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whole lives among stable grooms and postillions : and thus by their own proficiency and example, they harden and confirm in their wickedness those whom they imitate.

The insult offered to the majesty and holiness of God by common swearing, contributes greatly to take off a sense of the heinous sin of perjury, or false swearing; an appeal to the God of truth in confirmation of a lie. This is the other branch of that swearing for which the land ought to mourn, and, sooner or later, must moorn. Perjury is emphatically one of our national sins. The multiplicity of oaths, which are interwoven into almost every branch of public business, involves thousands in the babitual guilt of perjury. Many of them, it is true, do not necessarily lead to sin, because bonest and conscientious men may and do strictly observe them ; but it is to be feared, a greater number deliberately and customarily violate these solemn obligations, and sake them as often as imposed, without hesitation, and without any desire of complying with them. Not a few of these oaths are either so worded or so circumstanced, that it is morally impossible to fulfil them; and if a person was even to attempt it, be would be thought a busy-body or a fool; yet they must be tendered, and must be taken as a matter of form, when nothing more is expected or purposed on either side. The number of churchwardens and constables who are annually sworn is very great; and as these offices are chiefly held by rotation, in the course of a few years they take in a considerable part of the middling people in the kingdom. How many, or how few, of them act up to the letter and the spirit of the oaths they have taken, will be known in the day when the secrets of all hearts shall be revealed. But it is now evident, that while many, like sheep, tread without thought in the path of custom, content to forswear themselves because others have done so before them; and some are hardy enough to trifle with God and man for profit; the laws which enjoin and multiply oaths, do thereby furnish and multiply templations to the sin of perjury. The frequency of oaths, the irreverent manner in which they are often administered, and the impunity with which they are broken, have greatly contributed to weaken the sense of every moral obligation, and to spread a dissolute and daring spirit throughout the land.”

5. Oppression is a national sin, if the grievance be publicly known, and no constitutional measures adopted for prevention or relief. Charges of this nature have been brought against the exercise of our power, both in the east and in the west. I pretend not to say how far they were founded in truth, or exaggerated. I confine myself to a single instance, of which my own knowledge warrants me to speak. I bave more than once confessed, with


shame, in this pulpit, the concero I 100 long had in the African slave-trade. This trade, marked as it is with the epithet INFamous by a vote of the House of Commons, is still carried on, and under the sanction of the legislature. Though the repeated attempts to procure the abolition of this trade have not succeeded, they have doubtless contributed to meliorate the condition of the blacks who are in a state of slavery in our WestIndia islands. The mode of transportation thither from the African coast seems to be less tormenting and fatal than formerly. How far this trade may have been affected by the present war, I know not. When I was engaged in it, we generally supposed, for an accurate calculation was not practicable, that there were not less than a hundred thousand persons, men, women, and children, brought off the coast, by the European vessels of all nations ; and that an equal number lost their lives annually, by the wars and other calamities occasioned by the traffic, either on shore without reaching the ship, or on shipboard before they reached the places of sale. It was also supposed that more than one half, perhaps three fifths of the trade, was in the hands of the English. If the trade is at present carried on to the same extent, and nearly in the same manner, while are delaying, from year to year to put a stop to our part of it, the blood of many thousands of our helpless, much-injured fellow-creatures, is crying against

The pitiable state of the survivors, who are torn from their nearest relatives, connexions, and their native land, must be taken into the account. Enough of this horrid scene. I fear the African trade is a national sin, for the enormities which accompany it are now generally known ; and though perhaps the greater part of the nation would be pleased if it were suppressed, yet as it does not immediately affect their own interest, they are passive. The shop-tax, a few years since, touched them in a more sensible and tender part, and therefore petitions and remonstrances were presented and repeated, till the tax was repealed. Can we wonder that the calamities of the present war begin to be felt at home, when we ourselves wilfully and deliberately inflict much greater calamities upon the native Africans, who never offended us? That is an awful word, “ Wo unto thee that spoilest, and thou was not spoiled ; when thou shalt cease to spoil, thou shalt be spoiled."*

6. A proud, boasting spirit, and a vain confidence in our own strength and resources, is a prominent part of our national character. Though infidelity, irreligion, contempt both of the law and the Gospel of God, profaneness, perjury, and oppression, expose


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us to his vengeance-though the judgments of God are abroad in the earth, and have fallen heavily on a great part of Europeand though his hand is evidently listed up against us, yet few will see* and acknowledge it. Instead of such a general spirit of humiliation as was awakened in Nineveh by the preaching of Jonah, so well becoming our sins and our situation, we still boast in our fleets and armies. Especially the wooden walls of old England are spoken of as impregnable, and we still suppose ourslves to be sovereign lords of the sea. Some late providential dispensations were well suited to show us, not only the sin but the folly of this spirit ; but the impression, if any, was travsient; it soon wore off. The praise justly due to our admirals, officers, and seamen, was readily offered ; but unless the king had called us, as on this day to unite with him in ascribing our success to the Lord of Hosts, who alone giveth the victory, even the verbal offering of praise to God would have been confined to a few. And still we boast. This arrogant spirit, and especially at such a time as this, is no small aggravation of all our other sins.

