Page images
PDF
EPUB

• by his gods; and the Philistine said to David, • Come to me and I will give thy flesh unto the

fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field,' But how just and modest the reply ! " Then said • David to the Philistine, thou comest to me with • a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield ; " but I come unto thee in the name of the Lord

of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom ' thou hast defied. I was well pleased with a remark of this kind, thirty years ago, in a pamphlet, in which it was observed, that there was a great deal of profane oftentation in the names given to ships of war, as the Victory, the Valiant, the Thunderer, the Dreadnought, the Terrible, the Fire-brand, the Furnace, the Lightning, the Infernal, and many more of the same kind. This the author considered as a symptom of the national character and manners, very unfavourable, and not likely to obtain the blesing of the God of Heaven 5.

3. From

I I am fenfible that one or two of these were fhips taken from the French, which brought their names with them. But the greatest number had their names imposed in England; and I cannot help observing, that the victory often celebrated as the finest thip ever built in Britain, was loft in the night without a storm, by some unknown accident, and about twelve hundred perlons, many of them of the first families in the nation, were buried with it in the deep. I do not mean to infer any thing from this, but, that we ought to live 3. From what has been said you may learn, what encouragement you have to put your trust in God, and hope for his assistance in the present important conflict. He is the Lord of hosts, great in might, and strong in battle. Whoever hath his countenance and approbation, shall have the best at last. I do not mean to speak prophetically, but agreeable to the analogy of faith, and the principles of God's moral government, Some have observed, that true religion, and, in her train, dominion, riches, literature, and arts, have taken their course in a flow and gradual manner, from east to west since the earth was settled after the flood, and from thence forbode the future glory of America. I leave this as a matter rather of conjecture than certainty ; but observe, that if your cause is just,-if your principles are pure,—and if your conduct is prudent, you ' need not fear the multitude of opposing hosts.

under

If your cause is just-you may look with confidence to the Lord, and intreat him to plead it as his own. You are all my witnesses, that this is the first time of my introducing any political subject into the pulpit. At this season, however,

it

under the practical persuafion of what no man will doctrinally deny, that there is no warring with the elements, or with him who directs their force; that he is able to write disappointment on the wiseft human schemes, and by the word of his power to fruitrate the efforts of the greatest monarch upon earth.

it is not only lawful but neceffary, and I willinge ly embrace the opportunity of declaring miy o's pinion without any hesitation, that the scause in which America is now in arms, is the cause of justice, of liberty, and of human naturer' So fár as we have hitherto proceeded, I am fatisfied that the confederacy of the colonies, has not been the effect of pride, resentment, or fedition, but of a deep and general conviction, that our civil and religious liberties, and consequently in a great measure the temporal and'éternal bappinefs of us and our posterity depended on the issue. The knowledge of God and his truths has from the beginning of the world been chiefly, if not entirely confined to these parts of the earth, where some degree of liberty and political justice were to be seen, and great were the difficulties with which they had to struggle from the im. perfection of human fociety, and the unjuft decisions of usurped authority. There is not a single instance in history in which civil liberty was loft, and religious liberty preferved entire. If therefore we yield up our temporal property, we at the same time deliver the confcience into bondage. ..

You shall not, my brethren, hear from me in the pulpit, what you have never heard from me in conversation ; I mean, railing at the king personally, or even his ministers and the parliament, and people of Britain as fo many barbarous favages. Many of their actions have probably

been

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

been worse than their intentions. That they
fhould desire unlimited dominion, if they can
obtain or preserve it, is neither new nor wonder-
ful. I do not refuse submission to their unjust
claims, because they are corrupt or profligate, al.
though probably many of them are so; but be-
cause they are inen, and therefore liable to all
the selfish bias inseparable from human nature.
I call this claim unjust of making laws to bind us
in all cases whatsoever, because they are separated
from us, independent of us, and have an interest
in opposing us. Would any man who could pre-
vent it, give up his estate, person, and family,
to the disposal of his neighbour, although he had
liberty to chuse the wiseft and the best master ?
Surely not. This is the true and proper hinge
of the controversy between Great-Britain and
America. It is however to be added, that such
is their distance from us, that a wise and prudent
administration of our affairs is as impoffible as the
claim of authority is unjust. Such is and must
be their ignorance of the state of things here,
fo much time must elapse before an error can be
feen and remedied, and fo much injustice and
partiality must be expected from the arts and mif-
representation of interested persons, that for
these colonies to depend wholly upon the legisla-
ture of Great-Britain, would be like many other
oppreflive connexions, injury to the master, and
ruin to the Nave.
The management of the war itself on their

part,

part, would furnish new proof of this, if any were needful. Is it not manifest with what absurdity and impropriety they have conducted their own designs ? We had nothing so much to fear as diffenfion; and they have, by wanton and unnecessary cruclty, forced us into union. At the same time to let us fee what we have to expect, and wliat would be the fatal consequence of unlimited fubmission, they have uniformly called those acts Lenity, which filled this whole continent with resentment and horror. The inneffable disdain expressed by our fellow fubject, în faying, « That he wauld not hearken to Ameri.ca, till she was at his feet," has armed more men, and inspired more deadly rage, than could have been done by laying waste a whole province with fire and sword. Again, we wanted not numbers, but time; and they sent over handful after handful till we were ready to'oppose a multitude greater than they have to fend. In fine, if there was one place stronger than the rest, and more able and willing to refift, there they made the attack, and left the others till they were duly informed, completely insensed, and fully furnished with every instrument of war.

I mention these things, my brethren, not only as grounds of confidence in God, who can easily overthrow the wisdom of the wise, but as decisive proofs of the impoffibility of these great 'and growing states, being safe and happy when every part of their internal polity is dependent on Great

Britain.

« PreviousContinue »