« VorigeDoorgaan »
the late rebellion. It will never be forgotten by Englishmen. And, in his episcopal capacity, when that danger was over, if you read his sermon preached at Kensington, on the Fast-day, January 7th, 1747, you will there find him as strenuously engaged for the preservation of the public virtue of his country, as he had been before for the preservation of its public liberty; considering the one as inseparable from the other, and breathing forth that candid benevolence to his species, together with that tempered zeal for the protestant religion, and the rights of the British nation, which distinguish his character.
And here I cannot forbear the transcribing a paragraph of a late most excellent letter, which I had the honour to receive from him by your hands. It is not foreign to the subject we are now upon; and I persuade myself that you will make the same good use of it, which, by the help of God, I shall strive to do.
“ You will, says he, not only maintain, but certainly increase your credit, by promoting the interest of your country and the honour of religion; in which I will venture to call it the golden rule of conduct, to keep strictly to the spirit of protestantism, and to preserve the dignity of our establishment, in the temper of every reasonable degree of liberty.”.
This is a golden rule indeed; and while we frame our conduct by it, we need not be awed by the faces of men, but boldly proceed to warn and exhort them in every species of duty. It is true, we have but few temporal advantages, in these parts, to support us in such a noble cause, but yet we are not left destitute of the most animating motives. Whilst others are proposing, and justly proposing, to themselves the palm of high renown, for bravely subduing and maintaining a rich and spacious country for the name of Britain and liberty, we may consider ourselves even in a still higher light, as subduing it to the name of Christ, and adding it to his everlasting kingdom! Compared to this, the glory of temporal conquests and foundations is but unsubstantial air, and shortlived renown!
Hence, then, my friend, were it my lot to be in your situation, at this perilous season, methinks I should consider myself as one who had advanced to the very frontiers of those places to which the gospel hath yet reached, and among the first who had unfolded its everlasting banners in the remotest parts of the West. Recede* I would not, nor give back a single inch to the gloomy reign of Heathenism and Error; but would strive to subject still more and more to the kingdom of God and his Christ. To see the fire and vigour of youth spent in such a work, is indeed a most lovely spectacle, because they are spent in his service who gave us both youth and fire! And if we exert ourselves manfully in such a cause, who knows, but at length, through Almighty assistance, a fame may be kindled which shall not only exalt every bosom among us to an equality with the foremost of our neighbours, but shall also burn, and catch and spread, like a wide conflagration, till it has illuminated the remotest parts of this immense continent!
• The gentleman to whom this was addressed, as well as some mini. sters of orber denominations, did a few months after this find it necessary to appear at the head of their
ple, and were signally instrumental in preventing some of the Frontier-counties from being totally abandoned by their inhabitants.
I would not, however, be understood from any thing here said, to think it expedient for ministers of the gospel to interfere any farther in civil concerns than is just necessary to support that spirit of liberty, with which our holy religion is so inseparably connected; for such a conduct might engage us in broils, ruffle our tempers, and unfit us for the more solemn part of our duty. Nor do I think we ought to dwell any farther on the errors of others, than just to enable those, with whom we are connected, to shun them; lest, instead of the spirit of true holiness, a spirit of vain-glory, self-righteousness, and hypocritical-pride, should be promoted.
'Tis true, as hath been already said, that we can never be too much upon our guard against the growth of a corrupt and slavish religion among us, but we may be in as much danger, on the other hand, from infidelity, a morose and censorious spirit, ard a neglect of the practice of all religion. Hence, then, though on proper occasions, we are to rise with a noble contention of soul, against vice and error; yet still our favourite subjects ought to be on the brighter side of things—to recommend the love of God and our neighbours, together with the practice of every social and divine virtue.
I would just observe farther, though, in such cir. cumstances as the present, sermons from the press may be sometimes both necessary and seasonable, yet I am far from thinking that this will be our most effectual method of serving religion, in general. We shall be vastly more useful in this cause, by being much among the people committed to our care, and knowing how to accommodate our private as well as public instructions to their various dispositions and necessities.
That the author of every good gift may enable you to be more and more useful in this and
every thing else that can adorn the character of a preacher of righteousness, is my sincere wish, as I cannot think myself indifferent to any thing that affects the credit of your ministry.
I am, &c.
Philadelphia, ? 21st August, 1755. S
AN EARNEST ADDRESS
PARTICULARLY THOSE OF THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT; ON TAS
OPENING OF THE CAMPAIGN, 1758: WRITTEN AND PUBLISHED, AT THE DESIRE OF BRIGADIER-GENERAL FORBES,
WHEN LEVYING FORCES FOR
THE EXPEDITION AGAINST
FORT DU QUESNE, WHICH WAS AFTERWARDS TAKEN BY HIM.'
BRETHREN AND COUNTRYMEN,
AM manner, on the present posture of affairs, and the duty we owe to his sacred majesty, to our holy religion, and to our latest posterity, on this important occasion. As I would be understood by all, I shall not affect a vain parade of words, or pomp of stile, Brevity and perspicuity shall be my principal aim.
The almighty author of our nature has thought fit to create man a needy and dependent being, incapable of subsisting in a solitary state with any degree of happiness. In order to his well-being, a mutual interchange of good offices with his fellow creatures is absolutely necessary.
Hence the origin and foundation of civil societies, which are nothing else but certain bodies of men linked together by common compact or agreement,