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4. Did you sigh, and mourn, and pray sincerely, during the late calamities? And hath God heard your prayers? Then be sure you thank him for it; and ad. mire his condescension that he would notice your poor defective prayers. Forget not to pay the vows you made unto him in the day of your distress; but espes cially take courage to pray more abundantly for the time to come. Many are tempted to neglect the blessed duty of intercession almost entirely; our prayers, say they, are so weak, we scarcely know how to pray for ourselves; it seems presumption to think our prayers can do any good. One soldier indeed is a feeble defence to the nation; but large armies consist of sin gle soldiers: should each forsake his post, because his single help is inconsiderable, we must fall a prey to our enemies; but when each preserves and maintains his post, we are well protected. Our weapons, my fellow-soldiers, are earnest prayers: that christian who helps not the cause of his church and nation against their enemies by his prayers, deserts his post, and leaves, for his part, the coast defenceless. One las as good a right and reason to desert his post as another: if all desert, if none remain to make intercession, we are defenceless indeed. But if each christian abounds in this daty, our cause shall certainly prosper. Pray then, my brethren, each of you, under this persuasion, that you are one of a numerous army of supplicants dispersed all over the land; and unitedly intreat the LORD to preserve peace, to revive religion, to reform our manners. Intreat him to bless your king and his fumits, with all the blessings of time and eternity; and
to continue his descendants a blessing to these lands for generations to come. Intreat the LORD to impart his grace to our princes and nobles, that they may im. prove their greatness, wealth, and influence, to promote and adorn true religion. Pray that magistrates may be indeed “for a terror to evil doers, and for the “ praise of them that do well:" that ministers of the gospel may be endowed with knowledge and wisdom, judgment and experience, boldness and faithfulness, humility and holiness, zeal and love. Did you pray more for us, we should live more holy lives, preach more powerfully, and be blessed more abundantly with extensive usefulness. Pray the Lord of the har. vest to send forth labourers into his harvest: pray for the conversion of wicked clergymen, those blind lea. ders of the blind: pray for the rising generation of ministers, that they may be furnished and prepared for the work and charge, that is about to devolve on them: pray for the places of education of our youth, publick and private; that men may thence come forth qualified, and disposed to serve God in church and state; and that the rising generation may be trained up to godliness and honesty: pray that bigotry, superstition, error, and real enthusiasm, may cease; that offences and divisions may be prevented; that all true christians may love one another with a pure heart, fervently; may adorn the gospel by exemplary lives; be filled with joy unspeakable and full of glory; and strive together for the faith of the gospel. Pray for your children, relations, neighbours, benefactors, and enemies, be sure not to forget them. Pray for the spread of the gospel, the fall of antichrist, the calling of the Gentiles, the conversion of the Jews, and the universal prevalence of true religion. Finally, my brethren, pray for the unworthy author of this exhortation, that both by his life and doctrine he may set forth the true and lively word of God, and when death comes, may be found so doing.
5. Perhaps, at the time alluded to, you did not heartily pray, but have since been taught to pray: well then, you have double cause for thankfulness: you partake of many blessings in answer to prayer, though you never joined in seeking them by prayer. Be not then now negligent in thanksgiving, though you were in praying; and henceforth forget not to unite your re. quests for national mercies, with those of that army of supplicants, of divers denominations, who are indeed the bulwark of the land.
Finally-Do any continue impenitent and ungodly? I fear I shall exhort you to gratitude in vain: if you neglect prayer, I fear you will have as little heart to praise and thanksgiving, though you have abundant cause. But two hints. I will leave with you: though you despise spiritual blessings, you value temporal blessings inordinately. In answer to prayer, these are continued to our land, and to you among the rest. Do not then revile and ill-treat your praying neighbours, to whom under God you are indebted for your share of national security. And remember, that although, through the intercession of others, you may escape temporal calamities during lise: yet death will come VOL. II.
exceptas in case of approbation there is additional cause for gratitude, in case of disapprobation for deeper humiliation.*
Let it then be allowed, (and who can deny it?) that this nation has been peculiarly favoured by a merciful Providence: and waving, but by no means yielding, the question concerning publick measures, I would ask such as continue dissatisfied, whether Elijah was the less bound to thank the Lord for his daily provi. sion, because it was sent him by ravens? whether David did wrong in blessing God for seasonable deliverance from the rage of Saul, because he could not approve the conduct of the Philistines, whose sudden invasion called away his persecutor?-or whether the primitive Christians, during three hundred years under pagan emperors, generally of very bad character, and most of them persecutors, were never called on to thank the LORD for their share in publick peace, or exemption from national calamities? Alas, in how few ages and places, if this reserve be admitted, have Christians been so much as required to be thankful for national mercies! How small a tribute of praise must our gracious God receive from his whole church in this behalf!
My brethren, we do not meet together at this time to enquire what men have been doing; but what the Lord hath done for us as a guilty nation. He hath
not dealt with us according to our sins, neither bath 'he rewarded us after our iniquities:' but “ he hath
• 2 Sam. xxiv. 1. 2. Chron. ii. 11.
" withdrawn his hand, and wrought for his name's "sake, that it should not be polluted in the sight of the “ heathen." In prosecuting this subject, I shall,
I. Make some brief observations on the text, as illustrated by the LORD's dealings with the nation of Israel.
II. More fully consider the words as applicable to the present circumstances of this our favour.
ed land. 1. Then, I shall make some brief observations on the text, as illustrated by the Lord's dealings with the nation of Israel.
If we carefully weigh the import of a few remarkable passages of scripture, we shall find them throw much light on the subject, and prepare the way for all our subsequent enquiries. When Israel had made and worshipped the golden calf, the Lord said to Moses, “ Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax “ hot against them, and that I may consume them; and " I will make of thee a great nation. And Moses be“ sought the LORD bis God, and said, Why doth thy " wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast “ brought forth out of the land of Egypt, with great " power and with a mighty hand? Wherefore should “ the Egyptians speak and say, For mischief did he “ bring them out to slay them in the mountains? Turn " from thy fierce wrath and repent of this evil against “ thy people. Remember Abraham, and Isaac, and " Jacob, thy servants, to whom thou swarest, by thine “ own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your