There is a deep significance in this assemblage, and in the manner Of its convocation. The supreme legislative authority of a sovereign State has set apart this day as a sabbath to the Lord. The Representatives Of a free people arrest the work Of legislation in an hour Of public peril, that they may lead their constituency in an act Of solemn worship to Almighty God, humbly imploring Him to withdraw the chastening hand that has fallen so severely upon our common country. It is the nearest approach which can be made to an act of worship by the State, as such. We reject the shallow nominalism which makes the State a dead' abstraction. It is more than an aggre gation Of individuals. It is an incorporated society, and pos sesses a unity Of life resembling the individuality Of a single being. It can deliberate and concur in common conclusions which are carried out in a joint action, analogous to the powers Of thought and will in a single mind. It stands in definite moral relations, not only to the individuals who are subject to its au thority, but to other societies similarly constituted - giving rise to a code Of public morality, and to the law of nations by which their mutual intercourse is regulated. It is this principle which lends significance to these religious solemnities - that the State is, in some clear sense, a sort Of person before God, girded with responsibilities which draw it within His comprehensive govern ment, capable Of executing a trust, and distinctly recognizing both its Obligations and its rights. Thus, today, this venerable Commonwealth, through her constituted authorities, legislative and executive, bends the knee before the God Of Heaven.
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