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the ground and seasons to the best advantage; thus forgetting the Author of every good gift, and transferring to ourselves the honor which is due to him, we do, in the language of the prophet, sacrifice unto our net, and burn incense to our drag, &c, Hab. i. 16,
But however these common blessings, which come to all without distinction, are neglected and overlooked, one would imagine that signal deliverances would be had in perpetual remembrance, and transmitted with gratitude and reverence to pos terity; yet 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 revolts against God, who had so often and so miraculously delivered them from the hands of their enemies. In their story the counsels of God with respect to them and to their neighbors are laid open: from their example we may learn to reckon with ourselves, and to know what to fear and what to hope from the justice and mercy of God; for the ways of Providence are unalterable, and the same wisdom and justice that governed the Jews, governs all the people of the world this topic enlarged on. Examples drawn from different nations.
Final punishments, whereby nations are rooted out, are of use to us as warnings to flee from the wrath to come; otherwise they can do us no service for should we ever fall into so wretched a condition, who can deliver us from the hand of the living God? But other judgments, how sharp soever they may be, are the effects of mercy, and intended for our correction: moreover the perverseness and corruption of men's hearts justify the goodness and equity of God in the infliction of such punishments; and they must blame themselves for not attending to the gentler calls of Providence.
Perhaps there may be no great occasion here to justify the ways of God towards the children of Israel; all are of one opi
nion, to condemn their perverseness and ingratitude. But are we ourselves innocent from this great offence?
Let us consider our own case; and we have great reason to consider it, now the enemies of our religion and liberty appear with triumph in the land. The unhappy divisions in civil matters are passed over; for our conduct towards God and his holy religion is the first and most interesting consideration.
The special providence of God over the people of Israel was not the effect of partiality, or a weak fondness for a particular set of men; but the house of Abraham was called for the sake of true religion; to preserve a knowlege of God in the world, &c.; and as they were chosen for these great purposes, so whenever they acted contrary to them, they ceased to be the chosen people, and were treated as enemies and rebels.
We are apt enough to boast of the purity of our reformed religion, and to flatter ourselves that we also are a peculiar people of God. And if we judge from our many deliverances, we have reason to acknowlege the care and protection of Heaven over us. But let us remember still that we too are chosen to profess and maintain the truth of God's holy gospel, and to bear our testimony against the corruptions which have prevailed over great part of the Christian world. If, instead of acting up to this, we grow careless and indifferent to our holy profession, we forfeit our title to God's protection, and must expect to be treated as enemies.
Our present condition is attended with fears and apprehensions; and if we look back and consider from whence we are fallen, we may see but too much reason to suspect that they are well founded. How has this nation been blessed with the
light of the gospel! How wonderfully and how often has it been rescued from danger, when to human appearance there was no help at hand! History of its successes, dangers, and deliverances, from the Reformation to the Restoration.
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.
If 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 compass of a few years. 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 in Scotland..
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 verse. 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,