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anity will make a much better governor of this commonwealth or President of the United States, than the advocate of Theism or Polytheism. We will not pretend to search the heart; but surely all sects of Christians may agree in opinion, that it is more desirable to have a Christian than a Jew, Mohammedan, or Pagan, in any civil office; and they may accordingly settle it in their minds, that they will never vote for any one to fill any office in the nation or state, who does not profess to receive the Bible as the rule of his faith. If three or four of the most numerous denominations of Christians in the United States, the Presbyterians, the Baptists, the Methodists and Congregationalists for instance, should act upon this principle, our country would never be dishonoured with an avowed in fidel in her national cabinet or capitol. The Presbyterians alone could bring half a million of electors into the field, in opposition to any known advocate of Deism, Socinianism, or any species of avowed hostility to the truth of Christianity. If to the denominations above named we add the members of the Protestant Episcopal church in our country, the electors of these five classes of true Christians, united in the sole requisition of apparent friendship to Christianity in every candidate for oflice whom they will support, could govern every public election in our country, without infringing in the least upon the charter of our civil liberties. To these might be added, in this State and in Ohio, the numerous German Christians, and in New York and New Jersey the members of the Reformed Dutch Church, who are all zealous for the fundamental truths of Christianity. What should prevent us from co-operating in such a union as this? Let a man be of good moral character, and let him profess to believe in and advocate the Christian religion, and we can all support him. At one time he will be a Baptist, at another an Episcopalian, at another a Methodist, at another a Presbyterian of the American, Scotch, Irish, Dutch, or German stamp, and always a friend to our common Christianity. Why then should we ever suffer an enemy, an open and known enemy of the true religion of Christ, to enact our laws or fill the executive chair? Our Christian rulers will not oppress Jews or Infidels; they will kiss the Son and serve the Lord; while we have the best security for their fidelity to our republican, and I may say scriptural forms of government.
It deprives no man of his right for me to prefer a Christian to an Infidel. If Infidels were the most numerous electors, they would doubtless elect men of their own sentiments; and unhappily such men not unfrequently get into this country, in which ninety-nine hundredths of the people are believers in the divine origin and authority of the Christian religion. If hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens should agree with us in an effort to elect men to public office who read the Bible, profess to believe it, reverence the Sabbath, attend public worship, and sustain a good moral character, who could complain ? Have we not as much liberty to be the supporters of the Christian cause by our votes, as others have to support anti-christian men and measures?
Let us awake, then, fellow Christians, to our sacred duty to our Divine Master; and let us have no rulers, with our conse and co-operation, who are not known to be avowedly Christians.
It will here be objected, that frequently we must choose between two or more candidates who are in nomination, or must lose our votes; and that no one of the candidates may be of the right religious and moral character.
I must answer, that every freeman is bound to give his voice in such a manner as he judges will best conduce to the public good; and that it is not usually beneficial to give a suffrage for one whose election is wholly out of the question. If no good man is in nomination he must choose the least of two natural evils, and support the better man to exclude the worse. But I pray you, who make, or should make, our nominations? Are they not the people who select their own candidates ? And are not the majority of the people in profession Christians ? The influence of the friends of Christ ought to be exerted, known, and felt in every stage of our popular elections. If we intend to have our civil and religious liberty continued to us, and to transmit our institutions unimpaired to posterity, we must not suffer immoral, unprincipled, and irreligious men to nominate themselves to office, and then tell us, that we must elect them or have no rulers.
We have good men in abundance to fill all civil offices, from the highest to the lowest; and it is the fault of all
the numerous Christians of our country if such are not elected.
It will be objected that my plan of a truly Christian party in politics will make hypocrites. We are not answerable for their hypocrisy if it does. There is no natural tendency in the scheme to make men deceivers; and if real enemies of the Christian religion conceal their enmity, that concealment is for the public good. We wish all iniquity, if not exterminated, may, as if ashamed, hide its head. It will be well for our country when all men who expect office are under the necessity of appearing honest, sober, pure, benevolent, and religious. It will be well for us when men cannot expect to retain, if they for a time occupy high places, by bribery, deception, coalition, and hypocrisy. It is most of all desirable that public officers SHOULD BE good men, friends of God, followers of Jesus Christ, and Jovers of their country; but it is a matter of thankfulness if they are constrained TO SEEM such persons; for in this way vice, and the propagation of vice by evil example, is prevented. It will be objected, moreover, that my scheme of voting on political elections according to certain fixed religious principles, will create jealousies among the different denominations of Christians. But why should it? Our rulers which we have elected are of some, or of no religious sect. If they are of no religious denomination, they belong to the party of infidels. If they are of any one of the denominations of true Christians, it is better, in the judgment of all true Christians, that they should be of that one company than in the fellowship of infidels. Let a civil ruler, then, be a Christian of some sort, we will all say, rather than not a Christian of any denomination. If we fix this as a principle of our political morality, we shall all be gratified in turn, and in part, by having Christian rulers of our own description.
