« 上一頁繼續 »
winds, and breathed upon these slain, so that they revived and stood up, an exceeding great army. All the three national churches awoke as in the ancient days, and put on their beautiful garments. The glory of the Lord was risen upon them; and they presently shone as cities set upon hills, reflecting a moral lustre around the lands. But alas! the
consequences of long neglect are not remedied speedily, nor the guilt of it soon forgotten by the Almighty. While the husbandman slept, the enemy sowed tares in the field; which have
sprung up in such a noxious crop of vices, as will only be exterminated by the Spirit of judgment and of burning. A storm has been raised in the just anger of the LORD, that will not easily be allayed. His heritage is become unto him as a speckled bird; the birds round about her are against her. Syria is confederate with Ephraim in the war against Jerusalem.' Our holy and our beautiful house, where our fathers worshipped, they seek not to repair, but to demolish.
Its very existence they call its crime; they cry, “ Down with it, down with it, even to the ground !” They break down its carved work with axes and hammers. That venerable religious establishment, which has been the main pillar and ground of the truth in these realms, which we may term, indeed, the very spinal bone of the empire, they are proceeding to destroy, thereby endangering the whole body politic through which it is extended. Her bishoprics have been abolished,
her ministers murdered, and herself loaded with the whole vocabulary of abuse,
And 0! tell it not in Gath! those who call themselves Christian ministers, those who represent the Baxters, and the Flavels, and the Owens of other times, men who were the most uncompromising enemies of error and ungodliness-men who were cherubim in spirituality ; even their representatives, with few exceptions, have united in an impious league with papists and infidels, for the overthrow of that church, which, whatever be her defects in external management, (and who will deny that she has these?) is yet intrinsically true and scriptural, and has been lately acknowledged of God by an augmented outpouring of his very best gift, and token of favour, even his own Holy Spirit! Is not this for a lamentation? Is it not another grievous iniquity ?
Thus far I have noticed some of our more flagrant and common offences. I have not specified those of a more rare and atrocious character, such as robbery, and rapine, and blood-shedding, and nightly maraudings, and house-burnings. These, however, be it remembered, are all equally naked and open unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. Neither have I mentioned the dishonesty, and extortion, and corruption, which prevail in various departments of business; nor do I dwell on the exceeding ‘ pride' of England, wbich testifies to her face : how she has vainly vaunted herself in her maritime position; in her internal resources; in the vastness of her foreign possessions; in the invincibleness of her fleets and armies : how, in the height of her prosperity and haughtiness of heart, she hath said, “I shall be a lady for ever: I sit as a queen, and shall see no sorrow.' Neither do I expatiate on the criminality of Britain in her doings in the east, -rapaciously dispossessing the native princes of their hereditary properties, and encouraging, from motives of avarice, the cruel and obscene abominations at Juggernaut and other similar seats of Satan : and altogether making Christianity to be so abhorred by the people of India, from the scandalous lives of its professors, that a Christian had come to signify with them a person without a religion ! I dwell not on these and other topics that might be insisted on. I close the dismal enumeration with stating
1 Note V.
2 Note VI.
1 It is consolatory to reflect, that of late years some reparation has been made in a spiritual way, and considerable improvement taken place in the conduct of our countrymen in the east.
• Our sword has swept o’er India; there remains
À nobler conquest far,
The mind's etherial war,
Let us around dispense
Light, hope, intelligence,
Be thy great empire known
By hearts made all thiné own,
L. E. L.
Lastly, our IMPENITENCE. The Lord saw fit to visit us with pestilence. Now, though that judgment was general over the earth, yet it was a loud call to us in particular, to repent and turn to God: for when his judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world should learn righteousness. But did we so improve the visitation ? Did we repent and break off our sins by righteousness? True, after much delay and opposition, a day of public fasting and humiliation was at length appointed, and observed with much apparent propriety and seriousness of devotion. Several cases of real conversion also occurred, and there was a general increased attention to religious ordinances, during the plague's continuance. But did we repent and reform permanently and nationally? I think it must be manifest, from the foregoing catalogue of iniquities, that we did not : but that we have acted too much like the Israelites of old,
" When he slew them, then they sought him; and they returned and inquired early after God : and they remembered that God was their rock, and the high God their Redeemer. Nevertheless, they did but flatter him with their mouth, and lied unto him with their tongues ; for their heart was not right with him, neither were they stedfast in his covenant.
What may we apprehend will be the consequence of such obduracy and perfidy? Either, that “ the clouds will return after the rain,” and pour upon us some heavier calamity, as was experienced by impenitent Egypt in the days of Pha
raoh : or else, that the highest will “ let us alone,” till we have filled up the measure of our offences, and wrath come upon us to the uttermost. cause I have purged thee, and thou wast not purged, thou shalt not be purged from thy filthiness any more, till 1 have caused my fury to rest
1 Ezekiel xxiv. 13.