John Ogden (1740-1800) was originally ordained in the Church of England. He was minister of the Episcopal Church in Portsmouth, NH (1786-1793). The follow election sermon was preached in New Hampshire in June, 1790
His Excellency the President,
The Honourable Senate,
The Honourable House of Representaties,
OF THE STATE OF
Holden at Concord on the First Wednesday in June,
M. DCC. XC.
BY JOHN C. OGDEN, A.M
Rector of Queen’s chapel in Portsmouth.
PRINTED AT CONCORD,
BY GEORGE HOUGH, FOR THE
M. DCC. XC.
STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE.
In the House of Representatives,
June 3, 1790.
Voted, That messieurs Sherburne, Dow, and Abbott, with such of the honourable Senate as they may join, be a Committee to wait upon the reverend Mr. OGDEN, and return him the thanks of the General court, for his ingenious discourse this day delivered before the legislarture; and request of him a copy for the press.
Sent up for concurrence,
Thomas Bartlett, Speaker.
In Senate, the same day, read and concurred. Mr. Oliver Peabody, and Mr. Green joined.
J. Pearson, Secretary.
NEHEMIAH V. 19.
Think upon me, my God, for good —according to all that I have done for this people.
These words are the pious ejaculation of one of the first patriots whose life adorns the page of history. They are the overflowings of a heart deeply impressed with a sense of his duty to God, and looking only to the Almighty for a reward for services done to a people, who were become dear by the ties of blood, and the bands of religion. They are the devout address of no less a personage than the truly illustrious Nehemiah, a favourite in the court of the king of Persia, and cupbearer, an office of honour and profit among the eastern nations.
A short review of his history and virtues, will lead us to improve the text as the foundation of a discourse, in which we may present the true patriot only in the true Christian – portray his virtues as a pattern for all — and make those observations which are proper upon the occasion of our assembling together and worshipping God on this day; and commending our country, our rulers and ourselves, to his guidance, and holy protection.
Nehemiah shines distinguished, for his anxious solicitude for his countrymen – for his liberality – disinterestedness – courage - - - uniformity of deportment - - - and social virtues; but, above all, for his piety.
The first of these immediately fired his soul to serve his friends and kindred as soon as he understood the desolate state of Jerusalem; and he could not suppress his anxiety, even in the royal presence. The king, vigilant for the felicity of so noble and faithful an attendant, asks the cause of his dejection. The answer is full and sufficient - - - Why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my father’s sepulchers, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire? How unlike most of the world was this man! Being in place and prosperity themselves, they forget their best friends and dearest relatives; they choose rather to rise upon the ruin of all these, than to lose the enjoyments of a gay court - - - the friendship of a chief magistrate - - - a splendid office - - - lucrative post - - - and great wealth. Especially are they greedy to preserve these, where they have not the merit requisite to gain them, as rewards for virtuous and noble actions.
The liberality of Nehemiah appeared upon all occasions particularly when he supported the dignity of a governor, at a great expense, from his own privy purse; refusing to accept any reward from the nation - - or even the sum which had been paid to those who had gone before him in that station: nay, he proceeded farther - - - and, vigilant over those around him, restrained his attendants from committing any plunder or spoil, or doing any injury to the people.
