« PreviousContinue »
SUNDRY MILITARY SERMONS,
FROM LUKE ii. 14;
THE CHRISTIAN SOLDIER'S DUTY,
LAWFULESS AND DIGNITY OF HIS OFFICE,
SERVANT OF THE PUBLIC,
DEFENCE OF HIS COUNTRY,
YOR THE MAINTAINING AND ASSERTING
TRUE RELIGION AND LIBERTY.
SERMON I. Preached in Christ-Church, Philadelphia, April 5,
1757, at the request of General Stanwix, to the forces, under his command, previous to their march, after Braddock's defeat, against the French and Indians, on the Fron
tiers of Pennsylvania, &c. The other Sermons, preached in 1768, in the great Hall, or
Chapel of the College of Philadelphia, at the desire of Lieutenant Colonel Wilkins, to his Majesty's XVIIIth, or Royal Regiment of Ireland.
THE CHRISTIAN SOLDIER'S DUTY,
THE LAWFULNESS AND DIGNITY OF HIS OFFICE, AND THE IM
PORTANCE OF THE PROTESTANT CAUSE IN THE BRITISH
PREACHED IN CHRIST-CHURCH,
PHILADELPHIA, APRIL 5, 1757.
DESIRE OF GENERAL STANWIX,
TO THE FORCES UNDER HIS COMMAND, BEFORE THEIR MARCH
TO THE FRONTIERS;
WITH A PRAYER ON THE SAME OCCASION.
LUKE, iii. 14. AND the Soldiers demanded of him likewise, saying-Master,
and what shall we do? He said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely, and be content with your wages.
This chapter contains an account of the preaching of St. John the Baptist; who, being called of God in the wilderness, and duly commissioned for his high office, “ came into all the country about Jordan, preaching to the people the Baptism of Repentance for the Remission of Sins."
The more thoroughly to awaken their attention, and evince the necessity of his doctrine, he appears in the most striking character; being, as was prophesied concerning him, “ the voice of one crying in the wilderness; prepare ye the way of the Lord; make his paths straight! Every valley shall be filled, every
mountain and hill shall be brought low; the crooked [places] shall be made straight; the rough ways smooth; and all Flesh shall see the Salvation of God!” These words allude to a known custom of
great kings, who, when they undertook any long journey, were wont to send forth their messengers before them; proclaiming to the people to make their way plain. Now, as the Jews, at this time daily looked for the coming of their King, or promised Messiah, such a proclamation, from so extraordinary a person, crying out to clear the way, “ for that the Salvation of God was at hand,” could not fail to excite their curiosity, and interest their affections!
Every heart was accordingly seized with an instant hope of beholding the Desire of Nations; with whom they expected to share crowns and empire and temporal glory. Nay, they began “ to muse in their hearts whether John himself were the Christ,”* or only his fore-runner. In either case, they were eager to embrace the baptism which he preached; as artful courtiers will strive to recommend themseves to the graces of an expected Master. Hence, “ a multitude of them came forth, to be baptised of him.”
John, who saw their carnal views, is not too forward in conferring his baptism upon them, without duly instructing them in the nature and conditions of it. “O generation of vipers! says he; who hath warned you to flee from the wrath which is to come?”
They were, no doubt, sometime in this suspense, before John resolves them, by telling them that he was not the Christ, nor even worthy to unlouse 'he latchet of his shoes; but that the Christ was quickly to follow after him.
Nevertheless, if you are really desirous to escape it, and to be admitted to the blessings promised in the Messiah, do not deceive yourselves in thinking that those blessings may be derived to you by inheritance. They are not of a carnal but of a spritual nature. Nor will it avail you any thing to say, “ we have Abraham to our father;” and are thereby the chil. dren of promise. For I say unto you, that unless you bring forth fruits meet for repentance, you can by no means inherit those promises" For God is able of these stones to raise up children to Abraham; and in them shall his promises be made good, if not in you. And you must now, without delay, make your choice."* " For the axe is already laid to the root of the trees; and every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is to be hewn down and cast into the fire.”
Such an alarming denunciation struck the people with double astonishment; and they pressed still more eagerly about John, crying-t “what shall we do then;" to escape this ruin and obtain this salvation? “He answered and said unto them, he that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none. And he that hath meat let him do likewise;" herein strenuously recommending the universal practice of that difusive charity and benevolence, which are a 'main foundation of moral virtue, and the most acceptable service we can render to our adorable Creator!
Among others who pressed forward, on this occasion, came the Publicans, a set of men infamous for
• V. 7, 8, 9. + V. 10, 11, 12, 13.