Mr. Foxcroft's Thanksgiving-SERMON, ON The Conquest of CANADA.


Grateful Reflexions on the signal Appearances of Divine Providence for GREAT BRITAIN and its Colonies in AMERICA, which diffuse a general JOY.

A SERMON Preached in the Old Church in BOSTON, October 9. 1760. Being The THANKSGIVING-DAY, On Occasion of The Surrender of MONTREAL, and the complete Conquest of CANADA, by the Blessing of Heaven on his Britannic MAJESTY's brave Troops, under the auspicious Conduct of that truly great and amiable Commander, General AMHERST.

By THOMAS FOXCROFT, A. M. One of the Pastors of the said Church.

Praise ye the LORD for the Avenging of Israel, when the People willingly offered themselves.—My Heart is towards the Governors of Israel, that offered themselves willingly among the People: Bless ye the LORD—They that are delivered from the Noise of Archers in the Places of drawing Water, there shall they rehearse the righteous Acts of the LORD▪ even the righteous Acts towards the Inhabitants of his Villages in Israel. Song of DEBORAH & BARAK.

BOSTON: N. E. Printed and Sold by S. KNEELAND in Queenstreet, 1760.


GRATEFUL REFLEXIONS on the Divine Appearances in behalf of BRITAIN and its American Colonies, particularly in the Conquest of CANADA.

PSAL. cxxvi. 3.The LORD hath done great Things for us: whereof we are glad.

ONE grand Design of the holy Scriptures is to rebuke the common Stupidity of a de­generate World, in not regarding the mighty Acts of Divine Providence; to call GOD to our Remembrance; and point our At­tention to his Agency, as the prime Efficient, the sovereign Moderator of all Events, whether in the na­tural or moral World.—The Book of Psalms, in particu­lar, is most excellently calculated to serve this important Design; especially as Example carry's with it a peculiar Force, the most striking and attractive to human Nature. For this Part of the sacred Records very singularly abounds with admirable Patterns of devotional Exercises, Medita­tion, Prayer and Praise: every where confessing and ador­ing GOD, in Character of the first Cause and supreme Agent, the original Creator and constant Preserver, Bene­factor, Proprietor, and Lord of all; celebrating the [Page 2] Perfections of his Being and Government; recounting the Operations of his Hand; and rendering to Him all religi­ous Honours and Acknowledgments,—many of which are in the Strain of Thanksgiving and Blessing,—which were recorded in Scripture for our Instruction and Imitation.

In the Psalm now before us (thought to be pen'd by Ezra, or some other Man of God, about the Time of the Jews Return from the Babylonish Captivity) we find the Church of Israel avouching the Agency of GOD in the glorious Transactions and happy Revolutions of that extra­ordinary Day. They had lately seen very interesting and surprizing Occurrences in Favour of Zion; which they contemplate with sacred Pleasure and Wonder. It is a de­votional Admiration and Joy they express on this mirthful Occasion; uttering their Words before the LORD, and ascribing to Him the Praise of those signal and prosperous Events they were now rejoycing in. The LORD (say they) hath done great Things for us: whereof we are glad.

Amidst the present Tumult of different and blending Passions, betwixt melancholy Reflections and pleasant Pros­pects intermingling with one another, on their sudden e­merging out of Servitude and Sorrow, into Liberty & Joy, they seemed to themselves like them that dream. Their former Distress was so recent in every one's Memory, and had been so long & heavy upon them, that they still seem'd to feel it, and could hardly realize their actual Recovery out of it. Their present Enlargement was so sudden, was attended with such wonderful Circumstances, and promised such glorious Consequences, superiour to their highest and most sanguine Expectations, that they were astonish'd at it, and could scarce "believe it for Joy." As it is story'd of the Apostle Peter, when miraculously deliver'd out of his Imprisonment, "He wist not that it was true, which was done by the Angel; but thought he saw a Vision": so in the present Case, the People of God, marvellously rescued from the Oppression of the Enemy, and restored to glorious Liberty, say of themselves, "We were like them that dream". They were even lost in a pleasing Confu­sion [Page 3] and Amazement, to find their Mourning turned to Laughter so unexpectedly, and joyful Songs so suddenly succeeding their Tears and Groans. Such a Revolution seem'd almost incredible to them.

The very Pagans round about them were alarm'd, and struck with Surprize, to observe what Wonders the God of Israel had wrought for his Favourite-Nation. "Then said they among the Heathen, The LORD hath done great Things for them". Such uncommon Events, and of so favourable an Aspect, had Divine Providence effected in behalf of his People, that they became the Topic of Conver­sation every where; the striking News apace flew abroad, and spread universal Surprize. The Heathen themselves were not insensible of a Divine Interposition in this Affair; but saw and confess'd the Hand of the LORD working Salva­tion for the Israelites. How much soever they hated the Jews, they were convinced, and could not but own, the LORD their GOD had signally appeared on their Side, and wrought Wonders for their Relief and Welfair.—Besure, the Jews themselves were conscious of this; and while their Pagan Neighbours made these Providential Wonders the Subject of common Talk only, the Jews acting in Character, in a just Correspondence with their profess'd Attachment to the Service of the God of Heaven, and in Order properly to signify their Gratitude, as became a Peo­ple laid under such distinguishing Obligations, made these Things the Matter of their devotional Acknowledgments; and in a Way of Address to the GOD of Israel, they ut­tered the grateful Confession in our Text, "The LORD hath done great Things for us: whereof we are glad".

The Heathen, that saw or heard of the stupendous Dis­pensations of Providence which gave such Gladness to the Jews, might be affected in a Way of Surprize: but still might conceive little Pleasure, and offer no Thanks to God, on the Occasion; nay rather, from the Power of Prejudice and Superstition, might give Way to invidious and indignant Passions, when they view'd these astonishing Events as the Products of a special Divine Agency in be­half [Page 4] of them who were Partakers of the Benefit; when they consider'd these Wonders as wrought, not by any of their own gods, but by the GOD of the Jews, whom, in his super-eminent Character of "the only living and true God, the Holy One of Israel", they were truly Haters of; and when they consider'd the same as wrought in Fa­vour of a Nation, whom, in their Character of "a holy Nation, and the peculiar People of the most High", the Heathen rather maligned and despised. However, while others might be vexed at these Things, and might envy the Jews, or at best only stand amazed at these great Events, the obliged People themselves, conscious of their being highly favoured of the Lord, took Pleasure therein, and devoutly confessed GOD the Author of them; saying, "The LORD hath done great Things for us: whereof we are glad".

As Chearfulness is usually express'd by Songs, and Thanksgiving is the proper Language of Joy, on the Re­ceipt of Divine Benefits, they expressed the Gladness of their Hearts in an Address of Thanks, a Hymn of Praise; which is handed down to us in the inspired Records. It is one of the "Songs of Zion", in which the Words of our Text occur. The People of God had been "sowing in Tears", but were now "reaping in Joy": And their pre­sent Rejoycing was "after a godly sort", as we may pre­sume their antecedent Sorrowing had been. They "walk­ed mournfully before the Lord", while "their Harps hung on the Willows", untuned to "sing the Lord's Song" in their suffering State. But upon their Deliverance they "awaked up their Glory, and sang, and gave Praise". They now "rejoyced before the Lord", and paid their grate­ful Honours to the God of their Salvation. "Then (say they) was our Mouth filled with Laughter, and our Tongue with Singing". It is a Dictate of Reason, as well as a Precept of Revelation, "Is any merry? let him sing Psalms". This is universally the Temper and Tendency of devout Souls. They are disposed to "sanctify the Name of God" on all Occasions of Mirth. Not resting in Laughter, in natural and civil Merriment, the Children [Page 5] of Zion have their devotional Singing. Not contented with entertaining one another, by singing Ballads or re­hearsing Poems among themselves, on the joyful Themes in View, they address Heaven with sacred "Psalms, Hymns, and spiritual Songs, singing and making Melody in their Hearts to the LORD", in Proportion as they are "filled with the Spirit." So Mary said, "My Soul doth magnify the Lord, and my Spirit hath rejoyced in God my Saviour."—And surely, it must be granted, this is our reasonable Ser­vice. "For it is good, to sing Praises unto our God: for it is pleasant, and Praise is comely".

