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"such a nation as this!" To relieve my thoughts, I gladly hasteu to inquire,

III. Whether there be any hope that "such a nation as this" may yet escape deserved ruin? and if there be, in what way this mercy is to be sought and expected? I confess I have little hopes of it but upon one or the other of the following suppositions :

1. If the Lord be graciously pleased to succeed the professed design of this day's service, and to put forth that power which accompanied his message by Jonah to Nineveh, so that a general spirit of repentance and humiliation may spread throughout the land-if he bow the hearts of both rulers and people, to confess and forsake those sins which have awakened his displeasureif the laws which concern his honour, will, and worship, be speedily and impartially enforced; and profaneness and immorality discountenanced and suppressed-if, instead of trusting in fleets and armies, we acknowledge the Lord of hosts, and look up to him for a blessing-if men," fearing God and hating covetousness,"* are raised up to assist in our councils, and to stand forth in their country's cause; men, who will rely on his guidance and protection, and disdain the little arts and intrigues on which alone short-sighted politicians depend for the success of their measures ;-should I live to see such a happy internal change, I should hope that, notwithstanding our great provocations, the Lord, whose mercies are infinite, would be yet entreated for us; that he would turn from the fierceness of his anger, maintain our tranquillity at home, and, by his wisdom, and his influence over the hearts of men, put an honourable and satisfactory end to the unhappy war in which we are engaged.

2. However the bulk of the nation may determine, if the remnant who know his name, and have tasted of his love, should be deeply impressed with a concern for his glory, and, forsaking their little animosities and party interests, should unite in application to the throne of grace, and be found in those duties and practices which their profession of the Gospel, and the state of things around them require, there is yet hope. For the prayers of God's people have a powerful efficacy. The holy and benevolent importunity of Abraham would have prevailed in favour even of Sodom, if ten righteous persons had been found in it. When Sennacherib invaded Judea, had overrun the greatest part of the country, and thought Jerusalem would be an easy conquest, Hezekiah, though he took such precautions as prudence suggested, did not defeat him by arms, but by prayer. In the prayers of true believers is our best visible resource. These are the char

*Exodus, xviii. 21,

+ Gen. xviii.

t Isa. xxxvii.


iots and horsemen of Israel. United prayer, humiliation of heart, a mourning for sin in secret, and a faithful testimony against it in public, will more essentially contribute to the safety and welfare of the nation, than all our military preparations without them. We boast of our navy, and it has often proved, by the blessing of God, our bulwark; but how easily can he who walketh upon the wings of the wind, dash the best appointed fleet to pieces against the rocks, or sink it like lead in the mighty waters! We boast of our troops; but he can easily cut them off with sickness, give them up to a spirit of discord, or impress them with a sudden terror, so that the stoutest hearts shall tremble, and the mighty warriors turn pale and drop their weapons! A thousand unforeseen events and contingencies are always at his disposal, to blast and disappoint the best concerted enterprises; for that the race is not necessarily sure to the swift, nor the battle to the strong,* is not only asserted in the Scripture, but confirmed by the experience and observation of all ages. But his people are precious in his sight, and their prayers he will hear. Unknown and unnoticed as they are in the world, he highly values them. He has redeemed them by his blood; he inhabits them by his Spirit; he has prepared heaven for them; and the earth itself is continued for their sakes, and shall be destroyed when they are all removed from it. They are the light, the salt, the strength, and the safety of the nations among which they are dispersed. Except the Lord of hosts had left a small remnant of these among us, we should long ago have been as Sodom, and made like unto Gomorrah. To his attention to their prayers and concerns, I doubt not, the preservation of this city, at the time of the late horrible riots, may be ascribed. I wish I could now recall to your minds the emotions which some of you then felt, when your countenances bore a strong impression of your inward anxiety. Those terrors came upon you unexpectedly; and, though they are forgotten by too many, scenes equally distressing may present themselves before you are aware. O may he in mercy animate this remnant, now to stand in the breach as one man, and to wrestle for a sinful land! Then we may at least arise to the hope of the Ninevites, "Who can tell but the Lord may turn from his fierce anger, that we perish not?"§

Let me now close with an address,

1. To such of you in this assembly as fear the Lord. A part of you are a poor and afflicted people, and by your obscure situation in life, are precluded from a very distinct knowledge of the

*Psalm xxxiii. 16, 17. Eccles. ix. 11. Jonah, iii. 9.

Matth. v. 13, 14. + Isa. i. 9.

causes, the present effects, and possible consequences of the war. You live in a happy ignorance of what passes in the world, and take no part in the disputes which, in many places, ensnare and embitter the spirits even of professors of the Gospel. Your principles inspire you with sentiments of duty to government, with the love of peace, and with a just sense of the value of your privileges, civil and religious. But though you are poor, and can serve your country in no other way, you may serve it effectually by your prayers. You have access to the throne of grace. Intercede, therefore, for a land that lieth in wickedness; be coneerned for the honour of his name, for the blindness and misery around you. It may be the Lord will be entreated of you, and: for your sakes; and for the sake of such as you, command the destroying angel to stay his hand.

