IS. XI:13.




[Page III]



YOUR Lordship's appointment to be Se­cretary of State for the American depart­ment, by numbers that respected your Lordship's religious character, was looked upon as a very providential and happy event. Your patronizing of religious undertakings, confirmed the general opinion, and we were happy in the expectations of your Lordship's conscientious regard to justice and equity, as well as to the civil and religious liberties of this great Continent; we expected the cause of liberty and religion would meet with the strongest support under your administration, and in your Lordship would ever find a constant and successful advocate with your royal master.

[Page IV]Unhappily during your administration, mea­sures have been pursued very contrary to Ame­rican hopes, and we easily conceive your Lord­ship may think it not less strange that many friends of religion in America should be so un­easy under laws which had your Lordship's con­currence and approbation.

It is to the Man and to the Christian I wish to be permitted to address myself: Your Lord­ship ranks among the highest subjects, and has a large share in all public measures, but anxiety for what may distress, and zeal for the welfare of the empire, can be no crime even in the meanest; and when a house is once in flames, every man is inexcusable, or must at least be so in his own breast, that does not contribute what­ever he may think in his power to their being extinguished. The effects of the present measures are visible, and it requires no sagacity to foresee what may be the consequence, should they be continued. Your Lordship may do much to­wards restoring and perpetuating the tranquility of a great empire; persons of my station have nothing to offer but hints and wishes, should these be beneath your notice, or stand in need of forgiveness, my sincere wish to contribute any [Page V] thing towards a just, happy and perpetual con­nexion between a parent state and an infant country growing apace to the most astonishing importance, must be my only apology. Pulchrum est bene facere reipublicae, sed & bene dicere non est absurdum.

The question, My Lord, which now agitates Great-Britain and America, and in which your Lordship has taken such an active part, is, whether the Parliament of Great-Britain has a right to lay taxes on the Americans, who are not, and cannot, there be represented, and whether the Parliament has a right to bind the Americans in all cases whatsoever? Whatever may be said, or whatever the good people in Great-Britain may believe, this is the whole subject of the dispute. All the severities hither­to exercised upon the Americans professedly have no other view than to enforce such a dependance, and nothing less than a claim destructive of all natural and national liberty, could possibly have united all America in a general opposition, or have aroused them to join all like one man in their common defence. Let a declaratory bill be passed, that any law and usage to the contrary notwithstanding, America is entitled to all the [Page VI] common rights of mankind and all the blessings of the British constitution, that the sword shall never be drawn to abridge, but to confirm, her birthright, and the storm instantly becomes a calm, and every American thinks himself happy to contribute to the necessities, defence and glory of Great-Britain to the utmost of his strength and power.

To bind them in ALL CASES WHATSOEVER, my Lord, the Americans look upon this as the language of despotism in its utmost perfection. What can, say they, an Emperor of Morocco pre­tend more of his slaves than to bind them in all cases whatsoever. Were it meant to make the Americans hewers of wood and drawers of water, were it meant to oblige them to make bricks with­out straw, were it meant to deprive them of the enjoyment of their religion, and to establish a hie­rarchy over them similar to that of the church of Rome in Canada? it would, say they, be no more than a natural consequence of the right of binding them (unseen, unheard, unrepresented) in all cases whatsoever.

My Lord, the Americans are no ideots, and they appear determined not to be slaves. Op­pression [Page VII] will make wise men mad, but oppressors in the end frequently find that they were not wise men: there may be resources even in despair sufficient to render any set of men strong enough not to be bound in all cases whatsoever.

Grievous is the thought, my Lord, that a no­bleman of your Lordship's character should be so zealous to make war, and to imbrue his hands in the blood of millions of your fellow-subjects and fellow-christians: Pray, my Lord, is it possible that those, who at three thousand miles distance can be bound in all cases, may be said to have any liberty at all? Is it nothing in your Lordship's eye to deprive so considerable a part of the globe of the privilege of breathing a free air, or to sub­jugate numbers and generations to slavery and despotism? Can your Lordship think on these things without horror, or hope they must be productive of any thing but detestation and dis­appointment? Your Lordship believes a Supreme Ruler of the earth, and that the small and great must stand before him at last: Would your Lordship be willing, at the general meeting of all mankind, to take a place among those who destroyed or enslaved empires, or risk your future state on the merit of having, at the expence of [Page VIII] British blood and treasure, taken away the pro­perty, the life and liberty of the largest part of the Brittish empire? Can your Lordship think those that fear the LORD will not cry to him against their oppressors, and will not the Father of mankind hear the cries of the oppressed? or would you be willing that their cries and tears should rise against you as a forward instrument of their oppression.

I know, my Lord, that this is not courtly language, but your Lordship is a professor of re­ligion, and of the pure, gentle, benevolent re­ligion of JESUS CHRIST: The groans of a people pushed on a precipice, and driven on the very brink of despair, will prove forcible, till it can be proved that any power, in whose legislation the Americans have no part, may at pleasure bind them in all cases whatsoever; till it can be proved that such a claim does not consti­tute the very essence of slavery and despotism; till it can be proved that the Americans (whom in this view I can no longer call Britons) may, and of right ought, to be thus bound; abhor­rence of such assertions is only the language of truth, which in the end will force its way, and [Page IX] rise superior to all the arts of falshood and all the powers of oppression.

Right or wrong, my Lord, in all cases what­soever, but more especially when the fate of na­tions is concerned, are words of infinite moment. Your Lordship doubtless believes that the weighty alternative must have very solemn and different effects here and hereafter; but waving the right or wrong of this vile unhappy dispute, let me entreat your Lordship's attention to consider at what an infinite risk the present measures must be pursued, even were it not demonstrable that they are in the highest degree wrong, cruel and oppressive.

The bulk of the inhabitants of a continent extending eighteen hundred miles in front on the atlantic, and permitting an extension in breadth as far as the south sea, look upon the claim, to bind them in all cases whatsoever, as unjust, illegal and detestable, let us suppose for a moment that they are grossly mistaken; yet an error imbibed by millions, and in which they believe the ALL of the present and future gene­rations lies at stake, may prove a very dangerous error; destroying the Americans will not cure [Page X] them, nor will any acts that condemn to starve or be miserable, have any tendency to persuade them that these acts were made by their friends. The people in England are made to believe that the Americans want to separate from them, or are unwilling to bear their part of the common burden. No representation can be more false; but, my Lord, a nation cannot be misled always, and when once the good people of Great-Britain get truer notions of the matter, they will naturally wreak their resentment on those by whom they have been grossly misinformed or wretchedly deceived.

Review, my Lord, the effects of the present measures; the past and present will inform your Lordship of what may be to come.

With an unparalleled patience did the Bo­stonians bear the annihilation of their trade, the blocking up of their harbour, and many other distresses, till at Lexington an attack was made upon their lives, and then they gave sufficient proof that their patience was not the effect of timidity, but of prudence and an unwillingness to shed British blood. This attack convinced all America [...] [Page XI] were athirst after their blood, and the behaviour of both parties on that day, and in many little skirmishes since, must convince all the world that in the cause of liberty the Americans are not afraid to look regulars in the face, and that in an unjust and oppressive service British troops are far from being invincible.

The burning of the innocent town of Charles­town, after it had been left by its inhabitants, is a piece of such wanton cruelty as will fix an overlasting disgrace on the British arms. In the long civil war in Great-Britain nothing of the kind was attempted by either party, and this barbarity cannot fail being condemned by all ci­vilized nations.

If at the battle on Bunker's hill the Ameri­cans have been surprized, superiority has cost the regulars dearer than the Americans what is called their defeat, one or two more such defeats of the Americans would forever put it out of the power of the present regular army to gain a victory.

The rejecting of the New-York petition has [Page XII] effectually silenced all those who pleaded for, or hoped any good from, petitioning. The can­nonading of that town in the dead of the night, and without the least previous warning, as it has shewn what the inhabitants are indiscriminately to expect, will in history stand as a lasting mo­nument of such wantonness of cruelty as nations not remarkable for humanity would be ashamed of.

The destroying of the New-England fishery laid all those who were deprived of their bread and occupation at sea, under an absolute neces­sity of seeking it in the American army, and the sense of the injury done them will doubtless exert itself in the day of battle.

The endeavour to stir up popish Canadians and savage Indians against the Colonists has been productive of the taking of the important pass of Ticonderoga, which has been effected with­out the loss of a single life on either side.

Detaining the inhabitants of Boston, after they had, in dependance on the General's word of honour, given up their arms, to be starved [Page XIII] and ruined, is an action worthy of the cause, and can only be equaled by the distresses of Pro­testants driven under the walls of Londonderry, at which even a James relented.

Proposals publicly made by ministerial writers relative to American domestics, laid the south­ern provinces under a necessity of arming them­selves; a proposal to put it in the power of do­mestics to cut the throats of their masters, can only serve to cover the proposers and abettors with everlasting infamy.

The Americans have been called ‘a rope of sand;’ but blood and sand will make a firm cementation, and enough American blood has been already shed to cement them together into a thirteenfold cord, not easily to be broken.

My Lord, the violence of the present mea­sures has almost instantaneously created a conti­nental union, a continental currency, a conti­nental army, and before this can reach your Lordship, they will be as equal in discipline as they are superior in cause and spirit to any regu­lars. The most zealous Americans could not [Page XIV] have effected in an age, what the cruelty and violence of administration has effectually brought to pass in a day.

