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wicked princes, from the death of Josiah to the destruction of the city and temple, and the capture of Zedekiah, by Nebuchadnezzar ? Read the history of the subtle and traitorous Absalom. Bold, valiant, and revengeful; haughty, eloquent and popular, he “stole the hearts of the people ;" expelled his venerable father from Jerusalem; and having conciliated the affections of a misguided and deceived populace, became after a short period as much the object of their contempt, as he was before the object of their veneration. Were such a monument as Absalom's pillar of stones erected over the body of every demagogue at the present day, it might be a wholesome comment upon the influence the Bible exerts upon the principles of civil liberty. Read, too, the history of Jeroboam the son of Nebat; a base idolater, the descendant of a slave, a turbulent, ambitious prince, a fugitive from public justice, corrupt and intriguing, raised to supreme power by an unprincipled majority, corrupting and destroying the people, drying up the sources of national wealth, entailing poverty and abjectness upon the ten tribes to the latest generation, and drawing down upon them the wrath of heaven for twenty successive reigns, and more than two centuries after his death! Contrast also the reign of Solomon with the reign of Jeroboam; the reign of Asa with the reign of Ahab; the reign of Jehoash with the reign of Jehoahaz; and you will form a just estimate of good rulers, and see what a fearful scourge wicked rulers are to their subjects. The God of the Bible is the King of nations. The Lord is with them while they are with him. Creation and providence are under his control. With all their influences, all their power, all their glory, they are under him as the Prince of its princes, the Lord of its lords, and all sub
servient to his designs. A heathen prince was once constrained to say, that “his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation." His service is freedom; alienation from his empire is the veriest bondage.
The land we live in is a Christian land. The Bible is here recognized as true; and in our own State, has been solemnly decided as constituting a part of the common law. We shall be a free people, only as we remain a Christian people. If a low and degraded infidelity should ever succeed in its already begun enterprise of sending up from the whole face of this land her poisonous exhalations, and the youth of our country become regardless of the God of their fathers; men in other lands who have been watching for our downfall, will in a few short years enroll us on the catalogue of enslaved nations. You will have a part to act on this great theatre, my young friends, when older heads shall sleep beneath the clods of the valley. Act it like Christian men. Love your country; and for your country's sake, hold those in detestation who disturb her peace, and tamper with the minds of the young for the purposes of office and gain. It will be in vain that infidel politicians plot the ruin of this fair land, if her young men remain firm to the interests of moral virtue and the Bible. Would that my voice could reach the ear of every young man in the land, and announce to him, how much his country expects from every intelligent friend of the Bible. There is no want of effort to corrupt and demoralize the young men of this nation; and when once this is done, they in their turn will become the corrupters and demoralizers of others, until the nation becomes ripened for ruin. The Bible is your protection. There is a natural propensity in the human mind to lawless indulgence, and to hostility to all those systems of human government that are based on the word of God. Beware of being carried down this fatal current. There is nothing that may be so safely trusted in the formation of your political sentiments and influence, as the Bible. I have never known a great political struggle in a Christian land which was not a great moral struggle, and would not have been decided in an hour by the appropriate influence of the Bible. Here is the danger of this Republic. So long as the Bible remains our glory and happiness, our liberties will remain; but beyond this, there is nothing to forbid the fear, that we shall gradually become an enslaved nation.
But I must close, with a single thought more. “If the Son make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” Seriously considered, other liberty is an imaginary theory, an illusion, a name, a sound. You may chant its praises and celebrate its conquests, and yet be slaves. You may deify it, and erect to it monuments, and build its altars, and pour upon them costly libations, and yet be the slaves of sin. But there is a liberty that is worth the name. It is that intellectual and moral condition of the soul which constitutes her highest excellence and glory. It is that spiritual liberty, that Christian freedom, that liberty of mind, and conscience, and heart, which through divine grace the soul enjoys, when she breaks the bonds of her iniquity and possesses the liberty of the children of God. It is to be no longer the servant of sin; no longer the slave of passion; no longer in bondage to vanity, pride, self and the world; but to be the loyal and happy subject of the divine government, the renovated citizen of the commonwealth of Israel, and the servant of that divine Master, whose every requisition is a benefit, whose every command is a promise, and in whose service every sacrifice becomes a favour, every act of selfdenial a blessing. Such a man is free, free every where; free in solitude, free in the midst of the world, free in his abundance, free in his poverty, free in life, free in death, always free, " free forever, because he is forever with God.”
THE SCRIPTURES THE FOUNDATION OF RELIGIOUS
LIBERTY AND THE RIGHTS OF CONSCIENCE.
Having at our last opportunity expressed a few thoughts in relation to the influence of the Bible upon civil liberty and human governments, I propose to devote the present lecture to a consideration of the influence it exerts upon religious liberty and the rights of conscience. The subject is one of no common magnitude. Who, had he no other alternative, would not cheerfully consent to become the vassal of the most despotic government on the earth, where the rights of conscience were respected, than the citizen of the freest republic, where these rights are denied ? 'Of all human rights, the rights of conscience are the most sacred and inviolate. Civil liberty relates to things seen and temporal, religious liberty to things unseen and eternal; civil liberty relates to the body, religious liberty to the soul ; and which may be the more readily dispensed with, no honest and virtuous mind can be long in deciding.
By religious liberty, I mean the right of every man to adopt and enjoy whatever opinions he chooses on religious subjects, and to worship the Supreme Being according to the dictates of his own conscience, with