Mr. Barnard's ELECTION-SERMON, MAY 25th. 1763;



FRANCIS BERNARD, ESQ; GOVERNER and Commander in Chief, THE HONOURABLE His MAJESTY'S COUNCIL, AND THE HONOURABLE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, Of the Province of the Massachusetts-Bay in New-England, MAY 25th. 1763.

BEING the Anniversary for the Election of HIS MAJESTY'S COUNCIL for said PROVINCE.

By THOMAS BARNARD, A.M. Pastor of the first Church in SALEM.

BOSTON: Printed by RICHARD DRAPER, Printer to His Excellency the GOVERNOR and the Honorable His Majesty's COUNCIL. MDCCLXIII.


ORDERED, That BENJAMIN LYNDE, JOHN CHOATE, and NATHANIEL ROPES, Esqrs, be a Committee to wait on the Rev'd Mr. THOMAS BARNARD, and give him the Thanks of the Board for his Sermon preached before the General Court on Wednesday the 25th Instant, being the Day appointed by the Royal Charter for the Election of Councellors for the Province aforesaid; and to desire a Copy thereof for the Press.

A. OLIVER, Secr.


JUDGES IX. 7,—15.‘— HEARKEN unto me, you Men of She [...]hem, that GOD may hearken unto you. The Trees went forth upon a Time to anoint a King over them. And they said unto the Olive Tree, Reign thou over us. But the Olive Tree said unto them, should I leave my Fatness, wherewith by me they honour GOD and Man, and go to be promoted over the Trees? And the Trees said unto the Fig­tree, Come thou and reign over us; But the Fig-tree said unto them, should I for­sake my Sweetness and my good Fruit, and go to be promoted over Trees? Then said the Trees unto the Vine, Come thou and reign over us; And the Vine said unto them, should I leave my Wine, which [Page 6] cheereth GOD and Man, and go to be pro­moted over the Trees? Then said all the Trees unto the Bramble, Come thou and reign over us; And the Bramble said un­to the Trees, If in Truth ye anoint me King over you, then come and put your Trust in my Shadow; And if not, let Fire come out of the Bramble, and de­vour the Cedars of Lebanon.’

IT was the Obersvation of an Ancient, who had well re­marked the Infirmity of Men, that "becuase they have no Changes, therefore they fear not GOD." But however the calm, uni­form Course of Providence may too little affect light Minds, yet a Series of such alarming Events, as we have for Years past seen and felt; the divine Patronage of Right and Liberty; the many unexpected, yea Improbable and marvellous Steps, by which this noble Cause has been resened from Dan­gers, and at length amply secured; are Proofs of the sovereignty righteous and gracious Dominion of GOD, which should and will fix the Resolution of every sober Mind to [...]ide religiously in Him.

[Page 7]At the same Time, the best Apprehen­sions of GOD, which Reason aided by Re­velation can form, teach us to rely on the Father of Spirits, the great Preserver of Men, not only in Emergencies, but in the gene­ral Course of Life, and even in Affairs wherein human Power and Sagacity have much to do, for a proper Direction of the Powers of the Mind, as well as for the Main­tenance of the Health and Strength of the Body.

PRAYER therefore, is an Application to Heaven, as natural and as obvious, in its Grounds and Motives, as any of the most common Actions of Life. A Mind open to divine Advices, is a Mind in its true State of modest Humility.

THIS important Day then, of the annu­al Exercise of the peculiar Rights of the In­habitants of this Province, by which Rights our civil Polity approaches nearer to that of the happy Island from whence we origina­ted, than that of any other of the British Plantations, and if so, to the Standard of a perfect Government; This joyful Day, I say, [Page 8] is most properly opened, by this solemn Act of public Worship; by a devout Address to the Fountain of Wisdom, from whom are derived all the Streams of it, which are dis­persed in innumerable human Minds; and by a decent Attention to those moral and religious Truths, an Attention to which, is indeed in the last Resort, the hearkening unto GOD. What lively Faith should ani­mate these Services; "O People saved of the LORD, for whom he has done such great Things, whereof ye are glad."

FROM whence can a Politician go to the most arduous Affairs, which require Cool­ness, Deliberation, Integrity, publick Spi­rit, and an inward Regard to GOD, better than from such an Exercise, as composes the Soul, brings to View the highest Motives to disinterested Benevolence, and presents in their true Colours, Craft, Avarice, little Designs, sinister Practices, and every Thing, which generous Souls and those best ac­quainted with themselves, are most jealous of, and keep the strictest Guard against.

HOWEVER the Passage of sacred Story now read, which the Wisdom of GOD has han­ded [Page 9] down to us, may not lead to those im­portant Points, which have been often treated on this Anniversary, with Accuracy, yet it may suggest to us some such Truths, as however obvious, yet can never pass our Minds, but with Advantage, and which have a direct Aspect on the weighty Affairs of this Day.

THE Style and Construction of these Ver­ses, is that of an Apologue, or Fable, a Mode of speaking extremely popular in ancient Times, and much in Taste among the eastern Nations at this Day. It had its peculiar Advantages, especially in cases of Reproof; it insinuated itself in a smooth and artful Manner into Persons indisposed to hear, and by not making personal Applica­tion on the Instant, it delayed that Re­sentment, thro' which Reproof often fails of its Use.

