Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

and its capitol may moulder and crumble; all other names which adorn its annals may be forgotten; but as long as human hearts shall any where pant, or human tongues shall anywhere plead, for a true, rational, constitutional liberty, those hearts shall enshrine the memory, and those tongues shall prolong the fame, of GEORGE WASHINGTON!

ORGE

SH

PR A Y ER

Delivered by the Rev. Mr. McJilton at the beginning of the

ceremonies.

GREAT and glorious God! Ruler of nations and of men! Thine eye of watchful vigilance surveys the vast universe of Thy creation, and by Thy hand of power is meted out the blessings of Thy creatures. In Thy sight the globe we inhabit is but an atom, and the centuries of its history but a passing moment. Between Thy character and ours, as between the habitation of Thy Holiness in Heaven and our dwelling place in the dust of the earth, there is immense disparity. Great and wonderful is Thy condescension in stooping to behold us, and in bending down from Thy lofty throne to preserve, protect, and bless us.

In the movements of the multitudes of our race, nations have arisen and flourished and fallen before Thee. Thou hast been the witness of their deeds of good and evil; the good in which they were prosperous and happy, the evil in which they were unfortunate, and by which they were overthrown. Amid the revolutions of empires and the crumbling of kingdoms upon a distant hemisphere, Thou didst raise up a people and plant them upon these shores, far away from the confusion and conflict, where they might be happy in the possession of peace, and in the enjoyment of the abundance the land was capable of affording. Amid the continued convulsions of that distant clime, while its revolutions have been prolonged and its kingdoms perpetuated in decay, Thou hast preserved Thy people and permitted them to grow and prosper. At the present hour, while the tongue of revolution is telling its tales of trouble and sorrow, we are happy in our possessions, and highly prosperous. Thou hast hedged us in on every side, and from no human power have we anything to fear.

In our prosperity, O God, we recognize Thy hand of mercy, and we acknowledge the obligations we are under to obey Thy commandments, and to serve Thee with perfect hearts and with willing minds. The arm of thy mysterious Providence is seen, not only in raising us up from nothing to be a mighty nation, but also in the events of our history, which thou hast overruled for the advancement of our interests and for the increase of our fame.

As thou didst with Thine ancient people, in raising up prophets and princes, and leaders in times when their services were needed, so hast Thou done with us in providing us with men for the emergencies and trials through which, as a nation, we have had to pass. It was Thy wisdom that directed the great discoverer of modern years in his search after the shores of this western world, and it was by 'Thine arm of power that his adventurous band were protected during their perilous journey over the ocean, and preserved among the savages of the wilderness. It was through Thee that the daring efforts of those adventurers were successful in revealing unknown treasures to the world, and in giving an almost limitless territory to the industry and enterprise of man.

By Thee our fathers were directed to the land of beauty thus disclosed. Encouraged by Thy smiles and favor they colonized upon these shores. They spotted them over with flourishing cities, and converted the gloom of the wilderness into the habitation of happy multitudes. In peace Thou wast their Protector; in war, their firm, unfailing Friend. When the yoke of servitude was presented to their necks, Thou didst break it in the hands of the oppressor. When the fetters of tyranny were forged to enslave them, by Thee they were snapped asunder before they were bound upon their arms. It was under the notice of Thine approving eye that they hurled resistance to the tyrant's law, and in the face of the Revolution, determined to be free. In a day of peril they declared their independence, and proclaimed their Federal Constitution to the world. That Declaration and that Constitution they manfully sustained at the risk of fortune, life, and sacred honor; and in sustaining them they presented gloriously before the powers of the earth the anomaly of nations—a free republic.

Fiercely and swiftly upon the decree of revolution the storm of war came down. When clouds and darkness hung upon the shores of Columbia, amid the lightning's flame Thy hand was seen-amid the thunder's peal Thy voice was heard. It was Thou, the Almighty King of Heaven, that didst lead Thy favored people of the earth in safety through the storm. It was Thou that didst conduct them through the gloom of their dark and bloody trial to the place of honor and renown.