The regular army employed on this errand, with four able generals, now lies no better than besieged within the ruins of Charlestown and Boston, unable to procure the necessaries of life, obliged to import their bread from Europe, and fuel from Canada, pining away with disease, and affording daily martyrs to cruelty and arbi­trary power, while every day adds to the impro­bability of their ever obtaining those unhappy ends, A strange situation for a British army!

Restraining the trade of the Colonies, will ef­fectually annihilate all their trade with Great-Britain. The numbers that crossed the atlantic, or re-exported American commodities from Great-Britain, the manufacturers that wrought for America, or worked up her raw materials, will now be at full leisure to know and feel whether the American trade be an object of any importance, and how much the nation is obliged to a ministry that has so effectually laboured its destruction.

[Page XV]The present dispute has made every Ameri­can acquainted with, and attentive to, the prin­ciples of the Brittish constitution: In this re­spect, as well as in a strong sense of liberty, and the use of fire-arms almost from the cradle, the Americans have vastly the advantage over men of their rank almost every where else. From the con­stant topic of present conversation, every child unborn will be impressed with the notion: It is slavery to be bound at the will of another in all cases whatsoever; every mother's milk will convey a detestation of this maxim. Were your Lordship in America, you might see little ones acquainted with the word of command before they can di­stinctly speak, and shouldering the resemblance of a gun before they are well able to walk.

When millions of free people at once turn their thoughts from trade, and the means of ac­quiring wealth, to agriculture and frugality, it must cause a most sensible alteration in the state. My Lord, this is the case at present in America; every new act of violence will strengthen and confirm the spirit that taught them the necessity of being frugal and virtuous, that they might remain free, and become invincible.

[Page XVI]Admit, my Lord, (for suppositions now be­come probable in proportion of their being astonishing and violent) that a Brittish fleet may effectually guard every harbour, river, creek or inlet on the American coast; admit also that her troops destroy every town, village or hut along the seashore, what then will be the consequence? Why, my Lord, it will be the destroying the property of thousands in Great-Britain, and of a few on this side of the water, whom your Lord­ship calls your friends; perhaps the attempt may not succeed, but supposing it should, the Ame­ricans, injured beyond a possibility of reparation, and irritated to the highest degree, will retire where they are inaccessible to troops and ships; instead of trade and navigation, you will have a desolate sea-coast, the trade of America will be lost, and with it the sinews of war: And, my Lord, in the natural course of things America, in less than half a century, will contain more inhabitants than Great-Britain and Ireland; and that period, my Lord, is not so far distant, to put the present treatment entirely out of re­membrance. America and Great-Britain joined in arms together, may grow confident against the world besides; but if Britain continue her [Page XVII] arms against America; if her troops can be per­suaded to go on against their brethren and friends, if they will destroy the last asylum of liberty, and a country which has saved so many thou­sands from starving at home, the Americans will fight like men, who have every thing at stake; the mercenaries with bayonets at their backs, and at the rate of six-pence a day; if they are once defeated, whence will they be resupplied; if they return to Britain victorious, they will be fit instruments to promote that slavery at home which they have been successful in fastening (probably for a very little while) on their fellow-subjects abroad.

In times of public confusion men of all par­ties are sometimes carried further than they in­tended at first setting out. History and the know­ledge of human nature should inform your Lord­ship how much it is against all sound policy to secure or strive for punctilios at an infinite risk.

The Americans have always shewn an af­fectionate regard to the king, and they are truly sensible of the necessity and advantage of a per­petual union with the parent state; but unde­served [Page XVIII] severities cannot be productive of any pleasing returns. The Americans firmly believe that the claim at present endeavouring to be en­forced, would render them mere slaves, and it is their general motto, "DEATH OR FREEDOM." The parliamentary, or, as they say, ministerial, claim is now written in letters of blood, and that will be far from making it more acceptable to American readers.

On the whole, my Lord, should this address be deemed impertinent and intrusive, I hope it may still be excusable from the importance of the cause, and the sincerity of its motive. In the event of the present dispute I look upon all man­kind as interested, and though not natural born, his Majesty has not another subject that more ardently wisheth that his own repose and happi­ness and that of all his subjects may never meet with any interruption. Whether British troops shall now drive liberty from out of the greater part of the British empire, and bury her remains in the American wilderness, or whether that wilderness shall flourish and chearfully contribute to make Great-Britain the greatest empire of the universe, is the question now to be decided, and [Page XIX] it is not so unimportant, but it may be expected HE that is higher than the highest, and taketh up the isles like a very little thing, will interpose in the decision. The whole American process, my Lord, is liable to a revision, and when righteous­ness and judgment to come once make an im­pression, many a Felix will tremble.

To restore peace and harmony nothing is ne­cessary than to secure to America the known blessings of the Brittish constitution. This may be done in a moment, and without any disgrace or risk. Let the Americans enjoy, as hitherto, the privilege to GIVE and GRANT by their own representatives, and they will give and grant li­berally; but their liberty they will never part with but with their lives. The day that restores their liberty, restores every thing to the former channel; to enforce the contrary claim, ages may be insufficient, and every day encreases the danger of ‘a mother's being dashed to pieces on her own children.’

That your Lordship, in the hand of Provi­dence, may be a happy instrument to bring the present unnatural contest to a speedy, just and [Page XX] honourable issue; that you may live to see much of that happiness which must be the result; is no less my fervent prayer, than that GOD would blast every counsel and measure that may have a contrary tendency,—that would separate Britain and America, whom GOD has joined to­gether,—that would abridge the rights, liber­ties and happiness of the nation, our rightful Sovereign (whom GOD ever preserve), or any of his subjects.

I am, my Lord, Your LORDSHIP's most humble servant, J. J. ZUBLY.
September 3, 1775.
[Page 1]


JAMES ii:12.

So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the Law of Liberty.

THERE was a time when there was no king in Israel, and every man did what was good in his own eyes. The consequence was a civil war in the nation, issuing in the ruin of one of the tribes, and a considerable loss to all the rest.

And there was a time when there was a king in Israel, and he also did what was right in his own eyes, a foolish son of a wise father; his own imprudence, the rashness of his young counsellors, his unwillingness to redress the grievances of the nation, and the harsh treatment he gave to those who applied for relief, also brought on a civil war, and issued in the separation of the ten tribes from the house of David. He sent his treasurer to gather an odious duty or tribute, but the children of Israel stoned him that he died; and when he gathered one hundred and four score thousand men, that he might bring again the kingdom unto Roboam, GOD sent them a message, "ye shall not go up, nor sight against your brethren, return every man to his house, for this thing is done of me." GOD disapproved of the oppressive measures and ministry of Roboam, and that [Page 2] king's army appears more ready to obey the command of their GOD, than slay their brethren by orders of a tyrant. ‘They obeyed the voice of the LORD, and returned from going against Jeroboam.’ 2 Chron. x:18.xi:4.

The things that happened before are written for our learning. By comparing past times and proceed­ings with these that are present, prudence will point out many salutary and religious lessons. The conduct of Roboam verifies the lamentation of his father, "Woe to thee, o land, when thy king is a child." Eccles. x:16. A very small degree of justice and mo­deration might have preserved his kingdom, but he thought weapons of war better than wisdom; he hearkened not, neither to the people, nor to some of his more faithful counsellors, and the consequence was that, instead of enslaving the ten tribes who stood up for their liberty, GOD gave Judah to be servants to the king of Egypt, that they might learn the difference between his service and the service of the kingdoms of the nations. A people that claim no more than their natural rights, in so doing, do nothing displeasing un­to GOD; and the most powerful monarch that would deprive his subjects of the liberties of man, whatever may be his success, he must not expect the approba­tion of GOD, and in due time will be the abhorrence of all men.

In a time of public and general uneasiness it behoves both superiors and inferiors to consider. It is easy to extinguish a spark, it is folly to blow up discontent into a blaze; the beginning of strife is like the letting out of waters, and no man may know where it will end. There is a rule given to magistrates and subjects; which, if carefully attended to, would secure the dignity and safety of both; which, if not duly regarded, is usually [Page 3] attended with the worst consequences. The present, my hearers, will easily be allowed is a day of trouble, and surely in this day of adversity we ought to consider. When a people think themselves oppressed, and in danger, nothing can be more natural than that they should enquire into the real state of things, trace their grievances to their source, and endeavour to apply the remedies which are most likely to procure relief: This I take to be the design of the present meeting of per­sons deputed from every part of the country; and as they have thought proper to open and begin their de­liberations with a solemn address unto GOD, and the consideration of his holy word, I most chearfully com­ply with their request to officiate on this occasion, and shall endeavour, as I may be enabled, to point out such directions from the holy scriptures as may make us wise in the knowledge of time, and direct us how to carry ourselves worthy of the character of good subjects and Christians: Whatever may be necessary for this purpose, I take to be comprehended in the apostolical rule, which I have laid down as the subject of this dis­course, ‘So speak, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.’

There are two things which properly come before us, viz.

  • I. That we are to be judged by the law of liberty; and
  • II. The exhortation to act worthy, and under the in­fluence, of this important truth on every occasion.