SOME Roman Writers have piqued them­selves on the famous Apologue of Menenius Agrippa, concerning the Stomach and Limbs of the human Body, which had such a wonderous Influence in calming the irri­tated Spirits of the Patricians and Commons, as being the most ancient Example of that [Page 10] Manner of Speaking. It must have morti­fied them to have known, that this moral and political Fable, correct, beautiful and instructive as it is, was uttered by a despised and in their Opinion, barbarous Hebrew, 700 Years before Agrippa was born.

FOR it was delivered, while Israel was yet governed by Judges of their own Elec­tion. Among these Gideon was famous. Under their grievous Oppressions, GOD rai­sed them up this eminent Magistrate and General, who with great Success humbled their Enemies, and restored their Liberty and Tranquility. Such a grateful Sense had the People of his Merit and Services, that they were for rendering the supreme Magistracy hereditary in his Family, which he saw fit to decline. But this was a tran­sient Fit of Gratitude; for when their Dan­ger was no more, they treated his Family with base Neglect. And no wonder, that when (as we find) they had forgotten their supreme Deliverer, they should ill use the In­struments of his Providence for their Good.

THIS unworthy Spirit was wro't up, by a seditious base-born Son of Gideon, named Abimelech, a Youth of an ambitious and [Page 11] enterprising Genius, of a cruel and tyran­nical Temper. He had the Address to per­suade a strong Party to combine in setting aside Gideon's, legitimate Sons, under the Pre­tence (and Ambition never wants colour­able Pretences) that Inconveniences might arise to the Constitution, from their Num­bers. And lest after the People had tasted of his arbitrary Measures, they should re­cover their Senses, he villainously murdered all Gideon's Sons, except this Jotham, the Speaker in our Text, who escaped the Massacre. And thus Abimelech was made King by the prevailing Faction.

ADVICE of this Transaction was it seems bro't to Jotham, before the Assembly of Elec­tors broke up; and he from a Place of Safety addresses them in the Manner I have read; intending by the "Olive Tree, &c." the Family of Gideon, who had the Example and Instructions of their Father, to form them to the Love of their Country, and of every social Virtue; and by the "Bramble", their new Leader, the Spirit of whose Go­vernment was easily predicted, from the Temper and past Conduct of the Man. Thus much for the Occasion of this Ha­rangue.

[Page 12]TO bring this Fable as an Authority, to prove the divine Right of Societies of chu­sing their chief Magistrate, tho' a Proof as much to the Purpose as many Texts which have been adduced, to prove the divine hereditary Right of Tyranny and Tyrants, would yet be futile and absurd. What has more Weight is, that this Fragment of An­tiquity, shews how high we may trace the Claim and Practice of civil Societies, to elect such to Places of Trust for the common Benefit, as would in the general Opinion well answer the Ends of their Appointment.

THE Doctrines of Slavery, political or theological, are not the Maxims of Reason, Prudence or Revelation; nor took Place till Men by Ignorance, Effeminacy and Cor­ruption, became fitted for them. 'Tis no doubt an Improvement upon this Principle of civil Right, in great and populous Com­munities, where the chief Authority is en­trusted to ONE, to render it hereditary in a certain Family, so long as the Succession in it comitts with the well-being of the Society.

BUT, 'tis a less abstract Use I propose to make of this Parable, by directing your Thoughts, my honoured and can did HEAR­ERS, [Page 13] to two or three Lessons and Warnings of Wisdom, set here to View. And if what I shall now say, be the Words of moral and religious Truth and Soberness, it will not be Arrogance in me, to use Jotham's Words, "Hearken unto me, and GOD shall hear­ken unto you."

Ist. THE first is, That it is the Part of Wisdom, in those who have the Right of electing others to important Trusts in Soci­ety, to choose such as have in private Life manifested, that the benevolent Affections have powerful Influence upon them, who have conducted worthily in more contract­ed Spheres of Action.

SUCH a Character Jotham intends, by "the Olive Tree with whose Fatness they honour GOD and Man," "the Fig-tree a­bounding in Sweetness and good Fruit," "the Vine whose Wine cheereth" or is a­greeable to "GOD and Man." These the Republic of Trees called forth to public Sta­tions, who had before shewn their Dispo­sition to promote the Happiness of all about them, in their narrow Circle, and of whom it was to be presumed that their Usefulness [Page 14] would be increased, when their Capacity of Service should be extended. The Appli­cation is easy.

OBSERVATION of human Nature fully proves, that the Wisdom of the Creator has made Part of our Frame, two Setts of Af­fections to impell us to Action, the selfish and the benevolent; in the Ballance of which, the due Proportion of their Influ­ence, the perfect Character in social Life consists. And altho' such is the Influence of Matter, in the different Combination of its Parts, upon Mind; so manifold are the Trials which the same Wisdom sees best for different Creatures; that these Affections, these inward Motives, have very different Proportions in the Make of different Per­sons; yet by the due Exercise of the Powers of the Mind they may be respec­tively cultivated or restrained, so as that any one by prudent Conduct in indulging or limiting them, may become entitled to Respect and Love, and promise fair to be a public Blessing.

