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A DISCOURSE, The Substance of which was delivered at Hop­kinton, on the LORD's-Day, March 24th, 1776, being the next Sabbath following the PRECIPITATE FLIGHT Of the British Troops from BOSTON.

BY ELIJAH FITCH, A. M.

Published at the Request of the Hearers.

The wicked flee when no man pursueth; but the righteous are bold as a lion.

SOLOMON.

BOSTON: Printed by JOHN BOYLE in Marlborough-Street. MDCCLXXVI.

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PSALM xxxvii.12, 13.

The Wicked plotteth against the Just, and gnash­eth upon him with his teeth: The Lord shall laugh at him; for he seeth his day is coming.

MY HEARERS,

"TO day is the scripture fulfilled in our [...]" we have both heard of the deep laid plots, the dark and cunning de­vices of those who once ruled over us, to bring ruin and destruction upon this whole land; and have seen them endeavouring to effect it; by tying our hands first with the cords of oppression, that then, with the greater facility, they might fasten our feet in the fetters of slavery. This is the plot­ting of the wicked against the just: For although we have been a wicked people, and have deserved more than this from the hands of a righteous God; yet from them we have deserved better treatment: We never did them any wrong, as a people, but just and upright have been our dealings.

WE have also seen them gnashing upon us with their teeth; as it were, wheting their teeth, by pre­paring every instrument of cruelty and death possible to be invented by them, to strike dread and terror in­to our hearts, to frighten, and thereby bring us base­ly to submit to their unjust requisitions, which gnash­ing of their teeth was accompanied with big threats, to spread destruction and desolation over this whole land, if we refused to bow our necks, and would not submissively take upon them the tyrant's yoke.

AND we have likewise seen them brought into de­rision; the Lord hath laughed at them, i. e. hath hi­therto [Page 4] tied their hands and greatly disappointed their expectations; for, instead of driving all before them, and spreading desolation and destruction far and wide, they have been confined within narrow bounds, the small compass of a few miles hath contained them for almost a year, sheltered behind most strong forti­fications and many large ships of war: But although they were within fortresses, by nature and art render­ed almost impregnable, yet surprize hath seized upon them in such a remarkable manner and to such a de­gree as to cause them to leave their strong hold in the greatest hurry and precipitation; and to flee for their lives, committing themselves to the sea for safety. "This is the Lord's doing and is marvellous in our eyes." And it becomes us now to consider of the hand of providence in this happy event, and to make a suitable improvement of it; which is to rest and con­fide more in God, thankfully acknowledging his kind interposition, and trust ourselves and our all with him; who hath hitherto dealt so favourably with us, by re­membering mercy in the midst of judgment.

THIS whole Psalm is a discourse upon providence; and the main design is to bring the people of God to an intire and hearty acquiescence in it: Various instances are mentioned, wherein the people of God seem for a while to be cast down, and the wicked in some measure triumphing over them: But he shews that the triumphing of the wicked is short, Ver. 2. and 10. "For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb: For yet a little while and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shall di­ligently consider his place, and it shall not be." This is said to keep the righteous in a calm, sedate and tranquil frame of mind, to prevent any uneasy dis­quietude from taking place in their breasts, at the pre­valency and success of the wicked, and to make them commit their way unto the Lord, confide in, and wait patiently for him; nothing doubting, but that he will make all things work together for their good, and [Page 5] for the destruction of those that rise up against them. Ver. 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9. of the context.

THE righteous and the wicked are here set in con­trast; by which it appears that the righteous have the advantage of the wicked much every way, both in this world and the next: For if the righteous have but little of this world, it is better, it is more than all the abundance of the wicked; for they possess more by enjoying it better, with more satisfaction and greater comfort: "A little that a righteous man hath is bet­ter than great revenues without right!" And if they have but little here, yet they are heirs to an inheri­tance, that is infinitely better than the whole world, and will last them for ever, Ver. 18. An inheritance incorruptible, undefiled and which fadeth not away. Or, if the wicked have more honour, renown and glo­ry in the world, the righteous have no cause to envy them; for it is but short, fading and dying, and will soon turn into shame, infamy and disgrace. Or, if they lay dark schemes, devise wicked devices, and plot mischief against them; yet, referring all to God, in the use of the means afforded them, they have no reason to be afraid: For he that sitteth in the hea­vens, who regards, who loves the righteous, and whose ears are open to their cry, will undertake for their pro­tection, defence and salvation; will laugh at the wick­ed, blow upon their devices and confound them, Ver. 38 and 9. But the transgressors shall be destroyed to­gether; the end of the wicked shall be cut off. But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord, he is their strength in the time of trouble. And this is spoken to the righteous in order to keep up their spirits and make them hold on, and hold out, and not give up when engaged in a good cause, though their enemies be many and potent, crafty and subtle, and have suc­cess in some measure attending them; being permit­ted to carry into execution some of their malicious purposes and wicked devices. And as we are now en­gaged in a contest with such as we justly esteem usurpers [Page 6] and encroachers; who have in a most unjust manner levied war upon us: And we, being satisfied of the just­ness and righteousness of our cause, have appealed to heaven to decide the controversy; we should there­fore be often looking up to God, as the Lord of Hosts and God of armies, and depend on him, more than on our own strength or wisdom: "For the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong." And we should take notice of every of his providences, ac­knowledging his hand in them.—With a view to this, I shall further discourse from these words: Which naturally lead us,

IN the First place, to take notice of the malicious, crafty and evil machinations, plots and devices of the wicked against the just.

