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only) are able to make us wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
My two preceding sermons, have been employed on the subject of the late awfulvisITATION OF PROVIDENCE, and the dreadful calamities spread throughout our land, especially in our great cities and their neighbourhoods, by means of the contagious sickness, commonly called the Yellow Fever.
By the appointment and authority of government, this day has been set apart, as a day of general hu. miliation, thanksgiving and prayer, for the mercies of God, in putting an end to that grievous calamity, and yielding us the gladdening prospect of a speedy restoration to our former state of public health and happiness*.
My text, therefore, but not my subject, is only changed, for this day's solemnity; leading us to an
The following is an abstract of the Governor's Proclamation on this great occasion.
“Whereas it hath pleased Almighty God to put an end to the grievous Calamity, that recently afflicted the City of Philadelphia ; and it is the duty of all, who are truly sensible of the Divine Justice and Mercy, to employ the earliest moments of returning Health, in devout expressions of peni. tence, submission, and gratitude; I have therefore deemed it proper to appoint THURSDAY, the Twelfıb day of December, to be holden throughout this commonwealth, as a Day of general HUMILIATION, THANKSGIVING, and PRAYER; earnestly exhorting and entreating my Fellow-Citizens, to abstain on that Day from all their worldly Avocations; and to unite in confessing with contrite hearts, our manifold Sins and Transgressions; and in acknowledging, with thankful Adoration, the Mercy and Goodness of the supreme Ruler and Preserver of the Universe, more especially manifested in our late deliverance; praying, with solemn zeal, that the same Mighty Power would be graciously pleased to instil into our minds the just principles of our duty to Him, and to our fellow-creatures; to regulate and guide all our actions by his Holy Spirit; to avert from all man. kind the evils of war, PESTILENCE, and PAMINE; and to bless and protect us in the enjoyment of civil and religious LIBERTY," &c.
instructive view of God's dealing with other nations, in circumstances parallel, or similar to our own.
That there is a particular as well as a general providence over the affairs of individual men, as well as whole nations; and that the Almighty holds their fate subject to his own controuling power, and weighs it in the tremendous balance of his unerring wisdom and justice—is a truth which will not be denied by any man, who professes to believe in the existence of God! They who affect not to believe in God, and yet mix in the society of their baptised and confessing brethren, are not only guilty of insult to them, but scandalize their own reason and feelings, nay the very reason and feelings of the savages in the wilderness! For, among the latter, even throughout their most untutored tribes, it is acknowledged and confessed, intimately and deep_" that there are beings, both good and evil, before whose superior power, the irresistible command of Nature constrains them to prostrate themselves in the dust, to deprecate the impending evil, and to obsecrate the wished-for good.
Their history and religious rites, barbarous or more civilized; their lamentations and rejoicings; their feasts and sacrifices; their oblations, confessions and thanksgivings—all bear testimony to their conviction of what the Omnipotent hath made known unto the ends of the earth; namely, that the invisible things of Him, “ from the creation of the “ world are clearly seen, being understood by the “ things that are made, even his eternal power and “ God-head; so that they are without excuse, be
cause that when they knew God, they glorified
“ Him not as God, neither were thankful, but became “ vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart “ was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise,
they became fools, and changed the glory of the “ uncorruptible God, into an image made like to
corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted “ beasts, and creeping things,” &c.*
Thus the very savages, although not favoured with any clear or direct knowledge of the supreme God; yet they are taught by the speech which “ day uttereth unto day,”! that their strength is not in their own arm, and that they, and all who are born of woman, are but weak and frail beings, dependent on some almighty and invisible power, beyond and above and without them.
Blessed be that Almighty Power! We are not left to grope in the dark, nor to spell out by the vain guesses of an earth-born philosophy, what are his attributes, or what is the name whereby we shall call upon him, in the hour of our distress or joy!
In vain are we assembled, on this solemn day, if it might be considered by any, that the civil ordinance which convokes us, is only a political engine or device, to awe and controul the vulgar mind; and not a certain unequivocal proof—" that, as a people, we acknowledge a God over all, supreme, almighty, and enjoying all perfections. It may be hoped, then, that the threshold of this holy place has not been profaned this day by the unhallowed step of a man or a woman, who doth not believe in the heart, as well as
• Rom. chap. i. 20, 21, 22, 23.
† Psalm xix, 2.
approach to confess with the lips, “ that there is a God, who governs the affairs of his creatures in this world, and that the holy scriptures of the Old and New Testament, were graciously given by his divine inspiration and authority, to guide us in the right way, through the intricate path of life, and the mazes of a mysterious Providence.”
The dealings of the Almighty, therefore, with a people who acknowledged (as we do) the sovereign and uncontroulable
power of God's special as well as general Providence, in ordering the affairs of men, will be a fit subject of our present meditations; and the more to be chosen, as we shall have for our guide, a History authenticated on the Records of holy Scripture.
With such a guide before us, we need not recur to profane History, any farther than sometimes for the better proof of facts; because the light otherwise to be derived from that source, in the handling of our subject, would be but as the twinkling of a star, compared to the sun in his noon-tide brightness!
The history of the Jews, therefore, upon which our text yields a prominent and irrefragable commentary, as well as a striking similitude to our own history in many great and leading circumstances, will furnish ample materials for our improvement of what remains of this day's duty.
To this audience, it will be sufficient briefly to state, that the Jews had for many years been without a government of their own, and sojourn'd in a foreign land, reduced to a condition no better than that of the worst and most degraded slaves; until at last, the Canaan for the benefit of their posterity! By the arm of the Almighty, while they were yet a small people, they were protected from surrounding dangers—The savages of the wilderness becametheir friends, and they grew up and multiplied into a great and prosperous people! How far we have followed the example of the Jews, in our backslidings and forgetfulness of the mercies of God, after we became a nation, will ap
me, with you my brethren and your children and children's children, and your flocks and your herds, and all you have; and here I will nourish you; for yet there are five years of famine to come. He then concludes this kind invitation, to his brethren, in the most melting act of tenderness" He fell upon his brother Benjamin's neck, and wept-and Benjamin wept upon his neck! moreover, he kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them"-and Pharaoh, hearing of all this, was well pleased with the account of such a tender scene, and confirmed unto Joseph the invitation which he had given to his Father and Brethren, to come down to the land of Egypt and settle there; they and their little ones, and their wives, and to be sure to bring their father with them, and come, without regarding their stuff, or encumbering themselves with too much baggage; for that, when they came down, the good of all the land of Egypt should be theirs, and they should eat the fat thereof. After this invitation, [and furnishing them with waggons and provisions, and five changes of raiment, &c. for their journey, according to the command of Pharaoh] Joseph sent his brethren away, charging them (as duly regardful of the infirmities of human nature] to see that they fall not out by the way.
Joseph's brethren, having got up out of Egypt, into the land of Canaan, unto Jacob their Father, otherwise called Israel, delivered unto him the mes. sage which they bore, surprizing him with the news" that his son Joseph was yet alive, and governor over all the land of Egypt; and Jacob's heart fainted for he believed them not-But when they told him all the words of Joseph, which he had said unto them, and seeing the waggons which Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of Jacob revived, and he said, It is enough Joseph my son is yet alive, I will go and see him before I die.” In this resolution, God confirmed Him in the visions of the night, and said, Jacob, Jacob! and he said, Here am I. And God said, I am the God of thy father; fear not to go down into Egypt, for I will there make thee a great nation; I will go down with thee into Egypt, and I will surely bring thee up again; and Joseph thy son shall put his hand upon thine eyes; that is