WHEN a strong Disposition to do Good and promote Happiness, arises merely or [Page 15] mostly from natural Complexion, 'tis yet in a moral View amiable; seeing the Presump­tion is, that notwithstanding the natural Bias, there will be much Occasion in this corrupt World, for the restraining the Sti­mulus of contrary Affections, in the various Parts and incidents of the Intercourse of Life.

BUT this Character becomes more ami­able and useful, because more perfect, when these Tendencies of Constitution become fixed Habits, on Reflection and Principle. When Men are active in their Endeavours for the Welfare of those about them, from a just Sense of the innate Excellency and happy Fruits of public Spirit, from a Com­parison of these with the contrary Temper, which cold, vindictive, proud, avaritious, cannot feel the sublime Pleasure of sympa­thizing with others, but lives only for itself, and having been useless or noxious in its Day, drops into Oblivion unregretted, unlamen­ted, and its Memory rots.

BUT Religion, Contemplation of the blessed GOD and his Son, the best Friend of Men, stedfast Imitation of these highest and most noble Examples; this fixes social [Page 16] Love on its firmest and best Foundation; this affords the most worthy and powerful Motives to it; this raises it to the most exal­ted Pitch.

WHEN Affections of this Kind have the Ascendant in private Life, the Person whom they possess becomes a rich Blssing to all within the Sphere of their Operation. Place him at the Head of a Family, he counts it the chief Joy of Life, to exert himself for its Good. His wise Maxims of Education, his prudent Regimen, derive Blessings even on his remotest Dependants. His Servants are as Children, his Children as his own Soul. He forms them to such Tempers, he obliges them to such Deportment, as shall maintain Internal Harmony and Friendship, he encourages their Industry, trains them to Virtue and Piety and uses every Method whereby they may become meet for the Descent of the best Blessings of Heaven up­on them.

SUCH an One is the Life and Cement of good Neighbourhood. His "liberal Heart deviseth liberal Things," and "the Law of Kindness is in his Lips." He "prays for the Peace of Jerusalem," and his unceasing En­deavours [Page 17] second his best Wishes. He stills the angry Passions of the Imprudent, is the Arbiter of contending Parties, feels the Troubles and mourns the Folly and Vices of every Individual, rejoices in their Joys.—He is ever vigilant for the Interests of the Church, Parish, Town, he is connected with, and never more in his Element, than when engaged in Designs for their Tran­quility, Opulence, Virtue and Religion.

RAISE such a Character to a public Sta­tion, an important Trust in Society, that of a Maker for Instance of those Laws by which it subsists, and this generous Spirit which before blessed a few, sends forth its benign Influence, and Thousands and Thou­sands feel the happy Effects of it. He receives the Trust as Power put into his Hands by the universal Father, to indulge in the most pleasing Degree to his ruling Passion. No Honours, no Profits of his own are sought distinct from such generous Views, no Designs of others countenanced, which are unfavorable to the public Peace and Prosperity. He enjoys the Plenty, the Li­berty, the Knowledge, the Virtue, of all about him, in Prospect, while he is pursuing proper Measures for them; in pleasurable [Page 18] Sympathy when they are possessed of them. He is therefore ever intent, moved thereto by Instinct, Reason and Religion, to im­prove his Trust to the general Advantage, from the lowest to the highest Point of it.

WHEN such is the deserved Character of the ruling Part of a Community, "GOD has a Pleasure for them," Men of such a Temper and such Affections, sleep and wake for the common Benefit. Their equal and ardent Love to the Whole, excites them to all such Measures as Wisdom points out, whereby the Whole may be made easy and happy. While by all Encouragement to Agri­culture, they "turn a Wilderness into a fruit­ful Field," they protect and cherish her Sis­ter Commerce, and make every Part of the Globe, as well as their own, minister to their Plenty and Riches. Fair Liberty, which gives Life and Spirit to the whole, is guar­ded by them as the Apple of their Eye.—Wrong Doing and Immorality are frowned upon, Temperance and good Manners, sup­ported as the very Source of that Spirit of Independance and masculine Courage, which must give the collective Body of a Community, Respect and Weight with their Neighbours, which will render them terri­ble [Page 19] to foreign Enemies, as "an Army with Burners." In their Days, Arts and Scie­nces will be cultivated and flourish, those who excel in them be honoured and favour­ed, while their Labours tend to enoble the Mind, to diffuse those intellectual Accom­plishments, which afford the most refined Pleasures the human Mind can be blessed with, short of those which are divine, and at the same Time raise up from Age to Age, Men of "Knowledge and Wisdom, the sta­bility of their Times." Especially will this lovely Spirit of Patriotism exert itself in the Support of real Religion, by severely ani­madverting on every Thing contrary to its unquestioned Dictates, by stricly requiring that outward Veneration of GOD, which none deny to be his due, by guarding the Rights of Conscience with the nicest Care, the least Infringement of which, in some De­gree saps the Foundation of that "pure Re­ligion and undefiled," which alone is use­ful to Men, or acceptable to the Deity.

