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for the purpose of awakening a deeper sense of shame and humiliation. What portion of the Lord's vineyard hath had more done for it-than hath been done for ours ?—Why then, when he looketh that it should bring forth grapes—bringeth it forth wild grapes ?
My brethren—let me avail myself of the peculiar occasion which now calls us together, to press this point more strongly on your notice. No man surely can look back upon the events of the last fifty years—can reflect upon what has happened to other countries, and what has been the state of this—can mark the tumults which have shaken surrounding nations, and the wars which have deluged them with blood, while all here has been internal peace and security—can see all Europe, at one time banded together against our very existence in vain, and at another seeking to us as the arbiters of its differences-no man surely can consider all this, without coming to the conclusion, that the Lord was with us, and therefore it was that we did not greatly fall.
We may persist, if we please, in attributing the preservation of this kingdom to second causes, we may point to her insular situation, to the skill and courage of her fleets, the discipline and perseverance of her armies, her free institutions and equal laws—these things, in the estimation of “ the wise disputer of this world”—the mere worldly politician, may sufficiently account for our national prosperity. But the Christian patriot argues very differently.-" If the Lord had not been on our side, now may Israel say, if the Lord had not been on our side when men rose up against us, they had swallowed us up quick when they were so wrathfully displeased at us.—But praised be the Lord, who hath not given us over for a prey unto their teeth.-Our help standeth in the Lord, who hath made heaven and earth 1."
Let that help be withdrawn, my brethren, let but that help be withdrawn-and the seas which are now a defence to this kingdom, shall be an highway for her enemies to come up against her-her fleets shall be discomfited, and her armies “ flee when no man pursueth”—her laws shall be destroyed by those whom they were enacted to control, and her free institutions overthrown, by a people now no long worthy such blessings.—Is it only idle infatuation to predict such things ?- They have befallen mightier empires, and why may they not overtake us ?–We have not destroyed all lands utterly, as did Assyria.—All the kingdoms of the earth are not given to us, as they were to Cyrus.-We cannot lament with Alexander, that there are no worlds left for us to conquer--nor is all the known earth a province to us, as it well nigh was to Rome.-These all were greater and mightier than we—and where are they ?—The Lord withdrew his countenance, and they “ brought their years to an end, even as a tale that is told '.
Shall we not, if we are wise, ponder these things ?-Consider, then, I entreat you, the blessings that have been poured upon this country—the deliverances that have been vouchsafed to her—the means of grace that have been offered, no where more freely than in this our favoured land. Then look abroad upon the state of morals and religion among us, at this momentand mark the return that is made for all these benefits !-Hath not the Lord “dug about his fig-tree and dunged it ?"—Why “ cometh he so many years seeking fruit, and findeth none ?"
1 Ps. xc. 9.
It appears that it hath seemed good to him to “ let it alone for this year also.” It appears that even yet he will not “ visit our offences with the rod, and our sin with scourges.” But what shall we argue from this ?-Shall “ we say that we have no sin ??—Shall we go on still in our wickedness, and deny that we have any need of fasting and contrition, and humbling of ourselves before Almighty God ?-Let not such be your conclusion, I would beseech you, my brethren.—Let us suppose,
you please, that the pestilence is not among us in a degree to alarm.--Let us decide, if the fact can be proved—that it hath not yet reached us at all.-But, do not let us add, that we have not deserved it.-Let us not“ despise the riches of God's forbearance and longsuffering”—but rather acknowledge them with deep and humble gratitude—and feel that it is " to repentance that the goodness of God would lead us.”— Let us reason, as did Ezra, and say, “ After all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass, seeing that thou our God hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and hast given us such a deliverance as this, -should we again break thy commandments, and join in affinity with the people of these abominations, wouldst not thou be angry with us, till thou hadst consumed us; so that there be no remnant nor escaping ?”