His courage was displayed, when he opposed and confronted Sanballat and Tobiah, who were exceedingly grieved when they heard that there was come a man to seek the welfare of the children of Israel; and when he strengthened the people, by exhorting them to unite their hands in building the walls, that they might no longer be a reproach, and arming them and his servants. So also he showed a fearless temper, when he gave a resolute answer to those who would wish to insinuate, that he meant to rebel, and set himself up for the sovereign of the country - - The God of Heaven will prosper us, therefore; we his servants will arise and build: but you have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem. Hearing their scoffings - - - knowing their malice and secret plots, he set a watch - - - armed the labourers - - - and, like an experienced general, gave out his military orders. But a worse task, if possible, soon devolved upon him, and tried his valour; for amidst all his cares and exertions there arose a murmuring among his own people, and they and their wives cried to him against their brethren the Jews, who took the advantage of their distresses and strove to make themselves fortunes by involving them in debt, for even the necessaries of life, and then gaining a mortgage on their property, to bring their sons and their daughters into bondage – pushing their oppression to that extremity, as to put it totally out of their power to redeem themselves, because their lands and their vineyards were in the hands of other men: they had been transferred, so as to remove all possibility of extricating themselves from their embarrassments; leaving them nothing but poverty, despair, and slavery, for the future portion of their lives. Nehemiah, stung to the soul at hearings of all these evils, soon resolved what to do: - His honest heart, emboldened by a consciousness of having framed no laws that would screen such unbecoming conduct, and knowing that he had set a diametrically opposite example, encouraged him without delay to rebuke the usurious oppressors, and oblige them to bind themselves by a covenant, to restore their unjust gains; and lest they should attempt to evade or protract this reformation, he called the priests, and in their presence took an oath for the fulfilment, and shook his lap, and said, So God shake out every man from his house, and from his labour, that performeth not this promise, even thus be shaken out and emptied: and all the congregation responded, Amen, and praised the Lord – and the people did according to this promise. But, that demon Avarice should not submit to be thus foiled; and these nobles of Judah entered into a secret correspondence with Sanballat, his enemy, and aided his artful machinations against Nehemiah – they spread leis and false rumors and hired prophecies, wishing to terrify him by discovering his design; nay, they had the effrontery to extol the good deed of his enemies in his presence; and in return, like genuine sycophants, they carried his answers to their mischievous employers. But he passed firm and undaunted through all these - - - his big soul could not be shaken - - - his honest purposes could not be perverted: - - - And who, my brethren, has not seen such conduct, and such opposition arise, against almost every man, from the days of Nehemiah unto this hour who has attempted to stem the torrent of vice, irreligion, and oppression, and lead others to the performance of those things which are right?
His industry is seen, when he reconnoiters the walls and ruins, with a few faithful men, by night - - - in his appearing in person, exciting them to their work - - - in watching their enemies’ motions - - - in putting them into a posture of defence: We made our prayer to God, says he, and I set the people with their swords, their spears, and their bows; and I said unto them, Be not afraid of them - - - remember the Lord, who is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, you sons and your daughters, your wives and your houses. This industry also appeared in his attention to the reformation he made in the above mentioned usurious practices, and to a reestablishment of religion. To find false and treacherous brethren among the Jews themselves - - - to contend with men who were enlisted into the interest of foreigners - - - who were bribed into the service of idolatrous neighbours, and wished to behold their city and country invaded, in order to give all possible interruption to Nehemiah and the people - - - was employment enough for one man to guard against: but he must be industrious indeed, who could repel he assaults of apostate priests and false prophets, with their frightful enthusiastic predictions - - - with their feigned reports of meditated destruction from the hands of conspirators and assassins - - - with their attempts, by artful advice, to lead him to act the coward, to flee for shelter to the temple, or put himself there into a place of safety - - - and kindly, though treacherously, offering him their company. How excellent was the answer of this firm faithful ruler, Should such a man as I flee, (a man in public station who is there that, being as I am would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in.
His uniform deportment shone in all these cases; no shiftings; no waverings from his purposes; no false pretences or deceitful excuses, as popular passion, clamour, or frenzy - - - as ambition, avarice, or spleen, might lead. His eye was fixed upon the darling object of his heart; he abode twelve years by the work before he returned to Persia; and coming to Judea again, he proceeded in the reformation he had begun, and returning a second time, he probably devoted the remainder of his life to the service of God and his people. All fair means were taken to recover from the city from its ruin; and he had the unspeakable happiness to behold it filled with inhabitants - - - adorned - - - fortified - - - again distinguished among the neighbouring nation - - - and restored in a good degree to its former splendor.
His social virtues appeared, in that benevolent love to his countrymen, which led him, without pecuniary reward or emolument, to begin and appear in his own person at the head of this noble work; in his respectful and grateful attention to the king his master; in his hospitality to those whom he entertained daily at his table; in his sympathy for the suffering women and children and in his regard to the morals of the nation, by his attention to the reestablishment of their religion. Nay, all these virtues, and every one of his noble acts, are in reality to be extolled, and can only entitle him to the applause of God, from his real, unfeigned, and singular piety - - - a piety, which ever led him, as in our text, to appeal to God in every emergency, and having accomplished all, to cry, Think upon me, my God for good, and spare me according to the greatness of thy mercy. Most men would have been intoxicated with the success, the applause, the honour, and affection, which he met with; and been puffed up with the acclamations, and proofs of gratitude, which the world exhibited to him: but as what he did was for the service of God and religion, he preferred the approbation of Heaven before that of men. Humbled under the love, power, and mercy of God, to sinful man, he prays the great Creator and Preserver of all, top accept his good intentions, and forgive his imperfections. With the assistance of Ezra, he caused the law of God to be read and publicly explained to the people, and directed them religiously to observe all its rites and precepts, and ordained a solemn fast to ask the blessing of God. How pleasing were the sensations of this great man’s soul, when he beheld, in consequence of his exertions, synagogues built through the land, and public worship attended every Sabbath day! From thence the nation ever afterwards maintained the appearance of religion, and were preserved from idolatry.