FROM what has been said, it may be well inferred, that when any Community, or those in it who have the Right of electing their principal Officers, neglect such Quali­fications as I have described, they become [Page 20] in the Language of our Law, Felo's de se, in the Style of Scripture, "they refuse to hearken unto GOD" and "reject the Coun­sel of GOD against themselves." For no­thing is more certain than that "Grapes are not to be gathered of Thorns, nor Figs of Thistles." No Society can flourish long, where public Spirit is not the Characteristics of its Rulers—Avarice will in an indepen­dent State its Neighbours, and in any State keep its own interior Condition weak and contemptible, by stinting the Progress of every Thing which is its Strength and Beauty. In a single person, it will thwart every Measure which requires Expence, starving the Public for fear of lessening its own private Stock. Terrible are the Effects of this corrupt Passion, when Rulers are ve­nal, and Justice itself bought and sold.—Want of Capacity, from whence proceed little sordid Views, will serve particular Inte­rests to the Detriment of the common, cre­ate Uneasiness and Bickerings, like those of the Belly and Limbs in the Fable, and keep a Society low.—Ambition, except well re­strained, is dangerous in a Ruler: When gratified, it cannot heartily love Equals, is apt to look with an evil Eye on Liberty her­self, when the crosses its Views; disappoint­ed [Page 21] especially in an irascible Constitution, which is mostly the Case, it is like a raging Fire which devours every Thing in its way, nor spares "the Cedars of Lebanon."—In­dolence, will not give itself the Trouble to foresee or guard; to think nor act for "the Peace of Jerusalem." The worst impending Calamities awake it not. The Public sinks or swims as Events turn up, when unactive Men are at Helm.—What is called a politi­cal Head, skill in the Art of Government, where disinterested Patriotism is not at Bot­tom, is but a mean detestable Craft, which abuses its Acquaintance with the Passions of Men, its Ascendency over their Ignorance, or Confidence it has insidiously gained, to answer Purposes alien from the general Inte­rest, by Means inconsistent with plain open Right.—Severity of Temper, inclining to write its Laws in Blood, will keep Society unquiet, and be apt to approach the Verge of Tyranny. Touchiness or Moreseness sinks the Character of Reputation of Ru­ler, and if it prevails in the general Complexi­on of the Body of Rulers, of Government itself.—But above all, Disregard to Religi­on, open Impiety, in a Ruler, especialy in an Administration, has a most baneful Influ­ence on Society. To patronize Dissolution [Page 22] of Manners, by Word or Example, conta­gious Example, to suffer the Hedges of Mo­rality to be trodden down, that Fear of GOD to fail, without which every social Tye is weak, and easily snapped in sunder, is the worst Defect of Policy, the greatest Want of Benevolence that can be conceived.—"Sin is the Reproach of any People." and if there be a righteous Ruler of the World, he will visit for such Neglects in those, who repose Trusts in unfit Persons, and this Irre­ligion in its own Nature brings a Curse.

WHEREFORE, Let those of my Hearers who are more peculiarly concerned in these Observations, hearken unto GOD. They have been in a solemn Manner asking his Direction and Blessing this Morning; GOD speaks to them, he answers their Requests, b [...] the Dictates of good Sense, Integrity and Prudence, which we presume are now [...] them, and which if attended to [...] an happy Issue to the Choice of this Day. If they take heed to the mark the Characters, which unworthy or noxious in private Life, will be useless or hurtful to the general Interests, and avoid them. They cannot have greater Security, of any Man's being a Blessing in the Execution of the Trust [Page 23] reposed in him, than this, That he has giv­en full Proof in private Life, of the Extent and Strength of the Habits of Justice and Benevolence he possesses. When these Ha­bits are joined with good Sense, extensive Knowledge and Penetration; which I mean always to take into the Account, and anima­ted by a Reverence of GOD, and they fix on such Men, they have done their Part faith­fully, and may chearfully leave Events to GOD.

II. THE Second Observation I make on the Part of antient Story now read, is, That Men who are well qualified for important Offices in Society, will, when called to undertake them, do it with a serious Sense of the Labour and Difficulty, attending a faithful Discharge of them.

THIS Remark I make, on the Averseness of the Olive-Tree, the Fig-Tree, &c. to the being preferred; their esteeming the Ease and Quiet of a retired Life of Beneficence, more eligible than all the Honours and Pro­fits of a public Station.

GOD forbid that all worthy Men should carry a similar Aversion to such a Length, [Page 24] that Society should be forced to recur to Brambles, for the filling the Departments ne­cessary to its Subsistence.

WHERE Men in high Posts, execute the Duties of them with Integrity and Zeal, the Envious, or those who affect to degrade hu­man Nature, to derive whatever appears va­luable from a foul and corrupt Source, these may call such, Men of Ambition, and say, they are but gratifying their Pride; but the Tenor of their Conduct proves the Goodness of their Principles. Let Ambition be one; and is it not (within due Limits) a good one, yea a necessary one, for Creatures of our Rank, who are not so perfect as to be mo­ved only by the sublimest Affections. Public Trusts well discharged, uniform Patriotism, vindicate from such invidious Aspersions prove the selfish Passions to be under due Re­straint: For where such Conduct is perse­vered in, there must have been a sober Sense of the Weight of such Trusts, a final Resolu­tion to go through every Step of Labour, needful to the qualifying for the faithful and useful Discharge of them.