AND then, Secondly, To shew in what manner their unjust, proud and insolent proceedings will turn to their own shame, disgrace or infamy.

First, then, WE are to take notice of the malici­ous, crafty and evil machinations, plots and devices of the wicked against the just. It is here asserted that the wicked plotteth against the just: For wise reasons and holy ends they are permitted to do so, by the wise and righteous Governor of the world; he permits them to take their course in contriving wick­edness, that their destruction may be of themselves.

WE shall begin at the foundation of the plotting of the wicked against the just, and follow them from the beginning down to the present day, in as concise a manner as possible; from which we shall be able, in the application, to ascertain the true character of each, and make it appear, to which the one and the other belong, in the present struggle betwen Great-Britain, and the UNITED COLONIES of AMERICA.

WE would observe then, that there is a rooted ha­tred & enmity in the hearts of the ungodly against both God and his people: There is that in them, which is contrary to holiness, righteousness and purity; for this reason they are said to be of their father the devil, [Page 7] whose works they do. They imitate him in contriv­ing every wile and stratagem possible to be invented by them, to bring ruin and destruction upon the right­eous people of God, who never meant them any harm, nor ever did them any wrong: This hath been the case, ever since Lucifer, once Son of the morning, but now prince of darkness, with hellish malice so artful­ly and successfully practised his devices upon the first Parent of the human race: By which one plot he got the world, in a sense, under his dominion; led man­kind captive at his will, and gained them upon his side against a righteous and holy God. Hence he is called the God of this world, and the prince of the power of the air; and is said to be that spirit, which now worketh in the hearts of the children of disobe­dience: And Christ hath undertaken to release these captives, "to open the prison doors to them that are bound, to take them from the dominion and deliver them from the power of Satan, and to bring them into the glorious liberty of the Sons of God." And the great Captain of our salvation will not cease to ride forth conquering and to conquer, till he hath wholly spoiled the principalities and powers of dark­ness; led captivity captive, and destroyed him that hath the power of death, that is the devil. This is the foundation of the quarrel which Satan hath raised and continues in the world: And he carries on his de­signs by deceit, low-cunning and craft; he works in the dark, under handed, under ground; and so do his imps; hence he is called the prince of darkness, and his chil­dren the children of darkness; and both answer the character. In opposition to these the just are called the children of light; who always act above ground, and are open and fair in their proceedings, and do the thing that is lawful and right: But the wicked never stick at the baseness of an action, no matter how vile, nor how cruel, if it hath but the appearance of subserv­ing their malicious designs, in gratifying their rage, pride, or lusts. It is enough to put them upon the [Page 8] most inhuman and bloody actions, to see but the least prospect of accomplishing their wicked designs: Thus Cain, that first child of the evil one, in a sly under hand­ed manner rose up against, and slew his righteous bro­ther. And this hath been the manner of the wicked from the beginning to the present day; whatever they do or devise against the righteous, it is unjust, and they endeavour as much as possible to devise and practise it in the dark. And, should we look through their pro­ceedings as far as we are able, we should find, that this hath been their manner; we should see a great deal of cunning policy and artful contrivance, dark schemes, and deep plots of the most black and hellish nature a­gainst the people of God. But suffice it to say, that this is the very nature of the kingdom of darkness; it is upheld, promoted, and carried on by darkness and iniquity, as well in large bodies and communities, as in the hearts of particular persons: And this is always the case, except when they have got such power in their hands as to think there is no danger of miscarrying in their wicked designs; and then they will be open, bold and bare-faced, being sure to drive all before them: And this power for a while is sometimes given them. Thus, saith Christ to his malicious persecutors, "this is your hour, and the power of darkness." And they delight to work in the dark—shut their eyes against the light—chuse not to see it, and even court decep­tion, when pursuing their malicious designs: Thus did that proud and haughty Monarch Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and Saul, king of Israel, and the chief rulers among the Jews in Christ's time, &c. And the king­dom of Antichrist hath been upheld to this day, by keeping the people in ignorance and practising de­ceit upon them; "by many dark signs and lying won­ders the nations have been deceived;" and in no o­ther way could they uphold their kingdom, and pro­ceed in their evil devices; for, should the light of the truth be admitted, and disperse the dark clouds of igno­rance and error, in which it is involved; that king­dom [Page 9] would shake to its very foundations, and totter to the ground. And the necessity of keeping out of sight, in order to carry into execution their diabolical plans, hath introduced this maxim, that deception is a neces­sary qualification to constitute a man an able poli­tician: And it is so—where wickedness is at the bot­tom, in laying plots and concerting schemes of a hell­ish nature, which will not endure the light of the sun; these must be carried into execution, in darkness, by deception. Upon this principle it is that the papal hierarchy have always been devising mischief and practising deceit, to destroy the protestants (whom they call hereticks) from off the face of the earth. And so wicked and abandoned are they, so full of deceit, that they have often made oaths, promises and solemn protestations, for no other purpose than to deceive; and, whenever it appears for their interest, make no scruple to break over them all. And nothing is too bad for them to do; no matter what, if it hath but the appearance of affording them the least help and assis­tance in destroying or extirpating the people of the Lord: Witness their endeavours once and again to place the Pretender on the throne of England; their powder plot, &c.

