BY ELIAB STONE, A. M. Minister of the Second Church in READING.

BOSTON: MANNING & LORING, Printers, near the Old South Meeting-House.


G. W. Born Feb. 22, 1732. Died, at MOUNT VERNON, Dec. 14, 1799. Aged 68.

The just shall be had in everlasting remembrance.

" Glory with all her lamps shall burn,
To watch the WARRIOR'S sleeping clay,
Till the last trump shall rouse his urn,
To share the triumphs of the day."

AT a Town-Meeting regularly called, in READING, April 7th, 1800, Voted, That the Selectmen be a Committee, to re­quest of the Rev. Mr. STONE a copy of his Sermon, delivered Feb. 22d, occasioned by the death of Gen. GEORGE WASH­INGTON, to be printed; and when printed, to furnish each fam­ily in the town with one copy.

Town Clerk,



TO be remembered with affection, and descend to posterity with applause, is a pecu­liar honor allotted to the righteous. Those who have been actuated only by selfish and base passions; who have never sought, and never promoted, the happiness of mankind, die without regret, and are soon forgotten. But those, of benevolent hearts, who make it their constant aim to do good to their fellow-men, and in their general conduct are gov­erned by the rules of virtue, acquire a name better than precious ointment. While they live, they are the objects of universal veneration and love; and when they die, their memory is blessed.

WHEN, therefore, such useful and worthy citi­zens are cut down by the stroke of death, surviv­ors, who have been blessed with their labors of love, must be shamefully insensible not to be deeply af­fected by the loss. A good man, even in the hum­blest walks of life, will be followed to the grave by [Page 6] his friends, with weeping eyes and sorrowful hearts. But when those are laid in the dust, who have filled various public stations, with great dig­nity and usefulness, millions mourn: all are af­flicted: the inhabitants of the whole earth sustain a loss, and testify their grief. For such men are blessings not to one nation only, but to all. The benign influence of their benevolence, wisdom, and virtue extend to all people. They are, in some respects, that to the whole human race, which the sun is to the solar system. They preserve order and regularity, and diffuse light and comfort to all around them, except those, who love darkness rath­er than light, lest their deeds should reprove them.

To these general observations we have been led, by the universal sadness and mourning, which have been spreading through the earth, ever since the fatal fourteenth of December last.* On that ever-memorable day, our beloved WASHINGTON rested from his labors. He finished his career of terres­trial glory, and took possession, as we trust, of that eternal weight of glory, which GOD of his grace has prepared for the faithful.

BUT, although his body is mouldering in the dust, the memory of him shall never perish. He still lives, and he will always live, in the affections of his grateful countrymen. His unexampled achievements will stand recorded upon the faith­ful [Page 7] page of history, till time shall end; and he will be handed down to posterity, as one of the greatest and best of men. Yea, more, as we be­lieve, his name is written in the LAMB'S book of life, which is beyond the reach of devouring time, and he will literally be in everlasting remembrance.

Is then our beloved WASHINGTON removed from us for ever? Will he no more lead our armies to victory; aid us by his sage advice; or bless us with his future counsels? We are unwilling to believe either. But, alas! these painful truths are not to be denied. He who triumphed over the enemies of America, who subdued the enmity of all hearts, has himself fallen a victim to the last enemy, Death. By his demise, the sensibility of every American is sorely wounded. The sadness of every countenance is expressive of the grief of every heart.

AT such a time of universal sorrow, it is with great propriety, that our civil rulers have invited us to the house of GOD. Here we may unitedly contemplate our afflictions and our consolations. By suitably considering both these; by reflecting up­on the wonderful dispensations of Divine Provi­dence; and by our humiliations and fervent pray­ers to GOD, we may hope, that our hearts will be properly affected:—that such a balance of our pas­sions will be produced, that we shall not be ex­travagantly depressed or elated "at aught this scene can threaten or indulge." May the whole nation be deeply humbled under the mighty hand [Page 8] of GOD. May our united humiliations and sup­plications come up before GOD, as sweet incense. With devout hearts, may we adopt the prayer of the Psalmist: "Help, LORD, for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the chil­dren of men."

