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vitude and oppression ;-miracles of fo ftupendous a nature, that I take delight to offer them, as often as I have an opportunity, to your devoutest contemplation. — This, you would think as high and as complicated an aggravation of their fins as could be urged. This was not all;—for besides God's goodness in first favouring their miraculous escape, a series of successes, not to be accounted for from second causes, and the natural course of events, had crowned their heads in so remarkable a manner, as to afford an evident proof, not only of his general concern for their welfare, but of his particular providence and attachment to them above all people upon earth.In the wilderness he led them like sheep, and kept them as the apple of his eye:-he suffered no man to do them wrong, but reproved even kings for their fake.—When they entered into the promised land, -no force was able to stand before them ;-when in poffeffion of it,—no army was able to drive them out; —and in a word, nature, for å time, was driven backwards to serve them; and even the
Sun itself had stood still in the midst of heaven to secure their victories.
A people with so many testimonies of God's favour', who had not profited thereby, so as to become a virtuous people, must have been utterly corrupt;—and so they were.-And it is likely, from the many specimens they had given, in Mofes's time, of a disposition to forget God's benefits, and upon every trial to rebel against him,--he foresaw they would certainly prove a thankless and unthinking people, extremely inclined to go aftray and do evil;—and therefore, if any thing was likely to bring them back to themselves, and to conlider the evils of their misdoings,-it must be the dread of some temporal calamity, which, he prophetically threatened, would one day or other befal them :-hoping, no doubt,that if no principle of gratitude could make them an obedient people, at least they might be wrought upon by the terror of being reduced back again by the fame all-powerful hand to their first distressed condition ;- which, in the end, did actually overtake them.-For at length, when neither the alternatives of promises or threatenings,—when neither rewards or corrections,-comforts or afflictions, could foften them ;-when continual instructions, warnings,-invitations,-reproofs,--miracles, -prophets and holy guides, had no effect, but instead of making them grow better, apparently made them grow worse,—God's patience at length withdrew,--and he suffered them to reap the wages of their folly, by letting them fall into the state of bondage from whence he had first raised them;—and that not only in that partial instance of those in Samaria, who were taken by Hofea,—but, I mean, in that more general instance of their overthrow by the army of the Chaldeans;-wherein he suffered the whole nation to be led away, and carried captive into Nineveh and Babylon. -We may be assured, that the history of God Almighty's just dealings with this froward and thoughtless people—was not wrote for nothing;—but that it was given as a loud call and warning of obedience and gratitude, for all races of men to whom the light of revelation should hereafter reach :—and therefore I have made choice of this subject, as it seems likely to furnish some reflections seasonable for the beginning of this week,—which should be devoted to such meditations as may prepare and fit us for the solemn fast which we are shortly to observe, and whose pious intention will not be answered by a bare assembling ourfelves together, without making some religious and national remarks suitable to the occafion.-Doubtless, there is no nation which e. ver had so many extraordinary reasons and supernatural motives to become thankful and virtuous, as the Jews had;—which, besides the daily blessings of God's providence to them, has not received sufficient blessings and mercies at the hands of God, so as to engage their best services, and the warmest returns of gratitude they can pay.
There has been a time, may be, when they have been delivered from some grievous calamity,- from the rage of pestilence or famine, —from the edge and fury of the sword, from the fate and fall of kingdoms round them ;they may have been preserved by providential discoveries of plots and designs against the wellbeing of their states, or by critical turns and revolutions in their favour when beginning to fink.-By fome signal interposition of God's providence, they may have rescued their liberties, and all that was dear to them, from the jaws of some tyrant;-or may have preserved their religion pure and uncorrupted, when all other comforts failed them. If other countries have reason to be thankful to God for any one of these mercies,—much more has this of ours,-- which, at one time or other, has received them all;-infomuch that our history, for this last hundred years, has scarce been any thing but the history of our deliverances and God's blessings ;—and these in so complicated a chain, such as were scarce ever vouchsafed to any people besides, except the Jews;—and with regard to them, though in. ferior in the stupendous manner of working, yet no way fo~in the extensive goodness of their effects, and the infinite benevolence and power which must have wrought them for us.