|Vol. I, No. 11
Shebat 5604, February 1844
Motives of Thankfulness.
Pronounced at the Synagogue Mikveh Israel, at Philadelphia, on Thanksgiving Day, Kislev 28th, (Dec. 21st,) 5604.
From the rising of the sun even to his setting, let thy name, O our God, be praised; and let all flesh acknowledge thy goodness and thy mercy, wherewith thou governest thy world. All that exists is fed and maintained by thy bounty, because from Thee all creatures spring; and it is thy power which makes all great, and which strengthens all. It is thus that in every age, and in every clime, they who fear Thee have experienced this consoling truth, that Thou art the Guardian who watchest over the fate of men; and in prosperity they looked to Thee to continue unto them the blessings which their deeds had not deserved; and in their affliction they raised to Thee their eyes and their heart, that Thou, in thy mercy, mightest redeem them from the evil which rested heavily upon them. And in accordance with this pious feeling, behold us here before thy throne this day, to acknowledge by our presence and our words, our gratitude for the many favours which Thou hast showered on this land in the past year. The fields have teemed with plenty, and the product has repaid the labourer's toil; the granaries are filled to overflowing; and hills and valleys have rejoiced under the magnificent harvest which thy mercy had provided for the sons of man. And peace has smiled over all this country, and in all its extent every man has sat under the shadow of his roof, and the sound of war has not terrified him, nor brought alarm to the bosom of his wife and little ones; and equitable laws have held out their strong protection over the high and the low, and none but the evil-doers have had cause to fear the sword of justice which hung suspended over their heads. All this, and more, have we received; and we truly feel that it is not our wisdom and our strength that have brought all this blessing unto us; but that it was thy gracious kindness which has given us enlargement. Be it then thy will to fill our hearts with thankfulness, that we may be fully impressed with the weight of obligation which rests upon us; that we may be preserved from sin, and continue for years and years to come, to be the recipients of the same grace which we have received the past year. In order that our souls may sing thy praise, now and for ever. Amen!
On an occasion, when our forefather Jacob felt both grateful for past favours, and looked with anxiety to the future, he thus addressed the Deity who had watched over him during his long and weary pilgrimage in foreign lands:
קטנתי מכל החסידים ומכל האמת אשר עשית את עבדך כי במקלי עברתי את הירדן הזה ועתה הייתי לשני מחנות
"I am not worthy of all the mercies and of all the truth which Thou hast shown unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan, and now I am become two bands."—Genesis 32.11.
If our pious ancestor, who had in person received from the august presence of the Most High the assurance of his protection, found in himself no meritorious acts which could have deserved the mercies and the truth which had been bestowed on him, because of the covenant with Abraham and Isaac which was confirmed to him when he slept at the place which he designated, as the "house of God:" how much more must we feel humbled because of all the goodness which had been meted out to us since the first day of our being! It is well, therefore, that we, both as citizens of this commonwealth, and as Israelites, unite with the other inhabitants of this state, to return thanks, all that we have to give to the Lord, for the many favours which his providence has so bountifully bestowed upon us all in so marked a manner; at the same time, that we institute an inquiry into our actions, to see whether or not our conduct is in accordance with the sentiment of gratitude which we profess to feel. First, as citizens, I said, that we ought to be thankful. If ever country, other than the blessed commonwealth of Israel, had especial cause for glorifying the most holy Name, it is surely the republic of the United States of America. It is a country which extends from the Atlantic to the great ocean of the West, and from the thunders of the Niagara, where the perpetual bow is reflected by the rays of the sun, unto where the "father of rivers" mingles its waters with the floods of the Mexican gulf. And wherever in this wide domain civilization has pitched her tent, there too liberty has taken up her abode. Here and there some remnant of barbarous laws yet remains; prejudice has as yet in a few places the dominion over sober reason and truth; but in general, wherever waves the flag of the Union, there too is liberty of person,—there too is security of property; and what is dearer still to the heart of the lover of truth, sweeter to the soul of the Israelite, there too is liberty of conscience; there man can call on his God in the manner his parents have taught him; there he can believe what his conscience permits him, without suffering political disqualifications for his peculiar religious acts, without being subjected to pains and penalties by an inquisition into the state of his religious opinions. And should not Israel's sons love this land? should they not defend it in time of need foremost among its stoutest defenders? Are they not sons of the soil? members of the government? citizens of the republic? Do they not worship as their conscience teaches them? Do they not erect houses of prayer wherever they desire, and call unmolested on the One All-Father, who thrones in heaven, in strains of a distant land, in words of a former age? Ay, and they worship even thus; and where is the adversary who dares to molest them in their constitutional rights? who can abridge in this their unalienable privilege of citizenship? Indeed this is cause of thankfulness, and this blessing comes from God; for He, "who turneth the hearts of kings like water," having compassion on the long sufferings of his people in the lands of their captivity, filled with wisdom the hearts of those who framed the fundamental laws of this country, that they struck off the chains from the captives of centuries, and bid the reason enlightened by the wisdom of God know of no chains save the bonds of religion, of no fetters save the commands of the Most High. Still, with the severance of state from