A Fast Sermon
2 Pet. I. 11
For so an entrance shall be ministered to you
abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and
Saviour Jesus Christ.
2 Pet. III. 13.
Nevertheless we, according to his promise,
look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth
Numberless are the calamities to which we are liable in this world. There are few of us who have not some share of trouble allotted us, either in our persons, or families, or fortunes. But, if happily exempted from troubles of this kind, there are troubles of a public nature which are very shocking and which at present throw a dark cloud over all our views and hopes. In such circumstances we are necessarily led to look out for consolation. It would be dreadful to suffer under present evils and to be under a necessity perhaps of looking forward to future greater evils, without any considerations that have a tendency to abate anxiety and mitigate pain. But this is not our condition. There are many springs of comfort to which in the worst circumstances we may have recourse, and which will help to reconcile us to our lot, and to give us patience and fortitude. Most of them, however, are of little moment compared with the two following; I mean, 'the consideration of the perfect government of the deity', and 'the prospect of a future better state'. These are the grand springs of consolation amidst the evils of life and wretched is the person who, either from scepticism, or inattention, or viciousness of character, loses the hope and satisfaction which they are fitted to afford. Were the course of events under no wise and good direction, or were the present scene of trial and tumult the whole we are to enjoy of existence, were the universe forlorn and fatherless, did joy and grief, defeat and success, prosperity and adversity, arise fortuitously, without any superintendency from a righteous and benevolent power; or, were we, after being witnesses to the scramble among the children of men, and making our way through this distracted world, to close our eyes for ever, and to sink to rise no more; were, I say, this our state, we might well lose all spirit and give up ourselves to bitter sorrow and despondence. But, on the contrary, if there is a perfect order established in nature, and infinite wisdom and goodness govern all things, and if also the scene will mend hereafter, and we are to sink in death only to rise to new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness, and to have an entrance ministered to us into an everlasting kingdom of peace and virtue; if, I say, this is our true situation we have abundant reason for comfort. The lot appointed us is glorious. We may contemplate the course of events with pleasure. We may look forward with triumph, and make ourselves easy and happy at all times.
My present design is to endeavour to engage your attention to the second of these sources of consolation, or to that future better state for which we are destined. In doing this I shall, first, just mention some of the evidences of such a state; secondly, I shall make some observations on the nature of it as a happy community or kingdom, contrasting at the same time the peace and order which we have reason to expect in it with the disorders and troubles which take place among the kingdoms and under the corrupted governments of this world. After which my intention is to make an improvement of the whole for our relief in the present circumstances of this kingdom.
The evidence for a future state is such as leaves no doubt in my mind. However threatening the stroke of death appears, and whatever interruption it may possibly produce in the exercise of our powers, there is no reason for thinking that it will destroy us. The soul is a simple and, therefore, does not admit of that separation of parts which produces corruption and dissolution. The body is a machine by which the soul perceives and acts, and the destruction of the one no more infers the destruction of the other than the destruction of a weapon infers the destruction of the hand that uses it, or the destruction of a telescope the destruction of the eye that looks through it. If, therefore, death annihilates us, it cannot be by destroying our bodies but by a positive exertion of the power of the Creator to put us then out of being. And such an exertion being improbable, the just conclusion is that we shall go on to exist and, at some period subsequent to death, recover our active powers and become again embodied spirits. Our capacity of existing forever is alone a reason for believing that we are intended for such an existence, and this capacity we possess in a manner which cannot be considered without astonishment. For such are our powers that we are capable not only of existing, but of improving for ever. Is it credible that such beings were designed for nothing but this short life? Are they led to carry their views to an immortality which they cannot enjoy, and to entertain hopes which cannot be gratified? After being shewn a house not made with hands eternal in the heavens, and being put in the way to it, are they to be cut off at the threshold? Can it be imagined that the Deity should thus mock his reasonable offspring, or that such inconsistencies should be established in the constitution of nature?