A law is a rule of behaviour, made under proper authority, and with penalties annexed, suitable to de­ter the transgressions. As all laws suppose man to be in a social state, so all laws ought to be made for the good of man: A law that is not made by such as have [Page 4] authority for so doing, is of no force; and if authority makes laws destructive in themselves, no authority can prevent things from finally taking their natural course.

Wherever there is society, there must also be law; it is impossible that society should subsist without it. The will, minds, tempers, dispositions, views and in­terests of men are so very different, and sometimes so opposite, that without law, which cements and binds all, every thing would be in endless disorder and con­fusion. All laws usually wear the complexion of those by whom they were made, but it cannot be denied that some bad men, from a sense of necessity, have made good laws, and that some good men, from mistake, or other weaknesses, have enacted laws bad in themselves, and pernicious in their consequences.

All human laws partake of human imperfection; it is not so with the laws of GOD. He is perfect, and so are all his works and ways. ‘The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul. The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart. The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlighten­ing the eyes. All his judgments are truth, and righteousness altogether.’ Psalm xix.

Among men every society and country has its own laws and form of government, which may be very dif­ferent, and cannot operate beyond their limits; but those laws and that form of government is undoubtedly best which has the greatest tendency to make all those that live under it secure and happy. As soon as we con­sider man as formed into society, it is evident that the * safety of the whole must be the grand law which must in [...]ence and direct every other: Men did not pass from a state of nature into a state of society, to render [Page 5] their situation more miserable, and their rights more precarious That government and tyranny is the here­ditary right of some, and that slavery and oppression is the original doom of others, is a doctrine that would reflect dishonour upon GOD; it is treason against all mankind, it is indeed an enormous faith that millions were made for one; transubstantiation is but a harmless absurdity, compared with the notion of a divine right to govern wrong, or of making laws which are con­trary to every idea of liberty, property and justice.

The law which the apostle speaks of in our text, is not a law of man, but of Him who is the only lawgiver, that can save and condemn, to whom all owe obedience, and whose laws none can transgress with impunity.

Though all the laws that GOD ever gave unto man are worthy of GOD, and tend to promote the happi­ness of those to whom they were given, yet we may observe a very striking variety in the different laws which he gave at different times and to different people. ‘He shewed his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel; he has not dealt so with any other nation.’ Psalm cxlvii:18.19.

To the generality of mankind he gave no written law, but yet left not himself without a witness among them; the words of the law were written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while excusing or else accusing one another: It cannot be said they were without law, whilst what they were to do, and what they were to forbear, was written in their hearts.

To Israel GOD came with a fiery law in his hands, it was given with the most awful solemnity upon mount Sinai; and as the sum and substance of all their cere­monial, political and moral law centered in the ten commandments, so the sum and substance of these is [Page 6] comprehended in love to GOD and love to man, which, as our LORD himself informs us, contains all the law and all the prophets.

All manifestations of the will of GOD have been gradual, and it is probable the means of knowing GOD will be progressive through different ages, till eternity gives the good man a full sight of GOD in his imme­diate presence. During the dispensation of the old te­stament and the ceremonial law, a spirit of bondage obtained unto fear, the law was a schoolmaster to bring us unto CHRIST; neither did the law make any thing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope: Grace and truth was brought to light by JESUS CHRIST, and hence the dispensation of the gospel, under which we live, is called the law of LIBERTY.

Though there is a manifest distinction between law and gospel, and sometimes these two things are even opposed to one another, yet the doctrine of the gospel is also called "the law of faith;" Rom. iii:17. partly because it was usual with the Jewish writers to call every doctrine a law, and partly also because the doctrine of the gospel presents us with a rule of life, which all its professors are bound to obey; hence they are said to be "not without law, but under the law of CHRIST;" 1 Cor. ix:11. and hence our apostle speaks of a royal law, which, though we cannot obey in perfection, nor derive any merit from our imperfect obedience, we can­not neglect without danger, nor disobey without shewing our disregard to the doctrine of the gospel in general.

It deserves very particular attention that the doctrine of the gospel is called a law of LIBERTY. Liberty and law are perfectly consistent; liberty does not consist in living without all restraint; for were all men to live without restraint, as they please, there would soon be no liberty at all; the strongest would be master, the [Page 7] weakest go to the wall; right, justice and property must give way to power, and, instead of its being a blessing, a more unhappy situation could not easily be devised unto mankind than that every man should have it in his power to do what is right in his own eyes: well regulated liberty of individuals is the na­tural offspring of laws, which prudentially regulate the rights of whole communities; and as laws which take away the natural rights of men, are unjust and oppres­sive, so all liberty which is not regulated by law, is a delusive phantom, and unworthy of the glorious name.

The gospel is called a law of liberty, because it bears a most friendly aspect to the liberty of man; it is a known rule, Evangelium non tollit politias, the gospel makes no alteration in the civil state; it by no means renders man's natural and social condition worse than it would be without the knowledge of the gospel. When the Jews boasted of their freedom, and that they never were in bondage, our LORD does not reprove them for it, but only observes, that national freedom still admits of improvement: ‘If the Son shall make you free, then are you free indeed.’ John vi [...]:16. This leads me to observe that the gospel is a law of liberty in a much higher sense: By whomsoever a man is overcome, of the same he is brought into bondage; but no external enemy can so completely tyrannize over a conquered enemy, as sin does over all those who yield themselves its servants; vicious habits, when once they have gained the ascendant in the soul, bring man to that unhappy pass that he knows better things and does worse; sin, like a torrent, carries him away against knowledge and conviction, while conscience fully con­vince him that he travels the road of death, and must expect, if he so continues, to take up his abode in hell; though his decaying body clearly tells him sin breaks [Page 8] his constitution, as well as wastes his substance, though he feels the loss of credit and wealth, still sin has too strong a hold of him to be forsaken, though he faintly resolves to break off, yet, till the grace of GOD brings salvation, when he would do good, evil is present with him; in short, instead of being under a law of liberty, he is under the law of sin and death, but whenever he feels the happy influence of the grace of the gospel, then this ‘law of liberty makes him free from the law of sin and death;’ Rom. viii:2. it furnisheth him not only with motives to resist but with power also to subdue sin; sin reigns no longer in his mortal body, because he is not under the law, but under grace. By this law of liberty he is made free from sin, and has his fruit unto holiness, and the end of it eternal life. There is another reason why the gospel is called a law of liberty, which is to distinguish it from the ceremo­nial law under the Mosaic dispensation; a yoke, of which an apostle saith, neither they nor their fathers were able to bear; it was superadded on account of their transgressions, and suited to the character of a gross and stubborn nation, to whom it was originally given; they were so prone to idolatry, and so apt to forget their GOD, their notions were so gross and car­nal, that a number of external rites and ceremonies be­came necessary, to put them in mind of him, and to attach them to some degree of his worship and service. This, however necessary, was a heavy burden; it bid them "touch not, taste not, handle not;" it required of them expensive sacrifices, and a costly and painful service; it was attended with the most fearful threat­nings, if any man brake Moses law, [...] under two or three witnesses; and the very spirit they then received, was a spirit of bondage unto fear: Whereas the gospel dispensation [...] a spirit of confidence, [Page 9] and under the law of liberty we call upon GOD as Abba Father. By this law of liberty the professors of the gospel will be judged.

Every man is a rational, and therefore accountable, creature. As a creature he must needs depend on his Creator, and as a rational creature he must certainly be accountable for all his actions. Nothing is more evident than that man is not of himself; and if once we admit that he holds his existence, his faculties and favours from GOD, that made him, it becomes a very obvious conclusion, that his Maker must have had some view in giving him existence, and more understanding than to the beasts of the field, neither can it be a mat­ter of indifference to him whether man acts agreeably or contrary to his designs. The Creator of the natural world, is also its moral ruler; and if he is now the proprietor and ruler of intelligent beings, at some time or other he must also be their judge.

If GOD had not made his will known unto man, there could have been neither transgression nor judge­ment. If it should be said that GOD has not manifested himself alike unto all men, and that some have much smaller opportunities to know his will and their duty than others, it is enough to observe, that no man will be judged by a rule of which it was impossible he should have any knowledge. Every work and every man will be brought into judgment, and the judgment of GOD will never be otherwise than according to truth; but those that never had the law of liberty, will not be judged by that law, and those that have been favoured with the revelation of the gospel will be more inex­cusable than any others, if they neglect the day of their visitation. ‘As many as have sinned without law, shall also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law, shall be judged by the law.’ Rom. ii:12. [Page 10] All men are under some law, they feel, they are con­scious, that they are so; the thoughts which already excuse or condemn one another, are an anticipation of a final and decisive judgment, when every man's re­ward will be according to his works.

