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the hands of the Americans. Their privateers swarmed on every side, both in the American and European seas. They were plentifully furnished with provisions, from the resources they had within themselves, and with all sorts of arms and ammunition, by our good allies, the Dutch and French. In the mean while, the few English troops that were in America were closely shut up in Boston, by a numerous army holding them in on every side, and gaping to swallow them up. And these within the town were in want of all things, while those without abounded with all things. This they gloried in, as a manifest proof that God was on their side. As they now were confident of success, the talk of liberty was over : Independency was the word; this was avowed without any disguise or reserve. And, indeed, liberty was come to an end; it had no longer any being in the confederate colonies. If any one dared to speak a little in favour of the king, or in disfavour of the congress, he was soon taught to know his lords and masters, whose little finger was heavier than the loins of kings.
16. At length the king published a proclamation for a general fast in England, that we might" humble ourselves before God, and implore his blessing and assistance.” Some of the patrons of independency mocked at this, and endeavoured to turn it into ridicule. A company of them met at an inn in Bristol on the fast-day, and had a plentiful entertainment. Others stormed and raved at this hypocrisy, as they were pleased to term it. However, there is all reason to believe that God was well pleased with it. We now openly acknowledged him, and he openly acknowledged us. From this very time, the tide turned. The king's forces (which many said was impossible) made good their landing at the place proposed, and that without any loss at all. They took possession of Long Island, and with next to no opposition. They took the island and city of New-York, with all its boasted fortifications. They drove the rebels out of their almost inaccessible posts, though defended by strong intrenchments. They took Fort Washington and Fort Lee, which a handful of men might have defended against a numerous army. At all these places they took warlike stores in abundance, beside some thousands of prisoners. They took possession of RhodeIsland, and every where drove the rebels before them like a flock of sheep.
17. Where are now the two or three hundred thousand men, that we were told would pour down upon us? But what, if they did ? What would a million do, if they ran away as soon as the English appeared ? Whatever they do, they will not fight. I believe they cannot ; for the hand of God is upon them. But they can rob, and plunder, and destroy: and turn a well-peopled and fruitful land into a wilderness. They cac burn houses, and drive men, women, and children into the wild woods, in the depths of winter. Yea, they can burn whole towns, without any regard for the sick or aged, that necessarily perished in the flame. But did not God regard them? Did not their dying cries enter into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth ?
18. Such is the present state of affairs in America. Let us now take a view of the whole: Twelve provinces, upon various pretences, (ali which have been confuted over and over,) have declared themselves independent states, openly renounced their allegiance to their lawfu
sovereign, taken up arms against him, and prosecuted the war in an unheard-of manner. At first prosperity seemed to attend them in all their undertakings. But since we sought help from God, there has been a manifest blast upon them. Their armies are scattered ; their forts and strong holds lost; their provinces taken one after another. Meantime, are they humbled ? No; they roar like a wild bull in a net. They tear up the ground with fierceness and rage ; repentance is hid from their eyes. They revenge themselves—upon women and children ; they burn-all behind them! O American virtue! Are these the men who are proposed as a pattern to all Europe?
19. Brethren! Countrymen! What are the reflections that now naturally arise in your breasts? Do you not immediately observe, that after this huge outcry for liberty, which has echoed through America, there is not the very shadow of liberty left in the confederate provinces? There is no liberty of the press. A man may more safely print against the Church in Italy or Spain, than publish a tittle against the congress in New-England or Pennsylvania. There is no religious liberty. What minister is permitted to follow his own conscience in the execution of his office ? to put man in mind to be “ subject to principalities and powers ?” to “ fear God and honour the king ?” Who is suffered (whatever his conscience may dictate) to "pray for the king, and all that are in authority ?" There is no civil liberty. No man hath any security, either for his goods, or for his person; but is daily liable to have his goods spoiled or taken away, without either law or form of law, and to suffer the most cruel outrage as to his person, such as many would account worse than death. And there is no legal method wherein he can obtain redress for whatever loss or outrage he has sustained.