I could proceed to further particulars, but my spirits are depressed ; and I hope the hearts of my hearers are duly affected by what I have already said. Is there any relief ? Have we any ground to hope that the Lord will yet say of such a nation as this, “ How shall I give thee up ?” I turn with pleasure to this more comfortable branch of my subject.

II. Yes, though we have many causes for trembling, we are not without causes for an humble joy and thankfulness.

1. I hope the occasion of our present assembling is a token for good." We are met, in consequence of a royal proclamation, to join in spirit with our king, who perhaps while I am speaking, may be entering St. Paul's cathedral, attended by the royal family, both houses of parliament, and many of the nobility and principal persons of the court. He goes to make the most public and solemn acknowledgments of his dependence on the providence and power of Almighty God, and to ascribe to him, to whom it most justly belongs, praise and thanksgiving for the many interpositions he has favoured us with as a people, in this season of danger and distress; particularly for the three signal, critical, and decisive victories which he gave us in succession, over the French, Spanish, and Dutch fleets. We remember with what universal joy the king's former appearance at St. Paul's after his recovery from his illness, was entertained by his loyal subjects ; and though the introduction of French principles and French

* Isa. xxvi. 11.

politics, since that period, has not been without mischievous effects, we trust that the joy upon this occasion will at least be gen

era). *

Though I cannot suppose that every person in the procession, or among the many thousand spectators, felt the same sentiments of gratitude to God, which induced the king to appoint a day of thanksgiving--yet I consider it as a public and national act; and in this view contrasted with the atheistical rage and blasphemies of the French Directory and councils, who insult and defy, not these kingdoms only, but the God whorn we worship ; I indulge a hope, that unworthy as we are of his inercy, the Lord will put a hook and a bridle in the mouths of these modern Rabshakehs, and will not give us up as a prey to their merciless rapacity and revenge.

2. When the French formed the design of invading Ireland, they thought themselves sure of success. They probably would have found encouragement in one part of that kingdom, if they could have reached it; and therefore they spoke like Pharaob, who said, “I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil,” and they were disconcerted almost in the same manner. Tbc Lord blew with his wind, and scattered them. Some of their stoutest ships, and many of their men, sunk as lead in the mighty waters.t And the Lord God did it himself. We had a strong fleet to watch and oppose them, but they were not permitted to come near, or even to see one of their ships. Nor had our boasted naval force the opportunity of firing a single gun in our defence.

3. The suppression of the mutiny, which, like an infectious disorder, pervaded all our fleets, was so sudden, so unexpected, and at the time when it was risen to such an alarming height that all resistance seemed vain, that it can be ascribed only to the mercy and power of God. Then, if ever, was the time when the proud and the boasters trembled. And while we were thus exposed and defenceless in every quarter, the providence of God laid an embargo upon the fleets of our enemies, so that they could not attempt any thing against us. It is further to be observed, that the munity at the Nore, which was the most formidable, as the

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* I was not mistaken in my expectation. The order and regularity with which the procession was conducted, the peaceful behaviour of the immense multitude of spectators, the serenity and mildness of the weather, (so unusual with us in the depth of winter,) the almost total exemption from what are commonly called accidents; and the quietness with which the evening closed, I consider, collectively, as warranting a hope that the Lord was pleased to smile upon the day, and upon the design.

* Exod. xv. 9, 10.

ships had full command of the river, so that nothing could pass of repass to or from London ; this threatening disaster, which painted terror and dismay in the countenance of almost every person we met in the streets, in the event led to that re-establishment of our marine discipline, without which the strength of our invincible navy would have been like a rope of sand. Well may we say, What has God wrought!

4. In the close of the year 1795, we felt a scarcity and feared a famine. Opportunity was presented and greedily seized by monopolizers, to raise the corn to such an enormous price, that had it not been for great and liberal exertions, the poor in many places, perhaps in every place, must have been absolutely destitute of bread. What must the consequences have been, if God had visited us with a scanty or wet harvest the following year? For our resource from foreign supplies was cut off in many parts, and rendered very precarious in the rest by the war. But he is a hearer of prayer. In 1796, the earth brought forth by handfuls.* Such an abundant barvest, and such a remarkably fine season for gathering in the precious fruits of the earth, have been seldom known.

5. Our sins have involved us in a calamitous war; and though our sufferings are not to be compared with those of the countries on the continent where the war has raged, it has brought upon us much real distress. Many widows and orphans are bemoaning the effects. The decline of some manufactures, the increased taxes, the advanced price of most of the necessaries of life, are severely felt by the industrious poor, and by many families in the middling and lower classes of society. It is well known that there is a number of persons who unhappily employ their abilities and influence, to aggravate the sense of these difficulties, to inflame the minds of the sufferers, to work upon their passions, to alienate them from the government, and to make them long, if possible, for such liberty and equality as has already reduced France to the most pitiable state of anarchy and misery. That such attempts have not succeeded, that we are still preserved, not only from foreign invasion, but from internal commotions, I ascribe to the power of the great God over the hearts of the children of men ; and I consider it as a further ground of hope, that he will not give us up.

III. Why would he not give up degenerate Israel, when strict Justice demanded their destruction ? Two reasons are assigned in my text for his forbearance, which are well suited to encourage

Gen. xli. 47.

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