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A Fourth of July Message

A Fourth of July Message

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Published by glennpease


Lev. xxr. 12.-9- 1 For it is the Jubilee, it ihall be holy unto jou.'


Lev. xxr. 12.-9- 1 For it is the Jubilee, it ihall be holy unto jou.'

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Published by: glennpease on Jul 03, 2013
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A FOURTH OF JULY MESSAGEJOH BUDD PITKIDELIVERED O THURSDAY, THE 4TH OF JULY, 1833.Lev. xxr. 12.-9- 1 For it is the Jubilee, it ihall be holy unto jou.'The year of Jubilee ushered in by the sound of atrumpet and a proclamation throughout the land of universal restoration of possessions, liberty and rest,was on many accounts, among the ancient Jews, a sea-son of great national triumph and rejoicing. Withoutdesigning to expatiate upon the benevolent object of itsappointment, or the interesting circumstances attendingits observance, I have selected the text merely as asuitable motto to stand at the head of a few reflectionsand sentiments, such as I deem appropriate to thetime and place in which we are assembled. We havemet here, my courteous audience, not to kindle the firesof sectarian controversy, nor to blow up the coals of political animosities ; not to take sides with any reli-gious sect, nor with any civil party. On proper occa-sions, it is our duty as Christians to defend what weesteem to be Christian truth, and to expose, in a righttemper and spirit, what to us appears to be noxious er-ror. There are occasions, too, on which the peopleshould be warned of aggressions upon their rights byforeign power, or by domestic misrule. But it is re-mote from our present feelings and intentions to canvass292 SERMO XIV.disputed tenets of religious faith or to enlist our pas-sions in the turmoil of political strife. We would har-bor no burning hostilities in our breasts ; we wouldnurse no spark of hellish malignity in our souls; wewould look upon the time and place as consecrated tobetter feelings. 'The shoes' that in the uneven pathwayof the world have been soiled by the dust and mire of contention and rancor, we would put off from our feet,' for the ground whereon we stand,' whether we regardthe occasion or the spot, c is holy.' We are collected
together, within walls devoted to. the service of no ruler,but the one supreme God — consecrated to the peacefulreligion of Jesus — to the independence of the human in-tellect — to freedom of inquiry, and to universal charity;and we are convened on a day, bringing to mind eventsthe most remarkable in the annals of nations — a day sa-cred to the cause of liberty, and most dear to the heartsof freemen — -the Fourth of July, the Jubilee of Ameri-can independence : ' it shall be holy unto you.' Letit be holy to grateful acknowledgments of the goodnessof that Being who ruleth the whole earth in wisdomand love, and who has so bountifully shed abroad hisfavors on this happy country — let it be holy to rever-ent recollections, of our ancestors — holy to the praiseof our national fathers — holy to a cherished sense of the inestimable value of civil r.nd religious liberty — ho-ly to a prudent caution against those evils which maythreaten the purity and permanence of our institutions — and holy to a proper understanding of, and a deepregard for those principles, manners and feelings bySERMO XIV. 293which alone true freedom can be guarded and perpet-uated. On this great national jubilee, when we beholda people of several millions extended over a country,whose soil teems with fertility, and everywhere bright-ens in the gleamings of a benignant sun upon the well-sped ploughshare, and whose rivers and coasts arewhitened with the sails of a successful commerce, apoeple in the enjoyment of a government the most free,rights the most equal, and laws the most benign, — apeople in the prosperous cultivation of the arts and sci-ences, and pressing onward and upward in a pathwayof glory more brilliant than had been conceived in themost glowing speculations of political wisdom, ordreamed of in the fondest reveries of philanthropy :when we behold all this, how can we find a place inour hearts for other emotions than those of ferventgratitude to that God who has most mercifully pre-served to us these blessings, and of ardent love andveneration for those distinguished worthies who boughtwith their blood, and faithfully transmitted to unborngenerations these precious institutions.
Let us, then, with hearts warm with pious devotion,commune with the spirits of the mighty dead. Let uswalk among the tombs of our fathers. Let us enterthe sepulchre of the past ; let us reverently put forthour hands to wipe off the dust and mould of forgetful-ness from the coffin-lids of the wise and the brave, andgaze with filial awe and homage on the shrouded formsof patriotism and virtue.With a generous tear we will moisten the sod where25294 SERMO XIV.repose the ashes of that genius and eloquence whosehallowed fires kindled the torch of our revolution, andwe will bedew the memories of those sons of valorwhose blood streamed on its battle-fields.A more vigilant, resolute and undaunted band wasnever formed than the august assembly that gave to theworld the immortal Declaration we have convened tocelebrate, and which you have just heard so impressivelyread. It was not merely a sudden burst of resentmentat one or two misjudged acts of the British government,that had determined them to engage in the perilous andsanguinary scenes of a revolutionary struggle. An ef-fort at impost, no doubt, hastened, but is by no meansto be regarded as the whole cause which produced ourseparation from England. The truth is, America hadarrived at an age that qualified her for freedom, and sheknew it. She discovered her interests, and herstrength, and she was unacquainted with any right pos-sessed by a government beyond the seas, to lord it overa heritage which she by her courage, wisdom and toil,had won for herself in these western wilds. The sameprinciple, which liberates the child from the mother'sarms, that of growth, the exhibition of a dispositionand a capacity to take care of itself, was the efficientcause of our emancipation. A milder policy on thepart of Britain might have protracted, but could nothave finally prevented our escape from her control.America saw that it was manifestly opposed to her

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