Mr. Bridge's Artillery Election SERMO June 1st. 1752.


A SERMON Preach'd to the Ancient and Honourable, ARTILLERY COMPANY In BOSTON, June 1st. 1752. Being the Anniversary of their Election of Officers. And now published at their Request.

By Ebenezer Bridge, A. M. Pastor of the Church in Chelmsford.

BOSTON: N. E. Printed & Sold by S. KNEELAND, over against the Prison in Queen-Street. 1752.

[Page 1]

An Artillery Election SERMON.

Acts X. 1, 2.‘—Cornelius, a Centurion of the Band called the Italian Band—A devout Man, and one that feared GOD with all his House,—’

ALtho' the Person here spoken of, is not mentioned by Name in any other Parts of the holy Scripture, yet in this Chap­ter the Holy Ghost does him abundant Honour, in recording his Name, and Character, and Conversion to the Chris­tian Faith, to the Glory of divine Grace, and for the sufficient Encouragement of the Gentile Nations in all Ages of the World.

It would be needless at this Time and foreign to my present Business, if I should take any further particular Notice of him, than what I am led to, by the Words read as our Text, yet I may in the Process of my Discourse have some Eye to some other Passages in the Context, which relate to him.

And if I am not mistaken, these will afford us proper Matter for our Meditation and Instruction, at such a Time, and upon such an Occasion a this.

[Page 2] Here then, he is exhibited to our View, 1. As a Man of a Military Character, an Officer upon the Roman Estab­lishment. Cornelius, a Centurion of the Band, called the Italian Band. i.e. The Captain of a Hundred, or a Com­pany of chosen Men, who were engaged and employed in the Military Life & Business, who were furnishing them­selves with Martial Skill, and fitting themselves for, or rather had fitted themselves for (for they were now upon Duty) the Service of their Prince, in that Employment.

Caesarea is the Place in which this Company of Soldi­ers, under the Command of Cornelius was posted—A Place rebuilt by Herod with great Cost and Charge, and beau­tified with rich and stately Buildings, Ports and Temples, and many the most agreable Accommodations,—He changed the ancient Name of it, which was Straton's Tower, for that of Caesarea, in Honour to the Roman Emperor—And it became the usual Residence of the Roman Go­vernour.

It was situate upon the Sea-Shore, and of great Im­portance to the Romans, to be well Garrison'd, that so there might be a Communication between Rome and the Places in those Parts already conquered by them.—

Cornelius and his Company were quartered here, and we may justly argue, That he was a Man honourable and faithful in his Profession and Business, or else he had not had such an important Post assigned him.

His Company were all chosen Men, Italians or Ro­mans by Birth—Watching and Warding—All holding Swords, being expert in War, every Man having his Sword upon his Thigh, because of Fear in the Night. Cant. 3. 8.

2. He is exhibited to our View, as a devout Man and one that feared God. Indeed the Chapter before us, gives us an Account of his miraculous Conversion to the Christian Faith, by the Ministry of the Apostle Peter—But we are to consider him before this remarkable Event took Place.

And before this, he is said to have been a devout Man, and one that feared God. i. e. he was a religious Man—One that had come to the Knowledge of the true God; One that had just Conceptions of the supreme Lord and Governour of the Universe— [Page 3] And one that yielded a reverential Regard to him, both, as to Worship and Practice, according to the Light he had received from the Writings of Moses & the Prophets—It matters not how he stood in the Esteem of the bigotted Jews—nor how he came to this Knowledge and Fear of God, whether by his former Education, when Young, which is not in the least probable; or by his quartering among the Jews, which is more than probable—so it is—He is termed, and he was, a pious religious Man—And herein he was accepted of God—And upon his Account is it primarily, that the Apostle of the Circumcision ut­ters himself as in the Context, v. 34, 35. Of a Truth I perceive that God is no Respecter of Persons: But in every Nation he that feareth him and worketh Righteousness is accepted with him. But,

3. He appears to have been a pious Head of a Family, a devout Man, and one that feared God with all his House, says the Text—Tho', in an elevated Station of Life, and used to manly Exercises Abroad, yet having his Heart possessed of the Fear of God, he is desirous that his House or Family should be well instructed and religiously edu­cated—He was careful to exhibit a good Example to his Houshold, and to instruct them, and train them up in the Knowledge and Service of the true God. He dis­dain'd the sordid Practices of Vice, and walked himself, and aim'd at the bringing his Family to walk in the Paths of Virtue and Religion.

What an illustrious Example is here! worthy the Imi­tation of Men in the most exalted Stations, whether of the Civil or Military Order—Truly such Examples have a commanding Influence upon Persons in lower Ranks and Orders, especially such as are more immediately in the View of them.

No doubt some of his Company were by his Example and Influence won over to the Practice of Vertue and Piety—To be sure we find One at least, to be devout as well as he—Thus we read in the Context, v 7. A devout Soldier of them [...]. And in Re­gard of his private Family, [...] of the Expression in our Text, One that feared God [...] his House, puts [Page 4] the Matter beyond Doubt, that the Fear of God was rooted in the Hearts of the several Branches of it, and was discoverable in the Tenor of their Lives and Conversations.

