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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to his melTcngers, are no lefs blafphemous :
^bus Jhall ye fpeak to Hezekiah king of Ju-

f Exod. 15. 9. I ' Ifa. j(f. 14, 15.

tVcr. 10, II. I '' Vcr. 18, ij, 10.

hPfal. 8j. It. I


Serm. VI. viElory at Ramillies, ^c, 287

dah^ foyingj Let not thy God^ in whom thou
trujtejl, deceive thee^ fiy^^gy Jerufalem /hall
not be given into the hand of the king of Affy-
ria \ &c. But thefe vain boafts were foori
punifhed by the hand of an angel, and all
thefe menaces had no other efFedl, than to
fhew the vanity and impiety of him who
uttered them.

By what has been faid, 'tis evident that
the great God who marched before Ifrael
when they came out of Egypt, in a pillar
of cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night,
as the fymbol of his prefence ; and the cap-
tain of whofe hoft appeared to Jofhua with
a drawn fword in his hand, to encourage
that general to invade Canaan ^ ; made the
Ifraelites often tread upon the high places
of their enemies, gave them fuccefs in war,
and frequent triumphs, while they refigned
themfelves to his condud:, and obeyed his
righteous laws.

II. I am next to fhew how great was thq
happinefs of this people, in being under the
fpecial care and protedion of God, and blef-
fed with frequent vidiories.

And at the very firfl view, that nation
muft needs appear to have been very happy,
who were delivered from a moft abjed: ftate
of flavery, and whofe liberty was aflerted
from heaven by a long train of miracles f

» Ifa. 37. 10. i " Jofti. 5. 13, 14, 15.



288 A thankfgiving fermon for the

who, as they were eminently preferved by
God from the infults of their enemies in
their march to a land flowing with milk and
hone)\ fo were brought into the pofTeffion
of that fertile country by the moft aftonifh-
ing vidories j and there made fecurely to
enjoy the happy confequences of their mi-
litary fuccefles and triumphs, and in cafe of
any frefli attacks of their enemies, to go out
to battle with the alTurance of returning
conquerors, and of linging new triumphal
hymns to the praife of the Lord of hofts,
whofe right hand and holy arm obt anted thefe
'uiSiories ", and made them tread on the
necks of their enemies.

Can any one doubt of the happy ftate of
that nation, who reap'd the fruits of their
vidtories in the low fubmiffion of their ene-
mies, in the awful refped: of their neigh-
bours, in the Tecurity of their lives, and in
the quiet enjoyment of their eftates in one
of the happiell climates in the world, where
they might have the true relifh of liberty,
while they fat every man under his vine and
Jig-tree^ none being able to make them afraid ?
Nor did they only tafte the fweets of all
temporal bleffings under an excellent civil
conftitution, and a body of laws compofed
by God himfelf, who was their governor as
well as their faviour ; but enjoyed thofe no-
bler pleafures that refuk from the knowledge

> pfal. 91. u


Serm. VI. victory at Ramiliies, ^c. 289

and pradlce of a religion, the truth and
excellency of which was demonftrated to
them by the fulleft evidence.

Their prefervation from the attempts of
their enemies, and their victories over them,
include not only the immediate joy and glory
of their triumphs, and the extent of the
fame. and terror of their arms in other coun-
tries ; but alfo the confequent fafety of their
perfons, the undifturbed converfation^of their
relations and friends, the profperity of their
families, the advancement of their trade and
commerce, and the encouragement of their
induflry in the increafe of their wealth, and
in the improvement of arts and learning
among them ; and, which is more than all
the reft, the flourifhing ftate of religion, the
liberty of worfhipping the true God without
the fear of men^ and the opportunity of en-
couraging holinefs and virtue at home, as
well as that of fpreading the knowledge of
the true religion in other nations.

So that whatever can be fuppofed dear
and valuable to men in this world, and what-
ever tends to make them happy for ever in
the world to come, is comprehended in the
defcription of the ftate of Ifrael in our

Thus we fee how much reafon Mofes had
to fay, Happy art thou^ O Ifrael ! who is like
unto thee, O people, faved by the Lord ! Sec,
as he elfewhere tells them, they fhould be

