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ration of the United States, are bound to give; from the two-fold consideration, first, of its being a primary and professed object, of our orignal settlement in this country; and secondly, the best means of securing our peace and prosperity, in the enjoyment and improvement of our unparralleled rights and privileges! To this let me add a third consideration, infinitely surpassing both the others; namely, the recompense of reward, in a world to come, promised to those who are the blessed instruments of “ turning many unto righteousness, and from the bondage of sin, to serve the living God!”
And first, that the propagation of Christianity was a main object expressed in the design of our original settlement in this extensive and fertile land, is a truth which the authentic documents of our Colonization will not suffer to be denied.
To speak of the most ancient settlement, namely that of Virginia (and indeed to save your time, in referring to any others) the great Chancellor Bacon, in his speech at the opening of parliament in 1620, mentions this “ Settlement as a call of Providence to
propagate the Gospel, and on that account, one of “ the greatest glories of the nation. Now, for the “ first time, says he, this kingdom hath gotten a por“ tion in the New World (a small portion it was then,
compared to what God, in his providence, hath “ since given to these United States.) Let us improve “ that portion, continues he, to the glory of God, “and our own happiness depending on His divine “ favour-It is with the kingdoms on earth, as it is in “ the kingdom of heaven-a grain of mustard-seed
“ becomes a great tree.” Indeed many years before Lord Bacon, and before any complete organized settlement either of South or North Virginia, afterwards called New-England, the venerable Hackluyt advocates the settlement of this part of the NewWorld (to which we are the rightful heirs, under God only,) from the pious consideration that “ Set“tlers emigrating from a Christian land, might “ become the happy instruments of bringing many pagans to the Faith of Christ.”
In confirmation of these principles, our Patents of ancient date (granted to establish companies for improving trade and plantations in America) expressly enjoin, and covenant with, the first adventurers and settlers, the propagation of the Christian Faith; not only as a duty to God, from whom sovereignty is derived, “ and under whom nations decree justice;" but as the best security for the peace and happiness of the individual settlers, colonies and states.
In early times our forefathers were not forgetful of these principles, nor of their vows to God and the solemn covenant, upon which their emigration was partly founded. Societies were formed, and much money expended, while these states remained as separate colonies, for the conversion and instruction of our pagan neighbours. Many of these socie. ties have persevered to this day, some with greater and some with less zeal, according to the influence which religion has maintained, over their lives and characters. The success has not indeed been always answerable to the pious hopes and wishes of good men.
Tares have been scattered among the wheat;
and an Enemy has not always done this; but by the conversation and evil example of many of our own Citizens, conversant with those untutored nations (for the purposes of trade and barter) the noxious seeds have been increased and multiplied.
But the happy æra now dawns, yea shines under a bright and risen sun, when the efforts of those scattered societies, however variant in the non-essentials of Christianity, may be collected under our Catholic and tolerant general government, into one bright and burning Focus; diffusing and disseminating its unextinguishable and undying rays, further and still further to the utmost bourne of this New World; and when these traders will be subjected to the laws of morality and civil order.
This government, from the unforgotten preju dices and policy of former times, has, during its infant existence, been obliged to struggle with many hereditary obstructions to this great work-But the magnanimity of our national councils, and of our citizens, however divided in local and territorial interests, or in resentment of the wrongs endured from hostile and savage neighbours (under circumstances which would have provoked the more ambitious and less enlightened policy of other nations, to hold forth the Sword only) has gloriously led the temperate wisdom of our executive, to hold forth the wreath of Peace in the one hand, although well strengthened with the Sword in the other. Providence has smiled on this humane and Christian policy, and the prospect of speedypeace," in all our borders," now dawns upon us.
This Peace, if established on the permanent foundation of Laws and equal Justice, in our Transactions with all our Neighbours, of every tribe and tongue, will be a precious gem, and one of the brightest in the diadem of glory which crowns the administration of our government; and to a gracious Providence we may then devoutly look up, when we offer ourselves as humble instruments, towards the accomplishment of its eternal purposes,“ in making wars to cease,” and extending Civilization, Humanity, and all the blessings of rational Liberty, good Government and Gospel-knowledge to the utmost ends of America; thus uniting and binding her various tribes and in. habitants, of every nation and every hue, into one Brotherhood, cemented by the indissoluble ties of mutual Interest and mutual Justice!
Such a conduct as this, must be approved in the sight of God and of all good men; and will finally reconcile the most savage nations to perpetual amity : and, in the meantime, sanctify coercion and a civilized war, until these good purposes are accomplished. When that happy Æra shall come, it will be recorded in our annals, as a second birth-day of all that is auspicious to the United States. The Sword it is hoped, will then be eternally sheathed, or beat into a Plough-Share, through every part of our extensive territory
Concerning that territory, (I trust it may be said without offence) it is amply sufficient to answer all the purposes of the most rapid population, that can be made consistent with good government and civilization, for a number of ycars yet to come; without oc
casion of war straitening the aboriginal natives too much in extent of ground, even according to their present habits of life. And when new and better habits, can be introduced among them, they will be well contented, and even solicitous, to part with their superfluous grounds, for the means of cultivating the remainder, as a civilized people, subject to laws and government.
This happy change of their manners we may hope for, if we assist them with the means of civil and religious instruction; or, in other words, the knowledge of agriculture, and the manual arts; together with such a share of Gospel knowledge, in its primitive simplicity (untainted by the dogmas of sects or parties) as may be suitable to their circumstances. Then there will be no longer need to say, that they hold an extent of country, which God and nature have not made them fit to cultivate, and, therefore, that they hold it in direct injury to the progress of all that is valuable in civil life. But if we withhold, or deny our part, towards their instruction, and to enable them, by a change of their habits, to subsist within more confined limits, the reproach will revert upon ourselves; for St. Paul tells us-" God that made the "world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord "of Heaven and Earth, hath made of one blood all "nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the 66 earth, and hath determined the bounds of their ha"bitations; that they should seek the Lord, if haply "they might feel after him, and find him, though he "be not far from every one of us*."
Acts, Ch. XVII. ver. 24, 26, 27.