And [...] all these Things together, with se­veral other [...] in the succeeding Parts of the Chapter [...] behold him in the Fourth Place, As a truly valuable [...] Person, and a Man of distinguished Ho­nour. [...] was honourable in his Office and Station—It is not likely that a Person of a mean Extract, of small Power and Capacities, or of a slender Estate, would have filled such a Place as this.—

[...] was valued by his Superiors, respected by such as knew him, and lov'd by such as were under his Com­mand—We may justly think that he was prized for those Things which he was possessed of in common with other good Officers; but more for his manly, his pious, religious Conduct towards God and Men.

Such a Man could not but behave with an agreeable Air and Mein—He was full of true Magnanimity, and therefore void of Pride and Haughtiness—He was Affa­ble and Courteous, Just and Charitable—He was ho­noured by Men in general, chearfully obeyed by his Soldiers, reverenced by his Family and Neighbours, and much respected even by the Jews themselves. It is said in the Context, v. 22. He was of good Report, among all the Nation of the Jews. But above all, he was highly honoured of God; having a Testimony of his Integrity, his Sincerity, his Acceptance with God, given him by an Angel, a Messenger from God.

Honoured of God, in being made the first Fruit of the Gentiles Conversion to the Faith of Jesus.

He lived up to the Light which he had before, and God vouchsafed to cause the Light of the glorious Gos­pel of the blessed God to shine into his Soul, and brought him to believe in the Lord Jesus with all his Heart—Thus, the Man so piously disposed, so faithful in his Place and Station, hath a more abundant Honour put upon him, and his Name stands enroll'd in the sacred Pages, among the Worthies of Faith, and wherever the Gospel comes his Memory will be revered and honoured.

[Page 5] Not that he by his personal Merit, swayed and influ­enced the divine Conduct, in thus choosing him to the first Rank in the Gentile Conversion, or to the Faith of Jesus.—

But for great and important Ends, the sovereign God was pleased thus to call him by his Grace; and being thus called, and chosen, and dignified, his Character is worthy our Notice and Imitation.

Wherefore in farther discoursing, I shall attempt these Things following.

  • I. To show, That the Military Life and Employment consists with Christianity.
  • II. That Piety and Religion conspicuous in the Lives and Deportment of Men, of the Military Order, render their Character the more bright & illustrious.
  • III. That altho' the Business of the Soldier leads him Abroad in the World, and in the Field, yet it is not beneath him, but a bounden Duty to manage and discipline his own House or Family.
  • IV. That a good Soldier is much to be valued and honoured, especially if he not only excels in Military Accomplishments, but demonstrates a reverential Regard to God, and the practical Duties of Religion.

I shall be as brief in speaking to each of these Particu­lars as I possibly can, and then proceed to some suitable Application.

I. That the Military Life and Employment consists with Christianity. However the Case was with Cornelius be­fore he attain'd to the Knowledge of the true God, and whatever his Notions and Principles were then, with Res­pect to his Employment in Life, is not material in the Point before us.

It is plain, that he hath this Testimony, and is deno­minated a good Man, tho' a Soldier.

None can or will pretend to plead or argue, that Fightings and Warrings were not tolerated in and under the Old Testament Dispensation, for abundant are the Instances to be produced not only of Wars & Fightings, of the People of the Jews, or God's People, both on the [Page 6] offensive and defensive Part, under the particular Direc­tion of God.

But such Instances are so well known, that I need not mention them—Now Cornelius living among the Jews, and attaining to the Knowledge of the true God, and re­ally worshipping him to the divine Acceptance—and yet not laying down his Arms, or quiting his carnal Wea­pons, is an Evidence that his Business consisted with his Religion; which was the true Religion, and the same with the true Religion now, only his Advantages and the Advantages of the Jews themselves, were vastly less than were afterward and are now enjoyed under the Christian Dispensation—And here lies the Stress of the Argument, whether Wars and Fightings, whether a mili­tary Life and Employment, are countenanced and en­couraged in and under the Christian Dispensation? And it must be affirmed, that altho' the pure Precepts of Chris­tianity enjoin Peace with all Men; and where they have a true and genuine Influence in and upon the Hearts of Men, such Men are disposed to Peace; yet the Design of those Precepts is not to eradicate the Principles of Self­Preservation, but to regulate the Temper and Conduct of the World, and to make Men keep within the justest Bounds and Limits, in all their Conduct and Behaviour towards one another.

A voracious, Blood thirsty, quarrelsom Disposition, is utterly condemned by the Gospel.

To take up Arms, or to wield the Sword out of an avaritious and insatiable Desire to possess that which a­nother Person or People are possessed of, and have a good Right to, is unjustifiable—But then, if Life is dear and valuable, if the Lives of our Families are precious in our Esteem, and if civil, and religious Priviledges are sacred, and much to be prized by a People, then are Men called now as much as ever they were, to secure and defend themselves, and their valuable Enjoyments of one Sort and another.

And in Order to this, considering the present Situati­on of Affairs in the World, in all Parts of it; considering the Customs and Usages in War thro' the World—It [Page 7] appears necessary, that Men who profess Christianity should addict themselves to the military Business and Em­ployment, that so they may be in a Readiness to go forth to War; and that they really should go forth, when called in the Providence of God so to do—And being suitably furnished with Martial Skill & Weapons, relying upon the God of the Armies of Israel. * They should be of good Courage and play the Men, for their People and the Cities of their God, the Lord doing that which seemeth him good.

