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and conscientiously avail themselves of all the facilities of the golden opportunity. They should watch the earliest germination of intelligence, so as to teach the first young idea, how to shoot.' They should give 'line upon line, and precept upon precept'-should “nip the bud' of every vicious propensity, and cherish every virtuous habit.
Now let the co-operation which I have thus hastily sketched take place- let the people be one-let the combined wisdom and exertions of all be directed to the point before us, and how soon would a thorough reformation be effected. The waters below will quickly pass away. Let the fountain be cleansed and the streams will be sweet. In like manuer, all the immoral, now living, will soon quit the stage. Only let those who are to take their places be trained up in the fear of the Lord, and in years
the moral face of the country would assume quite a new aspect. The fiery ravages of intemperance would cease.
All the dram-shops would disappear; or if here and there one was left, it would be regarded with that kind of terror which the timid feel, when passing in the night the mouldering ruins of a house, that is reported to be haunted. The worse than volcanic fires of ten thousand distilleries, would be quenched forever. The hoary gambler, who might survive his companions, would wonder to find himself left alone, and to see every body pointing at him, with mingled emotions of pity and horror, as a monster in human shape. Sabbath-breakers and profane swearers, would be too few to keep one another in countenance. The ancient vigor of the laws would be more than restored, and those who had been
instrumental in producing this happy change, would descend into the grave, cheered by the returaing light of that bright sun, which gilded the best days of New England.
2. The support of moral and religious institutions is the next grand object, in which rulers, ministers, churches, and people of every name and denomination, should cordially and perseveringly unite. Vital piety is the spring of christian morality. “Make the tree good, and the fruit will be good. When men love God, they will keep his commandinents.' ' A good man, out of the good treasure of the heart, bringeth forth good things.' But how can genuine piety be most effectually promoted ? It is not more true, that God works every where than that he works by means and instruments. If our moral and religious institutions are not the essence of religion, they are indispensable to its preservation. If they are not the eitadel, they are the strong and necessary outworks. If they are not the • tables of the Law,' they are the ark'that contains them.
It is worse than mere trilling to say, that God can and will take care of his own cause, whether we do anything to promote it or not. He has been pleased to appoint means, and to assign us our work. He has instituted the Sabbath. He has instituted public worship. He bas required us to do good and communicate. He has made it our duty to assist in sending the word of life to the heathen, and to do what we can to promote the best interests of the community in which we live. Let all, then, cordially unite in the support of our institutions. Let the appointed worship of God on the Sabbath be every where zealously maintained. Let meeting for prayer and religious improvement be encouraged. Let those Missionary, Bible, and Moral Societies which now
exist, be zealously supported, and let others be formed in every part of the land. Let the Scriptures be put into every
destitute family. Above all, let fervent supplications be offered unceasingly to God for the out pouring of bis Spirit, without whose divine influences, religion can never flourish in a coinmunity, or in the heart of one fallen creature.
3. Much may be done to discourage immorality and promote the best interests of a people by framing good laws. This is the province of the legislative branch of the government; and when legislators are actuated by a proper spirit, their first and main object, in making laws is not to inflict punishment, but to deter men from transgression. The penal statutes of a community are so many strong walls and bulwarks, built up around the lives, liberties, and estates of men, and they best answer their end when the fewest have the hardihood to break through them. It is only following up the benevolent intention of the laws, when those who are appointed to adıninister them, are vigilant and persevering in the discharge of their official duties; and it is promoting the same design, when associations are formed, to countenance and assist executive officers.
In a government like ours, where all power emanates from the people, they may do much towards giving a proper tone and complexion to the laws, by uniting in the choice of good men to office. It is their duty to keep a watchful eye over those, whom they from time to time, elevate by their suffrages, and to withdraw their confidence, whenever they find that it has been misplaced.
4. The execution of the laws is another great object, in which rulers and people should firmly and perseveringly co-operate. This should be the last resort.
It is not,
till every milder' method has been faithfully but ineffectually tried, that penalties should be inflicted; but inflicted they must be, upon those who obstinately persist in any course of disobedience. In no other way can the dignity and efficiency of the laws be maintained. To suffer them to be trainpled upon with impunity, is to render them worse than useless. It is to stand by and see the foundations of society undermined, and its strongest bonds severed. Laws then, I repeat, must be executed. Upon this painful extremity, depends all that we hold dear. But how shall they be executed ? Transgressors are numerous. They are scattered all over the community. They need, every where, to be narrowly watched. But a single magistrate, however vigilant and active, canevery
where. Nor can two, nor can twenty. The sphere of any one man's observation is necessarily limited. Hence the necessity of multiplying executive and informing officers. Hence the necessity of their combined and simultaneous exertions; and hence the importance of appointing men to office, who will be both active and persevering.
The lamentation is sounding day and night in our ears, that the laws against intemperance, sabbath-breaking, profane swearing, and the like, cannot be executed. And what is the mighty difficulty ? Simply the want of a little exertion. The mischief is, that while hundreds and thousands are forward enough to unite in the lamentation ; to wish that the wicked would reform, and to point out what ought to be done, very few can be persuaded to act; and these few effect almost nothing, for want of concert.
To execute the laws in this state is, I had almost said, one of the easiest things in the world. Let it once be
known that all our informing officers and magistrates are determined to do their duty, and who would think of violating the sabbath, by travelling on our public roads, or laboring in the field ? Who would dare to keep a dramshop, or be a tavern-haunter? Who under the pains and penalties of our laws, would persist in gambling, or profane swearing? Only let the faint hearted leave their biding places and be found at their posts; let the constituted authorities once unite ; let them act ; let them persevere; and soon, we should hear no more about the difficulty of executing the laws. Punishment would tread so uniformly and so closely upon the beels of transgression, that in a month, the main body of sabbathbreakers, tipplers, &c. would dissappear, and it would only be necessary to keep a watchful eye upon a few stragglers.
Brief and rapid as the preceding sketch is, I flatter myself that none who have attended to it, will question the mighty efficacy of such combined and persevering exertions, as have been recommended, for the education of children--the support of our moral and religious institutions—the framing of good penal laws—and the prompt execution of such laws.
But the grand difficulty, as I before observed, is, to persuade even good people to unite, to act, and to per
Some try hard to persuade themselves, that there is no danger, from the enemies of our institutions ; while others, see a lion in the way,' and are confident that if they venture to stir, they shall be slain in the streets.' One 'goes to his farm,' another to bis profession, and another to his merchandise.' anxious, that every body else should put their hands to the work, while they touch not the burden with one of
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