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AUTHOR AND SPIRIT OF THE GOSPEL. 367
1. AUTHOR AND SPIRIT OF THE GOSPEL.
He was a firm believer in the Christian religion; and at his first entrance on his civil administration, he made it known, and adhered to his purpose, that no secular business could be transacted with him, on the day set apart by Christians for the worship of the Deity. J. M. SEWALL, Portsmouth, N. II., 1799.
To Christian institutions be gave the countenance of his example.
He was a sincere believer in the Christian faith.
Rev. J. T. KIRKLAND. Chief Justice MARSHALL. Judge BOUDINOT.
He had all the genuine mildness of Christianity, with all its force. He was neither ostentatious nor ashamed of his Christian profession.
J. SMITII, Exeter, N. II., Feb. 22, 1800.
He was a professor of Christianity.
A Christian, in faith and practice.
Rev. DEVEREUX JARRATT, Dinwiddie Co., Va., 1800.
THE PURE AND BENIGN LIGHT OF REVELATION.
The free cultivation of letters, the unbounded extension of commerce, the progressive refinement of manners, the growing liberality of sentiment, and, above all, the pure and benign light of Revelation, have had a meliorating influence on mankind, and increased the blessings of society.
SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY.
It would ill become me to conceal the joy I have felt, in perceiving the fraternal affection which appears to increase every day among the friends of genuine religion. It affords edifying prospects, indeed, to see Christians, of every denomination, dwell together in more charity, and conduct themselves, in respect to each other, with a more Christian-like spirit, than ever they have done, in any former age, or in any other nation.
EXAMPLE OF ITS DIVINE AUTHOR.
I make it my earnest prayer, that God would have the Governors, and the States over which they preside, in his holy protection; that he would incline the hearts of citizens, to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government; to entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another, for their fellow-citizens of the United States at large, and particularly for their brethren who have served in the field; and finally, that he would most graciously be pleased, to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind, which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without an humble imitation of whose
AUTHOR AND SPIRIT OF THE GOSPEL. 369
example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy nation.
While I reiterate the professions of my dependence upon Heaven, as the source of all public and private blessings, I will observe, that the general prevalence of piety, philanthropy, honesty, industry, and economy, seems, in the ordinary course of human affairs, particularly necessary for advancing and confirming the happiness of our country.
While all men within our territories are protected, in worshipping the Deity according to the dictates of their consciences, it is rationally to be expected from them, in return, that they will all be emulous of evincing the sanctity of their professions, by the innocence of their lives, and the beneficence of their actions; for no man who is profligate in his morals, or a bad member of the civil community, can possibly be a TRUE CHRISTIAN, or a credit to his own religious society.
Your love of liberty, your respect for the laws, your habits of industry, and your practice of the moral and religious obligations, are the strongest claims to national and individual happiness.
The General hopes and trusts, that every officer
and man will endeavor to live and act, as becomes A CHRISTIAN SOLDIER, defending the dearest rights and liberties of his country.
2. RELIGIOUS LIBERTY.
Christianity, in the United States, is clothed in its primitive, independent, democratic character. There it preaches, as well as furnishes an example of, equality and human fraternity. Its maintenance is not the work of a privileged caste, or of powerful individuals. It is a tie that binds together all classes of society.
It is my belief, that, in periods remarkable for the prevalence of democratic principles, men should devote their utmost attention to Christianity.
All profess the same religion, the same faith, and entertain the same convictions, though they adopt different vestments, if I may thus express myself when speaking of various sects which seem merely like so many branches borne by the tree of the Christian religion. M. POUSSIN, Minister of France to the United States.
Government being, among other purposes, instituted to protect the persons and CONSCIENCES of men from oppression, it certainly is the duty of rulers, not only to abstain from it themselves, but, according to their stations, to prevent it in others.
If I could have entertained the slightest apprehension, that the Constitution, framed in the convention where I had the honor to preside, might possibly
endanger the religious rights of any ecclesiastical society, certainly I would never have placed my signature to it.
If I could conceive, that the General Government might ever be so administered, as to render the liberty of conscience insecure, no one would be more zealous than myself, to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution.
Being no bigot myself, to any mode of worship, I am disposed to indulge the professors of Christianity in the Church, with that road to heaven, which to them shall seem the most direct, plainest, easiest, and least liable to exception.
As mankind become more liberal, they will be more apt to allow, that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community, are equally entitled to the protection of civil government.
I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations, in examples of justice and liberality.
I trust, the people of every denomination, who demean themselves as good citizens, will have occasion