On Evangelical Mysticism, 7

Grace and Nature, 13

Eulogy on Christian Philosophers, 14

Defence of Experimental Religion, 21

Natural Aversion of the Human Mind to that which is Good, 39

On the Trinity, 42

On the Crucifixion, 46

Conversion of Mr. Fletcher, 48

A Dreadful Phenomenon Described and Improved, 55

A sermon preached on the occasion, from Numbers xvi, 30-34, 67




PART I. To whom and how our Saviour preached regeneration, 98

II. What is meant by being born again, or regenerated, 102

III. Why no man can see the kingdom of God unless he be born again, 104

IV. The danger of taking the regularity of our manners for regeneration, 107

V Conclusion.--By what means a soul may be born again, 112



The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned, l Cor. ii, 14, 118

Awake, thou that steepest, Eph. v, 14, 126

If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, 1 Cor. v, 17, 133

Except a man be born again, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God, John iii. 3, 139

And thou shalt speak my words unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, for they are most rebellious, Ezek. ii, 7, 147

O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end, Deut. xxxii, 29,155

From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him: then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life, John vi. 66-68, 162

Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life, John v, 40, 172

O Son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me. When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thy hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way, to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. Ezek. xxxiii. 7-9, 181



General Observations on the Redemption of Mankind by Jesus Christ, 222

The Three Principles, 230

Thoughts on Fanaticism, 233

Letter on the Prophecies, 238



On Seriousness, 250

On Pleasure, 250

On Hypocrisy, 251

On Lukewarmness, 256

On staying the mind on God, 257

On Shadrach, &c, refusing to worship the golden image, 259

On the agony of Christ, 260

The kingdom of heaven taken by violence, 261

Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee, 263

The Test of a New Creature: or, Heads of Examination for adult Christians, 267



PREFACE by the editor, 273

Six Letters on the Spiritual Manifestation of the Son of God, 275

Pastoral and Familiar Letters, 309



PREFACE by the editor, 411

PART I. Containing an account of the doctrine to be examined, 413

II. Wherein the apostasy and misery of man are proved from Scripture, 414

III. In which the apostasy and misery of man are proved from reason, 425



Notice by the American editor, 438


PART I. The doctrine of taxation maintained in the Calm Address, is rational, Scriptural, and constitutional, 441

II. The doctrine of Americanus is highly unconstitutional, 448

III. Observations on the origin of power, on the high republican spirit, and its effects in the time of Cromwell--on tyranny and slavery, and on the peculiar liberty of the subjects of Great Britain--The author's wishes respecting a reconciliation with the colonists, 461




PART I. Mr. Evan's arguments are contrary to reason, Scripture, and the British constitution, 483

II. Mr. Evans' mistake concerning the absoluteness of our property, the nature of slavery, the origin of power, and the proper cause of the war with America, 499

III. Dr. Price's politics are as irrational, unscriptural, and unconstitutional, as those of Mr. Evans, 508

IV. Observations on Dr. Price's awful argument, taken from our immorality, 536

V. A Scriptural plea for the revolted colonies, with some hints concerning a Christian method of reconciliation between them and the mother country, 544



The king's proclamation for a general fast, 552

Fasting, prayer, and drawing the sword of justice, perfectly consistent with Scripture, 544



Index to Texts, 582





. . . .





FANATICISM is the child of false zeal and of superstition, the father of intolerance, and of persecution; it is therefore very different from piety, though some persons are pleased to confound them. The pious man, always governed by humility and reason, implores and receives the succours of grace; and evidences this Divine nature by conducting himself with sweet humility and love, the genuine character of the first Christians. But the fanatic, big with pride, and full of himself, rejects reason, and takes the emotions of his own passions for those of grace; and far from conducting himself with Christian modesty and love, he follows the reveries of his imagination as if they were the inspirations of the Divine Spirit; he imitates the follies of enthusiastic fools, and, if occasion offers, the cruelties of bloody persecutors. Let us cautiously guard against this excess, but let us not despise true zeal; for it differs as much from fanaticism as vigour, accompanied with health, differs from a delirium produced by a burning fever.