That all those who heard and professed to believe the gospel, will be finally judged by that, we have the fullest assurance, GOD will judge the secrets of men by JESUS CHRIST according to his gospel. ‘The word that I have spoken,’ saith CHRIST, ‘the same will judge them that heard it, on the last day.’ John xii:48. It greatly interests us clearly to know what is the import and consequence of being judged by the gospel [...]s a law of liberty; and it contains the fol­lowing things,

The general character, all the thoughts, words and actions, together with the general conduct of all those who professed the gospel, will be brought to the test, and tried by this rule. Man's own opinion of himself, the good opinion of others, will here stand him in no stead, his character will not be determined by his ex­ternal appearance, but by his inward reality. ‘Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.’ 1 Sam. xvii:7. The self-righteous pharisee will be rejected, notwithstanding his fair appearance and boasting; the penitent publican will be [...]eceived, though he has nothing to plead but LORD have mercy on me a sinner. The law is spiritual, and no law more so than the law of the gospel; it re­quires not merely an external obedience, but an inter­nal conformity to the will of GOD; it demands truth in the inward part, it looks not only to [...] are done, but to the principle from which they flow; we must judge of man's inward disposition by his vi­sible action, but GOD judges of the actions of men ac­cording [Page 11] to their invisible spring; thoughts are out of the reach of human cognizance, but they are the first ob­ject of divine notice; there is not a word that drops from our tongue but what our judge hears, whatever we do, or whatever we neglect, is all under his imme­diate eye, and he not only attends to our general cha­racter, but also to every thought, word or action, and the prevailing complexion of all these taken together form our true and real character.

In the judgment, according to this law, our cha­racter, words, thoughts and actions will be brought to the test of this rule, our conduct will be compared with these precepts, this is the balance of the sanctuary, in which the professors of the gospel shall be weighed, and as they shall be found approved or deficient, their case must be determined. Those whose temper and actions shall be found conformable to the law of li­berty, will be acquitted, graciously accepted, and made ever happy, and those who turned the grace of GOD into wantonness, and made the liberty of the gospel a cloak for their sins, will be finally rejected. The gospel informs us, that a day is already appointed for that purpose; it acquaints us with the person of our judge, and every circumstance, as well as the rule according to which he will proceed in judgment. Perhaps on that day when all nations shall appear before the judge, and he will divide them as a shepherd divideth the sheep from the goats, distinct places will also be al­lotted to those who are to be judged by natural con­science and the law of nature, and those who have been favoured with a divine revelation, and especially with the light of the gospel: The people of Niniveh will arise against empty professors of the gospel, and will condemn them. Those who have been exalted above others in means and privileges, will sit proportionably [Page 12] lower than those who have made a better improve­ment of lesser means; and notwithstanding the fondest hope and finest profession, it is a determined rule of the law of liberty, that ‘except our righteousness shall exceed that of the scribes and pharisees, we shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.’

It deserves our peculiar attention, that the apostle considers the gospel as a law of liberty, at the same time when he sets it before us as the rule by which we are to be judged. We are not to imagine because the gospel is a law of liberty, therefore men will not be judged; on the contrary judgment will be the more severe against all who have heard and professed the gospel, and yet walked contrary to its precepts and doctrine. As the transgression of a law of liberty must be more inexcusable, than the transgression of a law un­just or oppressive in itself, or even the ceremonial law, which was given only for a certain period, and to answer temporary purposes, so their judgment and doom must be proportionably heavier, who have sin­ned against love and liberty, as well as against power and justice.

According to this law the fate of men will not only be determined, but sentence will also be put into exe­cution. GOD sitteth on the throne of judgment every day, and judgeth righteously, but he hath moreover appointed a particular day when he will manifest his power and justice before the whole creation; when the dead both small and great will stand before GOD; when those that acted agreeable to the law of liberty, will attain the fulness of glory of the freedom of the sons of GOD, and when he will also take vengeance on all that have not known God, and have not obeyed his holy gospel. This naturally leads to the second thing proposed, to take a nearer view of the importance of [Page 13] the exhortation, ‘So speak, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.’

It seems as though the apostle had an eye to some particular branch of the law of liberty, i. e. the love which we owe unto our neighbour, and that his design is to obviate the mistake as though men might be con­sidered as fulfilling the law of CHRIST, in paying re­spect to some of its commands and prohibitions, at the same time that they were entirely regardless of the rest. He assures them, that ‘whosoever shall keep the whole law, but shall transgress in one point’ (e. g. having respect of persons) "is guilty of all." On this principle the apostle builds the general exhortation, ‘So speak, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.’ This implies:

1. Be thoroughly convinced of the certainty of a judg­ment to come, and that it extends to you, to all your thoughts, words and actions. There is not any truth of greater moment, nor perhaps more easily forgotten. The belief or unbelief of this important doctrine must have the most sensible effects. All the apostles fre­quently put their hearers in mind of a judgment to come; and there is not any truth more necessary to be frequently inculcated and daily thought on, and wherever this truth is really believed and felt, it will have a constant and natural influence on the behaviour of those who truly believe it.

2. See to it that in judgment you may stand. All men will be brought into judgment, but few will be able to stand; none will be excused, or be able to withdraw, and only those who have acted worthily, will meet with the divine acceptance. The difference will be amazing and beyond all conception: An eternity of happiness, which eye has not seen, ear has not heard, and which never entered into the heart of any man, lies on the [Page 14] one side, and despair, misery and torment on the other. Those that are able to stand, will meet with the smiles and approbation of their judge, and to all the rest the king will say, ‘These mine enemies that would not have me to bear rule over them, bring them here, and slay them before mine eyes.’ Those that believe and are convinced of this awful alternative, should certainly make it their care that they may be able to stand in judgment; neither should the per­suasion of this only influence their conduct in general, but these words ought to be considered as a rule, which we ought to have constantly before our eyes in all our discourses and every undertaking; we should ever ‘so speak, and so act, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.’

I shall draw a few inferences, before I conclude with a more particular address to the worthy Gentlemen at whose request I preach on this occasion.

1. The gospel is a law of Liberty.

A late writer * asserts, ‘Every religion counte­nances despotism, but none so much as the Christian.’ This is a very heavy charge against religion in gene­ral, but bears hardest on the Christian. Whether it proceeds from malice, ignorance, or misapprehension, it is needless to determine, but if christianity be a law of liberty, it must be obvious how ill-grounded is such a charge against it. It cannot be denied but some Christian writers have wrote against the rights of man­kind. All those who stand up for unlimited passive obedience and non-resistance, may have given but too much cause for such surmises and suspicions; but the truth is, that both those which make this charge, and those who gave occasion for it, were alike ignorant of the spirit and temper of Christianity; and it may well [Page 15] be doubted whether the venders of such odious doctrines, who foisted tenets, so abominable and in­jurious to mankind, into the system of Christian re­ligion, have not done that holy religion greater hurt under the pretence of friendship and defence than its most barefaced enemies by all their most violent at­tacks. Some Christian divines have taught the enor­mous faith, that millions were made for one, they have ascribed a divine right to kings to govern wrong; but what then? Are such abominable doctrines any part of christianity, because these men say so? does the go­spel cease to be a law of liberty, because some of its professors pervert it into an engine of tyranny, op­pression and injustice.

The assertion, that all religion countenances despo­tism, and christianity more than any other, is diame­trically opposite to fact. Survey the globe, and you will find that liberty has taken its seat only in Christen­dom, and that the highest degree of freedom is pleaded for and enjoyed by such as make profession of the gospel.

There are but two religions, which are concerned in this charge; the Jewish and the Christian. Natural religion writers of this kind I suppose would not include in their charge; if they do, they set all religion at variance with the rights of mankind, contrary to the sense of all nations, who are gererally agreed, that, abstractly of a world to come, religion is of real service and necessity to mankind, for their better govern­ment and order.

As to the Jewish religion, it seems really strange that any should charge it with favouring despotism, when by one of its express rites at certain times it pro­claimed ‘liberty throughout the land, to the inha­bitants thereof.’ Levit. xxv:10. It required their [Page 16] kings ‘not to be lifted up in their hearts above their brethren.’ Deut. xvii:20 And the whole system of that religion is so replete with laws against injustice and oppression, it pays such an extraordinary regard to property, and gives such strict a charge to rule in justice and the fear of GOD, and to consider those, over whom they judge, as their brethren, even when dispensing punishments, and forbids all excess in them, that it is really surprizing any one acquainted with its precepts, should declare it favourable to despotism or oppression.

The Christian religion, while it commands due re­spect and obedience to superiors, no where requires a blind and unlimited obedience on the part of the sub­jects; nor does it vest any absolute and arbitrary power in the rulers. It is an institution for the benefit, and not for the distress, of mankind. It preacheth not only "glory to GOD on high," but also ‘peace on earth, and good will among men.’

The gospel gives no higher authority to magistrates than to be ‘the ministers of GOD, for the good of the subject.’ Rom. xiii. From whence it must surely follow, that their power is to edify, and not to destroy: When they abuse their authority, to distress and de­stroy their subjects, they deserve not to be thought ministers of GOD for good; nor is it to be supposed, when they act so contrary to the nature of their office, that they act agreeable to the will of GOD, or in con­formity to the doctrine of the gospel.

The gospel recommends unto masters to forbear threatnings, and to remember that they also have a master in heaven; it assures them that the eye of GOD is equally upon the servant and the master, and that with GOD there is no respect of persons: It commands masters, from the most solemn considerations, to give [Page 17] unto servants that which is just and equal; it saith to the meanest slave: ‘Art thou called being a servant, care not for it, but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather.’ 1 Cor. vii:21.

The doctrine of the gospel has that regard to pro­perty, that it commands even soldiers, ‘Do violence to no man, and be content with your wages:’ Luke iii:14. — that a Paul sent back a run-away slave, though now converted, and belonging to his intimate friend, and at a time when he seems to have stood in real need of his service, from a delicacy that he would do nothing without the owner's mind, less his benefit should ap­pear as if it were of necessity, and not willingly. Phi­lem. 14. From the same spirit of justice a Zacheus, after his conversion, restored fourfold what before he had taken from any by false accusation: Surely then the spirit of the gospel is very friendly to the rights and property of men.