religion, with the annihilation of hypocrisy in order to obtain court favour, the state of morals has not degenerated below the standard of the old world; and though we hear of deeds of violence and of fraud which are a disgrace to human nature,—though there are perhaps national foibles which are not chargeable to other countries: it is not saying any more than the simple truth to aver, that as a whole people the inhabitants of this land have no more crimes to answer for than other nations, and that the state of sinfulness we witness only proves man in no state of society is otherwise than prone to evil, and violates the laws of holiness from the perverseness of his disposition, and not rarely from a defective education. This is not the place, nor is to-day the time, to enlarge upon this point; but it opens for the reflecting mind a vast field of inquiry, which will yield also ample fruits if taken in connexion with religion, especially that system to which we Hebrews are attached. Nor has the state suffered from not being supported by a paid hierarchy, and richly endowed religious establishments. On the contrary, the experiment of free institutions on a large scale in an extensive country, with every variety of climate, with an almost entire diversity of interests among its millions of inhabitants, has proved entirely successful, although no church was leagued with the civil power to support it against the turbulence of the popular masses. What is more, though the timid stand trembling in doubt because of the obscure future, and imagine that the dissensions naturally belonging to a popular government will at length disrupt this vast confederacy, and place petty sovereigns at the head of its disjointed members, because they believe that man is not fit for self-government: the philanthropist, guided by the wholesome truths which the Bible so plentifully offers, in government no less than religion, can see no ground for this fear of the timid; and he beholds only the downfall of the constitution in a state of voluptuousness and imbecility like that which overwhelmed ancient Rome, when its love for liberty had been choked by the influx of useless wealth, produced by useless conquests; and if this should unfortunately be the state of the people, it would be a just punishment for them that they be cursed by Providence with the possession of royal heads and their natural companions, a favoured patrician caste, and a pampered regal church. In the mean time, it is a gift from on high that the liberties of this land are established on a foundation, to say the least, as sure as that of any regal government, and the absolute equality which each citizen enjoys, is a cause of thankfulness to the Giver of all good.
But independently of these theoretical blessings, which the mere creature of pleasure and the lover of gain may not value, perhaps, there are tangible objects of enjoyment which have been conferred on this land. It is not many years ago that a spirit of daring and reckless speculation pervaded all classes and stations. Men wanted to grow rich, not by the slow process of accumulating little to little, each the fruit of honest industry and legitimate earning; but by quickly amassing where nothing had been invested, and by suddenly reaping a large harvest where nothing had been sown. It was then that a blight fell upon the land; the merchant saw his speculations fail; the supposed wealth was reduced to its nothingness; and the very soil seemed to mourn over the degeneracy of the people; and the husbandman found his harvest deficient; and this vast extent of country, which in other seasons might well be styled the granary of the world, became in its turn indebted to foreign lands for the bread which we ate, and for the seed which was entrusted to the earth at the time of ploughing. The people had confided too much in their own strength; they had been prosperous for many years, and had grown presumptuous by a reliance on their own resources. It was therefore, doubtless, as we must judge in analogy with the history of the world, that mercantile reverses and scanty crops were sent as providential dispensations, in order to prove to the community, by their own experience, that "If the Lord do not build the house, the builders thereof labour in vain;" and thus it was that when the curse did fall, all the precautions of human foresight were turned to naught, and the boldest in the day of prosperity, became timid and alarmed in the hour of peril; and nearly all enterprise was abandoned, as though no more days of success would dawn upon the earth. And in the homes of the poor there was sorrow; the many who depend upon the labour of their hands for the bread they daily eat were turned out of their workshops, because those for whom they wrought had no use for their labour; and in compulsory idleness was many a willing workman compelled to waste away the precious time. Soon the little hoard of better days was exhausted; and ghastly want then visited the houses of many who by labour had always hitherto earned a moderate support, and who only needed employment now to place them beyond the reach of absolute want. But who has chronicled the miseries of the poor? who will tell us how great were the struggles and the inward strife before the once independent artisan could submit to ask for alms from his wealthy neighbour, or before he took up the wandering staff, and turned his back upon the home of his childhood, to seek for bread in the distant wilds? Still, amidst all this prostration of enterprise, the mercy of the Lord was distinctly visible, if man would but regard things with a believer's eye; for the earth again was rendered fruitful, and an immense increase followed on scanty harvests of former years; and many poor could thus purchase abundant food with diminished means of subsistence. More yet has been witnessed. After the evil of commercial distrust had prevailed for a while, confidence has been measurably restored; and the renewed activity in every branch of industry, and the increased demand for labourers to supply the deficiency which a long inaction had produced, prove that the Lord has again visited the land to cause the light of prosperity to cheer up the spirit of those who have felt the weight of the storm, which prostrated so many who deemed themselves secured by their own wisdom against the assaults of adversity.
