Skip to main content

Full text of "The patriot preachers of the American revolution"

See other formats















Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 18G'2,by 


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern 
District of New York. 

1 *-\. 


It is the purpose of the editor of this volume to 
present a collection of the most characteristic Sermons, 
that were preached by the most celebrated divines, 
who occupied the American pulpits during the period 
extending from the Repeal of the Stamp Act, in 1766, 
through the Revolution, to the establishment of peace 
in 1783. The propriety of the publication of such a 
collection at the present time must be apparent to 
readers of all classes. The universal assertion that 
" the preachers of the Revolution, did not hesitate to 
attack the great political and social evils of their day," 
demands a support, which nothing but the reproduc- 
tion of their strong, practical appeals, ean afford. As 
such, this collection is offered. 

The brief biographical notices prefixed to each ser- 
mon are intended simply to indicate the position and 


character of their respective writers, and to give a 
rapid sketch of their lives and services. Those who 
wish for more particular accounts of them, are referred 
to the various biographical works already published. 

New York, March, 1860. 


Jonathan Mathew, D. D. — The Snare Broken. A Thanksgiving Dis- 
course, preached at the desire of the West Church in Boston, N. 
E., May 23d, 1766. Occasioned by the Bepeal of the Stamp-Act. 7 

Samuel Langdon, D. D. — Government corrupted by Vice ; a Sermon 
preached before the Honorable Congress of the Colony of Massa- 
chusetts Bay, on the 31st of May, 1775 49 

Jacob Duche, M. A. — The Duty of Standing Fast in our spiritual and 
temporal Liberties ; a Sermon preached in Christ Church, July 
7th, 1775, before the first battalion of the city and liberties of 
Philadelphia 74 

"William Smith, D. D. — A Sermon on the Present Situation of Ameri- 
can Affairs, preached in Christ Church, Philadelphia, June 23d, 
1775 90 

John Joachim Zubly. — The Law of Liberty. A Sermon on American 
Affairs, preached at the opening of the Provincial Congress of 
Georgia. 1775 113 

John Hurt. — The Love of Country. A Sermon preached before the 

Virginia Troops in New Jersey. 1777 143 

William Gordon, D. D. — The Separation of the Jewish Tribes, after 
the death of Solomon, accounted for, and applied to the present 
day, in a sermon, delivered on July 4th, 1777 158 

Nathaniel Whitaker, D. D. — An Antidote against Toryism, or the 

Curse of Meroz 186 

Oliver Hart. — Dancing Exploded. A Sermon showing the unlawful- 
ness, sinfulness, and bad consequences of Balls, Assemblies, and 
Dances in general ; delivered in Charleston, S. C. 1778 232 


Samuel Stillman, D. D. — A Sermon preached before the Honorable 

Council, and Honorable House of Representatives of the State of 

Massachusetts Bay, May 26th, 1779 25S 

David Tappan, D. D. — A Discourse delivered in the Third Parish in 
Newbury, Massachusetts, on the 1st of May, 1783, occasioned by 
the Ratification of the Treaty of Peace between Great Britain and 
the United States of America 289 

John Rodgers, D. D. — The Divine Goodness Displayed in the Ameri- 
can Revolution ; a Sermon preached in New York, December 
11th, 1783 310 

George Duffield, D. D. — A Sermon preached in the Third Presby- 
terian Church in the City of Philadelphia, on December 11th, 
1783, on the Restoration of Peace 344 



Doctor Mayhew was a descendant from one of the 
most ancient and honorable families in New England. 
The first of the name who came to America, was 
Thomas Mayhew, governor of Martha's Yineyard, who 
resided at "Water town, Massachusetts, in 1636, and 
died 16S1. The subject of this sketch was the great- 
grandson of Governor Thomas, and was born in 1720. 
In 1744:, he graduated at Harvard College, and three 
years after was ordained pastor of the West Church, 
in Boston. In this charge he continued until his 
death, "loving his people, and by them beloved;" ex- 
plaining with manly fortitude, the truths contained in 
the Bible, however discountenanced ; esteeming the 
approbation of his Father in heaven, far before the 
applause of the world; inculcating, by his preaching 
and conduct, the doctrines of grace, as he thought 
them delivered by our Lord and his apostles, and that 
religion which is from above, and is full of mercy and 
good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. 


In his early productions, his uncommon talents and 
generous independence of spirit, are eminently con- 
spicuous. And though, for his opposition to all priestly 
usurpations of authority over the consciences of men, 
he had soon to encounter the whole force of enthu- 
siasm and bigotry, his strength of mind, integrity of 
soul, and unconquerable resolution in his Master's 
service, supported him under every discouragement, 
and enabled him to triumph over all his adversaries ; 
while his respect for and observance of the precepts 
of the gospel convinced the world of the sincerity and 
uprightness of his heart. His works will transmit his 
name to posterity, under the endearing character of a 
steady and able advocate for religious and civil 
liberty, and of a firm believer and constant practiser 
of pure and undefiled religion. If at any time, through 
the warmth of his feelings, his zeal in the cause of 
religion and truth, and his aversion to the commands 
of man in the Church of Christ, he was hurried beyond 
the bounds of moderation, his many virtues and great 
services toward establishing Christianity on the most 
enlarged foundation, abundantly atone for such defects. 
Indeed, the natural keenness and poignancy of his wit, 
whetted often by cruel and unchristian usage, must 
palliate his severest strokes of satire. Nor will these 
light objections depreciate his general reputation, if it 
be remembered, that in his most social hours he inva- 
riably sustained the united character of a Christian and 
a gentleman. 

The following sermon was the latest publication 


made by Doctor Mayhew. It was published shortly 
after its delivery in 1766, and was dedicated to the 
Honorable William Pitt. Doctor Mayhew died, at 
the age of forty-six, on the eighth day of July, 1766. 


Our soul is escaped as a bird from the snare of (he fowlers ; the snare is 
broken, and we are escaped. 

Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven a,nd earth. 

Psalm cxxiv. 1, 8. 

The late gracious appearance of divine Providence 
for us, in the day of our trouble, seemed so seasonable, 
so signal, so important ; in a word, so interesting to the 
present and future generations, that we of this society 
thought it expedient to agree among ourselves upon a 
day, in order to take a particular religious notice of 
it ; and to praise the name of the Lord, in whom is 
our help. 

If there had been any probability of our being 
called together for this end by proclamation, as upon 
some less memorable occasions, we should not have 
been desirous to anticipate the day ; which might 
have had the appearance of ostentation. But of that, 
so far as I have heard, there was very little, if any, 
prospect. By this perfectly voluntary, and free-will 
offering, I hope we shall render to God, in some poor 
measure, the glory due to his name ; and that He will 
graciously accept it through our Lord Jesus Christ the 


righteous, our mediator and advocate with the Father. 
At the same time it is supposed, that, in proceeding 
thus, we give no just ground of offence to Jew or 
Gentiie, or to the church of God ; which we would by no 
means do. We only exercise that liberty wherewith 
Christ hath made us free, being desirous that all 
other persons and churches should do the same ; and 
not choosing that either they or we should be " en- 
tangled with any yoke of bondage." . 

Having rendered our devout thanks to God, whose 
kingdom ruleth over all, and sung his high praises, 
permit me now, my friends and brethren, with un- 
feigned love to my country, to congratulate you on 
that interesting event which is the special occasion 
of this solemnity ; an event, as I humbly conceive, 
of the utmost importance to the whole British empire, 
whose peace and prosperity we ought ardently to 
desire ; and one very peculiarly affecting the welfare 
of these colonies. Believe me, I lately took no incon- 
siderable part with you in your grief and gloomy 
apprehensions, on account of a certain parliamentary 
act, which you supposed ruinous in its tendency to 
the American plantations, and, eventually, to Great 
Britain. I now partake no less in your common joy, 
on account of the repeal of that act ; whereby these 
colonies are emancipated from a slavish, inglorious 
bondage; are reinstated in the enjoyment of their 
ancient rights and privileges, and a foundation is laid 
for lasting harmony between Great Britain and them, 
to their mutual advantage. 

But when you requested me to preach a sermon on 
this joyful occasion, I concluded it was neither your 
expectation nor desire, that I should enter very par- 


ticularly into a political consideration of the affair. 
Had I not conceived this to have been your intention, 
I must, though with reluctance, have given you a 
refusal ; partly from a conviction of the impropriety 
of minutely discussing points of this nature in the 
pulpit, and partly from a sense of my own inability to 
do it as it ought to be done. I suppose I shall best 
answer your expectation, as well as most gratify my 
own inclination, by waiving political controversy, and 
giving you such counsels and exhortations respecting 
your duty to God and man, as are agreeable to the 
sacred oracles, to the dictates of sober reason, and 
adapted to the occasion. 

This is therefore, what I chiefly purpose to do in the 
ensuing discourse, as God shall enable me. And may 
the Father of lights teach me to speak, and you to 
hear in such a manner, that our assembling together 
at this time, out of the ordinary course, may be to his 
honor, and to Christian edification. However, if my 
discourse is to be particularly adapted to this great 
occasion, instead of being so general, as to be almost 
as suitable to any other, you are sensible it is necessary 
that the occasion itself should be kept in view. I 
shall .therefore briefly premise a few things relative 
thereto, by way of introduction to the main design : 
such things, I mean, as shall now be taken for granted. 
In mentioning which, my aim will be to express, in brief, 
what I take to be the general sense of these colonies, 
rather than to explain my own. For it is on such 
commonly received opinions, that my exhortations and 
cautions will be grounded; leaving the particular dis- 
cussion of them to others, who are better qualified for 
it, and to whom it more properly belongs. And if I 


should be mistaken in any of these particulars, it is 
hoped candor will excuse it ; seeing these are matters 
out of the way of my profession. 

In pursuance of this plan, it shall now be taken for 
granted, that as we were free-born, never made slaves 
by the right of conquest in war, if there be indeed any 
such right, nor sold as slaves in any open lawful mar- 
ket, for money, so we have a natural right to our own, 
till we have freely consented to part with it, either in 
person, or by those whom we have appointed to repre- 
sent, and to act for us. It shall be taken for granted 
that this natural right is declared, affirmed, and se- 
cured to us, as we* are British subjects, by Magna 
Chart a ; all acts contrary to which are said to be ipso 
facto, null and void : and, that this natural constitu- 
tional right has been further confirmed to most of the 
plantations by particular subsequent royal charters, 
taken in their obvious sense ; the legality and authority 
of which charters were never once denied by either 
house of Parliament ; but implicitly, at least, acknowl- 
edged, ever since they were respectively granted, till 
very lately. It is taken for granted also, that the 
right of trial by juries, is a constitutional one with 
respect to all British subjects in general, particularly 
to the colonists ; and that the plantations in which 
civil government has been established, have all along, 
till of late, been in the uninterrupted enjoyment of 
both the rights aforesaid, which are of the utmost im- 
portance, being essential to liberty. 

It shall, therefore, be taken for granted, that the 
colonies had great reason to petition and remonstrate 
against a late act of Parliament, as being an infrac- 
tion of these rights, and tending directly to reduce us 


to a state of slavery. It is, moreover, taken for grant- 
ed, whatever becomes of this question about rights, 
that an act of that sort was very hard, and justly 
grievous, not to say oppressive ; as the colonies are 
poor, as most of them were originally settled at the 
sole and great expense of the adventurers — the expense 
of their money, their toil, their blood ; as they have 
expended a great deal from time to time in their wars 
with their French and savage neighbors, and in the sup- 
port of his majesty's government here ; as they have, 
moreover, been ever ready to grant such aids of men 
and money to the crown, for the common cause, as 
they were able to give — by which means a great load 
of debt still lies on several of them ; and as Great 
Britain has drawn vast emolument from them in the 
way of commerce, over and above all that she has ever 
expended for them, either in peace or war ; so that she 
is, beyond all comparison, richer, more powerful and 
respectable now, than she would have been if our 
fathers had never emigrated. ; and both they and their 
posterity have, in effect, been laboring from first to 
last, for the aggrandizement of the mother country. 
In this light that share of common sense which the 
colonists have, be it more or less, leads them to con- 
sider things. 

It is taken for granted, that as the surprising unex- 
ampled growth of these colonies, to the extension of 
his majesty's dominion, and prodigious advantage of 
Britain in many respects, has been chiefly owing, un- 
der God, to the liberty enjoyed here; so the infraction 
thereof in two such capital points as those before re- 
ferred to, would undoubtedly discourage the trade, 
industry and population of the colonies, by rendering 


property insecure and precarious; would soon drain 
them of all their little circulating money ; would pot 
it absolutely out of their power to purchase British 
commodities, force them into manufactures of their 
own, and terminate, if not in the ruin, yet in the very 
essential detriment of the mother country. It shall 
therefore, also, be taken for granted, that although the 
colonies could not justly claim an exclusive right of 
taxing themselves, and the right of being tried by 
juries, yet they had great reason to remonstrate 
against the act aforesaid on the footing of inexpedience, 
the great hardship, and destructive tendency of it, as 
a measure big with mischief to Britain as well as to 
themselves ; and promoted at first, perhaps, only by 
persons who were real friends to neither. 

But as to any methods of opposition to that measure, 
on the part of the colonies, besides those of humble 
petitioning, and other strictly legal ones, it will not, 
I conclude, be supposed, that I appear in this place as 
an advocate for them, whatever the general sense of 
the colonists may be concerning this point. And I 
take for granted, that we are all perfectly agreed in 
condemning the riotous and felonious proceedings of 
certain men of Belial,* as they have been justly 
called, who had the effrontery to cloak their rapacious 
violences with the pretext of zeal for liberty ; which 
is so far from being a new thing under the sun, that 
even Great Britain can furnish us with many, and 
much more flagrant examples of it. 

But, my brethren, however unconstitutional, op- 
pressive, grievous or ruinous the aforesaid act was in 
its nature, and fatal in its tendency, his majesty and 

* The Book of America, chap. ii. v. 13. 


the Parliament have been pleased to hearken to the 
just complaints of the colonies, seconded and en- 
forced by the prudent, spirited conduct of our mer- 
chants ; by certain noble and ever-honored patriots in 
Great Britain, espousing our cause with all the force 
of reason and eloquence, and by the general voice of 
the nation ; so that a total repeal of that dreadful act 
is now obtained. His majesty and the Parliament 
were far too wise, just and good, to persist in a meas- 
ure after they were convinced it was wrong; or to 
consider it as any point of honor, to enforce an act so 
grievous to three million good subjects, so contrary 
to the interest of the British merchants and manufac- 
turers, and to the general sense of the nation. They 
have been pleased, in the act of repeal itself, greatly 
to their honor, implicitly to acknowledge their fallibility 
and erroneous judgment in the other act, by saying, 
that " The continuance of the said act would be at- 
tended with many inconveniences, and might be pro- 
ductive of consequences greatly detrimental to the 
commercial interests of these kingdoms." 

These being the reasons asssigned for the repeal, we 
may justly conclude, that if these many inconveni- 
ences and detrimental consequences could have been 
foreseen, the act complained of would never have 
been passed. And as the same reasons will doubtless 
operate at least as strongly, probably much more 
strongly hereafter, in proportion to the growth of the 
colonies, than they do at present, we may naturally 
conclude also, that an act of the like nature will 
never again be heard of. Thus " our soul is escaped 
as a bird from the snare of the fowlers ; the snare is 
broken, and we are escaped," though not without 


much struggling in the snare, before it gave way and 
set us at liberty again. 

But when I speak of that pernicious act as a snare, 
and those who prepared it for us as fowlers, greedy of 
their prey, let it be particularly observed, that I in- 
tend not the least reflection on our gracious sovereign 
or the Parliament ; who must not be supposed to have 
any evil designs against the colonies, which are so 
necessary to Great Britain, and by which so many 
thousands of her manufacturers are supported, who, 
but for them, must actually starve, emigrate, or do 
what I choose to forbear mentioning. No ! I apply 
this, as I conclude you will, only to some evil-minded 
individuals in Britain, who are true friends neither to 
her nor us ; and who, accordingly, spared no wicked 
arts, no, deceitful, no dishonorable, no dishonest means 
to push on and obtain, as it were by surprise, an act 
so prejudicial to both ; and. in some sort, to the en- 
snaring of his majesty and the Parliament, as well as 
the good people of America; being, not improbably, in 
the interests of the houses of Bourbon and the Pre- 
tender, whose cause they meant to serve, by bringing 
about an open rivoture between Great Britain and her 
colonies ! These, these men, my brethren, are the 
cunning fowlers, these the ensnarers, from whose teeth 
"our soul is escaped as a bird." And such traitors 
will, doubtless, ere -long be caught in another snare, 
suitable for them, to the satisfaction of the king's good 
subjects on both sides the Atlantic, if his majesty and 
the Parliament should judge it necessary for the vindi- 
cation of their own honor, or for the public good, to 
bring them to condign punishment. 

Let me just add here, that according to our latest 


and best advices, the king, his truly patriotic ministry 
and Parliament, have the interest, particularly the 
commercial interest of the colonies much at heart ; 
being now disposed even to enlarge, instead of curtail- 
ing their privileges, and to grant us every indulgence, 
consistent with the common good of the British em- 
pire. More than which we cannot reasonably, and, 
I am persuaded, do not desire. 

These things being premised, let me now proceed 
to those reflections, exhortations and cautions relative 
to them, which were the chief design of this discourse. 
And the present occasion being a very peculiar one, 
such as never before occurred in America, and, I hope 
in God, never will again, I shall crave your indul- 
gence if I am considerably longer than is customary 
on other occasions, which are less out of the ordinary 

In the first place, then, it is evident from the preced- 
ing view of things, that we have the greatest cause 
for thankfulness to Almighty God, who doeth his will 
among the inhabitants of the earth, as well as in the 
armies of heaven. He, in whose hands are the hearts 
of all men, not excepting those of kings ; so that he 
turneth them whithersoever he will, as the rivers of 
water, hath inspired the people of America with a 
noble spirit of liberty, and remarkably united them in 
standing up for that invaluable blessing. He hath 
raised us up friends of the greatest eminence in Brit- 
ain, in our perilous circumstances. He hath united 
the hearts of almost all wise and good men there, to 
plead our cause and their own successfully. He hath 
blessed the king with an upright ministry, zealous for 
the public good, and knowing wherein it consists. He 


hath given the king wisdom to discern, and integrity 
to pursue, the interests of his people, at the late alarm- 
ing crisis, when so much depended on the measures 
that were then speedily to be taken. He hath changed 
his royal purpose, and that of his Parliament, in a 
matter which nearly and essentially concerned at least 
our temporal happiness — disposing them to take off 
from our necks that grievous and heavy burden, which, 
to be sure, was not put upon us but with reluctance, 
and through the dishonest artifices of certain wicked 
men who, perhaps, intended, if possible, entirely to 
alienate the affections of the colonists from their com- 
mon father the king, and from their mother country. 
O execrable design ! to the accomplishment of which, 
the pernicious measure aforesaid apparently tended. 
But blessed be He who governeth among the nations, 
that he hath confounded the devices of such treacher- 
ous men. 

To allude to the psalm, a part of which I mentioned 
as my text; "If it had not been the Lord who was on 
our side, when men rose up against us, and if they 
could have had their wicked will, then they had 
swallowed us up quick — then the waters had over- 
whelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul ; then 
the proud w r aters had gone over our soul. Blessed be 
the Lord, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth ;" 
the ravening teeth of those cunning fowlers, from 
whose treacherous snare we have just escaped; our 
help being in the name of the Lord, who made heaven 
and earth. To Him, therefore, we justly owe the un- 
dissembled gratitude of our hearts, as well as the joy- 
ful praises of our lips. For I take it for granted, that 
you all firmly believe, that He who made the world, 


exercises a providential government over it ; so that 
the very hairs of our head are all numbered by, and 
that a sparrow doth not fall to the ground without 
Him. How much more then, is his providence to be 
acknowledged in the rise, in the preservation, in the 
great events, the revolutions, or the fall of mighty 
states and kingdoms ? 

To excite our gratitude to God the more effectually, 
let us consider the greatness of our late danger and of 
our deliverance ; let us take a brief retrospective view 
of the perplexed, wretched state, in which these colo- 
nies were, a few months ago, compared with the joyful 
and happy condition in which they are at present, by 
the removal of their chief grievances. 

We have never known so quick and general a tran- 
sition from the depth of sorrow to the height of joy, 
as on this occasion ; nor, indeed, so great and univer- 
sal a flow of either, on any other occasion whatever. 
It is very true, we have heretofore seen times of great 
adversity. We have known seasons of drought, dearth, 
and spreading mortal diseases ; the pestilence walking 
in darkness, and the destruction wasting at noon-day. 
We have seen wide devastations, made by fire ; and 
amazing tempests, the heavens on flame, the winds 
and the waters roaring. We have known repeated 
earthquakes, threatening us with speedy destruction. 
We have been under great apprehensions by reason 
of formidable fleets of an enemy on our coasts, mena- 
cing fire and sword to all our maritime towns. We 
have known times when the French and savage armies 
made terrible havock on our frontiers, carrying all 
before them for a while ; when we were not without 
fear, that some capital towns in the colonies would fall 


into their merciless hands. Such times as these we 
have known ; at some of which almost every face 
gathered paleness, and the knees of all but the good 
and brave waxed feeble. But never have we known 
a season of such universal consternation and anxiety 
among people of all ranks and ages, in these colonies, 
as was occasioned by that parliamentary procedure, 
which threatened us and our posterity with perpetual 
bondage and slavery. For they, as we generally sup- 
pose, are really slaves to all intents and purposes, who 
are obliged to labor and toil onlv for the benefit of 
others ; or, which comes to the same thing, the fruit 
of whose labor and industry may be lawfully taken 
from them without their consent, and they justly 
punished if they refuse to surrender it on demand, or 
apply it to other purposes than those which their 
masters, of their mere grace and pleasure, see fit to 

Nor are there many American understandings acute 
enough to distinguish any material difference between 
this being done by a single person, under the title of 
an absolute monarch, and done by a far distant legis- 
lature, consisting of many persons, in which they are 
not represented ; and the members whereof, instead of 
feeling, and sharing equally with them in the burden 
thus imposed, are eased of their own in proportion to 
the greatness and weight of it. It may be questioned 
whether the ancient Greeks or Komans, or any other 
nation in which slavery was allowed, carried their idea 
of it much further than this. So that our late appre- 
hensions r and universal consternation, on account of 
ourselves and posterity, were far, very far indeed, 
from being groundless. For what is there in this 


world more wretched than for those who were born 
free, and have a right to continue so, to be made, slaves 
themselves, and to think of leaving a race of slaves 
behind them — even though it be to masters, confess- 
edly the most humane and generous in the world ? 
Or what wonder is it, if, after groaning with a low 
voice for a while, to no purpose, we at length groaned 
so loudly, as to be heard more than three thousand 
miles ; and to v be pitied throughout Europe, wherever 
it is not hazardous to mention even the name of liberty, 
unless it be to reproach it as only another name for 
sedition, faction, or rebellion ? 

On the other hand, never did the tide of joy swell 
so high, or roll so rapidly through the bosoms and 
veins of the people in general, on any public occasion, 
as on the news of the repeal. " Then was our mouth 
filled with laughter, and our tongue with sin2rino\" 

f-> I CD O O? 

when the Lord turned our captivity ; this was received 
as an emancipation indeed, from unmerited slavery. 
Xor were there ever before so great external demon- 
strations of joy among the people of America ; not 
even when all Canada was reduced, or when it was 
secured to the crown of England by treaty, and our 
apprehensions of coming under the yoke of France 
were vanished away. And some there are, who sup- 
pose that France would not have hesitated at allow- 
ing such a number of nourishing colonies the exclusive 
right of taxing themselves, foV the sake of a free trade 
with them, could they have been prevailed on, by vio- 
lating their allegiance, to put themselves under her 
protection ; as I am fully persuaded these colonies 
would not do, for all that France has to give. In my 
poor opinion, we never had so much real occasion for 


joy, on any temporal account, as when we were thns 
emancipated, and our soul escaped as a bird from the 
dreadful snare. And I am persuaded it would rejoice 
the generous and royal heart of his majesty, if he knew 
that by a single turn of the sceptre, when he assented 
to the repeal, he had given more pleasure to three 
million good subjects, than ever he and his royal 
grandfather gave them by all the triumphs of their arms, 
from Lake Superior eastward to the isles of Manilla ; 
though so numerous, so great, so illustrious ; and 
though we partook so largely in the national joy on 
those occasions. A pepper-corn* a year added to his 

majesty's exchequer, would not surely ! But I 


If you please, we will now descend to some farther 
particulars, relative to our late unhappy and present 
joyful circumstances, in order to excite our thankful- 
ness to God, for so memorable a deliverance. This 
continent, from Canada to Florida, and the West- 
India islands, most of them at least, have exhibited a 
dismal mixed scene of murmuring despondence, tumult 
and outrage; courts of justice shut up, with custom- 
houses and ports ; private jealousies and animosities, 
evil surmisings, whisperings and backbitings, mutual 
reproaches, open railing, and many other evils, since 
the time in which the grievous act aforesaid was to 
have taken place. Almost every British American, 
as was before observed, considered it as an infraction 
of their rights, or their dearly purchased privileges, 
call them which you will ; and the sad earnest of such 
a galling yoke to be laid on our necks, already some- 

* See Lord Clare's ever-memorable speech in an august assembly. 


what sore by preceding grievances, as neither we nor 
our fathers were able to bear ; or rather, as being it- 
self such a } 7 oke, and likely to grow heavier by length 
of time, without any increase either of ability or pa- 
tience to endure it. 

The uneasiness was, therefore, just and universal, 
except, perhaps, among a few individuals, who either 
did not attend to consequences, or who expected to 
find their private account in the public calamity, by 
exercising the gainful, the invidious, and not very rep- 
utable office of taskmasters over their groaning 
countrymen and brethren ; even our bought negro 
slaves apparently shared in the common distress — for 
which one cannot easily account, except by supposing 
that even some of them saw, that if the act took place, 
their masters might soon, be too poor to provide them 
suitable food and raiment ; and thought it would be 
more ignominious and wretched to be the servants of 
servants, than of freemen. 

But to return. The general discontent operated 
very differently upon the minds of different people, 
according to the diversity of their natural tempers and 
constitutions, their education, religious principles, or 
the prudential maxims which they had espoused. 
Some at once grew melancholy, sitting down in a kind 
of lethargic, dull desperation of relief, by any means 
whatever. Others were thrown in a sort of conster- 
nation, not unlike to a frenzy occasioned by a raging 
fever ; being ready to do any thing or every thing, to 
obtain relief; but yet, unhappily, not knowing what, 
when, where, how ; nor having any two rational and 
consistent ideas about the matter ; scarce more than a 
person in a delirium has of the nature of, or proper 


method of curing the fever which is the cause of his 
madness. Some few were, I believe, upon the prin- 
ciples of Sibthrop,Manwaring, Filmer, and that goodly 
tribe, determined to go no farther in order to obtain 
redress, than in the way of petition and remonstrance ; 
and this, even though they had been sure of success 
in some hardy enterprise. Others, who had no relig- 
ious scruples of this kind, yet thought it extremely 
imprudent and hazardous to oppose a superior power 
in such a manner as might, perhaps, draw the whole 
weight of its resentment on the colonies, to their de- 
struction. But the greater part, as I conceive, though 
I may be mistaken in this, were firmly united in a 
consistent, however imprudent or desperate a j)lan, to 
run all risks, to tempt all hazards, to go all lengths, 
if things were driven to extremity, rather than to sub- 
mit; preferring death itself to what they esteemed so 
wretched and inglorious a servitude. And even of 
devout women not a few were, I imagine, so far met- 
amorphosed into men on this sad occasion, that they 
w r ould have declined hardly any kind of manly exer- 
tions, rather than live to propagate a race of slaves, or to 
be so themselves. In short such was the danger, and in 
their opinion, so great and glorious the cause, that the 
spirit of the Roman matrons in the time of the com- 
monwealth, seemed to be now equalled by the fairer 
daughters of America. 

The uneasiness of some persons was much increased 
by an imagination, that the money to be raised by the 
duty on stamps would partly be applied to pay cer- 
tain civil officers' salaries ; whereby they would be- 
come more entirely and absolutely dependent on the 
crown, less on the people, and consequently, as was 


supposed, more arbitrary and insolent. Others were 
anxious, because they imagined, with how much or 
how little reason you will best judge, that the money 
was to be chiefly applied toward maintaining a stand- 
ing army in America ; not so much to defend and 
secure the colonies from enemies, of whom they had 
none, except the aforesaid fowlers, as to awe the col- 
onies themselves into an implicit obedience to minis- 
terial measures, however unjust or execrable in their 

There is no end, you know, to people's fears and 
jealousies, when once they are thoroughly alarmed. 
And so some suspected, that this money was partly 
intended to maintain a standing army of bishops, and 
other ecclesiastics, to propagate the importance of cer- 
tain rites and ceremonies, to which they had an aver- 
sion — the divine right of diocesan episcopacy and 
tithes, with many et ceteras of the like sacred and in- 
teresting importance. These strange notions and fears 
prevailed very much among certain odd people, who 
liked their old religion, and were not able to see the 
reasonableness of their paying for the support of any 

I am not accountable for other people's whimsical 
apprehensions ; I am here only representing the per- 
plexity into which people's minds were thrown by the 
novel taxation, according to their different views of it 
— a taxation which was probably never thought of till 
a few years ago, when it was proposed to a great and 
good secretary of state, who was far too friendly to 
the colonies, as well as too wise, to burn his fingers 
with an American stamp-act. This diversity of hu- 
mors, sentiments, and opinions among the colonists, 


of which I have been speaking, naturally occasioned 
great animosities, mutual censures and reproaches, in- 
somuch that it was hardly safe for any man to speak 
his thoughts on the times, unless he could patiently 
bear to lie under the imputation of being a coward, 
an incendiary, rebel, or enemy to his country ; or to* 
have some other odium cast upon him. 

In the mean time, most of the courts were shut up, 
and almost all business brought to a stand ; and, in- 
some colonies, wide breaches were made between their 
several governors and houses of assembly ; those gov- 
ernors thinking it their duty to push the execution of 
the stamp-act ; and some of them trying to prevent 
the assemblies petitioning, in the joint manner pro- 
posed. In this state of general disorder, approaching 
so near to anarchy, some profligate people, in different 
parts of the continent, took an opportunity to gratify 
their private resentments, and to get money in an 
easier and more expeditious way than that of labor ; 
committing abominable excesses and outrages on the 
persons or property of others. What a dreadful scene 
was this ! Who can take a cursory review of it even 
now, without horror, unless he is lost to all sense of 
religion, virtue, and good order? These were some 
of the bitter, and in a good measure, the natural fruits 
of that unhappy measure which preceded them. 

]S T or were we wholly unapprehensive of something 
still worse ; of having a more dreadful scene, even a 
scene of blood and slaughter opened ! I will not be 
particular here ; but ask you what you think of 
British subjects making war upon British subjects on 
this continent! What might this have terminated 
in? Perhaps in nothing less than the ruin of the 


colonies, and the downfall of a certain great kingdom, 
which has long been the support of other states, the 
terror of her enemies, and the envy and glory of 
Europe ! If I had myself, once, some apprehensions 
of this kind, as I confess I had, I was very far from 
being singular therein. 

One of the best judges of such matters, that any 
nation or age ever offered, as well as one of the best 
menj and most accomplished orators, speaking on this 
point, in a certain august assembly, is reported to 
have expressed himself thus : " On a good, on a sound 
bottom, the force of this country can crush America 
to atoms. I know the valor of your troops ; I know 
the skill of your officers. But on this ground, on the 
stamp-act, when so many here will think it a crying 
injustice, I am one that will lift up my hand against 
it. In such a cause your success may be hazardous. 
America, if she falls, would fall like a strong man, 
would embrace the pillars of state, and pull down the 
constitution along with her." Thus the great patron 
of America.* 

Even the remotest apprehensions of this kind, must 
give a very sensible pain to any American, who at 
once sincerely loves his own country, and wishes that 
the happy civil constitution, the strength and glory 
of Great Britain, may be as lasting as the world, and 

* The Right Hon. William Pitt. — But the author thinks it a piece 
of justice due to so great and respectable a name, to acknowledge 
that he has no better authority for mentioning it on this particular occa- 
sion, than that of the public prints, lately spread all over America ; giv- 
ing an account of some debates in the honorable Horse of Commons. 
He also acknowledges that this is all the authority he has for citing 
some other passages afterward as from the same illustrious patriot. 


still increasing ; as God is my witness, I both wish 
and pray. If Britain, which has long been the prin- 
cipal support of liberty in Europe, and is, at least was, 
the chief bulwark against that most execrable of all 
tyrannies, Popery, should in destroying her colonies 
destroy herself (heaven forbid it!) what would be- 
come of those few states which are now free ? what of 
the Protestant religion? The former might, not im- 
probably, fall before the grand monarch on this side 
the Alps ; the latter before the successor of the apos- 
tle Judas and grand vicar of Satan, beyond them, and 
so, at length, one universal despotism swallow up 

Some of us had, lately, painful apprehensions of 
this kind, when there was talk of a great military force 
coming to stamp America into a particular kind of 
subjection, to which most people here have an invin- 
cible aversion. It would doubtless, have been a noble 
effort of genius and humanity in the — what shall I 
call them? fowlers or financiers? — to extort a little 
money from the poor colonies by force of arms, at the 
risk of so much mischief to America, to Britain, to 
Europe, to the world. And the golden temptation, it 
is said, took with too many, for a while. A Pandora's 
box, or Trojan horse, indeed ! 

miseri, quse tanta insania, cives I 
Creditis avectos hostes ! aut ulla putatis 
Dona carere dolis Danaum ? sic notus ?* 

But not to digress. I have now briefly reminded 
you of our late sad, perplexed, alarming circumstances ; 

* Myx. II. 


not for the sake of reproaching those who brought 
us into them, but to excite your gratitude to God, for 
our deliverance out of them, and for our present happy 
condition. The repeal, the repeal has at once, in a good 
measure, restored things to order, and composed our 
minds, by removing the chief ground of our fears. 
The course of justice between man and man is no 
longer obstructed ; commerce lifts up her head, adorned 
with golden tresses, pearls and precious stones. All 
things that went on right before, are returning grad- 
ually to their former course ; those that did not, we 
have reason to hope, will go on better now ; almost 
every person you meet, wears the smiles of content- 
ment and joy ; and even our slaves rejoice, as though 
they had received their manumission. Indeed, all 
the lovers of liberty in Europe, in the world, have rea- 
son to rejoice; the cause is in some measure common 
to them and us. Blessed revolution ! glorious change ! 
How great are our obligations for it to the supreme 
Governor of the world ? He hath given us beauty for 
ashes, and the oil of gladness for the spirit of heavi- 
ness. He hath turned our groans into songs, our 
mourning into dancing. He hath put off our sack- 
cloth, and girded us with gladness, to the end that 
our tongues, our glory may sing praises to him. Let 
us all then rejoice in the Lord, and give honor to him; 
not forgetting to add the obedience of our lives, as 
the best sacrifice that we can offer to heaven ; and 
which, if neglected, will prove all our other sacrifices 
have been but ostentation and hypocrisy, which are 
an abomination to the Lord. 

The apostle Peter makes a natural transition from 
fearing God to honoring the king. Let me, accord- 


ingly, in the next place, exhort yon, my friends and 
brethren, to a respectful, loyal and dutiful manner 
of speech and conduct, respecting his majesty and 
his government; thereby making a suitable return to 
him for the redress of our late grievances. I am, in- 
deed, well apprised of the firm attachment of these 
colonies in general, and of our own province in par- 
ticular, to the king's person, and to the Protestant 
succession in his illustrious house, for the preservation 
of which, there is hardly a native of New England 
who would not, upon constitutional principles, which 
are those of liberty, cheerfully hazard his life, or even 
more lives than one, if he had them, to lay down in 
so good a cause. I have not the least suspicion of 
any disaffection in you to his majesty; but yet the 
duty of subjects to kings, and to all that are in au- 
thority, is frequently to be inculcated by the ministers 
of the gospel, if they will follow the example of the 
apostles in this respect. And the present occasion 
seems particularly proper to remind you of that im- 
portant duty, since we have now before us a recent 
and memorable proof of his majesty's moderation, his 
attention to the welfare of his people, and readiness, 
so far as in him lies, according to the constitution, to 
redress their grievances, on reasonable and humble 
complaint. If any persons among us have taken it 
unkindly, that his majesty should have given his 
royal assent to an act, which they think was an in- 
fraction of those liberties and privileges to which they 
were justly entitled ; and if the usual tide and fervor 
of their loyal affection is in any degree abated on 
that account, yet, surely, the readiness which his 
majesty has shown to hear and redress his people's 


Wrongs, ought to give a new spring and additional 
vigor to their loyalty and obedience. 

Natural parents, through human frailty, and mis- 
takes about facts and circumstances, sometimes pro- 
voke their children to wrath, though they tenderly 
love them, and sincerely desire their good. But what 
affectionate and dutiful child ever harbored resent- 
ment on any such account, if the grievance was re- 
moved, on a dutiful representation of it ? Hardly 
any thing operates so strongly on ingenuous minds, 
though, perhaps of quick resentment, as the mild 
condescension of a superior to the force of reason and 
right on the part of the inferior. I shall make no 
application of this any farther, than to remind you 
that British kings are the political fathers of their 
people, and the people their children. The former 
are not tyrants, or even masters ; the latter are not 
slaves, or even servants. 

Let me farther exhort you to pay due respect in all 
things to the British Parliament ; the lords and com- 
mons being two branches of the supreme legislative 
over all his majesty's dominions. The right of Par- 
liament to superintend the general affairs of the colo- 
nies, to direct, check or control them, seems to be sup- 
posed in their charters ; all which, I think, while they 
grant the power of legislation, limit the exercise of it 
to the enacting such laws as are not contrary to the 
laws of England or Great Britain ; so that our several 
legislatures are subordinate to that of the mother 
country, which extends to and over all the king's do- 
minions, at least so far as to prevent any parts of 
them from doing what would be either destructive to 
each other, or manifestly to the ruin of Britain. 


It might be of the most dangerous consequences to 
the mother country, to relinquish this supposed author- 
ity or right, which, certainly, has all along been rec- 
ognized by the colonies ; or to leave them dependent 
on the crown only, since, probably, within a century, 
the subjects in them will be more than thrice as nu- 
merous as those of Great Britain and Ireland. And, 
indeed, if the colonies are properly parts of the British 
empire, as it is both their interest and honor to be, it 
seems absurd to deny, that they are subjects to the 
highest authority therein, or not bound to yield obedi- 
ence to it. I hope there are very few people, if any, 
in the colonies, who have the least inclination to re- 
nounce the general jurisdiction of Parliament over 
them, whatever we may think of the particular right 
of taxation. If in any particular cases, we should 
think ourselves hardly treated, laid under needless and 
unreasonable restrictions, or curtailed of any liberties 
or privileges, which other of our fellow subjects in com- 
mon enjoy, we have an undoubted right to complain, 
and, by humble and respectful, though not abject 
and servile petitions, to seek the redress of such sup- 
posed grievances. 

The colonists are men, and need not be afraid to 
assert the natural rights of men ; they are British sub- 
jects, and may justly claim the common rights, and 
all the privileges of such, with plainness and freedom. 
And from what has lately occurred, there is reason to 
hope, the Parliament will ever hereafter be willing to 
hear and grant our just requests; especially if any 
grievances should take place, so great, so general and 
alarming, as to unite all the colonies in petitioning for 
redress, as with one voice. The humble united prayers 


of three or four million loyal subjects, so connected 
with Great Britain, will not be thought unworthy of a 
serious attention, especially when seconded by such 
spirited resolutions and conduct of the American Mer- 
chants, as they have lately given an example of. 
Humble petitions, so enforced, always carry great 
weight with them ; and, if just and reasonable, will 
doubtless meet with a suitable return, as in the late 
instance ; since Great Britain can scarce subsist with- 
out the trade of her colonies, which will be still in- 
creasing. And an equitable, kind treatment of them, 
on her part, will firmly bind them to her by the three- 
fold cord of duty, interest and filial affection ; such a 
one, as the wise man says, is not easily broken. This 
would do more, far more to retain the colonies in due 
subjection, than all the fleets or troops she would think 
proper to send for that purpose. 

But to return ; we ought, in honor to ourselves, as 
w r ell as duty to the king and Parliament, to frustrate 
the malicious prophecies, if not the hopes, of some per- 
sons in Britain, who have predicted the most ungrate- 
ful and indecent returns from us to our mother coun- 
try, for deliverance from the late grievances. It has 
been foretold that, in consequence thereof, the colo- 
nies would grow insolent and assuming ; that they 
would affect a kind of triumph over the authority of 
Parliament ; that they would little or nothing regard 
it hereafter, in other cases ; that they would give some 
broad intimations of their opinion, that it was not for 
want of inclination, but of power, that the late grievous 
act w r as not enforced ; that they would treat their 
brethren in Britain in an unworthy, disrespectful man- 
ner ; and the like. Such things as these have been 


predicted, and, probably, by those very fowlers' who 
contrived the snare, from which, to their great morti- 
fication, our soul is now escaped as a bird. Let us, 
my brethren (for it is in our power, and it is our duty), 
make such men false prophets, by a contrary behav- 
ior : " prophets of the deceit of their own hearts." 
This might, probably, vex them sorely, since it is 
likely their chief aim is, to bring about a fixed, con- 
firmed disaffection on our part, and a severe resent- 
ment on the other, while the jealous enemies of the 
growing power of Britain, wag their ever-plotting and 
enterprising heads, saying, "Aha! so we would have 
it." Let us highly reverence the supreme authority of 
the British empire, which to us is the highest, under 
that of heaven. Let us, as much as in us lies, culti- 
vate harmony and brotherly love between our fellow 
subjects in Britain and ourselves. We shall doubtless 
find our account in this at last, much more than in a 
contrary way of proceeding. There are no other 
people on earth that " naturally care for us." We 
are connected with them by the strongest ties ; in 
some measure by blood ; for look but a century or 
two back, and you will find their ancestors and ours 
in a great measure the same persons, though their 
posterity is now so divided. We are strongly con- 
nected with them by a great commercial intercourse, 
by our common language, by our common religion as 
Protestants, and by being subjects of the same king, 
whom God long preserve and prosper, while his ene- 
mies are clothed with shame. If we consider things 
properly, it is indeed our great felicity, our best 
security, and highest glory in this world, to stand in 
such a relation as we do, to so powerful an empire ; 


one which rules the ocean, and wherein the principles 
of liberty are in general predominant. It would be our 
misery, if not our ruin, to be cast off by Great Britain, 
as unworthy her farther regards. What then would 
it be, in any supposable way, to draw upon ourselves 
the whole weight of her just resentment ! What are we 
in the hands of that nation, which so lately triumphed 
over the united powers of France and Spain? Though 
it must, indeed, be acknowledged, that she did this, 
in a great measure, by means of her commercial inter- 
course with, and aids from the colonies — without 
which she must probably have made a more inglorious 
figure at the end, than she did at the beginning of the 
last war ; even though Mr. Pitt himself had had the 
sole direction of it under his majesty. 

Consider how many millions of people there are in 
other countries, groaning in vain under the iron scep- 
tre of merciless despotism, who, if they were but im- 
perfectly apprised of the happiness we enjoy, would 
most ardently desire to be in our situation, and to 
stand in the like relation to Great Britain. Let us not 
be insensible of our own felicity in this respect ; let us 
not entertain a thought of novelties or innovations, or 
be given to change. Let us not indulge to any ground- 
less jealousies of ill intentions toward us in our mother- 
country, whatever there may be in some designing in- 
dividuals, who do the devil's work, by sowing discord. 

It is for the interest of Britain, as she well knows, to 
retain the affection of these growing colonies, and to 
treat them kindly to that end. And this bond of 
interest on her part, is the strongest security to us, 
which we can have in any political relation whatever. 
We are bound, in honor to the king and Parliament, 


to suppose, that it was not for want of ability to en- 
force a late act, and to crush us, that it was repealed ; 
but from a conviction of the inexpediency, the danger- 
ous consequences, and many inconveniences of con- 
tinuing it. And the like reasons w T ill probably operate 
forever against any act of the same nature, and grow 
stronger and stronger. It can answer no valuable 
end, for us to harbor grudges or secret resentment 
on account of redressed and past grievances ; no good 
end wantonly and grossly to insult, and thereby to 
incense any particular powerful persons on the other 
side of the water, as the supposed enemies of the colo- 
nies. To me this seems impolitic at least ; as it may 
perhaps make such persons our enemies, if they were 
not so before ; or, if they were, fix their enmity ; and 
make them more industrious than ever in seeking op- 
portunities to do us mischief. Much less can it answer 
any good end, to affect to triumph over the power of 
Parliament. This would, in short, appear equally 
insolent, disloyal and ridiculous, in the eyes of all 
sober, unprejudiced men. 

May God give us the w T isdom to behave ourselves 
with humility and moderation, on the happy success 
of our late remonstrances and struggles ! . . . We are 
bound in honor so to behave, not only that we may 
frustrate the malignant predictions before referred to, 
but that we may answer the just expectation of our 
friends in Britain, who so nobly espoused our cause, 
and, as it were, pawned their own honor (how great 
and sacred a pledge !) for our good conduct, if our 
grievances were removed. By such an engagement 
they did us honor, as it manifested their candid and 
kind sentiments concerning us. This lays us under an 


additional obligation, in point of gratitude, to that 
good behavior, which would have been our duty with- 
out it. 

I cannot but here remind you particularly of the 
words of that immortal patriot in Parliament, who has 
now a second time been the principal means of saving 
Britain and her colonies from impending ruin.* " Say, 
said he, the Americans have not in all things acted, 
with prudence and temper ; they have been wronged ; 
they have been driven to madness by injustice. -Will 
you now punish them for the madness you have oc- 
casioned ? Rather let prudence and temper come first 
from this side ; I will undertake for America that 
she will follow the example." What son, either of 
America or Liberty, is there, that has the least spark 
of ingenuousness, who can help being touched and 
penetrated to the inmost recesses of the heart by such 
magnanimous and generous expressions in behalf of 
the colonies ? Who is there, that would not almost as 
willingly die, as that that illustrious patron of America 
should ever have occasion to be ashamed of espous- 
ing its cause, and making himself answerable for us? 

We had" other advocates of distinguished eminence 
and worth, who generously came under similar en- 
gagements for us. God forbid, my brethren, that any 
one of them should ever have the least reason to 
blush for his ill-placed confidence in us ; as all of them 
will, if we show any unworthy behavior toward the 
king, the Parliament, or our mother country, after this 
proof of their moderation and regard for us. And if 
they, our friends, should have cause to blush for us in 

* The Eight Hon. Mr. Pitt. 


this respect, what must we do for ourselves ! Where 
shall we find caverns far enough removed from the 
light of day, in which to hide our heads! or what 
reason shall we have to expect friends, advocates and 
sponsors again, how much soever we may need them, 
if we have no more regard for the honor of those who 
appeared for us at the late alarming crisis ; when it 
was accounted almost criminal to say any thing in our 

Lei me subjoin, that as the good people of this prov- 
ince had the honor to lead in a spirited, though 
decent and respectful application for the redress of 
our late grievances ; methinks they should now be 
ambitious to have the honor of leading in a prudent, 
temperate, wise behavior, in consequence of the suc- 
cess ; and, if need be, as I hope there is not, ambitions 
of setting an example of moderation and discretion 
to other colonies. This honor would be equal to the 
first mentioned ; and would probably recommend us 
greatly to those, whom it will always be our interest 
and duty to please ; so long, at least, as we can do it 
without renouncing our birthright. It will contrib- 
ute to remove any impressions that may have been 
made of late, to our disadvantage. It will at once 
gratify our best friends, and falsify the slanders of our 
enemies, who delight in representing us as a seditious, 
factious and turbulent sort of people, who cannot 
endure the wholesome and necessary restraints of gov- 
ernment. May God rebuke them for, and forgive 
them this wrong ! 

Let none suspect that, because I thus urge the duty 
of cultivating a close harmony with our mother 
country, and a dutiful submission to the king and 


Parliament, our chief grievances being redressed, I 
mean to dissuade people from having a just concern 
for their own rights, or legal, constitutional privileges. 
History, one may presume to say, affords no example 
of any nation, country or people, long free, who did 
not take some care of themselves; and endeavor to 
guard and secure their own liberties. Power is of a 
grasping, encroaching nature, in all beings, except in 
Him to whom it emphatically " belongeth ;" and 
who is the only king that, in a religious or moral 
sense, " can do no wrong." Power aims at extending 
itself, and operating according to mere will, wher- 
ever it meets with no balance, check, control or oppo- 
sition of any kind. For which reason it will always 
be necessary, as was said before, for those who would 
preserve and perpetuate their liberties, to guard them 
with a wakeful attention ; and in all righteous, just 
and prudent ways, to oppose the first encroachments 
on them. " Obsta principiisP After a while it will 
be too late. For in the states and kingdoms of this 
world, it happens as it does in the field or church, ac- 
cording to the well-known parable, to this purpose — 
that while men sleep, then the enemy cometh and 
soweth tares, which cannot be rooted out again till the 
end of the world, without rooting out the wheat with 

If I may be indulged here in saving a few words 
more, respecting my notions of liberty in general, 
such as they are, it shall be as follows. Having been 
initiated, in youth, in the doctrines of civil liberty, as 
they were taught by such men as Plato, Demosthenes, 
Cicero and other renowned persons among the ancients ; 
and such as Sidney and Milton, Locke and Hoadley, 


among the moderns,! liked them ; they seemed rational. 
Having earlier still learned from the Holy Scriptures 
that wise, brave and virtuous men were always friends 
to liberty ; that God gave the Israelites a king (or ab- 
solute monarch) in his anger, because they had not 
sense and virtue enough to like a free commonwealth, 
and to have himself for their king ; that the Son of 
God came down from heaven to make us " free in- 
deed," and that where the spirit of the Lord is, there 
is liberty ; this made me conclude, that freedom was a 
great blessing. Having, also, from my childhood up, 
by the kind providence of my God, and the tender 
care of a good parent now at rest with Him, been 
educated to the love of liberty, though not of licen- 
tiousness, which chaste and virtuous passion was still 
increased in me as I advanced toward and into man- 
hood ; I would not, I cannot now, though past middle 
age, relinquish the fair object of my youthful affections, 
Liberty ; whose charms, instead of decaying with time 
in my eyes, have daily captivated me more and more. 
I was, accordingly, penetrated with the most sensible 
grief, when, about the first of November last, that day 
of darkness, a day hardly to be numbered with the 
other days of the year, she seemed about to take her 
final departure from America, and to leave that ugly 
hag slavery, the deformed child of Satan, in her room. 
I am now filled with a proportionable degree of joy 
in God, on occasion of her speedy return, with new 
smiles on her face, with augmented beauty and splen- 
dor. Once more then, hail! celestial maid, the 
daughter of God, and, excepting his Son, the first- 
born of heaven ! Welcome to these shores again ; 
welcome to every expanding heart ! Long mayest 


thou reside among us, the delight of the wise, good 
and brave ; the protectress of innocence from wrongs 
and oppression, the patroness of learning, arts, elo- 
quence, virtue, rational loyalty, religion ! And if any 
miserable people on the continent or isles of Europe, 
after being weakened by luxury, debauchery, venality, 
intestine quarrels, or other vices, should, in the rude 
collisions, or now uncertain revolutions of kingdoms, be 
driven, in their extremity, to seek a safe retreat from 
slavery in some far distant climate, let them find, O 
let them find one in America under thy brooding, 
sacred wings, where our oppressed fathers once found 
it, and we now enjoy it, by the favor of Him, whose 
service is the most glorious freedom! Never, O never, 
may He permit thee to forsake us, for our unworthi- 
ness to enjoy thy enlivening presence! By His high 
permission, attend us through life and death to the 
regions of the blessed, thy original abode, there to 
enjoy forever the glorious liberty of the sons of 

But I forget myself ; whither have I been hurried 
by this enthusiasm, or whatever else you will please to 
call it % I hope your candor will forgive this odd excur- 
sion, for which I hardly know how to account myself. 

There were two or three things more which I in- 
tended to say relative to this joyful occasion. To go 
on, then, these colonies are better than ever apprised of 
their own weight and consequence, when united in a 
legal opposition to any unconstitutional, hard and 
grievous treatment, which may be an advantage to 
them. God often bringeth good out of evil ; or what 
is intended for evil by men, is by him meant for 
good. So it was particularly in the memorable case 


of Joseph, whom his hard-hearted, envious brethren 
sold as a slave into Egypt. There he became great, 
and his father and brethren were at length obliged to 
have recourse to him, to keep them and theirs from 
perishing. And thus, not improbably, may good come 
out of our late troubles, as well as out of those op- 
pressions which occasioned the flight of our forefathers 
into the deserts of America. The great shock which 
was lately given to our liberties, may end in the con- 
firmation and enlargement of them. As it is said, the 
stately oaks of the forest take the deeper root, extend 
their arms the farther, and exalt their venerable heads 
the higher, for being agitafed by storms and tempests, 
provided they are not actually torn up, rent in pieces, 
or quite blasted by the lightning of heaven. And 
who knows, our liberties being thus established, but 
that on some future occasion, when the kingdoms of 
the earth are moved, and roughly dashed one against 
another by Him that taketh up the isles as a very little 
thing, we, or our posterity, may even have the great 
felicity and honor to " save much people alive," and 
keep Britain herself from ruin. I hope she will never 
put it out of our power by destroying us ; or out of 
the inclination of any, by attempting it. It is to be 
hoped, the colonies will never abuse or misapply any 
influence which they may have, when united as afore- 
said ; or discover a spirit of murmuring, discontent of 
impatience under the government of Great Britain, 
so long as they are justly and kindly treated. On the 
other hand, it is to be hoped they will never lose a 
just sense of liberty, or what they may reasonably 
expect from the mother country. These tilings they 
will keep in mind if they are wise, and cultivate a 


firm friendship and union with each other upon equal 
terras, as far as distance and other circumstances will 
allow. And if ever there should he occasion, as I sin- 
cerely hope and pray there may not, their late expe- 
rience and success will teach them how to act, in order 
to obtain the redress of grievances. I mean by joint, 
manly and spirited, but yet respectful and loyal pe- 
titioning, setting aside some excesses and outrages, 
which all sober men join in condemning. 

I believe history affords few examples of a more 
general, generous and just sense of liberty in any coun- 
try, than has appeared in America within the year 
past. In which time the mercantile part in particular 
have done themselves much honor, and had a great 
share in preserving the liberties of the plantations, 
when in the most imminent danger — though this is 
not said with the least thought of reflecting on any 
other body or order of men, as wanting in their en- 
deavors to the same noble end. Had we. patiently 
received the yoke, no one can tell when, oi* whether 
ever it would have been taken off. And if there be 
some animals adapted by nature to bear heavy bur- 
dens submissively — one of which, however, is said, on 
a certain occasion, to have had the gift of speech, and 
expostulated with his master for unjustly smiting him 
— I hope the Americans will never be reckoned as be- 
longing to that spiritless, slavish kind, though their 
"powers of speech"* should not, in the opinion of 
some nameless, heroic pamphleteer-scoffers in Britain, 
exceed those of the other, however defective they 
may be in point of " eloquence."* I thank God they 

* An abusive superficial pamphlet in favor of the measures of the late 


can at least feel, and complain so as to be tolerably 

If your patience will hold out, I will add a few 
words further, by way of advice, and so conclude. 
While we endeavor to cultivate harmony and union 
with our mother country and our sister colonies, in all 
generous and manly ways, we should not, surely, 
neglect to cultivate the same among ourselves. There 
have, I am sorry to say it, but really there have lately 
been many unwarrantable jealousies, and bitter mutual 
reproaches among the people of this town and province, 
occasioned by that unhappy measure which has been 
so often referred to. Even wise and good men, though 
all equally against that measure, could not, however, 
agree what was to be done, upon the maxims of pru- 
dence, though alike concerned for the public welfare. 
Accordingly, some were blamed as too warm and san- 
guine, others as too phlegmatic and indifferent, in the 
common and noble cause of liberty. Many were cen- 
sured, and some, I am well assured, very unjustly, as 
being friends to, and encouragers of the fatal measure 
aforesaid. But how far these accusations were just or 
unjust on either side, I will not take upon me particu- 
larly to determine. Be that as it may, is it not best, 
my brethren, to let these contentions subside, now the 
end is obtained, and we have so fair a prospect before 
us? Are there any valuable ends to be answered by 
perpetuating these disputes? I cannot readily con- 
ceive any. Perhaps it is, because I have less penetra- 
tion than most others. Be it as it will, I know One, 
and One whom we all profess to reverence, who hath 
said : " Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be 
called the children of God." And, " Let us study the 


things that make for peace," said lie that wag not be- 
hind the chief of the apostles, and the things where- 
with one may edify another. 

These sayings may apologize for me, if I am wrong 
in preaching peace at this time. And if none will 
be offended with me for speaking plainly as to this 
matter, to me it really seems most prudent, most 
Christian, to bury in oblivion what is past ; to begin 
our civil, political life anew, as it were, from this joy- 
ful era of restored and confirmed liberty ; to be at 
union among ourselves ; to abstain from all party 
names and national reflections, respecting any of our 
fellow-subjects; and to exert ourselves, in our several 
stations, to promote the common good, by love serv- 
ing one another. Let us make allowances mutually 
for human frailty, for our different views and concep- 
tions of things, which may be in a great measure un- 
avoidable ; for difference of natural constitution, an 
unequal flow of animal spirits, or strength of nerves. 
Let no one censure another more hardly, if at all, 
than the necessity of the case plainly requires. 

I hope these counsels of peace will not be dis- 
relished by any " son of peace," or any wise and good 
man, that does me the honor to be my auditor on this 
occasion ; for I mean not to give offence, but only to 
do good. Such counsels as they are, I humbly com- 
mend them to the God of love and peace, to whose 
holy will I believe them agreeable, for his blessing ; 
that they may have their just influence on all that 
hear them. And you will not forget, that we must 
all one day give an account to him ; so that it nearly 
concerns us to have our ways, motives, and a 1 our 
doings approved by him. 


In fine, let us all apply ourselves with diligence and 
in the fear of God, to the duties of our respective sta- 
tions. There has been a general dissipation among us 
for a long time ; a great neglect and stagnation of 
business. Even the poor and laboring part of the 
community, whom I am very far from despising, have 
had so much to say about government and politics, in 
the late times of danger, tumult, and confusion, that 
many of them seemed to forget they had any thing 
to do. Methinks, it would now be expedient for 
them, and perhaps for most of us, to do something 
more, and talk something less ; every one studying 
to be quiet, and to do his own business ; letting things 
return peaceably into their old channels, and natural 
courses, after so long an interruption. 

My immediate aim in what I now say being only 
to recommend industry, good order, and harmony, I 
will not meddle with the thorny question, whether, or 
how far, it may be justifiable for private men, at cer- 
tain extraordinary conjunctures, to take the adminis- 
tration of government in some respects into their own 
hands. Self-preservation being a great and primary 
law of nature, and antecedent to all civil laws and 
institutions, which are subordinate and subservient 
to the other; the right of so doing, in some cir- 
cumstances, cannot well be denied. But certainly, 
there is no plausible pretence for such a conduct 
among us now. That which may be excusable, and 
perhaps laudable, on some very singular emergencies!, 
would at other times be pragmatical, seditious, and 
high-handed presumption. Let all, therefore, now 
join with heart and hand in supporting the lawful, 
constitutional government over us, in its just dignity 


and vigor; in supporting his majesty's representa- 
tives, the civil magistrates, and all persons in author- 
ity, in the lawful exercise of their several offices. 
No true friend of liberty can reasonably object against 
this ; and if any persons should, it would show that 
while they speak great swelling words of vanity, 
making liberty the pretext, they themselves are the 
servants of corruption, the ignoble slaves of sin. 

Without this due regard to government and laws, 
we shall still be miserable, my friends, notwithstand- 
ing all that God and the king have done to make us 
happy. If one had wings like a dove, it were better 
to fly far away, and remain alone in the wilderness, 
where he might be at rest, than to live in a society 
where there is no order, no subordination ; but an- 
archy and confusion reign. Of these we have surely 
had enough already ; though at the same time I bless 
God that there has not been much more, considering 
the great danger in which we have been, with the 
general alarm and consternation by reason of that 
which is said to make even a wise man mad, and much 
more the rash and indiscreet, of whom there is a great 
proportion in all communities ; considering also the 
absolute necessity there was, or at least seemed to be, 
of some very uncommon struggles and exertions, in 
order to break the snare and the natural impetuosity 
of many people's tempers. So important a change in 
the situation of public affairs, so great a deliverance, 
has, perhaps, seldom been brought about in any coun- 
try, with so little criminal excess, unless it were 
done by God alone, without the instrumentality or 
agency of men, by nature liable to so many errors and 
infirmities. But whatever there has been of this 


kind, ought to be, and I hope is, lamented by all good 

May that God, in whom our help has been, con- 
tinue to protect us, our rights and privileges ! May 
he direct our paths through this uncertain life, and all 
the changes of it ; and, of his infinite mercy in Jesus 
Christ, finally bring us all to those peaceful and glori- 
ous regions where no evil spirits, no wicked fowlers 
will come — where no snares will be spread for us, no 
proud waters to go over our soul ! And if we hope 
for admission into those eternal mansions of joy, let 
every one of us, as the apostle Peter exhorts, "honor 
all men, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the 
king." Amen. 


This eminent man, celebrated alike for Lis piety 
and sterling patriotism, was born at Boston, Massa- 
chusetts. Through the exertions of his friends, who 
discovered in him a desire to obtain a liberal educa- 
tion, he was entered at Harvard College, from which 
institution he graduated with credit in 1740. From 
college he went to Portsmouth, in New Hampshire, 
where he was employed to take charge of a grammar- 
school until 1745, at which time he was invited to 
preach in the First Church, as assistant to Mr. Fitch. 
Two years after, he was ordained, and from this time 
until the commencement of the difficulties between 
England and her colonies, he continued an active 
laborer for the cause of the church. 

Dr. Langdon was a very zealous whig. His bold 
and open opposition to the measures of the British 
government, rendered him highly acceptable to the 
patriots of New England, and through the influence 
of John Hancock and others, he was, in 1774, installed 
as successor of Mr. Locke in the presidency of Har- 
vard College. When he took the chair it gave great 
delight to the sons of libert} T ; and in 1775, a month 
after the commencement of the war, he was chosen 
to preach the election sermon. This effort will be 
found in the following^pages. 


President Langdon's connection with the college 
did not prove of the most satisfactory character. His 
administration was a perpetual struggle with diffi- 
culties and embarrassments, amid the dangers of civil 
war and the excitement of a political revolution. He 
wanted judgment, and had no spirit of government. 
He did not receive that respect and kindness from the 
students and others connected with the college, that 
were due his character as a scholar and a Christian. 
Under these circumstances he resigned the presidency, 
and in 1781, became the pastor of a church at Hamp- 
ton Falls, near Portsmouth, New Hampshire. In 
1788 he preached the election sermon at Concord, and 
the same year occupied a seat in the New Hampshire 
Convention, in which body he took an active part, 
and had an extensive influence in removing the pre- 
judices which prevailed against the Federal Constitu- 
tion. At the age of seventy-four, on the twenty-ninth 
of November, 179i, he closed a life well spent, be- 
loved for his piety, hospitality, and good-will to his 



And I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the 
beginning : afterward thou shalt be called the city of righteousness, the 
faithful city. — Isaiah, i. 26. 

Shall we rejoice, my fathers and brethren, or shall 
we weep together, on the return of this anniversary, 


which from the first settlement of this colony has 
been sacred to liberty, to perpetuate that invaluable 
privilege of choosing, from among ourselves, wise 
men, fearing God, and hating covetousness, to be 
honorable counsellors, to constitute one essential 
branch of that happy government which was estab- 
lished on the faith of royal charters ? 

On this day, the people have from year to year as- 
sembled, from all our towns, in a vast congregation, 
with gladness and festivity, with every ensign of joy 
displayed in our metropolis, which now, alas ! is made 
a garrison of mercenary troops, the stronghold of des- 
potism. But how shall I now address you from this 
desk, remote from the capital,* and remind you of the 
important business which distinguished this day in 
our calendar, without spreading a gloom over this 
assembly, by exhibiting the melancholy change made 
in the face of our public affairs ? 

