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The manifest interposition of Almighty God in favour of these kingdoms, has seldom, if ever, been more signally displayed, or more generally acknowledged by persons of every rank, party, or description, than in the late memorable and important event of the King's happy, recovery. If so interesting a subject should give occasion to the publication of more thanksgiving sermons than usual, it will likewise suggest a sufficient apology for them. Considered as testimonies of loyalty to the King, and of gratitude to Him by whom Kings reign, they can scarcely be too



1 THESSALONIANS, iv. 16, 17.

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first then we which are alive and remain, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

OUR beloved King is now on his way, amidst the acclamations of an affectionate people, to St. Paul's Cathedral: there he will, this day, make his public acknowledgment to God, who heard his prayer in the time of trouble. It will be a joyful sight to thousands; and, perhaps, there is not a person in this assembly who has not felt a desire to be one of the spectators. But I am glad to meet you here. Many of you, I doubt not, earnestly and repeatedly prayed for the recovery of our gracious Sovereign; and you judge with me that the most proper expression of our gratitude and joy, is to unite in rendering praise to God upon the very spot where we have often presented our united prayers. And I infer, from the largeness of the congregation, that few who statedly worship with us are now absent; those excepted, who, residing in or near the line of procession, could not attend with propriety, nor perhaps with safety.

If He, in whose name we are met, shall be pleased (as his word encourages us to hope) to favour us with the influence of his Holy Spirit, and to enable us, in the exercise of that faith which gives subsistence and evidence to things as yet future and unseen, to realize the subject of my text to our minds; we shall have no reason to regret our coming together upon this occasion.

The immediate design of the apostle in these words, is to comfort believers under a trial, which some of you perhaps feel at this hour, and to which any of us may be called sooner than we are aware, the removal of our Christian friends or relatives, with whom we have often taken sweet counsel, to a better world. Such a stroke, whenever it takes place, will awaken painful sensations, which he who knows our frame does not condemn. The tendency of the Gospel is to moderate and regulate, but not to stifle or eradicate, the feelings of humanity. We may sorrow, but provision is made that we should not sorrow like those who

have no hope; "blessed are the dead who die in the Lord."* It is but a temporary separation; we shall see them again to unspeakable advantage; "for if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, them that sleep in Jesus shall God bring with him." The change of expression here is observable; "Jesus died." Death to him was death indeed death in all its horrors but he died for his people, to disarm death of its sting, to throw a light upon the dark passage to the grave, and to open the kingdom of heaven to all believers. For now, they "that believe in him shall never die." He so dispels their fears, and enlivens their hopes, that to them death is no more than a sleep; they sleep in Jesus, and are blessed. And when He, "who is their life," shall appear," as he certainly will, and every eye shall see him, "they also shall appear with him in glory." "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven, with the voice of the archangel and the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first.

But I think warranted to consider the text in a more general view, and to accommodate it to the happy event which demands our especial thankfulness and praise on this day. Let our thoughts rise from the King's splendid, though solemn, procession to St. Paul's, to contemplate that great advent of the King of kings, the idea of which filled and fired the apostles' thoughts." Behold! he cometh in the clouds !" He cometh in his own glory, in the glory of his Father, with all his angels, and with all his saints!||

If I attempt to illustrate the procession (so to speak) of that great day, for which all other days were made, by the most striking circumstances of the present day, it will, indeed, be comparing great things with small. In some respects, comparison will utterly fail, and I must have recourse to contrast. For what proportion can there be between finite and infinite; between the most important concerns of time, and those of eternity?

Let us, however, aim to fix our feeble conceptions upon the Personage whose approach is here announced; upon the manner of his coming; upon his train of attendants; and upon the final event of his appearance, with which the scene will close.

"The Lord Himself shall descend." At another time, if both houses of parliament, the judges, the foreign ministers, the principal part of the nobility and persons of distinction in the nation, were to assemble in St. Paul's, their presence would form a grand and affecting spectacle. But upon this occasion, though they

*Rev. xiv. 18. Matth. xxv. 31.

† John, xi. 26. 1 Thess. iii. 13.

