I said ye are Gods; but ye shall die like men.




Page 6, line 12, for this read their. l. 23, after than, supply on.

P. 10, l. 11, from the bottom, for advances r. advance.

P. 11, l. 7, for from read form. l. 10, for beams read beam.

P. 14, l. 19, dele vain before pleasures. l. 4, from bot. for complexions r. complexion.

P. 15, l. 10, for his read its. l. 21, supply a period after conscience.

P. 16, l. 6, for respect read respects. l. 18, supply a period after mite. line 2, from the bottom, for may read might.

P. 18, line 9, from bot. for starving read strangling. line 3, from bot. after return, supply a period.

P. 19, line 11, from the bottom after princes, begin a new paragraph. line 4, from bot. after immortal, supply note of ad­miration.

P. 20, line 21, for declamatory read declaratory. for rights read right. line 6, from the bottom, after splendor, a period. line 5, from bot. for found read forced.

P. 21, line 14, from bot. grave completes the paragraph.

P. 22, line 22, for prayers read prayer. line 5, from the bottom, for moral read morals.




Verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity.

THESE words in glowing colours describe the debility of man. Man who was made in the image of his Maker, lord of the lower creation, and formed to future existence, is vain as the vapour, nay, in his best state is altogether vanity. This truth is forcible in application to man in the highest degree of human glory. Diversity of circumstance, though in other respects it may precede diversity of consequence, yet here, makes no difference between the judge on the bench, and the culprit at the bar, the victor in triumph, and the vanquished in despair, the king on his throne and the beggar at the gate. The text is conceived in the most expressive language. Verily, is a term fre­quently used by the best instructor, and most accurate judge of human language. It is employed to substan­tiate the truth beyond contradiction. When our Lord ushers in a declaration with "verily, verily I say unto you" all ground of doubt is instantly removed. Such an introduction more than invites prevailing opinion, it lays special claim to unbounded confidence: It de­mands the assent of judgment in such a manner, as to exclude the desire of other evidence. Thus, with the inspired penman of the psalm from which our text is chosen. This single word from him is more decisive than a thousand arguments from reason without the guidance of inspiration. The former is cloathed with divine authority, while the latter, like the source whence they proceed are often delusive.

[Page 6]HAVING furnished such ground of confidence, the psalmist proceeds to a description, which applies to the human race without exception: The first and the last, the greatest and the least are equally implicated. However the different gradations of human life may exhibit men in different attitudes of pursuit, employ­ment and enjoyment; yet a perfect coincidence is formed by the deep inscription of vanity on all. And lest we entertain the apprehension, that great men may be vain, in such instances only, wherein, even they are sometimes unwise, the text circumscribes our contem­plation by the narrow limits of this most happy and prosperous condition. The best and most happy state of man, in exclusion of every consideration less desir­able, invites our meditation. And even here, a veil is drawn over all his greatness. Here, he is not parti­ally vain; but vanity in the abstract.

IF the strong expressions of our text, were indulged by the license of poets, and if for that reason, the plain and literal meaning of the terms may not be admitted; yet, the passage is full of instruction, and demands our most serious consideration; and seldom, if ever, more than the present solemn, and sorrowful occasion, an occasion, originating from an event in which the citiz­ens of America are deeply interested: For Washington the great is not able to continue by reason of death. Washington, the father of his country, the defender of her rights, the protector of millions, is no more! He, who frowned on tyrants, and bade boundless ambition submit to the mild mandates of liberty and law, has fallen, greatly fallen, in unequal combat with the king of terrors. He, who bore no distant resemblance to the wise king of Israel, in circumstances of ease, and affluence at home, at his country's call, forsook domestic endearments, and in jeopardy of life, entering the high places of the field, engaged in a contest, which, though righteous in itself, was however dubious in event, and pregnant with danger, and death, in all the dreadful [Page 7] forms of retribution to reputed rebels. That man, who by the sacrifice of his property and gratuitous devotedness of his time and talents, to the cause of his country, who, by the wisdom of his counsels, and prow­ess of his arms, gathered lawrels of renown, which shall continue with unfading lustre to the latest pos­terity, who commanded the proud kings of the east "to be still, and they obeyed him." Washington, the boast of America, the dread of tyrants, and the envy of the world, has, in the course of divine providence, furnished a striking illustration of our text, "verily, every man at his best state is altogether vanity."

