Immagini della pagina
PDF
ePub

peace was at length concluded. But what sort of a peace? some are ready to answer. Such a peace as is much better than such a war. When we consider our national guilt, our national circumstances, cur confederated foes, and exhausted finances, we must surely acknowledge that God hath done better by us, than either we deserved, or once expected; and this calls for grateful praise.—But some will say, 'tis so humiliating a peace, I cannot be satisfied with it, nor feel thankful for it. 'Tis true, God hath brought us low for our iniquity, both in respect of the extent of our dominions, and our national wealth and consequence; but if we be brought no lower, perhaps this very circumstance calls for thankfulness. Bad as the state of religion and morals is amongst us, had our wealth and honour increased, as it had done for some years past, probably matters had even now been much worse. Pride, ungodliness, sensuality, and luxury, had increased with increasing wealth and power, and probably would have increased. Had it been so, our destruction had advanced with hastier steps. Perhaps our being brought low, and deprived in part of that provision we had made for our lusts, is the very means of prolonging our state and delaying our ruin. And shall a christiap murmur at this? Shall he refuse to be thankful for peace, and liberty, and security, because he doth not roll in wealth, nor is exalted in honour as heretofore? But to be more particular;

1. We are bound to thank God for putting a stop to the effusion of human blood. The value of man's life is great-of man's soul infinitely greater. Ile who duly ponders this, must consider war, though in some cases necessary, in all cases horrible: nor can he be other than shocked with reflecting on the thousands of his fellow-creatures slaughtered in battle, and their souls hurried into eternity; many of them, most of them ’tis to be feared, in the full career of unrepented sin. When a victory makes way for peace, I can rejoice in it; though not without melancholy reflections on the fatal consequences perhaps to thousands, mingling with my joy. Otherwise, the life of an American, a Frenchman, a Spaniard, or a llollander, is, in niy estimation, of equal value with the life of a Briton: even successful war excites my lamentation; and the return of peace is matter of thanksgiving, as I am a man and a christian, even though I should not, as an Englishman, approve of the conditions. • Send peace in our time, O 'Lord!'—' That it may please thee to give unity, 'peace, and concord to all nations,' are requests, which surely no true christian can hesitate in adopting: nor should any christian refuse his tribute of praise and gratitude, when such requests are granted. Many, from selfish motives, wish for war; but can Le, who has the law of God written in his heart; even this law, “ Thou shalt love “ thy neighbour as thyself,” desire the slaughter

en suc

of his fellow-men, for the sake of his own emolument?

2. We have cause to thank God for stopping the effusion of the blood of our friends and relatives. How many, during the war, mourned over slaughtered fathers, brothers, sons, relatives, and friends! How many weeping eyes for the dead! How many anxious hearts about the living! Ought we not to thank God for relieving us in this respect from grief and anxiety? .3. We are bound to thank God for preserving our land from becoming the seat of war. . Many feared it; many of you, my fellow-christians, feared it, and prayed against it. Assuredly, our felicity, in this respect, both beretofore and in this conjuncture, is the gift of Gon, and demands our gratitude. Ile spread the protecting ocean around us; he raised us to our present naval power; he gives skill, hardiness, and courage to our seamen; he gives victory to our fleets ; he awes our enemies to a distance; he silences popular insurrections, and prevents civil war. For these mercies praise ye tlie LORD. The loss of men and money we know: but war, horrible war, as a nation we know not, or we could not fail to prize such a distinguishing favour. May we never learn to know its worth, by its loss!

4. We are bound to bless God for breaking the strong confederacy formed against us. Arguing from former events, we had little to fear from any

[ocr errors]

ce

[ocr errors]

of our enemies separately. When two heretofore have united, we have had countenance and assistance from the others; or they have stood neuter. But in this conjuncture, four powerful nations were confederated against us, and thus excited our just and melancholy apprehensions. God hath broken in pieces this formidable combination, and it is not at all probable that it should speedily be renewed. Thus by the peace, though humiliating, the urgenţ cause of terror is happily removed. The combination is broken, and we are delivered, as a bird out of the snare of the fowler. For this, my brethren, praise and bless the Lord, who maketh the counsels of the people to be of noné effect,

5. Though reduced, we are still preserved an independent kingdom ; our laws and liberties, civil and religious, are still continued to us: we dwell in peace and safety, and may yet meet together to worship God according to our conscience. If you love the Lord, if you love his house and ordinances, then praise the Lord; and let not Satan, by tempting you to repine over the remembrance of our diminished grandeur and conscquence, prevail with you to withhold the revenue of thanks, so justly due to God. Remember, that“ it is of the Lord's mercies we are not con“sumed.” Shull we not then praise him for dealing with us so much better ihan our deservings?

6. Our trade and manufactures, on which the

rene

[ocr errors]

Co

VC

affluence of the wealthy, and the subsistence of the indigent so much depend, are far from ruined; they revive, and in many places flourish. And, if renewed provocations do not cause the Lord to command fresh judgments, we may hope gradually to recover some part at least of our former prosperity. Indeed, amongst you, and perhaps in some other places and manufactures,' no remarkable amendment hath taken place : but forget not, that during the war, things grew worse every year.-Had not God answered your prayers in sending peace, how much worse had your trade been ere this? Since the peace it liath somewhat recovered. Therefore, both on your own account and your countrymen's, forget not to praise the Lord for the past, and that will prove the best means of procuring greater things in future.

7. The exhausting, intolerable expences of the war, are now ceased.--You will say, our taxes still increase, and I feel no relief from the peace, but additional burdens imposed yearly; how then can Í be thankful? Yet consider, these very taxes are imposed to pay the interest of the sums borrowed during the war, and of those borrowed since the war, to pay off its heavy arrears.--Had the war still continued, if we had not been overpowered by the united forces of our enemies, the intolerable expence must have ruined us. The present grievous taxes may teach us to bless GÒD for

"The thread lace manufacture.

« IndietroContinua »