But this is by no means the best evidence we have on this subject. The character of the Deity as the moral governor of the world affords another argument for a future state of irresistible force. There is, evidently in this life, a scheme of moral government begun, but if there is no other life it is left imperfect and unfinished. Virtue, though in general our present interest, is not followed with an adequate reward, nor is vice followed with an adequate punishment. That righteousness of practice which is our nearest resemblance to the Deity, is sometimes the object of oppression and insult, and that wickedness which turns men into demons and would, were it to prevail, turn the world into a chaos, is sometimes successful and prosperous. The man who devotes his life to save his country loses, by that very action, all possibility of any present reward; and, on the contrary, the man who acquires power and wealth by spoiling or betraying his country, secures himself against any present punishment by the enormity of his villainy. It is impossible that irregularities so inconsistent with our ideas of distributive justice should be suffered to pass without redress under the divine government. Since the present world is not the seat of adequate retribution, it must be reserved for another, and a future state appears to be as certain as the existence of a wise and righteous Deity. We may be assured that no one shall finally be a loser by his virtue, or a gainer by his wickedness. He who now sacrifices his life in any good cause shall find it again, and he who saves his life by falshood and treachery or any wrong means, shall lose a better life. This is our Saviour's meaning, when he says ... that whosoever will save his life shall lose it, and that whosoever will lose his life shall find it.
But this leads me to observe farther on this head that the doctrine of a future state is confirmed by the promise of God in the Christian revelation. We expect, my text says, according to his promise, new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness. This is the promise, St John says, which he hath promised, even eternal life, and this life is in his Son. The gospel has abolished death, and brought life and immortality to the clearest light. It not only acquaints us that there will be a resurrection from death through the power of Christ, but sets before us a particular demonstration of it from fact. Christ rose himself from the dead and thus has shewn to our senses the path of life, and become the first-fruits of all that sleep. One of the ends of his appearance among mankind was to ascertain to us a future state and, by discovering to us our own dignity as heirs of a glorious immortality, to engage us to raise our views above this world.
But it is time to hasten to the account which I have proposed to give you of the nature of the future state of reward as a kingdom or community into which we are to be hereafter admitted. This is the view which the Scriptures give us of it. Thus, in Rev. xxii. 24, it is said that those are blessed who keep the commandments of God, because they shall enter through the gates into the city, and in Mark x. 24, that it is hard for those who trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God, and in Matth. vii. 21. that not every one who says to Christ, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of God, and, in the passages which I have chosen for my text, that we look for new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness, and that an entrance is to be ministered to us abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour. These are representations which plainly lead us to consider the future heavenly state as a happy society or community, and reason concurs with revelation in leading us to this view of it.
We find ourselves so made that we necessarily seek society and cannot exist happily out of it. There is reason to think this must be the case with all intelligent creatures, for it is not to be conceived that any of them can want social affections or be entirely indifferent to all social connections and intercourse. An existence absolutely solitary must, one would think, be dreary and melancholy. But whatever in this respect may be true of intelligent creatures in general, we know that what I am observing is true of ourselves. The principles of our natures lead us to unite and to form ourselves into societies. In consequence of this we gain many pleasures and advantages which we could not otherwise enjoy. Some of our noblest affections, which would otherwise lie dormant, are drawn forth into exercise and the strength of a whole community is employed in the defence and protection of every particular member of it.
The forms of association among mankind have been very different in different ages and countries, and it has been at all times one of the chief employments of human wisdom to contrive such forms of association as should be most likely to produce security, peace and comfort. At first these forms were simple and rude. As mankind encreased they became more complicated, and legislation and government were gradually enlarged and improved. But with improvement entered also corruption and debasement. Powerful kingdoms and empires arose which established themselves by usurpation and conquest, and which were no better than detestable conspiracies against the happiness of the world. The regulations necessary to the support of civil society laid the foundation of oppression. Government degenerated into tyranny, and subjection to legal authority into slavery. The best institutions for the purpose of government are extremely imperfect, and attended with many dangers. But some have grown up in the world which are so absurd and so incompatible with the rights of mankind as to be intolerable nuisances. How abject and wretched is a kingdom under despotism? What a disgrace is it to human nature that the lives and property of millions should be subject (as they are in most nations) to the disposal of one man, meaner perhaps than the meanest of the people he governs, whose will is their law and from whom they are to descend like a herd of cattle, by hereditary right, to the next plunderer, libertine or madman that may happen to come in succession. When I think of such governments, I am almost ashamed that I am a man. But when I think of the mischiefs they occasion, I feel more painful emotions. A free government, as distinguished from a despotic government, is the dominion of men over themselves in opposition to the dominion of men over other men, or a government by laws made with common consent, in opposition to a government by will; but the power of executing laws must be lodged in the hands of men deputed for that purpose, and this is a power which seldom fails to be dreadfully perverted. All civil governors are trustees for the people governed, and when they abuse their trust they forfeit their authority. But instead of attending to this, they generally forget both the source and the end of their authority, and look upon the people whose servants they are, as their property, which they may dispose of as they please.