Two questions are suggested by this text for con­sideration.

I. What is the best state of man?

II. Why is mere vanity predicated of man in such a state?

1. WHAT is the best state of man? Different states are preferred according to the different taste or relish of such as make the preference: But the real goodness of a state depends not on opinion. It is founded on the original rule of right, and like that remains unal­terable. The best state of man, is that wherein he can enjoy the highest and most permanent felicity. A rational mind without enjoyment is unavoidably miser­able. Intire destitution of pleasure, and pain when unbiassed reason excites reflection is absolutely impos­sible. Heaven and hell cannot be realized with indif­ference. The subject is too serious to admit of trifling. Eternal joy and endless woe, by the necessity of our nature, afford happiness or misery in the contempla­tion: But misery is not an object to be chosen. Dis­interested malevolence has no existence. Enjoyment is therefore inseparable from the best state of man. And by how much the more refined and permanent the enjoyment is, by so much the more desirable the state of the happy subject.

[Page 8]BUT the concurrence of several things, is essential to such enjoyment.

1. A clear and lively apprehension of truth. The propriety of this remark, depends not on the complex­ion of your creed. Whether christian or pagan, the observation still remains. Nothing within the limits of pure revelation, and absolute atheism can furnish an exception. Diversity of opinion, cannot produce sub­stantial joy, from unfounded systems. Ignorance in­deed, may flatter a deluded conscience to the joyful subversion of right and wrong, but all that seeming happiness, which results from ignorance, will instantly vanish in the light of truth. Hay and stubble, may better endure devouring flame, than false joys abide the breath of his mouth, and the brightness of his ap­pearing, who is truth itself. Idle dreams may delude the hungry, but wakeful reflection will substantiate his misery. Many will be repulsed with the argument in their mouth "have we not prophesied in thy name and in thy name done many wonderful works." Clear conviction will detect the guilt of apprehending, that we may do God service by the slaughter of his friends. St. Paul is not the only illustration of this truth. The hope of thousands has been slain by the light of law, and thousands yet unborn will happily experience the same death. "This is life eternal to know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. Except ye believe that I am he ye shall die in your sins."

But 2d. Such enjoyment requires communion in happiness. The highest and most permanent felicity, is not selfish and mercenary. It results not from partial prosperity in opposition to general enjoyment. Bene­volence, which is the source of the most high, refined, and permanent gratification, is without partiality. It is utterly a stranger to private or sinister views. It knows no confinement within the extensive limits of the greatest possible felicity. Soaring above the highest [Page 9] exertion of partial affection the subject of benevolence is lost in the boundless ocean of infinite delight. To contemplate the solid and substantial pleasure of others, will cause the good man to sing for joy. Dictated by the temper of his own heart he knows to weep with those who weep, and to rejoice with such as do rejoice. The pleasure which such enjoy in communicating happiness where it is within their power, and rejoicing in that blessedness which is infinitely above them, is the spring of every benevolent exertion. But for this, what motive to action which the enlightened conscience can approve? What virtue in drudging like an ox, in hard and laborious exertion, in reprobation of general felicity? For approbation or reprobation of this great object is essential to every moral exercise. Here a state of neutrality is utterly unknown. "He that is not with me is against me," is the declaration of him who taught as never man did.

"GLORY to God in the highest, peace on earth, and good will to man," is the genuine expression of true benevolence, and not confined to such, as were edu­cated in heaven. The ardent flame is caught in the breast of some below; its fervour is felt, and seen in effusions of a similar nature. Job, in his own vindica­tion, replies to the reproachful language of his friends.

If I have withholden the poor from his desire, or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail, or have eaten my morsel by myself alone, and the fatherless have not eaten thereof.

If I have seen any perish for want of cloathing, or have seen the poor without covering.

