The late association for defence, encourag'd, or The lawfulness of a defensive war. Represented in a sermon preach'd at Philadelphia December 24. 1747.
Tennent, Gilbert, 1703-1764.
Page  [unnumbered]

Exodus, XV. 3.

The LORD is a Man of WAR.

THESE Words are part of a memorable Song, which Moses and Israel sung, after a com∣pleat Victory over their Egyp∣tian Enemies, at the Red Sea. It is one of the most antien Songs we read of, and of ele∣gant Composure, the Language is rich, flowry and magnificent, the Thoughts sublime, and the Images proper, strong and affecting: Moses gives Glory to GOD and triumphs in him, not only as their GOD, and consequently their Salvation, but as their Father's GOD, and as the GOD of Battles! The LORD is a Man of War, i. e. a strong and potent Warrior, a famous and emi∣nent Warrior. The Word Man among the He∣brews, was mostly used to signify peculiar and transcendent Eminency: * This TITLE therefore instructs us, That God presides over all Wars and Battles, and brings them to such an issue as he pleases: Surely the Race is not to the Swift nor the Battle to the Strong.

And likewise that Jehovah shews a special regard to those that fear him, in those Martial incounters; he covers their Head in the Day of Battle.**

Page  6Moreover this Expression signifies, the Al∣mighty's Approbation of a just WAR, otherwise it would be improper to ascribe to him such a Title, the Lord is a Man of War. And hence we read in the sacred Oracles of many WARS begun and carried on, and much Blood shed therein, by God's Direction and with his Appro∣bation and Blessing, upon which Occasion it is said, that the War was of God* And no doubt it is upon this Account, that the Almighty is frequently ••lled, the Lord of Hosts,the God of the Armies of Israel. ** And this Warlike title is elsewhere said to be his Name.†† And can we think Sirs, that the Almighty would accept of a Name contrary to his Nature, or suffer himself to be call'd by any Thing he dislikes and detests, No surely: The Scriptures but now referred to, are parallel to our Text, the Lord is a Man of War. In discoursing upon which, let us enquire,

I. What WAR is approved of by God?

II. Offer some Evidences or Arguments of his Approbation.

And then, after answering some Objections, proceed to the Improvement of the whole. And

1st. Negatively, That kind of War is not ap∣proved of by God, which is commenc'd meerly to gratify the Ambition and Avarice of Princes, as in Benhadad's War against Ahab, or the Ro∣mans of old, who like the French now, made War upon all the Countries round about them, meerly to enlarge their own Dominions by the ruin of others: Or like those which Satan ex∣cites, and Anti-christ carries on, against the Page  7 Church of God, for their inviolable adherence to divine Truths. Such Wars are undoubtedly un∣lawful, and likewise all such as are begun with∣out a View to Justice and Peace, and carried on without Compassion and Humanity. But

2dly, Positively, WAR is lawful in the three following Instances, viz.

1st. When undertaken for necessary Defence against unjust Invasion of such as design to do us arm, either by assaulting our Persons, or rob∣ng us of and ruining our Estates.

2dly. When commenc'd for the Recovery of omething of great Importance unjustly taken rom us, which we cannot do well without, r after Application, obtain by milder Measures; pecially when the Consequences of the Loss, 〈◊〉 like to be more prejudicial and distressing, in the Consequences of the War entered into 〈◊〉 recover it: Thus David pursu'd the Ama∣kites, who carried his and his Peoples Wives ay Captives, together with their Sons and Daughters. *

3dly. WAR is no doubt lawful, and conse∣quently approved by God, when undertaken by the Magistrate, for the Punishment of some great injury or wrong which much affects the Credit and Interest of a Nation or People, after all softer Means for redress fail of success: Thus the Royal Psalmist commenc'd War against the Amonites for their contemptuous usage of his Ambassadors.

WAR is certainly a grave and solemn Business, of uncertain issue, and attended with distressing Page  8 Consequences, and therefore should not be en∣tered into rashly, but, as Solomon observes, with good Advice,†† i. e. with Council and Caution, yet when the Cause is just, the Authority en∣couraging it legal, the Design honest and honour∣able, and the Manner of prosecuting it warrant∣able, and agreeable to the unalterable Laws of Humanity, I cannot yet see any just Exception against it.

Surely if Protection from Injuries, Peace a∣mong Neighbours, and the Administration of Justice, be desirable and valuable Benefits, which all Mankind must with one Voice acknowledge; then of Consequence that which at times is the only Mean left to procure them, must be lawful, necessary and valuable also: Surely it is the End, that gives value to the Means leading to it, without the Use of which it is in vain expected, and therefore, when any End is en∣joined by divine Authority, apt Means directing to it are enjoined likewise, without which it can∣not be attained. Religion is a reasonable Service.* The Almighty deals with us in the Business of it as intelligent Creatures, he draws us with the Cords of a Man. This leads me to the Second general Head, which was to shew, the divine Ap∣probation of lawful WAR.

This, methinks my Brethren, the Light of Nature, the Law of GOD, and the Gospel of CHRIST conspire to evince.

Altho' the Light of Nature obliges Man∣kind to entertain Peace with others, as much as is possible, yet considering how prone many are to violate this Precept, it is Page  9 but reasonable to consult our own Safety, by concerting and compasing betimes all innocent Measures of Defence, such as providing Arms and Ammunition, as well as training up Persons in the Use of them, labouring to shut up al the Avenues to the Enemy's Approach, watching their Motions, and such like. It is justly esteem∣ed Wisdom in a Nation to think of War and prepare for it in a Time of Peace; the prudent Man, as Solomon observes,*foreseeing Evil, hides himself, i. e. prepares for his Defence, when he rationally apprehends, that according to the com∣mon Course of Things, Calamity is coming upon him, or impending over him; but the Simple pass on and are punished, i. e. such as are so in the worst Sense of the Word, while for a Tract of Time they indulge vain Confidence, and sordid Neglect of prope Means for their own Security, are at last attacked unprovided for Defence, and so justly punished for their Presumption and Sloth! Tho' Innocence may expect Protection in the Use of proper Means, yet it is the vainest Vanity to expect a miraculous Deliverance, in a Course of idleness, security and neglect!

