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possess a disposition to make a right improvement of all our external advantages to be a happy people. And,
If all our external advantages were improved, as a virtuous people might improve them, we might be very happy. If Solomon's character of a virtuous woman, (Prov. xxxi.) should become the common character of our womeo ; and St. Paul's sentiments of industry should be practically espoused by our men; we should soon have a fullness of all things. And if bumility and love, love to God and to mankind, if this, which is indeed the true christian temper, should take full possession of all orders and ranks of men, there would soon be an end to all our parties, and to all our contentious. For, from whence come wars and fightings among you, says the apostle, Come they not hence even of your lusts, that war in your members. If our lasts therefore were mortified, there would be an end to all wars and contentions. And it love to God and to mankind took full possession of our souls, we should of course feel and live as brethren, in the most cordial friendship.
We should naturally unite in choosing those to rule over us, who are our wisest and ablest men; and they would naturally be affected toward the community as a father toward his children ; and we should love and reverence them as our fathers; our ministers would all be united in the same faith; our churches would walk together in love; and peace and love would reign through all our towns; and no people under heaven would be happier than we.
And let me add, 4. It is the duty of all, especially of those in places of public trust, to do all in their power to promote a universal reformation.
It is the duty of each and every one of us to be religious ourselves, to repent and be converted, to give up ourselves to God through Jesus Christ, and live in the daily exercise of every divine virtue and christian grace, and in the practice of all social duties as the servants of God. This is our duty previous to a consideration of our temporal interest. For God is worthy of supreme love and universal obedience, as he is by nature God. And he has an original entire right to us, as he is our Creator. And if we bring the work of our re
demption into the account, and the eternal rewards of hege ven, we are bound, we are under infinite obligations, not only in duty, but in gratitude and interest, to love God and live to him, and do all we can to promote his honour, and the interests of his Son's kingdom in the world. And all this previous to any earthly consideration. Yea, all this, although we were so circumstanced, as that we might lose our lives for the profession and practice of christianity. But when to all this we add, that we in this colony are in fact in such eircumstances, that it would be every way for our present interest to become strictly religious, that it is the readiest and directest way to become a happy people, yea, the only sure and certain way, this still further obliges us. And to go on in our sins, under these circumstances, is not only to despise God and the Redeemer, and the eternal joys of heaven, but to be even stupid to our own present interest and happiness in this world. Besides,
Those who are in public trust, are not only under all these obligations to be religious themselves ; but they are also under peculiar obligations to do all they can to promote a universal reformation in others. And suffer me here to state and urge these obligations in an address to our rulers and teachers. And,
First. To our rulers. May it please your honours, and you, gentlemen REPRESENTATIVES, to you it belongs to lead the way, and it is your indispensable duty to do all that lies in your power, in your several places and capacities, to bring about a universal reformation among us, and so make us a happy people. You owe this duty to God, who has in the course of his providence done you this honour, to constitute you our rulers. He is the Father of your spirits, he formed your minds, he qualified you for government, and has distinguished you from your brethren and neighbours, and raised you up to rule over us. He has committed this people to your care, and made them your children, and he has given you wisdom, and put the sword in your hands, and you are sworn to be faithful: and God is your witness, and will be your judge at that day, when, divested of your present offices, you appear before the bar of Christ to receive your final sen
tence, in the presence of the assembled universe. And if you are unfaithful, you never can answer it to the almighty; but will stand at his bar as self-condemned, as you have some times seen guilty criminals stand at yours.
His honour the governor, by and with your advice and desire, has lately sent his Majesty's proclamation through the colony, and ordered it to be read twice every year in all our congregations. It may therefore be considered as your joint act. And therein you" earnestly and strictly require all persons within this government, of every character, rank, and degree, to exert themselves in the practice and encouragement of piety, and virtue, in preventing and punishing vice, profaneness, and immorality. And you command and enjoin judges, justices, and other magistrates, and all informing officers, thạt they be vigilant and strict in causing the laws for promoting religion, virtue, and good manners, to be duly observed, and in the discovery, prosecution, and punishment of all persons who shall be guilty of the breach of the laws made for preventing and punishing profane, vicious, dissolute, and immoral practices. And you exhort all his majesty's good subjects in this colony, to contribute, all in their power, both by example and influence, toward a general reformation of manners, seriously considering their indispensable duty therein, and the awful consequences of a neglect thereof.”—And now, gentlemen, you may remember the words of the Lord to his people of old, they have well said all that they have spoken. O that there were such an heart in them! (Deut. v. 28, 29.). It is easier, you are sensible, to issue out such a proclamation, than it is to
t up to the true purport and spirit of it. “Dismal is the remark,” says a late writer in England, " that no country has more or better laws to curb these vices than we have, but yet no country is so corrupted with drunkenness and idleness as England is at present, consuming all orders of people.”. And he adds,
one can scarce number all the excellent laws made from queen Elizabeth's time to this hour, against drunkenness, swearing, idle and dissolute persons, and all vice in general : but such is the gross neglect of them, as if they had not been enacted." Thus far this writer*. O never let it be
* See London Magazine, for 1700, p. 423.