Let me add—When the Apostle Peter was sent for by, and came to Cornelius, and was to teach him all Things commanded him of God; Did he at all inform him that his military Profession was inconsistent with Christianity? He certainly preached Christ unto him, and was instru­mental of bringing him to the Faith of Jesus—But not a Word did he say to condemn his Calling as a Soldier, which he would have done, exhorting and enjoining him, to throw down his Arms and quit his Post, if it were in­consistent with Christianity—Moreover, when another Centurion address'd himself to our Lord Jesus, and ob­tain'd that Testimony of his Faith from Christ—I have not found so great Faith, no not in Israel.—Christ himself does not condemn him for, or on Account of his Em­ployment.

And one would think that He would not have avoided it, if he had disapproved of it, since the Centurion ac­quaints him with his Situation and Employment in Life—I am a Man under Authority (says he) having Soldiers under me, &c.§ From which Silence of our blessed Lord in this Matter, we may conclude, that he has lest Men to some prudent Methods of defending themselves & their invaluable Liberties and Priviledges, by the Use of the Sword; tho' the Precepts of his Religion are of Force enough, if rightly regarded, to reach them when, and how to do the same in a just and lawful Manner—Finally here—When the Soldiers came o John the Baptist with that Question—And what shall we do? ** It is most likely he would have taught them saying, Repent of your [Page 8] past Misconduct, quit your Profession, and betake your selves to another Course of Life, if it had been Wrong: Instead of saying, Be content with your Wages, for this supposes that Wages were due to them while they conti­nued in the Service—and that they were yet to conti­nue in their Employment; or else he would have cauti­tion'd and counselled them against it—But indeed when we have mentioned the Case with Respect to our Lord himself, and his countenancing, or at least not prohibit­ing, the Life and Practice of a Soldier, it is needless to mention any other Instances, either in his Servants before or after Him—And it is needless for me to dwell any longer upon this Head, since so many Things have been so well said, and so many Arguments so wisely adapted and managed by those who have before spoken upon such an Occasion as this—And since the Point is not disputed by any among us, except those who are of an Enthusiastick Turn of Mind, upon whom all scriptural and rational Arguments are for the most Part lost and thrown away—The present Appearance & the Exercises of this Day, as well as the constant Practice of the People in this Land, are Evidences, that military Accom­plishments and the military Employment, are looked up­on as consistent with our Christian Profession.—


II. I am to shew, that Piety and Religion conspicuous in the Lives and Deportment of Men of the military Order, ren­der their Characters the more bright and illustrious.

To be good Officers or Soldiers, or Adepts in the mi­litary Profession, is no small Thing in itself—Such Men, as they have a peculiar Talent and Betrustment, so are they raised to, and placed in honourable Stations.

Their being well versed and skilled in the Art of War, and their Atchievments in their Warlike Enterprizes, their Courage and Fortitude, their Bravery and Hardi­ness, raise them above the common Level of Mankind.

But vastly brighter do their Characters shine, if they demonstrate a true Fear of God, and a consciencious Re­ [...] to his Laws [...] [...]ommands.

[Page 9] As the military Employment consists with Christianity, so the Soldier and Christian may unite in the same Per­son; the Grace of God is sufficient to subdue the Lusts of all Sorts of Men, and where it is wro't, it makes the Man, of whatever Character in Life, the more glorious—Yea the Christian Soldier, is the Christian Hero.

But here I would observe—How or in what Respects a Soldier may and ought to demonstrate his Piety and Religion—And then, if he does so, it will secure his Character, and raise his Honour much in the World.

1. I would in the first Place, Observe how a Soldier may and ought to demonstrate his Piety and Religion in his Place and Station. And here,

1. In his Conduct and Behaviour toward God. He should not take his sacred Name in vain—But should speak of the great God, and use his Name with the ut­most Reverence and Submission—So should he also ho­nour the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

He should be grave and solid in his Speech as well as Behaviour; not Light and frothy—He should keep a Watch and Guard upon the Door of his Lips—His Tongue should be under a good Regimen, and under the Restraints of Reason and Religion; And as he hath Opportunity he should speak of the Things which pertain unto Godliness—He should be consciencious in yielding to God that Worship which is his Due; he should thus acknowledge God's Lordship in the World, and exalt the Name of God and the divine Honour as much as in him lies—He should pay a just Regard to all divine In­stitutions (not to keep his military Post, and to save his Pay) but out of a pure Regard to God and our Lord Jesus—He should be much in Prayer to God for his Bles­sing upon him, and upon his just and lawful Enterprizes.

Cornelius was a Man of Prayer—He prayed to God al­way *—So should every Officer & Soldier be and do—But,

2. In his Conduct and Behaviour toward Men. He should first of all approve himself loyal to his Prince, and faithful in his Place and Station, whether he is in Office, or a private Centinel.

