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would probably form to himself, the day he solemnized an exemption from it :-and the transport was natural,—To swear unto the Lord with a loud voice, and with shouting, and with trumpets, and with cornets ;-to rejoice at the oath which secured their future peace, and celebrate it with all external marks of gladness.
I have at length gone through the story, which gave the occasion to this religious act which is recorded of the men of Judah in the texto
I believe there is not one in sacred scripture that bids fairer for a parallel to our own times, or that would admit of an application more suitable to the solemnity of this day.
But men are apt to be struck with likenesses in so different a manner, from the different points of view in which they stand, as well as their diversity of judgments, that it is generally a very unacceptable piece of officiousness to fix any certain degrees of approach
In this case it seems sufficient, that those who will discern the least resemblance, will discern enough to make them seriously comply with the devotion of the day ; and that those who are affected with it in a stronger manner, and see the blessing of a protestant king in its fairest light, with all the mercies who made way for it, will have still more abundant reason to adore that good Being, who has all along protected it from the enemies which have risen up to do it violence; but more especially, in a late instance, by turning down the councils of the froward headlong, and confounding the devices of the crafty, so that their hands could not perform their enterprize. Though this event, for many reasons, will ever be told amongst the felicities of these days ; yet for none more so, than that it has given us a fresh mark of the continuation of God Almighty's favour to us ;-a part of that great com. plicated blessing for which we are gathered together to return him thanks.
Let us therefore, I beseech you, endeavour to do it in the way which becomes wise men, and which is likely to be most acceptable ;-and that is,-To pursue the intentions of his providence, in giving us the occasion to become better men, and, by an holy and an honest conversation, make ourselves capable of enjoying what God has done for us. In vain shall we celebrate the day with a loud voice, and with shouting, and with trumpets, if we do not do it likewise with the internal and more certain marks of sincerity, a reformation and purity in our manners. It is impossible a sinful people can either be grateful to God, or properly 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 otber, because they daily offend in two of the tenderest points which concern his wel. fare ;-by first disengaging the providence of God from taking our part, and then giving a heart to our adversaries to lift their hands against us, who must know, that if we forsake God, God will forsake us. Their hopes, their designs, their wickedness against us, can only be built upon ours towards God.
For if they did not think we did evil, they durst not hope we could perish.
Cease, therefore, to do evil ; for by following righteousness, you will make the hearts of your enemies faint ; they will turn their backs against your indignation, and their weapons will fall from their hands ;
Which may God grant, through the merits and mediation of his Son Jesus Christ, to whom be all honour, &c. Amen.
HEB. XII. 14.
Follow peace with all men, and holiness ; without which, no man
shall see the Lord.
The great end and design of our holy religion, next to the main view of reconciling us to God, was to reconcile us to each other ;-by teaching us to subdue all those unfriendly dispositions in our nature which unfit us for happiness, and the social enjoyment of the many blessings which God has enabled us to partake of in this world, miserable as it is in many respects. Could Christianity per. suade the professors of it into this temper, and engage us, as its doctrine requires, to go on and exalt our natures, and, after the subduction of the most unfriendly of our passions, to plant, in the room of them, all those (more natural to the soil) humane and benevolent inclinations, which, in imi. tation of the perfections of God, should dispose us to extend our love and goodness to our fellowcreatures, according to the extent of our abilities, in like manner as the goodness of God extends itself over all the works of the creation ;-could this be accomplished,--the world would be worth living in ; and might be considered by us as a foretaste of what we should enter upon hereafter.
But such a system, you'll say, is merely visiona. ry jand, considering man as a creature so bese
with selfishness, and other fretful passions that propensity prompts him to though it is to be wished, it is not to be expected.-But our religion enjoins us to approach as near this fair pattern as we can ; and, if it be possible, as much as licth in us, to live peaceably with all men ;-where the term, if pose sible, I own, implies it may not only be difficult, but sometimes impossible.--Thus the words of the text, " Follow peace," may by some be thought to imply, that this desirable blessing may sometimes fly from us :—but still we are required to follow it, and not cease the pursuit till we have used all warrantable methods to regain and settle it; because, adds the apostle, without this frame of mind, “no man shall " see the Lord." For heaven is the region, as well as the recompense, of peace and benevolence; and such as do not desire and promote it here, are not qualified to enjoy it hereafter.
For this cause, in scripture-language,-peace is always spoke of as the great and comprehensive blessing, which included in it all manner of happiness ;--and to wish peace to any house or person, was, in one word, to wish them all that was good and desirable ;-because happiness consists in the inward complacency and satisfaction of the mind; and he who has such a disposition of soul, as acquiesce and rest contented with all the events of Providence, can want nothing this world can give him. Agreeable to this, that short but most comprehensive hymn, sung by angels at our Saviour's birth, declaratory of the joy and happy ends of his incarnation,-after glory, in the first, to God; the next note which sounded was, “ Peace upon earth, 6. and good-will to men :" it was a publick wish of