Joseph Stennett.

The Works of the late Reverend and Learned Mr. Joseph Stennett : in five volumes ; to which is prefix'd some account of his life (Volume 1) online

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flrength of his right hand ". I?t Judah is God
known J his name is great in Ifrael. In Sale??i
alfo is his tabernacle^ and his dwelling-place in
Sion. I'here brake he the arrows of the bow^
the fhieldy and the fword^ aiid the battle. Se-
lah °. T'hejiout-hearted are fpoiled^ they have
flept their fleep : and none of the men of might
have found their hands. At thy rebuke^ O
God of Jacob J both the chariot and horfe are
caji into a dead fleep. T^hou^ even thou art to
be feared ; and who may fland in thy fight ^
when once thou art angry p ? &c.

The name oi Lord of hojis, fo often ufed in
fcripture, fignifies not only that all the hofl
of heaven, all the legions of angels are under
the divine government 5 but alfo that all the

"> Pfal. 18. 31—40. I " Pfal. 7^. 1,1, 5.

* Pfal. ao. 5,^. I p Ver. 5, 6,7*


2^6 A thankfgtving fermon

armies of men are at the dlfpofal of God,
and over-rul'd to fubferve his defigns and ac-
complifh his pleafure.

He gives princes, ftatefmen, and generals,
prefence of mind, or confounds their thoughts;
he diredls them to take right methods, or in-
fatuates them ; he renders their projeds prof-
perous, or difconcerts and breaks their mea-
fures i he gives courage to their armies, or
difpirits them : he fometimes augments the
refolution and valour of thofe whom he de-
figns to render vidorious ; fo that on that
account they vaftly furpafs their enemies,
and even exceed themfelves, and are made to
accomplifh that which on other occafions
themfelves would think imprudent to at-
tempt. Thus, to ufe the prophet's phrale,
*The feeble become like David^ and the houfe of
David like the angel of the Lord '^. With him
is Jirength a7id 'wifdom : the deceived ajid the
deceiver are his. He leadeth away counfellors
fpoiledt and maketh the judges fools. He loo-
feth the bonds of kings, and girdeth their loins
with a girdle. He leadeth princes away fpoil-
ed^ and overthroweth the 7nighty. He remo-
vcth away the fpecch of the trufiy, and taketh
away the under ft anding of the aged. He pour-
eth contempt upon princes, and weakencth the
flrength of the mighty. He dijcovereth deep
things out of darknefs, and bringeth out to light
the fiadow of death. He increafeth the na^
tio7is, and dejlroyeth them : he enlargeth the

% Zech. ii,8,


Serm. V. for the vi[fory at Hochftet. i-^'j

nations^ andjiraitneth them agatJi. He taketh
away the heart of the chief of the people of the
earth, and caufeth them to wander in a wil-
dernefs where there is no way. They grope in
the dark without light, and he maketh them to
Jiagger like a drunken man ^

Every one who is converfant in the holy
fcriptures, knows that nothing has been
more conftantly attributed to God, than the
advantages his people have obtained over their
enemies j and that many pfalms of praife
have beeen compofed on fuch occalions. In
his name they were wont to fet up their ban-
ners, and to his arm they ufed to afcribe all
their victories.

Nor does this hinder the obligation all
good men are under, of making a grateful
acknowledgment to the perfons whom the
providence of God has employed for their
defence or deliverance. As God himfelf has
declared that he will honour thofe who honour
him ^ J fo he requires us to give ho?iour to
whom honour is due \ Common juilice and
gratitude engage us to be thankful to our
benefadors ; and this obligation increafes in
proportion to the extent and value of the
benefits we receive by their means, and to
the difficulties and perils to which they have
generoufly expofed themfelves in procuring
them : of which former ages were fo {kn-
fible, that many nations have been much

' Job 12. i(f 1^_ I »Rom. 15. 7.

^ I Sam. 2. 30.