Such are the evils to which human society is at present subject, and I have given you this account of them as a preparation for engaging your attention to that better state of things which will take place in the future everlasting kingdom of Jesus Christ. In this world there is no such thing as a kingdom free from tumult, or a government of perfect virtue, but we expect one to come. The heavens we now see are often overcast with frightful clouds and convulsed with storms, and the earth we now inhabit is almost every where the seat of violence, rapine and injustice. But we look for heavens which will enjoy a constant sunshine, and for an earth wherein righteousness and peace will take up their abode for ever.
This is a reviving prospect. Let us dwell upon it and consider,
First, that the heavens and the earth we expect are to be, as St. Peter speaks, new heavens and a new earth, that is, totally different in their nature and constitution from our present heavens and earth which, according to the same Apostle, are reserved for the fire of the last day. This world in its present state is by no means fitted to be the seat of complete happiness or of a perfect government, and, therefore, we have been described as having in view a better, that is, an heavenly country. Our citizenship, St. Paul says, is in heaven from whence we look for the Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ, who is hereafter to appear in glory to judge the world, and to put down all rule, authority and power, in order to establish in their room that kingdom of his Father for which this world is a preparation.
Secondly, from this kingdom there will be an exclusion of all the workers of iniquity. We are assured that, previously to the establishment of it, there will be a general discrimination of mankind according to their works. The wicked will be severed from the just and placed by themselves to suffer the punishment of their crimes. As tares are gathered and burnt in the fire, so shall it be at the end of this world. The son of man will gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them who do iniquity, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire to be destroyed. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their father. To the same purpose we are told in Rev. xxi. 8, that into the heavenly city shall be brought the glory and honour of the nations, and that there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, or that loveth and maketh a lye. But that all the vicious and deceitful shall be cast into that lake of fire and brimstone, which is the second death. This extermination of the wicked is a circumstance of the last importance. Were they to be admitted into the future kingdom of Christ, it could not be a quiet and happy kingdom.
Further, it requires your particular notice that this kingdom is called the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The foundation of it was laid by him. The great end of his descent from heaven was to provide subjects for it and to obtain the power of raising mankind to life, in order to put the virtuous part of them into the possession of it. He has now a kingdom in the world over which he exercises an invisible government. The seat of it will hereafter be transferred to another world, where it will be established in its full glory. Christ will, we are told, hereafter gather his elect (that is, all the faithful and worthy) from the four corners of the earth. He will publicly declare his approbation of their charity and piety and take them with him, as his brethren and joint-heirs, to inherit the kingdom that had been prepared for them from the foundations of the world. There they shall live with him and be advanced to a participation of the honour and dignity to which he has risen.
The Scriptures promise a more happy state of Christ's kingdom even in this world. They foretell a period when his church shall be cleared from the corruptions which have been introduced into it, when a general amendment shall take place in human affairs, the nations learn war no more, and the kingdoms of the earth become the kingdoms of the Lord and of his Christ. But this happy state of Christ's kingdom will be succeeded by a state of it infinitely more happy in the heavens. There the nations of those that are saved will enjoy perfect felicity and nothing remain of the evil we now see.
It follows from these particulars that this kingdom will be a kingdom of perfect order and tranquility. No malignant passions will there produce confusion. Religious bigotry will not persecute. The lust of power will not oppress. Envy will not defame or pride and malice torment, but the joy of every individual will be augmented by the joy of all around him. The wicked will there cease from troubling, and the weary be at rest.
