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PREACHED, DECEMBER 12, 179S,
APPOINTED AS A
DAY OF GENERAL HUMILIATION, THANKSGIVING AND PRAYER,
OUR DELIVERANCE FROM THE RAGE OF THE GRIEVOUS CALAMITY,
THE YELLOW FEVER.
PSALM Ixxviii. v. 34, passim to v. SO.
When He slew them, then they sought Him; and they returned, and inquired early after God: And they remembered that God was their Rock, and the High Go» their Redeemer, Nevertheless, they did but flatter Him with their mouth, and they lied unto Him with their tongues: For their heart was not right with Him, neither were they stedfast in His Covenant.—They turned back and tempted God—they remembered not His hand, nor the day when He delivered them from the enemy—
Wherefore, He cast upon them the fierceness of His anger; wrath and indignation and trouble, by sending nil angelt among them. He made a way to his anger, and spared not their souls from Death; but gave their life over to the Pestilence.
ALL scripture, as saith the apostle Paul to his beloved Timothy,* " is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, and thoroughly furnished unto all good works;" for the holy scriptures, (and they
• 2 Tim. chap. iii. 15,16, 17.
only) are able to make us wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
My two preceding sermons, have been employed on the subject of the late awful Visitation Of ProviDence, and the dreadful calamities spread throughout our land, especially in our great cities and their neighbourhoods, by means of the contagious sickness, commonly called the Yellow Fever.
By the appointment and authority of government, this day has been set apart, as a day of general humiliation, thanksgiving and prayer, for the mercies of God, in putting an end to that grievous calamity, and yielding us the gladdening prospect of a speedy restoration to our former state of public health and happiness*.
My text, therefore, but not my subject, is only changed, for this day's solemnity; leading us to an
• The following is an abstract of the Governor's Proclamation on this great occasion.
.(."Whereas it hath pleased Almighty God to put an end to the grievous Calamity, that recently afflicted the City of Philadelphia; and it is the duty of all, who are truly sensible of the Divine Justice and Mercy, to employ the earliest moments of returning Health, in devout expressions of penitence, submission, and gratitude; I have therefore deemed it proper to appoint THURSDAY, the Twelfth day of December, to be holden throughout this commonwealth, as a Day of general Humiliation, Thanksgiving, and Prayer; earnestly exhorting and entreating my Fellow-Citizens, to abstain on that Day from all their worldly Avocations; and to unite in confessing with contrite hearts, our manifold Sins and Transgressions; and in acknowledging, with thankful Adoration, the Mercy and Goodness of the supreme Ruler and Preserver of the Universe, more especially manifested in our late deliverance; pra>ing, with solemn zeal, that the same Mighty Power would be graciously pleased to instil into our minds the just principles of our duty to Him, and to our fellow-creatures; to regulate and guide all our actions by his Holy Spirit; to avert from all man. kind the evils of War, Pestilence, and Famine; and to bless and pro. tect us in the enjoyment of riwV and religiwt Liberi y," &c.
approach to confess with the lips, "that there is a God, who governs the affairs of his creatures in this world, and that the holy scriptures of the Old and New Testament, were graciously given by his divine inspiration and authority, to guide us in the right way, through the intricate path of life, and the mazes of a mysterious Providence."
The dealings of the Almighty, therefore, with a people who acknowledged (as we do) the sovereign and uncontroulable power of God's special as well as general Providence, in ordering the affairs of men, will be a fit subject of our present meditations; and the more to be chosen, as we shall have for our guide, a History authenticated on the Records of holy Scripture.
With such a guide before us, we need not recur to profane History, any farther than sometimes for the better proof of facts; because the light otherwise to be derived from that source, in the handling of our subject, would be but as the twinkling of a star, com'pared to the sun in his noon-tide brightness!
The history of the Jews, therefore, upon which our text yields a prominent and irrefragable commentary, as well as a striking similitude to our own history in many great and leading circumstances, will furnish ample materials for our improvement of what remains of this day's duty.
To this audience, it will be sufficient briefly to state, that the Jews had for many years been without a government of their own, and sojourn'd in a foreign land, reduced to a condition no better than that of the worst and most degraded slaves; until at last, the Almighty had compassion on their miseries; and, by the hand of Moses delivered them from the rod of Pharaoh, and conducted them through the waves of the Red Sea, and a perilous wilderness, to the land promised to their forefather Abraham and his seed forever.*
* See Gen. ch. xiii. 14. and ch. xxvi. 4, 5.
