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pitable shore. May their sufferings remind us of our deserts ! Who can tell if the Lord may yet be merciful unto us, and exempt us from similar calamities!
III. But though we have much cause to mourn for our sins, and humbly to deprecate deserved judgments, let us not despond. The Lord our God is a merciful God! Who can tell but he may "repent, and turn from the fierceness of his anger, that we perish not? If the professed business of this day be not confined to a day, but if, by his blessing, it may produce repentance not to be repented of, then I am warranted to tell you, from his word, that there is yet hope. You that tremble for the ark, for the cause of God, whose eyes affect your hearts, who grieve for sin, and for the miseries which sin has multiplied upon the earth; take courage. Let the hearts of the wicked shake, like the leaves of the trees wben agitated by a storm ;* but be not you like them. The Lord God is your refuge and strength, your resting place, and your hiding place ; under the shadow of his wings you shall be safe.t
1. He who loved you and died for your sins, is the Lord of i glory. All power in heaven and in earth is committed unto him.
The Lord reigneth, let the earth be never so unquiet. All creatures are instruments of his will. The wrath of man so far as it is permitted to act, shall praise him, shall be made subservient to the accomplishment of his great designs; and the remainder of that wrath, of all their projected violence, which does not coincide with his wise and comprehensive plan, he will restrain. I In vain they rage, and fret, and threaten. They act under a secret commission, and can do no more than he permits them. If they attempt it, he has a hook and a bridle in their mouths. When the enemies would come in like a flood, he
standard against them. As he has set bounds and bars to the tempestuous sea, beyond which it cannot pass, saying, Hitherto shalt thou come, and no further, and here shall thy proud waves be stayed ; so, with equal ease, he can still the madness of the people.
You do well to mourn for the sins and miseries of those who know him not. But if you make him your fear and your dread, he will be a sanctuary to you, and keep your hearts in peace, though the earth be removed, and the mountains cast into the midst of the sea.
2. Your part and mine is to watch and pray. Let us pray for ourselves, that we may be found waiting, with our loins girded
* Isa. vii. 2. Psalm xlvi. 1. xc. 1. exix. 114. Matth. xxviii. 18. Psalm xcix. 1. lxxvi. 10. § 2 Kings, xix. 28. Isa. lix. 19. Job, xxxviii.10.11. Psalm lxv. 7. ll Isa. vii. 13, 14. Psalm xlvi. 2. VOL. III.
up, and our lamps burning, that we may be prepared to meet his will in every event.* Let us pray for the peace of Jerusalem, for bis church, which is dear to him as the pupil of his eye, for the spread of his Gospel, and the extension of his kingdom, till his great name be known and adored from the rising to the setting of the sun,t and the whole earth shall be filled with his glory. Many splendid prophecies are yet unfulfilled; and he is now bringing forward their accomplishment. Light will undoubtedly arise out of this darkness. Let us earnestly pray for a blessing from on high, upon our beloved King, and his family, upon the counsels of Government and parliament, and upon all subordinate authority in church and state that we may lead quiet and peaceable lives in all godliness and honesty; that religion and good order may be established, and iniquity be put to shame and silence. Thus we may hope to be secured, by the sure, though secret, mark of divine protection. The Lord will be our shield, though many should suffer or fall around us. The very hairs of our heads are numbered. Or if, for the manifestation of our faith, and the power of bis grace, he should permit us to share in common calamities, we may rely upon him to afford us strength according to our day. He is always near to his people, a very present help in time of trouble; and he can make the season of their greatest tribulations the season of their sweetest consolations. I
3. And let us pray in faith. Let us remember what great things the Lord has done in answer to prayer. When sin bad given Sennacherib rapid success in his invasion of Judah, be did not know that he was no more than an axe, or a saw, in the band of God. He ascribed his victories to his own prowess, and thought bimself equally sure of Jerusalem. But Hezekiah defeated him upon his knees. He spread his blasphemous letter before the Lord in the temple, and prayed ; and the Assyrian army melted away like snow. When Peter was shut up, and chained in prison, the chains fell from his hands, the locks and bolts gave way, and the iron gate opened, while the church was united in earnest prayer for his deliverance.