Tho' our Goods in Civil States, are in some Measure secur'd by penal Sanctions, yet he is reckon'd, and that justly, careless and improvi∣dent, who would be thence induced to leave his Doors open in the Night, or not to provide any for his House, and therefore it was a prudent Advice of Asa; and well becoming a Father of his Country, that during the Time of rest, which GOD gave them, they should fortify their Cities with Walls and Bars and Gates.

Page  10And if we should use proper Means to preserve our Goods, much more our Lives, which are a more valuable depsitum. Self-preservation, Bre∣thren, the clearest Reason dictates, and the ten∣derest Passion recommends, it is a Principle so deeply riveted in human Nature, that it is un∣natural to doubt of its Lawfulness: Now to this Principle belongs Self-defence, or the warding off of Evils, without or with the Hurt of the Oppres∣sor, the former none question, but the latter some scruple, because hereby a Man like ourselves is destroyed, with whom we are obliged to live in a social Manner.

It is true, Man was originally created for the maintaining of Peace with his fellows, and to this all the Laws of Nature respecting others have a primary regard; yet when milder Mea∣sures cannot screen us from intolerable Injuries, the Light of Nature directs to fly to Force as the last Remedy, the last Resource; for the Obli∣gation to the Offices of Peace is mutual, and binds all alike. Nature hath given no Man a Priviledge of breaking her Laws at pleasure to∣wards others, and yet obliged them to maintain the Peace towards him, No! the Duty being mutual, should be mutually performed, and he that violates the Laws of Peace, and seeks ano∣ther's Destruction, may impute to his own Wickedness, all the Misery which another is necessitated in his own Defence, and in pursu∣ance of the Principle of it, to inflict upon him.

Does not the universal Practice of all Nations, as well of the most civiliz'd, as of the most rude and barbarous, who all with one Consent as far Page  11 as we can learn, from the Beginning of the World to this Day, have opposed Force to Force in their own Defence in War, together with the Writings of divers of the most celebrated Pens of the more polite Kingdoms and States, in fa∣vour of their Practice from Time immemorial, shew that Self-defence, and consequently a defen∣sive WAR, is agreeable to the Light and Law of Nature;* and who is the Author thereof but GOD himself? I know not that a defensive War was ever questioned by any of the human Race till the Christian Institution strictly so called commenc'd, that some from a wrong Appre∣hension of several Passages of Scripture, have scrupled it, and have been thence induced to oppose themselves, to the Common Sense, Sen∣timents and Suffrage of Mankind; which no doubt many of them do, from a Principle of Conscience, (tho' mis-informed) and therefore should be rather pitied than envyed, on Account of their unhappy Mistake, which in the present State of Things, is so exceeding perilous and pre∣judicial to Society!

If it be not lawful to oppose by Force unjust Invaders, then the Goods of Providence are vouchsaf'd to us in vain, and Men of the strictest Integrity, as well as Females of the most unble∣mished Virtue, will ever be exposed as an easy Prey to the vilest Insults of the most scandalous Scoundrels!

To banish Self-defence, tho' pursu'd by Force, Page  12 would be so far from promoting Peace, that it would rather contribute to the utter Ruin of the human Race: The certain Expectation of Impuni∣ty would tempt ambitious covetous and abandon'd Creatures, to violate the Laws of Nature and of GOD, to lay waste the necessary and noble Inclosures of Honour, Virtue, and Property, and destroy all before them.

It cannot be with Reason imagined, that the Law of Nature, which was instituted for Man's Security, should favour so absurd a Peace, as tend∣ed to destroy it.

He that suffers his Life to be taken from him, by one that hath no Authority for that Purpose, when he might preserve it by Defence, incurs the Guilt of Self-Murder, since GOD hath enjoined him to seek the continuance of his Life, and Nature itself teaches every Creature to de∣fend itself when assaulted, in particular, Nature hath not only given to Man a quick Sense of Injuries, that he might not suffer himself to be oppress'd and insulted, but she hath also arm'd him with Strength and Ability of Body, that he should not be forced tamely and sordidly to submit!

If we may not defend ourselves by Force, why did the blessed GOD allow the Jews to kill a Night-robber with Impunity?* and why did the blessed JESUS enjoin his Disciples, that each of them who wanted a Sword should sell his Coat and buy one.

Tho' there is a Self-love which is criminal and Page  13 vicious, viz. that which hath no regard to the Honour, Safety, and Interest of our Neighbour: yet there is a Self-love which 〈◊〉 rational and ex∣cellent, which inclines us primarily to regard our own; and hence is that of the Apostle, that no Man ever yet hated his own Flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it.* If so, then it is every Man's Duty to love his own Life, to desire its continu∣ance, and use proper Means for its preservation. For this End the Almighty hath put into our Nature a Principle that desires Life, avoids Death, and is afraid of its Approaches: For which reason it is called the King of Terrors.

As Self-Murder is an Insurrection against the Government of GOD, in whose Hands our Times are, so it affronts his Goodness, in granting us the Favour of Life, and injures human Society of which we are all Members, for Man was made a sociable Creature, to promote not only his own but the publick Good. Besides Self-Murder puts a Period to our Opportunities of glorifying GOD, and working out our own Sal∣vation, as well as exposes to the Hazard of eternal Death. Well, if Self-Murder be a hei∣nous Sin, it will follow by the Law of Con∣traries, that Self-defence is an important Duty; surely he who is unjustly attacked, and does not endeavour by suitable Means to preserve his Life, especially if there be any probability of Success in so doing, betrays it, and so is guilty of Suicide; a Crime of the first Magnitude and deepest Dye! But to proceed,

Page  14WAR my Brethren was lawful under the Old Testament Dispensation, and therefore it is lawful under the New, it is certain that GOD approved of, and appointed his People to make War, under the Law of Moses,* and by the Moral Law: The sixth Commandment 〈◊〉 undoubtedly imply a lawful WAR, for if we must not kill others, much less our selves, and if we must have no Hand in our own Death, we must defend our Lives against unjust Violence, which sometimes cannot be done without WAR. Now the blessed JESUS never came to destroy the Moral Law or the Law of Nature, which is in Substance the same, but to fulfil it. Do we make void the Law by Faith? (or by the Doctrines of the Gospel) says the Apostle, No: But we establish the Law. Moral Precepts are grounded upon invariable Equity, upon the Nature and Reason of Things, and therefore cannot be altered.

