This day may well be accounted the day of the gladness of our hearts. We enjoy, at length, the blessings of peace and liberty: -- Blessings – for which, saints, now with God, have earnestly prayed—heroes, of glorious memory, have fought and bled—and patriots have worn out themselves with care, travail and exertion. The joy of reaping the harvest which has been sown and watered with so much tears and blood, is reserved for us. This day, UNITED AMERICA sees the issue and fruit of her travailing throes, and is satisfied. The sight of so sweet and lovely a birth, comforts and rejoices her, after her agonizing labor.
This day, we have the happiness to see our Congregation, even the legislative assembly of the commonwealth, established before the Lord—our Nobles from among ourselves—and our Governors proceeding from the midst of us. We view this august body as representing the whole republic, vested with its majesty and authority; the distinct branches of which unite and concentre in the Governor, the common representative of the whole state. As his Excellency his Honor are here present, it would seem scarce decent for us to give them their due encomium, or to express freely how worthy we esteem them of that pre-eminence to which they are advanced; but their continued and often repeated election to the highest seats in the Commonwealth, speaks louder and more significantly than words can, the peculiar esteem and confidence of the people, and in such a way as leaves no suspicion of flattery.
We regard his Excellency in particular, as most eminently authorized to act as the guardian of our rights, and take care that the Republic receive no detriment. His prerogatives and powers we consider as a wise provision for our security against the pernicious effects of that narrow policy which may prompt some to aim at serving their own particular connections in ways prejudicial to the general interest, or injurious to other parts of the state—Nor do we with that the due exercise of these powers and prerogatives should be cramped or discouraged; but that they be exerted with all freedom and firmness for the good of the people, whenever it shall be needful. It is, we doubt not, his sincere aim to improve those talents with which GOD has distinguished him, in promoting the true interest of the Commonwealth, and of the United States – May he have the sublime satisfaction of seeing the accomplishment of his wishes, and the success of his endeavours, to serve his generation.— And the honorable Council will, we trust, be always ready to assist and cooperate in these arduous and important services, with their wise, upright, and faithful advice.
The honorable Senators and Representatives of the Commonwealth, who sustain and exercise so great a share of its authority, and in whom the people repose so much confidence, will not take it amiss to be reminded of the expectations and just claims of the State, that its success be faithfully attended to and pursued by them, not only in the elections of this day, but in all other matters on which they may afterwards have occasion to act. Their views will be as extensive as the field of service they have before them, and not only the interest of their particular constituents, but that of the whole Commonwealth, yea, of the whole United States, will be duly regarded in their deliberations and resolves—liberality of sentiment, love to their country, a truly public spirit, with untainted, unshaken integrity, will give dignity to their proceeding, and throw light upon their paths: whether they consider themselves as the ministers of God, or the trustees of the people, they can no otherwise support the dignity of their character, or answer the just expectations of God and man, than by a faithful discharge of the duties of their station; nor should it be forgotten that all mankind of what ever rank, must another day stand before an impartial tribunal, where an account will be taken how every talent has been improved, and in recompence will be adjudged to every one according as his work shall be. Happy then will he be beyond expression, who has maintained his integrity in a corrupt and ensnaring world; who has kept “a conscience void of offence towards GOD and towards man;” who can hold up his face before the Judge and say, “Remember, O Lord, how I have walked before thee in truth, and with a perfect heart;” and who will receive from him an answer of acquitance and approbation, “Well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of the Lord.”
Will this grave and venerable audience bear with me while I add one reflection of general concernment; -- that if we would enjoy true liberty, we must not only maintain our civil privileges, and guard against a licentious and malicious abuse of them, but it is above all things necessary that we be delivered by GOD’s special grace from the bondage of guilt, and the slavery and service of sin and Satan, and that we be called effectually to the spiritual freedom of the children of GOD. Little reason shall we have to boast of liberty, or bless ourselves in our external privileges, if we are the ignominious servants of corruption. This spiritual liberty , Christ has obtained for all his true disciples: and it can no otherwise be enjoyed by any of us, than by taking his yoke upon us, learning of him, and continuing in his word” – then shall “we know the truth, and the truth shall make us free indeed.” It is the true Christian alone who is the Lord’s Free Man, and a denizen of the new Jerusalem. An honor and privilege to which we cannot maintain our claim, unless we realize our profession of Christianity, by serving the Lord Christ with all good fidelity; and serving one another in love. Be this the object of our greatest care and ambition. We may then with hope and earnest expectation, wait for the day of our complete redemption. The Grand Jubilee will at length be proclaimed by the sound of the Arch-Angel’s trumpet, which will call the sons and heirs of GOD to the Consummate Liberty of his heavenly kingdom, and induce them to the inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved for them.