But there is one farther circumstance relating to this kingdom which is of the greatest consequence. It will be an everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. In the Epistle to the Hebrews, ch. xii. and 28th verse, it is called a kingdom that cannot be moved, and in the xith chap. a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. This is the circumstance that crowns the future happiness. It will never come to an end. All earthly governments have in them the seeds of decay and dissolution. The mightiest empires have fallen and the best formed societies, after enjoying liberty and prosperity for a time, have been ruined either by foreign violence, or the more slow operations of internal corruption; nor is any thing more melancholy than the reflection on the revolutions of this kind which have taken place among mankind. But that future government in the heavens, under which the virtuous are to be happy, will be subject to no calamitous revolutions. It will preserve for ever its order and dignity without the possibility of being disturbed by any tumults, or shaken by any convulsions. In short, I can scarcely better describe to you this state than in the figurative language of St. John, in the xxist and xxiid chapters of the Revelations. I saw new heavens and a new earth, and the holy city, the new Jerusalem, descending from God. And I heard a loud voice saying. Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and wipe away all tears from their eyes. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more, neither shall the sun smite on them any more. In the midst of the streets of the city shall be the tree of life, and they shall reign with Christ for ever and ever. What a happiness will this be! To get out of this polluted world and, after seeing the wickedness that abounds in it and passing through its trials, to become members of a quiet and joyful community, to join superior beings and all the worthy of the earth, to see and know the eternal Deity, and to dwell with him to complain and suffer no more, and to die no more.
But it is time to proceed to the main point I have had all along in view, or the use we ought to make of this subject for our comfort under the evils which prevail among the kingdoms of this world. Let me press you to make this use of what I have been saying. Withdraw your minds from temporal objects and amidst the devastations, the slaughters and cruelties around you, look forward to a better state. I pity from my heart those whose principles will not allow them to do this, who, believing they are made only to struggle and fret for a short time on this earth, can look no higher. Men who think thus meanly of themselves must be proportionably mean in their dispositions and pursuits. They must think meanly of the divine administration. They must want the strongest motives to noble exertions, and can have nothing to preserve them from despondence when they reflect on the present state of civil society and government. No reflection can be more painful to a reasonable person. The occasion for civil government is derived from the wickedness of mankind, and the end of it is to provide securities for our person, property and liberty. But it is a very insufficient security and often proves the cause of intolerable distresses, by arming the ambitious with power and enabling them to trample on their fellow-creatures. General experience has proved this and the history of the world is but little more than a recital of the oppressions and rapines of men entrusted with the powers of government, and the calamities occasioned by the endeavours of mankind to defend themselves against them. This is particularly exemplified in the history of our own country, the annals of which are full of accounts of hard struggles between liberty and tyranny.
Free governments are the only equitable governments, but how few of them are there in the world and what seats of contention do we often find them? This contention is even necessary to their existence, for all governments tend to despotism and will end in it if no opposition checks them. Nothing corrupts more than power. Nothing is more encroaching and, therefore, nothing requires more to be watched and restrained. The safety of a free people depends entirely on their maintaining a constant and suspicious vigilance, and as soon as they cease to be quick at taking alarms, they are undone. But the vigilance and jealousy necessary to the security of free governments have been the occasion of dreadful convulsions. They are apt to degenerate into faction and licentiousness, and an impatience of all controul; and very often exertions apparently the most ardent in favour of public liberty, have proved to be nothing but the turbulence of ambitious men and a vile struggle for places and the emoluments of power.
I make these observations to render you more sensible of the imperfection of all earthly governments. If they are free they are subject to intestine broils which keep them in a constant ferment and sometimes end in insurrections and civil wars. If they are slavish they may be indeed more quiet, but that quiet is founded on a depression of the human mind, which is the greatest of all calamities.