Now if the Almighty has approved of WAR formerly, and there is still the same Necessity of it under the Gospel-Dispensation as before, it will follow that it is equally lawful now. It is absurd to suppose, that the blessed GOD who is infinite in Wisdom, and unalterable in his Nature, would determine contrarily at dfferent Periods of Time, concerning a Case that is substantially the same! The Injustice and Encroachments of neighbouring Nations and States, to and upon each others Rights and Properties, are in divers Instances as flagrant Page  15 as under the Jewish OEconomy: The Nature of Man in his fallen State does not alter by a Succession of Ages, multitudes do now grasp after Wealth and Dominion, as much as former∣ly, and do concert and pursue as unjust Mea∣sures to attain them; and if we are now de∣prived of that which is the only Barrier against Injustice and Violence, viz. Self-defence, and must tamely suffer our Lives, our Liberties, both Civil and Religious, and all that is dear to us as Men and Christians, to be made an easy Prey of by insulting Enemies, our Case is really miser∣able, and more unhappy than that of the Jew∣ish Church, or of any others who liv'd before them! It is strange to think, and hard to re∣concile it with any just Notion of divine Good∣ness, that Almighty GOD should under this last and brightest Dispensation of his Grace towards the Children of Men, instead of enlarging, de∣minish our Priviledges, and that in so tender and important a Point! Indeed, methinks such a Notion tends to cast a dishonourable and inglo∣rious Reflection upon the divine Benignity and Goodness, and the most illustrious Display of it that was ever given to the Children of Men, by the Gospel of our Lord JESUS CHRIST!

Why, my Brethren, should it be now a Sin to perform (in respect of Things of a moral Nature) that which was under the Jewish Dispensation a Sin to neglect? Was not Meroz exposed to a bitter Curse, because she came not to help the Lord against the Mighty? i. e. as appears by the Context, be∣cause they came not to assist their Brethren enga∣ged Page  16 in Battle in a good Cause:* Is not GOD the same as formerly, and the Nature of Justice or In∣justice the same? Did not the Jews live under the same Moral Law that we are to be govern'd by? and had they not the same Gospel for Substance? For, were not those that were pious among them sav'd by Faith in the Messias? Which is certainly the Substance of the Gospel which we now profess; the Difference between that Dispensation and this, consists in Circumstantials only, and not in Substance: the pious Jews did all eat the same spiritual Meat, and drink of the same spiritual Rock, which was CHRIST[See the Appendix for further Explication of this]

Can we think, my Brethren, that GOD would enjoin and approve of any Practice formerly, that was contrary to the Moral Law and Gospel, which the Jews enjoyed? Surely no, that is contrary to his unalterable Purity, of which the Moral Law is a legible Copy and Exemplar. Well, if a just War was not contrary to the Moral Law under the Jewish Dispen∣sation, and before it, why should it be so now in the like Circumstances of Necessity? and if it be not contrary to the Moral Law, the standing and unalterable Rule of our Conduct, why should any scruple it, or oppose it now?

Again, let it be considered, that the Office of the Magistrate necessarily requires WAR, when a just Occasion offers; for as the Apostle observes, he is a Minister of GOD, a Revenger to execute Wrath upon him that doeth Evil, and shou'd not bear the Sword in vain,** and else∣where Page  17 Governors are said, to be sent for the Punishment of Evil-doers, and for the Praise of them that do well.* Now unless Injustice be punished by the Magistrate, he bears the Sword in vain, a final Period is put to the Comforts of Society, all Property becomes precarious, an Acaldema opens, a Scene of Rapine, Desolation and Blood, civil Society disbands and terminates, and Men degenerate into savage Beasts of Prey! Now if it be necessary for the Magistrate, in order to prevent the aforesaid unhappy Con∣sequences, to punish lesser Robberies committed against a few, is it not just and necessary, by a parity of Reason, that greater Robberies com∣mitted against a Nation or Community should be punished with greater Severity? But how shall this be done without WAR? Is it always practicable to get reparation for national Injuries by Treaties? No, by no Means! Do not the strongest generally keep the Advantages they have got, as long as they can, and use the most labour'd Subterfuges, and crafty Artifices to elude Application for Redress, and colour their Fraud and Oppression? e. g. what more Specious then the Apologies of the Court of France, for their present unjust Encroachments upon their neighbour's Territories, and ambitious grasping after an universal Monarchy over Europe? Then either WAR must take place, or Injustice, in the most enormous and crimson Instances, must pass unpunished, must spread triumphant, to the utter Ruin of Kingdoms and States! Wrongs committed amongst ourselves, may be Page  18 brought to a judicial Tryal, but can we bring foreign Nations to our Bar? Is there any com∣mon Magistrate that presides over contending Kingdoms? or any Law common to both by which they will abide? No, surely! in this Case the Injured must have Recourse to WAR, which is that to different Nations, which Law is to Persons of the same Nation, or else indo∣lently and ignominously suffer, and perish with∣out a Remedy!

And should not the Magistrate protect his Sub∣jects from unjust violence? Is not this the De∣sign of their Office? that under them we may live quiet Lives, and that they may be to us a hiding Place from the Wind, and a Covert from the Tempest of Oppression!* why else is the Sword committed to them, and can they always protect us without WAR, without opposing Force to Force? No surely!