Verily "every Day we should bless the Lord," and "rejoice in every good Thing which the Lord our God be­stoweth on us". But when he doeth great Things for us, as these furnish us with Matter of exceeding Joy, so they should proportionably warm our Hearts, and fill our Mouths with Praise; introducing the liveliest Accents and most chearful Notes into our Songs of Joy, while extolling Him who is great and greatly to be praised. When God exalteth the Horn of his People, when he beautify's them with Salvation, crowns them with Loving-kindness, and marvellously operates in his Providence for their Safety and Welfair, he then expects they be abundantly joyful in Glory, and sing aloud the high Praises of their Divine Be­nefactor. On such Occasions, very eminently, the Call from Heaven is in those emphatical Strains—"Praise ye the Lord. Sing unto the Lord a new Song, and his Praise in the Congregation of Saints. Let Israel rejoyce in Him that made him: let the Children of Zion be joyful in their King.—"Praise him for his mighty Acts: praise him according to his excellent Greatness.—Declare his Do­ings among the People; make mention that his Name is exalted. Sing unto the Lord; for he hath done excellent Things: be it known in all the Earth. Shout, thou Inhabitant of Zion; for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.—O clap Hands, all ye People; shout unto God with the Voice of Triumph. Sing Praises to God, sing Praises. For God is King of all the Earth: sing ye Praises with Understanding. The Shields of the [Page 6] Earth belong unto God: He is greatly exalted.—"Sing ye to the Lord; for he hath triumphed gloriously.—As­cribe ye Greatness unto God.—"O sing unto the Lord a new Song: for he hath done marvellous Things; his right Hand, and his holy Arm hath gotten him the Victory.—"Sing unto the Lord with the Voice of a Psalm: make a joyful Noise before the Lord, the King.—"Let Mount Zion rejoyce; let the Daughters of Judah be glad, because of his Judgments.—"O give Thanks to Him who alone doeth great Wonders. O give Thanks unto the God of Heaven.—"Sing unto the Lord with Thanksgiving. Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem: praise thy God, O Zion."—In this pathetic Language, and with much Re-iteration, the Scriptures urge the Duty of Praise, joyful Praise, and fervent Thanksgiving, to Him whose Name alone is ex­cellent, and who doeth excellent Things, great and mar­vellous Things, without Number.

In Conformity to these Divine Injunctions, that is the Saint's Disposition and Resolution, and his Heart's Desire, in the Language of the holy Psalmist—"Thou, Lord, hast made me glad through thy Work: I will triumph in the Works of thy Hands. O Lord, how great are thy Works!—"I will extol thee, my God, O King; and I will bless thy Name for ever and ever. I will speak of the glorious Honour of thy Majesty, and of thy wondrous Works. My Mouth shall speak the Praise of the Lord: and let all Flesh bless his holy Name for ever and ever."—

Not satisfy'd with his own personal Thanksgivings and Praises, or with those of the happy Few, like-minded with himself, the good Man (with the Spirit of the Royal Psal­mist) wishes, that "all the Earth" may sing unto the Lord; that "all the Kindreds of the People" may give unto the Lord the Glory due to his Name; that "the People" may praise him, that "all the People" may praise him; that "every one that hath Breath" may praise the Name of the Lord.—

Not only does he stir up his own Soul, and all that is within him, to bless the Lord; but conscious of his Ine­quality to the heavenly Business, he calls in Help, and [Page 7] would fain associate others with himself herein. He would have all unite their Praises with his, to honour God more suitably to his Greatness, and to the Worthiness of the Oc­casion, on receiving of great and common Salvations, great and general Benefits. The Man who is animated with the Psalmist's excellent Spirit, is ready to resound and echo to those his pious and affectionate Exhortations—"O mag­nify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his Name toge­ther.—"O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful Noise to the Rock of our Salvation. Let us come before his Presence with Thanksgiving and make a joyful Noise unto Him with Psalms. For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.—"Bless the Lord, O house of Israel; bless the Lord, O house of Aaron; bless the Lord, O house of Levi; ye that fear the Lord, bless the Lord—"Kings of the Earth; and all people; Princes, and all Judges of the Earth; both young Men and Maidens, old Men, and Children; let them praise the Name of the Lord."—This now I think, must be the Voice of every pious Observer of the Times, and Lover of Zion, concurrent with the Voice of God in his Word and Pro­vidence, respecting our Nation and Land at this Day. For, with the strictest Propriety and upon the justest Grounds, we may adopt the Language of our Text (and may we all, by a special Influence from the Spirit of Christ, unite in an Acknowledgement so apposite to our Case, with the like Fervor of Devotion, Gratitude and holy Triumph, as did the Church that first made this exulting Speech!) The LORD hath done great Things for us: whereof we are glad.

Consonant to this is the Language of the PROCLAMA­TION appointing the present Solemnity: and it may not be amiss now to refresh your Memories by the Recital of its principal Part; especially as I propose it for the Model of my following Discourse.

[Page 8] ‘GREAT and manifold have been the Mercies of GOD towards us: He hath given Victory to the KING, and caused his Enemies to flee before him; and hath at length compleated the Deliverance of this Country, by the entire Re­duction of CANADA; whereby the future Security of our religious and civil Privileges is [under God] put into our own Hands: Where­fore, that all the People of this Province may at one Time and with one Voice express their Thankfulness on this glorious Occasion,’ the present Day is ‘appointed to be a Day of pub­lick and solemn THANKSGIVING within this Province,’

Accordingly we are assembled this Morning jointly "to return Thanks to Almighty GOD," in general for "his great and manifold Mercies towards us", and in particular "for his having so visibly supported us in this just and necessary War"; and at the same Time, to accompany our Praises with our Prayers to GOD, "beseeching Him, that he would conti­nue to direct and assist his MAJESTY's Counsels and Arms unto the Establishment of a firm and honorable Peace."—

In the first place, you see, our public and thankful Ac­knowledgments are demanded for "the great and mani­fold Mercies of God towards us," in general.—And surely, upon the least Reflexion, all must confess, the merciful Favours of Providence towards us (I mean the People of [Page 9] Great Britain, and of these its dependent Colonies) have been both great and manifold; and if view'd in a proper Light, must be own'd the worthy Subject of our devout Meditation, and just Matter of our joyful and solemn Thanksgiving to God; whose Presence and Blessing are the original Sources of all true Prosperity and Happiness. If we should compare Britain and its Colonies with other Kingdoms or States and Provinces; If we should particu­larly recollect the great Deliverances (great in their Na­ture, Circumstances, or Consequences) which God has wrought for us in Times of Distress; the great Preser­vations he has granted us in Times of Danger; and the great positive Blessings, Liberties, Privileges, and Advan­tages, Successes, Increases, Improvements, Extent of Do­minion and Commerce, Superiority in War, intestine Tranquillity, Health, Wealth, Plenty, a well-ballanced Constitution of civil Government, salutary Laws, and in­numerable other Instances of national Glory and Bliss, by which God has signaliz'd his Goodness and Bounty to­wards us; it would, on the whole, be abundantly manifest, that the Lord hath done great Things for us: and in­deed, hath not dealt so with any Nation besides on the Face of the Earth. Britain, and in some Measure the British Plantations too, at this Day, are very much the Wonder and Envy of all the World, acquainted with their Situation, Circumstances, and Affairs.—But it would carry me beyond my present Purpose, and oblige me vastly to exceed the scant Limits of Time allow'd the Pulpit on these Occasions, should I go into any distinct Illustrations of the comprehensive Articles hinted at. I must therefore leave them for the Entertainment of your private Thoughts: and I am perswaded, if you have any suitable Conceptions upon these Heads, you will readily join with me in ac­knowledging, The LORD hath done great Things for us; whereof we have Reason to be glad.

What I have chiefly in View at present, is a brief Re­cognition of some remarkable Events, that have been plainly owing to the kind Interposition of a Divine Hand, for our Safety and Welfair: which alone may sufficiently [Page 10] evidence the LORD's having done great Things for us, and which loudly bespeak a thankful Commemoration.

