« VorigeDoorgaan »
Glory be to God's great name! the Lord has rebuked him; and that too at a time when we had little reason to expect such a blessing at God's hands. My dear hearers, neither the present frame of my heart, nor, the occasion of your late folemn meeting, lead me to give you a detail of out public vices. Though, alas ! they are so many, so notorious, and withal of such a crimson-dye, that a gospel minister would not be altogether inexcusable, was he, even on such a joyful occasion, to lift up his voice like a trumpet, to thew the British nation their transgression, and the people of America their fin. However, though I would not cast a dismal shade upon the pleasing picture the cause of our late rejoicings set before us; yet thus much may, and ought to be laid, that as God has not dealt so bountifully with any people as with us, so no nation under heaven has dealt more ungratefully with Him. We have been like Capernaum, lifted up to heaven in privileges, and for the abuse of them, like her, have deserved to be thrust down into hell. How well foever it may be with us, in respect to our civil and ecclefiaftical constitution, yet in regard to our morals, Isaiah's description of the Jewish polity is too applicable, “ The whole head is fick, the whole heart is faint ; . from the crown of the head to the fole of our feet, we are full of wounds and bruises, and putrifying sores.” We have, Jejhurun-like, waxed fat and kicked. We have played the harlot against God, both in regard to principles and practices. “Our gold is become dim, and our fine gold changed.” We have crucified the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. Nay, CHRIST has been wounded in the house of his friends. · And every thing long ago seemed to threaten an immediate storm. But, О the long-suffering and goodness of God to us-ward! When all things seemed ripe for destruction, and matters were come to such a crisis, that God's praying people began to think, that though Noah, Daniel and Job, were living, they would only deliver their own souls; yet then in the midst of judgment the Most High remembered mercy, and when a popish enemy was breaking in upon us like a food, the LORD himself graciously lifted up a standard.
This to me does not seem to be one of the most unfavourable circumstances which have attended this mighty deliver
ance; nor do I think you will look upon it as a circumstance altogether unworthy your observation. Had this cockatrice indeed been crushed in the egg, and the young Pretender driven back upon his first arrival, it would undoubtedly have been a great blessing. But not so great as that for which you lately affeinbled to give God thanks : for then his Majesty would not have had so good an opportunity of knowing his enemies, or trying his friends. The British subjects would in a manner have loft the faireft occasion that ever offered to express their loyalty and gratitude to the rightful fovereign. France would not have been so greatly humbled ; nor such an effectual stop have been put, as we trust there now is, to any fuch further Popish plot, to rob us of all that is near and dear to us. " Out of the cater therefore hath come forth meat, and out of the strong hath come forth sweetness." The Pretender's eldest son is suffered not only to land in the North-West Highlands in Scotland, but in a little while he becomes a great band. This for a time is not believed, but treated as a thing altogether incredible.' The friends of the government in those parts, not for want of loyalty, but of fufficient authority to take up arms, could not refift him. He is permitted to pass on with his terrible bandinti, and, like the comet that was lately seen, spreads his baleful influences all around him. He is likewise permitted to gain a fhort-liv'd triumph by a victory over a body of our troops at Preston-Pans, and to take a temporary poffeffion of the metropolis of Scotland. Of this he makes his boast, and informs the public, that « Providence had hitherto favoured bim with wonderful fuc“ cess, led him in the way to victory, and to the capital of the “ antient kingdom, though he came without foreign aid." Nay, he is further permitted to press into the very heart of England. But now the Almighty interposes. Hitherto he was to go, and no further. Here were his malicious designs to be staid. His troops of a fudden are driven back. Away they post to the Highlands, and there they are suffered noc only to increase, but also to collect themselves into a large body, that having, as it were, what Caligula once wished Rome had, but one neck, they might be cut off with one blow.
