England's Great Day as Observed by the Local St. George's Society

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England's Great Day as Observed by the Local St. George's Society
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ENGLAND'S GREAT DAY, AS OBSERVED BY THE LOCAL ST. GEORGE'S SOCIETY. The March to Church—Appropriate Sir men by the Chaplain-The Simple Basis of the Society—Virtues of the Old Loyalists—Britain’s Pre-eminent and Ever Increasing Greatness—Some Lessons. St. George's cross waved over the court house, on Saturday, for it was St. George’s day; and the sons of England—or descendants of those sons—gathered there to honor the occasion. Shower and sunshine had been the rule throughout the forenoon and up to the time when the society met in the court room. The members, however, had their parade undisturbed by the weather. The meeting in the court house was for the purpose of ELECTING SOME NEW MEMBERS, and when this part of the proceedings was gone through with the society formed in order and, headed by the 62nd Fusiliers’ band, marched through a number of the principal streets, arriving at Trinity church about 5 o'clock. The Sermon. The chaplain of the society, Rev. W. O. Raymond, preached a sermon from the text: “The Lord our God be with us as He was with our fathers; let Him not leave us or forsake us,” as found in the First book of Kings, viii, 57th verse. In addressing you on this occasion, it is not my intention to present to you anything of a novel or sensational character, but rather to impress upon your minds THOSE SIMPLE, HOMELY TRUTHS and fundamental principles on which our St. George’s Society must ever rely, both in promoting the good of its individual members, and in contributing to the welfare of the society at large. No mere passing impulse, however good in itself, is equal to the task of keeping up the interest in, and duly sustaining the efforts of, a benevolent philanthropic character. To the end of the attainments of lasting success in any enterprise which is calculated to promote the welfare of humanity, there should be at the very outset, a due recognition of the fatherhood of God, the brotherhood of man and the divine graces of Faith, Hope and Love. St. Paul in mentioning THESE THREE CHRISTIAN GRACES alludes to their permanence. Each is to be classed as that which "abideth." Best and greatest of all is Love, for while Faith and Hope endure throughout all generations, Love outlasts the world itself, belongs not merely to Time, but reigns with more perfect sway in eternity. We turn our attention now for a few moments to the day we celebrate. The badges we wear upon our breasts recall the old legendary conflict of St. George and the dragon, typical of that conflict which every soldier of the cross must wage against the common enemy of cur race. The knight is represented as bravely thrusting his spear with intent TO WOUND HIS HATEFUL ADVERSARY even to the death, retaining meanwhile perfect mastery of the spirited steed whereon he rides, as if thereby to teach the Christian warrior the absolute necessity while earnestly contending against his spiritual adversary, to maintain the mastery over self and all its passions by resolute control. It is not necessary that I should dwell at this time upon the martyrdom of England’s patron saint, or rehearse to you the oft told story of how the crusaders fought beneath the banner ct St. George’s cross. Suffice it to say that in every land today where floats our country’s flag, there flies the banner of St. George’s cross; and there too the sons of England will commemorate the day in services and social gatherings befitting the occasion. It appears from the brief history compiled by a former secretary that the St. George’s society of this place was formed in the year 1802 by some of THE LOYALIST FOUNDERS OF THE CITY, It may be deemed not inappropriate that we should today commemorate the 90th anniversary of our organization within the sacred walls of a building so closely identified by historic association with the early days of St. John; that it may truthfully be said that the founders of Trinity church were the founders of St. George’s society as well. In connexion with the recent commemoration of the centenary of the building of old Trinity church, fitting tributes have been paid to the loyalists of 1783. Who that is not imbued with prejudices of a strongly partizan character, can do otherwise than admire the qualities these men displayed in the hour of their humble humiliation? In addition to the severe trials already endured there was added at the close of the American revolution, the mortification ARISING FROM A LOST CAUSE. Yet even in that dark hour, the Christian graces of faith, hope and charity shone out. We see the evidence of their faith manifested in heroic self-sacrifice at the call of duty as they deemed it; the evidence of their hopefulness in the resolute way in which they set to work to carve out new homes in the depths of an Acadian wilderness. Nor amid all the untoward events of the time was the element of charity wanting. When, at the evacuation of New York, the Rev. John Sayre, Mr. David Seabury and others appealed to the more well to do loyalists on behalf of an especially destitute little band of exiles who were on the point of setting out for Nova Scotia, and who with the abandonment of their homes had lost their all, the response was hearty and immediate. There was also a noble incident in THE CONDUCT OF SIR GUY CARLETON, namely: The stand he made on May 6, 1783, in behalf of the slaves, who, daring the war, had found an asylum within the British lines. General Washington wrote to Carleton on the above date: "I was surprised to hear that an embarkation had already taken place in which a large number of negroes had been carried away"; to which Sir Guy Carleton replied, that delivering up the negroes to their former masters would be delivering them up, some possibly to executions and others to severe punishments—which would be a dishonorable violation of the public faith pledged to them by proclamation. “If sending them away,” he added, “should hereafter be declared an infraction of the treaty of peace, compensation must be made to the future owners by the crown of Great Britain.” This is not the time or place to discuss in detail the circumstances connected with the organization of the St. George’s society, or to enlarge upon the good it has accomplished. Suffice it to say that it fills today as it has filled in the past, A FELT WANT IN THE COMMUNITY. The society