Certainly GREAT BRITAIN is that happy Island, where many the most notable Transactions of a favourable Pro­vidence have been seen, both in former and later Ages. To go but a little further back than one or two of the last Centuries—Among the memorable Events in Favour of our English and Scottish Nations, now so happily connect­ed in one Kingdom, and among the lasting Glories of Bri­tain, we may very justly set an Asterism on that capital and leading Instance, the REFORMATION. Which was the Kingdom's Deliverance from the Tyranny of the Bishop of Rome, and his detestable Enormities; the Church's Purification from Abundance of vile Errors, Idolatries and Superstitions; the restoring of the Holy Bible to common Use; the spreading of Christian Knowledge, and the ob­taining of a more scriptural Worship than Britain for Ages before had ever seen; and in Consequence of a Divine Blessing on Divine Institutions, the Recovery of Multi­tudes of Souls from Darkness to Light, from Bondage to Liberty, and from Death to Life, in a moral and spiritual Sense. A Work this, which must needs appear truly sur­prizing, if we review it in its Rise and Beginning; if we trace it in its Progress; if we attend to its Consequences and Effects; if we reflect, how it has been guarded and watched over by a special Providence, and carry'd safe thro' many a dangerous Crisis; how it has been supported against the most powerful Efforts of the combined Forces of Earth and Hell in Opposition to it; how it has been re­vived, when sometimes fallen into Decay and Languish­ment; and even when threatned with utter Ruin, has been renewed and re-established, if not further advanced, by some happy and seasonable, but unexpected Turn of Affairs, in which have appeared very plain Signatures of a Divine Interposition. And thô the Reformation, so suc­cessfully begun, and so long subsisting, has never been prosecuted to such a Degree of Perfection, as to leave no Room for future Improvements and Refinements, accord­ing to Scripture-Rule; yet was it, even from its first Com­mencement [Page 11] and in its lowest State, such a Wonder of Mercy to Britain, as deserves to be had in everlasting Remem­brance, and justly claims a very thankful Mention when­ever we are thus in the solemn Assembly commemorating the great and manifold Mercies of God towards us.

The short Reign of that illustrious young Prince (our english Josiah) King EDWARD the sixth, who stood at the Head of the Reformation in England, truly meriting his hereditary Title "the Defender of the Faith", and ap­proving himself the Patron of pure Religion, as well as a conspicuous Example of Royal Virtue and early Piety; his short Reign, I say, if we had Leasure to take a parti­cular View of it, would present us with some of the most admirable Scenes of Providence, and entertain us with a pleasing Variety of great Things done for the British Israel, especially in the Conduct and Success of that glorious En­terprize, the Reformation, then so happily in Pursuit.

And when, upon the Demise of that incomparable Royal Reformer, a Popish Queen, the infamous MARY, succeeded to the Crown, who set her self to ruin the Pro­testant Interest, and soon prevailed to reduce Things into the old Channel of Corruption; reviving the Heresies and Idolatries, that had been exploded and purged away; pro­stituting Majesty by an abject Submission to a foreign Yoke, and reconciling her Court and Realm to his offended Holi­ness of Rome; but kindling the Flames of Persecution against the Puritan Reformers, and pursuing with Ven­geance all such as were brave and honest enough not to strike in with her impious and tyrannous Measures; which drove great Numbers of her best Subjects into Exile, impove­rish'd Multitudes, ruin'd many a fair Estate, and sacri­ficed many a precious Life;—O what a merciful Inter­position of Providence was it, by the Queen's Decease, to put a quick Period to her bloody Reign, and so to the most shocking Scenes of Horror!

How admirable too was the Kindness of Heaven in re­serving at the same time a Protestant Princess, that illustri­ous [Page 12] ELISABETH, for the Successor, and hastening her Advancement to the Throne! Which brought on a blessed Revolution in Politicks, and put a new Face upon religious Affairs; once more broke off the Realm from its Subjection to the See of Rome; purged the Church from those grosser Superstitions in Worship, it had relapsed into; restored Truth in Doctrine; called home many famous Lights of the Reformation from foreign Parts, to which they had retired for Liberty of Conscience, and for the Safety of their Persons; and in short, gave a fresh Revival to the Hopes of Pro­testants, at a Juncture when all seem'd to be lost.—How great, moreover, was the Goodness of God in distinguish­ing this Protestant Queen, not only by endowing her with superior Abilities for Government and War, but by giving her Length of Days; and so, prolonging her Reign (a Reign prosperous and full of Glory, tho' in some Respects not without its Clouds) to the firmer Establishment of the Pro­testant Religion at Home, and its greater Security abroad! For Britain was then the common Asylum of Protestant Refugees; and truly the Bulwark of the Protestant Inte­rest.—In fine here, How marvellous was the Divine Ap­perance for Britain, in the total Dissipation and Destruction of the Spanish Armada, by a terrible Storm; when at­tempting an Invasion, and threatning to carry all before it! That vastly numerous and powerful Fleet, which boasted it self invincible, and seem'd superior to all Opposition; which therefore, had it not met with the signal Blasts of a vindictive and resisting Providence, might have succeeded in its dreadful Errand, the subduing the Queen and her Realm to the Spanish Yoke; and so, might have been the unhappy Means of a triumphant Re-entrance of Popery, and a fresh Persecution of Protestants, if not the utter Extinction of the Protestant Religion, in Britain, at least.

The next remarkable Instance I shall mention of an in­terposing Providence on behalf of the British Israel, occur'd in the following Reign, that of King JAMES the First; and it was the so opportune Discovery of that horrid Popish Plot, commonly called Gun-powder Treason, just at the critical Moment, when ripe for Execution; which being happily [Page 13] prevented, the King and Parliament were wonderfully rescued from a sudden and universal Destruction by one fatal Stroke; that, had it taken Place, might eventually have proved the Destruction of English Liberty, and Sub­version of the Protestant Faith, and have brought on new Triumphs of Papal Tyranny and Rage. Great indeed was the Deliverance Britain now receiv'd.

In the Reign of King CHARLES the First, when, under the too prevalent Influence of a Popish Queen, and the Counsels of a Popishly affected Party about the Court, such large Strides were taken towards arbitrary Power, and when the Nation was groaning under such Stretches and Abuses of the Prerogative, and such Incursions upon Li­berty and Property, to which violent and illegal Measures all the Calamities of that impolitic and improsperous Reign seem to have been radically & primarily owing; what a sig­nal Interposition of Divine Providence on behalf of a Peo­ple so injured and threatned with Ruin, was to be seen in that seasonable and noble Stand, a spirited and free, but loyal Parliament made, in Support of civil Right, and for the Redress of national Grievances! And was there not visibly the Hand of God in such a general Coalescence and firm U­nion of all Ranks of People, Gentry and Commonalty, on the Side of the Opposition! And indeed it seems to have been the natural Right of the People, if not their indispen­sable Duty, to adhere to the Parliament, at least so long as they acted in Character, as authorized Guardians of the Community, as the public Conservators of their legal Rights and civil Liberties, and went into none but true Patriotic Measures. Nor can I but suppose, the heroic Parlia­mentary Stand then made, has had lasting good Effects, and Britain is reaping Advantages from it to this very Day.—In Addition to the civil Oppressions of that inglorious Reign, there were ecclesiastical Impositions, and in Conse­quence hereof, violent Prosecutions of the Non-conforming Clergy (or Protestant Dissenting Ministers) which were the Means of driving Thousands of the King's best Subjects over to these remote Regions of America, in View of a secure Retreat from the angry Storm; and so prov'd the [Page 14] unexpected Occasion of some blessed Events, at once en­larging the Kingdom of CHRIST, and extending the Do­minions of Britain, to the great Advancement of its Wealth, Strength and Glory, as at this Day.—And what is won­derful to reflect on, at the same Time the King's Heart, by the good Hand of God, was bowed to favour these his emi­grant Subjects with his Letters Patent, or Royal Charters, planning a good civil Government for them, and vouch­safing them ample Powers, Privileges, Immunities & Rights; which have contributed signally to the Preservation, Growth and Flourishing of the New-England Colonies, from whence a Series of vast Advantages and Benefits have been derived to the Mother-Kingdom.—The unhappy civil Wars, that so long subsisted, between the King and Par­liament, and which were over-ruled in Providence to an amazing Issue; yet seem to have laid the Foundation for Consequences, that not a little affected the Weal of the Nation, and have been subservient to its Safety and Pros­perity.—The tragical Fate of that unhappy KING has left a standing Monument of the Absurdity and Danger there is in a Protestant Prince's giving Ear to Popish Coun­sels, and the Folly of risking his Crown by straining his Prerogative, or neglecting his Parliament, or despising the Populace.

