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Eulogies on Adams and Jefferson an institutions. Stronger proofs of (Continued.)
a high and almost chivalrous patriHaving already offered our opin- otism cannot be demanded, than ion at considerable length, upon the they uniformly exhibited, as memgeneral and comparative literary bers of the old Congress, and in all merits of the encomiastical selec- their foreign diplomatic agencies, tion before us, and disposed of two during the revolutionary struggle. or three other topics which fell di. To them, greatly, though not perrectly under our supervision as haps more than to some of their ilChristian Spectators, we shall now lustrious compeers, are these Uniinvite the attention of our readers ted States indebted, under Provito some of the more vital principles dence, for the undisputed enjoyof this splendid and popular volume. ment of the richest civil and politIt is too late, we think, for any ical blessings. body to question, that in the com- That Adams and Jefferson were mon acceptation of the term, Ad- both entitled to a high rank as ams and Jefferson were great statesmen, might easily be proved men. They were endowed by na- by a reference to their revolutionary ture, with uncommon intellectual services, in the councils of the constrength, forecast, and penetration. federation, at home, and in the cabThey enjoyed the best advantages inets of foreign powers,' without of education which the country six- looking at the measures of either ty years ago could afford; and when subsequently placed at the they appear to have done them- head of the Federal Government. selves great justice, in the early im. Both their official and less public provement of their talents and op writings abundantly prove, that they portunities. Mr. Adams was a had studied the rights of man, and deep thinker, an earnest, business- the principles of civil government like speaker, and a nervous, philo- deeply; and the experience of sophic writer. Mr. Jefferson was more than half a century has added not only a philosopher, but a polite its sanction to most of their early scholar; and they both came for- political speculations. In the shades ward into public life, at a crisis of retirement, particularly during most favourable for the develope. the last ten years of their lives, they ment and exercise of their uncom- were regarded with increasing venmon powers.
eration by the American people ; Of the merits, or demerits, the and though the frosts of alırost a policy or impolicy, of their respect- century had whitened their locks, ive administrations we have almost and chilled the current of life withRothing to say. Neither was abso- in them, it would seem that nothlutely perfect; under both the coun- ing could abate the ardour of their try prospered. But of their patri- patriotism, or diminish the interest otism and revolutionary services, which they had so long cherished we have no hesitation in speaking in the freedom and prosperity of freely, though our limits will com- their country. pel us to speak briefly. It admits When such men die, an enlightnot of a doubt with us, that they ened and grateful people will speak were both ardent lovers of their of their services ; and it would, we country ;-and unwavering and in confess, exceedingly alarm us, to corruptible friends of her republic- see them go down unheeded with
the common multitude to the grave. ments, in the chair of state, than For should such an apathy ever with common talents, in a private pervade the public mind, it would station. The talented advocate of be ominous of extreme danger to his country's rights in a foreign our republican institutions. Let court, or the brave defender of those then, who have ably and faith- them in the “ tented field," may be fully served their country, receive at the same time, either the friend their reward in the gratitude of ma- or the enemy of God, may be ny generations. Let their virtues “seeking for glory and honour and and public usefulness be recorded, immortality” above, or be groveland even commemorated, to keep ling among the “ beggarly elealive the spirit of independence, ments" of this world—may be and transmit its invaluable blessings " fighting the good fight of faith,” to posterity. But let every me. or marching onward to perdition. morial and every celebration, be In regard to meetness for heaven, characterized by republican simpli- worldly estimation and applause city and Christian moderation. prove nothing. That noble daring Let things be called by their right which breaks its fetters and hurls names ; and let not principles and them in defiance at the oppressor, actions be confounded, which are proves nothing. Even the longest widely different, both in their na- life spent in the public service ture and tendencies.