[Page 10] He should consider himself as under Authority, as the Centurion before mentioned did—as under the Authority of God, and the Authority of Kings and Governours—Having taken the Oath of Allegiance to his Sovereign, he should perform unto the Lord his Oath . Not deserting his Post, not flying from his Colours, not giving up the Cause thro' Carelessness or Cowardice, and to be sure not thro' Treachery or Bribery.

He should make it evident that the publick Good lies near his Heart, and that he will defend and secure it, un­der God, and by his Help, in the Danger of his Life, and at the Expence of his very Blood if called to it—Again, he should approve himself Just and Righteous in his Conduct toward his Fellow-Soldiers. If he is an Officer, he should be as tender of the Lives of his Men, as is consistent with the common Safety—Not thrusting them into needless Dangers, not being lavish and prodigal of their Blood, not throwing away their Lives to gratify his own Pride and Ambition, or Rancour and Revenge.

He should consider them as Men, and as Men highly deserving their peculiar Rights and Priviledges at his Hands.

He should have a just Regard to the personal Merit and Bravery of his Soldiers, and fill up his Commissions with the Names of such as distinguish themselves most by their Loyalty, Bravery, and good moral Deportment.

And not with the Names of such as can crouch, and cringe, and fawn & flatter, and give a good Sum of Money to purchase the same, when perhaps they may have nothing else to lay in as a Claim thereto.

He should see that the Rules of Justice and Righteous­ness are regarded and practised upon, by and among his Men, putting some Marks of Favour upon them that are honest and just, and punishing with Discretion, such as are Dishonest and Wicked.

And then to be sure, he should do all in his Power, that his Soldiers should have their just Wages,& should not allow himself upon any Consideration whatever, frau­dulently to pocket that which is their Due.

[Page 11] If he is a private Centinel, He should be obedient to his proper Officers, diligent and faithful, just and honest in his Place and Station, should be ready to go or to come; to do this or that, at the Word of Command—He should do to his utmost, and be content with his just Allowance.


3. In his Conduct and Behaviour with Respect to himself. He should be sober, chaste and temperate in all Things, keeping under his own Body; * Mortifying his Lusts and Corruptions, and practising Virtue and Godliness, in all the Branches of it toward all Men.

If he in any Combat with an Enemy should come off Conquerer, he should shew forth a generous, courteous and noble Spirit; and thereby shew, that he is Master of himself, and knows how to be merciful to the unhap­py who lie at his Mercy.

And if at any Time the Success of the Engagement should turn against him, and he should be conquered, then he should acquiesce in the Disposal of Providence, and quietly and patiently bear his Misfortunes.—These are some few Hints how a Soldier may and ought to de­monstrate his Piety and Religion, in his Place and Sta­tion. And now,

2. If the Soldier does thus demonstrate his Piety and Re­ligion, his Character is hereby served, and his Honour raised much in the World.

Truly such a Character appears in quite agreable and beautiful Colours in the Eye of every Man, who thinks and judges right of Men and Things—Multitudes of Men in the World, and I may say not a few of the Gen­tlemen of the Sword, being too much wanting in the suitable Expressions of a true Regard to their Maker, yet can't but reverence and respect an Officer or Fellow-Sol­dier, whose martial Accomplishments are accompanied with the Marks and Evidences of true and undissembled Piety and Vertue.

To be sure such as are Friends to Religion and Holi­ness, as they love to see Religion prevailing in the Hearts and Lives of all Sorts of Persons; and respect them who [Page 12] appear to be under the Influence of its Doctrines & Pre­cepts; so they look upon such a Man's Character to be peculiarly bright and illustrious, and the more so, because of its being so rare.

If a Man in his military Post, enterprizes some bold and daring Action, and performs some noble Exploit, and is crowned with Success, he generally attains to the Cha­racter of a good Soldier.—But if it appear that his Cou­rage is rational, the Effect of Faith and Trust in God, and his Deportment is agreable to the Precepts of Reli­gion; his Character shines with a peculiar Lustre.

The Courage of a bold and daring Soldier, who is as irreligious, as he is bold, is no better, and deserves no higher Encomium than the Courage of the Horse which rusheth into the Battle. * But to be valiant, and to do Ex­ploits, and to demonstrate a Regard to God, who is the Lord of Hosts, and to shew forth a Subjection to the Laws of God and Christ; this is truly noble and Magnani­mous.—Such a Soldier can't fail of obtaining a bright and excellent Character, so long as there are Men in the World capable of distinguishing such a Merit from a meer vain and empty Shew of Greatness.

But I may say something further to this Point under the last Head.

I proceed now to the third Thing proposed,

III. Altho' the Business of a Soldier leads him Abroad in the World, and in the Field of Action, yet it is not beneath him, but his bounden Duty, piously to discipline his own House or Family.

Cornelius was one engaged in a military Life, and yet the holy Ghost takes a special Notice of his Piety & the Extent of it—His Religion operated toward and disco­vered it self in the Family—He was upon military Du­ty, and had the Care and Command of his Company, but yet was consciencious as to other Duties.

