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character must be improved, and our privileges continued to us.
Let such as profess to "turn unto him that smit"eth" them, take care they do not rest in notions, forms, or external reformation; without true conversion, repentance, faith, and holiness. The prophet took notice of persons answering this description, when he said, "They return but not to the Most High."* And nothing more effectually prevents the conversion of sinners, than a mistaken idea that they are already converted.
Charity to the poor and afflicted is likewise an essential concomitant of acceptable fasting and humiliation: "Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and "that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thine "house? When thou seest the naked that thou cover
biin, and that thou hide not thyself from thine own "flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morn“ing,—then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall an "swer.-If thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, "and satisfy the afflicted soul: then shall thy light rise "in obscurity, and thy darkness shall be as the noon"day."t
Finally, my brethren, if you thus return to the LORD, and seek his face, I am sent to you with encouraging words. "Let the heart of those rejoice "that seek the LORD." "Say ye to the righteous, "that it shall be well with him; for they shall eat the "fruit of their doings."-" In the time of famine
"they shall have enough."-" Though the fig-tree "should not blossom," and every resource should fail, yet they may rejoice in the LORD, and joy in "the GOD of their salvation." Be not therefore "afraid of evil tidings; let your heart be fixed trusting "in the LORD." If "you hear of wars and rumours "of wars, see that ye be not troubled." Should a deluge come, the LORD will prepare you an ark, in which you may be secure and comfortable: and he will say to you, "Come, my people, enter thou into "thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee; hide "thyself, as it were for a little moment, until the in"dignation be over-past. For behold, the LORD "cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of "the earth for their iniquity. The earth also shall dis"cover her blood, and shall no more cover her slain."*
Is. xxvi. 20, 21.
CLOSE OF THE AMERICAN WAR,
JULY, 29, 1734.
Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.-1 Cor. x. 10.
MANKIND in general look at the dark side of their circumstances, and the supposed bright side of their character; whence arise pride, discontent, and murmurs, dishonourable to God, and tormenting to themselves. But true religion teaches us to consider the dark side of our character, and the bright side of our circumstances; and, reflecting how many undeserved comforts we enjoy, to exercise humble gratitude and cheerful praise.
But few, however, comparatively, are truly religious; and those few are only in part influenced by their principles: so that they are often repining, when they might be praising: and discontent almost every where prevails, instead of gratitude. Well then might the Psalmist repeatedly say, "Oh, that men would praise "the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonders to the "children of men!"
Many during the late war, joined with seeming earnestness in prayers for deliverance and peace; who, I fear, have not rendered unto the Lord thanks equally cordial now he hath answered their prayers. They forget our deservings, and our dangers; and because we are not that flourishing nation we were; because the peace is not so honourable as they wished; they indulge a spirit of discontent, quarrel with men and measures, VOL. II. 3 A