Obrazy na stronie

whatever other changes they have felt, had seldom happened upon that of changing their misery ; and, it is to be feared, are never likely, so long as they are kept so strongly bound in chains of darkness; and chains of

power. From both these kinds of evils, which are almost naturally connected together, how providential was our escape in the succeeding reign, when all the choice blood was bespoke, and preparations made, to offer it up at one sacrifice !

I would not intermix the horrors of that black projected festival with the glories of this; or name the sorrows of the next reign, which ended in the subversion of our constitution, was it not necessary to pursue the thread of our deliverances through those times, and remark how nigh God's providence was to us in them both,—by protecting us from the one, in as signal a manner as he restored us from the other.

Indeed, the latter of them might have been a joyless matter of remembrance to us at this day, had it not been confirmed a blessing by a succeeding escape, which sealed and conveyed it safe down to us : whether it was to correct an undue sense of former blessings, or to teach us to reflect


the number and value of them, by threatening us with the deprivation of them, we were suffered, however, to aproach the edge of a precipice, where, if God had not raised up a deliverer to lead us back,_all had been lost :-the arts of jesuitry had decoyed us forwards ; or, if that had failed, we had been push'd down by open force, and our destruction had been inevitable.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

The good consequences of that deliverance are such, that it seemed as if God had suffered our waters, like those of Bethesda, to be troubled, to make them afterwards more healing to us; since to the account of that day's blessing, we charge the enjoyment of every thing since worth a freeman's living for ;-the revival of our liberty, our religion, the just rights of our kings,--and the just rights of our people ; and along with all, that happy provision for their continuarice, for which we are returning thanks to God this day.

Let us do it, I beseech you, in the way which becomes wise men, by pursuing the intentions of his blessings, and making a better use of them than our forefathers, who sometimes seem d to grow weary of their own happiness :let us rather thank God for the good land which he has given us ; and when we begin to prosper in it, and have built goodly houses, and dwelt therein,—and when our silver and our gold is multiplied, and all that we have is mul. tiplied, let the instances of our virtue and benevolence. be multiplied with them, that the great and mighty God, who is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works, may, in the last day of accounting with us, judge us worthy of the mercies we have received.

In vain are days set apart to celebrate successful occurrences, unless they influence a nation's mor. als :-a sinful people can never be grateful to God, -nor can they, properly speaking, be loyal to their prince ;-they cannot be grateful to the one, because they live not under a sense of his mercies ;-nor can they be loyal to the other, because they disengage the providence of God froin taking his party



and then giving a heart to his adversaries to be intractable.

And therefore, what was said by some one, That every sin was a treason against the soul, may be applied here,That every wicked man is a traitor to his king and his country. And, whatever states. men may write of the causes of the rise and fall of nations ;-for the contrary reasons, a good man will ever be found to be the best patriot and the best subject : and though an individual may say, What can my righteousness profit a nation of men ? it may be answered, That if it should fail of a blessing here,- it will have one advantage at least, which is this,

It will save thy own soul ;-which may God grant. Amen.




And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, the days of the years of my pilgrim

age are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the day of the years of my life been.-

THERE is not a man in history whom I pity more than the man who made this reply :-not because his days were short_but that they were long. enough to have crowded into them so much evil as

we find.

Of all the patriarchs, he was the most unhappy : for, 'bating the seven years he served Laban for Rachel, “ which seemed to him but, a few days, for

the love he had to her,”-strike those out of the number,_all, his other days were sorrow ;' and that not from his faults, but from the ambition, the violences, and evil passions of others. A large portion of what man is born to, comes, you'll say, from the same quarter :- 'tis true ; but still, in some men's lives, there seems a contexture of misery :-one evil so rises out of another, and the whole plan and execution of the piece has so very melancholy an air, that a.good-natured man shall not be able to look upon

it but with tears on his cheeks. I pity this patriarch still the more, because, from his first setting out in life, he had been led into an expectation of such different scenes: he was told by

Isaac, his father, that “God should bless him with “ the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, " and with plenty of corn and wine ;-that people 6 were to serve him, and nations to bow down to “ him ;-that he should be lord over his brethren; 6 —that blessed was every one that blessed him, and « cursed was every one who cursed him."

The simplicity of youth takes promises of happiness in the fullest latitude ;-and as these were moreover confirmed to him by the God of his fathers, on his way to Padan-arany--it would leave no distrust of their accomplishments upon his mind ;every fair and flattering object before him, which wore the face of joy, he would regard as a portion of his blessing ;-he would pursue it ;-he would grasp a shadow.

This, by the way, makes it necessary to suppose, that the blessings which were conveyed, had a view to blessings not alcogether such as a carnal mind would expect; but that they were in a great measure spiritual, and such as the prophetick soul of Isaac had principally before him, in the comprehensive idea of their future and happy establishment, when they were no longer to be strangers and pilgrims upon earth : for in fact, in the strict and literal sense of his father's grant-Jacob enjoyed it not; and was so far from being a happy man, that, in the most interesting passages of his life, he met with nothing but disappointments and grievous afflictions.

Let us accompany him from the first treacherous "hour of a mother's ambition ; in consequence of which, he is driven forth from his country and the protection of his house, to seek protection and estab. lishment in the house of Laban his kinsman,

« PoprzedniaDalej »