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Dreadful Phenomenon,

DESCRIBED AND IMPROVED,

BRING

A PARTICULAR ACCOUNT

OF THE

SUDDEN STOPPAGE OF THE RIVER SEVERN, AND

OF THE TERRIBLE DESOLATION
THAT HAPPENED AT THE BIRCHES,

BETWEEN

COLEBROOK-DALE AND BUILDWAS-BRIDGE,

IN SHROPSHIRE,

On Thursday Morning, May 27, 1773;

AND THE

SUBSTANCE OF A SERMON

PREACHED THE NEXT DAY, ON THE RUINS, TO A

VAST CONCOURSE OF SPECTATORS.

BY THE

REV. JOHN FLETCHER.

O come, and behold the works of the Lord: What desolations he hath

army. Whilst they lift up the sword, which lingering justice has reluctantly drawn; whilst they stand between us and the desperate men, who break into our ships, set fire to their own houses, tar, feather, goog, & and scalp their captives; whip, cut, and torture their slaves; and whilst they expose their lives, by sea and land, for our protection, or (which comes to the same thing) for the defence of the government that protects us; it is our bounden duty to feel for them, and to bear them on our hearts. Nay, we shall be guilty of inconsideration, uncharitableness, and base ingratitude, if we do not hold up their hands, by lifting up our own to the Lord of hosts in their behalf, and by asking, that neither profaneness, lewdness, intemperance, nor cruelty, may stain their laurels ; and that they may all be endued with every virtue, which can draw the love of their enemies, and fit them to live or die as faithful soldiers of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Nor should we fast only with an eye to ourselves, and those who fight our battles. We ought also to do it out of regard to our American brethren. If they act, at this time, the part of enemies, does not our Lord say, “Love your enemies, and pray for them that despitefully use you ?' Should we not remember, that British blood flows in their veins—that they are not all guilty—that many of them have been deceived by the plausible and lying speeches of some of their leaders—that the epi. demical fever of wild patriotism seized multitudes before they were aware of its dreadful consequences—and that numbers of them already repent of their rashness, earnestly wishing for an opportunity of returning with safety to their former allegiance ?

If you consider these favourable circumstances, you will be glad to have an opportunity of solemnly ap. proaching the throne of grace in behalf of your unhappy brethren : You will intercede for them with hearts full of forgiving love, and Christian sympathy. You will ardently pray, that God would open the eyes and turn

| A kind of American torture, which consists in wrenching a man's eyes out of their sockets.

the hearts of the Congress-men, and their military adherents ; that he would fill the breast of the King, and of all who are in authority under him, with every virtue, which can render his steady and mild government acceptable to the most discontented of his subjects; and that, on both sides of the Atlantic, all persons in power may cheerfully use all their influence to promote the speedy reconciliation and lasting union we wish for.

Should piety, loyalty, and charity thus animate your prayers ; our day of fasting and humiliation will infal. libly usher in a day of praise and general thanksgiving ; and the eloquent senator, who, in the house of commons, lately condemned the religious appointment which I vindicate, will himself partake of the universal joy, and be sorry to have declaimed against a royal procla. mation, which so justly deserves his assent, concurrence, and praises.

I am,

My dear Fellow-subjects,
Your obedient Servant,

JOHN FLETCHER.
LONDON,
December 6, 1776.

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