May this be the lot of us all, through the grace of GOD our
A SERMON DELIVERED AT THE INTERNMENT OF THE
The Reverend Moses Hemmenway D.D. was born in Framingham, in the vicinity of Boston, the place of my forefathers sepulchres, and of the nativity of may honored father, from whom I heard the fame of your pastor, before I had opportunity to see his face. He entered and graduated at Harvard College. He was there distinguished for his close application, his patience of study, his eminent proficiency in the Greek and Roman classics, and his acquaintance with theological writers of distinction in the learned languages. The common degrees of the University he received in their order; and, for his singular merits, he was honored with a doctorate, at an earlier period of life than had been common for that seminary to give to its sons. To the profession of divinity, and the work of the ministry, he was probably devoted in early life, and he sought a liberal education, as a desirable and reputable prerequisite to it. It is certain the great Head of the church had designed him for this service, and furnished him with a rare assemblage of talents, to defend the Gospel, and vindicate its truths, against the errors in principle and practice, which He foresaw would harass the church, in the season in which he was to perform his ministry. He had a great degree of metaphysical acumen, an accuracy in logical investigation, a kind of instinctive perception of the force of an argument, and an uncommon patience at disentangling the snarl of sophistry, and making plain their perplexing appearance.
While the talents and acquirements of your departed pastor, would have entitled him to a ministry, in a most eminent situation, or to a high office in a seminary of science, it was more congenial to his modesty and meekness, to his habits and manners, to his taste and disposition, to be far from the interruptions and snares of wealth and grandeur, and from the frivolous etiquettes and fashions of the world. Providence opened for him a field of service in this highly favored village. For you my brethren, God designed him, and you must answer for such a gift. Here he pursued his favorite studies with an ardor and perseverance that were uncommon, under the pressure of difficulties, and in the view of obstacles, that would have discouraged almost any other man. I presume I do not mistake, when I say, that he read and studied the ponderous volumes, called the Father’s, when most of his fellow mortals were lost in sleep, or indulging in indolence. Anxious to derive his knowledge from the sacred sources, and confirm, or correct his sentiments by their agreement or disagreement with that unerring standard, he studied the scriptures with great care, and accurate attention.
With controversial divinity, the Doctor was so familiarly acquainted, as not to be confused in his system of doctrines, by any objections or arguments that pretended to novelty, they had been anticipated by him, and their review, if it increased his candor, increase his conviction of the truth of his own system. The system of doctrines which our departed friend embraced, which he preached, and loved, was that which is contained in the Westminster’s assemblies catechism, and confession of faith, the doctrines that are styled the doctrines of the reformation, the doctrines that our fore-fathers brought to this country of the former part of the last century, enlightened, edified, and comforted the church. The Doctor was a sincere and firm Calvinist of the old school, though candid and charitable to such as had their doubts and scruples upon some of its doctrines. He was alarmed at some of the strange scions which modern Calvinism has attempted to graft upon this stock, and, by the subtleties of metaphysics, to prove that they were legitimate sprouts from its venerable roots. Once and again his pen was employed to vindicate truth and duty; such was the estimation in which he was held, by his fathers and brethren, that their eyes were turned to him when young, to root out the weeds that were sown in the field of truth, and remove impediments cast into the path of duty. As a disputant and controversial writer, the Doctor was fair, candid, and dispassionate. He contended not for mastery, but for the support of truth and refutation of error, and though he possessed a vein of humour,, and could dexterously wield the shafts of satire, he never employed them to confound his antagonist, or to render ridiculous what he could not fairly answer. He wrote, either in labored essays, or ephemeral publications, upon many of the questions that have been subjects of dispute or inquiry in our day; and if he did not remove all difficulties, and satisfy all scruples, it will be conceded that he threw light upon all the subjects that he attempted.
The revival of the arian and socinian heresy much alarmed and affected the mind and heart of our departed friend, principally on account of the loose system of doctrines and morals, with which it is connected, and in which it invariably issues; several communications of his, under fictitious signatures, have enriched the pages of respectable periodical works, and it is presumed, he has left with his manuscripts, a more labored discussion of the subjects, which it is hoped will one day see light.
As a sermonizer, the Doctor was eminent; his style was pure and nervous, his subjects were solemn and important; and however doctrinal or speculative, they always ran in an evangelical channel, and issued in practical effect. He never offered to the Lord “that which cost him nothing.” His habit of thoroughly investigating a subject, of saying all that was pertinent upon it, rendered him often prolix, and sometimes tedious, to those who were soon tired of religious discussions, and not sufficiently interested in the all important subject, to be engaged by the purity, piety, and soundness of his remarks; but to those “whose spiritual senses were exercised to discern the things of the Spirit of God” – and who knew how to estimate an address from the sacred desk, he was always interesting and edifying. His eminence in this part of this office called him to officiate on those public occasions which seek the service of those whose praise is in the churches. His Election Sermon, his Convention Sermon, and his Dudlean lecture sermon, are second to few, if any, that have been exhibited on those occasions.