Those of you who have better opportunity of knowing the state of our public affairs, have likewise a more extensive sphere of service. You will, I hope, improve your influence in your families and connexions, and, by your advice and example, endeavour to awaken all with whom you converse, to join in promoting the design of this day's service. I call upon all "who have ears to hear, and eyes to see," the voice and the hand of the Lord, the rich and the poor, the young and the aged, to be faithful, circumspect, and zealous in your several stations.

Should wrath be decreed, and there be no remedy, at least you shall prevail for yourselves. You shall know that the Lord whom you serve is a strong hold in the day of trouble, and is mindful of them who put their trust in him. You can hardly be too much alarmed for the nation; but for yourselves you have no just cause of fear. We are commissioned to say to the righteous, "It shall be well with him."* The Saviour to whom you have fled for refuge has all power in heaven and earth. He will keep you as the apple of his eye, and hide you under the shadow of his wings. He can screen you from evil, though thousands and ten thousands should suffer and fall around you. Or if he appoints you a share in suffering, he will be with you to support and comfort you, and to sanctify all your troubles. His word to you is, "when you hear of wars and rumours of wars, see that ye be not troubled."+ Fear not them who, at the most, can but kill the body. The light of his countenance is sufficient to cheer you in the darkest hour, and your best interest, your everlasting inheritance, is safe beyond the reach of enemies, in a kingdom (how unlike the kingdoms of the earth!) which cannot be shaken. Your life is hid with Christ in God; and "when Christ, who is Heb. xii. 28.

Isa. iii. 10.

+ Matth. xxiv. 6.

your life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory ?" Thither neither sin nor sorrow shall be able to follow you. Then your sun shall go down no more, and the days of your mourning shall be ended. In patience, therefore, possess your souls. Be not moved by appearances, but remember all your concerns are in the hands of Him who loved you, and gave himself for you. Let those who know him not, tremble when he ariseth to judgment and to shake terribly the earth; but do you sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, make him your fear and your dread, and he shall be to you for a sanctuary ;† and in a Hittle time he will come to receive you to himself, and to wipe all tears from your eyes.

2. But what can I say to the rest of the congregation? Though we are all met in the same place, and outwardly engaged in the same service, so that, to the eye of man, we may appear as one people, animated with one and the same desires, the eye of the Searcher of hearts sees and notices a real and important distinction amongst us. He draws, with infallible certainty, the line of separation. He knows who are truly on his side, whose hearts are tender,‡ who are afraid of his judgments, and are mourning for their own sins, and the sins of the nation; and he knows and sees that too many here have neither his fear nor his love abiding in them. You may comply with an outward form, and abstain from a meal; but you neither abstain from sin, nor desire to do so. To-day, you look serious, and by your presence seem to assent to the confessions which have been made, and the prayers which have been offered in your hearing. To-morrow, I fear, will show that all your semblance of seriousness was but hypocrisy ; and that though you drew nigh to God with your lips, your hearts were far from him. But be not deceived; God will not be mocked. You have contributed largely to swell the measure of our national sin; herein you have been hearty and persevering. Do not think that the lip-service of a single day will make any alteration either in your state or in your guilt. Rather that pretended humiliation, by which you act towards God as if you thought he was altogether such a one as yourselves, is an aggravation of your wickedness, and no better than affronting him to his face. Yet I am glad of an opportunity of speaking to you. Oh! that I could prevail on you to seek him in earnest, while he is to be found. You cannot serve, or love, or trust him, unless you be born again. But Jesus is exalted to produce this change in the heart of a sinner, by the power of his

*Col. iii. 4. Isa. viii. 13, 14. 2 Chron. xxxiv. 27. Psalm 1. 21.

Mark, vii. 6.

Holy Spirit, and to give faith, repentance, and remission of sins. Could I convince you of this, the rest would be easy. Then, feeling your wants and misery, you would ask mercy of him, and asking, you would surely receive; for he has said, "Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast_out.'* O Lord, do thou convince them by their own power! Open the blind eyes, unstop the deaf ears, and turn the stony heart into flesh.

Till this be done, you are neither fit to live, nor fit to die. What will you do in a day of public calamity, should you live to see it, if you should be despoiled of your earthly comforts, and have no share in the consolation of the Gospel? But should the Lord answer prayer, and prolong our national prosperity, still you must be ruined, unless saved by grace. For what will you do in the hour of death? This is inevitable, and may, for aught you know, be very near. If I could assure you of peace and wealth for the term of a long life, still, without the peace of God, and an interest in the unsearchable riches of Christ, you must be miserable at the last, and lie down in sorrow.

But, O that we may rather, with one consent, search and try our ways, and turn to the Lord from whom we have so greatly revolted. To us, indeed, belong shame and confusion of face; but to the Lord our God belong mercies and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against him.

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