The gospel sets conscience above all human au­thority in matters of faith, and bids us to ‘stand fast in that liberty wherewith the Son of GOD has made us free.’ Gal. v:1. Freedom is the very spirit and temper of the gospel: ‘He that is called in the LORD being a servant, is the LORD's freeman. Ye are bought with a price, be ye not the servants of men.’ 1 Cor. vii:22 23. At the same time that it commands us to submit to every ordinance of men, it also directs us to act ‘as free, and not using liberty as a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of GOD.’ 1 Pet. iii:13-18.

Those therefore that would support arbitrary power, and require an unlimited obedience, in vain look for precedents or precepts for such things in the gospel, an institution equally tending to make men just, free [Page 18] and happy here, and perfectly holy and happy here after.

2. The main design of the gospel is not to direct us in our external and civil affairs, but how we may at last stand with comfort before GOD, the judge of all.

Human prudence is to be our guide in the concerns of time; the gospel makes us wise unto salvation, and points out the means to be pursued that it may be well with us in the world to come. As rational creatures we are to make use of our reason; as Christians we are to repent and believe the gospel. Motives of a worldly nature may very properly influence us in our worldly concern, we are created not only for eternity, but also for time: It is not at all improper for us to have a due regard for both. The gospel will regulate our desires and restrain our passions as to earthly things, and will raise us at the same time above time and sense, to objects of a nature more worthy of our­selves. A due regard for, and frequent meditation on, a judgment to come, will greatly assist us in all our concerns; and this very consideration the gospel holds out to us in the clearest manner. It not only affirms as a truth, what reason and conscience might consider only as probable, but it takes away as it were the veil from between us and things to come; it gives us a present view of the future bliss of saints, and the terrors and despair of sinners; — rather a histo­rical account than a prophetic description of all the proceedings of the dreadful pleasing day; it clearly points our the road to destruction, and the way to escape; it affords us a plain and general rule to obtain safety and comfort, when it bids us, ‘So speak, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.’

This general rule may also be of considerable service [Page 19] in extraordinary and particular cases. It is impossible to provide express directions for every particular case, and in the course of things circumstances may happen when a good man may be at a loss to know his duty, and find it difficult so to act as to obtain his own ap­probation. There may be danger of going beyond, and danger in not coming up to, the mark. To act worthy of GOD, who has called us, is the general rule of the Christian at all times, and upon every occasion, and did we but always follow this rule, what manner of persons should we then be! But in cases of intricacy we may still be in doubt what may be most for the glory of GOD, and most consistent with our duty. Some­times also our relative duties may seem to come in competition with one another, and we may hesitate in our own mind which for the present has the strongest call. We would fain obey our superiors, and yet we cannot think of giving up our natural, our civil and religious rights, nor acquiesce in or contribute to render our fellow-creatures or fellow-citizens slaves and mi­serable. We would willingly follow peace with all men, and yet would be very unwilling that others should take the advantage of a pacific disposition, to injure us in hopes of impunity. We would express duty, re­spect and obedience to the king, as supreme, and yet we would not wish to strengthen the hands of tyranny, nor call oppression lawful: In such a delicate situation it is a golden rule, ‘So to speak, and so to do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.’ Nothing has a greater tendency to make men act wrong than the disbelief of a future judgment, and nothing will more effectually restrain and direct them than the full persuasion that such an event will certainly take place: nothing would have a happier tendency to make us act with prudence, justice and moderation than the [Page 20] firm persuasion that GOD will, bring every work into judgment, and every secret thing, whether it be good or bad.

Neither could I think on any direction more appli­cable to the design of our present meeting, or which I might more properly recommend to the respectable Gentlemen, now met together to consult on the reco­very and preservation of the liberties of America, and who chose to begin their deliberations with a solemn act of worship to almighty GOD who has established government as his ordinance, and equally abhors li­centiousness and oppression; whose singular blessing it is if subjects enjoy a righteous government, and under such a government lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

You are met, Gentlemen, in a most critical time, and on a most alarming occasion, not in a legislative capacity, but (while the sitting of the usual represen­tation is not thought for the king's service, or neces­sary for the good of this province) you are chosen by the general voice of this province to meet on their behalf, to consult on such measures as in our local circumstances may be most to the real advantage and tend to the honour of our gracious sovereign, as well as the good and safety of this province and of all this great continent. For the sake of the auditory, I shall briefly state the immediate causes that have given rise to this Provincial and a general American Congress, and then offer such humble advice as appears to me most suitable to our circumstances.

To enforce some Acts for laying on a duty to raise a perpetual revenue in America, which the Americans think unjust and unconstitutional, which all America complains of, and some provinces have in some measure [Page 21] opposed,* A fleet and army has been sent to New-England, and after a long series of hardships by that province patiently endured, it is now out of all que­stion that hostilities have been commenced against them; blood has been shed, and many lives have been taken away; thousands, never as much as suspected of having any hand in the action which is made the pretence of all the severity now used against that pro­vince, have been and still are reduced to the greatest distress. From this other provinces have taken the alarm; an apprehension of nearer foes, not unlikely to appear as auxiliaries in an unjust cause, has thrown our neighbours into arms; how far and wide the flame so wantonly kindled may be permitted to spread, none can tell; but in these alarming circumstances the li­berty of this continent, of which we are a part, the safety and domestic peace of this province will naturally become a subject of your deliberations; and here I may well adapt the language of old, ‘There was no such deed done nor seen from the day that America was first settled unto this day; consider of it, take advice, and speak your minds.’ Judges xix:30. I mean not to anticipate and direct your counsels, but from your desire I should speak on this occasion; I take it for granted you will permit me to offer such hints as may appear suitable to the place and design of our present meeting.

In the first place, as there is no evil in a city in which the hand of GOD may not be seen, so in vain is [Page 22] salvation looked for from the hills and from the moun­tains, but can come from him only who has made heaven and earth. This undoubtedly is a day of trouble, but GOD saith to his people, ‘Call upon me in a day of trouble, and I will deliver thee.’ Ps. l:15. ‘What nation has GOD so nigh unto them, as the LORD our GOD is in all things that we call upon him for.’ Deut. iv:7. If this be our first step, if first of all we look unto him from whom our help cometh, we may hope all will be well at last. Let us be thoroughly convinced of this, we must stand well with GOD, else it can never be well with us at all; with­out him and his help we can never prosper. The LORD is with you, if you are with him; ‘if you seek him, you will find him, but if you forsake him, you will be forsaken by him.’ 2 Chron. xv:2. If GOD be for us, who can be against us? if he be against us, who can be for us? Before we think on, or look any where else, may our eyes be unto GOD, that he may be gracious unto us. Let us humbly confess and speedily turn from our sins, deprecate his judgment, and secure his favour. ‘Rent your hearts, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your GOD, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil, who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him, even a meat-offering and a drink-offering unto the LORD your GOD.’ Joel ii:13.14.

Let it be a standing rule with every one that is to sit in council upon this occasion, ‘so to speak, and so to do, as one that is to be judged by the law of li­berty’ Let us most carefully avoid every thing that might make us incur the displeasure of GOD, and [Page 23] wound our own consciences. The effects of your deli­beration may become very serious and extensive, and the consequences extremely important: Think there­fore before you speak, deliberate before you execute, and let the law of liberty, by which you are hereafter to be judged, be the constant rule of all your words and actions: Far be it from us to be reduced under laws inconsistent with liberty, and as far to wish for liberty without law; let the one be so tempered with the other that when we come to give our account to the supreme lawgiver, who is the great judge of all, it may appear we had a due regard to both, and may meet with his approbation.

Such always hath been, and such is still, the attach­ment of America to the illustrious house of Hanover, that I need not put you in mind of our duty to the king as supreme. By our law the king can do no wrong; but of his present Majesty, who is universally known to be adorned with many social virtues, may we not justly conclude that he would not do any wrong, even though he could. May we not hope that to the great­ness of a monarch, he will superadd the feelings of the man, the tenderness of a father. May we not hope that when the truth of things, the tears of his suffer­ing subjects, the distresses caused by Acts extremely ill advised, once reach his notice, a generous pity will force his heart, and that pity, when he feels it, will command redress. ‘The heart of the king is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water, and he turneth it as he pleaseth;’ Prov. xxi:1. most earnestly there­fore let us pray that in this great and most important matter also GOD may give unto the king an under­standing heart, that power may be governed by wis­dom, [Page 24] and the wheels of government roll on with justice and moderation.

Should you think that all our present distress is owing to evil counsellors, nothing need to hinder you from praying that GOD would turn their counsels into foolishness; you may make it your earnest request both in public and in private, that the wicked being removed from before the king, his throne may be established in righteousness, that the rod of the oppressor may be broke, and justice and equity take place of tyranny and oppression.

