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sations of Providence, we are now cast. Never since the world began were such tremendous proofs held up to the observation of mankind, of the slender and precarious tenure on which we hold every thing that we deem most valuable in the present life, as have been of late presented to our view. Look around you for a moment; consider what has been passing on the conti nent of Europe for the last ten years and then say what is there left for you in this world worthy of your attention, on the possession of which, for any length of time, you can with any degree of security rely; You must have been very inattentive observers indeed, not to have per ceived that all the great objects of human wishes, rank, power, honor, dignity, fame, riches, pleasures, gaieties, all the pomp, and pride, and splendor, and luxury of life, may when you least think of it, contrary to all expectation and all probability, be swept away from you in one moment, and you yourselves thrown as it were a miserable wreck on some desert shore, not only without the elegancies and the comforts, but even without the common necessaries of life, that this is no imaginary representation you all know too well; you see too many melancholy proofs of it in those unfortunate exiles who have taken refuge in this country; many of whom have experienced, in the utmost extent, the very calamities I have been here describing; and who, but a few years ago, had as little reason to expect such a dreadful reverse of fortune as any one who now hears
It is true, ideed, that hitherto we have been most wonderfully preserved by a kind Providence from those miseries that have desolated the rest of Europe, and have maintained a noble though a bitter conflict, during many years, for our religion, our liberty, our independence, our unrivalled constitution, and every thing that is dear and valuable to man. But it must at the same time be admitted that we are still in a most critical and doubtful situation, and that our final success must principally depend on that to which we have a thousand times owed our preservation, the favor and protection of of heaven.
The rapid, the astonishing, the unexampled vicissitudes, which have repeatedly taken place during the whole of this arduous contest, most clearly shew, that there is something in it more than common, something out of the ordinary course of human affairs, something which baffles all conjecture and all calcu lation, and which all the wisdom of man cannot comprehend er control. What then is this something, what is this secret and invisible agent which so evident. ly overrules every important event in the present: convulsed state of the world, and so frequently confounds the best concerted projects and designs? Is it fate is it necessity is it chance is it fortune? These alas! we all know are mere names, are mere unmeaning words, by which we express our total ignorance of the true That cause can be nothing else than the hand of the omnipotent Being, who first created and still preserves the universe; who is "the governor among the nations, and ruleth unto the ends of the earth." To make him then our friend is of the very last importance; and it highly behoves us to consider, whether we have hitherto taken the right way to make him so. The answer to this question is I fear, to be found in the unfavorable aspect of affairs abroad, and the severe distresses arising from unpropitious seasons at home, which too plainly shew that the hand of the Almighty is upon us, that we are a sinful people, and he an offended God.*
Let it not however be imagined, that I am here holding the language of despondency and despair; no, nothing can be farther from my thoughts. But in the present calamitious situation of this country, this glorious and still unrivalled country, to which all our hearts are bound by a thousand indissoluble ties, it would have been unpardonable in me to have passed over with unfeeling apathy and cold indifference those awakening and unexampled events, which are forcing themselves every moment on our observation, and which call aloud on all the sons of men to reflect and to repent. I felt
* This Lecture was given in the Spring of the year 1801.
it to be my indispensable duty, in this my last solemn » address to you, to press upon you every motive to a holy life that could influence the heart of man, and with this view to draw your attention to all those astonishing scenes that are daily passing before your eyes, and which add irresistible force to every thing that has been advanced in the course of these Lectures. You now see displayed, in visible characters, in the actual vicissitudes of almost every hour, those great truths which I have been for four years past inculcating in words; the uncertainty of every earthly blessing, the vanity of all human pursuits, the instability of all worldly happiness, and the absolute necessity of looking out for some more solid ground to stand upon, some more durable treasures on which to fix our affections and our hearts. For many years past God has been speaking to us by the various dispensations of his providence, by acts of mercy and of justice, by his interpositions to save us, by his judgments to correct us. He has been speaking a language which cannot be misunderstood, a language which is heard in every quarter of the globe, which makes all nature tremble, and shakes the very foundations of the earth.
Yet still, though there is just cause for apprehension, there is no occasion for despair. If from these judg ments of the Lord, we learn that lesson they were meant to teach us; if we turn, without delay, from the evil of our ways; if we humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, and acknowledge our transgressions with the truest penitence and contrition of soul; if we set ourselves in earnest to relinquish every vicious habit, every secret fault, as well as every presumptuous sin; if we deny ourselves, and take up our cross to follow Christ; if we lay our follies, our vanities, our gaities, our criminal indulgencies, at the feet of our Redeemer, and purify ourselves even as he is pure; if in these times of unexampled scarcity of all the necessaries of life, we open our hearts and our hands wide to the necessities of our suffering brethren; if, in short, by the purity of our hearts, the sanctity of our lives, the fervor
of our devotions, the sincerity of our faith and confidence in Christ, we recommend ourselves to the favor of heaven, I scruple not to say, that we have nothing to fear. By the mighty hand of God we shall be protected here; by the merits of him who died for us we shall be saved and rewarded hereafter. And we may, I trust, in this case, humbly apply to ourselves that consolatory declaration of the Almighty to another people, with which I shall finally close these Lectures; and which may God in his infinite mercy confirm to us all in this world, and in the next!
"How can I give thee up, Ephraim? My soul is turned within me. I will not execute the fierceness of my anger, for I am God, and not man. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment: but with everlasting kindness* will I have mercy upon thee."+
This kindness has in fact (as far as the public welfare is concerned) been in several important instances most graciously and conspicuously extended to this highly favoured land since these Lectures were finished; and it evidently calls for every return on our part of affection and obedience to our heavenly Benefactor, that the deepest sense of gratitude can possibly dictate to devout and feeling hearts.-March, 1802.
+ Hosea xi. 8, 9. Isaiah liv. 8.