We have lived to see the time when British liberty 
is just ready to expire ; when that constitution of 
government which has so long been the glory and 
strength of the English nation, is deeply undermined 
and ready to tumble into ruins ; — when America is 
threatened with cruel oppression, and the arm of 
power is stretched out against New England, and 
especially against this colony, to compel us to submit 
to the arbitary acts of legislators who are not our rep- 
resentatives, and who will not themselves bear the 
least part of the burdens which, without mercy, they 
are laying upon us. The most formal and solemn 

* This sermon was preached at Watertown, Mass, 


grants of kings to our ancestors are deemed by our 
oppressors as of little value, and they have mutilated 
the charter of this colony in the most essential parts, 
upon false representations, and new invented maxims 
of policy, without the least regard to any legal pro- 
cess. We are no longer permitted to fix our eyes on 
the faithful of the land, and trust in the wisdom of 
their counsels, and the equity of their judgment ; but 
men in whom we can have no confidence, whose 
principles are subversive of our liberties, whose aim 
is to exercise lordship over us, and share among them- 
selves the public wealth ; men who are ready to serve 
any master, and execute the most unrighteous decrees 
for high wages, whose faces we never saw before, and 
whose interests and connections may be far divided 
from us by the wide Atlantic, are to be set over us 
as counsellors and judges, at the pleasure of those 
who have the riches and power of the nation in 
their hands, and whose noblest plan is to subjugate the 
colonies first, and then the whole nation to their 

That we might not have it in our power to refuse 
the most absolute submission to their unlimited claims 
of authority, they have not only endeavored to terrify 
us with fleets and armies sent to our capital, and dis- 
tressed and put an end to our trade, particularly that 
important branch of it, the fishery, but at length at- 
tempted, by a sudden march of a body of troops in 
the night, to seize and destroy one of our magazines, 
formed by the people merely for their own security; 
if, as after such formidable military preparation on the 
other side, matters should not be pushed to an extrem- 
ity. By this, as might well be expected, a skirmish was 


brought on ; and it is most evident, from a variety 
of concurring circumstances, as well as numerous de- 
positions, both of the prisoners taken by us at that 
time, and our men then on the spot only as spectators, 
that the fire began first on the side of the king's 
troops. At least five or six of our inhabitants were 
murderously killed by the regulars at Lexington, be- 
fore any man attempted to return the fire, and when 
they were actually complying with the command to 
disperse ; and two more of our -brethren were likewise 
killed at Concord Bridge by a fire from the king's 
soldiers, before the engagement began on our side. 
But whatever credit falsehoods transmitted to Great 
Britain from the other side may gain, the matter may 
be rested entirely on this — that he that arms himself 
to commit a robbery, and demands the traveller's 
purse, by the terror of instant death, is the first ag- 
gressor, though the other should take the advantage 
of discharging his pistol first and killing the rob- 

The alarm was sudden ; but in a very short time 
spread far and wide ; the nearest neighbors in haste 
ran together to assist their brethren, and save their 
country. Xot more than three or four hundred met 
in season, and bravely attacked and repulsed the 
enemies of liberty, who retreated with great precipi- 
tation. But by the help of a strong reinforcement, 
notwithstanding a close pursuit, and continual loss 
on their side, they acted the part of robbers and 
savages, by burning, plundering, and damaging almost 
every house in their way, to the utmost of their power, 
murdering the unarmed and helpless, and not regard- 
ing the weakness of the tender sex, until they had 


secured themselves beyond the reach of our terrifying 

That ever-memorable day, the nineteenth of April, 
is the date of an unhappy war openly begun, by the 
ministers of the king of Great Britain, against his good 
subjects in this colony, and implicitly against all the 
colonies. But for what ? Because they have made a 
noble stand for their natural and constitutional rights, 
in opposition to the machinations of wicked men, who 
are betraying their royal master, establishing Popery 
in the British dominions, and aiming to enslave and 
ruin the whole nation, that they may enrich them- 
selves and their vile dependents with the public treas- 
ures, and the spoils of America. 

We have used our utmost endeavors, by repeated 
humble petitions and remonstrances — by a series of 
unanswerable reasonings published from the press, in 
which the dispute has been fairly stated, and the 
justice of our opposition clearly demonstrated — and 
by the mediation of some of the noblest and most 
faithful friends of the British constitution, who have 
powerfully pleaded our cause in Parliament — to pre- 
vent such measures as may soon reduce the body 

* Near the meeting-house in Menotomy two aged helpless men, 
who had not been out in the action, and were found unarmed in a 
house where the regulars entered, were murdered without mercy. In 
another house in that neighborhood, a woman in bed with a new-born 
infant— about a week old — was forced by the threats of the soldiery to 
escape almost naked to an open outhouse ; her house was then set on 
fire, but was soon extinguished by one of the children which had lain 
concealed till the enemy was gone. In Cambridge a man of weak men- 
tal powers, who went out to gaze at the regular army as they passed, 
without arms, or thought of danger, was wantonly shot, at, and killed by 
those inhuman butchers, as he sat on a fence. 


politic to a miserable, dismembered, dying trunk, 
though lately the terror of all Europe. But our king, 
as if impelled by some strange fatality, is resolved to 
reason with us only by the roar of his cannon, and the 
pointed arguments of muskets and bayonets. Because 
we refuse submission to the despotic power of a 
ministerial Parliament, our own sovereign, to whom 
we have been always ready to swear true allegiance — 
whose authority we never meant to cast off — who 
might have continued happy in cheerful obedience, 
as faithful subjects as any in his dominions — has 
given us np to the rage of his ministers, to be seized 
at sea by the rapacious commanders of every little 
sloop of war and piratical cutter, and to be plundered 
and massacred by land by mercenary troops, who 
know no distinction betwixt an enemy and a brother, 
between right and wrong ; but only, like brutal pur- 
suers, to hunt and seize the prey pointed out by their 

"We must keep our eyes fixed on the supreme gov- 
ernment of the ETEBISTAL KING, as directing all 
events, setting np or pulling down the kings of the 
earth at his pleasure, suffering the best forms of human 
government to degenerate and go to ruin by corrup- 
tion ; or restoring the decayed constitutions of king- 
doms and states, by reviving public virtue and relig- 
ion, and granting the favorable interpositions of his 
providence. To this our text leads us ; and though I 
hope to be excused on this occasion from a formal dis- 
course on the words in a doctrinal way, yet I must 
not wholly pass over the religious instruction contain- 
ed in them. 

Let us consider — that for the sins of a people God 


may suffer the best government to be corrupted, or 
entirely dissolved ; and that nothing but a general ref- 
ormation can give ground to hope that the public 
happiness will be restored, by the recovery of the 
strength and perfection of the state, and that divine 
Providence will interpose to fill every department 
with wise and good men. 

Isaiah prophesied about the time of the captivity 
of the ten tribes of Israel, and about a century before 
the captivity of Judah. The kingdom of Israel was 
brought to destruction, because its iniquities were full ; 
its counsellors and judges were wholly taken away, 
because there remained no hope of reformation. But 
the sceptre did not entirely depart from Judah, nor 
a lawgiver from between his feet, till the Messiah 
came ; yet greater and greater changes took place in 
their political affairs ; their government degenerated 
in proportion as their vices increased, till few faithful 
men were left in any public offices ; and, at length, 
when they were delivered up for seventy years into 
the hands of the king of Babylon, scarce any remains 
of their original excellent civil polity aj>peared among 
them. * 

The Jewish government, according to the original 
constitution which was divinely established, if consid- 
ered merely in a civil view, was a perfect rej:>ublic. 
The heads of their tribes, and elders of their cities, 
were their counsellors and judges. They called the 
people together in more general or particular assem- 
blies, took their opinions, gave advice, and managed 
the public affairs according to the general voice. 
Counsellors and judges comprehend all the powers 
of that government, for there was no such thing as 


legislative authority belonging to it, their complete 
code of laws being given immediately from God by 
the hand of Moses. And let them who cry up the 
divine right of kings consider, that the only form 
of government which had a proper claim to a divine 
establishment, was so far from including the idea of 
a king, that it was a high crime for Israel to ask to be 
in this respect like other nations ; and when they were 
thus gratified, it was rather as a just punishment of 
their folly, that they might feel the burdens of court 
pageantry, of which they were warned by a very 
striking description, than as a divine recommendation 
of kingly authority. 

Every nation, when able and agreed, has a right to 
set up over itself any form of government which to it 
may appear most conducive to its common welfare. 
The civil polity of Israel is doubtless an excellent 
general model, allowing for some peculiarities; at 
least some principal laws and orders of it may be 
copied, to great advantage, in more modern establish- 

When a government is in its prime, the public good 
engages the attention of the whole ; the strictest regard 
is paid to the qualifications of those who hold the 
offices of the state ; virtue prevails — every thing is 
managed with justice, prudence, and frugality ; the 
laws are founded on principles of equity rather than 
mere policy, and all the people are happy. But vice 
will increase with the riches and glory of an empire ; 
and this gradually tends to corrupt the constitution, 
and in time bring on its dissolution. This may be 
considered hot only as the natural effect of vice, but a 
righteous judgment of heaven, especially upon a na- 


tion which lias been favored with the blessing of re 
gion and liberty, and is guilty of undervaluing them; 
and eagerly going into the gratification of every lust. 
In this chapter the prophet describes the very cor- 
rupt state of Judah in his day, both as to religion 
and common morality ; and looks forward to that 
increase of wickedness -which would bring on their 
desolation and captivity. They were a sinful nation, 
a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evil- doers, chil- 
dren that were corrupters, who had forsaken the Lord, 
and provoked the Holy One of Israel to anger. The 
whole body of the nation, from head to foot, was full 
of moral and political disorders, without any remain- 
ing soundness. Their religion was all mere ceremony 
and hypocrisy; and even the laws of common justice 
and humanity were disregarded in their public courts. 
They had counsellors and judges, but very different 
from those at the beginning of the commonwealth. 
Their princes were rebellious against God, and the 
constitution of their country, and companions of 
thieves, giving countenance to every artifice for seiz- 
ing the property of the subjects in their own hands, 
and robbing the public treasury. Every one loved 
gifts, and followed after rewards ; they regarded the 
perquisites more than the duties of their office ; the 
general aim was at profitable places and pensions 
they were influenced in every thing by bribery ; and 
their avarice and luxury were never satisfied, but hur- 
ried them on to all kinds of oppression and violence, 
so that they even justified and encouraged the murder 
of innocent persons to support their lawless power, 
and increase their wealth. And God, in righteous 
judgment, left them to run into all this excess of vice 


to their own destruction, because the}' had forsaken 
him, and were guilty of wilful inattention to the most 
essential parts of that religion which had been given 
them by a well-attested revelation from heaven. 

The Jewish nation could not bat see and feel the 
unhappy consequences of so great a corruption of the 
state. Doubtless, they complained much of men in 
power, and very heartily and liberally reproached them 
for their notorious misconduct. The public greatly 
suffered, and the people groaned, and wished for bet- 
ter rulers and better management. But in vain they 
hoped for a change of men and measures and better 
times, when the spirit of religion was gone, and the 
infection of vice was become universal. The whole 
body being so corrupted, there could be no rational 
prospect of any great reformation in the state, but 
rather of its ruin ; which accordingly came on in 
Jeremiah's time. Yet if a general reformation of re- 
ligion and morals had taken place, and they had 
turned to God from all their sins — if they had again 
recovered the true spirit of their religion, God, by the 
gracious interpositions of his providence, would soon 
have found out methods to restore the former virtue 
of the state, and again have given them men of wis- 
dom and integrity, according to their utmost wish, to 
be counsellors and judges. This was verified in fact, 
after the nation had been purged by a long captivity, 
and returned to their own land humbled, and filled 
with zeal for God and his law. 

By all this we may be led to consider the true cause 
of the present remarkable troubles which are come 
upon Great Britain and these colonies ; and the only 
effectual remedy. 


We have rebelled against God. We have lost the 
true spirit of Christianity, though we 'retain the out- 
ward profession and form of it. We have neglected 
and set light by the glorious gospel of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, and his holy commands and institutions. The 
worship of many is but mere compliment to the Deity, 
while their hearts are far from him. By many the 
gospel is corrupted into a superficial system of moral 
philosophy, little better than ancient Platonism. And 
after all the pretended refinements of moderns in the 
theory of Christianity, very little of the pure practice 
of it is to be found among those who once stood fore- 
most in the profession of the gospel. In a general 
view of the present moral state of Great Britain it may 
be said : There is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowl- 
edge of God in the land. By swearing, and lying, 
and hilling, and stealing, and committing adultery, 
their wickedness breaks out; and one murder after 
another is committed, under the connivance and en- 
couragement even of that authority by which such 
crimes ought to be punished, that the purposes of op- 
pression and despotism may be answered. As they 
have increased, so have they sinned, therefore God is 
changing their glory into shame. The general preva- 
lence of vice has changed the whole face of things in 
the British government. 

The excellency of the constitution has been the 
boast of Great Britain, and the envy of neighboring 
nations. In former times the great departments of 
the state, and the various places of trust and authority, 
were filled with men of wisdom, honesty and religion, 
who employed all their powers, and were ready to 
risk their fortunes and their lives for the public 


good. They were faithful counsellors to kings ; directed 
their authority and majesty to the happiness of the 
nation ; and opposed every step by which despotism 
endeavored to advance. They were fathers of 'the 
people, and sought the welfare and prosperity of the 
whole body. They did not exhaust the national wealth 
by luxury and bribery, or convert it to their own 
private benefit, or the maintenance of idle useless 
officers and dependents ; but improved it faithfully for 
the proper purposes, for the necessary support of gov- 
ernment, and defence of the kingdom. Their laws 
were dictated by wisdom and equity ; and justice was 
administered with impartiality. Religion discovered 
its general influence among all ranks, and kept out 
great corruptions from places of power. 

But in what does the British nation now glory ? In 
a mere shadow of its ancient political system ? In 
titles of dignity without virtue? In vast public 
treasures continually lavished in corruption, till every 
fund is exhausted, notwithstanding the mighty streams 
perpetually flowing in ? In the many artifices to 
stretch the prerogatives of the crown beyond all con- 
stitutional bounds, and make the king an absolute 
monarch, while the people are deluded with a mere 
phantom of liberty? What idea must we entertain 
of that government, if such an one can be found, which 
pretends to have made an exact counterbalance of 
power between the sovereign, the nobles, and the com- 
mons, so that the three branches shall be an effectual 
check upon each other, and the united wisdom of the 
whole shall conspire to promote the national felicity ; 
but which in reality is reduced to such a situation that 
it may be managed at the sole will of one court favor- 


ite ? What difference is there betwixt one man s 
choosing, at his own pleasure, by his single vote, the 
majority of those who are to represent the people ; and 
his purchasing in such a majority, according to his 
ow T n nomination, with money out of the public treasury, 
or other effectual methods of influencing elections \ 
And what shall we say, if in the same manner, by 
places, pensions, and other bribes, a minister of state 
can at any time gain over a nobler majority likewise, 
to be entirely subservient to his purposes, and more- 
over persuade his royal master to resign himself up 
wholly to the direction of his counsels? If this should 
be the case of any nation from one seven years' end to 
another, the bargain and sale being made sure for 
such a period, would they still have reason to boast 
of their excellent constitution ? Ought they not rather 
to think it high time to restore the corrupted dying 
state to its original perfection ? I will apply this to 
the Roman senate under Julius Cassar, which retained 
all its ancient" formalities, but voted alwavs onlv as 
Coesar dictated. If the decrees of such a senate 
were urged on the Romans as fraught with all the 
blessings of Roman liberty, we must suppose them 
strangely deluded, if they were persuaded to believe 

The pretence for taxing America has been that the 
nation contracted an immense debt for the defence of 
the American colonies ; and that as they are now 
able to contribute some proportion toward the dis- 
charge of this debt, and must be considered as part of 
the nation, it is reasonable they should be taxed ; and 
the Parliament has a right to tax and govern them in 
all cases whatever by its own supreme authority. 


Enough, lias been already published on this grand con- 
troversy, which now threatens a final separation of the 
colonies from Great Britain. But can the amazing 
national debt be paid by a little trifling sum squeezed 
from year to year out of America, which is continually 
drained of all its cash by a restricted trade with the 
parent country, and which in this way is taxed to the 
government of Britain in a very large proportion? 
Would it not be much superior wisdom and sounder 
policy for a distressed kingdom to retrench the vast 
unnecessary expenses continually incurred by its 
enormous vices ? To stop the prodigious sums paid in 
pensions, and to numberless officers, without the least 
advantage to the public ? To reduce the number of 
devouring servants in the great family ? To turn their 
minds from the pursuit of pleasure and the boundless 
luxuries of life, to the important interests of their coun- 
try and the salvation of the commonwealth ? Would 
not a reverend regard to the authority of divine reve- 
lation, a hearty belief of the gospel of the grace of 
God, and a general reformation of all those vices 
which bring misery and ruin upon individuals, fami- 
lies, and kingdoms, and which have provoked heaven 
to bring the nation into such perplexed and dangerous 
circumstances, be the surest way to recover the sink- 
ing state, and make it again rich and flourishing? 
Millions might annually be saved, if the kingdom 
were generally and thoroughly reformed; and the 
public debt, great as it is, might in a few years be 
cancelled by a growing revenue, which now amounts 
to full ten millions per annum, without laying addi- 
tional burdens on any of the subjects. But the de- 
mands of corruption are constantly increasing, and 


will forever exceed all the resources of wealth which, 
the wit of man can invent or tyranny impose. 

Into what fatal policy has the nation been impelled 
by its public vices ! To wage a cruel war with its 
own children in these colonies, only to gratify the lust 
of power, and the demands of extravagance ! May 
God in his mercy recover Great Britain from this fatal 
infatuation ; show them their errors, and give them a 
spirit of reformation, before it is too late to avert im- 
pending destruction. May the eyes of the king be 
opened to see the ruinous tendency of the measures 
into which he has been led, and his heart inclined to 
treat his American subjects with justice and clem- 
ency, instead of forcing them still farther to the last 
extremities! God grant some method may be found 
out to effect a happy reconciliation, so that the color. - 
may again enjoy the protection of their sovereign, 
with perfect security of all their natural rights, and 
civil and religious liberties. 

But, alas ! have not the sins of America, and of 
New England in particular, had a hand in brin^ino- 
down upon us the righteous judgments of Heaven i 
Wherefore is all this evil come upon us \ Is it not 
because we have forsaken the Lord ' Can we say we 
are innocent of crimes against God '. — No, surely : it 
becomes us to humble ourselves under his mighty 
band, that he may exalt us in due time. However 
unjustly and cruelly we have been treated by man, 
we certainly deserve, at the hand of God. nil the ca- 
lamities in which we are now involved. Have we 
not lost much of that spirit of genuine Christianity 
which so remarkably appeared in our ancestors, for 
which God distinguished them with the signal favors 


of providence, when they fled from tyranny and -perse- 
cution into this western desert ? Have we not departed 
from their virtues? Though I hope and am confident 
that as much true religion, agreeable to the purity and 
simplicity of the gospel, remains among us as among 
any people in the world, yet in the midst of the pres- 
ent great apostasy of the nations professing Christian- 
ity, have not we likewise been guilty of departing 
from the living God ? Have we not made light of 
the gospel of salvation, and too much affected the 
cold, formal, fashionable religion of countries grown 
old in vice and overspread with infidelity ? Do not 
our follies and iniquities testify against us? Have 
we not, especially in our seaports, gone much too far 
into the pride and luxuries of life ? Is it not a fact 
open to common observation, that profaneness, intem- 
perance, unchastity, the love of pleasure, fraud, av- 
arice, and other vices, are increasing among us from 
year to year? And have not even these young gov- 
ernments been in some measure infected with the cor- 
ruptions of European courts? Has there been no 
flattery, no bribery, no artifices practiced, to get into 
places of honor and profit, or carry a vote to serve a 
particular interest, without regard to right or wrong? 
Have our statesmen always acted with integrity ? and 
every judge with impartiality, in the fear of God ? 

In short, have all ranks of men showed regard to 
the divine commands, and joined to promote the Re- 
deemer's kingdom and the public welfare? I wish 
we could more fully justify ourselves in all these re- 
spects. If such sins have not been so notorious 
among us as in older countries, we must, nevertheless, 
remember, that the sins of a people who have been 


remarkable for the profession of godliness, are more 
aggravated by all the advantages and favors they 
have enjoyed, and will receive more speedy and sig- 
nal punishment; as God says of Israel : "You only 
have I known of all the families of the earth, there- 
fore will I punish you for all your iniquities." 

The judgments now come upon us are very heavy 
and distressing, and have fallen with peculiar weight 
on our capital ; where, notwithstanding the plighted 
honor of the chief commander of the hostile troops, 
many of our brethren are still detained as if they were 
captives; and those that have been released have left 
the principal part of their substance, which is with- 
held by arbitrary orders, contrary to an express treaty, 
to be plundered by the army.* 

Let me address you in the words of the prophet — 

* Soon after the battle of Lexington, General Gage stipulated with the. 
select-men of Boston, that if the inhabitants would deliver up their arms, 
to be deposited in Faneuil Hall, and returned when circumstances would 
permit, they should have liberty to quit the town, and take with them all 
their effects. The} r readily complied ; but soon found themselves abused. 
With great difficulty, and very slowly they obtain passes; but are for- 
bidden to carry out any thing besides household furniture and wearing 
apparel. Merchants and shopkeepers are obliged to leave behind all 
their merchandise, and even their cash is detained. Mechanics are not 
allowed to bring out the most necessary tools for their work. Not only 
their family stores of provisions are stopped, but it has been repeatedly 
and credibly affirmed, that poor women and children have had the very 
smallest articles of this kind taken, from them, which were necessaiy for 
their refreshment while the} r travelled a few miles to their friends ; and 
that even from young children, in their mothers' arms, the cruel sol- 
diery have taken the morsel of bread given to prevent them from crying, 
and thrown it away. How much better for the inhabitants to have re- 
solved, at all hazards, to defend themselves by their arms against such 
an enemy, than suffer such shameful abuse! 


" O Israel, return unto the Lord thy God, for thou hast 
fallen by thine iniquity" My brethren, let us repent 
and implore the divine mercy. Let us amend our 
ways and our doings ; reform every thing which has 
been provoking to the Most High, and thus endeavor 
to obtain the gracious interpositions of Providence for 
our deliverence. 

If true religion is revived by means of these public 
calamities, and again prevails among us ; if it appears 
in our religious assemblies, in the conduct of our civil 
affairs, in our armies, in our families, in all our busi- 
ness and conversation, we may hope for the direction 
and blessing of the Most High, while we are using our 
best endeavors to preserve and restore the civil gov- 
ernment of this colony, and defend America from 

Our late happy government is changed into the 
terrors of military execution. Our firm opposition to 
the establishment of an arbitary system is called re- 
bellion, and we are to expect no mercy but by yield- 
ing property and life at discretion. This we are 
resolved at all events not to do ; and therefore, we 
have taken arms in our own defence, and all the colo- 
nies are united in the great cause of liberty. 

But how shall we live while civil government is 
dissolved ? What shall we do without counsellors 
and judges? A state of absolute anarchy is dread- 
ful. Submission to the tyranny of hundreds of im- 
perious masters, firmly embodied against us, and 
united in the same cruel design of disposing of our 
substance and lives at their pleasure, and making 
their own will our law in all cases whatever, is the 
vilest slavery, and worse than death. 


Thanks be to God, that he has given us, as men, 
natural rights, independent of all human laws what- 
ever; and these rights are recognized by the grand 
charter of British liberties. By the law of nature 
any body of people, destitute of order and govern- 
ment, may form themselves into a civil society accord- 
ing to their best prudence, and so provide for their 
common safety and advantage. When one form is 
found, by the majority, not to answer the grand pur- 
pose in any tolerable degree, they may by common 
consent put an end to it, and set up another ; only as 
all such great changes are attended with difficulty, 
and danger of confusion, they ought not to be at- 
tempted without urgent necessity, which will be de- 
termined always by the general voice of the wisest 
and best members of the community. If the great 
servants of the public forget their duty, betray their 
trust and sell their country, or make war against the 
most valuable rights and privileges of the people ; 
reason and justice require that they should be dis- 
carded, and others appointed in their room, without 
any regard to formal resignations of their forfeited 

It must be ascribed to some supernatural influence 
on the minds of the main body of the people through 
this extensive continent, that they have so universally 
adopted the method of managing the important mat- 
ters necessary to preserve among them a free govern- 
ment, by corresponding committees and congresses, 
consisting of the wisest and most disinterested pat- 
riots in America, chosen by the unbiased suffrages of 
the people assembled for that purpose, in their several 
towns, counties, and provinces. So general agree- 


ment, through so many provinces of so large a country, 
in one mode of self-preservation, is unexampled in any 
history ; and the effect has exceeded our most san- 
guine expectations. tJniversal tumults, and all the 
irregularities and violence of mobbish factions, natur- 
ally arise when legal authority ceases. But how 
little of this has appeared in the midst of the late ob- 
structions of civil government ! Nothing more than 
what has often happened in Great Britain and Ireland, 
in the face of the civil powers in all their strength — 
nothing more than what is frequently seen in the 
midst of the perfect regulations of the great city of 
London ; and, may I not add, nothing more than has 
been absolutely necessary to carry into execution the 
spirited resolutions of a people too sensible to deliver 
themselves up to oppression and slavery. The judg- 
ment and advice of the continental assembly of dele- 
gates have been as readily obeyed as if they were 
authentic acts of a long-established Parliament. And 
in every colony the votes of a congress have had equal 
effect with the laws of great and general courts. 

It is now ten months since Massachusetts has been 
deprived of the benefit of that government which was 
so long enjoyed by charter. They have had no gener- 
al assembly for matters of legislation and the public 
revenue. The courts of justice have been shut up; 
and almost the whole executive power has ceased to 
act. Yet order among the people has been remark- 
ably preserved ; few crimes have been committed 
punishable by the judge ; even former contentions 
betwixt one neighbor and another have ceased ; nor 
have fraud and rapine taken advantage of the imbe- 
cility of the civil powers. 


The necessary preparations for the defence of our 
liberties required not only the collected wisdom and 
strength of the colony, but an immediate cheerful 
application of the wealth of individuals to the public 
service, in due proportion ; or a taxation which de- 
pended on general consent. Where was the author- 
ity to vote, collect, or receive the large sums required, 
and make provision for the utmost extremities ? A 
Congress succeeded to the honors of a General Assem- 
bly as soon as the latter was crushed by the hand of 
power. It gained all the confidence of the people. 
Wisdom and prudence secured all that the laws of the 
former constitution could have given. And we now ob- 
serve, with astonishment, an army of many thousands 
of well-disciplined troops suddenly assembled, and 
abundantly furnished with all the necessary supplies, 
in defence of the liberties of America. 

But is it proper or safe for the colony to continue 
much longer in such imperfect order ? Must it not 
appear rational and necessary, to every man that un- 
derstands the various movements requisite to good 
government, that the many parts should be properly 
settled, and every branch of the legislative and execu- 
tive authority restored to that order and vigor on which 
the life and health of the body politic depend ? To 
the honorable gentlemen, now met in this new con- 
gress as the fathers of the people, this weighty matter 
must be referred. Who knows but in the midst of all the 
distresses of the present war to defeat the attempts of 
arbitrary power, God may in mercy restore to us our 
judges as at first, and our counsellors as at the beginning. 

On your wisdom, religion, and public spirit, honored 
gentlemen, we depend, to determine what may be 


done as to the important matter of reviving the form 
of government, and settling all the necessary affairs 
relating to it in the present critical state of things, 
that we may again have law and justice, and avoid 
the danger of anarchy and confusion. May GOD be 
with you, and by the influences of his spirit direct all 
your counsels and resolutions for the glory of his 
name, and the safety and happiness of this colony. 
We have great reason to acknowledge with thankful- 
ness the evident tokens of the divine presence with 
the former congress ; that they were led to foresee 
present exigencies, and make such effectual provision 
for them. It is our earnest prayer to the Father of 
lights, that he would irradiate your minds, make all 
your way plain, and grant you may be happy instru- 
ments of many and great blessings to the people by 
whom yon are constituted, to New England, and all 
the united colonies. 

Let us praise our God for the advantages already 
given us over the enemies of liberty ; particularly, 
that they have been so dispirited by repeated experi- 
ence of the efficiency of our arms ; and that in the 
late action at Chelsea,* when several hundreds of our 
soldiery, the greater part open to the fire of so many 
cannon, swivels, and muskets from a battery advan- 
tugeously situated, from two armed cutters, and many 
barges full of marines, and from ships of the line in 
the harbor, not one man on our side was killed, and 

* This action was in the night following the 27th current, after our 
soldiery had been taking off the cattle from some islands in Boston 
harbor. By the best information we have been able to procure, about 
one hundred and five of the king's troops were killed, and one hun- 
dred and sixty wounded, in the engagement. 


but two or three wounded; when, bj the best intelli- 
gence, a great number were killed and wounded on 
the other side, and one of their cutters was taken 
and burnt, the other narrowly escaping with great 

If God be for us, who can be against us? The 
enemy has reproached us for calling on his name, and 
professing our trust in him. They have made a mock 
of our solemn fasts, and every appearance of serious 
Christianity in the land. On this account, by way of 
contempt, they call us saints ; and, that they them- 
selves may keep at the greatest distance from this 
character, their mouths are full of horrid blasphemies, 
cursing and bitterness, and vent all the rage of malice, 
and barbarity. And may we not be confident that 
the Most High, who regards these things, will vindi- 
cate his own honor, and plead our righteous cause 
against such enemies to his government, as well as our 
liberties. Oh, may our camp be free from every ac- 
cursed thing ! May our land be purged from all its 
sins ! May we be truly a holy people, and all our 
towns cities of righteousness ! Then the Lord will be 
our refuge and strength, a very present help in trou- 
ble ; and we shall have no reason to be afraid though 
thousands of enemies set themselves against us round 
about, though all nature should be thrown into tumults 
and convulsions. He can command the stars in their 
courses to fight his battles, and all the elements to 
wage war with his enemies. He can destroy them 
with innumerable plagues, or send faintness into their 
hearts, so that the men of might shall not find their 
hands. In a variety of methods he can work salva- 
tion for us, as he did for his people in ancient days, 


and according to the many remarkable deliverances 
granted in former times to Great Britain and New- 
England, when popish machinations threatened both 
countries with civil and ecclesiastical tyrany.* 

May the Lord hear us in this day of trouble, and 
the name of the God of Jacob defend us; send us 
help from his sanctuary ; and strengthen us out of 
Zion. We will rejoice in his salvation, and in the 
name of our God we will set up our banners ; let us 
look to Him to fulfil all our petitions. 

* When we consider the late Canada Bill ; which implies not merely a 
toleration of the Roman Catholic religion (which would be just and 
liberal) but a firm establishment of it through that extensive province, 
now greatly enlarged to serve political purposes ; by which means mul- 
titudes of people, subjects of Great Britain, which may hereafter settle 
that vast country, will be tempted, by all the attachments arising from 
an establishment, to profess that religion, or be discouraged from any 
endeavors to propagate reformed principles ; have we not great reason to 
suspect, that all late measures respecting the colonies have originated 
from popish schemes of men who would gladly restore the race of Stuart, 
and who look on popery as a religion most favorable to arbitrary power? 
It is plain fact, that despotism has an establishment in that province 
equally with the Roman Catholic Church. The governor, with a coun- 
cil very much under his power, has by his commission almost un- 
limited authority, free from the clog of representatives of the people. 
However agreeable this may be to the genius of the French, English 
subjects there will be discouraged from continuing in a country, where 
both they and their posterity will be deprived of the greatest privi- 
leges of the British constitution, and in many respects feel the effects 
of absolute monarchy. 

Lord Littleton, in his defence of this detestable statute, frankly con- 
cedes, that it is an establishment of the Roman Catholic religion, and 
that part of the policy of it was to provide a check upon the New 
England colonies. And the writer of an address of the people of 
Great Britain to the inhabitants of America just published, expresses 
himself with great precision when he says, that statute gave tolera- 
tion to ENGLISH subjects. 


This gentleman is celebrated as the divine who 
opened with prayer the Continental Congress of 1774. 
He was born in Philadelphia about the year 1730, and 
after receiving a liberal education, became rector of 
the Episcopal church in his native city. While in 
this position, he not only won a wide reputation as a 
preacher, but gained some eminence in the held of 
letters. In 1771 he published a series of letters under 
the signature of Tamoc Caspipina, bearing particu- 
larly upon the English politics of the day. At a late 
period they were collected in a volume and passed 
through several editions. In 1776, he was appointed 
Chaplain to the Congress, and while in the occupancy 
of that office, he gave the salary incident to it, for 
the relief of the families of Pennsylvanians killed in 
battle. At an early stage of the war, however, he 
manifested a decided opposition to independence, and 
in a long letter endeavored to dissuade Washington 
from continuing in the cause of the patriots. This act 
deprived him of the confidence of his fellow-men, 
and soon after he went to England, where he died in 
1798. He is spoken of by his cotemporaries as a 
man of brilliant talents, and an interesting orator, 
possessed of fine poetical taste. His sermon given in 


the present collection, is an excellent specimen of his 
rhetoric. It was preached in Christ Church, in Phila- 
delphia, on the seventh of July, 1775, and dedicated 
to General Washington. 


Stand fast, tlierefore, in (lie liberty ivherewith Christ hath made us free. 


Gentlemen of the First Battalion of the City 
and LrBERTLES of Philadelphia : — Though I readily 
accepted of the invitation with which you were 
pleased to honor me, and am fully satisfied that there 
can be no impropriety in complying with your request, 
yet I confess, that I now feel such an uncommon de- 
gree of diffidence, as nothing but a sense of duty, and 
a sincere sympathy with you in your present trying 
circumstances could enable me to overcome. The oc- 
casion is of the first importance ; the subject in a great 
measure new to me — throwing myself, therefore, upon 
your candor and indulgence, considering myself under 
the twofold character of a minister of Jesus Christ, 
and a fellow-citizen of the same state, and involved in 
the same public calamity with yourselves, and looking 
up for counsel and direction to the source of all wis- 
dom, " who giveth liberally to those that ask it," I 
have made choice of a passage of Scripture, which will 
give me an opportunity of addressing myself to yon as 
freemen, both in the spiritual and temporal sense of 


the word, and of suggesting to you such a mode of 
conduct, as will be most likely, under the blessing 
of Heaven, to insure to you the enjoyment of these 
two kinds of liberty. ' ; Stand fast, therefore, in the 
liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free." 

The inspired author of this excellent admonition was 
so sensible of the invaluable blessings and comforts 
that resulted from that free spirit, with which Jesus 
Christ, through his ministry, had established his Gala. 
tian converts, that he was. jealous of the least attempt 
to destroy or even obstruct in them its life-giving 
operation. lie could not brook the narrow spirit of 
those Judaizing Christians, who, from the most selfish 
and illiberal motives, sought to force a yoke' upon the 
necks of their Gentile brethren, which neither they 
themselves, nor their fathers had been able to bear. 
These Gentiles, too, he severely reproves for not main- 
taining their ground, and asserting their gospel free- 
dom against the insidious devices of their brethren, who 
only wanted to bring them into servitude, " that they 
might glory in their flesh.'' — " O foolish Galatians ! 
who hath bewitched you '." He ascribes their blind- 
ness and infatuation to some diabolical charm, which 
had locked up the powers of their freeborn spirits, 
and made them tamely submit to slavish carnal ordi- 
nances, which the gospel of Jesus had entirely ex- 
ploded and abolished. He reminds them, by a spirited 
explication of a most striking allegory, that they were 
not i% children of the bond-woman, but of the free ;" 
that their observance of the ceremonial law was a 
tribute, which they were not bound to pay ; or, if 
they should be so weak as to submit to it, that it could 
not emancipate them from the bondage of earth and 


hell; but that their real freedom, their full and com- 
plete justification, their happiness, temporal and eter- 
nal, were only to be acquired by a vigorous exertion 
of those spiritual powers within themselves, which 
through the riches of God's free grace in Jesus Christ, 
had been communicated to their souls. He concludes 
this part of his address with the truly noble and 
apostolic precept of my text : " Stand fast, therefore, 
in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free." 

Having thus briefly opened the occasion and mean- 
ing of the words, I shall proceed to show, in the first 
place, what we are to understand by that spiritual 
liberty " wherewith Christ hath made us free," and 
what kind of conduct that must be which is here ex- 
pressed by the words " stand fast." 

I. However severe, my dear brethren, the loss of 
our temporal liberties may be, there is certainly a 
bondage far more severe than this ; yea, far more 
cruel, than that of Israel under their their Egyptian 
taskmasters — a bondage not only to men, but to the 
fallen spirits of darkness, seeking to exercise over us 
a joint power and dominion with our own irregular 
and corrupt passions — a bondage universal, from which 
no son of Adam hath ever been exempt — a tyranny 
whose baleful influences have been felt, from the fall 
of man down to this very day. It has. seized not only 
upon the body, but upon the soul. It has erected its 
throne in the heart, and from thence imposes its 
arbitrary decrees. It is confined to no age or sex, no 
state or condition of human life. High and low, 
learned and unlearned, the savage and the sage, are 
alike victims of this despotic power — alike slaves by 
nature under this bondage of corruption. 


It is perpetually manifesting itself under a variety 
of forms, according to our prevailing desires and pur- 
suits. It follows us into the sanctuary of God. It 
steals into our private devotions. It gives a pharisai- 
cal tincture to our best good-works. It reigns as a 
master and absolute sovereign in the wicked and un- 
regenerate. Yea, it frequently enters the most spirit- 
ual and regenerate hearts in hostile form, and seeks 
to shake their confidence in the goodness of their true 
and rightful Sovereign, and their humble hope of de- 
liverance through the redeeming power of his ever- 
blessed Son. 

Now, who would not wish to be delivered from such 
a bondage as this? And yet, my brethren, such a 
wish cannot be formed till, by divine grace, the free- 
born powers of the soul are brought to be sensible of 
their burden, and to groan beneath the weight of op- 
pression. "The whole (or they that think themselves 
whole) need not a physician, but they that are sick." 
The madman hugs his chains, as if they w r ere ensigns 
of royalty. Insensible of his calamity, he cannot even 
wish for relief. 

But no sooner does the child of grace, the offspring 
of heaven, come to feel the bondage of the infernal 
usurper ; no sooner does he find himself harrassed and 
oppressed by t]ie obedience which he exacts to his 
unrighteous laws ; no sooner is he convinced that such 
an obedience must terminate in everlasting slavery 
and wretchedness, than he awakens from his sleep of 
security, and turns to and avails himself of that light 
and strength, and spiritual courage and constancy, 
which his Redeemer is ever at hand to impart, and 
without which he feels himself absolutely unequal to 


the conflict, and incapable of extricating himself from 
the ignoble servitude. 

From hence, then, it appears that the liberty with 
which Christ hath made us free, is nothing less than 
such a release from the arbitrary power of sin, such 
an enlargement of the soul by the efficacy of divine 
grace, and such a total surrender of the will and af- 
fections to the influence and guidance of the divine 
spirit (" for we are made a willing people in the day 
of God's power"), as will enable us to live in the ha- 
bitual cheerful practice of every grace and virtue 
here, and qualify us for the free, full and uninterrupt- 
ed enjoyment of heavenly life and liberty hereafter. 

These glorious privileges being once obtained, the 
sinner being once justified and adopted into the fam- 
ily of God, and having received the seal of his heaven- 
ly citizenship, the conduct recommended to him in 
my text as the most effectual for the preservation of 
these privileges, is here expressed by the words, "stand 
fast;" that is to say, maintain, firm and unshaken, 
the ground which Christ hath given you. Be ever 
vigilant and prepared, against the open or insidious 
attacks of your adversary. 

He is not commanded to march upon the devil's 
ground, to seek out the tempter or the temptation, in 
order to make a trial of his strength, or merely that 
lie may have the honor of a victory, but only to "stand 
fast," to act upon the defensive, and armed at all points 
with a celestial panoply, to be ready to resist and re- 
pel the most daring attempts of his perfidious foe ; as 
well knowing, that if he suffers himself to be taken 
captive, slavery and woe must be his everlasting por- 
tion ;' but, if he comes off conqueror from the conflict, 


that the life, liberty, and joys of heaven will be his 
everlasting reward. Thus far have I travelled in a 
well-known path, and spoken a language familiar to 
most of you, and which you have long been accus- 
tomed to hear from this pulpit. 

II. I am now to strike into another path, which, 
though it may not always terminate in such glorious 
scenes of never-ending felicity as the former, yet, if 
steadfastly pursued, will conduct the sons of men to a 
happiness, of an inferior kind indeed, but highly neces- 
sary to their present temporary state of existence in 
this world. 

If spiritual liberty calls upon its pious votaries to 
extend their views far forward to a glorious hereafter, 
civil liberty must at least be allowed to secure in a 
considerable degree our well-being here. And I be- 
lieve it will be no difficult matter to prove that the 
latter is as much the gift of God in Christ Jesus as the 
former, and consequently, that we are bound to stand 
fast in our civil as well as our spiritual freedom. 

From what hath been said under my first head of 
discourse, I think it must appear, that liberty, traced 
to her true source, is of heavenly extraction, that di- 
vine virtue is her illustrious parent, that from eternity 
to eternity they have been and must be inseparable 
companions, and that the hearts of all intelligent be- 
ings are the living temples, in which they ought to be 
jointly worshipped. 

We have the authority of divine revelation to assert, 
that this globe of earth was once the favored spot on 
which she was sent to reside, and that the first man 
felt and enjoyed her divine influence within and 
around him. But the same revelation tells us, what 


our own experience cannot but confirm, that when 
man lost his virtue, he lost his liberty too ; and from 
that fatal period became subject to the bondage of 
corruption, the slave of irregular passions, at war with 
himself and his own species, an alien from his native 
country, a sorrowful stranger and a weary pilgrim in 
this world of woe. 

It was not only to put him into a capacity of regain- 
ing his forfeited heavenly bliss, but to mitigate, like- 
wise, the sorrows of his earthly sojourn, that the ever- 
lasting Jesus, in and by whom God originally created 
man, vouchsafed to communicate to him when fallen, 
a ray of hope, a spark of heavenly light, wisdom, 
power, and goodness, by which, through the effectual 
workings of his grace, he might in future time inspire 
him and his helpless posterity with such principles as 
would lead them to know, contend for, and enjoy, 
liberty, in its largest and noblest extent. 

Whatever of order, truth, equity and good govern- 
ment is to be found among the sons of men, they are 
solely indebted for to this everlasting Counsellor, this 
Prince of Peace. By nature surrounded with innu- 
merable wants, which his own single, unassisted hand 
could by no means supply, exposed to innumerable 
clangers, which his utmost strength and sharpest fore- 
sight could not possibly ward off, it must surely have 
been this wisdom of the Father that first taught man, 
by social compact, to secure to himself the possession 
of those necessaries and comforts which are so dear 
and valuable to his natural life. And though no par- 
ticular mode of government is pointed out to us in His 
holy gospel, yet the benevolent spirit of that gospel 

is directly opposed to every other form than such as 


has the common good of mankind for its end and 
aim. - 

Now this common good is matter of common feel- 
ing. And hence it is, that our best writers, moral 
and political, as well clergy as laity, have asserted, 
that true government can have no other foundation 
than common consent. 'Tis the power, the wisdom, 
the majesty of the people committed to one, to a few, 
or to many — yea, in some hitherto favored states, the 
one, the few, and the many, have been entrusted to- 
gether, that they might mutually control and be con- 
trolled by each other. 

Inasmuch, therefore, as this solemn delegation was 
intended for the good of the whole ; inasmuch as all 
rulers are in fact the servants of the public, and ap- 
pointed for no other purpose than to be " a terror to 
evil-doers, and a praise to them that do well ;" when- 
ever this divine order is inverted, whenever these rul- 
ers abuse their sacred trust, by unrighteous attempts 
to injure, oppress, and enslave those very persons, from 
whom alone, under God, their power is derived — does 
not humanity, does not reason, does not Scripture, call 
upon the man, the citizen, the Christian of such a 
community, to " stand fast in that liberty wherewith 
Christ (in their very birth, as well as by succeeding 
appointments of his Providence) hath made them 
free !" 

The apostle enjoins us to " submit to every ordinance 
of man for the Lord's sake." But surely a submission 
to the unrighteous ordinances of unrighteous men, 
cannot be " for the Lord's sake :" for " Pie loveth 
righteousness, and his countenance beholds the things 
that are just." 


Possessed, therefore, of these principles — principles 
upon which the present constitution of Britain was 
happily settled at one of her most glorious and mem- 
orable eras, and upon which alone it can still he 
supported ; possessed of these principles, I trust it 
will be no difficult matter to satisfy your consciences 
with respect to the righteousness of the cause in 
which you are now engaged. 

The struggle, 'tis true, is an unnatural one. The 
hard necessity of standing upon our defence against 
our brethren, children of the same family, educated in 
the same manners, the same religion with ourselves, 
bound together by a long reciprocation of endearing 
offices, by a long participation of common blessings, 
and of common dangers and distresses, mutually pro- 
tecting and protected by each other. The hard neces- 
sity, I say, of defending ourselves, our just and un- 
doubted rights, against such unnatural adversaries, 
(though sadly to be lamented, as one of the heaviest 
judgments with which heaven could visit us for our 
iniquities) ought not, however, to make us surrender 
at discretion, or discourage us from " standing fast in 
that liberty wherewith Christ (as the great providen- 
tial governor of the world) hath made us free I" 

We venerate the parent land from whence our 
progenitors came. We w T ish to look up to her as the 
guardian, not the invader of her children's rights. 
We glory in the name of children. But then we 
wish to be treated as children. And children, too, 
that have arrived at years of discretion. But, if we 
are to judge from the late ungenerous and ill-digested 
plans of policy, which have been adopted by those 
whom she hath entrusted with the powers of adminis- 


tration, we cannot but think, that they began to be 
jealous of our rising glory, and from an ill-grounded 
apprehension of our aiming at independency, were 
desirous of checking our growth. 

Yet why this unreasonable and unrighteous jealousy ? 
—We wish not to interfere with that commercial 
system which they have hitherto pursued. We have 
not even stretched our expectations beyond the line 
which they themselves had drawn. We wish not to 
possess the golden groves of Asia, to sparkle in the 
public eye with jewels torn from the brows of weeping 
nabobs, or to riot on the spoils of plundered prov- 
inces* We rather tremble for the parent state, and 

* Here perhaps it may be objected, that the Americans do with a 
very ill grace censure their English brethren, either for their iniquitous 
conquests in Asia, or for the luxuries thereby introduced among them, 
whilst they themselves are rioting upon the labor of thousands of their 
own species, torn away from their native retreats, from their dearest re- 
lations and friends, and doomed to a most abject and perpetual slavery. 
In answer to this objection it may be asked — where did this infamous 
commerce originate? And where fe it still carried on with all the 
eagerness which avarice can inspire ? Where, but in England ? — By 
what means can it be abolished? Surely by that power alone, which 
America acknowledges the parent state may justly exercise over all her 
dominions, viz., the power of regulating their trade. — Is it not well 
known, that the legislatures of some of the colonies have done what 
they could to put a stop to the importation of African slaves, by loading 
it with the heaviest duties? and that others, having attempted the total 
abolition of it by acts of assembly, which their governor refused to 
pass, have then petitioned the parent state for new instructions to their 
governors on this head, and after all, have failed of success ? 

It is, however, devoutly to be wished, that when a happy reconcilia- 
tion once takes place, this poisonous branch may entirely be shut out, 
before our great commercial stream becomes so infected by the con- 
tagion as to endanger the health and security of the whole empire. 


would fain keep off from oar own borders those 
luxuries, which may perhaps already have impaired 
her constitutional vigor. We only wish, that what 
we have, we may be able to call our own ; that those 
fruits of honest industry, which our ancestors had ac- 
quired, or those which have been, or may be added 
to them by the sweat of our own brows, should not be 
wrested from us by the hand of violence, but left to 
our own free disposal ; satisfied as we are in our con- 
sciences, that when constitutionally called upon, we 
shall not give " grudgingly or of necessity," but cheer- 
fully and liberally. 

And as to any pretensions to, or even desire of, in- 
dependency, have we not openly disavowed them in 
all our petitions, representations, and remonstrances? 
Have we not repeatedly and solemnly professed an 
inviolable loyalty to the person, power, and dignity 
of our sovereign, and unanimously declared, that it is 
not with him we contend, but with an envious cloud 
of false witnesses, that surround his throne, and inter- 
cept the sunshine of his favor from our oppressed 

If, notwithstanding all this, Britain, or rather some 
degenerate sons of Britain, and enemies to our com- 
mon liberty, still persist in embracing delusion, and 
believing a lie — if the sword is still unsheathed against 
us, and submit or perish is the sanguinary decree — ■ 
why then . I cannot close the sentence . In- 
dulge a minister of Jesus ! My soul shrinks back with 
horror from the tragic scene of fraternal slaughter — 
and the free spirit of the citizen is arrested by the 
tenderness of gospel love. Gracious God! stop the 
precious effusion of British and American blood — too 


precious to be spared in any other cause than the 
joint interest of both against a common foe! 

Pained as I am at this melancholy prospect, I mean 
not, however, to decline addressing you in your mili- 
tary capacity, and suggesting such a conduct for the 
preservation of your temporal rights as, by the bless- 
ing of heaven, will be most likely to insure you 

" Stand fast," then. 

I. " Stand fast" by a strong faith and dependence 
upon Jesus Christ, the great Captain of your salvation. 
Enlist under the banner of his cross. And let this 
motto be written upon your hearts : " In hoc signo 
vinces" " Under this standard thou shalt overcome." 

II. " Stand fast" by a virtuous and unshaken una- 
nimity. Of such a unanimity you have a most strik- 
ing example now before your eyes — three millions of 
people, or a vast majority of them, bound by no other 
ties than those of honor and public virtue, voluntarily 
submitting to the Avise political determinations of an 
honorable council of delegates assembled by their own 
free and unbiased choice. Avail yourselves of this 
illustrious example. Be unanimous in your particu- 
lar department. And as one refractory spirit may 
defeat the best-devised plan of operations, and throw 
your whole corps into confusion, see that this unanim- 
ity be productive of a just and becoming subordi- 

Remember, the gentlemen who command you are 
your neighbors, friends and fellow-citizens, who have 
their all at stake as well as yon. Their authority has 
not been imposed upon you. They were invested with 
it by yourselves. 'Tis surely your part, then, to sup- 


port them in the just execution of it, not doubting 
but that on their part they will always consider that 
they are not called to lord it over mercenaries, but 
affectionately to command freemen and fellow-suf- 
ferers. Accustom yourselves, therefore, to discipline 
now, or else when the day of trial comes (which 
Heaven avert !) you will too late lament your unhap- 
py neglect. 

III. " Stand fast " by an undaunted courage and 
magnanimity. And here give me leave to remind 
you that there is a kind of courage which seems to 
be merely animal or constitutional. This may stand 
a soldier in good stead, perhaps, for a few moments, 
amid the heat and fury of a battle, when his blood 
and spirits are set on fire by the warlike sound of 
drums and trumpets. But I would have you pos- 
sessed of more than this, even a courage that will 
prove you to be good Christians as well as good sol- 
diers; a firm, invincible fortitude of soul, 'founded 
upon religion and the glorious hope of a better world ; 
a courage that will enable you not only to withstand 
an armed phalanx, to pierce a squadron, or force an 
intrenchment, when the cause of virtue and your 
country calls you to such a service, but will support 
you likewise against the principalities and powers of 
darkness, will stand' by you under the assaults of pain 
and sickness, and give you firmness and consolation 
amid all the horrors of a death-bed scene. 

Such a courage as this, too, will always be tempered 
with prudence, humanity, and greatness of soul. It 
will never degenerate into savage cruelty and barbar- 
ity. If to spread undistinguishing ruin and devasta- 
tion through a country — if, with more than Gothic rage 


to break into the sweet retreats of domestic felicity, and 
drive the aged and the* helpless from their once quiet 
habitations — O my God ! if this be heroism, if this 
be military virtue, suffer not our people to learn the 
destructive art. Let them rather continue to be in- 
jured and oppressed themselves, than taught thus 
wantonly to injure and oppress others. This caution, 
how T ever, is unnecessary to you. Permit me, then, 
only to observe, that in our present circumstances we 
contend not for victory but for liberty and peace. 

Nor let me dismiss this head of advice without re- 
minding you of the glorious stand that hath been al- 
ready made for us by our northern brethren, and call- 
ing upon you to thank Heaven for his great and gra- 
cious interposition. Surely " the Lord of Hosts was 
with them ;" surely " the God of Jacob was their 
refuge." Drop a pious tear to the memory of the 
illustrious slain, and let them yet live in the annals 
of American freedom. 

Lastly, " stand fast" by a steady constancy and per- 
severance. Difficulties unlooked for may yet arise, 
and trials present themselves sufficient to shake the 
utmost firmness of human fortitude. Be prepared, 
therefore, for the worst. Suffer not your spirits to 
evaporate by too violent an ebullition now. Be not too 
eager to bring matters to an extremity ; lest you 
should be wearied out by a continual exertion, and 
your constancy should fail you at the most important 
crisis. Coolly and deliberately wait for those even c s 
which are in the hands of Providence, and depend 
upon him alone for strength and expedients suited to 
your necessities. 

In a word, my brethren, though the w T orst should 


come — though we should be deprived of all the con- 
veniences and elegancies of life — though we should 
be cut off from**all our usual sources of commerce, 
and constrained, as many of our poor brethren have 
already been, to abandon our present comfortable 
habitations — let us, nevertheless, " stand fast" as the 
guardians of Liberty. And though we should not be 
able to entertain the heaven-born maid with such 
affluence and splendor as we have hitherto done, 
let us still keep close to her side, as our inseparable 
companion, preserve her from the violence of her ad- 
versaries, and, if at last necessary, be content to retire 
with her to those peaceful though homely retreats of 
rural life in which she was first entertained by our 
venerable ancestors — determined to contend to the 
very last for such an illustrious prize, and never to 
part with her but for the more sure and complete en- 
joyment of her blessings in a world of glory. 

" Now, therefore, be strong, O.Zerubbabel, and be 
strong, O Joshua, the son of Josedech the high-priest, 
and be strong, O ye counsellors, generals, and people 
of the land ; for I am with you, saith the Lord of 
hosts. Look unto me, and be saved, all ye ends of 
the earth !" Even so grant, thou great and glorious 
God, that to thee only we may look, and from thee 
experience that deliverance which we ask, not for any 
merits of our own, but for the sake and through the 
merits of the dear Son of thy love, Christ Jesus our 
Lord ! To whom, with thee, O Father, and thee, O 
blessed Spirit ! three persons in one eternal God, be 
ascribed all honor, praise, and dominion, now, hence- 
forth, and forever ! 


Doctor Smith was a native of Scotland, and grad- 
uated at Aberdeen, in 1747. After his arrival in 
America, he was for two years employed as a tutor in 
the family of Colonel Martin, on Long Island. Re- 
visiting England, he received regular ordination in 
the Episcopal Church, and in the month of May, 1754, 
was placed at the head of the University of Penn 
sylvania, and constituted its first Provost. Under 
his administration, the institution rapidly grew into 
fame, continuing in advancement, until the period of 
the revolution. At that time, being suspected of views 
unfavorable to a separation from Great Britain, and 
being strongly attached to the Church of England, 
the more ardent whigs, and some of the Presbyterians, 
who were whigs to a man, determined to remove him 
from office, much against the judgment of the friends 
of the institution. The old provincial charter was 
abrogated, a new institution was chartered by the 
state legislature in 1779, and endowed with the prop- 
erty of the old college, and the confiscated property 
of the tories. Ten years after, Doctor Smith and his 
friends procured a restitution of the property of the 
college to the trustees, and in 1791 an act of the 
legislature was passed consolidating the two institu- 


tions. At tins time, Doctor Smith retired permanently 
from the college, carrying with him the respect and 
admiration of his fellow-men. He died at Philadel- 
phia, on the 14th of May, 1803, leaving a collection 
of writings, which were published soon after. The 
sermon which succeeds this sketch, was preached in 
Christ Church, on the twenty-third of June, 1775. In 
the Preface, the learned author says, it " was drawn up 
on a few days' notice, and without any view to the 
press, at the request of some of the author's worthy 
friends, to whom he could refuse nothing of this kind. 
At their request, it is now likewise submitted to the 
public, as it was preached, without varying or sup- 
pressing a single sentiment or material expression ; 
and with the addition only of a few lines, and three or 
four explanatory notes. The author considered that, 
although he was called to this office by a particular 
body, yet he was to address a great and mixed assem- 
bly of his fellow-citizens, and a number of the first 
characters in America, now met in consultation, at a 
most alarming crisis. Animated with the purest zeal 
for the mutual interests of Great Britain and the colo- 
nies ; ardently panting for the return of those halcyon 
days of harmony during which both countries so long 
flourished together, as the glory and wonder of the 
world ; he thought it his duty, with the utmost im- 
partiality, to attempt a statement of the unhappy con- 
troversy that now rends the empire in pieces ; and to 
show, if peradventure he might be permitted to vouch 


for his fellow-citizens, so far as he has been conversant 
among them, that the idea of an independence upon 
the parent country, or the least licentious opposition 
to its just interests, is utterly foreign to their thoughts ; 
that they contend only for the sanctity of charters and 
laws, together with the right of granting their own 
money ; and that our rightful sovereign has nowhere 
more loyal subjects, or more zealously attached to 
those principles of government under which his family 
inherits the throne. These, with a few things which 
seemed necessary respecting the church at this time, 
are the topics handled in the following sermon. If 
the principles it contains are but thoroughly felt, the 
reader will not regret that the limits of a single dis- 
course would not allow a particular application of 


The Lord God of gods; the Lord God of gods, he Icnoweth, and 
Israel he shall know, if it be in rebellion, or if in transgression against the 
Lord, save us not this day. — Joshua, xxii. 22. 

These words, my brethren, will lead us into a train of 
reflections wholly suitable to the design of our present 
meeting ; and I must beg your indulgence till I ex- 
plain, as briefly as possible, the solemn occasion on 
which they were first delivered, hoping the applica- 
tion I may afterward make of them, may fully reward 
your attention. 


The two tribes of Reuben and of Gad, and the half- 
tribe of Manasseh, had chosen their inheritance on the 
eastern side of Jordan, opposite to the other tribes of 
Israel. And although they knew that this situation 
would deprive them of some privileges which remained 
with their brethren on the other side, and particularly 
that great privilege of having the place of the altar 
and tabernacle of God among them ; yet, as the land 
of Canaan was judged too small for all the twelve 
tribes, they were contented with the possessions they 
had chosen. And thus they spoke to Moses : " It is a 
land of cattle, and thy servants have much cattle, 
wherefore, if we have found grace in thy sight, let 
this land be given to us for a possession, and we will 
build sheepfolds here for our cattle, and cities for our 
little ones ; and we ourselves will go ready armed 
before our brethren, the children of Israel — and will 
not return into our houses, until we have inherited 
every man his inheritance." And Moses said unto 
them : " If you will do this thing, and will go all of 
you armed over Jordan before the Lord, until he have 
driven out his enemies from before him ; and the land 
(of Canaan) be subdued (for your brethren) ; then 
afterward ye shall return, and this land (of Gilead) 
shall be your possession before the Lord."* 

This, then, was the great original contract, under 
which these two tribes and a half were allowed to 
separate from the rest, and to dwell on the other side 
of Jordan. They were to assist their brethren in their 
necessary wars, and to continue under one govern- 
ment witli them, even that of the great Jehovah him- 

* Numbers, xxxii. 


self, erecting no separate altar, but coming to perform 
their sacrifices at that one altar of Shiloh, where the 
Lord had vouchsafed to promise his special presence. 

Though this subjected them to inconveniences, yet, 
as uniformity of worship and the nature of their theoc- 
racy required it, they adhered faithfully to their con- 

In the fear of God, they bowed themselves at his 
altar, although not placed in their own land, and, in 
love to their brethren, they supported them in their 
wars, •" till there stood not a man of all their enemies 
before them ; " and at last Joshua, their great leader, 
having no farther need of their assistance, gave them 
this noble testimony — that they had in all things 
obeyed his voice as their general, and faithfully per- 
formed all that they had promised to Moses the ser- 
vant of God. Wherefore he blessed them, and dis- 
missed them to return to their own land "with much 
riches, and with cattle, and with silver, and with gold, 
and with much raiment." 

No sooner, therefore, had they entered their own 
country, than in the fulness of gratitude, on the banks 
of Jordan, at the common passage, over against Ca- 
naan, they built a high or great altar, that it might 
remain an eternal monument of their being of one 
stock, and entitled to the same civil and religious priv- 
ileges with their brethren of the other tribes. 

But this their work of piety and love, was directly 
misconstrued. The cry was immediatelv raised against 
them. The zealots of that day scrupled not to de- 
clare them rebels against the living God, violators of 
his sacred laws and theocracy, in setting up an altar 
against his holy altar ; and therefore the whole con- 


gregations of the brother-tribes that dwelt in Canaan, 
gathered themselves together, to go up to war against 
their own flesh and blood ; in a blind transport of un- 
righteous zeal, purposing to extirpate them from the 
face of the earth, as enemies to God and the common- 
wealth of Israel ! 

In that awful and important moment (and oh, my 
God, that the example could be copied among the 
brother-tribes of our Israel in the parent land !) I say, 
in that awful and important moment, some milder and 
more benevolentonen that were, whose zeal did not so 
far transport them, but that, before they unsheathed 
the sword to plunge it with unhallowed hand into the 
bowels of their brethren, they thought it justice first 
to inquire into the truth of the charge against them. 
And, for the glory of Israel, this peaceable and prudent 
council prevailed. 

A most solemn embassy was prepared, at the head 
of which was a man of sacred character and venerable 
authority, breathing the dictates of religion and hu- 
manity — Phineas, the son of Eleazer the high-priest, 
accompanied with ten other chiefs or princes, one 
from each of the nine tribes as well as from the re- 
maining half tribe of Manasseh. 

Great was the astonishment of the Gileadites* on 
receiving this embassy, and hearing the charge against 
them. But the power of conscious innocence is above 
all fear, and the language of an upright heart superior 
to all eloquence. By a solemn appeal to Heaven for 
the rectitude of their intentions, unpremeditated and 

* The two tribes and a half are here briefly and generally denominat- 
ed Gileadites, from the name of the land they had chosen. 


vehement, in the words of my text, they disarmed 
their brethren of every snspicion — "The Lord God 
of gods," say they (in the fervency of truth, repeating 
the invocation) — " the Lord God of gods" — he that 
made the heavens and the earth — who searcheth the 
hearts, and is acquainted with the most secret thoughts 
of all men — " He knoweth, and all Israel shall know," 
by our constancy in the religion of our fathers, that 
this charge against us is utterly false. 

Then, turning from their brethren, with unspeakable 
dignity of soul and clearness of conscience, they ad- 
dress the Almighty Jehovah himself — " O thou 
Sovereign Ruler of the universe, our God and our 
fathers' God, if it be in rebellion or in transgression 
against thee that we have raised this monument of our 
zeal for the commonwealth of Israel, save us not this 
day! If the most distant thought has entered our 
hearts of erecting an independent altar / if we have 
sought, in one instance, to derogate from the glory of 
that sacred altar which thou hast placed among our 
brethren beyond Jordan, as the common bond of 
union and worship among all the tribes of Israel, let 
not this day's sun descend upon us, till thou hast 
made us a monument of thine avenging justice^ in the 
sight of the surrounding worlds !" 

After this astonishing appeal to the great God of 
heaven and earth, they proceed to reason with their 
brethren ; and tell them that, so far from intending a 
separation either in government or religion, this altar 
was built with a direct contrary purpose — " That it 
might be a witness between us and you, and our gen- 
erations after us ; that your children may not say to 
our children in time to come, ye have no part in the 


Lord." We were afraid lest in some future age, when 
our posterity may cross Jordan, to offer sacrifices in 
the place appointed, your posterity may thrust them 
from the altar, and tell them, that because they live 
not in the land where the Lord's tabernacle dwelleth, 
they are not of his people nor entitled to the Jewish 

But while this altar stands, they shall always have 
an answer ready. They will be able to say : " Behold 
the pattern of the altar of the Lord which our fathers 
made." If our fathers had not been of the seed of 
Israel, they would not have fondly copied your cus- 
toms and models. You would not have beheld in 
Gilead, an altar in all things an imitation of the true 
altar of God, which is in Shiloh ; except only that ours 
is an high " or great altar to see" from far. And this 
may convince you that it was not intended as an altar 
of sacrifice (for then it would have been but three 
cubits in h-eight, as our law directs), but as a monumen- 
tal altar, to instruct our generations forever, that they 
are of the same pedigree with yourselves, and entitled 
to the same civil and religious privileges. 

This noble defence wrought an immediate reconcilia- 
tion among the discordant tribes. "The words (when 
reported) pleased the children of Israel — they blessed 
God together" for preventing the effusion of kindred 
blood, " and did not go up to destroy the land where 
their brethren, the children of Reuben* and Gad 

* Though for brevity, the sacred text in this and other places, only 
mentions Reuben and Gad, yet the half-tribe of Manasseh is also sup- 
posed to be included. # 



The whole history of the Bible cannot furnish a pas- 
sage more instructive than this to the members of a 
great empire, whose dreadful misfortune it is to have 
the evil demon of civil or religious discord gone forth 
among them. And would to God, that the applica- 
tion I am now to make of it could be delivered in 
accents louder thau thunder, till they have pierced the 
ear of every Briton ; and especially their ears who 
have meditated war and destruction against their 
brother tribes of .Reuben and Gad, in this our Ameri- 
can Gilead. And let me add — would to God too, 
that we, who this day consider ourselves in the place 
of those tribes, may, like them, be still able to lay our 
hands on our hearts in a solemn appeal to the God 
of gods, for the rectitude of our intentions toward the 
whole commonwealth of our British Israel. For, 
called to this sacred place on this great occasion, I 
know it is your wish that I should stand superior to all 
partial motives, and be found alike unbiased by favor 
or by fear. And. happy it is that the parallel now to 
be drawn, requires not the least sacrifice either of 
truth or virtue. 

Like the tribes of Reuben and Gad, we have chosen 
our inheritances in a land separated from that of our 
fathers and brethren, not indeed by a small river, but 
an immense ocean. This inheritance we likewise hold 
by a plain original contract, entitling us to all the 
natural and improvable advantages of our situation, 
and to a community of privileges with our brethren, 
in every civil and religious aspect ; except in this, that 
the throne or seat of empire, that great altar at which 
the men of this world bow, was to remain among 
them. • 


Regardless of this local inconvenience, uncanKered 
by jealousy, undepressed by fear, and cemented by 
mutual love and mutual benefits, we trod the path of 
glory with our brethren for a hundred years and 
more — enjoying a length of felicity scarce ever expe- 
rienced by any other people. Mindful of the hands 
that protected us in our youth, and submitting to 
every just regulation for appropriating to them the 
benefit of our trade — our wealth was poured in upon 
them from ten thousand channels, widening as they 
flowed, and making their poor to sing, and industry 
to smile, through every corner of their land. And as 
often as dangers threatened, and the voice of the 
British Israel called our brethren to the field, we left 
them not alone, but shared their toils, and fought by 
their side, " till there stood not a man of all their 
enemies before them." Nay, they themselves testi- 
fied on our behalf, that in all things we not only 
did our part, but more than our part, for the common 
good, and they dismissed us home loaded with silver 
and with gold* in recompense for. our extraordinary 

So far you see the parallel holds good. But what 
high altars have we built to alarm our British Israel; 
and why have the congregations of our brethren 
gathered themselves together against us ? "Why do 
their embattled hosts already cover our plains? "Will 
they not examine our case, and listen to our plea ? 