20. Do not you observe, wherever these bawlers for liberty govern, there is the vilest slavery? No man there can say that his goods are his own. They are absolutely at the disposal of the mob, or the congress. No man can say that his tongue is his own. If he
say a word for the king, what will follow? No man can say that his body is his own. He may be imprisoned whenever our lords the congress please. They are as absolute as the emperor of Morocco: their will is the sole law. No man can say his life is his own. Those who have the disposal of his substance, who have the disposal of his liberty, have the disposal of his life also. And of this they have given recent proofs. It is true, they do not themselves cut throats ; they do not soil their own fingers; but their friends the mob are always ready. Thus is real liberty, in all its branches, given up for that poor shadow, independency! a phantom which does not, in fact, exist in any civilized nation under heaven! It never did, and never will, being wholly inconsistent with the very idea of government. And to what a condition are these poor
colonies brought, by quitting the substance for the shadow! Do
says a gentleman who writes from Philadelphia, " what is the present state of these provinces? You may see it upon Ezekiel's roll; such is the condition of this country: •It is written within and without, lamentation, and mourning, and wo.'»
21. And do not you observe, on the other hand, the perfect liberty which we enjoy? Not, indeed, derived from our forefathers, as some writers idly talk. No; our forefathers never enjoyed it, either before or
after William the Conqueror, and least of all in the time of the Long Parliament, or under Oliver Cromwell. They had then little more liberty, civil or religious, than is now enjoyed in the confederate provinces. Never talk of the liberty of our forefathers: English liberty commenced at the Revolution. And how entire is it at this day! Every man says what he will, writes what he will, prints what he will. Every man worships God, if he worships him at all, as he is persuaded in his own mind. Every man enjoys his own property ; nor can the king himself take a shilling of it, but according to law. Every man enjoys the freedom of his person, unless the law of the land authorize his confinement. Above all, every man's life is secured, as well from the king, as from his fellow subjects. So that it is impossible to conceive a fuller liberty than we enjoy, both as to religion, life, body, and goods.
22. Do not you see then the abundant cause we have to be thankful to God, who having " made the whole nation of men, deternined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation,” in that he hath cast our lot in a fair ground, under the mildest government upon earth? Are not we of all men without sense, if, instead of thankfulness, we give way to murmuring and discontent, and finding fault with we know not what? In all reason, we should be perpetually praising God for this as well as for a thousand other benefits, and endeavouring to make him a suitable return, by devoting our lives to his service.
23. And as long as we fear God, shall we not “honour the king ?" looking upon him with a love mixed with reverence? Should we not remember him before God in prayer, that his throne may be established in righteousness ? that he, and all which are in authority under him, may duly administer justice, to the punishment of wickedness and vice, and the maintenance of true religion and virtue? And is it not our part carefully to abstain from speaking evil of the ruler of our people; and to study to lead a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty ?"
Hitherto I have addressed myself to my countrymen in general. But I would add a word to you in particular, who bear a religious character; whether you are members of the Established Church, or Dissenters of any denomination.
One might reasonably expect, that all of you would be cheerfully “subject to the higher powers ;” seeing you are agreed, “ there is no power,” whether supreme or subordinate, “ but of God.” Nay, one would expect that you would be continually reminding all you had any intercourse with, that they “must needs be subject, not only "for wrath, but" also “ for conscience sake.” How is it, then, that any of you espouse the cause of those that are in open rebellion against their lawful sovereign ? that, if you do not plead expressly for them, you at least extenuate their crime ; perhaps even scruple to call them rebels, and speak of them with tenderness, rather than resentment? How is it that any of you who fear God “are not afraid to speak evil of dignities ?" to “speak evil of the ruler of your people,” as well as of those that are put in authority under him? Do you believe that “ Michael the archangel durst not bring a railing accusation against Satan?" And dare you bring or retail a hundred railing accusations against your lawful governors ? Now, at least, humble yourselves before God, and act more suitably to your character. Wherever you are, far from countenancing,
repress the base clamours of the vulgar ; remembering those awful words : “If any man among you seemeth to be religious,” (rather, be ever so religious,) “ and bridleth not his tongue, that man's religion is vain."
