« AnteriorContinuar »
God! we are as far removed from the danger of them, as we are from the place of their existence. Our apprehensions are from another quarter. Our ambitious French neighbours on this American continent, are the only people on earth, from whom we have any thing to fear. It may therefore, be proper to give you a sketch of the situation we should be in, under their government and power.
And, on this head, I would observe, first that among them, you would in vain look for that happy equality and security which you now enjoy. All the property of the subject lies, among them, at the absodute disposal of the sovereign; and the poor labourer has no encouragement to be industrious or get before hand in the world, since he can neither be certain to comfort himself thereby, nor those with whom he is most nearly connected. "You have frequent opportunities of being informed of the manner in which the French are forced to live near ourselves in Canada. You know on what poor fare all who can bear arms among them, are obliged to follow their arbitrary leaders through these inhospitable American woods; seldom enjoying a comfortable meal, unless by chance they can seize it from us, which makes them the more eager to dispossess us of these happy settlements, and to reap the fruit of our labours.
But, added to all their other miseries, the greatest is, that they are not only deprived of freedom of body, but even of mind. Instead of being permitted to pour forth the genuine worship of the heart, according to the dictates of their own conscience, before
the great creator of heaven and earth, they are obliged to pay a mock adoration to those “ who are no “ gods!” Instead of putting their trust in his mercies through the only Mediator Jesus Christ, they are taught to put a vain confidence in relicks, and departed spirits, and those who can afford no help. Instead of following the plain dictates of common sense and the light of their own understandings, they must submit to be hood-winked, and to have their consciences ridden, by a set of priests and jesuits and monks and inquisitors, swarming in every cor
But how different is the case among us! we enjoy an unprecarious property; and every man may freely taste the fruits of his own labours, “ under his vine “ and under his fig-tree, none making him afraid." If God has blessed us with the good things of this life, we need not fear to make an appearance answerable to our condition; and what we do not spend ourselves, the laws will secure to our children after us. The king, upon his throne, cannot exact a single farthing of our estates, but what we have first freely consented to pay by laws of our own making. We cannot be dragged out, in violation of justice and right, to wade in seas of blood, for satiating the ava. rice or ambition of a haughty monarch. We need not fear racks, nor stripes, nor bonds, nor arbitrary imprisonments, from any authority whatsoever; or could such prevail for a time above law, yet, while the constitution remains sound, we may be sure the very act would soon destroy itself, and terminate at length in the utter ruin of the projectors..
It is our happiness too that our minds are as free as our bodies. No man can impose his own dogmas or notions upon our consciences. We may worship the God of our fathers, the only living and true God, in that manner which appears most agreeable to our own understandings, and his revealed will. The bible is in our hands; we are assisted by an orthodox gospel-ministry; we may search and know the words of eternal life; and, what is equally valuable, we may convey what we know to our children after us, no man having it in his power to wrest their education from us.
This, my dear countrymen, is happiness indeed! and what still enhances it, is the consideration that we are not only called to enjoy it ourselves, but perhaps to be the blessed instruments of diffusing it over this vast continent, to the nations that sit “ in “ darkness and the shadow of death.”
Surely the thought of this ought to rouse every spark of virtue in our bosoms. Could an ancient Spartan rush into the field of death, upon the motives mentioned above? and is there any danger which a Briton ought to decline for the sake of these inestimable privileges? or shall a French slave and popish bigot, at this day, do more for the glory of his arbitrary lord, than a freeman and protestant, for the best of kings, and the father of his people?
This land was given to us for propagating freedom, establishing useful arts, and extending the kingdom of Jesus. Shall we, then, be false to such a trust, or pusillanimous in such a divine cause? We have hewn out habitations for ourselves in an uncul.
tivated wilderness; and shall we suffer them to fall a prey to the most faithless of enemies? We have unfurled the Messiah’s banner in the remotest parts of the earth; and shall we suffer the bloody flag of persecution to usurp its place? We have planted the blessed Gospel here; and shall we suffer heathen error to return where the glad tidings of salvation have once been preached?
No, countrymen! I know your souls disdain the very thought of such a conduct; and you would rather suffer ten thousand deaths (were so many possible) than be guilty of that which would entail infamy on yourselves, and ruin on your latest posterity.
Your readiness to join in the measures concerted for your safety, and to strike a decisive blow against the enemy, may much determine your future happiness and safety as a people; and I may when so much is at stake, you will not be backward in offering your service for a few months, under a General of humanity, experience, and every amiable accomplishment. I hope even to hear that our women will become advocates in such a cause, and entitle themselves to all the applauses so long ago paid to their Spartan predecessors!
I would not now wound you, with a disagreeable recapitulation of our past misconduct and fatal indolence, especially in these southern colonies. Many a time has it been in our power to crush out this dangerous war with a single tread of our foot, before it blazed up to its present height—But this we sadly neglected; and, perhaps, the all-wise disposer of
events meant to shew us that, when our affairs were at the worst, he was mighty to save.
Never was the protestant cause in a more desperate situation, than towards the close of last campaign. The great and heroic king of Prussia stood ready to be swallowed up of the multitude of his enemies. The British nation was torn to pieces by intestine divisions; its helm continually shifting hands; too many bent on sordid views of self-interest; too few regarding the public good; Minorca lost; Hanover over-run; our secret expeditions ending in disgrace; our forts in America destroyed; our people captivated or inhumanly murdered, and our fleets dispersed and shattered before the winds.
Yet even then, when no human eye could look for safety, the Lord interposed for the Protestant Religi01). In the short space of two months, the king of Prussia extricated himself from his difficulties, in a manner that astonished all Europe, and will continue to be the admiration of ages to come! And had we only done our part in America at that time, the pride of France would have been effectually humbled, and we should probably now have been rejoicing in an honourable peace.
But as that was not the case, the nation, in concert with the king of Prussia and other protestant powers, has been obliged to make one grand push more for the general cause in the present campaign; and if that is unsuccessful, God knows what will become of our liberties and properties. This we may lay down as a certain truth, that the expense of the present war is far too great to be borne long by the