238 A thankfgiv'mg fermon

more prone to exceed due bounds in the ho-
nours they have done their heroes, both
while hving and when dead, than to be de-
ficient therein. Tho, I confefs, we live in
an age and nation wherein fome have not
fcrupled to prad:iie the reverfe of this, and
have been fo unjufl to the name of a prince,
to whom, under God, they owe the reftora-
tion of their civil, and prefervation of their
religious liberties, as to refufe that honour to
his memory, which his lefs partial enemies
abroad think reafonable to allow him.

The fong of Deborah gives the principal
glory of the vidory it celebrates to the great
God, to whom jalvation and viSfory belong ;
and at the fame time forgets not to give juft
applaufe to the officers and troops that ac-
quired it under the divine conduct:. Praife
ye the Lord, fays flae, for the avenging of If-
rael, when the people willingly offered them-
fehes: Hear, O ye kifigs ; give ear, O ye prin-
ces J /, even I will fiig to the Lord, I will
fing praife to the Lord God of Ifrael^. My
heart is toward the governors of Ifrael, that
offered thetnfelves willingly among the people.
Blefs ye the Lord ". Awake, awake, Debo-
rah J awake, awake, utter a fong : arife, Ba-
rak, and lead thy captivity captive, thou fon
of Abinoam. Then he made him that remain-
eth, have dominion over the nobles among the

« Judges $.2,3. i " Vcr. 9.

people :

Serm. V. for the vl&ory at Hochfter. 239

people : the Lord made *me have dominion over
the mighty ".

And nothing can be more certainly con-
cluded, than that it is the duty of thofe to
whom God has given vidlory over cruel ene-
mies, to depend for the future on the fame
divine arm that has already made them con-
querors ; and that they that know his name
Jhould put their truji in him, feeing he has not
forfaken them that feek him *".

But 'tis time we fhould come to the im-
provement of what has been faid, with a
particular reference to the folemn occalion
of our alTembling this day.

It becomes us to imitate the zeal of De-
borah and Barak, and the joyful tribes of
Ifrael, in looking back on the late vidlory it
has pleafed God to give her majefty*s troops,
and thofe of her allies, over the arms of
France ; to excite us to the duty of praife
and thankfgiving, to which we have had {o
loud a call by the providence of God, as well
as by her majefty's pious proclamation.

We may alfo hence take occafion with the
fame Ifrael ites to look forward with hope,
and to pray for, I had almoft faid prefage,
the like glorious ad:s of providence in favour
of the righteous caufe in which this nation,
with fome other ftates, is engaged againft the
moft dangerous tyrant and greateft perfecutor
of the age ; and to give the Almighty the

? Vcr. li, ij. I w pfal. 3. 10,


240 A thank/giving fermon

glory due to his name, by confiding in his
mercy and power for future vidories, fince
our hope is encouraged by one fo eminent as
that which we now joyfully commemorate :
the circumflances of which were not alto-
gether unlike that which is celebrated in the
fong of triumph which our text concludes.

*Tis true, we have not been enflaved to
France, we have not felt what it is to be op-
prefTed, as the Ifraelites were under the yoke
of Jabin. We were in the polTeflion of our
liberty and religion, when God was pleafed to
give us the late vidtory. His providence has
given us a commodious fituation in the midll
of the feas ; which has been a mean to pre-
ferve us even from many of the calamities of
war, that are unavoidable to our neighbours
and allies on the continent. But every con-
fidering man will acknowledge, that the dan-
ger that both formerly and of late has threat-
ned us, of being infulted by that great op-
preflbr, who pretends to give laws and kings
to fo many nations, has not been contempti-
ble. That he has been many years endea-
vouring to grafp all the territories of Europe,
and fubjugate them to his arbitrary power,
has appeared by the management of his
councils, and the operations of his forces :
and there are but too many fad inftances of
his fuccefs in fome foreign countries, into
which he has carried fire and fword, and by
thofe inflruments of cruelty eflablifhed his
defpotick government. The yoke has been


