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a cause, with
prospects like these? - Is there not already the simultaneous rising of your souls in anxious and devoted zeal ? and would you not deem us to insult you, did we not believe, that to carry abroad the glorious gospel, and urge on to every clime the tidings of life and peace and salvation, shall be the continued, permanent, and supreme determination of your being? I do trust in God, that in addition to the contribution of property, which will soon be claimed, there shall be undertaken the solemn vow, of which that contribution shall be but the symbol and the token, of devotion, henceforth never to decay, to the grand operations of Christian benevolence and love: and I do trust in God, that there shall rise hence to the footstool of his throne, as in one mighty cloud of holy and fragrant incense, the
power in heaven, and which Heaven cannot, even by an effort of its own omnipotence, reject,—that “ the whole earth may be filled with his glory!"_
–O yes ! we come and stand by the altar, where he stood, the royal prophet of Judah,—whose last aspiration was for the universal triumph of his Saviour ; who then laid aside his harp, because it could be roused to no loftier strain; who then stayed his spirit because it could soar to no higher sphere; and who, after the solemn and repeated Amen, exclaimed—“ The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended.” There have stood the holy and the good of many climes and ages, and around it are the foot-prints of the
sainted multitudes who are now hymning the eternal praises of the skies; and there do we gather, burning with the same emotion, and panting for the same end.–And now, there ascends the voice, blending in one harmony, the gladness of thanksgiving and the intensity of prayer,—“ Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things. And blessed be his glorious name for ever : AND LET THE WHOLE EARTH BE FILLED WITH HIS GLORY. AMEN, AND AMEN!"
ISAIAH, xxvi. 9.
When thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the
world will learn righteousness.
It is strictly within the province of the ministers of religion, to use occasions for surveying the circumstances of the country to which they belong, and to attempt their application to purposes of spiritual benefit. Their direct and stated duty is doubtless to expound the contents of the Christian economy, as bearing on the method of acceptance with God; but they neglect a very important part of their allotted sphere, if they do not seize those public events of a providential nature, occurring from time to time, which illustrate the divine character and law, and are identified with the moral interests of empires. The ancient prophets were in this manner frequently employed, as all, acquainted with their writings, will at once perceive; and I am much mistaken if the spiritual watchmen of Zion now raised up, are not specially called, from the aspect of the times in which we live, thus to employ their powers, with true earnestness and devotedness of exertion.
* Preached at York, July 4th, being the Sabbath week after the death of king George IV.
This nation has, as it appears to us, been for a considerable period placed under a remarkable system of providential administration; and the recent prostration of one of our monarchs under the blow of the King of Terrors, having necessarily given a new impulse and excitement to the minds of men, and brought in a prominent manner before every individual the interests and prospects of the community, it will not, I trust, be considered out of course, if
your meditations be now directed to public circumstances which it is highly important to improve. None can allege against the speaker, that during the time he has exercised the public functions of the sanctuary, his ministry has received any unhallowed tincture from what are called the politics of the day. And God forbid that ever the character of an ambassador of Christ should be merged in that of the political partisan. You are not now about to be engaged in the development of any political principles, the discussion of which would tend to such a result; I wish but to adopt another mode of impressing you with the importance of religion, and the grandeur of eternity.
It is not requisite at present to expound the words of the prophet in their immediate connexion with the condition and history of the Jews;
we adopt them at once in a modern application. It is our object
I. To show THAT THIS COUNTRY HAS BEEN VISITED BY THE JUDGMENTS OF GOD.
Our nation has indeed, as every pious mind must thankfully acknowledge, been a scene of many and extraordinary mercies. The rise and establishment of free institutions, and that wonderful balance of constitution, which has prevented both the extremes of government, -royal despotism on the one hand, and popular anarchy on the other,—deserve our grateful recognition. -Our own soil has long been a stranger to the desolating ravages of war, and the shouts and confused noise of battle have been heard only at a distance. The discoveries of science and the attainments of art have been unparalleled ; and useful knowledge has been diffused to an unexampled extent over the various classes of society. We have had the benefits of a divine religion, reformed from the corruptions which had accumulated with the course of ages, we have had an almost universal diffusion of the pure word of God, the inspired oracles of truth; we have had an increasingly evangelical ministry, which, among various denominations of Christians, has throughout the whole realm called sinners to repentance, and proclaimed the tidings of salvation and immortality. It is evident at once how numerous and how valuable have been