The SOLDIER caution'd and counsel'd: A SERMON Preach'd to the Ancient and Honourable ARTILLERY-COMPANY AT BOSTON: JUNE 1. 1747. Being the Anniversary Day for their Election of OFFICERS.

By William Hobby, A. M. Pastor of a Church in Reading.

Psal. 44.6.

I will not trust in my Bowe; neither shall my Sword save me.

Psal. 27.1.

The Lord is my Light, and my Salvation: Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the Strength of my Life: Of whom shall I be afraid?

BOSTON: N. E. Printed by J. DRAPER, for D. HENCHMAN and J. EDWARDS, in Cornhill. 1747.


AN Artillery-Election SERMON.

PSAL. lxxviii.9, 10.

THE Children of Ephraim, being armed, and carrying Bows, turned back in the Day of Battle: They kept not the Cove­nant of GOD, and refused to walk in his Law.

'TIS very observable in the sacred Oracles, that the best of Men are oft Times warned against the worst of Vices. And whoever considers the Behaviour of others, of the Fee­bleness of those gracious Principles in himself, the Craft of Satan, the Treachery of his own Heart; how apt he is to neglect his spiritual Watch, and the Sudden­ness or Violence of Temptation, will easily acknowledge [Page 6] such Cautions good and necessary. Behold Peter, Peter a Disciple, Peter an Apostle, yea, the Chief of the Apostles, what a gallant Resolution doth he make, that he will ra­ther die for, than deny his LORD; and yet in an unguar­ded Hour, how doth his Faith fail, his Courage wither, while he becomes the boasted Prey of Satan, and the Conquest of a trifling Girl! Alas, Once abandon'd of divine Grace, and there is no Temptation that Satan can lay before us, but we should greedily catch at, and be caught by. Will it not hold then, my Brethren, by a Parity of Reason, that the best of Soldiers may be warn'd against that Cowardize, which is inconsistent with their Character, as Vice is with that of a Christian? Yes; and whoever considers the Source of Cowardize, the many Things that expose to it, the pernicious Effects and Consequences of it, and that Men naturally the most Valiant, have at particular Times been betrayed into it, will easily acknowledge, that a Caveat against it, at all Times, and especially in Time of War, is neither un­necessary, nor unseasonable. Let this then, at least, plead my Excuse in the Choice of my Text on this Occasion, and in the Cautions and Counsels that may be offer'd from it. My Fathers and Brethren, whom you have press'd into your Service on the like Occasions, have in a manner search'd out every suitable Subject, and ex­hausted it: They have pointed you to the dreadful Ori­gins of War, far more dreadful than all the Artillery of the Warriour; they have shewn it's Lawfulness in this present corrupt Estate, in what Manner, on what Principles, and with what Views, it must be enter'd into and carried on; they have also sanctify'd your Arms, and engag'd you in an holy War, have displayed the Christian Banner, enter'd your Names on CHRIST'S Muster-Roll, furnish'd you with Arms, and show'd you your Strength, sounded the Trumpet, muster'd your Forces and marshall'd 'em under the Command of JEHOVAH, the Lord of Hosts; they have led forth the [Page 7] Armys of the living GOD, animating you to Battle with the Example of renowned Renowned Heroes, Men of War, and led you on to Victory in the Prospect of those divine Honours, that are the Reward of Conquest, placing you on the Throne of CHRIST, even as He also having overcome is sit down with his Father on his Throne. After so much said, and said so well, what remains for me, unless to guard you against all Cowardize, shewing something of it's Causes and Effects, the Dan­ger of it, and the Way of escaping that Danger? And to these Ends, what Words can be more suitable, than those of my Text? The Children of Ephraim being ar­med and carrying Bows, turned back in the Day of Battle: They kept not the Covenant of GOD, and refused to walk in his Law.

In these Words you have Cowardize painted in it's blackest Colours, drawn to the full length of Deformity, and glaring with lively Horror. Cowardize is base in it self, and justly detested in all, more so in Men of a military Character, who by their Profession proclaim their Courage; more abundantly so in them while in their martial Habit, equip'd with all the Instruments of War; and most of all so, in the Day and upon the Field of Battle. What an Absurdity in Nature, What a Solecism in War, first to Sound the Onset, and instantly beat a Retreat? And yet this seems to be the Behaviour of the Children of Ephraim in my Text: Their Cha­racter was Martial, their Habit Millitary; they were arm'd and carrying Bows: By which may perhaps be understood, that they were arm'd for Defence, as well as Offence; probably they had the Habergeon or Cor­slet, the Shield and Buckler, as well as the Sword and Bow: And yet after all, they turned back in the Day of Battle. I know not whether the inspired Psalmist intended a Pathos, when he spake of those Persons as the Children of Ephraim; but sure 'tis with great Pro­priety, [Page 8] that he calls them Children, who were far from quitting themselves as Men, especially as Men of War. If this should be thought too much a Criticism, or Finesse, yet sure in these Persons Cowardice and Disgrace appear in horrid Triumph. Behold 'em (my Brethren) first looking their Enemy in the Face, and then turning their Backs in a Fright: Now strutting in Armour, as if as­sur'd of Victory, and then flinging away their Arms, as a Weight that would hinder them in their Flight; first they shew their Teeth, and then their Heels, and with the Countenance of a Lion, they cover the Heart of an Hare. Methinks this Picture stares so strongly, as not only to make the valiant Man more abundantly to abhor Cowardize, but also to make the most Pusillanimous afraid of being tho't so, yea, grow Courageous thro' very Cowardize. But who are they that are thus describ'd? My Text speaks of these Persons as being the Children of Ephraim.

By Ephraim, we are sometimes in Scripture led to understand a particular Person, the youngest Son of Joseph; sometimes a particular Tribe, in Consequence of that adopting Grant, which Jacob made to his two Grandsons Ephraim and Manasseh, whom he numbred among his own immediate Offspring, and blessed as if they had been so indeed; making them Heads of dis­tinct Tribes, even as Reuben and Simeon.

Sometimes by Ephraim we are to understand the Ten Tribes, which revolted in the Days of Rehoboam, or Israel, as opposed to Judah: And they are called Ephraim, as this was the most Valiant of the Tribes; or perhaps because Jeroboam, the principal Author of this Revolt, was an Ephraimite.

Sometimes again, by Ephraim, we are to understand the whole Body of the Israelitish Nation: So in Jerem. 31.9, 20. the Divine Being is bro't in saying, Ephraim is my dear Son, my first born: Which, besides that it is not true of Ephraim considered as a single Person, or [Page 9] particular Tribe, or the ten Tribes, is the very same Phrase which GOD put into the Mouth of Moses, when he sent him as Ambassador to Pharoah, to demand Li­berty for his People to go and sacrifice. Thus shalt thou say to Pharaoh (says GOD) Israel is my Son, even my First-born. Exod. 4.22.