Serm. V. for the vi&ory at Hochftet. 241

no lefs heavy which he has impofed on mul-
titudes of his own fubjeds. I prefume you
are not ignorant with what unparallei'd bar-
barity he has perfecuted the proteflants in
France, as well as thofe in Piedmont and the
principality of Orange : what great numbers
have fuffered death by variety of exquifite
torments ! how many have been condemned
to the flavery of the gallies, or that of the
American plantations ! and how many have
been expofed to the difficulties of flight, and
the poverty and hardfhip attending a ilate of
exile in foreign countries !

Prudence, and the care of our own wel-
fare, deeply intereft us in all the miferies that
befal our allies j and humanity teaches us to
pity all that are opprelTed. But we owe the
members of our Saviour's myftical body a
fympathy fo tender, as to make us refent
their forrows and fufferings as our own : and
therefore what they have felt as well as what
we have feared, their afflictions as well as
our own dangers, fhew us what caufe we
have to blefs God for the late mortification
the common enemy has received.

The many crying fins of this nation, and
the great aggravation of its guilt in fo long
refufing to be reformed, notwithflanding all
the pious and charitable attempts that iiave
been made to that purpofe by perfons of all
ranks and degrees among us ; the abufe of fo
many days of folemn humiliation, wherein
too many have drawn nigh to God only ijoith
Vol. I. R their

2A2 A thankfgivmg fermon

their mouths^ and honoured him with their lips,
while their hearts ha've been far from him^
increafed the fears of many good men, and
made their hearts tremble^ like Eli's, for the
ark of God ■■, left our rock fhould fell us into
the hands of our enemies as a people incorri-
gible by all indulgent methods, and make us
ferve a people that were not able to ftand be-
fore our anceftors, nor had been fo formida-
ble in this age, if the weaknefs and treachery
of thofe who fhould have provided for the
common fafety in fome former reigns, had
not favoured their ambitious defigns, by con-
niving at their unreafonable quarrels with
their neighbours, by tamely looking on their
many unjuft incroachments, and by contri-
buting to the vaft increafe of their naval

And notwithftanding the frequent checks
the French king received by the prudent
counfels, indefatigable induftry, and vidto-
rious arms of the late king William of glo-
rious memory j yet the refpite he obtained
by the peace he found himfelf obliged to
feek at the hand of this prince, was im-
proved by him in recruiting his ftrength, and
in making preparation for the expected death
of the late king of Spain, upon whole exit
he did not want a pretence to get Spain itfelf,
and the greateft part of the dominions be-
longing to that monarchy, immediately un-
der his power. Divers places in the Low-
Countries that had been regained from him


Serm. V. for the viBory at Hochfter. 241

arid defended againfl him In the former war,
at the expence of fo much blood and trea-
fure, fell at once into his hands j and the
immenfe riches of the Weft-Indian mines be-
came an eafy prey to him.

While all Europe was in a confternation,
and trembled at the event of this great revo-
lution, and divers princes and ftates found
themfelves under a neceffity to arm againfl
the mifchiefs that deeply afFefted fome of
them, and threatned the reft j France em-
ployed her intereft and artifice with fo much
fuccefs, as to engage feveral of them to e-
fpoufe her quarrel, and to amufe others into
a neutrality, notwithftanding the evidence of
the common danger.

