Government the Pillar of the Earth

[The following essay was written by Benjamin Colman (1673-1747) and was publicly delivered at a lecture in 1730 at the beginning of Governor Jonathan Belcher's terms as royal governor of the colonies of Massachusetts and New Hampshire.  The lecture was printed for T. Hancock and was made available for the people of the colonies to read.   Since Benjamin Colman and Governor Belcher were close friends, this essay represented Governor Belcher’s view of government, too.  Incidentally, like Governor Belcher, Benjamin Colman was also interested in scientific pursuits.]


Mr. Colman’s Lecture SERMON

upon the Arrival of

His Excellency the GOVERNOUR.

13 August 1730



A SERMON Preached at the Lecture in BOSTON,



Captain General and Commander in Chief, & etc.

August 13th 1730.




Isaiah 33:6.  Wisdom and Knowledge shall be the Stability of thy Times,

and strength of Salvation.


BOSTON, in New England:

Printed for T. Hancock, at the Bible and Three Crowns near the Town-Dock.





1 Samuel 2:8:

--For the pillars of the earth are the LORD’s, and He hath set the world upon them.



            The words are part of a rapturous and heavenly song uttered by a devout, inspired, and transported mother in Israel upon a great and joyful occasion.  If the Divine Eternal Spirit please to inspire and speak by a gracious woman, it is the same thing to [us] and requires our reverent attention as much, as [if] He raise up a Moses or an Elias or make His revelations by a Paul or John.

            Samuel, the rare and wonderful son of inspired Hannah, never outspoke his lovely mother in any of his prayers or acts of praise.  Eli would have sat at her feet and laid himself in the dust at the hearing of this flowing torrent of fervent devotion from her beauteous lips, and saints through all ages hang on the heavenly music of her tongue.

            Great things are here said of God and of His Government in the families and kingdoms of men, and such wise and just observations are made as are worthy of deep contemplation by the greatest and best of men.  Had she like Deborah been the princess of the tribes of Israel, she could not have spoken with more loftiness and majesty, with more authority and command, nor better have addressed the nobles and rulers, the captains and the mighty men, to humble and lay them low before God.

            “She celebrates the Lord God of Israel, his unspotted purity, his Almighty power, his unsearchable wisdom, and his unerring justice” ([Matthew] Henry).

            In the praises of these she joys and triumphs; her heart was exalted and her mouth enlarged [overflowing with words].

            “She adores the Divine Sovereignty in its disposals in the affairs of the children of men,in the strange and sudden turns given to them, in the rise and fall of persons, families, and countries.”

            “She observes how the strong are soon weakened, and the weak are soon strengthened, when God pleases: How the rich are soon impoverished, and the poor enriched on a sudden: How empty families are replenished, and numerous families diminished.”

            All this is of the Lord: “He maketh rich, He bringeth low and lifteth up: He raiseth up the poor out of dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill; to set them among princes, and make them inherit the throne of glory;”

            “For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and He hath set the World upon them.”

            Thus my text is introduced as a reason for those dispensations of God towards a person, a family, or a people, which at any time are to us most surprising and admirable.

            [The Pillars of the Earth]

            1.  The things spoken of are great and mighty: The Pillars of the Earth.  The earth is a vast fabric, and in proportion to its mighty bulk must its pillars be.

            The metaphor is plainly taken from architecture, as in stately, spacious, and magnificent structures we often see rows of pillars to sustain the roof and lofty towers.  But whether we apply this manner of expression to the natural or moral Earth, it is figurative and not literal.

            The natural Earth has no pillar.  The will and Word of God is its only basis.  It seems to us who dwell on it, fixed and immoveable in the air.  It keeps its place and line there, as if it were set on some lasting, solid pillars, and never moved at all.

            We darkly philosophize [theorize] upon the point and talk of the poles of heaven, which are more unintelligible to a common audience than the pillars of it.   We speak obscurely of the Earth’s being fixed on its own center.  And we discourse more intelligibly of the secret power of magnetism [gravity] which is in matter, whereby bodies mutually attract or gravitate toward each other, by which the mighty globes of the universe preserve their distance, motion, and order.

            This seems to be the only natural pillar of the Earth: The amazing work and power of God.  And the planets which roll in the same circle with us have all of them the same pillars.  That is to say, all bodies through the whole solar system attract or gravitate toward each other with forces according to their quantities of matter.