[Page 25]LET us then suppose, an upright Mind deliberating on and ballancing each Side of the Affair, when a chief Place in Govern­ment presents. He sees before him Honour and Distinction among his Fellow-Citizens; Power which Nature so greedily catches at; perhaps more Revenue than private Life will afford him. But he sees on the other Side, that good Conscience requires, close Application of Mind to the amassing civil and political Knowledge; the gaining just Ideas of the general Rights of Mankind na­tural and social; of the Laws of Nature and Nations; the municipal Constitutions of his own Country; the Genius and Interests of his People; their Connections with, or Dan­gers from their Neighbours; the Methods of best encreasing their Numbers, Wealth and Extent; the Laws which will render their Liberties more equal and secure; their internal Policy more firm; encourage their Trade and Manufactures; promote Virtue and a Spirit of Religion: The good Ruler, in such a View, esteems his Office a Post of Care and Burden.

HE is also sensible, that from a Variety of Causes he shall have much Trial of his Sted­fastness, [Page 26] much Anxiety and Grief; that he must set his Face forward in Duty as a Flint, resolving that ‘till he dies his Integrity shall not depart from him.’ Aware of his li­mited Capacity of Mind, he foresees he may advise to, or vote for Measures, which Expe­rience may prove unfit or unsalutary. Those Evil-doers, to whom he is by his Place to be a Terror, will of Course be his avowed Ene­mies, if he shall distinguish himself in the Cause of Order, Peace and Justice. The In­firmities of others will give him much Pain. For placed on high, with the Eyes of all fix­ed on him, Censures will be frequent and se­vere. The most useful Institutions, if no­vel, often offend by their Novelty; if Re­medies of deep-rooted, long-continued E­vils; some have found an Advantage in these Evils, they will be chagrined; the Change is often attended with Perplexities, the good Effects perhaps at a Distance; the Patriot must have much Firmness to support him under the Complaints and Obloquy which will be sometimes stirred up. Some think themselves equal to the Government of Provinces and Kingdoms, merely through Want of Sense; these are usually very loud in their Clamours. Others carp because [Page 27] they imagine nothing can be well done but by themselves;—They are out of Place, they are injured and the Commonwealth suffers.

To conclude here, the wise and tho'tful Ruler ever considers himself, as introduced by the high Monarch of the Universe, the Judge of All, to his Post of Dignity. He esteems himself bound to follow Him who "never slumbers nor sleeps," never inter­mits his powerful and gracious Providence. The Vows of GOD are upon him. And when he carries himself forward to that awful Tribunal, at which the great as well as the small are to appear, he is convinced, that as he has more Talents to account for the Improvement of than others, his future Reward or Punishment will be proportiona­bly greater. `How can I,' says he in his Retirements for Recollection, `How can I bear to hear from the Judge of All, "thou wicked and slothful Servant!" `How can I bear the Woe which those deserve who by Breach of Trust, have been accessory to the Wrongs of Multitudes, of Peoples and Nations!'

[Page 28]BUT the wise GOD has, in the moral as well as in the natural World, set one Thing over against another. With his Anxieties and Labours, the Patriot Ruler has also his Satisfactions and Supports. If he is the Butt of the Querulous and Envious, he has little to fear from Flattery. The Incense of Pa­rasites is usually offered to those of other Designs and Tempers. He is sure of the Esteem of the discerning Few, the best Judges and truest Friends of Merit, whose Opinion only affects a wise Man's inward. Peace, and a Series of Wisdom and Benefi­cence, will in the long Run be the Object of general Approbation, tho' the Path to such Honour be tedious and rugged. He will have the constant Applause of his own Mind, which like a Shield of Brass, repels the Darts of Envy, and keeps all calm within. He will enjoy the noble Pleasure of being able to appeal to GOD, "LORD thou knowest that I have served thee in Integrity, and done that which is good in thy Sight." He will be able to look forward to the great Day with sublime Joy, when by Faith he views the Judge of All distributing the Re­wards of Grace, saying, "Well done good and faithful Servant, thou hast; been faithful [Page 29] in a few Things, I will make thee Ruler o­ver many Things, enter thou into the Joy of thy LORD." And if a "Cup of cold Water" given to a Disciple of his, shall not lose its Reward, to what an elevated Seat of Glory shall those be exalted, who out of Regard to GOD, have employed their Time and Abilities for the Happiness of Multitudes.

WHEN therefore, my Hearers, we de­precate the Advancement of such to high Offices, who receive them only as a Grati­fication of childish Vanity, or as the Means, of gratifying some selfish paltry Interest, or who tho' they labour and toil in them, yet 'tis only to satiate some ugly Passion; when, I say, we pray that this may not be our Fate, we ought with Gratitude to Heaven, to rejoice that our Affairs are hitherto in better Hands.

IT affords the strongest Presumption of Capacity, Application and public Spirit in Rulers, when in the Style of Scripture, "All Things go well." And 'tis to be pretty certainly determined that Things in the whole go well, when the Body of a People feel well, and when the malevolent and froward, are obliged to exaggerate or [Page 30] distort in Order to present a different Image of Affairs. Tranquillity and Order are not the Effects of Chance. We are then one and all to be thankful for Blessings of this sort we have experienced, and to endeavour in our respective Places, that they may be perpetuated.