If his loins have not blessed me, and if he were not warmed with the fleece of my sheep.

If I have lift my hand against the fatherless.

Then let my arm fall from my shoulderblade and let my arm be broken from the bone.

[Page 10]BUT the psalmist has described the same temper in language if possible still more expressive. "If I forget thee O Jerusalem; let my right hand forget her cun­ning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy."

THIS affection, like a bond of union, cementing every inhabitant of the best state of man, opens a source of joy which is unspeakable and full of glory. Com­plete gratification of all such desires is the natural, and necessary consequence. They enstamp on the subject the moral image of the great Creator, and God will fulfil the desires of such as fear him. Nor is it possible for Omnipotence to do otherwise unless the unchange­able put on mutability.

3. THE highest and most permanent enjoyment is progressive.

IF the powers of the human mind are capable of progression, in knowledge, benevolence, and enjoy­ments, that state must be preferable to all others, where such progression is ensured. But that the mind is thus capable, has never been denied. Here, an opponent is not apprehended. Everlasting forget­fulness, the last resort of boasted, but blinded reason, should the dream be realized, can furnish no objection to advances in felicity, while consciousness may endure. The decision of the rest, falls not within the present field. It will be clearly seen in the light of the general judgment. The appeal lies, to that awful tribunal. To the real christian, progressive information, and in­creasing enjoyment, are most animating considerations. His views extend beyond the narrow limits of human life, and contemplate ages, in unnumbered millions, rolling on from high to higher gradations of perfect enjoyment; attended in each progressive step, with retrogade motion in deep abasement. The objects [Page 11] which give him pleasure shall remain forever, and in his apprehension, like the rising light, shine brighter and brighter, in endless day. "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God." To such a mind, enjoyment will ever keep pace with increasing inform­ation, the heart will no longer maintain warfare with the understanding. The will, and affections will from a perfect coincidence with the enlightened dictates of conscience, and the soul, like the mote which plays in the sunbeams, be lost in the immensity of divine com­placency. Every increasing desire, will be satisfied in drinking of the rivers of God's pleasure. Every bene­volent mind, will be filled with the fullness of God.

BUT has such a state ever fallen to the lot of man? Where is the chart of the happy country? What the terms of naturalization, and how shall admittance to the new Jerusalem be procured?

WE cheerfully reply, that the existence of such a state, is clearly described by the infallible pen of divine inspiration. Nor, is it a work of difficulty to ascertain the terms of admittance. The right of citizenship is offered "without money and without price." "The spirit and the bride say come, and let him who heareth say come, and whosoever will let him come and take of the waters of life freely." Hungering for the bread, and thirsting for the waters of life, are the only pre­requisites to entering the gates into the holy city.

ADMITTANCE however will not be granted, to such as desire to purloin their master's goods, or embezzle his property. Here, "the thief breaks not through to steal:" But one of two reasons can induce the wish to go to heaven, the one to serve God, and the other to be served of him. But whether shall I be God's servant, or shall he be mine, are questions not less re­mote than heaven and hell, nor is there a greater resem­blance in the tempers whence they proceed. He only [Page 12] who "hateth his life for Christ's sake shall find it:" When the eye becomes single, then, and not till then, in that proportion, and no other, can the body be full of light. We "cannot serve two masters." A relish of heart for that enjoyment which results from unre­served devotedness to God, prepares the soul to partici­pate in the joy of its Lord, and that to a degree which eye hath not seen, ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive. Happy are they, who are in such a case, yea happy, is that man whose God is the Lord. But "man in his best state is alto­gether vanity."

II. Why is vanity predicated of man in such a state?

1. BECAUSE he is a creature. Creatures in their highest exaltation possess a derived existence, and have no claim either to its mode or continuance. The power which made is able to destroy. The most dig­nified of Adam's race, if reduced to the most abject state, would suffer no injury at the hand of his maker. But, vanity is deeply inscribed on that man who is kept not by any thing in the nature of his existence, but by mighty power, from constant vicisitude.