" The Lord God of gods — he knows," and the whole 

* The parliamentary reimbursements for our exertions in the French 
war; similar to what Joshua gave the two tribes and half on the close 
ot Ins wars. 


surrounding world shall yet know, that whatever 
American altars we have built, far from intending to 
dishonor, have been raised with an express view to 
perpetuate, the name and glory of that sacred altar, 
and seat of empire and liberty, which we left behind 
us, and wish to remain eternal among our brethren, in 
the parent land. 

Esteeming our relation to them our greatest felicity ; 
adoring the Providence that gave us the same pro- 
genitors ; glorying in this, that when the new world 
was to be portioned out among the kingdoms of the 
old, the most important part of this continent fell to 
the sons of a Protestant and free nation ; desirous 
of worshipping forever at the same altar with them ; 
fond of their manners, even to excess ; enthusiasts to 
that sacred plan of civil and religious happiness, for 
the preservation of which they have sacrificed from 
age to age ; maintaining, and always ready to main- 
tain, at the risk of every thing that is dear to us, the 
most unshaken fidelity to our common sovereign, as 
the great centre of our union, and guardian of our 
mutual rights ; 1 say, with these principles and these 
views, we thought it our duty, to build up American 
altars, or constitutions, as nearly as we could, upon 
the great British model. 

Having never sold our birthright, we considered 
ourselves entitled to the privileges of our father's 
house — "to enjoy peace, liberty and safety;" to be 
governed, like our brethren, by our own laws, in all 
matters properly affecting ourselves, and to offer up 
our own sacrifices at the altar of British empire; 
contending that a forced devotion is idolatry, and 
that no power on earth has* a right to come in between 


us and a gracious sovereign, to measure forth our 
loyalty, or to grant our property, without our con- 

These are the principles we inherited from Britons 
themselves. Could we depart from them, we should 
be deemed bastards and not sons, aliens and not 

The altars, therefore, which we have built are not* 
high or rival altars to create jealousy, but humble 
monuments of our union and love, intended to bring 
millions yet unborn from every corner of this vast 
continent, to bend at the great parent-altar of British 
liberty, venerating the country from which they 
sprung, and pouring their gifts into her Jap when 
their countless thousands shall far exceed hers. 

It was our wish that there should be an eternal 
" witness between our brethren and us," that if at any 
future period, amid the shifting scenes of human in- 
terests and human aifections, their children should 
say to our children: " Ye have no portion in the birth- 
right of Britons," and so seek to push them from the 
common shrine of freedom, when they come to pay 
their homage there ; they might always have an an- 
swer ready : " Behold the pattern of the altar which 
our fathers built ; behold your own religious and civil 
institutions, and then examine the frames of govern- 
ment and systems of laws raised by our fathers in 

* In this respect our plea is even stronger than that of the two tribes 
and a half. For, till an explanation was given, the height of their al- 
tar, like those of the heathen, who loved to sacrifice on lofty places, 
might create a suspicion of their lapsing into idolatry; either intending 
to worship other gods, or the God of Israel in an unlawful place and 
manner. — Bishop Patrick. 


every part of America!" Could these have been 
such exact copies of your own, if they had not inher-. 
ited the same spirit and sprung from the same stock 
with yourselves ? 

Thus far you see the parallel yet holds good, and I 
think, cannot be called a perversion of my text ; if 
you will allow that the supreme power of an empire, 
wdiether theocratical, monarchical, or howsoever dis- 
tributed, may be represented under the figure of one 
common altar, at which the just devotion of all the 
subjects is to be paid. But it is said that we have of 
late departed from our former line of duty, and re- 
fused our homage at the great altar of British empire. 
And to this it has been replied that the very refusal 
is the strongest evidence of our veneration for the 
altar itself. Kay, it is contended by those charged 
with this breach of devotion, that when, in the shape 
of unconstitutional exactions, violated rights and mu- 
tilated charters, they were called to worship idols in- 
stead of the true divinity, it was in a transport of holy 
jealousy that they dashed them to pieces, or whelmed 
them to the bottom of the ocean. 

This is, in brief, the state of the argument on each 
side. And hence, at this dreadful moment, ancient 
friends and brethren stand prepared for events of the 
most tragic nature. 

Here the weight of my subject almost overcomes 
me ; but think not that I am going to damp that no- 
ble ardor which at this instant glows in every bosom 
present. Nevertheless, as from an early acquaintance 
with many of you, I know that your principles are 
pure, and your humanity only equalled by your trans- 
cendent love of your country, I am sure you will in- 



dulge the passing tear, which a preacher of the gospel 
of love must now shed over the scenes that lie before 
us. Great and deep distress about to pervade every 
corner of our land ! millions to be called from their 
peaceful labors by the sound of the trumpet, and the 
alarm of war! Garments rolled in blood, and even 
victory itself only yielding an occasion to weep over 
friends and relatives slain! These are melancholy 
prospects ; and therefore you will feel with me the diffi- 
culties I now labor under — forsaken by my text, and 
left to lament alone, that in the parent land no Phineas 
has prevailed ; no embassy* of great or good men has 
been raised, to stay the sword of destruction, to exam- 
ine into the truth of our case, and save the effusion 
of kindred blood. I am left to lament that, in this 
sad instance, Jewish tenderness has put Christian 
benevolence to shame. " Our brethren, the house of 
our fathers, even they have called a multitude against 
us. Had an enemy thus reproached us, then perhaps 
we might have borne it. But it was you, men our 
equals, our guides, our acquaintance, with whom we 
took sweet council, and walked together unto the house 
of God." Or had it been for any essential benefit to 
the commonwealth at large, we would have laid our 
hands on our mouths, and bowed obedience with our 
usual silence. But for dignity and supremacy ! What 

* It is acknowledged with gratitude that many great and exalted 
characters have plead the cause of America; and, previous to all coercive 
measures, advised an inquiry or hearing, similar to that for which 
Phineas was appointed. What is here lamented, and will be long 
lamented, is that this council could not take place. If brethren could 
come together in such a temper as tliis, the issue could not fail to be 
for their mutual glory and mutual happiness. 


are they when set in opposition to common utility, 
common justice, and the whole faith and spirit of the 
constitution ? True dignity is to govern freemen, not 
slaves ; and true supremacy is to excel in doing good. 

It is time, and, indeed, more than time, for a great 
and enlightened people to make names bend to things, 
and ideal honor to practical safety. Precedents and 
indefinite claims are surely things too nugatory to 
convulse a mighty empire. Is there no wisdom, no 
great and liberal plan of policy to reunite its mem- 
bers, as the sole bulwark of liberty and Protestant- 
ism ; rather than by their deadly strife to increase the 
importance of those states that are foes to freedom, 
truth and humanity ? To devise such a plan, and to 
behold British colonies spreading over this immense 
continent, rejoicing in the common rights of freemen, 
and imitating the parent state in every excellence, is 
more glory than to hold lawless dominion over all the 
nations on the face of the earth. 

But I will weary you no longer with fruitless lamen- 
tations concerning things that might be done. The 
question now is — since they are not done, must we 
tamely surrender any part of our birthright, or of that 
great charter of privileges, which we not only claim 
by inheritance, but by the express terms of our colo- 
nization ? I say, God forbid ! For here, in particular, 
I wish to speak so plain that neither my own prin- 
ciples nor those of the church to which I belong may 
be misunderstood. 

Although, in the beginning of this great contest, we 
thought it not our duty to be forward in widening the 
breach, or spreading discontent — although it be our 
fervent desire to heal the wounds of the public, and 


to show, by our temper, that we seek not to distress, 
but to give the parent states an opportunity of saving 
themselves, and saving us before it be too late ; never- 
theless, as we know that our civil and religious rights 
are linked together in one indissoluble bond, we neither 
have, nor seek to have, any interest separate from that 
of our country ; nor can we advise a desertion of its 
cause. Religion and liberty must nourish or fall 
together in America. We pray that both may be per- 

A continued submission to violence is no tenet of 
our church. When her brightest luminaries, near a 
century past, were called to propagate the court doc- 
trine of a dispensing power above law, did they treach- 
erously cry, " Peace, peace, when there was no peace?" 
Did they not magnanimously set their foot upon the 
line of the constitution, and tell majesty to its face, 
that " they could not betray the public liberty," and 
that the monarch's only safety consisted in " govern- 
ing according to the laws ?" Did not their example, 
and consequent sufferings, kindle a flame that illumi- 
nated the land, and introduced that noble system of 
public and personal liberty secured by the revolution ? 
Since that period, have not the avowed principles of 
our greatest divines been against raising the church 
above the state — jealous of the national rights, reso- 
lute for the Protestant succession, favorable to the re- 
formed religion, and desirous to maintain the faith of 
toleration ? If exceptions have happened, let no so- 
ciety of Christians stand answerable for the deviations 
or corruptions of individuals. 

The doctrine of absolute non-resistance has been 
fully exploded among every virtuous people. The 


freeborn soul revolts against it, and must have been 
long debased, and have drank in the last dregs of 
corruption, before it can brook the idea " that a 
whole people injured may, in no case, recognize their 
trampled majesty." But to draw the line, and say 
where submission ends and resistance begins, is not the 
province of the ministers of Christ, who has given no* 
rule in this matter, but left it to the feelings and con- 
sciences of the injured. For when pressures and 
sufferings come, when the weight of power grows 
intolerable, a people will fly to the constitution for 
shelter ; and, if able, will resume that power which 
they never surrendered, except as far as it might be 
exercised for the common safety. Pulpit casuistry 
is too feeble to direct or control here. God, in his 
own government of the world, never violates free- 
dom ; and his Scriptures themselves would be disre- 
garded, or considered as perverted, if brought to belie 
his voice, speaking in the hearts of men. 

The application of these principles, my brethren, is 

* Doctor Smith, in a sermon first published in 1755, on 1 Peter, ii. 
17, delivered his sentiments fully on this point — in the following words, 
viz. : "It would be absurd to argue, as some have done, that the apostle 
here meant to enjoin a continued submission to violence. The love of 
mankind, and the fear of God, those very principles from which we trace 
the divine original of just government, will lead us, by all probable 
means, to resist every attempt to enslave the freeborn soul, and oppose 
the righteous will of God by defeating the happiness of men. Resist- 
ance, however, is to be a last resource, and none but the majority of a 
whole people, can determine in what cases it is necessary. In the 
Scriptures, therefore, obedience is rightly inculcated in general terms. 
For a people may sometimes imagine grievances they do not feel, but 
%vill never miss to feel and complain of them where they really are, un- 
less their minds have been gradually prepared for slavery by absurd 


now easy, and must be left to your own consciences 
and feelings. You are now engaged in one of the 
grandest struggles to which freemen can be called. 
You are contending for what you conceive to be your 
constitutional rights, and for a final settlement of the 
terms upon which this country may be perpetually 
united to the parent state. 

Look back, therefore, with reverence look back, to 
the times of ancient virtue and renown. Look back 
to the mighty purposes which your fathers had in 
view when they traversed a vast ocean and planted 
this land. Recall to your minds their labors, their 
toils, their perseverance, and let their divine spirit 
animate you in all your actions. 

Look forward also to distant posterity. Figure to 
yourselves millions and millions to spring from your 
loins, who may be bom freemen or slaves, as Heaven 
shall now approve or reject your councils. Think 
that on you it may depend, whether this great coun- 
try, in ages hence, shall be filled and adorned with a 
virtuous and enlightened people ; enjoying liberty and 
all its concomitant blessings, together with the religion 
of Jesus, as it flows uncorrupted from his holy oracles ; 
or covered with a race of men more contemptible 
than the savages that roam the wilderness, because 
they once knew the things which belonged to their 
happiness and peace, but suffered them to be " hid 
from their eyes." 

And while you thus look back to the past, and for- 
ward to the future, fail not, I beseech you, to look up 
to the God of gods — the rock of your salvation. As 
the clay in the potter's hands, so are the nations in 
the hands of him, the everlasting Jehovah ! He lift- 


eth up, and lie casteth down — he resisteth the proud, 
and giveth grace to the humble — he will keep the feet 
of his saints — the wicked shall be silent in darkness, 
and by strength shall no man prevail. 

The bright prospects of the gospel; a thorough 
veneration of theSavionr of the world ; a conscientious 
obedience to his divine laws ; faith in his promises ; 
and the steadfast hope of immortal life through him ; 
these only can support a man in all times of adversity 
as well as prosperity. You might more easily " strike 
fire ont of ice," than stability or magnanimity out of 
crimes. But the good man, he who is at peace with 
the- God of all peace, will know no fear but that of 
offending him, whose hand can cover the righteous, 
" so that he needs not fear the arrow that flieth by 
night nor the destruction that wasteth at noonday ; for 
a thousand shall fall beside him, and ten thousand at 
his right hand, but it shall not come nigh to him ; for 
he shall give his angels charge over him to keep him 
in all his ways." 

On the omnipotent God, therefore, through his 
blessed Son, let your strong confidence be placed ; but 
do not vainly expect that every day will be to you a 
day of prosperity or triumph. The ways of Providence 
lie through mazes too intricate for human penetra- 
tion. Mercies may often be held forth to us in the 
shape of sufferings ; and the vicissitudes of our fortune, 
in building up this American fabric of happiness and 
glory, may be various and checkered. 

But let not this discourage you, yea, rather let it 
animate you with a holy fervor, a divine enthusiasm, 
ever persuading yourselves that the cause of virtue 
and freedom is the cause of God upon earth ; and that 


the whole theatre of human nature does not exhibit a 
more august spectacle than a number of freemen in 
dependence upon Heaven, mutually binding themselves 
to encounter every difficulty and danger in support of 
their native and constitutional rights, and for trans- 
mitting them holy and tin violated to their posterity. 

It was this principle that inspired the heroes of an- 
cient times ; that raised their names to the summit of 
renown, and filled all succeeding ages with their un- 
spotted praise. It is this principle too that must ani- 
mate your conduct, if you wish your names to reach 
future generations, conspicuous in the roll of glory ; 
and so far as this principle leads you, be prepared to 
follow, whether to life or to death. 

"While you profess yourselves contending for liberty, 
let it be with the temper and dignity of freemen, un- 
daunted and firm, but without wrath or vengeance, 
so far as grace may be obtained to assist the weakness 
of nature. Consider it as a happy circumstance, if 
such a struggle must have happened, that God hath 
been pleased to postpone it to a period when our 
country is adorned with men of enlightened zeal ; 
when the arts and sciences are planted among us to 
secure a succession of such men — when our morals are 
not far tainted by luxury, profusion or dissipation — 
when the principles that withstood oppression in the 
brightest era of the English history, are ours as it 
were by peculiar inheritance ; and when we stand 
upon o'ur own ground, with all that is dear around us 
animating us to every patriotic exertion. Under such 
circumstances and upon such principles, what wonders, 
what achievements of true glory, have not been per- 
formed ? 


For my part, I have long been possessed with a strong 
and even enthusiastic persuasion, that Heaven has 
great and gracious purposes toward this continent, 
which no human power or human device shall be able 
finally to frustrate. Illiberal or mistaken plans of 
policy may distress us for a while, and perhaps sorely 
check our growth ; but if we maintain our own virtue ; 
if we cultivate the spirit of liberty among our children ; 
if we guard against the snares of luxury, venality and 
corruption, the genius of America will still rise trium- 
phant, and that with a power at last too mighty for op- 
position. This country will be free — nay, for ages to 
come a chosen seat of freedom, arts, and heavenly 
knowledge, which are now either drooping or dead in 
most countries of the old world. 

To conclude, since the strength of all public bodies, 
under God, consists in their union ; bear with each 
other's infirmities, and even varieties of sentiments, in 
things not essential to the main point. The tempers 
of men are cast in various moulds. Some are quick 
and feelingly alive in all their mental operations, es- 
pecially those which relate to their country's weal, and 
are therefore ready to burst forth into flame upon 
every alarm. Others again, with intentions alike 
pure, and a clear unquenchable love of their country, 
too steadfast to be damped by the mists of prejudice, or, 
worked into conflagration by the rude blasts of passion, 
think it their duty to weigh consequences, and to de- 
liberate fully upon the probable means of obtaining 
public'ends. Both these kinds of men should bear with 
each other ; for both are friends to their country. 

One thing further let me add, that without order 
and just subordination there can be no union in public 


bodies ; however much you may be equals on other 
occasions, yet all this must cease in an united and 
associated capacity ; and every individual is bound to 
keep the place and duty assigned him by ties far more 
powerful over a man of virtue and honor, than all the 
other ties which human policy can contrive. It had 
been better never to have lifted a voice in your coun- 
try's cause, than to betray it by want of union ; or to 
leave worthy men, who have embarked their all for the 
common good, to suffer or to stand unassisted. 

Lastly, by every method in your power, and in 
every possible case, support the laws of your country. 
In a contest for liberty, think what a crime it would 
be to suffer a freeman to be insulted or wantonly in- 
jured in his liberty, so far as by your means it may 
be prevented. 

Thus animated and thus acting, we may then sing 
with the prophet : " Fear not, O land ! be glad and 
rejoice, for the Lord will do great things. Be not 
afraid, ye beasts of the field, for the pastures of the 
wilderness do spring. The tree beareth her fruit, the 
fig-tree and the vine yield their fruit." 

Thus animated and thus acting, we may likewise 
pray with the prophet : " O Lord, be gracious unto 
us, we have waited for thee. Be thou our arm every 
morning, our salvation also in time of trouble. Some 
trust in chariots and some in horses, but we will re- 
member the name of the Lord our God. O thou hope 
of Israel, the Saviour thereof in time of need ; thou art 
in the midst of us, and we are called by thy name. 
Leave us not. Give us one heart and one way, that 
we may fear thee forever, for the good of ourselves 
and our children after us. We looked for peace, but 


no good came ; and for a time of health, but behold 
we are in trouble. Yet will we trust in the Lord for- 
ever ; for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength. 
He will yet bind up the broken-hearted, and comfort 
those that mourn ;" even so, O our God, do thou com- 
fort and relieve them, that so the bones which thou 
hast broken may yet rejoice. Inspire us with a high 
and commanding sense of the value of our constitu- 
tional rights ; may a spirit of wisdom and virtue be 
poured down upon us all ; and may our representa- 
tives, those who are delegated to devise and appointed 
to execute public measures, be directed to such as 
thou in thy sovereign goodness shall be pleased to ren- 
der effectual for the salvation of a great empire, and 
reuniting all its members in one sacred bond of har- 
mony and public happiness ! Grant this, O Father, 
for thy son Jesus Christ's sake ; to whom, with thee 
and the Holy Spirit, one God, be glory, honor and 
power, now and forever ! Amen. 


This distinguished man was born at Saltzburg, in 
Switzerland. He arrived in America in 1760, and 
became the first minister of the Presbyterian chvu ch 
in Savannah, where he preached to an English and 
German congregation, in their respective languages, 
and sometimes to another congregation in French. 
He possessed a vigorous mind, and was a man of 
erudition and piety. At the commencement of the 
revolution he took an active part with the sons of 
liberty, and in 1775 became a member of the first 
Provincial Congress of Georgia. In this position he 
exercised a marked influence. He strongly advo- 
cated colonial liberty, and as strongly discounte- 
nanced the independence of the colonies. He was 
appointed a member of the Continental Congress, but 
differing with most of that body upon the subject of 
a separation from the crown, he suddenly left Phila- 
delphia, and became an earnest advocate of the 
English ministry. He was accused of treasonable 
correspondence with Sir James Wright, and, on his 
return to Savannah, to avoid the indignation of the 
people, he was for some time concealed in the cellar 
of a whig lady friend. 

In the ministry, Doctor Zubly labored with the 


greatest zeal. His publications are not numerous, 
but are distinguished for learning and power. He 
died in July, 1781. 


So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. 

James, ii. 12. 

There was a time when there was no king in 
Israel, and every man did what was good in his own 
eyes. The consequence was a civil war in the nation, 
issuing in the ruin of one of the tribes, and a consid- 
erable loss to all the rest. 

And there was a time when there was a king in 
Israel, and he also did what was right in his own 
eyes — a foolish son of a wise father ; his own im- 
prudence, the rashness of his young counsellors, his 
unwillingness to redress the grievances of the nation, 
and the harsh treatment he gave to those who applied 
for relief, also brought on a civil war, and issued in 
the seDaration of the ten tribes from the house of 
David. He sent his treasurer to gather an odious 
duty or tribute, but the children of Israel stoned him 
that he died ; and when he gathered one hundred and 
fourscore thousand men, that he might bring again 
the kingdom into Iioboam, God sent him a message, 
"Ye shall not go up, nor tight against your brethren ; 

* This sermon was preached at the opening of the Provincial Con- 
gress of Georgia, in 1775, and was published with a dedication to the 
Earl of Dartmouth. 


return every man to his house, for this thing is done 
of me." God disapproved of the oppressive measures 
and ministry of Iloboam, and that king's army ap- 
pears more ready to obey the command of their God, 
than slay their brethren by orders of a tyrant. "They 
obeyed the voice of the Lord, and returned from going 
against Jeroboam." 

The things that happened before are written for our 
learning. By comparing past times and proceedings 
with these that are present, prudence will point out 
many salutary and religious lessons. The conduct of 
Koboam verifies the lamentation of his father, " Woe 
to thee, O land, when thy king is a child." A very 
small degree of justice and moderation might have 
preserved his kingdom, but he thought weapons of 
war better than wisdom; he hearkened not, neither to 
the people, nor to some of his more faithful counsel- 
lors ; and the consequence was, that, instead of enslav- 
ing the ten tribes who stood up for their liberty, God 
gave Judah to be servants to the king of Egypt, that 
they might learn the difference between his service 
and the service of the kingdoms of the nations. A 
people that claim no more than their natural rights, 
in so doing, do nothing displeasing unto God ; and the 
most powerful monarch that would deprive his sub- 
ject of the liberties of man, whatever may be his suc- 
cess, he must not expect the approbation of God, and 
in due time will be the abhorrence of all men. 

In a time of public and general uneasiness, it be- 
hooves both superiors and inferiors to consider. It is 
easy to extinguish a spark ; it is folly to blow up dis- 
content into a blaze; the beginning of strife is like the 
letting out of waters, and no man may know where it 


will end. There is a rule given to magistrates and 
subjects, which, if carefully attended to, would secure 
the dignity and safety of both ; but which, if not duly 
regarded, is usually attended with the worst conse- 
quences. The present, my hearers, will easily be 
allowed is a day of trouble, and surely in this day of 
adversity we ought to consider. When a people think 
themselves oppressed, and in danger, nothing can be 
more natural than that they should inquire into the 
real state of things, trace their grievances to their 
source, and endeavor to apply the remedies which are 
most likely to procure relief. This I take to be the 
design of the present meeting of persons deputed from 
every part of the country; and as they have thought 
proper to open and begin their deliberations with a 
solemn address unto God, and the consideration of his 
holy word, I most' cheerfully comply with their request 
to officiate on this occasion; and shall endeavor, as I 
may be enabled, to point out such directions from the 
holy Scriptures as may make us wise in the knowledge 
of time, and direct us how to carry ourselves worthy of 
the character of good subjects and Christians : what- 
ever may be necessary for this purpose, I take to be 
comprehended in the apostolic rule, which I have 
laid down as the subject of this discourse : " So speak, 
and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of 
liberty." There are two things which properly come 
before us, viz. : 

I. That we are to be judged by the law of liberty ; 

II. The exhortation to act worthily, and under the 
influence of this important truth on every occasion. 

A law is a rule of behavior made under proper 


authority, aud with penalties annexed suitable to deter 
the transgressions. As all laws suppose man to be in 
a social state, so all laws ought to be made for the good 
of man — a law that is not made by such as have au- 
thority for so doing, is of no force ; and if authority 
makes laws destructive in themselves, no authority 
can prevent things from finally taking their natural 

Wherever there is society, there must also be law ; 
it is impossible that society should subsist without it. 
The will, minds, tempers, dispositions, views, and in- 
terests of men, are so very different, and sometimes 
so opposite, that without law, which cements and binds 
all, every thing would be in endless disorder and con- 
fusion. All laws usually wear the complexion of those 
by whom they were made; but it cannot be denied 
that some bad men, from a sense of necessity, have 
made good laws ; and that some good men, from mis- 
take, or other weaknesses, have enacted laws bad in 
themselves, and pernicious in their consequences. 

All human laws partake of human imperfection ; 
it is not so with the laws of God : he is perfect, and 
so are all his works and ways. " The law of the 
Lord is perfect, converting the soul. The testimony 
of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The 
statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart. 
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening 
the eyes. All his judgments are truth, and righte- 
ousness altogether." 

Among men every society and country has its own 
laws and form of government, which may be very 
different, and cannot operate beyond their limits ; but 
those laws and that form of government are undoubt- 


edly best which have the greatest tendency to make 
all those that live under them secure and happy. 
As soon as we consider man as formed into society, 
it is evident that the safety* of the whole must be the 
grand law which must influence and direct every 
other ; men did not pass from a state of nature into a 
state of society, to render their situation more miser- 
able, and their rights more precarious. That govern- 
ment and tyranny are the hereditary right of some, and 
that slavery and oppression are the original doom of 
others, is a doctrine that would reflect dishonor upon 
God ; it is treason against all mankind ; it is indeed 
an enormous faith that millions were made for one ; 
transubstantiation is but a harmless absurdity, com- 
pared with the notion of a divine right to govern 
wrong, or of making laws which are contrary to every 
idea of liberty, property, and justice. 

The law which the apostle speaks of in our text, is 
not a law of man, but of Him who is the only law- 
giver, that can save and condemn, to whom all owe 
obedience, and whose laws none can transgress with 
impunity. i 

Though all the laws that God ever gave unto man 
are worthy of God, and tend to promote the happiness 
of those to whom they were given, yet we may ob- 
serve a very striking variety in the different laws 
which he gave at different times and to different peo- 
ple. " He showed his word unto Jacob, his statutes 
and his judgments unto Israel; he has not dealt so 
with any other nation." 

To the generality of mankind he gave no written 

* Sahts yopnli sv/prema lex. 


law, but yet left not himself without a witness among 
them ; the words of the law were written in their 
hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their 
thoughts the meanwhile excusing or else accusing 
one another; it cannot be said they were without 
law, whilst what they were to do, and what they were 
to forbear, was written in their hearts. 

To Israel God came with a fiery law in his hands ; it 
was given with the most awful .solemnity upon Mount 
Sinai ; and as the sum and substance of all their cere- 
monial, political, and moral law centred in the ten 
commandments, so the sum and substance of these are 
comprehended in love to God and love to man, which, 
as our Lord himself informs us, contain all the law and 
all the prophets. 

All manifestations of the will of God have been 
gradual ; and it is probable the means of knowing 
God will be progressive through different ages, till 
eternity gives the good man a full sight of God in his 
immediate presence. During the dispensation of the 
Old Testament and the ceremonial law, a spirit of 
bondage obtained unto fear, the law was a school- 
master to bring us unto Christ ; neither did the law 
make any thing perfect, but the bringing in of a better 
hope ; grace and truth were brought to light by Jesus 
Christ ; and hence the dispensation of the gospel un- 
der which we live, is called the law of liberty. 

Though there is a manifest distinction between law 
and gospel, and sometimes these two things are even 
opposed to one another, yet the doctrine of the gos- 
pel, is also called " the law of faith ;" partly because 
it was usual with the Jewish writers to call every doc- 
trine a law, and partly also because the doctrine of 


the gospel presents us with a rule of life, which all its 
professors are bound to obey ; hence they are said to 
be " not without law, but under the law of Christ," 
and hence our apostle speaks of a royal law, which, 
though we cannot obey in perfection, nor derive any 
merit from our imperfect obedience, we cannot neglect 
without danger, nor disobey without showing our 
disregard to the doctrine of the gospel in general. 

It deserves very particular attention, that the doc- 
trine of the gospel is called a law of liberty. Liberty 
and law are perfectly consistent ; liberty does not con- 
sist in living without all restraint ; for were all men to 
live without restraint, as they please, there would be 
no liberty at all ; the strongest would be master, the 
weakest goto the wall; right, justice, and property 
must give way to power, and, instead of its being a 
blessing, a more unhappy situation could not easily be 
devised unto mankind, than that every man should 
have it in his power to do what is right in his own 
eyes ; well regulated liberty of individuals is the natu- 
ral offspring of laws, which prudentially regulate the 
rights of whole communities ; and as laws which take 
away the natural rights of men are unjust and oppres- 
sive, so all liberty which is not regulated by law is 
a delusive phantom, and unworthy of the glorious 

The gospel is called a law of liberty, because it bears 
a most friendly aspect to the liberty of man ; it is a 
known rule, Evangelium non tollit politias, the gospel 
makes no alteration in the civil state ; it by no means 
renders man's natural and social condition worse than it 
would be without the knowledge of the gospel. "When 
the Jews boasted of their freedom, and that they never 


were in bondage, our Lord does not reprove them for 
it, but only observes, that national freedom still ad- 
mits of improvement: "If the Son shall make you 
free, then are you free indeed." This leads me to ob- 
serve, that the gospel is a law of liberty in a much 
higher sense ; by whomsoever a man is overcome, of 
the same he is brought into bondage ; but no external 
enemy can so completely tyrannize over a conquered 
enemy, as sin does over all those who yield themselves 
its servants ; vicious habits, when once they have 
gained the ascendant in the soul, bring man to that 
unhappy pass, that he knows better things and does 
worse; sin, like a torrent, carries him away against 
knowledge and conviction, while conscience fully con- 
vinceth him that he travels the road of death, and must 
expect, if he so continues, to take up his abode in hell, 
though his decaying body clearly tells him sin breaks 
his constitution, as well as wastes his substance; 
though he feels the loss of credit and wealth, still sin 
has too strong a hold of him to be forsaken ; though 
he faintly resolves to break off; yet, till the grace of 
God brings salvation, when he would do good, evil is 
present with him ; in short, instead of being under a 
law of liberty, he is under the law of sin and death ; 
but whenever he feels the happy influence of the grace 
of the gospel, then this " law of liberty makes him 
free from the law of sin and death :" it furnisheth 
him with not only motives to resist, but with power 
also to subdue sin; sin reigns no longer in his mortal 
body, because he is not under the law, but under grace. 
By this law of liberty he is made free from sin, and 
has his fruit unto holiness, and the endof it eternal life. 
There is another reason why the gospel is called a law 


of liberty, which is, to distinguish it from the ceremo- 
nial law under the Mosaic dispensation ; a yoke, of 
which an apostle saith, neither they nor their fore- 
fathers were able to bear; it was superadded- on ac- 
count of their transgressions, and suited to the character 
of a gross and stubborn nation, to whom it was originally 
given. They were so prone to idolatry, and so apt to for- 
get their God, their notions were so gross and carnal, 
that a number of external rites and ceremonies became 
necessary, to put them in mind of him and to attach them 
to some degree of his worship and service. This, how. 
ever necessary, was a heavy burden ; it bid them touch 
not, taste not, handle not ; it required of them expen- 
sive sacrifices, and a costly and painful service ; it was 
attended with the most fearful threatenings ; if any 
man brake Moses' law, he died under two or three 
witnesses ; and the very spirit they then received, was 
a spirit of bondage unto fear : whereas the gospel dis- 
pensation breatheth a spirit of confidence, and under 
the law of liberty we call upon God, as Abba, Father. 
By this law of liberty the professors of the gospel will 
be judged. 

Every man is a rational, and therefore accountable 
creature. As a creature he must needs depend on his 
Creator ; and as a rational creature he must certainly 
be accountable for all his actions. Nothing is more 
evident than that man is not of himself; and if once 
we admit that he holds his existence, his faculties and 
favors from God that made him, it becomes a very 
obvious conclusion that his Maker must have had 
some view in giving him existence, and more under- 
standing than to the beasts of the field, neither can it 
be a matter of indifference to him whether man acts 


agreeably or contrary to his designs. The creator of 
the natural world is also its moral ruler ; and if he is 
now the proprietor and ruler of intelligent beings, at 
some time or other he must also be their judge. 

If God had not made his will known unto man, 
there could have been neither transgression nor judg- 
ment. If it should be said that God has not mani- 
fested himself alike unto all men, and that some have 
much smaller opportunities to know his will and their 
duty than others, it is enough to observe, that no man 
will be judged by a rule of which it was impossible he 
should have any knowledge. Every work and every 
man will be brought into judgment, and the judgment 
of God will never be otherwise than according to 
truth ; but those that never had the law of liberty 
will not be judged by that law; and those that have 
been favored with the revelation of the gospel, will be 
more inexcusable than any others if they neglect the 
day of their visitation. " As many as have sinned 
without law, shall also perish without law; and as 
many as have sinned in the law, shall be judged by 
the law." All men are under some law ; they feel, 
they are conscious, that they are so ; the thoughts 
which already excuse or condemn one another, are in 
anticipation of a final and decisive judgment, when 
every man's reward will be according to his works. 

That all those who heard and professed to believe 
the gospel will be finally judged by that, we have the 
fullest assurance. God will j udge the secrets of men by 
Jesus Christ according to his gospel : " The word that I 
have spoken," saith Christ, "the same will judge them 
that heard it on the last day." It greatly interests us al- 
ready to know what is the import and consequence of 


being judged by the gospel as a law of liberty, and 
it contains the following things : — 

The general character, all the thoughts, words and 
actions, together with the general conduct of all those 
who professed the gospel, will be brought to the test 
and tried by this rule. Man's own opinion of him- 
self, the good opinion of others, will here stand him 
in no stead ; his character will not be determined by 
his external appearance, but by his inward reality. 
"Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the 
Lord looketh on the heart." The self-righteous Phar- 
isee will be rejected, notwithstanding his fair appear- 
ance and boasting ; the penitent publican will be re- 
ceived, though he has nothing to plead but "Lord, 
have mercy on me, a sinner." The law is spiritual, 
and no law more so than the law of the gospel ; it re- 
quires, not merely an external obedience, but an in- 
ternal conformity to the will of God; it demands 
truth in the inward part ; it looks not only to the ac- 
tions that are done, but to the principle from which 
they flow ; we must judge of man's inward disposition 
by his visible action, but God judges of the actions of 
men according to their invisible spring ; thoughts are 
out of the reach of human cognizance, but they are 
the first object of divine notice. There is not a word 
that drops from our tongue but what our judge hears ; 
whatever we do, or whatever we neglect, is all under 
his immediate eye ; and he not only attends to our 
general character, but also to every thought, word, or 
action, and the prevailing complexion of all these 
taken together forms our true and real character. 

In the judgment, according to this law, our charac- 
ter, words, thoughts and actions will be brought to 


the test of this rule, our conduct will be compared 
with these precepts; this is the balance of the sanc- 
tuary in which the professors of the gospel shall be 
weighed, and as they shall be found approved or de- 
ficient, their case must be determined. Those whose 
temper and actions shall be found conformable to the 
law of liberty, will be acquitted, graciously accepted, 
and made ever happy ; and those who turned the 
grace of God into wantonness, and made the liberty 
of the gospel a cloak for their sins, will be finally re- 
jected. The gospel informs us that a day is already 
appointed for that purpose; it acquaints us with the 
person of our judge, and every circumstance as well 
as rule according to which he will proceed in judg- 
ment. Perhaps on that day, when all nations shall 
appear before the Judge, and he will divide them as 
a shepherd divideth the sheep from the goats, distinct 
places will also be allotted to those who are to be 
judged by natural conscience and the law of nature, 
and those who have been favored with a divine reve- 
lation, and especially with the light of the gospel : 
the people of Nineveh will arise against empty pro- 
fessors of the gospel and will condemn them. Those 
who have been exalted above others in means and 
privileges, will sit proportion ably lower than those 
who have made a better improvement of lesser means ; 
and notwithstanding the fondest hope and finest pro- 
fession, it is a determined rule of the law of liberty, 
that " except our righteousness shall exceed that of 
the Scribes and Pharisees, we shall in no case enter 
into the kingdom of heaven." 

It deserves our peculiar attention, that the apostle 
considers the gospel as a law of liberty, at the same 


time when he sets it before us as the rule by which we 
are to be judged. We are not to imagine, because the 
gospel is a law of liberty, therefore men w T ill not be 
judged ; on the contrary, judgment will be the more 
severe against all who have heard and professed the 
gospel, and yet walked contrary to its precepts and 
doctrine. As the transgression of a law of liberty must 
be more inexcusable than the transgression of a law 
unjust or oppressive in itself, or even the ceremonial 
law, which was given only for a certain period, and to 
answer temporary purposes, so their judgment and 
doom must be proportionably heavier who have sinned 
against love and liberty, as well as against power and 

According to this law, the fate of men will not only 
be determined, but sentence will also be put into exe- 
cution. God sitteth on the throne of judgment every 
day, and judgeth righteously ; but he hath moreover 
appointed a particular day when he will manifest his 
power and justice before the whole creation; when 
the dead, both small and great, will stand before God ; 
when those that acted agreeably to the law of liberty 
will attain the fulness of glory of the freedom of the 
sons of God, and when he will also take vengeance on 
all that have not known God, and have not obeyed his 
holy gospel. This naturally leads to the second thing 
proposed, to take a nearer view of the importance of 
the exhortation : " So speak and so do as they that 
shall be judged by the law of liberty." 

It seems as though the apostle had an eye to some 
particular branch of the law of liberty, i. e., the love 
which we owe unto our neighbor, and that his design 
is to obviate the mistake, as though men might be 


considered as fulfilling the law of Christ, in paying 
respect to some of its commands and prohibitions, at 
the same time that they were entirely regardless of the 
rest. He assures them, that " whosoever shall keep 
the whole law, but shall transgress in one point (e. g., 
having respect of persons), is guilty of all." On this 
principle the apostle builds the general exhortation : 
" So speak, and so do, as they that shall be j udged by 
the law of liberty." This implies, 

I. Be thoroughly convinced of the certainty of a 
judgment to come, and that it extends to you, to all 
your thoughts, words, and actions. There is not any 
truth of greater moment, nor perhaps more easily for- 
gotten. The belief or unbelief of this important doc- 
trine must have the most sensible effects. All the 
apostles frequently put their hearers in mind of a 
judgment to come; and there is not any truth more 
necessary to be frequently inculcated and daily thought 
on ; and wherever this truth is really believed and 
felt, it will have a constant and natural influence on 
the behavior of those who truly believe it. 

II. See to it that in judgment you may stand. All 
men will be brought into judgment, but few will be 
able to stand ; none will be excused, or be able to 
withdraw, and only those who have acted worthily 
will meet with the divine acceptance. The difference 
will be amazing, and beyond all conception — an eter- 
nity of happiness, which eye has not seen, ear has not 
Jjeard, and which never entered into the heart of any 
man, lies on the one side ; and despair, misery, and 
torment on the other. Those that are able to stand, 
will meet with the smiles and approbation of their 
Judge ; and to all the rest the King will say : " These 


mine enemies that would not have me to bear rule 
over them, bring them here, and slay them before 
mine eyes." Those that believe and are convinced 
of this awful alternative, should certainly make it 
their care that they may be able to stand in judgment ; 
neither should the persuasion of this only influence 
their conduct in general, but these words ought to be 
considered as a rule, which we ought to have con- 
stantly before our eyes in all our discourses and every 
undertaking ; we should ever " so speak, and so act, 
as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty." 

I shall draw a few inferences, before I conclude, 
with a more particular address to the worthy gentle- 
men at whose request I preach on this occasion. 

I. The gospel is a lata of liberty. A late writer* 
asserts, " Every religion countenances despotism, but 
none so much as the Christian." This is a very heavy 
charge against religion in general, but bears hardest 
on the Christian. Whether it proceeds from malice, 
ignorance, or misapprehension, it is needless to deter- 
mine; but if Christian^ be a law of liberty, it must 
be obvious how ill-grounded is such a charge against 
it. It cannot be denied but some Christian writers 
have wrote against the rights of mankind. All those 
who stand up for unlimited passive obedience and 
non-resistance, may have given but too much cause 
for such surmises and suspicions ; but the truth is, that 
both those who make this charge, and those who 
gave occasion for it, were alike ignorant of the spirit 
and temper of Christianity ; and it may well be 
doubted whether the venders of such odious doctrines, 

* See a tract entitled " Chains of Slavery." Printed, London, 1175. 


who foisted tenets so abominable and injurious to 
mankind, into the system of Christian religion, have 
not done that holy religion greater hurt, under the 
pretence of friendship and defence, tfian its most bare- 
faced enemies by all their most violent attacks. Some 
Christian divines have taught the enormous faith, that 
millions were made for one ; they have ascribed a 
divine right to kings to govern wrong ; but what then ? 
Are such abominable doctrines any part of Chris- 
tianity, because these men say so ? Does the gospel 
cease to be a law of liberty, because some of its pro- 
fessors pervert it into an engine of tyranny, oppression, 
and injustice? 

The assertion, that all religion countenances despo- 
tism, and Christianity more than any other, is diamet- 
rically opposite to fact. Survey the globe, and you 
will "find that liberty has taken its seat only in Chris- 
tendom, and that the highest degree of freedom is 
pleaded for and enjoyed by such as make profession 
of the gospel. 

There are but two religions which are concerned in 
this charge ; the Jewish and the Christian. Natural 
religion writers of this kind I suppose would not in- 
clude in their charge; if they do, they set all religion 
at variance with the rights of mankind, contrary to 
the sense of all nations, who are generally agreed, that, 
abstractly of a world to come, religion is of real ser- 
vice and necessity to mankind, for their better govern- 
ment and order. 

As to the Jewish religion, it seems really strange 

that any should charge it with favoring despotism, 

when by one of its express rites at certain times it 

proclaimed " Liberty throughout the land, to the in- 



habitants thereof." It required their kings a not to be 
lifted up in their hearts above their brethren." And 
the whole system of that religion is so replete with 
laws against injustice and oppression, it pays such an 
extraordinary regard to property, and gives such a 
strict charge to rule iu justice and the fear of God, and 
to consider those over whom they judge as their 
brethren, even when dispensing punishments, and 
forbids all excess in them, that it is really surprising 
any one acquainted with its precepts should declare it 
favorable to despotism or oppression. 

The Christian religion, while it commands due re- 
spect and obedience to superiors, nowhere requires a 
blind and unlimited obedience on the part of the sub- 
jects; nor does it vest any absolute and arbitrary 
power in the rulers. It is an institution for the benefit, 
and not for the distress, of mankind. It preacheth 
not only "glory to God on high," but also "peace 
on earth, and good-will among men." The gospel 
gives no higher authority to magistrates than to be 
" the ministers of God for the good of the subject." 
From whence it must surely follow, that their power 
is to edify, and not to destroy. When they abuse 
their, authority, to distress and destroy their subjects, 
they deserve not to be thought ministers of God for 
good ; nor is it to be supposed, when they act so con- 
trary to the nature of their office, that they act agree- 
ably to the will of God, or in conformity to the doc- 
trine of the gospel. 

The gospel recommends unto masters to forbear 
threatenings, and to remember that they also have a 
Master in heaven. It assures them that the eye of 
God is equally upon the servant and the master, and 


that with God there is no respect of persons. It com- 
mands masters, from the most solemn considerations, 
to give unto servants that which is just and equal. 
It saith to the meanest slave : " Art thou called, being 
a servant ? care not for it ; but, if thou may est be 
made free, use it rather." 

The doctrine of the gospel has that regard to prop- 
erty, that it commands even soldiers : " Do violence 
to no man, and be content with your wages." That a 
Paul sent back a runaway slave, though now con- 
verted, and belonging to his intimate friend ; and at a 
time when he seems to have stood in real need of his 
service, from a delicacy that he would do nothing 
without the owner's mind, lest his benefit should ap- 
pear as if it were of necessity, and not willingly. 
From the same spirit of j ustice, a Zaccheus, after his 
conversion, restored fourfold what before he had taken 
from any by false accusation. Surely, then, the spirit 
of the gospel is very friendly to the rights and prop- 
erty of men. 

The gospel sets conscience above all human author- 
ity in matters of faith, and bids us to stand fast in 
that liberty wherewith the Son of God has made us 
free." Freedom is the very spirit and temper of the 
gospel : " He that is called in the Lord, being a ser- 
vant, is the Lord's freeman. Ye are bought with a 
price : be ye not the servants of men." At the same 
time that it commands us to submit to every or- 
dinance of men, it also directs us to act u as free, and 
not using liberty as a cloak of maliciousness, but as 
the servants of God." Those, therefore, that would 
support arbitrary power, and require an unlimited 
obedience, in vain look for precedents or precepts for 


such things in the gospel — an institution equally tend- 
ing to make men just, free, and happy here, and per- 
fectly holy and happy hereafter. 

II. The main design of the gospel is not to direct 
us in our external and civil affairs, hut how we -may 
at last stand with com fort before God, the judge of all. 

Human prudence is to be our guide in the concerns 
of time ; the gospel makes us wise unto salvation, and 
points out the means to be pursued, that it may be 
well with us in the world to come. As rational 
creatures, we are to make use of our reason ; as 
Christians, we are to repent and believe the gospel. 
Motives of a worldly nature may very properly influ- 
ence us in our worldly concerns ; we are created not 
only for eternity, but also for time ; it is not at all 
improper for us to have a due regard for both. The 
gospel will regulate our desires and restrain our pas- 
sions as to earthly things, and will raise us at the 
same time above time and sense, to objects of a nature 
more worthy of ourselves. A due regard for, and 
frequent meditation on, a judgment to come, will 
greatly assist us in all our concerns ; and this very 
consideration the gospel holds out to us in the clearest 
manner. It not only affirms as a truth what reason 
and conscience might consider only as probable, but, 
it takes away as it were the veil from between us and 
things to come ; it gives us a present view of the 
future bliss of saints, and the terrors and despair of 
sinners — rather an historical account than a prophetic 
description of all the proceedings of the dreadful 
day; it clearly points out the road to destruction, 
and the way to escape; it affords us a plain and 
general rule to obtain safety and comfort, when it bids 


us " So speak, and so do, as they that shall be judged 
by the law of liberty." 

This general rule may also be of considerable service 
in extraordinary and particular cases. It is impossible 
to provide express directions for every particular case; 
and in the course of things, circumstances may hap- 
pen when a good man may be at a loss to know his 
duty, and find it difficult so to act as to obtain his 
own approbation. There may be danger of going be- 
yond, and danger in not coming up to the mark. To 
act worthy of God, who has called us, is the general 
rule of the Christian at all times, and upon every oc- 
casion ; and did we but always follow this rule, what 
manner of persons should we then be ! But in cases 
of intricacy, we may still be in doubt what may be 
most for the glory of God, and most consistent with 
our duty. Sometimes, also, our relative duties may 
seem to come in competition with one another, and 
we may hesitate in our own mind which for the 
present has the strongest call. "We should fain obey 
our superiors, and yet we cannot think of giving up 
our natural, our civil and religions rights, nor acquiesce 
in or contribute to render our fellow-creatures or fellow- 
citizens slaves and miserable. We would willingly 
follow peace with all men, and yet would be very un- 
willing that others should take the advantage of a 
pacific disposition to injure us in hopes of doing it 
with impunity. We would express duty, respect, and 
obedience to the king, as supreme, and yet we would 
not wish to strengthen the hands of tyranny, nor call 
oppression lawful : in such a delicate situation, it is a 
golden rule, " So to speak, and so to do, as they that 
shall be judged by the law of liberty." Nothing has 


a greater tendency to make men act wrong than the 
disbelief of a future judgment ; and nothing will more 
effectually restrain and direct them than the full per- 
suasion that such an event will certainly take place ; 
nothing would have a happier tendency to make us 
act with prudence, justice and moderation, than the 
firm persuasion that God will bring every work into 
judgment, and every secret thing, whether it be good 
or bad. 

^Neither could I think on any direction more appli- 
cable to the design of our present meeting, or which I 
might more properly recommend to the respectable 
gentlemen now met together to consult on the recov- 
ery and preservation of the liberties of America, and 
who choose to be^in their deliberations with a solemn 
act of worship to Almighty God, who has established 
government as his ordinance, and equally abhors 
licentiousness and oppression, whose singular blessing 
it is if subjects enjoy a righteous government, and 
under such a government lead a quiet and peaceable 
life in all godliness and honesty. 

You are met, gentlemen, in a most critical time, and 
on a most alarming occasion, not in a legislative 
capacity, but (while the sitting of the usual represen- 
tatives is not thought for the king's service, or neces- 
sary for the good of this province) you are chosen by 
the general voice of this province to meet on their 
behalf, to consult on such measures as in our local 
circumstances may be most to the real advantage, and 
tend to the honor of our sovereign, as well as the good 
and safety of this province, and of all this great con- 
tinent. For the sake of the auditory, I shall briefly 
state the immediate causes that have given rise to this 


provincial and a general American Congress, and then 
offer such humble advice as appears to me most suit- 
able to our circumstances. 

To enforce some acts for laying on a duty to raise a 
perpetual revenue in America, which the Americans 
think unjust and unconstitutional, which all America 
complains of, and some provinces have in some meas- 
ure opposed,* a fleet and army have been sent to New 
England, and, after a long series of hardships by that 
province patiently endured, it is now out of all ques- 
tion that hostilities have been commenced against 
them ; blood has been shed, and many lives have 
been taken away ; thousands, never so much as sus- 
pected of having any hand in the action which is 
made the pretence of all the severity now used against 
that province, have been and still are reduced to the 
greatest distress. From this, other provinces have 
taken the alarm ; an apprehension of nearer foes, not 
unlikely to appear as auxiliaries in an unjust cause, 
has thrown our neighbors into arms ; how far and 
wide the flame so wantonly kindled may be permitted ' 
to spread, none can tell ; but in these alarming cir- 
cumstances the liberty of this continent, of which we 
are a part, the safety and domestic peace of this prov- 
ince, will naturally become a subject of your deliber- 
ations ; and here I may well adopt the language of 
old : "There was no such deed done nor seen, from the 
day that America was first settled unto this day ; con- 

* This opposition in some provinces consisted in sending the tea on 
which this duty was to be paid back, to England ; not suffering it to be 
sold or landed, in others ; and in Boston, when they were prevented 
from sending it back, it was entirely destroyed, but no person hurt, nor 
any blood shed. 


sider of it, take advice, and speak your minds." I 
mean not to anticipate and direct your counsels ; but, 
from your desire I should speak on this occasion, I 
take it for granted, you will 'permit me to offer such 
hints as may appear suitable to the place and design 
of our present meeting. 

In the first place, as there is no evil in a 1 city in 
which the hand of God may not be seen, so in vain is 
salvation looked for from the hills and from the moun- 
tains, but can come from him only who has made 
heaven and earth. This, undoubtedly, is a - day of 
trouble, but God saith to his people, " Call upon me 
in a day of trouble, and I will deliver thee." " What 
nation has God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our 
God is in all things that we call upon him for." If 
this be our first step, if, first of all, we look unto him 
from whom our help cometh, we may hope all will be 
well at last. Let us be thoroughly convinced of this, 
we must stand well with God, else it can never be 
well with us at all ; without him and his help we can 
* never prosper. The Lord is with you if you are with 
him : " if you seek him, you will find him ; but if you 
forsake him, you will be forsaken by him." If God 
be for us, who can be against us ? If he be against us, 
who can be for us ? Before we think on, or look any- 
where else, may our eyes be unto God, that he may 
be gracious unto us. Let us humbly confess and 
speedily turn from our sins, deprecate his judgment, 
and secure his favor. "Rend your hearts, and not 
vour garments, and turn unto the Lord your God, for 
he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great 
kindness, and repenteth him of the evil ; who knoweth 
if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind 


him, even a meat-offering and a drink-offering unto 
the Lord your God." 

Let it be a standing rule with every one that is to 
sit in council upon this occasion, "so to speak, and so 
to do, as one that is to be judged by the law of liberty." 
Let us most carefully avoid every thing that might 
make us incur the displeasure of God, and wound our 
own consciences. The effects of your deliberation may 
become very serious and extensive, and the conse- 
quences extremely important : think, therefore, before 
you speak, deliberate before yon execute, and let the 
law of liberty, by which you are hereafter to be judged, 
be the constant rule of all your words and actions. 
Far be it from us to be reduced under laws inconsis- 
tent with liberty, and as far to wish for liberty with- 
out law; let the one be so tempered with the other, 
that when we come to give our account to the Supreme 
Lawgiver, who is the great judge of all, it may appear 
we had a due regard to both, and may meet with his 

Such always hath been, and such is still the attach- 
ment of America to the illustrious house of Hanover, 
that I need not put you in mind of our duty to the 
king as supreme. By our law, the king can do no 
wrong. But of his present majesty, who is univer- 
sally known to be adorned with many social virtues, 
may we not justly conclude, that he would not do 
any wrong, even though he could ? May we not 
hope, that when the truth of things, the tears of his 
suffering subjects, the distress caused by acts ex- 
tremely ill-advised, once reach his notice, a generous 
pity will force his heart, and that pity, when he feels 
it, will command redress ? " The heart of the king is 


in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water, and 
lie turneth it as he pleaseth." (Prov. xxi. 1.) Most 
earnestly, therefore, let us pray, that in this great and 
most important matter also, God may give unto the 
king an understanding heart, that power may he 
governed by wisdom, and the wheels of government 
roll on with justice and moderation. 

Should you think that all our present distress is 
owing to evil counsellors, nothing need to hinder you 
from praying that God would turn their counsels into 
foolishness ; you may make it your earnest request, 
both in public and in private, that the wicked being 
removed from before the king, his throne may be 
established in righteousness ; that the rod of the 
oppressor may be broke, and justice and equity take 
place of tyranny and oppression. 

It may be owing to nothing but the firm attach- 
ment to the reigning family, that so many Americans 
look upon the present measures as a deep-laid plan to 
bring in the Pretender. Perhaps this jealousy may 
be very groundless ; but so much is certain, that none 
but Great Britain's enemies can be gainers in this un- 
natural contest.* 

Never let us lose out of sight that our interest lies 

in a perpetual connection with our mother country. 

Notwithstanding the present unwise and harsh meas- 

. ures, there are thousands in Great Britain that think 

' with us, and wish well to the American cause, and 

* Were it designed to give the Pretender an opportunity; to raise 
divisions in Great Britain, starve the manufacturers, send away troops 
from Ireland and Scotland, and breed civil war in America, must all 
be circumstances too favorable, and, I may sa} r , very tempting, to pro- 
mote such a project. 


make it their own ; let us convince our enemies that 
the atruffffles of America have not their rise in a desire 
of independency, but from a warm regard to our com- 
mon constitution, that we esteem the name of Britons, 
as being the same with freemen ; let every step we 
take afford proof how greatly we esteem our mother 
country, and that, to the wish of a perpetual connec- 
tion, we prefer this only consideration, that we may 
be virtuous and free.* 

Let me entreat you, gentlemen, think coolly, and 
act deliberately ; rash counsels are seldom good ones. 
Ministerial rashness and American rashness can only 
be productive of untoward compounds. Inconsider- 
ate measures framed on the other side of the Atlantic, 
are the cause of all our mischiefs ; and it is not in the 
least probable that inconsiderate measures in America 
can be productive of any good. Let nothing be done 
through strife and vainglory ; let no private resent- 
ment nor party zeal disgrace your honest warmth for 
your country's welfare; measures determined on by 
integrity and prudence, are most likely to be carried 

* The idea of a separation between America and Great Britain is big 
with so many and such horrid evils, that every friend to both must shud- 
der at the thought. Every man that gives the most distant hint of such a 
wish, ought instantly to be suspected as a common enemy; nothing 
would more effectually serve the cause of our enemies, than any proposal 
of this kind; all wise men, and all good men, would immediately speak, 
write, and act against it; such a proposal, whenever it should be made, 
would be an inlet to greater evils than any we have yet suffered. But 
what America detests as the greatest evil, a British ministry has taken the 
greatest pains to effect; has wasted British blood and treasure to alienate 
America and Great Britain ; the breach is growing wider and wider, it 
is become like a great sea; every moment is a loss that is not im- 
proved toward bringing about a reconciliation. 


into execution by steadiness and moderation. Let 
neither the frowns of tyranny, nor the pleasure of 
popularity, sway you from what you clearly appre- 
hend just and right, and to be your duty. Consider 
how much lies at stake ; how greatly your religion, 
your liberty, your property, your posterity, are inter- 
ested. Endeavor to act like freemen, like loyal sub- 
jects, like real Christians, and you will "so speak and 
so act, as they that shall be judged by the law of lib- 
erty." Act conscientiously, and with a view to God, 
then commit your ways to him ; leave the event with 
God, and you will have great reason to hope that the 
event will be just, honorable, and happy. 

And now, gentlemen, you have the wishes and 
prayers of every thoughtful person, that your delib- 
erations may be carried on with candor, unanimity, 
and prudence ; may be blessed to preserve the quiet- 
ness of this province, and co-operate in restoring the 
rights and tranquillity of all America, as well as pro- 
mote the prosperity of the whole British empire. 
This will afford you a heart-felt satisfaction, and trans- 
mit your name to posterity with honor, when all those 
who had opposite views, and sought their greatness in 
the ruin of others, will be held in abhorrence aud de- 

I have but a few hints to give to my hearers in 

The times are evil ; this is a day of adversity, and 
in a time of adversity we ought to consider. It may, 
perhaps, soon become impossible, even to the most in- 
dolent, to continue unconcerned ; and those that wish 
no more than to hide themselves in quiet obscurity, 
may not always have it in their power to remain neu- 


ter. To know the signs of the times is a considerable 
part of human prudence ; and it is a still greater to 
walk circumspectly, and redeem the time, because the 
days are evil. Whatever part you may think your- 
selves obliged to take, "so speak, and so do, as they 
that shall be judged hereafter, and judged by the law 
of liberty." 

In these times of confusion I would press on my 
hearers a most conscientious regard to. the common 
laws of the land. Let our conduct show that Ave 
are not lawless ; by well-doing let us put to silence the 
reproaches of our adversaries. Let us convince them 
that we do not complain of law, but of oppression ; that 
we do not abhor these acts because we are impatient 
to be under government, but being destructive of lib- 
erty and property, we think them destructive also of 
all law. Let us act " as free, and yet not make liberty 
a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God." 

While it is yet peace and quietness with us, let us 
not think ourselves inaccessible to the evils which are 
already come upon others ; there are some evils which 
we would rather deprecate in private than speak of in 
public, against which being forewarned, we should be 
forearmed ; every trifling report should not alarm us, 
but it would be folly still greater not to be on our 
guard against sudden dangers. 

Remember them that suffer adversity, as beino; 
yourselves also in the body. Think on those who are 
driven from their habitations and all their conve- 
niences of life, or confined in their own houses by an 
enraged soldiery, to starve in their own country in the 
midst of property and plenty, not permitted to enjoy 
their own, and distressed in every connection, and this 


without any cause alleged against numbers of them, 
without complaint, suspicion, or a legal trial; the like 
was never heard since the cruel siege of Londonderry, 
and is a species of cruelty at which even that hard- 
hearted bigot James II. relented. 

Above all, let every one earnestly pray, that He 
that is higher than the highest would soon make a 
righteous end of all their confusion ; that he would in- 
cline the king to hear the cries of his subjects, and 
that no more innocent blood may be shed in America. 

One thing more. Consider the extreme absurdi- 
ty of struggling for civil liberty, and yet to continue 
slaves to sin and lust. " Know ye not to whom ye 
yield yourselves servants to obey? his servants ye are 
to whom ye obey, whether of sin unto death, or of 
obedience unto righteousness." Cease from evil, and 
do good ; seek peace and pursue it : who will hurt you 
while you follow that which is good? Become the 
willing servants of the Lord Jesus Christ ; hearken to 
and obey the voice of His gospel, for "where the spirit 
of the Lord is, there is liberty ;" and " if the Son makes 
you free," then, and not till then, " shall you be free 


Scarcely any thing is known of the personal history 
of John Hurt. In the journals of the Continental 
Congress he is mentioned chiefly in the official ca- 
pacity of chaplain to General Weedon's brigade ; but 
from the tone of his language, such as is used in his 
printed productions, it is evident that his whole soul 
was with his country in the revolution, and that he 
considered success in it as intimately connected with 
the cause of religion, liberty, and human happiness. 

In publishing the sermon which will be found in 
this collection, he says to his fellow-soldiers : " To 
your patronage this effort is humbly inscribed ; not 
out of complaisance to your request of publishing it, 
but from the more certain testimony of being an eye- 
witness, that you approve its sentiments by your 
actions. For, after all the definitions of patriotism 
that ever were or ever will be given, this is the quint- 
essence of it : 'The opposing ourselves foremost in the 
field of battle against the enemies of our country.' " 
The sermon was preached before the troops in Xew 
Jersey, and was printed in 1777, with a dedication to 
Major-General Stephen, and the officers and soldiers 
of the Virginia battalions. 



If I forget thee, Jerusalem, lei my right hand forget her cunning. If 
I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth ; if 
I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy. — Psalm cxxxvii. 5, 6. 

Reflection upon past enjoyments tends only to the 
aggravation of present sufferings ; and yet — I know 
not how — the mind of man is ever fondly disposed to 
draw the painful parallel betwixt the happiness which 
he once possessed and the misery which he now feels. 
This was the case of the captive Israelites, as is pa- 
thetically described in the Psalm before us : " By the 
rivers of Babylon," says the divine poet, " there we 
sat down ; yea, we wept when we remembered Zion ; 
we hanged our harps upon the willows which grew in 
the midst thereof." As the soul in affliction is ever 
apt to dwell upon every circumstance which heightens 
the sorrow, he here represents his harp, that sacred 
instrument devoted to his GOD, now laid aside, silent 
and neglected ; for how, indeed, could he u sing the 
LORD'S song in a strange land?" Oppression and 
servitude throw a damp upon every noble faculty : 
no wonder, then, the sacred musician could ill exert 
the heavenly harmony under the dispiriting pressure 
of a foreign tyranny. How shall we sing the LORD'S 
song in a strange land ? Here the faithful patriot turns, 
by a very natural transition, from lamenting over his 
country's fate, to the strongest professions of preserv- 
ing his affection forever inviolable toward her. "If 
I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget 
her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my 


tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer 
not Jerusalem above my chief joy." 

Under the incitement of so animating an example, 
I shall offer a few sentiments concerning that virtue 
which produced this glorious resolution ; and, after 
endeavoring to explain the nature and obligation of 
love to our country, shall attempt to point out that 
conduct which seems requisite to testify the sincerity 
of this affection. 

The love of our country is a principle which hath 
been more celebrated in all ages, hath been the sub- 
ject of more praise and panegyric, than any other 
affection in the whole train of virtue. It hath been 
the constant theme of poets, orators and historians ; 
statues and medals have been erected and struck, and 
all the treasures of art and wit perpetualh r exhausted, 
in doing honor to those who have excelled in this 
character ; and, indeed, the name of patriot implies, 
in its true sense, every thing that is most great and 
godlike among men ; it carries in it the idea of a pub- 
lic blessing ; it implies a power of doing good, exert- 
ed and extended to whole communities, and resembles 
within its sphere, that universal Providence which 
protects and supports the world. This is that elevated 
passion, of all others the most necessary, as well as 
most becoming, to mankind, and yet, if we believe 
the common complaints, of all others the least visible 
in the world. It lives, we are told, rather in descrip- 
tion than reality, and is represented by the first writer 
of this age as an antiquated and forgotten virtue. 
^Wretched picture of the human race ! If this be a 
just representation, we are degenerate indeed ! insen- 
sible to the best of all social duties, counteracting the 


common bond of alliance with our species, and check- 
ing the source of our most refined pleasures. The 
public is, as it were, one great family ; Ave are all 
children of one common mother, America, our coun- 
try; she gives us all our birth; nurses our tender 
years, and supports our manhood. In this light, 
therefore, our regards for her seem as natural as the 
implanted affection betwixt parents and children. 

I might here enlarge on the mutual delights given 
and received in the social entertainments and conver- 
sation of a people connected together with the same 
language, customs, and institutions, and from thence 
show the reasonableness of an affectionate attach- 
ment to the community ; but I choose to point out the 
obligations to this associating virtue as they arise from 
higher and more interesting principles. 

The miseries of the state of nature are so evident, 
that there is no occasion to display them ; every man 
is sensible that violence, rapine, and slaughter must 
be continually practised where no restraints are pro- 
vided to curb the inordinancy of self-affection. To 
society, then, we must owe our security from these 
miseries, and to a wisely-constructed and well-regulated 
government we must stand indebted for our protection 
against those who would encroach upon the equal 
share of liberty which belongs to all, or would molest 
individuals in the possession of what is fairly appro- 
priated, or justly claimed. And what an unspeakable 
satisfaction it is to be free, and to be able to call any 
thing one's own ! Freedom and security diffuse a 
cheerfulness over the most uncomfortable regions, and 
give a value to the most inconsiderable possessions; 
even a morsel of bread in the most frozen climate 


would be more worth contending for, if liberty crowned 
the meal, than the noblest possessions and greatest 
affluence under the mildest skies, if held at the merci- 
less will of a civil or religious tyrant. And as such a 
happiness is only to be established by the love of so- 
ciety — as all the blessings we enjoy spring from this 
source, gratitude calls upon us to cultivate a principle 
to which we owe such transcendent obligations. But 
the obligation rises upon us, when we consider, that 
from society is also derived a set of amiable duties, 
unknown to men in a detached and unconnected state. 
It is from this foundation that hospitality, gratitude 
and generosity flow, with all the pleasing charities 
which adorn human nature ; for, where have those 
virtues their theatre ? where is their scene of action ? 
or how can they exert themselves, but in society? It 
is there alone Ave have opportunities of displaying 
the moral charms, and of exhibiting the glorious mani- 
festation of good-will to mankind. On this account, 
therefore, society has a high demand for our affection- 
ate regard. 

