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Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, JAN. 7, 1836.
Ordered, That Messrs. LEONARD of Norton, WALKER of Taunton, and FULLER of Newton, be a Committee to wait on the Rev. ANDREW Bigelow, and present bim the thanks of this House, for his very interesting and appropriate discourse, delivered yesterday before the Legislature, and request a copy for the press.
L. S. CUSHING, Clerk.
The length of the ensuing discourse obliged the omission or abridgement of considerable portions of it at the time of delivery. It is now presented as originally prepared for the pulpit and occasion.
*SPEAK UNTO THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL, THAT THEY GO FOR
Exodus, 14th Chapter, 15th Verse.
It was a dark hour for Israel, when the charge, now rehearsed, was given by the voice of Israel's God to the leader of the chosen tribes ; a still darker hour, when the order it conveyed was proclaimed in the hearing of the awe-struck host, and their marshalled bands prepared to resume their march. Pilgrims to a distant land, advanced but a few stages on their toilsome route, not yet emancipated from the power, and still within the dominions of a fierce and cruel monarch, they were already brought into a situation of great perplexity and hazard. Encamped in a desert place, entangled mid rocky defiles,-the sea in front,-bleak mountains around,
á hostile force urged on by a ruthless chief pressing upon their rear,- the crisis was fearful, — the fate of Israel appeared to be inevitably sealed.
To stay, was to perish. To resist, was madness. To advance, was seemingly but to plunge into a watery grave. At this juncture, the mandate of God as recorded in the text, thundered through the camp of Israel.
". The Lord said unto Moses, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they Go FORWARD!” And forward they moved. He, the herald who transmitted the divine command,— with unshrinking reliance on the succouring arm of God, -himself led the terror-stricken van. Arrived at the brink of the intercepting flood, he stretched forth his rod, — the mysterious wand which oft had waved in dreadful power over Egypt,- and the sea was cleft in twain, opening a path for the amazed and rejoicing tribes, through crystal walls miraculously heaped on either hand. The opposite bank, that friendly longed-for shore, was reached in safety. The sea then regained its ancient channel, engulphing at the same time with terrific doom, the pursuing host, — burying the pride and flower of Egypt, its chariots and horsemen, its captains and varriors, its nobles and menials, prince, page and vassals beneath its wild and vengeful billows.
It was a dark hour for that little company of pious and dauntless spirits, — exiles from the land of their forefathers, sufferers for conscience sake, men “persecuted but not forsaken, perplexed yet not in despair," -- when they gathered upon the quay of Delft, on the memorable morn of the 22d of July, 1620, surrounding their spiritual chief, the
patriarchal Robinson, and knelt down and implored of God, that He would grant “a right way for themselves and their little ones, and all their substance,"* on their voyage to that far-off land, here in this Western hemisphere, whither they were bound. Yes, dark was the hour when with streaming eyes and bursting hearts, that little group joined in the last prayer they were destined to listen to from the lips of their venerable pastor and guide ;—when they clung around the good man's knees, and took their parting look, and exchanged a fond, final embrace ;—when turning from their pleasant homes though in a strange land, they embarked in quest of a refuge on these then houseless, savage shores,—when so touching was the scene that even the bosoms of the coldest observers heaved in sympathy, and tears coursed down the cheeks of men “ albeit of no melting mood.” But a call as from heaven summoned them away. They felt and obeyed the holy impulse. And He who holdeth the waters in the hollow of his hand, and who ruleth the winds and the seas, provided for them a safe pathway across the Atlantic deep; and hither they came and laid the foundations of an empire, which so long as it shall stand and flourish, will abide a monument of their faith and fortitude, their heroism and their renown.
It was a dark hour when in 1675 the flame of a
* Ezra viii. 21,- the text from which their beloved Pastor, Robinson, preached a parting discourse on the melancholy occasion,