Sayfadaki görseller
PDF
ePub

PREFACE.

The true alliance between Politics and Religion is the lesson inculcated in this volume of Sermons, and apparent in its title, “THE PULPIT OF THE REVOLUTION.” It is the voice of the Fathers of the Republic, enforced by their example. They invoked God in their civil assemblies, called upon their chosen teachers of religion for counsel from the Bible, and recognized its precepts as the law of their public conduct. The Fathers did not divorce politics and religion, but they denounced the separation as ungodly. They prepared for the struggle, and went into battle, not as soldiers of fortune, but, like Cromwell and the soldiers of the Commonwealth, with the Word of God in their hearts, and trusting in him. This was the secret of that moral energy which sustained the Republic in its material weakness against superior numbers, and discipline, and all the power of England. To these Sermons — the responses from the Pulpit - the State affixed its imprimatur, and thus they were handed down to future generations with a two-fold claim to respect.

The Union of the colonies was a condition precedent to American Nationality. One nationality, and that of a Protestant people, was essential to constitutional liberty in America. If the colonies had become separate independencies at different times, America would have but repeated the history

[ocr errors]

of European divisions and wars. The combination and balance of forces necessary to the grand result seems to have been calculated with the nicety of a formula. France, the champion of the Papal system of intellectual and political slavery and despotism, and England, the assertor of enlightened freedom, competed for the dominion of America. The red cross of St. George shielded the brotherhood of English Protestants from the extermination meditated by Papal France, whose military cordon reached along our northern and western frontiers, and thus insured to England the fealty of her Atlantic colonies, till, " in the fulness of time," France, by the treaty of 1763, relinquished Canada. Then the colonies, relieved from the hostile pressure, became restless under the restraints of dependency, and England was the only power whose strength and common relation to them could at once endanger the liberty of all, impel them to a league of domestic amity, and bind them in fraternal resistance to a common enemy. But a brief contest would have left danger of colonial disintegration; and the stupid obstinacy of George III. was necessary to prolong the war in order to blend the colonists, by communion under a national flag, in national feeling, and by general intercourse, common interests, and common sufferings. So God formed the fair Temple of American Liberty.

In his Election Sermon of 1783, republished in this volume, President Stiles says, with sublime eloquence, that Jefferson

POURED THE SOUL OF THE CONTINENT INTO THE MONUMENTAL ACT OF INDEPENDENCE.” The Soul of the Revolution is embodied in documents like these, rather than in the statistics of sieges and battles, which were the fruits of their inspiration, and, under God, the vindication of their truth.

The second Discourse in this volume is on the Repeal of the

[ocr errors]

Stamp Act. The colonists, sheltered under the flag of England, permitted her to regulate their foreign commerce; but the Stamp Act violated their domestic independence; and they showed, by custom, by equity, and by their charters from the king, that Parliament had no jurisdiction within their territories, and they refused to submit. England sent her armies to compel submission, and the colonists appealed to Heaven. The Stamp Act? involved the principle in dispute for the next eighteen years.

In his Sermon of 1750, Jonathan Mayhew declared the Christian principles of government in the faith of which Washington, ordained of God, won liberty for America, not less for England, and ultimately for the world ; so that the engraving of Mayhew and that of the Stamp fitly introduce these Sermons of the Revolution. By the conflict with her children, England herself was rescued from the slough of unlimited power into which she was fast drifting under George III. The reäction roused her from political apathy, and revived the ancient principles of freedom. By defeating England, America saved the liberty of both. Both governments rest upon

1

1 A stamp duty was a familiar tax in England. It had existed as far back as 4th William and Mary, 1694; and the act of 1765 was simply to "extend ” this mode of taxing to the colonies. The engraving upon the title-page was taken from a veritable stamp, issued under that act, and loaned to the publishers by Mr. Samuel Foster Haven, of the American Antiquarian Society, through Mr. Charles Emery Stevens, of Worcester, whose valuable suggestions in the preparation of the work are also gratefully acknowledged. The impression is on a blue, spongy paper, capable of receiving a sharp, distinct outline, in which was imbedded a slip of lead, or soft white metal, as indicated in the engraving. The paper is pasted on parchment, and on the reverse is the royal cipher, “G. R.” The word “America” was the only difference between the English and American stamps. They were issued in sheets, like our postage stamps. • Bancroft's U. S., iv. ch. viii; Knight's England, vi. 271.

i

:

the right of revolution, and the will of the people is the constitutional basis of each.

On presenting his credentials as American ambassador, June 1, 1785, Mr. Adams, in his address to King George III., said : “I shall esteem myself the happiest of men if I can be instrumental in restoring an entire esteem, confidence, and affection; or, in better words, the old good-nature and the old good-humor between people, who, although separated by ocean, and under different governments, have the same language, a similar religion, and kindred blood.” God grant that this benign spirit of generous brotherhood, this blessed unity of which he was the Author, may never be imperilled by malign counsels. Now, after three-quarters of a century, these ties of nature, stronger than treaties, reässert their genial sway; and the heir of the Throne of England — the guest of the Nation — and the President of the Republic stand reverently at the Tomb of WASHINGTON.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

UNLIMITED SUBMISSION AND NON-RESISTANCE TO THE HIGHER POWERS
- THE MYSTERY OF KING CHARLES'S SAINTSUIP AND MARTYRDOM
UNRIDDLED,

89

.

DR. CHAUNCY'S THANKS

VINO

ON ON TE

THE STAMP ACT, 1766.

THE NEWS OF THE REPEAL - REASONS FOR REJOICING AND THANKSGIV-
ING - THE PROPER USE TO BE MADE OF THE “GOOD NEWS,"

105

[ocr errors]

MR. GORDON'S THANKSGIVING SERMON, 1774.

« ÖncekiDevam »