+ Col. iii, 4.

Rev. i. 7.

should be all there, if the King was not seen among them, it is probable they would be all in a manner overlooked; and disappointment and anxiety would mark the countenance of every beholder. But it is more than probable, it is absolutely certain, that if all the glories of the invisible world were to open upon the view of those who feel their obligations to the Great Redeemer, they could not be completely happy, unless they were permitted to behold his glory. He has stipulated on their behalf, "Father, I will that they whom thou hast given me, should be with me where I am;"* and by his grace he qualifies them for their high privilege; so that even now they can say, "Whom have I in heaven but Thee? and there is none on earth that I desire beside thee." Jesus is the light, the life, the sun of the soul that knows him according to the revelation given in the Scriptures of his person, offices, and grace. And, as the most magnificent palace would be but a dungeon, if it had no apertures to admit light; so the whole creation would be dark and dreary to his people, were it possible that they could be excluded from his presence.

In this life they can know but little of the particulars of that happiness which God has prepared for them that love him; but in general they know, and this suffices them, that they shall see him as he is, and shall be like him and with him. They love him unseen, and while he is yet absent from them, the expectation, founded upon his own gracious promise, that he will shortly descend himself, to receive them and to avow them for his own, before the assembled world, is the food and joy of their hearts, which soothes their sorrows, and animates them under every dif ficulty they are exposed to, at present, for his sake.

Oh! the solemnity, the terrors, and the glories of that approaching day! Then they who have slighted his mercy, and abused his patience and forbearance, will tremble. Then many whom the world has admired or envied, many of "the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men," shall call (alas! in vain) to the rocks and mountains to fall on them and hide them from his presence. But they who love him and long for his appearance, will say, "Lo, this is our God, we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation!"|| May we, my brethren, have grace to use all diligence, that we "may be found of him in peace without spot and blameless."¶

Should we be asked, Why does every face express an air of satisfaction to-day? Why is the feeling of our own personal

*John, xvii. 24. † Psalm lxxiii. 25. T2 Pet. iii. 14.

| Isa. xxv. 9.

11 John, iii. 2. Rev. vi. 15, 16.



trials in a degree suspended? Why does the public appearance of the King diffuse so general a joy among his loyal subjects? We can give a ready answer: We love our King. Few of us indeed, are personally known to him. The blessing of being under a good King, can only be known to the bulk of a nation by the influence of his administration upon the public welfare. This influence we have felt. It is true, we were too little sensible of it, too little thankful for it, until an alarming dispensation awakened our fears, lest we should lose the privileges we had not sufficiently prized; but then each man would remind himself how highly favoured we had been, as a people, for many years under his government; then we understood our great obligations to the King as the minister of God to us for good. We were sitting peaceably under our own vines and fig-trees, highly distinguished among the nations, by our civil and religious liberty, our prosperity at home, and our reputation abroad. The news of the King's illness, therefore, not only awakened our apprehensions, but revived our gratitude; and from the same principle we now rejoice in his recovery.

Again; because we loved him, we sympathized with him. We were afflicted by his affliction. We not only considered him as a King, but we felt for him as a man, a husband, a father. Such an instance of the dependent, precarious state of human life; such a proof, that no rank or situation is exempted from a share in the calamities which sin has brought into the world, impressed us with compassion blended with awe. And not our compassion only, but our prayers, were engaged for the King, the Queen, and Royal Family. I am persuaded many persons could scarcely have prayed more earnestly, had it been their own private and domestic concern. prayers have been heard, and signally answered, therefore we rejoice and give thanks to-day. We wish not to detract from the skill of physicians; they have been employed and owned as instruments of the merciful will of God; but we ascribe the praise for a recovery, so little hoped for, and so critically seasonable, to Him who raiseth the dead, who speaks and it is done.


And we rejoice in expectation. Indeed, in this view we may, and should," rejoice with trembling."* How much may depend upon this single, this precarious life, we know not; neither do we know what might have been the consequences, if the rumor, at which we once shuddered, and which, for some hours, was generally believed, that God had taken him from us, had proved true.

*Psalm ii. 11.

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