The Interregnum that follow'd, however some Circum­stances attending it, or some of its Transactions, might cast a Gloom over it, yet I think, was not without a Mixture of such Events in Providence, in that Day, as conspired to advance the Glory and Felicity of Britain, and such as may justly strike the calm unprejudiced Reflector with Ad­miration. How signally did the interposing Hand of God appear, in that, notwithstanding the long-continued Rage of an intestine War, which so commonly corrupts the Manners of a People, there should be such Remains, yea, a visible Increase, of Sobriety and Virtue in the Nation! That notwithstanding such Emulations and Clashings among a Variety of Parties, and such Changes in the Administra­tion of civil Government, there should be so much good Or­der maintained, and the Course of Justice so well preserved! [Page 15] In short, that there should still be so much of the Face of a Kingdom kept up, and so many Tokens of a flourishing Nation; such a Degree of national Strength, of national Fame, and Influence abroad—and above all, such an ap­parent Growth in Christian Knowledge, and so many Signs of a prosperous State of Religion! How marvellous the Goodness of God to Britain, in not suffering either Anar­chy or Tyranny at any Time to be its Ruin, but over-ruling the Mischiefs of both to produce good Effects in the Issue!

When the Restoration of Monarchy in the Person of King CHARLES the Second came on, it is observable, though together with this there was a Restoration of arbitrary Measures of Government, though a Deluge of Corrupti­ons and Disorders broke in with it, and though the Perse­cution of Protestant Dissenters was renewed and carried on with a high Hand, yet by a Divine over-ruling Providence Good was brought out of Evil, and Britain's Happiness the more advanced, and better secured, in the Event. For Instance, the Turning such a Multitude of worthy Ma­gistrates out of their Offices, because they did not see Light to make solemn Renunciation of an important political Principle, which if sincerely and universally abhorred, and the Contrary espoused, there had no Place been left for such a glorious Event as the Revolution, or the Protestant Succession,—this doubtless had its Influence to confirm those Gentlemen in their Attachment to British Liberty, and by their Example to diffuse and perpetuate a generous Warmth in the same righteous Cause; which served to pave the Way for those glorious Events; that have been the effectual Means of its Recovery and Establishment.—So, the Silencing such a large Body of Nonconformist Ministers, perhaps as useful and truly valuable a Sett of Gospel-Preachers as any Nation was ever bless'd with, who were thrust out of their Livings, driven into Corners, and miserably harrassed with penal Laws.—this eventually turned to the Honor of those persecuted Dissenters, and the greater Credit of their Cause, as these hard Measures afforded them an Opportunity to signalize their Integrity, [Page 16] and give glorious Proofs of the Purity of their Zeal for a further Reformation.—The People also, who had been sin­cerely engaged in the same Cause, became naturally now but the more attach'd to this persecuted Cause, and to its suffering Patrons: and a growing Fervour of [...]ove to the Divine Word and Ordinances, in their purer Administration, easily drew them into private Assemblies for the Enjoyment of these blessed Privileges, by Means whereof the Dissenting Interest was kept up. Nor could all the Opposition made ever prevail to suppress it: but rather served to sup­port and promote it; and in the final Result, this turned to the Establishment and Security of the Dissenting Interest, by being the Occasion of bringing on a Legal Toleration, in a subsequent Reign; and thus, indeed, it turned in the Issue to the strengthning of the Protestant Interest in general, by enforcing the Principles of the Re­formation, and strengthning the Foundations on which it stands.—On the whole, the Conduct of Divine Providence in this Affair, I think, is greatly to be admired; and the Goodness of God in thus over-ruling the most adverse Measures, rather to the Advantage of the noble Cause of civil Liberty and pure Religion.*

Most of these Remarks are equally applicable to the Case as it stood in the next Reign, that of King JAMES the Second. I shall therefore only observe here in general, that as he was in Principle a zealous Papist, he was bent on the Restoring of Popery in Britain, but was strangely infatuated in his Counsels, and left of God to pursue such Measures, relative both to Church and State, as only serv­ed to defeat his Intentions and frustrate his Hopes. For Instance, while he strove, by various Methods, by Frowns and Flatteries, by Persecutions, by illegal Dispensations &c. to widen the Differences between his Protestant Subjects, with Reference to their religious Disputes in special, some­times [Page 17] gratifying one Party, and at other times courting the other, and all with an Aim to weaken the common Cause, these Managements only served to draw their Attention to the common Danger, to drive the contending Parties nearer together, to make them willing to come to a Tem­per among themselves, and unite their Efforts for the com­mon Safety. And such at length was the Union of the whole Nation in Opposition to the KING's Religion and Politicks, that an Invitation was sent to that celebrated General and Politician, the PRINCE of Orange (the King's Son in Law) to come over to their Help, for the Redress of Grievances, the Rescue of civil Liberty, and Security of the Protestant Interest. A Conduct highly becoming a free People, justifiable by the great Law of Self-Preserva­tion, and in my Views of it, so near a-kin to the Parlia­mentary Opposition to King CHARLES the First, that I know not how any can consistently approve the one and condemn the other. This Precedent may suffice forever to silence all Pleas for indefeasible hereditary Right, Non­resistance and passive Obedience; which have sometimes made such a Noise, but now seem happily laid asleep. This Conduct, at least, has declared the general Sense of the Nation, and left a notable Testimony to the Cause of civil Liberty, and the Protestant Religion. In this a won­derful Hand of God is to be seen and acknowledged.—This prepared the Way for the Nation's Deliverance. And a blessed Deliverance it was, when King JAMES, either through Consciousness of Guilt, or through Cowardize, un­der the Apprehension of approaching Danger, made his Exit (as inglorious a one perhaps as that of his Royal Fa­ther, though not in the same Manner) first abdicating his Crown, and then forsaking his Kingdom, and going into a kind of voluntary Exile. By which Means a civil War was happily prevented; and hereby, pursuant to na­tural Right, the Nation was at Liberty to fill the vacant Throne by Election of a Successor.