All with whom he had to do, shared in the Advanta­ges to be derived from so good an Officer, and so good a Man—No Doubt it is designed for Imitation, or else there had not been such a Notice taken of this Part of [Page 13] his Character as there is—Yea and if the Soldier is now inquisitive, and saying, What shall I do? The Answer founded upon this Warrant shall be, Go and do likewise; Consider the Duty you owe to God and the King, in your publick Capacity—And don't neglect, but discharge the Duties also which are incumbent on you, in your more private Life and Station—And to be sure, let your Fa­milies lie near your Hearts, and share in your best En­deavours of Happiness and Welfare to Mankind—There are Times indeed, in which the Soldier is called off from his own Family, and tho' ever so near and dear to him, he must march to his Post and Station, and jeopard his own Life unto the Death in the high Places of the Field; * nor all the tenderest Embraces, nor all the most pitiful Accents of those as dear to him as Life itself, must stop him in his Pursuits after the common Safety, and the Destruction or Conquest of the common Enemy—In this Case the best he can do, will be to leave them in the Hands, and to commit them and himself, to the Care of a faithful Creator.

But how unprepared for this, and in how poor a Man­ner can he commit either himself or the dearest Objects of his Love, to the keeping of a faithful God, if he has been living in Carelesness and Irreligion at Home?

If his House or Family which should be as a well dis­ciplined Company, is nothing more than a Cage of un­clean Birds, and his Conscience flies in his Face and up­braids him for the Neglect of his own Soul, and the Souls of them, whom he ought naturally to have cared for; it is not likely that his Courage will stand the Shock of a furious Battle; or that he will resolutely fight for his Country, when he has already been unfaithful in his own more immediate and most important Betrustments.

But there are Times also in which the Soldier returns from the Field or the Camp, & lives quietly at Home; and tho' he should not even in those Times, suffer himself to grow Effeminate, or suffer his Sword to rust in its Scab­bard, and he himself careless as to military Exercises; yet in such Seasons he hath an Opportunity of minding [Page 14] and regarding his own Soul, and of training up his Hou­shold in the Way in which they should go, i.e. in the Paths of Vertue and Godliness.

This is not beneath the Soldier, it is his bounden Du­ty—That Man's Notions of Honour must be very false, which cause him to think lightly of any Duty of the Christian Life.

That the Care of one's Family, and the religious In­struction and Education of the several Branches of it, is a Duty incumbent on all Heads of Families, whether in higher or lower Spheres of Action in the World, is as plain as that there are any Duties of Religion at all in­cumbent on us—Yea the most high God puts Honour upon religious Heads of Families, let them be in what Stations they will—For I know him (saith God of Abra­ham) that he will command his Children and his Houshold after him, and they shall keep the Way of the Lord, to do Justice and Judgment, that the Lord may bring upon Abra­ham that which he hath spoken of him*

Joshua the valiant Leader of God's People, did not think it beneath him; but it is mentioned to his Honour, that he resolved to be religious himself, and that his Hou­shold should be so too; But as for me and my House, we will serve the Lord.† And as I have diverse Times said, Cornelius the Centurion, as he hath an honourable men­tion made of him in the Chapter before us, so in parti­cular, this is spoken to his Honour in our Text, That he feared God with all his House.

I come now to the fourth and last Thing proposed, which is,

IV. That a good Soldier is highly to be valued and ho­noured, especially if he not only excells in military Accom­plishments, but demonstrates a reverential Regard to God, and the practical Duties of Religion.

It may be remembred that I said, but just now, that the religious Soldier could not fail of obtaining a bright and excellent Character, so long as there were those in the World, who could distinguish between real Merit, and a meer Shew of Greatness—And so it is—But it must [Page 15] be acknowledged, that tho' he shall assuredly be respect­ed by the un prejudiced, and Men of Noble, Christian Spirits and Tempers—Yet too often, it is the Case, that thro' Envy, ill Will, and personal Prejudice, the fairest Character is slur'd, and the Man that hath done worthily for his Country in his Place and Station, and has expos­ed his Life, and all Things dear, for the common Safety, in Dangers Abroad, and in Tumults at Home, shall be reviled and abused, defamed and slandered, and poorly, requited for his Services—But this should not be.

Good Patriots and Warriours, deserve the highest Ho­nours that a People can bestow upon them.

They deserve more than empty Words of Praise, they deserve suitable Rewards, Rewards proportionable to their Services—And it is an Argument, of Insensibility in a People, or of ill timed Parsimony not to recom­pence Men according to their Merit and publick Ability, let them be in what Stations they will—To be sure the Men who go forth to War, and do valiantly, and return with Success, deserve, from the highest Officer to the lowest Centinel to be honourably and suitably rewarded, more especially if they have voluntarily, kept their Hands from, or in Obedience to lawful Commands in the Camp, have not divided the Spoil and enrich'd themselves with their Enemies Goods and Estates; the common Usage and Custom in War.

Indeed it may prove poor Policy in the End, when such Men and such Services are not suitably rewarded—Men may grow discouraged, and a Remembrance of for­mer ill Usage, may prove of bad Consequence in any new designed Enterprize.

But it is also Ingratitude in a People not to honour and reward such as have done worthily, and been instru­mental of acquiring new Glory, and great Interests, to a Nation or Country—And Ingratitude is a Crime as black and odious in a People, as it is in a particular Person.

