A SERMON, CONTAINING, Scriptural Instructions to Civil Rulers, and all Free-born Subjects.
By Samuel Sherwood, A. M. Pastor of a Church of Christ in FAIRFIELD.
A sermon, containing Scriptural instructions to civil rulers, and all free-born subjects. In which the principles of sound policy and good government are established and vindicated; and some doctrines advanced and zealously propagated by New-England Tories, are considered and refuted.
Delivered on the public fast, August 31, 1774. :
With an address to the freemen of the colony.
In the pdf of the sermon to include: Also, An APPENDIX, Stating the heavy Grievances the Colonies labour under from several late Acts of the British Parliament, and shewing what we have just Reason to expect the Consequences of these Measures will be.
Editor’s Note: Samuel Sherwood (1730–1783). A 1749 graduate of Yale, Sherwood took his second degree there also and was later awarded an A. M. by the College of New Jersey at Princeton, where he tutored and where his uncle, Aaron Burr, Sr., was president. In 1757 he settled in Weston, Connecticut, as the first pastor of a church consisting of twelve members. There he remained for the rest of his relatively short life.
Only two of Sherwood’s sermons have survived, and they are accorded such importance that both are reprinted in the present volume. The first, entitled Scriptural Instructions to Civil Rulers, and all Free-born Subjects (1774), is one of the most famous of all Revolutionary War sermons. An “address to the Freemen of the Colony” of Connecticut, it takes as one of its title-page epigraphs Acts 22:28: “And the chief Captain answered, With a great sum obtained I this freedom; and Paul said, but I was born free.” Ranging through biblical and classical sources, and appealing to the English constitution as well, Sherwood eloquently urges the necessity of just rule for free men. In a passage reminiscent of Patrick Henry’s famous speech, he writes: “No free state was ever yet enslaved and brought into bondage, where the people were incessantly vigilant and watchful; and instantly took the alarm at the first addition made to the power exercised over them.”