But to be unmindful of the public, is not only an 
argument of an ungrateful, it is a proof also of a dis- 
honest temper of mind. God has assigned each of us 
our station, and a part which we are obliged to dis- 
charge in carrying on the great work of social happi- 
ness. If, then, I neglect the part appointed me, I am 
highly unjust ; because I take a share of the benefits 
of society, and yet leave the burden to be borne by 
others. A greater injustice than this can scarcely 
be conceived. He who injures particulars is indeed 
an offender, but he who withholds from the public the 
service and affection to which it is entitled, is a crimi- 


nal of a far higher degree, as he thereby robs a whole 
body of people, and deprives the community of her 
just demand. If God has given to one man a good 
understanding, and he does not exert it for the general 
advantage by advice and counsel ; if to another riches, 
and he will not assist with his liberality ; if to a poor 
man strength, and he will not aid with his labor ; if, 
in short, any be wanting in pursuing the benevolent 
principle, by directing his talents to their proper ends, 
he deserves to be treated as a common spoiler, inas- 
much as he takes what properly belongs not to him, 
the title of each man's share of the benefits of society 
arising only from that proportion which he himself 
has contributed. 

Public good is, as it were, a common bank, in which 
every individual has his respective share ; and, con- 
sequently, whatever damage that sustains, the indi- 
viduals unavoidably partake of the calamity. If 
liberty be destroyed, no particular member can escape 
the chains ; if the credit of the associated body sink, 
his fortune sinks with it ; if the sons of violence pre- 
vail, and plunder the public stock, his part cannot be 
rescued from the spoil ; and some real share (be it 
more, or less), all, even the meanest, have in this com- 
mon fund, and a valuable one too, though it were 
nothing but the lowest earnings of industrious labor. 
If, then, we have a true affection for ourselves ; if we 
would reap the fruits of industry, and enjoy our prop- 
erty in security, we must stand firm to the cause of 
liberty and public virtue, otherwise we had better re- 
turn to the raw herbage for our food, to the inclem- 
eucies of the open sky for our covering, go back 
beyond the mountains to uncultivated nature, where 


our wants would be fewer, and our appetites less. 
Such a situation, notwithstanding all its inconveni- 
ences, is far preferable to a tyrannical government, 
and far more desirable than the lot of slaves. 

We see, then, how closely the kind Creator has con- 
nected our interest with our duty, and made it eacli 
man's happiness to contribute to the welfare of his 

But still, the more noble motive to a generous soul, 
is that which springs from a benevolent desire of dif- 
fusing the joys of life to all around him. There is 
nothing, he thinks, so desirable as to be the instrument 
of doing good ; and the further it is extended, the 
greater is the delight, and the more glorious his 
character. Benignity to friends and relations is but a 
narrow-spirited quality compared with this, and per- 
haps as frequently the effect of caprice, or pride, as of 
a benevolent temper. But when our flow of good-will 
spreads itself to all the society, and, in them, to 
distant posterity — when charity rises into public 
spirit, and partial affection is extended into general 
benevolence — then it is that man shines in the highest 
lustre, and is the truest image of his Divine Maker. 

But notwithstanding all that has been said in favor 
of this affection, laudable as it is, we are not, however, 
to forget, that it may be so conducted as to become a 
very criminal passion. If any associated body, appre- 
hending themselves superior to other states, should, 
for that reason only, invade their rights, this would 
be to undermine the very foundation of society, and, 
consequently, an unjustifiable enterprise. Does true 
patriotism inspire such a conduct ? Does the love of 
our country teach us to aggrandize it at the ruin of 


another? Undoubtedly not. And if we think at all, 
we must allow such attempts utterly repugnant to the 
fundamental laws of justice and universal charity. 
Hard would be his fate who should be commanded to 
perform such a service, and glorious the triumph of 
his soul if he resolved to decline it ! In vain would 
he call in the example of ancient Rome for his en- 
couragement ; for, after all the extravagant encomiums 
bestowed upon her patriotism, we shall scarce be able 
to clear it from the imputation of flagrant tyranny. 
Rome, early possessed with the high fanaticism of dis- 
tinction and empire, declared war against mankind, 
and, out of a feverish fondness for dominion and re- 
nown, laid desolate all the known world. Their pos- 
sessions, their habitations, their paintings, their sculp- 
tures, all their riches, were the spoils of injured nations. 
Thus they erected to themselves an empire as un- 
wieldy as it was unjust, on the ruin of their fellow- 
creatures. What, then, are all their beautiful lectures, 
and pompous declamations, on the love of their country ? 
— what their labored orations in praise of liberty ! 
Indisputable proofs, indeed, of their eloquence, but 
not so of their humanity. If the language of be- 
nevolence were to constitute the patriotic character, 
you must allow it due to these Romans ; but if actions 
are to ascertain the right, we shall find it a difficult 
task to make good their claim, though we were 
masters even of their own eloquence. 

Look into their city, and behold the inhabitants; 
there you will find this celebrated freedom spreading 
itself only amongst particular branches, and giving a 
few the license to tyrannize over an infinite number 
of miserable slaves, rendered more wretched by hav- 


ing always before their eyes a disagreeable subject of 
comparison. Look into their provinces (which they 
ought to have protected), and you behold scenes of the 
utmost injustice, barbarity and horror. Their tyrants 
not content with what might with some degree of pro- 
priety be called lawful taxation, but murdering them 
in cold blood without mercy. Now and then, it is 
true, you see the conquered enjoying a little ease un- 
der a humane, honest governor; but in general their 
oppressions were intolerable, and their whole admin- 
istration no better than a course of hostility and 

Let us change the scene, and take a cursory view 
of our own case. Thanks and praise be given to the 
Lord God of armies, it is our felicity not to be mem- 
bers of such a society ! not to be in so abject and 
humiliating a state as those Roman colonies were! 
We have never yet been conquered ; we never yet 
tamely received laws from a tyrant nor never will, 
while the cause of religion, the cause of nature and of 
nature's God cry aloud, or even whisper resistance to 
an oppressor's execrated power. The gloomy cloud 
that has long been gathering over our Jerusalem, is 
indeed still formidable, and demands our utmost 
efforts to effectuate its dispersion; and this great and 
wished for good is in all human probability the most 
likely to be accomplished by firmness, unanimity, 
perseverance and a fixed determination strenuously to 
execute and. defend what our Continental Congress, 
provincial assemblies, commanding officers, and so 
forth, shall wisely and prudently resolve. 

Let fools for modes of government contest, 
That which is best administer^ is best. 


And here I will observe, that it was not through 
licentious opposition, or for conquest, we drew the 
sword, but for justice; not to introduce, but to pre- 
vent slavery ; not upon a vain principle of ambition 
to gratify the resentment or pride of any individuals, 
(as many of our internal enemies have stupidly and 
falsely asserted) but in defence of the plainest rights, 
such as all mankind have ever claimed, at the call of 
a provoked and long injured people, and that after 
every other method of redress had been tried in vain. 

The liberty we contend for is not the license of a 
few to tyrannize over multitudes, but an equal free- 
dom to all, so far as is consistent with the present cir- 
cumstances of our country, good order, the constitu- 
tion, and peace of government. These are circum- 
stances which give a sanction to patriotism, and not 
only justify, but demand our most active resolutions 
to promote the welfare of our country by all those 
methods which become a civilized and numerous peo- 
ple, born with an instinctive love of liberty. 

If we bear a true and cordial affection for our coun- 
try, we shall be warm and active in her cause; a 
calm concern is inconsistent with true patriotism, 
which gives ardor to the coldest breast and makes 
even cowards brave. 

There never was a country had stronger motives to 
unite in active zeal than this, nor was there ever a 
time required it more than the present. By how 
much the more the enjoyment of liberty hath been as- 
serted, improved and established amongst us, so much 
the greater ought to be our resolution to maintain it, 
and the more scandalous is our folly if we lose it. Lib- 
erty with danger is better than slavery with security. 


Of all the known parts of the world, and for many 
ages, Britain hath been the most extolled for the love 
and protection of liberty ; there the heavenly goddess 
seemed to have fixed her temple ; and whilst her sa- 
cred fires have been extinguished in so many other 
countries, there they have till lately been religiously 
kept alive; there she hath had her saints and her con- 
fessors, and a whole army of martyrs. But, alas ! 
how are the mighty fallen ! The gates of hell have 
prevailed against her. 

If, then, liberty be that delicious and wholesome 
fruit on which the British nation hath fed for aires, and 
to which they owe their riches, their strength, and all 
the advantages they boast of, surely it is highly incum- 
bent upon us to cherish and cultivate the tree which 
bears that delicious fruit, and will continue to bear it 
as long as we are careful to fence it in and trench it 
round against the beasts of the field and insects of the 
earth. It is, then, our duty to be ever vigorous and 
ardent in the support of such a cause ; to reverence 
the majesty of liberty, and conform our conduct to it ; 
to cause all other inclinations to bow to this ; to make 
it, in short, the constant object of our warmest wishes, 
closest attention, and highest admiration — " to prefer 
Jerusalem above our chief joy." 

We shall give a further proof of our patriotism, if, 
out of a sense of the obligations we lie under to those 
on whom the execution or management of our glorious 
cause is delegated, we endeavor to strengthen their 
hands, oil the wheels of patriotic power, and smooth 
the rugged paths of their administration. Whilst they 
discharge their important duties with ability and honor, 
the} r have a just demand to the returns of grateful 


acknowledgments, and are entitled to the warmest 
applause of that people whom they have faithfully 
served. And as it is incumbent upon us to pay this 
tribute, so it is natural for them to expect it. Glory 
is the reward of honorable toils, and public fame is the 
just retribution for public service ; the love of which 
is so connected with virtue that it seems scarcely pos- 
sible to be possessed of the latter without some degree 
of the former. Nor is this any sort of derogation to 
the benevolence of the character. A good man feels 
a pleasure from the reputation he acquires by serving 
his country, because he loves it ; but he does not love 
it merely for the sake of that pleasure ; the passion 
did not spring from the expectation of the delight, but 
the delight was the consequence of the passion. 

But, after all these duties are discharged, we must 
not stop here: something more is still required at our 
hands to give the finishing testimony. If the love of 
your country is indeed the governing principle of 
your soul, you will give up every inclination which is 
incompatible w T ith it; nor will you cherish in your 
hearts any rivals of the favorite passion. All the 
train of darling vices must therefore be brought forth, 
and offered up as victims on the altars of liberty. 
You cannot be said to " prefer Jerusalem above your 
chief joy" whilst you foster any appetites which have 
a manifest tendency to her detriment. But what is 
so pernicious to the common weal as vice ? and what 
vice so much as luxury ? It is this which enfeebles 
the body, corrupts the mind, impoverishes the fortune, 
and introduces every baneful cause of ruin. This it 
was which destroyed imperial Rome, and assisted 
Cresar to enslave her citizens. She had strength 


enough left to withstand the attacks of her enemies ; 
but those who seemed to wish her prosperity had not 
virtue enough to give up their luxury to her interest. 
Home, therefore, fell a sacrifice to the vices of her 
friends. Effects always correspond to their causes. 
If we pursue the same course, w r e must expect the 
same fate. 

This consideration is surely sufficient to rouse our 
virtue, and make us abandon all intemperate pursuits. 
But if, out of a luxurious vanity, we consume the 
manufactures of other countries, to the detriment of 
our own ; if our profusion in extravagant expenses 
render us less able or less willing to assist the public, 
we violate the most sacred of all social duties, and be- 
come flagrant transgressors of the will of our Creator. 

It was such a conduct as this which provoked the 
anger of God against the Israelites, when he sent his 
prophet (Amos) to them with this denunciation : " Woe 
unto them that are at ease in Zion ! ye that put far 
away the evil day, and cause the seat of violence to 
come near! That lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch 
themselves upon their couches, eat the lambs out of 
the flock, and calves out of the midst of the stall ; that 
chant to the sound of the viol, and invent to themselves 
instruments of music ; that drink wine out of bowls, 
and anoint themselves with their chief ointments; but 
are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph !" A beau- 
tiful and pathetic description this of the levity of the 
Hebrews ; who, at a time of public distress, regarded 
only the indulgence of voluptuous appetites, but never 
felt one tender sentiment for their bleeding country, 
" were not grieved for the affliction of Joseph." Thus 
the children of Israel were brought down (says the Scrip. 


hire) in that day, and the children of Judah prevailed, 
because they relied on the Lord their God. These 
things were written for our admonition, as well as the 
Jews ; and the woe denounced is equally applicable to 
any other nation in the like circumstances. 

Let us, then, not build too much upon human pros- 
pects, or shut God out of our councils and designs ; 
but let us flee humbly to him for succor in a pious 
acknowledgment that without him nothing is strong, 
that without him no king can be saved by the multi- 
tude of an host, nor the mightiest man be delivered by 
his strength. 

Our unnatural enemies have their earthly king, their 
lords spiritual and temporal to apply to on this oc- 
casion ; let us leave them to their protection, and let 
us choose on our part the Lord of lords for our God 
and for our king. In his name have we set up our 
banners, who alone " giveth victory unto kings, and 
saveth from the perils of the sword." Let us every 
one contribute his endeavor to reduce and lessen the 
weight of public guilt, by at least reforming and 
amending himself, and unite in our prayers and in 
every good work, that " God may be entreated for the 
land." So we may piously hope, that he will go forth 
with our armies, and " command deliverance for 
Jacob ;" that through him we shall " cast down our 
enemies, and keep them under that rise up against us." 
So shall we not only consult the peace and prosperity 
of this our Jerusalem, but shall provide in the best 
manner for our future peace and happiness in a better 
country, and shall be received as true sons and citizens 
of that Jerusalem which is above. 

To conclude : — Temperance and patriotism go hand 


in hand, and adhere together by an inseparable con- 
nection. And as there can be no real virtue in that 
breast which is not susceptible of the love of the 
public, so there can be no genuine love of the public 
where virtue is wanting ; since that is not only the 
truest ornament but the best support of the com- 
munity. National aifection, therefore, if it be derived 
from a true principle, must necessarily inspire a moral 
conduct, must incline us to quit every baneful vice, to 
contract the circle even of what we call innocent 
amusements, and, instead of looking out for daily 
parties of pleasure, it will prompt ns rather to make 
a constant festival of human kindness, the most deli- 
cious of all entertainments to a generous mind. If 
we behave thus, then we are patriots indeed. It is 
thus we are to arm ourselves against our unprincipled 
enemies ; who, though they should not dread our 
strength, will certainly stand in awe of our virtue.. 
Whilst we act in this manner, our professions will not 
only meet with full applause from men, but also with 
the approbation of God, when, with the pious ardor 
of the text, we cry out : " If I forget thee, O Jeru- 
salem ! let my right hand forget her cunning ; if I do 
not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof 
of my mouth — if I prefer not Jerusalem above my 
chief joy." 


This divine and historian was a native of Hitchin, 
Hertfordshire, England. In the early portion of his min- 
isterial life he was settled as pastor of a large indepen- 
dent congregation at Ipswich, and after the death of 
Doctor David Jennings, he was chosen as his successor 
in the church at Wapping. In both these positions he 
was an earnest laborer for the cause of Christ, and only 
relinquished them to emigrate to America, where he 
thought greater rewards for his work awaited him. He 
arrived in New-England about the year 1770, and 
-having preached about three years to a congregation 
in the vicinity of Boston, was ordained as minister of 
the Third Church at Roxbury. This was in 1772. 

During the struggles of the colonists with the crown 
and ministry of England, he took a bold and active 
part with the former, and at an early period was 
chosen chaplain to the Provincial Congress of Massa- 
chusetts. Struck with the importance of the scenes 
that were opening upon the world at that time, he 
formed a design of compiling their history, which he 
made known to Washington, and meeting with the de- 
sired encouragement from that great man, he devoted 
himself to the procuring of the best materials, whether 
oral, written, or printed. In these researches he en- 


joyed the co-operation of the most distinguished men 
of the time, and was enabled by them to procure 
access to their private as well as public papers and 
documents. At the conclusion of the war he returned 
to his native country, and in 1788 published the result 
of his historical researches, in four handsome volumes. 
In 1793 he again took up the standard of Christianity, 
and was settled as pastor at St. Neots in Huntingdon- 
shire, but failing intellect caused his early retirement 
from this position, and he preached but occasionally 
thereafter. His last days were a blank, his memory 
left him, and sinking into imbecility, he remained in 
that state without suffering until the 19th of October, 

1803, when he died. 

The sermon which follows this imperfect sketch was 
preached before the general court of Massachusetts on 
the first anniversary of American Independence. It 
was published under the title of " The Separation of 
the Jewish Tribes after the death of Solomon account- 
ed for and applied to the present day." 


The fulness and variety of Scripture is such, that no 
occurrence, whether public, domestic, or private, pre- 
sents itself, but you may find a text suitable to the 
same. How far I have been directed to choose the 
right, I submit to the better judgment of this venera- 


Lie audience : but 1 mean to improve the present 
opportunity by treating on the separation that hap- 
pened amongst the Jewish tribes in the time of Reho- 
boam, and to ground the discourse upon these words : 

Wherefore the king hearkened not unto the people : for the cause was 
from the Lord. — 1 Kings, xii. 15. 

The sacred oracles enable us to solve many a diffi- 
culty in the ancient and modern history of the world. 
According to their doctrine, the Lord Jehovah, the 
Creator of the universe, governs all his works, whether 
material or immaterial, animate or inanimate, rational 
or irrational, men or angels, agreeably to an infinitely 
wise plan formed from the beginning ; and brings to 
pass his own purpose, doing all his pleasure and caus- 
ing his counsel to stand, amidst the various jarring 
devices of created intelligent beings. He hath wisdom 
and strength. He hath counsel and understanding. 
He doeth great things and unsearchable; marvellous 
things without number. He setteth up on high those 
that be low ; that those which mourn may be exalted 
to safety. He disappointeth the devices of the crafty, 
so that their hands cannot perform their enterprise. 
He taketh the wise in their own craftiness : and the 
counsel of the froward is carried headlong. The de- 
ceived and the deceiver are his. __ He leadeth counsel- 
lors away spoiled, and maketh the judges fools. He 
looseth the bond of kings, and breaketh the rod of the 
oppressor. He poureth contempt upon princes, and 
weakeneth the strength of the mighty. He taketh 
away the heart of the chiefs of the people of the earth, 
and causeth them to wander in a wilderness where 


there is ho way. He plucketh up, pulleth down, and 
destroyeth kingdoms. Hebuildeth, and planteth, and 
prospereth nations. In fine, bis influence extends to 
all events, whether more or less important, that so 
each may work together, in its respective place, toward 
the accomplishment of that perfect scheme of universal 
government which He hath projected. Thus we are 
taught to account for those grand revolutions that take 
place at times in these lower regions ; and that are 
brought forward by circumstances in themselves appa- 
rently trifling; and that might easily have been pre- 
vented by a prudent and speedy compliance with the 
reasonable requests of the aggrieved. 

The Jewish state flourished amazingly under the 
reign of Solomon, whose court was the resort of the 
wise and noble; for there came of all people to hear 
the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, 
which had heard of his wisdom. (1 Kings, iv. 31.) 
The friendship of this wise king was courted by neigh- 
boring states, who paid him their annual tributes. 
He enlarged his dominions, so as to rule over all the 
region on this side the river, the great river Euphrates, 
from Tiphsah even unto Azzah, over all the kings on 
this side the river, and he had peace on all sides 
around about him. (1 Kings, iv. 21.) Trade and com- 
merce were prosecuted with that spirit, and attended 
with such success, as that he made silver and gold at 
Jerusalem as plenteous as stones, and cedar-trees 
made he as the sycamore-trees that are in the vale for 
abundance. (2 Chron. i. 15.) His subjects enjoyed 
not only plenty, but security : Judah and Israel dwelt 
safely, every man under his vine and under his fig- 
tree, from Dan even to Beersheba, from one end of 


the country to the other, all the days of Solomon. 
(1 Kings, iv. 25.) 

One would have concluded, from the height the 
Jewish empire had reached, when at its meridian in 
the reign of Solomon, that, like the summer's sun, it 
would have been long in declining. But, alas ! how 
soon did the glory and fashion of it pass away, through 
the bad policy that prevailed under the reign of his 
successor. Solomon's funeral is scarce closed, before 
fatal dissensions arise : the Jewish tribes separate, 
through the imprudence and tyranny of Rehoboam, 
and the empire is suddenly divided into two inde- 
pendent states. 

Thus the most destructive events may be in the rear 
of the most successful. It is not for a community, 
any more than a private person, to say, glorying in 
present appearances: " My mountain standeth strong, 
I shall not be moved, I shall never be in adversity." 
When great mercies, bestowed upon a sinful nation, 
are productive of great vices, instead of leading to 
repentance and the practice of virtue, Divine justice 
may hurl it, without further warning, into the depths 
of misery. 

When George II., of blessed memory, was upon 
the verge of eternity, the British nation had nearly 
attained the summit of its glory. That worth}"' sov- 
ereign had the happiness of his reign interrupted by 
an unprovoked rebellion, and by wars with foreign 
powers ; but its close was like that of the setting sun, 
with not a cloud about it, when the storm that low- 
ered in the sky hath been broken and dispersed. His 
loyal subjects enjoyed the glorious circumstances, 
while they sincerely mourned its being a setting and 


not a rising sun. However, they consoled themselves 
with the hopes, that his successor would possess the 
royal virtues of his aged grandsire, and prove the 
happy instrument of confirming and lengthenmg out 
the British glory, and therefore hailed his ascension 
to the throne with loud and hearty acclamations. 
These had scarce ceased, ere it was perceived that he 
baneful influence which George II. foresaw, dreaded 
as bi „ with misery to his subjects, and spoke of with 
concern to his trusty servants, was giving a wrong 
bias to public measures. Old and experienced per- 
sons conversant with business, and who had the con- 
fidence of the people, were removed, that so an am- 
bitious favorite of high-flying principles, with his 
clan of pliant dependents, might be admitted into 
places of honor, power and profit. The throne was 
soon surrounded by men of despotic sentiments, and 
the complexion of the court was such as that not only 
violent tories, but known Jacobites repaired to it with 
confidence, while the stanch friends of the House o 
Hanover were so coolly received as to be really slight- 
ed This occasioned many converts from among those 
who were attached to the Pretender's family ; but, as 
a political writer wisely and severely observed though 
they changed their idol they retained their idolatry. 
They were, with the party they had joined, for having 
the "king absolute ; but as Britons were strenuous lor 
the forms of liberty, though negligent as to liberty 
itself, they were for making him so by law, which, as 
the nation was lost to public virtue, might easily be 
done by corrupting and securing a majority in par- 
liament No wonder that, while the leading men had 
such principles and views, and the sovereign a tern- 


per well adapted to second and support them, should 
he not be thought the first promoter ; unwarrantable 
methods were adopted for procuring moneys for the 
purpose of ministry, without regarding the rights of 
those that were to pay them, and that a firm and de- 
termined opposition to such proceedings was deemed 
and treated as disobedience to legal authority. From 
hence hath originated a separation between those that 
were as nearly related and as strongly united as the 
Jewish tribes. Such was the warm affection that the 
colonists had for Great Britain, that they considered 
her as their home, and honored her as their mother 
country. In all her afflictions, they were afflicted ; 
and when she rejoiced, they were glad. With what 
anxiety did they expect news when her ruin was 
threatened by rebellions or invasions ! how did they 
wish that they could cross the Atlantic in her defence ! 
how did they exult in her salvations ! and how were 
their hearts enlarged in thanksgivings to God for her 
successes ! But how has the cruelty of the British 
legislature, and the tameness of the British nation in 
suffering it, produced such an alienation of heart in 
the colonists, that many, very many, can scarce wish 
to be connected with her more, in any way whatso- 
ever. As a friend to the rights of mankind in general, 
and of this continent in particular, I can but pray 
that the Kins; of kin^s would ^ive his sanction to 
what the Congress declared this day twelvemonth, 
and by succeeding, make the United States of Amer- 
ica perpetually free and independent / being assured 
that there is no alternative but that of the most hor- 
rid slavery ; and yet as a native of Great Britain, 
and considering that that is the land of the sepulchres 


of your forefathers, I can but wish that, though we 
have been drove into an independency, we may 
not be forced into a total separation. However, it is 
likely that we shall see the words of Rehoboam's 
father verified : " A brother offended is harder to be 
won than a strong city, and their contentions are like 
the bars of a castle, of an unusual size, beyond what 
are to be met with in common among strangers." 
Prov. xviii. 19. 

Return we to the sacred history. 

Rehoboam repaired to Shechem, where all Israel 
met to make him king. The house of David could 
plead a divine right to the throne ; and yet God — de- 
signing to intimate that its princes were to rule for 
the good of the subjects, were not to lord it over his 
heritage, and would forfeit their right should they com- 
mence tyrants — did leave the investiture in the hands 
of the people Thus, upon every new instalment, the 
people had an opportunity of relating the grievances 
they labored under during the preceding reign, and 
of insisting on a redress ere they acknowledged the 
successor. Accordingly all the congregation came 
and spake unto Rehoboam, saying, Thy father made 
our yoke grievous : now, therefore, make thou the 
grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke, 
which he put upon us, lighter, and we will serve thee, 
(v. 3, 4.) We are not told what were the particulars on 
which this general complaint was grounded. We may 
conclude, from the acknowledgment contained in Re- 
hoboam's answer, that it was not without foundation. 
The advantages enjoyed under the reign of Solomon 
were uncommon ; notwithstanding which, there were 
some things peculiarly disgustful that the people were 


not willing to submit to under his successor; and that 
Rehoboam might not construe their silence into an 
acquiescence, they determine upon speaking their 
minds freely, and stipulating with him upon what 
terms they would serve him-. Whether they thought 
the expenses of government multiplied unnecessarily, 
or designedly misapplied ; whether they objected to 
the taxes as too great, or to the mode of laying and 
raising them ; or to the imperious, insolent, and op- 
pressive behavior of crown officers ; whether any, 
some, or each of these, were particular matters of 
complaint, must remain in uncertainty ; but they con- 
sidered themselves as having been under a heavy 
yoke and grievous servitude. They therefore intimate 
to Rehoboam that they will not serve him unless 
he would lighten their burdens. This circumstance 
plainly proves that they did not apprehend themselves 
bound to non-resistance and passive obedience, though 
Kehoboam should plead that he was king jure divino. 
The language of their procedure was : We submit to 
no unconditional sovereignty. You must solemnly 
promise, before we install you and acknowledge our- 
selves your subjects. Then we shall know what we 
have to trust to, and when our obligation to obedience 
ceases. Do we approve of your proposals, we will 
serve you ; if not, we are at liberty to serve whom we 
please. Do we agree to your proposals, we are bound 
to serve you while you keep to them ; but do you 
vary from them without our consent, the contract is 
ended — our allegiance is absolved ; we have a right 
to choose another sovereign, or to alter the mode of 
government, as we may judge most expedient. Let 
it be observed, that these were the sentiments not of 


a disaffected party, but of all the congregation of 
Israel, at a period not when the nation was overrun 
with ignorance, and priestcraft influenced, but imme- 
diately after the Jews had been tutored in the school 
of wisdom by the greatest and acntest genius that ever 
lived. Here I may introduce with propriety, the fol- 
lowing words of the Rev. Dr. Thomas Newton, wrote 
upon another occasion: "Not only in this particular, 
but in the general, the Scriptures, though often per- 
verted to the purposes of tyranny, are yet, in their 
own nature, calculated to promote the civil as well as 
the religious liberties of mankind. True religion and 
virtue, and liberty, are more nearly related and more 
intimately connected with each other than people com- 
monly consider. It is very true, as St. Paul saith, 
that where the spirit of the Lord is there is liberty; 
or as our Saviour himself expresseth it, ' If ye con- 
tinue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 
and the truth shall make ye free.' " "Whether these, 
which were the sentiments of a private clergyman, con- 
tinue those of the Bishop of Bristol, since advance- 
ment, is immaterial to the public ; but they will be 
perpetuated in his incomparable Dissertations on the 
Prophecies, volume L, page 313. 

Rehoboam having heard what the people had to 
say, with seeming prudence defers giving them an 
answer, till he had time to consider the affair, and 
consult his counsellors, and so sends them away for 
the present, saying, depart yet for three days, then 
come a^ain to me. Had Pehoboam a good design in 
thus delaying the matter he ought to be commended 
for it ; but the policy of princes is so exceeding intri- 
cate and crooked, that he might only mean to gain time 


by it. He might resent their conduct in presenting 
such a petition ; artfully conceal his displeasure ; give 
it to all appearance a gracious reception ; propose by 
that means to make them secure, to deceive and to 
divide them ; and think that within the three days, 
what with corrupting some, wheedling others and 
frightening the timid, he should so weaken the oppo- 
sition as to have nothing to fear from it. Such policy 
would only have resembled that of modern times. 
Rehoboam, however, to keep up the farce, consulted 
with the old men that stood before Solomon his father, 
while he yet lived, and said, How do you advise, that 
I may answer this people? The people when they 
had heard he had consulted the old statesmen of the 
former reign, might promise themselves a redress of 
grievances from their wisdom, and be ready to con- 
gratulate each other upon the pleasing prospect. In 
this George III. did not resemble Rehoboam. The 
reason for it may easily be conjectured. He was well 
assured, that had he consulted the old men that stood 
before his grandfather while he yet lived, they, like 
Solomon's counsellors, would have advised him to 
have complied with the petition of the complainants ; 
which, as he had no inclination to do, he might fear 
would embarrass his affairs and disconcert his favorite 

The old men gave counsel to Rehoboam saying, If 
thou wilt be a servant to this people this day, and 
wilt serve them, and answer them, and speak good 
words to them, then they will be thy servants forever. 
The old men had studied, been long acquainted with, 
and knew the temper of the people; that they were 
not given to change ; that they did not seek occasion 


to separate from Solomon's successor ; that they sought 
nothing more than to have their petition complied 
with ; that their proposals were honest, whatever de- 
signing and interested men might insinuate ; and that 
they would keep their word with Rehoboam were 
they gratified ; therefore, they do not hesitate to de- 
clare positively what would be the happy consequence 
would he answer them graciously, and speak good 
words to them. 

Whether it was owing entirely to Rehoboam's not 
relishing this good advice ; or partly to that, and 
partly to the cunning practices of some selfish ser- 
vants, who were sensible, that, if he followed it, their 
schemes of aggrandizing themselves and families would 
be totally ruined ; so it was, that he forsook the coun- 
sel of the old men, which they had given him, and 
consulted with the young men that were grown up 
with him, and which stood before him. 

The persons here styled young men, were not so 
very young in point of years ; for, from its being said 
that they were grown up with Rehoboam, we must 
conclude that they were of the same age with him ; 
and he was forty and one years old when he began to 
reign ; but they were young men compared with the 
old men that stood before Solomon ; they were young 
also in point of political knowledge, and the art of 
governing properly. They had lived long enough to 
have been good politicians and wise counsellors, if 
they had applied themselves to the study of human 
nature, the tempers of mankind, and the history of 
states and kingdoms ; but they had neglected these 
particulars and had applied themselves to the pleasing 
and getting the favor of the prince, to whom they 


had been appointed companions when young, and 
with whom they were grown up. They were raw and 
inexperienced, as to state affairs ; and no ways lit to 
be advised with in matters of the first importance, 
which required the greatest sagacity, and a judgment 
matured by repeated practice. 

Men may have old heads, and yet be incapable of 
giving proper counsel, for want of understanding what 
they are consulted about. But as Rehoboam did not 
approve of the counsel of the old men, he discovered 
his policy, in applying to the young men that were 
grown up with him: for there was no danger of their 
giving advice that would be disagreeable to him. 
They had been so long about his person, that they 
knew his temper (perhaps better than what he him- 
self did), what counsel would be acceptable to him ; 
and they would not run the hazard of being turned 
out of place, and removed from before him, by advis- 
ing to measures that he might dislike. Not only so, 
but they might have been so long habituated to adapt 
their own inclinations to that of the prince, with 
whom they had grown up, as that harsh proceedings 
might please them, no less than him. We cannot be 
surprised, therefore, that they spake unto hiin, saying ; 
" Thus shalt thou speak unto this people, that spake 
unto thee, saying. Thy father made our yoke heavy, 
but make thou it lighter unto us : thus thou shalt say 
unto them, My little finger shall be thicker than my 
father's loins. And now, whereas my father did lade 
you with an heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke: 
my father hath chastised you with whips, but I will 
chastise you with scorpions." 

Eehoboam, though descended from Solomon, had 


very little of Solomon's wisdom, or* he must have 
known that such an answer as this would only inflame 
the people, and make matters worse ; but it so suited 
his arbitrary disposition, that when they came to him 
on the third day, according to appointment, he an- 
swered them roughly, forsook the old men's counsel, 
and spoke to them after the counsel of the young men. 
It must appear strange that any one who was not 
quite a natural should commit such a horrid blunder, 
and dream of bullying, with great sounding words 
of vanity, a high-spirited people struggling for their 
liberties, and determined not to submit to past hard- 
ships. But our text tells us how it came about, and 
wherefore it was that the king hearkened not unto 
the people : he did it not, for the cause was from the 
Lord, that he might perform his saying, which the 
Lord spake by Abijah the Shilonite unto Jeroboam 
the son of Nebat. What the Lord spake by Ahijah 
unto Jeroboam was, that He would rend the kingdom 
and give ten tribes to him. It was the will and de- 
sign of Heaven that the ten tribes should be separa- 
ted from Kehoboam ; wherefore it was that the king 
hearkened not unto the people. He was left to him- 
self, to act a foolish, obstinate part, and to follow the 
worst advice, that so the purpose of the Most High 
might be accomplished. 

This is the only rational way of accounting for what 
happened ; and thus was it according to the Latin 
adage — those whom God means to destroy, he first of 
all bereaves of sense. Kehoboam bein^ so lost to 
common sense as to give the answer above related, 
the people resented it with a becoming spirit ; and 
having nothing good to hope for, from one who could 


treat them thus cavalierly, as though they were his 
beasts of burden, should they enter into further treaty 
with him ; and being confident that it was not the 
will of Heaven that the Lord's free people should sub- 
mit to be enslaved by a tyrant, because he was de- 
scended from David, whom the Lord had anointed to 
be kin a: over the tribes of Israel, thev had a recourse 
to the unalienable rights of human nature, declared 
themselves free and independent, saying : " What por- 
tion have we in David ? neither have we inheritance 
in the son of Jesse : to your tents, O Israel ; now see 
to thine house, David." 

In the warmth of their resentment, they seem to 
speak disrespectfully of David ; but when persons are 
enraged with cruel treatment, and that after having 
meant well and honestly, it is not unusual for them to 
utter those harsh expressions that they w T ould not 
adopt in cooler moments. So Israel departed unto 
their tents. Rehoboam was soon sensible of his error; 
but in endeavoring to correct it, fell into another that 
made his affairs still worse. He sent Adoram, who 
w 7 as over the tribute, to treat with them. The tribute, 
we may suppose, was one ground of complaint ; and 
Adoram might, by his bad management in that de- 
partment, have made himself peculiarly obnoxious ; 
unless it was so, w T e can scarce think that he would 
have fallen a sacrifice to their rage in such a way, for 
all Israel stoned him with stones that he died. Had 
Rehoboam sent one or more who had the love and 
confidence of the people, and were possessed of pru- 
dence, some good might possibly have come of it, and 
a reconciliation have taken place ; but that was not to 
be, and therefore the aggrieved were insulted in the 


commissioner employed by him. When Adoram was 
stoned, Rehoboam perceived that it would not be safe 
for him to remain longer at Shechem, and therefore 
made speed to mount his chariot, and fled to Jeru- 
salem. When he got there, he thought the ten tribes 
were of too much consequence to be lost, though be- 
fore, being far from the • seat of government, they 
might have been slighted, and been spoken of in di- 
minutive terms by the courtiers ; and he determined 
upon reducing them to obedience by arms. 

Accordingly he assembled all the house of Judah, 
with the tribe of Benjamin, an hundred and fourscore 
thousand chosen men, who were warriors, to fight 
against the house of Israel, to bring the kingdom to 
Rehoboam the son of Solomon. What horrid scenes 
were now likely to commence ! Countrymen, breth- 
ren in blood, brethren in religion, falling upon and 
slaughtering each other with the weapons of destruc- 
tion ! Houses on fire ! Towns in flames ! Women 
and children shrieking, crying, and flying, without 
conveniences, without necessaries, into woods and 
dens and caves for safety ! Sons, brethren, lovers, 
husbands, parents and grand-parents wallowing in 
blood, and expiring in agonies ! Scenes not to be im- 
agined without shuddering ! But an infinitely merci- 
ful God interdicts the whole by a most timely message. 
The word of God came unto Shemajah, the man of 
God, saying, speak unto Rehoboam the son of Solo- 
mon the king of Judah, and unto all the house of 
Judah and Benjamin, and to the remnant of the peo- 
ple, saying, thus saith the Lord, ye shall not go up, 
nor fight against your brethren, the children of Israel ; 
return every man to his house, for this thing is from 


me. Did Eehoboam's regard to the divine prohibi- 
tion influence him to desist, it was more to Ills cre- 
dit than had he marched against and subdued the 
ten tribes ; but it is to be apprehended, from the 
temper he had before showed, that the authority of 
the man of God to deliver such a message would 
have been disputed by him, had not the Jews that 
cleaved to him been fully convinced of the message 
being from the Lord, which at once disarmed them 
of all hostile intentions against their brethren, though 
themselves accustomed to war. They hearkened, 
therefore, to the word of the Lord, and returned to 
depart according to the word of the Lord. Thus I 
have considered the revolution that commenced at 
the death of Solomon, and the progress of that sepa- 
ration from the house of David, that the ten tribes 
were drove into, by the insulting and tyrannical con- 
duct of Rehoboam — an event of that nature and so 
circumstanced, that can be accounted for only upon 
the principle assigned by the sacred historian — the 
king hearkened not unto the people, for the cause was 
from the Lord. And it is upon that principle alone 
that we can rationally account for the separation that 
hath taken place between the United States of Amer- 
ica and Great Britain. That real friend to America 
and the rights of human nature, Dr. Price, was he ac- 
quainted with all the anecdotes to be gained on this 
side the Atlantic, relative to our affairs, instead of 
wording himself so cautiously : " I fancy I see," would 
not hesitate in saying : " I see in these measures 
something that cannot be accounted for merely by 
human ignorance." He would strike out, " I am in- 
clined to think that" and boldly pronounce, " The hand 


of Providence is in them, working to bring about 
some great ends." 

You must have applied already much of the dis- 
course ; for we have not been alluding to things done 
in secret; and you cannot be dwellers in Massa- 
chusetts, and be strangers to them. This continent 
complained of real grievances, and humbly petitioned. 
Whatever individuals of uncommon penetration might 
wish, from foreseeing what would necessarily exist 
sooner or later; the bulk of the people in every state, 
not this excepted, the body of the delegates would 
have been satisfied, would have rejoiced, would have 
been happy, had their requests been complied with. 
[No set of delegates could have insisted upon more 
without breaking the union of the colonies. Instead 
of being heard and relieved, the yoke was increased by 
fresh acts of cruelty, and new burdens laid upon the 
continent. Our first grievances were spoken of as if 
not real ; and as though we complained without cause, 
it was determined that we should have cause for com- 
plaining. We had not been accustomed to a state of 
slavery; therefore could not brook such treatment 
without resenting it. In the British Parliament we 
were posted up to the world for poltroons, and the 
ministry promised themselves a victory over all our 
resolutions to be free, without any slaughter. " The 
cabinet was in no disposition to give America any re- 
dress. The king was our inveterate enemy, and or- 
dered the ministers to persevere in the old plan ; and 
it was determined by the secret ruling power to dis- 
tress us as much as possible. This ruler, being the 
veriest coward that human nature can know," no 
wonder that he w T as afraid lest we were falsely aspersed, 


and wished to Lave the trifling military stores we had 
collected for service, in case matters were brought to 
an extremity, destroyed.* Instructions for doing 
it were transmitted ; blood being wantonly spilt 
in attempting to execute them, we were at once 
plunged into a defensive war, with the greatest power 
in the world, what with her riches, her resources, her 
alliances, her armies and navies. 

When we look back to that important period, and 
recollect that we w T ere without an army, without 
money and without ammunition, we are amazed, that 
instead of being galled to the bone with the yoke of 
slavery, we are keeping the anniversary of our inde- 
pendency. The sword being drawn and the ground 
stained with the blood of its inhabitants, the people 
offered themselves willingly in the cause of liberty, 
and the colonies united more closely. Still we were 
desirous, if possible, of an accommodation. We there- 

* Taken out of a letter from a gentleman at London to his friend in 
Virginia, copied and sent over by the late Jeremiah Quincy, juu., Esq., 
whose death was occasioned by his zeal to serve the American cause, no 
less than if he had been slain in the field, as appears from the following 
minutes in his journal — " It is a good deal against my own private opin- 
ion and inclination that I now sail to America. I have had no letters 
from thence since they knew of my arrival. I know not what my next 
letters may contain. Besides, the fine season is now coming on here, 
and Dr. Fothergill thinks Bristol air and water would give me perfect 
health. On the other hand, my most intimate friends (except Mr. 
Bloomfield) insist upon my going directly to Boston. They say no let- 
ters can go with safety, and that I can deliver more information and 
advice viva voce, than could or ought to be wrote. They say my going 
now (if I arrive safe) must be of great advantage to the American cause." 
He attempted to serve the cause in the way advised to, notwithstanding 
the personal dangers attending it, and lost his life in the attempt. Let him 
be numbered therefore with the heroes that have fallen in the dispute. 


fore petitioned again, without rising in onr request?, 
only enlarging them to take in new grievances. In- 
stead of having them redressed, we were deemed and 
were to be treated as rebels. The power of Great 
Britain was to be employed in reducing us, by fire and 
sword, by armies and navies. This inclined several 
of the colonies to wish for independency ; but others 
would not hear of it, though it was known that the 
British ministry meant to employ Indians, Canadians 
and negroes against us. Union was essential to our 
safety : some colonies therefore could not be gratified 
in their desires after independency, till it was the wish 
of most or all. The delusive image of an inclination 
on the part of the ministry to settle the dispute by 
treaty, with which many in Britain were amused, fas- 
cinated numbers on this side the Atlantic ; but when 
it was found that the commission given to the Howes 
w T as to be supported by an army of foreign mercena- 
ries, a change of sentiments among the beguiled Amer- 
icans commenced, and the advocates for indepen- 
dency multiplied greatly, the measure being made ab- 
solutely necessary in order to self-preservation. 

The deep-laid scheme for destroying the army being 
discovered in a seasonable moment, removed the diffi- 
culties still remaining in the breasts of several well- 
affected to the cause and liberties of the continent, 
and brought every colony without exception to unite 
in declaring for a state of independency ; and that they 
were absolved from all allegiance to the British crown, 
and that all political connection between them and the 
state of Great Britain, was and ought to be totally 

A variety of particulars conspire to evidence, that 


it becomes us to say of this great event that it was 
from the Lord. The union of the colonies was marvel- 
lous, considering the methods taken to hinder it ; that 
they had their distinct interests, their mutual jealousies, 
and their different forms of government. The contin- 
uance of that union, notwithstanding the attempts 
made to prevent it — the general unanimity prevailing 
successively through the Congress — the ready compli- 
ance yielded to their recommendations and resolutions 
through the continent — the successes attending our 
military operations — the new modelling of most of our 
governments, that the people might thereby attain to 
the enjoyment of their civil rights, to a'degree beyond 
what was before known — the derangement of the plans 
concerted by the adherents of the British ministry in 
different colonies— the revolution in people's sentiments, 
making them fond of a measure that a few months 
before they abhorred the thought of — the oversight of 
king and Parliament in neglecting conciliatory meas- 
ures, while there was an opening for them, though 
urged strongly to it by the wisest statesmen in the 
kingdom — the unanimity of the Congress on a point 
which some weeks before would have occasioned a 
great division — and Lord Howe's not arriving till inde- 
pendency had been declared, which prevented his hav- 
ing the opportunity of dividing the public, and of 
obstructing the measure by the subtle arts of negotia- 
tion — these are matters so remarkable as not to admit 
of our excluding the special influence of Heaven. Let 
others, attached to a false philosophy, ascribe the sep- 
aration of the United States of America from Great 
Britain to moral and natural causes, without taking 
into the account the providential concern of the Most 


High in order to the accomplishment of his own divine 
purpose ; but let every religious assembly say, the 
king hearkened not unto the people, for the cause was 
from the Lord ; this thing is from God. And I heartily 
congratulate you upon his having brought it to pass, 
as the only secure way for your continuing free. I 
see not how it is possible for you to be ever more de- 
pendent upon Great Britain, without being in a state 
of bondage, and feeling all the horrors of slavery. I 
have not a doubt but that we are fully authorized, by 
reason and religion, for thus separating ; and am per- 
suaded that we are justified by the disinterested and 
impartial world. May the spirit of wisdom return 
speedily to the British councils, that so Britain may 
soon recover our friendship and secure our connection 
by commercial treaties, ere it is too late, and her ruin 
is sealed ! But of this I have little hope, unless some 
important event should take place in Europe, and 
oblige Britons to bethink themselves. I rather expect 
that they will strain every nerve to subdue us. And 
such is the impiety of the courtiers (I mean in justice 
to except the king), such the irreligion of lords and 
commons, that, was a messenger sent with the word 
of God to forbid the bloody purpose, he would be 
rejected without examining his credentials, and would 
probably be ordered into confinement as a madman. 
An angel from heaven would have less attention paid 
him than a threatening express from a neighboring 
power. Has not the God of nature declared agaip 
and again his disapprobation of their bloody proceed- 
ings, by scattering their fleets, staying their voyages, 
disconcerting their plans, delivering many of their 
stores into our hands, and plunging them continually 


into greater difficulties. 1 might enumerate the sever- 
al interpositions of Providence whereby we have been 
carried safely through the first year of our indepen- 
dency ; but your time will not permit it, and you can 
scarce have forgot or be ignorant of them. Notwith- 
standing all, the British ministry will still persist. 
O ! when — when — will the vengeance of Heaven 
overtake them, by awakening an injured, betrayed 
nation to avenge itself on such treasnable rulers ? 

Bear with me somewhat longer, my honorable hear- 
ers ; for methinks I perceive in a private corner a sly, 
crafty, and concealed enemy, whispering in the ear of 
his well disposed but timid neighbor : Why does he not 
proceed in the history, and observe to us that the 
separation of the ten tribes weakened and hastened 
the ruin of all? and may not the like be feared with 
regard to Great Britain and the United States of 
America ? I answer : The ruin of Great Britain will 
probably follow, unless prevented in the manner above 
mentioned. And though, in the heat of the present 
contest, and while engrossed in attending to our own 
safety, we can scarce find time to pity her, yet when 
w T e have got through our difficulties we shall bitterly 
lament her fall, and curse the memories of those who 
made it absolutely necessary for us to give her the 
mortal wound, that so we might escape with life and 
liberty. As to the United States of America, there 
is no reason to fear that it will be with them as it 
was with the ten tribes, do we improve by their errors. 
What led on to their ruin was their choosing another 
king when they had rejected Rekoboam, and not 
erecting a form of government that should keep out 
tyranny, after they had cast off the tyrant. They 


must needs call Jeroboam into the congregation, and 
make him king over all Israel ; and he, through 
jealousy lest the people, by frequenting the worship 
of the Lord God at Jerusalem, should be induced at 
length to return to Rehoboam, adopted a policy that 
caused Israel to sin, and forfeit the blessing and pro- 
tection of heaven. 

But we are not bound to repair to the metropolis of 
Great Britain that we may do homage to the Sovereign 
of the universe. Our separation from her can be no 
injury to the continent. Should she think of denying 
episcopal ordination to persons of that persuasion, she 
only endangers her own establishment, and conscien- 
tious persons of that communion will soon be able to 
procure episcopal ordination elsewhere. No damage 
can ensue to the continent, on the score of religion, 
from its separation. Nay, we may derive a benefit 
from it, even- beyond what is enjoyed in Britain, by 
embracing the present happy moment for establishing 
to all the peaceable enjoyment of the rights of con- 
science, while they approve themselves good members 
of civil society, be their religious principles what they 

In civil concerns, let us divest ourselves of that 
selfish partiality, and oppressive temper, which have 
so disgraced us of late, and benumbed those patriotic 
principles which animated us in the commencement 
of the present noble contest, turning numbers into 
sons of rapine and extortion that once passed for and 
called themselves high sons of liberty. The nature of 
the times must unavoidably make the necessaries, no 
less than the superfluities of life, much dearer than 
formerly, so that it would be folly to say, that all that 


advance which has taken place has been owing to 
oppression and extortion. But, if men in this day 
will not be content with a livelihood, and will make 
themselves fortunes, immense fortunes, out of the dis- 
tresses of the people, I say, let the curse of Heaven 
fall upon their substance, their unhallowed gains, till 
the same are providentially dispersed among the suf- 
ferers. 'Tis not a curse that is causeless. Says the 
wisest of men, He that withholdeth corn, the people 
shall curse him ; but blessing shall be upon the head 
of him that selleth it. (Prov. xi. 26.) To corn, we 
may add meat, wool, flax, sugar, salt ; in a word, all 
the necessary articles of. life, whether raised in the 
country by the farmer, or brought in by the merchant, 
or persons engaged in privateering. And I can 
heartily deliver over to Satan, in the name of the 
people, such oppressive withholders, for the destruc- 
tion of their flesh and of their substance, that so their 
spirits may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. I 
aim not this stroke at any particular order of men, 
and have been vexed at the weakness and wickedness 
that have appeared, in that animosity which hath 
existed between the merchant and the countryman. 
Fix their proportion, and I will venture to bring as 
many honest, upright, patriotic individuals from the 
one as from the other, and as many from each of 
the opposite character. But to hear some talk 
against trade and merchandise, as though they were 
of course a nuisance to society and the country — 
could do without them — is an exercise for patience. 
Those very persons forget, that, had it not been for 
trade and merchandise, the country had never been 
settled by their forefathers, had never been peopled 


and cultivated, as now ; had remained a wilderness, 
and the residence of Indians. They forget, that, with- 
out trade and merchandise, we must have been en- 
slaved, for we could have had neither arms, nor am- 
munition, tents, medicines, and so on. The country- 
man says, And remember, sir, that if it had not been 
for the country, you would not have had your men, 
your provision, and the like. True, my friend ; and 
this shows' that the country and commercial interest 
ought not to be contrasted to each other ; that, for 
the public good and the well-being of community, 
Providence hath designedly joined them together, 
and, what God hath joined together let no man put 

I am greatly mistaken, or before the sword was 
drawn, they were both joined in one in whom we are 
all united, and to whom we are all more indebted than 
to any one man upon the continent — a — . I recollect 
myself, and name him not; 'twould be like showing 
the sun after having described it. Was not the worthy 
and honorable president of the Congress our own — a 
merchant also? Some of the first characters in the 
civil and military departments were merchants or 
traders ; and now I have said so much upon this head, 
I hope little more will be said upon it henceforward, 
but what will be healing. 

I go on to mention : let us mould the governments 
of the respective states, and the representative body 
of the united, viz., the Congress, so as not only to ex- 
clude kings, but tyranny, and, as ever, to retain the 
supreme authority in the people, together with the 
power, no less than the right of calling their delegated 
agents to an account, whether they sit in the assembly, 


the council, the chair, or the Congress. We are not 
fighting against the name of a king, but the tyranny ; 
and if we suffer that tyranny under another name, we 
only change our master without getting rid of our 
slavery. Take heed, therefore, my brethren, and stand 
fast in that liberty wherewith you have been made 
free. Let no single individual, let no collective body 
exalt itself above measure, and assume to itself powers 
that do not belong to it, and with which it has never 
been entrusted, neither implicitly nor expressly. Now 
is the golden opportunity for banishing tyranny as 
well as royalty out of the American states, and send- 
ing them back to Europe, from whence they were im- 

I might enlarge, but must forbear. 'Tis expedient 
and opportune, however, to mention that, would we 
have our independency perpetuated, let us repent of 
our sins, attend to religion, and live the doctrines of 
Christianity ; then may we reasonably expect that 
future generations will joyfully commemorate this an- 
niversary, and that the names of those who boldly 
stood forth in the cause of liberty, and acted a con- 
sistent and uniform part, will be blessed. 

My honorable audience, I am as much tired with 
speaking, as you can be with hearing me ; but I must 
take a little notice of what strikes the ear of my im- 
agination, from one oppressed with the difficulties of 
the day — if these are the fruits of independence, bet- 
ter be dependent as before. My honest friend, they 
are not the fruits of independence, but of Britain's 
trying to enslave us. They originate truly and prop- 
erly from those we were before dependent upon. 
Blame them, therefore, for all your difficulties, and 


hate more than ever being brought into bondage to 
them. Your difficulties are great, but don't mistake 
the cause ; charge them to the real authors. I pity 
you under them, and recommend it to every man to 
ease you of them as far as he is able. But, my friend, 
have you ever read the history of your own country, 
wrote by Mather ? If not, you have heard of it ; let 
me recommend it to your perusal, you will then find 
that your difficulties are vastly short of what your 
forefathers endured. And let me further tell you 
that I do not recollect reading of any people since; 
the creation, that ever secured their liberties without 
undergoing far, far more than what we have expe- 
rienced. I see, or fancy I see, a distant dawning that 
indicates we are not far from the end of our troubles. 
But if not, be of good courage, the horrors of slavery, 
after having exasperated our enemies by so animated 
and brave an opposition, are more to be dreaded than 
greater difficulties. Look upon your little ones, the 
darlings of your souls, and consider what will be their 
lot should the arms of Britain prevail. They will be 
forced to cry out : " O that we had been born Africans 
instead of- Americans !" I now leave it with your 
good sense, and have done, my friend. I cannot but 
hope that the Lord will save us for his own name's 


Among the preachers of the revolutionary period 
no one manifested a stronger dislike to the usurpations 
of the British crown than Doctor Whitaker. Pos- 
sessed of great biblical learning and commanding 
powers of elocution, which he used upon every oppor- 
tunity for the service of his suffering country, he exer- 
cised a wide influence among the people, and was 
looked upon as a " great political counsellor." He 
was a native of Long Island, New York, and Avas born 
on the twenty -second day of February, 1732. At the 
age of twenty, having passed his college life with 
marked attention to his studies and the cultivation of 
letters, he graduated at Princeton, and soon after was 
engaged in the ministry at Norwich, Connecticut. On 
the twenty-eighth of July, 1769, having agreed with 
the Third Church in Salem, Massachusetts, " that he 
would become their minister without public instal- 
ment, and that they should be under Presbyterian 
order, until they saw cause to alter," he preached a 
sermon and entered upon the duties of that church. 
Here he continued to labor with increased reputation. 
In the early part of 1775, his church was destroyed by 
fire, and his people were obliged to worship in a 
school-house. A letter of Doctor Whitaker, written 


at this time mentions the separation of many of his 
congregation from his church. This circumstance- 
arose from a preference on the part of the seceders for 
the congregational form of government, under which 
Doctor Whitaker refused to preach. This spirit of 
dissension continued "to increase until 1783, when the 
Third Church expressed a desire to return to Congre- 
gationalism, and Doctor Whitaker retired from the 
pulpit. Soon after he visited Virginia, where he died. 
The records of his life are scanty, but enough remains 
in his printed sermons to entitle him to the name he 
has received, "an uncompromising man, pious, learned 
and charitable." His sermon " An Antidote against 
Toryism," was delivered at Salem, Massachusetts, and 
printed in 1777, witli an extended dedication to Gen- 
eral Washington. 


Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the Lord, curse ye bitterly the inhabi- 
tants thereof, because they came not to the help of the Lord against the 
mighty. — Judges, v. 23. 

The sum of the law of nature, as well as of the 
written law, is love. Love to God and man, properly 
exercised in tender feelings of the heart, and benefi- 
cent actions of life, constitutes perfect holiness. The 
gospel breathes the same spirit, and acknowledges 
none as the disciples of Christ but those who love not 
their friends only, but even their enemies. Bless and 


curse not, is one of the laws of Lis kingdom. Yet the 
aversion of men to this good and benevolent law 
prompts them to frequent violations of it, which is 
the source of all the evils we feel or fear. And so 
lost are many to all the tender feelings required in 
this law, as to discover their enmity to their Creator, 
by opposing the happiness of his creatures, and spread- 
ing misery and ruin among them. 

When such characters as these present themselves 
to our view, if w T e are possessed with the spirit of love 
required in the law and gospel, we must feel a holy 
abhorrence of them. Love itself implies hatred to 
malevolence, and the man who feels no abhorrence of 
it, may be assured he is destitute of a benevolent 
temper, and ranks with the enemies of God and man. 
For, as God himself hates sin with a perfect hatred 
from the essential holiness of his nature, and sinners 
cannot stand in his sight, so the greater our conformity 
to him is, the greater will be our abhorrence of those 
persons and actions which are opposite to the divine 
law. David mentions this as an evidence of his love 
to God : "Do not I hate them, Lord, that hate thee f 
and am I not grieved with them that rise tip against 
thee? I hate them with a perfect hatred. I count 
them mine enemies."* True benevolence is, therefore, 
exercised in opposing those who seek the hurt of so- 
ciety, and none are to be condemned as acting against 
the law of love, because they hate and oppose such as 
are injurious to happiness, f But the weakness and 

* Psalms cxxxix. 21, 22. 

f Even God's hatred of sin, and the punishment he inflicts on the 
■wicked, arise from his love of happiness, from the benevolence of his 


corruption of nature, in the best, is such, that God 
hath not intrusted to men at large the exercise of the 
resentment due to such characters, nor allowed them 
to inflict those punishments which their crimes call 
for, even in this world, except in some special cases. 
On the contrary, he hath strictly prohibited all his 
subjects taking vengeance for private or personal in- 
juries in a private and personal manner, and re- 
quired, that if " one smite us on the one cheek, we 
turn to him the other also ;"* and, in the language of 
love, exhorts us : " Dearly beloved, avenge not your- 
selves." Yet there are cases in which he requires us, 
as his servants, to take vengeance on his enemies. 
And it deserves our particular notice, that all these 
cases respect crimes wdiich tend to destroy human 

Even his commands to punish blasphemy and other 
sins which strike more directly against himself, are 
not given because his own happiness is thereby dimin- 
ished, but because they tend to erase from our minds 
that sense of his glorious majesty, authority, and gov- 
ernment, without the belief of which, all order and 
peace among men would come to an end. So God 
requires us to execute vengeance on the murderer, the 
thief, the adulterer, reviler, and the like; all which 
sins strike at the peace and happiness of human 
society. God's heart is so much set upon diffusing 
happiness among his creatures, by which he most 
displays his glory, that he perfectly abhors what- 
ever tends to frustrate this end ; and has threatened 
the least opposition to it with everlasting death in 

* Matthew, v. 39. 


the world to come. But some (through the corrup- 
tion of nature by sin) have not faith in a future state of 
rewards and punishments sufficient to influence them 
to their duty, or deter them from opposing God's 
gracious purpose, therefore, to strike our senses with 
full conviction of his anger against such as counter- 
act his benevolent designs, he has commanded every 
society of men, to inflict punishment on them in this 
world, and has specified the crimes, the punishments, 
and the officers who are to inflict them. 

Every punishment involves in it a curse, and pre- 
supposes some crime ; and the curse or punishment is 
by God exactly proportioned to the nature, heinous- 
ness, and circumstances of the crime. Therefore, when 
a grievous punishment is inflicted, we justly infer the 
aggravation of the offence. To inflict punishment, is 
actively to curse, and when we pronounce a curse, we 
do, as far as we can, consign over the object to some 
punishment. But when God commands us to curse 
any person or people, we are bound by his authority 
actually to punish them. 

These observations may lead us to some apprehen- 
sion of the aggravated nature of the sin of Meroz, 
whom Israel are commanded to curse bitterly for their 
conduct in an affair of a public nature. 

The text I have chosen as the theme of my discourse, 
is part of a song uttered by Deborah and Barak, in 
holy triumph and praise for a signal victory obtained 
over Jabin, king of Canaan, and Sisera, the captain of 
his host. This powerful prince, who had nine hundred 
chariots of iron, and a mighty army, had brought Is- 
rael into subjection, and grievously oppressed them for 
twenty years. This cruel and galling yoke awakened 


them to a sense of their sin against God, and to cry to 
him for deliverance* No sooner are they made sensi- 
ble of their sin against, and dependence on him, and 
to repent and seek his favor and protection, than he ap- 
pears for their help, and raises up and inspires Deborah 
and Barak with courage, and faith in his power and 
grace, to oppose the tyrant, and shake off his yoke. 
A few men of Zebulon and Naphtali, viz., ten thou- 
sand, were designed by God to have the honor of 
conquering this potent king; for ten other tribes mus- 
tered and were ready for the war, yet it seems Zebu- 
lon and Naphtali only, were the people that jeoparded 
their lives to the death, in the high places of the field. * 
And the little army — raised from two tribes only 
out of twelve — of Deborah and Barak march out and 
wage war against their oppressor, for the recovery of 
their freedom. f 

* Context, ver. 18. 

f Some people, not the inhabitants of Meroz, fear the event of our 
present struggle, (1), on account of our inability, however we may 
exert ourselves, to oppose the power of the tyrant ; and hence, though 
desirous of freedom, through want of faith in the power and grace of 
God, dare not act, and so weaken the cause they wish might succeed. 
Or, (2), they despair of success, because of so many in these states 
who are lukewarm in the cause, and secretly or openly friends to the 
tyrant. And, (3), some serious people despair of success because of the 
abounding sins of our land. For the relief and establishment of such, 
I entreat them to consider that none of the twelve tribes are mentioned 
as entering the field but Zebulon and Naphtali; and not another as re- 
motely favoring the cause, but Kphraim, Benjamin, Issachar, and Ma- 
chir, of the family of Caleb. Their divisions then were much greater 
than ours. For the divisions of Reuben there were great searchings of 
heart .... As to their power, their army was but ten thousand, and 
these without arms ; for Deborah informs us, that neither shield nor spear 
was seen among forty thousand in Israel. As to their sins, they had 


Jabin, it seems, had no knowledge or thought that 
Israel was arming against him. The first intelligence 
brought him was, that Barak was gone up to Mount 
Tabor, that he had already marched, and was on his 
way to invade his country. Some traitors, who pre- 
tended friendship to Israel, carried him the news, 
hoping, doubtless, to ingratiate themselves with Jabin, 
by giving him the earliest notice possible of this revolt. 

No doubt, both Jabin and Sisera despised this small 
body of undisciplined, unarmed troops, and were con- 
fident they should carry all before them, and quickly 
reduce those rebels (as he, doubtless, termed them) 
to their former obedience. But God, who disposes 
all events, not only gave the victory to Israel, but 
utterly destroyed the whole host of Jabin, that not 
one escaped, except Sisera the captain-general, and 
him God delivered to be slain by the hand of a 
woman. Women have sometimes been the deliverers 
of their country, and can, when God inspires them 
with courage, face the proudest foe. Oh, how easy 
is it with God to save from the greatest danger, and, 
by the weakest instruments, conquer the most power- 
ful enemies ! 

Deborah and Barak, deeply impressed with a sense 
of God's mercy in this deliverance, sang this song as 
an expression of their joy and gratitude, from which, 
would time allow, many instructive lessons might be 

greatly revolted, and chosen them new gods, which was high treason 
against their king. But, notwithstanding all the discouragements, we find 
victory declaring for them on their repentance, and proper exertion 
of the little power they had. This must surely remove all our fears in 
our present struggle, unless impenitence and unbelief still rule in our 
hearts, by which we shall incur the curse of Meroz. 


deduced. But the words of my text lead us more 
directly to consider some things most worthy our at- 
tention this day, and therefore I have chosen them as 
the theme of the following discourse, and in them we 
may observe : 

I. The crime for which this bitter curse is denounced 
on the inhabitants of Meroz. Probably this was some 
town or state in Israel, who, being called to furnish 
their quota of men and money for the war, through 
fear of bad success and, in that case, of a heavier bur- 
den ; or from a secret lurch to the enemy, arising from 
hope of court preferment, or favors already bestowed 
on some of their leading men ; or from some other 
sinister motive, thought best to lie still, and not meddle 
in the quarrel. So much is certain, they did not go 
with Barak to the war. The crime they are charged 
with, is not their aiding, assisting, or furnishing the 
enemy, or holding a secret correspondence with, or 
taking up arms to help them ; they are not charged 
as laying plots to circumvent the rest, or striving 
to discourage their neighbors from going to the war, 
or as terrifying others with descriptions of the irre- 
sistible power of Jabin's nine hundred chariots of 
iron and the like. No, the inhabitants of Meroz 
were innocent people compared to these ; they were 
only negatively wicked ; they only failed in their 
duty ; they did not arm to recover their liberties when 
wrested from them by the hand of tyranny. This is 
all the fault charged on them, yet for this they in- 
curred the fearful curse in my text. Now, if for mere 
negligence they deserved this curse, what must they 
have deserved who aided and assisted the enemy ? 
Surely a sevenfold bitterer curse. 


II. Observe the curse pronounced : " Curse ye Me- 
roz, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof." Their 
conduct, on that occasion, was such as deserved a se- 
vere punishment from the other states, who are com- 
manded to separate them unto evil, as a just reward 
of their neglect. 