What we are to understand by Ephraim in my Text, can only be learnt from the Story to which it relates. But here the Learned differ. Some suppose it to have Respect to the Defeat of the Children of Ephraim, recorded 1 Chron. 7.20, -22. and so by Ephraim would be understood a particular Person: But the Defeat being previous to the coming of the Children of Israel out of Egypt, is of too early a Date for the Psalm before us, which contains a Record of Transactions commencing with that Depar­ture. Others suppose, our Text relates to something consequent to the Revolt of Jeroboam; and so by Ephra­im would understand the Ten Tribes: But these seem to be of too late a Date for the Story referr'd to; our Psalm ending with David, who died before that Revolt. Others therefore, more justly refer the Passage to the whole Body of the Israelitish Nation; our Psalm containing a Register of memorable Things from their coming out of Egypt to the Settlement of the Government in the House of David. But yet what particular Piece of History our Text relates to, we are yet at a loss. Some suppose their Refusal to go up and fight the Inhabitants of Ca­naan, at the Command of GOD, to be pointed at; or their turning their Backs on the Amorites, when without GOD's Presence, and contrary to his Command, they rashly encountred them: So Bishop Patrick. Others, particularly Messirs. Henry and Pool, suppose the Defeat by the Philistines (mentioned 1 Sam. 4.) when the Ark of God was taken Prisoner, to be the Story alluded to: And so they connect our Text with the 59th Verse of the Psalm, where GOD is said to have abhorred Israel so that he forsook the Tabernacle of Shiloh, the Tent which be [Page 10] placed among Men, and delivered his Strength, that is, the Ark of his Strength, into Captivity, and his Glory, which rested on the Wings of the Cherubims over the Ark, into the Enemies Hands.

But not to trouble my self or you about this Matter, 'tis of more Importance to observe that their Want of Courage was owing to their Want of Religion. This is plainly intimated in the latter Clause of the Text, where 'tis said of them, They kept not the Covenant of their God, and refused to walk in his Law. As GOD had chosen that People out of all the Nations of the Earth, to be a peculiar Treasure to himself; so did he enter into Covenant with them by Sacrifice, wherein he engaged to be their GOD, and they engaged to be his People, promising that all which God should say, they would hear and do. Ac­cordingly being now in a peculiar Manner King in Jeshu­run, GOD gave his Laws to Jacob, and his Statutes and Ordinances to his People Israel: But alas, they soon despised the Oath, in breaking the Covenant, when lo, they had given God the Hand; they provoked GOD to Anger with their high Places, and moved Him to Jea­lousy with their graven Images. No wonder now they turned their Back on their Enemy, since they had turned their Back on GOD, and he on them: No wonder they were Cowards towards Men, being Guilty before GOD: No wonder they could not perform any martial Atchieve­ments, since (in the Words of D. Hammond) they were armed with Bows, but not with Grace. The Words being thus introduced, we may speak to them under the following Remarks, —

  • In the First Place, There may be much of a martial Habit and Appearance, where there is nothing of a true martial Spirit. Without which,
  • Secondly, The most shining Armour and glittering Appearance will avail nothing to the just Purposes of War.
  • [Page 11]Thirdly, The best Method of obtaining a true martial Spirit, or Spirit of true Fortitude, is the Practice of Religion.

I. There may be much of a martial Habit and Ap­pearance, where there is nothing of a true martial Spirit. — I distinguish here between a mere martial Spirit, and a true martial one, or a Spirit of true Fortitude. The one is only natural Courage, which has its Foundation in the Constitution of the Body; the other is that just Tem­perament and discreet Management of Courage, which is seated in the Mind. The one acts without Thought or Reflection, and so is little better than the Valour of a Brute; the other is the Product of Thought and Judge­ment, and so the Fortitude of a Philosopher. I confess, that I have no need of this Distinction here; for which Reason I shall defer any Enlargement upon it. No need of it here, I say, because there may be much of a martial Habit and Appearance where there is no martial Spirit at all, or none in Exercise.

The martial Habit is easily procur'd, the red Coat worn, perhaps for no other End but to conceal a pallid Spirit, that is loth to appear; the glittering Sword easily put on, while the Man that should draw it, cannot find his Hands: The Feather itself may wave upon the Hat of one, whose Head is equally light, and his Heart equally trembling. This may be the Signal of superiour Favour, not of Courage; or it may be the Rights of external Succession, where there is no Right founded on any in­ternal valorous Dispositions; yea, the Commission, as well as the Habit, may be the Purchase of Money, to the just Infamy and Reproach both of Buyers and Sellers. I know here that Custom will plead the Cause of these Persons; but Custom is a pitiful Advocate, where there is not something in Reason for it; and a despicable one where Reason opposes it: In the present Case, to be sure, it pleads with weak Nerves and insipid Eloquence; taking [Page 12] its Arguments from Covetousness in one, false Honour in the other, a selfish Spirit in both, rather than a public Spiritness in either, or a due Regard to their Country's Welfare: The Consequences of which may not only be easily conceived greatly mischievous, but we have Rea­son to fear that sometimes in Fact the Sale of Commissions has been the Sale of a Country's Glory. Thus the mar­tial Habit and Commission itself may be only the Tokens of Favour, the Right of Succession, or the Purchase of Money; which neither suppose or acquire the martial Spirit, no more than a Lion's Skin will influence a Lion's Heart. Accordingly Ephraim, notwithstanding his Bow and Armour, is represented by the Prophet as a silly Dove without Heart. (Hos. 7.11.) The Martial Spirit is not the Purchase of Money; but we may say of it as the Divine Oracles speak of Love, if a Man would give all the Substance of his House for it, it would utterly be con­temned: Nor is it the Effect of humane Favour; but a free Gift of the GOD of Nature, who is the Former of Man's Body and the Father of his Spirit, and has the Hearts of all Men in his Hand: Nor doth Courage merely depend upon GOD for its Being, but also for its Exercise. Accordingly, when GOD promises to give his People the Land of Canaan, inhabited by War-like Nations, he tells them, that He would send his Fear and Terror before them, so that their Enemies should turn their Backs, Ex. 23.27. which Promise you find was made good, by the Account of Rahab, who informed the Spies, saying, Your Terror is fallen upon us; and all the Inhabitants of the Land faint because of you: For we have heard what the Lord has done for you; and as soon as we had heard, our Hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more Courage in any Man because of you. (Josh. 2.9, &c.) Accordingly 'tis reported in the Jeru­salem Gemara (as quoted by the Bishop of Eli) that the Girgashites particularly fled, at the Approach of Joshua, into Africa; and that in the Days of Alexander they sued [Page 13] to be restored to the Land of Canaan, from whence they had been driven out. And as it has been with Nations collectively, so has it been with particular Persons, even renowned Commanders themselves; who have freely owned, that when no extraordinary Danger appeared, yet from some secret and unknown Cause, by some strange Influence that came they knew not by what Means, nor how or why, their wonted Courage has fail'd, and their Hearts sunk within them: So Hannibal, tho' in Sight of Rome, yet non Ausus est obsidere. I mention these Things to show where our Dependance must be, as for the Principle, so for the Exercise of Courage, own in GOD alone, who is the Strength of our Hearts as well as Hands. But I intend not to dwell on this Proposition, and trust you will forgive me this Wrong. — So I pass to my next Proposition, which is,

II. That without the true martial Spirit, the Spirit of true Fortitude, the most shining Armour and glittering Appearance will avail nothing to the genuine Purposes of War.