Now unless the Magistrate punishes Criminals in his own Community, and screens his Subjects from a foreign Force, what is his Office but an empty Name, a meer Cypher, of no Moment and Consequence to Society, nor is it reasonable he should expect Support, Honour and Obedience from his Subjects, if they in Consequence here∣of do not obtain Protection from him. In the mean Time it should be carefully observed, that the Magistrates Office, and consequently the Duties of it, does not belong to the political Law of the Jews, which was alterable, but to the Moral, which is invariable and perpetual, surely by the Word Parent in the fifth Com∣mand, Page  19 we are not only to understand natural, but political Parents, the Magistrate is the Father of his Country by Office, and then only indeed does he merit that honourable Character, and act up to it, when by forming and executing wholesome penal Laws, he suppresses Injustice among his Children, when by prudent and necessary Preparations, and when Necessity ur∣ges by vigorous and valiant Efforts, he guards them from a foreign Enemy!

If a Magistrate may and sometimes must use Force, in suppressing, Tumults, and punishing Delinquents in his own Domains, and among his proper Subjects, else all Order and Go∣vernment must cease, and the wildest Anarchy ensue; why then may he not use Force, when easier Methods avail not, in protecting them from the Insults of others? May he according to the express Word of GOD, punish his crimi∣nal Subjects in some Cases with Death? agree∣able to that famous Scripture, he that sheds Man's Blood, by Man shall his Blood be shed,* and shall he not inflict it upon others equally guilty, especially when this becomes necessary to defend himself, and his Country from De∣solation and Ruin? Can it be reasonably ima∣gined, that a Magistrate should shew greater Love and Clemency to Foreigners and Stran∣gers, than to his own Sons and Subjects, to whom he is under peculiar Obligations both natural and political?

Nor has our Lord JSUS in the New-Testament disanull'd the Magistrates Office, which Page  20 is so needful to Society, No! but on the contrary, honoured and established it, by his Doctrine and Example; he enjoin'd his Dis∣ciples to give to Caesar the Things that are Caesar's, to give Honour to whom Honour is due, and Tribute to whom Tribute; to be subject to the higher Powers, and that for this Reason, because there is no Power but of GOD, and the Powers that be, are ordain'd of GOD;* And he himself pay'd Tribute, yea rather than this important Duty should be neglected, he pro∣cured Money by a Miracle.

I may add, that the Lawfulness of WAR especially defensive, is signified in the New-Testament, in divers Instances. When the Sol∣diers asked John the Baptist, What they should do? he advised them not to quit their Military Office, which doubtless he should and would have done, had it been in it self unlawful and vicious, but directed how to behave in it, viz. to do Violence to no Man, i. e. privately, to accuse none falsely, and to be content with their Wages:** While he councils to be content with the Wages of WAR, does he not of necessity approve the Work, or would he have Wages to be paid for nothing? Can we reasonably conjecture, that this inspir'd Person would give Directions, how to conduct a Manner of Life that was simply unlawful, and hateful to GOD. Would he not rather have condemn'd it abso∣lutely, and exhorted the Soldiers speedily to forsake and abandon it? Surely he had a good Opportunity so to do, when he was applied Page  21 to by the Soldiers for Council, but of this he is entirely silent.

Nor did our Lord JESUS rebuke the Cen∣turion or Roman Captain, on account of his military Employment, when he appli'd to him for the Cure of his sick Servant, but commend∣ed his Faith, tho' he used his Calling as an Ar∣gument to support it; for, said he, I also am a Man set under Authority, having under me Soldiers, and I say unto one go and he goeth, and to another, come and he cometh. When JESUS heard these Things he marveled at him, and said, I have not found so great Faith no not in Israel.* Had not CHRIST a fair Opportunity to reprove this Man for his military Station, when he mentioned it to him, and made an Argument of it to enforce his Petition, had it been wrong? And yet he speaks not a Word of reprehension, but grants the Petition enforc'd by that Argument, and commends the Faith encourag'd by it. And does not this fairly imply our LORD'S Commen∣dation of his Office, and consequently of WAR? Can we think that the blessed JESUS, whose Words are like Apples of Gold in Pictures of Silver,† who always improved every Oppor∣tunity that presented, to promote the good of those with whom he convers'd, would neglect this, had WAR been against his Mind? Or may it be consistently imagined, that infinite Wisdom and unspotted. Holiness would com∣mend without any allay of Censure, a Faith which had a wrong Support or Encouragement, no surely! The Substance of the Centurion's Argu∣ment Page  22 from his Calling was this, viz. That surely CHRIST was able to cure his sick Ser∣vant, because if he who was but a Captain, had such authority over his Soldiers to command them, to come and go at his Word, how much more dominion had the Lord JESUS over Dis∣eases and Death.

But methinks our LORD signifies his Ap∣probation of WAR, more expressly elsewhere in these Words, my Kingdom is not of this World, if my Kingdom were of this World, then would my Servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews.* The Meaning of which is apparently this, That tho' WAR and Fighting is no proper Mean to promote the spiritual Kingdom of CHRIST, yet that if the Nature and Design of his Humiliation, had permitted him to assume a temporal Crown, then his Servants ought to fight in Defence of his Person and Dignity. To propagate Religion by Force, seeing it must be voluntary and of Choice, is as absurd and ridiculous, as to pretend to defend the Life and Estate by Arguments and Prayers without it, against ar∣med Violence; for as the Mind cannot be forced, so neither is an angry Adversary, when our Lives and Estates are at his Mercy, like to be sooth'd into gentleness and good-humour by entreaty, or stopp'd in his ambitious and covetous Career by the Force of Argument: No: In such a Situation they are wont to be as deaf to Importunities as an enrage Tempest or a rapid Torrent, which, without stronger Page  23 Defence intervenes, sweep all before them, and spread the Ruin far and wie!

But to proceed. Does not Luke the Evan∣gelist highly commend Cornelius the Centurion of the Italian Band, without any Mixture of Invective upon his Martial-Office?* And is he not also adorn'd with the Angels Testimo∣ny? And why is all this, but to signify the Lawfulness of WAR in Gospel-Times?