III. We observe by whom this curse was to be pro- 
nounced and inflicted. Not by Deborah and Barak 
alone, in a fit of anger, as profane persons in a rage 
curse their neighbors, and undertake to punish them ; 
such often pronounce curses without cause, but the 
curse causeless shall not come. This curse was to be 
pronounced and inflicted by all the people, who are 
here required to be of one heart, and engage seriously, 
religiously, and determinately in cursing them, and as 
God's ministers to execute his wrath upon them. We 
may not suppose that this work was left to the people 
at large, or to a mob ; but the rulers are first to pro- 
ceed against them,* and all the people to support and 
assist them in this work; and so all were to join, as 
one man, to curse them, and that bitterly, i. e., they 
were fully and without hesitation to condemn them to 
severe punishment, and inflict it on them. They were 
not to deal gingerly with them, nor palliate their 
offence. They are allowed to make no excuses for 
them, nor to plead " that they were of a different 
opinion ; that they thought it their duty not to take 
up arms against their king that ruled over them, but 
to submit to the higher powers; that liberty of con- 
science ought to be allowed to every one, and that it 

* This is evident from the order of government God established in 


would be hard to punish them for acting their own 
judgments."* No such pleas might be made for 
them, nor one word spoken in their favor, their sin 
being against the great law of love and light of na- 
ture; but all, with full purpose of heart, were to curse 
those cowardly, selfish, cringing, lukewarm, half-way, 
two-faced people, and to treat them as outcasts, and 
unworthy the common protection or society of others. 

IY. Observe by whose command they were required 
to curse Meroz. It was not by the command of De- 
borah and Barak, but of God himself; yea by the 
command of Jesus Christ, the meek and compassionate 
Saviour of men. Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of 
the Lord. This was the angel of God's presence, 
who then fought for Israel, and who was so offended 
with the people of Meroz for their selfishness and in- 
difference in this important cause, that he not only 
cursed them himself, but commands all the people 
to curse them, and inflict his wrath on them in this 

Y. Observe the circumstances which a^ravated 
their crime, viz. : the enemy that enslaved them was 
mighty. Had the foe been weak and contemptible, 
there had been less need of their help. But when a 
powerful tyrant oppressed them, and they were called 
upon to unite with their suffering brethren in shaking 

* Liberty of conscience is often pleaded in excuse for the worst of 
crimes. In matters of mere conscience the plea is valid, but nothing 
else. Those are matters of mere conscience in which none are con- 
cerned but God and the person acting ; as in matters of faith and wor- 
ship. But when actions respect society, and become injurious to the 
civil rights of men, they are proper subjects of civil laws, and may be 
punished, notwithstanding the plea for liberty of conscience. 


off his yoke, and all their strength little enough to 
oppose him, then to excuse themselves, was highly 
criminal, and in effect to join with the tyrant to rivet 
slavery and misery on the whole nation. This was 
highly provoking to God, whose great end is, to diffuse 
happiness, and not misery, among his creatures, and 
who never punishes but when his subjects oppose 
this design. 

This was the crisis when their all lay at stake. They 
well knew that their brethren (however they them- 
selves might be distinguished with court favors by the 
tyrant) were groaning under cruel bondage. But as 
selfishness renders people callous and unfeeling to the 
distresses of others, so they were easy and satisfied to 
see their brethren tortured by the unrelenting hand 
of oppression, if so be they might sleep in a whole 
skin. They were contented that others should go 
forth and endure the hardships of War, but refused to 
engage in the work, or bear any part of the burden 
with them, though all was hazarded through their 
neglect. How base was this conduct, while they 
knew the strength of the enemy ? This consideration 
was enough to have engaged every one, not lost to all 
the feelings of humanity, to the firmest union, and the 
most vigorous exertions. But these servile wretches 
would rather bear the yoke, and see the whole land 
involved in slavery, than enter the field, and share the 
glory of regaining their freedom from a powerful foe. 
They preferred their present ease, or some court favor, 
with chains and slavery, to the glorious freedom they 
were born to enjoy. 

From this view of the text and context, we may 
deduce the following doctrinal observations : 


I. That the cause of liberty is the cause of God and 

II. That to take arms and repel force by force, when 
our liberties are invaded, is well-pleasing to God. 

III. That it is lawful to levy war against those who 
oppress us, even when they are not in arms against us! 

IV. That indolence and backwardness in taking arms, 
and exerting ourselves in the service of our country, 
when called thereto by the public voice, in order to 
recover and secure our freedom, is an heinous sin in 
the sight of God. 

Y. That God requires a people, struggling for their 
liberties, to treat such of the community who will not 
join them, as open enemies, and to reject them as un- 
worthy the privileges which others enjoy. 

I. The cause of freedom is the cause of God. To 
open this, I will inquire : 

1st. What we are to understand by liberty, or free- 
dom ? and then, 

2d. Prove that this is the cause of God 

1. What is meant by liberty, or freedom ? 

It is sufficient to ray present purpose to distinguish 
liberty into moral, natural and civil. * 

* I purposely omit what Dr. Price, in his excellent Observations on 
Civil Liberty, p. 2, calls physical liberty; which, I venture to say, with 
deference to this great man, is not to be found, as he defines it, in any 
intelligent agent in the universe. For, that actions may be " properly 
ours," he makes them the effects of self-determination only, ''without 
the operation of any foreign cause." This, at one blow, demolishes all 
the power and value of motives, which are always foreign to the actions 
they produce, as the cause is to the effect. And thus the issue is, that 
we must act without any reason, motive, aim, or end of our actions, in 
order that they may be properly our own. But this reduces us to mero 


Moral liberty lies in an ability, or opportunity, to 
act or conduct as the agent pleases. 

He that is not hindered by any external force from 
acting as he chooses or wills to act, is perfectly free 
in a moral sense ; and so far as he possesses this free- 
dom, so far, and no farther, is he a moral, account- 
able creature, and his actions worthy of praise or 

By natural liberty, I mean that freedom of action 
and conduct which all men have a right to, anteced- 
ent to their being members of society. This Mr. 
Locke defines to be " that state or condition in which 
all men naturally are to order all their actions, and 
dispose of themselves and possessions as they think 
fit, within the bounds of the law of nature, without 
asking leave, or depending on the will of any man." 
In this state all men are equal, and no one hath a right 
to govern or control another. And the law of nature 
or the eternal reason and fitness of things, is to be the 
only rule of his conduct ; of the meaning of which 
every one is to be his own judge. 

But since the corruption of nature by sin, the lusts 
and passions of men so blind their minds, and harden 
their hearts, that this perfect law of love is little con- 
sidered, and less practised ; so that a state of nature, 
which would have been a state of perfect freedom and 
happiness had man continued in his first rectitude, in 
a state of war, rapine and murder. Hence arises an 
absolute necessity that societies should form them- 
selves into politic bodies, in order to enact laws 
for the public safety, and appoint some to put 
them in execution, that the good may be encouraged, 
and the vicious deterred from evil practices; and 


these laws should always be founded on the law of 

Hence it appears, that perfect civil liberty differs 
from natural only in this, that in a natural state our 
actions, persons and possessions, are under the direc- 
tion, judgment and control of none but ourselves; but 
in a civil state, under the direction of others, accord- 
ing to the laws of that state in which we live ; which, 
by the supposition, are perfectly agreeable to the law 
of nature. In the first case, private judgment ; in the 
second, the public judgment of the sense of the law 
of nature, is to be the rule of conduct. When this is 
the case, civil liberty is perfect, and every one enjoys 
all that freedom which God designed for his rational 
creatures in a social state. All liberty beyond this is 
mere licentiousness — a liberty to sin, which is the worst 
of slavery. But when any laws are enacted which 
cross the law of nature, there civil liberty is invaded, 
and God and man justly offended. Therefore, when 
those appointed to enact and execute laws, invade this 
liberty, they violate their trust, and oppress their sub- 
jects, and their constituents may lawfully depose them 
by force of arms, if they refuse to reform. 

Now, if it be unlawful for magistrates in a state, to 
bind their subjects by laws contrary to the law of 
nature, and if in this case it is lawful for their sub- 
jects to depose them, it follows, a fortiori, that should 
the rulers of one state assume a power to bind the 

* Civil liberty is the freedom of bodies politic, or states. This is well 
defined by Dr. Price, p. 2, to be "the power of a civil society or state 
to govern itself by its own discretion, or by laws of its own making, 
without being subject to any foreign direction or the impositions of any 
extraneous power." 


people of another state who never intrusted them 
with a legislative power, by such unrighteous laws, 
those oppressed people would be under no kind of 
obligation to submit to them, but ought, if in their 
power, to oppose them and recover their liberty. 
Therefore the freedom of a society or state consists 
in acting according to their own choice, within the 
bounds of the law of nature, in governing themselves 
independent of all other states. This is the liberty 
wherewith God hath made every state free, and which 
no power on earth may lawfully abridge, but by their 
own consent ; nor can they lawfully consent to have 
it abridged, but where it appears for the greater good 
of society in general : and when this end cannot be 
attained, they have a right to resume their former 
freedom, if in their power. 

2. I proceed to prove that the cause of civil liberty 
is the cause of God. This follows from what hath now 
been said. For if the law of nature is the law of God, 
and if God hath given every society or state liberty 
independent of all other states, to act according to 
their own choice in governing themselves within the 
bounds of the law of nature, then it follows that this 
freedom is of God, and he that is an advocate for it 
espouses the cause of God, and he that opposes it op- 
poses God himself. This liberty hath God not only 
given, but entailed on all men, so that they cannot 
resign it to any creature without sin. Therefore, 
should any state, through fear, resign this freedom to 
any other power, it would be offensive to God. Thus, 
had America submitted to, and acquiesced in the dec- 
laration of the British Parliament, "That they have 
a right to bind us in all cases whatsoever/' we should 


have greatly provoked God by granting that prerog- 
ative to men, which belongs to God only ; nor could 
we have reason to hope for pardon and the divine fa- 
vor on our land, without unfeigned repentance ; but, 
as repentance implies a change of conduct as well as 
of mind, so we must have exerted ourselves to undo 
what we had done, and by every method in our power 
to cast off the chains and resume our liberty. But, to 
leave the dim light of reason, let us hear what divine 
revelation says in my text and context. 

Israel were a free, independent commonwealth, 
planted by God in Canaan, in much the same manner 
that he planted us in America. The nations around 
always viewed them with an envious and jealous eye, 
as well they might, since they drove out seven nations 
more powerful than themselves, and possessed their 
land. But when, by their grievous sins they pro- 
voked God, he often permitted those neighboring na- 
tions to invade their rights, that they might be brought 
to a sense of their sin and duty. 

Jabin, the king of Canaan, one of those states, was 
God's rod to humble them. He invaded Israel, rob- 
bed them of their rights, and held them in slavery 
twenty years ; in all which he acted the part of a 
cruel tyrant, and provoked God, to his own destruc- 
tion. Jabin had long ruled over Israel ; but this gave 
him no right. His dominion was still mere usurpa- 
tion, as he robbed them of the liberty God had given 
them ; and with a single view to recover this and pun- 
ish the invader, God commanded them to wage war 
on the tyrant, and shake off his yoke. They obey the 
divine mandate, assemble their forces, call on the 
various states to join them in the glorious conflict ; 


and God himself curses those who would not assist to 
punish this oppressor. 

No doubt, Jabin called this rebellion, and made 
proclamation that all who were found in arms, or any 
way aiding the revolt, should be deemed and treated 
as rebels, and their estates confiscated ; but that all 
who would make their submissions, should enjoy all 
their privileges, as before, at his sovereign disposal. 
A glorious offer ! How worthy the joyful and though t 7 
lul acceptance of men born to freedom ! Rather 
where's the wretch so sordid as not to feel this as an 
insult to human nature ? or where's the Christian that 
does not view it as a reproach of his God ? and who 
will not, with good Hezekiah, spread before the Lord, 
in humble prayer, the words of this Rabshekah, pub- 
lished to reproach our God, as unable to defend us, 
though engaged in his cause? Or where is the man, 
so lost to all noble and generous feelings, that would 
not choose to die in the field of martial glory, rather 
than accept such insulting terms of peace, or rather 
of misery ; to live and see himself, his friends, his 
wife, children and country, subjugated to the arbitrary 
will and disposal of a merciless tyrant ? 

But doubtless these inviting, gracious terms of peace, 
had great influence on some. The inhabitants of Me- 
roz seem to have been such dastardly, low-spirited, 
court sycophants ; and also many in the tribe of Reu- 
ben, for whose divisions there were great searchings 
of heart. These probably trembled at the power of 
Jabin, and thought him invincible, though opposing 
God himself, whose cause they were called to espouse. 
Some might call the war rebellion, and others, by 
open or secret practices, discourage and weaken the 


This is very applicable to our present ease. We 
are declared rebels by the king of England. His ser- 
vants offer pardon to all those who will lay themselves 
at his feet to dispose of as he shall see fit, and " to 
bind them, their children and estates, at his pleasure, in 
all cases whatsoever." What gracious terms of peace ! 
Must not this yoke sit with peculiar ease and pleasure 
on the necks of freeborn Americans ! Yet, with hor- 
ror be it spoken, there are freeborn sons of America 
so lost to all sense of honor, liberty, and every noble 
feeling, as to join the cry, and press for submission. 
O tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of 
Ashkelon. We have some, but blessed be God, that 
we have no more of the inhabitants of Meroz scattered 
among us ; some whose endeavors to divide us, cause 
great searchings of heart. But be it known to them, 
and to all men, that they, as Meroz, are fighting 
against God. This assertion is confirmed by the curse 
denounced on Meroz by God's command ; for had they 
not opposed him, he would not have cursed them. 
They, then, were the rebels, in the judgment of God, 
and not those who took up arms to recover their liber- 
ties : rebels against the God of Heaven ; and therefore 
fell under his and his people's curse ; as well as those 
shall, who oppose or neglect to promote the like glo- 
rious cause. 

From what hath been said, the truth of the second 
observation appears, viz. : 

II. That to take arms, and repel force by force, 
when our liberties are invaded, is well pleasing to 

This is a natural consequence from what is said 
above, and from the text itself. Deborah and Barak, 


in taking arms against Jabin, acted agreeably to the 
law of nature, which is the law of love ; were also par- 
ticularly excited, directed, and commanded thereto by 
God himself.* They did not, by this war, aim at 
dominion over others, nor seek to deprive any of their 
natural rights ; but only to recover and secure the 
liberties and rights which had been wrested from 
them, that they might thereby spread peace and hap- 
piness through all the tribes of Israel ; while the real 
happiness of others would not thereby be diminished. 
This, by the law of nature, was sufficient to justify 
them. If, then, they conformed to the law of love in 
taking up arms, and if God required them to make 
war on Jabin, then it was undeniably pleasing to him. 
But, if God approved their conduct in this case, he 
certainly will approve the like conduct in all similar 
cases. Therefore, when one country or state invades 
the liberties of another, it is lawful, and well pleasing 
to God, for the oppressed to defend their rights by 
force of arms. Yea, to neglect this, when there is a 
rational prospect of success, is a sin — a sin against 
God, and discovers a want of that benevolence, and 
desire of the happiness of our fellow-creatures, which 
is the highest glory of the saints. 
, I need not spend time to prove that our struggle 
with Great Britain is very similar to that of Israel and 
Jabin. As they had, so have we been long oppressed 
by a power that never had any equitable right to our 
land, or to rule over us, but by our own consent, and 
agreeably to a solemn compact. When they violated 
this, all their right ceased, and they could have no 

* Judges, iv. 6, 7. 


better claim to dominion than Jabin had over Israel. 
A power, indeed, has been usurped by Great Britain, 
"to bind us in all cases whatsoever;" which claim 
hath already produced many most unrighteous and 
oppressive laws, which they have attempted to enforce 
by their fleets and armies ; in all which they can be 
no more justified than Jabin in his tyranny over 
Israel. Therefore, if it was their duty to fight for the 
recovery of their freedom, it must likewise be ours. 
And to neglect this, when called to it by the public 
voice, will expose us to the curse of Meroz. Yea, 

III. It is lawful, yea duty, to levy war against 
those who oppress us, even when they are not in 
arms against us, if there be a rational probability of 

I say, if there be a rational probability of success. 
For the law of love or nature will not justify opposi- 
tion to the greatest oppression, when such opposition 
must be attended with greater evils than submission. 
Therefore, the primitive Christians, and many of later 
ages, did not oppose their cruel persecutors ; as it 
would, without a miracle, have brought on them in- 
evitable destruction. But where there is a rational 
probability of success, any people may lawfully, and 
it is their duty to, levy war on those who rob them 
of their rights, whether they be rulers in the state 
they live in, or any more distant powers, even before 
w T ar is waged against them. 

The truth of this appears from the instance before 
us. Jabin at this time was not at war with Israel ; 
no, they had been conquered and under his govern- 
ment twenty }^ears ; and nothing was heard, but the 
groans and cries of the oppressed. How then, it may 


be asked, can they be justified in commencing a war? 
Doubtless they had often petitioned for redress of 
grievances, as we have done, and to as little purpose. 
What more could they do in a peaceable way ? They 
were reduced to the dreadful alternative, either tame- 
ly to submit themselves and children after them, to 
the galling yoke of merciless tyranny, or wage war 
on the tyrant. The last was the measure God ap- 
proved, and therefore, by a special command, enjoined 
it on them. This we are sure he would not have 
done, had it been offensive to him. He did not re- 
quire Israel to wait till Jabin had invaded their coun- 
try and struck the first blow (as we did in respect to 
our British oppressors), but while all was peace in his 
kingdom, for aught we find, God commands Israel 
to raise an army, and invade the tyrant's dominions. 

The moral reason of this is obvious. For usurpa- 
tion or oppression, is offensive war, already levied. 
Any state which usurps a power over another state, 
or rulers who, by a wanton use of their power, op- 
press their subjects, do thereby break the peace, and 
commence an offensive war. In such a case opposi- 
tion is mere self-defence, and is no more criminal, 
yea, as really our duty as to defend ourselves against 
a murderer, or highway robber. Self-preservation is 
an instinct by God implanted in our nature. There- 
fore we sin against God and nature, when we tamely 
resign our rights to tyrants, or quietly submit to pub- 
lic oppressors, if it be in our power to defend our- 

A rebel, indeed, is a monster in nature, an enemy 
not only to his country, but to all mankind ; he is 
destitute of that benevolence which is the highest 


honor and glory of the rational nature. But what is 
a rebel ? — what those actions, for which a man or 
people deserve this opprobrious charge ? Those only 
are rebels who are enemies to good government, and 
oppose such as duly execute it. A state of nature is 
a state of war. Civil government, which is founded 
in the consent of society to be governed by certain 
laws framed for the general good, and duly executed 
by some appointed thereto, puts an end to this state, 
and secures peace and safety. He, therefore, who 
transgresses this compact, even he opposes good gov- 
ernment, and is a rebel, rebellat — he raises war again. 

In this, it matters not whether the person be a king 
or a subject; he is the rebel that breaks the compact, 
he renews the war, and is the aggressor ; and every 
member of the body politic is bound, by the eternal 
law of benevolence, to set himself against him, and, 
if he persists, the whole must unite to root him from 
the earth, whether he be high or low, rich or poor, a 
king or a subject. The latter, indeed, less deserves it, 
by how much less mischief he is capable of doing. 
But when a king or ruler turns rebel (which is vastly 
more frequent, in proportion to their numbers), being 
armed with power, he ever spreads desolation and 
misery around his dominions before he can be regu- 
larly and properly punished, and therefore is propor- 
tionably higher in guilt. Witness Pharaoh, Saul, 
Manasseh, Antiochus, Julian, Charles I., of blessed 
memory, and George III., who vies with the chief in 
this black catalogue, in spreading misery and ruin 
round the world. 

The ruler who invades the civil or religious rights 
of his subjects, levies war on them, puts them out of 


his protection, and dissolves all their allegiance to 
him ; for allegiance and protection are reciprocal, and 
where one is denied the other must cease. 

If these observations are true (and they cannot be 
denied with modesty), then it is as lawful, and as 
strongly our duty, to prosecute a war against the king 
of England for invading our rights and liberties as to 
bring an obstinate rebel to justice, or take arms against 
some foreign power that might invade us. Oppression 
alone, if persisted in, justifies the oppressed in making 
war on the oppressors ; whether they be rulers or pri- 
vate persons, in our own or a foreign state. The rea- 
son is, because oppressors are enemies to the great law 
of nature, and to the happiness of mankind. For this, 
God commanded Israel to commence a war against 
Jabin, that, being free from his power, happiness and 
peace might be restored. 

In our contest with the tyrant of Great Britain, we 
did not, indeed, commence the war. No. But though 
under a load of almost insupportable insult, abuse and 
reproach, we raised our humble and earnest petitions, 
and prayed only for peace, liberty and safety, the nat- 
ural rights of all men. But, be astonished, O heavens! 
and tremble, O England ! while our dutiful supplica- 
tions ascended before the throne, the monster was med- 
itating the blow ; and ere we rose from our knees, he 
fixed his dagger in our heart ! If this is to be a father, 
where can be the monster? If this be the exercise of 
lenity and mercy, as he vainly boasts,* what must be 
his acts of justice? O, merciful God, look down and 
behold our distress, and avenge us of our cruel foe. 

* See Gen. Howe's proclamation of November 30th, 1776. 


Can we reflect on those scenes of slaughter and deso- 
lation which he hath spread before our eyes, and doubt 
of our duty ? Is it any longer a scruple whether God 
calls us to war % If such insults and abuse will not 
justify us, no abuses ever can. Yea, had George with- 
held his hand from shedding our blood, the grievous 
oppressions we groaned under before, and the contempt 
and insult with which he treated our petitions, were 
fully sufficient to justify us in the sight of God, and all 
wise men, had we begun the war, and expelled his 
troops from our country by lire and sword. Is it pos- 
sible that Jabin could treat Israel with greater insult 
or more unjustly invade their rights ? But for this, 
God commanded Israel to make war on him, and pro- 
nounces a heavy curse on those who refused to join in 
carrying it on. 

This leads me to show, 

IY. That those who are indolent, and backward to 
take up arms and exert themselves in the service of 
their country, in order to recover and secure their 
freedom, when called thereto by the public voice, are 
highly criminal in the sight of God and man. 

This doctrine is wrapt up in the very bowels of my 
text. " Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the Lord, 
curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof, because they 
came not to the help of the Lord, to the help of the 
Lord against the mighty." The curse of God falls on 
none but for sin; for he delights in blessing, not in 
cursing. And he never permits any of his subjects 
to execute his curses on their fellow-subjects, but 
where the crime is highly aggravated ; much less does 
he allow them to curse them bitterly, unless their guilt 
is exceeding great. ISTow, since God commands Is- 


rael to curse Meroz bitterly, we fairly infer, that their 
sin was of a crimson dye, and most provoking to him 
and his people. And whoever is guilty of the like 
conduct in our contest with Great Britain, incurs the 
like guilt. 

This needs no further proof; for if it be allowed 
that the state of the case between Great Britain and 
America, is, in its main parts, parallel with that between 
Jabin and Israel, as hath been shown, then the crime 
of neodiorence is as heinous in this stru^o-le as in that. 
And as Israel were required to curse bitterly those 
cowardly, seltish, half-way people, so are we to curse 
the like characters at this day. And as those people, 
for their neglect, exposed themselves to the loss of all 
the privileges and blessings of a free state in this 
world, and to the eternal vengeance of God in the 
next ; so it highly concerns all to take heed that they 
do not fall under the same condemnation. That we 
may avoid the rock on which they were lost, I will, 

1 . Give their character. 

2. Mention some aggravations of their sin. 

3. I will hint at some things which discover peo- 
ple to be like the inhabitants of Meroz. 

Few, I fear, are perfectly clear in this matter. Alas, 
there is too great negligence among people in general. 
Private interests and selfish considerations, engross 
the thoughts and cares of many, who wish well the 
cause of liberty, and divert their attention and exer- 
tions from the main thing which calls for our first and 
chief regard, viz., the defence of our country from 
tyranny, and securing our civil and religious freedom. 
It is mournful to see most men eagerly pursuing 
worldly gain, and heaping up unrighteous mammon 


by cruel oppression and grinding the faces of the poor, 
while our country lies bleeding of her wounds, and so 
few engaged to bind them up. Let such consider that 
they are guilty of the sin of Meroz, and, though they 
may not feel the curse of men in this world, the} 7 shall 
not, without sincere repentance, escape the wrath and 
curse of God in the world to come. Every one is 
called, at this day, to come to the help of the Lord 
against the mighty ; either to go out to war, or in 
some way vigorously exert himself for the public good. 
There are various things necessary for the defence of 
our country besides bearing arms, though this is the 
chief ; and all may, one way or other, put to a help- 
ing hand. There are various arts and manufactures 
essential to the support of the inhabitants and army, 
without which we must soon be overcome. In one or 
other of these, men and women, youth, and even 
children, may be employed, and as essentially help in 
the deliverance of their country as those who go out 
to war. All are now called to have more than ordi- 
nary frugality and diligence in their respective call- 
ings ;* and those of ability should be liberal and 
forward to encourage manufactures for the public 
good.f But alas, that so few make the interest and 

* Suppose every fifth man to be employed in the army, and the num- 
ber of dependents to be as great as before, then every man must labor 
one-fifth more than formerly, in order to support those in the army and 
their dependents, allowing them to live as cheap in the army as at home 
which is not the case. 

f There hath been a laudable spirit, especially in some towns, to en- 
courage manufactures. I have been informed that Newbury, by a town 
vote, encouraged erecting works, and carrying on the making saltpetre. 
And in Salem, where the first was made in this state, several gentlemen 


welfare of the public the main object of their pursuit. 
Yet there are some, and I hope many, who with truth 
can say, they have done their, best, according to their 
circumstances, for the defence and safety of their coun- 
try. Such, however the contest may arise, will enjoy 
the approbation of God, their own consciences, and of 
all the friends of mankind. 

But not to make our case appear better than it re- 
ally is, I fear there are many among us, in one dis- 
guise or other, who, when stript of their vizards, will 
appear to be of the inhabitants of Meroz ; and who, 
if their characters were justly drawn, would secretly, 
if not openly, say, as the Pharisees in another case, In 
saying this, thou reproachest us also. But as birds 
which are hit, show it by their fluttering, and it may 
serve to bring such contemptible characters to view, 
and expose them to the curse they deserve, and on 
the other hand, may convince some real friends to 
freedom of their sinful ne^lisfence in the common 
cause ; I will venture to point out a few. 

Among these characters I do not include such as 
aid, or in words or actions defend, or openly declare 
for the enemy, and plead the right of Great Britain 
" to bind us in all things whatsoever." Of such there 
are not many among us, owing, probably, to their fear 
of a vast majority, which is on the side of freedom; 
and therefore they put on the guise of friendship, 
while they endeavor secretly to work destruction to 

generously subscribed to assist me in making experiments, and erecting 
the works. And this winter they have subscribed above £500 to en- 
able me to erect large salt-works — a manufacture most necessary for 
the o;ood of the state. 


the cause. These may be known by the following 
marks : 

1. Observe the man who will neither go himself, 
nor contribute of his substance (if able) to encourage 
others to go into the war. Such do what in them 
lies to break up the army. These incur the curse of 

2. Others will express wishes for our success, but 
will be sure to back them with doubts of the event, 
and fears of a heavier yoke. You may hear them 
frequently magnifying the power of the enemy, and 
telling of the nine hundred chariots of iron, the dread- 
ful train of artillery, and the good discipline of the 
British troops, of the intolerable hardships the sol- 
diers undergo, and of the starving condition of their 
families at home ; and by a thousand such arts en- 
deavoring to discourage the people from the war. 

3. There are other pretended friends whose coun- 
tenance betrays them. When things go ill with 
our army, they appear with a cheerful countenance, 
and assume airs of importance, and you'll see them 
holding conferences in one corner or another. The 
joy of their hearts, on such occasions, will break 
through all disguises, and discover their real senti- 
ments; while their grief and long faces in a reverse 
of fortune, are a plain index pointing to the end at 
which they really aim. 

4. Others, who talk much for liberty, you will 
find ever opposing the measures of defence proposed ; 
making objections to them, and showing their incon- 
sistency, while they offer none in their stead, or only 
such as tend to embarrass the main design. They are 
so prudent that they will waste away days, yea 


months, to consider; and are ever full of their wise 
cautions, but never zealous to execute any important 
project. When such men get iuto public stations — 
especially if they fill a seat in our public councils — 
they greatly endanger the state. They protract busi- 
ness, and often defeat the best councils. Prudence 
and moderation are amiable virtues ; and the modest 
mind feels pain in being suspected as sanguine, rash, 
and imprudent. This gives the overprudent great ad- 
vantage to obstruct every vigorous measure, which 
they brand with the name of rashness ; and every 
friend to vigorous action feels the reflection — who, 
without great fortitude, sits down abashed, and with 
grief sees his counsels defeated. But, if the measure 
be adopted, the next motion of the prudent man is to 
delay the execution, that the happy moment, on which 
all depends, may be lost.* These over and over pru- 

* We have a remarkable instance of this nature in 2 Samuel, 
xvii. 1-14. David had just retreated from Jerusalem, with only six 
hundred men, when Absalom entered the city, and night came on. 
Ahithophel counselled for an immediate pursuit. This was wise and 
good counsel in the case. But Hushai, a friend in heart to David, and 
firm to Absalom in appearance, disapproved the counsel of Ahithophel 
as rash and imprudent at that time, and advised to more moderate and 
cautious measures. And, to carry his point, he magnifies the general- 
ship of David, and the valor of his troops. He hints the great danger 
there was that his own troops, so near in opposition to their king, would 
be thrown into confusion, and melt away through fear of the valor of 
David and his men, and probably desert and join him on a mere report 
that there was a slaughter among Absalom's army; and that a defeat 
would be utter ruin. He therefore moves that all Israel be gathered 
together, as the sand of the sea, that so they might swallow up David 
in a moment. But mark his design ! Was it to gain advantage of 
David? No; but to give him an opportunity to retreat, collect a larger 
force, and dispose his army for battle. Happy should we be if all 


dent men ought to be suspected, and viewed with a 
watchful eye. And the discerning mind will soon be 
able to discover whether such counsels spring from 
true wisdom, or from a design to ensnare us. 

5. Some are discovered by the company they keep. 
You may find them often with those who have given 
too much reason to suspect their enmity to our cause, 
and rarely with the zealous friends of liberty, except 
by accident ; and then they speak and act like crea- 
tures out of their element, and soon leave the com- 
pany, or grow mute, when liberty is the subject of 

6. There are others who in heart wish well to 
our cause ; but, through fear of the power of our ene- 
mies, they are backward to join vigorously to support 
it. They really wish we might succeed ; but they 
dread the hardships of a campaign, and choose so to 
conduct, that, on whatever side victory may declare, 
they may be safe. 

7. Others wish well to the public cause, but have 
a much greater value for their own private and per- 
sonal interest. They are high sons of liberty, till her 
cause crosses their private views ; and, even then, 
they boast in her name, while, like George III., they 
stab her to the heart, by refusing submission to those 
regulations which are essential to her preservation. 

All these, and many others of a like kind, might 
doubtless have been found in Meroz, and yet the best 

Hushais were banished from our councils, or their stratagems discov- 
ered and defeated. Prudence and caution are highly necessary. But 
to be always deliberating, and opposing vigorous measures, and slow 
in executing, at such a crisis as this, is strongly characteristic of an in- 
habitant of Meroz. 


of them all fell under this bitter curse. For what- 
ever were their private sentiments, they tended to 
the issue, viz. : to keep them back from those vigorous 
efforts that the cause of liberty then required, and for 
want of which, it was greatly hazarded. And what- 
ever motives influence men at this day, whether a 
desire of ease, hope of power, honor, or wealth ; if 
they do any thing against, or neglect to assist all in 
their power, this glorious cause of freedom, now in 
our hands, they, in a greater or less degree, incur the 
curse of Meroz. Now, if ever, is that text to be ap- 
applied to such, "Cursedbe he that doeth the work of the 
Lord deceitfully / and cursed be he that holdeth back 
his sword from blood"* This leads me 

II. To mention some aggravations of this sin. 

1. This conduct is a violation of the law of nature, 
which requires all to exert themselves to promote 
happiness among mankind. Love is the fulfilling of 
the law, but this implies a benevolent frame of heart, 
exercised in beneficent actions toward all men, as we 
have opportunity. When therefore we see our fellow- 
creatures, especially our friends and brethren, whose 
happiness is more immediately our care, reduced to a 
state of misery, robbed of their most dear and unalien- 
able rights, and borne down with a heavy load of 
oppression and abuse by the hands of tyrants ; this 
law requires us to stand forth in their defence, even 
though we are not involved with them in the same 
evils, and how much more, when our own happiness 
is equally concerned. Moses, though enjoying all the 
honors and pleasures of a court, from the pure bencv- 

* Jeremiah xlviii., 10. 


olence of his heart, interposed and smote an Egyp- 
tian whom he saw cruelly oppressing one of his 
brethren. This conduct is spoken of with approba- 
tion, and was no mark of his want of meekness, 
in which he excelled all men on the face of the 
earth. How opposite to this is the character of 
many great pretenders to meekness in our day, 
who can tamely see their brethren abused and plun- 
dered, and are so meek, or rather selfish, as to pay 
their courts to the oppressors. One would think, that 
like some heathens they worship the devil to keep 
him in a good mood, that he may not hurt them. 
The man who can stand by, an idle spectator, when a 
murderer or robber assaults his brother, and not exert 
himself in his defence, is deservedly accounted as 
criminal, in law and reason, as the murderer or robber 
himself, and is exposed to the same punishment. In- 
activity, in such a case, is justly esteemed an appro- 
bation of the crime. But as freedom is an inheritance 
entailed on all men, so whosoever invades it, robs 
mankind of their rights, endeavors to spread misery 
among God's creatures, and violates the law of nature, 
and all who refuse to oppose him, when in their 
power, are to be considered and treated as confederates 
and abettors of his conduct, and partakers in his crimes. 
2. This sin is against posterity; our children after 
us must reap the fruit of our present conduct. If we 
nobly resist the oppressor, we shall, under God, deliver 
them from his galling yoke ; at least shall avoid the 
guilt of riveting it on them. But if we bow tamely 
to have it fastened on our necks, unborn generations, 
through unknown centuries may never be able to shake 
it off ; but must waste away a wretched existence in 


this world, without any other claim to the fruit of 
their labors, or even to the clear pledges of conjugal 
love, the fruit of their own bodies, than such as de- 
pends on the uncontrolled will of a haughty tyrant. 
3. "Let us, for a moment, glance an eye on the next and 
succeeding generations. What a scene opens to view ! 
Behold these delightful and stately mansions for which 
we labored, possessed by the minions of power ; see yon- 
der spacious fields, subdued to fruitfulness by the sweat 
and toil of our fathers or ourselves, yielding their in- 
crease to clothe, pamper, and enrich the tyrant's favor- 
ites, who are base enough to assist him in his cursed 
plots to enslave us. Does this rouse your resentment % 
Stop a moment, and I will show you a spectacle more 
shocking than this. What meagre visages do I see in 
yonder field, toiling and covered with sweat, to culti- 
vate the soil? Who are those in rags, bearing bur- 
dens and drawing water for those haughty lords, and 
cringing to them for a morsel of bread ? They are — 
O gracious God, support my spirits — they are my 
sons and daughters, the pledges of conjugal love, 
for whose comfort I thought myself happy to spend 
my days in labor, my nights in care ! Thus are 
my hopes blasted. Oh that they had never been 
born, rather than to see them loaded with irons, 
and dragging after them wherever they go, the heavy, 
galling, ignominious chains of slavery. But may we 
not hope for an end of these miseries? Alas, what 
hope ! Slavery debases the human faculties, and 
spreads a torpor and stupidity over the whole frame ! 
They sink in despair under their load ; they see no 
way, they feel no power to recover themselves from 
this pit of misery ; but pine away and die in it, and 


leave to their children the same wretched inheritance. 
What then does he deserve ? or rather, what curse is 
too heavy for the wretch that can tamely see our coun- 
try enslaved ? 

4. This is a sin against our forefathers. They left 
us a fair inheritance ; they forsook their native land, 
the land of tyranny and the furnace of iron ; and, by 
their blood, treasure, and toil, procured this sweet, 
this peaceful retreat, subdued the soil when covered 
with eternal woods, raised for us the stately domes 
which afford us shelter from the storms, and safe re- 
pose, and were exceedingly careful to instruct us in 
the things which concern our temporal and eternal 
liberty and peace. And shall we resign this patri- 
mony, so dearly bought by them, and entailed to us by 
their will, living and dying? Shall we, I say, resign 
it all to that tyrant power which drove them from 
their native land to this then howling wilderness ? 
Shall we bow our necks to the yoke which they, 
though few in number, nobly cast off? Should our 
fathers rise from their graves they would disown such 
children, and repent their care and toil for such de- 
generate sons. 

5. This is a sin against contemporaries. How pro- 
voking in the sight of God and man is it to see some, 
quite unconcerned for the good of the public, rolling 
in ease, amassing wealth to themselves, and slyly 
plotting to assist our enemies in their murderous de- 
signs, while others endure the fatigues of war, and 
hazard all that's dear to secure the peace, liberty, and 
safety of the whole ! Surely, every benevolent heart 
must rise with indignation, and curse these enemies 
to God and nature. 


6. This is a sin against the express command of 
God. He commands us to stand fast in the liberty 
wherewith he hath made us free, and not to bow to 
any tyrant on earth, when it is in our power to oppose 

Y. I proceed to show that God requires a people, 
struggling for their liberties, to treat such of the com- 
munity who will not join them as open enemies, and 
to reject them as unworthy the privileges of society. 

The single crime of Meroz is said to be this. When 
they were called to arm, in order to shake off the 
yoke of tyranny, they did not join in the glorious 
cause. For this, and only this, they fell under the 
curse of God and man. Not only eternal wrath in 
the world to come was the just reward of this sin, 
but so highly was God provoked thereby, as to com- 
mand his people to inflict his vengeance on them in 
this world, that, being held up as the monuments of 
his wrath, others might hear and fear, and do no more 
so wickedly. 

A curse is something more than wishing ill to a per- 
son. It implies a separating him to some evil, or pun- 
ishment. The command in my text therefore required 
Israel to separate the inhabitants of Meroz from some 
temporal good the rest of Israel enjoyed, and inflict 
on them some severe punishment ; for they were to 
curse them bitterly. 

And why may we not suppose that this curse con- 
sisted in these things : 

1. That they should be deprived of that delightful 
freedom and liberty Israel had regained from the 
tyranny of Jabin. As these wretches discovered their 
servile temper in refusing to exert themselves for the 


recovery of their liberty, why should they not be con- 
demned to the slavery they chose ? Jabin (like George) 
probably claimed a right to lay any taxes on them he 
pleased, and " to bind them in all cases whatsoever ;" 
and they, rather than jeopard their lives in defence 
of their rights, tamely submitted to his demands. Well, 
since this was their choice, why should it now be de- 
nied them ? Let them be taxed at the sovereign will 
of the other states, without allowing them any repre- 
sentation. Since they loved, and sought to involve 
all Israel with themselves in slavery, they should have 
it from the rest, and receive but the just reward of 
their conduct. With what face could they complain 
of such treatment, since they chose to submit to the 
same from Jabin ? The change of masters made no 
change in the task ; and if they preferred slavery then, 
rather than fight for their liberties, let them have it 
now, since they would do nothing to regain them. 

How absurd is their conduct who prefer, to our glo- 
rious struggle for liberty, a tame submission to the 
claims of the British Parliament ! If we submit, we 
must be slaves ; for to be governed and guided by the 
will of another, and not our own, is perfect servitude. 
If we fight and are conquered, we can but be slaves. 
If we conquer, we gain our freedom. On one hand, 
the event is certain, the chains are riveted. On the 
other, there is a possibility, and a probability, too, of 
a glorious deliverance; yea, were all united, there 
would be a moral certainty of success. On those, 
therefore, who, like Meroz, refuse to come to the help 
of the Lord in the present war, will be the sin of 
involving millions, besides themselves, in the most ab- 
ject misery and cruel slavery. Consider this, ye inhab- 


itants of Meroz ; rein ember, that there is a God that 
judgeth in the earth, and tremble at your fearful doom. 
If murdering one man deserves death, what does the 
murder of thousands deserve? If God made the en- 
slaving one of his people a capital crime, to be pun- 
ished with death (Exodus, xxiv. 7), what does your 
crime deserve, who are endeavoring to enslave a whole 
nation? If you choose slavery for yourselves, don't 
force it on others who abhor it. You may enjoy it, 
though others are free. It is your due. And the 
curse in my text, when inflicted on you aright, will 
give it you in full tale. 

2. Why may we not suppose that they were deprived 
of their estates, and reduced at least to a state of ten- 
antage at will? They had implicitly joined with the 
enemy, by which they put to hazard every dear and 
valuable enjoyment of the whole nation. Through 
their neglect all might have been lost. And their 
fault was not the less because victory declared for 
Israel ; and all their possessions could never counter- 
vail the damage their conduct had exposed the na- 
tion to. 

The application of this to our times is easy. The 
present war, 'tis probable, had never been commenced 
had none of the inhabitants of Meroz been in our land ; 
or, if begun, could not have been carried on to this 
day. On them, therefore, as the confederates, abettors 
and supporters of the tyrant, lies the guilt of this war. 
And as they are partners with him in the sin, so they 
ought to be involved in the punishment he deserves. 
If it is lawful to deprive the inhabitants of Great Brit- 
ain of their property, when in our power, and convert 
it to our use; if this be a just retaliation for the injury 


they have done us, and all too little to countervail the 
damage; much more the interest of those who live 
among us, and yet assist the enemy in their cruel de- 
signs, ought to be confiscated for the service of the 
public, by how much more mischief they have done, 
and are capable of doing these states, and by how 
much greater their sin. 

I cannot but think it would, have been happy for 
these states, had our rulers, long ere now, declared 
all who should be found any way aiding and assisting 
the enemy, or holding a correspondence with them, 
should be deemed enemies to these states and forfeit 
all their estates at least. Yea, 

3. As the curse of Meroz, no doubt, extended to a 
depriving the inhabitants of a capacity to enjoy any 
place of honor in the government, and the ordinary 
privileges of freemen ; and also inflicted some corpo- 
ral punishment at least on their principal leaders ; 
so the like characters among us, ought to share the 
same punishment. And I am persuaded, these states 
w r ill still be unsafe, and all our efforts for deliverance 
from tyranny attended with great hazard and uncer- 
tainty, till there shall be some more effectual and 
vigorous means adopted by our rulers, to distinguish 
friends from foes, and expose the latter to some ex- 
emplary punishment. The law of retaliation is some- 
times just and necessary, even when the persons 
offending are not made the subjects of it ; how much 
more when the transgressors themselves are in our 
power,* Nor can we do justice to ourselves or the 

* It was a righteous act in Tamerlane the Great, to carry Bajazet, the 
grand Turk, in an iron cage, round the world in triumph. The mag- 
nanimous, the benevolent Tamerlane marches with a great army to repel 


public, or to our brethren now suffering in hard and 
cruel durance among the enemy ; nor to our posterity ; 

Bajazet, who was made prisoner. "Being brought into his presence* 
Tamerlane asked him why he endeavored to bring the Greek emperor 
into his subjection ? He answered, 'Even the same cause which moved 
thee to invade me, namely, the desire of glory and sovereignty.' 
'Wherefore, then,' said Tamerlane, 'dost thou use such cruelty toward 
them thou overcomest, without respect to age or sex?' 'That I did,' 
said he, ' to strike the greater terror into mine enemies.' Then Tamer- 
lane asked him if he had ever given thanks to God for making him 
so great an emperor?' 'No,' said he; 'I never so much as thought of 
any such thing.' 'Then,' said Tamerlane, 'it is no wonder so ungrate- 
ful a man should be made a spectacle of misery ; for you,' said he, being 
blind of one eye, and I lame of a leg, was there any worth in us, that 
God should set us over two such great empires, to command so many 
men far more worthy than ourselves ? But', continued he, ' what 
wouldest thou have done with me, if it had been my lot to have fallen 
into thine hands, as thou art now in mine?' 'I would,' said Bajazet, 
' have enclosed thee in a cage of iron, and carried thee in triumph up 
and down my kingdom.' ' Even so,' said Tamerlane, 'shalt thou be 
served.' And causing him to be taken out of his presence, and turn- 
ing to his followers, he said: 'Behold a proud and cruel man, who 
deserves to be chastised accordingly, and to be made an example to all 
the proud and cruel of the world, of the just wrath of God against 
them.' " (See Clarke's Life of Tamerlane the Great, pages 37, 38.) 

But it too rarely happens, that the perpetrators of these crimes fall 
in the way of justice ; in which case it is sometimes lawful, yea, dutj', 
to retaliate on some of their connections. For instance, the commanders 
of the British troops and their master are the cruel monsters who treat 
such as fall into their hands with unexampled barbarity, confining them 
in prisons and vessels, in the extreme cold, without fire or food suffi- 
cient to preserve life ; by which hundreds, yea, thousands of our dear 
friends have suffered the most cruel and painful deaths,, and others lost 
their limbs by the frost. The real criminals are out of our reach. 
What, then, can be done ? Nothing, but to inflict a like punishment on 
a like number of their prisoners in our hands. Accordingly, the hon- 
orable Congress, long ago, assured the public that they would retaliate 
all abuses offered to prisoners taken from us. Depending on this prom« 
ise as the means to secure good treatment, should they fall into the 


nor lastly, to the manes of our murdered friends who 
have fallen in the field, or expired in the loathsome 

enemy's hand, man}' who cheerfully offered themselves for the war 
have been made prisoners, and froze or starved to death, and no re- 
taliation that I have heard hath j T et been made — I hope for wise 
reasons. Hence the enemy exercise their more than brutal cruelty 
without fear, and many, dreading the like usage, are disinclined to the 

If something be not speedily done to convince our foes that we are 
not afraid to retaliate, the consequence, I fear, will be fatal to our cause. 
Lenity and mercy are due prisoners ; and nothing can justify acts of 
severity, but where cruel usage makes them necessary, and then acts of 
severity become acts of mercy. I cannot persuade myself to put an 
end to this note, already too long, without transcribing a passage from 
the aforesaid life of Tamerlane, which at once represents the true cause 
of making war, and also that noble, benevolent spirit which should in- 
spire every soldier to enter the field ; both of which are exemplified in 
this heathen warrior, in whose presence most Christian princes have 
reason to blush. 

After the battle before mentioned, the emperor of Constantinople sent 
ambassadors to Tamerlane offering him his empire, and his person as 
his most faithful subject, in gratitude and as a reward for the deliver- 
ance he had obtained for him from the most cruel tyrant. But Tamer- 
lane, with a mild countenance, beheld them and said, "That he had not 
come so far, nor taken such pains to enlarge his dominions, big enough 
already (too base a thing to put himself into so great danger and haz- 
ard fur), but rather to win honor, and make his name famous to future 
posterity ; and that he would make it appear to the world that he came 
to assist their master, as his friend and ally, at his request ; and that his 
upright intentions therein, he believed, were the cause that God from 
above had favored him and made him instrumental to bruise the head of 
the greatest and fiercest enemy of mankind under heaven ; and there- 
fore, to get him an immortal name, his purpose was, to make free so 
great and flourishing a city as Constantinople. That ho always joined 
faith to his courage, which should never suffer him to make such a 
breach in his reputation as to have it reported of him that, in the color 
of a friend, he should come to invade the dominions of his ally. That 
lie desired no more, but that the service he had done for the Greek em- 
peror might remain forever engraven in the memory of his posterity, that 


prisons with cold and hunger ; till we inflict some just 
and exemplary punishment on those who have brought 
these calamities on us. 

This discourse shows us, how defensive war is con- 
sistent with true benevolence, and a sincere desire of 
the happiness of mankind ; and how it is consistent 
for the soldier to love and pray for the happiness of 
those he opposes and endeavors to root from the earth. 

Every soldier should enter the field with benevo- 
lent, tender, compassionate sentiments, which is the 
temper of Jesus Christ. A morose, cruel, revengeful, 
unmerciful temper, is no more consistent with the char- 
acter of a Christian soldier, than with that of a minis- 
ter of the gospel of peace ; nor can it be justified even 
in the height of the fiercest battle. He should ever be 
possessed with a disposition to pray for those he en- 
deavors to destroy, and to wish their best, their eter- 
nal good. These are no more inconsistent in a soldier, 
engaging in battle and doing his best to kill his ene- 
mies, than they are in a judge and executioner, who 
take away a murderer from the earth. For, as the 
judge and executioner are God's ministers to execute 
vengeance on the wicked who endeavor to destroy the 
happiness of society; so the soldier, engaged in a just 
defensive war, is the minister of God to render ven- 

they might ever wish well to him and his successors, by remembering 
the good he had done for them." p. 41. 

This was truly noble ambition, to seek an immortal name and honor, 
not by actions which the ambitious call great, but by those which 
God pronounces good. The battle being ended, Tamerlane said : " This 
day hath God delivered into my hand a great enemy, to whom, 
therefore we must give thanks," which was publicly done. Excellent 
example I 


geance to the invaders of others' right : and as the ex- 
ecutioner may and ought to pray for the suffering 
criminal, so should the soldier for his foe ; as benevo- 
lence is the source of vindictive laws in the states, so 
it should ever be of defensive war ; and they both 
tend to the same end, the happiness of mankind. 
How absurd then is the pretence that the gospel of 
Jesus Christ forbids us to take up arms to defend our- 
selves ! and that defensive war is inconsistent with 
the patient, meek long-suffering temper it requires ! 
It may with as much reason be said, that to punish a 
murderer or robber is forbidden by the gospel ; which 
is in effect to say, that the gospel of peace forbids the 
exercise of love and benevolence in acts absolutely 
necessary, in this sinful world, for the peace and hap- 
piness of society and individuals. 

From what has been said, we may clearly infer, 
that to levy offensive war is murder, and all who en- 
gage in it are murderers in God's sight. They are 
guilty, not only of the murder of those they kill in 
battle, or who otherwise perish in the war, but they 
are self-murderers — they put themselves to death — 
their blood is on their own heads. Well, then, might 
Solomon say: " With good advice make war." 

The characters, therefore, of two states or armies at 
war, are as opposite as their actions. The aggressor 
is a murderer and robber, and all who assist him are 
involved in his guilt. Every soldier who fights for 
him is a murderer too. But we know that no mur- 
derer hath eternal life. How should this make those 
shudder who engage on the side of the aggressor ! 
If they fall in battle, what hope can they have of 
God's approbation, since they die murdering others 


and themselves too ? But such who oppose them in 
defence of their own and country's peace, liberty and 
safety, are God's ministers, commissioned and ordered 
by him to punish his and his people's enemies. They, 
therefore, may draw their swords with a quiet, ap- 
proving conscience, and with pity view the wretches 
slain by their hands as self-murderers ; or, if they fall, 
they can die, in regard to the war, free of the blood 
of all men, and in peace resign their spirits into the 
hand of their Redeemer. 

This consideration surely must animate every man, 
inspired with the benevolent temper of the gospel — 
which disposes to the greatest advancement of human 
happiness, and to relieve the miserable and oppressed — 
to vigorous exertions in defence of our bleeding land ; 
bleeding under the hand of oppression, rapine and 
murder. Would you, my friends, count it an honor 
to be employed by God to restore peace and happi- 
ness to the oppressed and miserable ? do you wish to 
perform acts of love and kindness to mankind, and 
therein be like your Creator and Redeemer ? Do you 
fear the wrath and curse of God pronounced on all 
who spread misery among his creatures, and on all 
that aid or assist them, or so much as connive at, or 
neglect to oppose them ? Do you desire to be workers 
together with God in restoring peace and felicity to 
your groaning country, and to be owned of him as his 
servants when you die ? Are these the objects of j^our 
desire and pursuit ? I know they are if the love of God 
and your neighbor rules in your hearts. Well, then, 
here is an opportunity presented to you, to manifest 
your love, by coming to the help of the Lord against 
the mighty. The cause we are engaged in is the 


cause of God ; and you may hope for his blessing and 
fight under his banner. In supporting and defending 
this cause, you may, you ought to seek for glory and 
honor ; even that glory and honor which come from 
God and man for acts of benevolence, goodness and 
mercy, for the performance of which the fairest op- 
portunity now offers. 

But what shall I say of those whose religious prin- 
ciples forbid the performance of any such labors of 
love, and necessarily involve them in the curse of 
Meroz? If their religion be right, love itself must be 
wrong. But arguments are vain. May God in his 
mercy show them their error, give them repentance, 
and inspire them with the love which the law and 
gospel require, before they fall under the wrath and 
curse of God, for neglecting to come to his help against 
the mighty. 

This discourse also shows us how we ought to treat 
those who do not join in the cause of freedom we have 

1. As they are accursed of God, and we are com- 
manded to curse them, we ought, at least, to shun their 
company. What a shame is it, to see those born to 
freedom and professing zeal for her cause, associating 
themselves with the willing slaves of an abandoned 
tyrant and murderer ? Oh, how do such debase them- 
selves, and give occasion to suspect them as belonging 
to the same herd. But it may be asked, how shall 
they be distinguished from friends ? Attend to the 
characters already given, and you may see enough to 
justify you in avoiding intimacy with them ; though 
they may so disguise that no evidence appears to con- 
demn them to open and condign punishment. Happy 


would it be should our civil fathers draw some deter- 
minate line of distinction between freemen and these 
slaves of power.* For want of this we have suffered 
greatly already, and if this be not speedily done, the 
consequences, I fear, will be fatal. 

2. As soon as they are discovered, we ought to dis- 
arm them; for, as they will not assist us, we should 
put it out of their power to hurt us or our families, 
when we at any time shall be called to. action. Yea, 

3. As such forfeit all the privileges of freemen, 
their estates should be forfeited and applied to support 
the war; and themselves banished from these states. 
The curse we are commanded to inflict on the inhab- 
itants of Meroz, must imply as much as this ; and be- 
nevolence to millions demands this of us ; not out of 
hatred to their persons, but their crimes, which strike 
at the life and happiness of these states. This punish- 
ment must be inflicted, not by the people at large, 
but by our rulers, with whom, under God, we have 
intrusted our safety ; and in whose wisdom we confide, 
to take proper vengeance on them in due time. But 
should this be delayed, without proper reasons assigned, 
we shall have no cause to wonder, though there should 
be great thoughts of heart among a people, beholding 
their friends and brethren barbarously murdered, or 
wandering forlorn, destitute of food or shelter ; while the 
detested authors of these unparalleled distresses smile 
unnoticed and unpunished, at these dire calamities, 

* Since the above was copied for the press, a proclamation by his ex- 
cellency General Washington has been published, and also two acts to 
punish treason and other crimes of less enormity against this state ; by 
which this line of distinction is, in a good measure drawn, which is 
cause of joy to all the friends of liberty. 


and triumph in our distress. Bat should such de- 
lay happen, we must look on it as another instance of 
divine displeasure, which speaks to all, to search after, 
and, by sincere repentance and thorough reformation, 
remove, the moral cause of God's controversy with us. 
"When this shall take place, we shall then see our 
councils filled with men inspired with wisdom to 
know what Israel ought to do ; our arms victorious 
and triumphant; the inhabitants of Meroz justly pun- 
ished; peace, liberty and safety restored ; the rod of 
tyranny broken ; pure and undefiled religion prevail- 
ing, and the voice of joy and gladness echoing round 
our land. May God hasten the happy, happy day ! 
And let all the people say, Amen, and Amen. Hal- 
leluj ah ! 


History affords no record of the ancestry of Mr. 
Hart. He was born in Warminster, Bucks county, 
Pennsylvania, on the fifth day of July, 1723. Being 
early impressed with the importance of religion, he 
entered the ministry, and in 1749, at the age of 
twenty-six, was ordained. The same year he went to 
Charleston, South Carolina, where he succeeded Mr. 
Chanler, and continued pastor of the Baptist church 
in that city for thirty years. 

At the commencement of the Revolution he warm- 
ly espoused the cause of the colonists ; and in such 
estimation was his character for patriotism held by 
the Council of Safety of Carolina, that he was soon 
after appointed by it to accompany William Tennent 
to the frontiers, in order to reconcile some of the dis- 
affected inhabitants to the change which had occurred 
in public affairs. Shortly before the British laid siege 
to Charleston, in 1780, owing to his active connection 
with the affairs of the Americans, he was advised to 
leave the place, lest he should be made a prisoner to the 
British, and suffer from the excesses that their soldiers 
were at that time committing throughout the South- 
ern colonies. He left Charleston in February, 1780, 
and journeyed to Hopewell, in New Jersey, w^here, in 


the December following, in consequence of the warm- 
est solicitations, he took charge of the church in that 
place, and remained its pastor until his death, which 
occurred on the thirty-first of December, 1795. 

Mr. Hart was "blessed with such strong natural 
abilities as to lay a foundation for those grateful ser- 
vices which, from his youth to a good old age, he 
rendered both to church and state. His imagination 
was lively, and his judgment firm. Although he 
never enjoyed the advantages resulting from a regu- 
lar progress through any public school or university, 
yet such were the improvements of his mind by self- 
application, close reading, and habitual reflection," 
that few men more richly deserved the highest liter- 
ary honors. As a preacher, Mr. Hart was pleasing in 
manner, and animated in his delivery. As a citizen, 
he w r as a firm and decided patriot, always engaged in 
the great work of promoting the happiness of his fel- 

In the preface to the sermon which succeeds this 
notice, Mr. Hart says : " It would have slept in 
oblivion had not the practice inveighed against been 
revived, and attended to in a frantic manner, at a time 
when every thing in Providence is calling us to differ- 
ent exercises. The judgments of God are now opened 
over the land, and the inhabitants ought to learn 
righteousness. The alarm of war ; the clangor of 
arms ; the garments rolled in blood ; the sufferings of 
our brethren in the northern states, and of others in a 


state of captivity; together with the late dreadful con- 
flagration in this town ; are so many lond calls to re- 
pentance, reformation of life, and prayer that the 
wrath of God may be turned away from us. Instead 
of which, we are smothered up in pleasure and dissi- 
pation. It will hardly be credited that the fire was 
scarcely extinguished in Charleston, before we had 
balls, assemblies, and dances in every quarter ; and 
even in some of those houses which miraculously es- 
caped the flames. . . . Is it thus we requite the 
Lord for our deliverance? The monumental ruins of 
the town will rise up in judgment against the inhabi- 
tants, and condemn them for such impieties. 
I am no prophet, nor the son of a prophet; and 
yet will venture to predict that other, and perhaps 
greater judgments will yet light upon us unless we 


Their children dance. — Job xxi. 11. 

The bare reading of my text hath, I doubt not, 
occasioned a strange emotion of spirits in many of my 
hearers ; by some I may be pitied for my folly, by 
others, despised and ridiculed. Be this as it may, it 
gives me little or no concern. If I had not been will- 

* A sermon, showing the unlawfulness, sinfulness and bad con- 
sequences of balls, assemblies, and dances in general; preached in 
Charleston, S. C, March 22, 17 7 S. 


ing to endure the scoff of the world, I should never 
have made an open profession of the religion of Jesus ; 
much less should I have become a preacher of his 
much despised gospel. He, however, who ventures to 
attack vice in a public manner, ought to be possessed 
of some degree of fortitude and resolution ; for sin is 
a monster of more than a thousand heads ; should he 
slay some, there will be many yet remaining, and he 
may expect to be attacked on every side ; especially 
if he should dare to level at some popular darling 
vice ; one that hath been much caressed, and that too 
by the more polite part of the world ; in this case, 
there will be a mighty uproar among the people. The 
whole city, or country, will be filled with wrath, as 
Demetrius and his associates were, when they cried 
out, " Great is Diana of the Ephesians" or as Mi- 
cah, when stripped of his idols, exclaimed : " Ye have 
taken away my gods, and what have I more ?" 

However, in leaving the event to God, I am deter- 
mined, in faithfulness to my trust, to maintain an 
open and vigorous war with all the vices and sinful 
diversions of the age. Were I to act otherwise, my 
own conscience would condemn me, and the world 
justly reproach me for my unfaithfulness. This, there- 
fore, may justify me, for entering on such a subject; 
which I shall introduce by making some remarks on 
the context ; in which Job seems to be at a loss to 
account for the dispensations of divine Providence, 
with regard to the prosperity of the wicked. 

The friends of Job were far from comforting him, 
as they proposed, under his afflictions, and which 
the} 7- might have done by observing to him, that one 
event often happeneth to the righteous and to the 


wicked ; so that no man can certainly judge of love 
or hatred by all that is done under the sun ; and that 
chastisements are so far from being positive tokens of 
divine wrath, they sometimes rather indicate love — 
for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and rebuketh 
every son whom he receiveth. Such hints as these 
might have afforded Job some consolation under his 
heavy trials. But his three friends took a contrary 
method, which wounded instead of comforting him. 
The doctrine which they laid down and endeavored to 
maintain was this, that wicked men only are severely 
afflicted in this world. Hence, instead of comforting 
Job as an afflicted saint, they censure him as a vile 
sinner and a hypocrite. Job labors to refute their 
arguments and maintain his own innocence. He 
affirms that the wicked often flourish, and become rich 
and great in the world ; when the righteous, on the 
other hand, are greatly afflicted, and stripped of all 
their worldly possessions. He instances his own 
case, and then proceeds to point out the prosperous 
circumstances of the wicked, together with their vain 
and impious practices. 

Mark me, says Job, consider my present dolorous 
condition, and be astonished at the dealings of God 
with me. Can you justly charge me with any gross 
and impious practices, which according to your hy- 
pothesis should bring down the judgment of God upon 
me ? You cannot : therefore lay your hand upon 
your mouth. Try no more to vindicate your opinion, 
when you have a living instance, in opposition to it, 
before your eyes. As for my own part, even when I 
remember my former flourishing circumstances, and 
consider how I am stripped naked and bare, and visited 


with the most painful and loathsome disorders, / am 
afraid of those judgments of the Almighty, and trem- 
bling taketh hold on my flesh. Not being able to ac- 
count for my being thus afflicted, while the wicked go 
on unpunished. Tell me, if you can, wherefore do the 
wicked live, become old, yea, are, mighty in power f 
How doth this coincide with your opinion, that God 
will surely take vengeance on the wicked, in this life ? 
The reverse of this seems to be the case, for their 
houses are safe front fear, neither is the rod of God 
upon them. They are not afflicted, or plagued like 
other men. They swim in affluence and roll in pleas- 
ure ; there is no end to their wealth. And with their 
riches, their families increase, so that they shall not 
want heirs. Their seed is established in their sight, 
and their offspring before their eyes. They live to see 
their children's children a numerous progeny around 
them ; so that they send forth their little ones like a 
flock, for multitude, they going before them like a 
shepherd ; not to the house of God to engage in solemn 
devotion, rather to balls, assemblies and the playhouse, 
where they take the timbrel and harp, and suchlike 
instruments of music, which they play, and their 
children dance. Thus merrily they go on, regardless 
of a future state or eternal judgment. They spend 
their days in wealth, which they squander upon their 
lusts and pleasures in great abundance, although they 
can spare little or nothing for the poor, or any other 
pious purposes. 

After they have thus run their race, in a moment 
they go down to the pit, without any apprehension of 
danger. The wicked have no bands in their death. 
Their principal concern in life is to gratify their cor- 


nipt inclinations ; therefore they say unto God, Depart 
from us / for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways. 
The thoughts of God are disagreeable to them ; and 
his ways, which are the ways of holiness, they cannot 
endure. Like Pharaoh, they know not the Lord, 
neither will they obey him. What is the Almighty, 
say they, that we should serve him? And what profit 
should we have, if we pray unto him? Thus, fulness 
of riches, honor and pleasure swell men's minds with 
pride, and beget in them mean, absurd and atheistical 
notions of the Deity. They look upon him as a mere 
idol, as nothing in the world ; and therefore conclude 
that they can derive no advantage from praying unto 

This is the character of the wicked, as drawn by 
Job, a perfect and upright man, who feared God, and 
eschewed evil. In the midst of which description, 
and as a part of it, stands that very polite and much- 
esteemed practice of dancing, a diversion which, in 
all ages, hath had admirers and votaries. To oppose 
it, will be to incur the censure of all the gay gentry, 
and with them, however to forfeit all pretension to 
polite breeding and good manners, I am willing to 
risk greater consequences than these, that I may main- 
tain a conscience void of offence toward God and to- 
ward man. Bear with me, then, while I bear my 
testimony against a practice which I look upon as 
sinful, and opposed to the Christian character, and 
which Job, in our text, certainly speaks of as consti- 
tuting part of the character of the wicked. And their 
children dance. Observe, it is their children — i. e., 
the children of such wicked parents as he was describ- 
ing. By children, we do not always understand 


children as to age ; sometimes it intends those who 
have descended from such or such parents, although 
they themselves may have arrived at men's or women's 
estate. And if we take the word children in our text 
in this sense, the meaning of Job appears evidently to 
be this, that the families or posterity of wicked parents 
give into this practice. Would to God that none of 
the descendants of pious parents ever imitated their 
bad example, and that it might never be said of any 
but wicked parents, And their children dance. 
On treating this uncommon subject, I design 

I. To state the argument, by giving a scriptural 
definition of the word dance. 

II. Prove, by various arguments that dancing, ac- 
cording to the common mode, is absolutely sinful. 

III. Reply to the most popular arguments used in 
favor of dancing. 

IY. Conclude with a brief improvement. 