With thefe advantages the French king
began the prefent war, and before the late
defeat of his troops near Hochftet, had made
very great advances in Germany by the dSr
fiftance of the eled:or of Bavaria : a prince,
who, after the example of his brother the
eledor of Cologne, has thought fit to facri-
fice his own honour and authority, as well
as the blood of his fubjecfts and peace of his
country, to the humour of a tyrant, and to
have the fatisfadiion of lending his afliftance
to enflave Europe, for whofe liberty he for-
merly appeared in the field ; as if he now
thought it more eligible to be a vaflal of
France than a fovereign prince, and more
honourable to draw his fword againft the
common liberty than in the defence of it.
R 2 The

244 -^ thankfgiving fcrmon

The confternation, weaknefs, and divifions
of the empire, the fuccefs of the French in
obliging the imperiallfts to abandon Italy,
the difficulties under which the duke of Savoy
laboured, the unaccountable confufions of
Poland, and the doubtful fituation of the
affairs of Portugal, together with the un-
toward fadions and difcontents that fer-
mented the Scotifh nation, as well as the
difaffedtion of too many in this kingdom,
who, by their frowardnefs and uneafinefs un-
der the prefent government, make it appear
that they wifli not fo well to the proteftant
intereft as they ought to do ; all thefe things
gave us but a melancholy profpe(5l of affairs
before the late battle.

The forces of the enemy were fuperior in
number to thofe of the allies : they were the
flower and pride of the French troops, that
had all the advantages of difciplinc and ex-
perience J many of them were veteranes, led
on by a more than common number ot good
officers, long inured to the hardfhips, and
well acquainted with the flratagems of war,
under the conduct of a general of a growing
reputation. They had the advantage of the
ground, and were big with the hope of a
compleat victory, and of the large fpoil and
new honours that would attend it.

If, at this critical juncture, God had

thought fit to deal with us accordifig to our

Jins, and to reward us after our iniquities ,

what a difmal fcene might we now have had


Serm. V. for the vi6iory at Hochdet. 245

in view ! If vidlory had been on our enemies
fide, and given them an opportunity of cut-
ting off the retreat of our troops, and of
furrounding them in a place fo very diftant
from their native country, the flaughter of
them might have been as great 3 and their
overthrow as fatal as that of the French has
proved. Our forrow and fear might have
been equal to our prefent joy and hope.
We might have been this day the fcorn and
triumph of thofe who hate us ; and inftead
of wearing the garments of praife^ might
have been clothed with the fpirit of heavi-
nefs. But God has fpoken to us by his pro-
vidence, as he did formerly to the Jews by
his prophets : For my names fake will I de-
fer mine anger ^ and for my prafe will I re-
frain for thee^ that I cut thee not o ff
For my own fake, even for my own fake will I
do it 'y for how fiould my name be polluted ?
and I will not give my glory to another ^.

The French were very confident of fuc-
cefs ; but to their confidence the confederate
army oppofed their folemn prayers, to en-
gage the Almighty on their fide, and feem
to have encountered their enemies with a
courage like that with which king Hezekiah
infpired the Jewifli captains, againft the pow-
erful army of the king of AfiTyria, when he
faid, Be frong and courageous, be not afraid
nor difmayed for the king of Ajfyria, nor for
all the multitude that is with Urn. With him

Mra.48, 9, 11.

R 3 ^*

2^6 A thank f giving fermon

is an arm of feJJ:)^ but with us is the Lord our
God, to help us and to fight our battles ^. And
we may now fay, The Lord has made bare
his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations ^ ;
and has given us a viftory that has no pa-
rallel in the prefent age, and all things con-
{idered, there are few examples in hiflory
which can equal it, excepting thofe mira-
culous inftances among the Ifraelites in the
time of the judges. Our enemies have not
only been conquered, but cut off in prodi-
gious numbers ; many fquadrons which efca-
ped the edge of the fword, were precipitated
into the Danube, and drowned therein, as
the Canaanites were in the river Killion, and
the Egyptians before in the Red-Sea, and
a great number of battalions made prifoners
of war : fo that a numerous and well-dif-
ciplin'd army was not only routed, but in
a manner totally ruin'd.

