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cellent writers have of late very seasonably demonstrated from the most authentic authority*, persecution is grown into the very vitals of their religion, and become not only an appendix to it, but an essential part of it. And indeed its absurdities are so great, that it is difficult to imagine, how it could subsist, if it were not thus supported. At least, we evidently see this to be fact, that wherever popery has prevailed, such methods have been used ; and if any protestant churches remain within its dark domains, it is plainly for want of power to destroy them : For in many places we see, they have been barbarously exterminated, where every consideration of honour and gratitude, of public faith and national interest, must have loudly demanded, that they should be tolerated and sheltered.
The present deliverance therefore strongly calls upon us, in testimony of the gratitude we owe unto the Lord our God, to Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise + : Since we have so much reason to imagine, that if he had not put a stop to their designs, our enemies would have been advancing with basty steps, to shut up those gates, and to make those courts desolate, or (which is far worse than desolation) to fill them with idolatrous altars. And if any should suggest, that “ common policy, and indeed necessity, might have obliged them, even if they had been conquerors, to proceed by slow degrees in their attempts to compass a design of this nature ;" I might answer, that no consideration of prudence can curb the sallies of blind zeal, which often calls it piety to set wisdom at defiance. I might also plead, that the first attempts of this kind must be grievous to every good man, and especially to such, as have penetration enough to see whither those attempts would naturally lead. And this remark will appear to us with a great increase of weight, when we consider,
4. The happy aspect which this deliverance wears, with respect to our posterity.
Should we suppose it possible, that we ourselves, while groaning under so many injuries and oppressions, might have been permitted to alleviate our sorrows, by attending divine ordinances in a pure and regular administration of them ; yet ecclesiastical tyranny, the inseparable companion of civil, might have grown strong enough to have prohibited that attendance in
* See the Bishop of Oxford's excellent Sermon on Occasion of the Rebellion ; and that lively and useful pamphlet, entitled, Great Britain's Memorial against Popery and the Pretender.
f Ps. c. 4.
the tend though unend it in the fiety at the
the days of our children. Should the fiery trial come sooner, as it not improbably might, I am well persuaded, that religion, degenerate as the present age is, would not want its martyrs, of various denominations, ages, and circumstances. There are undoubtedly pastors who would lead on their flocks to this glorious combat, and multitudes of private christians who would bravely follow, to defend the cause of truth and piety at the stake, when they could no longer defend it in the field, and to honour it with their blood, though unable to rescue it. But our dear offspring in the tender scenes of cbildhood and infancy, what would they do? Into whose hands would their education fall? How easily might their unexperienced eyes be struck and enchanted with the vain glitter of superstitious worship, in a ceremonial which looks as if it were chiefly intended to amuse children ! How easily might their weak minds be seduced by the sophistry of error, or their soft hearts intimidated by the threatnings of cruelty! Yet all would most assuredly be tried upon them. And perhaps, before the parents themselves were driven away or destroyed, or their hearts broken by other calamities, the inhumanity so lately practised in France might be renewed in Britain. Children might be forced out of their parents' hands, to be educated in what is so unjustly called the catholic faith; and those words of the Mosaic threatning might in a dreadful sense be fulfilled with regard to them : Thy sons and thy daughters shall be given to another people, and thine eyes shall look, and fail with longing for them all the day long ; and there shall be no might in thine hand *. What parent's heart could bear the prospect? yea, what other humane and generous heart could bear it? And not bleed to look on these innocent victims, which must on that supposition so soon be devoted at idolatrous altars, and pass a wretched inslaved life, amidst temptations arising from their very religion itself, which might have so fatal a tendency to seduce them into the ways of eternal death!
When I reflect upon all these particulars in their connection with each other, I am inclined to repeat what I said to you in public, when this rebellion first broke out : “ That considering, on the whole, all the probable consequences of things as to both worlds, it would be better, that our whole island should sink into the ocean, and all its inhabitants perish at once in that general wreck, than it should remain to be through succeeding
* Deut. xxviii. 32.
ages the theatre of such scenes, as our enemies are studying to prepare, and labouring to introduce.” This at least I can most deliberately say, “ That had their designs succeeded, they who seemed, and who were with regard to external blessings, the happiest of mankind, would have become of all others the most miserable.” In the sad sitnation I have been supposing, the rich might envy the lot of those, who had no property to lose :They who had been educated in the warmest sentiments of liberty, might think those comparatively happy, to whom the weight of chains was grown less sensible, by having been worn from their infancy :- And the parent of the most numerous and amiable family, might rather have Blessed the womb that never . bare, and the breasts that never gave suck* -Only the sacred name of religion, amidst all our miseries, would still be delightful; and the happy soul that has felt its power, would in poverty, in servitude, in captivity, or in the most immediate views of martyrdom, rejoice in the unconquerable supports and glori. ous prospects it administers. Yet still, by such a one, the desolation of God's sanctuary, the slaughter of his servants, the seduction of the rising generation, with the apparent hazard of the protestant cause, when the strength of Great Britain was not only taken from it, but turned against it, would be felt with the most tender agony, and make a more painful impression than could be apprehended even from all the engines of popish cruelty.