That I may lead your Thoughts into the proper Pur­poses of War, and the Necessity of true Fortitude, to answer those Purposes; Let me begin with the Conside­ration of the Lawfulness of War: This stands upon the Foot of Nature, and is justified by the Principle of Self-Preservation, which the Divine Creator has implanted in us. We may range our Thoughts in the following man­ner; Two Persons having each of them equal or indeed any Possessions, have an undoubted Right to what they possess; whether their Possessions be given 'em by the GOD of Nature, or acquired by their own Industry under the Smiles of the GOD of Providence; and neither of these Persons has a Right to the other's Possession: If one then endeavours to deprive the other of his Possession, he usurps a Right which he has not, and there being by that Supposition no established Government, the latter has a [Page 14] Right to defend his own Possession, though it be at the Expence of the Life of the Usurper. The Case is the same with Regard to two Nations: Their Men, their Merchandize their Territories are their own: If one then usurps a Right over the other, the latter may justly draw the Sword in Vindication of its own Rights, and there being no supe­riour Judicature on Earth, hereby appeal to the GOD of Heaven. Thus Nature will allow the use of the Sword, even the first drawing of it, since this is not properly the Commencement of the War, but only the just Resent­ment of Usurpation. — Nor doth the Revelation of GOD lay us under any interdict in this Matter; no, but leaves these Things just as it finds them: It labours indeed to take away the Cause; and were the Revelation fully and practically embraced, we should soon find Wars to cease on the Earth; but the Cause remaining, it justifies the Effect. So under the Old Testament Dispensation, GOD represents Himself as a Man of War, teaches his People's Hands to war, and their Fingers to fight, makes the Battle his own, fights for his People, assures them of and crowns them with Success and Victory. And doth not the New Testament sufficiently countenance War; notwithstanding all that has been said by the Followers of Socinus, or others of an Enthusiastick Turn: Did John Baptist disband the Soldiers, when they ask'd him, What they should do? Did our Saviour command the Officers to lay by their Commissions, and lay down their Swords, when he set himself before them as their Leader, and bid 'em follow him? By no means. And when our Saviour tells Pilate, that if his Kingdom were of this World, then would his Disciples fight; doth not this legitimate a War, with Respect to the Kingdoms of this World? To all which we may add this Query; Doth not the Represen­tation of CHRIST in the Book of the Revelation, as having the Jus Gladii, as One who doth Judge and make War, whose Sword is on his Thigh, and whose Vesture is dipt in Blood, his being followed with Armies, and overcoming [Page 15] them that make War with him? doth not this Represen­tation of Things, I say, not only point out the Destruc­tion of CHRIST's Enemies, but their Destruction by War, through the Power of his Armies, such as are called and chosen and faithful?— But now, my Brethren, What will the shining Armour and the military Habit do to­wards such a Conquest, while the true martial Spirit is wanting? Are such Men like to be called and chosen and faithful? Yea, what will they do towards any Conquest? Let us suppose these Persons destitute not only of For­titude, but of Natural Courage; let them look like Sol­diers, and have all the Skill of Soldiers; yet Skill itself in this Case will be no better than Ignorance, not serve so much as to make a just Retreat: No, the want of Courage relaxes not only the Arms, but the Brains too, confounds the Understanding, and leaves the Man not only without Conquest over his Enemy, but without Rule over his own Spirit, and so like a City broken down and without Walls. 'Tis Courage that is the prime Requisite of a Soldier, as such. Tho' Arms and Skill in the Use of them are necessarily implyed; yet 'tis Courage that gives Life and Efficacy to every Thing else: This improves even Skill it self, brightens the Understanding, guards every Avenue of Danger, watches every Advantage, draws the Bow of Ephraim with a strong Hand, and directs the Arrow with a steady one: But now take Courage away, and what then becomes of the shining Armour, the martial Habit, and military Skill? To what Purposes of War do these serve, unless to brighten the Enemy's Conquest, and adorn their Triumph? These Men, as the five Kings that warred with Joshua, act like themselves, while they seek their Refuge in Caves and Dens; and meet with their just Doom when the Con­queror, like Joshua, commands his Captains to tread upon their Necks.

But now let us alter the Ballances, and to the military Armour, Skill and Habit, let us add natural Courage [Page 16] too, yet without true Fortitude will these Things do nothing towards answering the true Purposes of War. We have, my Brethren, already asserted the Lawfulness of War; but it is not every War that is lawful; per­haps no Offensive one, properly so called. The Israelites indeed war'd against the Inhabitants of Canaan, and took their Land for a Prey. But the War was not theirs, but GOD's; who being justly offended at the Measure of their Iniquities, which was now full, had a Right to punish the Offenders, and employ whom He pleas'd as the Instruments of his Vengeance. Had they not by their Iniquities commenc'd a War with GOD, he had not come out in Battle against them. This Example then will not justify an offensive War; unless such an One as is entered into for the Recovery of those Rights that a Nation has been robb'd of; which is therefore improperly call'd Offensive. But now if we examine the Generality of Wars that have been upon the the Earth; for what Ends have they been under­taken, unless to satiate Ambition, and glut the Maw of Covetousness, to spread the Fame of Conquerors, and convey their Glory to Posterity, as if after Death, they were to have the pleasing Sense that their Glory was was yet alive? What else were the Wars of Alexander and of Caesar? Were they not to enlarge their Terri­tories, or see how far they could carry their Swords, how many Widows they cou'd make, how much Blood they could shed, how many Slaves they cou'd constitute! For such base and sordid Ends, Millions have been made a Sacrifice; but a Sacrifice without Mercy; yea, Mercy it self was sacrificed to their ungodly Lusts. How ig­noble was that in Julius Caesar, which Suetonius reports? Animadversâ apud Herculis Templum, magni Alexandri imagine, ingemuit; quasi pertaesus Ignaviam suam, quod nihil dum â se Memorabile Actum esset, in Aetate quâ jam Alexander Orbem Terrarum subegisset. Here was his End, to do something Memorable, without any Re­gard [Page 17] to the moral Nature of the Thing, whether good or bad. But now the true Purpose and genuine End of War is Peace; in the Language of Cicero, Ita Bellum suscipiatur, ut nihil aliud quam Pax quaesita, Videatur. This End is noble, generous and publick spirited, worthy the highest Reason of Man, worthy of CHRIST that glorious Peace-Maker between GOD and Man, and worthy of that GOD, one of whose amiable Characters is, that He is the GOD of Peace.— The Thing then implied in the Proposition is the Necessity of true Fortitude to answer the genuine and only proper Design of War.