As a preacher, the eloquence of our departed friend was that of nature and not of art. He felt his subject, and with native simplicity gave it an impressive influence on the hearer. As the Doctor resembled the Apostle Paul in some eminent traits that distinguished that inspired character, so he partook in the illiberal remark that was made upon that great Apostle of the Gentiles. “His letters, say they are weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence weak and his speech contemptible! But how often did he make the hearer loose sight of all other considerations by the merit of his address and the impressive manner with which he delivered it.
In devotional exercises, the Doctor was always pious and devout. He was a man of prayer. Upon special occasions, he ordinarily excelled, accommodating himself with a peculiar pertinency, that interested and affected all who joined with him. He was equally removed from the rhapsodies of enthusiasts, the wildness of fanatics, and the coldness and indifference of philosophic christians, who think the passions have nothing to do with religion. But with these eminent qualities and talents there were combined, as the most prominent traits in the Doctor’s character mildness and meekness, and unobtrusiveness of temper and deportment, a disposition to esteem others better than himself. In this he resembled the leader of Gods people, inheriting his spirit, as he bore his name.
But that which was the crown upon all his faculties, and was the excellency of his excellencies, they were sanctified by divine grace and devoted to the service and honor of God. At what period of life, the power of divine grace took possession of the heart of our pious friend, I believe he did not pretend to decide. He fully believed the necessity of a spiritual change, by the supernatural agency and influence of the Holy Ghost, and he gave more and more evidence to all that knew him, that he was a subject of this change; and he obtained more and more, the affluence of hope that he had received that “living water,” which as a “well of water was springing up to everlasting life,” conforming him to the spirit and temper of Christ, and transforming him into the divine image.
In the several relations of life the Doctor was exemplary. No man better understood the duties of friendship, both christian and social. He had so great a relish for the pleasures of Christian friendship, that in conversation with his brethren in the ministry, and intelligent Christians, upon controversial points of divinity, or subjects of evangelical and experimental religion, he would forget the fatigues of nature, the lapse of time, and spend the hours devoted to repose.
To pretend that our venerable friend was without imperfections or infirmities would wound his feelings, if he could know the pretence; but of few men could it be said with greater justice, that: “Even his failings leaned to virtue’s side.”
So devoted was he to the studies of his profession, so absorbed in scientific inquiries and meditations, his pious mind was so engaged upon the great objects of eternity that he might be thought too inattentive to some of the concerns of time, which have an influence upon character and usefulness. It has been suggested, that too entire a devotedness to his favorite objects of pursuit led him to forget, to a degree, what he owed to the earlier education of his children and to be too inattentive to the means of forming them to distinction in the world, the same principle probably led him to be too indifferent to that stile of appearance in his habit and manners, to which the dignity of his office and the opinion to the world attached some importance, and from the same cause he was betrayed into the error of not punctually observing the hours of appointment, and exercising the feelings of those who waited for his services, but tho’ he had infirmities enough to show he was a man, he had virtues and excellencies enough to justify us in saying that there have been few men of such eminence and distinction.
You know, my brethren, how he was with you, and laboured among you, was over you in the Lord, how he instructed you, and sympathized with you in your sufferings and sorrows; how he soothed the anguish of sickness, and smoothed the pillow of death, by bringing to your view and assisting you to embrace the promises of the Gospel, and interceding for you at the footstool of mercy. You know with kind severity he warned, admonished, and reproved; how readily he embraced the returning prodigal, and with what joy he led the broken hearted sinner to the cross of Christ, that he might be cleanse and comforted, You know with what patience and fortitude he bore the many trials with which he was visited, and with what exemplary resignation he gave up the blessings he was called to resign. When he descried the sentence of death in his face, and was convinced he must fall a victim to the dreadful malady, that has ended his days, you know how he received, and with what calmness and composure he viewed its progress, less anxious to try any means to arrest its progress, than his friends were that he should attempt them, less agitated at feeling its ravages, than his friends were at thinking if them.
Your beloved Pastor continued to preach to you beyond the period that could have been reasonably expected, in public and in private affording a striking proof and example of what the grace of the Gospel, and power of faith, can do, towards raising a fellow mortal above the fears of death, when he saw and felt its approach in one of its most terrific forms. But his sufferings are ended, his days are closed, And having taught us how to live, and how to die, he is gone, we believe to reap the rewards of a faithful servant in the kingdom of God.