Vol. I. U blefed

290 A thankfgiving fermon for the

blejfed abo'-ce all people ° ; and fometimes par-
ticularly recounts the various blefTings that
fhould attend them, which are the fame
with thofe we have been obferving. y^//
thefe blejjings Jhall come on thee and overtake
thee^ if thou /halt hearken to the voice of the
Lord thy God. Blefed fhalt thou be in the
city^ and hlefed /halt thou be in the field :
blejfed Jhall be the fruit of thy body, and the
fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cat-
tle, the increafe of thy kinc, and the focks
of thy Jheep : blejfed Jhall be thy basket and
thy Jlore : bleff'ed Jhalt thou be when thou
cmcjl in, ana blefcd Jhalt thou be ivhen thou
goejl out. The Lord Jl)all caufe thine enemies
that rife up againft thee, to be Jmittcn before
thy face : they Jhall come out againji thee
one way, and fee before thee feven ways — The
Lord Jhall eftablijh thee a holy people to him-
felf, and all the people of the earth Jhall Jee
that thou art called by the name of the Lord.,
and they Jhall be afraid of thee — The Lord
Jhall open unto thee his good treafure, the hea-
ven to give the rain to thy land in its feafon^
and to blefs all the work of thy hand : and
thou Jhalt lend to many nations, and thou Jhalt
not borrow. And the Lord Jhall make thee
the head only, and not the tail , afid thou Jtmlt
be above only, aftd thou Jhalt not be beneath ;
if thou hearken to the commandments of the
Lord thy God, which I command thee this day
to obj'erve and do p.

• Deut. 7. 14. 1 P Deut. »8.


Serm. VI. vi^ory at K^mlllks, ^c. 291

The view of the order of the camp of
Ifrael in the wildernefs, as well as the fame
of what God had done for them, in deli-
vering them from the bondage of Egypt,
and in making them triumph over the A-
malekites and Amorites, together with the
prophetick difcovery Balaam had of their
future profperity and glory, extorted blef-
lings from the lips of that foothfayer, when
he was tempted to curfe them, by the offer
of a very great reward from the king of
Moab. How Jhall I curfe^ fays he, who?n
God hath not curfed? or how Jhall I defy,
whom the Lord hath not defied °^ ? Behold I
have received a coimnand to blefs, and he
hath blejfed^ and I camiot reverfe it. He
hath not beheld iniquity in yacob, neither
hath he feen perverfenefs in Ifrael, 'The
Lord his God is with hijn, and the Jhoiit of
a king is among them ^ Surely there is no
inchantment againji Jacob, neither is there
any divination againfi Ifrael: according to
this time it Jhall be Jaid of Jacob and of
IJrael, What hath God wrought ^ ? How
goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy taher^
nacles, O IJ'rael ' / God brought him forth
out of Egypt : he hath as it were the ftrength
of an unicorn. He Jhall eat up the nations
his enemies, and jhall break their bones, and

pierce them thrd with arrows. BleJfed is

he that blejjeth thee, and curfed is he that

1 Num. a J. 8. If Ver. 23.

•^ Ver, zo,ii. | • Chap. 24. f.

U 2 curfetb

292 A thankfg'tvmg fermon for the

curfefh thee ^ I (hall conclude this head
with the words of the plalmift : Happy is
that people that is in fuck a cafe \ yea^ happy
is that people whofe God is Jehovah ".

III. I am now to apply the things on
which I have infilled to our own circum-
ftances, and efpecially to the happy occa-
fion that has brought us together to cele-
brate the prailes of God on this joyful

The prefent condition of England does
in fo many inftances refemble the antient
ftate of Ifrael, that while I have been dif-
courfing of the privileges of the one, I am
fure you could not forget the happinefs of
the other. The temperature of our cli-
mate, and the fruitfulnefs of our foil ; our
commodious fituation for trade, the wife
conflitution of our government, the good
provifion made by our laws for the prefer-
vation of our liberty and property, and
the truth and excellency of our religion,
render the comparifon too obvious not to
have been made in your 9wn minds.

The indulgence of heaven towards us, in
defeating the fecret plots and open attempts
of our enemies, in protedling our country
from defign'd invafions, and the beft of our
kings from the fword abroad, as well as
from the affafiinating dagger at home, all

« Ver. 8, 9. j " rral.144. 15.


Serm. VI. viBory at Ramillies, ^c. 293'

fhew how much we have been the objeds
of God's peculiar favour.

Without mentioning the many deHveran-
ces and victories wherewith God has ho-
noured this nation, lince reformed from the
Romifh rehgion, our own memory can fur-
nifh us with an account of the revolution,
under the condu(ft of the late king William,
whofe name will always appear bright in
our Englifh hiltory, as long as the love of
liberty and religion fliall obtain among us ;
that liberty which he fo glorioufly reftored,
and that religion which he fo happily fecu-
red by the favourable providence of God,
and which the fame divine hand has pre-
ferved to us by many remarkable fucceffes,
and frequent returns of triumph both by
fea and land : efpecially in the reign of her
prefent majefly, who has received a fingular
honour from heaven on this account.