Here you demand, what is this Fortitude? You may remember, that under my first Proposition I touch'd on the Distinction between natural Courage and true Forti­tude: Here let me a little enlarge, and say, That natural Courage, which properly speaking, is nothing but Strength with a Plerophory of animal Spirits, is mere Constitution, owing to the Mechanism of our bodily Nature, the Structure of the Solids, and the Temperament of the Fluids; but this is no more a Virtue (and so it is that I am here considering of Fortitude, as a moral Virtue) to enjoy, than it is a Vice to want it. This indeed often passes under the Name of Fortitude, merely because it despises Danger: And when it has push'd Men on to some bold Attempts, which have been crowned with Success, it has a World of Eloquence prostituted in its Praise. When at the same Time all Mankind must own, that separating the Success from the Attempt, it would be called by its right Name, that of criminal Rashness: Such Folly is in Man, to judge of Things by their Suc­cess, as if this alone alter'd the Nature of them, and made that a Virtue at one Time, which would be a Fault at ano­ther. Much of this natural Courage there may be where there is not the least true Fortitude: this the Children of Israel demonstrated, when they dar'd to assault the Amorites, tho' God himself had forbidden 'em, assuring [Page 18] that they should not prosper. On the other Hand, there may be much of true Fortitude, where there is little or nothing of natural Courage: So Multitudes out of Weak­ness were made strong, turned to flight the Armies of Aliens; and when they could not conquer, submitted to the greatest Tortures with an unbroken Mind, and even dar'd to die. — By this Time it may be known what I understand by true Fortitude: It is that Virtue of Mind, by which upon solid and rational Principles, we are dis­pos'd nobly to withstand any Oppositions, encounter any Dangers, endure any Hardships, and submit to any Sufferings, when they cannot be avoided salva Veritate & Conscientia, with the Preservation of Truth and Con­science. The Foundation of Fortitude is Principle, the Path of it is Duty, let the End or Success be what it will. By these Descriptions you see that 'tis not natural Cou­rage, any more than natural Fear, but the just Manage­ment of both, in a Readiness to encounter any Dangers, or submit to any Sufferings we are called to. Natural Courage may rush into a thousand Dangers, which Forti­tude forbids because they are needless: Natural Fear may shun as many Dangers, which Fortitude commands us to encounter, because they are Matters of Duty. True Fortitude then regulates Courage on the one Hand, and subdues Fear on the other. Some indeed seem to think that Fortitude and Fear are inconsistent: This doubtless is a great Mistake; since the most timerous may acquire the Character of the true Hero, in the just Management of his Fears, and has the best Right to that Character in Proportion to those Fears which his Fortitude overcomes. Have not we an eminent Instance of the Consistency there is between Fear and Fortitude in the three Jewish Wor­thies, Shadrach, Mesheck, and Abednego? To say, that these Persons were destitute of Fear, when they found an haughty Monarch threatning of and the maddest Flames preparing for them, is to say, that they belied their Na­tures, and renounced their Humanity; but when by a [Page 19] due Management of their Fears, which they subjected to the Cause of Reason, Religion, and of GOD, they nobly replied, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this Matter: If it be so, our GOD, whom we serve, is able to deliver us from the burning fiery Furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine Hand, O King: But if not, be it known to thee, O King, that we will not serve thy Gods, nor worship the golden Image which thou hast set up. (Dan. 3.16, &c.) Here was a Fortitude triumphing over Fear, a Fortitude far exceeding that of an Alexander, or a Caesar. Yes, they lov'd their Lives, but they lov'd their GOD more, with a Love strong as Death, which many Waters could not quench, Floods drown, nor Fire consume. Here was more true Heroism than in Cato, who when he could not conquer was too much of a Coward to live under the Shame of being conquer'd. But in the God-Man, our Lord JESUS CHRIST, this Consistency between Fear and Fortitude appears in strong and amiable Colours: He feared, so says the Apostle, Yes, and in the greatness of his Fear prayed, that the bitter Cup might pass from him; yet how did his Fortitude overcome his Fears, when he set his Face to go up to Jerusalem, the Scene of Sufferings and of Blood, went before his Disciples, as one that was in haste, was straitned till this Baptism of Blood should be accomplished; and when his Hour was come, he made that his Choice, which could not have been his Necessity, bowing his sacred Shoulders to the accursed Cross, that had the Weight of all the Sins of GOD's Elect laid upon it! Thus is Fortitude consistent with Fear.

Now this Fortitude, My Brethren, is necessary to an­swer the just Purposes of War; and indeed the whole Management of it. This directs the End, guards a­gainst every Thing mean and selfish, disdains the false Plumage of Ambition, and abhors the Grasp of Cove­tousness, and only sounds the Trump of War for the Destruction of those Lusts, which hinder Peace on the [Page 20] Earth. This, again, befriends the just Management of War; preserving the Mind in a sweet Calm, in Oppo­sition to those Perturbations, which natural Fear, or mere natural Courage excites. This prepares the Mind for Victory, on the one Hand, or a Defeat on the other; for Life, or for Death. Are our Arms prosperous, it suffers no undue Elation of Mind in our selves; far less, Inclemency towards others. Cowardize is generally Cruel; but Fortitude alway Mercifull: It can weep over the Miseries, which it self occasions; and as Alex­ander did by his Friend, pull off the Linnen Crown, to bind up the Wounds of an Enemy. But the Glory of Fortitude, like that of GOD, shines thro' the darkest Cloud; it doth not like Bajazet, foam and fret, curse it's Disappointments, and gnaw it's Chains; far from this, it submits to those unhappy Things it could not avoid, and amidst Bonds and Imprisonments, can make that it's Language, None of these Things move me, nei­ther count I my Life dear: 'Tis Satisfaction eno' to have endeavour'd my Duty, and leave the Event with GOD.

But I hasten to my last Proposition,

III. The best Method of obtaining this Fortitude, is, the Practice of true Religion. — I say, the Practice of true Religion, in Contradistinction to the mere Know­ledge of it; the Power of Godliness, not the mere Form. The latter Ephraim had, but not the former; and there­fore turned their Back in the Day of Battle.

Guilt, my Brethren, is the Parent of Cowardize. No sooner had Adam fallen, but he hides himself in the Trees of the Garden, and confesses to GOD, I was afraid, be­cause I was naked, strip'd of my Robes of Innocence. So Cain having slain his Brother, immediately siez'd by Fear and Trembling, and with a Coward's Voice crys out, Every one that findeth me will slay me. This is always the Case; but Guilt contracted by the Violation [Page 21] of Covenant-Bonds, has a peculiar Tendency to make the Hands weak, and the Heart faint. GOD then ap­pears at the Head of the Enemy, to espouse the Quar­rel of his broken Covenant. No wonder then our Ene­mies appear as Giants and we as Grashoppers; and that a View of that Covenant, which with our Hand we have signed, and of that Vengeance, which by our Guilt we have challeng'd, should make our Hearts melt within us. Ephraim might perhaps remember that Threatning of the Covenant in Case of Disobedience, that they should flee before their Enemies; and the very Remembrance might hasten its Fulfilment. But if they did not, yet the Terror itself was Part of GOD's threaten'd Anger. — On the other Hand true Religion is the Friend of the best Courage. Prov. 28.1. The Wicked flee when no Man pursueth; but the Righteous is bold as a Lion.

Two Things here demand an Enquiry.—First, In what Respects is the Practice of Religion friendly to the Spirit of Fortitude. And, Secondly, By what Means is it so.

