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great High Priest, offers you all a sanctuary; a sanctuary secure and abiding; a sanctuary, which no lapse of time, nor change of circumstances, can destroy. No; neither life nor death. No; neither principalities nor powers.
Every thing else is fugitive; every thing else is mutable; every thing else will fail you. But this, the citadel of the Christian's hopes, will never fail you. Its base is adamant. It is cemented with the richest blood. The ransomed of the Lord crowd its portals. Embosomed in the dust which it encloses, the bodies of the redeemed “rest in hope.” On its top dwells the Church of the first born, who in delightful response with the angels of light, chant redeeming love. Against this citadel the tempest beats, and around it the storm rages, and spends its force in vain. Immortal in its nature, and incapable of change, it stands, and stands firm, amidst the ruins of a mouldering world, and endures forever.
Thither fly, ye prisoners of hope !-that when earth, air, elements, shall have passed away, secure of existence and felicity, you may join with saints in glory, to perpetuate the song which lingered on the faltering tongue of Hamilton, “Grace-rich Grace." • God grant us this honor. Then shall the measure of our joy be full, and to his name shall be the glory in Christ.
BY RICHARD RUSH,
ON THE 4TH OF JULY, 1812, IN THE HALL OF THE HOUSE
OF REPRESENTATIVES, AT WASHINGTON: AT THE REQUEST OF THE COMMITTEE OF ARRANGEMENT FOR THE CELEBRATION OF THAT DAY.
SENSIBLY as I feel, fellow-citizens, the honor of having been selected to address you on such an occasion as this, I am not less sensible of the difficulties of the task. Not that there is any thing intrinsically arduous in a celebration, in this form, of the most brilliant political anniversary of the world; but as the subject has been repeatedly exhibited, under so many points of view, I am apprehensive of tiring, without being able to requite, the attention with which you may be good enough to honor my endeavors. The fruitful subject must still sustain me, and I proceed with unfeigned diffidence, and the most profound respect for this distinguished and enlightened assembly, to perform the office assigned me.*
During each return of this day for nearly thirty successive years, our country rested in all the security and all the blessings of peace. But the scene and the aspect are changed. The menacing front of war is before us, to awaken our solicitudes, to demand at the hands of each citizen of the republic the most active energies
. * The President of the United States, Heads of Department, members of Congress, &c., as well as citizens and strangers, were present at the delivery of this discourse.
of duty; to ask, if need be, the largest sacrifices of advantage and of ease. The tranquillity, the enjoyments, the hopes of peace, are, for a while, at an end. These, with their endearing concomitants, are to give place to the stronger and more agitating passions, to the busy engagements, to the solemn and anxious thoughts, to the trials, to the sufferings, that follow in the train of war.
Man, in his individual nature, becomes virtuous by constant struggles against his own imperfections. His intellectual eminence, which puts him at the head of created beings, is attained also by long toil, and painful self-denials, bringing with them, but too often, despondence to his mind, and hazards to his frame. It would seem to be a law of his existence, that great enjoyment is only to be obtained as the reward of great exertion. 6 She shall go to a wealthy place,” but her way shall be 6 through fire and through water.” It seems the irreversible lot of nations, that their permanent well-being is to be achieved also through severe probations. Their origin is often in agony and blood, and their safety to be maintained only by constant vigilance, by arduous efforts, by a willingness to encounter danger and by actually and frequently braving it. Their prosperity, their rights, their liberties, are, alas, scarcely otherwise to be placed upon a secure and durable basis! It is in vain that the precepts of the moralist, or the maxims of a sublimated reason, are levelled at the inutility, if not the criminality of wars; in vain that eloquence portrays, that humanity deplores the misery which they inflict. If the wishes of the philanthropist could be realized, then, indeed, happily for us, happily for the whole human race, they would be banished forever from the world. But while selfishnes, ambition, and the lust of plunder, continue to infest the bosoms of the rulers of nations, wars will take place, they always have taken place, and the nation that shall, at this day, hope to shelter itself by standing, in practice, on their abstract impropriety, must expect to
see its very foundations assailed; assailed by cunning and artifice, or by the burst and fury of those fierce, ungoverned passions, which its utmost forbearance would not be able to deprecate or appease. It would assuredly fall, and with fatal speed, the victim of its own impracticable virtue.
Thirty years, fellow-citizens, is a long time to have been exempt from the calamities of war. Few nations of the world, in any age, have enjoyed so long an exemption. It is a fact that affords, in itself, the most honorable and incontestible proof, that those who have guided the destinies of this, have ardently cherished peace; for, it is impossible, but that during the lapse of such a period, abundant provocation must have presented, had not our government and people been slow to wrath, and almost predetermined against wars. It is a lamentable truth, that during the whole of this period we have been the subjects of unjust treatment at the hands of other nations, and that the constancy of our own forbearance has been followed up by the constant infliction of wrongs upon ourselves. When, let us ask with exultation, when have ambassadors from other countries been sent to our shores to complain of injuries done by the American states? What nation have the American states plundered? What nation have the American states outraged? Upon what rights have the American states trampled?" In the pride of justice and of true honor, we answer none; but we have sent forth from ourselves the messengers of peace and conciliation, again and again, across seas, and to distant countries; to ask, earnestly to sue, for a cessation of the injuries done to us. They have gone charged with our well founded complaints, to deprecate the longer practice of unfriendly treatment; to protest, under the sensibility of real suffering, against that course which made the persons and the property of our countrymen the subjects of rude seizure and rapacious spoliation. These have been the ends they were sent to obtain; ends too fair for protracted
refusals, too intelligible to have been entangled in evasive subtilties, too legitimate to have been neglected in hostile silence. When their ministers have been sent to us, what has been the aim of their missions ? To urge redress for wrongs done to them, shall we again ask? No, the melancholy reverse! for in too many instances they have come to excuse, to palliate, or even to endeavor, in some shape, to rivet those, inflicted by their own sovereigns upon us.
Perhaps the annals of no nation, of the undoubted resources of this, afford a similar instance of encroachments upon its essential rights, for so long a time, without some exertion of the public force to check or to prevent them. The entire amount of property of which, during a space of about twenty years, our citizens have been plundered by the belligerent powers of Europe, would form, could it be ascertained, a curious and perhaps novel record of persevering injustice on the part of nations professing to be at peace. Unless recollection be awakened into effort, we are not ourselves sensible, and it requires at this day some effort to make us so, of the number and magnitude of the injuries that have been heaped upon us. They teach in pathology, that the most violent impressions lose the power of exciting sensation, when applied gradually and continued for a long time. This has been strikingly true in its application to ourselves as a nation. The aggressions, we have received, have made a regular, and the most copious part of our national occurrences, and stand incorporated, under an aspect more prominent than any other, with our annual history. Our state papers have scarcely, since the present government began, touched any other subject ; and our statute book will be found to record as well the aggressions themselves as peaceful attempts at their removal, in various fruitless acts of legislative interposition. It may strike, even the best informed, with a momentary surprise when it is mentioned, that for eighteen successive years the official communication