But 2. EVERY man in his best state is altogether vanity, because wholly dependent. Dependence is the necessary consequence of creation. A creator, depend­ent on his creatures, is not a greater solecism, than creatures, independent of the creator. Created exist­ence must have a beginning, and for that reason must be dependent. The dependence of creatures, extends through every part and period of their existence. The laws of nature which regulate the whole, are no other, than established modes of constant, divine operation, whereby the God of nature, upholds and governs all.

"By his own power were all things made,
By him supported all things stand,
He is the whole creation's head,
And angels fly at his command."

[Page 13]"HAVE ye not known? Have ye not heard, hath it not been told you from the beginning, have ye not un­derstood from the foundation of the earth? It is he that sitteth on the circle of the earth and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers, that stretcheth out the hea­vens as a curtain and spreadeth them, as a tent to dwell in—that bringeth the princes to nothing, yea that mak­eth the judges of the earth as vanity." The depend­ence of man for intelligence, and other powers of moral action, has seldom, if ever been denied. "Who hath made thee to differ from another? and what hast thou which thou hast not received?" are questions, which on other ground, will admit of no reply. But because in the exercise of mental powers, men are subjects of praise or blame, many suppose the independent exer­tion of self-determining power, to be absolutely neces­sary. To wave the difficulty of ascertaining precisely, what is meant by self-determining power, we are led to suppose that such power never did, and never will exist in heaven or on earth. Nor can we conceive that any advantage could be derived, from its existence. For the exertion of such power must either be, or not be, under the direction of the will. If it be under the direction of the will, then the will governs the power, and not the power the will. In this case, the exertion of the power would be the effect, and not the cause, of previous volition. One act of the will has therefore already taken place without the aid of self-determining power. It remains for others to show why succeeding actions may not exist in the same manner. But if on the other hand, the power of self-determination, be not under the direction of the will, it can add nothing to the freedom of human volition.

FOR the effect, is necessarily under the control of the cause, and not the cause of the effect. And is such control consistent with free volition? Where then is the objection against the doctrine of necessity? In the former case, what is the respect in which, the existence [Page 14] of such a power, would be advantageous? And what, in the latter, not mischievous? Is control by a power, distinct from intelligence, and will, and conscience, preferable, to the government of infinite benevolence? As this will not be pretended man is a free, but con­trolled agent, acting when acted upon, and therefore, required to work out his own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who worketh in him to will and to do of his own good pleasure. Every man there­fore, in his best state is altogether vanity. He is the clay. God is the potter. For the king's heart is in God's hand, and he turneth it whithersoever he will, as the rivers of water are turned. All nations are before him as nothing, and they are counted by him less than nothing, and vanity. But the text has been misre­presented.

THE inspired writer had no reference to the moral character, and future state of man. The riches and vain pleasures of time are vain, and for this reason every man in his best state is altogether vanity. Be it so.

THIS objection, if admitted, will suggest the follow­ing considerations.

1. THE best state of man is still that wherein he may enjoy the highest, and most permanent felicity. The reason already assigned, will apply to this construction, with equal propriety. A lower state of enjoyment can no more claim the preference to an higher, than a state of misery to them both.

2, SUCH enjoyments vary, according to the infinite variety of human passions and appetites. The same objects will afford both pleasure and pain, to minds of different complexions, and even to the same mind, under different circumstances. The veteran hero may exult in triumph, while the tender mother, and helpless orphan are filled with anguish, in confused noise of [Page 15] battle and garments rolled in blood. The pleasures of philosophic investigation may feed the soul of Newton, but famish the painful desires of sensual delight. The sublime pleasure of liberal donation, to cause the wid­ow's heart to sing for joy, and pour the balm of conso­lation on the wounded breast, puts the sordid miser on the rack. The groanings of the prisoner, are music to the tyrant; but plant a dagger in the bosom of com­passion. Ambition lugs a heavy load, where sober rea­son finds his element. Mordecai mourns while Haman triumphs. Avarice starves in rich abundance, while prodigality riots in lawless profusion. Jarring pas­sions, in endless variety, exclude all rule of universal prescription. The best state of man however, on this construction will, probably, depend much on the fol­lowing circumstances. A strong and penetrating mind, furnished with extensive information, a firm constitu­tion, enlivened with the vigour of youth, affluent fortune under the direction of a generous heart, courteous con­descension, in exalted station, undaunted courage, and a stupid conscience▪ the united influence of these, may raise the mind above the highest degree of animal gra­tification. Intellectual contemplation, unknown to the most exalted brute, may refine the pleasures of man, and complete his greatness. But here the application of our text meets no resistance. Every man in his best state is altogether vanity. For,

