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able, that righteousness exalteth a nation : whereas sin is thie reproach, and, without repentance, must, in the issue, be the ruin of any people. Would we then pray with acceptance, for the peace and prosperity of our Jerusalem, let us begin with praying for the good of Zion; that it may please God to pour down the spirit of repentance and reformation on men of every rank. Until we thus turn to God, solid prosperity will not return to our land. There may be glearns of transient success; but these interruptions of calamity will only aggravate our final doom. Whereas, if we sincerely repent of our evil ways, and return to that God from whom we have revolted, he will stay his hand, now lifted up in wrath; “ and God, even our own God shall bless us.'' -" Behold the hand of the Lord is not shortened, that it cannot save, neither is his ear heavy, that it cannot hear; but our iniquities have separated between us and our God.” We have a most gracious and explicit promise to encourage us, Jer, xviii. 7,8. “ At what instant," saith God, “I shall speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up and to pull down, and to destroy it: if that nation against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them."
Here then is a large field, in which every man may labour for the good of his country. In this view, the meanest subject has the consolation to think, that he may become useful to the community with wbich he is con-' nected. The meanest subject may so order his life and conversation, as to render himself, in the eyes of his Maker, one of the “ excellent ones of the earth," one of that “ holy seed which is the substance of the land." The meanest subject may put up the fervent supplications of a pious, pure, and humble soul, to the throne of grace, and with that holy ardour, which alone will find acceptance, solicit the Supreme Disposer of all events, for blessings and benefits of every kind to his country. The meanest subject can “ walk with God,” in the duties of
devotion, can display the beauty of holiness, and stir up others to imitate the example of his virtue and piety. .
Thus far I have considered both the matter and order of the two petitions in my text.— The
Third thing proposed was, To make some practical observations on the temper of mind with which they appear to have been accompanied. And it is obvious, in general, that David had a just impression of his absolute dependence on God, and that he did not trust in the arm of flesh, but looked for help from God alone. No man possessed larger measures than David, either of political wisdom, or warlike skill. But he did not confide in his own talents for building or defending the walls of Jerusalem. He knew, as he expresseth it in another of his Psalms, that “ except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it; and except the Lord watch the city, the watchman waketh in vain.” He therefore looks directly to the God of Zion, and commits Jerusalem, and her walls, to his keeping, who neither slumbers nor sleeps, even the Creator of the ends of the earth, who fainteth not, neither is weary.
The form of his address doth likewise discover the deep conviction he had of his own unworthiness. He pleads with God, as a humble supplicant, with that penitent and contrite heart of which he speaks in the verse preceding my text. He claims nothing upon the terms of justice, but applies solely to the mercy and free favour of God. “ Do good," saith he, “ in thy good pleasure, unto Zion."
This expression may be farther considered, as denoting that submissive and resigned frame of spirit with which he put up his requests both for Zion and Jerusalem. He did not presume to limit the Holy One of Israel, but left it entirely to his own wisdom and goodness, to grant the matter of his prayer, at what time, and in what manner, or by what means, he should chaose.
In all these respects, be presents to our view an approved example for our imitation in similar circumstances.
It now only remains, that I should inquire what is incumbent on those who adopt the Psalmist's prayer, in order to prove the uprightness of their hearts, and that they sincerely wish to obtain what they ask.
I observed in the introduction to this discourse, that every request which we make to God, is not only an explicit declaration that we highly esteem, and ardently desire the benefits which we pray for, but doth likewise imply an obligation and promise on our part, to use all the means in our power to obtain them.
As to what concerns the public state of the nation, and the means of building up and cementing the walls of our Jerusalem, these matters I leave to those who have the constitutional charge of them. The best aid I can contribute in my sphere, is to pray for wisdom to direct the public counsels, and to do what I can for the good of Zion; and in this you all may and ought to be workers together with me. If then we have any love for our country, or any sincere desire of saving her from impending calamity, let us now form hearty and vigorous resolutions of correcting and amending our ways. Let our reformation begin in those points from which our corruption may be traced. Remember, that piety towards God is the best support of all those virtues which form the good man or the useful citizen, Legislators may devise what regulations they please, but if there is no sense of a God or of a Providence among the subjects, they will never be able to execute their plans, or to attain their ends. Let personal reformation therefore be our first care, and having given all diligence to make our own calling and election sure, let us, in our respective stations, join heart and hand to discourage vice in every form, and to promote the interests of pure and undefiled religion in our land. Unless we do this, our national fast, instead of as. cending to God with acceptance, will sink down into the measure of national guilt, and will only hasten the execution of that fatal sentence, “ Put ye in the sick le, for the harvest is ripe, the press is full, and the fat overflows, for their wickedness is great."-On the other hand, by turning to God through Jesus Christ, and bringing forth fruits meet for repentance, we may not only avert those heavy judgments with which we are threatened, but on Scriptural grounds may take encouragement to hope, that God will return in mercy to Zion, and will yet make our Jerusalem a praise in the earth. Amen.
1 CORINTHIANS iv. 7.
Who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thore
that thou didst not receive ?
It is not to be supposed, that any person endowed with reason can be in suspense for a moment about an answer to these questions. I am confident that there is not one in this assembly who is not ready to reply, It is God alone who maketh me to differ from any other; and I have nothing which I did not receive from his bountiful hand. No man who believes that God is, will hesitate to confess, with the Apostle James, that “every good gift, and every perfect gift, is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights." Yet so little attention is paid by the bulk of mankind to the consequences of this commonly acknowledged truth, that I shall make no apology for employing the first part of my discourse in reminding you of the evidence by which it is supported.--I shall then lay before you some of those practical lessons, equally obvious and important, which with ease and certainty may be deduced from it :-And conclude with that im. provement of the subject which hath a more immediate reference to the occasion of our meeting together at this time.
* Preached before the Managers of the Orphan IIospital oi Editburgh, August 7. 1775.