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propriety for one year, how can they give direction and vigour to every department of our civil conftitution from age to age? There are fixed bounds to every thing human. When the branches of a tree grow very large and weighty, they fall off from the trunk, The Tharpest sword will not pierce where it cannot reach. And there is a certain distance from the seat of government, where an attempt to rule will either produce tyranny and helpless subjection, or provoke resistance, and effect feparation.
I have said If your principles are pure the meaning of which is, if your present opposition to the claims of the British ministry does not arise from a' seditious and turbulent spirit, or a wanton contempt of legal authority, from a blind and factious attachment to particulat persons or parties, or from a selfish rapacious disposition, and a desire to turn publick confufion to private profit ; but from a concern for the interest of your country, and the safety of : yourselves and your pofterity.. On this subject I cannot help obferving, that though it would be a miracle if there were not many felfish perfons among us, and discoveries now and then made of mean and interested transactions, yer they have been comparatively inconsiderable both in number and effect. In general there has been so great a degree of public spirit, that we have much more reason to be thankful for its
vigour and prevalence, than to wonder at the few appearances of dishonesty or disaffection. It would be very uncandid to ascribe the universal ardour that has prevailed among all ranks of men, and the spirited exertions in the most distant colonies, to any thing else than publick spirit. Nor was there ever perhaps in history so general a commotion, from which religious differences have been so entirely excluded. Nothing of this kind has as yet been heard, except of late in the absurd, but malicious and deteft.
of a few remaining enemies to introduce them. At the same time I must also, for the honour of this country, observe, that though government, in the ancient form, has been so long unhinged, and, in some colonies, not fufficient care taken to substitute another in its place, yet has there been, by common confent, a much greater degree of order and publick peace, than men of reflection and experience foretold, or could expect. From all these circumstances, I conclude favourably ofthe principles of the friends of liberty, and do earnestly exhort you to adopt and act upon those which have been described, and resist the influence of every other.
Once more : If to the justice of your cause, , and the purity of your principles, you add prudence in your conduct, there will be the greatest reason to hope, by the blessing of God, for prosperity and success. By prudence in
.conducting this important struggle, f' have: chiefly in view union, firmness, and patience. Every body must perceive the absolute necessity: of union. It is, indeed, in every body's mouth, and therefore, instead of attempting to convince you of its importance, I will only caution you against the usual causes of division. If persons of every rank, instead of implicitly complying with the orders of those whom they themselves have chosen to direct, will needs judge every measure over again when it comes to be put in execution; if different classes of men intermix their little private views, or clashing interests, with public affairs, and marshal into parties the merchant against the landholder, and the land-holder against the merchant; if local provincial pride and jealousy arise, and you allow yourselves to speak with contempt of the courage, character, manners, or, even language, of particular places, you are doing a greater injury to the common cause, than you are aware of. If such practices are admitted among us, I shall look upon it as one of the most dangerous symptoms, and if they. become general, of approaching ruin.
By firmness and patience I mean, a resolute adherence to your duty, and laying your account with many difficulties, as well as occasional disappointments. In a former part of this. discourse, I have cautioned you against ostentation and vain glory. Be pleased further to ob- . ferve, that extreams often beget one another and the same persons who exult extravagantly on success, are generally most liable to dispondent timidity on every little inconfiderable de feat. Men of this character are the corruption of every fociety or party to which they belong but they are especially the ruin of an-army if suffered to continue in it. Remember the vi. -cissitudes of human things, and the ufual course of providence. How often has a just cause been reduced to the loweft ebb, and yet, when firmly adhered to, has become finally triumphant, I speak of this now, while the affairs of the colonies are in so prosperous a stare, left this prosperity itself Thould render you less able to bear unexpected misfortunes.
The sum of the whole is, that the blessing of God is only to be looked for by those who are not wanting in the discharge of their own duty. I would neither have you to trust in an arm of flesh, not fit, with folded hands, and expect that miracles, should be wrought in your de. fence.
This is a fin, which, in scripture, is filed tempting God. In opposition to it, I would exhort you as. Joab did the hoft of Ifrael; who, though he does not appear to have had a sporless character throughout, certainly, in this inftance, fpoke like a prudent general, and a pious man. Be of good courage, and let us F 2
play play the men for our people, and for the cities of our God, and the Lord do tbat which seemeth him. good *.
I shall now conclude this discourse by some exhortations to đuty, founded upon the truths which have been illustrated above, and suited to the interesting state of this country at the present time. And
1, Give me leave to recommend to you an attention to the public interests of religion, or, in other words, zeal for the glory of God, and the good of others.
I have already endeavoured to exhort sinners to repentance. What I have here in view, is to point out to you the concern which every good man ought to take in the national character and manners, and the means which he ought to use for promoting public virtue, and bearing down implety and vice. This is a matter of the utmost moment, and which ought to be well understood both in its nature and prin ciples. . Nothing is more certain, than that a general profligacy and corruption of manners, makes a.:people ripe for destruction, A good form of government may hold the rotten materials together for some time, but beyond a cergain pitch, even the best constitution will be in. electual, and Aavery must ensue. On the gther hand, when the manners of a nation are