I. In what Respects is the Practice of Religion friendly to the Spirit of Fortitude?

To which I answer,

1. As it Removes the main Obstructions of true martial Courage. There are many Things which natu­rally as well as morally obstruct the martial Spirit; par­ticularly here I might mention sensual Lusts, such as Whoredom, Drunkeness, and the like. Wine in the moderate use of it, may indeed raise the Spirits; but sure, in its Excess, Wine is a Mocker; and when Whoredom and Wine go together, then in the Language of the Prophet, (Hos. 4.11.) they take away the Heart, they relax the Nerves, effeminate the Mind, and emasculate the whole Man, rendering him not only unfit for, but indis­pos'd to the Hardships and Hazards of War. Whereas now Religion has taught its Votary to mortify these Limbs of the Old Man, to crucify the Flesh, with its [Page 22] Lusts and Affections: However he may have wallowed in these Lusts; yet now is he washed and sanctify'd and justify'd in the Name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of his God. And tho' the animal Appetite may yet be left within him, yet its Dominion, which was but for a Time, is taken away; if the Canaanites are in the Land, Israel is its Lord. — Again, An over-weening Fondness of Life, is another Obstruction to the martial Spirit. Whoever over-rates his Life, must needs be suppos'd to over-rate that which indangers it; he looks upon Things through a false Perspective, and by magnifying every Danger avoids all. The Consequence is, that however the best Interests of his Country, Liberty, Learning and Re­ligion ly at Stake, he will have little Regard to these, since he prefers Life to 'em all. Let such a Man, like Issachar, couch between Burdens; but sure he is neither fit to draw the Bow of Ephraim, nor like, with Benjamin, to divide the Spoil. Far otherwise the true Soldier of JESUS CHRIST, he has weigh'd his Life in an even Bal­lance, and determined its true Value; he has parted with it intentionally, and is ready to part with it actually at the Call of his GOD, saying with the Psalmist, My Soul is in mine Hand, yet do I not forget thy Law.— The Fear of Death is another great Obstruction to the martial Spirit. Death is the King of Terrors, peculi­arly so in the Field: there he appears in all his Artil­lery, terrible in Glory. To prevent or cure this Fear, some endeavour to extinguish all Tho't, and so rush like the Horse into the Battle: While others preach to themselves the Stoical-Doctrine of Fate, and are pleas'd to think, they shan't dy before their Time. However, 'tis hard to cancel these Fears, especially where Guilt lies on the Conscience uncancell'd by the Blood of Sprinkling, and there are any Prospects of another World, where Hell follows the Pale Horse. But now true Religion, as it makes Death familiar, so it abates it's Terror; and exalted Religion in a manner extinguishes [Page 23] those Fears. The christian Soldier well knows, that his Captain has encountred Death, and onquer'd him, has entred into his Territorys, sanctify'd and perfum'd 'em, and then taken an everlasting Leave of 'em; and that having destroy'd Death, and him that had the Power of it, that is, the Devil, he has deliver'd them, who thro' Fear of Death, were subject unto Bondage. He therefore with a firm Courage, will say with David, Tho' I walk thro' the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I will fear no Evil: With Paul will insult Death, saying, O Death, Where is thy Sting! 'Tis gone, 'tis gone, thou mayest hiss, but canst not hurt. Yea, he may glory in Death, as knowing that this is Part of the Christian's Inventory: Yes, not only Life is yours, says the Apostle, but Death too; the one to fit you for Heaven, and the other to translate you into it. Thus Religion removes the main Obstructions of martial Courage.

2. True Religion inspires the Man with Courage. — This it doth (1st) By it's Precepts. As CHRIST our Leader bore his own Cross, and was made perfect thro' Sufferings, so is the Word of Command given forth to all his Followers, Take up the Cross; this Word every true Christian Soldier hears and obeys: Having weigh'd the Advantages of Religion in one Scale, and it's Dis­advantages in the other, he wisely reckons, that all the Sufferings of this present Time are not worthy to be com­par'd with the Glory that is to be revealed in us. And therefore he chooses CHRIST with a Cross, before the World with a Crown, and so becomes a Martyr in Reso­lution; yea, he is actually so, having learned to take up his Cross daily, by a gracious Encounter with all the Evils and Adversities of Life: These Things are what he allots upon, is prepared for, and engaged in. If he is not called with Paul to fight with Beasts at Ephesus, he engages 'em nigher home: nor doth he only wrestle with Flesh and Blood; but with Princi­palities [Page 24] and Powers and spiritual Wickednesses in high Places. Satan is daily making War upon him; but he overcomes thro' the Blood of the Lamb. In a word, he is daily batt'ling with himself; which requires more Courage, than to fight with others: He keeps under his Body, and combats with his Spirit, to subdue the Lusts of the Mind, as well as of the Flesh: And surely greater is he that hath rule over his own Spirit, than he that taketh a City. — If it be said here, that this Courage is of a spiritual Nature; 'tis granted, it is spiritual in it's Principle; but yet being drawn out to it's proper length, will dispose us to encounter any Enemy, and plunge into the greatest Dangers of a temporal Nature. He that has the true Fear of GOD in it's lively Exercise, will not be afraid of Man that shall die, and the Son of Man that is as Grass. The same Courage that dares to dy for CHRIST, will dispose us to play the Man for the Cities of our GOD, especially when Religion it self is in Danger. Accordingly, primitive Christianity will fur­nish us with numberless Instances, in which, not only the naturally Brave and Valiant, but the most Timerous be­came Magnanimous; the aged Matron, and the tender Virgin were inspired with such an holy Courage, that they chose to suffer Affliction and Torture, any that the most ingenious Malice cou'd contrive, and the most en­raged Power inflict, rather than Sin. And the Chri­stian Soldiers were the best Veterans, ever ready to obey their Emperors and Generals, while they cou'd keep a good Conscience: But yet they had Courage eno', to let them know that they wou'd not obey them, when to do so, might be construed Disobedience to GOD. It was not all the Artifice of a subtle Julian, the Threat­nings of one Emperor, or the Promises of another, that cou'd seduce 'em from their Allegiance to their chief Captain, the Lord of Hosts: They nobly answer'd 'em in such Language as this; "You threaten us with Fire, unless we obey; but this lasts but for an Hour: But [Page 25] GOD threatens our Disobedience to him with a Fire that shall never be extinguish'd: You promise Parts and Portions of the World; but we have already renounc'd the whole of it: Give us something more, or you take away more than you promise to give." — But this leads me to say, (2dly) Religion inspires Courage by it's Promises. By Promises here is to be understood such as respect the divine Influence and Protection. The Lan­guage of GOD to every Believer, is like that to Abraham the Father of the Faithful, Fear not, Abraham; I am thy Shield. —A Thousand shall fall at thy Side, and ten Thou­sand at thy right Hand; but there shall no Evil befall thee. Because thou hast made the LORD thy Habitation, he shall give his Angels charge over thee. By this I mean not, that a good Man has any particular Assurance, that he shall not fall in the Heat of Battle; but that there is that general Encouragement in the divine Promises, which is sufficient to animate him to the greatest Hard­ships and sharpest Conflicts. Accordingly you find the holy Psalmist would not trust in his Sword, and in his Bow, but boasted in the Lord all the Day long. He often expresses the Boldness of Faith in such Language as this, Thou, LORD, art my Shield and Buckler, my Glory and the lifter up of my Head: I will not be afraid of Ten Thousand of the People that have set themselves against me. No, The LORD is my Light and my Salva­tion, whom shall I fear? GOD is our Refuge and Strength, a very present Help in Trouble; therefore will we not fear, though the Earth be removed, and though the Mountains be carried into the midst of the Sea, though the Waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the Mountains shake with the swelling thereof.