I. I am to state the argument, by giving a scriptu- 
ral definition of the word dance. 

Dancing, according to the Scripture account, is some- 
times to be taken in a good sense ; and then it is ex- 
pressive of the inward spiritual joy of the heart, which 
was commonly manifested by a comely motion of the 
body ; attended with songs of praise to God, for some 
deliverance obtained, or mercy received. Thus was 
dancing attended to, or practised by the good people of 
old, in a religious way. When their songs were spiri- 
tual, and the music, as also the motion of their bodies, 
were suited thereto. Agreeable to which are the 
words in Psalm cxlix. 3, " Let them praise his name in 
the dance; let them ting praises .unto him with the 
timbrel and harp" 


It was thus David danced before the ark (2 Sam., 
vi. 16.) And in this manner most of the dances, 
which the children of Israel had, were attended to ; 
as you may see by consulting the passage in Scripture 
where they are recorded. As, for instance, when 
the Lord had destroyed Pharaoh and his army in the 
Red Sea, the Israelitish women sung and danced. 
(See Exod. xv. 20, 21.) "And Miriam, the prophetess, 
the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand, and 
all the women went out after her, with timbrels and 
dances. And Miriam answered them, Sing unto the 
Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously / the horse and 
his rider hath he thrown into the sea." Such a son^ 
as this becomes a rational mind, and is suitable to the 
taste of the greatest saint in the world. But it would 
not be so agreeable to our modern dancers ; were it 
to be sung in their assemblies, it would be to them as 
smoke to the eyes or vinegar to the teeth. Unto 
such music and dancing our Lord alludes, in the par- 
able of the prodigal son. Such kind of dancing was 
lawful and holy, and by no means to be condemned. 

But there is another sort of dancing spoken of in 
Scripture, which consists in a motion of the body, 
seemly or unseemly, stirred up by natural or carnal 
joy, to please or satisfy ourselves or others, without 
any view to the glory of God, or the benefits of souls. 
Thus that fine young lady, the daughter of Herodias, 
danced, on Herod's birthday ; it should seem that she 
opened the ball, and performed so well as to fill the 
king with raptures of joy ; whereupon, in a courtly 
dialect, he promised the young lady whatsoever she 
should ask, even to the half of his kingdom. She, 
being afore instructed by her mother, very modestly 


asked no greater reward than the head of John the 
Baptist in a charger. Thus, as a reward for dancing, 
the harbinger of Christ lost his life — enough, one 
w r ould think, to cause every serious person to abhor 
the practice forever. It is this profane kind of dancing 
that is intended in our text ; the same with what is 
now in vogue, and which, if it were set in a proper 
light, would not appear altogether such an innocent 
diversion as is generally imagined. I proceed, there- 

II. To prove that dancing, according to the com- 
mon, modern mode, is absolutely sinful. 

Some may be ready to think this is a strange under- 
taking, and that I shall certainly fail in the attempt. 
It will be but fair, and therefore I have a right to 
expect, that you should suspend your judgment until 
I have done ; hear with candor, then weigh the argu- 
ments in the balance of the sanctuary ; and if they 
prove too light, or insufficient to prove the point, reject 

1. Then, I argue that dancing, according to the mod- 
ern mode, is sinful, because it contributes nothing to 
the chief end of man ; nay, is contrary to it. You 
know that the chief end of man is to glorify God. 
And this ought to be our principal aim in every thing 
we do. (1. Cor. x. 31.) " Whether, therefore, ye eat or 
drink, or whatsoever ye do, do cdl to the glory of GodP 
Now I would ask our advocates for dancing, what ten- 
dency that practice has to glorify God \ Can you say 
that you have any view to the glory of God in it? I 
am persuaded you will not dare thus to give your con- 
science the lie. And if it should be proved, as I sup- 
pose it will, that dancing contributes rather to pro- 


mote the interest of Satan than the glory of God, it 
follows that the practice is directly contrary to the 
chief end of man. Only give this one argument its 
proper scope and due weight, and dancing will soon 

2. A corroborating argument may be drawn from 
Romans, xiv. 23 : " Whatsoever is not of faith is sin;" 
but dancing is not of faith, therefore it is sin. But 
perhaps some may query : 

"> What has this text to do with our diversions, or 
any of our trivial concerns ?" 

I shall answer in the words of a learned expositor : 
" This is a general rule or axiom, which is not only 
applicable to the present case, but to any other, 
whether of a natural, civil, moral, or evangelical kind ; 
whatever is not agreeable to the word and doctrine of 
faith, ought not to be done ; whatever is done without 
faith, or not in the exercise of it, is culpable, for with- 
out faith nothing can be pleasing to God." 

Therefore, until it can be proved that dancing is of 
faith, you must excuse me if I insist that it is a sinful 

III. Whatever action in life we cannot pray for a 
blessing upon, must be unlawful and sinful, and such 
an one is dancing ; therefore it ought to be avoided. 
Will any say " we are not bound to seek the blessing 
of God upon our ordinary concerns?" I will confront 
them with the words of Solomon : " In all thy ways 
acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." 
(Prov. iii. 6.) Such universal piety may not, indeed, 
suit the taste of frolickers and dancers, but it well be- 
comes the character of all the professed disciples of 
Jesus Christ. But should any query : " Why may we 


not pray for a blessing on our dances ?" I answer, 
you may not, because God has never promised to give 
a blessing to such practices ; therefore, such a prayer 
would be sin. Kay, you cannot do it because it would 
be a profanation of the deity, and your consciences 
will not admit it. 

IV. The injunction which is laid upon us to redeem 
the time, prohibits our misspending it in such prac- 
tices. Time is a precious jewel, put into our hands 
to improve for eternity, and those who trifle it away, 
are (in the Scripture account) very fools. (Eph. v. 15, 
16.) " See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, 
but as wise, redeeming the time" Can it with truth 
be said, that the time spent at balls, assemblies and 
dances is redeemed ? No such thing. It is squan- 
dered away ; it is murdered ; it is consumed on our 
lusts ; and how our dancers will be able to answer to 
God for all the time they have thus shamefully mis- 
improved, another day will determine. 

Y. It occasions an extravagant waste of money; 
with which great good might be done. After enough 
hath been thrown away upon a child, at the dancing- 
school, to have educated two or three poor children, 
then truly miss must be dressed up, cap-a-pie, to make 
a shining figure at the ball ; which expends enough 
to relieve a virtuous family in distress, or clothe half 
a dozen orphan children. If this is to be good stew- 
ards of our money, I confess I am very much mistaken. 
And stewards we certainly are, and only stewards, of 
all we possess, and must be accountable unto God for 
the spending of our substance. I am apprehensive 
our dancers think but too little of this. Sirs, you 
would do well to consider, that in a little time the 


Lord will say : " Come, give an account of thy stew- 
ardship, for thou in ay est be no longer steward." 

VI. The thoughts of having thus squandered our 
precious time must occasion very uneasy reflections 
on a dying bed, unless the conscience should then 
be asleep — which would avail but for a little while ; 
for at death the illusion must vanish, and then it 
would be still more terrible to awake in hell. How- 
ever, those diversions, which were so pleasing to the 
carnal mind while in health and strength, can afford 
no comfortable reflections in a dying hour. The 
dancer will then be ready to say : " Wretch that I 
was, thus to squander away my precious time, my 
health, strength, and estate, upon my idle diversions ! 
How much better might I have improved the bless- 
ings which Providence bestowed upon me ! How 
much might I have done for God and my own soul ! 
But, alas! they were objects too much neglected! 
How ought I to have redeemed my time in preparing 
for death and eternity ! But, fool that I was, I spent 
my life in vain mirth and sinful pleasures. Oh for 
those precious moments which I have lost ! But they 
are gone — they are lost forever ; and I am afraid my 
God, my heaven, my soul, are lost too ! Pity and 
pray for me, O my friends ; and let my late repent- 
ance be a warning: to you. Oh guard against those 
sinful diversions on which my poor soul hath been 
shipwrecked !" Such a scene might affect one of our 
dancers, and for a little time make him serious. But 
how soon do such impressions wear off ! And then 
the libertine returns to his folly. 

VII. It behooves us to live each day and hour as 
we would wish to die, and not to engage in any thing 


that would alarm us, in case death should overtake 
us in the act. The truth and utility of this assertion 
none will deny. Let me then ask, "Would you be 
willing to meet with death at a ball, or a dance? 
You would not. And how do you know, when you 
venture on the enchanted ground, that you shall come 
away alive ? And is this to hold yourselves in readi- 
ness? Think, O my friends, how you would look, 
how you would feel, should this ever happen. Horror 
would fasten on your countenance, trembling seize 
every joint and nerve, and the convulsive pangs of 
conscience would be more intolerable than the tortures 
of the bloody inquisition. You would probably use 
the language of a fair lady, in a dialogue with Death: 

" I little thought you would have called so soon. 
And must my morning sun go down at noon ?" 

Oh, dreadful ! to be cut off in the midst of my pleas- 
ures — to be hurried from a ball to the bar, without 
any time to repent, or prepare for eternity ! But, 
perhaps you will say : " Would you have us always on 
our knees, waiting for death ?" I answer, !N"o ; you 
may boldly meet death when engaged about your 
secular concerns, or any of the duties of life. 

I remember to have read, I think, in the life of 
Lord Chief Justice Hale, that at the time of sessions, 
while one of the attorneys was pleading, there came 
on a most terrible thunderstorm, which silenced the 
attorney; upon which the Judge said to him : " Sir, 
why don't you go on?" " Go on, my lord," said the 
attorney, "don't you see how black the heavens are, 
and the lightning rolling on the ground, while the 
thunder roars as though the last day were come ?" 


" And suppose it is," said his lordship, " are you not 
in the way of your duty ?" I am here about my busi- 
ness, and I am as willing to go hence to judgment as 
I should be if I were on my knees in my closet. The 
way of duty is the way of safety, and while thus en- 
gaged we have nothing to fear ; but who would mani- 
fest such fortitude at a dance ? 

VIII. The conversation at dances is inconsistent 
with Christianity. I will appeal to the conscience of 
those who frequent such places, whether or no flat- 
tery, lying, ribaldry, and nonsense, do not abound 
there? Little, I fear, is to be heard that hath any 
tendency to reform the manners or improve the mind ; 
much less to minister grace to the hearers. There 
may be enough to corrupt the morals and vitiate the 
taste of both sexes. Is it not from hence, at least in 
part, that we have so much obscene, vulgar, and pro- 
fane conversation amongst us? Our merry gentry, 
who delight so much in frolicking and dancing, would 
do well to consider how they will answer for all their 
filthiness, foolish talking, jesting, and suchlike things, 
when they come to stand at the bar of God. 

IX. Again, many dances are extremely immodest, 
and incentive to uncleanness. This is acknowledged 
by Mr. Addison, although an advocate for dancing. 
" As for country dancing, saith he, it must indeed be 
confessed, that, the great familiarity between the two 
sexes on this occasion, may sometimes produce very 
dangerous consequences." But modesty bids me be 
sparing here, otherwise more might be said. My soul, 
come not thou into their secrets, and unto their assem- 
blies, mine honor, be not thou united. 

X. Farther, the music which leads the dance, is 


often very obscene ; the tunes being adapted to the 
most vulgar and filthy songs ; which have a tendency 
■ to pollute the imagination, and to raise unchaste 
tli oughts in the mind. Thus the heart becomes a 
sink of uncleanness — a cage of all manner of abomi- 
nable and filthy lusts. 

XL Moreover, the practice we are speaking of, can- 
not be endured in the minister. And why so ? If there 
is no harm in it, and if it may be attended to with 
advantage, why must ministers be prohibited the prac- 
tice ? The thing speaks for itself ; people are con- 
scious that it is an evil, and therefore, although they 
will indulge themselves in it, they will not allow it in 
those who have the care of their souls. 

As for my own part, I think indeed a dancing par- 
son, is an odd character, and a dancing Christian is not 
much better. And our advocates for dancing would do 
well to consider that the Almighty hath no more allowed 
them dispensation in this case, than their ministers. 

XII. Once more. This practice renders persons the 
most unlike to Christ, our great pattern and example. 
Did Jesus ever indulge himself in mirth ? No. Fre- 
quently did he mourn over such impieties, but never 
did he countenance them, in any way whatever. The 
doctrines, precepts and examples of Christ, all pro- 
hibit vain mirth — idle and*sinful diversions. Those 
who indulge themselves in these, act diametrically 
opposite to the religion of Jesus; which enjoins tem- 
perance, mortification, self-denial and the like virtues. 

XIII. In fine, the greatest and best of men have 
ever bore a testimony against the practice of dancing. 
I shall quote some passages from several authors, 
which I shall do in their own words ; hoping that 


their sentiments may make some impression upon 
your minds. We shall begin with the observations 
of that truly great and good man, Mr. Caryl, upon 
our text and context. 

"Their children dance, that is, saith Mr. Caryl, they 
are instructed and taught the art of music and danc- 
ing ; or there is rejoicing among them ; this is proper 
to the age and state of children. Christ, himself, 
speaks as if this were the trade of children. (Matt. xi. 
16.) i Whereunto shall I liken this generation f They 
are like children sitting in the market-place? What 
do they there? Are they buying or selling? Are 
they bargaining or trading ? Eo, that is the business 
of men. What do the children there ? They call to 
their fellows and say : * We have piped to you, and ye 
have not danced / we have mourned to you, and ye have 
not lamented.'' They take the timbrel and the harp. 
They live in pleasure; hence observe, worldly men 
breed their children vainly. Here is a description of 
their education : they are sent forth as a flock in a 
dance, playing upon the timbrel, &c. Here is all the 
knowledge and literature they are brought up to ; 
here is all their religion, all the catechism that they 
are taught. 

" The Lord giveth this report of Abraham, who had 
a numerous family : < I know him that he will com- 
mand his children, and his household after him, and 
they shall keep the way of the Lord? (Gen. xviii. 19.) 
Abraham did not teach his family to dance. Here was 
education in the fear of the Lord." 

Thus far are the words of Mr. Caryl. The pious 
Mr. Henry, upon the place, saith : 

" They are merry, and live a jovial life. They have 


their balls and music-meetings, at which their children 
dance ; and dancing is fittest for children, who know 
-not how better to spend their time, and whose inno- 
cency guards them against the mischiefs which com- 
monly attend it. Their children do not pray, or say 
their catechism, but dance and sing, and rejoice at the 
sound of the organ. Sensual pleasures are all the 
delights of carnal people ; and as men are themselves, 
so they breed their children." 

I shall add the words of the learned and judicious 
Dr. Gill, in his exposition of the text : 

"And their children dance, either in an artificial 
way, skip and frisk, and play like calves and lambs, 
and are very diverting to their parents, as well as show- 
ing them to be in good health ; which adds to their 
parents' happiness and pleasure ; or in an artificial way, 
being taught to dance ; and it should be observed, it 
is their children — the children of the wicked, and not 
of the godly — that are thus brought up ; so Abraham 
did not train up his children, nor Job his ; no instance 
can be given of the children of good men being 
trained up in this manner, or of their children dancing 
in an irreligious way." 

This is the testimony of the great Dr. Gill. Mr. 
Baxter, speaking of dancings, revellings and idle diver- 
sions, interrogates thus : 

" Dost thou not know that thou hast higher delights 
to mind ? And are these toys beseeming a noble soul, 
that hath holy and heavenly matters to delight in ? 
Dost thou not feel what a plague the very pleasure is 
to thy affections ? How it bewitcheth thee, and be- 
fooleth thee, and maketh thee out of love with holi- 
ness, and unfit for any thing that is good? Again, 


is it sport that thou needest ? Dost thou not more 
need Christ, and grace, and pardon, and preparation 
for death and judgment, and assurance of salvation ? 
Why, then, are not these thy business ? Farther — 
Hast thou not a God to obey and serve ? And doth 
he not always see thee ? And will he not judge thee? 
Alas ! thou knowest not how soon. Though thou be 
merry in thy youth, and thy heart cheer thee, and 
thou walk in the ways of thy heart and the sight of 
thine eyes, yet know thou that for all these things God 
will bring thee into judgment." 

I shall conclude this head with a passage from 
Moreland's history of the evangelical churches of the 
valleys of Piedmont. Here I would observe, that 
these were the only pure churches in the world for 
several centuries. When the world wandered after 
the beast, these people adhered strictly to the religion 
of Jesus. They were remarkable for piety, and en- 
dured the most cruel persecutions for the cause of 
Christ. In the tenth article of their discipline, which 
treats of balls and dances, they say : 

" A ball is the devil's procession, and whosoever 
entereth there, entereth into his procession. The devil 
is the leader, the middle, and the end of the dance. 
So many paces as a man maketh in a ball, so many 
leaps he maketh toward hell. They sin in dancing 
sundry ways. First, in walking, for all their paces 
are numbered ; they sin in touching, in their orna- 
ments, in their hearing and seeing, in speaking, in 
singing, in lies and vanities. A ball is nothing but 
misery, sin and vanity." 

Thev observe that the dancing of a damsel caused 
John the Baptist's head to be cut off ; and the dan- 


cing of the children of Israel caused Moses to break 
the two tables of the law. They also prove that the 
ten commandments are violated by balls. They cite 
a passage from St. Augustine, wherein he saith : 
" The miserable dancer' knoweth not that so many 
paces as he maketh at a ball, by so many leaps he 
draweth nearer to hell." 

Thus have 1 offered some reasons and arguments 
which have determined me against dancing ; which I 
have enforced by the testimony of several great and 
good men ; whether or no the whole hath sufficient 
force to prove the unlawfulness and sinfulness of the 
practice, must be left to the candor of serious minds. 

After all, it may be thought that my work is but 
half done, unless I can answer whatever may be 
brought in support of this favorite and falsely called 
polite diversion. And this brings me, 

III. To reply to the most popular arguments used 
in favor of dancing. 

1. One of the most popular arguments (or rather 
excuses) for this practice is : u I can see no harm in it, 
therefore it can be no crime in me." Poor creature ; 
you can see no harm in it. This is of as much force 
as if a blind man was to tell us that he could neither 
distinguish colors nor see the light. We may pity 
your unhappiness, but cannot give you eyes. But, 
you conclude, it cannot be a crime in you, because 
you do not view it in that light. If we are not cog- 
nizable for sins of ignorance, Saul was not chargeable 
with guilt when he persecuted the Church, and yet for 
this reason he accounted himself the chief of sinners. 
But it may be you are wilfully blind. You might be 
better instructed if vou would. Let me therefore ad- 


vise you to pray to God for instruction in this matter, 
laying yourself open to conviction ; and I am per- 
suaded you will soon see an evil in dancing, for which 
you must be accountable to God. 

2. It may be said, " Dancing is a part of good 
breeding, without which we are not qualified for com- 
pany, but shall appear singular, and be laughed at." 

Perhaps custom may have induced the world to 
look upon dancing as a branch of good breeding, rather 
than any excellency in itself. However, to give this 
plea all its force, I will grant that some advantages 
might be derived from the dancing-school, if properly 
managed ; and possibly may as it is, so far as it teaches 
a graceful mien and easy carriage, and a genteel be- 
havior. But these advantages will by no means com- 
pensate for the disadvantages which attend it. For, 
first, miss, who is educated at the dancing-school, soon 
swells with pride and self-importance, looks down, 
with an air of disdain, on those who are not as well 
accomplished as herself, and but too much copies the 
description in Isaiah (iii. 16) : "The daughters of Zion 
are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks, and 
wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go." How- 
ever, the young lady's fine acquirements are not to be 
buried in those avocations which industry inspires ; 
therefore, in the next place, immense sums are expend- 
ed to equip her for public view. And so, rustling in 
her silks, powdered d la mode, and studded with bril- 
liants, she makes her appearance at the ball ; where 
she is introduced into fine company — gets a taste for 
pleasure and dissipation, which often ends in the de- 
struction of soul and body. "The woman who liveth in 
pleasure, is dead, while she liveth." (1 Tim. v. 6.) 


And now, suppose you are not qualified for such 
company, what is the loss % " The friendship of the 
world is enmity with God." (James, iv. 4.) And our 
greatest danger lies in our becoming too familiar with 
it. But you say that you shall be singular, and 
laughed at. This, indeed, may be mortifying. But 
are you as careful not to be singular in religious so- 
ciety ? Perhaps, when there, you have nothing to 
say ; yet this gives you no concern. As to your being 
laughed at, it need give you no pain ; for, if you will 
shun vice, and pursue piety, you shall endure the 
laugh of the world, although you should behave ever 
so well. 

3. To vindicate dancing, it is said that " it unbends 
the mind, and recreates the body." This plea can 
suit none but such as live a studious, sedentary life ; 
and there are many exercises less exposed to tempta- 
tion, that will answer those salntary purposes equally 
as well. Walking, riding, or manual labor, may be 
as profitable and efficacious. Besides, it doth not ap- 
pear that dancing hath such a beneficent tendency 
as alleged. Strange, that being deprived of natural 
rest, exposed to night-damps and inclement air, in a 
profuse sweat, should be so salutary. The truth is, 
the reverse is the case ; and many have danced them- 
selves into eternity. 

4. But, perhaps, we shall meet w T ith some champion 
in the cause of dancing, wdio comes forth, Goliah-like, 
bidding defiance to the armies of Israel, and hath the 
effrontery to assert, that " the lawfulness of dancing 
may be supported by Scripture." Can it, indeed ? 
If so, our business will be done for us, and we will 
promise to give up the point. " Why," says this hero, 


"did not David dance?" Yes ; we know, as well as 
he, that David danced ; but then it was religiously, 
before the ark. I have already shown in what sense 
we are to understand David's dancing ; and it is in- 
solent, as well as perverting of Scripture, to bring this 
passage to support our irreligious, modern dances. 
" But," says this champion, " Solomon tells us there 
is a time to dance." True ; and Solomon tells us also 
there is a time to die. If our dancers thought more 
of this, they would find less time for that. But let it 
be proved, if it can, that Solomon intends dancing 
according to the common mode ; and, suppose he 
should, all that can be drawn from hence is, that there 
is a time in which numbers will be profane enough to 

5. Another plea for dancing often made use of is 
this: "We may spend our time a great deal worse." 
I reply, it always indicates a bad cause when one 
vice is subpoenaed to vindicate another. Nothing, 
therefore, need be said to show the weakness of this 
excuse, only, that we may spend our time a great 
deal better, themselves being judges. 

6. Some have endeavored to plead for this practice 
by quoting the example of professors of religion, and 
whom we believe to be good people, who will go to 
heaven, and yet they can dance as well as any body. 
More is the pity that they should lay a stumbling- 
block in the way of others. Often they are heartily de- 
spised by the people of the world, for their sinful com- 
pliances. However, all professors are not Christians. 
Some who have Jacob's voice, have Esau's hands. 
And even the best are liable to err. Therefore follow 
none, unless they follow Christ. It will be no excuse 


in the day of judgment, that you saw professors go to 
balls and assemblies, and therefore you thought there 
could be no harm in such diversions. 

Thus, having given a scriptural definition of the 
word dance ; and proved that dancing according to 
the modern mode is sinful and attended with bad con- 
sequences ; also replied to the most popular argu- 
ments in favor of dancing ; I now come, in the last 

IY. To make some improvement of the subject. 

1. From what hath been said we may see the folly 
of those parents who put their children to the dancing- 
school, and spend such immense sums of money to 
bring them up in pride, gayety, and all the vanities 
of life. Is this to bring up our children in the fear of 
the Lord, as Abraham did? Is it to train up a child 
in the way it should go, as Solomon directs ? Would 
it not be much better to devote onr money to pious 
and charitable uses? Do such parents take as much 
care of their children's souls ? Do they instruct them 
in the principles of the Christian religion, and warn 
them against sin and vanity? I fear they do not. 
Look to it, parents ! you have the charge of your 
children's souls, as well as of their' bodies; and a 
much weightier charge it i^. Think how dreadful it 
will be to have the blood of your dear children's souls 
crying against you, in the day of judgment. How 
awful would it be to have a child thus to address you, 
on that day : " O cruel parent ! you were the instru- 
ment of my being, or I should not have existed, to 
have been thus miserable. You cared indeed for my 
body, but why did you not care for my soul, and labor 
to make that happy ? You might, and you ought to 


have restrained me, when pursuing vanity and folly ? 
But, instead of that, you placed me in the way of 
temptation ; yea, you went with me yourself to the 
devil's seminaries, where I was taught to practise sin- 
ful pleasures. And now, alas ! I am to reap the fruit 
of our doings to all eternity." Is the thought shock- 
ing ? Oh, give no occasion for the dolorous complaint. 

2. "What hath been said, reproves those who are 
attached to, and engaged in the practice of frolicking, 
dancing, and suchlike sinful divisions, I say, such- 
like diversions ; for you would do well to consider, that 
the arguments against dancing will generally hold good 
against gaming, horseracing and all sinful diversions. 
My dear friends, you are highly reprovable ; but I 
rather choose to address you in soft language. Let 
the time past suffice you, to have gone on in sin and 
folly. Forsake the foolish and live and walk in the 
way which leads to eternal life. You are surely 
making work for repentance. God grant that it may 
be in time. 

If after all that hath been said, you still remain 
unconvinced, and can see no harm in these things — ■ 
suffer me to advise you to pray earnestly, that you 
may be enabled to see things in a proper light ; and 
particularly, that you may have a discovery of the 
wretchedness of your own wicked and deceitful heart. 
Then seriously ask yourselves these following ques- 

For what was I made ? Do I answer the end of 
my being ? Is God glorified by all my actions ? Is 
living in pleasure to live like a Christian ? Must I 
not shortly die, and give an account of my actions to 
God ? Have I any time to spare from transacting 


business for eternity ? If this advice were universal- 
ly regarded, we should hear no more of balls, assem- 
blies and dances ; instead of which, our temple-gates 
would be crowded, and the general cry would be : 
Lord, what shall I do to be saved ? May God send 
us the happy day, and to his name shall be all praise. 


This eminent divine was a native of Philadelphia, 
in Pennsylvania, where he was born, February twen- 
ty-seventh, 1737. While quite a child, his parents 
removed to Charleston, South Carolina, at which place 
he was educated ; soon after he attained his twenty- 
second year, he was ordained and settled at James's 
Island. Ill health prevented his remaining in this 
position but for eighteen months, at the termination of 
which he removed to Bordentown, New Jersey . In 
1762, he visited New England, and after being an as- 
sistant about a year, in the Second Baptist Church, 
in Boston, he was installed the minister of the First, 
as successor of Mr. Bound, in January, 1765. 

Dr. Stillman was by nature endowed with a good 
capacity, and an uncommon quickness of apprehen- 
sion. His feelings were peculiarly strong and lively, 
which gave activity to whatever he did, and, under 
the influence and control of religious principles, served 
to increase that eminent piety, in which nature no less 
than grace, seemed to have aided him. To this con- 
stitutional ardor, both of sentiment and action, which 
led him to enter with his whole heart in whatever he 
engaged, he united a delicacy, that he would not in- 
tentionally wound the feelings of any one ; and such 


easy, affable, and gentlemanly manners, as would 
adapt themselves to almost any society, without di- 
minishing in the smallest degree his personal respect 
on the one hand, or carrying the least mixture of 
austerity or precision on the other. The lively inter- 
est he appeared to take in whatever affected the hap- 
piness or increased the pleasures of his friends, the 
gentleness of his reproofs and the gratification he 
seemed to feel in commending others, united to his 
social qualities, endeared him to all who knew him. 

The popularity of a preacher commonly declines 
with his years. Dr. Stillman, however, was a singu- 
lar exception to this general remark. He retained it 
for upward of fifty-two years, and his congregation, 
which, upon his first connection with it, was the 
smallest in the town, at the age of seventy, the period 
of his death, he left among the most numerous. 

As a minister of Christ his praise was in all the 
churches. Nature had furnished him with a most 
commanding voice, the very tones of which were ad- 
mirably adapted to awaken the feelings of an audience ; 
and he always managed it with the greatest success. 
His eloquence was of the powerful and impressive, 
rather than of the insinuating and persuasive kind, 
and his manner so strikingly interesting, that he never 
preached to an unattentive audience : and even those 
who dissented from him in some minor points of the- 
ology, were still pleased with hearing him — for they 
knew his sincerity— they knew him to be a good man. 


There was a fervor in his prayers that seldom failed to 
awaken the devotion of his hearers ; for coming from 
the heart, it failed not to reach the hearts of others. 
In his sermons he was animated and pathetic. His 
subjects were often doctrinal, but he commonly deliv- 
ered practical inferences from them, and every one ac- 
knowledged his great usefulness. He preached much 
to the feelings and the heart ; and numbers on whose 
minds naked reason and simple truth could produce 
no serious effects, his powerful eloquence was a means 
of both touching and reclaiming. Nor was he only a 
preacher of righteousness ; what he taught that others 
should do, he lived himself.* 

The integrity of Dr. Stillinan's character was such 
as produced universal confidence in him. Expressive 
of this was his election by the town of Boston as a 
member of the Senate Convention for the formation 
of the state constitution in 1779 ; as also for the 
adoption of the federal constitution in 1788; in the 
last body he delivered a very eloquent speech in its 
support, and was considered at the time as having 
contributed much toward its adoption, and confirmed 
many members in its favor who were previously 
wavering upon that question. To that constitution 
he ever after continued a firm, unshaken friend, and 
a warm approver of the administration of Washing- 
ton and Adams. 

* See the Palladium and New-York Advertiser of March, 1807. 


His domestic character was in perfect unison with 
the other parts of it. His habit of body through 
life was weak, arid he was not unused to occasional 
interruptions of his ministerial labors. It was his 
constant prayer that "his life and his usefulness 
might run parallel," and in this he was gratified. 
Without any previous symptoms, on the morning of 
the 13th of March, 1807, he was suddenly attacked 
with paralysis, and on the night following, having 
received another shock, he passed into eternity. 


Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Ccesar the things that 
are Cossar's, and unto God the things that are God's. — Matt. xxii. 21. 

The Pharisees, who in appearance were the strictest 
religious sect among the Jews, observing the growing 
reputation of the Son of God, and finding that he had 
eclipsed their glory, took counsel how they might en- 
tangle him in his talk. A conduct this that is repug- 
nant to every principle of genuine religion. But those 
men who are determined upon their own aggrandize- 
ment are seldom scrupulous about the means of obtain- 
ing it. Hence these ambitious religionists sent out to 
him their disciples, with the Herodians, men fit for 
their purpose, saying, in the language of hypocrisy 

* This sermon was preached before the Supreme Court of Massachu- 
setts, on the 29th of May, 1779. It was published the same year. 


and insult, " Master, we know that thou art true, and 
teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou 
for any man : for thou regardcst not the person of 
men. Tell us, therefore, what thinhest thou f Is it 
lawful to give tribute unto Coosar, or not ? " 

The Jews entertained an extreme aversion to the 
Gentiles, and could not be brought to submit to a 
heathen magistrate but with great reluctance, and 
through absolute necessity. 

These Pharisees, therefore, judging of our blessed Lord 
by their own sentiments and feelings, supposed that by 
this question they should extort something from him 
derogatory to Caesar's honor ; or that would subject 
him to an impeachment as an enemy to the Roman 
government. But he taketh the wise in their own craf- 
tiness : " Show me," said he, " the tribute money. And 
they brought him a penny. And he saith unto them, 
Whose is this image and superscription f They say 
unto him, Coesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render 
therefore unto Coesar the things that are Ccesar'S : and 
unto God the things that are GooVs." Upon their being 
thus defeated in their infamous attempt, they marvelled 
and went their way to report to their masters their 
humiliating disappointment ; for Christ had said noth- 
ing in his reply to them which Caesar himself would 
not approve. 

It is a matter of very little consequence to us, on this 
occasion, which of the Caesars was on the throne at 
the time referred to in the text ; because the duties 
here inculcated are not affected by this circumstance. 
The people were taught by Christ, to render such obe- 
dience to Caesar, or to the civil magistrate, as would 
be consistent with the natural and the civil rights of 


men, and the obligations they were under to the eter- 
nal God. It is unreasonable to suppose that he meant 
to inculcate any other subjection than this. Besides, 
Ills address is properly guarded : " Render therefore to 
Caesar, the things that are Omar's" That is, those 
things which he may lawfully claim. What these 
were, our Lord does not ascertain. Nor is it neces- 
sary that we should, as they relate to Csesar and his 
subjects. I shall therefore proceed to apply this sacred 
passage to ourselves, in our present situation, by con- 
sidering : 

I. What those duties are which the people owe to 
the civil magistrate. 

II. The duties of the magistrate to the people. And 

III. Endeavor to draw the line between the things 
that belong to Csesar, and those things that belong to 

I. We are first to inquire, what those duties are 
which the people owe to the civil magistrate. 

I apprehend that this question implies another, 
which is previously necessary to be determined, viz. : 
How came the men whom we call magistrates with 
any power at all over the people ? Were they born 
to govern? Have they a higher original than 
other men? Or do they claim the sovereignty jure 
divino f 

The time has been when the divine right of kings 
sounded from the pulpit and the press ; and when the 
sacred name of religion was brought in to sanctify 
the most horrid systems of despotism and cruelty. 
But, blessed be God, we live in a more happy era, 
in which the great principles of liberty are better 


understood. "With us, it is a first and fundamental 
principle, that God made all men equal. 

"Nothing is more evident," says Locke, "than 
that creatures of the same species and rank, promis- 
cuously born to all the same advantages of nature, 
and the use of the same faculties, should also be equal 
one amongst another, without subordination or sub- 
jection, unless the Lord and Master of them all should, 
by any manifest declaration of his will, set one above 
another, and confer on him, by evident and clear 
appointment, an undoubted right to dominion and 

Until such a declaration of the divine will shall 
be produced, we ought firmly to maintain the natural 
equality of all men. 

And as they are equal, so they are likewise in a 
state of entire freedom. Whatever they possess is 
their own, to be disposed of solely agreeably to their 
own will. None have a right to claim any part of 
their property, to disturb them in their possessions, 
or to demand subjection in any degree whatever, 
wdiile they act consistently with the laws of nature. He 
who attempts to do either is an usurper ; puts himself 
into a state of war, and may be opposed as a common 

If we admit the truth of these principles, we come, 
by an easy transition, to the foundation of civil so- 
ciety, viz., the consent of the people. For, if all 
men are equal by nature, it must depend entirely 
upon themselves whether they will continue in their 
natural condition, or exchange it for a state of civil 
government. Consequently the sovereignty resides 
originally in the people. 


As their leaving a state of nature for a state of civil 
society is a matter of their own choice, so they are 
equally free to adopt that form of government which 
appears to them the most eligible, or the best calcu- 
lated to promote the happiness of themselves and of 
their posterity. 

Which is the best form of civil government, is a 
question of the first magnitude to any people ; and 
particularly to us wdio have lately considered this 
weighty matter; and who expect, at some future 
period, finally to determine it. May that God by 
whom all human events are controlled, inspire my 
fellow-citizens with that wisdom that shall be profit- 
able to direct ! 

From the premises, the following is a natural con- 
clusion — That the authority of the civil moAjistrate is, 
under God, derived from the people. 

In order therefore to determine with accuracy, what 
the powers of the civil magistrate are, and also the 
duties that the people owe him, we must have recourse 
to the constitution ; by wdrich, in all good govern- 
ments, the authority of the former, and the rights ot 
the latter are determined with precision. 

That it should be so, is a dictate of common sense. 
For upon a supposition of the contrary, how shall the 
rulers or subj ects determine their respective ol digations ? 

From hence arises, in my view, the indispensable 
necessity of a bill of eights drawn up ii the most 
explicit language, previously to the ratification of a 
constitution of government ; which should contain its 
fundamental principles, and which no pel son in the 
state, however dignified, should dare to \ iolate but 
at his peril. 


As we are at present without a fixed form of govern- 
ment, I shall treat the subject rather according to my 
wishes, than the present state of things. For the con- 
stitution ought at least to have a general existence in 
idea before the reciprocal duties of magistrates and 
people can be ascertained. 

Some of those principles which, I apprehend, may 
be called fundamental, have been mentioned ; to 
wdiich I beg leave to subjoin : 

That the great end for which men enter into a state 
of civil society is their own advantage. 

That civil rulers, as they derive their authority from 
the people, so they are accountable to them for the use 
they make of it. 

That elections ought to be free and frequent. 

That representation should be as equal as possible. 

That as all men are equal by nature, so, when they 
enter into a state of civil government, they are en- 
titled precisely to the same rights and privileges, or to 
an equal degree of political happiness. 

That some of the natural rights of mankind are un- 
alienable, and subject to no control but that of the 
Deity. Such are the sacred rights of conscience ; 
which, in a state of nature and of civil society, are 
exactly the same. They can neither be parted with 
nor controlled by any human authority whatever. 

Attempts of this kind have been repeatedly made 
by an ambitious clergy, assisted b}^ rulers of despotic 
principles ; the consequence of which has been, that 
crowds of the best members of society have been re- 
duced to this dreadful alternative, either to offend God 
and violate the dictates of their own minds, or to die 
at a stake. 


That the right of trial by jury ought to be per- 

That no man's property can, of right, be taken from 
him without his consent, given either in person or by 
his representative. 

That no laws are obligatory on the people but those 
that have obtained a like consent. Nor are such laws 
of any force, if, proceeding from a corrupt majority of 
the legislature, they are incompatible with the fun- 
damental principles of government, and tend to sub- 
vert it. 

u All human things have an end," " says Montesquieu, 
" the state w T e are speaking of (meaning Great Britain) 
will lose its liberty, will perish. Have not Home, 
Sparta and Carthage perished ? It will perish when 
the legislative power shall be more corrupt than the 

Let us cast our eyes to the land of our fathers, to 
the kingdom from whence w T e descended, and we shall 
find that she now totters on the brink of a most dan- 
gerous precipice. And that she hath been brought 
into her present deplorable situation by a venal ma- 

Some of that people foresaw their catastrophe ap- 
proaching with hasty strides ; they petitioned and 
remonstrated. And several excellent things were 
published in vindication of their constitutions and 
their injured rights ; but all was in vain. 

The very men who were appointed the guardians 
and conservators of the rights of the people, have dis- 
membered the empire; and by repeated acts of injus- 
tice and oppression, have forced from the bosom of 
their parent country, millions of Americans, who 


might have been drawn by a hair, but were not to be 
driven by all the thunder of Britain. 

A few soft words would have fixed them in her in- 
terest, and have turned away that wrath which her 
cruel conduct had enkindled. The sameness of re- 
ligion, of language and of manners, together with 
interest, that powerful motive, and a recollection of 
that reciprocation of kind offices which had long pre- 
vailed, would have held America in closest friend- 
ship with Great Britain, had she not " governed too 

It can afford the inhabitants of that once happy 
country, no consolation in their present threatening con- 
dition, that it hath been brought on with all' the for- 
mality of law. Rather, this circumstance adds to the 
calamity, seeing the men who should have saved them, 
have betrayed them. 

Where is now the boasted freedom of the British 
government ? Bribery and corruption seem nearly to 
have accomplished the prediction of the great Montes- 
quieu. Nor is such an event to be wondered at, while 
we reflect on the inequality* of their representation 
and the base methods that are used in their elections 
of members of the House of Commons, together with 
the length of time they are suffered to continue in 
their places. 

If they are chosen for a long term, by a part only 

* la Great Britain, consisting of near six millions of inhabitants, five 
thousand seven hundred and twenty-three persons, most of them of the 
lowest of the people, elect one-half of the House of Commons ; and three 
hundred and sixty-four votes choose a ninth part. This may be dis- 
tinctly made out in the Political Disquisitions, vol. I., book 2, ch. 4.— Dr. 


of the state, and if, during that term, they are sub- 
ject to no control from their constituents, the very 
idea of liberty will be lost, and the power of choosing 
in constituents becomes nothing but a power lodged 
in a few to choose, at certain periods, a body of mas- 
ters for themselves and for the rest of the community. 
And if a state is so sunk that the body of its repre- 
sentatives are elected by a handful of the meanest 
persons in it, whose votes are always paid for ;* and 
if, also, there is a higher will on which even these 
mock representatives themselves depend, and that 
directs their voices ; in these circumstances, it will 
be an abuse of language to say that the state pos- 
sesses liberty. This appears to be a just description 
of the present state of the country from which we 

Such an instance affords us many important lessons, 
and calls upon us to guard as much as possible in our 
beginniiig, against the corruption of human nature. 
We should leave nothing to human virtue, that can 
be provided for by law or the constitution. The more 
we trust in the hands of any man, the more we try 
his virtue, which, at some fatal hour, may yield to a 
temptation ; and the people discover their error, when 
it is too late to prevent the mischief. 

Upon the truth of the principles advanced, I ob- 
serve, that the authority of the magistrate is derived 
from the people by consent — that it is limited and 
subordinate — and that so Ions: as he exercises the 
power with which he is vested, according to the orig- 

* They who buy their places will sell the people, for they mean to 
make something by the bargain. 


inal. compact, the people owe him reverence, obedience 
and support. 

Inspiration teaches us to give honor to whom honor, 
fear to whom fear. 

When any men are taken from the common rank 
of citizens, and are intrusted with the powers of gov- 
ernment, they are by that act ennobled. Their election 
implies their personal merit, and is a public declara- 
tion of it. For it is taken for granted, that the people 
have been influenced in their choice by worthiness of 
character, and not by family connections, or other 
base motives. They are, therefore, entitled to a cer- 
tain degree of respect from their constituents — who, 
while they pay them due reverence, will feel it reflect- 
ed upon themselves, because they bear their commis- 
sion. Both interest and duty oblige them to reverence 
the powers that be. It is their duty in consequence 
of their own appointment. And their interest, be- 
cause the good of the community depends much upon 
it. For as far as any of the citizens unjustly depre- 
ciate the merit of rulers, so far they lessen the energy 
of government, and put it out of their power to pro- 
mote the public good. 

With reverence to the person of the magistrate, we 
connect obedience to his authority — such obedience as 
is compatible with the principles already laid down. 
The term government implies this subordination, which 
is essential to its very existence. 

When, therefore, any persons rise in opposition to 
such authority, they are guilty of a most daring offence 
against the state ; because, as far as it prevails, it tends 
to destroy the social compact, and to introduce con- 
fusion and every evil work. Consequently, 


It is the duty of the people to support the magis- 
trate, in the due execution of the laws against such, 
and all other offenders. To choose men to office, and 
not to support them in the execution of it, is too 
great an absurdity, one would think, to find any 

There is also a pecuniary support which the magis- 
trate hath a right to receive from his constituents. 
It is most reasonable that those persons whose time 
and abilities are devoted to the service of their country, 
should be amply provided for while they are thus en- 
gaged. The compensation should be adequate to the 
services they render the state. Let it be sufficient, 
but not redundant. 

While speaking of that support which the servants 
of government are entitled to, I beg leave to mention 
those brave men of every rank who compose our army. 
They have stepped forth in the hour of danger, have 
exchanged domestic ease and happiness for the hard- 
ships of the camp, have repeatedly fought, and many 
of them have bled, in the cause of their country. Of 
their importance no man can be iguorant. 

With deference to this venerable assembly, I am 
constrained to observe, that our first attention is due 
to them, because, under God, they have been, now 
are, and, we trust, will be, our defence. For them let 
us make the most ample provision, and rest assured 
of their most vigorous exertions to defend and save 
their country. 

But it is time to pass to the — ■ 

II. Consideration of the duties of the magistrate to* 
the people. 

As a free government is founded in a compact, the 


parties concerned in it are consequently laid under 
mutual obligations. These, it hath been said, are de- 
termined by the constitution. If so, it follows, that 
the rulers of the people ought to make themselves 
thoroughly acquainted with it, together with the dif- 
ferent laws of the state. Therefore they should be 
men of leisure and abilities, whether they are called 
to act in a legislative or executive department. 

It is taken for granted, that the rulers of the people 
will not forget the source of their power, nor the de- 
sign of their appointment to office — that they have no 
authority but what they derived from the people ; 
who, from a confidence in them that reflects great 
honor on them, have put it into their hands, with this 
sole view — that they might thereby promote the good 
of the community. 

Whether this great end is accomplished, by the ex- 
ercise of the authority of civil rulers, the people are to 
judge ; with whom the powers of government origi- 
nate, and who must know the end for which they 
intrusted them in the hands of any of their fellow-cit- 
izens. This right of judging of their conduct implies, 
that it lies with them either to censure or approve it. 

These considerations are happily calculated to pre- 
vent the abuse of power, which has already happened 
in repeated instances. And of which there ever will 
be danger, while mankind remain in their present state 
of corruption. 

'A spirit of ambition, which is natural to man, tends 
to tyranny ; and an undue attachment to personal 
interest, may issue in fraud ; or in an accumulation of 
offices, which, in their own nature, are incompatible 
with each other ; and which no man, let his abilities 


be what they may, can discharge with honor to him- 
self, and advantage to his country. 

A faithful ruler will consider himself as a trustee of • 
the public, and that he is accountable both to God and 
to the people for his behavior in his office. He will, 
therefore, be very careful not to involve himself in 
more public business than he can perform with fidelity. 

It would have a happy tendency to render the duty 
of the magistrate easy and successful, were he to culti- 
vate an intimate acquaintance with the genius and 
temper of the people over whom he presides. By 
such an acquisition if prudent, he would be capa- 
ble of pursuing a mode of conduct that would not 
fail of gaining him the affections and confidence of 
his subjects. The importance of which is self-evi- 

" Pie who ruleth over men" says David, "must he just, 
ruling in the fear of God" In his exalted station, he 
should go before the people as an example of every 
moral virtue ; and as a hearty friend of that constitu- 
tion of government which he hath sworn to protect. 
To the meanest of the people he should act the part 
of a political father, by securing to them the full en- 
joyment of life, liberty, and property. To him they 
are to look that justice is not delayed, nor the laws 
executed with partiality ; but that all those who 
united in clothing him with the authority of the 
magistrate may uninterruptedly enjoy that equal 
liberty, for the security of which they entered into a 
state of civil society. Thus will he be as the light of 
the morning when the sun riseth, even a morning 
without clouds. 

There are many things that belong to this part of 


the subject. Such as, that the people have a right to 
expect that the honorable their rulers, will by all 
lawful means in their power encourage agriculture 
and commerce, endeavor to suppress vice and im- 
morality,' 55 ' lend all necessary assistance to our schools 
and colleges ; it being a matter of high political im- 
portance that knowledge should be diffused through 
the state, amongst all ranks of men. The propa- 
gation of literature is connected with the security of 
freedom. Ignorance in politics, as well as in religion, 
is fatal in its tendency. 

These subjects have been often considered with 
great ability and address, on these anniversaries. 
Therefore, I forbear to enlarge on them, and reserve 
the remainder of my time for the consideration of a 
point of peculiar delicacy, and of the greatest impor- 
tance to the happiness of my country — viz. : 

III. To attempt to draw the line between the things 
that belong to Caesar, and those things that belong to 

To this inquiry I am naturally led by the text : — 
Render, therefore, to Coesar the things that are Cottar's, 

* Had this sentence been duly attended to at the time the sermon was 
delivered, the following objection which some of my friends have made 
viz.: "That upon the principles contained in the sermon, the civil 
magistrate ought not to exercise his authority to suppress acts of 
immorality." I say, had what is said above been properly observed, 
this objection had been superseded. Immoral actions properly come 
under the cognizance of civil rulers, who are the guardians of the 
peace of society. But then I beg leave to observe, in the words of 
Bishop Warhburton, "That the magistrate punishes no bad actions 
as sins or offences against God, but only as crimes injurious to, or 
having a malignant influence on society." In this view of the matter 
he keeps within the line of his own department. 


and unto God the things that are God's. It is most 
evident in this passage, that there are some tilings 
which Caesar, or the magistrate, cannot of right de- 
mand, nor the people yield. The address has its 
limits. To determine what these are, was never more 
necessary to the people of these United States than it 
is at present. We are engaged in a most important 
contest ; not for power, but freedom. We mean not 
to change our masters, but to secure to ourselves, and 
to generations yet unborn, the perpetual enjoyment of 
civil and religious liberty, in their fullest extent. 

It becomes us, therefore, to settle this most weighty 
matter in our different forms of government, in such a 
manner, that no occasiori may be left in future for 
the violation of the all-important rights of con- 

"I esteem it," says the justly-celebrated Mr. Locke, 
"above all things, necessary to distinguish exactly 
the business of civil government from that of religion, 
and to settle the just bounds that lie between the one 
and the other. If this be not done, there can be no 
end put to the controversies that will be always aris- 
ing between those that have, or at least pretend to 
have, on the one side a concernment for the interest 
of men's souls, and on the other side a care of the 

" The commonwealth seems to be a society of men 
constituted only for the procuring, preserving, and ad- 
vancing their own civil interests. 

" Civil interests I call life, liberty and health, and 
the possession of outward things, such as money, 
lands, houses, furniture, and the like. 

" Now, that the whole jurisdiction of the magistrate 


readies only to these civil concernments, and that all 
civil power, right and dominion, are bonnded and con- 
fined to the only care of promoting these things ; and 
that it neither can nor ought in any manner to be ex- 
tended to the salvation of souls, these following consid- 
erations seem to me abundantly to demonstrate : 

" First, because the care of souls is not committed 
to the civil magistrate any more than to other men. 
It is not committed to him, I say, by God ; because it 
appears not that God has ever given an^ such author- 
ity to one man over another, as to compel any one to 
his religion. Nor can any such power be invested in 
the magistrate by the consent of the people ; because 
no man can so far abandon the care of his own sal- 
vation, as blindly to leave it to the choice of any other, 
whether prince or subject, to prescribe to him what 
faith or worship he shall embrace. For no man can, 
if he would, conform his faith to the dictates of an- 
other. All the life and power of true religion consist 
in the inward and full persuasion of the mind ; and 
faith is not faith without believing. 

" In the second place. The care of souls cannot 
belong to the civil magistrate, because his power con- 
sists only in outward force ; but true and saving relig- 
ion consists in the inward persuasion of the mind, 
without which nothing can be acceptable to God. And 
such is the nature of the understanding, that it cannot 
be compelled to any thing by outward force. 

" In the third place, the care of the salvation of men's 
souls cannot belong to the civil magistrate, because, 
though the rigor of laws and the force of penalties 
were capable to convince and change men's minds, 
yet would not that help at all to the salvation of their 


souls ; for, there being but one truth, one way to 
heaven, what hope is there that more men would be 
led into it if they had no other rule to follow but the 
religion of the court, and were put under the necessity 
to quit the light of their own reason, to oppose the 
dictates of their own consciences, and blindly resign 
up themselves to the will of their governors, and to 
the religion which either ignorance, ambition, or su- 
perstition had chanced to establish in the countries" 
where they were born ? In the variety and contra- 
diction of opinions in religion, wherein the princes of 
the world are as much divided as in their secular in- 
terests, the narrow way would be much straitened, 
one country alone would be in the right, and all the 
rest of the world put under an obligation of following 
their princes in the ways that lead to destruction. 
And what heightens the absurdity, and very ill suits 
the notion .of a Deity, men would owe their eternal 
happiness or misery to the places of their nativity. 

" These considerations, to omit many others that might 
have been urged to the same purpose, seem to me suf- 
ficient to conclude that all the power of civil govern- 
ment relates only to men's civil interests, is confined 
to the care of the things of this world, and hath noth- 
ing to do with the world to come." 

These sentiments, I humbly conceive, do honor to 
their author, and discover a true greatness and lib- 
erality of mind, and are calculated properly to limit 
the power of civil rulers, and to secure to every man 
the inestimable right of private judgment. 

They are also perfectly agreeable to a fundamental 
principle of government, which we universally admit. 
"We say, That the power of the civil magistrate is de- 


rived from the people. If so, it follows, that lie can 
neither have more, nor any other kind of power, than 
they had to give. 

The power which the people commit into the hands 
of the magistrate is wholly confined to the things of 
this world. Other power than this they have not. 
They have not the least authority over the consciences 
of one another, nor over their own consciences so as 
to alienate them or subject them to the control of the 
civil magistrate in matters of religion, in which every 
man ought to be fully persuaded in his own mind, 
and to follow its dictates at all hazards, because he is 
to account for himself at the judgment-seat of Christ. 

Seeing, then, that the people have no power that 
they can commit into the hands of the magistrate 
but that which relates to the good of civil society, it 
follows that the magistrate can have no other, be- 
cause he derives his authority from the people. Such 
as the power of the people is, such must be the power 
of the magistrate. 

To these observations I beg leave to add, that the 
kingdom of Christ is not of this world. By his king- 
dom we mean his church, which is altogether spiritual. 
Its origin, government and preservation are entirely of 
Him who hath upon his vesture and upon his thigh 
WTitten, King of kings, and Lord of lords. 

The doctrines that we are to believe, the duties that 
we are to perform, the officers who are to serve in this 
kingdom, and the laws by which all its subjects are to 
be governed, we become acquainted with by the ora- 
cles of God, which are the Christian's infallible direc- 
tory ; to which he is bound to yield obedience, at the 
risk of his reputation and life. 


They who enter into this kingdom do it voluntarily, 
with a design of promoting their spiritual interests. 
Civil affairs they resign to the care of the magistrate, 
but the salvation of their souls they seek in the king- 
dom of Christ. 

This kingdom does not in any respect interfere with 
civil government, but rather tends to promote its peace 
and happiness, because its subjects are taught to obey 
the magistracy, and to lead peaceable and quiet lives in 
all godliness and honesty. 

The subjects of the kingdom of Christ claim no ex- 
emption from the just authority of the magistrate, by 
virtue of their relation to it. Rather they yield a 
ready and cheerful obedience, not only for wrath but 
also for conscience sake. And should any of them 
violate the laws of the state, they ape to be punished 
as other men. 

They exercise no secular power, they inflict no tem- 
poral penalties upon the persons of one another. All 
their punishments are spiritual. Their weapons are 
not carnal, but mighty through God. They use no 
other force than that of reason and argument, to re- 
claim delinquents; nor are such persons to be punish- 
ed for continuing incorrigible, in any other way than 
by rebuke, or exclusion. 

They pretend not to exercise their spiritual author- 
ity over any persons, who have not joined themselves 
to them of their own accord. u What have I to do" 
says Paul, "to judge them also who are without? do 
ye not judge them who are within?" 

The subjects of this kingdom are bound by no laws 
in matters of religion, but such as they receive from 
Christ, who is the only lawgiver and head of his 


church. All human laws in this respect are inadmis- 
sible, as being unnecessary, and as implying a gross 
reflection on our Lord Jesus Christ, as though he was 
either unable, or unwilling to provide for his own in- 
terest in the world. Nor will he stand by, an idle spec- 
tator, of the many encroachments that have been made 
on his sacred prerogative by the powers of the world. 

Should the most dicmiiied civil ruler become a 
member of his church, or a subject of his spiritual 
kingdom, he cannot carry the least degree of his civil 
power into it. In the church he is, as any other 
member o£ it, entitled to the same spiritual privileges, 
and bound by the same laws. The authority he has 
derived from the state, can by no means be extended 
to the kingdom of Christ, because Christ is the only 
source of that power, that is to be exercised in it. 

It may be said, that religion is of importance to the 
good of civil society ; therefore the magistrate ought 
to encourage it under this idea. 

It is readily acknowledged that the intrinsic excel- 
lence and beneficial effects of true religion are such 
that every man who is favored with the Christian 
revelation ought to befriend it. It has the promise 
of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. 
And there are many ways in which the civil magis- 
trate may encourage religion, in a perfect agreement 
with the nature of the kingdom of Christ, and the 
rights of conscience. 

As a man, he is personally interested in it. His 
everlasting salvation is at stake. Therefore he should 
search the Scriptures for himself, and follow them 
wherever they lead him. This right he hath in com 
mon with every other citizen. 


As the head of a family, he should act as a priest in 
his own house, by endeavoring to bring up his chil- 
dren in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. 

As a magistrate, he should be as a nursing father to 
the church of Christ, by protecting all the peaceable 
members of it from injury on account of religion ; and 
by securing to them the uninterrupted enjoyment of 
equal religious liberty. The authority by which he 
acts he derives alike from all the people / consequently 
he should exercise that authority equally for the bene- 
fit of all, without any respect to their different re- 
ligious principles. They have an undoubted right to 
demand it. 

Union in the state is of absolute necessity to its 
happiness. This the magistrate will study to promote. 
And this he may reasonably expect upon the plan pro- 
posed, of a just and equal treatment of all the citizens. 

For though Christians may contend amongst them- 
selves about their religious differences, they will all 
unite to promote the good of the community, because 
it is their interest, so long as they enjoy the blessings 
of a free and equal administration of government. 

On the other hand, if the magistrate destroys the 
equality of the subjects of the state on account of re- 
ligion, he violates a fundamental principle of a free 
government, establishes separate interests in it, and 
lays a foundation for disaffection to rulers and endless 
quarrels among the people. 

Happy are the inhabitants of that commonwealth, 
in which every man sits under his vine and fig-tree, 
having none to make him afraid ; in which all are pro- 
tected but none established. Permit me, on this occa- 
sion, to introduce the words of the Rev. Dr. Chauncej*, 


whose age and experience add weight to his senti- 
ments. " We are," says this gentleman, "in principle 
against all civil establishments in religion. We de- 
sire not, and suppose we have no right to desire, the 
interposition of the state to establish our sentiments 
in religion, or the manner in which we would express 
them. It does not, indeed, appear to us, that God 
has intrusted the state with a right to make religious 
establishments." And after observing that if one 
state has this right, all states have the same right, he 
adds : " And as they must severally be supposed to 
exert this authority in establishments conformable to 
their own sentiments in religion, what can the conse- 
quence be, but infinite damage to the cause of God 
and true religion ? And such, in fact, has been the 
consequence of these establishments in all ages and 
in all places. What absurdities in sentiment, and ri- 
diculous follies, not to say gross immoralities in prac- 
tice, have not been established by the civil power, in 
some or other of the nations of the world ?" 

To which I take the liberty to add the following 
passage of a very ingenious author : 

" The moment any religion becomes national, or es- 
tablished, its purity must certainly be lost, because it 
is impossible to keep it unconnected with men's inter- 
ests ; and if connected, it must inevitably be perverted 
by them. Again, that very order of men, who are 
maintained to support its interests, will sacrifice them 
to their own. By degrees knaves will join them, fools 
believe them, and cowards will be afraid of them; and 
having gained so considerable a part of the world to 
their interests, they will erect an independent domin- 
ion among themselves, dangerous to the liberties of 


mankind, and representing all those who oppose tyran- 
ny, as God's enemies, teach it to be meritorious in His 
sight to persecute them in this world, and damn them 
in another. Hence must arise hierarchies, inquisi- 
tions and Popery; for Popery is but the consumma- 
tion of that tyranny which every religious system in 
the hands of men is in perpetual pursuit of." 

It is well known to this respectable assembly, that 
Christianity flourished remarkably for the space of 
three hundred years after the ascension of Christ, 
amidst the hottest and most bloody persecutions, and 
when the powers of the world were against it, and 
began to decline immediately upon its being made a 
legal establishment by Constantine, the first Christian 
emperor, who heaped upon it his ill-judged favors and 
introduced a train of evils which he had not designed. 

The preachers of this divine religion were no sooner 
taken into the favor of the prince, and their senti- 
ments established by law, than they began to quarrel 
who should be the greatest ; and anathemized one 
another. Every man who has read the history of the 
four first general councils, is fully satisfied of the 
truth of these remarks. 

Seeing, then, Christianity made its way in the be- 
ginning, when the powers of the world were against 
it, let us cheerfully leave it to the force of its own 
evidence, and to the care of its adorable author; while 
Ave strictly attend to all those means which he hath 
instituted for the propagation of it. The ministers of 
Christ are particularly called upon to preach the 
word, to be instant in season, out of season, to teach 
the people publicly and from house to house y always 
encouraging themselves with that gracious promise, 


Lo, 1 am with you alway, even unto the end of the 

Upon the whole, I think it is a plain as well as a 
yery important truth, that the Church of Christ and a 
commonwealth are essentially different. The one is a 
religious society, of which Christ is the sole head, and 
which he gathers out of the world, in common, by 
the dispensation of his gospel, governs by his laws in 
all matters of religion, a complete code of which we 
have in the sacred Scriptures ; and preserves it by his 

The other is a civil society — originating with the 
people, and designed to promote their temporal inter- 
ests — which is governed by men, whose authority is 
derived from their fellow-citizens, and confined to the 
affairs of this world. 

In this view of the matter, the line appears to me 
to be fairly drawn between the things that belong to 
Ccesar and the things that belong to God. The magis- 
trate is to govern the state, and Christ is to govern 
the church. The former will find business enough in 
the complex affairs of government to employ all his 
time and abilities. The latter is infinitely sufficient 
to manage his own kingdom without foreign aid. 

Thus have I considered the important principles of 
civil and religious liberty, according to that ability 
which God hath given ; and with a freedom that be- 
comes a citizen when called upon, at a most critical 
period, to address the rulers of a free people ; whose 
patriotic minds, it is taken for granted, would at once 
despise the language of adulation. 

In order to complete a system of government, and 
to be consistent with ourselves, it appears to me that 


we ought to banish from among us that cruel practice, 
which has long prevailed, of reducing to a state of . 
slavery for life the freeborn Africans.* 

The Deity hath bestowed upon them and us the 
same natural rights as men ; and hath assigned to 
them a part of the globe for their residence. But man- 
kind, urged by those passions which debase the human 
mind, have pursued them to their native country ; and 
by fomenting wars among them, that they might se- 
cure the prisoners, or employing villains to decoy the 
unwary, have filled their ships with the unfortunate 
captives ; dragged them from their tenderest connec- 
tions, and transported them to different parts of the 
earth, to be hewers of wood, and drawers of water, 
till death shall end their painful captivity. 

To reconcile this nefarious traffic with reason, hu- 
manity, religion, or the principles of a free govern- 
ment, in my view, requires an uncommon address. 

Should we make the case our own, and act agreea- 
bly to that excellent rule of our blessed Lord, What- 
ever ye would that men should do to you, do ye to them 
likewise, the abolition of this disgraceful practice 
would take place. 

Nor can I conceive that we shall act a consistent 
part, till we brand this species of tyranny with per- 
peptual infamy. Shall we hold the sword in one hand 

* Congress, early in the controversy with Great Britain, protested 
against the slave-trade in the following resolve : 

" Secondly, We will neither import nor purchase any slaves imported 
after the first day of December next ; after which time we will ivholly 
discontinue the slave-trade; and will neither be concerned in it ourselves, 
nor will we hire our vessels, nor sell our commodities or manufactures 
to those who are concerned in it." 


to defend our j nst rights as men ; and grasp chains with 
the other to enslave the inhabitants of Africa ? Forbid 
it heaven ! — Forbid it all the freeborn sons of this 
western world ! 

May the year of jubilee soon arrive, when Africa 
shajl cast the look of gratitude to these happy regions, 
for the total emancipation of her sons ! 

This matter, among others, deserves the serious at- 
tention of our honorable rulers, in whom their fellow- 
citizens have reposed uncommon confidence, which is 
apparent in calling them forth to public service at 
such a difficult period as this, which undoubtedly calls 
for the united exertions of the greatest abilities. 

The voice of the people is, as mentioned before, and 
the importance of the matter justifies the repetition 
of it ; I say, the voice of the people is, that govern- 
ment should pay their first attention to the war. If 
America is respectable in the field, the greater will be 
the prospect of success in arms, and of an honorable 

Let us not amuse ourselves with a prospect of peace, 
and in consequence thereof abate in our preparations 
for the war. If we should, it may prove greatly in- 
jurious to the freedom and glory of this rising em- 

But it is not for me to attempt to specify the weighty 
affairs which, during the course of the present year, 
and particularly of the present session, are likely to 
come before the honorable gentlemen who have this 
day called us to the place of public worship. God 
grant unto them that wisdom that is from above ! 

While transacting public business, may they re- 
member that Jehovah standethin the congregation of 


the mighty, and judgeth among the gods. Under the 
influence of this* solemn consideration, may the elec- 
tions of this day be conducted. This being the case, 
every elector, before he gives his vote for any person 
to sit in council, will take pains to satisfy himself 
whether he possesses the qualifications that are ne- 
cessarv for so exalted a station — such as wisdom, 
virtue, firmness, and an unfeigned love of his country. 
Tried friends deserve the preference — an experience 
of whose capacity and fidelity in times past, recom- 
mends them as worthy of our present confidence. 

To the direction of Unerring Wisdom we commit 
both branches of the honorable court, heartily wish- 
ing that they may conduct themselves in every respect 
as those who are to be accountable to God, the judge 
of all. Thus will they enjoy the testimony of con- 
science, and may expect to be accepted of the multi- 
tude of their brethren. 

In fine, seeing the body of Christians, however di- 
vided into sects and parties, " are entitled precisely to 
the same rights," it becomes them to rest contented 
with that equal condition, nor to wish for pre-emi- 
nence. Rather, they should rejoice to see all men as 
free and as happy as themselves. 

They should study to imbibe more of the spirit of 
their Divine Master, to love as brethren, and to pre- 
serve the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. 
In the present state of ignorance and prejudice, they 
cannot expect to see eye to eye. There will be a 
variety of opinions and modes of worship among the 
disciples of the same Lord — men equally honest, pious, 
and sensible — while they remain in this world of im- 
perfection. Let them, therefore, be faithful to their 


respective principles, and kind and forbearing toward 
one another. Their chief study should be to advance 
the cause of morality and religion in the world, and 
by their good works to glorify their Father who is in 

They are to be subject to the civil magistrate, not 
only for wrath, but also for conscience sake ; and to 
pray for all who are in authority, that under them 
they may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godli- 
ness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in 
the sight of God. To whom be glory forever. 


The subject of this sketch was the son of the Rev- 
erend Benjamin Tappan, minister, of Manchester, and 
was born on the twenty-first of April, 1753. Under 
the guidance of his father he acquired the rudiments 
of knowledge, and having passed a short period at the 
Dummer academy, he was, at the youthful age of 
fourteen, admitted to Harvard college. There, " rising 
above juvenile follies and vices," he applied himself 
diligently to his studies ; "was considerate and sober- 
minded," and graduated in 1771. Within three years 
after, he commenced the work of the ministry, and at 
once took a place among the foremost in the esteem 
of the public. In his earliest performances his hearers 
were surprised at the extent of his learning, and the 
animation and fervor of his devotions. At the a^e 
of twenty-one he was ordained pastor of a church at 
Newbury, and continued in that position until 1792, 
when he was inducted into the Hollis professorship of 
divinity in Harvard college. He performed the duties 
of this office to universal acceptance, until his death, 
which occurred August 27, 1803. 