AND at this day Britons have joined hands with them in this, to violate oaths, break promises and so­lemn engagements: The faith of kings is regarded as nothing; solemn charters, the agreement between a king and his subjects (which should ever be held as sacred) are set at nought, broken over, troden under foot, &c. and no stone hath been left unturned, no scheme unattempted, nor plot undevised, how villainous soever, if attended with any considerable prospect of annoying, distressing, and reducing us to a state of vile subjection, and base servitude. Observe their several steps, attempting, first, by subtil devices and deep laid plots; then by big words, threatning our destructi­on; then by endeavours to rob, impoverish and starve us into a base submission; and then by open violence, [Page 10] with every instrument of death pointed at our breasts, to destroy, or force us to bow our necks, and take upon them the yoke of oppression, tyranny and ser­vitude. All this is couched under Acts of the Bri­tish Senate: The revenue Acts, the Quebec Bill, the Boston Port Bill, the fishery Bill, and the bloody Act, which dooms the American Colonies in a state of ac­tual rebellion, for nothing but asserting, and main­taining our just rights, liberties and privileges. Ne­ver was there a more bare-faced plotting of the wicked against the just from the beginning till now; for there never was a people more loyal to their King, never any that shewed greater fidelity and all due submis­sion, till our rights and liberties were encroached up­on, without the least provocation given. They then plotted our ruin, when we gloried in being the obe­dient subjects of England's King; long did they try to keep behind the curtain, and in darkness hide their base and evil intentions; but this being impracticable, through the vigilance of those whose breasts were fil­led with patriotic virtue, and whose discernment was too great not to see through their dark and malici­ous designs, who giving notice thereof to the people, with united voices, they proclaim aloud, liberty and property; down with oppression: Which voice reach­ed the ears of King, Lords and Commons, who were so enraged at our discovery of the snare set for us, and our resolutions not to be tamely shackled with the fetters of slavery, that they gnashed upon us with their teeth: The Lion roused, with grim and horrible looks, and with open mouth rushed, to seize his prey; flush­ed with the hopes of certain and speedy conquest, they disdained our remonstrances, nor would they listen to our humble petitions: Nothing would satisfy their ra­pacious appetites, short of an absolute surrender of our liberty and property into their hands; we must submit, and acknowledge that they have a right to bind us by acts of their own in all cases whatsoever, or suffer the utmost that their power and policy, rage [Page 11] and malice could inflict upon us; there was no alter­native: Therefore, upon our non-submission, they soon began their horrid and bloody design; when God and nature, justice to ourselves, and posterity, love to our country, to our wives and children, and the blood of our fellow country-men, wantonly spilled upon the ground, called loud upon us to rush to arms; we obeyed; and, thro' the interposition of heaven, success hath hitherto remarkably crowned our endeavours, to frustrate their evil designs, to bring to nought their deep laid plots, and make their schemes abortive. Disappointment, shame and confusion hath hitherto fallen upon them; and thus it is with the wicked, in their malicious plotting against the just, and gnashing upon them with their teeth.

THE manner of its being effected, was the next thing to be shewn. We proceed then to shew,

Secondly, IN what manner their unjust, proud, sub­til and insolent proceedings will turn to their own shame, disgrace, or infamy.

HERE it may be necessary to observe that God often suffers the wicked to proceed to great lengths, before he laughs at them; permits them to proceed with such an high hand, as to make the righteous fear, that they will drive all before them; but however successful they may be in any of their enterprizes, those that trust in God, and believe his word, have no reason to be dis­couraged, or to give up a righteous cause on that ac­count: If this should now be the case; should our e­nemies appear most formidable in their preparations, and like a flood threaten to swallow us up, and be in any measure successful against us; it should serve, not to discourage, but make us cleave faster and de­pend more upon the Lord of Hosts and the God of armies; believing that he will in due time disappoint and confound them: This word is enough to keep up our spirits, so long as we make God our trust and refuge, the Lord shall laugh at him, for he seeth that his day is coming: For there is nothing, that they can devise [Page 12] or plot, but what God permits, nor can they proceed an inch farther, in carrying their schemes into execu­tion, than he suffers them; and, when they have pro­ceeded so far as that their shame and disgrace shall be most conspicuous, or fall with the greatest weight up­on them, then will be the time for the Lord to laugh at them and pour contempt upon them. And this is brought about by various means; as God in his infinite wisdom sees fit and best, sometimes in one way and manner, and sometimes in another; but by whatsoever method, or means it is effected, we should always remember, that God's hand is principal: When the wicked are put to confusion and shame, and infamy comes upon them, it is the Lord's doing; and God's people should attribute it, not to themselves, as if by their superior wisdom, strength or courage, they had put their enemies to confusion, flight or shame. For if we have wisdom, resolution and bravery to make a bold and manly stand, this should be attributed to God, and all the success of it to him, who "giveth power to the faint, and encreaseth strength to them that have no might."