Here we have a most justly admired personage - - - most highly to be extolled: behold him, secure upon all emergencies, in the honest and best affections of his people; - - - constantly blessed by his countrymen; - - - viewing, wherever he turned his eye, the great success of his exertions. He lives rewarded in Heaven with God, angels, and saints, and is enrolled in the first class of illustrious patriots, princes, and statesmen, who have lived in the world; and will continue to shine as a pattern to all such, in the present or future years, unto the last period of time. That country must be blessed, which lives under the administration of such a man; and that nation must be favoured by God indeed, which is ruled by a combination of such characters, , where similar worth and virtues are the excellencies that rouse the voice of gratitude and affection, and lay honours and profit at their feet, and court and importune their acceptance - - - hung o’er with no empty titles, and dazzling by no borrowed lustre - - - cursed by no injured innocent - - - dreaded by no defenseless citizen. Such will live, will rise and prosper, wherever merit is a jewel, and virtue a pearl of great price; while its enemies, pride, insolence, craft, duplicity, and insidious smiles - - - while they would deceive and betray our credulity, that they may grasp us in their armed paw, and crush us with their devouring jaws - - - may make our lives, honor, and prosperity, their sport and pastime - - - are spurned from our presence, and banished forever from our confidence.
Nehemiah is that noble character, in whom we see the likeness of the Beloved President of these States. Heaven has, in love, pointed them both to us, as patterns by which to regulate our actions, each in his sphere, whether in stations that are sacred or civil. These renowned men afford those distinguished traits, which all may read, and know; upon which they may and ought to form themselves from which they may gain just ideas, and a proper knowledge of those characters whom they, by their free election, appoint to govern themselves and others. Thus strengthening the bands of society, giving dignity, energy, and stability, to government, and making life a blessing.
Permit me to congratulate every class of my hearers, and every individual in these States, that a Washington has obeyed their summons, by an united suffrage, and honoured us by his cares and services. And while I do this, let me also strive to persuade my countrymen, when they contemplate his character, to imitate the conduct of those faithful followers of Nehemiah, who so steadfastly abode by the good work he was striving to effect and with warm, honest hearts, and cheerful voices, to echo their answer to his address, by crying, Let us rise up and build - - - perfect the temple of religion, and the edifice of liberty, which we have for a long time declared we wish to see properly founded, and their structures rise into a fair and beautiful building, united by the strongest ties of mutual affection and mutual interest : let us not , at this stage of our affairs, and in days of peace continue inactive, or forget the work before us; but strive to make civilization a blessing - - - to preserve our national honour, by mitigating, as far as possible, the lade distress occasioned by a long war - - - by reforming all dissoluteness or laxness of morals, and propagating of our holy religion; yielding to none in our exertions on these heads - - - proving that we are those patriots and Christians which we have professed and ought to be. This is a work to which every man may contribute a share - - - this is the errand for which we assemble in our religious, benevolent, and social combinations - - - in our state and national legislatures. In vain do we summon our brethren from their private business, and call our civil rulers, of every kind, from their homes and retirements, unless we also combine in carrying into execution their just laws. And we ought to guard our actions that in no particular we forfeit our honour as Americans – our rights as men – and, above all, our privileges as Christians. It is a degeneracy of morals, which language cannot sufficiently describe, for us to be sluggish, thoughtless, or selfish, who live in this age. It will be base indeed for us to forget our duty to God and man, by not striving to fix the rights and liberties of men on this continent, upon the firm foundations of law and good morals. It would pardon my repeating so painful a thought – it would be vile ingratitude in us, to the illustrious chief magistrate of the United States, should we call him to public station – hail him welcome to the chair - - - lift up our voices of joy and gratitude for so auspicious an event as his acceptance - - - salute and address him from every quarter - - - and thus to neglect, in the smallest