While certain philosophers, and some proud of following them, fall into this error, and agree to treat as fanatics not only the falsely inspired, but also those who believe in the Divine assistance which holy souls receive from GOD; they rank with enthusiasts all who humbly request from the Father of lights that inspiration which the Scriptures call the "wisdom which cometh from above;" or the assistance of the Holy Spirit. This philosophy, so common and so dangerous, has its source in pride; and from pride there are but three steps to Atheism. The first is to think one's self-sufficiently wise, independent, and strong, to govern the heart virtuously, without the Divine succours of the Father of lights. Those who take this step, filled with the lofty ideas they have of their own reason, despise, in some sense, this faculty of their soul, and take the twinkling light of their own imagination for the Sun of righteousness, from whom proceeds our supreme illumination. This step conducts to a second, which is not less dangerous. It is very natural for those who deny the influence of the Supreme Being on their spirits, to exclude him from all influence over their bodies, and all events. Hence it follows, that the gentlemen who are so ready to treat piety as enthusiasm, more or less follow Epicurus, who denied the influences of a Divine Providence over the preservation of our bodies, and the direction of all events. When these two steps are fully secured, the third is easily taken: for if God take no care, neither of our souls by his Spirit, nor of our bodies by his providence, he is to us a useless Being, far from being God, that is to say, the "Being of beings," the Being in whom we have life and motion; and our faith is reduced to that of Epicurus, or Spinosa, who neither admitted a God of grace nor of providence.

If the reader be of the sect of these philosophers, or inclined to their system, he will doubtless judge the author an enthusiast, because that, under the articles of air and zephyr,1 he alludes to this common inspiration of the Divine Spirit, which is called the "grace of God;" for inspiration is as necessary to piety, or the spiritual life, as respiration is necessary to the animal life. If I am mistaken in this matter there is at least this consolation, that not only all the sacred authors are on my side, with the compilers of Christian liturgies, but also the wisest of the heathens. Let us observe some of the well known and fine testimonies of the ancient philosophers, which ought to put our modern philosophers to the blush, and even some of our divines. "Without God, (says Seneca,) there is no good man; it is he who inspires with grand ideas and exalted designs. God dwells in every good man. When you see a man superior to his passions, happy in adversity, calm amid surrounding tempests; can you withhold respect from him? Do you not say, These qualities are too exalted to derive their origin from this little ornamented individual. A Divine vigour has descended on him. A heavenly power animates an humble and excellent soul. There is no possessing these great advantages without the succours of the Supreme Being." (Sen. Ep. 41.)

Bias gave this precept to his disciples: "Remember that all the good you do comes principally from the gods." "Rome and Greece (says Cicero) have produced great men; and we ought to believe that none of them became such, but by the assistance of God. There never was a great man without some degree of Divine inspiration." (Cic de Nat. Deorum. chap. lxvi.) And in the thirty-first chapter: "If there be (says he) among men good faith, virtue, and concord; from whence, think you, do these arrive on earth, if not from heaven?"

One might even here quote M. de Voltaire, who, in one of his happy moments, where he recommends truth, cites with admiration this fine passage of Confucius:--"Heaven hath given me virtue, man cannot hurt me;" and the verse of ancient Orpheus, which the priests of Ceres recited to those who were initiated into their mysteries: "Walk in the path of righteousness, adore the Master of the universe: he is one: all beings owe their existence to him; he acts IN them and BY them." Now if God acts in beings in general, where is the absurdity of believing that he acts in a virtuous man, whose soul is the most noble instrument of the Father of spirits, as she is a temple the most worthy of the divinity? The ancient philosophers did not only acknowledge that moral virtues came principally from God, but also inventions that were useful to society. "They are the gift of the gods," saith Pliny, "and if any one imagines that man made these discoveries by chance, he makes ungrateful returns for the presents of the divinity." (Plin. lib. 27, chap. i. 2.)

Can we see these clear testimonies rendered to the truth of the doctrine which our philosophers would make to pass for fanaticism, without being astonished at the blindness of these people, who, aided by the Gospel, cannot discern that which the Pagans saw, but turn into ridicule truths clearly developed in the Holy Scriptures--truths which the Pagan philosophers acknowledged many ages since? Plutarch, in his life of Coriolanus, goes still farther than the Roman philosophers; for, speaking of "actions extraordinary and dangerous, which demand a degree of inspiration and enthusiasm," he cites several passages from Homer, where the poet speaks of such an inspiration; and, far from thinking with our philosophers that it is impossible and unreasonable, he says that "only ignorant and stupid people ridiculed it." As a true philosopher he defends it, and proves that it harmonizes with our liberty. His words are remarkable. I will quote them from the translation of M. Dacier:--

"God," says he, "is so far from destroying our free agency, that he not only inspires us with a will, but he warms the imagination, and imparts ideas by which we are determined. It is thus he gives birth to the will, to which he adds confidence and hope. Indeed, we must either exclude God from having any part as to the moving cause and principle of our operations, or confess that there is no other way to succour men and co-operate with them. For he does not move our bodies, but by certain ideas which he awakens in us he excites our souls to active virtue; thus giving us a will, and restraining or turning it from evil." (Lives of Illustrious Men. Ed. de Paris, 1762, tom. iii. p. 315.) It appears, in Plutarch's judgment, that to deny this kind of inspiration is to deny the providence of God, with regard to men; it is to plunge one's self, at the same time, in the impious error of Epicurus, and the blindness of ignorant and stupid persons.