How then can it be possible to consider them without pain? What a theatre of confusion and tumult is this world? On one hand the lust of power invading the rights of mankind. On the other fierce defiance and resistance. In one country a haughty despot ordering a general carnage to gratify his avarice or pride. In another a wicked incendiary fomenting discord and disgracing patriotism. Here, a body of crouching slaves looking up to a king as a god, and bowing down that he may go over them. There a nation of freemen enraged by oppression, flying to arms and in the conflict giving their oppressors blood to drink. Here, a Caesar, at the head of his legions, returning from the slaughter of millions, crossing the Rubicon and overturning the liberties of his country. There, a Brutus, at the head of a band of conspirators, striking a poniard into his breast. Such are the spectacles which this world presents to us. These are spectacles which are indeed enough to make us sick of human affairs. Turn your eyes from them to brighter scenes, from the din of arms and the triumphs of tyranny, from the shouts of warriors, and the cries of plundered citizens, from the insolence of power, the hypocrisy of courts, and the pride of princes; transfer your views to the tranquility and order of Christ's everlasting kingdom. Let the confusion and disasters to which you are now witnesses engage you to secure a place there. Remember that you have before you Mount Zion and the city of the living God, and that you are soon to be united to the general assembly and church of the first-born whose names are written in heaven, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to an innumerable company of angels, to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and God the judge of all. Oh, happy state! Here shelter yourselves from the storms of this world. Make this your retreat when assaulted by adversity or vexed by oppression. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ for such a hope. It is enough to warm and elevate our minds, and to prevent us from sinking under any public or private calamities.
But lastly, let us on this subject take care not to forget that the happiness I have described will be the happiness only of virtuous men. All I have said has supposed this and my text plainly expresses it. For so (that is, by adding to faith, fortitude, prudence, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness and charity) an entrance shall be ministered to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, for if ye do these things ye shall never fall. The wicked are nuisances and pests and there can be no happiness where they are. Know ye not, says St. Paul, that the unrighteous cannot inherit the kingdom of God. Be not deceived. Neither fornicators, nor adulterers, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. Christ, by taking upon him our natures, acquired power to raise us from death and to gather together all the virtuous into a state of future existence where, with him at their head, they are to be formed into one joyful society, and to be exalted to the highest honours under a government of peace and righteousness which shall never be destroyed. This is the doctrine which the Scriptures teach us, but the same Scriptures teach us, with respect to the vicious part of mankind, that after being raised up from death they are to be consigned to a state of punishment, where they will suffer a second death, from which there will be no redemption.
What remains then but that we now resolve to avoid every evil way and devote all that is to come of our lives to the practice of righteousness. This must be your resolution if you wish to get to the kingdom of heaven. And let me, on the present occasion, desire you particularly to consider that in the practice of righteousness is included the faithful discharge of all your duties as members of civil society. The conversation of a Christian is not so in heaven as to render him indifferent to what passes on earth. He that expects to be a citizen of the heavenly Jerusalem ought to be the best citizen of this world. He who hopes for a place under a government of eternal peace and virtue will make the best subject to any earthly government under which his lot is cast. He will be the warmest friend to liberty and the most ready to spend his substance, or to pour out his blood in defence of the rights of his country. Act, fellow-christians under the influence of these sentiments and, while others think of nothing but making their way in the world, do you strive to make your way through the world, exhibiting always in your tempers and conduct, a zeal for virtue, and a conscious dignity becoming those who expect honour and glory, greater than this world can bestow, in the everlasting kingdom of Jesus Christ.
We have at present in this country particular reason for making these resolutions, and for recurring to that source of consolation which I have been pointing out to you. The aspect of public affairs continues darker than I can describe. We see this nation (lately the first upon earth) reduced to a state of deep humiliation. Our glory departed fallen from our high station among the powers of the world devastation and bloodshed extending themselves round us without colonies without allies some of the best branches of our trade lost a monstrous burden weighing us down and at war with America, with France, with Spain, with Holland, and in danger of being soon at war with all Europe. In these tremendous circumstances what can we do? Shall we exclaim against our governors? That would be unavailing and vain. It is not possible they should have meant to ruin the kingdom. Shall we accuse Providence? That would be ungrateful and impious. We are too corrupt to deserve the favour of Providence. Let us then accuse ourselves. Had we been a more virtuous people, or as really a nation of Christians as we are so nominally, we could not have been brought into this situation. It is fit that having become more irreligious than perhaps any civilized people that ever existed, and lost that vigilant, jealous, and enlightened spirit of liberty which once characterized us, it is fit, I say, that having thus degenerated we should be degraded. Let us then acknowledge the justice of Heaven in our correction and prepare to meet those sharper corrections which this kingdom may have still before it, remembering for our encouragement that better state on which I have been discoursing, and at the same time making it our constant business to fit ourselves for it, by discharging every duty of life and godliness and, particularly, by acting the part of faithful members of the community to which we belong. If we see our country threatened with calamity, let us warn it. If we see our countrymen proud and insensible to the rights of mankind, let us admonish them. If the demon of corruption is poisoning the springs of legislation and converting the securities of public liberty into instruments of slavery, let us point out to them the shocking mischief, and endeavour to recover them to a sense of their danger. It is true we may be able to do but little in this way. But in this case every little is of unspeakable consequence, and if no one would neglect the little in his power much might be done.