It may be owing to nothing but the firm attachment to the reigning family that so many Americans look upon the present measures as a deep laid plan to bring in the Pretender. Perhaps this jealousy may be very groundless, but so much is certain, that none but Great-Britain's enemies can be gainers in this unna­tural contest.*

Never let us loose out of sight that our interest lies in a perpetual connection with our mother country. Notwithstanding the present unwise and harsh measures, there are thousands in Great-Britain that think with us, and wish well to the American cause, and make it their own; let us convince our enemies that the strug­gles of America have not their rise in a desire of in­dependency, but from a warm regard to our common constitution; that we esteem the name of Britons, as being the same with freemen; let every step we take afford proof how greatly we esteem our mother country, [Page 25] and that, to the wish of a perpetual connexion, we pre­fer this only consideration, that we may be virtuous and free

Let me intreat you, Gentlemen, think coolly, and act deliberately; rash counsels are seldom good ones: ministerial rashness and American rashness can only be productive of untoward compounds; inconsiderate measures, framed on the other side of the atlantic, are the cause of all our mischiefs, and it is not in the least probable that inconsiderate measures in America can be productive of any good. Let nothing be done through strive and vain glory; let no private resent­ment or party zeal disgrace your honest warmth for your country's welfare: Measures determined on by integrity and prudence, are most likely to be carried into execution by steadiness and moderation. Let neither the frowns of tyranny, nor pleasure of popu­larity, sway you from what you clearly apprehend just and right, and to be your duty. Consider how much lies at stake, how greatly your religion, your liberty, your property, your posterity, is interested. Endeavour to act like freemen, like loyal subjects, like real Chri­stians, [Page 26] and you will ‘so speak, and so act, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.’ Act con­scientiously, and with a view to GOD, then commit your ways to him, leave the event with GOD, and you will have great reason to hope that the event will be just, honourable and happy.

And now, Gentlemen, you have the wishes and prayers of every thoughtful person, that your delibera­tions may be carried on with candour, unanimity and prudence, may be blessed to preserve the quietness of this province, and co-operate in restoring the rights and tranquillity of all America, as well as promote the prosperity of the whole British empire. This will af­ford you a heartfelt satisfaction, and transmit your name to posterity with honour, when all those who had opposite views, and sought their greatness in the ruins of others, will be held in abhorrence and detestation.

I have but a few hints to give to my hearers in general.

The times are evil; this is a day of adversity, and in a time of adversity we ought to consider. It may perhaps soon become impossible, even to the most in­dolent, to continue unconcerned, and those that wish no more than to hide themselves in quiet obscurity, may not always have it in their power to remain neuter: To know the signs of the time, is a considerable part of human prudence, and it is a still greater to walk circumspectly, and redeem the time, because the days are evil. Whatever part you may think yourselves obliged to take, ‘So speak, and so do, as they that shall be judged hereafter, and judged by the law of liberty.’

In these times of confusion I would press on my [Page 27]hearers a most conscientious regard to the common lawsof the land. Let our conduct shew that we are not lawless; by well-doing let us put to silence the reproaches of our adversaries. Let us convince them that we do not complain of law, but of oppression; that we do not abhor these acts because we are im­patient to be under government, but being destructive of liberty and property, we think them destructive also of all law. Let us act ‘as free, and yet not make liberty a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.’

While it is yet peace and quietness with us, let us not think ourselves inaccessible to the evils which are already come upon others; there are some evils which we would rather deprecate in private than speak of in public, against which being forewarned, we should be forearmed; every trifling report should not alarm us, but it would be folly still greater not to be on our guard against sudden dangers.

Remember them that suffer adversity, as being your­selves also in the body. Think on those who are driven from their habitations and all their conveniencies of life, or confined in their own houses by an enraged soldiery, to starve in their own country, in the midst of property and plenty, not permitted to enjoy their own, and distressed in every connexion, and this with­out any cause alleged against numbers of them, without complaint, suspicion or a legal trial: The like was never heard since the cruel siege of Londonderry, and is a species of cruelty at which even that hardhearted bigot James II. relented.

Above all, let every one earnestly pray that HE that is higher than the highest would soon make a righteous end of all their confusion; that he would [Page 28] incline the king to hear the cries of his subjects, and that no more innocent blood may be shed in America.

One thing more: Consider the extreme absurdity of struggling for civil liberty, and yet to continue slaves to sin and lust. ‘Know ye not to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are, to whom ye obey, whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness.’ Rom. vi:16. Cease from evil, and do good, seek peace, and pursue it, who will hurt you while you follow that which is good; become the willing servants of the LORD JESUS CHRIST, hearken to and obey the voice of his gospel; for ‘where the spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty;’ and "if the Son makes you free, THEN, and not till then, "SHALL YOU BE FREE INDEED."

From the similarity of the subject, an extract from another sermon is added:

THE question between Great-Britain and Ame­rica, which has already been productive of such alarming effects, is, ‘Whether the parliament of Great-Britain have any power or authority to tax the Americans without their consent?’ Every im­partial man will allow that this is the foundation of the whole dispute. It is evident that in this question conscience is deeply interested, and in this view it be­comes a very proper subject for the pulpit. If any thing is required of subjects which in conscience they are bound to pay, give or do, the refusal of it is not only a crime against the state, but also a sin against GOD: I think it therefore not only not improper, but [Page 29] my duty, to point out unto my hearers such hints and precedents as may illustrate this matter from the word of GOD.

The case I would state thus, ‘Whether any duty or impost supposed to be laid on in an illegal man­ner, and inconsistent with natural and civil rights, from motives of conscience ought nevertheless to be paid?’ and to elucidate this, I observe, the general rule is this: ‘Render therefore to all their dues; tri­bute to whom tribute is due, custom to whom cu­stom; fear to whom fear, honour to whom honour.’ Rom. xiii:7. There is something due to government which cannot be refused without injustice, and more than which cannot be demanded without tyranny and oppression. When our LORD was asked, ‘What thinkest thou, is it lawful to give tribute unto Cesar or not?’ he gave a very wise and general answer, ‘Render therefore unto Cesar the things which are Cesar's, and unto GOD the things which are GOD's.’ Matth. xxii:17.21. We are informed, that upon another occasion he paid the tribute-money, and that, after asking Peter of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? and Peter answering of strangers, he remarked, "Then are the children free;" and yet nevertheless, as a voluntary act, ordered Peter, ‘Take a piece of money, and give unto them, for me and thee.’ Matth. xvii:25-27.

On these passages I shall make but two remarks, which are very obvious, and will apply themselves: 1. How far soever the power of the magistrate and the submission of the subject may be extended, it is plain that by these rules and precedents property is left to the sub­ject. To render, give, or pay, supposes property. Those who may be justly deprived of what they possess, at [Page 30] another's pleasure, cannot be said to be possessed of any property; and therefore they can neither give, pay, or render; they are themselves the property of another. I would further observe, 2. That from the answer our LORD gives unto Peter, it appears that sovereigns ought to treat their subjects as children, and that children ought to be free. O the free and benevolent spirit of the gospel!

By some it is urged, that sovereigns have a right to take away what their subjects possess, at pleasure. This right they ground on the following passage, 1 Sam. viii:10— ‘This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you, he will take your sons, and ap­point them for himself, for his chariots, and to be horsemen, and some shall run before his chariots— and he will take your daughters, to be confectionaries and to be cooks and bakers; and he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants; and he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vine­yards, and give to his officers and his servants; and he will take your men-servants and your maid-ser­vants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work; he will take the tenth of your sheep, and ye shall be his servants. Here then, according to some, is the warrant of divine right for arbitrary power. Those however, who found authority to do what is wrong in a representation, meant to deter the Jews from putting it in any man's power to treat them thus, would do well to consider that from the text itself it plainly appears, this was not to be con­sidered as a right, but as a grievance, which their folly had brought on themselves. ‘You shall cry in that day, and the LORD will not hear you.’ Your misery [Page 31] will be the effect of your own folly. We have an­other precedent, which seems somewhat in point: Re­hoboam was a foolish son of a wise father; it seems he laid a tribute on Israel: (2 Chron. xiii:18.) The people applied unto him, presented their grievances, and prayed redress: ‘Thy father made our yoke grievous, now therefore do thou make it lighter, and we will serve thee.’ This the council of the old men ad­vised him to do; they said, ‘If thou wilt speak good words unto them, they will be thy servants forever.’ But more violent counsels prevailed, the acts were en­forced, ‘I will add to your yoke, I will chastise you with scorpions.’ This the deluded monarch pro­bably considered as firmness and dignity; but what was the event? When all Israel saw that the king hearkened not unto them, they said, ‘What portion have we in David? to your tents, o Israel! now see to thine own house David.’ A kind and just answer might have prevented this; and what did the king himself gain? "The king sent Adoram, who was over the tri­bute, and all Israel stoned him, that he died, and the king fled to Jerusalem" Thus far tyranny was very unsuccessful. But this is not all; when the army of Judah was now ready to fall upon the ten tribes, GOD himself interposed, ‘Ye shall not fight against your brethren, the children of Israel; return every man to his house, for this thing is of me.’ Thus this matter ended in a separation of the two kingdoms, and this very Roboam himself afterwards became a servant, and tributary to the king of Egypt.

I leave the application of all these things to those whom it may concern; but would further observe,

Every government must be supported, and what is necessary for the support of government, is also justly [Page 32] due, and ought to be GIVEN with readiness and willingly.

Those that think their superiors have a right to take away their property, or any part of it, without their consent, upon their own principle are guilty of sinful resistance and rebellion, if they do not comply with whatever government may demand.* Those that think, every government has no further right than ac­cording to the laws and constitution of its respective country, should be very careful nevertheless to obey not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake, and under whatever grievances they may labour never to make use of any methods of redress unjust in them­selves, nor of any remedies that may be worse than the disease.

