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their deliverance should be commemorated by an annual religious festival. It was an event in which all succeeding generations would of course be deeply interested ; and hence the propriety of transmitting a knowledge of it to posterity, by some standing memorial.
Is there not some analogy, my friends, between that portion of the Jewish history to which I have adverted, and that part of the history of our own country, to which our attention is directed by the present occasion ? There was a timeand it is within the remembrance of many of you—when the nation from which we sprang, stretched over us the arm of oppression. It pleased God to interpose--not indeed by miraculous agency, but by wonderful means for our deliverance. The day which decided our national destiny, by producing the Declaration of our independence, has, ever since, in its annual returns, been greeted with a national enthusiasm. It has been a day, with many, at least, sacred to high and heroic associations. The spirit of rejoicing has gone abroad among us ; and we have seemed to breathe the fresh air of freedom. The gratulations of this great and free people have
poured into our ears ; while the heavens have appeared garnished with more exquisite beauty, and the earth clothed with deeper verdure, as we have contemplated, in the bright light of this day, the prospect of our country's glory.
But, it must be acknowledged that the celebration of this anniversary has not always ministered to the best interests of our nation. Not unfrequently, it has been perverted to purposes of political jangling ;-—for brandishing, even in the sanctuary of God, the carnal weapons of party spirit ;--for stirring up the worst passions of human nature ;—for attempting, I had almost said, to pour mildew around that plant of freedom, which it should be the design of this occasion to cherish. And who does not know that vice has stalked abroad, on this day, with a more than commonly shameless front ; as if the freedom, which the day commemorates, were only the liberty of doing wrong. So extensive have been the evils of which I speak, that it has been the opinion of many wise and good men, that not only the cause of virtue, but the cause of patriotism, was bleeding in consequence of these annual celebrations ; and they have been ready
· Let this memorial of our nation's freedom be blotted out forever, rather than be perpetuated as the signal for hoisting the flood gates of iniquity.'
But, my friends, it is not needful, on the one hand, that the observance of this day should be abandoned, nor, on the other, that it should be prostituted to any thing criminal or unedifying, The circumstances in which you are assembled this morning, seem to say— LET THE DAY BE OBSERVED, BUT LET IT BE OBSERVED RELIG10USLY;' and the same language is beginning to be heard from various parts of the christian
munity. This I suppose to be the right sentiment on this subject; and it is the design of the present discourse to illustrate and enforce it.
1. LET THE ANNIVERSARY OF OUR COUNTRY'S INDEPENDENCE BE CELEBRATED :
1. Because it is associated with the noblest efforts of intellect, and the most illustrious deeds of heroism.
The noblest efforts of intellect. However it be accounted for, I suppose it has never been seriously questioned, that the men whose counsels projected and carried forward our revolution,
were men of no common intellectual stature ; that, whether they were born giants, in reference to the work they had to accomplish, or, whether they became such under the influence of propitious circumstances, they actually exhibited an energy of mind, which has never been exceeded by the greatest men of any country. In the circumstances of the case, the very conception of becoming a free people, was original : it was too bold a thought for many minds to admit; it seemed to them more like the offspring of delirium, than the calculation of sober judgment. And the measures for carrying this purpose
into effect, were as great, and bold, and original, as the purpose
itself. Listen to the deliberations of that body in which the great question is agitated, and
shall hear eloquence, which neither Greece nor Rome, in the days of their glory, would have blushed to own ; you shall discover a depth of counsel, an almost intuitive perception of remote consequences, which will seem to you like the workings of the spirit of prophecy; in a word, you shall see the human mind coming forth in a majesty and storm of thought, which completely cast into the shade
all its ordinary operations. Nor were the intellectual resources of our country lessened by this first effort towards independence; but through a protracted scene of emergency and conflict, the whole course of our legislation bore marks of the same consummate wisdom. Indeed, it would almost seem as if much of the common talk of those days was more worthy to be recorded, as a monument of intellect, than many of the set speeches of statesmen in other times; and even ordinary minds-minds which, in other circumstances, would have been contented to plod along in the beaten track, received an impulse which carried them off into new and unexplored regions of thought, and gave them the deserved reputation of greatness. It may reasonably be doubted whether there was ever a period in the history of any country, in which mind was more active-more capable of commanding its powers—more ready to mount up to lofty and difficult enterprises, than the period of our revolution.
But there was heroism as well as intellect ;an invincible moral courage, which rose in proportion to the pressure it sustained ; a spirit of