The never-to-be-forgetten vidioryof Hoch -
ftet, will fhine, among the other great ac-
tions which adorn her reign, with a pecu-
liar glory, not only in our own annals, but
in the hiftories of other nations . a vicftory
fo great in itfelf and in its confequences,
that we could fcarce hope this age would
ever fee any thing like it, till the battle of
Ramillies, and the following fucceffes, con-
vinced us, that nothing is too great to be
expeded by us, while God is the Jhield of
our help^ and the [word of our excellency,

U 1 As

2^4 -^ thank/giving fermon for the

As this wonderful progrefs of our arms,
and thofe of our allies in Flanders, toge-
ther with the eminent fuccefs attending the
confederate troops in Spain, is the occafion
of our prefent joy and thankfgiving ; I think
it proper to excite you to the duty of prai-
fing that God to whom vi6tory belongs, by
giving you a brief reprefentation of thefe
great anions and their confequences, which
now employ the thoughts, and engage the
admiration of all Europe.

You cannot be ignorant, how great and
early preparations were made this year, by
the French king, to pulh the allies on all
fides with the utmoft vigor, in hope to re-
trieve his declining glory, and, as much as
poflible, to wipe off the difgrace of the battle
of Hochftet. One army lays fiege to Bar-
celona, another prepares to inveft Turin.
To favour the firll defign, the French fleet
is fent with a vaft quantity of warlike pro-
vilions ; and if they had carried this place,
it would, in all appearance, have much fa-
cilitated their attempt on the other : and
I need not tell you of how fatal confequence
their fuccefs againft thofe cities was likely
to have been to the confederates in Spain
and Savoy, and indeed in all Italy, where
they had obtained fome advantage againfl
the German troops. The early advances of
the enemy on the Rhine, where they had
a numerous army, and the diligence* they
ufed to affemble a vaft body of their beft


Serm. VI. viBory at Ramiilies, ^c. 295

troops in Flanders, to fall on the duke of
Marlborough before all his forces had joined
him, gave no very favourable afped: to our
affairs, and made our enemies promife them-
felves certain vid:ory -, and what v^^ould have
been the tragical effeds of their triumph, if
it had happened according to their expec-
tation, is too obvious to need a particular

The French meafures appeared to be well
concerted, but they have been intirely bro-
ken by the arm of the Almighty. Barce-
lona has been very opportunely relieved ;
the enemy have quitted their camp with
fhame and lofs. The confederate army in
Flanders fall on their enemies, inftead of
expecting their attack, and have gain'd a
compleat vidtory 3 by which the face of af-
fairs thro'out Europe is extremely altered.

How remarkably did the providence of
that God, whom winds and waves obey, in-
terpofe by a florm to retard the French fleet
for many days, v/hich prevented them from
bringing the neceffary provifions for their army
before Barcelona ; without which delay, in
all human probability, that place had been
taken, before the Englilh fleet could have ar-
rived to relieve it ! How feafonably this fuc-
cour came, when the fiege was conflderably
advanced, and large breaches made in the
walls, and the fmall number of regular troops
within not likely to defend it long againft
fo confiderable an army as that which in-
tJ 4 veiled

2 p 5 A thdukfgiving fermon for the

vefted ir ! What a remarkable courage and
adtivity appeared in the young king who
defended it, whom no perfu^ifions could ob-
lige to retire from the town, which if he
had done, 'tis not unreafonable to fuppofe
that city would have been furrendered be-
fore the arrival of our navy !

How much the expeditious march of the
earl of Peterborough, and his application to
relieve the town, by throwing in what fuc-
cours he was able, contributed to the fa-
ving of that city, 'tis eafy to conjedture ; and
feem no lefs honourable to that general, than
the valour and good condud: he before fliew-
cd in the fiege of it, by which he foon
obliged that important place to furrender.

The precipitant motion of the French in
the night from their camp, after a fiege of
35 days, in which they are faid to have
wafted about a fourth part of their army,
and the prodigious quantity of warlike ftores
they left behind them, all ferve to inform
us, that they were ftruck with the greateft
confternation, being under the terrible ap-
prehenfion of a difficult retreat, as indeed
it liappened to their confiderable damage.

All the world fees the importance of the
timely raifing of this liege, the happy con-
fequenccs of which daily appear in Spain,
and give a fair profped; of reftoring that peo-
ple to their former liberty ; befides the migh-
ty influence it muft be fuppofed to have on


Serm. VI. viffory at Ramillies, ^c, 29 j

the affairs of Piedmont and Italy, in favour
of the confederacy.