And however the Case may be, sometimes, that pub­lick Honours and Rewards are by unreasonable Lets and Hindrances, with-holden—Yet every Person in his own [Page 16] Heart and Mind should value the Man that hath acted his Part well, or gives sufficient Grounds in and by his martial Accomplishments, to hope that he would do so if called to Action; and is withal a Man of Piety and Religion.

As War is sometimes unavoidable, so Soldiers are ab­solutely necessary—And if there are those that give their Minds to the Study of the Art of War, and are pious to­ward God, just and righteous toward Men, chaste, tem­perate and vertuous toward themselves—And ruling well their own Houses, and not only yielding a good Example, but giving good Instruction, and maintaining Family Religion, Order and Government—Doing their Duty to such as are immediately under their Care—This as it encourages our Hopes as to their future Valour and Serviceableness, so it calls for our present Esteem and Respect, and all suitable Acknowledgments—Such Men will be valued by the judicious and unprejudiced Part of the World—They will live in Credit and Reputation; they will die regreted and lamented, and their Memory will be honoured by all sober good Men.

It now remains that I say something by Way of Im­provement or Application.

And tho' I might deduce many Things from what has been said, more than the Time will now allow of—yet shall only say as follows—

1. Is the military Life and Employment consistent with Christianity? Then let Men of the military Order see to it, that they engage, and go on in their Business, under the In­fluence of the Principles and Motives of Christianity. I mean such Men as are favoured with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and profess to be governed by it—For as it is known that Multitudes are destitute of the Gospel, so it is not so much to be wondered at, that they should be under the Influence of their own Hearts Lusts; and that they should be in continual Wars and Fightings, to gratify their own corrupt Inclinations—Indeed this is the Source (i.e. the Lust of Men) from whence all Wars and Contenti­ons do proceed—Thus the Apostle, From whence come [Page 17] Wars and Fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your Lusts, that war in your Members? * The Gospel is the most pure and excellent in it self, and teaches Men how to deny Ungodliness and worldly Lusts. Yet it is not to be expected, so long as Men are clothed with Morta­lity and compassed about with manifold Infirmities, that their Lusts will be perfectly subdued and conquered—And hence will arise many Debates of one Sort and ano­ther, even in the Christian World.

In the Gospel there are the best Maxims and Principles laid down, the best Motives suggested, the best Exam­ples exhibited, and a sufficiency of Grace offered, whereby Men may come to be evangelically perfect and compleat in the whole Will of God—And in the Article of War, either with a Heathenish or Christian People (which is sometimes as unavoidable, as it is undesirable) Men should engage in the Warfare with a suitable Regard to the Gos­pel, as they would avoid the Imputation of Inconsistency in their Tempers and Conduct, with the Orders of Hea­ven; tho' warring it self is consistent with Christianity.

They should see to it that their Ends and Aims be Right—That they are not elated with Pride and lawless Ambition—That they are not flushed with an eager De­sire after vain Glory, that they are not avaritious and insatiable.

The advancing the Honour of God, the Interest of the Redeemer's Kingdom, and securing the Safety of themselves and their People, and their Families, should be their End and Aim in their Undertakings—And they should steadily observe and practise the Rules of the Gospel.

Having an Eye constantly to Jesus their Leader and Commander, and endeavouring to imitate and copy after him, in all his righteous Conduct and Behaviour when he was in the World. But,

2. Let the Soldier learn, that however dignified he is by his Commission, or in his Post and Station; yet his real Cha­racter is but mean and contemptible, if he is impious and irreligious. Vice and irreligion are odious in Persons of [Page 18] low Life. How much more so, in Men raised above the common Level of Mankind; who are apt to make great Pretensions to, and Professions of Heroism? To see or hear of a military Man off his Watch and Guard, vain and profane in his Speech, immoral in his Life, unjust and unrighteous in his Post and Station, and irreligious in his own House, this sullies his Character; and tho' he might have done many worthy Actions as a Warriour, yet hereby he loses all his substantial Glory—Such an one perhaps may have some external Respects paid him by some—But yet most Men are void of any real cordial Regard to, and Esteem of him.

To be sure he has no Share in the Value and Esteem of Men of Piety and Religion.

3. Let what has been said, serve to excite in Men of the military Order, a real Desire, and earnest Endeavour after those Qualifications and Accomplishments which will render them truly excellent and honourable.

The Soldiers Employment is in no wise ignoble in it self.—He therefore that would be a good Soldier, an Honour to his Profession, and an Ornament to his Coun­try—should endeavour to get his Mind well furnished with military Skill, and the best Maxims for the Direc­tion of his Conduct.

In Times of Peace he should acquaint himself with the Use and Exercise of Arms and Weapons. He should not wait for the Sound of the Trumpet or the Alarm of War, * but should beforehand see to it, that he is well instructed in military Duty, that so he might not go a Novice into the Field, or to his Post and Station.

While he is calm and cool he should furnish himself with such Principles and Motives, and use himself to such a Behaviour and Conduct, as are exhibited and injoined in and by the Gospel, that so he may reasonably hope for, and expect the Blessing of God upon his Enterprizes, and that he may be useful in his Day and Generation.

It is with Pleasure, that we behold so many Gentle­men of good Education and Christian Deportment at the Heads of the several Regiments thro' the Province.

[Page 19] It would also be a Pleasure to see them exerting them­selves in their several Posts to advance the Credit and Reputation of the Militia in every suitable Way.