Once more,

3. True Religion regulates our Courage. — 'Tis not sufficient for a Soldier that he have Courage, unless it be under a due Regulation. Without this it ceases to be virtuous, and differs as much from true Fortitude, as [Page 26] a Flash of Gun-powder from the glowing steady Heat of a well-kindled Fire. Let the Success of Courage be what it will, there is no other Praise to be given it, than what Seneca gives Alexander, when he says, pro Virtute erat felix Temeritas, the Success of Rashness was his Virtue. But now 'tis the Glory of Religion, that it re­gulates Courage. — This it doth, (1st) As to the Principle of military Actions. And here as the Grace of God teaches us to deny all Ungodliness and worldly Lusts, so doth it not suffer us to draw the Sword, upon the Principles of Covetousness and Ambition. Those therefore, who by a misplaced Eloquence have been celebrated as the great Heroes of the World, Religion condemns as the great Murderers of it; ranking them among the Men who love Violence, and delight in War, the Men of Blood, whom GOD's So [...] [...]ateth. Religion allows us to defend our own Rights; but not to invade those of others. It will justify us in fighting for our Religion; but not in fighting against the Religion of others, tho' it be ever so false: In taking up the Cross; but no Crusades; this is Christian, that Antichristian. An holy War, in the Romish Sense, is but a Bastard, begot by the Devil upon Lust and Cruelty. — Again, (2dly) Religion regulates our Courage as to its Exercise; teaching us when to shun Dangers, and when to meet and encounter them. I am not insensible indeed, that in the primitive Times many of the Christians discover'd an irregular Courage: They sometimes broke into Prison, when they would have scorn'd to break out of it: Sufferings and Death seem'd to approach 'em with leaden Heels, and a slow Pace; and therefore they met 'em more than half Way; courted the burning Flames, and too earnestly long'd for the Crown of Martyrdom. But this Irregularity was the Fault of the Christians, not of Christianity. The Captain of our Salvation has indeed bid us take up the Cross, but not to run after it: Far from this, he has commanded us, when persecuted in [Page 27] one City, to flee to another; and when we can fly no farther, with a good Conscience, then to submit to those Sufferings, which in Honour to Him we cannot avoid. Yes, there must be a good Call, as well as a good Cause; or else our Sufferings are not justifiable. We are not to steal the Cross: If so, what are we but Thieves upon it? In which Case, how can we expect the Applause of our Lord? I mean not, my Brethren, to speak a Word against the Courage and Zeal of the primitive Christians, so far as it was true: Would to GOD, that we might see primitive Christianity reviv'd, and the Church re­turning to her first Love, and to the first Works, from whence she is fallen, in Degree, as far as she is distant in Time: But yet doubtless there was not an exact Con­formity of Christian Men to Christian Principles, and wherein they were irregular, they are not to be imi­tated.— But I must hasten more briefly to enquire,

II. By what Means doth Christianity befriend the Spirit of true Fortitude?

Here, my Brethren, let me only point you to the Promises of the Gospel, those exceeding great and pre­cious Promises, which are given us, that by them we might be made Partakers of the Divine Nature. Our great Leader and Commander, though he has an abso­lute Right to the Obedience of his Soldiers, yet doth not bid 'em serve him for nought; no, he has set a Joy before them, enough to Reward all the Toil and Fatigue of the longest Life. We fight not for the Ap­plause of Men, the Acclamations of the People, which as they are often unjustly bestowed, so afford no present Satisfaction to the Mind, and then perish in a Moment: No, 'tis the Approbation of an holy GOD and Saviour, ecchoed from the golden Harps of Angels and Arch­angels, that animates and inspires us. We fight not for Money, that will poorly pay for the Anguish of broken Bones, shatter'd Limbs, and mangled Bodies, which [Page 28] also are oftimes accompanied with wounded Consciences: But we have an Inheritance before us large as our Wishes, and long as our Duration, or the Duration of GOD him­self; an Inheritance, not to comfort us under Pain, but which eternally frees from it. — We fight not for a corruptible Crown, perishing Laurels; but for a Crown of Righteousness, a Crown of Life, a Crown whose Glory shall never fade away. Yes, if we suffer with CHRIST, it is that we also may be glorified together. We have the Word and Honour of CHRIST, To him that overcometh, will I grant to sit with me in my Throne, even as I also overcame and am set down with my Father in his Throne. Revel. 3.21. Such is the Christian's Encouragement: and 'tis the manifold Grace of the Divine Spirit, fastning upon, embracing of, and delighting in this Encouragement, that excites the mar­tial Spirit, inspires with the best Fortitude, fits the Christian for and urges him on to the boldest Atchieve­ments. Faith sees the Promises with a strong Eye: Yes, Faith is the Substance of Things hoped for, and the Evidence of Things not seen. Love embraces them with a vigorous Arm; and Hope has a firm Expectation of the promis'd Blessedness. In the Exercise of these Graces the Saints have sometimes escaped the Edge of the Sword; and sometimes drawn it, to the subduing of Kingdoms: Even the Weak have been made strong, and the Strong become Victorious, waxing Valiant in Fight, and turn­ing to Flight the Armies of the Aliens. At other Times, when GOD called 'em to suffer, the Spirit of God and of Glory rested upon 'em; they had Trial of cruel Mockings, Scourgings, Bonds, and Imprisonments, were destitute, afflicted, tormented; and yet superiour to all their Suf­ferings, Triumphant in and over them.

But I am sensible, 'tis Time to draw towards a Con­clusion. And with regard to the Congregation in ge­neral, allow me to apply the Words of the Preacher, [Page 29] Let us hear the Conclusion of the whole Matter; Fear GOD, and keep his Commandments; for this is the whole of Man. This is his whole Duty, this is the Way to his entire and eternal Blessedness. This secures Peace with GOD, thro' JESUS CHRIST, and Peace with our own Conscience, under the sprinkling of a Saviour's Blood: This establishes Peace with others, where 'tis enjoyed; and obtaining it, where it is wanted. Our Peace shall then be as a River, and our Righteousness as the Waves of the Sea. Or if others war against us, it will procure Victory over them: So GOD himself in­timates in that Language, O that my People had heark­ned to me, and Israel had walked in my Ways! I should soon have subdued their Enemies, and turned my Hand against their Adversaries. Happy wouldst thou be, O Israel, a People saved of the Lord, who is the Shield of thine Help, and the Sword of thine Excellency. — But the present Occasion warrants a particular Address to the honourable Company of Artillery, who have in­vited us this Day into the House of our GOD, that they might hear some Part of the divine Counsels, in answer that Question of the Soldiers, What must WE do?


