stood in the honorable and near relation of Presi­dent General;—and another, composed of the most enlightened and respectable citizens, who have united for the express purpose of perpetua­ting the events, the principles, and the spirit of the revolution; can never be indifferent to the memory of Washington.

No, much respected members of these societies, you cannot, you will not suffer his virtues and achievements to be obliterated!—And that you, my Christian brethren and fellow citizens, of every description, will not withhold the grateful tribute of respect, your serious attendance on this occasion is both an evidence and earnest.— You will recollect, his sleepless nights, and days of care; when he watched for the safety of his army, and for the freedom of his coun­try: how, in dangers and distress, he stood col­lected, with undaunted courage; relying on the aid of heaven.—With refined pleasure you will recount, what my feeble voice cannot describe, [Page 22] how he moved sublime before his martial bands, darting his experienced eye through the long ranks of war, leading them to victory!—How he drove Britain's warlike hosts from Boston!—How, with his little patriotic army, when the cause of liberty appeared almost expiring, he crossed the Delaware, through the darkness, cold, and storm; and, like the thunder of heaven, burst on the numerous, secure, and nearly triumphant foe, at Trenton; withering their strength and pros­trating their confidence!—At York Town you will behold him, receiving with dignity the sur­render of a powerful army; and the laurels of the British Hannibal fading in his presence.—You will follow him, to that august interview with congress, when he resigned his military command; to the place where, in the view of listening and ad­miring thousands, he received the investiture of his office, as President!—Through the various walks of public and private life you will pursue him with your mental eye; witnessing his philanthropy, justice, magnanimity, and piety—and then, will say: "This is the man, who has merited from his country, the first degree of love, respect, and veneration, that is due to mortals."

Intimately connected with the respect due to his memory, is the sacred duty of preserving in­violate these rights and privileges; those inestim­able liberties, civil and religious, for which he fought and laboured. Let it not be said, that after his death, Americans have become indiffer­ent to that cause which lay so near his heart; on his labours in which heaven so propitiously smiled —That cause which is so essential to our present happiness, and as favorable to our future hopes— [Page 23] That cause which is intimately connected with the honor of God, and the interests of the Re­deemer's kingdom. Let us then feel for the in­terests of our country, and of mankind, as our de­parted patriot did; and like him, set our faces in a determined manner against tyranny and op­pression; selfish interest and faction; dissipation and folly; infidelity, vice, and immorality in all their various forms.—Let us cultivate the mas­culine, as well as mild virtues, and all that dig­nifies the man.

These his example recommends to us. An example of virtue, in a high station, resembles the sun in the firmament; unveiling his glories to every eye, and shedding his beams on all a­round. Such was his.—It not only commands our respect; but invites our imitation. It proves also what great things are attainable, and may be expected, by those who sincerely engage, and strenuously persevere in virtuous pursuits.

This example will teach the senator wisdom, the statesman justice and magnanimity; the pa­triot generosity, the soldier heroism, and the cit­izen, virtue. It will show to our approving un­derstanding and conscience, that the foundation of every truly great character is laid in personal virtue, and a sincere regard to religion. So true are the words of the Poet:

Who errs in private never can act well.
Nor honor, faith, nor truth to such belong.—
Who can be right, whose life is in the wrong?

To the rising generation, especially, this exam­ple is recommended. Let the American youth, fired with the laudable ambition of excelling in all that is great, virtuous, and amiable, improve [Page 24] the early part of their lives in forming their cha­racter by this excellent model: Then may we expect to see future Washingtons arise, and stand forth the assertors and guardians of their coun­try's rights; the heroes and patriots of their day; the ornaments of human nature.

But amidst all our care to secure the honor and happiness of our country; while fears of danger distress; or pleasing expectations of prosperity and improvement, public or personal, expand the heart; we are arrested by the direful alarm of death. Like the bellowing thunder from a gloomy cloud; or the volcano's horrid roar from the disrupting earth, it shakes the confidence of mortals:—We hear the deafening sound; our souls shudder at the shock; they start at death's approach, and look down with awe on the vast scenes of eternity opening on their view. "It is appointed unto all men once to die, and after this, the judgment." "What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death?"

He is not bribed by wealth, nor restrained by power; he is blind to the charms of beauty, and deaf to the persuasive powers of eloquence. The sprightly youth and the smiling infant, as well as the man of grey hairs, do feel alike the stroke of his fatal dart.—The great and good, as cer­tainly as the mean and vile, shall fall before him.

Washington, the great, the virtuous, the mag­nanimous, the brave, the father of his country, is numbered with the dead!—

Anterior, or subsequent to this mournful event, within a few months, several others of the most distinguished patriots, and prime actors in the great contest for American liberty and independ­ence, [Page 25] have also fallen. Henry, whose bold, un­conquerable spirit, fired with the love of liberty and his country's rights, stood forth the first to oppose the encroachments of usurping power, in a manner that astonished patriots themselves;— who plead the equal rights of conscience, and succeeded; whose irresistable eloquence bore down all opposition, and flashed conviction on every mind; who, in times the most perilous, held with integrity the reins of government in a powerful neighbouring state—Henry, the De­mosthenes of Virginia, the friend, the compat­riot of Washington, is also fallen.—The gallant Mifflin, famed in council and in the field, is num­bered with them:—And now,—mournful reflec­tion!—the amiable, the eloquent, the accomplish­ed Rutledge, our late, honored governor; an early, tried, and steadfast patriot; the Tully of Carolina, has likewise bid adieu to mortal things.

