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different from their own." * * “According to the modern definition of an oath, it is considered a 'solemn appeal to the Supreme Being, for the truth of what is said, by a person who believes in the existence of a Supreme Being and in a future state of rewards and punishments, according to that form which will bind his conscience most.”” Other remarks of a similar character might be quoted, but those already given are sufficient to show the contrast of the views of the founders of the government on the subject, compared with those now proclaimed by thousands of those of the present day who are disciples of Heine and other European revolutionary leaders.

George Washington, deeply imbued with religious sentiments and feelings, availed himself of all proper occasions to acknowledge dependence upon God, and manifest an appreciation of the responsibility he owed to Him. When Congress invited him to an audience at the close of the Revolution, on the 26th of August, 1783, he closed his speech as follows:

* Perhaps, sir, no occasion may offer more suitable than the present to express my humble thanks to God, and my grateful acknowledgments to my countrymen, for the great and uniform support I have received in every vicissitude of fortune, and for the many distinguished honors which Congress have been pleased to confer upon me in the course of the war.”


And when he subsequently appeared before Congress, Dec. 23, 1783, to resign as Commander-in-Chief, he again thus expressed himself:

“ I consider it an indispensable duty to close this last act of my official life by commending the interests of our dearest country to the protection of Almighty God, and those who have the superintendence of them to his holy keeping."

To which part of his address, Thomas Mifflin, the President of Congress, in the name of that body, responded as follows:

“We join you in commending the interests of our dearest country to the protection of Almighty God, beseeching him to dispose the hearts and minds of its citizens to improve the opportunity afforded them of becoming a happy and respectable nation.”

After the adoption of the Constitution, and his election to the Presidency, Washington again, in his Inaugural Address, thus manifested his dependence on the Almighty Being to whom he rendered such fervent thanks at the close of the war :

“ Such being the impressions under which I have, in obedience to the public summons, repaired to the present station, it would be peculiarly improper to omit, in this first official act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe ; who presides in the councils of nations; and whose providential aid can supply every human defect; that his benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States, a government instituted by themselves for the essential purposes, and may enable every instrument employed in its administration, to execute with suc

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cess the functions allotted to his charge. In tendering this homage to the Great Author of every public and private good, I assure myself that it expresses your sentiments not less than my own; nor those of my fellow-citizens at large less than either. No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand which conducts the atfairs of men, more than the people of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency. And in the important revolution just accomplished in the system of their united government, the tranquil deliberations and voluntary consent of so many distinct communities, from which the event has resulted, cannot be compared with the means by which most governments have been established, without some return of pious gratitude, along with an humble anticipation of the future blessings which the past seems to presage. These reflections, arising out of the present crises, have forced themselves too strongly on my mind to be suppressed. You will join me, I trust, in thinking that there are none under the influence of which the proceedings of a new and free government can more auspiciously commence.

“ There is no truth more thoroughly established, than that there exists in the economy and course of nature, an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness; between duty and advantage; between the generous maxims of an honest and magnanimous policy, and the solid rewards of public prosperity and felicity: since we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained : and since the preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the republican model of government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.”

To which remarks, the Vice President, in the name of the Senate, thus responded :

When we contemplate the coincidence of circụmstances, and wonderful combination of causes, which gradually prepared the people of this country for independence: when we contemplate the rise, progress, and termination of the late war, which gave them a name among the nations of the earth; we are, with you, unavoidably led to acknow. ledge and adore the Great Arbiter of the universe, by whom empires rise and fall.

And the Speaker of the House of Representatives replied as follows, on the part of that body :

We feel with you the strongest obligations to adore the invisible hand which has led the American people through so many difficulties, to cherish a conscious responsibility for the destiny of republican liberty; and to seek the only sure means of preserving and recommending the precious deposit in a system of legislation founded on the principles of an honest policy, and directed by the spirit of a diffusive patriotism.

In his Farewell Address, Washington again thus admonishes his countrymen :-

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness—these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

“ Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be that good policy does not equally enjoin it? It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and, at no distant period, a great nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence. Who can doubt that, in the course of time and things, the fruits of such a plan would richly repay any temporary advantages which might be lost by a steady adherence to it? Can it be, that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a nation with its virtue? The experiment, at least, is recommended by every sentiment which ennobles human nature, Alas! is it rendered impossible by its vices ?”

John Adams, in his inaugural address, enumerates the “veneration for the religion of a people, who profess and call themselves Christians, and a fixed resolution to consider a decent respect for Christianity" as "among the best recommendations for public service ;" and Thomas Jefferson, in his first inaugural address, in summing up the requisites of a good government, enumerates “honesty, truth, temperance, gratitude, and the love of man, acknowledging and adoring an overruling providence, which, by all its dispensations, proves that it delights in the happiness of man here, and his greater happiness hereafter."

James Madison closed his first inaugural thus :'“But the source to which I look for the aids which alone can supply my deficiencies, is in the well-tried intelligence and virtue of my fellow-citizens, &c. In these, my confidence will, under every difficulty, be best placed, next to that which we have all been encouraged to feel in the guardianship and guidance of that Almighty Being, whose power regulates the destiny of nations, whose blessings have been so conspicuously dispensed to this rising republic, and to whom we are bound to address our devout gratitude for the past, as well as our fervent supplications and best hopes for the future."