When a Pagan philosopher thus pleads the cause of Divine grace, can we, without indignation, behold Christians making a mock of the succours of the Spirit of God, by which only we can have that faith which enables us to say with certainty that "Jesus Christ is the Lord?" 1 Cor. xii. 3. Full of aversion for true Christianity, these admirers of a false philosophy will not, perhaps, permit true Christians what they allow to Voltaire, in the prayer which concludes his poem on the "Law of Nature:" "O God, unknown! O God, whom all declare! My heart would wander, if not filled with thee." They think all to be enthusiasts who dare speak of inspiration as openly as M. Rousseau, their inconsistent oracle: "The divinity," says he, "is seen in his works; he makes himself felt within us; he has given us that degree of sensibility which is known and felt." He is not afraid to say in his confession of faith which he has made in his famous Emilius: "How can I be guilty for serving God according to the light which he imparts to my mind, and according to the sentiments with which he inspires my heart?" Some Christians, more inconsistent even than Rousseau, have not the candour to say, If God sometimes inspires with good sentiments even those who fight against the Gospel, he certainly can inspire those who receive it. There is perhaps no difficulty in drawing another comparison between the Pagan and our modern philosophers. After having seen how much they differ in regard to grace, let us see how widely they differ concerning prayer.

If man cannot conquer all his passions, and produce solid virtue in his heart, without the help of the Spirit of God, he ought with humility and ardour to implore that assistance. This is the foundation and reason of prayer. Some modern philosophers, at the head of whom is Rousseau, imagine that man has no need of Divine succours to render him virtuous. According to him, we are sufficient of ourselves. By setting our reason against our passions, she will make a complete conquest, and our will shall have the sole honour of the victory. See a little how he expresses himself on this head in his Emilius: "I bless God for his gifts; but I will not pray. What should I demand of him? Will he for me change the course of things? &c. No. Such a presumptuous petition is more deserving of punishment than an answer. I will not solicit from him the power to do well. Why should I ask of him what he hath already given me? &c. He requires me to change my will. It is he demands--demands from me. It is the will which makes my work." This reasoning of the philosopher of Geneva amounts, it I am not mistaken, to this: Christians believe that solid virtue results from the succours which Divine grace imparts to the will of men when they implore them with humility; but they are deceived; man alone can do all; and I would conduct Christians to the doctrine of the disciples of Epicurus, who says, "The gods may give me riches, if they please; but I will make myself virtuous." What self sufficiency is in the language of proud philosophers! Is it then surprising that modern philosophers, who have as much vanity, should have so much pride to boast, as one of them has done, in speaking of the book from whence I have taken this grand error: "Ah! how shall I bring myself to justify this work:" says he in his first letter to Montaigne: "I who think by it to expiate the faults of my whole life; I who, full of confidence, one day hope to say to the supreme Judge, Deign to judge in thy clemency a feeble man; I have done evil upon earth, but I have published this treatise!"

When one sees this proud deception, it calls to mind an anecdote of Gaspard de Javanne, mareschal of France. The night of St. Bartholomew he paraded the streets of Paris to animate the assassins to carnage. "Slaughter! slaughter!" cried he: "It is as good to bleed in August as in May!" His son informs us (says Voltaire) that when his father lay a dying, he made a general confession of his life; and the confessor demanded with an air of astonishment, "How is it that you say nothing of St. Bartholomew?" I look on that (said the mareschal) as a meritorious action, which ought to atone for my other sins. The errors of Emilius are to expiate the sins of M. Rousseau in like manner as the exploits of St. Bartholomew were to expiate the transgressions of M. de Javanne!