IN AMERICA, the 22d of February has been cel­ebrated, with festivity and rejoicing, because, in the year 1732, it gave birth to WASHINGTON. But, alas! how are the accustomed scenes of this day reversed! Our festivity ceases. Our songs of joy are changed for tears of grief. We are clad in mourning attire.

" To civic triumphs, funeral rites succeed;
To flowery garlands, this encircling weed;
And to loud paeans sounding through the skies,
Low solemn dirges and heart rending sighs."

INDEED, if the citizens of America were not deeply affected with the loss of their political FA­THER, they would evince base ingratitude, and even stoical apathy. To drop a tear over his tomb, is as agreeable to our holy religion, as it is congenial with our afflicted hearts. In this our heavenly FATHER, who knows the weakness of our frame and the greatness of our loss, will read­ily indulge us. In doing this, we shall copy his example, whom to imitate is our greatest glory. For we are told that our Divine MASTER wept at the grave of his friend Lazarus.

BUT, my friends, for whom do we weep? Is it for our Father, or for ourselves and our country? [Page 9] Surely not for him. For, if, as Christ has told us, we may know men by their fruits, we must believe, that he has made a happy change.

LOOK, then, on the various parts of Gen. WASHINGTON'S life, and you will find that he uni­formly maintained an excellent character. He was eminent for those virtues, which adorn human na­ture, and endear a man to society. Through his whole life, he seems to have been actuated by a generous, humane, and patriotic spirit, and to have discharged his public and private duties with sin­gular fidelity. Notwithstanding he had filled the most exalted stations in society, and was loaded with all the honors, which his grateful country could bestow, yet he uniformly exhibited a shining pattern of humility and dignified condescension. He was a PUBLIC PROFESSOR* of the Christian relig­ion, and in his life and conversation adorned its doc­trines. His observance of the Sabbath was very exemplary, and in his attendance upon the public worship of GOD, which was regular and constant, he always appeared serious and engaged. Nor did he think this the only homage he was bound to pay his Maker. He maintained a daily intercourse [Page 10] with Heaven by prayer.* Frequently in his con­versation and in his communications to the public, he expressed his deep sense of a superintending Providence, and of his own dependence upon the divine care and direction. He never said, like the proud conquerors of the earth, My own arm hath gotten me the victory. But he uniformly ascribed his success to the blessing of GOD upon the united exertions of the whole nation. Read his "Polit­ical Legacies," and you will need nothing further to convince you of his high sense of the import­ance of religion. In the closing scene of life, he discovered nothing of the weakness of human na­ture;—no distrust of the foundation of his hope. He declared, that he was not afraid to die. And he met his fate, as he had lived, like a CHRISTIAN HERO. Although exercised with acute pain, not a murmur or a groan escaped from him. With [Page 11] great composure, he closed his eyes, with his own hand, and resigned his spirit to GOD who gave it. "Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace."*

CAN we desire better evidence respecting our departed friend, on which to found a judgment of charity? Is not such profession and such a practice the best proof we can have, that he was one of those righteous persons, who shall be in everlasting remembrance? A celebrated poet hath justly said,

"For modes of faith let graceless zealots fight,
His can't be wrong, whose life is in the right."

WE may, therefore, mingle tears of joy with tears of grief, on the present occasion. While we mourn our loss, we should rejoice at his gain. And truly it is no small consolation to have such substantial evidence, that our deceased friend is gone to the FATHER, to be forever happy with the LORD.

BY the death of General WASHINGTON the world sustains a loss. His writings, his character, and example had a most extensive and salutary in­fluence. The friends of order have lost in him one of the main pillars by which regular governments of every denomination are upheld. For he firmly opposed the restless disorganizers of civil society, and those haughty despots, who would give laws to all the world. He was willing that every na­tion should choose its own form of government [Page 12] and be ruled by its own laws. That right he readily yielded to others, which, at every risk, he had claimed and defended for his own nation. By his death the friends of social happiness have lost, I will not say, the founder of freedom, but the CHIEF CORNER-STONE, on which rational liberty has been erected. Mourn, ye Inhabitants of the earth! Weep, ye Sons of Freedom! For you have lost one of your best friends and greatest benefactors.

BUT, alas! Who can calculate the loss of this GREAT MAN to America? We are deprived of our first man: First in war; first in peace; first in the affections of his countrymen. And justly was he dear to them. For, through a long course of years, he rendered the most essential services to his country.