The above was all that was judged necessary, on the delivery of this Sermon, concerning the early part of the History of the Jews; but it may be agreeable to the reader to continue this note, with so much of their history, as will account for their coming into the land of Egypt, and falling into this degraded condition, under the reign of the Pharaohs.
After Noah's flood, when his descendents began to multiply on the earth, and to chuse out to themselves, different spots for the exercise of the Pastoral Life; it fell to the lot of Abraham to be carried by his father Terah into the land of Canaan, where he sojourned for a time without children or heir—But God blessed him with a son Isaac at last, in hii old age; and Isaac had a son Jacob, and Jacob had a son Joseph whom h« loved more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age; •wherefore his brethren hated him, and took an opportunity, when he wa» sent by his father on a message to them, where they were feeding his flock* in Dothan, to sell him for twenty pieces of silver, to a caravan or company of Ishmaelitish, or Midianitish, merchants (for they are called bji both names in the same text), who were then passing by—and took him with them, and sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar an officer of Pharaoh's, and captain of his guard—Here Joseph came to great honour, and found such grace in his master's sight, that he made him overseer over his house* and all that he had he put into his hands, so that he knew not aught ha had, save the bread which he did eat.
About this time a sore famine afflicted the children of Israel, in the land of Canaan; and when Jacob understood that there was corn in Egypt. he said unto his sons. Why do ye look one upon another? Get ye down thither and buy for us, that we may live and not die. And Jacob's ten sons, the brethren of Joseph, went down to buy corn in Egypt, but Jacob retained his youngest son Benjamin, Joseph's only brother by the same mother!—" And when Joseph's ten brethren came to him and bowed themselves before him with their faces to the earth, he knew tHem, but they knew not him; and he affected to speak roughly unto them and to treat them as spies, compelling them to confess, that of twelve brethren, the sons of one man, in the land of Canaan; they were only ten; that the youngest remained VOt. I. 1
Like the Jews, our Fathers were conducted by the hand of God, through a perilous ocean, and penetrated into a wilderness, to hew out for themselves settlements, and improve them into an American
with their father, and that one was not. Joseph still affected not to believe them, and te treat them as spies; swearing by the life of Pharaoh, that in order to prove them, they should not go fortli hence, except their youngest brother should be brought to him, and that one of them should go immediately and fetch him, while the rest should be kept in prison, till his return with their youngest brother, to prove whether there be any truth in them; and he put them all together into ward for three days." But, on the third day, Joseph appearing to soften of his rigor, made a new proposal, telling them, that he was a just man, fearing Gcd, and had no mind to destroy them ; but instead of sending one of them to their father to bring their youngest brother, they should all go but one, who should remain bound in prison, till they should bring him, and prove their honesty; and he took from them Simeon and bound him before their eyes, to be kept as a pledge of their honesty in standing to their engagements. All this while, nature worked so strong in Joseph, that he could not stand the encounter, but turned himself about from them and wept; returning soon, however^, to commune with them, and to comfort them with the assurance, that if they brought their younger brother back with them, Simeon should b« safe, and they should receive every favour in the land. Having returned to their father Jacob, and the famine still continuing sore in the land of Canaan, he is at length with difficulty persuaded to let Benjamin go, after their telling him all that happened in their former journey, and that it would be in vain to return, or hope for any relief in buying more food, unless tlieir younger brother should go down with them. Being then suffered by their father to depart, with his present of the best fruits of the land in their vessels, to be tendered to Joseph, and double money in their hand, besides the money that had been brought back in the mouth of their sacks in the former journey, they rose up and went down to Egypt and stood before Joseph; and when Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he ordered the ruler of his house to bring them in and prepare a feast for them; at which Joseph made himself known to his brethren, desiring them not to grieve, for hiving sold him; for that God did only send him before them into Egypt to preserve life, or to preserve them a posterity upon earth, and for that purpose had raised him to great power, making him a father to Pharaoh, lord of all his house, and ruler throughout the land of Egypt: therefore, haste ye, says he, go up to my father, tell him of all my glory in Egypt, and request him to come down to me, that he may be near unto