But, to turn from present advantages, and from occurrences which have taken place under our own eye, let us cast our view back for a space of less than three centuries, and see what America then was. The country had been just discovered by the adventurous Europeans, and on a few spots, favourably situated with regard to climate and the beauty of the landscape, colonies had been planted by bloodstained Spain, in order to conquer the aborigines of the soil, to deprive them of the gold they possessed. I will not detain you with a recital of the murders and cruelties these insatiable bigots were guilty of to glut their unhallowed thirst for unlawful acquisitions; how they nearly depopulated whole islands by forcing the enervated natives to labour in the mines whence they had to extract the shining metal; but I will merely revert to the arrival, on the northern part of the new world, of a different race of men, who came hither to escape from the persecutions they had to endure in their native England for the religious opinions they entertained. Two hundred years ago the idea of toleration was something revolting to the European statesman, and whoever differed from the religion of the state was subject to pains and penalties for his daring. And whether it was a king of England who excluded the Catholic, the Quaker, and the Presbyterian from a free practice of their religion in his state; whether it was the king of France who banished the Protestant Huguenots from his kingdom; whether it was the ruler of Spain who drove away all dissentients by one fell decree from his dominions, and tortured millions because they dared to differ from the doctrines of the Catholic church: it was all the same, wherever one turned his look, and there was no liberty of conscience, save in the small republic which had conquered its independence from the cruel sway of Spain: I refer to Holland. It was, therefore, to the northern part of this continent that the English dissenters looked for a home where they might entertain their religious opinions unmolested; and colonists of different sentiments came hither from time to time to establish communities under the protection of the powerful ruler of Great Britain. It is not our province this day to point out the errors of many of the early settlers; how they, who had fled from persecution for opinions' sake, themselves became persecutors in their new homes of those who differed from them; for it was not to be expected that in times of illiberality men would learn to bear with the opinions of others, though they themselves had felt the iron weight of unjust power. A few communities, however, there were in which the rights of a free conscience were early recognized; and surprising enough, a Catholic noble, who founded the neighbouring state to the south of us, at a time when the head of his church encouraged the burning of heretics, was perhaps the first* who recognized even here the right of every man to worship God without being molested by the arm of civil power. I need not mention the benevolent founder of this commonwealth** in which we live, and by recommendation of the Governor of which we have consecrated this day as one of thanksgiving, whose natural kindness of heart and statesmanlike foresight inspired him to invite to his colony every man who felt himself oppressed in his native land, and who preferred a life of freedom in the words of the new world, to fetters on the mind and shackles on his limbs in the old. Enough; hardy enterprise, guided by freedom, led into the thickest of the forest thousands of hardy pioneers, and speedily beautiful towns arose on the sea shore and on the margin of rivers; the wily savage retired before the civilized white man, and woods which formerly supported but a handful of vagabond hunters, were soon made to yield food and afford ample shelter for thousands of an industrious and thriving population. And now, wander abroad, and behold the immense arms of streams that embrace this land; survey its lakes, miniature oceans in their dimensions; traverse its bays and its inlets; survey its hundreds of harbours; and see the ships that go to every land, that arrive from every clime, bearing away the surplus products this country affords, and bringing the luxuries and necessaries collected from all the world; and reflect that in all the length and breadth of the republic there are peace and plenty: and then say whether you do not recognize causes of gratitude, or do you believe that human wisdom has built up all this greatness? That it is mere human enterprise that has effected all this? O believe it not, that mortals, when unassisted by divine aid, can command success! Powerless is the arm that labours without God, useless is the mind that travails without providential assistance. O believe it! For religion and experience both do teach the lesson, that it is the Lord who disposes of the fate of nations as of individuals, and that it is his goodness which exalts a people, that it is his power which breaks down its proud exaltation when the inhabitants become presumptuous in their success, and yield themselves captives to base desire, and go astray of the imaginings after their heart. Is it not, then, true, that as citizens of this republic we have great cause for thankfulness to the Lord of all, because He has so bountifully blessed the land with liberty—with peace—with plenty—with health? And shall we not unite in praising his holy name because "He is good, and his mercy endureth for ever?"
