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These are the considerations which fill me with hope as to the issue of our present contest. The contest itself is shameful, and causes me to blush. It is a contest between protestants and protestants, as well as between members of the same common family, by descent. Its course must be, and will be, distressing to us, so long as it lasts: but of its issue I have little apprehension. Our prospects are better than those of Britain in a moral and religious calculation. She is a part of the Latin earth, which constitutes the antichristian empire. The Church, though protestant, is completely secularized by her government, and made subservient to state purposes. Much blood, even the blood of the saints, has been unrighteously shed by her, since the reformation, for which no national repentance has ever been professed. She has been fighting for the Catholics of Spain, and has succeeded : and thus, for merely political purposes, by her military prowess, upheld the Man of Sin. Under her auspices, the Bourbon family, a family devoted to the Roman see, has been restored to the throne of France. By her test law she is daily profaning an holy ordinance
of her avowed Redeemer, perverting its design, so as to bring the body and blood of Christ into disrepute, and cause the name of God to be blasphemed, thus accumulating her guilt, treasuring up for herself wrath against the day of wrath.
Far be it from me, by giving this brief detail of facts, to attempt increasing our feelings of animosity against her. They are too much excited already; and far, very far, exceed the bounds of Christian propriety. Equally remote from my wishes is any design to depreciate the value of her exertions for' the advancement of the Redeemer's kingdom. God has pre-eminently honoured her, by making her the instrument of doing more for his cause than any other nation. Her Missionary and Bible Societies, her varied exertions for the diffusion of truth and the melioration of misery, have stamped upon her name imperishable glory.' Generations yet unborn, will rise up, and reading her history, will call her blessed. I feel it a duty, and consider it a privilege, that I am enabled to discharge the duty of rendering to her this deserved tribute of respect.
• The facts which have been adduced are brought to your view, merely as affording matter for religious calculation, as to the prospects of Britain, in the course of divine providence. The sins with which we are chargeable do not partake of that offensive character, which is indelibly impressed upon her sins. Our prospects, therefore, I repeat the remark, are better than her prospects.
* IV. Our national duty is the last topic of discourse to which I shall call your attention. This is to return unto the Lord in the way which he has revealed unto us in his Word. . . '
The nature of this duty has been explained, and the encouragement which God gives to them who repent, has been unfolded. I now proceed to urge upon you, Men and Brethren, an immediate performance of the duty. God, by his judgments which he has inflicted, and is still inflicting, calls us to repentance. By his mercies, which are not clean gone for ever, he invites us to his throne of grace, that we may obtain forgiveness at his hand. Be persuaded to listen to the voice of his displeasure, and to accept the offers of his clemency. .
It is a solemn inquiry, which every person ought to institute, how far he has been accessary to our present calamities by his private offences, and his political conduct?.
You who have hitherto rejected the great salvation, have unquestionably, by your unbelief, and continuance in arms against the God of lieaven and of earth, added largely, and are still adding to the amount of national guilt. The enmity of your carnal minds against God, unfits you for honouring him, and promoting his interest in the world. It also unfits you for discharging, acceptably to him, or profitably to yourselves and others, your various relative duties. In a day of darkness and trial, of suffering and. of sorrow such as this, where can you go for relief? where can you find comfort? On the earth to which your views are confined, and in whose concerns your hopes are centered, on the earth there is nothing but confusion, overturning, disappointment, and peril. To heaven you refuse to look for aid: and yet from heaven alone can you receive aid. From heaven the voice of mercy now addresses you, warning you of your danger, and exhorting you to improve the judg
ments which are abroad in the earth. In those judgments you cannot but see the instability of every thing which you have chosen as your chief good. Your hearts before now have responded amen to the wise man's testimony, vanity of vanities: all is vanity. Disappointed and chagrined, they have cried, give, give, at every failure. With such experience of the insufficiency of these things, you have now the superadded experience of their instability. Did they even satisfy you, they last but a day, and then are no more for ever. Now therefore, in the light which God's judgments shed around you, survey your inheritance here: and if you have nerve enough, cast your eye beyond the grave, and by the light which revelation pours upon the invisible state, survey your portion in eternity. And is it for this that you baffle with God? waste your time? spend your strength ? destroy your souls ? Verily, “ the heart of the sons “ of men is full of evil, and madness is in “ their heart while they live, and after that “ they go to the dead":” It is time for you to awake out of your slumbers ; it is high
u Eccles. ix. 3.