proves nothing, because there are When a man dies, who has been so many worldly and selfish motives distinguished for any valuable trait which are known to be sufficient of character, or extraordinary of themselves to secure official incourse of public usefulness, let his tegrity, especially in high and honfriends and admirers be satisfied ourable stations to the very last with the meed of commendation hour, which he has fairly earned, without We feel it to be our duty as boasting of services which he nev- Christian Spectators, to insist the er rendered, or claiming for him more earnestly on this point, bevirtues which there is no satisfacto cause, if we mistake not, it is beTy evidence that he ever possessed. coming more and more fashionable
To identify piety with love of in certain quarters, entirely to country, or to infer that any depart. overlook all the scriptural qualifica. ed public benefactor was a good tions for a happy immortality, and Christian, because he possessed to send our distinguished revolugreat talents, or because he was an tionary patriots one after another eminent statesman, or a warm and to heaven, almost as a matter of incorruptible patriot, is as unscrip- course. The recollection of our tural,and as contrary to experience, readers will doubtless furnish them as it would be to argue, that a great with many examples, in fourth-of. statesman must necessarily abound July orations, which they have in all the tender charities of pric heard, and the obituary notices vate life, or that a distinguished which have fallen under their obmathematician must of course be servation. We object to these puba great general, or an ardent friend lic and uncalled for effusions of of republican institutions. These charity, on several accounts. In are points not to be assumed, but the first place, most of them are like every thing else, to be proved entirely gratuitous. Not a svllable by the proper evidence. We have, of proof is even offered to justify to say the most, no better right to them, aside from what military, infer the coexistence of piety with civil, and political services can furextraordinary intellectual endow. nish. How inadequate these are,
we have already briefly shown. In tinguished subjects of eulogy and the second place, no human per- statuary, are no better prepared for suasion, however confidently ex. the presence and service of a holy pressed, that all is well with de- God in the one case than they were parted patriots and sages, can in the other, it is delightful to think, make the least difference in their how many bright exceptions the hiseternal condition. If they are in tory of our own country furnishes to heaven it will not make them more this remark. Some of our greatest happy, and if they are not in heav. and wisest and most useful men, en, it will never place then there. have been among the best, among
In the third place, while that un- the humblest and most devoted ser. measured eulogy which never rests vants of God. And though we cantill it has glorified its favourites, not prove that the soul of one man can do no possible good to the is more valuable than that of anothdead, it is calculated to do much er, we dwell with peculiar interest harm to the living : and it is on upon the evidence which a great this account, chietly, that we enter public benefactor leaves behind our solemn protest against it. So him, that having served God and long as it is tolerated and applaud his generation, he has entered into ed by listening thousands, our the eternal joys of a good and faithyoung men who are hereafter to ful servant in the heavens.' sustain the most important offices Such, in the judgment of their in the gift of a free people, will be present eulogists, is the happy conapt to overlook, if they do not des- dition of the two venerable “ Patripise, those moral qualifications archs of the Revolution,” who left which alone are of any avail in the the world together, on the great sight of God; and to expect a day of their country's Jubilee. This double immortality, as the reward favourable and even confident opinof their political integrity and pub- ion of their having gone into the lic services. If their predecessors heavens, together with the grounds have on these grounds been accept- of it, so far as the writers before us ed and taken up to their high and have stated the reasons of their beeternal reward, why should they lief, we shall now submit to our not confidently look for the same readers in one connected view. heavenly distinction, without giving “Scarcely had the funeral knell of themselves the trouble of passing Jefferson been sounded in our ears, through the valley of humiliation ? when we were startled by the death Thus many will reason, and thus of another patriot-of Adams the will they fatally mistake the way to compeer of his early fame-the opfuture happiness, so long as the posing orb of his meridian day-the learned, the honourable and the elo friend of his old age and his comquent, conspire to perpetuate the panion to the realms of bliss.” Ty. fond and sweet delusion.
ler. p. 57. “And when the sun of But while, in a Christian land, it that happy day was past his meridhas become so fashionable for ora- ian, the acclamations of rejoicing, tors and journalists to send their fa- aroused them for a moment from vourites to heaven, especially from the lethargy of approaching dissothe high places of society, on the lution, to hail once more the great same grounds, exactly, as the Ro- and glorious occasion ; and their mans were wont to place their he- enfranchised souls instantly winged roes and conscript fathers in the their flight to the realms of bliss." Elysian fields, or to exalt them still Cushing. p. 23. “You are gone! higher; and while there is too much you have fought the good fight and reason to fear, that most of the dis- have winged your flight from the field of your fame, to the regions of the realms of eternal bliss. Otheternal bliss, to receive your reward er passages equally unequivocal in heaven." Cambreleng. p. 72. might be quoted from the present “ Their pure spirits have been per- "Selection," and indeed, the whole mitted to take their exit, on the spirit of it is in accordance with the brightest day the sun has ever light- sentiment which these extracts so ed, and be wafted back to the great confidently express. Any strictures fountain of life.” S. Smith. p. 91. that we think it our duty to offer, “ Whenever the fourth of July ar- would be quite premature, till the rives, mankind will see in his rising grounds of this high and celestial beams the