A JUSTER Compliment cannot be paid to the GENTLEMAN, whom his royal Mas­ter has placed at the Head of this Province, (and seeing thereby we enjoy much Peace and Quietness, may He be long here conti­nued) than in the Name of this whole People, to express our full Confidence in him, that it is his Heart's Desire, that such may from Time to Time be joined in the Administration with him, as shall heartily labour and watch for the Liberty, Peace and Prosperity of the Community; going on har­moniously and zealously with him in pro­moting the general Interest, that so he may enjoy that permanent and heart-felt Pleasure, which is the Property and Happiness of a generous Mind in an exalted Station, and give account at last, not merely of well-meant Endeavours, but of extensive and substantial Fruits of his Fidelity in the Ser­vice of his People, his Master and his GOD.

[Page 31]WISE Rulers, in such a Train of Think­ing, will enter upon their Offices with great Sobriety of Mind, as into Scenes of Care and Burthen, through the whole of which they shall need the steadiest Application, unwea­ried Efforts to approve themselves to Him, by whom the Welfare of the People is en­trusted to them;—And to every Thing hu­man, will add that devout Dependance up­on Him, whose is the Preparation of the Heart, whose is Counsel and Understanding; which shall secure his gracious Presence, his constant Guidance and final Acceptance.—May this be the Spirit of those who shall be chosen into HIS MAJESTY'S Council this Day!

WITH such Ideas of the Weight of public Trusts the Body of a People will, if they are wise or humane, be careful not to add to the unavoidable Fatigues of Magistracy, ground­less Jealousies and trifling Complaints: But where there are Marks of good Intention, and of a steady Pursuit of the general Weal, will be tender of the Character of their Rulers, ready to give them Honour and Applause, animate them by chearful Submission, and ever (above all) commend them to GOD, [Page 32] whose "Ministers they are to them so good," and through whom his Bounties descend upon them.

III. THE last Part of our present Medita­tions will arise from the Conclusion of our Text, which presents to us the Spirit and Genius of unlimited Despotism; and from this View we shall naturally turn to the lovely Contrast, and be led to a grateful Re­collection of the Blessings of civil and reli­gious Liberty, a valuable Branch whereof we are this Lay improving.

HERE our Field of Meditation grows ex­tensive, and I own I the rather chose this Part of Scripture for my Text, because it carries us beyond our own comparatively little Interests; to continue ourselves to which, at such a joyful and remarkable a Period as this, and on such a Day, would betray want of Judgment and want of Gratitude. You see here in the Fable a repti [...], contemptible, noxious Plant; in the Application of it, an upstart Usurper, raised to Power by the Fol­ly of some and the Wickedness of others, no sooner invested with it, than he insolently lets his Electors know what they had to expect [Page 33] from him: ‘If in Truth ye anoint me King over you, then come and put your Trust in my Shadow; and if nor, let Fire come out of the Bramble, and devour the Ce­dars of Lebanon.’—'You have made me your supreme Magistrate, you are now to pay me an unreserved, abject Submission; if you fail, expect this Power to be employ­ed to the Destruction of him who dares op­pose me, tho' the most noble and respecta­ble Character.'

THIS is the genuine Language of arbitra­ry Will, and has been too often heard, not only in Fable, but in real Life, and Facts have followed it in a most full and dreadful Ex­tent. The Tyrant's Nod, the Caprice of his Minions and Parasites, have disposed of Li­berty, Property, Life, in spite of the most venerable Rights, descended from distant Ages; the Voice of Reason; the Maxims of Equity and Claims of Conscience. No Jus­tice restrains: no Mercy relents: Does any one dispute, or lift up his Hand, "Fire comes out of the Bramble and destroys the Cedars of Lebanon." O that for the Honor of the human Species, the horrible Fruits of arbitrary Power were Matter of Theory on­ly, [Page 34] or the painting of a lively Imagination: that Persecution, Oppression, Rapine, Mas­sacres, Depopulations, were Exaggerations or Caracatura's! — But it is not easy to overcharge the dismal Features of Tyranny: Every one conversant in ancient History has seen this Fury firing the Cedars of Lebanon yea, devouring every Part of the Earth by Turns with her internal Flames: Nor have later Ages, with all the Experience of those who went before them, quite emancipated themselves from her Chains, escaped her Ravages.

ASIA formerly, almost to its utmost Li­mits, saw the wanton Alexander with no Pretence of Right, yet spreading? Desolation, accounting the Claim of Independence, a sufficient Cause for inducing all the Miseries of War, on those whom GOD and Nature had made free. The Romans, once the People on the Earth the most tenacious of their Liberties, yet saw Julius proscribing their few surviving Patriots, basely abusing the Name and Majesty of the Commonwealth, to aid him in climbing the Pinnacle of law­less Greatness, from whence he might tram­ple it under Foot. Language cannot de­scribe [Page 35] the wretched Condition to which the Mistress of the World fell, when she was subjected to Monsters, who could wish the whole People had one Neck, to be cut off at a Stroke; when the first Magistrates were set up and pulled down by a rude, ra­pacious Soldiery; when the very Shew of Virtue, Integrity and Love of their Coun­try, marked Men out for Destruction.