[Page 33]


TO a benevolent mind taking a survey of the globe, it must be a very melancholy consideration that liberty, which is the birthright of man, is still confined to a few small spots of our earth: All Asia and Africa are out of the question; in the southern hemisphere of America it is un­known, and astonishing pains are now taken to drive it out of this northern Continent In Europe Great-Britain is com­monly viewed as the seat of it; but if the conjecture of the bishop of St. Asaph be not void of foundation, even there it hath a sickly countenance; SWISSERLAND, by that great man, is the only country which deserves to be called free, and even Voltaire pronounceth it happy. By what means the Swiss re­covered and preserved their freedom, is the subject of the fol­lowing narrative.

The three countries (usually called cantons) of Ury, Switz and Underwalden, which first entered into a confederacy that laid the foundation of the republic of Swisserland, are but of small extent, all the three cantons together do not exceed seventy miles in length and about thirty in breadth; they are also very thinly inhabited, owing to their situation among the Alps, many of which are covered with everlasting snow, and inaccessible to man or beast; it is usually said of the climate, that there is nine months winter and three months cold. At the time of their revolution the country was not nearly so well cultivated as it is at present, and at present all the inhabitants of the three cantons, capable of bearing arms, are not estimated above 12,000 men; a small number to make head with, as they did, against the very powerful house of Austria. Power and number do not prove the justice of any cause, and it is more honourable to be defeated in the cause of virtue and [...], than to erect trophies to injustice and oppression. All Swisserland was subjugated by Julius Caesar; it became after­wards subject to different Lords, and had a nobility which [Page 34] treated their inferiors with great petulancy and violence. The three cantons chose Rudolph of Habsburg to be their captain, and on his being chosen Roman emperor in 1273, the nobility complained against these countries before him, and called them rebellious; but when the emperor saw their charters, he acquitted them, confirmed their privileges, and gave them governors that were not inhabitants of these countries, and were not to tyrannize over, but only from time to time to come among them, to administer justice. Thus the country was quiet, submitted to their governors; and had they been always treated with equal justice, probably would have con­tinued so to this day, but Nullum violentum diuturnum, "No­thing that is violent lasts long."

After the decease of Rudolph of Habsburg, Adolphus of Nas­sau was chosen emperor; he confirmed their liberty, and they continued in submission to his government. Adolphus was slain in battle by the own hands of his rival, Albertus of Austria, son of Rudolph; and it has been observed that neither this Albertus, nor any that were active against Adolphus, died of a natural death.

Albertus of Austria, having a numerous family of children, projected the establishment of a new principality in Swisserland which then was a part of the empire; many imperial fiefs he apropriated to the house of Austria, purchased some juris­dictions which belonged to monasteries, and having made him­self master of some strong places, he thought to subdue these three cantons also, and sent ambassadors to Ury, Switz and Underwalden, requesting that they would surrender themselves to him and the house of Austria, under many very fair promises. When his ambassadors arrived among them, the cantons pro­duced their charters, and also sent an embassy to the emperor, praying that they might be confirmed, and that they might not be torn from the empire, and put in subjection to the then new house of Austria. Instead of being gratified, as they had hoped, they were not only refused, but the emperor also would not take the least notice of their complaints against their gover­nors, but appointed two new governors over them, which from day to day proceeded to new and unheard of acts of violence. The design was, by such means to excite an insur­rection among the inhabitants, and then, under pretence of being rebellious, to make war upon them, and entirely to [Page 35] bring them under the yoke. These are the express words of an historian, and in different times and places, tyranny makes use of the same arts. The tyranny and cruelty of these gover­nors continually encreased. At that time there lived in Un­derwalden an aged and honest inhabitant, whose name was Henry de Melchdall. The governor ordered two oxen to be taken from his plough, without even charging him with any crime; the honest man wanted at least to know what had been his fault; but the governor's officer answered it was the will of the governor that henceforth the peasants should work in the plough themselves, and took away the oxen by force; the son of the farmer, enraged at so much injustice and vio­lence, gave the officer a blow with a stick, and wounded his finger, and then fled the country immediately The governor put his aged father in prison, and wanted to oblige him to de­liver up his son; he excused himself that he did not know what became of him, but the governor ordered both his eyes to be put out, and took from him all he had.

The castle of Rozberg was occupied by the governor's de­puty of the family of Wolfenshiess, the same seeing a very handsome woman, wanted to constrain her to gratify his bru­tal lust; under some pretence she withdrew, met her husband, who being informed of it, gave the governor a back-stroke with an axe, and also immediately fled the country.

Werner Stauffacre, a respectable man in the canton Switz, was building a handsome new house; the governor riding by, enquired of him whose it was? Stauffacre, aware of some de­sign if he should dare to call it his own, replied, My noble governor, the house belongs to my king and you, and it is my fief. This frustrated the governor's design, but he told him withall, I will not suffer it that peasants should build houses for themselves as though they were lords, I will bridle you more closely.

Governor Grisler, of Ury, could not help perceiving the dissatisfaction of the people, and that he might discover the malecontents, he placed a hat on a pole at Altdorff, and gave strict orders, that every one should pay that hat the same honour as if he were present himself; he also placed some spies to observe who should pay obeisance to his hat and who should neglect it. This insolence wrought so effectually on the people, that even some of the nobility declared it impos­sible [Page 36] any longer to endure such tyrannical proceedings. Among numbers that thought so in their hearts, there was one that had courage to refuse submission to such a badge of abject slavery. William Tell passed several times without pulling his hat; he was informed against, and after some imprison­ment, condemned, at the distance of one hundred and twenty yards, with his bow and arrow to take off an apple off the head of a beloved child of his, about six years old, and threatened with death in case he missed. No remonstrance availed, his life and that of his son was threatened in case of refusal; the afflicted parent most tenderly took his leave of his child, the spectators melted in tears, but he providentially hit the apple without doing any injury to his child. This hap­pened October 30, 1307; and romantic as it may seem, pu­blic monuments to this day confirm the truth of the fact The people congratulated Tell on his success; but the governor observing he had another arrow in his quiver, asked him the meaning. Tell at first excused himself with the common cu­stom of marksmen: but this not satisfying the governor, and he solemnly promising him his life if he should declare the truth, Tell very frankly said, that had he had the misfortune to have done any injury to his child, he was determined to send the next arrow to the heart of the tyrannical governor. The governor condemned him to imprisonment for the rest of his days. Tell was permitted to bid farewell to his family, and then bound to be carried across a lake to the place of his cap­tivity, and in the same vessel the governor also passed with his attendants. The lake of Lucerne is very liable to severe and sudden tempests, a storm of this kind brought them all into the most immediate danger: in this extremity Tell, who was known to be a good pilot, was ordered to take the helm, and he laboured so effectually that he brought the vessel near the shore; which he had no sooner effected, than he jumped out, and pushed the vessel off. The governor, with great difficulty, landed at some distance, but in the way to his castle he was waylaid by Tell in a narrow road, who placed the reserved arrow in his heart that he instantly fell dead from the horse; and Tell had time to fly to some of his friends and give them notice of this event. These were Werner Stauffacre, Walter Fürst and Arnold de Melchdall; these were partly sorry to hear of this event, as it had been agreed upon to do nothing [Page 37] before the first of January, 1308, when an attempt to recover liberty was to be made by the three cantons at once; they apprehended the killing of the governor before they were ready to follow the blow, would frustrate their attempt, and bring matters to a crisis before they were prepared; but ty­rants frequently hasten their own doom by their own measures.

The oppressive governors were possessed of three castles, and un­less these were reduced, the oppression must become every day more intolerable: One of the confederates had an amorous connexion with a servant-maid in the castle of Rozberg; she, as usual, fur­nished him with means of entering, and he introduced twenty of his friends, who seized the castle and the governor without difficulty. The castle at Sarnen was taken by another stratagem: It was cu­stomary on new year's day to bring presents to the governor; twenty confederates accordingly appeared at the castle gates early in the morning, and made the governor the usual compliments, armed with nothing but long staves; the governor was just agoing to mass, and as he saw them without arms, ordered them to carry their gifts in­to the castle. They had no sooner entered, but they fixed irons which they had concealed to their sticks, made prisoners of the garrison, and the castle was demolished. The governors betook themselves to flight, and nobody offered to pursue them. Thus in one day all the strong holds were taken and destroyed, and the next day the three cantons solemnly swore to each other for the space of ten years: This small beginning laid the foundation of the republic of Swisser­land, which has maintained its freedom and independency until this time, and nearly survived the liberty of most states of Europe.

The emperor Albert had now obtained his wish, viz. a pretext to reduce the cantons by open war, under pretence of rebellion. He immediately repaired to Baden, stopt all commerce with these three cantons, and ordered his vassals to declare war against them; but while he meditated war against an oppressed people, he was himself mur­dered by his nephew, whose inheritance he unjustly detained from him; his murderer hoped to find a place of retreat among these can­tons, but the Swiss, zealous for their liberty, were incapable to se­cure it by giving an asylum unto criminals; his widow was so bent upon avenging the death of her husband, that she took no measures against the Swiss, who had resisted the oppressions of their tyranni­cal governors.

