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terrible threatenings of his mouth, and the heaviest strokes of his hand. He complains that ye bite and devour one another like wild and savage beasts. He complains, that impiety, irreligion and intemperance reign over those souls, which are formed for the honour of having God for their king. He complains, that you forget the excellence of your nature, and the dignity of your origin, and that you occupy your immortal souls with amusements unworthy of the attention of creatures having the least degree of intelligence. Ile complains, that exhortations, expostulations and intreaties, the most forcible and affecting, are almost always without success. He complains of some abominable crimes, which are commited in the face of the sun, and of others, that are concealed under the darkness of the night, the horrors of which I dare not even mention in this place dedicated to the service of God, He complains, that you force him, as it were, to lay aside his inclination to bless you, and oblige him to chastise you with severity. Behold! the storm gathers, the thunder mutters and approaches, the lightning is ready to flash in our faces, unless our fasting and sackcloth and ashes avert these judgments, which threaten us, or shall I rather say, which are already falling upon us ?
Such is the controversy of God with you; these are his complaints. It is your part to reply., Justify yourselves, plead, speak, answer. O my people, what have I done unto thee? What have you to say in your own behalf? How can you justify your ingratitude, your insensibility, your luxury, your calumnies, your dissipations, your lukewarmness, your worldly mindedness, your pride, your unworthy communions, your forgotten fasts, your false contracts, your broken resolutions, the hardening of your hearts against threatenings and promiscs, and personal chastisements, some public calamities already inflicted on the church, and others ready to overwhelm it?' Have we any thing to reply? Again I say, justify yourselves, plead, speak, answer.
Ah, my brethren, my brethren! am I deceiving myself ; I think, I see your hearts in your countenances, and read in your faces the reply you are going to make. Methinks I see your hearts penetrated with genuine grief, your faces covered with holy confusion, and your eyes, flowing with tears of godly sorrow. Mcthinks, 'I hear the language of your consciences, all broken and contrite, and trenibling at the word of the Lord, Psalm. li. 19. mcthinks I hear each of you say, though I were righteous, yet would I () 2
not answer : but I would make supplication to my judge, Isa. Ixvi. 2. Job. ix. 15. This was the disposition of the people after they had heard Micah. God said, O my people, what have I done unto thec? wherein have I wearied thee? testity against ine. And the people, afflicted on account of their sins, afraid of the judgments of God, all wounded and weighed down with a sense of guilt, confused and astonished at their condition, replied, wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and how myself before the high God?
This was the answer of the Jews, and this is the answer we expect of you. Let each of you say, Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myjself before the high God? How shall I turn away those torients of divine judgments? which threaten to overwhelm the christian world? We, the ministers of Christ, we answer in the name of God, prevent them by sighs and tears of genuine repentance, prevent them by cool, constant, and effectual resolutions, by esfusions of love, and by increasing zea! for universal obedience.
This ought to be the work of this day, it is the design of the fast, and the aim of this sermon; for it is not sufficient, my brethren, to trace the controversy of God with you, it must be finished, 'the parties must be reconciled, and each of us must yield obedience to the voice that says to every one of us, he may make peace with me, he shall make peace with me, Isa. xxvii. 5.
Magistrates, princes, noblemen, ministers, people, parents, children, will you not all of embrace this invitation ? Do you not solemnly protest, in the presence of heaven and earth, and before the angels that wait in this assembly, that you prefer this peace before all the riches of the world? Do you not all resolve, with the utmost sincerity and good faith, never more wilfully to break the commandments of God? O Lord, thou knowest all things, thou knowest the hearts of all mankind, thy searching eyes survey the most secret purposes of the souls of all this assembly!
If each of us reply thus to God, let us cherish the pleasure that is inspired by the return of his favour. Christians, what came you out to-day to see? What came you out to hear? God pleading before you, God justifying himself, God convicting you: yet after all, God pardoning you. What may we not expect from a God so patient and kind?
Lo! I see on a happy future day the tears of Zion wiped away, the mouring of Jesusalem ended, our captives freed from bondage, our galley-slaves from chains.
I see on a happy future day victory following our march; our generals crowned with laurels, and every campaign distinguished by some new triumph.
Methinks Í behold, on some future day, our prayers exchanged for praise, our fasts for solemn festivals, our mourning for joy and triumph, and all the faithful, assembled to-day toj implore the aid of the God of armies, again convoked to bless the God of victory, and making this place echo with repeated shouts, The right hand of the Lord is exalted. The right hand of the Lord hath done valiantly. The sword of the Lord and Gideon, Psalm cxviii. 16. Judg. vii. 20.
I see on some happy future day our enemies confounded, one post running to meet another, one messenger to meet another, to shew the king of Babylon that his army is routed. I see commerce flourishing among this people, and liberty for ever established in these provinces.
Go then, generous warriors, go verify these pleasing omens, go holily prodigal of spilling your blood in defence of liberty, religion, and your country. May the God of armies return you victorious as rapidly as our wishes rise ! May he re-unite the many hearts, and re-assemble the many families, which this campaign is going to separate ! May he prevent the shedding of human blood, and, while he makes you conquerors, may he spare the people subdued by you! May he return you to wear the crowns and laurels, which our hands will be eagerly preparing for you! May he, after he shall have granted you all a long and happy life, useful and glorious to the state and to your families, open the gates of eternal happiness to you, and fix you for ever in the temple of peace! To him be honour and glory henceforth and for ever. Amen.
THE HARMONY OF RELIGION AND
Prov. xiv. 34
Righteousness exalteth a Nation.
propose maxims of civil polity in a religious asa
sembly, to propose maxims of religion in a political assembly, are two things, which seem alike senseless and imprudent. The christian is so often distinguished from the statesman, that, it would seem, they were opposite characters. We have been lately taught to believe, that Jesus Christ, by giving us an idea of a society more noble than
any we can form upon earth, hath forbidden us to prevent the miseries of this state, and to endeavour to procure the glory of it. It hath been said, that kingdoms and states cannot be elevated without violating the laws of equity, and infringing the rights of the church.
How general soever this odious notion may have been, hardly any one hath appeared openly to avow it till of late. The impudence of pleading for it was reserved for our age, for a christian admitted into your provinces, cherished in your bosom, and, O shame of our churches! appearing áinong protestant refugees, as the devil formerly presented himself before the Lord among the angels of God*.
We propose to-day, my brethren, to endeavour to unravel the sophisms of this author, to shew you the agreement of religion with civil polity, and to establish this proposition, that as there is nothing in religion to counteract the design of a wise system of civil polity, so there is nothing
* Voyez Bayle, Continuat, des pensees divers. Tom.ii.pag.598.