BUT the way and manner in which he most com­monly effects their shame and disgrace, is, by permit­ting them to concert their schemes and lay their plots in secret, and to proceed in such a manner as to raise their expectations high, presuming their plans to be so well concerted, as that nothing can disappoint them; and, when they have got ripe for execution, to blast all their hopes, frustrate their evil designs, and many times turn the mischief they intended to others upon their own heads; * and this by means that they least tho't of, and which were looked upon by them, as insig­nificant and not worthy their notice. And the more despicable the means are, by which it is effected, so much the more conspicuous is the hand of God; and nothing can be more apparent; unless, where means are made use of, that are above the reach of men; as [Page 13] when the stars in their courses, the winds, waves, &c, are employed (as is often the case) to put a stop to the evil proceedings of the wicked. And being unable to execute their malicious purposes, and having lift­ed up themselves upon high raised hopes and expec­tations; priding, vaunting and boasting of sure suc­cess in their enterprizes; disappointment under these circumstances falls with a double weight upon their heads, bringing an insupportable load of shame and disgrace. Thus oftentimes God pours contempt upon Princes, and makes proud insolent oppressors gnash their teeth for rage at their disappointment.

SOMETIMES God opens their eyes and gives them to see their folly in their unjust and evil proceedings; and shame and confusion cover their faces.

SOMETIMES by putting fear, dread and terror into their hearts, by which they are rendered unfit and un­able to proceed in their evil designs. This, He, who hath all hearts in his hand, can, and often doth effect, by the smallest means. A rumour is sufficient to dis­hearten and affrighten the Assyrian host. 2 Kings xix.7. Yea the sound of a shaken leaf is enough to chase and make them flee, as if flying from the sword; and in their flight to destroy each other, Lev. xxvi.36. This was remarkably the case, when the Midianites, Amalekites, and all the children of the East, an innumerable multitude, were routed and put to confusion by Gideon, with his three hundred men, Judges vii.21, 22.

SOMETIMES by bringing to light their dark designs and setting them in open view, shame and disgrace is bro't upon the contrivers; and when malicious, deep laid plots are discovered and laid open; the wicked machinators will gnaw their tongues with rage, at their overthrow: And God often makes the means, which they use to bring about their wicked purposes, to effect their own shame, and so "taketh the wise in their own craftiness.

[Page 14]GOD knows how to deal with all the wicked, how far to let them proceed in their evil designs, and when is the best time to put a stop to their evil proceedings; and, when that time comes, he will then do it in his own way and manner, which is always the best: God's own people may sometimes think it is time for God to a­rise and work for their salvation and for the destructi­on of their enemies, long before it is accomplished; no doubt, but Israel of old when they shook off the yoke of Egyptian bondage, and were pursued by Pharaoh and his mighty host, thought it was time for God to ap­pear for them, before they were so hemed in as to see no possible way of escape: But the event proved that God's time was the best time, and most for his glo­ry and their safety.

THE wicked may be permitted to accomplish some of their evil purposes against the just; but in the end they will be frustrated and put to shame; thus Saul could never wholly effect his malicious purposes a­gainst David; tho' he long pursued him and hunted him as a Partridge upon the mountains, he was always disappointed, confounded and often ashamed: Many a time Saul thought it almost impossible for David to avoid his fury, yet always a way was found out for his escape; and thus the Lord laughs at the wicked, by suffering them to build high, on the foundation which they think is laid deep and strong, and, when their day is come, to disconcert their plans and frus­trate all their evil designs: And this is what is in­tended by the expression, the Lord shall laugh at him, for he seeth his day is coming; a day, a set day there is for them to be cast down and brought into derisi­on, a day for their high looks to be brought low, and for the proud to be abased; thus was it with proud Pharaoh, he was lifted up on high, with sure expec­tations of destroying the Israelites and dividing the spoil, flushed with the hopes of certain success, he rushes forward, till his glory, his pomp and his multi­tude are altogether buried in the sea.

[Page 15]SOMETIMES God permits the wicked to go on with­out much molestation or hinderance, to fill up their measure of wrath; and the time he hath set to laugh at them is in the other world, when they will be pres­ed down under an everlasting weight of infamy, shame and disgrace, "for the wicked shall not go finally un­punished; the Lord shall laugh at him, for he seeth his day is coming."

APPLICATION.

And, first, WHAT hath been said should serve to pre­vent the people of God, from complaining of, fretting against or finding fault with Him or his providence, for suffering the wicked to become great, to plot against the just and to be in some measure successful in their evil designs; but, on the contrary, the more spiteful and malicious they are, the greater they be and the more they succeed in their wicked purposes, so much the more should God's people, with humble depen­dance look up to and wait upon him, who is higher than the highest, greater than the greatest, and wiser than the wisest of them: Nothing doubting but that he, who knows how to reserve the prince of dark­ness and all his legions, under chains of darkness, to the judgment of the great day; knows how far to suffer those, who belong to his family to proceed, and no further can they go: Let us then, who pro­fess to have the Lord for our God, believe and rest satisfied in this, that the Lord seeth his day is com­ing. Let us confide in him, who knoweth both how, and when is the best time to restrain and disappoint them. And this is the best policy, that the children of God can make use of, even, to leave all with God, in confident hope and firm trust, that he will find means to extricate his faithful people out of all their difficulties; that he will take care of them, prevent what they fear, and bring about all events in the issue to their full satisfaction: Their enemies in due time shall be impotent, ashamed or destroyed; and the [Page 16] righteous at last be made to triumph over them all. Only trust in the Lord and do good, and use the means, that are put into our hands, and then we need not fear what man can do unto us: If we are care­ful to mind our duty, fear God and keep his com­mandments, and are truly conformed to the character of the righteous, we may then be certain, that the tri­umphing of the wicked will be short, that the Lord will laugh at them, bring derision and contempt upon them, and never suffer them to devise evil devices or plot mischief and execute it any further than He in his infinite wisdom sees fit and best, even best for us. Ver. 32.3. of the context.