Their Care to fill up their Commissions with the Names of such as are known in our several Towns, to be Men of a military Genius, Men of honest and righteous Principles, Men of Sobriety and Temperance, and of a moral and Christian Behaviour, would have a good in­fluence—And in Case of a War, it is probable such would be faithful in their Places and Stations, just and honest in their Betrustments, and prevent any future Com­plaints of poor Soldiers, with Respect to their Subsist­ence and Wages.

Activity and Diligence in superiour Officers with res­pect to military Exercises, would be serviceable to revive the martial Spirit; and would put lower Officers and common Soldiers upon some Efforts to excel in their several Posts and Ranks.

Exemplary Piety and true Religion in such, would have a mighty Influence upon them who are rather more apt to observe and imitate what is laudible in their Supe­riours, than to obey their bare Words of Command.

But Gentlemen of the ARTILLERY:

You need not to be urged to the Study of Arms, or to accustom your selves to military Exercises—Your con­stant Practice and your laudible Endeavour forbid this.

Yet you may, consistently enough, and without any Reflection upon your Honour, be caution'd against any Levity or Carelessness in these Matters—Likewise also may you with Propriety be put in Mind of the great Du­ties of Religion incumbent on you, and of what is ex­pected from you by God and his People.

You will therefore, I persuade my self, regard what has been said in: the several Parts of this Discourse—And endeavour yet further by your constant military Exercises, and that upon the Principles and from the Motives of Christianity to be prepared for special Service, as God in his Providence shall call you to it.

[Page 20] Your Company is Ancient and Honourable, this is justly your Style—But we shall esteem you more honourable for your Profession of Christianity, and your practical Regards to the Duties of Religion, than even for your Age, or your military Accomplishments—Not that these latter Things are disregarded by us, but because they are and will be rendered the more agreable and beautiful by the former.

Nor yet, Gentlemen, do I design to flatter; but must exhort you to Watchfulness. This is your Duty as Soldiers, and as Christian Professors—As you would watch against your worldly Enemies; so you are to watch against your spiritual ones—Watch against the Corruptions of your own Hearts—Against the Influence of bad Examples in the World, & against the Deceivings of Satan. Prove your own selves, and see that you are approved of God in your Profession & Practice. For not be that commendeth himself, or is commended of others, is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth. * There is one Thing farther in parti­cular, which be speaks you, Gentlemen, with Propriety, from the Character open'd in the foregoing Discourse, and that is relating to your Family Piety and Religion—Thro' the Indulgence of God, you are not called at this Time, to go forth to the Battle—Will you therefore im­prove your Time and Opportunities for the well instruct­ing & disciplining your Houses—It is not beneath you, it is what God expects of you—In this Way you will not only have Comfort your selves, in the various Dispensa­tions of divine Providence, with Respect to you and yours, but will do Service for the Publick, and give us Hope of your future Fidelity and Serviceableness in your more publick Posts and Stations—Look upon your selves and your Families in Relation to another World—See to it, that you and yours are Partakers of the Grace of God, and that you and they are living in the Fear of God daily. Then may you commit your selves & them into the Hands of your Covenant God.

Then may you expect to be respected while you live. Then may you quit the present Field of Action, when [Page 21] called to it, with Peace and Comfort. And then shall it be said of each one of you, as it was of Cornelius, and to your Honour, as it was to his—He was a devout Man, and one that feared God with all his House.

4. From what has been said, let People in general learn their Duty toward such as are engaged in the military Life, or endeavouring to acquire military Skill, and are Men of true Piety and Religion.

We should give Honour to whom Honour is due. * And who ought to share more in our Respects and Esteem, than the Men who have hazarded their Lives, or stand ready so to do, in the Defence of all that is valuable and precious to us?

Let us ever guard against Envy, Prejudice and De­traction—Let the Soldier be respected by us in his Sta­tion—Let us commend his Bravery—Honour him for his Piety, and as far as our Power and Influence reach, reward his Services.

Let us respect and honour the Gentlemen in Commissi­on in the several Regiments—The honourable Company now in Arms; and the other Company of chosen Men in this Town, who tho' not dignified with a Charter, yet respectable and commendable for their military Ac­complishments.

We shall be glad at all Times, I trust, to see their good Order and Conduct as Soldiers, we shall rejoice to see them, both Officers and Soldiers, growing and increa­sing in every manly Vertue, and in every Duty of the Christian Life, both personal and relative.

But Finally,

Let it be remembred by all of us here present, in whatever Stations we be, that there is a War to be engaged in and prosecuted by every one of us, which is not only consistent with Christianity, but which the Gospel even obliges and animates unto. § For we wrestle not against Flesh and Blood [Page 22] only, but against Principalities and Powers, against the Ru­lers of the Darkness of this World, against spiritual Wicked­ness in high Places.

By Reason of Sin, all Men are in Danger of being led Captive by Satan at his Will and Pleasure, and of being ruin'd and undone forever.

The Devil is our constant and inveterate Enemy—By his Temptation and Solicitation we at first revolted from God, our rightful Lord and Sovereign; and so long as Lust and Corruptions remain unmortified in us, we are in the Service of this accursed Foe—If then we would return Home to God, & secure and save our selves from eternal Ruin, we must resist the Devil, and gain a Victory over our Hearts Lusts.