The Apostle Paul plainly insinuates the Lawfulness of WAR in that Expression of his, where he enjoins us to live peaceably as much as possible with all Men, which sup∣poses that it is sometimes impracticable, im∣possible. The same Apostle in his Epistle to the Hebrews, gives an honourable Encomium upon divers ancient Heroes, and records their military Prowess and Exploits, with Applause and Approbation, the Time would fail me, says he, to tell of Gideon and of Barack, of Samp∣son and of Jephtae, of David, of Samuel, and of the Prophets, who thro' Faith subdued King∣doms; stopped the Mouths of Lions; escaped the Edge of the Sword; waxed valiant in Fight; turned to Flight the Armies of Aliens.** Ob∣serve here, Brethren, that the inspir'd Apostle asserts, that the aforesaid warlike Atchievements were compassed by Faith: What Faith? I an∣swer, a Gospel-Faith, for it is of that he treats. This necessarily supposes, that they went to War in Obedience to GOD'S Command, and depended upon his Power and Promise for Guidance, Assistance and Victory. These Wor∣thies Page  24 the Apostle observes wrought Righteousness, they were righteous in their own Persons, and in their Administration of Justice to others; and tho' sometimes they were inferior to their Enemies in Number and Power, yet by Faith they waxed bold and valiant in Fight, and obtained surprising and renown'd Victories over their numerous and potent Foes! Now can it be thought that WAR should be agreeable to and encourag'd by Faith in the Messias, that grand peculiar, and Foundation of the Gospel, and yet be contrary to it? Can it be thought that the Apostle would commend the aforesaid Wars, as well as the Piety, the Justice and Bravery of those concerned in them, without the least Hint of any Alteration in Gospel-Times in that respect, and yet he himself of a contrary Sentiment? While he elsewhere vir∣tually and consequentially signified his Appro∣bation of WAR by his Practice in not re∣jecting the Protection of an arm'd Force.*

Not to say that the Book of the Revela∣tions relates and proves various Wars of pious People, under the New-Testament-Dispensation, which the Circumstances of Places sufficiently evince, are not to be understood only of spiritual Conflicts, but also of external WAR and effusion of Blood. If it be objected that here is only mentioned, the Wars of Infidels, such as Gog and Magog, it may be replied, that i the Offensive be unjust, the Defensive must of Consequence be just.

Page  25Nor is it an insuperable Difficulty to recon∣cile to the aforesaid Doctrine, some Passages of Holy Scripture, that at first View seem to have a contrary Aspect.

That Saying of the Apostle James, from whence come Wars and Fightings among you, come they not hence, even of your Lusts that war in your Members?* may be understood in this natural and easy Sense, viz. to signify that the original Cause of WAR is Evil, because it is always unjust upon one Side, and had Man preserved his original Integrity, there would be no Need of it. But this Scripture does not assert that WAR is ever unjust and sin∣ful upon both Sides, or unnecessary in Man's fallen State, or that it is unlawful for the Magistrate to repel Injuries by Force, and therefore it does not oppose a lawful WAR, but such only as are unlawful and criminal, which we also detest

But it is again objected, that the Apostle observes to the Corinthians, that the Weapons of their Warfare were not carnal.† I answer it is true, the Weapons of the Ministerial and Christian Warfare against Sin and Satan are Spiri∣tual, but what then, there is a great Difference between the War we must sustain between Sin and Satan, and a War with wicked Men; to pretend to vanquish the former by carnal Weapons is as ab∣surd, as to expect a Conquest over the latter (al∣ways) without them! It is presumptuous to expect an End without the Use of Means adapted to it: To expect a Crop by the Dint of our Supplications, without plowing, sowing and fencing our Ground, would be exceeding Page  26 fond and vain; and so to expect Protection from unreasonable and violent Men, without using proper Measures for Defence, on Account of our Piety and Prayers, is equally unreasona∣ble! When proper Means are neglected, viz. such as are temporal in temporal Cases, and we hope for Impunity and Safety, we tempt GOD instead of trusting in him. The Justice of this, the very Light of Nature only, taught the Pagans to acknowledge.

As the Christian and Ministerial Calling do not destroy, or render unnecessary the Magistrates Office, so neither do the spiritual Arms, which Ministers and Christians use, and with which they fight in the Business of Religion, render corporal Arms unnecessary, which the Magistrate uses and enjoyns? These Things are subordinate to each other, and therefore do not clash, but harmonize in promoting the same End. *

Another Objection against WAR, is that Prophesy of Isaiah, which signifies that under the Messias Reign, Men shall beat their Swords into Plow-shears, and their Spears into pruning Hooks, that Nation shall not list up Sword against Nation, neither shall they learn War any more. I answer, it is probable that this Scripture, at least principly, respects the spiritual and inter∣nal Peace of CHRIST'S Kingdom. It is certain that the Gospel inclines all that receive it in Truth, to live as much as is possible in Peace with all Men: It subdues, in a Measure, Mens Corruptions, which are the fatal sources of Con∣tention and War, and makes them humble and Page  27 meek. But there is a vast difference between the internal and spiritual Peace of CHRIST'S Kingdom, and that which is political and exter∣nal, or outward: CHRIST himself assures us, that an external Peace would not be the immediate issue of his coming, I came not (saith he) to send Peace on earth ••t a Sword.* Tho' the Doctrines and Power of his Religion tend to Peace; yet our LORD prophesies, that those who reject them, would kindle the Flame of an un∣just WAR, and Persecution against his follow∣ers upon a religious Account. If we take the aforesaid Prophesy in this view, as intending only a spiritual Peace, it no ways opposes the Doctrine I have been advancing; for doubt∣less every good Man is dispos'd to Peace, and uses WAR with reluctance as the last remedy, when all other Methods of Accommodation have prov'd abortive. But if the Scripture aforesaid be understood of an external and general Peace among Nations, to be in the Days of the Messias: If this be the true Meaning of it, no doubt it will have its Accomplishment in due time, when the fullness of the Gentiles is come in, and all Is∣rael are saved. Then we hope that Religion will prevail more generally then at present, and Peace flourish as the consequent of it. It is not necessary that Prophesies respecting the Messia's Kingdom, should be accomplished at the Beginning of it: it is enough that they be fullfil'd before the End of it. So that whe∣ther we consider this Prophesy as intending an internal or external Peace, it no way op∣poses Page  28 a lawful WAR. It is certain 〈◊〉 the Causes of a just WAR do not yet cease, name∣ly, national and important Injuries, and there∣fore the Effect cannot but in Reason continue.