WHEN in after Times, the northern Parts of Europe became the Seat of Liberty, her Influence tending Southward, what constant Conflicts have there been between Freedom and Despotism! what Seas of Blood have been shed in them! How often has this no­ble Cause been foiled! In how many Parts is the Name and Thing extinct! Where are the ancient Parliaments of France, the Cortes of Spain, the Assemblies of the States and Commons, the voluntary Supporters of Princes, the avowed Defenders of their own Rights? They are no more.—There gripes the iron Hand of Power; there dwells un­manly, dastardly Slavery, in her most dis­graceful and ignominious Forms. For ne­ver is a tame, contented Slavery more un­worthy and reproachful, than in Times and [Page 36] Places where Knowledge of natural and so­cial Right prevails. There a hellish Inquisi­tion reigns over the sacred Rights of Con­science; there Dragoons are the Instruments of converting Men to Truth; there Indus­try flags, and every thing generous is cram­ped and discouraged.

BUT, Britain, favoured of GOD, has hi­therto maintained her Liberty; Freedom has subsisted in Health and Vigour, over­come all Opposition; recovered of every Disorder: There may she ever flourish, and "under her Shadow we shall be safe." Not all the Vicissitudes of human Affairs have af­forded Opportunity for the Destruction of the Freedom of our Nations. Intestine Frauds and Treasons, the Weakness and Wickedness of Princes, foreign Invasions, have all in Event ('tis wonderful!) but they have all, in Event, served to fix Liberty more firmly, to mark out her Path, deter­mine her Bounds, extend her Influence.

LOOK back, my Hearers, to the most dis­tant Times, of which we have any authentic Records; trace the English History from thence, in its principal Events, to this Day, [Page 37] you will find it verified. The Irruption of the Romans drew our Ancestors from the Fastnesses of the Wilderness, and its unculti­vated Manners, to social Life, to Know­ledge, perhaps of Christianity itself. The rough Saxons imported those masculine Prin­ciples of Freedom and Government, that Equipoise of Power and Liberty, which, built upon and improved, have rendered the British Constitution the Admiration and En­vy of the World. The Companions and Abettors of the Norman Invader, as though the very Air of the Island infected them; no sooner were they seated, than they became the Restrainers of Power, the Patrons of Li­berty. Papal Usurpations upon civil Rights could never have quiet Possession there, for any Length of Time. And when what was termed ecclesiastical Power, was translated from the Mitre to the Crown, this Power, founded on civil, or imperial and canonLaw, in themselves and unchecked, a System of Tyranny, could never establish itself to the Wrong of the commonLaw, the ancient, fun­damental Laws, Customs and Franchises of the People. Attempts to put these Laws in Use, and extend them, were the real Source of the Misfortunes of the Royal House of [Page 38] Steuart; these Attempts made wise Men mad in the Fury of their Opposition to them for a Season, brought on Scenes of Confusion and Misery. Length of Time has cooled the Party-Rage which succeeded that unhappy Day; and it ought, in good Measure, to cover the Errors of those Princes, that the first of them had the Honor, to be Progenitor to Kings, who have as zealously laboured for the Happiness of these Nations, as ever they mistakenly could for their Hurt.

THE Restoration of the Constitution in King Charles the Second, however fair it promised, had well nigh been but a transient Gleam of Light, hastening to fatal Dark­ness, thro' the mean Attachment of that Prince to a foreign grasping Power, and the nigh Approach of the Succession of a Popish Sovereign; when behold! the very Men who had been bribed and pensioned to be­tray their Country, opened their Eyes, for­sook their Master, and became stedfast Op­posers of the public Enemy.

The glorious Revolution in I688, pla­ced the Rights of Britons on a sure Basis; they were declared, claimed, acknowledg­ed, [Page 39] in their full Extent; and yet, strange to tell; there wanted not a Faction of de­luded or abandoned Men, who by restless Treason, endeavoured to sink them and us again, into Slavery to the most contempti­ble Abimelechs. But the Effect followed, which is to be expected from social Virtue and public Spirit alarmed and its Powers collected, greatly an Overmatch for unna­tural Parricide, it prevailed in the peaceable Succession of the illustrious House of Hano­ver, and the close Attachment of all who wished well to themselves or their Posterity, to them. GOD be thanked, that the Time is come, when this absurd Spirit is extinct.

DURING the long Period we have re­viewed, England was frequently in Jeopar­dy from Abroad; sometimes ready in Des­pair to subject herself to foreign Power, that she might free herself from domestic Tyran­ny, as in the Case of King John; once at the Brink of being swallowed up by an in­vincible Armada of Spain; once nigh reme­diless Confusion, thro' the infernal Arts of Rome, in the infamous Powder-Plot; and for a Century past, constantly endangered by the insidious Arts of France, the uncea­sing [Page 40] Enemy of her Tranquillity—an Ene­my, at one Time tampering with her indo­lent, profuse, superstitious Princes; at ano­ther, abetting vagrant Pretenders to her Crown: At length, this aspiring Power rightly judged that her future Efforts of this Kind would be vain, if the British Plantati­ons on the Continent of America should flourish and extend, and derive Wealth and Strength for their Mother-Country: Her Mi­nistry therefore, with Craft and Perfidy, laid a Plan for first stinting their Growth (as they found the inhuman stimulating the Sa­vages to their Destruction, would not effect the Purpose) that they might by and by o­verwhelm them. This brought on the late bloody War, in which, to distress and wea­ken Britain, this capital Enemy had the Ad­dress to engage the greatest Part of Europe, and at length to seduce the weak Councils of Spain to taste the bitter Fruits of it. The most important Events of the War, its first dark Scenes, the "Light which arose in the Darkness," brightning "more and more unto the perfect Day," in its glorious Issue, are deeply imprinted in every Breast; I shall therefore wave the Recital.