Are not you who dissent from the Established Church, in whatever kind or degree, particularly concerned to observe this " for wrath” as well as “ for conscience sake ?" Do you imagine, there are no High Churchmen left? Did they all die with Dr. Sacheverel? Alas, how little do you know of mankind! Were the present restraint taken off, you would see them swarming on every side, and gnashing upon you with their teeth. There would hardly need a nod from that sacred person whom you revile, or at least lightly esteem. Were he to stand neuter in what a condition would you be within one twelve months! If other Bonners and Gardiners did not arise, other Lauds and Sheldons would, who would either rule over you with a rod of iron, or drive you out of the land. Know the blessings you enjoy. Let common sense restrain you, if neither religion nor gratitude can. “Beware of the wrath of a patient man.” Dare not again to open your lips against your sovereign : lest he fall upon you? No; but lest he cease to defend you. Then farewell to the liberty you now enjoy.
Permit me to add a few more words to you, a small part of whom dissent from, but the far greater part remain in, the Church; you,
who are vulgarly called Methodists. Do any of you blaspheme God or the king ? None of you, I trust, who are in connection with me. I would no more continue in fellowship with those who continued in such a practice, than with whoremongers, or Sabbath breakers, or thieves, or drunkards,
But there are not a few who go under that name, though they have no connection with us; yea, though they cordially hate us as dreadful heretics, for believing that “God willeth all men to be saved ;" who hate the king and all his ministers only less than they do an Arminian ; and who speak all manner of evil of them in private, if not in public too. (But many of them are of a better mind.) But suffer me to ask, Is this well done? Is it gratitude ? Is it prudence ? In the name of wonder, what could his majesty have done for you which he has not done? What would you have? Can you tell? What can you desire more than you have already? Have you not full liberty of conscience in every respect, without any shadow of restraint? In what other nation under the sun is such religious liberty to be found? Have you not full liberty, with regard to your life, to your person, and to your goods? In what other country upon earth is such civil liberty to be found? If you are not thankful to God and the king for these blessings, you are utterly unworthy of them. Is it prudence to speak in so bitter and contemptuous a manner of such governors as God has given you? What, if by the bitterness of your spirit, the acrimony of your language, and the inflammatory libels which you spread abroad, you could carry your point, unhinge the present government, and set up another in its stead! what would you gain thereby? Would another government allow you more liberty than you now enjoy? Could they give you a more unbounded liberty of conscience? It is impossible! Would they give you a larger measure of civil liberty? They could not if they would. And certainly they would not give you the liberty of railing at your governors, and stirring up your fellow subjects against them. If you did this, you would not only lose your goods, but probably your life also. On the other hand, what if the present government should continue in spite of all your disloyal practices ! have you any assurance, have you any reason to believe, that our governors will always be so patient? Nay, undoubtedly, when things of greater moment are settled, they will find a time for you. Your present behaviour will then be remembered; perhaps not altogether to your advantage. It is not the ignorance but the wisdom of your governors which occasions their present silence. And if you go on thus, be assured, sooner or later, you will meet with your reward. There is no need that the king should do any thing: He needs only not to restrain ; that is enough : There are those on every side who are now ready to swallow you up. You will then wish you had been wise in time, when your wisdom comes too late ; when the King of kings “ laughs at your calamity and mocks while your fear cometh."
or common swearers.
A SERIOUS ADDRESS
THE PEOPLE OF ENGLAND, WITH REGARD TO THE STATE OF
(PRINTED IN THE YEAR 1778.]
FRIENDS AND COUNTRYMEN, I would fain lay a few plain considerations before you, before all men of candour and common sense, who are not so totally swallowed up of prejudice as to be incapable of hearing reason. I beg you to weigh the matter calmly; not to be overborne by noisy or wordy men, but to use your own senses, your own eyes and ears, and your own understanding. Do not run away (as many do) with part of a story; but hear the whole, and then judge. Have patience to lay all circumstances together, and then you may form a just judgment.
A solemn inquiry was lately made concerning the state of the nation. If such an inquiry were properly made, so that the real state of the nation might be clearly and distinctly shown, it might be attended with excel. lent consequences. It might enable the legislative power to redress or prevent numerous evils. And it might lead those who conduct public affairs to take the most effectual measures for promoting the solid and lasting welfare of all their fellow subjects.
On the other hand, if such an inquiry were improperly made, and consequently the state of the nation misrepresented, if it were represented as far worse than it really is,-exceeding bad consequences might follow. It would naturally tend to disturb, to frighten, to discourage the people. It would tend to depress and sour their spirits, to embitter them against others, and to make them disaffected to his majesty, and all that act under him. It would make them utterly unthankful to God,