The time, manner, and instrument of this victory, deserves our notice. It was on a general faft-day, when the clergy and good people of Scotland were lamenting the disloyalty of their perfidious countrymen, and, like Mojes, lifting up their hands, that Amalek might not prevail. The victory was total and decisive. Little blood was spilt on the side of the Royalists. And, to crown all, Duke William, his Majesty's youngest son, has the honour of first driving back, and then defeating the rebel-army. A prince, who in his infancy and youth, gave early proofs of an uncommon bravery and nobleness of mind; a prince, whose courage has increased with his years. Who returned wounded from the battle of Dettingen, behaved with surprizing bravery at Fontenay, and now, by a conduct and magnanimity becoming the high office he fustains, like his glorious predecessor the Prince of Orange, has delivered three kingdoms from the dread of popish cruelty, and arbitrary power. What renders it still more remarkable is, The day on which his Highness gained this victory, was the day after his birth-day, when he was entering on the 26th year of his age ; and when Sullivan, one of the Pretender's privy-council, like another Abitophel, advised the rebels to give our foldiers battle, presuming they were surfeited and over-charged with their yesterday's rejoicings, and consequently unfit to make any great stand against them. But, glory be to God, who catches the wise in their own craftiness! his counsel, like Ahitophel's, proves abortive. Both General and soldiers were prepared to meet them. “ God taught their hands to war, and their fingers to fight," and brought the Duke, after a deferved flaughter of some thousands of the rebels, with most of his brave soldiers, victorious from the field,
If we then take a diftinct view of this notable transaction, and trace it in all the particular circumstances that have attended it, I believe we must with one heart and voice confess, that if it be a mercy for a state to be delivered from a worse than a Catiline's conspiracy, or a church to be rescued from a hotter than a Dioclefian persecution ; if it be a mercy to be delivered from a religion that turns plough-Shares into swords, and pruning-hooks into spears, and makes it meritorious to fhed protestant blood; if it be a inercy to have all our pre
sent invaluable privileges, both in church and state, secured to us more than ever ; if it be a mercy to have these great things done for us, at a season, when for our crying fins, both church and state justly deserved to be overturned; and if it be a mercy to have all this brought about for us, under God, by one of the blood-royal, a prince acting with an experience far above his years ; if any, or all of these are mercies, then have you lately commemorated one of the greatest mercies that ever the glorious God vouchsafed to the British nation.
And shall we not rejoice and give thanks? Should we refuse, would not the stones cry out against us? Rejoice then we may and ought: but, О let our rejoicing be in the LORD, and run in a religious channel. This, we find, has been the practice of God's people in all ages. When he was pleased, with a mighty hand, and out-stretched arm, to lead the ifraelites through the Red-Sea, as on dry ground," " Then sang Moses and the children of Israel; and Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaren, took a timbre) in her hand, and all the women went out aíter her. And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the LORD ; for he hath triumphed gloriously.' When God subdued Jabin, the King of Canaan, before the children of Israel, “ then fang Deborah and Barak on that day, saying, “ Praise ye the Lord for the avenging of Israel.” When the ark was brought back out of the hands of the Philistines, David, though a king, danced before it. And, to mention but one instance more, which may serve as a general directory to us on this and such-like occasions : when the great Head of the church had rescued his people from the general massacre intended to be executed upon them by a cruel and ambitious Haman, " Mordecai fent letters unto all the Jews that were in all the provinces of the King Ahasuerus, both nigh and far, to establish ainong them, that they should keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar, and the fifteenth day of the same yearly, as the days wherein the Jews rested from their enemies, and the month which was turned unto them from sorrow unto joy, and from mourning into a good day : that they should make them days of feasting and joy, and of fending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor.” And why should we not go and do likewise?
And shall we not also, on such an occasion, express our gratitude to, and make honourable mention of, those worthies who have signalized themselves, and been ready to sacrifice both lives and fortunes at this critical juncture ?
This would be to act the part of those ungrateful Ifraelites, who are branded in the book of God, for not shewing kindness to the house of “ Jerub-Baal, namely Gideon, according to all the goodness which he lhewed unto Ifrael.” Even a Pharaoh could prefer a deserving Joseph, Ahasuerus a Mordecai, and Nebuchadnezzar a Daniel, when made instruments of signal service to themselves and people. “ My heart, says Deborah, is towards (i. e. I have a particular veneration and regard for) the Governors of Israel that offered themselves willingly. And blessed above women shall Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite be; for she put her hand to the nail, and her righthand to the workman's hammer, and with the hammer she smote Sisera, she smote off his head, when she had pierced and stricken through his temples.” And shall we not say, “ Blessed above men let his Royal Highness the Duke of Cumberland be ; for through his instrumentality, the great
and glorious JEHOVAH hath brought mighty things to pass ?" Should not our hearts be towards the worthy Archbishop of York, the Royal Hunters, and those other English heroes who offered themselves so willingly? Let the names of Blakeney, Bland, and Rea, and all those who waxed valiant, in fight on this important occasion, live for ever in the Britis annals, And let the name of that great, that incomparable brave soldier of the King, and a good soldiet of Jesus CHRIST, Colonel Gardiner, (excuse me if I here drop a tear : he was my intimate friend) let his name, I say, be had in everlasting remembrance.
But, after all, is there not an infinitely great:r debt of gratitude and praise due from us, on this occasion, to Him that is higher than the highest, even the King of kings and Lord of Lords, the blessed and only Potentate? Is it not his arm, his strong and mighty arm, (what instruments soever may have been made use of) that hath brought us this falvation ? And may I not therefore address you, in the exulting language of the beginning of this psalm, from which we have taken our text?
“O give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people. Sing unto