[Page 41]THE Exaltation of Great-Britain to the Summit of earthly Grandeur and Glory, was reserved in the Counsels of GOD for the Age and Reign of GEORGE the Third,—"Blessed are our Eyes for they see, our Ears for they hear," those great Things, which our Ancestors "desired to see and hear, but did not."

WE see a King on the Throne (succeed­ing his royal Grandfather, of immortal Me­mory) rejoicing, that, to every other Mo­tive, this of Birth is added, to endear his Subjects to him, to attach him to their Laws and Constitutions, and engage him to Vigi­lance and Zeal for their Protection. While the venerable Foundations of all we hold dear, are guarded with the strictest Care, while the lowest Subject is safe as the high­est, in every Enjoyment he can desire; the most powerful Enemies, the most formida­ble Combination of them, have fallen into "the Pit which they themselves digged."

AUSPICIOUS Day! when Britain, the special Care of Heaven, blessed with a pa­triot Sovereign, served by wise and faithful Councellors, brave Commanders, successful [Page 42] Fleets and Armies, seconded in her Efforts by all her Children, and by none more zea­lously than by those of New-England, (I don't say gives Law to, a free State detests the arrogant tyrannic Phrase, but) has it in her Power to demand Peace of the most powerful Enemies, on Terms, just and equal, safe, highly advantageous and glorious, beyond what were expected or even sought for, through a Deluge of Blood.

HAPPY Sovereign of such a People, gene­rous Olive-Tree; whose Branches spread out, whose Fruit is dispersed for the Healing of the Nations! Happy Island of his Nativi­ty; blessed the Womb that bare him! It is GEORGE the Third, who gives Peace to half the World. How can Faction but be dumb, contending Parties but melt into gentle Harmony.

IN these Events, the LORD GOD hath spoken, who can but prophecy, "In his Days shall the Righteous flourish, and A­bundance of Peace so long as the Moon en­dureth: He shall have Dominion from Sea to Sea: They that dwell in the Wilderness shall bow before him, and his Enemies shall [Page 43] lick the Dust: The Kings of Tarshish and the Isles shall bring Presents; the Kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer Gifts: He shall deliver the Needy when he crieth, the Poor also, and him that hath no Helper: He shall redeem their Soul from Deceit and Violence; and precious shall their Blood be in his Sight. And he shall live, and to him shall be given of the Gold of Sheba: Prayer also shall be made for him continually, and daily shall he be praised. His Name shall endure forever, his Name shall be continued as long as the Sun."

BUT chiefly thou, O America, mayest well rejoice, the Children of New-England may be glad and triumph, in Reflection on Events past, and Prospect of the future. Encompassed with native Savages, our Fa­thers having escaped from Oppression, deep­est felt by pious Minds, carried their Lives in their Hands, subjected to Captivities, to inhuman Cruelties and Massacres Encom­passed with crafty, faithless Europeans, who sought their Ruin, what Prospect could they have before them. The dearer and more valuable the Rights they had earned, the more gloomy the Fore-thought of losing [Page 44] them. And if we their Offspring, call to Mind the Ideas which possessed us in the Year I756, with what Exultation must we sing, "The Snare is broken and we are es­caped."

NOW commences the AEra of our quiet Enjoyment of those Liberties, which our Fathers purchased with the Toil of their whole Lives, their Treasure, their Blood. Safe from the Enemy of the Wilderness, safe from the griping Hand of arbitrary Sway and cruel Superstition; Here shall be the late founded Seat of Peace and Freedom. Here shall our indulgent Mother, who has most generously rescued and protected us, be ser­ved and honoured by growing Numbers, with all Duty, Love and Gratitude, till Time shall be no more. Here shall be a perennial Source of her Strength and Riches. Here shall Arts and Sciences, the Companions of Tranquility, flourish. Here shall her new Subjects and their Posterity, bless the Day, when their imagined Enemies Victories proved to them the Beginning of the most valuable Freedom. Here shall dwell un­corrupted Faith, the pure Worship of GOD, in its primitive Simplicity, unawed, [Page 45] uninterrupted; here shall it extend itself and its benign Influences among those who have hitherto "sat in Darkness, in the Re­gion and under the Shadow of Death." "Truth shall spring out of the Earth, and Righteousness shall look down from Hea­ven; yea the Lord shall give that which is is good; Righteousness shall go before him, and shall set us in the Way of his Steps."

O that neither we, nor those who come after us, may wantonly forfeit these Blessings and these Hopes; but by a wise Use of our distinguished Privileges, a moderate and virtuous Enjoyment of the Blessings of Peace, and steady living up to the Maxims of our holy Religion, may derive upon ourselves and ours, the Continuance of them; for "the Mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting, upon them that fear him, and his Righteousness unto Children's Children, to such as keep his Co­venant, and to those that remember his Commandments, to do them."


This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.