said of us, according to the ancient proverb mentioned by the prophet Ezekiel, as is the mother so is the daughter. Remember, gentlemen, the words of the Lord to good old Eli, who, when he heard of the wickedness of his sons, did something equivalent to the issuing out of a proclamation to put laws in execution, without an actual reducing the proclamation into practice. He called them to an account, and said unto them, Why do ye these things ? For I hear of your evil doings by all this people. Nay, my sons, for it is no gond report that I hear. But was this enough in the eyes of God? No. Hear what God says: I will judge the house of Eli for ever, for the iniquity which he knoweth : because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not. (1 Sam. ii. 23, 24. iii. 13.) And, gentlemen, is not all the power in the colony virtually in your hands ? Have you not as much power to restrain immoralities in any of us, as Eli had to restrain his sons ? Have not we chosen you to be our fathers, and called ourselves your children, and put ourselves voluntarily under your authority? And if you should take your sword in hand, and go thoroughly to work to suppress drunkenness, idleness, and all kinds of debauchery, heaven and earth will be on your side. None but the vilest of the people will raise a clamour. And shall their clamour intimidate you ? God forbid ! Wherefore, as the people said to Joshua when about to extirpate the wicked Canaanites, Only the Lord thy God be with thee as he was with Moses. Whosoever he be that doth rebel against thy commandment, and will not hearken unto thy words in all that thou commandest him, he shull be put to death : only be strong and of a good courage. So I say unto you, in the behalf of all sober well-minded people in Connecticut, “Gentlemen, the Lord be with you in your attempts to suppress vice and immorality. And let that man be severely punished that shall dare to resist you. Only be strong and of a good courage.” And pray, gentlemen, as you have leisure at this interview, take opportunity to strengthen one another in this good work. Agree and combine together to carry his majesty's proclamation into execution. The sword is put into your hands for this very purpose. God commands you to be faithful. Your king calls upon you. Your oath obliges you.
God will be with you, and all good men will stapd by you. And if you are indeed faithful in the sight of God in this, and in all your
other duties, you will have the approbation of you ownminds, living and dying, and the eternal rewards of hea, ven in the world to come. Which may God of bis infinite mercy grant, through Christ!
Secondly. To the ministers of the gospel here present. Reverend fathers and bredaren, when our rulers are making efforts to bring about a general reformation, how ought we ta be affected? And whạt qught to be our conduct? Should not we be ready to look up to heaven and devoutly say, “Blessed be the almighty, who hath raised us up such a king, and hath put this thing into the hearts of our rulers : and nove may
the Lord confirm the heart of our king and of our rulers in this good work?" And in the mean time our whole conduct should declare to our rulers and to the world, that we are with them in this thing. His honour, our governor, in his proclamation, has “recommended it to us, to inculcate upon our hearers the importance of this great and good work, and to assisı, by
48 public ministry and private counsel and advice, in promoting the same.” And now wbat shall we say to our great Master at the day of judgment, if we should be cold and indifferent upon such an occasion as this, and wbep thus calle ed upon ? Our Saviour was zealous against all manner of wickedness at the risk of his life. His apostles and first ministers were of the same spirit, and in the midst of mighty opposition, went every where, preaching, that men should repent and turn to God. Aud shall we be lukewarm with these examples before us? And that when we have so many things to animate us from heaven and earth ? God forbid. Wherefore let us upon this occasion afresh devote ourselves wholly to the work of the ministry, and be agreed and united to do our utmost to bring about a universal reformation.
And behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! And if we should all cordially unite in preaching up the true gospel of Jesus Christ, and in bearing testimony against error and wickedness of every kind; and if we should all be thoroughly engaged to maintain the discipline of Christ in his house, and to prevent the unquali