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attacked, which, once gone, may never be recovered? Is this a time to decline toils, or dangers, or expense, when all lies at stake, for which a wise man would chuse to live, or dare to die?
In times past, when liberty, travelling from soil to soil, had deserted almost every corner of the world, and was prepared to bid an everlasting adieu to her last best retreat, the British Isles; our great Forefathers (whose memories be blest) anticipating her departure, came into these remote regions. They encountered difficulties innumerable. They sat down in places before untrod by the foot of any Christian, fearing less from savage beasts and savage men, than from slavery the worst of savages. To preserve at least one corner of the world, sacred to liberty and undefiled religion, was their glorious purpose. In the mean time the storm blew over, and the sky brightened in the mother-land. Liberty raised her drooping head, and trimmed her fading laurels, Halcyon-days succeeded, and their happy influence extended even into this new world. The colonies rose and flourished. Our fathers saw it, and rejoiced. They begat sons and daughters, resigned the prosecution of their plan into our hands, and departed into the mansions of rest.
But lo! the storm gathers again, and sits deeper and blacker with boding aspect! And shall we be so degenerate as to desert thu sacred trust consigned to us for the happiness of posterity? shall we tamely suffer the pestilential breath of tyrants to approach this garden of our fathers, and blast the fruits of their labours:
No-ye illustrious shades, who perhaps even now look down with anxiety on our conduct! we pronounce, by all your glorious toils, that it shall not, must not be! If we are not able to make those who mourn in bonds and darkness round us, share the blest effects of Liberty, and diffuse it through this vast continent, we will at least preserve this spot sacred to its exalted name; and tyranny and injustice shall not enter in, till the body of the last Freeman hath filled up the breach.
Spirit* of ancient Britons! where art thou? Into what happier region art thou fled, or flying? Return, Oh return into our bosoms! expel every narrow and groveling sentiment, and animate us in this glorious cause! Where the voice of public virtue and public liberty calls, thither may we follow, whether to life or to death! May these inestimable blessings be transmitted safe to our posterity! and may there never be wanting champions to vindicate them against every disturber of human kind, as long as there shall be found remaining of all those who assume the distinguished name of Britons, either a tongue to speak or a hand to act!
As for you, my brethren, on whose account we are now assembled, let me intreat you to give your enemies no handle to accuse you of irreligion, or want of public spirit. Promote virtue, discourage vice, and be distinguished only by superior sanctity of manners. Pursue your private callings with industry
. This was preached, when General Braddock was carrying on his expedition to the Ohio; and when that spirit, which has since been so much for the honour of many of our colonies, had scarce begun to exert itself.
and honesty. Be faithful to your promises, and let no rude gust of passion extinguish that candle of brotherly-love, which should illuminate your souls, and is the glory of your nature.
If you act thus, you shall be as a building, founded on everlasting pillars; fair to the sight, and never to be shaken! So strongly supported, so firmly united, so nobly adorned, is that Society which is supported, united and adorned by Wisdom, Strength and Beauty; that Wisdom which is the fear of God, and practice of Righteousness; that Strength which is Love, the cement of souls, and bond of perfectness; and that Beauty which is inward holiness, and an entire freedom from the turbulence of passion!
Now, to Him who is able to keep you from falling, and conduct you safe to those happy mansions, where peace, joy and love eternal reign, be ascribed, as is most due, by men on earth and saints in heaven, all praise, power, glory, and dominion, forever and ever!
N. B. The foregoing, having been delivered as a Masonic Sermon, the two following, on account of the sameness of the subject, are inserted here, without regard to their dates.
IN CHRIST-CHURCH, PHILADELPHIA,
[FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE POOR]
APPOINTMENT OF, AND BEFORE,
FREE AND ACCEPTED MASONS
STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA;
ON MONDAY DECEMBER 28, 1778.
GELEBRATED, AGREZABLY TO THEIR CONSTITUTION, AS THL
ST. JOHN THE EVANGELIST.
THE Right Worshipful Grand Master and GRAND OFFIĆERS of the Ancient and Honourable Society of FREE AND ACCEPTED MASONS of the State of Pennsylvania, &c. with the Officers of the different LODGES under their Jurisdiction, beg Leave to return their most sincere Thanks to their Reverend Brother Dr. SMITH, for the SERMON delivered by Him at their Request, in Christ-Church yesterday. And as they conceive, from its Excellency, that the Publication thereof would contribute to the further Promotion of the Charity for which it was originally intended, they request that he will favour them with a Copy for that Purpose, as soon as possible.
By Order of the R. W. G. M. &c. &c.
JOHN COATS, G. Sec. PRO TIM.