But let us leave the vanity of this philosopher of Geneva, and consider the piety of a heathen philosopher and legislator, which I have chosen as a contrast. The legislator is Zaleucus, who gave laws to the Locrians. In the exordium to his laws he says, "Every man ought to conduct himself every moment as if that moment were the last of his life; but, if an evil genius entice him to sin, he ought to flee to the foot of the altars, and implore Heaven to banish far from him this evil genius. He must cast himself into the arms of good people, whose counsels will restore him to virtue by representing to him the bounty and the vengeance of God." How far is this language from the self sufficiency of M. Rousseau! Another Pagan I will oppose to him is Hierocles, who commented on the golden verses of Pythagoras: "Never put thy hand to a work before thou hast implored the gods to finish what thou art about to begin." Hierocles, it appears, had caught a ray of the morning star which Jesus Christ hath made to shine on the earth. I make use of M. Dacier's translation. (See Bibliotheque des anciens Philosophes, tom. ii, p. 185, &c.) "Pythagoras describes in these words two things which concur in aiding us to find the true good. These two things are, the voluntary movement of our soul and the succours of Heaven; for although the choice of good be free, and depends upon us, nevertheless, as we derive from God this liberty and ability, we stand in continual need of the Divine support to co-operate with us, and accomplish what we request, for prayer is a medium between our seeking and the gift of God. She addresses that Being who produced us, and who, after having given us a being, giveth us also a well being. And how shall any one receive this well being, if God do not bestow it? And how shall God, who only hath the power of bestowing, give it to those who, being masters of their own movements, will not even deign to request it by prayer? Thus, then, on the one hand, we should not rest solely in our prayers, but follow them by our exertions; and, on the other hand, we should not wholly confide in our actions, but solicit the succours of Heaven; and that we must also join prayer to action, as the form to the matter. Pythagoras leads us to request that which we do, and to do that which we request; for he makes but one of these two: 'Do not begin,' says he, 'to put thy hand to a work before thou hast prayed the gods to finish,' &c. In short, it is wrong to attempt any thing as if it depended upon us to accomplish it without the succours of God; neither ought we to content ourselves with mere words in prayer, but to exert our utmost efforts to obtain what we request: for otherwise we either embrace only an impious virtue, and without God, if I may be permitted to speak so; or we prefer a mere prayer devoid of action. And that impiety which is in the first part, will entirely ruin the essence of virtue; and the inaction which is in the latter, will absolutely destroy the efficacy of prayer. How can that be good which is not done according to the rule or will of God? And if what we perform is to be done according to this rule, is there no need of the succours of the same God to accomplish and perfect the same? For virtue is the image of God in the reasonable soul; and all images have need of their original in order to exist: but in vain we possess this image, if we have not our eyes continually fixed on the original, whose resemblance only makes the beautiful and good: would we then acquire active virtue we must pray; but in praying we must act, and see that in our actions we always regard the Divinity, and the light with which he is surrounded: that which excites us to wisdom is continual action, in constantly addressing our supplications to the First Cause of all good. The soul which attaches to this cause, and purges herself, as the eye, to render it more clear and quick, is excited to prayer by her application to good works; and by the plenitude of blessings which results from prayer, she redoubles her application, in uniting petitions to good actions, and in assuring and fortifying these good actions by the Divine intercourse. Finding herself in part illuminated from above, she performs what she performs by prayer, and requests by her prayer what she performs. And thus results the union so necessary between prayer and action."

Behold the true philosophy! See the truth and modesty! How much superior is the language of this Pagan philosopher, to that of these self-sufficient philosophers? O you who think, with M. Rousseau, to merit from heaven by a heap of contradictions, and by a monstrous and unmeaning compilation of the most grand truths, and the most monstrous errors, if you attack revelation,--at least respect true philosophy, and do not cast your veil of antichristian opinions over the truths of the ancient philosophers, which blazed forth amidst the thick shades of heathen darkness.

If the doctrine of Hierocles upon prayer do not appear preferable to that of Rousseau's philosophy, admit this at least, that Rousseau sometimes wrote as a Christian; for, like the poets who sung of Castor and Pollux, his thoughts were sometimes in the heaven of truth, and sometimes in the infernal glooms of error. Behold Rousseau, the true philosopher, full of admiration for the Gospel! "The greatest of all wants (says he) is that of feeling our wants. Let us be humble in order to be wise: let us see our feebleness, and we shall be strong. Thus, at one and the same time, let grace and liberty reign: slaves by our own weakness, we shall be free by prayer; for it depends upon us to implore: and to obtain strength, which we cannot derive from ourselves." This last doctrine of M. Rousseau is perfectly conformable to the Gospel. Those then who imbibe the poison which this philosopher has scattered in some parts of his works, ought also to taste the antidote which he offers in others.

In taking the liberty of producing certain contradictions of M. Rousseau, the reader is invited to do justice to the beauty of his style, and the sublimity of a great number of his thoughts, by which he hath justly merited a place in the republic of letters.