But does not our LORD enjoyn us, not to re∣sist evil? And that if one smite us on the right Cheek, we must turn to him the other, and that if a Man take away our Coat, we should let him have our Cloak also: And likewise that we should love our Enemies, bless those that Curse us, and shew Kindness to those that despitefully use us.**

I answer, those Places of Scripture, and others of like tendency, which I have not time to speak upon particularly at present, only signi∣fy these Things following, viz.

That we should rather endure smaller and tollerable Injuries with Patience, than contend or go to Law for Satisfaction.

That we should not indulge private Revenge, for this makes us Judges in our own Cause, and tends to overthrow all Government. Judicial revenge is so sacred a Thing, that none should intermeddle with, but GOD himself, and such as he hath appointed, Vengeance belongeth unto me saith the Almighty and I will recompence.

Now the Almighty hath constituted the Magistrate as his Deputy, to execute Punishment proportioned to crimes; and hence he is called expresly, a revenger to execute Wrath upon him that doeth evil.†† Farther, the aforesaid Places of Scripture do signify, that we should wish well to our Enemies, and treat them with Hu∣manityPage  29 and Kindness when in want and distress, and be ready to forgive the Injuries they have committed against us, when they repent over them.*

And that we should not exercise severity to∣wards them, till the Case comes to ••emity, nd our own safety absolutely re••ires it, and only then as far as it does require it, and that with Reluctance and Compassion!

Agreeable to what has been now said, for Substance, is the answer of the learned Grotius,o the aforesaid Objection, which I would beg leave to mention, and it is as follows,

CHRIST doth not say, if any Man smite you mortally, you must bear it patiently, but if one smite you on the right Cheek, turn to him the other also; for a blow upon the Cheek is a small Injury and easy to be born. Moreover in these Words there is a proverbial Expression, which imports thus much, that rather than revenge ourselves against those that have done us per∣sonal wrong, we should suffer ourselves to re∣ceive some new Injuries. Nor does JESUS CHRIST say, if any Man will take away all your Goods, or the greatest part of them, do not resist the spoiler, neither by your own Act and Deed, nor by seeking Protection from the Magistrate, but if any man sue thee at Law, and take away thy Coat, let him take away thy Cloak also, i. e. rather than engage thyself in a law-suit, for so small a Matter, be ready to undergo a fresh loss.
Thus far he.

Page  30But here it may be farther queried, how killing of our Enemies is consistent with love to them? I answer, It is more consistent then self-murder is with love to ourselves: Seeing that love to ourselves, is proposed by God as the Standard of our love to our Neighbour, it must needs be highest in Degree.** Tho' we should love our Neighbours with the same kind or truth of love we do ourselves yet not in the same Measure: We may, we must love our selves first and most, and if so, we must first consult our own Safety, and if another's Page  31 come in competition with it, we must rather secure our own; if we do not so, we are ac∣cessary to our own Death, and so without natural Affection; which the Apostle Paul in his Epistle to the Romans classes with the most crimson Enormities!*

If we are not to love our Enemies above our selves, which we have no Warrant for from Scripture or Reason: We are not to prefer their lives to our own, or assist them in compassing our Destruction, by soth and in∣dolence.

Moreover it should be considered, that love to our Enemies was enjoyn'd under the Jewish Dispensation, as well as now; for they had the whole moral Law as well as we, the Substance of which, according to our LORD'S Explication, is to love God and Man.** Now if love to E∣nemies, which is a moral Duty, could not con∣sist with killing of them in a lawful WAR, surely it would not be enjoyn'd at any time by the God of love and purity. But it was en∣join'd, and therefore it could consist then; and if then, why not now? For my part I think it is the Glory of Christianity, that it enforces, by Arguments of love and ingenuity, the whole moral Law, the whole Law of Nature, and en∣joyns nothing contrary to it, nothing that is absurd and unreasonable!

Moreover is not the Magistrate enjoyn'd, as well as other Men, to love capital Offenders? And yet at the same time he is enjoyn'd to put them to Page  32Death. How can these consist together? I an∣swer, very well, he is to love them as ellow Creatures, and compassionate their Miseries from a principle of Humanity; and yet in the mean time he must put them to Death, not out of personal revenge, but to promote Justice and the good Ends of Government. Now when Persons are slain in a lawful WAR, the Case is substantially the same.

I must beg your patience, my Brethren, un∣til I consider one Objection more, which is con∣tain'd in these Words of CHRIST to Peter, put up again thy Sword into his place, for all they that take the Sword, shall perish with the Sword.

I answer, That this Place of Scripture, con∣cludes nothing against a lawful WAR, because this act of Peter, in defence of his Master, was the Act of a private Person against the lawful Magistrate.

Moreover it was a rash and unreasonable act, done without Council, without VVarrant, and without probability of Success. Some of the Dis∣ciples had ask'd their and our LORD, whether they should smite with the Sword? but before an an∣swer was given, Peter struck, and thereby ex∣posed himself and his Companions, to the rage of the Multitude! For what could such a little handful do with two Swords against a numerous arm'd band of Soldiers?

Besides the act of Peter was unnecessary, and unseasonable: His Master did not need his weak Efforts, he could have called the whole Host of Page  33 Heaven into his Service, if he had so pleased; s he himself observes in the following Verse, thinkest thou that I cannot pray to my Father, and e will presently give me more than twelve Le∣ions of Angels.* CHRIST'S Sufferings were vo∣luntary and of choice.