A few of these honored, first characters; of these virtuous patriots, and citizen-soldiers, re­main, venerable in years as in virtue;—but they —ourselves—the whole present generation, must soon—soon pass from time, to an unknown world.

"Nor man alone is mortal; empires die!" —This world itself shall suffer dissolution—shall be wrapped in flames:—And all beyond is vast eternity!

These considerations should awaken us to the calls of death; especially to that solemn call, which this day claims our attention. Death is God's awful messenger, sent on the most momen­tous errand to man.—He breaks the tender ties of relative, social, and political connexion;— reduces our mortal frame to dust;—dislodges, [Page 26] from this c [...]ay tabernacle, the immortal spirit, and fixes it in an endless state of bliss or woe!

How, as rational, accountable creatures, should we be concerned to meet, in a becoming manner, the unavoidable, grand event,—the change of death? What exertions should we not make, to obtain an interest in the justifying righteousness, atoning blood, and living intercession of the adorable Redeemer, who is the resurrection and the life; and to be found faithful in his service at the all-important moment, when we are sum­moned away to the world of spirits? That then, when we are bidding a long and last farewell to mortal things, and our eyes are closing in death; we may be comforted with the assurances of di­vine love;—that while we are passing through the shades of that dark valley, where nature's light is extinguished; the reviving rays of hea­venly glory may dawn on our departing spirits, and the bright scenes of perfect bliss open to our view.—So shall we escape the wrath and punish­ment which await the wicked; and enter into the joy of our Lord; into the sublime, perma­nent joy of heaven, which no time can waste, nor created power destroy.

This happiness is reserved for all the righteous; —of this the departed spirits of the just already partake.

On this principle, therefore, we found the last article of improvement, we have on this oc­casion contemplated to make, of that solemn event which this day commands our attention. Let us not indulge hopeless grief concerning the pious dead.—'Tis the command of revelation; the reason is obvious and conclusive. Was our [Page 27] beloved Washington numbered among the pious, as well as the wise, the great, the brave?—of which we are furnished with so many pleasing evidences;—And has he died their death?

Then let us cheerfully submit to the afflicting dispensation which has removed him from us; and in the contemplation of his perfect happiness and endless rest, divest our minds of every repi­ning thought; and of every sense of disadvan­tage we have sustained by his death.

Cease to weep, thou virtuous, honored matron, who hast lost in him, the man who ranked with the best of husbands!—

Be consoled, ye, his adopted children, who shared in him the tenderest father's care!—

Citizens of America! his political children, dry up your tears!—Turn away your eyes from the desolate mansion, where his presence is no longer seen;—turn them from the dreary vault on Potomack's-bank, where his mortal part lies mouldering in dust;—view him in the realms of light, united in blest society with saints and patriots, who have finished, like him, the toils of virtue, and now share the vast rewards of grace:—See him holding high converse with the Angels of Light; and, with them, approaching the Divine Presence in humble adoration, per­fecting, in high, immortal strains, those grate­ful acknowledgements of the divine interposi­tion, goodness, and mercy, which he began on earth:—While youth smiles in his face, joy spar­kles in his eyes, and his brow [...] are bound, not with a wreath of fading laurel; but with branch­es of the tree of life, and flowers of Paradise.

If such is the happiness glorified spirits po [...] [Page 28] —and such ideas of it (but far more exalted than we can conceive) are given by the holy religion our patriot professed;—and if in their happiness he shares;—we are not only favored with a rich source of consolation, respecting him, and all others of whom we may indulge the christian hope; but are furnished with the most power­ful motives to honor and cleave to that religion, which lays so solid a foundation for human hap­piness:—That we too may pursue a truly virtu­ous and holy course of action; aspire to the sublime glories of the heavenly world, and finally share in its blessedness, when time shall be no more.

At this important period, when the ravages of death, and the revolutions of empire are ended; when the trumpet of the Archangel has ceased to sound, and the conflicting elements are gone to wreck, or have assumed a new and heavenly form;—when the transactions of judgment are past, and the everlasting states of men are by righteous retribution fixed;—when the grand schemes of Providence and Grace shall have their completion, and be unfolded;—then will the Divine Wisdom, Righteousness, Goodness, and Mercy toward the just, even in dispensations, which to us are now most dark and afflictive, burst forth, in a flood of light and glory, on our astonished and admiring eyes.

With a transport of love, gratitude, and joy, we shall then unite in the grand chorus of the skies, and ascribe glory, majesty, and praise, "to Him that [...] [...]pon the throne, and to the [...] ever and [...]!"—To this ascripti­o [...] [...] [...]ery creature say, AMEN!

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