And as we have heard, so have we seen, God has signally answered the prayers of his people, in our own time. Much prayer, both public and private, was offered for our beloved King during his late illness; and how wonderful, how sudden, how seasonable, was his recovery! Surely this was the finger of God! When
* Mark, xiii. 9. xiv. 38. Deut. xxxii. 25. 2 Cor. i, 5. 11 Acts. xii. 5-13.
# Mal. i. 11. | Ezek. ix. 4. Matth. X. 30.
Isa. x. 15. xxxvii. 14-36.
he thus removed our apprehensions, we were like them that dream !*
I believe prayer was no less efficacious towards the end of the year 1792. I know many people treated the idea of danger at that time as chimerical, because the Lord was pleased to avert it. But I hope we have not quite forgotten the language we heard, and the persons we daily met with in the street, the many daring cabals which were held in this city, and the threatenings which were written in large characters, upon the walls of our houses, at almost every corner.
But the hearts of men were turned like the tide, in the critical moment. Then I think the interposition of the Lord was evident.' Then we had a repeated proof that he hears and answers prayer.
The present, likewise, is a very important crisis. All that is dear to us, as men, as Britons, as Christians, is threatened. Our enemies are inveterate, and enraged. Our sins testify against us. But if we humble ourselves before God, forsake our sins, and unite, in supplications for mercy, who can tell but he may be entreated to give us that help which it would be in vain to expect from man? Yea, we have encouragement to hope, that "he will be for us,” and then none can prevail against us.f But without his blessing, our most powerful efforts, and best concerted undertakings, cannot succeed.
You, who have access to the throne of grace, whose hearts are concerned for the glory of God, and who lament not only the temporal calamities attendant upon war, but the inany thousands of souls who are yearly precipitated by it into an eternal, unchangeable state-you, I trust, will show yourselves true friends to your country, by bearing your testimony, and exerting your influence against sin, the procuring cause of all our sorrows; and by standing in the breach, and pleading with God for mercy, in behalf of yourselves, and of the nation. If ten persons, thus disposed, had
, been found even in Sodom, it would have escaped destruction. I
IV. There may be some persons in this assembly, who are little concerned for their own sins, and are, of course, incapable of taking a proper part in the service of the day. Yet I am glad that you are here; I pity you, I warn you. If you should live to see a time of public distress, what will you do? To whom will you look, or whither will you flee for help ? All that is dear to you may be torn from you, or you from it. Or if it please God to prolong our tranquillity, you are liable to many heavy calamities in private life. And if you should be exempted from these, death is inevitable, and may be near. My heart wishes you the possession of those principles which would support you in all the changes of life, and make your dying pillow comfortable. Are you unwilling to be happy ? Or can you be happy too soon? Many persons are now looking upon you, who once were as you are now. And I doubt not, they are praying that you may be as they now are. Try to pray for yourself; our God is assuredly in the midst of us. His gracious ear is attentive to every supplicant. Seek him while he is to be found. Jesus died for sinners, and he has said, “ Him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast
* Psalm cxxvi. 1.
| Rom. viii. 31.
Gen. xviii. 32.
He is likewise the author of that faith, by which alone you can come rightly to him. If you ask it of him, he will give it you ; if you seek it, in the means of his appointment, you shall assuredly find.f If you refuse this, there remaineth no other sacrifice for sin. f If you are not saved by faith in bis blood, you are lost for ever. “ Oh! kiss the Son lest he be angry, and you perish from the way, if his wrath be kindled, yea, but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in bim !"$
John, vi. 37.
Matth. vii. 7.
Heb. X. 26, 27.
* Psalm ü. 18.
MOTIVES TO HUMILIATION AND PRAISE.
奧 A Sermon,
PREACHED IN THE
PARISH CHURCH OF ST. MARY WOOLNOTH,
ON DECEMBER 19, 1797,
THE DAY OF GENERAL THANKSGIVING TO ALMIGHTY GOD FOR
OUR LATE NAVAL VICTORIES.
Rejoice with trembling.–Psalm ii. 11.
And after all that is come upon us, for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass ; seeing that thou our God hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and hast given as such a deliverance as this : should we again break thy commandments --Ezra, ix. 13.