NOT but that God's people may for a time suffer greatly by them: The righteous may be brought low by rebukes of providence for their sins, as some sin cleaves to the most upright among men, and will do so, till they put off their robes of mortality: But the chastisements they endure are so far from being hurt­ful, that they are really subservient to their good; they reap profit and benefit from them: The wicked indeed plot their mischief, their ruin; but God means it for good. This it becomes us so firmly to believe, as to refer all to God and leave it with him, by his wise and good providence to dispose of all our concerns as he pleases: To trust wholly in him, to bring all to a good issue, with full satisfaction that all is well, is best, that God doth. Our part is to mind and do our duty, and then leave the event with God: Leave it with him to take care of and deal with those, "who are the scandals and burthens, the blemishes and common nusances of the earth." We should not therefore fret at God or be any ways uneasy, as tho' God was unkind to his church and people, in suffer­ing such malicious, sly, crafty and subtil men to live, prosper and prevail as they do; for he never would, if he had not wise designs to answer by them: This we should also believe, and therefore not fret our­selves [Page 17] with vexation at their success, in their evil pro­jects, at any time.

LOOK upon wicked Pharaoh; see how he was per­mitted to afflict and distress the people, whose God was the Lord; and they then thought, that all these things were against them; that their God was unkind to them, when in truth it was only to make way for their freedom from bondage and slavery, to let the op­pressed go free: Which could not be effected so easily by any other means. Had not their burthens been insupportable, beyond what they were able to bear; perhaps it might have been impossible for Moses to have persuaded them to leave the tyrant's service; but their grievous impositions, which Pharaoh intend­ed as a means to keep them all under his iron yoke, had directly the contrary effect; it united them toge­ther, and made them all with one heart and mind re­solve to be free. Such instances we should now re­member, to keep us from anxious disquietude, and to encourage our hope and trust in that God, who brings good out of evil. Perhaps in this view, we may see much of the goodness, mercy and loving-kindness of our God towards us, and our children, even in those things which in themselves, and for the present, are not joyous, but grievous; and this should also serve to keep us from fretting or complaining, and make us acquiesce, and with patience wait for the event, till the end be: Only let us be careful to improve present troubles a­right; this we must do, in order for a well ground­ed hope, that good to us, to our posterity and land, will come out of all this evil.

PERHAPS our God, by these commotions, contenti­ons, disturbances and overtures, is about to lay a firm foundation for the lasting future peace, tranquility and liberty of these American Colonies for ages and ge­nerations yet to come: Hitherto, every thing bears this favourable aspect! The means, that our unnatu­ral [Page 18] enemies have made use of, to bring and keep us under their power and controul, are much the same which Pharaoh, Egypt's haughty Monarch used, and they have as yet had the same effect: Their schemes to oppress, divide, and then subjugate these Colonies, have served to unite our hearts, as one man, to cast off the burthens they have been imposing upon us: And there is no way, which could be thought of, that would so speedily and so firmly have united us together, as the ways by them taken to divide and oppress us. Our God hath so ordered and disposed of the means, which they wickedly devised and used, as to make them have directly the contrary effect to what they intended by them: "This is the Lord's doing and is marvellous in our eyes." These things considered should prevent all hard thoughts of our God, who in the midst of judgment remembers mercy, and gives us so much reason to think, that he designs good un­to us, if we will but cleave fast unto him. See the six first verses of this Psalm.

Secondly, WE may learn from what hath been said, how to distinguish between the plots of the wicked, and the proceedings of the just. Wicked men de­vise evil devices; they plot, they work in the dark, saying, no eye seeth us, they hate the light, lest their evil deeds should be reproved; but the righteous, who are ever opposed to the wicked, are of upright conversation, are open and fair in their proceedings, are desirous of, and endeavour to set things in a true light; their works are not works of darkness.

AND here it may not be amiss at this time, when we are engaged in so great a contest and weighty af­fair, as opposing by force of arms those whom we once revered, in whose welfare and prosperity we re­joiced, and in whose glory we gloried, as our own; who have unnaturally become our foes. premeditately risen up against us, plotted and threatened our ruin; to [Page 19] run something of a parallel between the conduct of the British nation and that of these Colonies, by which we shall see clearly, who are those wicked, that are now plotting against the just.

