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man ? Can I consistently with the purity and re&i. tude of my nature ; can I consistently with my character as the moral governor of the world pass by with impunity these wanton, these repeated, these gross violations of
law ? Shall not my soul be avenged on fuch a nation as this ?
You will readily notice that the expression, shall not my foul be avenged, is rather uncommon; it is used after the manner of men and represents the great God as earnestly and unalterably bent on bis purpose ; it is designed to express both the certainty and the severity of the judgments to be executed on infatuated Israel.
This day was set a part for the solemn exercises of fafting, humiliation and prayer on account of the alarming aspect of providence to our country. We are not called merely to deprecate that wrath which apparently hangs over our nation; they are greatly mistaken who imagine that this should be our only, or even our principal exercise : we ought to be deeply impressed that our national offences are the cause of our national calamities; we ought impartially to examine what transgression on our part has kindled this hot displeasure ; to acknowledge the righteousness of Jehovah in all the judgments with which we are threatened ; to improve by faith the atonement of his Eternal Son as the only mean of our reconciliation; to return to him in the exercise of unseigned repentance, and then earnestly to plead with an offended God that in the midst of wrath he would remember mercy.
In order to aslist you in these important exercismay
1. To consider those crimes with which as a nation we are obviously chargeable-and
11. Those evidences of divine
which we have occasionally felt and under which we now fuffer.
1. As a nation, we are chargeable with shame. ful ingratitude for privileges enjoyed. It must be fresh in your own recollection when the spot where we now worship was ravaged by the incursions of a formidable, unpitying foe; when the murderous favage with his tomahawk and fcalping knife prowled around your dwellings, often piercing your fouls with his terrific yells; when the doors of your fancluary were shut up ; when your habitations* were left desolate ; when the lon, torn from the arms of his mother, and the husband froin the embraces of his wife, were exposed to the toils and dangers of the
* The British army under the command of General Bura guayne, in their descent from Canada, marched along the Hudson river,about sixteen miles to the west of Salem; but small detachments of the enemy penetrated that and the neighboring towns, plundering the inhabitants : Parties of Indians also sallied out through these settlements, and murdered a whole family in the vicinity of Salem ; and the 101213 was almost entirely evacuated in August of 1777, when the inhabitants, through apprehension of the enemy, fled for shelter into the interior of the country.
field; and you were driven to Arangers for a miferable shelter from the inclemency of the season. In that hour of peril and panic, the
wrongs interposed in your behalf; disconcerted the adverfa: ry; crowned with victory equally unexpected and signal* your feeble exertions, and restored you to the peaceful poflession of your own habitations. Since the revolutionary war, which terminated in the independence of our country, we have enjoyed a degree of prosperity without a parallel in the history of any nation ; We are favored with a constitution probably the most mild, the most equitable, and, while supported by public virtue, the most diffu. five of general happiness that was ever framed by man. While our ears have often heard the thunder of distant war; while almost every arrival upon our coasts has brought the intelligence of the murderous battle fought; of other wives made widows, and other children fatherless ; of old kingdoms convulsed, and new empires erected on their ruins, our peace has been uninterrupted : We have eat every man of his own vine, and every one of his fig tree, and drank every one of the waters of his cistern, without any to annoy or alarm : While famine has waved her scourge over other countries and driven thousands of the inhabitants to the necessity of begging their bread, we have literally rolled in worldly afflu
* The memorable defeat and capture of General Burguoyne took place about the 17th of October, when the inha. bitants returned to their own possessions.
ence ; our foil, under the husbandman's cultivation, has yielded a rich profusion of fruits, and our com merce has wafted upon our fhores the produâions of every foreign clime. These outward privileges have been crowned with the infinitely more precious means of salvation. We have enjoyed the oracles of the living God in our own language, and the various ordinances of his worship in their native fimplicity and purity. When privileges fo pre-eminent are bestowed on a person or a people, returns of thanksgiving, and obedience are expected in proportion ; but the blessings heaped upon us as a nation have been equalled only by our ingratitude and impiety. Have we as individuals, been walking in the fear of the Lord, regulating ourselves by his word as the rule, and consulting his glory as the highest end of our lives? As families have we been offering up the tribute of praise to the common Author of our mercies; has each been encouraging the other to the performance of every civil, and social, and religious duty ; have we been thus teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual fongs? Have we as a nation exceeded all others in gratitude, as we have been elevated above them in privilege ? As ci. tizens, as ministers, as magistrates have we advanced hand in hand, each aiming at the good of the whole ; and all promoting the glory of Him who raised usto a rank so exalted among the nations of the earth ? How reverse have been our character,and condu&t ? More ungrateful, more infatuated than Jefhurun we have waxed fat; we have forgotten the God that made us, who redeemed us in the hour of jeopardy, and lightly efteemed the rock of our salvation. The distinguishing goodness of God instead of leading us to repentance, to reformation of life has produced pride, presumptuousness, licentiousness of principle, and profligacy of manners. Our affluence, which ought to have flowed in supplying the wants of the indigent; in supporting the ordinances of religion; in propagating the gospel through the frontier settlements; and in conveying to the perishing hcathen the means of falvation, has been prostituted to luxury of living; to extravagance of dress; to the aggrandizement of our families; or in adding house to house and farm to farm. Our language has corresponded with that of the presumptuous monarch of Egypt, Who is the Lord that we should obey him ? “ Our gold, our filver, our poffeffions are our own, and for the gratification of our own appetites they shall be employed." Our ingratitude is thus a fin of high aggravation, and is one cause why the Lord God is pleading his controversy with our land. Hear O heavens, and give ear, 0 earth, for the Lord hath Spoken; I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. They have forjaken the Lord; they have provoked the holy one of Israel to anger, they have gone away backward. Might he not in rigbre. ous indignation have added, Ah, I will cafe me of mine adversaries; I will avenge me of mine enemies?