'Tis justly esteem'd an Instance of Spartan Wisdom in our excellent Forefathers, who instituted your Order, form'd your Company, and gave you a Charter, con­taining special Rights and Priviledges. Their Design in distinguishing you, doubtless was, that you might dis­tinguish your selves: not so much by your Habit, as by your Skill; not so much by your martial Arms, as by your martial Spirit; that from you, as from a River, the Streams of Skill and Valour might flow thro' all the Militia of the Land, gladning the Cities of our GOD in their Prospects of Defence.— And your Design in asking the Priest to sound the Trumpet, is, I trust; that by the Word or GOD and Prayer, your Arms may be [Page 30] consecrated, your Courage supported, regulated by For­titude, and sanctified by Grace. And truly, Gentlemen, Such Fortitude was never more necessary, than at pre­sent. Our Times are the Times of War: If we look abroad, we find Nation rising up against Nation, and Kingdom against Kingdom. To Arms, To Arms, has been the horrid Cry, which has long resounded from Shore to Shore, and from one Nation to another: The Consequences of which have been wounding to the Ear, and shocking to the Eye. How many a distant Field, wherein scarce any Thing is to be heard, but the con­fused Noise of Warriors, sounding Drums, bursting Guns, hollow Moans, piteous Groans; and nothing to be seen but Smoke and Fire above, but Blood and Slaughter covering the Field below. And if we come nigher Home, we find our selves incompass'd with Dan­ger, Enemys threatning us by Sea and assaulting us by Land. How much of our Substance has been wasted! How many of our Lands vacated! How many of our Brethren of the Inland-Frontiers, are now mourning in Captivity! The Lord hear the Sighing of the Prisoner! How many others are fallen by the Hands of an Ene­my, whose tender Mercies are cruelty! And what Mul­titudes are yet carrying their Soul in their Hand; to secure their Substance, are jeoparding their Lives! And should we extend our Prospects forward, may we not without a Spirit of Prophecy, venture to say, that un­less the Expedition against an envious and jealous Neigh­bour go on, coming Wars will produce another Flan­ders in America; that Army will be found contending with Army in our own Frontiers, and Multitudes of our own Children with their Garments roll'd in Blood! In such a Situation of Affairs, 'tis mournful to think, there is so little of a martial Spirit to be found among us. Ah, Where is the Spirit of a Standish, Winslow, Church, March, Lovewell, and many others, whose warlike Atchieve­ments in former Times have consecrated their Names, [Page 31] and embalmed their Memories! What, did their Spi­rit die with them! and can there be no Resurrection of it, especially when the Government has so nobly exerted it self herefor! Sure, the whole Dispensation of Pro­vidence points us to the Necessity of a martial Spirit. The Language of GOD at this Day is that; Wake up ye mighty Men, prepare the War, anoint the Shield, beat your Plow-shears into Swords, and your Pruning-books into Spears, let the Weak say, I am strong. But then, as we have heard, The martial Spirit must be accompa­nied with the religious one. 'Tis the want of this, that has drawn the Sword of GOD, and bath'd it in the Blood of Men. Yes, verily the Nations warring with one another is a Proof that GOD is contending with them; and whoever considers the melancholy State of Religion, either at Home or abroad, will find no Reason to won­der, that GOD has whet his glittering Sword, and that his Hand hath taken hold on Judgment. Without this, I mean pure and undefiled Religion, we have nothing to expect, either from Skill or Valour. This then let me press, in a Manner that shall comprehend all Ranks and Orders of Men, but with a particular Eye to the Men of military Character. 'Tis not, Gentlemen, because I question your Courage, that I have address'd you this Day from such a Text; but that I might be Instru­mental of enobling it, by urging on you the Practice of Religion: This will put a Glory on your Courage, and give you Confidence of Success. Here I shall mention but two Words of Command; both of which comes from your great Leader, even Him of whom the Father by a Voice from Heaven has said, This is my beloved Son, hear Him.

In the 1st Place then, Take up the Cross. Let none think this a Duty incumbent only on the primitive Christians, that were expos'd to Persecution from the Civil Magistrate, who hated their Religion, though [Page 32] without a Cause. No, This is a Duty that runs par­rallel with Christianity, and remains in its binding Force and Power till CHRIST shall come with his Crown. 'Tis not, I grant, every Cross that a Man bears which will denominate the Obedience CHRIST demands, or intitle to the Reward he promises. Most Men make Crosses for themselves; in which Case they are Martyrs only to their own Folly. 'Tis well worthy our Obser­vation, that what is express'd in one Evangelist by taking up the Cross, is interpreted by another, by taking up his Cross. Distinguit Crucem (says Aretius) hac Você; suam non Alienam Crucem affectare debemus. Yes, every Man has his Cross; and Christianity obliges him to take it up.

This intends, first, The battl'ing with and subduing of those Enemies that oppose the Designs of the Cross of CHRIST. The Christian Life is a Warfare; every Christian, a Soldier by Profession. At Baptism, he enters his Name in CHRIST's Muster-Roll: And whenever he receives the other Sacrament, he takes an Oath of Allegiance and Fidelity to CHRIST, his Captain and his King. Now the Idea of a Soldier supposes Enemies: And the De­sign of his Profession is to conquer and destroy 'em. Agreably, this is our Case; the gracious Design of CHRIST is to train us up by the Exercises of Holiness, for the Enjoyment of Himself in Blessedness. But alas, How many Enemies oppose this Design; some Spiri­tual, some Carnal; rank'd under various Heads, and Potentates; the Lust of the Eye, the Lust of the Flesh, and the Pride of Life! These are dangerous Enemies; and the more so, for pretending Friendship to us. They appear delicate as Agag, that we are loth to annoy 'em; and then they are akin to us, born and bred up with us, and by long Acquaintance and mutual Indulgences, they are as a right Hand, or a right Eye. Now to op­pose these Enemies, to conquer and subdue 'em, this is like cutting off the right Hand, the working, useful, [Page 33] honourable Hand; yea, 'tis like plucking out the right Eye, which requires great Self-denial, and puts to much Pain. This is killing, crucifying Work; but yet absolutely necessary. Hence that of the Apostle; Mortify your Members which are upon the Earth, Fornication, Un­cleanness, inordinate Affection, evil Concupiscence, and Covetousness, which is Idolatry; for which Things sake the Wrath of GOD, cometh on the Children of Diso­bedience, (Colos. 3.5, 6.) In Compliance with which, the true Christian, like his Master, is a crucified Man: Accordingly the Apostle says, I am crucified with CHRIST; and gives this as the Character of every true Christian, They that are CHRIST's have crucified the Flesh, &c.

Again, secondly, Taking up the Cross, implys a pa­tient Submission to those sorrowful Things, which we re­ceieve at the Hand of GOD; and a cheerful Acceptance of those Sufferings and Persecutions, which he permits the Malice or Wickedness of Men to bring upon us:— In all the Afflictions which come from the Hand of GOD, saying, The Cup which my heavenly Father has prepa­red for me, shall I not take it, tho' it be with a trem­bling Hand! Shall I not drink it, tho' with an aking Heart! Father, not as I will, but as thou wilt.— There are other Troubles proceeding from Men, and these are distinguish'd into those which result from the Pride or Envy, Malice or Ill-Nature of others, in respect of our Persons, and those which are brought upon us on Account of Religion. In the former Case, we are in Patience to possess our Souls; while that is the Language of our Mouths, Let Shimei Curse:— In the latter, not mere Patience, but Cheerfulness and Joy becomes us. So the Command of CHRIST, When they shall revile you, and say all manner of Evil against you falsly for my sake, rejoice and be exceeding glad. Accordingly we find the Saints singing in a Prison, rejoycing that they were coun­ted worthy to suffer Shame for the Name of CHRIST, and to fill up that which was behind of his Sufferings.