Some confiderable vid:ories have been ob-
tained without any great flaughter of men ;
when many have been flain, the body of the
army has been often faved by a prudent re-
treat ; when they have been put to a difor-
derly flight, great numbers have commonly
efcaped, and foon made a formidable ap-
pearance again. But on this occaiion all
things concurred to the almoft intire de-
flrudion of the French troops, which is a
very furprifmg event, in an age and in an
army wherein the art of war has been fo

^ 1 Chron. 32.. 7,8. | ' Ifa. 51. 10.

2 much

Serm. V. for the viBory at Hochftet. 247

much refined, and advanced to fo high a
perfedtion. In former ages men generally
fought with abundantly more courage than
skill, and feemed more careful to employ
what art they had in deftroying their ene-
mies than in preferving themfelves ; and
confequently the ilaughter on both fides was
ufually great. But modern armies are no
lefs skilful in the defenfive than in the off'en-
five part of war, and are not wont to engage,
without firfi: taking all necefiliry precautions
to fecure to themfelves a good retreat, in
cafe they (hould fail of fuccefs : and the
French, of all others, have been remarked
for their prudence and care on this account.
But whether a dependance on the number,
experience, and courage of their troops,
and a confident expe6lation of coming off
conquerors, removed all apprehenfion of
danger from the minds of their generals, or
whatfoever elfe was the caufe of their infa-
tuation, they fo ordered the matter, that
when their army was broken, a o;reat pare
of it was fo inclofed by the confederate
forces, that it was impoflible for them to
efcape; and many others found no other
way of retreat than that of throwing them-
felves into the Danube, leaving their camp
and the fpoils of it to their conquerors.

And that which ought to endear to us
the memory of this aSion, and to give a
peculiar accent to our thankfgiving, is, that
the forces of the proteftant princes and ftates,

R 4 and

248 A thankfgiving fermon

and more efpecially the Englifh troops, had
the fi\r greatefl; {hare in it, and confequently
of the honour that attends it.

The deftrucftion of fo many of the French
king's braveft troops, which he had fo often
reviewed with pleafure, as the hopeful in-
ftruments of his cruel ambition, and whofe
former fucceflcs had been celebrated by the
wit and eloquence of fo many flattering
tongues and pens, muft needs give a flrange
uneafmefs to the mind of that haughty mo-
narch ; while we adore the divine provi-
dence that has abafed the glory of his high
looks, broken the arm of flefli on which he
leaned, and fwept away many of thofe
troops from rlic lace of the earth, which he
had employed to extirpate the proteftant
religion out of France.

The fignal prefervation of the Englifh
general, wlio was expofed to imminent dan-
ger in this battle, and the taking of the
French general prlfoner, with divers other
general officers, befides thole who fell by
the fwcrd, all add to the fplendor of that
memorable day ; which would have been
lefs bright and joyful, if marefchal Tallard
had made his efcape, and the duke of Marl-
borough had been flain.

As the vicltory itfelf was very great, fo
are the confequences of it likely to be, fome
of which already begin to appear. What
immediate relief has it given to Germany ?
what life to the common caufe of Europe ?


Serm. V. for the vlBory at Hochftet. 249

what ftrength to the confederacy ? what
vigor to the fpirits of the people in this and
divers foreign nations ? And we may reafon-
ably hope for yet greater things, if the great
God will continue to go out with our armies :
and not only this age, but ages to come will
reap the advantage, as well as keep up the
memory of this never-to-be-forgotten vidtory.

2. We may hence take encouragement af-
ter the example of the Ifraelites in our text,
to hope and pray for the like eminent dif-
plays of the divine juftice and mercy here-
after. So let all thy enemies periJJo^ O Lord :
but let them that love him be as the fun when
he goes forth in his might. What God has
already wrought for his church, feems a
hopeful earneft and pledge of yet greater
things which he defigns in her favour : and
as we have had occafion for many days of
humiliation and prayer, let us hope for as
many feafons of joy and thankfgiving. Let
us pray that thofe who attempt to banifh
liberty, peace, and the true religion from
the earth, may fee their pernicious defigns
prove abortive j and that the forces they
unjuftly employ to execute fuch wicked pur-
pofes, may become as dufl to the fwords, and
as driven flubble to the bows ^ of thofe who
favour the caufe of truth and juftice : that
thofe princes, who neither fear God nor re-
gard man, but break all civil and facred