            But after all this fine doctrine in our new philosophy [science] concerning the centripetal forces of the sun and planets, a plain Christian is much more edified by the simple and [common] account which the Sacred Pages give us of this mysterious thing: “He stretcheth out the North over the empty space, and hangeth the Earth upon nothing!  He hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods” (Job 26:7; Psalm 24:2), which is to say, “No man knows how or where this vast material frame finds its basis and station.”

            Let us hear God again on the point and say no more upon it: Job 38:2-6: “Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?  Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou Me.  Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the Earth?  Declare if thou hast understanding.  Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest?  Or who hath stretched the line upon it?  Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened?  Or who laid the cornerstone thereof?”

            We see then that the natural Earth has no pillars in any proper sense; neither has the moral Earth (i.e., the inhabitants of it) any, but in a metaphorical sense: And so the princes and rulers of it are called its pillars because the affairs of the world lie upon their shoulders and turn upon their conduct and management, in a very great degree.

            And thus the text explains itself and is to be interpreted from the scope of our context, which speaks of “the bows of the mighty men” and of “the thrones of princes,” and then adds: “the pillars of the earth.”  So that by pillars we are to understand Governors and Rulers among men, but not the persons that bear rule so much as the order itself--government and magistracy [judgeship].  For the persons may be weak and slender reeds, little able of themselves to bear up anything, and here and there they may fall, but the order stands and does indeed uphold the world.

            2.  The things said of these pillars of the Earth are also very great: “They are the Lord’s,” and “He has set the world upon them.”  That is to say: The order and happiness of this lower world, the peace and weal [welfare] of it, depend on the civil government which God has ordained in it.  All this is very elegant and rhetorical, a high and noble strain of speech upon the highest subject that belongs to this our Earth.

            DOCTRINE: The great God has made the governments and rulers of the Earth its pillars, and has set the world upon them.

            1.  The governments and rulers of the Earth are its pillars.

            2.  These pillars of the Earth are the Lord’s.

            3.  He has set the world upon them.

            1.  The governments and rulers of the Earth are its pillars.

            The pillar is a part of great use and honor in the building: So is magistracy in the world.  One style [figure of speech] in Scripture for it is: foundations and cornerstones.   Where we read of “the chief of all the people” (Judges 20:2), in the Hebrew it is “the corners.”  We read also of the “foundations of the earth being out of course” (Psalm 82:5).  The meaning is, the  government of it was so.  Kings bear up and support the inferior pillars of government, and a righteous administration restores a dissolving state: Psalm 75:3: “The earth and all the inhabitants thereof are dissolved: I bear up the pillars of it.”

            In like manner, wise and faithful ministers are pillars in the church, which “is built on the prophets and apostles, JESUS CHRIST being the chief Cornerstone” (Ephesians 2:20).  The prophet Jeremiah was made by God “an iron pillar,” and of Peter, James, and John we read that “they seemed to be pillars” (Galatians 2:9).  They were deservedly so reputed, and truly so, in the Church of Christ.  Famous are the Lord’s words to Peter, Matthew 16:18: “Thou art Peter, and on this rock will I build my church.”  And when John had the vision of the New Jerusalem descending out of Heaven from God, it is said that “the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb” (Revelation 21:14).

            Now the design and use of pillars in a building is one of these two, or both together:

1.   For strength to uphold it, or 2.  For beauty to adorn it.

            1.  The governments and rulers of the earth are its pillars in respect of strength to uphold and support the virtue, order, and peace of it.  Pillars should be made strong, and commonly are so: of stone and marble, iron and brass.  And it had need be a “strong rod” to be a “scepter to rule” (Ezekiel 19:14).  Magistrates need be strong, for government is a great weight, and it is “laid upon their shoulders.”  Moses felt the weight and said, “I am not able to bear this people alone.”

            2.  The governments and rulers of the Earth are its pillars or ornaments, to adorn it.  Pillars in a fine building are made as beautiful as may be; they are planned and polished, wrought and carved with much art and cost, painted and gilded for sight as well as use.  As the legs are to a body, comely [beautiful] in its goings, such are pillars in a stately structure for beauty to the eye.  It is the allusion of the spouse, recounting the beauties of her Beloved, Canticles [Song of Solomon] 5:15: “His legs are as pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold.”  A bold and elegant comparison, becoming the pen of Solomon, who had built the temple of God with all its pillars.  They represented the strength of Christ and His stability to bear the weight of the government laid upon Him, and also the magnificence of “the goings of God our King in the sanctuary”: Likewise the steadiness of the Divine administration.   So those in power and magistracy are to be supposed men adorned with superior gifts, powers, and beauties of mind: Men that adorn the world wherein they live and the offices which they sustain.  And then their office adorns them, also, and sets them in conspicuous places, where what is great and good to them is seen of all.  To be sure, government and magistracy adorn the world as well as preserve it.