degree, to help forward his disinterested, industrious labours in our cause, and we shall become monuments of ingratitude, and objects of abhorrence to all eternity. We are to guard his honour, and our own, by every selecting our wisest and best men to be his fellow-helpers, in the organizations of government. Piety, wisdom, virtues abilities, disinterestedness, firmness, are to be the requisites to form his councils, and preserve our freedom. If selfishness, if vices, if ignorance, and want of stability, should be indulged in our public officers - - - and places and preferments be their pursuit for themselves and their friends, and these begin gained, they may retire to enjoy the spoil, and wallow in their illgotten wealth - - - and thus give place for a second, and a third, and perpetual succession of electing, resigning and time serving regardless of expenses incurred in consequence, by leaving a people in the midst of difficulties, or throwing a whole country idle : if by new elections we shall be wretched and miserable soon, and evils accumulate thick and fast upon us - - - then patriotism, and virtue, and disinterestedness, will be farces indeed; they will be prostituted as sounds to dazzle a mob, and degrade the national honour. Or, should that amphibious animal, Insincere Duplicity, with its ignorance and indolence, with its fair words and plausible pretences, with its smiles and graces, serpent like, wind itself into our hearts and government – and proud Haman, and saluting rebelling Absalom, rise to the pinnacle of power, then will louder cries arise from injured citizens, lost property and usurious oppression, than ever rang in the streets of Jerusalem : then debauched youth, violated virgins, and abject vassals will be lifted into the retinue of public office – and no country rival us in wickedness. Sharping, over reaching, and deceit, will be recommended by public examples, and the world conclude themselves permitted to practice the same upon each other by way of retaliation. And if pride, with its undermining art, with its insolent followers stationed at every corner, and summoned at every sound of his trumpet, may exert all its art to serve itself, to silence the voice of injured worth, and the suitor for justice, and those who wish to preserve our national innocence and purity, we are going down in a broad road to destruction. We can all cry with Nehemiah, to an all seeing god and appeal to his mercy for time and eternity, because we have strove to do our duty, and can honestly say, Think upon me, my God for good, according as I have served my generation, by thy will - - - and done good to my people; then must we flourish and continue to prosper.
Under the fullest impression of the importance of all these great truths and duties, I am authorized to observe, that in no person can we find so important a pattern to regulate our lives, to give our characters the finishing strokes, and become as perfect as is possible for mortals to be, as in the great Author and founder of our religion, Jesus Christ the righteous, our great Mediator and advocate in heaven: - Nehemiah, and all the renowned men that ancient or modern times ever produced, sink as the stars before the bright luminary that rules the day when the Sun of Righteousness arises with healing under his wings, to those who fear God and keep his commandments. The great eternal Word, the Son of God, who came down from Heaven to save and reform a world lying in sin, has displayed unto us a glorious pattern of purest benevolence - - - he hath opened a fountain, from which alone we can draw the purest draughts of that heavenly excellence. The sight of impending calamites called forth his tears for his countrymen, tho hew as to have no share in them himself. His gospel teaches us to love all mankind. His religion inculcates private friendship, and public spirit - - - confining both within their due bounds - - - expanding our love, not to an individual or a nation, but to all mankind. We all sprang from the one common ancestor, to teach us, that as we are all of one blood and one family, so we ought to live in peace and love and that seas and mountains are not to be viewed as limits to our affection for others. We are all partakers of one common nature, and the mutual benevolence this idea begets, inculcates also that we love our neighbor who is our image. In this love, is involved, the various ties which gratitude and blood join to the bands of society; and we are to love our superiours, inferiours, and equals, so as to preserve a regard to the honour and felicity of others also. On this ground, we arose above the narrow dirty shell of selfishness, and are led to extend our prayers and endeavours for the preservation and salvation of all; and to watch against all unlawful incursions upon other from art, pride, insolence, and arbitrary power.