IN early life, he gave striking proofs of his tal­ents, and commenced his career of usefulness. Be­fore he was twenty years of age, he was appointed to a military command. In the year 1753, when the French and Indians from Canada, made en­croachments on the frontiers of Virginia, he was commissioned, on the difficult and dangerous enter­prise of treating with the Indians, and of warning the French, to desist from their aggressions. This commission he executed with honor to himself and satisfaction to his constituents.

IN 1755, he sustained the rank of extra Aid de Camp to General Braddock, and gave a striking specimen of his military skill. That ill-fated com­mander, contemptuously rejecting the prudent ad­vice [Page 13] of WASHINGTON, fell into an ambush of the Savages, on the banks of the Monongahela, near the Ohio, by which himself with a large part of the army were slain. Colonel WASHINGTON, by his presence of mind and gallant behavior, sav­ed the remainder from the rage of the victorious foe. This he did in such a masterly manner, as gained him the applause both of Great Britain and America. This brilliant action in a young officer, was the occasion of his being then spoken of in terms which now seem in a manner prophetic of his future greatness. President DAVIES, in a ser­mon published at that time, calls him a worthy young man, whom Providence seems raising up to be the SAVIOR of his country.

IN the year 1759, on account of bodily indispo­sition, he resigned his commission in the British army. His health being gradually re-established, he married the present amiable Mrs. WASHING­TON, and settled as planter and farmer on his es­tate at Mount Vernon. From 1759 to 1774, he was a member of Assembly, a magistrate of the county in which he resided, and a judge of the court. In each of these capacities, he acted with the same assiduity and fidelity, as in his more ex­alted offices. He was elected a delegate to the first Congress in 1774, and to that which associated in the following year.

How wonderful are the ways of God! By a special Providence does WASHINGTON seem to be raised up and endowed with extraordinary talents [Page 14] particularly suited to the eventful era of his life. And this appears to be the time, destined by Heav­en, for calling them conspicuously into exercise. Great Britain claimed, and by force of arms was attempting to exercise, "the right of making laws binding us in all cases whatsoever." This roused the martial genius of the country, and, on the 19th of April, 1775, the flames of war burst forth in America. When, therefore, a General was neces­sary to conduct our armies, the eyes of Congress were immediately turned upon WASHINGTON. He was then in the vigor of manhood, and well acquainted with the science of war. He sustained a high reputation, as a soldier, and possessed a most engaging address. And by the unanimous voice of Congress, to the universal satisfaction of the people, he was appointed to that most import­ant office. This trust he accepted with a mod­esty and diffidence peculiar to himself. The united voice of the people, he considered, as the voice of GOD. He therefore dared not to disobey. So ardent was his love of liberty; he looked down on slavery with such noble indignity; and he felt such resentment at the injuries done his country, that he was not awed by the terrors of a proscription. Without any pecu­niary reward, he determined to enter on the per­ilous enterprise, having no alternative before him, but victory or death. But satisfied of the justice of his cause, he trusted GOD for the event.

DURING an eight-years war, he encountered in­numerable difficulties, fatigues, and dangers. He [Page 15] conducted the whole with singular wisdom. At all times, his great military skill was conspicuous; but he shone with the brightest lustre in the dark­est and most perplexing seasons. Difficulties and dangers were so far from disheartening him, that they gave a spring to his spirits;—an energy to his exertions, that removed every obstruction. An instance of this, you may recollect, took place in the close of the year 1776: that most gloomy period of our affairs,—that crisis of American dan­ger. GENERAL WASHINGTON with a handful of men, naked and destitute of almost every conve­nience, was then flying through the Jersies, before a numerous, veteran, and well-supplied army. How did his great soul, at this trying time, shine out in all its splendor. Combating the most for­midable difficulties, braving the rigors of winter, and the inclemencies of the weather, he with his little band performed prodigies of valor at Tren­ton and Princeton. They checked the force of the whole British army, and closed with honor a dis­astrous campaign. How successfully he afterwards opposed our enemies, you need not be told. The battles he fought, the victories he won, and the armies he captivated, are fresh in your memories. His prudence, his caution, his wisdom, and forti­tude; his incorruptible fidelity and invincible per­severance; his policy in cluding and circumvent­ing the foe; his amazing fertility of invention, in finding out expedients to guard against future dif­ficulties; his great sagacity in penetrating the de­signs of the enemy and judging of their future [Page 16] movements; and his masterly address in compo­sing differences, in silencing the voice of discontent and mutiny, and harmonizing the discordant parts of his army, are so well known as to fill us with admiration, and will be told to the astonishment of future generations. A particular detail of his achievements in the Revolutionary War, will not be expected on the present occasion. It is sufficient to observe, that he obtained the grand object for which he contended. He with the PATRIOT ARMY drove the enemy from our shores, and set­tled our country in peace, liberty and independence.

