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Fe have made also a ditch between the two walls, for the water of the old pool; but ye have not looked unto the Maker of this Jerusalem, neither had respect unto him that fashioned it long ago. And in that day did the Lord God of hosts call to weeping, and to mourning, and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth : and behold joy and gladness, slaying oren, and killing sheep, eating flesh, and drinking wine; let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we shall die. And it was revealed in mine ears by the Lord of hosts, Surely this iniquity shall not be purged from you till ye die, saith the Lord of hosts, chap. xxii. 8–14. Do we deserve less cutting reproaches In that day, in the day of our public and private calamities, we have consulted wise men, we have assembled councils, we have fitted out fleets, and raised armies, we have pretended by them to secure these provinces from impending dangers, and we have not had respect unto him that fashioned them long ago. But what are wise men? What are councils What are navies 2 What are armies, and fortifications, but subordinate beings, which God directs as he pleaseth 2 Ah! ye penitential tears, ye days of sackcloth and ashes, ye solemn humiliations, ye sighs that ascend to God, ye fervent prayers, ye saints, who impart your souls in fervor; and above all, ye sincere conversions to the King of nations, love to his laws, obedience to his commands, submission to his will, tenderness to his people, zeal for his altar, devotedness to his worship; if ye do not prevail with the King of nations to favor our designs, what must our destiny be? And ye tragical designs, black attempts, shameful plots, impure associations, criminal intrigues, execrable oaths, atrocious calumnies, cruel falshoods, with what oceans of misery will ye overflow us, if yearm the King of nations against us.
To conclude. There is much imbecility, if no idolatry, in us, if, while we fear God, we stand in too much awe of second causes, which sometimes appear terrible to us... No, no, revolution of ages, subversion of states, domestic seditions, foreign invasions, contagious sicknesses, sudden and untimely deaths, ye are only the servants of that God, whose favorite creature I am. If, by his command, ye execute some terrible order on me, I will receive it as a comfortable order, because it is executed only for my good. Trouble my peace: perhaps it may be fatal to me. Turn the tide of my prosperity, which seems to constitute my glory: perhaps it may be dangerous to me. Snap the silken bonds, which bind me to objects, that have so much influence on the happiness of my life: perhaps they may become my idols. Pluck out my eyes, cut off my hands: perhaps they may cause me to offend, and may plunge me into the bottomless abyss, Matt. xviii. 8. Bind me to a cross: provided it be my Saviour's cross. Cut the thread of my life: provided the gates of immortal happiness be opened to IIle.
Christians, let us satiate our souls with these meditations. Let us give up our hearts to these emotions. Let us fear God, and let us fear nothing else. Fear not, thou worm Jacob. Fear thou not, for I am with thee: Be not dismayed, for I am thy God : I will strengthen thee, yea, I will help thee, yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the Lord, and thy Redeemer, the holy one of Israel. Who would not fear thee, O King of nations 2 for to thee doth it appertain, Isa. xli. 10, 14. May God inspire us with these sentiments . To him be honor and glory for ever! Amen.
Th; is something very noble, my brethren, in the end for which we are now assembled in the presence of God. His Providence hath infinitely diversified the conditions of those who compose this assembly. Some are placed in the most eminent, others in the most obscure posts of society. Some live in splendor and opulence, others in meanness and indigence. One is employed in the tribulance of the army, another in the silence of the study. Notwithstanding this infinite variety of employments, ranks, and ages, we all assemble today in one place; one object occupies us; one sentiment animates us; one voice makes the church resound, Praise ye the Lord, for his mercy endureth for ever, Psal. cxxxvi. 1. If there be an object, that can give a mortal any ideas of the first impressions, which are made on a soul, at its first entering the glorious palace of the blessed God in heaven, it is this. The first objects, that strike such a soul, are multitudes of all mations, tongues, and people, concentered in a meditation on the beneficence of God, prostrating themselves before his throne, casting their crowns at his feet, and crying out of the abundance of their hearts, which con
template the perfections of a Being worthy of their profoundest praise, Amen, blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be unto our God, for ever and ever, Amen, Rev. vii. 12. We give thee thanks, O Lord God almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come ; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned, chap. xi. 17. Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God almighty ; just and true are thy ways, thou king of saints / chap. xv. 3. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father ; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever, Amen, chap. i. 5, 6. This is the employment of the blessed in heaven: this is what we are doing to-day on earth. * But what a contradiction, what a contrast appears, when, lifting up the exterior habit of piety, that covers some of us, we examine the inward dispositions of the heart. The psalms, which are uttered with the voice, are contradicted by the tempers of the heart. The mouths, that were just now opened to bless the Creator, will presently be opened again to blaspheme and to curse him. The praises, which seemed so proper to please him in whose honor they were offered, will incur this reproof, Thou wicked man | What hast thou to da to take my covenant in thy mouth & Psal. l. 16. My brethren, if we would join our voices with those of angels, we must have the sentiments of angels. We must, (at least, as far as the duty is imitable by such frail creatures) we must, in order to worship God, as those happy spirits praise him, love him as they do, serve him as they do, devote ourselves to him as they devote themselves to him ; and this is the manner of praising God, to which I exhort, and in which I would endeavor to instruct . you to day, agreeably to the prophet's exalted notion of it in the words of the text. What day can be more proper to inspire such a noble design What day can be more proper to engage you to mix your worship with that of glorified intelligences, than this, on which we are come unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, and to the first-born which are written in heaven P Heb. xii. 22. 23. But, who are we, to be admitted into a society so holy 2 Great God | Thou dost appear to us today, as thou didst formerly to thy prophet, sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and thy train. Jilling the temple, Isa. vi. 1. Around thee stand the Seraphims, covering themselves with their wings in thy majestic presence, and crying one to another, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory, ver. 3. We are stricken, as thy prophet was, with such a tremendous vision, and each of us cries with him, We is me ! I am undone 1 I am a man of unclean lips 1 and yet, mine eyes have seen the King, the lord of hosts, ver. 5. O great God! command one of thy Seraphims to fly to us, as he flew to him; bid him touch our mouths, as he touched his, with a live coal taken from off the altar, ver. 6. and, in this day of grace and mercy, let him say to each of us, Lo, this hath touched thy lips, and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged 1 Amen, ver, 7. Praise is comely for the upright. The praising of God is a duty, of which we may form two different notions: a general, and a particular notion. . By a general notion of praise, I mean, the exercise of a man, who, being capable of examining sublime objects, and of comprehending grand sub