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extraordinary changes. The consequences of the revolution in France far exceeded all expectation; changes, that were never thought of have hitherto succeeded to each other! and the return of peace is an event which a while ago was beyond our hopes. Let us then. leave these things with God: He can give a turn to affairs, which shall prevent the consequences that we are apt to fear. And he says to us, “ Take no thought for the morrow: “ let the morrow take thought for the things of 6 itself: sufficient for the day is the evil there“ of.”
Again, some persons are so afraid of the infidel and anarchical principles which have prevailed on the continent; that their warmth of gratitude and joy for peace are deadened, by the apprehension of bad consequences to religion, morality, and civil order. Here indeed, my brethren, we are loudly called upon, to avoid unnecessary intercourse with such as hold these principles. We may “ follow “ peace with all meu;” and yet “ have no fellow“ship with the unfruitful works of darkness.” We should also double our diligence in instructing our children, our families, and congregations; and in making them intimately acquainted with the evidences and nature of Christianity, and the duties of submision to God, and to man in all things lawful; and in every other way to promote genuine religion. This will best stop the progress of infidel and pernicious principles. But surely none
can think perpetual war and bloodshed needful for this purpose. Let us all use the proper weapons of our warfare, diligently and zealously, and we shall need no other. War may prevent intercourse, and so preclude mischiet; but it must also prevent the communication of good. And are we so afraid of error, and so distrustful of the force of truth and the power of God to support it, that we have no hope, but in standing aloof and out of the reach of Satan's hosts? “ The wrath of man “ worketh not the righteousness of God.” I have no doubt but peace is more favourable to the cause of Christ, than war ever can be. Indeed I am not disposed to dread, what are called French principles, so much as some persons do. They have been carried to such extremes of flagrant absurdity, and have produced such horrid effects; that they are become generally odious or suspected: the dreadful paroxysm is over; and untried plausible delusions are at present far more to be feared.
It should also be considered, that in all cases, prosperity is attended with peculiar dangers to the interests of true religion, both in private and publick life: yet we do not on this account consider ourselves forbidden to rejoice, or excused from being thankful, when favoured with health, domestick comforts, and success in our circumstances: though we may see cause to “ rejoice with trem. " bling” and moderation, for such precarious advantages.
But a still deeper cause of regret and even alarm, is mentioned by many very pious persons, and that sometimes in a manner which tends to abate our joy and thankfulness, on account of the special mercies vouchsafed us. They observe, that neither judgments nor deliverances have amended our national character; that iniquity and profaneness abound as much, or more, than ever; that luxury and dissipation seem to increase among us; and that the Lord's day is more openly profaned, and the gospel more despised, than during any former period.
It is, alas! undeniable, that there is too much ground for these and similar lamentations; and this should excite us to oppose our earnest exertions and fervent prayers to the destructive torrent. Yet after all, bad as things are among us, though not apt to be sanguine in this respect, I am of opinion, that there is in some degree a real amendment in our national character. Had all the other inhabitants of Sodom continued as wicked as ever, or even become still worse, had that been possible; yet if instead of one Lot, twenty Abrahams had been found in the city; the character of the city would have been improved, and in the way to still further improvement, by the example, conversation, influence, and prayers of such a company, and the care they would bestow in "commanding their children and households “after them, to keep the way of the LORD, to do
justice and judgment.” In like manner, whatever may be the general conduct of the inhabitants of this land: if a considerable increase has of late been made, and is now making, to the number of real Christians, and if the real Christians among us, in general, are growing more and more like " the father of the faithful;” without doubt, our national character, in the sight of God, is improved. Now, from the increased attention paid in our publick seminaries to the concerns of religion, and the encouragement given to pious young men; from the numbers of such young men who enter into the sacred ministry, and the employment which they find; and from various circumstances of a similar nature, I cannot but hope that there are considerably more true Christians in the land, than there were some time since: and, if the exertions used to edify all this company in their most holy faith, and to form their minds and judgments to a proper union of evangelical truth and holy practice, be rendered successful; we may then confidently trust, that a real revival of pure religion is taking place, though we lament that a general reformation in the nation at large does not accompany it. For what is a revival of religion, but an increase of the number of truly religious persons, and their growth in holiness? And can we look for this among those, who are evidently not religious ? Magistrates may restrain outward wickedness: and heads of
families and others may promote external decency
There are no more, properly speaking, than