We subjoin here, by way of postscript to the above letters, an extract2 from a small pamphlet published soon after them, and entitled, "THE BIBLE AND THE SWORD, &c."








THE royal proclamation, which has been lately issued out, shows that the hopes expressed in a late publication3 were well grounded. The heart of every good, unprejudiced man, must rejoice at reading this truly Christian decree:--"We, &c, command that a public fast and humiliation be observed throughout England, upon Friday, December 13, so that both we and our people may humble ourselves before almighty God, in order to obtain pardon of our sins; and may in the most devout and solemn manner send up our prayers and supplications to the Divine majesty, for averting those heavy judgments, which our manifold sins and provocations have justly deserved; and for imploring his intervention and blessing speedily to deliver our loyal subjects," &c. The sovereign acts herein the part of a Christian prince, and of a wise politician. As a Christian prince he enforces the capital duty of national repentance; and as a wise politician he averts the most formidable stroke which Dr. Price has aimed at his government. May we second his laudable designs by acting the part of penitent sinners and loyal subjects; though mistaken patriots should pour floods of contempt upon us on the occasion.

It would be strange if an appointment, which has a direct tendency to promote piety, to increase loyalty, and to baffle the endeavours of a disappointed party, met with no opposition. If we solemnly keep the fast, we must expect to be ridiculed by the men who imagine that liberty consists in the neglect of God's law, and the contempt of the king's authority. The warm men who have publicly asserted that his last speech from the throne is full of insincerity, daily insinuate that his proclamation is full of hypocrisy, and that it will be as wrong in you to ask a blessing upon his arms, as to desire the Almighty to bless the arms of robbers and murderers. Nor are there few good men among us, who think that it is absolutely inconsistent with Christianity to draw the sword and proclaim a fast.

Lest the insinuations of such patriots and professors should cast a damp upon your devotion, and make you leave the field of national prayer to our revolted colonies, I beg leave to remind you of a similar case, in which God testified his approbation of a fast connected with a fight; yea, with a bloody civil war.

We read in the book of Judges, that "certain sons of Belial," belonging to the city of "Gibeah," in the land of Benjamin, "beset a house;" obliged a Levite who lodged there "to bring forth a concubine to them, and they knew her, and abused her all night" in such a manner, that "she died" in the morning. The Levite complained of this cruel usage to the eleven tribes. "All the men of Israel were gathered," on this occasion, "against the inhospitable city of Gibeah, and sent men through all the tribe of Benjamin, saying, What wickedness is this that is done among you? Now, therefore, deliver us the sons of Belial, who are in Gibeah, that we may put them to death, and put away evil from Israel. But the children of Benjamin [instead of condescending to this just request] gathered themselves together unto Gibeah, to go out to battle against the children of Israel," Judges xix. 20.

Let us apply this first part of the story to the immediate cause of the bloodshed which stains the fields of British America, and we shall have the following state of the case. Certain sons of Belial, belonging to the city of Boston, beset a ship in the night, overpowered the crew, and feloniously destroyed her rich cargo. The government was informed that this felonious deed had been concerted by some of the principal inhabitants of Boston, and executed by their emissaries; and being justly incensed against the numerous rioters, it requested the unjust city to make up the loss sustained by the owners of the plundered ship, or to deliver up the sons of Belial who had so audaciously broken the laws of the land; and a military force was sent to block up the port of Boston, till the sovereign's just request should be granted. The other colonists, instead of using their interest with the obstinate inhabitants of Boston to induce them to do this act of loyalty and justice, gathered themselves together unto Boston, to go out to battle against the sons of Great Britain, and by taking up arms against the king to protect felons, made themselves guilty both of felony and high treason.

Return we now to the children of Israel, and let us see if God forbade them to bring their obstinate brethren to reason by the force of arms, and considered the prayers made to him on this occasion as improper and hypocritical. "The children of Israel (says the historian) arose and went up to the house of God, and asked counsel of God, and said, Which of us shall go up first to battle against the children of Benjamin? And the Lord [instead of blaming their design] said, Judah shall go up first." In consequence of this direction, Judah marched up to the enemy. But, alas! The righteousness of a cause, and the Divine approbation, do not always insure success to those who fight in the cause of virtue. Judah lost the day, and 22,000 men. The children of Israel, greatly afflicted with this misfortune, went up and wept before the Lord until even, and asked counsel of the Lord, saying, "Shall I go up [a second time] to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother?" And the Lord said, "Go up against him," Judges xx. 23. However, they were as unsuccessful in the second engagement as they had been in the first. "Then all the children of Israel, and all the people went up, and came unto the house of God, and wept, and sat before the Lord, and fasted that day until even. And the children of Israel inquired of the Lord, saying, Shall I yet again go out to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother, or shall I cease? And the Lord said, Go up, for to-morrow I will deliver them into thine hand." And accordingly "the Lord smote Benjamin before Israel," Judges xx. 26, &c. And the few Benjamites that escaped the edge of the vindictive sword, lamented the obstinacy with which their infatuated tribe had taken up arms for the sons of Belial, who had beset the house in the inhospitable city of Gibeah.

