By Matthias Burnet, D.D. Pastor of the First Church in Norwalk.
From a sermon on May 12, 1803.
Let not your children have reason to curse you for giving up those rights, and prostrating those institutions which our fathers delivered to you….
And that this happy state of things may continue, look well to the characters and qualifications of those you elect and raise to office and places of trust. In this momentous concern, let the wise counsel of Jethro, tho√ a priest, be your guide.
“Choose ye out from among you able men, such as fear God, men of truth and hating covetousness and set them to rule over you.”
Think not that your interests will be safe in the hands of the weak and ignorant or faithfully managed by the impious, the dissolute and the immoral. Think not that men who acknowledge not the providence of God nor regard his laws, will be uncorrupt in office, firm in defense of the righteous cause against the oppressor, or resolutely oppose the torrent of iniquity. Their own emolument, ease or pleasure, will at any time induce them to connive at injustice and iniquity, or join with the oppressor.
Watch over your liberties and privileges civil and religious with a careful eye!
Remember it is always safer and better for a people, to commit their interests to the care of those whose ability, fidelity and patriotism they have tried and found equal to their trust, than to those whom they have not, even though they may be supposed to be perfectly equal in all these particulars.