1. HE still remains a creature, and therefore depend­ent. Behold they are all vanity, their work is vain. Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie, to be laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter than vanity. The instrument in the hand of the workman is far less vain, than the most ex­alted man, in the hand of his maker. The saw is no more dependent than the man who shaketh it.

2. VANITY is inscribed on the best state of man, because he is of yesterday and knows nothing. The [Page 16] wisdom of man is foolishness with God. And com­pared even with creatures in superior grades of existence.

The highest wisdom found in human shape,
Can scarce distinguish Newton from an ape.*

THE boasted information of man, however in some respect extensive, yet in others, is confined by very nar­row limits. The highest attainments in the knowledge of former things, leave man profoundly ignorant of the present.

ASIDE from objects of faith, a very few facts fall within his acquaintance, and even these so involved in mystery, as to baffle all attempts at explanation. The deepest researches have not disclosed the hidden essence of a fly. The party-coloured leaf of a tulip, puts hu­man wisdom at defiance, not less than endless duration. The ascent of vapor, and falling of a shower, submit not to the investigation of man. Philosophic science is baffled in the dissection of a mite▪ the vegetation of a plant, derides the reason of the great, and teaches boasted wisdom to learn her weakness. But if present objects elude the most accurate researches of indefatig­able application, how much more the future? Hete­rogeneous operations concur, to substantiate that system, which will unfold with increasing magnitude to eternity. The growth of an hair, the fall of a sparrow are con­stituent parts, not less essential than the rise and fall of empires.

NOTHING is made in vain. The straying of an ass, prepares the way for Saul the son of Kish to be anointed king over Israel. Childish dreams led on to most stupendous scenes; which, illustrating the faithfulness of God, and displaying the riches of his grace, may excite the exclamation, "all these things are against [Page 17] me;" while pride, and envy surpassed all bounds, in the rapid progress of their ruin. Haman exults, while preparation was making for his exaltation on a gibbet.

WITHOUT aid of revelation, probable conjecture is the only clue to future scenes; and revelation itself leaves many things unrevealed. Predictions are best expounded in the event. The time, and place, and circumstances, under which we are to live and die, are to be learnt by experience. To unwind the intrica­cies of the labyrinth without the guidance of a thread, is far less difficult, than to unfold the events of the next succeeding moment, without the assistance of pro­phetic science. Boast not thyself of to-morrow, for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.

BUT the unstable nature of terrestial things puts the truth of our text, beyond the reach of contradiction. The decided voice of experience, excludes the possi­bility of a doubt.

THE beams of prosperity often give place to darkness more palpable than that of Egypt. Riches make to themselves wings, and reduce even the perfect man of Uz to a dunghill. The proud king of Babylon is turned out to eat grass like an ox, and Pharaoh and his host are drowned in the red sea. How sudden and awful the transition! Storms of fire and brimstone, on the devoted cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, were not more unexpected, and the flood might as easily yield to resistance. Vigorous youth, affluent fortune, exten­sive information, exalted station, and universal esteem, serve to brighten the scene, and render the inscription still more legible. How is the mighty fallen! is the momentary cry of such, as must furnish the next ex­ample, while a stupid conscience may admit a kind of enjoyment, which in an hour must yield to the gnawing of that worm, which shall never die. Pride and in­sensibility, as they prepare for, so they often precede▪ the most surprising overthrow.

[Page 18]I WILL pursue, I will overtake, my lust shall be satis­fied —Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea did cover them, they sank like lead in the midst of the sea. The words are too plain to require, and the sentiment too sublime to license a comment.

