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"Christ i" while ** they stand fast in one spirit, "with one mind, striving together for the faith of "the gospel;" I have no doubt but a general and rapid spread of true religion will be witnessed; notwithstanding all the conspiracies of infidels, or the efforts and expectations of such, as sedulously devise to substitute a more philosophical system ia the room of "the doctrine of God our Saviour." Indeed, whenever it shall please the Lord to enlarge the boundaries of his church, according to the prophecies of his holy word; he will, we may be confident, previously purify her from all false doctrine, superstition, and iniquity j and rouse his people from lukewaramess; take them off from unprofitable disputes; cure them of their propensity to make some doctrines, that are much controverted but ill understood, an excuse for neglecting their most evident duties; and excite them to improve their several talents to the glory of his name.
Let me further observe, my brethren, that the principle, •on which I have attempted to explain
"the dealings of Providence in respect of this nation, is no other than that of Christianity itself: so that every true believer, reviewing his past ex
'perience and conduct, will perceive and thankfully acknowledge, that the Lord " hath wrought," in tespect of him, "for his own name's sake;" and "Will be able to form the sentiment into a powerful pica, in prayer for all that is yet wanting to complete his salvation; and to enable him through life to act consistently with his profession, and to be '.'stedfast, immoveable, always abounding hi' "the work of the Lord, as knowing that his la"bour is not in vain in the Lord." Whatever wisdom or ability is necessary to the magistrate, the minister, the parent, the head of a family, or the man possessed of wealth and influence, in order to fill up his station to the honour of the gospel; he may on this ground confidently expect it, in, answer to his prayers, notwithstanding his conscious un worthiness: because the glory of God is concerned in the conduct of every individual who professes his truth; which will be dishonoured, yea, blasphemed, among unbelievers, if he act inconsistently with his profession.
To conclude, it is not necessary, that I should speak particularly to you my brethren, on the way in which we ought to celebrate a day of publick thanksgiving. The disciple of Christ cannot mistake carnal mirth for humble gratitude. My rejoicing, for the most seasonable and important victories, must be mingled with sympathetick tears on account of the numbers, whether friends or foes, who are bowed down with a load of sorJow for events connected with our national success. This cannot consist with boisterous exult-1 ingjoy: but it suits with the spirit of reflecting admiring gratitude, and tends to preserve the, miud from every extreme.
Though unable, from peculiar circumstances, to adopt the same plan; yet I cannot but bear my testimony on this occasion to the conduct of those ministers and congregations, who accompany their grateful tribute of adoring praises to our gracious God, with publick collections for the relief of the widows and orphans of those our defenders who have fallen in battle, or for other charitable purposes. A hint is sufficient: your individual liberality may supply the want of a publick contribution; and the money that numbers spend in intemperate feastings, and other customary expressions of joy; if employed in relieving distress, and making glad the heart of the sorrowful, as the genuine effect of evangelical principles, will be "fruit which shall abound to your own "account;" yea, it will be, "a sacrifice, ac"ceptable, well-pleasing unto God/' through Christ Jesus our Lord; to whom, with the Father and the eternal Spirit, the One God of our salvation, be ascribed glory and honour, praise and thanksgiving, for ever and ever, Amen.
Psalm cxvi. 2.
Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore zcill I call upon him as long as I live.
A His Psalm is not expressly ascribed to David: yet it is generally supposed to have been written by him. He is called in scripture " the man after "God's own heart:" and it has often been enquired on what account this high character is given him. Among other reasons, this may be assigned; that in every circumstance of danger and difficulty, he made the Lord his Refuge and Confidence, and sought him by the fervent prayer of faith; and whenever he obtained deliverance and success, he ascribed all the glory to God, and rendered to him the tribute of adoring grateful praise.
1 Preached at the close of a series of lectures, on the signs and duties of the times, by a society of clergymen, in or near Lon* don, and published at their unanimous request, 1802.
Vol. II. I i
I purpose to apply the verse, which I have read, to our concern in the publick affairs of the church and nation.—Not one only, but multitudes in concert, both of those now assembled, of others inhabiting this city, and in all the different parts of Great Britain, have united in prayer for the land: and "the Lord hath inclined his ear unto us," and, beyond our expectations, has granted our requests; therefore "we will call upon him as long "as we live."
Let us then my brethren,
I. Consider the fact, "He hath inclined his "ear unto us."
II. The acknowledgment which we ought publickly to make of this goodness and truth of God to us, according to the subsequent language of the Psalmist. "I "will offer to thee, the sacrifice of thanks"giving, and will call on the name of the "Lord. I will pay my vows unto the "Lord, now in the presence of all his "people; in the courts of the Lord's "house: in the midst of thee, O Jerusa"lem. Praise ye the Lord."
"Oh, that men would praise the Lord "for his goodness, and for his wonderful "works to the children of men! And let