Nor was it a proper Season to make any de∣ence at all in behalf of CHRIST'S Person, for, he himself observes, in relation to this Point, ow then should the Scriptures be fullfild, that thus must be.** CHRIST must suffer for the Sins of n according to the Scriptures, and therefore it was vain to attempt the Prevention of it.

Now a lawful VVAR is contrary to all the aforesaid Particulars, for it is the Act of the Publick in behalf of the lawful Magistrate: It s advised, countenanced by the Magistrate, and ttended with a probability of succeeding; it is ne∣cessary and seasonable; and therefore the aforesaid instance does not in the least oppose a lawful WAR, which is of a different and contrary Na∣ture: It only exposes the folly and danger of such rash, unnecessary, unseasonable and illegal acts as that was, for all they that take the Sword, in the aforesaid Manner, may expect to perish with it. Or as Grotius observes, these words, all they that take the Sword, shall perish with the Sword,

may be apply'd to the Officers and Soldiers that came with Swords to take CHRIST: As if he had said, Peter thou needest not draw thy Sword to punish them, GOD will certainly, shortly and severely reckon with them.
And thus the Event soon hap∣pen'd Page  34 They took the Roman Sword to seize CHRIST with, and by the same they and their Place and Nation, were not long after destroyed.

Sed ja— tempus est equm, spumantia soivere colia.

The Time requires that I hasten to a Period.

But before I conclude, give me leave my Fathers and Brethren, to offer a few practical Reflections from what has been said.

If the Almighty be a Man of WAR, as well as a God of Love and Peace, why should any imagine that those are inconsistent Cha∣racters in Men? Tho' the blessed GOD loves all his Creatures, yet does he not execute Indigna∣tion and Wrath upon those that do Evil? Now seeing Jehovah is the Fountain of Excellency, it must of Consequence be the highest Honour our Nature is capable of, to be conformed to him. Let none then, think it a Disparagement to their Character, to be concerned in WAR, but on the contrary, their high Honour and Dignity: Forasmuch as it is the Name and Title of the great GOD himself, to be a Man of WAR!

And may it not encourage and animate us in our warlike Preparations for Defence, to con∣sider, that our GOD is a Man of WAR; that he manages the Helm of the Universe, that as he has the Supream Direction and Disposal of all Events in general, so that the Issues of WAR are under his Cognizance and Controul in par∣ticular. That our Cause is just, and important viz. the Defence of all that is dear to us against lawl••• Patience, and that in the Way of Means we may humbly expect Assistance and Success!

Page  35And here my Brethren, suffer me to say, that he ASSOCIATION not long since entered into in his House, is, considering the Posture of our Affairs, the best Expedient that could be con∣certed, and of the last Necessity to promote the Security and Advantage of this City and Pro∣vince. I am glad, and bless GOD, that so many have already joined in it, but admire the Num∣ber is not greater! However, I trust it will daily increase: The Case is so evident and important, that if any are so unhappy as to entertain prejudices against it, and would rock us asleep again into our former Laish-like Security, we hope that in Time they will come to be of juster Sentiments.

The Necessity of the aforesaid ASSOCIATION, from a view of our present Circumstances, has been already set in so just and strong a Light, in a late ingenious excellent Performance, stil'd PLAIN TRUTH; a Performance that stands so firm upon its own Basis, that it needs no Encomium to support its Credit among the impartial and judicious: I say, the Necessity of the aforesaid ASSOCIATION, has been so well and so fully represented already, that had I a Genius equal to that Province, and Time to spend that Way, yet it would be needless to add any thing to what has been already said: What I have therefore had in View in this Discourse, is, to shew my Approbation of the Design; as well as to essay the Encouragement of it, by attempting to remove the Scruples of such, who by their Re∣ligious Principles, are hindered from joining in the ASSOCIATION. I have not designed to dis∣parage Page  36 or give Offence to any, but to offer freely my Sentiments on WAR, with the principal Reasons of them, having been invited and urged thereto.

I confess, that a View of the defenceless State of this Place, together with the fatal Consequences of the Enemy's coming suddenly upon such a secure and unprovided People, has sometimes affected my Mind; when I have heard great Guns go off, I have been sometimes inclined to muse upon this melancholy Subject in the fol∣lowing Manner; What if this be the Firing of an Enemy! How dismal is our Case! Alas! we have nothing to resist them! But must submit to their Tyranny and ••wess Rage! Tho' we have Men enough, they are not provided with Arms and Ammunition, they are not prepared for an At∣tack, by martial Discipline; we have no Officers, no Frtrsses, no Ships of WAR to protect us! Shall we, can we resist in this Situation? What can a Number of undisciplin'd, unarm'd Men do against a regular Force, but tempt them to greater Severities against themselves and others? Should they be disposed to unite, and dare to attack them, which is improbable. Shall we flee? But is there a safe Retreat near us, to screen us from the Inclemencies of the Weather, and the Violence of the Enemy? No! But if there was, how should the Aged, the unweildy, especially of the weaker Sex, and little Children flee to it? But if we could all flee, with what Consistency can we desire Protection of others, who neglect to de∣fend ourselves? Or must we stay to behold as silent and unactive Spectators such a rueful Tra∣gedy? To behold without one Effort to prevent Page  37 it, this great and growing City laid in Ashes, or its Inhabitants reduced to Beggary, by an intoler∣able Ransom; or perhaps both these dire Events in a dismal Succession! How shall we endure to see the sad Symptoms of wild afright, and extreme Distress, in our Relations and Neighbours upon such a mournful Occasion! When through our presumtuous Confidence, Security, and Negligence, we are unable to succour and protect them! Will not their Tears and Shrieks affect us, together with a View of our own Danger, in such a Manner as Words fail to express! It is too shocking to mention the sordid Abuse of the Aged and vene∣rable, as well as of dear Relatives of the softer Sex, in spight of all their reluctant Cries and in∣cessant Importunities, by the rudest Russians, the basest Banditti, but I forbear, it is too tender a Point to enlarge upon!