* Yet Lord Baltimore also excluded Jews from an equality in the colony of Maryland, which all Christian sects enjoyed. It was only within the last few years that two succeeding legislatures of the now state of Maryland passed the bill removing the Jews' disabilities, by which the state constitution was amended, and our people were placed upon a perfect equality with all the other citizens of that state. North Carolina and Massachusetts have not yet abrogated the Jewish civil disabilities from the codes. Still, this does not affect our right to worship unmolested, to hold property, and to exercise any lawful pursuit; for, thanks to the general enlightenment of the people, and the principles of free institutions, no abridgement of personal rights could ever be tolerated in this country.
** William Penn.
But as Israelites we have additional motives for gratitude. O, long and weary have been our wanderings! From the day that we were driven from our own land, when the legions of the "benevolent Titus," as false historians term the barbarous conqueror, destroyed all that was dear and holy in Israel, it seemed as though all mankind had declared war against the remnant that had escaped from the famine, and the sword, and the pestilence, and the tooth of wild beasts, which had all combined their destructive efforts at the siege and after the conquest of Jerusalem. We were not permitted to stay near the ruins of our temple and of our homes; the captives were not suffered to weep on their former soil over the downfall of their glory; yes, we were scourged and plucked out of our land; and still, what country would consent to receive us? Whilst paganism yet ruled the Roman empire, we were the scorn of the heathens, and were exposed to all the persecutions which their ignorant hatred of divine truths prompted them to invent. And when the Nazarene faith became the religion of the state, our situation was not less deplorable; for every species of insult, and cruelty, and oppression was constantly resorted to in order to embitter our lives and make us fear with trembling for the morrow. Had we been brigands, murderers, conspirators against the tyrants who oppressed us, there might have been excuses framed for this scandalous outrage of the rights of humanity witnessed in the hardships we had to endure. But no such crimes were ever laid to our charge; unless it might be that absurd calumny which was often invented at the eve of some new persecution, that we murdered an innocent child of gentile parentage to use its blood at the celebration of our Passover feast. It was no use for us to urge that such an act was contrary to our very religion, in honour of which this crime was said to have been committed; our enemies knew its falsity; but they could not prove by any true means that we were injurious to the state, not even to the church which rested for its support upon the belief in a plurality in the godhead; and yet they thirsted for our blood, they thirsted for our supposed wealth; and they hence inflamed the popular mind by an invented discovery of an enormity at which our souls revolted; and they thus slew without mercy, and they plundered without remorse, and banished without repining those who in their features bore the marks of their descent from the scorned race, or who professed by their acts their belief in the hated unity of God. It was, in truth, this belief which our adversaries hated; it was this principle, which contradicted their proclaimed views of truth, that aroused their ire; and still it was the idea of the Most High and his attributes which had descended to us from the days of Abraham; and it was the watchword which resounded from every son of Jacob, from every daughter of Israel, when they laid themselves down to sleep and when they rose up; when they met in their assemblies of prayer, on their days of solemn thanksgiving; nay, at the very moment when their ruthless persecutors shook the lighted torch to consume then alive, or bared the glittering sword to strike off their heads, or held the noose to tie them to the ignominious gibbet because they belonged to the proscribed Jewish race. 1t makes one sick to revert to the horrors of those times; it is almost incredible that such things have been; that no mercy took possession of the breast of those who professed to teach a religion of love. But not with bodily oppression were the adversaries satisfied; they had found means to torture the soul also. Tender children were torn from the arms of parents who longed for them all the day; not to be sold into slavery, for that would have been a comparative mercy, but that they might be educated in a religion the followers of which oppressed the parents for their belief,—in a religion which their progenitors resisted even unto death. In short, the sons of Israel were persecuted in every land, and their religion was proscribed wherever its members were found; and only here and there a limited toleration was granted as the price of a burdensome contribution, to be resumed at the caprice or the pressing necessity of their tyrants for farther exactions. O, melancholy has been our lot, and but dim