rays of liberty; and in award are fully and fairly stated his meridian path, the names of the from the eulogists themselves; but two patriots, who consecrated the we shall take this opportunity to day to freedom, and ascended to its make a few general remarks upon rewards on its Jubilee.” J. E. that more sacred species of eulogy, Sprague. p. 259. “The blessings which we so often see in obituary of emancipated millions have fol. notices, and so often hear on fune. lowed their spirits to those regions, ral occasions. where life is without end and where Such expressions as the follow. sorrow never enters." Thornton, ing will be recognized by our seri. p. 330. “Hope celestial, resigna- ous readers as extremely common. tion and prayers for their country “ Our departed friend was a Christ. accompanied their tranquil pas- ian''--" he evidenced his faith by sage to immortality.” Wilkins. his works"_" love to God and man p. 347. Of the whole brave and were predominant traits in bis charanimated band who signed the dec- acter"-" he bore a long and dislaration of independence, with the tressing sickness with singular exception of a single survivor, it is Christian fortitude and resigna. said, “They have bequeathed to tion"_" in all his sufferings he us the immortal record of their vir- never uttered a murmuring word" tue and patriotism, and have ascen- -" he died as he had lived, a sin. ded to a brighter reward than men cere Christian"-" he departed in can confer.” Wirt. p. 406. And the full hope of a glorious immor. again, “ The wonder is, that two tality"--" he has, as we confidently such men should on this fiftieth an- believe, entered into the joy of his niversary of the day on which they Lord'-" his toils have ceased, his had ushered the cause of liberty warfare is ended, and he has gone into light, be caught up to heaven to his eternal rest."-" Blessed together in the midst of their rap- are the dead who die in the Lord." tures. May we not, with reverence, Such things as these are every interpret the voice of heaven in this day said, not only of those who wonderful dispensation, . These are have been eminently distinguishmy beloved servants in whom I am ed for their piety, but of mawell pleased. They have finished ny, who while living, exhibited no the work for which I sent them into remarkable proofs of love to God the world, and are now called to and the Saviour ; and of some, who their reward."
were never known to give any othOur readers will perceive, that er evidence of piety than a cold prothe above extracts are taken from fession of religion, and perhaps not every part of this volume, and that even that, till it appeared in the they express not a strong belief, newspapers. Far from us be the merely, but full assurance; and wish to prevent any bright Christthat not of one, but of many, that ian example from being held up to Adams and Jefferson are now in public view, or to condemn indis
criminately the practice of expres- which will bear a favourable consing hope and even confidence in struction. At the same time there regard to the eternal state of the seems to be a kind of tacit agreepious dead. There are some ex- ment throughout the parish, or amples of holy living” and “holy town, to remember only the virtues dying” which seem to leave no of the dead; and even his enemies, room for doubt that all is well after if he had any, are more than half death ; and to justify the highest reconciled to his being sent to degree of confidence which par. heaven, especially as they anticitiality itself can wish to express. pate that they may one day need But they are few in number, com- the same kind office themselves. pared with the multitudes who go Thus while the grave and the down to the grave; and even where fountains of grief and sympathy are the evidences of piety shine out in all open at once, the minister is their holiest lustre, might it not in sent for to comfort the mourners most cases be better to follow the and attend the funeral. He reexample of Paul, and say, " a faith- pairs to the house of weeping, and ful brother, as I suppose,” than to sits down with the widow and her speak without any such qualifica- fatherless children. Thus circumion ? The sacred writers are very stanced, and earnestly wishing to sparing of their eneomiums upon console them to the full extent of departed saints, and indeed rarely his ability, how difficult is it to re. say more of them than that they frain from expressing a cheering were gathered to their fathers. hope that it is well with the husHow much less do the scriptures band and father, though he may authorize such hopes and assurance have left no evidence of piety beas we often hear expressed respec- hind him. So when the pastor rises ting the dead, who, so far as man to speak in prayer; or in exhortacan judge, neither lived the life nor tion, it is commonly under an equal, died the death of the righteous. if not an increased excitement.
It is certainly a very interesting Nor is this all. Full well does he inquiry, how far ministers of the know, that every word from which gospel have countenanced, and are his own views of the religious charstill in the habit of countenan- acter of the deceased can be gathcing this unauthorized liberality of ered, will be eagerly caught up and speech by their own example. That weighed by the audience. If he many go to the utmost verge of what says nothing on the subject, friends is lawful, in their holy vocation, will will be dissatisfied and put the most not we presume be denied ; but unfavourable construction upon his then it must be remembered that silence. If on the other hand, to the circumstances in which they save their feelings, he expresses a are placed are often peculiarly del. hope in general and guarded terms, icate and trying
it is still worse. And to increase The death of a respectable pa- the embarrassment, it will somerishioner, is always deeply afflictive times happen, that the deceased to his family and friends; and they has been a firm and liberal supportnaturally look to their pastor for the er of his minister ; that he has left strongest sympathy in their sorrows. many wealthy and influential relaIn the mournful discharge of his offi- tions and friends in the parish ; and eial duties, he is expected to forget that to increase their displeasure, every blemish and doubtful trait in would be extremely hazardous. A the character of the deceased, and conscientious pastor will not, inwith pious solicitude to recall every deed, knowingly, suffer himself to word and act and circumstance be swayed by such motives ; but