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He maketh Peace in thy Borders, and filleth Thee with the Flower of Wheat. A LONG, dangerous, and expensive War now closes with an honorable Peace; and for this we are ordered to a most reasonable, pious Duty, to return our solemn Thanks to that great and good GOD, who bath taught our Hands to war and our Fingers to fight so very successfully. ‘Tis this at last that completes our Joy by stopping the further Progress of War with her cruel and inseparable Attendants, Misery and Horror: For Conquerors themselves must own it ever accompanied by those ghastly Furies: The finest and most briliant Victories cost many Tears: The most blooming and verdant Laurels are ever stain’d with Blood, and even in the Day of Triumph the Cries of Bitterness and Sorrow mix themselves with the Shouts of Joy and Gladness. We may with Truth say, we have had enough of Victory, we have had enough of military Glory, and the Trophies and the Spoils of War; or rather, enough of human Blood has been pour’d upon the Earth even to glut the ravenous Jaws of Death: We have had enough of that Success, which cannot be enjoy’d but at the Expence of the Lives of our Fellow-Creatures, and those oft the bravest and the best of Men. Therefore let us with Hearts unfeign’d and Gratitude sincere return our Thanks to Almighty GOD for restoring Peace to these Dominions, Security to Trade and Commerce, and Stability to our Religion and Church.
I shall not here take up your time in giving you a Detail of the many and great Advantages we have gain’d, the important Acquisitions made, or the signal Victories obtain’d by Sea and Land in the Course of this War, tho’ such indeed might be entertaining, and agreable enough, but better seen in the Annals of the times, and I think with much more propriety read there than heard here. I shall therefore beg your Attention to what more nearly concerns you not only as a Community but as Individuals, and while I endeavour to shew you what good Use you shou’d make of these peaceable Times, I conceive I shall be offering some Things worthy your Consideration and which, if regarded, may prove of solid and lasting Benefit to you all. The first Thing that will naturally present itself to us in our reflecting upon the happy Consequences resulting from the Blessing now given us, is the Security of our Civil Liberty, a Happiness we justly glory in; For Britons have preserv’d it pure and uncorrupted thro’ all the Struggles of Ambition and the most dangerous Attacks of Power: They have set the World a fair Example that the highest Ambition of Princes shou’d be to govern a free People, and that no People can be great or happy but such as are so; whilst other Nations have bow’d their Necks to the Yoke of Power and have basely given up this indisputable Right of Man deriv’d to Him from the first Law of Nature, and daily feel that Misery, which ever waits on Slaves. Oh Liberty! Thou are the Author of every good and perfect Gift, the inexhaustible Fountain, from whence all Blessings flow. Without Thee, what avails the Sweetness of Climate, or the most delightful Situation in the World? what avail all the Riches of Nature, the various Production of the Earth, the Mine bringing forth a thousand Treasures, the Olive and the Vine blooming upon the Mountains, if Tyranny usurps the happy Plains, and proud Oppression deforms the gay-smiling face of Nature… .