While we were in pain for a place of
fo great confeqiience, the divine providence
that had in the critical juncture fecured it
from the force of our enemies, before we
could hear of its fafety, happily furprized
us with the news of the glorious vidory at
Ramillies : where, tho the French army
was much fuperior in number to that of
the allies, and a great part of it confifted
of the beft regiments of France, among
whom were the troops of the king's houf-
hold ; tho they had the advantage of chu-
fing their ground, and knew we were not
on equal terms with them, the confederate
troops not being all join'd ; yet they re-
ceived a mortal blow, the memory of which
win defcend to all fucceeding ages.

The diforder and confufion into which
they were put by the courage and vigor of
our troops, and the condudl of their ge-
nerals, the prodigious llaughter that was
made among them, as well as the great
number of prifoners that were taken, among
whom were many officers of note, and the
large fpoll left in the field, render the vic-
tory very great and furprifing.

But the flrange terror which feized the
enemy in their flight, and made them aban-
don fo many flrong places, and the fudden
fubmiffion of fo many populous and wealthy
cities and towns, make it much more con-


2pS A thankfgiving fermon for the

fiderable. A large and fertile country finds
itfelf in an inftant delivered from the ty-
rannick yoke of France, notwithftanding the
great number of French garifons which aw'd
them before : and what might have been
accounted the work of an age, is performed
in the compafs of a few days.

The multitude of deferters who have
quitted the fervice of our enemies, and
joined themfelves to the confederate army,
has not a little weakened the former, and
added in proportion to the ftrength of the

Amidft thefe aftonifhing fuccelles, we have
great reafon to own the favour of God in
the eminent prefervation of both the En-
glifh and Dutch generals. Since the lives
of thofe great men are fo valuable to the
publick, the fall of either of them in the
field of battle, might have made a very un-
happy impreflion on the army, and might
have diminifhed, if not fruilrated, the fuc-
cefs of that memorable day. However, it
w^ould have drawn a veil on the luftre of
this, and lefl'ened our joy on this occafion ;
wherein we adore that kind a6l of provi-
dence which fo fignally preferved them both
to fee the glorious confequences of the vic-
tory then obtain'd.

As the diftinguirhed character of the duke
of Marlborough, for his knowledge and ex-
perience in the art of war, and the great
credit he has abroad as well as in his own


Serm. VI. 'vtEiory at Ramillies, ^c. 299

country, make his prefence neceffary at the
head of the confederate troops ; fo this fhews
us how much reafon we have to blefs God
for dehvering him twice that day from the
utmoffc danger, firfl when fallen from his
horfe, and then when he was remounting.
Which wonderful prefervation of that ge-
neral, calls to mind the like favourable in-
terpofition of the divine hand feveral times,
to divert the flroke of death from the late
king William of glorious memory, when
engaged in battle for us in the fame caufe
of liberty, which is now again fo vigoroully
aflerted by the allies, and fo happily favour-
ed by the providence of God.

If we regard the confequences yet rea-
fonably to be expeded from this expeditious
progrefs of our arms, the profpedl may ad-
vance our hope to a pitch equal to that
to which our admiration is raifed by what
is already done.

Thefe operations, as great and extenlive
as they appear, are effected fo early in the
year ; viAory, and the encouragements
which attend it, have infpired the conquer-
ing troops with fo much refolution and in-
trepidity ; and the defeated and broken ar-
my of France is fo ftrangely terrified, that,
as the latter feem uncapable of attempting
any great matter, till time has worn off
the impreffion of that terror which has
feized them, and rallied their diiTipated fpi-
rits ; fo it may well be fuppofed the former


300 A tb an kf giving fermon for the

will hardly think any enterprize too great,
or any difficulty infuperable ; while they
are intirely fatisfied in the conducfl of their
generals, and find the hand of the Almighty
engaged on their fide.

And here I can't forbear to obferve, that
on this occafion, as well as formerly, it has
pleafed God principally to honour the pro-
teftant troops in the confederacy : as if the
delign of providence was hereby to foften
the minds of the Romanifts, in favour of
thofe againft whom they had conceived an
inveterate averlion ; lince ^iiey can't be in-
fenfible, that they chiefly owe the prefer va-
tion and refliitution of their liberty, and
whatever elfe is valuable to them in the
world, to thofe whom they have been taught
to call hereticks. Who knows how far the
obligations they find themfelves under to the
proteftant princes, and their forces, may a-
bate their bigotry, and diminiih their pre-
judices, and difpofe them to inquire into the
reafon of the religion of thofe, who concur
fo well with them in the caufe of civil li-
berty ?