To return. From the preceding Scriptural account, it evidently appears, (1.) That God allows, yea, commands the sword to be drawn for the punishment of daring felons, and of the infatuated people who bear arms in their defence, as the Benjamites formerly did, and as the revolted colonies actually do. (2.) That, in this case, a sister tribe may conscientiously draw the sword against an obstinate sister tribe; much more a parent state against an obstinate colony, and a king against rebellious subjects. (3.) That Providence, to try the patience of those who are in the right, may permit that they should suffer great losses. (4.) That while the maintainers of order and justice draw the sword to check daring licentiousness, it is their duty to go up unto the house of God, and to weep and fast before the Lord. (5.) That God makes a difference between the enthusiastical abettors of felonious practices, who fast to smite their brethren and rulers with the fist of wickedness, and the steady governors who, together with their people, fast to smite the wicked with the sceptre of righteousness; and that, while God testifies his abhorrence of the former fast, he shows that the latter ranks among the fasts which he has chosen, the end of true fasting being to repress evil without us, as well as within us. And lastly, that, although no war is so dreadful as a civil war, yet, when God was consulted three times following, all his answers show that the most bloody civil war is preferable to the horrible consequences of daring anarchy: and that it is better to maintain order and execute justice, with the loss of thousands of soldiers, than to let the mobbing sons of Belial break into ships or houses, to commit with impunity all the crimes which their lust, rapaciousness, and ferocity prompt them to.

Now if fasting and drawing the sword of justice be duties consistent with Scriptural religion, it follows that praying and using that sword are compatible ordinances. To be convinced of it, you need only consider the following scripture: "Moses said to Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek. Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek. And Moses, Aaron, and Hur, went up to the top of the hill. And it came to pass when Moses held up his hand [in earnest prayer] that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand Amalek prevailed. But Moses' hands were heavy, and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. And the Lord said to Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book," Exod. xvii. 9, &c.

"But supposing war and bloodshed were allowed under the Jewish dispensation, are they not absolutely forbidden under the Gospel? Is not Christ the Prince of Peace, and his Gospel the Gospel of peace? And is it not said that men shall neither hurt nor destroy in God's holy mountain? How then can we suppose that drawing the sword, and fasting on that occasion, can be evangelical duties?"

This objection is specious, and deserves a full answer.

1. Our Lord, who said to his apostles that a kind of raging spirit goeth not out but by fasting and prayer, said also to them, "He that hath not sword, let him sell his garment and buy one. And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords: and he said, It is enough," Luke xxii. 36, 38. I grant, that when "Peter drew his sword, and [rashly] struck a servant of the high priest, Jesus said unto him, Put up again thy sword into its place: for all they that take the sword [to use it rashly, as thou dost, without any order, and without the least probability of success] shall perish with the sword," Matt. xxvi. 52. From the whole of this evangelical account, it appears that our Lord allows his followers the use of the sword; and that he only blames it when it is precipitate, and likely to answer no other end than that of throwing the triumphant friends of vice into a greater rage.

2. If, indeed, all men were Christians, and every nominal Christian was led by the Spirit of Christ, there would be absolutely no need of the sword; for there would be nothing but justice, truth, and love, in the world. But reason dictates, that so long as the wicked shall use the sword in support of vice, the righteous, who are in power, must use it in defence of virtue. The Lord of hosts, and Captain of our salvation, who girds his two-edged sword upon his thigh, or causes it to proceed out of his mouth to devour the wicked--this righteous Lion of the tribe of Judah will never suffer Satan and his servants so to bear the sword as to engross the use of it. This would be letting them have the kingdom, the power, and the glory, without control.

3. The Psalms and Revelation are full of prophecies concerning the righteous wars which the godly will wage against the wicked, before iniquity be rooted out of the earth. When the place of the ungodly shall know them no more, and righteousness shall cover the earth as the waters do the sea, Isaiah's prophecy shall be fulfilled. "It shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and all nations shall flow unto it. The Lord shall then judge among the nations, &c, and they shall beat their swords into plough shares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more," Isaiah ii. 2, 4. But till this happy time come, whenever one nation, or one part of a nation, unjustly rises up against another, as the men of Boston did against our merchants, it will be needful to oppose righteous force to unrighteous violence. It is absurd, therefore, to measure the duty of Christians who live among lawless men, by the duty of those Christians who shall live when all lawless men shall have been destroyed.