Proportionable to the grief and terror of such a prospect, is the joy of our opening deliverance, when considered in these general and most important views. But I must not forget, that I am to remind you, II. Of some particular circumstances, which may serve farther
to heighten it.
Deliverance from an enemy must be acknowledged a peculiar favour of providence,-when his character is savage, and his rage exasperated ;-when his heart has been elevated with repeated success ;-when deliverance has been earnestly sought by prayer ;--and when it is at last given, in a manner that renders the hand of God eminently conspicuous. A few words may suffice, to shew, that each of these considerations is applicable to the case before us.
All that are acquainted with the character of our rebellious enemies from Lochaber, and the neighbouring counties, know
that they are numbered among the fiercest and most barbarous of the Highland clans. They have so much of the disposition of banditti in their very nature, that it had been terrible to have met a company of them in times of the profoundest peace; in so much that their neighbours have long been forced to set a guard on their substance, lest these wretches should have broke in upon it, and carried it away: So that the words of Ezekiel seem the very description of them; Brutish men, skilful to destroy *. And to whatever distinguished politeness our neighbours on the Continent, who have joined them, may pretend, there are numerous instances in which it has appeared in fact, that their Tender mercies are cruelt. The nearly desperate situation of the pretender's affairs, of which they well knew this to be the decisive crisis, might also have prompted them to a severity of rage, sufficient to double all the terrors of an ordinary war. The disappointment attending a former rebellion, with the death of some of their near relations who fell in the cause, either by the sword of battle, or by that of public justice, might also exasperate particular persons: And the supposed injuries sustained through so long a series of years, by him whom they call their prince, whom they have seen exiled, disowned, abjured, and outlawed, would be a more general cause of indignation against us; and, so far as the views of policy would admit, might very probably lead them to consider the greatest extremities of milie tary execution, as not only justifiable, but meritorious.
The success they had gained in the ever to be lamented day of Preston-Pans, together with the advantage which they seemed to have over our forces in the late action at Falkirk, would naturally tend to make them more insolent; as minds so base are always elated by prosperity, to an outrageous kind of madness. At the same time, the grief into which we were thrown by our repeated disappointments, of which their escape into Scotland was none of the least, does farther serve to render their sudden consternation and retreat at last, though their numbers are said to have amounted to above nine thousand, matter of more agreeable surprise, and more pleasing reflection. And so much the rather, as some tender minds might be ready to apprehend, that heaven itself had declared against us a few days before, in pouring down showers of wrath upon us in the day of battle, so as to damp our fires; thereby in effect disarming us of the weapons in which we trusted, and delivering our artillery into the enemies hands. A double pleasure must it be in such a circumstance, to view the appearance of a return of mercy: Especially,
*Ezek. xxi. 31.
+ Prov. xii, 10.
When we see in it God's gracious answer to our repeated prayers. Often have we Cried to the Lord in our trouble; and he is now saving us out of our distresses*. After long delay, he has seasonably appeared, and given us reason to own, that He hath not turned away our prayer from bim, nor his mercy from ust. Justly therefore may we say, We will love the Lord, because he hath heard our prayer and supplication; because he hath inclined his ear unto us, therefore will we call upon him as long as we live I. And once more, the reflection and resolution are more evidently just,
: As the hand of God is so remarkably apparent in the issue of this affair. Long has he seen, and seen, I doubt not, with just displeasure, how ready we are to ascribe the glory of success to ourselves, and to boast, that our own right hand and arm have gotten us the victory. He hath therefore, if I may use the expression, been digging deep to Hide pride from us S, seeming to make it the care of his providence to prevent such arrogance from taking place : And the mercy is great, in proportion to that care. To God we must surely ascribe it, that our enemies did not immediately come forward on their first success, while we were unprepared for our defence, and take advantage of the terror they had spread, before the arrival of our forces from abroad. To him we must ascribe it, that the politics of France and Spain were so infatuated, that they did not attempt to invade our coasts, in the midst of that consternation which the rebel army occasioned, when it was marching into the heart of our country: Or if the delay were owing to the damage which their ships sustained in the late tempests, we owe it to the Great Sovereign of the winds and seas. And to his powerful influence, which at pleasure takes away the spirit of the boldest, we may piously ascribe that sudden panic which seized the host of our enemies, so that, though so lately Aushed with some visible advantage gained over us, they did not dare to look our army in the face; but filed with the utmost precipitation, destroying their artillery, and blowing up their own ammunition, though not without some circumstances of treacherous cruelty which have justly increased their infamy.
I am sensible, there are some views in which it might have appeared more desirable, that they should have ventured a
* Psal. crii. 13.
+ Psal. Ixvi. 20.
Psal. cxvi. 1, 2.
Job xxxiii. 17.