WE would observe then, that it is an infallible mark of the wicked's plotting, when by subtilty and craft, or open violence, they endeavour the hurt of those, that have done them no wrong, nor given them any just provocation. The first wicked plot, that was ever concerted in this our world, was by a most wick­ed apostate, against those that never did him wrong, nor afforded him the least just provocation. His envy and malice was enough to urge him on to the destruc­tion of millions; and ever since envy and ill will are continually striking at the felicity, tranquillity and growing opulency of the brave and good. How e­vidently doth this character belong to those that have risen up against us? They then began to plot our ruin, when we were at ease and quiet, and had done them no wrong; yea then, when we were doing them all the good in our power; had been assisting them, at the expence of our blood and treasure to acquire vast ter­ritories to the British crown; and were carrying into their bosom all our riches; they then framed an act,* which, if it had been put into execution, we had now been wearing out our lives in more than Egyptian bondage; and ever since, all the craft and sub­tilty they were masters of hath been employed, to bring us effectually under the yoke of oppression.

Which leads to another observation,

THAT it is a sure mark of the wicked's plotting, when they endeavour to hide the truth; and, as much as possible, to keep their evil designs out of sight. How exactly hath this been the case with ad­ministration? They would fain make us believe, that they meant us no harm, that they had no design of [Page 20] depriving us of our rights, liberty or property, even then, when they were endeavouring by deep laid plots to effect it. They worked as it were in the dark, out of sight; and tried every method, that their cunning and subtilty could invent, to make us implicitly ac­knowledge, that they had a right to put their hands into our pockets, and take a little from thence, with­out our consent, that so they might in process of time come at the whole. But, when by all their art and policy they could not bring us to submit to this; when they perceived, that we saw thro' their dark designs, and would not believe them, though they asserted never so strongly that they meant us no hurt, while they were endeavouring to rob us of our rights and properties; they then shewed themselves; and plainly declared what they were after, to make us servants, tributary to them. And, thinking that they had power sufficient to do with us as they pleased; they then became open and bare-faced in their proceedings; their language then was, own us for your masters, or receive the point of the bayonet in your breasts.—And wicked plots and devices require wicked and base means to execute and accomplish them, as one lie requires another to sup­port it. Therefore, we may observe further,

THAT it is an undoubted sign of the wicked's plot­ting against the just, when they pursue such measures to bring about their malicious designs, as are evil in themselves. For as truth needs no lie to support it; so a just cause doth not require unjust measures to defend it. But with regard to Britain, may we not say, that truth is fallen in the streets, and equity can­not enter? For what means have they not used to blind, deceive and hide the truth, and to promote falshood and lies? They have even courted decep­tion and would never listen to the true state of facts, tho' set before them as clear as the sun. And those on this side the water, who have joined with them, [Page 21] have left no stone unturned, in endeavouring to de­ceive both them and us *. And since they have drawn the sword, what have they left undone, which they thought would have the least tendency to dis­tress and destroy us? It appears plain, that they look­ed upon nothing too bad to do unto us; no measures, however base, vile and inhuman, have been omitted either before or since the commencement of hostili­ties: What could be more cruel, unmerciful and un­just, than their several acts against us? One was made with a manifest design to encourage murder, by making provision to protect the murderers: Another vacates the Charter of a province (ever loyal to it's King) upon the ground of a false report: Another to starve and impoverish one of the most populous towns on the continent: What could be more cruel, unmerciful and unjust? But, this not answering their malicious designs, they extended their cruelty to the four New-England Colonies, stoping the avenues of our riches, by depriving us of the fishery, which God and nature had put into our hands; and when this proved ineffectual, behold them enlarging their un­merciful cruelty to every province, that would dare to stand up for us: And then, to crown all, drew the sword and prepared every instrument of cruelty and death, to send desolation and destruction through our whole land. And what unwearied pains have they taken, and what cruel and barbarous schemes and hellish plots have they laid? Negroes and Indians, Barbarians, Infidels and Papists, have all been appli­ed to by our malicious foes. Surely had their cause been righteous; were they not wickedly plotting a­gainst the just, they would not have wanted such base props as these to support it; nor accept them if offer­ed. [Page 22] Add to all this, their using every stratagem pos­sible, in the most secret manner, to stir up the Ne­groes in the midst of us, to cut our throats at una­wares, and to set the Savages and Roman Catholicks, like blood-hounds on our backs, while they like lions (as they term themselves) were roused, and came to meet us with open mouths, gaping for their prey; most furiously and maliciously gnashing upon us with their teeth; filled with rage and indignation, threat­ening to eat us up; yea, so big as to devour us at a mouthful, and spread desolation far and wide, by fire and sword. And their burning several populous towns, over the heads of women and children, whose piercing shrieks and infantile bitter cries, were heard unrelented by those, who would be thought humane; such acts of cruelty are without a parallel among civilized nations. Not to mention the barbarity exercised upon those of our brave countrymen, who have unfortunately fallen a prey into their relent­less jaws. Again,

