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without personal repentance, faith, prayer, and newness of life, they cannot be saved from the wrath to come. On the other hand, the upright believer need not be dismayed, on account of those iniquities, over which he sighs and mourns: for he will be taken care of at all events; should the deluge come in his days, he will be found in the ark, and nothing shall “ separate him from “ the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our “ LORD.”
And now, O Father of Mercies, we beseech thee to give thy blessing to the word of all thy ministers, this day; that there may be joy in heaven over many sinners brought to repentance; and that thy people may be stirred up to greater dili-" gence in every good work, and more fervent zeal for the glory of thy name. Hear the supplications which, with many thousands fellow Christians, we have presented before thee, in behalf of that much favoured, but guilty land, of which we confess ourselves to be guilty inhabitants. Oh that we may indeed shew, by works meet for repentance, that our humiliation this day hath been unfeigned! Avert the judgments which we have deserved; revive thy work in our land, make true religion to prevail over all opposition, and prosper those who labour to do good to men for thy sake! Have mercy upon our fellow creatures in other nations, and bid the avenging sword of bloody war return into its scabbard. Pity our
infatuated enemies; bring them to repentance, and incline them also to turn to thee, with weeping, fasting, and prayer; that so their miseries may be terminated; the wicked devices of such as persist in mischief be finally disappointed; and the blessings with which thou hast long favoured us, be extended to them, and to all other nations; till genuine liberty and peace, as the effects of pure christianity, may fill the earth, and bless the whole world of mankind! These prayers we present before thee, in sole dependence on the merits and mediation of thy Son Jesus Christ.
Now to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, three Persons iv one mysterious Deity, be ascribed all glory, praise, and adoration, for evermore. Amen.
JEREMIAH, XIV. 7.
O Lord, though our iniquities testify against us, do
thou it for thy name's sake.
The prophet Jeremiah performed his mournful office, at that crisis when Judah had filled up tlie measure of his iniquities, and was ripe for national judgments. Having pathetically described, in the preceding verses, a terrible drought with which the land was visited; he broke out in the abrupt and fervent prayer contained in the text; “O “ LORD, though our inquities testify against us, “ do thou it for thy name's sake!” adding, “our “ backslidings are many, we have sinned against “thee.” The Lord had before intimated that he would not grant the prophet's supplications for the Jand;"” and, on this occasion also, he answered, “Pray not unto me for this people for good:
Jeremiah xi. 14.
“ when they fast, I will not hear their cry; and “ when they offer burnt offerings and an oblation, “ I will not accept them: but I will consume them “ by the sword, and by the famine, and by the " pestilence!” “ Though Moses and Samuel stood “ before him, yet his mind could not be towards “ that people.” In the lesson appointed for this morning-service,' and in the chapter which precedes it, we find that Jehosaphat having, with great zeal, diligence, and prudence, endeavoured to revive true religion, and effect reformation in his kingdom, was invaded by a vast army of the Moabites and Ammonites, with their confederates. In this emergency he proclaimed a fast, and with great fervency he aided the devotions of his people; and then led them forth to meet the enemy, with pious exhortations and songs of praise. The event was such as might have been expected: the assailants were destroyed by an extraordinary divine interposition, and the people of God were enriched by the invasion.—But the prophecy of Jeremiahı (and the chapter before us in particular,) gives us a different view of the same subject: and by comparing them together we may learn, that various circumstances require consideration, before we can determine whether God will or will not answer the prayers of his most eminent servants, for a guilty nation.—It is probable that our land is neither in so good a state, in
| 2 Chron. xix. 1—20.
respect of vital godliness, as Judah was in the days of Jehoshaphat; nor yet so degenerate as that nation in the time of Jeremiah: we should, therefore, beware of forming too sanguine expectations of success from the one example, and of foreboding approaching desolations from the other. · In order to obtain more distinct views of this interesting subject, both in respect of our situation and duty, I shall apply the text to these nations and to the present occasion, in the following manner;
I. Endeavour to shew, that “our iniquities “ do indeed testify against us ;"'
II. Enquire what light the Scriptures afford us, by which we may judge, whether “ the Lord, for his name's sake,” will hear our prayers for deliverance
III. Consider what we are encouraged to expect from him, should he be graciously pleased to interpose in our favour: and,
IV. State the duties to which we ought peculiarly to attend, as means of obtaining the blessings for which we pray.
1. “Our iniquities do indeed testify against us.”