« VorigeDoorgaan »
him ; fing pfalms unto him ; talk ye of all his wondrous works ; glory ye in his holy name; remember his marvellous work which he hath done.”
But shall we put off our good and gracious benefactor with mere lip-service? God forbid. Your worthy Governor has honoured God in his late excellent proclamation, and God will honour him. But shall our thanks terminate with the
No, in no wise. Our text reminds us of a more noble facrifice, and points out to us the great end the Almighty JEHOVAH propofes, in bestowing such signal favours upon a people, " That they should obserre his ftatutes, and keep his laws."
This is the return we are all taught to pray, that we may make to the Most High God, the Father of mercies, in the daily office of our church," That our hearts may be un“ feignedly thankful, and that we may shew forth his praise, “ hot only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up our“ felves to his service, and by walking before him in holiness W and righteousness all our days.” O that these words were the real language of all that use them! O that there were in us fuch à mind! How soon would our enemies then flee before us? And God, even our own God, would yet give us more abundant blessings ! · And why should not we“ observe God's statutes, and keep his laws ?” Dare we say, that any of his commands are grievous ? Is not Chris't's yokė, to a renewed soul, as far as renewed, easy; and his burden comparatively light? May I not appeal to the most refined reasoner, whether the religion of Jesus CHRIST be not a social religion? Whether the Moral Law, as explained by the LORD Jesus in the gospel, has not a natural tendency to promote the present good and happiness of a whole commonwealth, fupposing they were obedient to them, as well as the happiness of every individual? From wherice come wars and fighting amongst us ? From what fountain do all those cvils, which the present and past ages have groaned under, flow, but from a neglect of the laws and statutes of our great and all-wise law-giver JESUS of Nazareth? Tell me, ye men of letters, whether Lycurgus or Solon, Pythagoras or Plato, Aristotle, Seneca, Cicero, or all the antient lawgivers and heathen moralists, put them all to
gether, ever published a system of ethics, any way worthy to be compared with the glorious system laid down in that much despised book, (to use Sir Richard Steel's expression) emphatically called, the Scriptures ? Is not the divine image and superscription written upon every precept of the gospel ? Do they not shine with a native intrinsic lustre? And, though many things in them are above, yet, is there any thing contrary to the strictest laws of right reason? Is not JESUS CHRIST, in fcripture, stiled the Word, the Logos, the Reason ? And is not his service a reasonable service? What if there be mysteries in his religion? Are they not without all controversy great and glorious ? Are they not mysteries of godliness, and worthy of that God who reveals them ? Nay, is it not the greatest mystery, that men, who pretend to reason, and call themselves philosophers, who fearch into the arcana nature, and consequently find a mystery in every blade of grass, should yet be so irrational as to decry all mysteries in religion? Where is the fcribe? where is the wise? where is the disputer against the christian revelation? Does not every thing without and within us, conspire to prove its divine original ? And would not self-interest, if there was no other motive, excite us to observe God's statutes, and keep his laws ?
Besides, considered as a protestant people, do we not lie under the greatest obligations of any nation under heaven, to pay a chearful, unanimous, universal, perfevering obedience to the divine commands.
The wonderful and surprising manner of God's bringing about a reformation, in the reign of King Henry the Eighth; his carrying it on in the blessed reign of King Edward the Sixth; his delivering us out of the bloody hands of Queen Mary, and destroying the Spanish invincible armada, under her immediate protestant successor Queen Elizabeth; his discovery of the popish plot under King James; the glorious revolution by King William; and, to come nearer to our own times, his driving away four thousand five hundred Spaniards, from a weak (though important) frontier colony, when they had, in a manner, actually taken possession of it; his giving us Louisbourg, one of the strongest fortresses of our enemies, contrary to all human probability, but the other day, into
our hands : these, I say, with the victory which you have lately been commemorating, are such national mercies, not to mention any more, as will render us utterly inexcusable, if they do not produce a national reformation, and incite us all, with one hcart, to keep God's statutes, and observe his laws.
Need I remind you further, in order to excite in you a greater diligence to comply with the intent of the text, that though the storm, in a great measure, is abated by his Royal Highness's late success, yet we dare not say, it is altogether blown over?
The clouds may again return after the rain, and the few surviving rebels (which I pray God avert) may yet be suffered to make head against us. We are still engaged in a bloody, and, in all probability, a tedious war, with two of 'the most inveterate enemies to the interests of Great-Britain. And, though I cannot help thinking, that their present intentions are so iniquitous, their conduct so perfidious, and their schemes so directly. derogatory to the honour of the Most High God, that he will certainly humble them in the end, yet, as all things in this life happen alike to all, they may for a time, be dreadful instruments of scourging us. If not, God has o her arrows in his quiver to smite us with, besides the 'French King, his Catholick Majesty, or an abjured Pretender. Not only the sword, but plague, pestilence, and famine, are under the divine command. Who knows but he may say to them all, “ Pass through these lands?” A fatal murrain has Tately swept away abundance of cattle at home and abroad. A like epidemical disease may have a commiffion to seize our persons as well as our beasts. Thus God dealt with the Egyptians : who dare say, he will not deal so with us ? Has he not already given some symptoms of it? 'numbers upon the continent have been lately taken off by the bloody-flux, small-pox, and yellow-fever ? Who can tell what further judgments are yet in store? However, this is certain, the rod is yet hanging over us : and I believe it will be granted on all sides, that if such various dispensations of mercy and judgment do not teach the inhabitants of any land to learn righteousness, they will only ripen them for a greater ruin. Give me leave, therefore, to dismiss you at this time with that solemn awful warning and exhortation,
with which the venerable Samuel, on a public occasion, took leave of the people of Israel: “ Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth, with all your heart : for consider how great things he hath done for you. But if ye shall still do wickedly, [[ will not say as the Prophet did, You shall be consumed; but] ye know not but you may provoke the LORD Almighty to consume both you and your king.” Which God of his infinite mercy prevent, for the sake of Jesus Christ: to whom, with the Father, and the Holy Ghost, three persons, but one God, be all honour and glory, now and for evermore, Amen, Amen.
S E R M O N
Thankfulness for Mercies received, a neceffary
A Farewel Sermon, preached on board the Whitaker,
at Anchor near Savannah, in Georgia, Sunday, May 17, 1738.
Psalm, cvii. 30, 31.
bringeth them unto the haven where they would be.
UMBERLESS marks does man bear in his soul, that
he is fallen and estranged from God; but nothing gives a greater proof thereof, than that backwardness, which every one finds within himself, to the duty of praise and thanksgiving.
When God placed the first man in paradise, his soul no doubt was so filled with a senfe of the riches of the divine love, that he was continually employing that breath of life, which the Almighty had not long before breathed into him, in blessing and magnifying that all-bountiful, all.gracious Gong in whom he lived, moved, and had his being.
And the brightest idea we can form of the angelical hierarchy above, and the fpirits of just men made perfect, is, that they are continually standing round the throne of God, and cease not day and night, saying, “ Worthy art thou, O Lamb