IT is a sign of the wicked's plotting against the just, in their endeavours to annoy and destroy them, when they are insolent, proud and haughty, and open their mouths against the heavens, as well as against the people of God. Such as these are an abomination to the Lord; He hates the proud look, as well as the lying tongue; and "pride goes before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall." And we need not say, how Britons have vaunted themselves, and even defied the Lord of Hosts, if at the head of A­mericans (if report be true) at least they have derid­ed us, for making application to the God of armies, on our days of fasting and prayer for that purpose; being sure that no force of ours could withstand them, they have derided and looked down upon us, with utmost scorn and contempt, being flushed with hopes of certain and speedy conquest: Never was a people [Page 23] puffed up with a greater conceit of the sufficiency of their own wisdom, power and policy to accomplish all their evil designs against us. Once more,

DISAPPOINTMENT attending all their undertak­ings, and shame and confusion covering their faces is another mark of the wicked's plotting against the just. The Lord shall laugh at him: And never was this more evidently the case than it is at present with our enemies: Though proud and insolent, contempt hath been poured upon them; thay have hitherto made themselves ridiculous: And their attempts have prov­ed vain, fruitless and ineffectual in a great measure: Their rage and malice hath been impotent; the lion roused hath been held fast in a chain, he hath gnash­ed his teeth and shut his mouth: Their strength hath failed them; their boasted courage melted away; their hearts failed them for fear; confined as it were in a prison; their counsels turned into foolishness; their deep laid plots all brought to light and frustrated; Barbarians, Infidels, Negroes, Indians and Papists, refused (generally) to assist them in their evil designs; and, to crown all, shame is come upon them to the uttermost; the Lord hath laughed at them, poured contempt upon them, and filled their hearts with fear, dread and terror; that those, who stiled themselves Britain's invincible troops, fled for their lives, from the face of those, whom they despised in their hearts; no one pursuing them. "This is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes." If they had a lit­tle time, a little strength, and a little success allowed them, it was only to lift them up for the greater fall▪ Thus God often abases the proud and lays low the haughtiness of man. Witness Egypt's tyrant, and the Assyrian's proud blasphemous Monarch, whose glo­ry, greatness, pomp and multitude perished at once. Thus every mark of the wicked's plotting against the just is to be found on them: And those words of the [Page 24] prophet Isaiah xvii.12. on to the end, seem applica­ble to Britain's troops at this time—"Wo to the multitude of many people, which make a noise like the noise of the seas: And to the rushing of nations, that make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters. The nations shall rush like the rushing of many waters: But God shall rebuke them, and they shall flee far off, and shall be chased as the chaff of the mountains before the wind, and like a rolling thing before the whirlwind, and behold at evening tide trouble, and before the morn­ing he is not: This is the portion of them, that spoil us, and the lot of them that rob us."

LET us turn now and look upon the conduct of the United Colonies; and see if it is not the conduct of the just: However we have been a sinful back­sliding people, and provoked the Lord against us by our sins; yet to Great-Britain (considered as a people) we have done no wrong: And we may hope and be­lieve many of this land are truly just and righteous; whose frequent, fervent prayers, and sincere cries to the Lord of Hosts, under our distressed and oppressed condition, have entered the ears of the Lord of Saba­oth, the God of armies; and, in answer to them, he hath appeared for our help against the mighty, to the confusion and shame of our enemies, crowning our endeavours with most remarkable success. Let this not elate us, but make us more deeply humbled be­fore God, and excite us, with united hearts and voices to cry more earnestly to, and depend more upon him, "who giveth power to the feeble, and to them that have no might, encreaseth strength."

But to return from this digression.

LET us look and we shall see, that our conduct hath been directly the reverse to that of those, with whom we are contending: Ever open and fair have been our proceedings; in all our representations truth hath been the object aimed at; and by plain facts, accom­panied by sound reasons and demonstrative argu­ments, [Page 25] we have endeavoured to undeceive those, who were led to believe lies: But they ever shut their eyes and ears against them, and would not perceive nor understand.

PARTICULAR provinces first remonstrated against their evil proceedings; shewed the iniquity and in­justice of them, which were followed by many hum­ble petitions to no effect, being rejected again and again without a hearing.

THEN the whole United Provinces by their Con­gress, stated matters most fairly; held up truth to light, and humbly petitioned for redress of grievan­ces, they asked for no more; but were answered with the bayonet pointed at our breasts.

OUR Congress, chosen for the purpose of effecting a happy reconciliation between Great-Britain and these Colonies, were insulted, treated with the utmost scorn and contempt, and looked upon as nothing, and less than nothing.

AND the measures we have taken to save our land from the threatened ruin, have ever been just, honest and upright; whatever hath been done, that may be fairly attributed to the people of these Co­lonies, in their conduct towards England's King and his ministry, well deserves the above epithets The doings of particular persons, small communities, or a number rising and doing unjustly, is not to be attri­buted to whole towns, much less to whole provinces.*

ALL that we have done (as a people) besides pray­ing them to desist from their evil designs and reason­ing with them, hath been only to defend ourselves from their unjust encroachments. And they com­pelled us to arms, by first unsheathing the sword and [Page 26] laying a number of our fellow countrymen dead on the ground: Whose innocent blood would have cried to God against us, had we not pursued the murderers and endeavoured to bring them to justice.