THIS arduous conflict being ended, our victori­ous General, on the 23d of December, 1783, resign­ed his commission to Congress, and, like Cincinna­tus of Rome, retired to the rank of a private citi­zen, amid the most flattering plaudits of his coun­trymen.

BUT great talents, designed for public use, could not long be solely occupied in private concerns. The exigencies of our country soon called him to the public council. The old Confederation, form­ed in haste, being found essentially deficient, a new form of Government must be instituted. In the august body, delegated from every part of the Union to perform this mighty work, we behold our venerable WASHINGTON, by their unanimous suffrage, placed at their head. Their united wis­dom produced our present happy Constitution.

AFTER the Constitution was adopted by the sev­eral States, a mighty task still remained to be per­formed. [Page 17] The government must be organized. This complicated machine must be set in motion. A person was to be chosen, who should see that the laws were faithfully executed. Happy for America, there was one citizen, whose pre-eminent endowments and distinguished services, precluded all controversy respecting the man to whom this important trust should be committed. By the free suffrages of the electors in every State, the General of our armies was twice chosen PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. On the 30th of April, 1789, he was introduced to office.

THROUGH eight tempestuous years, he sat at the helm of our political ship. Here again he display­ed great talents and sublime virtues. Encompass­ed by dangers on either side;—having Scylla on the one hand and Charybdis on the other, he skil­fully steered a middle course, and avoided them both.

AT length, worn down with cares and fatigues, and thinking, that duty no longer called him to the arduous task of the Presidency, he declined be­ing considered a candidate for that office.

AGAIN he retires to his beloved shades. But not long does he enjoy his wished repose. The enemies of our country insult our government and abuse our citizens. Force is found necessary to maintain our rights. While WASHINGTON lived, no other could be thought of to command our armies. At the request of our worthy CHIEF [Page 18] MAGISTRATE, and to the joy of every American, he accepted the appointment to that important office. The indignities and abuses offered to his country, aroused the resentment and martial geni­us of us our war-worn General. He again girded on his conquering sword. He took the command of our armies, and directed their operations, till HE, who is higher than the highest, summoned him from all his earthly employments to join the ar­mies above. "Behold, the Lord, the LORD of hosts doth take away the mighty man, the man of war, the honorable man and the counsellor."

DID ever before, so many great and good qual­ities unite in one man! It is difficult to determine whether he excelled most in the cabinet, or in the field. He had the singular felicity of uniting all hearts in favor of the measures he recommended for the common good. Such was the purity of his motives, and the disinterestedness of his con­duct; so long had his fellow-citizens experienced his wisdom, and fidelity to their interests, that he possessed their entire confidence. This however was not a blind credulity. He recommended his plans of operation with such force of reason, and in such an engaging manner, that all, who were open to conviction, were convinced of their sound pol­icy and stimulated to carry them into effect. We may safely challenge civil history to produce his equal. Where shall we find another, who, for so long a period, has filled such various, important, and very difficult stations, with universal applause, and [Page 19] ended his career with equally well-earned honors? When compared with Alexander, Cesar, and the mighty conquerors of the east, he rises far above them. They fought for dominion, to increase the number of their miserable slaves. But WASHING­TON fought for PEACE, for the LIBERTY and INDE­PENDENCE of his country, and to promote the happiness of mankind. They were the plunder­ers and butchers of the human race; he their ben­efactor and friend. They were the enslavers of their country, he was the SAVIOR of his. Considered in every point of view, we do not hesitate to pro­nounce him one of the greatest and best men the world ever saw.