4. If Michael and his angels fought in heaven against the dragon and his angels, I do not see why General Howe might not fight on earth against General Lee. And if the congress unsheaths the sword to protect felons, redress the imaginary grievance of an insignificant tax, and to load thousands of the king's loyal subjects with grievances too heavy to be borne, it is hard to say why he and his parliament should not use the sword to redress these real grievances, and to assert the liberty of our American fellow subjects who groan under the tyranny of republican despotism.

5. St. Paul, who knew the Gospel better than English mystics and American patriots, asserts the lawfulness of using the sword in order to maintain good government and execute justice. Hear his doctrine:--"The ruler is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, [of that God who says, 'If ye be obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: but if ye rebel, ye shall be devoured by the sword,' Isaiah i. 19, 20, and, of consequence, he is] a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil," Rom. xiii. 4. Hence it appears that the king is entrusted with the sword, and that if he do not use it to execute wrath upon criminals, he bears the sword in vain, and defeats one of the capital ends of his coronation: for "governors are sent by God for the punishment of evil doers," 1 Pet. ii. 14.

6. Some people rejoice that we have watchmen to guard our streets, constables to apprehend house breakers, jailers to confine highwaymen, and executioners to put them to death. And yet they blame the use of an army. Is not their conduct, in this respect, highly unreasonable? For, after all, what are soldiers but royal watchmen, royal constables, royal jailers; and, if need be, royal executioners? If it be lawful to place watchmen in long white coats at the corners of our streets for public security, why should it be unlawful to place there watchmen in red coats for the same purpose? If it be right to send an unarmed constable, with a justice's warrant, against an unarmed outlaw, or a defenceless debtor; can it be wrong to send thirty thousand armed constables, with the sovereign's warrant, to disarm a countless multitude of lawless men, who assume the supreme power of the sword with as much propriety as the pope does the power of the keys of heaven and hell? Again: if it be not contrary to Christianity to put under a jailer's care a number of dangerous men, who have already disturbed the public peace, and who seem bent upon doing it again; why should it be deemed contrary to Christ's religion, to check, by a military guard, a dangerous city or province which has forfeited its former liberty, by adding the guilt of felonious and treasonable practices, to that of daring licentiousness? Once more: if the king, by signing a death warrant, can justly, commission a sheriff, and an executioner to take away the life of a house breaker, or a man who has presented a pistol to you on the highway; why can he not, by the advice of his council and parliament, give to his generals and soldiers a commission to shoot lawless men who have broken into a ship, to destroy the property of his loyal subjects, or have taken up arms in defence of the men that committed this crime; and who, instead of presenting a pistol to an individual, to rob him of a few shillings, have brought large trains of artillery into the field, to kill the embodied officers of justice, who bear the ruler's sword, and to rob the king himself of some of the brightest jewels of his crown? If you attend to these hints, you will not find fault with our sovereign for showing that he does not bear the sword in vain: and you will praise him if you consider, that the first commission, which he has given to the commanders of his forces, is a commission to offer gracious terms of peace to those very men, who, by wantonly shedding the blood of his loyal subjects, and by repeatedly pouring floods of contempt upon his sacred person, have forfeited all just pretensions to his royal favour.

7. Soldiers, like watchmen, jailers, and executioners, are a needful burden upon the public. I heartily wish we were virtuous enough to do without them: but as this is not the case, they are a strong, bitter, and costly remedy, which is absolutely necessary to prevent or cure our licentiousness. So long as human bodies shall want to be preserved by the amputation of painful, mortifying limbs, we shall want surgeons: and so long as political bodies shall be in danger of being destroyed by the moral corruption of their members, we shall want soldiers to do bloody operations. May the Lord grant us a constant succession of wise, conscientious, mild, and yet steady rulers, who may never bear the sword in vain; and who may never use it but with the same tenderness with which a surgeon uses his knife when he cuts a mortified limb from the body of a beloved child. His heart bleeds, while the dreadful operation is performed; and yet his judicious, parental affection makes him consent to sacrifice a part of his son's body, in order to prevent the destruction of the whole. As punishing is God's strange work, so should it be that of governors, who are his political representatives. Wo to the man, who, to show that he has power to use a knife, wantonly cuts his own flesh! And wo to the ruler, who, to make appear that he bears the sword, butchers his loyal subjects, and wantonly cuts off the sound limbs of the political body of which he is the head! A crime which no candid person can lay to the charge of our mild sovereign.