recollections are preserved in history to mark the sorrows which for eighteen hundred years have befallen our people; the world was ashamed to leave records of the wrong that was heaped upon the unresisting and helpless remnant, whose story was written in blood, and whose fate was remembered only in the tears and complaints of the sufferers. And imagine not that our persecutors are wearied of their task at this very day; O, no! they do not slay any more with the sword, they light not the cruel stake to amuse men and women of royal blood with the sufferings of unbelieving Jews; but they continue to heap disqualifications of various kinds upon us, in order to drive us from our faith, or to diminish our numbers in case we will not yield. This is no idle figure of speech! Would to mercy that the picture were one of fiction, and that Israel had peace! But truth compels us to assert that in many countries of Europe, there especially where the greater part of Israel dwells, laws have been contrived, which if not repealed, will in the course of nature either diminish the Jewish population, or at least prevent the natural increase which in time of peace always takes place. Singular as it may appear in this country, where every citizen has the right to judge for himself whether he shall marry or not, it is nevertheless true, that in some provinces only a certain number of Jews can be allowed to marry, and this restricted population is confined to narrow limits, beyond which no one is permitted to dwell; and should any one violate these laws, he is dealt with as a malefactor against some wise enactment. But what need is there to prove the injustice which is rendered to us? Have we not cause to complain even in countries comparatively liberal, that the rights of citizenship are denied to professing Jews, whilst the door of preferment is opened wide to apostates who sell their birthright for a paltry office, merely that they may bask in the sunshine of a worthless court-favour?
All this proves (and I could have added much more, were it not that I fear to detain you too long,) that as Israelites we have an additional cause for thanksgiving that it has pleased our almighty Father to assign to us this land as an asylum from oppression, where we may mingle with the other citizens as their equals in constitutional rights, as their equals in love of country and devotion to its institutions and laws. This is emphatically the land where Israelites in their captivity can dwell securely, whilst its liberties remain uninjured by popular violence or by tyrannical usurpation; here the spirit of Judaism can shine forth, (as far as this can be out of the limits of the holy land, and without the temple whose rebuilding we hope for,) without let or hindrance from the malign influence of political disqualifications; and here can we devote our energies to our moral and physical improvement, without dread of molestation from the other inhabitants.
And, indeed, the moral influence of religious freedom in America has already been felt in other countries: for in France and Belgium no inequality is recognized any more for the sake of speculative opinions; Holland, true to its ancient liberties, has maintained the rights of its numerous Israelitish citizens; and England, though she has not yet removed the inequality among her people at home, has equalized in her colonies the Jew with the other inhabitants; and soon may she extend this justice to all who claim the right of serving their native land in peace and in war, though they are of the ancient faith of Moses.
But let us cast a look upon ourselves, and see whether we have acted in accordance with the motives of gratitude which rest upon us. God indeed has been most merciful towards us; but we must stand humbled when He comes to judge us according to our deeds. We have been blessed individually and nationally; as citizens and as Israelites; but we have done but little to prove that we feel that it is from God we have been blessed. Merit we have none to entitle us to all the kindness and the truth which the Lord has shown to us who ought to be his servants; but, on the contrary, we have often rebelled against the majesty of Heaven, and have vexed his holy spirit by our backsliding. Many a one has crossed the Atlantic with his staff for his patrimony; many a one has set out in life with but a small share of worldly goods; and still he has seen his stores increase daily, and wealth pour in upon him, far more than he counted upon, far more than he needs for the supply of all his wants. Like Jacob, his wealth can be divided in two bands, and if one be lost, the other would be enough to answer all his reasonable desires. But, unlike Jacob, he has violated the law of Jacob's God in acquiring it; unlike the patriarch, he thinks not of the Lord in the day of his prosperity, he prays not to Him in the day of his affliction. It is mournful that we should have to portray thus the conduct of Jews, of those whose very descent, whose very sufferings ought to distinguish them as the devoted servants of the Lord, as the true followers of his law. But what is the use of deceiving ourselves?
