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Union, in all its vast operations, is very properly placed exclusively in the hands of laymen, they expect, they ask, I might almost say, they implore, your zealous and powerful co-operation. Surely, my beloved brethren, you will not disappoint them. You will not stand aloof from so glorious an enterprise. As your humble representative, I venture to pledge you. 'Tis done. Methinks the pledge is already taken down by the recording angel. Does any one object to the record ? Let him say so, and ere it is dry, let him send up his petition that his name may
be blotted out of the book! When you look over the immense field which is to be explored and occupied by the American Sunday School Union, and behold what wide regions of moral desolation there are in our country, I am sure, dear brethren, you will not think it enough to watch over the young of your own flocks, and to see that they are fed with the sincere milk of the word, that they may grow thereby.' You will also look after the sheep which are scattered over those vast regions, where there are no 'green pastures and no still waters. Like the good Shepherd, you will gather the lambs with your arms, and carry them in
You will not rest till a fold is prepared, or, in other words, till a Sabbath school is opened in every place of tents, throughout all the hundred wildernesses within our national borders. And as this great, this simple, this magnificent system of religious education extends its cheering influence, and the desert blossoms as a rose,' and you eagerly press on from every quarter, till you meet in the midst of one immense garden of the Lord, oh then, how loud, and how joyful will your shouting be, 'Grace, grace unto it!'
Men of wealth-men of talents and influence--ye hon
ored civil fathers of the republic, my next appeal is to
you allow me to say, that there never was a more delusive, a more baseless vision, than that which has dazzled even some great minds, respecting the means and agents upon which the preservation of our liberties essentially depends. Every thing is to be accomplished, as they seem to suppose, by the combined influence of popular education and free constitutions of civil government. Their theory is, that as we are now in possession of the freest and best institutions in the world, we have only to keep the people enlightened in regard to their political and religious rights—only to educate them well, in the common acceptation of the term, and all will be safe. Now this is a radical mistake. It is vainly undertaking to erect and support a magnificent edifice without a solid foundation. All the light and knowledge in the universe would not make a nation secure and happy, without the broad and deep basis of moral and religious principle. I hazard nothing in saying that the Bible contains the only code of laws, or rather the elements of the only code, which can sustain our free government, or any other like it. All history and experience might confidently be adduced in support of this position. It is only by teaching the rising generation to fear God and keep his commandments,' that we can in
duce them to obey magistrates,' to' lead quiet and peaceable lives in all godliness and honesty,' and thus to maintain the great pillars of the state. By warmly patronizing Sabbath schools, therefore, by visiting them often, and by aspiring to the honor of becoming teachers in these heaven-founded seminaries, you can do more to undergird the ship, and keep her on in the right course, than when you, heave the lead, raise the quadrant, or stand at the helm.
But I must draw to a close. The time which I had a right to detain you is more than elapsed. And now, ye favored managers of this great and blessed Union! Ye parents, teachers, ministers, churches, friends of revivals, patriots, rulers, and judges of the land—under the smiles of heaven, the success of this cause depends upon your united prayers and efforts. You are all deeply, and may I not add, equally, interested in its success. By helping it forward, you advance the interests of pure and undefiled religion'-you promote the happiness and true glory of the nation, you honor God and bless the world.
Go on then, I beseech you, from duty to duty, from mountain to mountain, from river to river. Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Never rest till the noble work is done, till a Sabbath school is established wherever there are children to enjoy its blessings. Never rest till you hear the shout of · Hosanna to the son of David,' from all the Atlantic coast, from the shores of the Lakes and the tops of the Alleghanies, and then far onward from the multitudes,-multitudes, in the valley of decisien!'
THE GOOD ARIMATHEAN. *
And behold there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was
a good man and a just.-Luke xxiii, 50.
This was Joseph of Arimathea, and which was then very remarkable for a man of rank and fortune, he was a decided friend and disciple of Jesus Christ. He had, indeed, for a short time, shrunk from a public profession, for fear of the Jews; but now, in the last act of the tragedy of crucifixion, when the danger of an open avowal of his discipleship was exceedingly enhanced, and when even the twelve had forsaken their Master in his agony and fled, Joseph was endowed with the faith and courage of a martyr. For as soon as the mortal struggle was over, 'He went in boldly unto Pilate and craved the body of Jesus. And when he had taken it down from the cross, he wrapt it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb which he had hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre and departed.' What holy intrepidity ! What fervent love! What pious care !
And how sweet, after his own decease, must have been the sleep of this devoted disciple, in the very place where his Lord had lain !
* Preached at the Funeral of Nathaniel Smith, Esq. of Sunderland, Mass. February 28, 1833.
In my text, the character of Joseph is given with extraordinary brevity. He was a good man and a just. These were his highest and brightest honors—his durable riches and righteousness. Wealth and office are adventitious. They furnish no certain criterion of real merit. Though sometimes associated with high moral worth, they are cominonly found in alliance with a worldly and selfish spirit. But goodness and justice and the fear of the Lord, are the inherent qualities of a noble and heaven-born spirit; and while they shine with peculiar lustre in the Sanhedrim, or the Cabinet, they have the same intrinsic excellence in the humblest walks of private life.
Without laying any stress, therefore, upon mere worldly and accidental distinctions, it will be my object in this discourse, to illustrate and recommend the character of a good man and a just.' For the sake of unity and because the greater includes the less, I shall consider the term goodness, as embracing both justice and benevolence. In the christian they are always blended together; so that, though they may be contemplated apart, can never be entirely separated.
1. Then, let us try to analyze the elements, of which a good man's character is composed.
II. Follow him in some of the more frequented walks of christian beneficence. And,
IIJ. Mark the reflex influence of such a course upon his own character and happiness.
1. What are the essential elements of which a good man's character is composed? Goodness is not an attribute of the natural beart. It was indeed one of the brightest features, I had almost said, the glory of that divine image in which the first man was created; but when