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Let the reader run his eye over the list of members of the congress of 1776. What an assemblage of talent, learning, and weight of character! Let him compare that body with the house of assembly of Lower Canada, in which some of the members can not even write their names !! and have actually been obliged to make a mark, when required to sign public documents.
People.--In New England the American revolution was cradled. English muscle and puritan blood, and a cultivated, educated people, were the pillars of the American revolution. The citizen soldiers of '76 could read and write, aye, and think and judge too. They fought for principles, not for money, nor for plunder. They did not, at Brinker Hill, crouch behind a breastwork, and fire over the heads of the enemy. They did not murder the first and only British officer they took, in cold blood, and with savage ferocity. They did not threaten the first and only Protestant congregation within their power, with violence or death. They did not declare their independence, and then throw down their arms, and vote loyal addresses, as soon as personal risk was to be incurred. They did not make war against the bible and the sabbath.
The struggle has not been the determined and intelligent insurrection of a whole people, to remodel their own laws, and reorganize their own government; but the spasmodic and desperate effort of a few discontented individuals to raise themselves to power by agitation. To do this, they addressed themselves to the basest passions of the populace. To the covetous, they promised the indiscriminate plunder of the city of Montreal. To the catholic, they pledged the supremacy of his religion, and the indulgence of his known detestation of protestants. To the people of the United States, they complain of feudal tenure, want of registry offices, and the burdensome clogs on business consequent on the old French law. In Canada the patriot party clung to all these antiquated and oppressive usages and feudal burdens, while the opposite party were making every exertion to throw them off as ruinous and intolerable.
The leaders of the Canadian party have been guilty of the basest poltroonery in their whole conduct. At the battle of St. Charles, it is a well ascertained fact, that some of them crossed the river before the action commenced, to secure their precious persons in case of disaster. Those who ventured to remain with their deluded followers were the first to flee. Instead of remaining in the country after the defeat, to concentrate, guide, and encourage their men, one and all hasten to a
place of safety over the American lines, and leave the ignorant
habitans," duped by them into the battle, to suffer all the consequences of treason and defeat. In the United States they endeavored to cover their disgrace by the basest fabrications, manufactured for sympathy, and by impudent parallels between themselves and the actors in the American revolution.
The language of the American people to them should be, “Gentlemen, go back to your own country; when you can raise as many volunteers to oppose government as have arisen to defend it, when the soldiers whom you can raise cease to murder prisoners of war, with savage brutality; when you cease to exercise your power in driving protestant clergymen, with their whole congregations, from the province by threats of personal violence; when you cease to avow that the country you love would be better without the bible; when you cease to trample on the sabbath by selecting it purposely and habitually for military drills and political meetings; when your ignorant and superstitious followers will allow that a protestant can be a christian; when you show any personal bravery; when, out of a population of six hundred thousand, an army of more than fifteen hundred men care enough about liberty to fight for it; when we have liberated two million five hundred thousand of our own fellow citizens at the South, who are suffering rather more injustice than yourselves; and when you are as ready to expose your own necks to the halter, and your bodies to the bayonet, as to urge us on to fight for you—then, but not till then, we may think of hazarding property, health, and life for you."
The war in Upper Canada has been rather more grotesque in its character than the commotion in the Lower province. There, out of a population of four hundred thousand, a few hundred armed men collect and threaten Toronto. Not a British soldier was in the province; the people had only to say
we are and will be independent," and the deed would have been done. Instead of taking that course, the volunteers flock to Toronto by thousands - McKenzie and his band are routed like sheep. With a few struggles, he occupies Navy Island, the Americans sending him powder, cannon, and provisions, and maintains his post for a week or two, when, partly by the cold weather, and partly through fear of being obliged to fight, he decamps. The people of Upper Canada were not struggling for liberty. The people put down McKenzie just as the peaceful and honest citizens of a town put down a band of marauders who come to plunder them.
There is something exceedingly ludicrous, under these circumstances, in the sympathy and magniloquence of a portion of the American press, and in the resolutions of certain frontier public assemblages. It reminds one strongly of the indignation and stormy passion of some weak mother, when her boy returns sobbing and whining because at school he has received deserved chastisement for truancy and disobedience.
A British subject might properly address an American audience of patriotic sympathizers“Gentlemen, when you restore to the Indians the millions of acres from which you have driven them; when you cease to hold two millions and a half of citizens in the worst of bondage; when you cease to traffic in men, women and children, as in beasts of burden; when you can protect the freedom of speech and of the press on all subjects in your own land; when you allow the right of petition to all classes; when your president ceases to exercise a despotism in rejecting bills passed by both houses-a despotism which our king dares not exercise; when your own mobs cease to murder clergymen and demolish houses for manly boldness in the cause of freedom-then, but not till then, you can appropriately send your forces northward, as preachers and champions of universal liberty.”
