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THE DUTY OF AMERICA (SER. XIII. time to return unto God. “Seek ye the “ Lord while he may be found, call ye “ upon him while he is near. Let the “ wicked forsake his way, and the unright“eous man his thoughts : and let' him “ return unto the Lord, and he will have “ mercy upon him: and to our God, for he “will abundantly pardon"." Whilst the tempest of his wrath is breaking upon our land, and spreading its desolations throughout all her borders, hasten to the refuge which he has provided, and hide yourselves “ in the strong hold,” where, though you may hear its roaring, it will not come near you ; though you may behold its ravages, it will not touch you. . To you also, Believers, God's judgments administer a most fearful rebuke, and call for the exercise of unfeigned and univer. sal penitence. . Your sins have in no common degree contributed to our present calamity. Had there been ten righteous men in Sodom, it would have been spared. Considering the number of those in our land who fear God, we may be well assured that had they been faithful, keeping their garments
x Is. Iv. 6, 7.
XII.] IN THE PRESENT CRISIS
unspotted from the world, we would still have been safe from the scourgings of our Heavenly Father. . His indignation is far greater against the sins of his people than against those of his adversaries. Judgment first begins with his house, which he purges by the fire of sufferings, and then that judgment terminates in its force and ruinous effects upon the ungodly.
Believers, you have displayed too much of the spirit of the world-you have acted too much according to its maxims. You have conformed too much to its sinful habits. Your love has become cold; your faith has lost its power; your holiness of life is cramped, confined to the closet, rather than expanded throughout your social intercourse. You have conducted yourselves like politicians, rather than like Christians. This has been lamentably the case with multitudes of professing believers, in discharging their duty as members of civil society. They have adopted the vngodly and atheistic system of political expediency. They have tampered with their consciences, and sacrificed the interests of their Redeemer to the interests of their party. They
have compromitted the honour of their God for the honour of political chieftains. In the souls of many of them God has sent barrenness, and upon their religious worship has written, Thou art found wanting.
Where now, in this day of rebuke, are the professing believers who, like Caleb, follow the Lord fully? Where those who sigh for the iniquities which prevail, and have boldness to plead God's cause? They are clamorous for their party : but the tongue of too many cleaves to the roof of their mouths when called upon to'speak for their Redeemer. Such are the bitter fruits of that accursed spirit of party, which has not merely spread its deleterious power among worldly men, to the injury of social intercourse, but has found its way into the Church, as Satan did in paradise, and erected on the very walls of Zion, the holy city, the standard of revolt from Zion's God. “ Ye that make mention of the Lord,” be then warned by God's controversy with us. It is righteous on his part, and merited by ourselves. On the household of faith in the course of providence, depends our escape
and safety. You have experienced enough of the goodness and faithfulness of your God to encourage you to arise, and return unto him, confessing your sins. Thus doing, he is faithful and just to forgive you your sins, and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness.
Hearers, whether you are yet in the world, or through grace made members of the Church, let the signs of the times enforce upon you the duty of repentance-not merely a sorrow for sin, but reformation of your evil deeds. I might enlarge upon other motives, but in the present state of the world, this appears to me the most important. Look to Europe. Survey the wrecks of former thrones, the fragments of former greatness. Kings are permitted again to breathe and exercise their royal power. But how do they improve God's solemn pause in his judgments ? By establishing the right of the most powerful to oppress the weakest; by parcelling out countries and their inhabitants, to be disposed of to another master, as they please. But this is not all. They have restored to the throne
of France, and uphold the Bourbon family, whose ancestor was an APOSTATE from the truth, and whose successors have been notorious for their perfidy and cruelty to Protestants, as well as their personal profligacy. and their corruption of the morals of their subjects. This family has been thoroughly devoted to the interests of the antichristian Church, and more deeply marked with al} the characteristic features of crime before God, in relation to his law, together with his Gospel, than any family who ever possessed royal authoritye.”
. Can this state of things continue? Is it probable that no change will take place ? If the Bourbon family, that faithless and bloody family, keep possession of the throne, it will be a paradox in the moral government of God. If every thing in Europe returns quietly to its former state; if the Pope be again seated in his chair, and the inquisition restored in Spain, how grossly erroneous have
« Sully's Memoirs. Gifford's France, during the reigns of Louis XIII., XIV., &c. Laval's history of the Reform in France. Robinson's Mem. of Reform. in France, contained in the lives of Claude and Saurin.