RELIGION THE SAFEGUARD OF FREEDOM.
If the noble and dear bought heritage of our freedom is to descend an undiminished patrimony to our children's children, it must be by the agency of principles which bring the retributions of a future work to bear upon the destinies of the present. For myself, I look to religion as the ark in which our liberties are to be preserved: and by an unholy alliance of Church ' State, but by the bland and reforming influence of this religion on the manners and morals of the community.
This religion which we regard as the palladium of our freedom, is in its genius republican. It teaches the doctrine of equal rights ' privileges. It is not limited like the ancient pagan religions, to a few of the noble and learned who may be initiated into its mysteries. It addresses its mandates alike to rulers and to people, to masters and to servants; and carries its consolations and hopes alike to the cottage and the palace. It commands its teachers to announce its glad tidings in the hearing of every rational creature. It acknowledges no privileged aristocracy. The philosopher and the peasant, the man of letters and the man of business, are equally called to bow to the supremacy of its authority.
Let this religion, which is thus fitted to our republican institutions, send its healing influences through all the ramifications of society, and we will never despair of the republic. There will ever be found among us a redeeming spirit, which will save us from the misrule of tyranny, and the pitfalls of anarchy. Let public opinion be enlightened; and public morals be untainted, and we may bid defiance to the underminings of infernal corruption, and to the incursions of the proudest foreign foe. Let me then adjure you, who love your country, to see that there be no ignorance, to misguide public opinion, which you can instruct; and no vice to pollute the fountains of morality, which you can reform.' Put forth your utmost energies to render the irradiations of knowledge and the renovating power of religion universal; and, whatever may become of our beloved country, you will merit a triumph at her hands and will ultimately receive the rewards of well doing. Proclaim a war of extermination against ignorance and vice; and withered be that arm which is raised for their defence. - President Wood's Inaugural Address.