            1.  Magistrates uphold and adorn the world as pillars do a fabric, by employing their superior wisdom and knowledge, skill and prudence, discretion and judgment for the public good.  These accomplishments are to be supposed in the civil order, and they render them the pillars of the Earth.

            Wisdom is both strength and beauty, a defense and ornament.  So Solomon shines among kings, for “the wisdom of God was in him.  God gave him wisdom and knowledge exceeding much, and largeness of heart even as the sand upon the seashore.”  Angels excel in strength, and rulers should be wise as the angels of God.  The government is laid on Christ because in Him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.  He is the Wisdom of God and the power of God.  As God first founded the Earth by His Wisdom, and by His understanding established the Heavens, so by the communication of wisdom and understanding to some, He preserves the order and happiness of others on it.  What is said of a house is true of a state: “Through wisdom it is built, and by understanding it is established, and by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches: A wise man is strong, yea a man of knowledge increaseth strength” (Proverbs 24:3, 4, 5; 1 Corinthians 1:24; Colossians 2:3). 

            But then, is the pillar for ornament?  What is more beautiful than knowledge and wisdom?  What more adorns a man, a place, or a country?  The Queen of Sheba came far to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and Huram was as much struck as she was: (2 Chronicles 2:12: “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, who hath given to David the King a wise son, endued with prudence and understanding, that might build a house for the Lord, and an house for the kingdom.”

            2.  Integrity, uprightness, faithfulness added to knowledge and wisdom, makes men strong and beautiful pillars, whether in church or state.  Every man is ready to pretend to a competency of wisdom and as ready “to proclaim his own goodness, but a faithful man who can find?” (Proverbs 20:6).  He is a rare and beauteous spectacle, as Moses, Joshua, Samuel, Jehojada, Hezekiah, and Nehemiah, in their times, and to the end of time.  All that rule over men should be like to these, just men ruling in the fear of the Lord, and then they are to the world as the light and rain, without which the Earth must perish.  As darkness vanishes before the light, so “a king that sitteth upon the throne of judgment scattereth away all evil with his eyes.”   David, that pillar of Israel, came into the government with that noble purpose and resolution: Psalm 75:2: “When I shall receive the congregation, I will judge uprightly.”  So he led them in the integrity of his heart, and led them by the skillfulness of his hands.  God’s righteousness and faithfulness, justice and judgment, are the foundation of His everlasting government, “the habitation of his throne.”  See the pillars of the Divine government, Psalm 36:5, 6: “Thy faithfulness reacheth to the clouds, thy righteousness is as the great mountains.”  Nor can the kingdoms and provinces on the Earth stand but on the like basis of a just and righteous human government.  Psalm 72:3: “The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills by righteousness.”  “Both the superior and inferior magistrates shall minister abundantly to the stability and tranquility of the state.”

            3.  A public and enlarged spirit for the common weal [commonwealth, or welfare] and a single regard thereunto, without suffering [allowing] ourselves to be misled by private and selfish views: This renders men pillars to the world in the places wherein Providence sets them.  And so:

            4.  A spirit of peace and love, meekness and humility, candor and gentleness, whereby persons are ready to unite their counsels and act in concert with one another, paying a just deference one to another and preferring one another in honor, glad to receive light from anyone and well pleased to reflect it from them, all pursuing one end, as the many pillars in a great house stand quietly near to one another and all help to bear it up.  This spirit of “power, and of love, and of a sound mind” render men strong and beautiful pillars of the Earth.  But if the peace of God rule not in men’s hearts--if their passions shake them and they clash with one another--the house totters, the high arches above cleave asunder [break in two], and the roof falls in, as when Samson bowed the pillars of Dagon’s house and buried the lewd assembly in one vast ruin.

            5. A pillar implies fortitude and patience, resolution, firmness, and strength of mind under weight and burden: Not to be soon shaken in mind, nor moved away from what is right and just, but giving our reason in the meekness of wisdom and hearing the reasons of others in the same spirit of meekness to form an impartial judgment and abide by it, but yet with submission to the public judgment and determination.  The unstable are as water, and more fitly likened to the waves of the sea, than to a pillar on shore.  And the irresolute, discouraged, and sinking mind is at best but a pillar built upon the sand which falls when the wind blows and the storm beats upon it, because of its weak foundation.

