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under the direction of our illustrious commander in chief; yielding us the happy prospect of a speedy restoration of our former peace and tranquillity, upon solid and lasting foundations.
Although we dare not call this deliverance a mira. cle in our favour, or in any degree comparable to the miracle for which the song in our text was offered to the God of Israel; yet when we reflect on the gloomy prospect which lay before us a few months ago; when we expected the war at our doors, and all its concomitant ravages and distress; when we beheld our Fields waving with Plenty, and almost despaired of reaping them in Peace, or enjoying their Fruits in Safety; can we forbear praising the Lord of Hosts, the God of our salvation, for the deliverance he hath wrought for us, and the security we enjoy? Can we forbear to adore that Providence, which, by means almost unexpected to us, “on the same day; nay almost at the same hour, brought Fleets from the South, and Armies from the North, for our protection and aid?” Can we cease to admire that magnanimity and steady perseverance, which enabled our allied forces to accomplish this great deliverance; almost without any bloodshed of their Enemies; and to exercise all the Virtues of Moderation and Christian Heroism, even amidst the Triumphs of Victory?
This great event hath already been celebrated, in Camps, in Cities, in Towns and Villages, by separate and voluntary marks of joy and gratitude-But we are this day called to join, with one voice, throughout all these United States, as a people connected in one great and common interest to celebrate this goodness
of the Almighty; and the ministers of the altar, by their sacred office, are to stand as the mouth or organ of the people, to offer up and convey their public gratitude to the throne of the Omnipotent!
The joy of this day, therefore, Brethren, must not be that noisy and tumultuous joy, which consists in outward actions; the glare and pomp of victory; the display of the spoils of War and Enemies; Shouts of Triumph; Illuminations; Feastings, and carnal Mirth. It must be a Religious Joy; the Joy of the Heart before the Lord; mixt with a holy and reverential Fear. We are to rejoice in our prosperity, but yet chiefly as we consider it to be the means of Peace and Safety; and, therefore, while the final issue of things remain undetermined, although we may rejoice, we must rejoice with fear and trembling; lest our future Unworthiness should provoke the Almighty to withhold his promised blessings, and lengthen out the day of our visitation for the further correction of our sins, and the manifestation of his power and goodness.
Thus did Israel rejoice on their great deliverance, referred to in our text.
For, “ Israel saw that great work, which the Lord did upon the Egyptians; and the people feared the Lord, and his servant Moses.-Who, said they, is like unto Thee, O Lord, amongst the Gods ? who is like unto Thee; glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?"
In this spirit runs the proclamation for this day's solemnity, which has been recited above.
Let us therefore lift up our voices to God, who, for our deliverance,“ hath triumphed gloriously. The horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. The Lord is our strength and salvation, and he shall be the subject of our song. He is our God and we will prepare Him an habitation; our father's God, and we will exalt Him. The right hand of the Lord is become glorious in power, and hath dashed in pieces the enemy. They said, we will pursue, we will overtake, we will divide the spoil.”-—But the weakness of God is stronger than the strength of proudest man-When his people were but few, and strangers in a foreign wilderness; when they went from nation to nation in search of a settlement for themselves and their unborn posterity, the Lord suffered no man to do them wrong; yea He reproved even Kings for their sake.
" Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for ever and ever: and all the people said Amen, and praised the Lord!”
Be these great examples of Praise and Thanksgiving followed by us this day; for surely whoever would be called a subject of these states, and is content to hold his Liberty and Property under their protection, could never desire to see their peace, however dear, established on Conquest or Force, by any power upon earth; and therefore we must rejoice when the Almighty in his providence appears to blast and defeat the most powerful reiterated attempts for reducing a free People, to a Government at will, and unconditional Submission.
After the days of mourning which we have beheld, the short period of about nine months hath produced such a series of favourable events, for these infant states, as astonishes ourselves; and, among our posterity, will scarcely be believed. Had the incidents which have taken place been but proposed to our hopes a twelve-month ago, by any person living, we should have thought that he mocked our Credulity, or insulted our Distress. But all things are possible with God; and when the affairs of a People are at the worst, then is often the time when the mighty one of Israel is pleased to interpose, and therein to “ triumph gloriously.”
In such cases, it is our indispensible duty to mark the manifestations of his power with humble reverence; and to rejoice before him exceedingly; but still, as was said before, we must “
rejoice with trembling,” because the same almighty Power which raised us up in our low estate, can dash us to the ground again, if, like the proud Assyrian of old, we begin to boast ourselves, and say that our own Hand, or the strength of our own Arm, got us the victory.
Wherefore, Brethren! let me, in conclusion, as is my duty, earnestly exhort you, in your best and most prosperous estate, to be clothed with Humility, and the Fear of God, in the fulness of his Love; ascribing only to Him all power and glory and victory.
When we come to give Thanks unto God, for blessings received, or to Pray to Him for success in our undertakings, it must be with a conviction that all the Events of this world, and the fortune and fate of all the People and Nations in it, are in his supreme disposal! Let us, therefore, be persuaded that the People and Nations, who most fervently and earnestly follow His holy Laws, and support the Purity and Majesty of that Divine Religion, which he hath made known to them, will most effectually serve their country, by obtaining His favour.
In the present moment of trial, all who profess to love their country, would certainly wish to shew that Love by their Courage and Heroism, when duly called upon to exercise them. But these glorious qualities can stand upon no foundation but a Conscience at Peace with God, and a Conviction that we are engaged in His divine Cause. I trust that we have long since satisfied our own Reason and Conscience, that the cause in which we are engaged is not grounded on the wicked passions of Ambition, Malice, Revenge, Cruelty, and the like; but that, in sight of Men and Angels, and of Him, who is above all the quires of Angels, we contend for the security of those sacred and unalienable Rights, which the good Providence of God called us to inherit. These we are never to desert, but to strive for them, at every peril, with a holy and unquenchable Zeal; per. severing, if need be, even unto Death. Every People and Country have native and essential Rights, which neither in conscience, nor in duty to God and themselves, they can tamely surrender. When Liberty is invaded, when Property is insecure, when Devastation, and Plunder, and all the Horrors of War, are around a People, it is their sacred Duty, by every brave and heroic Exertion, to repel such