This is the most difficult Warfare; but yet not so dif­ficult, but that we may, and shall (thro' the Help of di­vine Grace) manage it with Success, and come off in the End more than Conquerers.

The Gospel obliges all Men to this. The Gospel gives us all suitable Directions and Motives, and exhibits the best Example to animate us to, and to encourage us in the Combat.

Christ hath undertaken for us, hath waded thro' a Sea of Blood, hath fought for us and overcome.—Who is this that cometh from Edom, with died Garments from Bozrah? This that is glorious in his Apparel, and travelling in the Greatness of his Strength? I that speak in Righteousness, mighty to save, &c.* And hath overcome, and by his Grace and Strength so may, and so shall we.

Let us therefore List under his Banner—Let us be Voluntiers in his Service, and the Service of our Souls. And Oh that God would make us willing in the Day of his Power. We have many Excitements to our Duty as Christian Warriours. The Calls of God to us in his Gos­pel are many and constant—His Calls in his Providence are at this Day and Time peculiarly loud & alarming—To you of this great Town especially, who have been and [Page 23] are yet visited with a sore and grievous Sickness—An awful Blast of Heaven upon the Pride and Beauty of Man.

Not but that it should be esteemed a loud Call also in the Providence of God, to other Towns and People, who are as yet kept and preserved from it.

And we trust, that those who have not as yet shared in the same Troubles, either Personally or in their Fami­lies, have had you in their Hearts, in their Prayers to God, begging that your Faith and Patience might not fail.

And that God would hereby awaken you and all, to Repentance and a thoro' Reformation.

A sovereign God hath many Ways to punish a People revolting from him, and living in the Service of Sin and Satan—And if his present Rebukes are not suitably re­garded by us, we have Reason to fear what will yet in Judgment be bro't upon us.

Will you therefore, my Hearers, suffer the Word of Exhortation—Will you engage, or go on, in your Chri­stian Warfare with Life and Spirit.

Will you each one labour in the Way of the Gospel, to deny Ungodliness and every worldly Lust, and to live soberly righteously and godly in the World, adorning the Doctrine of God our Saviour in all Things. *

Have any experienced the Mercy of God in their Per­sons or Families? Let this draw and lead them to Re­pentance, and new Obedience.

Let such as have been called to endure Sorrows and Griefs, and to mourn the Loss of near and dear Relatives, in this Time of more than common Mortality, see to it that they quietly submit to the Will of God, and that they be hereby quickened, in the Duties of the Christian Life, that so they may reap the Good of such Chastise­ments and Corrections, of a just and holy God.

Let all labour more than ever, to exhibit a shining Example of Piety and Religion in their Lives and Con­versations— [Page 24] And let every Head of a Family, he stirred up to a holy Walk with God in his House.

It is much desired by them that wish well to the Interest of Religion, That Family Religion, Instruction, Order and Government, may be revived and flourishing.

And indeed it is vain to talk of a Revival of Religion, or of a general Reformation, while Men in general con­tinue immoral in their Lives, and irreligious in their Houses.

If the Hand of God upon you, is sanctified to you; and if you of this Town are bro't to be exemplary in your Piety—If you shew a good Regard to the Day & House of the Lord, if you walk in the Paths of Truth and Righ­teousness, and your Families appear to be under the In­fluence of Religion—Then your Example will, we hope, be of happy Influence upon all our Towns—But if you should continue in Vice and Wickedness, in Pride and Extravagance, in Irreligion and Licenciousness, notwith­standing the superiour Advantages you enjoy, with Respect to the preached Gospel and other Means of Grace, and notwithstanding the awful Rebukes of God—Then it is to be feared that your Example will have a very bad Influence upon all Parts of the Land; and that God will justly leave us to fill up the Measure of our Sins, and to ripen for Destruction.

Will the Sinner be awakned to see his deplorable Con­dition, while a Slave to his Lusts and Warring against the God that made him.

Will the true Christian stir up himself, and exercise new Courage in his holy Combat—Will he gird up the Loins of his Mind, and watch and be sober. * Be not de­jected holy Soul, in and under present Troubles and Con­flicts. Remember Jesus, the Captain of thy Salvation was made perfect thro' Sufferings. Consider him lest ye be weary and faint in your Minds.

Your Life must be a continued Warfare, you must con­sider your self in your Enemies Country while in this [Page 25] World—Your remaining Sin, and the Temptations of Satan, you must continually labour and strive to subdue and conquer.—Wherefore take unto you the whole Armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil Day, and having done all, to stand: Stand therefore, hav­ing your Loins girt about with Truth, and having on the Breastplate of Righteousness: And your Feet shod with the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace. Above all, taking the Shield of Faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery Darts of the Wicked. And take the Helmet of Salvation, and the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God: Praying alway with all Prayer and Supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all Perseverance. *

And remember for your further Comfort, that im­mortal Honours await you; by the Grace of the Spirit of Christ, you shall finally conquer and overcome every Enemy, even Death the last Enemy.—And at last sit down with Jesus in his Throne, as he overcame and is set down with the Father in his Throne.


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