is a rallying center for every effort of a patriotic nature. It binds together the sons of Britain in the mutual ties of brotherly regard, enabling them to act as a unit in movements in which the good of our common country is concerned; whilst at the same time extending the ready hand of sympathy to the afflicted or distressed, be the sufferer the stranger, the fatherless or the widow. By their own personal experiences, the founders of this society had learned all too well what it was to suffer loss. Their hearts were alive to the woes of the unfortunate, and their ears were never deaf to the cry of distress. The same spirit, I would fain hope, reigns amongst us today. The membership of the society changes with the changing years, but ITS PRINCIPLES ARE EVER THE SAME. One of the objects of our society is to arouse and perpetuate within our breasts, a warm affection for oar father land. The mother of nations has sent forth, as she still sends forth, her sons to the four corners of the wide world! But, by an Englishman, wherever he may go, and while life lasts, the little Isle encircled by the silver sea is distinguished by the sacred name of Home. The expansion of England’s colonial empire daring the present century is something marvelous. The early days of the century saw the two great powers of western Europe locked in deadly strife that seemed to threaten the national existence of both. Each alike had contended for the possession of a great colonial empire. Mark the contrast presented by those mighty nations today—the one STILL EXTENDING HER VAST EMPIRE —which in the case of others has dwindled almost into insignificance. Alas for sunny France! The very colonies she still possesses are as empty cradles, which she has no surplus population to fill. Conscious of our own national sins and failings we dare not claim that England’s blessings today are merely the reward of her deserts; yet may we offer up the beautiful prayer, long may our mother land be preserved from national infidelity, and hold fast on the God of our fathers and on that divine word which proclaims, "Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” Whether our England shall, like the nations of olden time, having filled her mission, in the providence of God, sink into obscurity or not, is a problem no living man can solve. It has been the dream of some that, in process of time, Britain and her colonies might be so drawn together in the ties of interest and action, that the whole empire might beat AS WITH ONE COMMON HEART; that from one common center to all extremities there might flow a common hope, a common interest, forming thereby a united and strong British empire, extending around the globe, by its power a guarantee of continual peace and by its fidelity to God’s laws a beacon light of the highest Christian and intellectual civilization. There are those that stop not even here, but look forward to the eventual unification of the English speaking race, as the world works out its destiny along the broad lines of national development, a project of gigantic nature and likely, if ever realized, to be a mighty stride in the direction of the establishment of lasting unity, peace and concord among all nations, and leading the world onward to that time of which the laureate sings:— When the war drum throbbed no longer And the battle flags were furl’d, In the parliament or man The federation of the world. Yet might it not be wiser for us as good citizens, rather to concentrate our efforts on present duties, than occupy our minds much with speculations concerning the future. The hand of God is MANIFESTED IN PAST HISTORY, As regards the present, we may make our own the prayer of the text: “The Lord our God be with us as he was with our fathers; let Him not leave us or forsake us;” and as regards the future we can say “Behold God is our salvation we will trust and not be afraid.” The love of country is instinct in the human breast. Year by year the old mother land sends forth her eons to the four corners of the earth; yet they carry with them to the land of their adoption, a heartfelt affection for the land of their birth. The motive that led to the severing of old time associations in the) case of each, who shall say?—with some, perchance, the mere spirit of adventure characteristic of the restlessness of the age; with others the question is one of expediency. It was deemed better that the sturdy arm and the active brain should try new fields of labor, rather than remain to be hampered and held down through life in the over crowd and over competition at home. Few more touching scenes are ever witnessed than those associated with THE DEPARTURE OF AN EMIGRANT SHIP on its long voyage. All is bustle and confusion. The crowded decks thronged with young and old; gray haired men and women bidding a last farewell to their native land; young lads and lassies with excitement beaming in their faces, yet at the last moment sharing with their elders the keen pang at the regret at the severing of the ties that bound them to the old home. The last rope is cast off, the last farewell is spoken, the great ship passes solemnly out, threading her way through the shipping, past the beacon lights and out into the bosom of the broad Atlantic. In commemorating today the memory of St. George let us not forget that he was a Christian martyr, The mere profession of faith in Christ does not necessarily imply faithful service. Alas, that men today should be so willing to accept the name of Christian and so ready TO SHIRK THE DUTIES OF A CHRISTIAN! The banner of the good captain of our salvation is uplifted today. The Son of God goes forth to war, A kingly crown to gain; His blood-red banner streams afar, Who follows in His train? The devil, the world and the flesh are arrayed against ns. Last tries to foal oar banner; intemperance and impurity to stain it. You need the grace of God and the unfailing presence of Christ our Lord. In the wondrous deliverance Almighty God wrought for His ancient people by the hand of Gideon, that leader gave no elaborate directions as to whom His little army should conduct itself, but gave to them the simple instruction, “Look on me and then do likewise.” Even so as Christian soldiers, we fight our battle, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. Fast for us, one and all, comes the day when the last fight shall be fought, and life shall close amid victory or defeat. Meanwhile, our blessed Master says: “To him that overcometh, will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.”