James Monroe concluded his first inaugural with his "fervent prayers to the Almighty that he will be graciously pleased to continue to us that protection which he has already so conspicuously displayed in our favor."

Andrew Jackson, in his first inaugural, expressed his “firm reliance on the goodness of that power whose providence mercifully protected our national infancy, and has since upheld our liberties in various vicissitudes," as an encouragement to offer up his “ardent supplications that


he will continue to make our beloved country the object of his divine care and gracious benediction."

Thus we might go on and notice the inaugural addresses of all subsequent Presidents, in all of which similar acknowledgments of dependence on Almighty God, and recognitions of religion as an indispensable support to good government, are made.

And Gen. Harrison, in his inaugural address, expressed not only his reliance on "that good Being, who has blessed us by the gifts of civil and religious freedom," and "watched over and prospered the labors of oar fathers," and " preserved to us institutions far exceeding in excellence those of any other people,” but said: "I deem the present occasion sufficiently important and solemn to justify me in expressing to my fellowcitizens & profound reverence for the Christian religion, and thorough conviction that sound morals, religious liberty, and a just sense of religious responsibility are essentially connected with all true and lasting happiness.”

Nor has this manifestation of dependence upon God and regard for religion been confined to our Presidents. Ample instances might be referred to of other of our distinguished public men doing the same thing. Henry Clay was not ashamed to acknowledge his obligations to God, and on more than one occasion publicly invoked His aid and guidance. In commencing one of his last and great speeches in the Senate, that delivered on the 5th and 6th of February, 1850, on introducing his Compromise resolutions, he said : "I hope it will not be out of place to do here, what again and again I have done in my private chamber, to implore Him who holds the destinies of nations and individuals in His hands, to bestow upon our country His blessing, to calm the violence and rage of party, to still passion, to allow reason once more to resume its empire ; and may I not ask of Him too, to bestow on his humble servant now before him the blessing of His smiles, and of strength and ability to perform the work which now lies before him ?"

Mr. Everett, the private biographer of Daniel Webster, speaking on this subject, says: "He was a believer in the Great Atonement, &c.

He was a student of the Bible, and read it habitually in his family, whenever the annoyances of his official position did not prevent; and never sat down with his family when alone, to enjoy the bounties of his table, without first imploring a blessing. No man ever thought or talked with more reverence of the power or holiness of God." And these representations are sustained by the sentiments expressed in many of his speeches. Thus in his eulogy on Adams and Jefferson, he commenced by saying : "It is fit, that by public assembly and solemn observance, by anthem and by eulogy, we commemorate the services of national benefactors, extol their virtues, and render thanks to God for eminent bless



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ings early given and long continued, to our favored country;" and again, in his eulogy on his old friend, Jeremiah Mason, we find the following homage to religion :

But, sir, political eminence and professional fame fade away and die with all things earthly. Nothing of character is really permanent but virtue and personal worth. These remain. Whatever of excellence is wrought into the soul itself belongs to both worlds. Real goodness does not attach itself merely to this life ; it points to another world. Political or professional reputation cannot last forever; but a conscience void of offence before God and man, is an inheritance for eternity, Religion, therefore, is a necessary and indispensable element in any great human character. There is no living without it. Religion is the tie that connects man with his Creator, and holds him to his throne. If that tie be all sundereol, all broken, he floats away, a worthless atom in the universe, its proper attractions all gone, its destiny thwarted, and its whole future nothing but darkness, desolation, and death. A man with no sense of religious duty is he whom the Scriptures describe, in such terse but terrific language, as living without God in the world. Such a man is out of his proper being, out of the circle of all his duties, out of the circle of all his happiness, and away, far away, from the purposes of his creation."

Sentiments like those now proclaimed by many in this country do not accord with the character of a Christian people. Religion has ever been deemed, by all good men, as the surest and safest prop of good government, and the public weal has never been more secure than when entrusted to the guardianship of Christian statesmen, who acknowledged their dependence upon the Ruler of the Universe, and recognized their responsibility to Him for all their acts. William Howitt, whose name and fame extend wherever the English language is known, expressed his views as to the duties of Christians, in relation to government, in a speech delivered at Nottingham, England, in 1835, which may, in this connection, be appropriately quoted :

We are often warned against indulging in politics, as if it were some sinful indulgence, like swearing or gin-drinking. The religious warn us with a solemn shake of the head; and nono more than the members of the Society of Friends deal in cautions against this bugbear of politics, “ lest,” say they, “ it disturb the serenity of our minds, lest it unfit us for religious meditation.” Now I am totally at a loss to comprehend the solid ground of these pious exhortations. It is because I am religious that I feel myself compelled, irresistibly compelled, to be also political. The very practices of the Society of Friends have educated me in this necessity. One excellent practice they have ; I wish it to be universally adopted, and then we should speedily have a stupendous host of honest, ardent, Christian politicians. It is that of reading every day aloud in the family circle a portion of the sacred Scriptures. I will defy any one to proceed far in the New Testament without coming upon practices and commands of our Sa. viour, that, if he comprehend their true and practical import, will compel him into a politician. Is it merely that he shall be a spiritual Saviour ? Nay, if we go back to the Old Testament, what is the predicted character of our Saviour ? No, but that he shall be a temporal one too. He is “to open the prison-doors, to loosen the bonds of the captive, and to let the oppressed go free.” But when we enter on the New Testament, when we come to follow that great object of our reverence

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