NEBUCHADNEZZAR is separated from his kingdom, and driven from men, to dwell with the beasts of the field, while the words were in his mouth, Is not this great Babylon which I have built, for the house of the kingdom, by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty? Belshazzer, refusing instruction from the example of his father, fell a sacrifice to lust of his own heart, in the night of sordid indulgence. Senna­cherib found a speedy, full and everlasting reply to the impious enquiry, "How much less, shall your God be able to deliver you out of my hand." Faithful admo­nitions of conscience interpret the hand writing and realize the truth, that where much is given, much is also required.

A sense of just retribution for abused favor, excites the bitter lamentation "a wounded spirit who can bear." The accumulated wealth of Peru, will rather enhance, than mitigate the anguish. The gaudy trap­pings of the great, and impious adoration of millions reproach the unhappy man, for withholding honor from whom honor is due. Lively apprehensions of deserved punishment in rapid approach, embitter the comforts of life, and sometimes produce the preference of starv­ing and death.

DID such reflections proceed from an enthusiastic heart, or distracted brain, yet the truth of our doctrine is learnt.

4: FROM the original sentence, "dust art thou and unto dust thou shalt return," faithful monuments hand down to posterity, the previous existence of millions now no more. The great congregation of the dead, pro­claim [Page 19] in silent, but emphatic language, that "man in his best estate is altogether vanity." The mortality of man, is so clearly taught in the book of God, and ex­emplified by daily observation, that infidelity itself is unable to resist the evidence.

INFIDELITY here, is but another name for the most consummate madness. One generation passeth away and another cometh, the latter supplying the place of the former, in quick and surprising succession. The momentary state of man, is illustrated by the most strik­ing examples. The diligence of the post, the passing of the shadow, the velocity of the shuttle, do but faintly represent the more rapid progress of human life. Man is like unto vanity, his days are as a shadow which pas­seth away. Lord make me to know mine end, the measure of my days what it is, that I may know how frail I am.

BEHOLD, thou hast made my days as an hand's breadth, and my age is as nothing before thee. Vanity of vanities all is vanity.


1. WE learn the folly of reliance on creatures, "I have said ye are Gods, and all of you children of the most high; but ye shall die like men and fall like one of the princes." The event which gave rise to the present solemnity, is full of instruction. If powers of intelligence, acquisition of knowledge, accumulation of wealth, indefatigable application, accuracy to investi­gate, wisdom to project, resolution to prosecute, patience to persevere, patriotism, bravery, and the ardent wish of millions, could bribe the king of terrors, Washington had been immortal, the exigence of his country, fur­nished early opportunity to display the illustrious virtues, which adorned the American hero. By the wisdom of his councils, the broken remains of Braddock's army [Page 20] were conducted in safe retreat to domestic enjoyments. The valor of his youth, impressed a grateful country with sentiments of esteem, which time did not obliter­ate. The shade of retirement could not conceal his increasing greatness. Oppression rose in defiance of a brave, but injured people. Heaven unites their suff­rages in the man, whom heaven had prepared. At the call of his country, and like the victorious son of Jesse, in solemn appeal to the God of armies—Washington provided; with little more than a sling and stone, re­pelled the assault of the enemy, and constrained the invincible George the 3d. King of Great-Britain, France and Ireland, to acknowlege a superior, and relinquish the unequal combat. United America, rose in acclam­ation of honor to their leader.

NEITHER modern principles of liberty and equality, nor the still more unwarrantable thirst of domination, formed any part of his political system. To rescue the invaded rights of man, to vindicate the violated re­straints of constitutional compact, to resist the progress of the declamatory act, claiming the usurped rights of the British Parliament, to tax America in all cases what­ever, to snatch his country from the jaws of oppression, and diffuse the blessing of liberty and peace. These were the motives which unsheathed his sword, directed its object, and insured its return.

THE charms of monarchy, in his newly emancipated country, when displayed clearly within view, and placed fully within his reach, were rejected with a magnani­mity, I had almost said, peculiar to himself. Here the soul of Washington shone forth in meridian splendor, the commanding accents of his tongue found convic­tion on his troops, checked the rashness of designing men, and taught an injured army, flushed with conquest, to subdue itself.