BUT, Oh, the frailty of human greatness! This first of men, the pride of America, the admiration of the world, the glory of human nature, must die like the rest of mortals! Let us console ourselves under this loss, with the consideration, that he has finished his course with joy;—that he has changed Mount Vernon, for Mount Zion. Farewell, illus­trious Shade! Patron of liberty! We pay these funeral rites, these last, but just respects, to thy dear remains. Securely may thy precious dust rest in the silent tomb, till the trump of GOD shall rouse the dead to judgment. Then may we meet thee again, and with thee be vindicated into the glorious liberties of the sons of GOD.

BUT, my mourning friends, shall we bury all our comforts in one grave? Have we nothing left to solace our grief and wipe away our tears? Bless­ed [Page 20] be GOD we have many consolations. We think too well of our present Rulers and of our fellow-citizens at large, to indulge the thought that when General WASHINGTON died, wisdom, valor, and patriotism perished with him. He was indeed our first man, but not our whole depen­dence. Not a few of the PATRIOT ARMY, whose valor and military skill were equalled by few and exceeded by none, still live, ready to rise in the defence of their country. Many others, who were signally instrumental in bringing about our REV­OLUTION, still remain disposed to contribute their exertions to the common good. And although our worthy CHIEF is removed into darkness, yet he still lives in his bright example and most excel­lent writings. By these, although dead he yet speaketh, and tells us what we must do to save and build up our rising republic. By these, we doubt not, many of the present and future generations will be made wiser and better, and inspired with patriotism and valor. Especially, should we con­sole ourselves with the reflection, that the LORD GOD OMNIPOTENT reigneth. He hath signally protected us in times past, and we have abundant reason to repose our trust in him. Consider, my friends, what great things GOD has done for us. When, heretofore, worthy public characters have been taken from us by death; have not others been raised up to sill their important stations? When a HANCOCK was removed, did not a SUM­NER succeed? And now WASHINGTON is gone, [Page 21] does not ADAMS remain? His wisdom, patriotism, and fidelity, in various public stations, for more than twenty years together, have raised his char­acter above the reach of slander, and justly endear­ed him to every enlightened American.

WITH such instances of God's goodness before our eyes, to distrust his future care would be base ingratitude. Let us thank GOD and take courage. He that raised up a WASHINGTON for us at such a critical juncture of our affairs, can do any thing for us; and he will do every thing we need, if our ways as a nation please him.

LET us, therefore, study to improve in that righteousness, which exalteth a nation. Let us cultivate love and unanimity, among ourselves, remembering that united we stand; divided we fall. Let us encourage the hearts and strengthen the hands of our Rulers. Our united confidence in their integrity and wisdom will afford them the highest satisfaction, and they will be excited there­by to continue their exertions for the public good. And let us manifest our love for our country, and our respect for him, whose loss we this day deplore, by imitating his virtues, and by laying up his coun­sels in our hearts. In his admirable LEGACY, we have the fruit of his long experience and most ma­ture reflections. It clearly points out to us the way to national safety and happiness. And it richly deserves to be treasured up in the memory of every American.

[Page 22] ABOVE all, let us cordially embrace and obey the gospel of our LORD JESUS CHRIST. He hath set us a pattern of all holy living, and he hath taught us the words of eternal life. By living agreeably to the maxims of his religion, we shall find joy and consolation; we shall have peace, in our death; we shall be good citizens, in this world; and, finally, we shall be made citizens of the New Jeru­salem, where sorrow and mourning shall never enter, and where, with the assembly of just men made perfect, we shall dwell forever at God's right hand.


[Page 23]
UNVEIL thy bosom, faithful tomb,
Take this new treasure to thy trust!
And give these sacred relicks room
To slumber in thy silent dust.
2 No pain, no grief, no anxious fear
Invade thy bounds; no mortal woes
Can reach the peaceful sleeper here,
Whilst angels watch its soft repose.
3 So Jesus slept; God's dying Son
Past through the grave and blest the bed;
Then rest, dear saint, till from his throne
The morning break, and pierce the shade.
4 Break from his throne, illustrious morn!
Attend, O grave, his sov'reign word!
Restore thy trust; the glorious form
Will then arise to meet the Lord.

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