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imagination, that after having been made the chosen instruments of Providence for such noble, such beneficial purposes, there is some degree of felicity still in reserve for us, and that the illustrious part we have been appointed to act on the great theatre of the world is not yet accomplished ? What may be in the councils of THE MOST HIGH ; what mighty changes he may be now meditating in the system of human affairs, he alone can tell. * But in the midst of this awful suspense, while the fate of empires hangs trembling on His resolves, of one thing at least we are absolutely certain ; that it is better to have him for our friend than our enemy. Which of the two he shall be, depends entirely upon ourselves. If by our infidelity, our impiety, our libertinism, our ill-timed gaiety and wanton profuseness in the very face of public distress, we audaciously insult his admonitions, and brave his utmost vengeance; what else can we expect, but that every thing which ought naturally to be the means of our stability, will be converted into instruments of our destruction ? That immense dominion, of which we shall then be no longer worthy, will be gradually rent away from us; and it may even become necessary for the welfare of mankind, to cut off our communication with distant countries, lest they be infected with the contagion of our sins. But if, on the contrary, by reverencing the judgments of God, and returning to that allegiance which we owe him, we again put ourselves under his protection ; he may still, as he has often done, dispel the clouds that hang over us: or if, for wise reasons, he suffer them to gather and darken upon us, he may make even this in the final result conduce to our real welfare.
* What mighty changes in the system of human affairs have since this period (1778) actually taken place both in America and in Europe, the reader need not be informed.
There is, in fact, no calamity, private or public, which, under his gracious direction, may not eventually prove a blessing. There are no losses, but that of his favour, which ought to sink us into despair. There is a spirit in freedom, there is an energy in virtue, there is a confidence in Religion, which will enable those that possess them, and those only, to rise superior to every disaster. It is not a boundless extent of territory, nor
even of commerce, that is essential to public prosperity. They are necessary, indeed, to national greatness, but not to national felicity. The true wealth, the true security of a kingdom consists in frugality, industry, temperance, fortitude, probity, piety, unanimity. Great difficulties, more especially, call for great talents and great virtues. It is in times such as these that we look for those noble examples of SELF-DENIAL and PUBLIC SPIRIT, which bespeak true greatness of mind, which have sometimes saved kingdoms, and immortalized individuals. Let, then, all the wise and the good in every party and denomination of men among us (for they are in every one to be found) stand forth in the present exigency as one man, to advise, direct, assist, and befriend their country; and as the Roman triumvirs gave up each his friend for the destruction of the state, let every one now give up his favourite prejudices, systems, interests, resentments, and connections, for the preservation of it. Let us not, for God's sake, let us not waste that time in tearing and devouring one another, which ought to be employed in providing for the general welfare. Unjust suspicions, uncandid interpretations, mutual reproaches, and endless altercations, can answer no other purpose but to embitter our minds, and multiply the very evils we all wish to remove. From beginnings such as these arose the calamities we are now met to deplore ; and the conclusion was, not liberty, but tyranny in the extreme. Can there possibly be a stronger motive for us to moderate our dissensions, and compose our passions, before they grow too big for us to manage and control ? On the same bottom are we all embarked, and if, in the midst of our angry contentions, the vessel perish, we must all perish with it. It is therefore our common interest, as it is our common duty, to unite in guarding against so fatal an event. There can be no danger of it but from ourselves. Our worst, our most formidable enemies, are our own personal vices and political distractions. Let harmony inspire our councils, and Religion sanctify our hearts, and we have nothing to fear. PEACE ABROAD is undoubtedly a most desirable object. But there are two things still more so, PEACE WITH ONE ANOTHER, and PEACE WITH GOD.
LUKE iv. 32.
AND THEY WERE ASTONISHED AT HIS DOC
TRINE: FOR HIS WORD WAS WITH POWER.
IT is evident from this, and many other
similar passages of the New Testament, that our blessed Lord's discourses made a very uncommon and wonderful impression on the minds of his hearers. We are told, in various places, “ that the common people 6 heard him gladly; that they wondered at 66. the gracious words which proceeded out " of his mouth, and declared, with one 66. voice, that, Never man spake like this 66 man.”* Expressions of this sort, which continually occur in relation to our Saviour's preaching, we never find applied in Scripture to any other teacher of Religion ; neither to the prophets who preceded, nor to the
* Mark xii. 37. Luke iv. 22. John vii. 46.