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every striking dispensation of Providence, to any particular Interposition of its power. It is sufficient for us that we consider ourselves always under its general government—and that we look upon our own fortunes as suspended at all times in the uplifted hand of the Almighty!
And therefore, such questions as the following will never be improper-viz. Whether an incorruptible spirit prevails in all our public measures? Whether the cries of the Widow, the Orphan, the helpless, never ascended, unpitied and unredressed, among us? Whether no rapacious and extortionate men, lifted into power by us, have sought to heap up wealth for themselves at the expense of their bleeding and suffering country?
But I forbear these and the like questions; because, as I believe, the guilt of none of these things can be chargeable to any who now hear me; so nei. ther is the Redress of such evils so immediately in our power; and a thorough Redress, there is reason to think, will be endeavoured by the proper authorities
What chiefly concerns us, is Repentance, accompanied with earnest endeavours to amend our Lives, and fervent Prayers for Grace to enable us to resist Temptation, “ to overcome the world,” and to turn from all Iniquity. For this we may be assured of that nothing but our own Sins and Unworthiness can come between us and the propitious smiles of our merciful Creator. When these are done away, through the Grace of God, leading us to Repentance and Amendment, " We shall no longer Fast, and the Almighty not see-We shall no longer afflict our souls, and He take no knowledge,” or pity of our distress. We shall be raised from Sorrow, and receive the blessing promised to the Jews, on the like conduct_“Our Light shall break forth as the morning, our Health (or political salvation] shall spring forth speedily; our Righteousness shall go before us, and the glory of the Lord shall be our Rere-ward. We shall call, and the Lord shall answer: We shall cry, and He shall say, Here I am! If thou take away from the midst of Theethe Yoke, the putting forth of the Finger and speaking Vanity; If thou draw out thy soul to the Hungry, and satisfy theafflicted Soul; then shall thy Light rise in (or out of] obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon-day: The Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: Thou shalt be like a watered Garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail notThey that shall be of you (or remain of you, your reformed and happy posterity] shall build the old waste places; (that is, the Houses and Cities, that have been destroyed and made desolate, shall again be built up, and become the joyous dwellings of a happy people, by dependence upon God and turning to the ways of his commandment, as warned by his late visitation of you in judgment. ]—Ye shall yet be raised up, as the foundations of many generations,—[Millions shall spring from your loins to possess an immense and happy country; and every Hero, every Patriot, every Wise and Good Man who contributes his share towards the promotion of the general welfare,] shall be called the repairer of the Breach, the Restorer of paths to dwell in.”
Great and gracious God! Grant that by thus following the advice of the Prophet to the Jews, for keeping a True Fast, and especially, for “ hallowing the Sabbath Day, not doing our own ways, nor finding our own pleasure, nor speaking our own words, but delighting in Thee, we may receive the promised reward, and be fed with, and preserved in the Heritage of our Fathers;” and to Thy Name, with Thy blessed Son and Holy Spirit, One God, Let the Glory and Praise be ascribed forever and ever! Amen!
PREACHED IN CHESTER CHAPEL,
KENT COUNTY, MARYLAND,
DECEMBER 13, 1781.
DEING A DAY OF GENERAL THANKSGIVING AND PRAYER, RECOMMENDED BY CONGRESS, THROUGHOUT THE UNITED STATES.
EXODUS, xv. 1.
I will sing unto the Lord; for He hath triumphed glori.
ously.* AFTER so many days of Fasting and Mourning, a day of Thanksgiving must be welcome to us, as recommended by Congress in their Proclamation, dated October 26 last, enumerating the many instances of the divine Goodness and protection displayed in our favour, during “our important struggle for Liberty, against the long continued efforts of a powerful nation,” and particularly during the present year (1781), “in which there have been so many instances of prowess and success in our armies, particularly in the southern states, where (notwithstanding the difficulties with which they had to struggle) they
• A Sermon from this text was inserted as Discourse V. in the Lon. don Edition of my Discourses on public Occasions, on the success of the British, Prussian and some other armies (allied in the same cause) during the campaign, 1758.
have recovered the whole country,
which the enemy had over-run; leaving them only a post or two, on or near the sea:- In which we have been so powerfully and effectually assisted by our allies, while in all the conjunct operations the most perfect harmony has subsisted in the allied army:-In which there has been so plentiful a harvest, and so great abundance of the fruits of the earth of every kind, as not only enables us easily to supply the wants of our army, but give comfort and happiness to the whole people:-And in which, after the success of our allies by sea, a General of the first rank, with his whole
army, has been captured by the allied forces, under the direction of our commander in chief.
“It is, therefore,recommended to the several states to set apart the Thirteenth day of December next, to be religiously observed as a day of Thanksgiving and Prayer; that all the people may assemble on that day, with grateful hearts, to celebrate the praise of our gracious benefactor; to confess our manifold sins; to offer up our most fervent supplications to the God of all grace, that it may please Him to pardon our offences, and incline our hearts for the future to keep all his laws; to comfort and relieve all our brethren who are in distress or captivity; to prosper our husbandmen, and give success to all engaged in lawful commerce; to impart wisdom and integrity to our counsellors, judgment and fortitude to all our officers and soldiers; to protect and prosperour illustrious ally, and favour our unitedexertions for the speedy establishment of a safe, honourable and lasting peace; to bless all seminaries of learning; and cause the know