            There is a passive courage, ever necessary in an accomplished ruler, as much it may be as an active [courage].  The pillar stands regardless, though the weather beat on it or though dirt be cast on it.  True it will wear under the injuries of time, but it looks still great and stands while it wears away.  The wise, the meek and strong Moses, stood as many shocks as ever man did from an impatient, murmuring, ungrateful people.  But this for the first head: The government and rulers of the Earth are its pillars.

            II.  These pillars of the Earth are the Lord’s.

            The Earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof, the world and they that dwell therein.  All are God’s rightful property and dominion.  The shields of the Earth belong to Him.  These are the same with the pillars of it.

            1.  The Lord makes these pillars, forms [and] fashions them, polishes and adorns them.  He gifts, qualifies, and furnishes all whom He calls out to public service.  He makes the more plain and rough, and He orders the carved work and gilding in His house.  He, the Father of light and glory, gives men their natural powers and excellencies, and all their acquired gifts are from Him.  “He looketh upon all the Inhabitants of the Earth, He fashioneth their hearts alike, He considereth all their works.  In the hearts of all that are wise-hearted He putteth wisdom.  Both wisdom and might are His: Counsel is His and sound wisdom; He is understanding, He is strength; by Him kings rule and princes decree judgment” (James 1:17; Psalm 33:15; Exodus 31:3; Daniel 2:20; Proverbs 8:14).  He gave to David integrity, and to Solomon, wisdom, and both were pillars of His framing.

            2.  Both the order and the persons are of the Lord’s ordering, constituting, and appointing.  Civil government is of Divine institution, and God commissions and entrusts with the administration whom He pleases.  The great King of the World has ordered a government in it, and He raises up governors, supreme and subordinate.  “There is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained of Him.”  He puts the scepter into the hand, and the spirit of government into the heart.

            3.  The pillars are the Lord’s, for He disposes of them as He pleases, places and fixes them where He will, rears them when He sees fit, and when He will, removes or takes them down--or if He has no pleasure in them, breaks them to pieces and throws them away.  “He removeth kings, and setteth up kings: For Promotion cometh neither from the East, nor from the West, nor from the South: But God is the Judge; He putteth down one and setteth up another: He leadeth counselors away spoiled and maketh the judges fools: He looseth the bond of kings, and girdeth their loins with a girdle: He leadeth princes away spoiled, and overthroweth the mighty” (Psalm 75:6, 7; Job 12:17-19).

            Thus the Sovereign God forms the pillars of the Earth, prepares them, sets them up, ordains the places and times of their standing, takes them down and puts others in their room [place].  He calls and uses whom He will, inclines and spirits [inspires] how He will, and improves to what degree He will.  They are His therefore, and His is the greatness and the glory and the majesty: And to Him it must be ascribed both by the persons endowed and raised by Him and by others interested in them: 1 Chronicles 29: 12, 13: “Both riches and honor come of Thee, and in thy hand is power and might, and in thy hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all: Now therefore, our God, we praise Thee, and bless Thy Name forever and ever.”

            But to do the utmost honor to the civil order among men and to give yet greater glory to God, let us come to the third and last part of our text.

            III.  God has set the world upon the governments and rulers, whom He has made the pillars of it.

            The natural world is in the hand of God and is upheld in its being and order by His power.  The moral world is most upon His heart and governed in a way and manner suited to the nature and present state of man.  And as He governs the spirits of men when He pleases by immediate impressions on them, so as more proper to the present order and happiness of mankind, He has appointed the government of men to be by men.  So the peace, tranquility, and flourishing of places are made to depend on the wisdom and fidelity of their rulers in the good administration of the government.  While the utmost misery and confusion befalls those places where the government is ill-administered.  The reason is given in the text, “God has set the world” on this foot; it can’t stand on any other bottom.  The virtue [morality] and religion of a people, their riches and trade, their power, honor, and reputation, and the favor of God toward them, with His blessing on them, do greatly depend on the pious, righteous, and faithful government which they are under.

            God has set: As well as in the nature of things, as in His Word.  Government is not a creature [creation] of man’s lust [ambition] and will, but of Divine constitution, and from a necessity in the nature of things.  The very being and weal [welfare] of society depends thereon.