Nor may I omit to remark, that the
pious method her majefly has taken to open
each campaign with publick prayers, has
received a fignal approbation from heaven
by the many wonderful lucceiTcs, which
have given us fo joyful opportunities as this
to celebrate the divine praifes. And the ap-
pointment of a national thankfgiving for


Serm.VI viSIory at K^mWlics, ^c. 301

fuch eminent bleffings, is no lefs an argu-
ment of the queen's piety, and has met with
an uncommon reward, as an encouragement
both to her majefty and her people, con-
ftantly to recommend the juft caufe wherein
they are engaged to the condud of that
righteous and merciful God to whom vic-
tory belongs.

We are moreover to remember how good
a foundation was laid by the providence of
God for an effedlual oppofition to the efforts
of our enemies, by inclining the parliament
to that union and moderation, fo frequently
recommended by her majefty, which difpo-
fed them to an unanimous and early applica-
tion to the publick bulinefs, that a timely
provifion might be made of the neceffary
fupplies for carrying on the war with vigor.

The more extenlive the good confequen-
ces of our triumphs are, with the more joy
they ought to infpire the heart of every good -
man, who muft needs be pleafed with what
he fees conducive to the happinefs of man-
kind in general : but the large fhare this
nation has in both the honour and advan-
tages of thefe vidiories, is evident to every
one of us, who values his liberty, and the
free exercife of his religion.

Is it neceffary I fhould remind you of the
danger we have formerly been in of loling
both, and how much blood and treafure has
been expended for their fecurity ? Are there
not inflances enough in the world of the


30 2 A thankfgivlng fermon for the

miferies of thofe people, who have been fo
unhappy as to fall under a tyrannnick pow-
er, particularly that of France ?

Are not many thoufands of the natives of
that country, who are fcattered thro' the
world by a cruel perfecution, and expofed
to variety of hardftiips in foreign nations,
fo many living witnefles of the favage treat-
ment we mull have expeded, if God had
fufFered the ambitious and bloody defigns
of that prince to fucceed ? Has not the
cruelty he has exercifed on prodigious num-
bers of his own people, by the confifcation
of their eflates, by ravifhing their children
from their arms, by the confinement of
their perfons in the moft loathfome prifons,
by breaking them on the wheel, by chain-
ing them in gallies, there condemned to
perpetual flavery j in a word, by making
them fuffer the mofl barbarous methods of
torture that could be invented : has not this
cruelty, I fay, which renders the reign of
that king fo infamous, given us a juft fenfe
and relifh of the great mercy of God, which
has prefer ved us from falling a prey to his
defpotick power ?

I hope it will not be thought that the
mention of this inhuman treatment of our
fellow-chriftians, which is apt to make na-
ture recoil, and infpire men, who are not
cruel or ftupid, with trouble and horror,
is now unfeafonable ; and that it draws a
cloud on the luftre of this bright and chear-


Serm. VI. v'lBory at Ramillies, t3c. 303

ful day, which is devoted to joy and thankf-
giving : for the terrible idea of the mifery
of thofe who live where arbitrary power
obtains, ought to enliven our joys and in-
creafe our thankfulnefs to the divine majefty,
who has preferved us from thofe fiery trials
which once threatened us, and made us tri-
umph over the enemies of his church.

Nor fliould we forget our fufFering bre-
thren at fuch a time as this j fince the re-
membrance of their afflictions is proper to
put us in mind of the demerit of our own
fins, which might have long fince expofed
us to the fame calamities, if the mercy of
God had not prevented. And as our fym-
pathy with thofe who ftill fuffer thefe cru-
elties, is an obligation laid on us by our
holy religion ; fo 'tis likely to fet an edge
on our devotion, and to render our prayers
more fervent, when we addrefs ourfelves to
God for the deliverance of thofe who are
perfecuted for righteoufnefs-fake.

And 'tis not to be doubted, that while
thofe good people groan under tyranny and
perfecution, it is fome relief to their droop-
ing fpirits, fome alleviation of their fufFer-
ings, to hear of the repeated vidories ob-
tained over their perfecutors, of the efla-
blifhment of the true religion, and the re-
vival of liberty in other countries, which
may give them a hopeful profpedt of the
refloration of the fame bleffmgs to them-
felves. Thus, lince the apoflle diredls us to
2 rejoice

3 04 ^ thankfgtving fermon for the

rejoice icith them that rejoice^ and weep with
them that weep ; as they partake of our joy,
we fliould, by our chriftian commiferation,

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 22 23 24 25 26 27 28

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 20 of 28)