And upon whom should the Eyes of the Nation more naturally be turn'd, than their glorious Deliverer, who stood so nearly related to the Throne, especially by his [Page 18] Consort, the eldest Princess of the Blood? This wise and great Prince and his most amiable Consort were accordingly by the united Voice of the Lords and Commons, with the general Consent, constituted KING and QUEEN.—A sur­prizing Revolution this, attended with such Circumstances, and follow'd with such Consequences, as loudly speak it a Wonder of Mercy to Britain, and owing to a special In­terposition of Divine Providence!—This was an Event fruitful of abundant Happiness and Glory to the Nation: particularly, in the Establishment of civil Liberty, and Provision for the Security of the Protestant Religion, by a Parliamentary Settlement of the Succession to the Crown in the Protestant Royal Line; hereby greatly superadding to the Security and Strength given to both by the then present, just, mild, Protestant Reign. For King WIL­LIAM's great and generous Soul, not satisfy'd with having rescu'd Britain out of the Hands of it's Enemies, nor with making it happy, by securing it's Religion and Liberty, during his own Reign, look'd forward, even to distant Futurity, and study'd how to perpetuate the same Happiness in all following Reigns. As a Medium to this blessed Purpose, God put it into the King's Heart, to get the Crown legally entail'd, in such a Manner, that Britain might hope for a glorious Race of Pro­testant Princes, to sway the Sceptre in Righteousness and in Mercy.—And the Royal Favour, not restrain'd by Bigotry to any one Sett of the King's Protestant Subjects, but conducted by an impartial View to the public Good, procured an Act of Parliament to establish a Toleration and Allowance of Protestant Dissenters; to their great Relief and Quiet, as well as to the greater Advantage and firmer Security of the common Cause, wherein all, whose Hearts are truly Protestant, are constantly united.—However, while he esteem'd it his Glory to rule over a free People, and consulted the general Good in allowing a reasonable Liberty to all his loyal Subjects; yet, as be­came a true Father, he at the same time took Care to fence them about with wholesome Laws, for the Security of good Manners, and would indulge none in a wicked Li­centiousness. His Heart appear'd warmly engaged in the [Page 19] noble Design of exalting the National Character, and im­proving the Genius of his People, by rectifying and raising their Morals. And it is not the least among the Glories of his auspicious Reign, that those excellent "Societies for Re­formation of Manners" had their Rise in it, and flourished under his powerful Patronage.—Nor was his Royal Care limited to the Shores of Britain, but extended it self to the remotest British Factories and Plantations beyond Sea. As a Father mindful of his Children absent, the King sought the Weal of his Protestant Subjects abroad, as well as at home, and was equally concerned to secure their Religion and Liberty. Where any of them were in Hazard of being seduced to Popery, and so of being drawn into Slavery, he was in Care to have them provided with a good Preserva­tive; and where any Factory or Settlement had not Strength enough within it self to procure and maintain the Ministry of the Word, he took Care to make Provision for their Assistance; and even for the Support of Protestant Missi­ons, to proselyte the Heathen to Christianity. On such heroic Designs, and not on any little narrow Party. Views, was founded that Royal Institution of the "Society for propagating the Gospel in foreign Parts".—[Nor can I believe, it ever entred into the KING's generous Heart, that the Charities given on this noble Foundation, should be principally applied to serve the Intention of reclaiming Protestant Dissenters to the Episcopal Communion, whe­ther at home or abroad. If such Application of these Charities be justifiable in the latter Case, why not also in the former? Were the Experiment made of such an Applica­tion at Home, perhaps it might have the good Effect, to put the Application Abroad under a different Direction. But this by the Way.]—I go on to observe, how the benign Influences of the Royal Favour and Justice reach'd to us in these New-England Colonies. The King's loyal Sub­jects here, in the last preceeding Reigns, had been not only deprived of their invaluable Charter-Privileges, but cruelly harrassed and oppressed by various despotic Measures, and in imminent Danger of losing both their Religion & Liberty. A Crisis, that no true Friend of either can review without some painful Feelings! But thrô the Mercy of an inter­posing [Page 20] Providence, these Colonies were delivered from im­pending Ruin, by Means of the glorious Revolution, and the happy Accession of King WILLIAM to the Throne: who of his Royal Grace renewed or continued their Char­ters, and with a Paternal Pleasure saw them cased of their Grievances, and restored to a secure and prosperous State. Now were their Complaints turned into Songs, and they were like unto them that dream. They now found Re­pose and Solace, in the undisturbed Possession of Liberty and Property, of their Laws, their civil Rights, and their religious Privileges; partaking largely in the National Happiness, under the wise, the equal, the Protestant Go­vernment of King WILLIAM, whose Memory is blessed: And it may fitly be subjoined here, on whose Royal Head (even after the Loss of his excellent Partner in the Throne) still the Crown sat safe and flourishing, to the Joy of his loyal Subjects, both at home and abroad. But his Enemies were covered with Shame, by finding themselves frustra­ted in all their Attempts (whether in the Methods of In­surrection and Invasion, or of Assassination and Murder) to wrest the Sceptre out of his Royal Hand, in order to re­place a fugitive and abjured King in the British Throne. For it is very remarkable, how a gracious Providence watch'd over the Deliverer of the Nation, and the Shield of its Liberty, civil and sacred; to defend his Person, to support his Throne, and to crown his Reign with Prospe­rity and Fame, to the great Glory and Happiness of Bri­tain and its Dependences.—These surely are Wonders of interposing Mercy, never to be forgotten; such as must al­ways make a distinguishing Figure in the English Story; and well deserve a grateful Mention on this Occasion.

Nor was Queen ANNE's Reign, who next succeeded to the Crown, without those Instances of a benevolent over­ruling Providence in Favour of Britain and its Colonies, that merit our grateful Reflexions. The peaceable Acces­sion of this Protestant Princess to the Throne, upon the Foot of the late Revolution-Settlement of the Succession, happily delivered the Kingdom at present from the painful Apprehension of a Popish Successor. The Security of her [Page 21] Person, and the Support of the Protestant Succession as then by Law established, being the Objects of public At­tention, and the common Care; her Reign likewise com­mencing with a Variety of great Blessings and Glories, and proceeding for a while with a progressive Prosperity and very promising Appearances,—these Circumstances gave further Encouragements to the Friends of the Protestant Succession, and new Checks to the Hopes of its Enemies. It must be acknowledg'd, this female Reign was for a Course of Years very much signaliz'd and honoured in Providence. It was highly dignify'd in particular, by a just, a mild, a wise Administration of civil Government; by a Parliamentary Confirmation of the Revolution-Entail of the British Crown; by a Ratification of the legal Allow­ance or Toleration of Protestant Dissenters; by the Union of England and Scotland in one common Kingdom, to the strengthning their common Interests, in respect of civil Li­berty and the Protestant Religion; by the Reduction of Port-Royal in America, which open'd the way for the Con­quest and Recovery of all Nova-Scotia;—in fine, by an almost incredible Series of prodigious Victories, and tri­umphant Successes in War, under the Conduct of that consummate martial Genius, the Duke of MARLBO­ROUGH a General most deservedly of the first Character in his Day.—But alas, in Process of Time much of the Glory departed. Several of the last Years of this Reign make no very honorable or consistent Figure in its Annals. The Queen, thrô some unhappy Weakness, was tempted to discard her old and best Servants; and a Change of her Ministry brought on a Change of her Measures. This Revolution in the public Counsels soon produced an Alte­ration in the State of public Affairs, both at home and abroad. The Queen was betray'd into an inglorious Peace; at a Crisis, when her Majesty's Sword, in the almost resist­less Hand of her brave General, had humbled the Pride of France, and "reduced its exorbitant Power nearly to its native Bounds, and had by the French King's own Con­fession just cut open an Entrance into the very Heart of his Kingdom; which he acknowledg'd would have been [Page 22] of the most fatal Consequence to him; and, no Doubt, would have for ever set us free from any Apprehensions of his Power," though before so very formidable to all Europe, and the grand Support of the Pretender to her Majesty's Crown; whose Hopes therefore had been for ever extinguished, had that just and necessary War with France still been prosecuted, with equal Vigour and Success, as it was before the Queen was seduced to terminate it with an ill-judg'd and dishonorable Peace: which, if She had long survived it, might have been followed with a dreadful Train of evil Consequences, both to Britain and its Colo­nies.—The Queen was betray'd into some persecuting Mea­sures, relative to her Protestant dissenting Subjects; which, if an interposing Providence had not hindred their taking Effect, would have open'd a Fountain of Mischiefs to them and their Posterity; and wou'd so far, at least, have been an Injury and Disgrace to the Nation. In a Word, the Plots of a strong and restless Faction, in Opposition to her Ma­jesty's Reign, and in Favour of an abjured Popish preten­der, began to produce some bad Effects, of a very dange­rous Tendency, and even threatned the very worst Ca­tastrophe; which I know not how any Protestant or Bri­ton can reflect on without a sensible Pain.—But, in great Mercy to the Kingdom and its Dependencies, GOD, who is the Governor among the Nations, and in whose Hand our Breath is, by surprizing Means prevented the impend­ing Evil.—The Hand of Providence, in the sudden Vaca­tion of the Throne, and the unexpected general Union in immediately proclaiming the true Successor by Law, made Way for the peaceful Accession of the illustrious House of HANOVER to the British Crown, in the Person of his late Majesty King GEORGE the First. This at [Page 23] once disconcerted the whole Scheme of that bigo [...]ed Party in the Pretender's Interest; which, if suffered to have been carry'd into Execution, might have involved Britain, and these Colonies with it, in Blood and Ruin, and might have entail'd Chains and Misery on the latest Posterity. But, as Israel sang of old, "Blessed be the Lord, who hath not given us a Prey to their Teeth. Our Soul is escaped as a Bird out of the Snare of the Fowler: the Snare is broken, and we are escaped."

As the Accession of the present Royal Family to the British Throne was thus at a critical Juncture, that speaks a great Deliverance thereby given us, so it was attended with a Coincidence of favorable Circumstances, and followed with a Train of national Benefits; such as, if review'd in their just Light, would open to us very glorious Scenes of Providence, and evidence that God had therein shewed his People a Token for Good. What an Increase of Strength and Glory must it give Great Britain—What Weight to its Counsels—What Terror to its Arms—to have a Prince on the Throne, of such superior Wisdom and Experience, of such distinguishing Abilities for Govern­ment and for War, of such extensive Fame and Influence abroad, and in such high Esteem at home, equally the Delight of his Friends, and the Dread of his Enemies!—What a Favor to the Nation, that the King brought with him to the Throne a numerous Progeny, which gave the joyful Prospect of a long Race of Protestant Successors to the Crown? And that he had his important Life so lengthned out, the more firmly to establish the Tranquillity of his Kingdom, and the better to secure the Protestant Suc­cession; to remove the Fears of its Friends, and dash the Hopes of its Adversaries?