In that time of trouble 'Thou didst provide men for the performance

of peculiar offices that were necessary to the nation's security, and, anointed with Thy blessing, they went forth for the accomplishment of glorious purposes. Thy gracious presence was with the first council of the Federal States when they announced their Declaration of Independence, and when, in preparing the Constitution for the government, they presented the young American republic to the view of mankind. That young republic stood up mighty in Thy strength. It was like the stripling David with his shepherd's bag and sling, and stone that he had taken from the brook. And the enemy that opposed was the Goliath of power, inured to war, and bearing the sword, the shield, and the spear. In the result the word of the Highest was fulfilled. The race was not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong. The giant fell before the stripling's arm, and the nations were made to know that there was a God in Israel.

As swept the tempest on its raven wing, at Thy command appeared the greatest and most successful of human warriors. Called by his country to occupy the post of danger, foremost and uppermost stood the fearless, the intrepid, the matchless WASHINGTON—without his purple mightier than Cæsar; without his sceptre greater than Alexander. It was in Thy name, 0 thou Ruler of all things, that the first American General took his place at the head of his undisciplined troops. In the name of God he fought his country's battles, and in the name of God he conquered. In preparation for the great work he had in hand, he invoked protection from on High, and clothed with the panoply of Heaven, he was invincible. It was not for the purple of power, not for the glittering diadem, that the sword of WASHINGTON was unsheathed. He drew the steel for Liberty-for the protection of human right from the tyranny of human power. He fought that millions might be free.

As directed by Thee, O Lord of Hosts, Columbus made the discovery of the New World, so under the sanction of Thy Divine will and aid our illustrious chief procured its freedom. We view him as the instrument of Thy power in the accomplishment of Thy glorious designs; and in the honors that we would heap upon his memory, we would but honor THEE the more. Most devoutly do we thank Thee for the gift of the great, the good, the glorious Washington ; and when in our pride we would tell of his renown, it is our pleasure in the deed 10 speak Thy praise.

In the peace of death the patriot sleeps, but deeply in the hearts of his countrymen his name and character and deeds are enshrined. With the occupation of the warrior he mingled the character of the Christian;

and, although his form has been laid in the dust, we hope and believe that his spirit has returned to the God that gave it, and is happy in the place of the departed. In memorial of his character, his virtues, and his fame, we come this day to rear a costly cenotaph-a monument that shall proclaim his praise to ages yet to come, to millions yet to be. We plant in earth the shaft that points to heaven. We rear the pile that silently, yet eloquently, tells the story of his valor to the world below, while it lifts its lofty head on high as if it would direct mankind to the haven of bliss—the future home of the faithful and the good. Here, in the capital of his country, that bears his name, would we build the monument of stone in honor of the illustrious dead, and do thou, O Lord, look down from heaven and bless the deed. May this memorial of marble, in this metropolis of freedom, be an instrument of Thine in the performance of Thy wonderful works among the sons of men. It tells of Christian virtue and of patriotic devotion. May it encourage American youth in the cultivation and practice of these holy principles. It tells of pure and honorable motive, and high and chivalrous character. May it inspire the American citizen with holy ardor to emulate the same! It tells of an ennobling sense of duty and zeal for its discharge, of lofty aims and purposes, and the meed of renown to be gained in their pursuit. May its iufluence be effective in the extension of like sentiment, and in the elevation of men in character and practice! May it animate the hearts of freemen to imitate the example of Washington the good, that each in his respective sphere may be like Washington the great. · And now, O Lord of all power and majesty, we humbly beseech thee to let the wing of Thy protection be ever outspread over the land of Washington! May his people be Thy people! May his God be their God! Never from beneath the strong arm of Thy providence may they be removed ; but, like their honored chief, may they acknowledge.'Thee in peace and in war, and ever serve thee with a willing, faithful, acceptable service! Hear our prayer, we beseech Thee, that the glory of this nation may never be obscured in the gloom of guilt; that its beauty may never be so marred by the foul impress of sin that the light of its religious character shall be dimmed. Open the eyes of the people, and let them see that it is their true interest to study Thy laws, to seek Thy favor, and to worship Thee with a faithful worship. 'Teach them, and deeply impress upon them the important political truth that opinions and personal feelings, private advantages, and sectional interests are all as nothing when compared with the great interest that every American has in the union of the different States of

« AnteriorContinuar »