Doctor Tappan's mind was active and vigorous ; 
fertile in invention, and his command of language not 
often surpassed. As a preacher he was decidedly 


evangelical. The peculiar contents of the gospel were 
the principal subjects of his discourses. He was not 
only doctrinal, but very practical in his religious 
lessons. Every gospel doctrine, he insisted, had its 
corresponding precept and duty. In piety, knowledge 
and Christian good he was exemplary ; but his devel- 
opment of his principles was too candid and catholic, 
too characteristically Christian, to satisfy the lovers of 
ecclesiastical controversy. By these he was thought, 
in some instances, wanting in resolution and decision ; 
as not sufficiently showing his esteem, for what they 
called " the distinguishing doctrines of the gospel ;" 
as reluctant to suggest an opinion, which did not meet 
the approbation of others ; and as too careful to ac- 
commodate himself to the opinions and prejudices 
which he disapproved and believed pernicious. But 
he was superior to all these considerations ; he was 
ever anxious for the well-being of his fellow-creatures. 
His nature disposed him to sympathy, tenderness and 
charity. " He exemplified on every occasion," says 
this most appreciative biographer, " the temper, which 
he so impressively inculcated in doctrine, spirit and 
deportment, to be a constant recommendation and de- 
fence of Christianity, by exhibiting it in its native 
sweetness, sobriety and dignity."* 

* See Quincy's History of Harvard University. 



Friends and Fellow-Countrymen, while I vent the 
fulness of my heart in the sincerest congratulations of 
you and myself, and our common country, on the arri- 
val of the auspicious day, which gives confirmed sov- 
ereignty and independence to confederate America, 
and pours into her bosom the blessing of a safe, advan- 
tageous, honorable peace, the charms of which are 
vastly heightened and endeared to us by the horrid 
contrast of an eight years' cruel war. Permit me at 
the same time to remind you, that the professed de- 
sign of this solemn assembly* should give a religious 
direction to our common joy, and consecrate it into 
the liveliest gratitude to that Supreme Power who at 
once styles himself a Man of War and the God of Peace. 
That the rapture of our hearts on so glorious an occa- 
sion may be thus guided into a holy channel, and ele- 
vated into a pious transport of God — exalting adora- 
tion and thanksgiving — let us turn our contemplations 
to a noble pattern of this kind in the grateful, exulting 
Jews, on their liberation from Babylonish captivity, 
as we have it exhibited in Psalm cxxvi., three first 
verses : 

Wfien the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion toe were like them that 
dream. Then teas our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongues with 
singing : then said they among the heathen, the Lord hath done great things 
for them. The Lord hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad. 

As the deliverance here celebrated by the church 

* This sermon was delivered at the Third Parish in Newbury, Mass., 
on the 1st of May, 1783, occasioned by the ratification of the treaty of 
peace" between Great Britain and the United States of America. 


of God was the most illustrious of any in the Old 
Testament annals, and a most remarkable type of our 
spiritual redemption by the Messiah ; as many of its 
leading circumstances bear a striking similarity to 
those which have distinguished and dignified the sal- 
vation of united America ; and as their sentiments 
upon it are such as remarkably suit and become every 
American heart and tongue on the present occasion — 
let us, therefore, run over the affecting picture which 
they themselves give of the matter, in the words now 
read, in which they relate, in the first place, the 
pleasing, overwhelming surprise that seized their 
minds on first receiving the glorious tidings. " When 
the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were 
like them that dream." As if they had said: "The 
deliverance was so great and glorious in itself; so as- 
tonishing in its circumstances; so sudden in its ac- 
complishment; so unexpected and improbable in every 
human view; so far above our highest ideas and 
hopes; so opposite to our just deserts and apprehen- 
sions — that Ave could scarce credit the testimony of 
our own senses, and were ready to imagine the news 
of liberty no better than the pleasing dream of a 
transported, deluded fancy, or the airy, baseless fabric 
of a midnight vision." So Peter, when a celestial 
messenger knocked off his prison chains, and brought 
him forth to liberty, was at first so surprised at the 
sudden, extraordinary deliverance, that he could not 
believe it to be a waking reality, but only a visionary 
picture painted on his imagination. And, doubtless, 
the first ideas and feelings of many an American 
heart, on the news of the equitable, liberal treaty of 
peace, ratified between Britain ancl these sovereign 


states, were nearly coincident with this description ; 
for the improbability of the haughty monarch and 
court of Britain ever submitting (at least at present) 
to such mortifying concessions — especially of their 
adopting so generous a system of policy, so contra- 
dictory to the narrow, deceitful, underhanded, cruel 
politics, which before they had uniformly pursued 
toward this country ; the disappointment of our san- 
guine prospects of pacification in some former stages 
of this contest ; the long continuance of our distresses ; 
the visibly growing degeneracy and wickedness of 
America under the judgments of heaven, sent, and so 
long continued, for her correction and reformation — 
these, and many other discouraging ideas, combined 
their influence to render the glorious tidings of peace 
a very surprising, unexpected, overwhelming sound 
in the ears of many sober Americans — a sound too 
grand, good, joyful, to gain their ready, confident 
belief. " Their rapture seemed a pleasing dream, the 
grace appeared so great." 

" Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our 
tongue with singing." The surprise of such a deliv- 
erance produced an ecstasy of joy, so that we could 
scarce restrain our passions or our tongues within the 
bounds of decency or decorum. "Then said they 
among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things 
for them." Those heathen neighbors who had ob- 
served and insulted the distressed, abject state of 
these captive exiles, were now constrained to own the 
superintending, triumphant power, wisdom and good- 
ness of Jehovah, in their surprising deliverances, in 
rescuing his feeble people Israel out of the hands of 
their mighty oppressors, when they were without 


friends, without -resources, without any enlivening 
hope or spirit ; in raising up for them in this situa- 
tion, and affecting their instant deliverance by a most 
unlikely instrument, indeed ; a pagan, idolatrous mon- 
arch, a stranger and an enemy, both by nation and 
religion ; the king of that very empire which held 
them in servitude as its legal, conquered captives, and 
esteemed and treated them as the lowest dregs of man- 
kind ! that such a prince, without any human solici- 
tation, without, yea, contrary to, any of the usual 
motives of human policy, should proclaim the re- 
mains of poor, oppressed Israel, a free and independ- 
ent nation, and furnish them out of his own treasures, 
with every requisite for the re-establishment and se- 
cure enjoyment of their ancient privileges in their 
own land. This was such a spectacle of divine won- 
ders in behalf of that people, as extorted a confession 
from the most stupid idolaters, that Jehovah, the God 
of Israel, was far superior to their idoldeities. Just 
as, my brethren, the successful struggles of oppressed 
America, at first a feeble, naked, friendless infant, 
against the gigantic power of Britain, a nation then 
respectable and terrible to all the world for military 
prowess, strength and glory, have displayed an august 
spectacle of divine manifestations in our favor, which 
commands the admiring attention of the world. All 
Europe, whether Popish or Protestant, Christian or 
infidel, has beheld the advancing stages of this con- 
test with growing astonishment ; and while our won- 
derful success has given a lustre and dignity to our 
national character in the eyes of mankind, I doubt 
not but all sober observers, and, one would think, all 
that are not abandoned atheists, are constrained to say : 


The Lord hath done great things for America. Even 
the poor Indian savages around us could make this 
remark on some great victory or deliverance granted 
to our pious, praying fathers : " Your God must be a 
very great and good Spirit, to hear and answer your 
prayers in so surprising a manner !" 

If, then, heathens, idolators and scoffers are com- 
pelled to own a Superior Hand in these great events, 
with what eager, grateful transport should those in 
whose behalf they are wrought reply, as in the next 
verse : " The Lord hath done great things for us, 
whereof we are glad?" He hath done greats things 
for us. Oar heathen neighbors are only cool spec- 
tators, but we are the feeling, happy subjects of the 
surprising mercy, " whereof we are glad ;" our neigh- 
bors are struck with amazement, and some of them 
filled with rage and vexation, but we are filled with 
grateful joy — a joy proportioned to the greatness of 
the blessing, and the evidence we have that it flows 
from a God that is reconciled and in friendship with 
his now penitent, purified, reformed Israel. As I 
mean to make the pious ascription in this third verse 
the principal basis of the ensuing part of my dis- 
course, I shall accordingly attempt to show — 

First. When the interpositions of Jehovah in favor 
of his people may be styled great, or what it is that 
stamps them with this high character, which will nat- 
urally bring into view the principal events which have 
introduced and established the American revolution. 

Secondly. Point out and enforce the manner in 
which the happy subjects of such great divine manifes- 
tations should entertain and improve them. 

Respecting the first head, 1 would presume that 


all the works of Jehovah are great, as being the prod- 
ucts and displays of infinite perfection, and designed 
and adapted to some very grand and excellent end : — 
particularly, all his acts of kindness to any of our fallen 
sj)ecies, are the fruits of a benevolence infinitely great, 
prompting and co-operating with equal knowledge and 
power. But though all God's benevolent works are 
in this respect equal, as proceeding from the same effi- 
cient and impulsive cause, yet the effects hereof, as 
terminating upon, and displaying the divine goodness 
and other attributes to the view of the creature, are 
almost infinitely diversified; and in this view, some 
of the kind dispensations of Heaven are vastly, un- 
speakably greater than others. For instance, those 
fruits of divine goodness, which have a very great in- 
trinsic worth — which carry in them a deliverance, or 
security from very great and terrible evils, and a com- 
plication of many positive blessings — which promise 
very durable advantages, or draw after them a large 
series of beneficial consequences — which embrace 
great numbers of persons as joint-sharers in the im- 
portant benefit — which triumph over mighty obstacles 
that lie in their way — which are conferred in an un- 
common, unexpected, sudden, improbable, or pecu- 
liarly seasonable manner ; such operations or effects 
of divine goodness may be styled great in an emphati- 
cal and most glorious sense. 

There was a signal concurrence of many of these 
heightening circumstances attending the liberation of 
the Jewish captives celebrated in the text. But the 
divine manifestations in favor of these United States, 
in which we this day rejoice, are eminently marked 
with all these dignifying characters. For the benefits 


granted possess a vast intrinsic value, being no less 
than independent liberty* both civil and religions — 
the confirmed power of choosing our own government 
and worship, of enacting our own laws, of acquiring 
and enjoying our own property, of regulating and ex- 
tending our own commerce, and, in a word, of securely 
and peaceably enjoying the most valuable temporal 
blessings and spiritual privileges, in the greatest and 
best country in the world ! Will any son or daughter 
of America, in view of these precious gifts, now rati- 
fied to us by Heaven, venture to speak in a contempt- 
uous or murmuring tone, of the issue of our long 
struggle with tyranny, as if we had reaped no other 
harvest from it than the loss of a great deal of our 
choicest blood, and an insupportable weight of debt 
and of taxes for many years to come ? But what, my 
friends, are these sacrifices and inconveniences com- 
pared with those terrible evils from which Heaven, by 
this conflict, has delivered and secured us? — compared 
with unconditional submission to a foreign legislature 
in all cases whatsoever, which was expressly demanded 
by the British Parliament, and attempted to be en- 
forced by the whole military power of the nation — a 
demand which, at one stroke, annihilated the very 
foundation of liberty in this country, and placed her 
in the lowest, basest state of vassalage, without leav- 
ing to her the least right or property in any instance 
whatever ! And as complete servitude must have been 
the immediate effect of a passive, non-resisting sub- 
mission to this despotic claim, so, if Heaven had per- 
mitted them to seduce or conquer us into this subjec- 
tion, after resisting them with our arms, the conse- 
quences must have been still more insupportably 


dreadful; for a conquest would at once have made 
the court of Britain both lords and landlords of this 
whole continent ; and while our principal leaders, in 
the cabinet and held, would have been doomed to the 
block, or the gallows, the rest of us, with our children, 
down perhaps to late posterity, must have been 
humble, cringing tenants and slaves, hewers of wood 
and drawers of water to the haughty minions of Brit- 
ish power! 

Let us seriously contemplate, my brethren, those 
tremendous evils, which we had so much reason to 
fear, together with those we have actually felt, from 
the disappointed ambition and cruelty of our foes ; — 
let our thoughts take a range through their polluted 
prison ships, and other murderous places of confine- 
ment, which have slain so many of our deserving sons 
— let us visit the many populous towns wantonly con- 
sumed, with the vast amount of property pillaged or 
destroyed by their hands, with the many other traces 
of a base, vindictive spirit, which has marked their 
conduct toward us ; — let us cast a retrospective eye 
on the many awful scenes of blood and carnage, of 
havoc and depredation, with the long train of evils, 
both natural and moral, which compose war's gloomy 
retinue ; and then say, whether that event which puts 
a period to all these distresses, perils, and fears, which 
anchors our political ship in the harbor of security and 
peace, after having so long encountered the rage of so 
tempestuous a sea, is not a very great and capital 
mercy of Heaven ! — a mercy unspeakably enhanced 
and sweetened by the long and gloomy scenes of trou- 
ble which have preceded and introduced it ! A mercy 
too of a very complicated kind, not only as it saves us 


from such a complication of evils, but as it carries in 
its bowels, or naturally draws after it, a long chain of 
important positive blessings, of extensive and perma- 
nent advantages. 

For, besides the usual sweets and benefits of peace, 
accompanied with freedom — in the full scope and 
animating encouragement it gives to industry, to arts, 
to science, to every noble, advantageous employment, 
improvement, and gratification of life — besides these, 
the peaceful establishment of our liberty and inde- 
pendence opens to us far more extensive and glorious 
prospects ; it presents us with a fair opportunity, with 
the noblest inducements and advantages, for convert- 
ing this immense northern continent into a seat of 
knowledge and freedom, of agriculture and commerce, 
of useful arts and manufactures, of Christian piety 
and virtue; and thus making it an inviting and com- 
fortable abode for many millions of the human species ; 
an asylum for the injured and oppressed in all parts 
of the globe ; the delight of God and good men ; the 
joy and pride of the whole earth ; soaring on the 
wings of literature, wealth, population, religion, vir- 
tue, and every thing that is excellent and happy, to a 
greater height of perfection and glory than the world 
has ever yet seen. 

It likewise opens a door for an extensive commercial 
intercourse between us and all nations, and directly 
leads to a rapid increase of it among the various 
parts of the world ; which is not only an inexhaustible 
source of wealth and opulence, but tends to expand 
the human mind ; to introduce a reciprocation of good 
offices and benefits; "a general knowledge of wants, 
and the means of supplying them ; an experimental 


acquaintance with the necessity and beauty of hospi- 
tality ; an universal enlargement of the habits of 
thinking;" more rational ideas, and a more liberal 
administration of civil government; a better knowl- 
edge and relish of the sacred rights of humanity — all 
which directly conduce to humanize, refine, and ex- 
alt the human mind and manners, and carrv forward 
mankind to a greater perfection and happiness than 
have yet been attained. 

Our late convulsion, with its present happy ter- 
mination, tends to wake up and encourage the dormant 
flame of liberty in all quarters of tlie earth — to rouse 
up an oppressed, enslaved world from that stupor 
which has so long benumbed it — to rouse it to a due 
inquiry into the natural rights of man, and its own 
disgraceful and wretched situation in tamely submit- 
ting to the deprivation of them — to open the eyes of 
kings and subjects to the true principles of liberty 
and justice, and to the absurdity and iniquity of tyr- 
anny and persecution in all their forms; and thus to 
lead mankind to a manly assertion, and a happy re- 
covery and re-establishment of their civil and religious 
rights, and hereby open and prepare their minds for a 
more complete reception of the truth and grace of the 
gospel. Accordingly, every wheel of Providence seems 
to be now in motion to hasten on the downfall of tyr- 
anny, of popish superstition and bigotry, and pro- 
mote the cause of freedom, knowledge, and truth. 

The destruction of the whole order of Jesuits, who 
were the main prop of the papal power — the abolition 
of persecution in many European countries, particu- 
larly in France, where the present truly great and 
generous monarch has placed the Protestants on an 


equal footing with his other subjects — and in Ger- 
many, where true liberty of conscience is granted to 
all peaceable subjects of every denomination — the 
downfall of the hellish Inquisition in Spain, and the 
liberal institutions which begin to take place in that 
country, so remarkable hitherto for a blind, narrow, 
persecuting bigotry — the secret contempt in which 
almost all the learned and more knowing in popish 
countries are said to hold the absurdities and fooleries 
of that religion — the rapid progress of knowledge, and 
a spirit of free inquiry, of late years over the earth : 
these, and other similar events, form a grand chain of 
Providence, in which the American revolution is a prin- 
cipal link — a chain which is gradually drawing after 
it the most glorious consequences to mankind, which 
is hastening on the accomplishment of the Scripture 
prophecies relative to the millennial state, the golden 

asre of the church and the world in the latter days. 

~ 1/ 

How magnificently great do the works of Jehovah 
toward America appear, when viewed in this light! — 
what complicated, extended, lasting advantages seem 
to be wrapped up in them, not only to many millions 
in this Western World, but to countless multitudes, 
as we trust, in various parts of the globe ! 

If we go on to apply the other characters or greatness 
enumerated above, relating to the manner in which 
divine favors are conferred, or deliverances wrought, 
we find them all emphatically verified in God's gracious 
manifestations toward America. For was it not a 
very uncommon, unexpected, unlikely spectacle, to 
see Heaven not only raise up and inspirit as it were 
an infant from its cradle, to encounter a mighty, arm- 
ed giant, but to guide, aid and succeed its untaught 


feeble efforts, and infatuate, confound, baffle its boast- 
ing, terrible antagonist, in a manner almost unparallel- 
ed in the annals of the world ? Was it not an extraor- 
dinary phenomenon in the political world, for so many 
distinct and distant states, so different in many re- 
spects in their education, laws, customs, manners, pre- 
judices, and interests — not only to unite in one com- 
mon cause, but to preserve and even strengthen their 
union amidst all the serpentine, unwearied artifices of 
a subtle enemy to divide them : insomuch that the 
very measures they took to disunite and destroy us, 
have uniformly operated to defeat their own designs 
and expectations. 

Was it not a very unusual spectacle to see so young 
a country produce such a number of able, spirited 
statesmen and commanders, whose abilities and pat- 
riotism, whose equally judicious and vigorous measures, 
have at once saved their own country, and com- 
manded the admiration and applause of the world ? 

The celebrated Lord Chatham, speaking of our first 
general Congress, gives them this very honorable testi- 
mony : — " I must declare and avow, that in all my 
reading and observation, for solidity of reasoning, 
force of sagacity, and wisdom of conclusion, no nation 
or body of men can stand in preference to the general 
Congress at Philadelphia." And if we turn our eyes 
from the cabinet to the camp, what an assemblage of 
wonders rises to view in our illustrious military Chief! 
A general destined by Heaven for just such a period, 
country, and cause as ours ! — whose judiciously cau- 
tious, defensive, delaying mode of conducting this 
war has at once saved his own army and country, and 
weakened and worn down those of the enemy — a gen- 


eral whose character combines all the different quali- 
ties of coolness and spirit, consummate prudence, and 
proportionate vigor, the most generous tenderness and 
compassion joined with the most firm, undaunted 
heroism, the most patient, unshaken constancy under 
heavy discouragements and sufferings, joined with a 
noble spirit of enterprise on all proper occasions. 

My friends, while we contemplate this great charac- 
ter, placed at the head of our inexperienced forces, 
at such a critical, seasonable juncture — when we sur- 
vey the bright constellation of heroes under him, the 
subordinate officers and soldiers, whose hardships, 
toils, dangers, battles, victories — whose triumphant 
patience, courage, and perseverance, have instrument- 
ally procured the blessings in which we now rejoice : 
when we travel over the several bright stages of this 
contest, from the bloody, yet victorious Nineteenth of 
April, 1775, to the ever-memorable preservation of 
our young troops, and destruction of the veteran foe, 
at the battle of Bunker-kill • the brilliant magnificent 
attacks and victories at Trenton and Princeton ; the 
glorious capture of two whole British armies at Sara- 
toga and Yorhtown ; the very critical detection and 
defeat of Arnold's black conspiracy, by a train of nice 
and seemingly fortuitous incidents : when to all this 
we add, the astonishing magnanimity, generosity and 
fidelity of the king of France, the Cyrus of our Israel, 
whose paternal, liberal, and effectual aid, afforded to 
us in our low estate, so remarkably resembles the con- 
duct of that ancient, noble prince, whom HeaA-cn in- 
spired, though an alien from their religion, to proclaim 
and effect the great deliverance celebrated by God's 
Tsrael in the text : when we further behold the top- 


stone of this grand fabric laid, in the ratification of a 
treaty of peace, which establishes our unconditional 
independence, enlarges our territories, and gratifies 
our highest expectations and wishes : and lastly, when 
we reflect on the ill-deserving, provoking character of 
the people, in a moral view, for whom Jehovah has 
wrought all these wonders ; are we not constrained 
to own, with raptures of grateful admiration, that the 
Lord hath indeed done great things for us — that his 
perfections have triumphed gloriously in our favor — 
have triumphed not only over all the hostile attempts 
of our foes, but over all our own increasing and cry- 
ing guilt. 

What then remains but that we suitably entertain 
and improve these astonishing and endearing divine 
manifestations in our favor? Which is the second 
tiling to be illustrated and enforced. 

It becomes us then, in the first place, to ascribe the 
whole glory of them to God, in imitation of the pious 
pattern of the text. This is nothing more than ren- 
dering to Jehovah his due : — this is a debt, which 
every sacred motive, every ingenuous principle, every 
tie of gratitude, decency, and equity, forcibly urges 
us to pay. For sound reason, as well as revelation, 
teaches us, that all the abilities, prowess, conduct, and 
success, which have guided and crowned our long 
conflict, have been, derived from above — from the 
same Being, who raised up Moses to lead his Israel 
from their Egyptian bondage, and Cyrus to emanci- 
pate them from their Babylonian servitude. It was- 
therefore a very foolish as well as impious speech of 
an European commander in a former war, that Prov- 
idence always favors an hundred thousand men; 


meaning, that notwithstanding the influence of Provi- 
dence, the strongest army may be sure of success ; — 
for there are a thousand contingencies, which essen- 
tially affect the health, supplies, counsels, courage, 
operations and success of an army, which no human 
sagacity can foresee, or human power control, but 
which are wholly determined by an omnipotent Prov- 
idence. To the God of providence then let us con- 
secrate the gladness of this day — let us return back to 
Him, in devout ascriptions of praise, that full tide of 
joy, which He is pouring into our hearts — let us say, 
in the language of inspiration : " I will sing unto the 
Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously." " O sing 
unto the Lord a new song: for his right hand, and his 
holy arm hath gotten the victory.' 1 " The Lord 
reigneth : let America — let the earth rejoice: let the 
multitude of the isles be glad thereof." 

But while we religiously adore the governing prov- 
idence of Jehovah, and gratefully ascribe to him all 
those great events which swell our bosoms with joy, 
let us beware that we do not impute these signal di- 
vine appearances in our favor, to any peculiar excel- 
lence in our national character. Alas, sirs, the moral 
face of our country effectually confutes such a vain- 
glorious sentiment. Crimes of the blackest hue — 
countless multitudes of abominations, mark the visi- 
ble character of this great, this highly favored com- 
munity, and still provoke the great displeasure of 
Heaven, while they serve as a foil to heighten and 
set off the triumphant freeness and riches of that 
goodness which has done such great things for so un- 
worthy a people ; as, on the other hand, the turpitude 
and guilt of our national provocations are exceedingly 


enhanced by those glorious manifestations of divine 
benevolence against which they are committed. The 
present occasion, then, loudly calls ns to mingle the 
most humble penitence and contrition with our joyful 
gratitude and praise ; and, indeed, there can be no 
truly grateful and holy joy in the goodness of God, 
without true humility, repentance and reformation, 
for its foundation, companion and fruit ; for humble, 
godly sorrow and thankful joy, mutually beget, and 
strengthen, and keep pace with each other ; and no 
people, however highly favored in external respects, 
have any sure ground or warrant, or, indeed, any pres- 
ent moral capacity or meetness for the exercise of true 
rejoicing in the divine goodness, while persisting in 
an impenitent course of rebellion against him. 

These considerations call upon us to rejoice with 
trembling, with humility, with a sober, cautious, se- 
rious air, in opposition to all levity, pride, vainglory, 
sensuality, carnal confidence and security. While we 
rejoice in the divine beneficence, let us remember 
that for his own sake he hath done these great things ; 
not for any righteousness in us ; not merely that we 
might enjoy the exultation of victory and peace, or the 
pride of independence and empire ; but that his own 
name may be exalted, that his own great designs, 
hinted above, of glorifying Himself, and extending 
the kingdom of His Son, may be carried into effect : 
and though he has been using us, in the late revolution, 
as instruments of carrying forward this glorious and 
benevolent plan, yet, if we ourselves mean not so — if 
in our hearts and practice w r e are opposed to his inter- 
ests and glory — if we as a people continue to fight 
against Him, after such great displays as he has made 


of Himself before our eyes — if we abuse the blessings 
of returning peace and public felicity to greater wao- 
toness in sin, to nourish a spirit of pride, ambition, 
luxury, dissipation, venality, infidelity, and other con- 
comitant vices : in this case our very prosperity will 
finally destroy us in the most aggravated manner, and 
God will promote the designs of his glory in our ex- 
emplary ruin, as he has now been doing in our sur- 
prising salvation. 

These ideas may well give a solemnity to our joy, 
and cause it to flow in the channel, and bring forth the 
fruits, of true holiness. Oh let us exhibit our praises, 
not in word only, but in deed and in truth ; let us 
testify the cordial sincerity of our joys and thanks- 
giving on this occasion, by a practical, steady con- 
formity and obedience to that great and good Being 
whom we profess to extol ; and, let me add, by gen- 
erous testimonies of our esteem and gratitude for 
those whose toils, dangers, and sufferings have emi- 
nently contributed to our present security and happi- 
ness ; let our grateful love to the infinite Author flow 
down and flow out, in suitable proportions, to the 
honored instruments of these inestimable benefits. 
Let those men who have stood forth in the foremost 
rank of danger, and made the greatest private sacri- 
fices to the public cause, whether in the senate or in 
the field — whether at home or in foreign climes — let 
these live in our hearts ; let their names and heroic 
deeds live and shine in our grateful annals, till time 
shall be swallowed up in eternity. Let us be eager to 
recompense their important labor of love for us and 
our children, and for the unborn millions of our future 
descendants. Let us welcome the suffering soldier to 


the bosom of a free and peaceful country, with tears 
of gratitude and smiles of applause — let us gladly 
divide with him those sweets of independence and 
wealth which his gallantry and wounds have secured 
to us. Let us fly to sooth the griefs and wipe away 
the tears of the many widows and orphans which 
this cruel war has made, and to relieve the mortifying 
distresses of poverty into which it has plunged many 
of our meritorious citizens. 

Let us gladly contribute our share toward fulfilling 
the engagements of the public, to all that have cred- 
ited or in any way assisted it, whether our own 
citizens or foreigners \ and instead of complaining of 
the load of debt which lies upon us, let us bless God 
that the great object of our long struggle is obtained 
at so cheap a rate ; that our burden, however pressing, 
is light, compared either with the value of the acqui- 
sition, or with the insupportable load which must 
have fallen upon ns and crushed us into ruin had we 
been reunited to Great Britain ; let us be willing to 
sacrifice the paltry yet expensive pleasures and parade 
of luxury, prodigality, vain magnificence, and other 
impoverishing though fashionable vices, and practise 
frugality, industry, humility, and moderation, w T ith 
the whole train of private and patriotic virtues ; then, 
by the blessing of God, we may hope that our coun- 
try will ere long be delivered from every embarras- 
sing difficulty which retards her progress toward the 
zenith of perfection, and will become an ample theatre 
for the last and most glorious displays of the divine 
benevolence to the human species. Who, that loves his 
country or mankind, can help exulting in so glorious 
a prospect, and wishing to see it speedily realized? 


That it may be so, O thou great Arbiter of the na- 
tions, who hast done such great things for us, still guard, 
maintain, and perfect the magnificent structure which 
thine own hand hath reared in this western world ! 
Grant that here may ever dwell theuncorrupted faith, 
the pure worship, the benevolent, peaceful virtues of 
primitive Christianity, extending their benign in- 
fluences to the utmost bounds of this vast continent, 
and causing the wilderness and waste places of Amer- 
ica to blossom like the rose, and flourish as the garden 
of God ! May this infant empire, this new-born 
nation, live in thy sight ! May it grow and flourish 
under thy almighty patronage, in every thing that is 
great, good, and happy, till all the states and empires 
of the world shall be absorbed in the everlasting 
kingdom of thy Son! 


Doctor Rodgers was born in Boston, Massachusetts, 
on the second day of August, 1727. At an early age, 
being a frequent listener to the eloquence of the pious 
Whitefield, his mind became impressed with the im- 
portance of religion, and he commenced his prepara- 
tion for the duties of the Church. His teacher was 
the eminent Doctor Blair, one of the most learned, 
pious and venerable men of his day. Under his tui- 
tion, he was soon enabled to preach, and at twenty- 
two he was ordained at St. George's, Delaware, where 
he remained in the exercise of great usefulness until 
1765. At that time he went to New York, and on 
the death of Doctor Bostwick he was called to fill his 
place in the Wall street Presbyterian Church. In 
this position he remained for many years. The sacred 
functions of his office were exercised with purity, sim- 
plicity and truth. Though he had not the aid of a 
collegiate education, which circumstance he often re- 
gretted, he possessed a rich vein of pulpit eloquence, 
accompanied with irresistible energy and pre-eminent 
zeal in the cause of Christianity, which placed him 
hisrh on the list of the most distinguished ministers of 
his time. 

Doctor Rodgers possessed a retentive memory, and 


was a great textuarian. The strength of the solemn 
truths he wisned to enforce were always supported 
with a torrent of scriptural testimony, which carried 
irresistible conviction to the minds of his hearers. 
The natural powers of his mind were only exceeded 
by his piety and zeal. Convinced of his piety toward 
God, and benevolence toward his fellow-men, he shone 
auspiciously in the general conduct of his life, and 
secured the warm affections of the church over which 
he presided, with the commanding dignity which the 
consciousness of the sacredness of his high charge nat- 
urally inspired. 

He survived the greatest part of his usefulness, and, 
when his faculties had fallen into decay from the 
languor of age, humbly retired, impressed with the 
sense of duty, into the humble vale of private life.* 
He died on the seventh of May, 1811, universally 
beloved and respected by his fellow-citizens. 

* Public Advertiser, May 9, 1811. 



TJie Lord hath done great things for tis, whereof we are glad. 

Psalm cxxvi. 3. 

The subject of this divine poem, from whence I hav« 
taken my text, not obscurely points us to the occasion 
on which it was penned. It was the return of the Jews 
from their captivity in Babylon. This is what is meant 
by " the captivity of Zion," in the first verse. 

It is generally supposed, and with great probability, 
that the prophet Ezra was its inspired penman. The 
first verse expresses the effect this signal deliverance 
of his people had upon them : " When the Lord turn- 
ed again the captivity of Zion, we were like unto men 
that dream. "f It was so great and unexpected an 
event, that they could not, at first, believe it was real. 
But they soon found it was real, however great ; and, 
in consequence thereof, were filled with the most sin- 
cere joy and gratitude to God. " Then was our mouth 
filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing."^: 
Such was the nature of this deliverance, that the hea- 
then nations around them took notice of it. " Then 
said they among the heathen, The Lord hath done great 
things for them."§ It is no uncommon thing for our 
God so to effect the salvation of his people, as to at- 
tract the attention and force the acknowledgments of 

* " The Divine Goodness Displayed in the American Revolution;" a 
Sermon, preached in New York, December 11, 1780, appointed by 
Congress as a day of public thanksgiving throughout the United States. 

f Verse 1. % Verse 2. § Verse 2, latter part. 


their enemies themselves. But, however they may 
treat it, those who are the subjects of God's delivering 
goodness, at any time or in any way, ought to notice 
it with care, and acknowledge his hand in it with grat- 
itude of heart. Thus did the people of God of old, 
and thus are we taught to do in the words of our text: 
"The Lord hath done great things for us, whereof we 
are glad." 

You will readily perceive, my brethren, with what 
ease and propriety the words of our text apply to the 
design and the duties of this day. They contain the 
very language the God of Providence has put into our 
mouths, and teach us that notice we are to take of 
the dealings of his gracious hand toward us. 

If you will please to attend, I will 

I. Point you to some of the great things our God 
has done for us ; and for which we have cause to be 
glad this day. 

II. Show how we ought to manifest this gladness. 
I. Let us consider some of those great things our 

God has done for us ; and which it becomes us to 
acknowledge this day. 

These are different, according to the different points 
of view in which we consider ourselves : either as the 
creatures of his hand ; as sinners, under a dispensation 
of grace ; or as the members of society. But to enter 
into a particular consideration of each of these would 
be as vain as to attempt to count the stars in the fir- 
mament, or number the sands on the sea-shore. You 
will expect, therefore, but a very few of the numer- 
ous instances of the great things our Lord has done 
for us. 

1. He has given us his son, Jesus Christ, to redeem 


us from the curse of Lis broken law ; and open the way 
for our return to the favor of heaven, which we had 
lost bv sin. And who that attends to the inestimable 
value of this gift of God ; the character of the persons 
for whom he was given ; the nature of the work for 
which he gave him ; and the rich and numerous 
benefits that flow to our race from God through him ; 
but feels the force of the apostolic remark : " Herein 
is love ; not that we loved God, but that he loved us, 
and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins."* 
Surely God has done great things for us in this un- 
speakable gift of a Saviour. 

2. He has opened a treaty of peace with us through 
the mediation of this his incarnate son. He is 
"God in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself; 
not imputing their trespasses unto them."-)- This 
treaty he is negotiating in and by the ministry of the 
gospel ; which is therefore styled : " The ministry of 

I am well aware that the ministry of the gospel, 
however judiciously and faithfully discharged, is es- 
teemed by many as the Israelites esteemed their 
manna of old ; but as a light thing. They do not 
consider there is not a faithful minister of Christ, 
whatever may be his particular denomination, or 
wherever he may be employed, but his gifts .and 
grace cost the Son of God his blood upon the cross ; 
or a single gospel sermon they hear, or might hear 
and neglect, but what our Lord purchased with his 
expiring groans on Mount Calvary. And this is the 
reason why the ministry of the gospel is ranked, by 

* 1 John iv. 10. f 2 Cor. v. 19. % Verse IS. 


the apostle of the gentiles, among the richest of our 
Lord's ascension gifts.* 

Thus it appears, God does great things for a coun- 
try or a people, when he blesses them with a judicious 
and faithful administration of his word, and ordi- 
nances ; however the more ignorant, or profane part 
of mankind, may esteem it. 

3. He gives us his Holy Spirit, for the rendering 
this word and these ordinances effectual, for the great 
purposes for which they are instituted. Thus they 
become " the power of God, and the salvation of God, 
to them that believe." Such is the ignorance and de- 
pravity of human nature, that they will be all un- 
availing, unless rendered successful by this divine 

Hence we hear the evangelical prophet complaining, 
" Who hath believed our report, and to whom is the 
arm of the Lord revealed ?"f And it is worthy of 
our notice, that our Lord himself, was far from being 
so successful in his ministry, as might have been ex- 
pected, seeing, " lie taught as man never taught." 
Multitudes who heard him, not only continued unbe- 
lieving, but blasphemed him and his doctrine. This 
was, no doubt, wisely ordered, for the support of his 
faithful ministers, in every age; who for reasons, 
worthy of God, though not known to us labor so 
much in vain. 

But this serves to illustrate the necessity of the 
operations of the spirit of grace, for rendering the 
ordinances of the gospel successful ; and at the same 

* See Eph. iv. 8, 11, 12, comp. 
f Is. liii. 1. 


time highly illustrates, what great things God has 
done for us, by appointing him to this important 

4. God does great things for his people, when his 
spirit applies the redemption of Christ to their pre- 
cious souls. Then it is their sins are pardoned, and 
they receive a title to the inheritance of the saints in 
light. • Then it is, they become " the children of God 
by faith in Christ Jesus."* Then it is, they are renew- 
ed in the spirit of their minds; and that good work 
begun in them that shall be perfected to the day of 
the Lord Jesus. " Happy is that people, that are in 
such a case ; yea, happy is that peoj^le whose God is 
the Lord."f 

But it is time I should proceed to observe, God has 
done great things for us, if we consider ourselves as 
members of society. This is one of the most interest- 
ing points of view in which man can be considered ; 
and a point of view, in which much is required of us, 
and much is done for us. This is the point of view 
in which the Psalmist principally considers himself, 
and the church of Israel, when he exclaims exulting 
in the text : " The Lord hath done great things for us, 
whereof we are glad." And this is the point of view 
in which we are especially to consider ourselves this 
day. And were we to take a particular survey of 
what God has done for us, as members of society, we 
should be led to consider the many blessings, spiritual 
and temporal, we enjoy, either as the church of God, 
or as citizens of the state. But this would be a sub- 
ject too copious for our time. 

* Gal. iii. 26. f Psalm cxliv. 15. 


I shall call your attention, therefore, to those things 
only, which our God has done for us, as a people 
struggling for our inestimable privileges. This best 
accords to the design of the day. 

And it may be truly said, the Lord has done great 
things for us, in this point of view ; whether we con- 
sider the ends he has accomplished for us, or the 
means by which he has accomplished them. 

I. Let us briefly consider the ends, the great ends, 
God has accomplished for us. He has graciously and 
fully defeated the designs the court of Britain had 
formed to deprive us of our liberties. They had laid 
their plans with such art as to deceive the nation into 
favorable sentiments of their measures, and thus led 
them to aid in the accomplishment of their purposes. 
I need not here repeat the measures pursued by them 
for this end. They are too recent to be forgotten by us. 

The warding off this blow, was all we at first thought 
of. The redress of these grievances, which their un- 
constitutional acts of Parliament laid upon us, was the 
only object we had first in view. And oh, with what 
joy and gratitude of heart, would we have received 
this at their hands, any time before the beginning of 
the summer of 1776. 

But this is not all heaven has done for us ! He has 
broken our connection with that people, long practised 
in the arts of venality, and grown old in scenes of cor- 
ruption. He has fully delivered us from all their un- 
just claims and future practices upon us; and given 
us a place among the kingdoms of the world. AVe 
have, under the auspices of his holy providence, risen 
into existence as a people, and taken our station among 
the nations and the empires of the earth ! — an event 


of such magnitude, that it forms a new era in the his- 
tory of mankind. And we have nothing to do now, 
but wisely improve this event, to render it a fruitful 
source of happiness to ourselves and millions yet 

Little did we think of such an event as this, when 
we began the struggle for our invaded privileges. 
The growing injustice of the British administration ; 
their accumulated injuries opened it upon us, and 
forced us into the measure, as the only alternative to 
save our oppressed land. It was this, or the most ab- 
ject slavery ! A dread alternative, indeed, at which 
every bosom, at first beat with terror ; but which an all- 
governing Providence has wisely overruled for our 
salvation ! Surely our God has done great things 
for us ! 

But this will appear still more clear, if, 

II. We attend to some of the ways, the means, in 
and by which God has effected these great things 
for us. 

But where shall I begin, or where shall I end here ? 
The subject is so copious, that I can but barely glance 
at the few following particulars. . 

The early and just alarm our country took at the 
measures pursued by the British court toward us, 
strongly points us to the watchful care of a kind Prov- 
idence over us. The unanimity in opposing these 
measures that prevailed among the then colonies, 
and among all ranks and degrees of their respective 
inhabitants, with a very few exceptions indeed, is 
another remarkable display of the kindness of heaven 
toward us. 

It is true, both these were the native eifects of the 


unconcealed designs of the court of Britain upon our 
liberties, and the manifest injustice of their claims. 
But this strongly marks the hand of Heaven — that 
they should be left to act a part so undisguised and 
'impolitic, and therefore so calculated to alarm, when 
they could have effected their purposes with unspeak- 
ably more ease, with less expense, and with a moral 
certainty of success, without giving any alarm at all, 
unless it had been to the sagacious few. And, as if 
the avowal of their designs was not sufficient to alarm 
and unite us, they did not hesitate to enforce these 
claims, by all the terrors of the sword. Thus we 
were called to resistance, and obliged to resistance, by 
the principles of self-preservation — that first law of 
nature. Their violence awakened those fears, and 
armed those resentments, that their artifice could not 
reach. Heaven designed our emancipation, and there- 
fore left them to act the part best calculated to ef- 
fect it. 

Again, the appointment of proper men, by the then 
several colonies, to meet in Congress, to consult re- 
specting the general interests and defence of the whole, 
was a measure of the highest importance. And the 
prudence and firmness of the measures pursued by 
them exhibit the fullest evidence of the wisdom of that 
august body, and the kindness of Providence in direct- 
ing them thereto. 

The military ardor, in defence of our privileges, that 
inspired all ranks, from the one end of the continent 
to the other, deserves our careful notice here. Into 
what but the hand of Heaven can we resolve that mili- 
tary enthusiasm that seized our country, and spread 
like a rolling flame from colony to colony? — bosom 


catching lire from bosom, and thus pouring forth an 
army, sufficient to make a most respectable resistance 
against the enemy (for so we must now call them 
through the remaining part of the war), wherever 
they came forth against us. In evidence of -this, you 
will please to recollect the manly resistance they met 
with at Lexington, where the first American blood 
was shed in the controversy, April 19th, 1775 — the 
well-fought battle of Bunker Hill, so fatal to the 
British troops, on the 17th of June following ; and the 
confining their whole army within the town of Boston 
and its environs, for near a year from this time, by a 
set of raw, undisciplined men, till they were obliged 
to steal away, with precipitation and shame. 

The northern expedition in the fall of this same year, 
under the brave General Montgomery — the taking St. 
John's, Chamblee, and Montreal — in a word, the over- 
running the whole province of Canada, and laying 
siege to the city of Quebec* itself, by this new raised 
army, exhibit another lively display of this military 

Allow me to add, for the event is memorable, of the 
same kind is the gallant and successful defence of Fort 
Moultrie, on Sullivan's Island, in South Carolina, in 
the month of June, the following year. By this event, 
truly glorious to the American troops that defended 
it, and equally reproachful to the British forces that 
attacked that unfinished fortress, the town of Charles- 
town, and thus the whole state of South Carolina, were 

* At this siege fell, greatly and deservedly lamented, the gallant Mont- 
gomery, his aide-de-camp, Major John Macpherson, a most amiable and 
accomplished young gentleman, and the brave Captain Cheeseman. ot 
New York. 


saved from falling into the enemy's hands. Had that 
southern expedition succeeded against us, that year, you 
will easily perceive the baleful influence it must have 
had upon our affairs, at that early period of the war. 

The providing a proper person to take command of 
the American army, is none of the least of the dis- 
plays of the goodness of God to us, in this struggle. 
How judicious, how heaven-directed the choice of Con- 
gress in this matter ! You all know the illustrious 
Washington was the man on whom their unanimous 
choice fell — the man whom Heaven had raised up, 
for the great business of leading our armies, and sav- 
in o- his country — the man in whom all the states, 
and all ranks in these states, have so happily, and so 
justly reposed the most entire confidence. But the 
interest had by this great man, in the esteem and the 
confidence of those he commanded, through the course 
of the war, both Americans and foreigners, illustrates 
in a signal manner, the goodness of God to our coun- 
try, in raising him to this elevated station ; and at the 
same time illustrates his great personal merit. But, 
above all, the event demonstrates both these. 

The kindness of Heaven also in providing officers of 
an inferior rank to command our armies in one de- 
partment and another, deserves our grateful notice. 
We have had officers of different ranks who have 
highly merited of their country during the course of 
this severe and eventful war, and who stood justly 
entitled to their gratitude and their remembrance.* 

"*lrh7earty and acU^TpartTwhich that illustrious young nobleman, 
the Marquis de Lafayette, took in our cause, and the eminent services 
he has rendered us, both with his court and nation, and in the held, 
justly entitle him to the warmest gratitude of every American. 


But this army, thus collected and thus commanded, 
had neither arms, ammunition, or military skill, to op- 
pose the formidable enemy that came forth against 
us. But how conspicuous the hand of Heaven, in 
providing us with all these from time to time. 

The contempt with which our enemies treated us in 
the beginning of this struggle, led them into a system 
of conduct ruinous to themselves, and at the same 
time greatly advantageous to us in all these several 
points of view. There are two things that deserve 
our notice upon this head — their making their first 
attack upon the Eastern colonies (for so they were at 
that time), instead of the Southern, and particularly 
their attacking the well-peopled and brave province 
of Massachusetts Bay. Had they gone with equal 
numbers against any of the three Southern colonies at 
that time, the events that afterward took place in the 
course of the war show with what ease they would 
have possessed themselves of them, and, at least, pre- 
vented their joining in the general union, and thus 
prevented their emancipation. To this I may add, 
the smallness of the army they at first sent out against 
us. They thought a few thousand men would effect 
their purpose; which gave us leisure, after the com- 
mencement of hostilities, to prepare, in all the above 
respects, for opposing and defeating them. They 
themselves contributed not a little, during this period, 
to teach us the art of war : and after we had taught 
them to fear us, and they had, in consequence of this 
fear, augmented their numbers to more than a suffi- 
ciency to crush us, their pusillanimous caution was, 
in the hand of Heaven, no small mean of our salva- 
tion. Witness their conduct during the summer and 
fall of 1776. 


This system of pusillanimity, among many other 
instances of that campaign, was shamefully conspicu- 
ous, in their suffering the retreat of our army, not 
half their number, from Long Island, two nights after 
the battle of the twenty-seventh of August, that year. 
And while the secrecy and expedition with which this 
retreat was conducted, do the highest honor to the 
military talents of our great commander and his brave 
officers, its success, and the signal interpositions of 
Providence that contributed thereto, exhibit a most 
lively display of the guardianship of Heaven over 
us and our liberties.* 

* This retreat was determined upon in a council of war, in the after- 
noon of the day before it took place ; and the more effectually to cover 
the design from the army themselves, and the enemy, in case of infor- 
mation by deserters, the militia, then on the island, were ordered over 
immediately, as if to provide them with shelter in the city, from the 
heavy rains then falling, as they had no tents. 

The embarkation of the troops was committed to Major-General 
M'Dougall, then a brigadier, who was upon the spot at Brooklyn ferry, 
at eight o'clock, the hour fixed upon for the commencement of this im- 
portant movement; but, to his great mortification, he found the militia 
had not yet embarked. The getting them over protracted the time till 
between ten and eleven o'clock. In the mean time, about nine o'clock, 
or a little after, the tide of ebb made, and the wind blew strong at 
north-east, which, adding to the rapidity of the tide, rendered it impos- 
sible to effect the retreat in the course of the night, with the number 
of row-boats they could command, and the state of the wind and tide 
put it out of their power to make any use of their sail-boats. The brig- 
adier sent Colonel Grayson, one of the commander-in-chief's aids, who 
attended him on that occasion, to report to his excellency their embar- 
rassed situation, and gave it as his opinion that the retreat was imprac- 
ticable that night. The colonel returned shortly after, not being able 
to find the commander-in-chief; on which, the brigadier went on with 
the embarkation under all these discouragements. But about eleven 
o'clock the wind died away, and soon after sprung up at south-west, 


Who that reflects upon the dark scenes through 
which we passed, from the period now before us till 
the glorious battle of Trenton, December 26th follow- 
ing (and dark indeed they were) — who that considers 
the awful poise in which the fate of America then 
hung, destruction awaiting us on every side — and at 
the same time considers the complicated difficulties 
and hazards that attended that well-timed enterprise, 
with its signal success and extensive consequences — 
can help exclaiming, in the language of our text, 
" The Lord hath done great things for us ?" 

Think also, my brethren, of the masterly movement 
of our great general and his little army from the vi- 
cinity of Trenton a few nights after, by which he 
escaped the fangs of a greatly superior and enraged 
enemy. This grand military manoeuvre, and the suc- 
cessful battle of Princeton next morning, which spread 
such dismay among 'the enemy, delivered the whole 
of West Jersey from their ravages, and drove them 
back with precipitation and terror to the banks of the 

and blew fresh, which rendered the sail-boats of use, and at the same 
time, rendered the passage from the island to the city direct, easy and 
expeditious. By this means, the whole army, nine thousand in num- 
ber, with all the field artillery and such heavy ordnance as was of most 
value, were got over safe by daylight, except the covering party ; and 
not long after day broke, a heavy fog rose, and hovering over the heights 
of Brooklyn, concealed this party from the notice of the enemy, not- 
withstanding their vicinity to our works, by which means they also ef- 
fected their retreat without interruption. 

Had it not been for this providential shifting of the wind, not more 
than half the army could possibly have got over, and the remainder, 
with a number of the general officers and all the heavy ordnance, at 
least, must inevitably have fallen into the enemy's hands. 


Raritan, to which they were confined, till they were 
obliged to abandon the state.* 

The American army by a variety of casualties, dur- 
ing two campaigns, being now reduced to a shadow ; 
the raising a new army ; the making the necessary 
provision for the feeding, clothing and paying them ; 
the keeping them together in the face of countless 
difficulties, with winch both country and army had to 
stru«;o-le ; the unexampled patience and perseverance 
of this patriot band, under every hardship, arising 
from cold and hunger, poverty, nakedness and neglect ; 
and, above all, their astonishing success, from time to 
time ; aided, indeed, by the brave militia of the coun- 
try, ever ready when called upon, so clearly point us 
to the finger of God, that it would be unpardonable 

* I need not inform those who are acquainted with the ground occu- 
pied by our army when this movement was determined upon, how 
perilous their situation ! To all human appearance, they must have been 
completely taken, or cut to pieces before noon next day, had it not been 
effected. Which leads me to mention a providence that contributed to 
its accomplishment that deserves our notice. The weather had been 
very moist for some days, which rendered the ground so soft, and the 
roads and fields they had to pass so deep, that they were scarcely pass- 
able for the field-pieces and other carriages necessarily attendant upon 
the army, which must have rendered their march extremely difficult and 
slow, if at all practicable. But The weather cleared up in the evening, 
became very cold, and froze so severely, that the ground became suffi- 
ciently hard before the hour fixed upon to bear both men and carnages 
without the least inconveniency ; and this gave a plausible pretext for 
that line of fires the commander-in-chief caused to be kindled soon after 
dark in the front of his army, the true design of which was to conceal 
him and his movements from the notice of the enemy, and induce them 
to believe he was still there waiting for them till morning. For this 
purpose, the men appointed to the business kept the fires in full blaze 
till break of day, and both these important ends were fully answered by 
the stratagem. 


stupidity not to notice it and the basest ingratitude 
not to acknowledge it. 

Think also this day, of the battle of Bennington, in 
the month of August, 1777, the first dawn of pros- 
perity upon our affairs, in that quarter — and of the 
gallant and successful defence of Fort Schuyler. Think 
of the capture of General Burgoyne and his whole 
army, in the month of October, that same year. And 
the confining the British army within Philadelphia, 
during their possession of that city, notwithstanding 
their great superiority to our army in point of numbers, 
and their great advantages over them, in every other 
respect, save only in the goodness- of their cause, and 
their military virtue. Think also of their evacuation 
of that city, unable to hold it full nine months, after 
all their immense expense of treasure and labor, and 
their no small loss of blood in taking it.* And of the 
battle of Monmouth, ten days after, by which they 
were driven back with disgrace, into this city. And 
" hath not the Lord done great things for us ?" 

I mio-ht here mention the evacuation of Rhode 
Island, in the month of October, 1779 ; by which 
they abandoned the conquest of the eastern states, as 
hopeless, at the end of four years and six months' 
fruitless toil for this purpose. And the severe repulse 
they met with, in their descent upon the eastern parts 
of New Jersey, in the summer of 1780 ; principally 
by the brave militia of that state. But our time does 
not admit of recounting all the various instances of 
success, with which Providence was pleased to bless 

* Philadelphia was taken September 27th, 1777, and evacuated June 
18th, 1778. 


our arms, during tins severe conflict ; nor even of 
enumerating all his kind interpositions in our favor. 

I may not, however, omit the providential discovery 
of that infernal plot, laid by the basest of traitors, for 
the delivering our strong-holds on the Hudson River, 
into the hands of the enemy, in the month of Septem- 
ber of that year. This discovery was so seasonable, 
and even critical, and the evils from which our coun- 
try was hereby saved, were so many and so great, that 
we may truly say : " The Lord hath done great things 
for us." 

But it is time we should pass to the Southern states, 
whose deliverance out of the hands of our enemies, 
when so fully possessed by them, illustrates, in a 
striking manner, the great things our God has done 
for us. Here the American army, and the gallant 
militia of that country, exhibited the most astonishing 
examples of patience, perseverance and fortitude ; 
and their success was the reward of their signal mili- 
tary virtue. Recollect here the battle of King's Moun- 
tain, September 1780, where Providence began to 
smile upon our arms in that quarter ; the memorable 
victory of Morgan over Tarleton, at the Cowpens, 
January 17th, 1781 ; and his remarkable escape, with 
his prisoners, from the pursuing vengeance of Lord 
Cornwallis and his whole army." Recollect, too, the 

* Immediately after the battle was over, General Morgan, without loss 
of time, set out for North Carolina and Virginia, with his prisoners, to 
the number of five hundred, apprehensive that Lord Cornwallis, who 
lay with his army at no great distance, would attempt a rescue. In this 
he was not mistaken. His lordship, without delay, destroyed his heavy 
baggage, and pursued the fleeing victor. And being able to march with 
greater expedition than Morgan, encumbered with so many prisoners, 


well-fought battles of Guilford Court-House, and the 
Eutaw Springs, with the delivery of the enemy's 
strong posts, in those states, into our hands, the one 
after the other, until the states themselves were totally 
and finally rescued from their domination. Can you 
review these scenes, to-day, and not acknowledge, 
with gratitude of heart, that "The Lord hath done 
great things for us ?" 

But one of the most signal displays of the great 
things our God did for us, in that quarter, is yet un- 
noticed. You will easily understand me as alluding 
to the capture of Lord Cornwallis and his army, in 
the month of October, 1781. There were so many 
events, the taking place of which, and the combi- 
nation of which, were necessary to the accomplish- 
ment of this end ; and these events so entirely de- 
pendent upon Providence — so wholly out of the reach 
of human wisdom to direct, or of human power to 
effect or combine, that the hand of the Lord was 
eminently conspicuous in them. Shall 1 mention the 
following, without enlarging? Lord Cornwallis taking 
post at York and Gloucester, the most favorable po- 
sition in all that country for besieging him so as to 
secure him from escaping. The seasonable arrival of 
the French fleet commanded by the brave Count de 

gained upon him. Morgan crossed the Catawba, if I am rightly in- 
formed, the evening of the second day; he passed it, however, without 
difficulty, and encamped on the north side of the river. A few hours 
after his lordship came to the river, and found it so swelled with rains 
that had fallen in the mountains, though they had none there, that he 
could not pass it. And being detained two days, notwithstanding all 
his efforts to get over, General Morgan, in the mean time, escaped 
with his prisoners out of his reach. 


Grasse, so as to prevent his lordship's escape by sea, 
when he must have discovered he was the object of 
oni* illustrious commander's movements. The defeat 
of the British fleet on the fifth of September, off the 
mouth of the Chesapeake, when they attempted to 
throw in succors to his lordship's relief; or, it may 
be, take him off. The remarkably opportune arrival 
of the Count de Barras' squadron from Rhode Island, 
after having been in the utmost danger of falling in 
with the British fleet, and becoming a prey to their 
superior force. This gave the fleet of our allies so 
decided a superiority over the enemy as to cut off all 
hope of relief from them. And, lastly, the safe ar- 
rival of General Washington, with the allied army 
under his command, after a march of five hundred 
miles in that hot season of the year, at the very junc- 
ture it was proper to commence their offensive opera- 
tions. The entire harmony that existed in the allied 
army, notwithstanding their difference in language 
and manners, and what is more, their difference in 
religion, and their former national prejudices, is an 
event that also deserves our notice ; especially con- 
sidering the influence it must have had on the glorious 
issue of the campaign. And what was it our Lord 
did for us by all this ? He hereby delivered into our 
hands an army of seven thousand two hundred and 
forty-seven chosen troops ; the flower of the British 
army in America, and under the command of the 
most enterprising general they had upon the con- 
tinent, with a large train of artillery, and all their 
military stores. 

And what renders this Providence the more re- 
markable is, that it was the second British army God 


delivered into our hands during the war ; an instance 
scarcely to be paralleled in history, that two whole 
armies, with all their military apparatus, should be 
thus completely taken in the course of four years. 
Thus it was God taught our enemies, that America 
was not to be conquered by the power of the sword : 
and hath not the Lord done great things for us? 

It has been frequently remarked, and with great 
justice, that the goodness of God, in the great things 
he has done for us, has been not a little enhanced, by 
the seasonable manner in which he has often inter- 
posed in our behalf. When our affairs have worn the 
darkest aspect, then it was God has appeared for our 
relief." " In the mount of the Lord it has been often 
seen." Witness the winter of 1776, just before the 
memorable and critical battle of Trenton, already 
mentioned — the summer of 1777, just after the loss of 
Ticonderoga and its dependencies — and the winter of 
1777, when Heaven provided the seasonable and pow- 
erful alliance with France, in our favor. 

It also deserves our notice, that the means on which 
our enemies placed the highest dependence for accom- 
plishing their purposes, had almost uniformly the di- 
rectly contrary effect. This was remarkably the case 
respecting the cruelties exercised upon us, from time 
to time, in wantonly burning our towns ; laying waste 
some of our richest frontier settlements, by the sav- 
ages of the wilderness ; murdering our citizens ; burn- 
ing and otherwise destroying so many of our churches, 
and the like.* They designed and expected by all these 

* It is much to be lamented, that the troops of a nation that has been 
considered as one of the bulwarks of the reformation, should act as if 


to break our spirits, and terrify us into submission, but 
their never-failing effect was, to rouse and animate 
the country into a more vigorous and determined op- 

These addresses to our fears, as if we were capable of 
no more generous principle of action ; this treatment of 
us as slaves, excited our indignation and our contempt, 
as well as our resentment — our indignation at the 
insult hereby offered us ; and our contempt of the men 
who showed such ignorance of human nature, in its 
present state of improvement. They hereby taught 
us their utter incapacity to govern us, both in point of 

they had waged war with the God whom Christians adore. They have, 
in the course of this war, utterly destroyed more than fifty places of 
public worship in these states. Most of these they burnt ; others they 
leveled with the ground, and in some places left not a vestige of their 
former situation ; while they have wantonly defaced, or rather destroyed 
others, by converting them into barracks, jails, hospitals, riding-schools, 
&c. Boston, Newport, Philadelphia, and Charlestown, all furnished 
melancholy instances of this prostitution and abuse of the houses of 
God. And of the nineteen places of public worship in New York, when 
the war began, there were but nine fit for use when the British troops 
left it. It is true, Trinity Church and the old Lutheran were destroyed 
by the fire that laid waste so great a part of the city a few nights after 
the enemy took possession of it : and therefore they are not charged 
with designedly burning them, though they were the occasion of it; for 
there can be no doubt, after all that malice has said to the contrary, 
but the fire was occasioned by the carelessness of their people, and they 
prevented its more speedy extinguishment. But the ruinous situation 
in which they left two of the Low Dutch Reformed Churches, the three 
Presbyterian Churches, the French Protestant Church, the Anabaptist 
Church, and the Friends' new meeting-house, was the effect of design, 
and strongly marks their enmity to those societies. It will cost many 
thousand pounds sterling to put them in the repair they were when the 
war commenced. They were all neat buildings, and some of them ele- 


wisdom and virtue ; for all this was no doubt done by 
order of their rulers. And thus they taught us, too, 
the necessity of maintaining our independence, or per- 
ishing in the struggle. 

I have only to remark farther here, that the suc- 
cesses of our enemies, have, in more instances than 
one, proved the very snares in which they have after- 
ward been taken. Of this their taking Ticonderoga, 
in July, 1777, just noticed ; and their boasted victory 
at Guilford Court-House, North Carolina, March loth, 
1781, are illustrious instances. 

Again, the formation and completion of that social 
compact among these states, which is usually styled 
the Confederation, is another instance of the great 
things our God has done for us. This is that which 
gives us a national existence and character. Previous 
to this great event, we had no permanent union among 
ourselves ; nor were we considered by the other powers 
of the earth, as a people, a nation, distinct from that 
from which we had st) lately separated. By this event 
the thirteen United States, though so different in sit- 
uation, customs and manners, and, in many respects 
local interests, became one peojrte. Their interests, 
however different, are hereby united and consolidated 
into one common interest', and they stand jointly and 
severally pledged to each other, for the united defence 
of the respected rights of every distinct state, and the 
common rights and privileges of the whole body. 
And this teaches us, by the way, the sacred obligation 
each state is under, and every individual in each state, 
to support and strengthen this federal bond, and to 
give it energy and efficiency, to the utmost of his 
power. Our all, under Providence, depends upon this. 


Once more, God's raising us up such powerful friends 
among the nations of the earth, who have so gener- 
ously espoused our cause, is another instance of the 
great things he hath done for us, during the late war. 
I need not remind you here, how unable we were, in 
every point of view, to contend with the mighty nation 
that had made war upon us. But so had the God of 
providence ordered matters in the course of events, 
that it was the decided interest of the great nation 
who first took us by the hand, and indeed of all the 
maritime powers of Europe, to favor our cause. They, 
it is true, acted upon the principles of human policy ; 
but that God whose kingdom rules over all, was hereby 
accomplishing his own great and gracious purposes, 
respecting these states. 

Another instance of the divine goodness to us, and 
which we may not pass unnoticed, is, his providing us 
in New York with so good a constitution, for the 
securing our inestimable rights and privileges. I do 
not say it has not its imperfections ; but it is upon the 
the whole, equalled by few, and surpassed by none of 
the constitutions of the sister states, in wisdom, jus- 
tice, and sound policy. The rights of conscience both 
in faith and worship, are fully secured to every denom- 
ination of Christians. No one denomination in the state, 
or in any of the states, have it in their power to oppress 
another. They all stand upon the same common level 
in point of religious privileges. Nor is this confined 
to Christians only. The Jews, also, which is their un- 
doubted right, have the liberty of worshiping God 
in that way they think most acceptable to him. No 
man is excluded from the rights of citizenship on ac- 
count of his religious profession. Nor ought he to be. 


What great things has the God of Providence done 
for our race ! By the revolution we this day celebrate, 
he has provided an asylum for the oppressed, in 
all the nations of the earth, whatever may be the na- 
ture of the oppression. And that, while he is here- 
by accomplishing these great things, that are opening 
the way for the more general spread of the 'gospel in 
its purity and power ; and in due time, the universal 
establishment of the Messiah's kingdom in all its be- 
nign efficacy in the hearts and lives of men. Inter- 
esting events that lie before us, in the grand system 
of Providence ! How glorious the prospects which 
these scenes open upon human nature ! But our time 
forbids the pursuing them. 

Lastly, God has done great things for us, by that 
honorable and I may add glorious peace, by which he 
has terminated the late unnatural war. In whatever 
point of view we consider this event, it is all as im- 
portant as we now represent it. It has closed a truly 
tragic scene in our country. It lias secured to us all 
we have ever claimed or contended for in any stage 
of the war. The fullest possession of absolute sove- 
reignty, independent of the crown and people of Great 
Britain / or any other power upon earth. 

We are hereby put in possession of a most extensive 
and fertile territory, abounding with every article 
necessary for the support or convenience of its inhabi- 
tants ; a territory that furnishes the richest plenty of 
materials for every kind of the mechanic arts ; and 
all the various articles necessary for the most extended 
commerce with all the nations of the earth. 

The exhausted state in which this great event found 
our country, and the short time in which God has ef- 


fected all this for ns, not a little enhance the mercy. 
Not quite eight years, if we compute the time from 
the first commencement of hostilities between Britain 
and us, to the ratifying of the provisional treaty. 
This is a less lime than that in which the states of Hol- 
land, in their glorious struggle with Spain, dared so 
much as lay claim to independence. 

There is not an instance in history, within my recol- 
lection, of so great a revolution being effected in so 
short a time, and with so little loss of lives and prop- 
erty, as that in which we this day rejoice. 

It is true it has cost us both blood and treasure ; 
but if you consider the magnitude of the object for 
which we have been contending, the unequal terms on 
which we commenced and pursued the contest, and 
its glorious issues, now fully secured to us by the de- 
finitive treaty, these are less, much less, than we had 
a right to expect. 

There is one circumstance that has had no small in- 
fluence on the speedy accomplishment of this happy 
event, that must not be omitted ; I mean the impov- 
erished state of Britain, as a nation, notwithstanding 
her great resources, and the princely w T ealth of many 
of her subjects. Her national debt had grown to so 
enormous a height, that all the revenues of the king- 
dom, though improved by the highest arts of financing, 
are scarcely equal to the discharge of the annual in- 
terest, and the charges of collecting them. 

Had it not been for this enormous, and this accu- 
mulating debt, which shook their national credit, they 
would not have so readily listened to terms of pacifi- 
cation with us, much less would they have given us the 
advantageous and honorable terms we have obtained. 


Tims, that God whose kingdom rules over all, has 
been laying the foundation of this empire ever since 
the days of the illustrious William III. ; for it was 
in his reign the foundation of this ruinous debt was 
laid, and laid by the friends of liberty in that day. 

And now, my brethren, put all these things to- 
gether, and may we not say with the greatest propri- 
ety : " The Lord hath done great things for us, where- 
of we are glad ?" Which leads me to 

II. Show you how we ought to manifest this glad- 
ness of heart for all the great things our God has done 
for us. And here we must necessarily be very brief. 

