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all that live and die impenitent and unbelieving. The same evil brings nations low: when they provoke GoD by their sins, he stirs up enemies against them, he permits discord to prevail, he infatuates their wisest counsellors, he intimidates their most valiant commanders; he disappoints their best concerted projects; he lets them know," that the race is not to the swift, nor the "battle to the strong:" But " that he doeth what he "will in the army of heaven, and amongst the inha"bitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand, or
say unto him, what doest thou?"
Not only the dealings of GoD with his own peculiar people; but the prophecies of the Old Testament, denounced against the neighbouring nations for their ungodliness and unrighteousness, and so awfully accomplished in their destruction, one by the sword of another, sufficiently prove and illustrate my observation.
2. I observe, however, that GOD doth more especially deal thus with those nations, who are most highly favoured with the light of divine revelation, and in which the true religion is openly professed. In his conduct towards Israel, he not only considered their behaviour, but also took into the account his written word entrusted to them; his lively ordinances administered among them; the prophets from age to age raised up to admonish, reprove, and instruct them; his former favours to their nation: and his present watchful care over them: "You only have I known among "all the families of the earth; therefore will I punish
you for all your iniquities."*
Thus will he deal with other nations also; in proportion to the favour shewn them, and the light afforded them, as well as to the sins which they have committed against him.— Where "much is given, much is required;" and every sin is aggravated in proportion to the wilfulness and ingratitude contained in it. "He that knew his LORD'S "will and did it not, shall be beaten with many stripes. And God will evermore shew his impartiality, and evince that there is no people in such a sense his favour ites, as that he should, on that account connive at sin in them. He hates iniquity in all with perfect hatred, but most abhors it in those who are nearest to him; because it is really in them most hateful, and his judgment is always according to truth. Therefore" Spare "not, and begin at my sanctuary," is his commission to the executioners of his awful vengeance. Thus he precludes all hope of impunity in sin, when he so severely punishes his peculiar people: and thus likewise he, in the wisest manner, fulfils the designs of his love to them. He brings them low to prevent their destruction: by correction he preserves them from being disinherited: his peculiar people, as well nations as individuals, arè “ chastened of the LORD, that they should "not be condemned with the world." He will not forsake his people, therefore will he visit their offences with the rod. He is slow to anger, and he leaves nations who profess his truth, gradually and, as it were, un
Amos iii. 2.
willingly; and therefore he will be sure to bring them low for their iniquity, that he may lead them to repent
3. Then, I observe, that God hath brought these nations low for their iniquity, by the late calamitous, war. Let those, who look no higher than instruments, dispute about the authors of our troubles: you and I, my fellow-christians, should acknowledge God's justice them, and blame our own sins. Many times GOD hath delivered us. No nation hath ever been more entirely delivered, or repeatedly preserved by the providence of GOD from tyranny and despotism, than Britain. No nation hath been indulged with greater prosperity, or with such long-continued exemptions from famines, pestilences, earthquakes, or the sword of war ravaging our fields. We have been highly favoured with religious light, and liberty: the opportunity, and full freedom of learning and doing the will of God, and rejoicing in his salvation. God's persevering kindness to Israel has been renewed in his kindness to our land: and, alas! we have re-acted their provocations; so that none but an infidel can be at a loss for the origin of our calamities. "We have provoked "GOD by our counsel, and are brought low for our iniquity." Compare the charges GOD's prophets brought against Israel, with the conduct and character of these nations. If Israel exceeded Britain in gross idolatry, Britain hath exceeded Israel in daring infidelity, and atheism; in perjury, profaneness, and blasVOL. II. 3 B
phemy; in contempt of God's word, neglect of his ordinances, violation of his sabbaths; and at least hath equalled Israel's ingratitude and hypocrisy. Including the whole of our appendages, I fear we have immensely out-done them in shedding innocent blood, in oppressing the poor, the fatherless, and the widow; and in every species of detestable injustice, prompted by insatiable avarice, and protected from human vengeance, (as it is greatly suspected) by shameless bribery and venality.* In pride, adultery, luxury, and all debauchery, their guilt bears, I apprehend, no proportion to ours.
But national guilt is only the accumulation of the sins of individuals: the measure fills fast, whilst every one contributes his large proportion: as a nation we all have need to mourn over the whole; but each one should especially be humbled for his own sins. Calling then our attention from objects more distant, let us examine our own hearts and lives. What say your consciences, my brethren? Have you not helped to bring the nation low by iniquity? Have you not pro. voked God by your ungodliness and unrighteousness? Have you not forgotten Go», been ungrateful for his
An eminent speaker in the house of commons observed, that God had punished us with the loss of one continent for the oppression exercised on the other. I fear for this, and other horrid scenes of wickedness, God hath much worse punishments in store for us; except national reformation and national justice executed on the culprits, prevent.
mercies, profaned his sabbaths, slighted his ordinances, trampled on his law, despised or abused his gospel? Judge yourselves, brethren, that ye be not judged of the LORD. Personal repentance and humiliation before God, on account of our sins, as a part of our national guilt, and earnest prayers in that behalf, is a debt we owe our country, which may suffer in part for our offences, though we as individuals may be pardoned in respect of eternal punishment, God pardoned Mannasseh, yet would not pardon Jerusalem the innocent blood which he had shed.
For our sins then, GOD hath brought us low: by a concurrence of counsels and events, we were engaged in a ruinous war with our American colonies. Our ancient enemies triumphed, hoping the time of our downfal was come, and expecting to share the spoil: four powerful nations in confederacy fought against us; no one was found cordial in friendship, or prompt in bringing assistance. They practised, and prospered; our enterprizes were unsuccessful, our projects disconcerted, our hearts discouraged; the disasters of war wasted our soldiers, enormous expences drained off our riches; debts accumulated, taxes increased; our resources were nearly exhausted, commerce was discouraged, manufactures languished; many of the wealthy were impoverished, the poor were greatly distressed; our consequence was diminished, intestine discord prevailed; invasions were threatened and dreaded; there was no prospect of peace on tolerable terms; the most fatal effects were apprehended to our civil and religious liberties, those best of earthly bles