« הקודםהמשך »
This ought to be the work of this day, it is the design of the fast, and the aim of this sermon; for it is not sufficient, my brethren, to trace the controversy of God with you, it mast be finished, the parties must be reconciled, and each of us must yield obedience to the voice that says to every one of us, he ñay makė peace with me, he shall makë peace with me, Isa. xxvii. 5.
Magistrates, princes, noblemen, ministers, people, parents, children, will you not all of you embrace this invitation? Do you not solemnly protest, in the presence of heaven and earth, and before the angels that wait in this assembly, that you prefer this peace before all the riches of the world? Do you
not, all resolve, with the utmost sincerity and good faith, never more wilfully to break the cominandments of God? O Lord, thou knowoest all things, thou knowest the hearts of all mankind, thy searching eyes survey the most secret purposes of the souls of all this assembly!
If each of us reply thus to God, let us cherish the pleasure that is inspired by the return of his favor. Christians, what came you out to-day to see? What came you out to hear ? God pleading before you, God justifying himself, God convicting you: yet after all, God pardoning you. What may we hot expect from a God so patient and kind ?
Lo! 'I see on a happy future day the tears of Zion wiped away, the mourning of Jerusalem ended, our captives 'freed from bondage, our galleyslaves from chains.
I see on a happy future day victory following our march ; our generals crowned with laurels, and every campaign distinguished by some new triumph.
Methinks I behold, on some 'future day, our prayers exchanged for praise, our fasts for solemn festivals, our mourąing for joy and triumph, and
all the faithful, assembled to-day to implore the aid of the God of armies, again convoked to bless the God of victory, and making this place echo with repeated shouts, The right hand of the Lord is eralted. The right hand of the Lord hath done valiantly. The sword of the Lord and Gideon, Psalm cxviii. 16. Judg. vii. 20.
I see on some happy future day our enemies confounded, one post running to meet another, one messenger to meet another, to shew the king of Babylon that his army is routed. I see commerce flourishing among this people, and liberty forever established in these provinces.
Go then, generous warriors, go verify these pleasing omens, go bolily prodigal of spilling your blood in defence of liberty, religion, and your country. May the God of armies return you victorious as rapidly as our wishes rise ! May he reunite the many hearts, and re-assemble the many families, which this campaign is going to separate ! May he prevent the shedding of human blood, and, while he makes you conquerors, may be spare the people subdued by you! May he return you to wear the crowns and laurels, which our hands will be eagerly preparing for you! May he, after he shall have granted you all a long and happy life, useful and glorious to the state and to your families, open the gates of eternal happiness to you, and fix you for ever in the temple of peace! To him be honor and glory henceforth and for ever. Amen.
THE HARMONY OF RELIGION AND CIVIL POLITY.
Prov. xiv. 34.
Righteousness exalteth a Nation.
, maxims of civil polity in a religious political assembly, are two things, which seem alike senseless and imprudent. The christian is so often distinguished from the statesman, that, it would seem, they were opposite characters.We have been lately taught to believe, that Jesus Christ, by giving us an idea of a society more noble than any we can form upon earth, hath forbidden us to prevent the miseries of this state, and to endeavor to procure the glory of it. It hath been said, that kingdoms and states cannot be elevated without violating the laws of equity, and infringing the rights of the church.
How general soever this odious notion may have been, hardly anyone hath appeared openly to avow it till of late. The impudence of pleading for it was reserved for our age, for a christian admitted into your provinces, cherished in your bosom, and, O shame of our churches ! appearing among protestant refugees, as the devil formerly presented himself before the Lord among the angels of God.
We propose to-day, my brethren, to endeavor to
unravel the sophisms of this author, to shew you the agreement of religion with civil polity, and to establish this proposition, that as there is nothing in religion to counteract the design of a wise system of civil polity, so there is nothing in a wise system of civil government to counteract the design of the christian religion. It was the wisest of all kings, who taught us this lesson. He speaks of the eraltation of a nation, and this is the end of civil polity. He speaks of righteousness, and this is the design of religion, or rather, this is religion itself, He affirms, that the latter is the foundation of the former, and this is the agreement of religion with civil government. It is righteousness, saith he, It is righteousness, that exalteth a nation,
This proposition of Solomon needs both explication and proof; and this discourse is intended to furnish both.
In our first part we will state the question, fix the sense of these terms, righteousness, exaltation; we will set aside the various false senses, which occasioned the opinion, that we intend to oppose ; and by these means we will preclude such objections as may be made against our doctrine.
In the second part we will allege some arguments in favor of the proposition contained in the text when properly explained, and so prove that righteousness exalteth a nation.
This nation is exalted, my brethren : but, allow me to say, it is not by its righteousness. We have not therefore chosen this text to create an opportunity of making encomiums on you: but we treat of the subject in order to fix your attention on the proper means of preserving and augmenting your elevation. Happy if our design meet with success! Happy if we contribute, though not accord