Page images
PDF
EPUB

of the Lord of Hofts, the God of the armies of Ifrael whom Ibou bast defied*,

I was well pleased with a remark of this kind thirty years ago, in a pamphlet t, in which it was observed, that there was a great deal of profane ostentation in the names given to the fhips of war, as the Victory, the Valiant, the Thunderer, the Dread-nought, the Terrible, the Fire-brand, the Furnace, the Lightening, the Infernal, and many more of the same kind I. This the author considered as a symptom of their national character and manners, very unfavourable, and not likely to obtain the blessing of the God of Heaven.

i 3. From what has been said, you may learn what encouragement you have to put your trust E 2

in

1 Sam. xvii. 42-45. + Britain's Remembrancer. # I am sensible that two or three of these were ships 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 tip ever built in Bri. tain, was lost in the night, without a storm, by some unknown accident, and about 1200 persons, many of thein of the first families in the nation, were buried in the deep. I do not mean to infer any thing from this, but that we ought to live under the practical persuasion of what no man will doctrinally deny, that there is no warring with the elements, or 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 frustrate the efforts of the greatest monarch upon earth.

in God, ahd hope for his aslistance in the

prefent important conflict.

He is the Lord of Hofts, great in might, and strong in battle. Wholoever hath his countenance and approbation, shall have the best at last. I do not mean to speak propheti, cally, but agreeably to the analogy of faith, and the principles of God's moral government. Some have observed, that true religion, and in her train, doininion, riches, literature, and arts, have taken their course in a flow and gradual 'manner, from East to Welt, since the earth was settled after the food : and from thence forebode 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 mul- . titude of opposing hosts.

If your cause is just, you may look with confidence to the Lord, and entreat 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 seafon, however, it is not only lawful, but neces. sary; and I will embrace the opportunity of declaring my opinion, without any hesitation, that the cause in which America is now in arms, is the cause of justice, of liberty, and of human

So far as we have hitherto proceeded, I am satisfied that the confederacy of the colo

[ocr errors]

nies

nature,

nies has not been the effect of pride, refent-
ment, or fedition, but of a deep and general
conviction, that our civil and religious liberties,
and consequently, in a great measure, the tem-
poral and eternal happiness of us and our porte-
rity, depended on the issue. The knowledge of
God and his truths have, from the beginning
of the world, been chiefly, if not entirely, con:
fined to those parts of the earth where fome de-
gree of liberty and political justice were to be
feen, and great were the difficulties with which
they had to struggle, from the imperfection of
human society, and the unjust decisions of
usurped authority: There is not a single in-
stance in history, in which civil liberty was lost,
and religious liberty preferved entire. If,
therefore, we yield up our temporal property,
we, at the same time, deliver the conscience into
bondage.

You shall not, my brethren, hear from me in
the pulpit, what you never have heard from me
in conversation; I mean, railing at the king
personally, or even at his minifters, and the
parliament, and the people of Britain, as so
many barbarous favages. Many of their action's
have probably been worse than their intentions.
That they should desire unlimited dominion, if
they can obtain or preserve it, is neither new
nor wonderful. I do not refuse submission to
their unjust claims because they are corrupt and
profligate, although probably many of them are

so,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

fo, but because they are men, and therefore liable to all the selfish biasses inseparable from human nature. I call these claims unjust, of making laws to bind us in all cases whatever, because they are separated from us, independent of us, and have an interest in opposing us. Would any man, who could prevent it, give up his estate, person, and family, to the disposal of his neighbour, although he had liberty to chuse the wisest and 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 impossible, as the claim of authority is unjust. Such is and must be their ignorance of the state of things here, so much time must elapse before any errors can be seen and remedied, and so much injustice and partiality must be expected from the arts and misrepresentations of interested perfons, that for these colonies to depend wholly upon the legislature of Great Britain, would be, like many other oppressive connexions, injury to the master, and ruin to the slave.

The management of the war itself, on their part, would furnish new proof of this, if any were needful. Is it not manifest with what abfurdity and impropriety they have conducted their own designs ? We had nothing so much to fear as diffention, and they have, by wanton

and

ror.

and unnecessary cruelty, forced us into union. At the same time, to let us see what we have to expect, and what would be the fatal consequences of unlimited submission, they have uniformly called those, acts lenity, which filled this whole continent with resentment and hor

The ineffable disdain expressed by our fellow subject, “ That he would not hearken to “ America 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 resist, there they made the attack, and left the others, till they were duly informed, completely incensed, and fully furnished with instruments 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 impossibility of these great and growing Itaces being safe and happy, when every part of their internal policy is dependent on Great Britain. If, on account of their distance and ignorance of our situation, they could not conduct their own quarrel with

pro

« PreviousContinue »