To conclude: if Christianity had prohibited fighting for the execution of justice, the continuance of peace, and the support of good government, when penitent soldiers asked John the Baptist, "What shall we do?" he would undoubtedly have intimated that they should renounce their bloody profession as soon as they could. But, instead of doing it, he charged them to "do violence [or injustice] to no man, and to be content with their wages;" a direction which amounted to bidding them to continue to serve their country, by helping the ruler not to "bear the sword in vain." Nor was our Lord of a different mind from his forerunner; for he praised a centurion, or captain in the Roman army, declaring "he had not found such faith in Israel," as he discovered in that Gentile; and he parted from him, as Peter afterward did from Cornelius and his devout soldiers, without giving him the least hint that his profession was unlawful. From the whole I infer, that if Christianity allow a man to be a soldiers it allows him to fight for the maintenance of order. And, if it be lawful to fight for this purpose, it must be lawful, nay, it is highly necessary, "to fast and pray," before an engagement. For the greater the temptation of soldiers to indulge uncharitable tempers, the more earnestly ought they to pray that they may fight in the same spirit of love in which Christ was, when he uttered his last wo against rebellious Jerusalem. "He beheld the" obstinate "city, wept over it," and pronounced its awful doom: "Thine enemies shall lay thee even with the ground, and shall not leave in thee one stone upon another."

Nor should soldiers fast and pray alone. We ought to bear a part in the solemn duty; because our sins have helped to fill up the measure of the national guilt which has provoked God to permit the colonists to rise against us. We owe much to the gentleness of the fleet and army. While they lift up the sword, which lingering justice has reluctantly drawn; while they stand between us and the desperate men who break into our ships, set fire to their own houses, tar, feather, goog,4 and scalp their captives; whip, cut, and torture their slaves; and while they expose their lives, by sea and land, for our protection, or (which comes to the same thing) for the defence of the government that protects us; it is our bounden duty to feel for them, and to bear them on our hearts. Nay, we shall be guilty of inconsideration, uncharitableness, and base ingratitude, if we do not hold up their hands, by lifting up our own to the Lord of hosts in their behalf, and by asking that neither profaneness, lewdness, intemperance, nor cruelty, may stain their laurels; and that they may all be endued with every virtue, which can draw the love of their enemies, and fit them to live or die as faithful soldiers of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Nor should we fast only with an eye to ourselves, and those who fight our battles. We ought also to do it out of regard to our American brethren. If they act at this time the part of enemies, does not our Lord say, "Love your enemies, and pray for them that despitefully use you?" Should we not remember that British blood flows in their veins--that they are not all guilty--that many of them have been deceived by the plausible and lying speeches of some of their leaders--that the epidemical fever of wild patriotism seized multitudes before they were aware of its dreadful consequences--and that numbers of them already repent of their rashness, earnestly wishing for an opportunity of returning with safety to their former allegiance?

If you consider these favourable circumstances, you will be glad to have an opportunity of solemnly approaching the throne of grace in behalf of your unhappy brethren: you will intercede for them with hearts full of forgiving love, and Christian sympathy. You will ardently pray that God would open the eyes and turn the hearts of the congressmen, and their military adherents; that he would fill the breast of the king, and of all who are in authority under him, with every virtue which can render his steady and mild government acceptable to the most discontented of his subjects; and that, on both sides of the Atlantic, all persons in power may cheerfully use all their influence to promote the speedy reconciliation and lasting union we wish for.

Should piety, loyalty, and charity thus animate your prayers; our day of fasting and humiliation will infallibly usher in a day of praise and general thanksgiving; and the eloquent senator, who, in the house of commons, lately condemned the religious appointment which I vindicate, will himself partake of the universal joy, and be sorry to have declaimed against a royal proclamation, which so justly deserves his assent, concurrence, and praises. I am, my dear fellow subjects, your obedient servant,


LONDON, December 6, 1776.










1 This refers to the poem entitled La Grace et la Nature.

2 We term the following an extract, because we have judged it proper to omit the introductory part, it being merely a quotation from the fourth of the preceding letters, beginning with "Dr. Price has advanced an argument," &c, p. 536; and concluding with the end of the letter, p. 545.

3 American Patriotism Confronted, &c.

4 A kind of American torture, which consists in wrenching a man's eyes out of their sockets.