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Psalm CXXXVII. Verse I.
By the waters of Babylon, we sat down
and wept, when we remembered thee, Oh Sion!
This beautiful Psalm was written in commemoration of the Babylonish captivity, written, if we may judge, from the lively feelings it exhibits, soon after the period of that memorable event; and, in truth, it is not possible to read it without emotion : It tells a tale of sorrow with that simple melancholy which the heart can only feel, and the imagination never counterfeit: They hung up their harps on the willow trees,
they could not sing the songs of their God, for they were in captivity, and heaviness of spirit oppressed them ; they thought of their country, and sat down by the waters of Babylon to weep.
Whence, it may be asked, does this love of our country, this universal passion, proceed? Why does the eye ever dwell with fondness upon the scenes of infant life? Why do we breathe with greater joy the breath of our youth? Why are not other soils as grateful, and other heavens as gay? Why does the soul of man ever cling to that earth where it first knew pleasure, and pain, and, under the rough discipline of the passions, was roused to the dignity of moral life? Is it only that our country contains our kindred, and our friends? And is it nothing but a name for our social affections? It cannot be this, the most friendless of human beings has a country which he admires and extols, and which he would, in the same circumstances, prefer to all others under heaven. Tempt him with the fairest face of nature, place him by living waters, under shadowy cedars of Lebanon, open to
his view all the gorgeous allurements of the climates of the sun; he will love the rocks and deserts of his childhood better than all these, and thou canst not bribe his soul to forget the land of his nativity ; he will sit down and weep by the waters of Babylon, when he remembers thee, Ob Sion..
But whether from this love of our kindred, or from habit, or from association, or from whatever more simple principle of our nature this love of our country proceed, it is of the highest importance to society that its existence should be cherished, and its energy directed aright; if the duties which regulate the conduct of man to man be fit subjects for discussion in this place, that virtue which is founded upon the rela-, tion between societies, and individuals, and includes the important, and extended interests of a whole people, must, in preference to all others, merit discussion on my part, and attention on yours..
An attempt is often made to distinguish between moral, and christian subjects of investigation; but no subject can be moral