[Page 34] Thirdly, We are to take up the Cross, as that in­tends a Readiness to undergo Death itself, whenever GOD shall call us hereto. True indeed we are not or­dinarily called to resist unto Blood: Yet we are com­manded to be ready herefor at the divine Call; and without this Readiness, founded upon deliberate Tho't and Resolution, through the Grace of CHRIST, we shall be in Danger of deserting our Lord, like Peter, and turning our Back on his Cause in the Day of Battle. But this Disposition being acquired, fixed, and settled in our Minds, through the Influences of the Divine Spirit, we shall then be likely to submit to the Cross, bid it wel­come, and even glory in it. Yea, this very Disposition is a taking up the Cross, as truly as if we suffer'd on it: So Abraham's having intended to offer up his Son, at the Command of GOD, was look'd upon as if he had actually done it; yea, he is said to have done it, and to have receiv'd the Blessing therefor. — But I pass to the other Word of Command, which is,

2dly. Watch. — Watchfulness, my Brethren, is a Duty the most extensive and important, and yet the most neglected of any in the Christian Life. I say, the most neglected: Were any Man to ask, What was the Sin reigning in an especial Manner among Persons of every Denomination, it might justly be answered, Un­watchfulness. To this is owing the Decay of Godliness in some, and the Want of it in others. This has stop'd the Progress of true Religion when of late Years it seem­ed like a strong Man rejoicing to run a Race; and it has opened the Gates to all Manner of Wickedness, so that the Enemy is come in upon us like a Flood, threatening a total Innundation, unless the Spirit of the Lord set up his Standard. Unwatchfulness breaths in every Com­pany, defiles all Conversation, makes our common Ac­tions sinful, and desecrates our holy ones: it has spoil'd the Tempers of many, and curdled their very Blood.— [Page 35] This Duty, nevertheless, is peculiarly advantageous; it discovers our Danger, and thereby lessens it; calls forth the Graces of the Divine Spirit into lively Exercise, animates to Duty, and is the Life of it, gives us the most joyful Reflections upon it, and the pleasing Pros­pects of and longing for the glorious Appearance of the great GOD and our Saviour JESUS CHRIST.— But then this Duty is very extensive, peculiarly so: As to the other Duties of the Christian Life, one is necessary at one Time, another at another; but Watchfulness reaches to every Duty, in all Times and Places: It im­bosoms all other Duties, as the Air doth the Earth; and as all Things on the Earth would die, were it not for the Air that surrounds them, so would every Duty be a mere Carcass, and a very offensive one, were it not for Watchfulness; which (by keeping the Heart, and looking unto JESUS) enlivens, strengthens, sancti­fies, and perfumes it. Watchfulness, 'tis broad as the Law of GOD, and that is exceeding broad; long as the Christian's Life, how far soever extended; deep as Hell in all its Temptations; and high as Heaven, whence it looks for the Saviour the Lord JESUS CHRIST, to come with his Reward. — Very briefly here I would say,

First, Watch over your Thoughts. Here Satan would fain keep his Forge, that he might hammer out those Machinations, which wou'd dishonour GOD, defile the Body, and damn the Soul. Keep then thy Heart with all Diligence; for out of it are the Issues of Life. — As a Man thinketh, so is he.

Again, Watch over your Words. — Life and Death (says Solomon) are in the Power of the Tongue. Sure then we should set a Watch at the Door of our Lips; saying with the Psalmist, I am purposed that my Mouth shall not transgress. The Want of Watchfulness here has [Page 36] set many a Tongue on Fire of Hell, rais'd the greatest Fires on Earth, and inkindled the Wrath of Heaven. Soldiers have an especial need of a Watch here, since Profaneness has so greatly troubled the Camp of GOD.

Again, Watch over the Senses of your Body. With­out a Watch here, you will be in Danger of being be­trayed into the the Love of Ease and Pleasure, Intem­perance, and all Sensuality.

Again, Watch over the Frame of your Spirit. This will guard you against all indecent Heats, sour Discon­tent, Mutiny, Rebellion; will teach the Officer to com­mand, and the private Centinel to obey; and all how to behave under a Defeat, on one Hand, or Victory on the other; and to acknowledge GOD in all. So Henry the 5th of noble Memory, when he defeated the French Army at Agincourt, twelve Times more numerous than his own, prepared for the Battle by fervent Prayer, and sanctified the Conquest by exalted Praise; triumphing more in the Favour of GOD, than in all the Spoils of his Enemy. — But I must not proceed, — I am aware, that these Directions extend to Christians in general, and may be useful to Men of all Denomina­tions:— And therefore what I say to the Company of Artillery, I say to all, Watch. Yea, you will easily see that they have a special Reference to the Soldiers, to whom they will in the Application be peculiarly useful.

But to conclude all, and that I may animate every one to the spiritual Warfare, Let me try you with the Authority of CHRIST. Yes, He is thy Lord, and there­fore worship thou Him; thy Leader, who says, Follow Me. — Again, Shall I point you to the Example of CHRIST? He has left you an Example, that you should follow his Steps; has led you on to Battle, fought a good Fight, encountred and destroyed every [Page 37] Enemy: Look then to JESUS, who for the Joy that was set before him, endured the Cross, and despised the Shame. — Again, Shall I mind you, that as Chris­tians, you are professed Soldiers, and have obliged your selves to endure Hardness as good Soldiers of JESUS CHRIST. — Again, Shall I tell you, that a Cloud of Witnesses observe you, how you fight, or how you fly, conquer or yeild; and Record your whole Beha­viour in the Annals of Heaven? — Again, Shall I tell you, that there is sufficient Strength provided for and offer'd to you? Yes, JESUS is your Strength, as well as your Redeemer, and through Him you may do Valiantly. — Again, Shall I say, that Necessity is laid upon you? There is no Discharge in this spiritual War: Fight you must, or die; and that not only the first, but the second Death, even that which consists in a Lake that burneth with Fire and Brimstone. Brave and Valiant as you are in your Conflicts with temporal Enemies, yet neglecting your spiritual ones, you will hereafter appear Cowards indeed; you will fly from the Face of Him that sitteth on the Throne, and from the Wrath of the Lamb, cry to the Rocks to fall upon you, and the Mountains to cover you; but yet cry in vain, to Creatures as deaf to you, as you were to GOD. The GOD which you defied is come out against you in Battle-Aray; but Oh! Who can abide the Day of his Anger! Hast thou, O Man, an Arm like GOD? Or, Canst thou Thunder with a Voice like His? How will thou meet an armed GOD, Almighty Vengeance lowring on his Brow, and his Hand taking hold on Judgment? Where will be thy Courage, O Man, while the Sentence of Misery thunders from the Mouth of thy Judge? Or where, — when the Execution of it comes on, and thou findest thyself going down to Hell, with thy Weapons of War, as the Prophet expresses it! On the other Hand, for thy Encouragement, consider, that having been faithful to thy Leader JESUS [Page 38] until Death, thou shall then receive a Crown of Life. Thy Instruments of War shall then be laid aside, all thy Enemies trampled beneath thy Feet; thy Captain shall be thy Judge, and thy Judge thy Friend, who will be sure to approve thy Conflicts, reward thy Conquests, not with fading Laurels, but with the Gar­lands of Life and Immortality: Yea, Thou shall sit down with JESUS in his Throne, even as He having overcome is also set down with his Father in his Throne, Amen. Even so, come, LORD JESUS.


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