Will you on this occasion bear with me if I say that it has been my study to form my own conduct agreeably to this exhortation. My life has been hitherto spent in such endeavours as I am capable of to promote all the best interests of my country and of mankind. I can, in particular, reflect with pleasure on the part I have taken in that dispute with the colonies which has for some years made us the derision of Europe and to which we owe all our present difficulties. Convinced that our claim of a right to dispose of their property and to alter their governments without their consent, was an unjust claim, and, in general, that provincial governments are the most rapacious and oppressive of all governments, and that the subjection of countries to one another has always been and must always be the worst sort of slavery. Convinced, I say, of this and believing also that a war with our colonies, supposing it just, was in the highest degree impolitic, I could not avoid publishing my sentiments in a pamphlet to which few of you can be strangers. This pamphlet was published five years ago at the commencement of our present troubles. I endeavoured to explain in it the nature of civil liberty and legitimate government, and to set forth particularly the danger to which the war with America would expose us. I argued in it freely against the war. But I only argued. I did not enter into personal invectives or speak disrespectfully of any particular men, and a kingdom ceases to be free as soon as the members of it cease to enjoy the liberty of canvassing in this manner public measures.
It was not possible that I should have any indirect view in this publication. I was led to it by no kind of advice or sollicitation. It was extorted from me entirely by my judgment and feelings in opposition to my inclinations. So true is this and so conscious am I of having acted, in this instance, from pure motives that it has ever since laid the foundation of a comfort in my own mind which has made me perfectly insensible to all censures. Nor would I now for any emoluments part with the satisfaction I feel when I recollect my attempts, by that publication and the publications that followed it, to serve my country, and to propagate just notions of government and a zeal for that liberty on which the happiness of man essentially depends and without which he is a creature scarcely superior to a beast. I was far from having reason to expect that any thing I could write would influence the managers of our affairs. I must say, however, that had they been influenced by it this kingdom, instead of being on the brink of ruin, would now have been enjoying its former prosperity.
I cannot help reminding you here that I insisted strongly, in the publications I have mentioned, on a peculiarity in the state of this kingdom which made any war, but more especially such a war as that with America, dreadfully hazardous, and that I represented particularly the danger mere was that the colonies would be driven to form an alliance with France, that this jealous rival would seize the opportunity to ruin us, that a general war would be kindled, and that a catastrophe might follow in mis country never before known among nations. These representations when written were apprehensions only. A great part of them may be now read as history. When I say this I do not mean to boast of any sagacity. It was easy to foresee these consequences and mere are many distinguished and excellent persons, in every respect my superiors, who entertained the same apprehensions and who have given the same warnings. But though I am only one and one of the least of many who have stood forth on this occasion, yet it has happened that no one has fallen under a greater load of abuse. You will be sensible how improper an object of abuse I have been if you will consider,
First, that detesting all abuse in political as well as religious discussions I have myself always avoided it.
Secondly, that I have done no more than what it is in a particular manner the duty of a Minister of the Gospel of peace to do; I mean, endeavoured to prevent the carnage of war and to promote peace and righteousness.
Thirdly, what most of all justifies me is that events have proved that I was right in my opinion of the pernicious tendency of me measures against which I wrote.
Upon the whole, I must repeat to you that there is nothing in the course of my life that I can think of with more satisfaction man me testimony I have borne and the attempts I have made to serve the cause of general liberty and justice, and the particular interest of this country at the present period. A period big with events of unspeakable consequences and perhaps one of the most momentous in the annals of mankind.
But I have detained you too long and talked too much of myself. You are my friends and know me, I hope, too well to question me uprightness of my views. May you be blest with every comfort this world can give and with eternal happiness in mat country beyond the grave which is now me hope and will soon be the refuge of the virtuous. In that country alone I wish for honour and mere God of his infinite mercy grant mat we may all at last meet!
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