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and ought so to demean himself in it, as to shew that he does not undervalue his Christian calling ;-he must “abide in it with God.” Thus his temporal and spiritual concerns will mutually be advanced. Religion will be intermingled with his daily occupations; promoting, not obstructing, his public utility ; and, in every point of view, enhancing his value as a member of Society.
The Scriptures, indeed, abound in precepts which can only be fulfilled in active and social life. They abound also in commendations of persons who were occupied in stations demanding constant intercourse with mankind, and involving a continual succession of worldly business. They make frequent mention of princes, nobles, statesmen, legislators, soldiers, mariners, traffickers of various description ; nor is it ever surmised that these occupations were an hinderance to their spiritual progress. Examples, moreover, in subsequent times, have never been wanting, in every rank and profession, of persons who have distinguished themselves by blending religious duties with an unremitting and successful application to secular concerns, and who have by such conduct attained to the highest public estimation. These are invaluable testimonies to the practical influence of pure Religion on the general interests of Society.
The CHRISTIAN PATRIOT is, indeed, the character to which, of all others, the highest meed of public praise is due. And, perhaps, in no country is the value of this character more justly appreciated than in our own. The best interests of the State are among us so interwoven with those of Religion, that the one can hardly suffer, without some injury to the other. In almost all our great National Institutions, this connection is either expressly acknowledged or implied. The stability of the Throne itself is made to depend upon it. It is recognised in our whole code of jurisprudence, and pervades, not only the forms, but the substance, of all our proceedings in Courts of Judicature.
It is a prominent feature in our supplications for the Great Council of the Nation. It is diffused through the whole mass of the Community. Scarcely a Charitable Institution, scarcely any work of Public Utility, which does not openly testify its sense of dependence upon the Divine blessing for the success of its designs. Such is the general homage paid, externally at least, among us, to the ascendancy of Religion in the regulation of our temporal concerns.
The occasion on which we are now assembled affords an instance strongly illustrative of these observations.
The general design of the Institution before us comprehends so large a field of good, that it is difficult to say what interests, public or private, collective or individual, it may not, in the wide range of its influence, eventually promote. How much our political preeminence is involved in the main objects to which its attention is directed, it is needless to detail. It is evident, that to our maritime superiority we owe not only our great financial resources, but also much of that spirit of hardihood, enterprise, and valour, which gives to nations a preponderating influence: and it is no less evident, that our superiority in this respect is only to be attained and preserved by unremitting attention to the concerns of our domestic Navigation. But, apart from this great national view of the subject, the peculiar advantages, and the peculiar exigencies, of our insular situation affect, directly or indirectly, every member of the body politic. Through the various channels of Society, however remote or obscure, the vast influence of our commercial greatness is, and must be, felt. To this we owe, more or less, whatever addition to the necessaries, comforts,
and conveniencies of life (to say nothing of its luxuries and superfluities) we derive from the produce of other countries : whilst to the demand from other countries for similar
supplies, we owe one great encouragement to that industry, ingenuity, and labour, which are devoted to raising the produce of our own soil, or to manufacturing it for general use. Without commerce, these pursuits must languish, these advantages be lost, these exigencies be unprovided for. Whatever improvement or facility can be given to the Navigation of our coasts, thus contributes to increase the number of our enjoyments, and the sum of our national welfare.
If in any case, then, the maxim, “ None of “ us liveth to himself,” may be emphatically urged, it is in claiming support for such an Institution as this; where the sphere of utility is enlarged to an extent incalculable, and the whole community participates in the benefits which it diffuses; so that every one among us has reason to apply to it the language of the Psalmist, and say, “ For my brethren and “ companions' sake, I will wish Thee prosper
itym.” Nor are these benefits limited even to our own country. For, as commercial intercourse produces a constant interchange of good offices and substantial advantages between Nations which would otherwise be inaccessible to each other, so it cannot but be an advantage of no ordinary kind, to foreign nations, to be brought thus into contact with our own, and to profit by our extensive resources. Here, therefore, our views may be enlarged to the compass of the whole civilized world, as deriving substantial benefit from that which so signally marks our national character.
m Psalm cxxii. 8.
Closely connected, however, with these benefits, are others of a still higher kind. Whatever facilitates the intercourse between nations, for the supply of their temporal exigencies, strengthens at the same time the social ties of our common nature, and affords opportunities for the improvement of the moral character. Our natural self-love, so apt to transgress its just bounds, is corrected by the interest and the pleasure that are experienced in an enlarged communication with our fellow-creatures. Our benevolent affections are strengthened in the same proportion. Even the hostile feelings of our nature take a beneficial direction ; and a rivalship of dominion and warfare, gives place to a rivalship in pursuits conducive to the general good. Hence nations learn rightly