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honoured them as his instruments in our preservation. To him therefore belong glory and praise; but to us belong shame and confusion of face, for our numerous and heinous provocations. "It is of the LORD's mer"cies we are not consumed:" and our mutual congratulations, as well as thanksgivings, should be tempered with deep humility and self-abasement.
A confident spirit too, is peculiarly unsuitable to our character and situation. We have been indeed # hitherto preserved from shipwreck in a most tremendous storm, during which many have been dashed on the rock's or sunk in the ocean: but the hurricane still rages, and may soon, for what we know, become more furious than ever. The very means, by which GOD hath hither to preserved us, may easily be turned against us; and we are in all respects entirely in the hands of Him, who for our sins is most justly displeased.' Rejoice with trembling," should therefore be our motto. Even if peace on the most desirable terms were ratified; the man, who judges according to the Bible, would not think our condition by any means safe; so long as a general reformation of manners and an effectual revival of religion have not taken place, and so long as even sanctioned injustice, oppression, and cruelty, however protested against, still maintain their ground. The particular call of the day is to bless and praise the LORD for his mercies: but the general call of the times is to "weeping and mourning, and
girding with sack-cloth." We may indeed humbly hope, that he who “hath delivered, and doth deliver, "will yet deliver:" but we should beware of self-con
lence; or confidence in our national resources, our ets and armies, our valour and good policy, or in an m of flesh however exerted. And we ought at least
be equally upon our guard against a presumptuous onfidence, like that of the Jews, "The temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, are these;" while no are is taken to "amend our ways and our doings:" rom a vain imagination that GoD will certainly deliver is, even though we continue to act, as if we thought Ourselves delivered, on purpose to proceed in our rebellious courses. For my part, I shall never think the danger over till a general endeavour be manifested among all ranks and orders of men in the land, to promote the cause of genuine Christianity, in principle and practice, through their several circles; attended by a conscientious performance of the duties of their several places, and improvement of their various talents, to the honour of GOD and the good of men: and till a general protest be entered against every species of in fidelity, impiety, oppression, venality, and profligacy. For the invasion of the land by these spreading evils, is far more formidable to the spiritual mind, than even that of the most numerous and well appointed armies of enraged enemies; and indeed it is now making more dire havock of men's souls, than the French themselves have hitherto made of their bodies.
It is likewise peculiarly incumbent on us, to watch against all impatience under the pressure of the times. We should compare our burdens, losses, and trials, with those which we have deserved, and which have actually desolated many other countries: and thus,
while we cannot but feel, that the war has greatly im poverished and distressed numbers, and still bears very heavily on us; the spirit of murmuring will give place to that of patience, contentment, and lively gratitude. Indeed this is the grand difficulty, in respect of the service in which we are now engaged. For while pride and love of wordly objects prevail, and the state of things exceedingly impedes men's desired success, and involves them in manifold difficulties and straits; it is vain to expect that they will be truly and durably thankful for the most evident interpositions of a merci. ful Providence, to preserve them from vastly more dreadful calamities. And as even pious Christians are far from that depth of humility and fervency of spiritu. al affections, which become their character and situa tion: the same causes render them proportionably prone to impatience, and backward to the sweet duty of praise and thanksgiving. Hence it arises, that it is more difficult to prevail with men in general, to unite cordially in this most reasonable service, than perhaps in any other; and unfeigned gratitude to GoD, in some measure proportioned to his unmerited inestimable benefits, is almost, if not absolutely, the most uncommon attainment in the world. But the due consideration of the evil and desert of sin; of our own exceeding sinfulness; of the miseries which a just and merciful GoD is pleased to inflict on our fallen race in this world, and to threaten in another; on the riches of redeeming love, and the sufferings of the divine Saviour; on the privileges and prospects of the real christian, and his infinite obligations to the GoD of his salvation, which
are daily and hourly accumulating; and on the blessed inheritance reserved for him in heaven, after the light and momentary afflictions of this present world: These reflections, I say, are suited to counteract our propensity to ingratitude, to repress our murmurs, and to make us fervent in thankfulness; when otherwise we might repine in proud and sullen discontent.
We should likewise, my brethren, consider how the view which we have taken of the subject, suggests the most powerful motives and encouragements to persevering importunity in prayer. Yet it is to be feared, that many, who, in the crisis of danger and alarm, felt the propriety of joining in this important service, are grown slack in wrestling with GoD for the land, even in consequence of having apparently begun to prevail! But is not this most unreasonable as well as ungrateful? Surely the language of the Psalmist contains the proper sentiment on this occasion; "I "love the LORD, because he hath heard my voice, "and my supplication; because he hath inclined his "ear unto me; therefore will I call upon him as long "as I live."* And the words of the apostle form our proper instruction; "Continue in prayer, and watch " in same with thanksgiving." Let us then, my brethren, not only persist, in publick, in our families, and our closets, (daily, but more copiously if we have opportunity, on the LORD's day,) to beseech God to spare our guilty land, and to avert the calamities that
* Ps. cxvi. 1, 2. VOL. II.
† 2 Col. iv. 2.
still threaten us: but let us also take courage to hope
It may, perhaps, be useful here to remark, that Isaiah, whose prayer availed so much against the pow er of the proud blaspheming Sennacherib; when he saw the glory of Israel's God and witnessed the adorations of the exalted Seraphim, cried out "Woe is "me! for I am undone, for I am a man of unclean lips:" and that before Job was honoured to be the appointed and accepted intercessor for his friends, he was brought to say, "I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." Let none then from conscious and lamented unworthiness yield to discouragement in praying for the land, or in expecting a gracious answer to their feeble sup plications. One soldier indeed can do little towards resisting an invading army; but if every soldier, on that pretence, should desert his post, the land would be left defenceless: in like manner every Christian, who on this or any other ground, refuses to join his prayers in this emergency, deserts his post; and did all his brethren imitate the example, our land would be left exposed and defenceless indeed.
While some persuade themselves that the obstructions to a safe and desirable peace are few and small;
Matt. xviii. 19, 20.