We cannot be called a religious community, neither in this city nor elsewhere. Let us not be offended in hearing the truth spoken; on the contrary, let us meet the issue like reasonable men, as beings accountable to an all-seeing Eye for their conduct. My words may be plain; but, brethren, honeyed speeches come not with a good grace from a faithful preacher; he owes truth to his flock, he owes truth to his Maker. In the name of Him whose words are our law, I appeal to you, I beseech you, to take a calm view of events passing daily around you. I ask you, is the Sabbath solemnly kept every week as the day of delight in the Lord, as a time of reunion in his courts? or do Israelites seek on that holy day their desires pursue their business, and are absent from the house of prayer? Answer me, is the name of the Lord daily invoked in all the houses where we dwell, as was the good custom of ancient Israel? Speak, do you live in spiritual fellowship with your brothers? do you wish for union with them? does or does not forbidden food stand on your tables? are or are not the eyes of the observers offended by the viands which they see offered to them in your abodes? "Yes," I hear you say, "we are charitable, we never let the hungry go away unfed, and when we see the naked, we clothe him: Is not this true religion? Do we not thus honour the Lord?" Undoubtedly; and I have often had cause to rejoice over the prompt relief which has been extended to the unfortunate, whether native or stranger, whether Israelite or gentile, who claimed your aid; and doubtlessly God in his goodness has watched your deeds, and will not withhold his recompense. I speak not of this city only; but of all other Jewish communities over the extent of the land, for charity is their peculiar characteristic. Still, thus you observe but one of the commandments; whereas the Lord demands of his servants an entire surrender of the will, that they may "walk before Him and become perfect." Do you say, that six days' time does not suffice for your labour? that you cannot devote to rest the days which our religion demands? Let me beseech you to reflect, that many of our forefathers, when all did rest on the weekly Sabbath, actually acquired large possessions, which they transmitted to their children; the blessing of the Lord of the Sabbath was with them, and they prospered in their undertakings. In modern times, we have with pain been compelled to witness many a day of rest disregarded; but have our possessions become enlarged through this means? is there a greater degree of solid prosperity among us according to our increased numbers than in former times? Assuredly not; and those whose years allow them, to speak with knowledge will, I am sure, bear me out in the assertion that as a community we are not richer than under the ancient strict observance of the Sabbath. And ever were it otherwise, still this would be no argument for offending against the commands of the Lord. We have been greatly blessed in the enjoyment of so many mercies, which we have not deserved; our own hearts, therefore, should yearn to return thanks to the Lord; and how can we better thank Him than by obeying his precepts implicitly, whether our advantage be secured thereby or not? For how soon must all glory fade, and how soon will the hoarded wealth be left to new possessors, who neither toiled for it nor will remember in gratitude the one who left it behind. And who would not value the joys of a holy life, which sought the glory of God above all things, in order that the spirit might be fitted for a purer world, where all cares will be gratified by the Father? where all will be fed by his delights? And why, again, will we, for the sake of carnal joys, of mere animal appetites, trifle away our share of futurity, which to us can only be given as servants of the Lord after the standard of Israel's sacred inheritance, the law of Sinai? Salvation is the portion of all righteous gentiles, as we are taught, though they obey not the law which was not given to them. But, I repeat it, Jews are not thus securing the happiness of their souls; they must acquire it through obedience to the law, and this, obedience in all things, even unto the end.—And this is the country where we can be Israelites in truth. Here no one can molest us in our observances; it is here, therefore, that we should display obedience in all its bearings, and distinguish ourselves in our conversation and acts as true followers of the ancient fellowship of Jacob. In this all can join; whether we are rich or poor, whether we drew our first breath on this side of the ocean or thousands of miles beyond it; for we all are children of one stock, inheritors of the same birthright, servants of the same God by the same revelation. Let no one, then, be wanting to show the due obedience to the ancient legacy, and let him purify himself, and help others to become pure likewise. If, then, this day of thanksgiving has been, under Providence, the means of awakening a new feeling of religiousness among our congregation, how happy will be the recollections its future recurrence will call forth; it will be a new link to bind us to those political institutions under which the inhabitants are accustomed to look towards the God whom the Bible revealed (although they all do not worship Him as the One Eternal) as the Source of all blessings, as the Being to whom all our thanks are due.
And O! God of truth, bless in thy mercy the liberties of this land, give them permanency and abiding strength; preserve the constitution which secures equal rights to all; and inspire the hearts of the authorities and the people with wisdom, that they may deal justly and truly towards each other and all the nations of the earth; that peace may dwell within these borders, and the sound of strife not be heard within their limits. Shed on us also, the children of thy covenant, the spirit of meekness and piety, that we may subdue our hearts to thy service, in order that we may, enjoying liberty of conscience, and unswayed by fear of persecution, devote our hearts to thy service, to adore thy ever-blessed Name in sincerity and truth—even unto that hour when thy salvation shall be displayed before all nations through the redeemer whom Thou wilt send, as Thou hast spoken through thy prophets. Amen!
Thursday, Kislev 28th, (December 21st,) 5604.