I am free to avow, that other things being equal, I would prefer for my chief magistrate, and judge, and ruler, a sound Presbyterian ; and every candid religionist will make the same declaration concerning his own persuasion ; but I would prefer a religious and moral man, of any one of the truly Christian sects, to any man destitute of religious principle and morality.
Suffer, my Christian fellow-citizens, a word of exhortation. Let us all be Christian politicians; and govern ourselves by supreme love to our blessed Master, whether we unite in prayers or in the election of our civil rulers. Let us be as conscientiously religious at the polls as in the pulpit, or house of worship. This course of conduct will promote good government and true religion in our country at the same time.
Our public rulers then will prove a terror to them who do evil, and a praise to them who do well. Let us choose men who dare to be honest in their own religious creed, while they are too much of Christians and of republicans, to attempt to lord it over the faith of others. Let us never support by our votes any immoral man, or any known contemner of any of the fundamental doctrines of Christ, for any office: and least of all for the Presidency of these United States; for “blessed are they who put their trust in Christ.” The people who with their rulers kiss the Son, shall experience special divine protection, and be a praise in the whole earth. Let us elect men who dare to acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ for their Lord in their public documents. Which of our Presidents has ever done this? It would pick no infidel's pocket, and break no Jew's neck, if our President should be so singular as to let it be known, that he is a Christian by his Messages, and an advocate for the Deity of Christ by his personal preference of a Christian temple to a Socinian conventicle. It would be no violation of our national constitution, if our members of Congress should quit reading of newspapers and writing letters on the Lord's day, at least during public worship in the Hall of Representatives.
If all our great men should set a holy example of reverence for the Sabbath and the worship of Almighty God, it would not convert them into tyrants; it would not make our national government a religious aristocracy; it would not violate our federal constitution.
We are a Christian nation : we have a right to demand that all our rulers in their conduct shall conform to Christian morality; and if they do not, it is the duty and privilege of Christian freemen to make a new and a better election.
May the Lord Jesus Christ for ever reign in and over these United States, and call them peculiarly his own. Imcn.
DESIGNED TO VINDICATE THE LIBERTY OF CHRISTIANS, &c.
The preceding discourse, and the author of it, have been publicly charged, in many of the News Papers, and lately, before the Senate of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, with advocating THE UNION OF CHURCH AND STATE, and the establishment of a predominant religious sect by civil authority. The perusal of the sermon, which is now reprinted without alteration, as it was delivered from the pulpit, and first published in The Philadelphian, will satisfy any candid mind, that this allegation is UTTERLY false. Nothing more is claimed for Christians in the Discourse than our political institutions secure alike to Christians and Infidels of every description; the liberty of thinking for themselves, of publishing their opinions, and of acting in conformity with them, in any such manner as will not interfere with the rights of others. An avowed enemy to Christ has the political liberty of being an infidel in his opinions ; of preferring an infidel for his civil ruler; and of
his vote in aid of the election of an infidel. I am a Christian in opinion, and claim the right of preferring a Christian to an infidel ; and of giving my suffrage only in favour of persons whom I deem friendly to Christianity, and of good moral character. I publish my opinions, and invite my fellow Christians of all denominations, to consider the subject, and, if they shall think proper, fix for themselves the same rules of conduct which I design to regard in my exercise of the elective franchise. What is there, in all this, friendly to a religious establishment of a sect, or the union of Church and State ? Are Christians the only men in the cominunity who may not be guided by their judgment, conscience, and choice, in electing their rulers? And what is there, in the foregoing discourse, which should induce any friend of liberty, morality, and the equal rights of his fellow citizens, to vote against the incorporation of the American Sunday School Union, under the pretext that some aspiring Presbyterians and Episcopalians, united in that benevolent Institution, aim at a religious establishment? Surely the discourse advocates no establishment, but that of every Christian's own mind in correct principles of action, in relation to political men and measures. But if it did, the Sunday School Union, as Mr. Duncan well argued in the Senate, is not answerable for the opinions of a man, who has no concern in the management of their affairs. Surely the Presbyterians in the Union