Leopold, the son of Albert, when he came of age, determined to make war against the three cantons, and collected an army of 20,000 men for that purpose; his plan was to attack the confederates the 15th of November, 1311, at a place called Morgarden, situate be­tween a lake and a mountain. In expectation that the inhabitants [Page 38] of Underwalden would come to the assistance of the confederates, the Count of Strasberg and the city of Lucern were to invade the cantons at the same time and at two different places. At dinner he asked the opinion of his jester, who replied, ‘All advise how to en­ter into the country, it seems to me necessary to consider how to come out again.’ His advise was despised, but verified by the event. A brave and virtuous people may be attacked, but wo to ty­rants that cannot retreat.

The plan was exactly followed; Leopold made a false attack at Arth, and perhaps the confederates would have placed all their little force there, if they had not received an information to "beware at Morgarden." To that place the cantons Ury and Underwalden sent 700 men, and the canton Swiss an equal number, who were posted on a mountain called the Saddle. On the day appointed the duke of Austria advanced at the head of his cavalry, his troops marched in great confidence, "sure to obtain an easy victory upon peasants, badly armed, and without military discipline:" Accordingly they proudly pressed into a defile, when they were stopt by 50 men, who had been banished the cantons for crimes, and whom, notwithstanding their request, the confederates would not think worthy to fight for liberty, even upon this pressing occasion. These men, however, by generously exposing themselves for their country, hoped to deserve the pardon of former crimes, they posted themselves on a very steep hill, above a narrow path, where the Austrian army could not march above two men a-breast; they suffered them very quietly to advance, but when a considerable number were now engaged in these narrow roads, they sent such a shower of stones and rolled large pieces of timber among the Austrian cavalry, that they were soon put in con­fusion; which the Swiss no sooner perceived, than they fell upon them with such fury, that they were obliged to retreat towards the plain; to gain ground to form the order of battle, the infantry opened their ranks, to let the cavalry pass; at this moment the con­federates broke in upon them, and standing on rising ground, their halbards did most dreadful execution. A cotemporary author saith, it was not a fight but a massacre. The prince lost near 1500 of his horse, the loss of the infantry could not be ascertained, but 52 men from Zuric, then in the interest of Austria, were all found slain in a heap; the loss of the confederates was incredibly trifling: Mean­while the count of Strasberg, with 4000 men had also invaded Un­derwalden, who send to their friends at Morgarden, and 400 of the victorious Swiss instantly fled to their relief; they came up with a body of their own people, with whom they attacked the count, who seeing colours among them that had been at Morgarden, judged his master was defeated, and so fled. The Swiss killed about 300 of his men in the retreat. After this battle gained, the three cantons en­tered [Page 39] into a perpetual alliance, which no power has since been able to break, and which heaven has remarkably preserved.

One of the next greatest battle the Swiss fought in defence of their liberty, was in the year 1386. Leopold, duke of Austria▪ personally repaired to Swisserland, in order to carry on the war with greater vigour. The duke had resolved to lay siege to Sempach: the con­federates had intelligence of it, and both opposite armies arrived before this little town the very same day. The Austrian advanced guard consisting of about 1400 men, committed all manner of vio­lence on their territory: One of their officers mounted a cart loaded with halters, and threatened to hang all the inhabitants before sun­set. The Austrians insulted the Swiss, it being in the time of hay­making, they came so near the walls to speak with them, and de­sired they would send dinner and wages to their mowers. The Swiss replied, it was not the custom of the Swiss to pay wages till they were earned, and that they would prepare a dinner for them, that many spoons should drop out of their hands. The duke's army consisted of about 4000 picked men, and among them many princes and noblemen, armed from head to foot. The confederates were about 1300 men, badly armed, and all on foot; they had no arms but hal­bards, and fastened pieces of wood on their arms, to fend off and break the blows of the enemies; their order of battle was very close, and represented an angle, one soldier was followed by two, two by four, and so on; in this order this handful of men courage­ously advanced against the enemy. Before they begun the engage­ment, as was usual with them, they fell down to prayers which made the duke's jester say, ‘Leopold, my countrymen (for he was a Swiss) have all lift up their hands, and sworn to almighty GOD, to kill thee.’ An Austrian officer, observing their undaunted coun­tenance, advised to delay the battle till next day▪ but a nobleman de­clared, ‘He would deliver that handful of boors before supper into the hands of the duke roasted or boiled, as he should best like them.’ The nobility was so eager to engage, that they dismounted, gave their horses into the care of their servants, and would not suf­fer any but noblemen to share in the honour of the day. It happened that a young nobleman, in cutting off the long point of his shoe (as all the rest did) wounded his toe which made him cry, whereupon the nobility ordered him out of the rank, as unworthy to fight His brethren were all slain, and his life was saved. The battle begun, the superior power of the Austrians in men and arms soon appeared, 60 confederates were killed before they could make the least im­pression on their enemy in this distress a brave knight of the [...] sacrifice his life for his country, he accordingly advanced boldly, and with his arms grasped and bent [Page 40] down as many of their long pikes as he could hold, the others pressed after him with irresistable fury, broke in with their halbards upon the Austrians, and made dreadful havock.

It is said, that before the engagement they proclaimed that every man that thought himself insufficient to encounter ten Austrians, might withdraw, and that about 300 withdrew according­ly; but when these saw the Austrians order of battle broke, they hastened to assist their brethren, and the nobility lost courage, gave way to the Swiss, and many of them, from the heat of the day and severity of the engagement, were suffocated by the weight of their own armour. The duke was several times entreated to withdraw, but seeing his banner in danger, he generously advanced to rescue it, but fell in the attempt. When the servants, who had been ordered in the rear with the horses saw the defeat of their masters, they mounted their masters horses, and left their masters to shift for themselves. It is supposed the loss of the Austrians amounted to 2000. including 667 of the nobility, and among them 350 with crowned caskets. The Swiss lost about 200, who were all carried to their respective homes. The third day they permitted the enemy to carry off their dead, among whom the duke was the principal; he was carried of the field of battle in a great box (still extant), which, 'tis said, had been full of halters, to hang the confederates. The Swiss, in hopes of ob­taining peace, were sparing of the blood of the Austrians, and did not pursue them in their retreat; they had reason to repent their lenity, but the continuance of the war served only to increase the victories and fame of the Swiss confederates. The sons of the de­feated Leopold made great preparation for war, and many imperial cities joined with them against the Swiss; a truce was indeed con­cluded, which the Austrians badly kept, and by surprize and secret intelligence made themselves masters of Wesen, the possession of which laid the whole canton of Glaris open to their ravages. The Swiss confederates advised that canton to get the best terms possible, but those proposed by the Austrians were so excessive severe, that that treaty came to nothing. The Austrians proposed themselves to invade that country with about 8000 men; the inhabitants had cast up an entrenchment, which was guarded by about 350 men; when the Austrians advanced, these finding themselves to weak to resist, retreated to a rising ground, the Austrians penetrated into the coun­try, and burned the village of Nasels, and then attacked the above­mentioned handful of inhabitants, who received them with a shower of stones; the Austrians having retreated a little to put themselves under cover, the Swiss seized the favourable moment, and fell upon them with such fury, that after an engagement of five hours, they were forced to fly. The Swiss pursued and came up with them at [Page 41] a bridge, where about 700 Swiss had gathered; the Austrians, in their confusion not aware that the bridge was broke, pressed on▪ and numbers were drowned. The loss of the Austrians was computed at 20 [...]0, while that of the Swiss did not exceed 55 men.

The dukes of Austria again consented to a truce, by which the Swiss were to remain in possession of all their conquests; this truce in 1314 was renewed for twenty, and in 1412 for fifty years longer. The Swiss made use of these times of tranquillity to give stability and perfection to their military disciplines. In 1393 they agreed up­on the following regulations among themselves: 1. No church nor chapel to be attacked, unless it is made use of as an asylum to the enemy. 2. No woman to be violated or insulted. 3. Every Swiss engageth to sacrifice his substance and life for his country. 4. No Swiss to forsake his post, even tho' wounded. 5. Forbids to pillage with­out leave of the commander, and orders the spoils to be equally divided 7. All that send provisions to the Swiss shall be protected. 8. No canton to make war without the consent of the rest. 9. No Swiss to take away any thing by violence from another, neither in time of war nor peace.

The Swiss carried their military discipline to such perfection, that Machiavel pretends no nations ever exceeded them in that respect, except the Romans.

On the whole then we may conceive the rise and progress of li­berty in Swisserland thus: 1. They had some rights and liberties granted them by emperors, which do not appear very considerable. 2. The emperors of the house of Austria endeavoured to separate them from the Roman empire, and bring them in subjection to the then rising house of Austria. 3. Against this the Swiss remonstrated, petitioned and pleaded their charters. 4. Governors were sent among them, who were to, and did, oppress them, in order to drive them to some act of despair, which their enemies intended to term rebellion, and under pretence of it reduce them by force of arms. This, 5. at length produced confederacies, first only of three men, by degrees of three small countries, which encreased gradually to thirteen cantons, besides some confederates. 6. To subdue them, a stop was first put to their trade, and afterwards they were attacked by force. 7. When attacked, they defended themselves with in­credible bravery, and under every possible disadvantage resisted every attack and at last obliged their enemies not only to desist, but to declare them a free state; and surrounded by Austria, France and Savoy they have continued free and brave ever since, and may they do so to the end of time.

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