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that time the hearts of the people were turned as the heart of one man : nor was it in vain they sought the Lord; for by a wonderful series of providential mercies he delivered them; and we have seen for many years the crown on the head of protestant princes, the natural guardians of the religion and liberties of this country.
It we have made a right use of this last deliverance, let us fear no change; for God will not forsake us till we forsake him. But the prospect before us, the dangers that draw near to us, call on us to act uprightly with ourselves, and not deceive our hearts by supposing that God will remember us, if we have forgotten him and his mercies.
Our histories will always remind us of our great deliverances, and we cannot forget them; nor did the Jews forget the wonders wrought in Egypt, and the redemption of their ancestors from captivity: but the charge against them is the same as that brought by St. Paul against the Gentiles; when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, &c. Do we stand clear of this charge ? Let every man recollect what he has heard, read, and seen, within the
State of the nation commented on: its infidelity and profaneness; its neglect and violation of the Sabbath ; its proneness to theft and robbery; its hatred of popery shown to be not so much a concern for the purity of the gospel, as fear of the powers of a popish church. In the mean time popery itself has been gaining ground in many places by the artful and unregarded insinuations of the adversary, and by applications of another kind, which do but little honor to the converts or converters ; since the price at which a man may sell his faith is become almost a known sum.
We have but too exactly copied the Jews in their days of prosperity: let us learn of them likewise in their adversity, and cry unto God for help against our enemies.
And as in all the dispensations of Providence it is expected
that we should make use of the means which God puts into our power for our own defence and safety, let us on this occasion, with cheerfulness, and with the hearts of men who trust in God, be ready to employ our persons and fortunes in defence of our king and country, and of the happy constitution in church and state under which we live. Conclusion.
Preached October 6, 1745, on occasion of the Rebellion
JUDGES, CHAP. II.-VERSE 7.
And the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the
days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the Lord that he did for Israel.
Thus far all is well: God had been extremely gracious and merciful to Israel; and those who had seen his wonders, and had felt the miseries from which he had delivered them, retained a grateful remembrance of his goodness. But the case quickly altered; no sooner were the men who had seen the works of the Lord,' gathered unto their fathers,' but there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel : and the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord.' The effects of their departing from God their deliverer are described at the 14th
• And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of the spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies.'
You have now the case of the Israelites fully before you. I wish it was a singular case, and that the rest of the people of God stood clear from the like imputation. If they do, happy are they; if they do not, they have great reason to fear that the same cause will produce the same effect, and that they likewise shall be sold into the hands of their enemies.
It is but a melancholy reflection to think that the misbehavior here charged on the people of Israel is almost a natural effect of the present degenerate and corrupted state of nature : we receive benefits with great warmth and zeal of gratitude, and we possess and enjoy them with great coldness and indifference, and too often with a total forgetfulness of the hand that bestowed them. This temper discovers itself in the common affairs of life, and the mutual intercourse that men have with men.
Those who are able to help us, are courted and caressed as long as we want their assistance; are honored and reverenced whilst they afford it; and as soon as they have made us happy, we begin to think they did us but justice, they gave us only what we had a right to; and the acknowlegements due to the benefactor are paid to our own merit and desert. By these steps our success in the world, owing perhaps intirely to the partiality our friends had for us, and which ought to make us humble and thankful, leads us to two odious vices very incident to human nature, though very unbecoming the condition of it, pride and ingratitude.
Public blessings make still less impression on the minds of men than private benefactions. Very few think of any obligation lying on themselves for the good they enjoy in common with their neighbors. The peace and quiet security procured by the care and protection of government, is rarely reflected on as creating any debt of gratitude to those who watch for us. When tribute is demanded by those to whom tribute is due, men are apt to consider what they pay as so much lost out of their property; whereas in truth no part of our fortune makes a better return to us than that which is bestowed to secure the whole, and to maintain peace and tranquillity in our days.
What mischief this temper of ingratitude produces in private and in public life, is but too manifest. Every man almost has his complaint against somebody, who has repaid his good offices with neglect and contempt, perhaps too with injuries; and in public life one would imagine that liberty was mistaken for a right to abuse the government; and that the dignity of a free state consisted in acting without regard or reverence to those who are at the head of it.
But the effects of this perverse disposition acting in the affairs of this life, and among ourselves, are matters of light complaint compared with its influence in matters of religion. We have all one great Friend, if we would acknowlege him ; one great Governor, if we would regard him. But we are too apt to deal with God as we do with the rest of our friends; we intreat, we beg for his assistance, when we are in distress ; and when we are relieved, we think but little of him.
The common blessings of Providence are received and enjoyed by multitudes, who seldom or never think of the hand that supplies their wants. The former and the latter rain, and the plentiful seasons, are ascribed to I know not what course of natural causes; but such causes are meant, to which no thanks are due: and this notion, contrary to reason and true philosophy, is the more readily embraced, because it furnishes men with the good things of the world, and lays them under no obligations to the Author of them. St. Paul says that God at no time left himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness. But how has this evidence been attended to ? The constant and regular supply of our necessities makes us imagine that we have a right to them by prescription, and that we have a property in them as children of the earth ; or that if any thing is owing to wisdom, it is to our own wisdom in managing the ground and the seasons to the best advantage. And thus forgetting the Author of every good gift, and transferring the bonor due to him to ourselves, we do, in the language of the prophet, ' sacrifice unto our net, and burn incense to our drag, because by them our portion is fat, and our meat plenteous :' Hab. i. 16.
But however these common blessings, which come to all without distinction, are neglected and overlooked, one would imagine that signal deliverances wrought in favor of any people, and in which the arm of the Lord is made bare and visible to every eye, should be had in perpetual remembrance, and be transmitted with sentiments of gratitude, honor, and religion to the latest posterity.
But the case is far otherwise !
The history of the Jews, a people under the peculiar and visible government of Providence, is a series of rebellions and