We have one common country and kindred to provide for; and a little distance of place, or long absence, are not to steel our hearts against seeking their advantage; and in no better way can we do them a benefit, than by establishing order, protecting innocence, promoting virtuous exertions, and sparing the distressed. If we permit immoralities to pass unhurt, and bad examples to poison the hearts of others, nothing can compensate for our folly. True religion makes the real patriot, and the fear of God forms the honest man, and if we confide only upon pretences to patriotism and honour, without personal virtue, experience clearly proves, we shall be foiled in our wishes, and robbed of our rights, whenever ambition, lust, pride, revenge, or private profit, lead another way. The piety of Moses, Nehemiah, and others, preserved their countrymen, when all other things were of no avail. The prayer of the righteous man availeth much. It Is the extending and preserving of religion in these states, that is acknowledge on all hands to be the only safeguard, and bulwarks to our liberties. A similarity of religion, language, and laws, have ever availed much to spread peace and prosperity: and unless the first binds our hearts in love, and restrains our unruly passion, we shall ever be exposed to confusion and tumult. The preservation of a religious, pure heart, is not less important; but becomes much more so, in a country where all religions are most justly tolerated, and ought and are promised to be protected; and all are to enjoy every advantage which law can afford to preserve, and whose professors are each determined to defend and maintain their own privileges. Upon this head, the conduct of our civil rulers every part of this continent, for many years, has been founded upon the purest justice, and most perfect policy, in not only protecting and guarding all from spoil and incursions, but striving to remove all cause of heartburnings, and jealousies by preferring one before another, either by an open or implied partiality; and while it is the duty, it is happy that it is the interest of every one to preserve it. Whilst “the path of true piety is left without any political direction,” and we profess to wish it to continue so, let us beware of infidelity and Laodicean indifference; and show our gratitude to God and our country, and prove our love to religion and its professors, by each living up to the rules and professions of his own order; and the emulation be, who shall best know, defend, and practice the truth; reproving backsliders, false professors, gainsayers, and other countries, for what we suppose to be defects in them, by our more pure doctrine, and more perfect life and conversation. If we do not prove that we are better men, better Christians, and more genuine patriots, than foreign professors are, in vain have we exulted, and in vain wish to see them free also if on the contrary, we abuse our liberty to licentiousness, and an occasion for sin and unless innovation, we have but promoted misery to our species and our zeal for others will be suspected to arise from some evil passion within - - - or to speak more plainly, if we wish to see test acts repealed abroad and ecclesiastical power curtailed, let those to whom our benevolent words and exertions are extended, see us living more soberly, righteously, and godly, than they - - - religion more extensively propagated by our exertions - - - and better supported and attended among ourselves, than with them. Until we do this, they will retort the advice of the apostle as not inapplicable to us, Study to be quiet and mind your own business: or say, Thou hypocrite, first remove the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to take the mote out of thy brother’s eye.
To the desire of encouraging the generous principle of protecting all denominations of professors, I attribute the honour don me in calling me to lead the devotions of this day - - - and to preach before this assembly. So singular a proof of Christian charity and polite attention, in beginning a more equal practice in New England, according to the opinion and wish of so large a part of our country, demands my highest gratitude. It would however be arrogance in me, to assume this honour as done to myself alone. I am happy to know, and proud to receive it, as a tribute of affection and good will, to the communion of which I am a member. I declare, their united sentiments - - -their principles - - - their words & actions - - - demand, that I thank the honourable the President and legislature of this state, for this mark of love, and specimen of generosity: the first of its kind that has ever taken place in these eastern states. And, while our communion are thus noticed, let me ask the same tenderness and attention to our Christian brethren of every name. Good, pious sincere, learned men, are to be found in all communions. In every nation, he that feareth God and worketh righteousness, is accepted of him. If God thus extend his care to all, let us not be inattentive to his will, nor appear to limit his mercies or our favours by any unnecessary partialities; or debar them an equal opportunity to inculcate the great duties we owe each other. Morality and virtue to be encouraged: and it is the glory and interest of these states to cherish them in every person, and every shape. Our conduct ought to banish every idea of superiority; leaving all, while they are good and peaceable subjects, to possess their prosperity and privileges, without injury or distress, and to support and propagate true religion, as is most agreeable to their consciences.
To help us in our exertions in spreading the blessings of religion, learning, and liberty, in this state, we are happy to have a flourishing university - - - endowed by public aid, and by the benevolent contributions of all parties - - - by various grants and donations both at home and abroad, and by the assistance annually given in the sums expended there by students from all religious denominations. This, under the guidance of governours and instructors, chosen impartially from all, will tend to preserve equal liberty in our country - - - encourage private generosity - - - and fairly, justly, and honourably, open the public purse; and the kind offices and fostering care of every real patriot. And our academies, and inferior schools, being placed upon the same proper and liberal foundation, will derive advantages to themselves, and diffuse extensive benefits to the community, which will ever be liable to be lost by a contrary practice; and should we ever be so unhappy as to give just cause of jealousy and complaint upon this subject, which the first writers and advocates for the rights of men, both in our country and in Europe, have so often and so boldly taught and inculcated, with all possible zeal and eloquence; we must fully our honour as a nation, our reputation as a state, and our characters as Christians. Our youth are ever to be educated with the most generous sentiments, and ought not, by the early prejudice of education to be drawn to gain habits of thinking which may check the benevolent love and desire to serve every man - - - whether his colour, or his creed, accords with that of his own or not. These youth, in due time, will take the reins in matters both sacred and civil; and by a wrong bias may be deprived of advantages to themselves, and prevented doping good to their common country, from influence in early life, that they may lament when too late; and blame the inattention of the influential, who did not see to it, that they had more enlarged ideas and more generous sentiments; and in consequence behold themselves deprived of those pleasing sensations, and perhaps those honours and profits, that generally fall to the share of the most liberally and universally instructed and informed. Should our colleges and schools in America become the property of religious party, very man of our citizens must be subjected to great inconveniences, and experience real injuries and infringements upon their liberties. A conduct like this would be perverting the principles of the American revolution; it would be laying the charge of innocent blood upon the land, by any method whatever to oblige the sons and descendants of those who fought, bled and died, in the late war, to either remain in ignorance, or be driven to so painful and alternative as to receive an education where anything inconsistent with equal liberty can affect them – where neglects, unfair advantages, the influence of instructors, may warp them from their own, their parents and guardians principles.