' Ifa. 41. i,


2 50 A thankfg'ivmg fermon

bonds afunder at their pleafiire, that will be
governed by no principles either of honour
or confcience, but perfidiouily violate the
mod folemn treaties and oaths to gratify
their infuiable defire of dominion, may ne-
ver be able to compafs their defigns, but that
the righteous judgment of God may be emi-
nently revealed, in punifhing their impiety,
injuftice, and treachery : that thofe who
have made themfelves rich with the fpoils,
and drunk with the blood, not only of their
innocent fubjefts and neighbours, but of the
faints and martyrs of Jefus, may have blood
given them to drink, becaufe they are worthy^
while they perfift in thofe inhuman , prac-
tices : that as God, when he had deftroyed
Pharaoh and his army in the mighty waters
of the Red-fea, gave repeated victories to his
church till he had fettled them in the land
he had promifed them ; fo he may purfue
thofe enemies whom he has lately conquered,
till he has made his church a quiet habita-
tion^ a tabernacle that fiall not be taken down ^ :
that all thofe antichriftian perfecutors, who
are not willing Chrift fhould reign fo much
as in the hearts of his people, may be made
to feel the weight of his rod of iron % if they
will not bow to the fcepter of his mercy :
that the proteftant intereft may flourifh and
profper, and thofe of the reform'd religion
in France, who have long hazarded their
lives in the defence of that and their civil
h Ifa, 3 J. 2.0. \ ' Pfal.a. 9.


Serm. V. for the viEiory at Hochflet. 251

liberty, may be efFedually delivered from the
hands of their enemies, to ferve God without
fear, in holinefs and 7'ighteoufnefs before him^
all the days of their lives ^. It becomes us to
fympathize with them in their afflidiions in
the midfl of our triumphs, and by no means
to forget Jerufalem, but to prefer her projpe^
rity above our chief joy ^ : and we ought to
pray, that all who love her, and feek her
good, may profper j that they may increafe
•in vigor and luftre like the fun, when he goes
out in his might. Let us pray that a feries of
vi6tories and triumphs may attend the reign
of queen Anne, till her and our enemies are
brought to reafon, and that we may long
enjoy the advantages we pofTcfs under the
influence of her happy government. Let us
contribute what we can to the fupport of it,
and to the fuccefs of her arms, at leaft by
our conftant and fervent prayers ; for there
is no law to reftrain any of us from rendering
fervice to her majefly and to our native coun-
try after this pious manner.

Laftly, Let us give God the glory that is
due to his name, for all that he has already
done for us, and refolve on all like occalions
to celebrate his praife. Let us imitate the
gratitude of Mofes and Ifrael ; / will fmg
unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed glori-
oufly, the horfe and his rider hath he thrown
into the fea, T^he Lord is my firength and
fong^ and he is become my falvation : he is my

^ Luke I. 7$o I e Pfal. 137. 5, ^.


2 52 A thankfg'tving fermon

God, and I ivill prepare him a habitation ;
my father 5 God, and I will exalt him, Je-
hovah is a man of 'war : Jehovah is his name.
Pharaoh's chariots and his hoji hath he cajl
i?ito the fea : his chofen captaifis alfo are
droumed in the Red-fea. The depths have co-
'vered them : they fank into the bottom as a
Jio7ie. T^hy right hand, O Lord, is become
glorious in po'wer : thy right hand, O Lord,

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Online LibraryJoseph StennettThe Works of the late Reverend and Learned Mr. Joseph Stennett : in five volumes ; to which is prefix'd some account of his life (Volume 1) → online text (page 17 of 28)