ART. III.-EFFICACY OF PRAYER.
Communion with God: or a Guide to the Devotional : by
ROBERT PHILIP, Author of Manly Piety, &c. &c.
This excellent book has been for some time before the Christian public, and like the others of the author's “Guides" has been fulfilling his benevolent intentions, in leading the erring and desponding through the mazes of sin into the way of truth and salvation. We have not taken it up, especially at this late period, so much for the purpose of calling attention to it by our commendation, as by its attractive title, to lure our readers to a momentary consideration of what we have to say on the same general subject; and that we may have at hand the testimony of so excellent a writer, in confirmation of our own opinions.
In these times of bustling enterprise, both in the commercial and religious world, when every man is driving forward, confident of attaining his most sanguine expectations, he needs to be occasionally reminded of his dependence on God, lest in the pride of his heart he should boast, that by the excellence of his own wisdom, and the strength of his own arm, he has secured his prosperity. It would seem, that in the commercial world, at least, men had been taught effectually the folly of trusting to their own devices. For what other means do they need of the entire prostration of their secular affairs than just to be left unchecked in the prosecution of their own schemes? We are conscious of no spirit of uncharitableness, when we say, that similar remarks are applicable to our religious enterprises. We believe there has been quite too much display of human instrumentality, and of trusting to its efficiency; and quite too little of the conviction that the excellency of the power is of God. The conversion of this world to Jesus Christ has been slow in comparison with the amount of instrumentality used for this purpose. Happy will it be for a sinful, dying world, when Christians learn their own feebleness, and God's all-sufficiency; and like the apostles and primitive saints, learn to go in His strength to the pulling down of the strong holds of sin !
That God has instituted prayer as the medium through which we are to obtain blessings from him, is theoretically admitted by all who acknowledge his existence and his providential agency; but we are persuaded the cases are few, in which this truth is permitted to exert its appropriate influence on the life, even of the children of God. Notwithstanding its adoption into the list of our acknowledged duties, and although it may hold relatively a high rank among our duties as of confessed importance, yet we are confident, after all, the feeling is at times allowed in the minds of some thus theoretically orthodox, that prayer is a profitless exercise :-profitless, at least, so far as respects its efficacy in procuring blessings from God. They may perhaps be hardly conscious of the incipient departure from their acknowledged faith, and if the fact were charged upon them would reject the charge in sorrow; while yet if they would permit their stifled feelings to have form, they would shudder at their own infidelity. They would find themselves giving utterance to some such language as this: If the Most High has any blessings to bestow he will give them without prayer; and if he designs to withhold, how can the petition of a finite being avail to change the purpose of the perfect and unchangeable God? If we have judged correctly as to the prevalence of such a feeling, then, surely, the efforts of our much esteemed author were needed to correct it; and if what we shall say on the subject shall induce our readers to look at his better exhibition of it, we shall be satisfied, that we have not spoken in vain.
We say, then, in the first place, The importance of prayer may be safely inferred from the fact, that it is a divinely appointed duty. This consideration should have much weight with the persons we are addressing :-believers in God's existence and perfections, and in the revelations of his will. For, although, when we view God sustaining the relations of the Creator and Preserver of men, we readily acknowledge his right to require the performance of any thing, not inconsistent with their happiness, yet we are confident, that a being of infinite wisdom, holiness and benevolence would never require of his creatures the performance of any act from his mere arbitrary pleasure,-because he has the power so to do;—and when no possible good can be expected to result from the performance. This opinion is confirmed by all the known proceedings of the divine administration. In all the revelations of his will we find no requirements without a good reason. He reigns not on the throne an arbitrary sovereign, uttering commands which are the mere dictates of a capricious and despotic will. He reigns there intent upon securing the best good of his universal kingdom. Every mandate from his throne respects the happiness of his subjects; and if obeyed, will prove, in the happiness resulting to the obedient, the benevolence of the God who appointed the duty. There is, then, some good reason why God has made it the duty of men to pray. From his appointment of the duty, we may safely infer its importance.
But we are not left to learn the importance of prayer by inference merely, for we have undeniable evidence of this from its sanctifying effect on the prayerful. No one lives in the habit of sincere prayer to God without becoming more holy. By this exercise he throws around himself a defense from the assaults of his spiritual enemies, and gives to whatever of holy principle there may be within him a new and powerful impulse. The maxim that " praying will make us leave sinning, and sinning will make us leave praying,” has been verified by universal experience. These exercises are so dissimilar, that they cannot be practiced together. No one can be habitually engaged in sincere prayer to God, and still live in habitual sin ; and no one who indulges in habitual known sin, will long continue his attempt to hold communion with God. This sanctifying influ