When King GEORGE, the First by a sudden Death was taken away, while on a Visit to his German Domini­ons, what a favorable Circumstance was it, that he left his Royal SON and Heir behind, immediately to take up the Reins of Government; who came to the Crown in maturity of Years, and with improv'd Qualifications for [Page 24] Government,—and who having obtain'd Help from God, happily remains in the Throne to this Day!

What Wonders of Mercy to Great-Britain, and its de­pendent Colonies, has GOD wrought from Time to Time in continuing this Protestant Royal Family in Possession of the Throne; in securing it against the repeated Invasions of a Popish Pretender, abetted and aided by France, and Rome, and Hell; in suppressing once and again the Insur­rections of an infatuated Faction, enslaved to the Delusions of Popery, at best to the Notions of an indefeasible hereditary Right of Princes, an uninterrupted Succession of Bishops, and the like; which sometimes put them upon the most des­perate Conspiracies and Rebellions; but all in vain! Their Counsels have ever been turned into Foolishness, their At­tempts defeated, the King's Throne established; & the Hopes of his Enemies seem now extinguished, or else their Reason awaken'd, so that at present they appear to be among the Quiet in the Land, and the old Distinctions of Tory and Whig, High Church and Low, seem to be much out of Date, and next to being bury'd in Oblivion.

The prolonging of his present MAJESTY's important Life and Royal Abilities to so advanced an Age,—the Conti­nuance of so many Branches of the Royal Family,—the excellent Spirit & Talents for Government so conspicuous already in the Heir apparent,—the extraordinary Genius and Application of the prime Minister,—the uncommon Degree of Harmony in the great Court of Parliament;—the public Spirit of all Ranks in contributing so readily and liberally for the Support of a vigorous War;—the Estab­lishment of a well-regulated Militia, and Revival of a mar­tial Spirit at home; the best disciplin'd and brave Troops abroad; the most powerful Navy, that gives Britain, if not the Sovereignty of the Seas, yet at least a Superiority, that its Enemies feel and own, and that gives it peculiar Advantages, as well to obstruct and annoy them, as to facilitate its own Maritime Expeditions, to cover its Land-Enterprizes, and to protect its Fishery and Trade; the admirable Valour and Conduct of the British Fleets and Armies, under the Command of great Generals and [Page 25] great Admirals; the Unanimity of their Counsels, and inviolate Union of their military Efforts; and as the happy Fruit hereof, their late very signal and almost uninter­rupted Course of Successes; their heroic Exploits, both in the Sea and Land-Service; their Triumphs over the Enemy, in all Quarters of the World, wherever the War has reached; the large, the numerous, and very impor­tant Acquisitions of Territory (besides the taking of many Fortresses and Ships of War) that have gloriously added to the Strength, as well as Extent of the British Empire, but are so many depressing and very enfeebling Defalcati­ons from the Gallic Dominions, which have perplexed the Counsels and confounded the ambitious Designs of France: and at the same time, what none can but observe, & the Ene­my must needs envy, the peaceful State of Britain within itself, its Freedom from Murmurs and Discontents, its Se­curity and Defence against hostile Invasions and Depreda­tions, its few Losses by Sea or Land, its comparatively little Loss of Blood, its extensive and flourishing Com­merce, its Improvement and Success in gainful Husbandry and in all Kinds of profitable Manufactures; and in Con­sequence of all, its unrival'd Plenty and Opulence, which enables the Subject with such a Degree of Ease to supply the manifold Exigences of his Majesty's Service, and chear­fully bear the Burden of so expensive a War—This is an uncommon Accumulation of glorious Events, a rare Con­currence of felicitating Circumstances, that can be paral­lel'd perhaps in no other Kingdom this Day upon Earth. These Things conspire to reflect a superlative Lustre on the latter Years of the KING's Reign, and will make them shine with an unexampled Glory in the Annals of Great Britain.—Well may "the KING joy in God's Strength—"His Glory is great in God's Salvation—"Honour and Majesty are put upon him—"On him the Crown flourish­eth, and his Enemies are cloathed with Shame."—He con­fesses GOD to be "his Strength and his Shield, and the Lifter up of his Head"; and calls upon his People by his Royal Example, as well as Proclamations, to give all the Praise to God most High, "whose is the Kingdom, and the Power, the Victory, and the Majesty."

[Page 26] And surely the marvellous Interpositions of an all-governing Providence in Favor of Britain, whether of former or later Date, appear (by this imperfect Represen­tation of them) to have been such as challenge the most grateful Acknowledgements to our God; nor are to be re­flected on without Admiration, Joy and Praise, not only by those residing in the Kingdom thus highly favored, but even by us in the Colonies, who, altho' at such a Distance, have felt the kindly Influence of these national Salvations and Blessings.

But now to come nigher home, I must beg your Atten­tion, while I briefly remind you of some Specialties in Divine Providence, that have a more immediate Aspect on the British Colonies, and on New-England in particular; but which ultimately redound to the Advantage and Glory of Britain itself.

"We have heard with our Ears, and our Fathers have told us", what great and good Things have formerly been done in Providence for the Inhabitants of the Villages in this new World, and especially for those in the Parts where we dwell—How God cast out the Heathen Natives, by antecedent Wars among themselves, and by various de­stroying Sicknesses, "to prepare a Place of Habitation" for the first Founders of these english Colonies—How he sifted, as it were, whole Nations, to plant this Land with a right Seed—How he stirred up the Spirits of Multitudes (remote and unknown to one another) to emigrate from their native Country, to venture on a tedious and difficult Voyage across the wide Atlantic, and come over to the uncultivated Regions of America, principally with a View to enjoy, unmolested, their Religion and Liberty, and trans­mit the same to their Posterity—How he raised up Friends to assist and animate them in their pious and heroic En­terprize—How he laid remarkable Restraints upon those who were Enemies to the great Errand, on which our Ancestors came over into this inhospitable Wilderness; and struck a visible Terror on the numerous lawless Sava­ges around them, who quickly envy'd and maligned these [Page 27] new Guests, but for a long Time dared not to hurt or dis­rest them—How "they got not the Land by their own Sword, nor did their own Arm save them"—How won­derful a Care the Lord their God, "under whose Wings they came to trust," exercised over them in their Wilder­ness-State; screening them from Dangers, relieving them in Distresses, supplying their Necessities, sometimes very unaccountably, and almost miraculously—How he "mul­tiply'd both Man and Beast," and provided for their in­creasing Numbers—How he "prevented his People with the Blessings of Goodness"; not only granting them great Deliverances, but great positive Good; in the Healthiness of the Climate; in their Strength to labour; in the Produce of their Fields; in the Privileges, Liberties, and Benefits they enjoy'd both of a civil and ecclesiastical Re­ference, by Virtue of those Royal Charter-Grants they ob­tained; in the pious Magistracy and the faithful Ministry they were favored with; in the College, and Schools, private as well as public for the training up of Youth, which were made the Preservatives and Nurseries of useful Know­ledge and good Manners, and which were long a singular Ornament and Characteristic of New-England;—in the comely Order and Harmony that generally subsisted here, in Church and State, and in the Over-ruling of such Dissen­sions as sometimes happen'd, to a desirable Issue; in the intestine Peace and Tranquillity enjoy'd here at a Time when a horrid civil War raged in the Mother-Country, and the Nation were all in Confusion and Tumult among them­selves;—in the notable Victories obtained over the Indi­an Natives, when they proceeded to commit Hostilities a­gainst the English; and in the Recovery of their Charter-Liberties, which had been taken away, at a Time of ge­neral Shipwrack of Charters, in an arbitrary Reign (as be­fore hinted) but were happily restored, when those who envy'd them, imagin'd they had fallen Victims to their Malevolence, beyond all Hope of Relief.—In a Word it is wonderful, how our Fathers were enabled to go through the immense Fatigues, and support the vast Expences of planting, cherishing, and defending these New-England Settlements, and that with little Assistance from Home, and [Page 28] no Charge to the Crown.—In these and many other Re­spects, the first Generations of this People experienced very signally the Care of an indulgent Providence. "Have I been a Wilderness unto Israel?" the Lord may now say, as to his People of old.

