Since religion is so necessary to the happiness of civil society, an enemy to the former cannot be a friend to the latter. He who treats revelation with contempt ; he who tramples on divine institutions; he who encourages vice and impiety by his exam. ple and conversation, does more to undermine the national security, than, by any other means, he can do to establish it.

4. Love to our country will express itself in pray. ers for her prosperity. “Pray for the peace of Jeru. salem,” says the Psalmist," they prosper that love thee. Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces.” The apostle directs, that

prayers be made for all men,” and particularly " for them who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life. This is acceptable in the sight of God.” Prayer is a proper expression of our benevolence to men, as well as of our piety to God. If we believe that there is an allwise, and almighty Governour, who superintends the affairs of nations, we must believe it to be his will, that we should apply to him for national blessings and protections, as well as for personal supports and mercies.

I have illustrated the nature and operations of love to our country. I now ask your attention to some reflections which result from the subject.

1. True patriotism is a nobler attainment than some seem to imagine.

It includes compassion for the unhappy, hatred of sin, love of virtue, disinterestedness, selfdenial, industry, prudence, piety and devotion ; yea, eve. ry thing that is excellent and amiable. It is not an empty sound, but a solid virtue, or rather an assen. blage of virtues. It is not a philosophical parade, but a christian grace ; yea, a collection of graces.

Though the gospel has not enjoined the love of our country, in these very words, yet it has abundantly

inculcated the thing itself. It requires us to love our neighbours, our brethren, our enemies, and all men ; and to look not only at our own things, but also at the things of others.

2. There is a great difference between talking warmly in our country's favour, and really loving it.

A man may say much in the praise of his country, its constitution, trade, soil and climate, and give it the preference to all other countries; he may plead for its rights with great earnestness, and do much to support its credit and respectability ; and yet not be a real lover of it--not have any pure benevolence, any piety to God, or regard to virtue ; but be influenced wholly by ambition and avarice ; he may still practise those vices, which, if they should generally prevail, would bring national misery and ruin. Balaam could not be hired to curse Israel. He said the finest things of the nation.“ God hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, nor seen perverseness in Israel. Blessed is every one that blesscth them, and cạrsed is every one that curseth them.” Was not he a friend to God's people ?-Follow him a little farther, and you will see. Though he would not assist their destruction by a prophetic execration, yet he told their enemy, how he might bring on them an efficacious curse. He taught Balak to cast a stumbling block before them, by which they would fall into fornication and idolatry. This advice was more fatal, in its consequences, than a hundred formal execrations would have been. It was the means of involving them in such guilt, as could not be expiated without the death of multi. tudes. Every man who is a promoter of wickedness is an enemy to his country. He contributes to its disgrace and misery. Did not Achan sin in the accursed thing? but that man perished not alone in his iniquity.

3. It appears from our subject, that a people, who enjoy, and profess to believe divine revelation, ought to make some stated provision for maintaining and preserving the social worship of the Deity.

This is a plain dictate of reason, as well as scripture. As God has made mankind to subsist in a state of society, every thing which is in its nature, necessary to the welfare of society, must be approved by him. Every one knows, that society cannot be continued, much less be happy, without some degree of virtue, and without a general restraint on men's selfish passions and vicious inclina. tions. The first and principal object in every society must be, to prevent, or restrain injustice, oppression, sensuality, idleness and dissoluteness of man. ners; and to encourage and support righteousness, sobriety, industry, and all those virtues, which tend to the happiness of individuals, and of the community.--Now there are but two ways in which this design can be effected. It must be either by light and reason ; or, by force and terror. And which is most consistent with the liberty and dignity of rational beings; to govern them by stripes and gibbets, prisons and workhouses ; or, to govern them by conviction and persuasion, argument and motive? If mankind ought to be governed, not as slaves, but freemen--not as brutes, but moral agents, then provision ought to be made for the diffusion of necessary knowledge, and especially of the knowledge of religion, which offers the grand motives to every social and private virtue. There ought to be schools for the instruction and education of youth. There ought also to be some standing means of more publick and general instruction in the great principles and duties of religion. Every one knows that the belief of the being and providence of God, and the apprehension of a future state of retribution, are the grand principles of all virtue. And it is also evident, that the publick, social worship of God

is the best, and the only effectual mean of maintaining and diffusing among a people this apprehension and belief. If then there were no such thing as the gospel, it would still be the duty and interest of ev. ery community, to provide means for promoting the knowledge of natural religion ; such as the be. ing and government of God, a future retribution, the nature and necessity of virtue, its tendency to the happiness of society and of particular persons, and the miserable consequences of vice; because such provision would be a more cheap, rational and liberal way of governing mankind, than any other that can be imagined.

Civil magistrates have no right to dictate men's belief, or control their consciences. But the worship of the Deity, and the obligations of virtue, are contrary to no man's conscience. He who has any religion at all, acknowledges these. He who has no religion, and believes none, can have no conscience in the matter.

It appears then, that the gospel, properly speaking, never costs men any thing; for it calls them to do nothing more, than, as members of society, they are bound to do; and, as good members of society, they would be inclined to do, if the gospel had never come to them.

If, in a social and civil view, they would be bound to maintain publick teachers, who should explain and inculcate the principles and duties of natural religion, What grievance is it that the gospel requires them to maintain christian teachers? The gospel instructs us in all those truths and virtues, which belong to natural religion, and which are necessary to the good of society in the present state. Has it injured us in pointing out a way to heaven through a Redeemer, in promising pardon to sinners on repentance, and in offering grace to help our infirmities?

The reason why some doubt, whether civil rulers should concern themselves in the support of religion, is, because it is a matter which relates to men's souls. And indeed, considered simply in this view, it must be merely a matter of private judgment in which the civil powers are not to interfere. But so far as it relates to the good of society, rulers ought to encourage and support this as well as any thing else, which relates to the same end.

They who deny, that rulers have any thing to do in religious matters, will find themselves involved in absurdity and contradiction. For, on their ground, it will follow, that there must be no laws against vice, or in favor of virtue, no laws against theft, oppression, drunkenness, idleness and profanity; or in favour of industry, charity, righteousness and sobriety. For such laws have relation to matters, which essentially concern religion. If we allow, that there may be laws to regulate our social manners, we grant the whole matter in question ; because our social manners are immediately connected with religion. And if these are to be regu. lated, it will follow, that the worship of the Deity, the observance of the sabbath, and an attendance on the acknowledged institutions of heaven, are to be encouraged and supported ; because these are the best and surest means of promoting social virtue and happiness.

4. If we ought to regard the interest of our coun. try at large, we ought, for the same reasons, to consult the peace and happiness of the smaller socie. ties of which we are members.

The same principles, which ought to govern nations, ought also to govern those societies, into which nations are subdivided. The apostle's in. struction should be religiously observed in all our social conduct, “Let nothing be done through strife, or vain glory; but, in lowliness of mind, let each

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