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Divine Providence. We have also from Time to Time met with Corrections and Rebukes of a public Nature. And in thefe also the fovereign Agency of a righteous Providence is to be carefully observed and acknowledged. We should in all such Cases humble ourselves under the mighty Hand of God, and should hear the Rod, and who hath appointed it. In what Way it may please God further to deal with us we do not know. But whosoever observeth the declining State of practical Godliness among us, and the abounding of Vice and Profanenefs, and all Manner of Corruption and Diffoluteness of Manners, together with a growing Indifferency to all Religion, and even a Contempt of it, must be sensible, that according to the ordinary Methods of the divine Procedure towards Nations and Churches, there is too much Reason to apprehend God's righteous Judgments. Many are the Projects which may be formed for procuring national Advantages, and promoting the public Good; but all other Expedients to make a People flourish, without Reformation of Manners, and endeavouring to promote Religion and public Virtue, will in the issue prove ineffectual and vain. Without this, let a Nation appear at present in never such prosperous Circum
stances, there can be no Security that it shall long continue fo. We must not flatter ourselves that because God hath often remarkably distinguished us with his Benefits and Deliverances, that therefore he will continue to spare and favour us. For if we do not walk anfwerably to our Profefsions and Advantages, this will only prove an Aggravation of our Guilt, and fet our Disobedience and Ingratitude in a stronger Light. If therefore we are defirous in the best Manner to shew our Love to our Country, and draw down Blessings upon it, let us do our Part towards a Reformation by setting ourselves heartily to rectify and reform whatsoever is amiss in our own Temper and Conduct, and by endeavouring to promote, as far as in us lieth, the Practice of Piety and Virtue among others too. The most proper and effectual Way we can take to preserve our valuable Privileges, and to promote the national Prosperity, is not merely to express a clamorous Zeal for Liberty, at the same Time that we abuse it to Licentiousness, than which nothing hath a greater Tendency both through the righteous Judgment of God, and in the Nature of the Thing, to deprive us of our Liberties; but it is to endeavour to make a just and wise Improvement of qur Advantages, to maintain a strict Re
gard to Religion, Probity, and Purity of Manners, and to guard against Vice, Libertinism, Profaneness, and Debauchery. This and this alone will make and preserve us a flourishing, a free, and happy People. God grant that this may be the Blessing of these Nations to the latest Pofterity. Amen.
God's providential Government with
regard to particular Persons confidered : And first, as extending to their Hearts and Thoughts.
PSALM xxxiii. 15.
He fashioneth their Hearts alike.
T is of great Importance in Religion to
have our Minds established in the firm Belief of the Providence of God, especially as exercised towards Mankind, whether singly or collectively considered. Some Confiderations have been offered concerning God's providential Government, as respecting Communities.
Let us now proceed to consider it as extending to particular