And "the Goodness of God endureth continually". We of the present Generation, though "risen up in our Fa­thers Stead an Increase of sinful Men", yet have not been forsaken of our Fathers God; but he is still in some Mea­sure with us, as he was with them. Though he has not left us altogether unpunished for our growing Degeneracies, which so defile and expose the Land, yet neither has he left himself without a Witness, that He remembers the Love of our Espousals, and hath still a Kindness for the Posterity of a People who had suffered for Righteousness Sake.—We enjoy to this Day the great Privileges of God's Word and House and Day, of the Ministry and Church-Order: nor are without those spiritual Blessings, which shew that God's SPIRIT remaineth among us.—We still enjoy the Benefits of Magistracy, good Laws, and civil Li­berties, hedg'd about with our Royal Charters.—We still enjoy the Advantage of Schools, and Means of Education, truly of inestimable Consequence.—Superadded to all, God is causing his Goodness to pass before us in a Variety of secular Enjoyments, terrene Blessings, and temporal Sal­vations, which are so many Evidences of a continuing Pro­vidential Care for our Safety & Happiness. Surely, Salvati­on is nigh to us; and in some desirable Measure, Glory still dwelleth in our Land. God has been crowing these latter Years with his Goodness, in very remarkable Instances, What Years of general Health have we seen, in our Dwel­lings, in our Garrisons, in our Armies, in our Fleets, with­out those wasting Sicknesses that might have brought a Cloud on all our Affairs!—What Years of Plenty, what fruit­ful Seasons, what superabundant Harvests, by the Blessing of God upon our extensive Plantations, furnishing us for large Exportation, while Enough has been left for a ge­nerous Home-Consumption!—What a remarkable Pro­tection on our Borders, East and West, even where they [Page 29] were wont sometimes to get their Bread with the Peril of their Lives! What unmolested Roads! What untroubled Fields! What quiet Habitations, almost as secure as in Days of Peace! (I speak of these Northern Provinces especially; for it has been sadly otherwise with some of the Southern.) At the same Time, what a Degree of Protection on our Sea-Coasts, our Fishery, and Navigation! [I can't but no­tice here, thô out of Place, how that formidable naval Ar­mament from France, in the last War, that came to visit and annoy these parts, was by the Hand of God in Sickness and Storm amazingly destroyed; & we marvellously deliver'd—The Design was, Revenge upon New-England, for the Reduction of CAPE-BRETON by our Provincial Forces.—Events so recent, I wonder they did not occur to my Mind before; and so great and interesting, they ought never to be forgotten.] Verily, there has been as it were "a Wall of Fire" round about us.

And thô in the Course of this War, God has sometimes hid his Face, and not seem'd to "go out with our Armies", but saw fit to exercise and try us greatly, by inactive and fruitless Campaigns, by Repulses, by Defeats, by Slaugh­ters, by Captivations, by Surrenders of our Fortresses, &c. insomuch that many began to despair of Success, and upon a signal Occasion not very long since, a general Pa­nick run thrô the Country, from an Apprehension left the Enemy should finally prevail against us, notwithstanding our boasted Superiority in Numbers, Skill and Valour: yet at Length we have had our Fears dissipated; and no Room left for that old Complaint, "The Summer is ended, and we are not saved"!

God hath in his own Time and Way (always the best and wisest) returned, and visited his People; put our E­nemies to Confusion, and brought them down wonderfully. We behold them this Day repel'd from all their perfidi­ous Encroachments, and his Britannic Majesty's just Rights recovered and secured; his original View in this American War. Not only so, but beyond our most sanguine Hopes at the Beginning, we behold his Majesty's victorious Troops even treading upon the high Places of the Enemy; the Enemy quite subdued, and driven out of all their strong [Page 30] Holds; the'r last Fortress now delivered up, and their whole Country surrendred to the KING of Great Britain, in the Person of his General,—the intrepid, the serene, the successful AMHERST; that great General, to whom Louis-burgh surrendred at the Beginning of the Operations of his Majesty's Arms in this Part of this World; the same to whom a Train of important Surrenders have since been made; and who now, by compleating the Reduction of all CANADA, has had the Honour to crown the glorious Atchievements of the British Sword, and to shut up the Scenes of War, in North-America.

In vain had there been repeated Attempts before, to effect what is now so happily accomplished. Long had it been the common Opinion (CARTHAGO est delenda) The American Carthage must be reduced, CANADA must be conquer'd: or we could hope for no lasting Quiet in these Parts. Long had this been the Object of our At­tention, and the Matter of our Prayers: but judg'd an Event rather to be wished, than hoped for. Yet now at length, through the good Hand of our God upon us, we see the happy Day of its Accomplishment. We hear the joyful News,—not of this or the other Fortress of the Enemy reduced,—not of this or the other Town surren­dred, but of their whole Country conquered, conquered by British Arms, and subjected to British Government.

An Acquisition this, of vast Importance to the Interest and Influence of Britain, and of the last Consequence to the Safety and Happiness of these its Colonies.—But after the ingenious Pieces already in your Hands, I need not offer a Word upon this Argument.—It seems, under God, "the future Security of our Privileges religious and civil, is put into our Hands", beyond the Reach of Envy; and we now have none to make us afraid.—And if we can find a Heart for so good & great an Enterprize, a favorable Oppor­tunity now presents for propagating our Religion & Liberty, civil Government and Gospel-Order, among our new Fel­low-Subjects, and our old Allies. And if by the Blessing of God, they can be brought to taste the Sweet and feel the good Effects of these inestimable Privileges, 'tis one happy Consequence we may hope for, at least, That it will con­quer [Page 31] all Remains of Enmity between us, and procure a lasting Friendship for the future.—Such a Conquest follow­ing upon This which we are now celebrating, will make it doubly glorious, and add abundantly to the Joy we have on the present "glorious Occasion", thô truly so in it self, and perhaps not inferior in Glory to any of the Kind, this Day to be found in the British Annals.

I congratulate my Country upon so illustrious an Event, so felicitous a Conclusion of these martial Enterprizes, and upon the joyful Prospects now before us.

We join our Thanks with those of the General, —to the brave TROOPS, that have fought our Battles for us, and been otherwise Instrumental in doing for us those great Things, whereof we are glad.

We owe our Thanks to the GENERAL himself, who has by his respectable Presence and Example been the very Soul of this decisive Enterprize, and in his Conduct and Success united shines unrivald.

We owe our Thanks to that great Patriotic MINISTER, first in the Direction of these Affairs, for his unweary'd At­tention to the Interest of the Colonies, and his consummate Care, both in planning these Expeditions, and in pointing out the proper Officers to have the Command.

We owe our Thanks to the Provincial GOVERNMENTS, that have with so much Alacrity and Resolution exerted themselves in the most zealous Efforts to assist and promote his Majesty's Service, on these Occasions.

We owe our Thanks to the British PARLIAMENT, for their liberal Grants, in Support of his Majesty's wise Mea­sures, and towards refunding the Expences of the Colonies, [Page 32] who otherwise must have sunk under an immense Load of Debt.

Above all, we owe our humble Thanks to his MAJESTY: and with loyal Hearts, full of joyous Gratitude, we bless the King for his Paternal Goodness in sending such effectual Aids to his American Subjects, in our distressed State, when we so needed the Royal Protection; as the Enemy were daily increasing in their Advantages against us, and threatning our Ruin; which is now happily prevented, by the extraordi­nary Turn of Affairs, upon his MAJESTY's gracious In­terposition.

But still our Thanks are not to centre & determine here. No; they must rise above all human Agents, and ascend to the supreme Efficient, the God of Armies, the King of Kings, and the primary Source of every prosperous Event. "The Race is not to the Swift, nor the Battle to the Strong"; but "Victory is of the LORD". It is "through God", that our Forces "have done valiantly". It is God, who hath "trodden down our Enemies". It is God, who hath "given us Rest", incircling us on all Sides. To the Majesty of Heaven we are supremely indebted, for the glorious Salvations and Successes we are this Day rejoycing in. To God most High therefore our humble Thanks are supremely owing; as indeed the Solemnity of this Day implicitly confesseth.