            Government was not in the original of it assumed or usurped by any one man. For instance: Not by Lamech before the Flood, nor by Nimrod after it.  Indeed, the spirit of tyranny and the lust [ambition] of dominion seem to have begun in them, but order and rule was before them.  Mankind naturally went into that, and these were the men who made the first breaches on it--the one being of the race of Cain, the other of Ham, who have had some of their likeness in every place and through all generations, that would turn the world upside down and overthrow the foundations which God has laid.

            In a word, magistracy, like the other ordinances of Heaven, stands by the power and blessing of God, who effectually owns it and works by it, establishes the Earth and it abides.  He has graven it deep in the hearts of men, even as the desire of happiness and self-preservation.  He has as much ordained that while the earth remains civil order and government shall not cease, as He has sworn “that seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night,” shall not. Both the one and the other equally continue to the world’s end absolutely necessary to the life, comfort, and welfare of mankind.

            USE: I shall now make a few reflections by way of practical inference and improvement.

            1.  See the Divine wisdom and goodness in ordaining and establishing a magistracy and government in the world.   It is one of the many great instances wherein the Supreme Governor of the world has taken care for the universal and perpetual weal [welfare] of it.  And they that would be lawless and ungoverned, despising dominion and speaking evil of dignity, distinction, authority, and rule among men, act as madly and mischievously as one would do that should go into a house and sap the foundation of it till it fall upon him and crush him to death.


            2.  Are magistrates the pillars of the earth?  Are they the Lord’s?  And has He set the world upon them?  Let us then devoutly observe the governing Providence of God in the disposing of persons and offices, both with respect unto ourselves and others.

            As to ourselves, let God lead and Providence open our way, and let us follow humbly and obediently.  Let us think soberly of ourselves, and not vainly pine after honor and power or wickedly push for it like Absalom.  But neither need we hide ourselves like Saul when the Divine call is plain, nor insist on excuses like the meek and accomplished Moses.  Or if again Providence lays us by, why should we not retire with Samuel’s humility and greatness of soul.

            And then as to others, let us not think ourselves neglected or overlooked, be envious and discontent, if God prefer them.  Suffer the Most High to rule in the kingdoms of men and to give the provinces that belong to them to whomsoever He will.  Let us know and keep our own place and do our duty to those whom God sets over us.

            Let people reverence and honor their worthy rulers, and let the highest among men be very humble before God.  They are pillars, but of the Earth.  The Earth and its pillars are dissolving together.  Government abides in a succession of men, while the Earth endures, but the persons, however good and great, must die like other men.  We must not look too much at the loftiness of any, nor lean too much on any earthly pillar: “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man in whom there is no help: His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his dust.”  Nor may the highest among mortals behold themselves with elation and security, as the vain king of Babylon [did] once, but let them fear and tremble before the God of Heaven, who inherits all nations and stands in the congregation of the mighty and judges among the gods.

            3.  Are rulers the pillars of the earth; are they the Lord’s?  And has He set the world upon them?  Let all that are in public offices consider their obligations to be PILLARS in the places wherein Providence has set them.

            Let rulers consider what they owe to God, who has reared and set them up, and to the public which God has set upon them.  Let them seek wisdom and strength, grace and conduct from God, that they may answer the title given them in my text.  Let them stand and bear and act for God, whose they are and who has set them where they are.   Let the public good be their just care, that it may be seen that God has set the world in their hearts as well as laid it on their shoulders.  Let them act uprightly, that they may stand secure and strong.  Let them fear God and rule by His Word, that they may be approved by God and accepted always by men with all thankfulness.

            As government is the pillar of the earth, so religion is the pillar of government.  Take away the fear of God’s government and judgment, and human rule utterly falls or corrupts into tyranny.  But if religion rules in the hearts and lives of rulers, God will have glory, and the people be made happy.

            FATHERS of our country, let me freely say to you that the devotion and virtue [morality] of our humble, but illustrious ancestors (the first planters [settlers] of New England), laid the foundation of our greatness among the provinces: And it is this that must continue and establish it under the Divine favor and blessing.  Emulate their piety and godliness and generous regards to the public, and be acknowledged the pillars, the strength and ornament of your country!

            But let me move you by a greater argument, even a “far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,” which the Holy Ghost [Holy Spirit] has set before you in a most illustrious promise: Revelation 3:12: “Him that overcometh will I make a PILLAR in the temple of my GOD, and he shall go no more out: And I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the City of my God, which is New Jerusalem; which cometh down out of Heaven from my God: And I will write upon him my new name.”