1. By a careful notice of them. 

Not to notice these interesting events, and especi- 
ally not to mark the hand of the Lord in them, would 
be both stupidity and ingratitude. They address us 
in the following language of inspiration : " The Lord 
reigneth, let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of 
the isles be glad thereof. Clouds and darkness are 
round about him ; righteousness and judgment are 
the habitation of his throne."* This is one of the 
most instructive ways by which the Lord Jehovah is 
teaching us his being and perfections, his character 
and government. 

2. By recounting them before God with joy and 
gratitude of heart. This was the frequent and in- 
structive practice of the inspired Psalmist, respecting 
the deliverance of the people of Israel out of Egypt, 
and their peaceful settlement in the land of Canaan. 
You have repeated instances of this in ' the Book of 

* Psalm xcvii. 1, 2. 


Psalms. The song of Moses at the Red Sea is an- 
other instance of the same kind. And this leads me 
to remark the propriety of setting apart particular 
times and seasons for this important business — the 
Christian's setting apart seasons for it in private, and 
thus making it a part of the devotions of the closet. 
And it is admirably calculated to raise and promote a 
spirit of truly Christian devotion. And communities 
setting apart particular days, on proper occasions, for 
the same purpose. Of this kind is the day we now 
celebrate. They are tokens of national gratitude, and 
no improper way of expressing it. 

3. By psalms and songs of praise to God for all 
these great things. The expressing our gratitude to 
God for his goodness, by songs of praise, is a natural 
and an ancient custom that has the sanction of divine 
authority. It was this gave rise to many of those 
divine poems called the Psalms of David. That from 
which we have taken our text is an instance of this 
kind, with many others. This, too, is the divine com- 
mand : " Is any merry, let him sing psalms." 

4. By testifying a benevolent and kind disposition 
one toward another. The Divine beneficence, in all 
the great things he has done for us, is designed and 
calculated to form us to a similar temper and conduct 
toward our brethren of the human race. Many of 
them indeed may be unworthy of it ; but, you will 
please to recollect, that our unworthiness does not 
preclude us from the beneficence of Heaven, otherwise 
he had not effected this glorious revolution for us. 
This is, in no instance, the rule of his conduct toward 

* James, v. 13. 



us; neither ought we to make it the rule of onr con- 
duct toward our fellow-creatures in the duty before us. 

You should especially beware of indulging a spirit 
of resentment and revenge on this occasion. True 
greatness of mind guards us against this evil. The 
decision of Unerring Wisdom and Truth is, " He that 
is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and lie that 
ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city."* Nor 
can any thing be more opposed to that benevolence 
which the religion of Jesus so strongly breathes, so 
warmly enjoins, and with which it never fails to in- 
spire its genuine votaries. 

This benevolence ought in an especial manner to 
manifest itself with respect to those religious distinc- 
tions that unavoidably take place among the disciples 
of our common Lord in the present state of imper- 
fection. It is not to be expected that we should all 
be united in opinion, and it is best, for the more gen- 
eral exercise and improvement of the Christian tem- 
per, that we should not ; but we may be all united in 
affection. And this is what I most devoutly recom- 
mend. And where we cannot agree to agree, let us 
agree to differ. Love is the peculiar characteristic of 
the religion of Jesus. Hark, in what affectionate lan- 
guage our Lord himself addresses us on this subject : 
"A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love 
one another ; as I have loved you, that ye also love 
one another. By this shall all men know that ye are 
my disciples, if ye love one another." f 

But I may not dismiss this improvement of the 
great things our God has done for us, without remind- 

* Prov., xvi. 32 f John, xiii. 34, 35. 


ing you of the case of those deserving citizens, who 
have lost their all, by this struggle, some in one way 
and some in another; and that, with many of them, 
while they have been hazarding their lives, in the 
high places of the field, in the defence of their coun- 
try. To which I may add, the more piteous case oi 
those, who have become widows and fatherless, by 
this great contest. My heart bleeds for them. Could 
the tears of sympathy supply their wants, or repair 
their losses, it should soon be done. I most affection- 
ately recommend them to the notice and the friend- 
ship of their more opulent fellow-citizens, and the 
attention of the public; not upon the score of charity, 
but of justice. Can no plans be fallen upon, for em- 
ploying such deserving members of the community, 
which is the best method of providing for them ? 
And can luxury and dissipation, those awkward vices 
in our present situation (to give them the softest 
name), can they spare nothing for the supply of the 
more indigent among them ? The approaching winter 
enforces the duty before us, with an energy that lan- 
guage fails to express. 

5. We ought carefully to manifest our joy in God, 
and gratitude to him, on this occasion, by a wise im- 
provement of the great things he has done for us — he 
has, by the revolution we this day celebrate, put all 
the blessings of liberty, civil and religious, within our 
reach. Perhaps there never was a nation that had 
the fair opportunity of becoming the happiest people 
upon earth, that we now have. But misery, as well 
as happiness, lies before us (and both in the extreme), 
unless the present state of things is wisely improved 
by us. They are both at our option. And heaven 


and earth are looking with eager expectation, to see 
which we shall choose. The eyes of those ministers 
of Providence, the angels of God, who have so often 
aided us in this glorious struggle for liberty ; the 
eyes of the nations of the earth, and particularly the 
eyes of all Europe, are upon these states, to see what 
use they will make of the great things God has done 
for us. How dignified, how interesting the situation ! 
But, however solemn and interesting, the path is plain 
before us. Would you reap the fruits of your toils, 
your losses and your blood ; it is indispensably neces- 
sary that the federal Union of these states be cement- 
ed and strengthened — that the honor of the great 
council of the nation be supported, and its salutary 
measures carried into execution, with unanimity and 
dispatch, without regard to partial views, or local in- 
terests — that the credit of this new empire be estab- 
lished, on the principles of the strictest justice — and its 
faith maintained sacred and inviolable, in whatever 
way, or to whatever description of persons it has been 
pledged, or may at any time be pledged. Alas ! that 
its glory has suffered so much already, by the failure 
of our currency. 

Let us carefully repair this waste of honor, if we 
cannot repair the waste of property, by the most sacred 
adherence to our engagements, in all future time. 
Anions the virtues necessarv to be attended to for the 
accomplishment of these great ends, industry and 
frugality are of the highest moment." 

* The following extract from my first sermon, after the evacuation of 
the city by the British troops, I take the liberty to annex, as not im- 
proper in this place : — 

"Thus it appears we have been deeper and longer in the furnace 


It is of the last importance, too, that you make the 
constitution and laws of our country the great rule of 
your political and civil conduct. Be pleased to re- 
member here, that the government to which I recom- 
mend your reverence and obedience is a government 
of your own framing — and a government for which 
we have fought and bled ; and, blessed be God, have 
fought and bled with success ; and that the magistrates 
by whom this government is administered are the men 
of your own choice — the magistrates of your own 
appointing. Thus it becomes both your duty and 
vour interest to strengthen the hands of government 
and its ministers, as the sure path to national happi- 
ness in all future time. 

And would you know the influence this line of con- 
duct w r ill have upon your reputation as a people, re- 
collect the ever-memorable 25th of November (the 
last month), the day when the deliverance of these 
states was completed, by the evacuation of New York. 
The order, decorum and dignity with which the change 

of affliction than our brethren and sisters in the other states of the 
Union ; we should therefore come forth more refined by our trials. This 
■will be justly expected of us by our God and by our country. 

" I particularly beseech you to beware of that pride and vanity, that 
dissipation and luxury, that so soon disgraced most of the cities and 
towns in the neighboring states, on their deliverance from the hands 
of the common enemy. These are evils at all times displeasing in the 
sight of a holy God, but especially so when under his correcting hand, 
or rejoicing in his delivering goodness. They will in our case and 
situation be an offence against all the laws of sound policy as well as 
true religion. Let patriotism and piety, therefore, unite their efforts in 
guarding } r ou against these destructive evils, and engaging you in the 
practice of the contrary and important virtues of humility and temper- 
ance, industry and ecouomy." 


of government was introduced on that happy day, 
and which have ever since reigned in our city, do the 
highest honor to our cause, our citizens, and our army. 
They have attracted the notice, excited the admiration, 
and forced the acknowledgments of our enemies them- 
selves, in favor of our virtue, and regard to order and 
good government ; while they will greatly enhance 
the pleasure and esteem of every friend of the revo- 
lution throughout the Union. 

6. And lastly, God calls us to testify our joy in him 
and gratitude to him, by lives devoted to his fear and 
service. This is the most acceptable manner in which 
we can express our thankfulness to God for any favor, 
spiritual or temporal. One of the great ends, for which 
he pours his goodness upon us, in such rich plenty and 
variety, is to lead us to repentance, for our manifold 
transgresssions against him. Every instance of his be- 
neficence, is a cord of love thrown over our souls, to 
allure us to himself. To offer praise to God, to glorify 
him, and to order our conversation aright, are used by 
the Holy Spirit himself, as phrases of the same import, 
in the following words: "Whoso offereth praise, glori- 
fieth me, and to him that ordereth his conversation 
aright, will I show the salvation of God." 

You will please to remember, farther, that the vir- 
tue I recommend, both political and moral, is essential 
to the preservation of the dear-earned privileges in 
which we rejoice this day. This is especially the case 
in a democratic government, and the more democratic 
the government, the more necessary . Prevailing vice 
will assuredly sap the foundation of our privileges 
sooner or later ; nor is any great length of time neces- 
sary for this fatal purpose. 


I only add, once more, that the sons of profaneness 
cannot now sin at the cheap rate, in point of criminal- 
ity, they were wont to do. Your guilt is greater, in 
your neglect of God, and contempt of his Son Christ ; 
in your profane cursing and swearing; your drunken- 
ness, reveling and uncleanness ; your sabbath-breaking, 
gaming and dishonesty in dealing ; in a word, in your 
ever}' species of impiety, than in years past, in pro- 
portion to the great things God has done for us, as a 
people. I beseech you, then, my cTear brethren, by 
all these mercies of God, in addition to all the grace 
of the gospel of his Son Christ, that you break off your 
sins by repentance, and study to walk before him as 
it becometh those for whom the Lord hath done such 
great things. Which may God of his infinite mercy 
grant you may be enabled to do, for Jesus' sake. 
Amen and Amen. 


This distinguished and successful preacher was born 
in the month of October, 1732. He was educated 
for the ministry, and first settled at Carlisle, Pennsyl- 
vania. There .he labored with all his energy. His 
natural abilities and energies enabled him not only 
to attend to the duties of his own church, but he was 
continually visiting and doing his good work among 
the people of the neighboring districts. These cir- 
cumstances marked him out as one properly and 
peculiarly qualified for organizing churches, in places 
destitute of the regular administration of the gospel 
ordinances. To this important business he was there- 
fore called and appointed, and in company with the 
missionary Charles Beatty, he passed a year in visit- 
ing the western frontiers, preaching to the Indians, 
and " those who were perishing for lack of knowl- 
edge," and forming them into congregations. 

From Carlisle Doctor Dufh'eld removed to Philadel- 
phia, and entered upon the duties of pastor of the 
Third Presbyterian Church in that place. There ho 
remained until his death, which took place on the 2d 
of February, 1790. His lifelong career in that posi- 
tion was one of constant devotion. His eulogist, in 
recounting this portion of his life to the congregation 


which he had so long directed, says : " Here, my 
brethren, you have been witnesses both of his re- 
spectability and fidelity in his sacred office. You 
have seen him possess a distinguished weight and in- 
fluence in all the judicatures of the church to which 
he belonged. You have seen him happily unite the 
wisdom of the serpent with the harmlessness of the 
dove in the management of all its concerns and in- 
terests. You have seen him called by the Congress 
to officiate as one of their chaplains during the whole 
of their residence in Philadelphia. But what he was 
more solicitous about than for all earthly honors — 
you have seen him, ' instant in season and out of 
season,' to promote your spiritual and eternal wel- 
fare. It was his zeal to do good." 

Doctor Duffield possessed an active, vigorous mind 
and a benevolent disposition. Quick in thought and 
prompt in utterance, he was enabled to preach with 
a freedom and frequency which few divines attain. 
These qualities gave him a great consequence and 
utility in deliberative bodies. The firmness of his 
mind was a leading trait, a prominent feature of his 
whole character. To the opinions which he formed 
he adhered with steadiness. He was neither fright- 
ened from them by the number of his opponents, nor 
soothed by the respectability of their characters. 

As a scholar he was considerably distinguished. 

He early discovered a thirst for knowledge, which led 

him to the pursuit of liberal science. His knowledge 

was of the more solid, than of the ornamental or 



polished kind. He was accurate in the classics, and 
loved philosophy in all its branches. In the common 
walks of life he was eminent for public spirit, the 
love of liberty, and for the promotion of any design 
which had for its object the general welfare. ~No one 
was a more zealous and active patriot than he ; or, in 
the lesser divisions of society, more sincerely en- 
deavored to do service to the community. In the 
revolution he was an early, a decided, and a uniform 
friend to his country, and after the peace he was 
equally assiduous in using all his influence to advance 
the public interest and tranquillity. This peculiarity 
of character is forcibly illustrated in the sermon 
which succeeds this sketch. 

He was indefatigable and evangelical as a preacher. 
In the early part of his ministry he was remarkably 
animated in his public addresses, and acquired a high 
popularity. An intimation that he was to preach, 
was the sure promise of a crowded auditory. His 
manner was always warm and forcible, and his in- 
structions always practical. He had a talent of touch- 
ing the conscience almost peculiar to himself. He 
dwelt with emphasis and strength on the plain and 
essential truths of the gospel ; yet he was master of a 
singularly happy method of explaining the Scriptures, 
which, in later life he frequently practised. 

As a Christian, Doctor Duflield lived the religion 
which he professed. The spirit of the gospel seemed to 
have tinctured his whole mind, and to possess a constant 
and powerful influence on his heart. He was truly 


and remarkably an example of the life of God in the 
soul of man. His " fellowship with the Father of his 
spirit," and his " conversation with heaven," appeared 
to be almost uninterrupted. Nor was he less dis- 
tinguished in active duty. He sought all occasions 
of serving his Lord. Of him it may be said with 
truth, that he " went about doing good."* 


An event of such magnitude and importance as 
that which has occasioned our convening to-day, ac- 
complished in so short a space of time, and with so 
small a share of difficulty in comparison with what 
might have been expected, is one of those occurrences 
in the kingdom of Providence that command the ad- 
miration of every observer. And while it affords an 
irrefragable argument (to convince even an Atheist) 
that the Most High ruleth over the affairs of men, and 
raiseth up and casteth down at his pleasure, demands 
also our warmest gratitude to that God who has done 
great things for us, whereof we are glad. 

With a view, therefore, to assist in this delightful 
service, permit me to invite your attention to these 
emphatical words of the prophet Isaiah, lxvi. 8 : 

* See Rev. Ashbel Green's sermon on the death of Dr. Duffield. 
\ This sermon was preached in the Third Presb} r terian Church, hi 
Philadelphia, on the 11th of December. 1783. 


Who hath heard such a thing? Who hath seen such things? Shall 
the earth be made to bring forth in one day ? Shall a nation be born 
at once ? For as soon as Zion travailed she brought forth her children. 

This passage, it must be confessed, has a manifest 
respect to that happy period generally termed the 
latter-day glory, when the various nations of the earth, 
formerly styled Gentiles, and yet in darkness, shall, 
in a sudden and surprising manner, be converted to 
the knowledge and obedience of Christ, and the Jews, 
so long rejected of God, shall, by an admirable display 
of Divine power and grace, be gathered home from 
their dispersion as in one day, and being formed into 
a people in their own land, shall become the most re- 
markable and leading part of the Christian Church 
in activity and zeal for their God, and for Jesus the 
Saviour, their then acknowledged Messiah. 

The former of these events appears designed, by 
the earth bringing forth in a day ; and the latter, by a 
nation, viz., the Jewish, being born to God at once : 
both which, taken together, will constitute that joy- 
ous state of affairs which the apostle terms life from 
the dead. But, as the prophet has evidently in view 
to awaken our attention to the hand of God in his 
works of wonder among the children of men, and it 
is not without example in sacred record to accom- 
modate passages to similar events, the importance of 
that event we celebrate to-day ; and the remarkable 
interposition of the providence of God, so manifestly 
displayed therein, will, I trust, sufficiently justify my 
applying the passage before us to the present occasion, 
to which also it appears with peculiar propriety adapt- 
ed; for who indeed hath heard such a thing? — who, 
but a few years back, would have believed the report, 


had a prophet himself declared it ? (his credentials, at 
least, and marks of authority, had first been carefully 
scanned with a critical eye) — who, since time began, 
hath seen such events take place so soon ? The earth 
has indeed brought forth in a clay. A nation indeed 
has been born as at once. It has not been Israel's forty 
years of tedious wilderness-journey ; nor Rome's, nor 
the united Belgic provinces' long-continued scene of 
arduous, dubious struggle ; but almost as soon as our 
American Zion began to travail, and without experi- 
encing the pangs and pains which apprehensive fear 
expected, she brought forth her children, more nu- 
merous than the tribes of Jacob, to possess the land 
from the north to the south, and from the east to the 
yet unexplored, far distant west ; that with great pro- 
priety may we hail every friend of liberty on this au 
spicious day, in the language nearly following our text. 
Eejoice ye with America, and be glad with her, all 
ye that love her; rejoice for joy with her, all ye that 
mourned for her : " for thus saith the Lord, Behold, I 
will extend peace to her like a river, and glory like a 
flowing stream." Here, then, as from one of those 
hills from whence the tents of Jacob were viewed 
of old, let us look back on what God hath done, and 
contemplate the prospect he opens before us, and may 
He (in whose hands are the hearts of the children of 
men) inspire every breast with a grateful sense of his 
goodness, so liberally bestowed through the whole. 

The British monarch had formed a design (for 
actions speak louder than words) to reduce these 
states, then British colonies, into absolute vassalage. 
A venal Parliament had approved the unrighteous 
purpose, and passed a decree to bind us in all cases, 


both civil and religious, to the obedience of such laws 
as they might deem meet to enact. Some have as- 
cribed this extravagant conduct to the same spirit of 
jealousy which once influenced the councils of Egypt 
against the house of Joseph ; lest, waxing too power- 
ful, they might break off their connection, and pursue 
a separate interest of their own. Pharaoh, indeed, 
might have reason to fear, because Israel was an en- 
tirely different people; and in their religion and man- 
ners separated far from the people of the land. But 
in the present case, though the court of Great Britain 
appear carefully to have copied the Egyptian model, 
and their measures have produced a similar event, 
yet, as the people of these states were the same as the 
people of Britain, their religion and manners the same, 
and no disposition to separate from them had ever ap- 
peared — but an attachment, even to enthusiastic fond- 
ness, had always obtained, it must have required an 
exorbitant share of infatuation to have raised a sus- 
picion so high as to have produced the spirit and zeal 
that directed the British cabinet. 

To raise a revenue, and bring America to bear her 
proportion of the national debt, has been assigned as the 
motive. America, by centring her trade in Britain, 
contributed her liberal share, nor had she ever with- 
held her blood or her treasure when requisitions were 
made ; that even malevolence itself had been non- 
plussed from thence to derive a plea, unless through a 
mad desire to take by compulsion what would other- 
wise be cheerfully given. It seems, therefore, most 
probable his Britannic majesty wished to increase the 
power of the crown, so as to wrest the very shadow 
of liberty out of the hands of all his subjects, and 


reign an absolute monarch ; and for this end began 
where he hoped, by bribes and craft, to cloak his de- 
sign under the cover of parliamentary sanction. It 
may be, he desired to urge America to arms, that, 
being vanquished (which seems to have been taken as 
a granted point), and her principal men, and all who 
should dare to oppose his aims, having either fallen in 
the field, or been executed as traitors, or constrained 
to fly to some foreign land, the whole of the country, 
with the subdued, dastardly inhabitants that remained, 
might revert to the crown. This, with its native con- 
sequences of American lords and vassals, all at the 
monarch's pleasure, must soon have weighed down the 
liberties of Britain. 

Or, perhaps he expected to intimidate into submis- 
sion, by the appearance of determined military force. 
This charity would fondly persuade us to admit, as 
being the least wicked of the two. And in that case, 
an host of place-men and pensioners, with their in- 
fluence among a people destitute of spirit and subdued 
by threats, though not so suddenly, would yet as cer- 
tainly have produced the desired effect, and finally im- 
posed the same humiliating terms on Britain herself. 
But whatever might have been the motive, America 
was marked out for servile submission or severe subju- 
gation, and the power of Britain employed to accom- 
plish the end. 

A day now arose, lowering thick with dark and 
heavy clouds. A scene was opened painful to the 
mind only to review. On the one hand to resign 
every dear birthright privilege and bow down uncon- 
ditionally to foreign masters, from whom we had 
nothing to expect but sovereign contempt and heavy 


burdens imposed ; who, by their remote situation could 
neither see our calamity nor partake in our sufferings. 
On the other hand to wasce war with the mostformida- 
ble power on earth, that had been for ages a terror to 
the nations, and had lately risen into a state of gran- 
deur and glory far surpassing all her former greatness. 
A nation long inured to war ; her fleets commanding 
the ocean ; her troops numerous and veteran, and in 
martial deeds famed as inferior to none ; her wealth 
immense ; her resources many, and her pride and mis- 
taken sense of honor prompting her to exert every 
nerve, to secure a compliance with her claims and de- 
mands. Hard alternative ! to resign liberty, or wage 
this hazardous war ; and yet none other remained. 

America had her numerous husbandmen, her mer- 
chants and mechanics; her sons of the learned pro- 
fessions, and students in every science ; her inhabi- 
tants were many ; but untaught in the policy of courts 
and cabinets ; strangers to the art of war, and divided 
into different colonies, under different forms of govern- 
ment, had scarce ever communicated sentiments on a 
single point. Armies she had none, nor a single ship 
of war to protect her coast. Arms and ammunition 
had never been her care ; and her money scarce suffi- 
cient for common occasions. Resources 'tis true there 
were ; but as the precious metal lies hid in the un- 
sought-for ore, they remained unexplored and un- 
known. In this situation shall she dare to provoke the 
vengeance of Britain ! A stoical observer would have 
pronounced it madness. But Liberty was the prize. 
She chose "Freedom or DeaW as her motto, and 
nobly resolved on war with all its horrors ; that at least 
her last expiring groan might breathe forth Freedom. 


Already had Britain planted her baleful banner on 
our coast, and her proud, insulting flag had possessed 
our harbors. Her oppressive edicts had gone forth ; 
and her naval and military strength were combined to 
enforce obedience.^. As the careful mariner watches 
the heavy gathering cloud and dreads the approaching 
storm, America with anxiety beheld, and waited the 
event. Prudence would have seemed to dictate an 
early resistance to manifest hostile designs ; nor suffer 
an avowed enemy to every privilege to intrench in 
quiet, and strengthen themselves in a capital town.* 
Nor was America blind to the measure ; but that God 
who so early espoused her cause, that her innocence 
in the case, and her reluctance to arms, might be evi- 
dent to all, withheld her from the deed, and left Brit- 
ain, on Lexington's ever-memorable day, to open the 
scene of war. 

Quick as the flash of lightning glares from pole to 
pole ; so sudden did a military spirit pervade those 
then limited colonies ; but now, blessed be God, con- 
federated, established states. The peaceful husbandman 
forsook his farm, the merchant relinquished his trade ; 
the learned in the law dismissed their clients ; the 
compassionate physician forgot his daily round ; the 
mariner laid aside his compass and quadrant ; the me- 
chanic resigned his implements of employment ; the 
sons of science ceased their philosophic pursuits, and 
even the miser half neglected, for a time, his gold and 
his gain ; and the griping landlord his rents. All pre- 
pared for war, and eagerly flew to the field. The del- 
icate female herself forgot her timidity, and, glowing 

* Boston. 


with patriot zeal, prompted the tardy to arms ; and 
despised and reproached the lingerer that meanly loi- 
tered behind. Nor were those of the sacred order 
wanting to their country, when her civil and religious 
liberties were all at stake. But, as became faithful 
watchmen, they blew the trumpet on the walls of our 
Zion, and sounded an alarm for defence. 

From then, standard was pitched against standard, 
and the battle was fought with varied success, from 
the east to the west, and from the north to the south ; 
and the field and the forest, the hills and the valleys, 
the shore and the inland parts, have all heard the 
shoutings of the warrior, the clang of arms, and seen 
garments rolled in blood, and summer's scorching 
heat and winter's parching cold borne testimony to 
American perseverance and valor. 

Nor was military prowess only given. He that put 
off the spirit of Moses on the elders of Israel, raised 
up senators, and guided them in council, to conduct 
the affairs of his chosen American tribes ;* and though, 
like the Jewish congregation of old, language of mur- 
mur and complaint has been heard in our land, and 
w r e have had our Korahs and Datha?is, whose en- 
deavors have been to weaken the hands of our rulers, 
depreciate their merit and lessen their esteem in the 
eyes of the people, yet (I hesitate not to pronounce it) 
generations yet unborn will look back with wonder, 
and venerate the memories and long perpetuate the 
names of those who guided the helm through the 
storm, nor sunk dismayed while so furious a Eurocly- 
don of innumerable difficulties lashed so sore and lay 

* The Continental Congress. 


so long upon us; but have at length, by the good 
hand of our God upon them, brought the billow-beaten 
vessel of public affairs safe into harbor. These pos- 
terity will admire and revere, and wish to have seen 
the day when those men lived upon the earth — a day 
which commanded the attention of states and kin«c- 
doms, far and wide. And as Joshua's day arrested the 
sun in its course, the nations stood still in silent sur- 
prise, to see the balance of war so nearly poised be- 
tween contending parties so unequal. Fondly would 
the spark of humanity within have led them to aid 
the American cause. Their wish was all they durst 
give, for they dreaded the omnipotent arm of Great 
Britain, nor dared to awaken her resentment. 

The monarch of France alone was found, whose 
zeal for the rights of humanity inspired him beyond 
the power of any meaner consideration. Solemn ties 
had bound him to consult the good of the people over 
whom he was placed. Nor could he have answered 
to his God, his conscience, or his kingdom, to have 
involved the nation in the calamities of an arduous, 
hazardous war, had no prosj)ect of advantage risen 
into view. God, who had early designed him for dis- 
tinguished honor, and raised him to the throne to estab- 
lish his name and his glory as lasting as the annals of 
time, as the protector of the rights of mankind, had 
therefore, by a firm decree, united the interest of 
America and France; that his majesty might be just 
to his conscience, his people and his God, while in- 
dulging the ardent glow of his magnanimous breast, 
in affording to the distressed a vigorous aid. And his 
fleets and his armies were embarked in our cause. 
Let detraction, therefore, be silent, nor object the in- 


fluence of interest to sully the generous deed. God 
has connected duty and interest by indissoluble bonds ; 
nor may either, of right, assume the name alone. 

Ancient prejudices, instilled by Britain, seemed to 
forbid connection with a nation we had lon^ been 
taught to consider faithless, pusillanimous and cruel. 
The generosity of France recovered the mind to judge 
by a candid scale. And as a mutual intercourse in- 
creased our acquaintance, the scales of ignorance fell 
from our eyes, the mist of prejudice vanished, and 
America found herself united to the most enlightened 
civilized nation on earth, and rejoiced in an alliance 
cemented, not by interest only, but by the strong 
additional bonds of cordial affection. An alliance 
which, may that God whose watchful eye guards the 
affairs of men, perpetuate unimpaired, while sun and 
moon endure. 

The citizens and subjects of both nations embraced 
as brethren, and fought side by side, with united hearts 
and hands, in the then made common cause. Their 
only strife was, who should display the noblest deeds, 
and render themselves worthy each other's esteem. 
America's day, the morning of which had lowered 
with heavy clouds, began to brighten apace, and its 
hurrying hours hastened their way to a noontide glow. 
The justice of her cause, the influence of her great 
ally, and the insults and injuries experienced by other 
nations, from British arrogance, procured her still 
further support ; and narrowed the distance to the 
object of her wish. Britain saw with indignation, 
and in firm alliance with every infernal power (for 
from heaven she dared not expect, nor would any on 
earth, Hesse, Anspach, and savages excepted, afford 


her aid) she resolved on the utmost vengeance, and as 
a tijrer in the forest, taken in the toils, exerted her 
every effort. Nor need I here recount Monmouth, 
Cowpens hy Catawba, or Eutaw, with the many sore- 
fought days on the land, or the briny ocean, repeat- 
edly stained with the generous blood of war ; or the 
ravages which desolated the south; or the devastation 
and ruin that ranged along our coast; whilst their 
ruthless savage allies, to the eternal infamy of those 
who employed them, drenched the wide frontier with 
the warless blood of helpless women and babes. 
These deeds of Britain are written with the pen of 
remembrance on the minds of all. They are engraved 
as with the point of a diamond on a rock, on the 
pillars of time ; and, handed down in the faithful 
historic page, shall long be read by ages yet to come. 
]STor shall Carolina or Georgia, New York or Virginia, 
Philadelphia, Ehode Island or Boston, be named, but 
grateful acknowledgments shall rise of the kind deliv- 
erance afforded. And oft shall the traveller turn 
aside to survey the seat of Gloucester and York in 
Virginia, and view the spot ever to be remembered, 
where the great decisive event took place ; and shall 
read inscribed on the memorative marble,* the im- 
portant victory there obtained. The inhabitant, in- 
structed from father to son, shall bear him company, 
and recount the various parts of the scene. " On this 
point the blood-stained British general, Lord Corn- 
wallis, held his garrison. Yonder the great Washing- 
ton and illustrious Eochambeau, made their first ap- 
proach. Across that rivulet and through that valley, 

* A marble pillar ordered by Congress to be erected there. 


ran their first parallel ; and where now that range of 
buildings stands, they drew their second. There stood 
a redoubt carried by cool, determined Gallic bravery ; 
and there the Americans stormed and conquered. 
Here, encaved in the brow of the bank, the Britons 
met to hold their dark and gloomy councils ; in that 
part of the river the Charon was set on fire ; and yon- 
der, across the water, the Generals Weeden and Chois- 
sey hemmed in the imprisoned British ranks. There 
the French and American troops formed a glittering 
lane ; and on yonder plain the numerous garrison piled 
their arms." 

The listening child, led forth in his father's hand, 
shall hear him relate, and repeat it over again to his 
little companions. And they also shall rejoice in that 
great event, which struck Britain with terror and de- 
spair, and led on to that happy restoration of peace 
for which, to-day, we give thanks to our God. For, 
according to this time, shall it be said of these United 
States, What hath God wrought for them? Great in- 
deed, is the salvation lie hath shown ! and great the 
obligations we are under to praise ! For had we 
failed in our just attempt to secure our invaluable 
rights, America's choicest blood had flowed in liberal 
streams, and her most valuable citizens, throughout 
the states, had expired by halters, and on gibbets. 
The daring patriot, whose zeal for his country had led 
him, with his life in his hand, to take a seat in the 
great council of the states, or in legislation, or in ad- 
ministering justice ; or who had led in the field in his 
country's cause — these had been led forth the first, in 
haughty triumph, amidst ten thousand insulting scoffs, 
as the victims of insatiable vengeance. Nor only 


these — "but all who had dared to follow their councils, 
and abet the cause for winch they contended ; nor a 
single character worth notice left remaining, that 
dared to breathe the language of freedom. The paths 
of life had now been thin of the many virtuous citi- 
zens convened to-day, throughout these states, to give 
thanks on this happy occasion. America had been 
enriched, indeed, and her soil made fat with the blood 
of her children. Made fat — not for the rightful own- 
ers, but to pamper the lusts of tyrannical lords, sharing 
the country among themselves ; the surviving forme? 
possessors only vassals at pleasure, and slaves to their 
lordly masters. 

This, my friends, is not a flight of fancy, or appre- 
hensive imagination run wild. It is founded in just 
observation, and what ^bitter experience would have 
taught but too late, had our enemy prevailed.- But, 
blessed be God, with Israel of old we may take up 
our song: " Blessed be the Lord, who gave us not as 
a prey to their teeth. Blessed be the Lord, the snare 
is broken, and we are escaped." We cried unto him 
in the clay of our distress, lie heard our entreaties, 
and hath brought us forth into a large place, and 
established our rights, and opened before us a glorious 
prospect. May wisdom be given to esteem, and im- 
prove the invaluable blessing. Here has our God 
erected a banner of civil and religious liberty,* and 

* Religious liberty is a foundation principle in the constitutions of the 
respective states, distinguishing America from any nation in Europe; 
and resting religion on its proper basis, as supported by its own 
evidence aud the almighty care of its divine Author, without the aid 
of the feeble angry arm of civil power, which serves only to disgrace 
the name and religion of Jesus, by violating the rights of conscience. 


prepared an asylum for the poor and oppressed from 
every part of the earth. Here, if wisdom guides our 
affairs, shall a happy equality reign, and joyous free- 
dom bless the inhabitants wide and far, from age to 
age. Here, far removed from the noise and tumult 
of contending kingdoms and empires — far from the 
wars of Europe and Asia, and the barbarous African 
coast — here shall the husbandman enjoy the fruits of 
his labor ; the merchant trade secure of his gain ; the 
mechanic indulge his inventive genius ; and the sons 
of science pursue their delightful employment, till the 
light of knowledge pervade yonder yet uncultivated 
western wilds, and form the savage inhabitants into 
men. Here, also, shall our Jesus go forth conquering 
and to conquer, and the heathen be given him for an 
inheritance, and these uttermost parts for a possession. 
Zion shall here lengthen her cords and strengthen her 
stakes ; and the mountain of the house of the Lord 
be gloriously exalted on high. Here shall the religion 
of Jesus — not that falsely so called, which consists in 
empty words and forms, and spends its unhallowed 
zeal in party names and distinctions, and traducing 
and reviling each other — but the pure and undefiled 
religion of our blessed Redeemer ; here shall it reign 
in triumph, over all opposition. Yice and immorality 
shall yet here become ashamed and banished ; and 
love to God and benevolence to man, rule the hearts 
and regulate the lives of men. Justice and truth 
shall here yet meet together, and righteousness and 
peace embrace each other ; and the wilderness blos- 
som as the rose and the desert rejoice and sing. And 
here shall the various ancient promises of rich and 
glorious grace begin their complete divine fulfilment; 


and the lie-lit of divine revelation diffuse its benefi- 
cent rays, till the gospel of Christ has accomplished 
its day, from east to west around the world — a day 
whose evening shall not terminate in night, but in- 
troduce that joyful period when the outcasts of Israel 
and the despised of Judah, shall be restored ; and 
with them the fulness of the Gentile world shall flow 
to the standard of redeeming love ; and the nations 
of the earth become the kingdom of our Lord and 
Saviour, under whose auspicious reign holiness shall 
universally prevail, and the noise and alarm of war 
be heard no more. Nor shall there be any thing to 
hurt or destroy or interrupt the tranquillity of men, 
through all the wide dominions of this glorious Prince 
of peace. 

How pleasing the scene! How transporting the 
prospect! And how thrice happy they whom God 
has honored as instruments in the great work now 
brought to pass, subservient to these important events. 
.May the blessing of Heaven surround them, and the 
honor and esteem of a grateful country attend them 
through life. May the names and memories of those, 
O my country ! who have planned your measures 
and guided your councils through a wilderness of in- 
surmountable difficulties, and brought your affairs, 
by the blessing of God, to a happy conclusion, may 
they ever be had in kind remembrance. Errors and 
mistakes may have been ; but it is matter of wonder 
and praise, that whilst treading an unknown, a diffi- 
cult and dangerous path, their mistakes and errors 
have been so few. 

Surely the hand of God was in it, to guide and 
guard their way. And let the illustrious Washing- 


ton, the Joshua of the day and admiration of the 
age, who, inspired from above with every military en- 
dowment to command the American armies, and great 
in the field beyond example, retires still greater to 
the humble character of a private citizen among the 
citizens of the states ; let him live perpetual in the 
minds and the praises of all. Aid here, ye his 
highly-honored fellow-citizens, aid feeble fame with 
her hundred wings and tongues to proclaim his worth ; 
and let Time, on his full and ever- willing stream, 
convey down through every age, the unsullied re- 
membrance of the patriot, the hero, and the citizen 
combined, and deliver his name to the unbounded 
ocean of immortal esteem. And, from the commander- 
in-chief down to the faithful sentinel, let the officer 
and soldier who have bravely offered their lives and 
have nobly dared death and danger in the bloody 
field, on the horrid edge of the ranks of war, be re- 
membered with kindness. Let their services of hard- 
ship, toil, and danger be never forgotten ; but may 
they ever experience a kind attention from their fel- 
low-citizens, and a faithful reward from their country, 
whose rights they have so firmly defended. Let their 
military garb and character ever command esteem. 
Let their wounds and their scars plead their cause 
and extenuate their foibles, and the residue of their 
exhausted days be crowned with honor and ease. 

With these let also be joined in never-dying remem- 
brance, a Warren, a Montgomery, a Biddle, embraced 
by the briny waves, a MacPherson, and a Laurens, 
in the bloom of youth, fallen in the bloody field in 
their country's cause ; with the countless train of 
Martyrs for American freedom, who, from the ocean 


and the land, from prison-ships and jails, have sealed 
with their lives their attachment to her cause— these, 
these — number them not of the dead, they are enrolled 
in the list of glory and of fame, and shall live immor- 
tal beyond the power of death and the grave. Bind 
their brows, O ye American daughters ; haste ye ! 
haste ye! bind their brows with never-fading laurels 
and glittering crimson wreaths ; and let the evening 
song and noon-day recital perpetuate their deeds and 
their fame, while the silent tear stealing from the 
eye shall testify how dear their memory and how high 
their esteem. And whilst the curse of Meroz remains 
on lasting record for those who withheld their aid, let 
the blessings of all rest on every friend of liberty, who 
willingly offered himself, when his country's necessity 
called him to the field, and on all who have cheerfully 
borne and suffered in its cause. 

Nor let our great and generous ally, who offered 
an early and a vigorous aid, be forgotten. But let 
every American lip pronounce a " Vive le Roi" and 
every heart conspire " long may his most Christian 
majesty Louis the Sixteenth," long may he live, a 
blessing and blessed on earth, and late resign an 
earthly crown, to shine in brighter glory, and wear a 
crown immortal, among the blessed above. And may 
his subjects ever be embraced as brethren and dearest 
friends, who have fought in our battles and bled in our 
cause; and partiality here held worthy of praise. 

Nor may a due esteem ever be wanting to the 
United Netherland States, whose heart and endeavors 
were with us ; or to the court of Spain, for assistance 
afforded, but be generously paid to all who have aided 
to secure our rights. And whilst with a grateful sense 


of their services done, we pay deserved honors to those 
whom God has honored to bear a part in the great 
work performed, let every heart adore the God of 
goodness in all, and every lip and every life proclaim 
his praise. 'Tis he, the sovereign-disposer of all events, 
hath wrought for us, and brought the whole to pass. 
It was he who led his Israel of old, by the pillar and 
the cloud, through their wilderness journey ; wherein 
they also had their wanderings ; 'twas he, the same, 
presided over our affairs, directed our councils, and 
guided our senators by the way. 'Twas he who raised 
a Joshua to lead the tribes of Israel in the field of bat- 
tle ; raised and formed a Washington to lead on the 
troops of his chosen states, to final conquest, and im- 
bued him with all his military patience, perseverance, 
prowess and skill ; and admirably preserved his life 
and health, through all the danger and toil. 'Twas 
he who, in Barak's day, spread the spirit of war, in 
every breast, to shake off the Canaanitish yoke ; and 
inspired thy inhabitants, O America, with ?, an ardent 
glow through every rank, to assert the cause of free- 
dom ; and led forth the husbandman and mechanic, 
with those of every class, to offer themselves undaunt- 
ed in the daring conflict. It was he who hid fear from 
their eyes of either the superior numbers or skill of the 
powerful foe they rose to withstand ; and from him 
came down that firmness and fortitude that raised 
American officers, and soldiers, beyond all former 
example, through hunger, nakedness and cold, to fight 
the battles of their country, and never forsake its 
standard. It was he breathed from above, and fired 
their bosoms in the hour of action, to crop the laurels 
of triumph, or, having dearly sold their precious lives, 


to embrace death, in all his glory, on the bloody field ! 
And he only inspired our generous seamen with invin- 
cible firmness to endure the horrors of prison-ships and 
jails, and expire by famine and British barbarity, rather 
than renounce the virtuous cause in which they em- 
barked. It was he who raised up Cyrus, to break the 
Assyrian force, and say : " Let Israel be free," endued 
the monarch of France with an angel's mind, to assert 
and secure the freedom of his United American States. 
And by him were the hearts of other nations disposed to 
our aid. And he, and he alone, who saith to the proud 
waves of the sea: " Hitherto shall ye come, but no 
farther," restrained the councils and arms of Britain 
from improving against us many opportunities and 
advantages which evidently lay within the line of their 

Who can recollect the critical night of retreat from 
Long Island ; the scene of retiring from New York ; 
the day of Brandy wine ; or the endangered situation 
of the arms of America on Trenton's ever-memorable 
n }o-ht — and not be constrained to say : " If it had not 
been the Lord who was on our side, our enemy had 
swallowed us up ; the waters had overwhelmed us ; 
the proud stream had swept us away I" But, blessed 
be his name, our help was found in him who made the 
heavens and the earth. 

It was God who blasted the secret designs of ene- 
mies and traitors against us ; and, by an admirable 
interposition, brought forth into light the dark and 
deep-stained villainy of an Arnold, cursed and de- 
tested of God and men* And converted our repeated 

* Deuteronomy, xxvii. 25, 


misfortunes, and even mistakes, into singular mercies 
and peculiar advantages, that not more manifest was 
his voice on Sinai, or his hand in his affairs of his 
Israel of old, than we have seen the wisdom, the 
power, and the goodness of our God displayed through 
the whole of our arduous contest, from its earli- 
est period down. We may, with enrphatical pro- 
priety, say : It is He, the Almighty God, has accom- 
plished the whole in every part, and by his kind care 
and omnipotent arm has wrought out our deliverance ; 
cast forth our enemy ; bestowed upon us a wide, ex- 
tended, fruitful country ; and blessed us with a safe 
and honorable peace ; and has brought the whole to 
pass in so short a space of time, and with so few diffi- 
culties attending, in comparison with what we had 
reason to expect, that the establishment of these 
United States in the peaceful possession of their rights 
and privileges, stands, an instance of divine favor, un- 
exampled in the records of time. 

Who does not remember the general language when 
the war commenced? Cheerfully to pay one half our 
property to secure our rights. But far from even the 
half of this has been required. Individuals, it is true, 
and those amongst the most virtuous of the commu- 
nity, have suffered — have sorely suffered — by specu- 
lative miscreants, and a depreciating currency; their 
confidence in the public faith has proved the temporal 
ruin of many ; and widows and helpless orphans been 
made a prey — many of whose sufferings might yet 
still be greatly alleviated by a due attention, and a 
sacred regard to justice and good conscience in direct- 
ing affairs ; which must, also, sooner or later take 
place — or the righteous God, who hates injustice, op- 


pression and fraud, be highly displeased, and his judg- 
ments be yet poured out on our land, as he afflicted 
Israel of old for unredressed injuries to the Gibeonites 
among them. His justice and his power are still the 

But the price of our peace, taken on a national scale, 
compared with the advantages gained, and the num- 
ber by whom to be paid, scarce deserves a name. 

In whatever point of light we view this great event 
we are constrained to say : " It is the doing of the Lord, 
and marvellous in our eyes," and to him be rendered 
the thanks and the praise. " Not unto us, not unto us, 
hut unto thy name, Lord, he the glory /" fur thine is 
the power, and the victory, and the greatness ; both 
success and safety come of thee, and thou reignest 
over all, and hast wrought all our works in us and 
for us. 


the Lord, ye his highly-favored United States. J^or 
let it rest in the fleeting language of the li]), or the 
formal thanksgiving of a day ; but let every heart glow 
with gratitude, and every life, by a devout regard to 
his holy law, proclaim his praise. It is this our God 
requires, as that wherein our personal and national 
good, and the glory of his great name consist, and 
without which all our professions will be but an empty 

It is that we love the Lord our God, to walk in his 
ways and keep his commandments, to observe his 
statutes and his judgments — that a sacred regard be 
maintained to righteousness and truth — that we do 
justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God — 
then shall God delight to dwell amongst us, and these 


United States shall long remain a great, a glorious, 
and a happy people. Which may God, of his infinite 
mercy, grant ! Amen. 












In tieo Volumes, 8vo., pp. 1100, Illustrated with Ticel"e 
Superb Steel Engravings, by Ritchie ; with Plans of 
Cities, Battles, dec. 

The materials of this work are taken from Whig 
and Tory Newspapers, published during the Ameri- 
can Revolution, Private Diaries, ^and other contem- 
poraneous writings. They present to the student of 
this day the same view the readers of the Revolution- 
ary period enjoyed — the manners and customs of the 
people, and the moral and religious, as well as polit- 
ical features of the time. 

The work contains not only the current accounts by 
both Whig and Tory Writers of the different skir- 
mishes and battles by sea and land, but, at the same 
time, gives a clear idea of the effect of these occur- 
rences upon the people and their homes. 

It also embraces accounts of the balls, parties, mar- 
riages and deaths, criticisms upon men and books, 


wedding parties, sleigh-rides, the Whigs tarred and 
feathered by the Tories, and vice versa; fox-hunts by 
the officers of the British army ; surprises, birth-day 
celebrations, practical jokes by men whom we have 
been taught to believe were of the most serious natu- 
ral disposition ; patriotic songs and ballads ; horse- 
races, games, masquerades, reviews ; anecdotes of the 
most celebrated men and women, popular merriments 
and usages, and the celebrations of national festivities. 
The work carries the reader back into the homes, 
upon the very hearthstones, the highways and battle- 
fields of the Revolution, and lets him hear the Whigs 
and Tories lampoon and abuse each other, and see the 
armies fight in their own way. 

Among the numerous letters and notices recommendatory of 
the work, are the following : 

From Hon. Chaeles King, LL. D., President Columbia College, 

N. Y. 

President's Room, Columbia College, New York, 1859. 

" I have looked, with some care and more interest, over your 
'Diary of the American Revolution,' etc. Its plan makes it a 
popular as well as instructive publication. Made up mainly of 
the contemporaneous utterances of the daily press of all shades of 
opinion, it is like listening, as we read, to the voices of the actors 
in the great struggle for independence. 

"The press, which has now grown up into an all -pervading and 
powerful agency in our polity, had even as far back as your Diary 
begins, a most important influence in moulding public opinion. 
Through its columns burst forth on the one hand in all their fiery 
freshness the daring language and schemes of the Sons of Liberty, 
and on the other were more craftily insinuated or boldly avowed 
the cautious doubts and timid counsels or unhesitating loyalty, of 
those who yet clung to the mother country. 

"It is for us, who stand in the light of posterity to the men of 
those days, to judge with impartial serenity their deeds and their 
motives, and in your Diary the very best of means of judging cor- 
rectly are furnished, since both sides are heard in their own lan- 

" As an occasional student of our earlier annals, I thank you 
for the undertaking." 

Believe me, truly yours, 


From Hon. Millaed Fillmore. 

Buffalo, Nov. 28, 1859. 
Frank Moore, Esq. 

Dear Sir : — " I have found your Diary of the Revolution very 
interesting. The thought of giving the events of that period in 
the form of a Diary is a most happy one, and has only its equal 
in the famous travels of Anacharsis the younger, through Greece. 
I anticipate both pleasure and profit in a further perusal of it." 

Truly yours, 


From E. B. O'Callaghan, Esq., author " Documentary History 

ofN. Y. 
State Hall, Albany, Dec. 26, 1859. 

My Dear Sir: — I have enjoyed much pleasure and information 
from your k Diary of the American Revolution.' 

u The histories hitherto published of that great epoch, were 
necessarily restricted to the principal events and actors, as they 
appeared on the stage. 

" Your work admits us behind the scenes ; where we are afforded 
an opportunity of seeing many things of which we have been hith- 
erto ignorant. 

" Here men, some already known, many long since forgotten, 
but all active partisans on either side, give unreserved vent to 
their patriotism or passion, their temporary fears or lofty aspira- 
tions, their individual sufferings, and private misfortunes. 

" It is, indeed, the Domestic History of the Revolution, which 
all will do well to study." 

Yours, very sincerely, 


From W. B. Sprague, D. D. 

Albany, N. Y., Jan. IT, 1860. 

My Dear Sir : — " I must tell you how much I have been grati- 
fied by your recent work, 'Diary of the American Revolution.' 
The conception was certainly a most felicitous one, and the exe- 
cution in every way worthy of it. While it contains a vast 
amount of valuable information, much of which could not be 
reached through any other channel, you have contrived, by the 
manner in which you have presented it, to invest sober facts with 
the attraction of romance. 

" I congratulate you sincerely, upon having made a book upon 

the Revolution at this late period, that must take its place among 
the most interesting and valuable works on that subject that have 
ever been written." 

I am, my clear sir, 

with great regard, 

faithfully yours, 


From Hon. Jaeed Spaeks, D. D., LL. D. 

Oambeidge, Feb. 20, 1860. 
Dear Sir: — "I have perused the two volumes of the 'Diary of 
the Revolution ' with much satisfaction and profit. The selec- 
tions, taken as they are from various sources, show the spirit of 
the times in a very remarkable degree, and exhibit in a strong 
light the exciting topics which agitated the public mind from 
day to day during the eventful period of the Revolution. Thus 
they become the interpreters of history, and you may well con- 
gratulate yourself upon the success of your labors in having made 
a valuable contribution to the accessible aids for the reader who 
would acquire a complete and accurate knowledge of the great 
national struggle for achieving independence." 

Respectfully and truly yours, 


From Horace Webster, LL. D., Pres. New York Free Academy. 

New York, Jan. 9, 1860. 
Frank Moore, Esq. 

Dear Sir: — "I have read and re-read, with increased interest at 
each perusal, your 'Diary of the Revolution.' The contents 
being made up of the incidents of the Revolution, the accounts 
of which were published at the time of their occurrence by the par- 
ties engaged in the contest, give the present generation of readers 
a truer insight into the then condition of things, the spirit and 
nature of the war waged, than can be obtained by reading the 
more elaborate histories of that eventful period. These circum- 
stances give great value .to your publication. 

u No intelligent American who takes an interest in the history 
of his country, or in the perpetuity of its institutions, can afford 
to do without it, as it contains very peculiar and valuable infor- 
mation found in no other publication with which I am acquainted. 

Very respectfully, 


From the London Saturday Review. 

These volumes are a sort of substitute for the Memoires pour 

servir which are so fruitful a mine to the student who is exploring 

the history of an older nation. It would be vain to look for 

diaries and autobiographies from combatants in a war of inde- 

pendence. Such struggles are too stern and too engrossing to 
leave the actors in them much leisure for catering gossip and 
piquant anecdotes for the entertainment of posterity. Mr. Moore 
has supplied their place by reprinting a laborious selection from 
the fugitive literature of the moment. He seeks his material m 
the lampoons and libels which the animosity of both sides fur- 
nished in abundance, in newspaper articles, and sometimes in un- 
published letters. . . . There never was a contest m which 
the premium upon lying was so large. The Americans were fight- 
ing against a great empire, without any certain supply ot men, 
money, or munitions. To make good this deficiency involved a 
constant and exhausting drain upon the mass of the peaceable in- 
habitants, which not only deprived them of the comforts, hut often 
of the barest necessaries of life. Such sacrifices could not but 
have had a damping effect upon an enthusiasm which, to a large 
number must have seemed absolutely theoretic. The pressure 
of hardship, mutual jealousy, the apparent hopelessness ot suc- 
cess, the certain disastrousness of failure, were always tempting 
the Americans to sluggishness, if not to desertion. In such a state 
of popular feeling victory became a matter of prestige. It was 
almost of more importance to be thought triumphant than to be 
so The representations of newspapers, the manipulation ot in- 
telligence, became a warlike weapon of the most deadly efficacy. 
The fortunes of the struggle depended in no small degree on the 
false fears or the false hopes that could be instilled into the Amer- 
ican population. Accordingly, the journals published in America 
durincr the war became about as careful of the truth ot their in- 
formation as the Moniteur during a Napoleonic campaign Ihe 
wildest canards were circulated without scruple; the most liberal 
accusations of the foulest atrocities were bandied freely from side 
to side ; and the most conflicting narratives were solemnly attested 
on each side concerning every one of the innumerable petty en- 
gao-ements of which the war was made up. The historical in- 
quirer will see in these pages an accurate and most mournful pic- 
ture of the fiendish passions which can be roused between kindred 
races by a petty cause of quarrel, and he may make a fair collec- 
tion of tolerablv clever parodies and pasquinades. 

The feeling with which most Englishmen will rise from the 
perusal of tins work will be one of sorrowful but profound con- 
tempt for the government under which their ancestors flourished 
in the good old days. Nobody, except perhaps ^ ashington, ap- 
pears in very noble colors; but the only actors who make a 
thoroughly despicable figure are the English ministers and their 
favorite generals. It was not that they committed here and there 
an isolated mistake— the demon of blundering possessed them 
from the verv first measure to the very last of the twenty years 
struggle Without subscribing to all the imputations ot tyranny 
in which the Americans vented the discontent that had been ac- 
cumulating for manv years, no one doubts that the taxation ot so 


powerful a colony was, as a mere matter of statecraft, a mistake. 
If not a crime, it was certainly a blunder. The military opera- 
tions, too, of the war on the English side are sufficiently infamous. 
No commander, probably, throughout the whole course of the 
warlike history of England has surpassed Howe and Clinton in 
inefficiency, with the single exception of General Whitelocke, 
whose sinister fame is linked to the same fatal soil. But these 
errors hardly equalled the folly of the policy which was pursued 
between the first outbreak of discontent and the time when the 
armed conflict was commenced in earnest. It was not the policy 
of statesmen, but the policy which a spiteful woman pursues to 
obtain a household victory. The English government would not 
yield, and they either could not or would not take the steps ne- 
cessary to conquer; and so they adopted a middle course, which 
conveniently combined the expenses of the one with the humilia- 
tion of the other. They did nothing to enforce obedience, but 
they did every thing to tease, to irritate, to exasperate. The shut- 
ting up of the port of Boston was not likely to cow the resistance 
or allay the resentment of a high-spirited people. The closing 
of the fisheries of Newfoundland to American enterprise had the 
effect of depriving numbers of their bread, and making it their in- 
terest to dare the utmost for the overthrow of the power that 
was ruining them; but it did not deprive the rebels of a single 
resource, or win back to loyalty a single wavering heart. The 
campaigns of many of the English commanders were carried on 
in the same spirit. They made war on peaceful industry, on 
defenceless commercial towns, on public buildings, on every 
thing except armed men. They undertook scarcely any great 
military enterprises, and generally contented themselves with sit- 
ting down in some seaport town until they were driven out of it; 
but to make amends, they destroyed every sort of property that 
they could reach without fighting a battle. Even before the Dec- 
laration of Independence had been made, they went on the 
principle that whatever was loss to America was gain to England ; 
and, consequently, they conducted war on a system even more 
barbarous than is commonly adopted in contending with an alien 
nation. Having command of the sea, they bombarded and burnt 
petty seaport towns, which could not have been troublesome if 
they had wished. They forged imitation Congress notes and cir- 
culated them by thousands, in order to depreciate the American 
currency. And General Gage even went so far as to transport to 
this country all the title-deeds on which the New York proprietors 
depended for the possession of their estates — though, happily for 
our credit, his proceedings were not supported by the authorities 
at home. The tales of plunder, of cruelty, and of maltreatment 
of prisoners, with which the American papers, and even the Con- 
gress reports, are rife, it is, of course, impossible to test. But 
their complaints are pitched in a tone, and repeated with a per- 
severance, to which Davoust's campaigns in Northern Germany 

furnish the nearest parallel. Throughout this disgraceful war, the 
maximum of mischief with the minimum of risk appears to have 
been the object of the English soldiery. 

This was not the way to reconquer alienated affections. When 
Lord Cornwallis had taken Charleston, and found that none, even 
of those who submitted and stayed in the town, would speak to 
his officers, he is reported to have said, that, even if they should 
succeed in conquering the men, the heavier task would still 
remain of conquering the women. And one of the most striking 
features in this 'Diary of the Revolution,' and the strongest proof 
of the exasperation that prevailed, is the prominent share taken 
by the women. They were all Joans of Arc or Maids of Sara- 
gossa in their way. In one place, we find an association of young 
ladies formed on the basis of refusing every lover who had not 
taken an active part in the revolutionary campaigns. In another, 
a "Tory, 1 ' who, finding himself in exclusively feminine society, 
thinks that he can parade his sentiments with impunity, is set 
upon by the incensed Amazons, stripped incontinently to the 
waist, and tarred and feathered on the spot. In a third place, a 
party of ladies, equally patriotic, hearing that an unworthy mem- 
ber of the sex had baptized her child by a Tory name — baptisms 
■were a great subject for party demonstrations — marched up to 
her with the intention of visiting her with the same sort of sum- 
mary justice; but, in this case, the victim had timely warning, 
and made off. And many other similar demonstrations of female 
patriotism are recorded in this book. But this exasperation of 
the enemies of England was not the only evil effect of the atroci- 
ties that disgraced the English arms. They had a direct tendency 
to alienate her friends. For the English ministers — and it is one 
of the circumstances that deepens the ignominy of their failure — 
had at first a very large support in native American opinion. 
Throughout the Diary we find the rebels very much more afraid 
of "Tories" than of British soldiers. In many States they at- 
tempted counter memorials and organizations. In North Caro- 
lina, a refugee Jacobite at the head of the Tories, appeared in the 
field against the troops of Congress; and Long Island was so com- 
pletely and inveterately Tory, that it was found necessary to 
make a descent upon it from the mainland, and instil a whole- 
some Liberalism by force of arms. The passionate appeal at 
page 168, vol. 2, for an extension of this system of proselytism, 
which has always been popular in America, will give an idea 
of the extent to which the Tories might have been made avail- 
able for the English cause, if common vigor or common temper 
had existed in the councils of the king. 

From the Philadelphia Bulletin. 

"A really original work on our Revolution is, of course, a sur- 
prise. The facts are all so well known that it would seem impos- 
sible to impart to them an air of novelty. But Mr. Frank Moore 

has presented a most fresh and vivid picture of the whole course 
of events, from the beginning of 1775 till the close of the war. 
The plan adopted has been to take the accounts of newspapers of 
the time, both Whig and Tory, and such private diaries and cor- 
respondence as were within his reach, and to arrange all these in 
the form of a diary. The skilful execution of this design has 
given us one of the most readable and impartial narratives of our 
struggle for independence that has ever been produced. The 
events seem to pass before the reader } s immediate vision, and to be 
reported by him while the impression they produce on his mind is 
entirely fresh. " 

From the Flew York Evening Post. 

" Mr. Moore has happily executed a happy thought: he has writ- 
ten a history of the most important events of the last century in 
the very words of its contemporaries. 

"It would be impossible for any historian who merely writes 
after authorities to impart so vivid an impression of the occur- 
rences of the period. All the great characters of the war, who 
are now so venerable in our estimation that they seem rather 
demi-gods than men, pass before us as they lived, and are seen 
as they were seen by their contemporaries. 

" Washington presents himself, not merely as the noble and suc- 
cessful leader of a great people struggling for their rights, but as 
the rebel and the partisan, having many and bitter enemies, 
who were capable of covering his name with the tilth of their 


Irom the Philadelphia Xorth American. 

"The work is novel, curious, interesting, and valuable in a very 
high degree. Its effect is, to transport us back into the time of 
the Revolution in a more ' realizing' 1 manner than ever known 
before; so that we seem ourselves to be a living, moving portion 
of the great panorama." 

From the N. Y. Herald. 

"We have been so accustomed to read American history through 
the medium of rhetorical periods, better adapted to Fourth of 
July orations than to the calm and impartial investigation of past 
occurrences, that it is refreshing to meet with a book in which 
the exact color of events is preserved, and the individuality of the 
author lost. Every page of the work teems with facts gathered 
from the daily life of the Revolution, and thus, without the inter- 
vention of modern speculation, we have brought before us not 
merely the actors in the great drama of the Revolution, but their 
actual thoughts, feelings, and emotions. 

From the Independent. 
" There is not — we speak advisedly and deliberately — in the 

whole range of volumes and libraries upon American history, 
there is not to be found any single contribution toward that his- 
tory of such value as that contained in these two volumes. The 
author has made no attempt to write a history, nor does he indulge 
in comment or criticism upon the materials which he has so labo- 
riously brought together ; but he has reproduced, as by the 
photogeaphic art, the very times and scenes of the american 
Revolution as they were to the men who moved in the midst 
of them. From the newspapers of that period, papers of every 
shade of political opinion, he has carefully and conscientiously 
culled the facts and incidents of the hour, with the notes and com- 
ments of those who recorded them ; — these he has arranged in 
chronological order, and then has classified them in a complete 
and elaborate index. The labor of such a work is immense ; its 
value is incalculable: the reader will find in it much to amuse and 
instruct him upon many incidental topics, and a perfect mirror of 
the Revolutionary era." 

From the Christian Enquirer. 

11 'The Diary of the Revolution 1 marks a new era in the litera- 
ture of the American Revolution. It presents no opinions and 
no comments, but reproduces, with the naturalness of a daguer- 
reotype, the thoughts, feelings, aspirations, hopes, misgivings — in 
one word, all the conflicting emotions which stirred the minds of 
men during the exciting period of our War of Independence. 
Here we have, for the first time, history untainted and unsophis- 
ticated by the individuality and the fancy of the writer — history 
stripped of all its meretricious adornments of style and criticism 
— undefiled, genuine history, based upon facts squeezed out from 
the newspapers of the times, and bearing upon their face the 
marks of their truthfulness and stern reality. In pondering over 
Frank Moore's unpretending but instructive pages, we become, as 
it were, for the first time, aware that our Revolution was not due 
to a few ambitious leaders, but that hundreds and hundreds of 
anonymous writers all over the country sounded its tocsin, and 
prepared the explosion of public opinion which found its climax 
in the Declaration of Independence. 

" The Diary is animated by a more truthful appreciation of our 
national character than all the emanations of rhetorical historians. 
The Toms, Dicks and Harrys whose communications he intro- 
duces for the first time before the public, are much more sturdy 
specimens of the spirit of the universal Yankee nation than the 
stilted heroes of their imaginations. Far from us the desire of 
detracting either from the patriotic glory of the venerated foun- 
ders of our Republic, or from the literary laurels of their eulogists 
and chroniclers ; but Frank Moore demonstrates the truth which 
the latter have failed to establish. 

"His 'Diary' shows that the leaders of our Revolution acted 
in obedience to the public sentiment, and tells us, by its copious 


and sagacious newspaper extracts, how this public sentiment 
was formed by those anonymous writers, whom we are ob- 
liged to designate by the general name of people, because we do 
not know their real name, and because their name was legion. 

"In this respect, then, the 'Diary' has struck an entirely new- 
chord. Our eminent writers bring before our eyes the stage of 
history with the masterly skill of experienced dramatists, but the 
editor of this work leads us behind the curtain. The heroes of 
the former are few in number, but are made to dazzle the Bight 
by the splendor of their appearance. The 'Diary,' howe\er, 
teaches us to understand the tricks or mysteries of the stage, and 
points good-naturedly to the pile of dusty papers in the green- 
room, and to. the voice of the prompter, who whispers to the 
actors the words of the play, but whole name is never mentioned. 

"While our rhetorical historians crown the actors with laurels, 
and are greeted with enthusiastic applause by the audience, Frank 
Moore labors faithfully at the dusty papers behind the curtain, and 
gradually, after some sixteen years of persistent toil, it oozes out 
that those much-bepraised actors were only the agents, and that 
they were roused to action by the omnipotent voice of public 
opinion, as it thundered through the pages of those dusty jour- 
nals which this 'Diary of the American Revolution' has saved 
from oblivion." 

From the Philadelphia Evening Journal. 

" The 'Diary of the Revolution' is a photograph of the times, 
and is a graphic delineation of the manners, the customs, the 
whole social life of the country in an era of distinguished men, 
and which was fruitful of great events. We know of no work 
which gives us so vivid a picture of the days which tried men's 
souls as the interesting volumes which are now presented to the 
American public." 

From the New York Express. 
"By this work we are taken behind the scenes; we are intro- 
duced to the actors; we talk with them and listen to them; we 
feel with or against them ; we believe in their motives. W T e are 
not reading a calm statement, but receiving an animated defence 
or attack. We laugh or are indignant ; we blush or are angered at 
what we see or hear. We gain all sorts of odd information ; out 
of the way news comes straight to us. We form a more correct 
and better idea of the times and the men than from reading a 
hundred measured tomes." 

From the Philadelphia Press. 

" The peculiar feature in this work which distinguishes it from 
all other historical collections is that the conflicting views of persons 
and events, as produced by writers on both sides of the question 


— the whigs favoring independence, and the tories desirous of 
keeping the United Provinces under the harsh dominion of George 
the Third — are here related with great tact, blended with surpris- 
ing felicity, and dovetailed together with remarkable success. 
Of all the historical works treating of our great revolutionary 
struggle, there is not one so full of varied interest as this. Open 
either volume where you may, and something amusing or instruc- 
tive strikes the eye. 

" It may be said that this 'Diary 1 is the apotheosis of journalism, 
for it is "principally composed of newspaper accounts, for and 
against, of the incidents, great and small, of the War of Inde- 

This work is sold by Subscription only, at Five Dollars per Set, in Cloth; 
or in Sheep Library Style, S6 50 ; in Half Turkey Morocco, $7 50 ; in 
Half Calf Extra, or Antique, $8 00 ; in Turkey Morocco, $12 00. 


124 Grand Street, New York, 


An earlier series of this work, embracing the newspaper his- 
tory of the American colonies, from the year 1750 until the com- 
mencement of 1775, is in course of preparation, and will be pub- 
lished, by subscription only, at an early day. Subscriptions, 
payable on delivery of the icork, are received by mail or otherwise, 
by the Editor, at New York City. 

Peice per Volume, 575 pages, Two Dollars and Fifty Cents.