Now then that "our Heads are lifted up above our Ene­mies round about", we should raise our wondring Eyes & our thankful Hearts up to God in the Heavens; "offering in his Tabernacle the Sacrifices of Joy"; with joyful Lips singing Praises to the LORD, who hath done for us all these great Things, whereof we are glad; but the Accomplish­ment whereof we once look'd upon as hopeless; and for the one half or even any small Part whereof, we should have been very thankful, at least very glad, some few Years ago. A Reflexion this, which may well exalt our Joy, warm our Gratitude, and raise every pious & pleasing Affection to an uncommon Height, while on an uncommon Occasion we are presenting our Thanks to the LORD, who hath done such great Things for us.

[Page 33] Worthy our Attention and Imitation is that Example of King Jehoshaphat and his People's uniting their joyful. Thanksgivings to God, on an Occasion something similar. The Scripture-Story (2 Chro. 20.) informs us, how "on the fourth Day" after a signal Conquest, the King and his Peo­ple on the Field of Action, ‘assembled themselves, & blessed the LORD. Then they returned every Man, and Jehosha­phat in the Fore-front of them, to go again to Jerusalem with Joy: for the LORD had made them to rejoyce over their Enemies.—And the Fear of GOD was on all the King­doms of those Countries, when they had heard that the LORD had fought against the Enemies of Israel. So the Realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet: for his God gave him Rest round about. The Success they had, and their Joy upon it, are ascribed to God, as equally the Author of both. Doubtless, as to the Royal General, and ma­ny of his People, it was that Joy which is the Fruit of the Spirit,—a religious Exultation, a "Rejoycing be­fore the Lord", and "triumphing in his Praise". They triumphed and rejoyced over their Enemies; but still in a Frame and Manner becoming such as saw and owned the Hand of God in their Success, and meant to "give Glory to his Name". This Scripture-Pattern serves to justify the present Festival; and recommends to our Practice the solemn, but chearful Duties, we are now called together joyntly to perform.

Let us then give ourselves, on this delightful Occasion, to holy Rejoycing, Thanksgiving and Praise. Let us "con­sider how great Things God hath done for us", particularly respecting the important Conquest, whereof we are glad. Let us realise what abundant Reason we have to admire the Conduct of Divine Providence, relative to this Affair, view'd in its whole State, from its Beginning, through all its Progress, to its happy Termination. We should take Notice of GOD's Goodness in putting into the King's Heart such an earnest Care for our Security and Welfair: and in guiding the Coun­sels of the King's Ministry, to project the best Measures, and to employ the best Agents in executing the wife Plan of Operations. In short, every Instance of good Conduct, and of Resolution, and Fortitude, every Instance of Support [Page 34] and Success in this grand Affair, from its Commencement to its Conclusion, should be taken Notice of, as the Effect of a propitious Providence super-intending & presiding in it. Every advantageous Circumstance, every subservient and auxiliary Incident, as well as the grand and final Event, is to observed, as the Fruit of Divine Benignity. All tends to heighten the Glory and the Mercy of the Success: and all conspires to demand our grateful Acknowledgments to "the Lord of Hosts" the supreme Author of Victory.

We are called, on this Occasion to sing both of Mercy, and of Judgment; to sing of both "to the Lord our God" to celebrate the Wonders of Mercy to us, and of Judgment on our Enemies.—Yea, his Judgments on ourselves, in the general Calamity of War, and in particular Disasters, are not to be forgotten, even in our Songs of Praise. As mourn­ful and joyful Events are mingled in Providence, we should have our Reflexions on both, in the Exercise of various Passions, corresponding to each. Antecedent humbling E­vents might be design'd in Providence to prepare a just Allay to future Joys: And the Evil intermixed with the Good we receive at the Hand of the LORD, may well serve to cor­rect and qualify the Pleasure his Benefits give us. It will be wife in us to to temper the Joy that now expands our Breasts, by proper Reflexions on the inauspicious and dark Appearances preceding our late Successes, & on the disastrous Events attending them. One Circumstance, in particular, should not a little affect us, that human Life has so often been sacrificed (by the Sword, or Disease, or Accident) in the Pur­suit of Victory; and as Victory is apprehended to have been lost, in one memorable Instance, by "the Fall of the Mighty,* so it hath in several Instances been purchased at the Expence of some of the most precious Blood, in the Fall of heroic Generals and other gallant Officers and Men. These are striking Events, at the Remembrance of which we can scarce refrain mingling Tears with our present Joys. But the Sorrow for former Losses, of this Kind, we must balance with the Joy of our last Successes being obtained without any [Page 35] such aggravated Losses, and with an uncommonly small Effusion of Blood.—However, I think, no Reflexions whatever should suppress our Joy on this grand Occasion, though they may be needful to restrain & moderate it.

A Transport of Mind, on the News of a Conquest and Acquisition, so big with Salvation and Blessing to one's Country as this we are now rejoycing in, is scarce avoida­ble, and is certainly allowable. And the more nearly we are interested in the Success, naturally the more elevated will the Pleasure be. In this Respect, though the Prospe­rity of the Prussian, Hanoverian, and British Arms in Ger­many at this Day is just Matter of Joy and Praise; yet it is reasonably to be expected, that Victory nearer Home, and more immediately affecting our selves, should strike our Minds with a singular Force, and that so great & important a Conquest as that which occasions this Day's Solemnity, should open all the Springs of pleasing Passions, and swell the Tide of Joy beyond its common Bounds.

Nevertheless, let it not be meerly a rejoycing over our E­nemies, nor only rejoycing in our own Prosperity. But let the Joy be sublimated, spiritualized, and carried up to its proper ultimate Object, "the Captain of our Salvation," the Giver of Victory.—By all Means let us see to it, that our rejoycing on the present Occasion be duly regulated—Not the meer Mirth of Brutes, centring in animal Pleasures—Not the Mirth of Fools, conducted as if we had no Fear of God before our Eyes, and expressed only in Laughter & Levity, in lawless Feasting and Frolicking—Nor yet only the more sober and temperate (but almost as carnal) Joy of Hypo­crites, who honour God with joyful Lips, while yet in their Hearts and Lives they dishonour Him; being in truth "evil and unthankful".—Nor let it be a proud and self-boasting Joy, as if "our own Arm had saved us", or our own Worthiness had procured us the Victory. "Neither glory ye in Men."—"All such Rejoycing is evil."—"But he that glorieth, let him glory in the LORD."

Let our Rejoycing be manly, rational, spiritual, devotio­nal, and "after a godly Sort", in all its Exercises & Expres­sions.—Let the Joy of our Hearts transpire thro' our Lips in the most grateful Acknowledgments & Praises to God, in the [Page 36] Name of Jesus Christ. Thus will our Joy be consecrated, and turned into a Sacrifice; a "spiritual Sacrifice, accep­table to God by Jesus Christ". And the sacred Pleasure will be gradually increased by daily renewed Thanksgiv­ings and Praises.—Only, at the same Time, "let our Con­versation be as becometh the Gospel", that by our obedient Lives, as well as joyful and thankful Lips, we may testify our Delight in God, and prove the Sincerity of our Gratitude to Him. Surely the Call of Heaven to us at this Day is in such Language as that (1 Sam. 12. 24.) "Only fear the Lord, and serve him in Truth: for consider how great Things he hath done for you. Or, that (Psal. 2. 11.) Serve the Lord with Fear, and rejoyce with Trembling. As God has been doing great Things for us, surely he expects great Things from us, in a way of practical Returns. And be it remembred, He that has done great Things for us, the same can also do great Things against us. We see, his almighty Hand can bring about great Changes in a little Time. And when we reflect on the Mutability of human Affairs, toge­ther with our Unworthiness of Divine Favours, and our Desert of Judgments, it becomes us to "rejoyce with Trem­bling." In unspotted Justice, God might have made our Enemies to rejoyce over us: and he may do it still. What can we expect, but the Tokens of his Displeasure, in this or some other tremendous Way, unless his Goodness effectu­ally leadeth us to Repentance!

To our Praises therefore let us add our Prayers, that Prosperity may be sanctify'd to us, and made a prevailing Argument with us, from a Sense of Ingenuity & Gratitude, to serve the LORD with Gladness. Let us pray that the Spirit may be poured from on high, to restore Religion to a prosperous and victorious State. Let us implore a Divine Blessing on the King's Counsels and Efforts for a safe and ad­vantageous Peace. But above all, let it be our Care and Prayer, that the Kingdom of the Son of God may be advan­ced; that the Conquests of his Power & Grace over the Souls of Men may spread through the World; that there may be Glory to God in the highest, Peace on Earth, and Good­will towards Men.


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