            CHRIST will erect a monumental pillar that shall stand forever in honor of all [those] who in their station here, be they high or low, faithfully endeavor to uphold His church and Kingdom.

            It is a triumphant promise taken from the Roman manner of pillars reared to the memory of illustrious persons and PATRIOTS, on which were inscribed their names and worthy deeds, together with that of the empire, city, or province which they were so happy as to serve and help to save.

            Infinitely more glory and honor shall be done to Him who serves the Lord CHRIST, His kingdom, people, and interest, in his life here on earth: When he comes into His temple above he shall have a pillar of celestial glory reared to eternalize his name, and on it shall be written (O divine honor!) “THIS WAS A FAITHFUL SERVANT OF HIS GOD AND SAVIOR AND OF THE CHURCH ON EARTH.”

            There let him stand forever, “A monument of free grace, never to be defaced or removed.  While the names of famous emperors, kings, and generals, graven in brass or cut in marble on stately pillars and triumphant arches, shall molder into dust.

            So the pillars in Solomon’s porch were broken down and carried away by the Chaldeans: But he that is made a pillar in the celestial temple shall “go no more out.”  Yes, the pillars of the literal earth and heavens will shortly tremble and be shaken out of their place, but he that believes in CHRIST and has His glorious Name written on him shall remain unshaken and immoveable, and remain, like his living Savior, steadfast forever.

            This infinite and eternal GLORY we wish to all in this worshiping assembly, the greater and the less, high and low, rich and poor together, as in the act of worship, we are all on a level before the throne of God.  And the lowest in outward condition may be the highest in grace and in the honors that come from above.

            But in a more especial manner we wish this mercy and blessing of our GOD and KING out of His house to YOUR EXCELLENCY OUR GOVERNOR, whose return to your country, and your advancement to the government of it, we cannot but congratulate in the most public manner, with hearts full of joy and sincere thankfulness to GOD.

            The Lord God of our fathers, who has “spread our heavens,” and “laid the foundations of our earth,” make you a PILLAR to US both in the state and church.

            As it has pleased HIM to choose, adorn, and set you up, so may He please to fix and establish you, and long continue you a FATHER and illustrious blessing to your people.

            And may the Name of CHRIST and of those churches of our Lord JESUS be graven deep upon your heart, and your faithful services to them be an everlasting name to you, “which shall not be cut off.”

            So, not only erect yourself a Pillar in every pious and grateful heart that loves our civil and religious liberties, and let their prayers and blessings come upon you, but also lay a good foundation [for] the world to come, for everlasting fame and renown, and “to be called GREAT in the Kingdom of Heaven.”





Boston, August 12.  Being the day before this sermon was preached,

the Reverend associated pastors of the town waited on His Excellency the Governor

with the following Address.


            “With hearts full of joy and sincere thankfulness to God, we congratulate your Excellency’s return to your country and your advancement to the government of it.  The King could not have chosen any one of its sons more worthy to represent his royal person, nor more accepted of the multitude of your brethren.”

            “When we first heard of His Majesty’s grace and favor to us in naming Your Excellency our Governor, we were like men that dream: The cloud that hung over us scattered in a moment, and as the sun breaks out on a dark day, so was the face of God and the light of the King’s countenance upon us.  We render back to the throne our dutiful and fervent prayers for His Majesty’s long life and happy reign over us.”

            “According to the good hand of our God upon Your Excellency, so has the King granted to you both now heretofore: God helped you then to do us singular benefits, and now He has rewarded you in an extraordinary manner.  We adore the Wise Providence that has led in every step to so great an event, and to God be all the glory.”

            “We believe, Sir, that you are come full of benevolence to your country, to our churches and to the college [Harvard College], and will always have the most tender solicitude for their welfare and prosperity.  And we bow our knees with you to the God of all wisdom and grace for all those supplies of both, which you will continually need in the administration of the government.”


            His Excellency was pleased to take kindly this dutiful and affectionate address,

and to make the following answer:


            I am extremely pleased with the respect and duty you express to His Majesty, and am obliged for the honor you do me.  I do assure you it has not been from any self-interested views that I have sought His Majesty’s favor in the station he has been pleased to place me, but from a hope of advancing His Majesty’s service and the interest and prosperity of this country.  The college and churches always were and are very dear to me, and you may assure yourselves nothing will be wanting [lacking] in me to promote their weal [welfare] and prosperity.  And I desire you to join your prayers to mine that God would give me an understanding heart to go out and come in before this people to the honor of God, to the good of this country, and to the applause of my own conscience.




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