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ousness, his hatred of sin, are both unchangeable; and therefore the truth of that assertion must be equally unchangeable, that “ righteousness exalteth a nation;" whereas " sin is the reproach,” and, if obstinately persisted in, must prove the ruin “of any people.”—“ For wickedness burneth as the fire, it shall devour the briers and thorns, and kindle in the thickets of the forests, and they shall mount up as the listing up of smoke; through the wrath of the Lord of hosts is the land dark. ened, and the people shall be as the fuel of the fire." Isa. ix. 18.
Ought we not then to take good heed unto ourselves, that we love the Lord our God? Joshua gave this advice to the Jews a long time after the Lord had given them rest from all their enemies round about. We, my brethren, are still engaged in war, the issue of which is always doubtful. We bave drawn the sword, and thus far have employed it with glory and success; but it was a prudent caution which Ahab gave to Benbadad, “ Let not him that girdeth on the harness boast himself as he tbat taketh it off.” Our enemies are weakened, but they are likewise greatly irritated; and still they are a strong and formidable people. We can look back upon a time when our own situation was very unpromising; when every alarm brought a panic along with it, till, roused by insult and a sense of danger, the national spirit at length awoke; vigorous measures were pursued; and, by the good hand of our God upon us, have wonderfully prospered. It is a thing impossible, it is even improbable, that similar causes may produce similar effects in the councils and measures of the nation with whom we contend?
Were they in reality weaker than we are willing to suppose, it would ill become us to deny a truth, of which
we ourselves have so lately had the happy experience, to wit, “ That the battle is not always to the strong." Both at Minden and Quebec, every advantage for victory is now certainly known to have been on the side of our enemies. The fate of nations is not determined by the policy of men; the events of war are conducted and overruled by a bigher hand than the arm of flesh. Hear what God said to the Jews by the prophet Jeremiah : “ Though ye bad smitten the whole army of the Chaldeans that fight against you, and there remained but wounded men among them, yet should they rise up ev. ery man in his tent, and burn this city with fire.” “Without me,” says he by another prophet, “ they shall bow down under the prisoners, and they shall fall under the slain."
Blessed be God, we have large and manifold grounds of thanksgiving; but the very grounds of our thanksgiving are likewise monitors of humility, and press the pecessity of securing the friendship of that Almighty Being, who " doth according to his will in the armies of heaven, and amongst the inhabitants of this earth.” Pride and security are fatal presages of approaching ruin. “ Before destruction the heart of man is haughty." How awful was the doom pronounced against Tyre! (Ezek. xxviii. 2. et seq.) “Thus saith the Lord God, Because thine heart is listed up, and thou hast said, I am a god, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God; behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee: with thy wisdom, and with thine understanding, thou hast gotten thee riches, and hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasures: by thy great wisdom, and by thy traffic, hast thou increased tby riches, and thine heart is
lifted up because of thy riches. Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Because thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God; behold, therefore, I will bring strangers upon thee, the terrible of the nations: and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of thy wisdom, and they shall defile thy brightness. They shall bring thee down to the pit, and thou shalt die the deaths of them that are slain in the midst of the seas."
Let us learn wisdom from their folly. Let their pun. ishment admonish us to beware of that pride which God abhorreth: Let tho manifold goodness we profess to celebrate this day, lead us to “that repentance which is never to be repented of;" —and let us fervently pray, That the Holy Spirit may be given unto us, to shed abroad the love of God in our hearts," as an effectual principle of all holy obedience. Then we may hope, that the Lord of Hosts will go forth with our arms, and lead them on to new and still greater triumphs; till at length the desolations of war shall be happily terminated by a safe, an honourable, and lasting peace. Which may God of his infinite mercy grant, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Preached in January 1773, when, in the city of Edinburgh,
distress and dissipation were in the extreme.
EZEKIEL ix. 4.
And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of
the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh, and that cry, for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.
THE apostle Paul baving recited to the Christians at Corinth some of those awful judgments wbich God had inflicted upon his ancient church for their rebellion and obstinacy, subjoins these memorable words, (Cor. x. 11.) “ Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples; (or types, as the word is rendered in the margin) and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” The Bible, though it records the actions of men, yet, properly speaking, is the history of God, and contains an account of his proceedings with his creatures in a great variety of instances; that from those acts of government, compared with what he positively declares concerning himself, we may be enabled to form the clearest and justest conceptions of his nature and will; and may learn, with undoubted certainty, what we have either to fear or to hope from him.
God is always the same; “ with him there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning :" and therefore, in bis past procedure, we see the plan of bis present and future administration; which brings the passage I have been reading home to ourselves, and interests us deeply in the matter it contains.
In the preceding chapter, the prophet had got a full view of the abominations that were done in the midst of Jerusalem; and here he gets a visionary representation of their punishment. He beholds six men approaching the city, each of them armed with a destroying weapon, who are expressly commanded to slay the inhabitants, both old and young, beginning at the sanctuary. But before they proceed to execution, one, distinguished by his garb, being clothed with linen, and having a uriter's inkhorn by his side, receives the gracious commission recorded in my text, to separate the precious from the vile, by setting a mark upon their foreheads, that they might not be involved in the ruin of their fellowcitizens.
Whether any sentence of wrath hath already gone forth against these sinful lands to which we belong, must be to us an impenetrable secret: “The heart of a king is unsearchable,” said Solomon; much more is the heart of the King of kings. But surely it can never be upseasonable to lead your attention to a passage of Scriptore, where God's mercy to the penitent, and his peculiar concern for their safety, are set before us in so just and striking a light.
Godly sorrow for abounding iniquity is at all times a dutiful and becoming exercise; nevertheless there are certain seasons when the call to it may be considered as more loud and pressing. Some of these I shall mention in the first place.
Secondly. I shall inquire, with as much tenderness as regard to truth will permit, how the case stands with