My dear Brethren, and Fathers! let the Con∣sideration of these Things excite you to go on un∣weariedly, undauntedly, in this necessary and noble Attempt for defence, according to your late En∣gagements; lay aside all your private petty Ani∣mosities and unite as one Man in your Country's Cause; Unita vis fortior. Union is the Glory of Society, its Safety, and its Strength. Oh! let a generous love to your Country, ever fire your Bo∣soms; this when exerted in prudent Council, un∣fainting Industry, and heroic Bravery, contains al∣most every thing in it that is Great and Noble!

This is the grand Support of Society, with all its Honours, its Sweets, its Interests; without which it soon crumbles into a Chaos of Ruin, dissipates and expires!

Page  38This sublimates the human Soul, and raises it above the narrow and comparatively mean Circle, of our own private Interests!

This inspires us with the tenderest Sentiments of the most extensive Benignity, to that whole Community, of which we are a Part, and there∣fore are bound by our Relation, to promote its In∣terests, in the most diffusive Manner we are capa∣ble of!

This (considered in its whole extent) is the su∣blimest Character; it perfects our intelligent Nature, advances and enlarges our noble Souls, and is there∣fore the principal Ornament and Beauty of a great Mind!

This extensive Benignity conforms us in some Measure to the blessed God, who is the Parent of our Spirits, and the Fountain of our Mercies; and in that Property which is the prime Excellency, the Felicity and Glory of his Nature!

Projects of this Kind are worthy of Humanity, become the native Grandeur of a Soul, and suit the Design of our Existence! *

But on the contrary, to be unconcerned about our Countries Safety and Interest, and that in their utmost Extent, bewrays a narrow, a groveling, a mean, a sneaking, a sordid Mind!

Page  39In a Word, Sirs, all that is dear and valuable concur to incite you to persist in this Enterprize. Regard to God's Authority, the Imitation of his Example, Love to your Country, Regard to the Protection of your own Lives, and the Lives of those to whom you are related, by the Tyes of Na∣ture, of Grace, of Gratitude; Regard to your Estates and Liberties, both civil and Religious!—

But Sirs, allow me to observe, that tho' outward Means are necessary and excellent in their Place, yet they are not like to be crown'd with Success, except we look above them to God for Direction and Assistance; except we repent of our Sins, and reform our Lives!

Indulgent Heaven has loaded us for a long Series of Time, with an uninterrupted Train of various and valuable Benefits, both Civil and Religious. But have we not abused them? and, Jeshurun like, kicked against our blessed, our bounteous Benefac∣tor? Does not Sin, almost of every Sort, abound among us, notwithstanding of the late gloomy and alarming Providences that have passed over us? Do we not therefore deserve a desolating Scourge? And can we reasonably hope to escape it, without griev∣ing for our Offences, and turning to God and Righ∣teousness? What will all outward Defences avail, if the God of Armies be against us?

Among all the Evils that abound here, Swearing and Sabbath-Breaking seem to be peculiarly flagrant. For these our Land mourns! And therefore, may I here, in all Humility, and with due Deference, offer a few Words to the Consideration of the Ma∣gistratesPage  40 of this City. Honourable and worshipfuGentlemen, You know best, whether you can, by exerting the Powers of your Office with encreasing and united Vigour, put some greater Restraint upon the aforesaid Evils, and others.—If so wou'dn't i be for the Glory of God, and one proper Mean to avert the impending Storm of Divine Indignation; to unite therein? The civil Sword is in your Hands, Gentlemen, I hope you will not let it rust in the Scabbard, whilst there seems to be such an urgent Necessity to brandish it to the Terror of Transgressors!

Once more let me take Occasion from the Subject of a temporal War, to remind all present of the spiritual War against Sin and Satan, which every of us ought to engage in, and maintain; and must, if we wou'd obtain Salvation.

The Lord Jesus Christ is a Man of War. He is likwise stil'd, The Lyon of Juda's Tribe; the Captain of our Salvation! I would therefore beat up for Voluntiers for this great, this good Redeemer, who has on his Vesture a Name written, the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords!

Enlist, my dear Brethren! enlist under the Ban∣ner of his Gospel, his Cross; and that speedily, by believing in him, and resigning yourselves to his Guidance and Government!

The spiritual War you are to engage in, is of ab∣solute Necessity, and transcendent Excellency; for if we live after the Flesh, we shall die; but if we through the Spirit, mortify the Deeds of the Body, we shall lve.

The General you are to fight under, is wise, ex∣perienced, successful, infinite in Power and Good∣ness Page  41 The Enemies you are to fight against, tho' crafty and malicious, are, however, comparatively weak and impotent!

The Time you have to fight in, is short and un∣certain. What is our Life but a Vapour, which ap∣pears for a little Time, and then vanishes away. We know not what a Day will bring forth.

The Armour you have to fight with, at the Gene∣ral's Expence, is excellent and complete: There is a Helmet, a Breast-plate, a Sword, a Shield.

The Wages ye fight for, are so great, as no human Mind can conceive or Tongue express; No less than needful Supports and Comforts here, and eternal Blessedness hereafter!—

Come then, my dear Brethren, without Delay, into the Camp of CHRIST, and enlist under his Colours; put on the Robe of his Righteousness, and gird on the spiritual Harness; take Care of your Arms, and expect the Battle; keep your Ranks; face your Enemies, and eye your General, that ye may stand in the evil Day, and having done all to stand. Stand therefore, having your Loins girt about with Truth, and having on the Breast-plate of Righteousness.—See the Ensign of CHRIST, having LOVE for its Motto, is spread, and invites Rebels on their Return to God to accept Protection. Hark! the Gospel trumpet sounds to WAR and BATTLE: Let those that are arm'd take the Field. Watch ye, stand fast in the Faith, quit ye like Men, be strong. May GOD, for CHRIST'S Sake, by his Holy Spirit, grant this Mercy to us all. And to this blessed THREE-ONE GOD, be eternal Praises. Amen. Amen.