Any and every superiority in matters of religion or education, leaves our patriots and their families and right to depend too much upon the precarious foundation of having them preserved and defended by those who fled from the very dangers in which their predecessors may have lost their lives - - - or to which their cowardice, or selfishness, might have caused them to turn their backs; and making our heroes and statesmen but tools to effect party purposes, and absurdly fix shackles upon themselves and their posterity. Here a thousand thoughts crowd upon the mind, and draw forth the wish, to see the instruction of our youth more generally under the public care than at present, that we may not tremble for any of them lest they lose those benefits in life, which their fathers purchased with their deaths. Persecution consists in depriving us of any right or honest enjoyment in life because of our religious tenents; and is found in the licentious tongue – in the assault upon the personal character – and in all the shapes in which men tyrannize over each other’s consciences. It may be found as distressing to our felicity, and dangerous to our rights, in other things, as in the inquisitions of Spain and Portugal: and while we strive to gain emancipation for slaves, we are to beware how we persecute freemen. When at the closing scene of life – when all things appear real – a long series of actions are to be reviewed; and amongst others, we shall examine how we have performed our duty to our neighbours, and particularly our general duties to society; how exquisite must be the sensation of the real Christian an patriot, who has contributed to do good – to reform the manners – and preserve men in a just regard to each other’s felicity! He can call upon God, Think upon me, for good, according to all that I have done for this people: sealing his will – his lips – and his life – with his sentiments; as Nehemiah does this book.
This day we see you, our civil fathers, collected together upon that all-important business, the attendance upon the civil and religious concerns of this people, in a thousand forms: may God prosper your consultations, for the promotion of his glory, and the good of every individual in this state. To be called fathers, is the most honorable epithet we can bestow upon the benefactors of our species — and to be political fathers, is the endearing term which we trust our rulers in these states will ever consider as the highest expression of love and veneration, that can be paid to them by us, her citizens.
In Nehemiah, I have depicted the leading traits n so important a character: he was a father indeed to the nation of the Jews – and was ever father more gratified by the success of his labours and cares? – May similar enjoyments and honors be the share of the beloved President of this state – of each of the members of this legislature – of every officer in this government – and of every one, who, in his sphere as a person in sacred, civil, or private life, is striving to make our country prosperous.
Nehemiah did not accomplish his errand without piously following God’s own instituted mode, and calling in the assistance of Ezra, a minister and prophet of the Lord, and that of the priests: - and it is happy for us in this country, that a similar aid is to be had from the ministers of religion, and the teachers of virtue and morality, among Christians of every name. Their office, their piety, zeal, learning, and example, will gladly be afforded upon all occasions, to enforce our duties to God and man, and especially the necessity of obedience to the civil magistrate. With such united strength, the power of the people expressed by the acts of their representative, and the influence of religion, displayed in the lives and doctrines of spiritual guides, we may look forward to happy times on earth, and for rewards and joys in Heaven. May we all, in our stations, remember and practice upon the precepts and examples of the great Founder of our religion, and Author of our salvation; and never forget to imitate Abraham, Moses, Nehemiah, and the renowned and benefactors in their day unto our race. But may we every day do something for the good of others, and by our piety to God, obtain his applause at last, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, with patriarchs, prophets and apostles, in the kingdom of Heaven, enjoying the fullest draughts of love and benevolence, from God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the God and Father of the spirits of all flesh – hearing no vice, thro the boundless realms of being but the voice of love; under whose meek but powerful influences, may all the kingdoms of the earth become the kingdoms of the Lord, and his Christ.
Now to the holy triune God, be ascribed all honour, glory, might, majesty, and dominion, forever and ever.