WE may now ask what evil have we done to Great-Britain? Was it an evil for us to endeavour to open their blind eyes? Was it an evil for us to try, by humble prayers, to soften their hard hearts? Was it an evil for us to remonstrate against most iniquitous pro­ceedings? Or was it an evil for us to defend our­selves, our wives and our little ones from the jaws of that roaring Lion who had roused himself, and with open mouth rushed to seize his prey gnashed up­on us with his teeth; yea, whose cruel jaws were reaking in the gore of human flesh? We may not forget to observe another part of our conduct, which hath been derided by them. As a people we have once and again been called upon, by those whom we have set to rule over us, to humble ourselves in the sight of God, and to implore his assistance and direc­tion in all our concerns; and tho' many there be, that are forsaking the Lord, and still live in sin, notwith­standing all his judgments upon us, yet it is to be hoped, that many of God's people among us, have learnt righteousness by the judgments that have been abroad in our land; which have caused them to live nearer to him, and to walk more humbly and prayer­fully before him.

FURTHERMORE, If a blessing attending the means, and success the endeavours of a people, be any mark of the righteousness of the cause; never was it more [Page 27] conspicuouss than at this day; never had a people more reason to take notice of the interposition of heaven in their favour than we; who by the help of the Lord have been enabled to rise as it were from nothing, to a force sufficient to withstand our enemies, and get the better of them every way: From North to South success hath in a most remarkable manner crowned our endeavours. *

AND it is not to us that the success is to be attributed; for the stars in their courses have fought for us, the winds and the waves have destroy­ed thousands: And God Almighty hath wonderfully preserved our lives and given us courage, to which must be attributed that success which hath attended our enterprizes, and brought confusion on our foes: that those who, but a few months ago, vaunted them­selves against us, being sure of overcoming us, laugh­ed [Page 28] us to scorn, and gnashed their teeth in rage against us; the Lord having laughed at them and brought forward the day of their confusion, now gnaw their tongues for disappointment. It is not for what we have done, but for his great name's sake, that he hath dealt thus favourably with us. From all these things it appears, that the character of the just and righte­ous belongs to us, as that of the wicked to them: For the wicked fear where no fear is, and flee when none pursueth; but the righteous are bold as a lion. Those, who called themselves brave and invincible; and us cowardly dastards, have been seized with such a panic, as none but He, who hath all hearts in his hands, could strike into them: And the resolution and courage, which hath been given to our soldiers, hath been as remarkable.

Thirdly, WE should now be led to pay our grate­ful acknowledgments to that God. who rules on high and below; who hath taken such wonderful care of us, saved us from that ruin and destruction, with which we have been threatened, we have lately seen the sal­vation of the Lord; and to be thankful for what our God hath done for us, and improve past favours to his glory, is the way to engage his kindness, and to be favoured with the continuation of his smiles.

AND what reason have we to be thankful to that God, who hath hitherto restrained the rage, tied the hands, and put fear into the hearts of our enemies, and caused them to flee before us. For had they been suffered to succeed in their malicious designs: who can conceive of the dreadful havock and destruc­tion, that would have been made? Our land filled with the blood of the slain; we driven from our dwell­ings; our houses pillaged and burnt; our towns laid in ashes; our fields and vineyards laid waste; our coun­try spoiled, and we either fallen by the sword, or be­come tributary servants to those, whose tender mer­cies [Page 29] are cruel.—Let us never forget the goodness of our God and his kindness to us: Let it lead us to re­pentance and new obedience, and engage us to faith­fulness in his service. The acquisition lately made affords abundant matter for thanksgiving and rejoic­ing; not only to those who have long been driven from their beautiful seats and commodious habitati­ons, and may now return to them in safety; but to us all, having obtained (at a very little expence of blood) one of the strongest holds, the best fortified towns, and most commodious harbour, that our ene­mies have possessed.

Fourthly, WE will now conclude with a few words of direction and encouragement to God's people. As we know where our great strength lieth, even in God; let us then trust all in his hands; let us wait upon him; let us seek to him in every time of need, and, having referred all our important concerns to him, let us not despair, or be discouraged, though our ene­mies are many, potent, subtil, crafty and malicious; let both the favours and frowns of God upon us serve to make us fly to him, and to be more earnest with him to interpose by his grace and providence to re­form us from our wickedness; to extricate us out of our difficulties; disperse the dark clouds, which hang over our heads; return and visit us with his loving-kindness and tender mercies; and make us yet a people beloved of the Lord and favoured by our God: thus let us apply always to him, who can bring to light the darkest, deepest plots; who can frustrate the best and wisest concerted plan of human politi­cians; who can stop the mouths of lions, deliver out of the paw of the bear, chain the tyger and restrain the wrath of man: Let us trust in the Lord, wait al­so on him, and he will bring it to pass: For he that is higher than the highest regardeth it: And the Lord shall laugh at them, and bring them into derision and contempt.

[Page 30]TO leave all with God, in the use of the means af­forded us, is our wisdom, our strength, our safety and our deliverance; for through God we shall do vali­antly, for he it is, that shall tread down our enemies; and the Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters; yea than the many waves of the sea. What then, though the waters roar and be troubled; though the mountains shake and tremble; and the earth be removed; the Lord of Hosts being with us; the God of Jacob being our refuge; we may even then triumph and rejoice in him; saying, God is in the midst of us; we shall not be moved; our God shall help us and that right early.

AMEN.

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