GENERAL WASHINGTON was called to the helm of government on a boisterous ocean, and tempestuous sea­son. [Page 21] The administration of a new, and untried form of government, produced complaints which many had apprehended. A decided majority, in some of the States, had rejected, while a large minority in others, had obstructed the adoption of the federal constitution. The vibration of some, from liberty to licentiousness, had diffused the spirit of disorganization, and licensed resistance to government. The same measures, and that too from the same bodies, became the object both of petition and remonstrance.

PRESSING solicitations of an opposite nature, and from different directions, proclaimed certain destruction to his country if each were not gratified—gratification of all was impossible. Unavoidable disappointment found the utterance of reproach. And all this, on the sup­position that government, had been administered with absolute perfection, which can hardly be admitted, while, every man in his best state is altogether vanity. But in such an important crisis of public affairs, is not the man yet to be born, who could weather the storm of contending passions, with more dignity to himself, or safety to the public? George Washington was made for most important service, has accomplished like an hireling his day, and passed from the theatre of life, to a permanent state of existence beyond the grave. The obscurity of the speaker has secluded him, from such means of information as others possess, relative to the moral or religious character of this great man. He is authorised however, from authentic documents, to say, that General Washington was a believer in the christian Religion, in a sense which many professing christians do reject. In a circular letter to the governor of each state, at the close of the war, we find the following re­markable words. "The free cultivation of letters, the unbounded extent of commerce, the progressive refine­ment of manners, the growing liberality of sentiment, and above all, the pure and divine light of revelation, have had a meliorating influence on mankind, and in­creased [Page 22] the blessings of society."—And in the close of the same letter he adds. "I now make it my earnest prayer, that God would have you, and the state over which you preside, in his holy protection, that he would incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination to government, to entertain a brotherly love and affection for one another, for their fellow citi­zens of the United States at large, and particularly for their brethren, who have served in the field; and fin­ally that he would most graciously be pleased, to dis­pose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility and pacific temper of mind, which were the characteristics of the divine author of our blessed religion, without an humble imi­tation of whose example, we can never be an happy nation."

THE example here held forth for imitation is that of the Lord Jesus Christ, whom many others represent as a mere creature; but General Washington be­lieves him to be the independent and eternal God. He is the "divine Author of our blessed religion." The ardent prayers that God would most graciously be pleased, to dispose us all to do justice, love mercy and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, &c.— and incline our hearts to subordination to govern­ment, and brotherly love," &c. clearly implies, that we are previously disinclined to such duties, that divine exertion is necessary to produce the disposition to per­form them, and that such exertion is not a debt which we may demand; but the gift of grace which might justly be withholden. By grace are ye saved through faith and that not of yourselves it is the gift of God. But the scriptural creed, pure moral and extensive use­fulness of the Author of this prayer, can furnish no ground of ultimate reliance.

HIS breath was in his nostrils, and he has returned to dust from whence he came. Put not your trust in [Page 23] princes, nor in the son of man, his breath goeth forth, he returneth to the earth, in that very day his thoughts perish.

2. LET your mourning be attended with the two-fold duty of submission and prayer. The Lord gave, the Lord hath taken away. It becomes United Ame­rica, to subscribe a cordial, amen. There were suffi­cient reasons why the benefactor of his country should live, the [...]re sufficient reasons why he should not. Known unto God are all his works from the creation of the world. Omnipotence is able to raise up others to supply his place. His place is already supplied. Com­mit your cause unto the Lord and he will accomplish it. Pray for the prosperity of Zion, and God will make your rulers wise like angels of light.

3. WHAT matter of consolation, the Lord God Om­nipotent forever lives. The Lord reigns let the earth rejoice, let the multitude of the isles be glad thereof. Let the vanity of man excite to unbounded confidence in the Lord Jehovah, who is immutably the same from and to eternity, whose name is a strong tower into which the righteous do run and are safe.

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