A weeping widow and fatherless children demand our sympathy and condolence. Dear Madam, painful, I know, must be the stroke that has taken from your bosom, the partner of all your joys and sorrows; but you have every thing to soothe your sorrows that can be expected in such a scene. Your dear husband was continued with you to a good old age. He was an old man and full of days, gathered to his people with a full harvest of ministerial reputation & praise. You could scarcely wish to have had him continued longer in the distressing and humiliating state to which his malady had reduced him, and in which you have seen him for weeks past. He is gone but a step before you; a few days more will call you to follow him. In his short season you will lean on him, whom, I hope, you have long known as your God and Saviour, and will now know as the widow’s judge and husband. Cast your cares on him, put your trust in him, and if tears must flow, pour them into his compassionate bosom, who is touched with a feeling of our infirmities, who has said “ I will never leave you nor forsake you;” glorify God in this day of visitation, and reflect honor upon your husband by showing that you have profited by his instructions and examples; and may God in his own good time gather you to his family above, and associate you with him, who has been so long your companion.
…It reflects no small honor upon you, brethren, and is a hopeful presage of abiding blessings, that by the prudence, piety, and prayers, of your pastor you have been so far preserved “as a city compact together,” while so many of our churches, to your grief and humiliation, are “as cities that are broken down and have no walls.” That no root of bitterness might now spring up to trouble you, with similar prudence and discretion he encouraged you to anticipate his removal, and seek for some young Elisha to take the ministry which he was no longer able to fulfill, that you might not be left as sheep without a shepherd, and be exposed to dispersions in this cloudy and dark day. He probably hoped to see this desire accomplished, he has been so far gratified as to see measures in a hopeful train to so desirable an end, but has dropped his mantle and is received out of our sight; may your pastor-elect take up the precious relict, and a double portion of the spirit of the departed Elijah, rest upon this Elisha, if any human character be capable of containing such a measure. The last Sermon I heard your pastor preach was at the funeral solemnities of the venerable Lyman, whose memory will long be dear to all who knew him, his text was, “Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken to you the word of life; whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation, Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever.” That sermon is in print, and I hope in the hands of many of you. Let me recommend it to you carefully to read it, and consider your departed pastor as still speaking to you in it, and be not forgetful hearers but doers of the counsel; then may you hope that, after you have suffered a while here, according to the will of God, you shall inherit the promises, and find your departed pastor, to your exceeding joy, while you shall be his crown of rejoicing in the day of the Lord Jesus.
My brethren in the ministry. How great is our share in the sorrows of this day? How much are we weakened, how greatly are our luster and beauty lessened, by the removal of our venerable and beloved father from our head? Let us seek support under such bereavement in the remembrance, that the Father of all the prophets lives, lives forever, has the residue of the spirit, and that he has promised to be with his faithful ministers to the end of the world. When we shall have taken up his body of our master and buried it, let us go and tell Jesus, and receiving new direction, instruction, and encouragement from him, let us gird up the loins of our minds, be more active and diligent, the more we are weakened, and the more we are admonished that our hour of release is approaching. Let us trust in God to prefect strength in our weakness: and in the midst of error, delusion, and apostasy, let us “hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; preach the unsearchable riches of Christ,” the free and sovereign grace of God to man; “not shun to declare the whole counsel of God,” nor neglect to “reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with all long-suffering and doctrine,” keeping back nothing that shall be profitable to men, thus standing in God’s counsel, we may yet hope “to turn sinners from their iniquities,” and “the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, and make ready a people prepared for the Lord: but if Israel be not gathered, we shall be glorious in the eyes of the Lord,” and found “faithful to the death,” shall be owned and welcomed by our divine Master, and be associated with those who have anticipated us in the inheritance of the crown of glory.
Let this whole assembly, who have come to pay their last
respects to the remains of venerable piety, “be wise, understand these
things, and duly consider their latter end.” Let them “remember how
they have heard, and received, and let them hold fast and repent:” that
their ministers who have faithfully preached to them the words of life,
may not be constrained to witness against them at the bar of God: but
may be able to welcome them to the abodes of the blessed, and receive
them to everlasting habitations. AMEN
"When those, who have spoken to you the word of God, rest from their labours; when burning and shining lights, in whose light you have rejoiced, are removed from these candlesticks; yet you need not fear that the light of the gospel will be put out. Christ, the light of the world, is the same at all times, and by his gospel and spirit will still enlighten a dark world. Though all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass, and though the grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away, yet the word of the Lord endureth forever; and this is the word, which in the gospel is preached to you."
Finally, brethren, farewell; be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace, and the God of love and peace shall be with you."