By George Whitefield, A. B. Late of Pembroke College, OXON.

PHILADELPHIA: Printed and Sold by W. BRADFORD, at the BIBLE in Second-street, MDCCXLVI.

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That they might observe His Statutes and keep His Laws.

MEN, Brethren and Fathers, and all ye to whom I am about to preach the Kingdom of GOD, —I suppose you need not be informed, that being indispensa­bly obliged to be absent on your late THANKSGIVING-DAY, I could not shew my Obedience to the Governor's Proclamation, as my own Inclination led me, or as might just­ly be expected from, and demanded of me—But as the Occasion of that Day's Thanksgiving is yet, and I trust ever will be, fresh in our Memory, I cannot think that a Discourse on that Subject can even now be altogether unseasonable.—I take it for granted further, that you need not be informed, that among the various Motives which are generally urged to enforce Obedience to the divine Commands, that of Love is the most powerful and cogent.—The Terrors of the Law may afright and awe, but Love dissolves [Page 4] and melts the Heart.—The Love of CHRIST, says the great Apostle of the Gentiles, constrain­eth us.—Nay, Love is so absolutely necessary for those that name the Name of CHRIST, that without it, their Obedience cannot truly be stiled Evangelical, or be acceptable in the Sight of God—Although, says the same Apostle, I bestow all my Goods to feed the Poor, and though I give my Body to be burnt, and have not CHARITY, (i. e. un­less unfeigned Love to GOD, and to Mankind for His great Name's sake, be the Principle of such Actions) howsoever it may benefit others, it profiteth ME nothing—This is the constant Language of the lively Oracles of GOD—And, from them it is equally plain, that nothing has a greater Tendency to beget and excite such an obediential Love in us, than a serious and fre­quent Consideration of the manifold Mercies we receive Time after Time from the Hands of our heavenly Father—The Royal Psalmist, who had the Honour of being stiled, the Man after GOD's own Heart, had an abundant Experi­ence of this.—Hence it is, that whilst he is musing on the divine Goodness, the Fire of di­vine Love kindles in his Soul; and, out of the Abundance of his Heart, his Mouth speaketh such grateful and extatick Language as this—‘What shall I render unto the Lord for all His Mer­cies? Bless the Lord, O my Soul, and all that is within me bless his holy Name.’—And why? [Page 5] ‘;Who forgiveth all thine Iniquities, who healeth all thy Diseases, who redeemeth thy Life from Destruction, who crowneth thee with loving Kindness and tender Mercies.’ And when the same Holy Man of GOD had a Mind to stir up the People of the Jews to set about a national Reformation, as the most weighty and prevailing Argument he could make use of for that pur­pose, he lays before them, as it were, in a Draught, many national Mercies, and distin­guishing Deliverances, which had been confer­ed upon, and wrought out for them, by the most high GOD.—The Psalm to which the Words of our Text belong, is a pregnant Proof of this; it being a kind of Epitome or Com­pendium of the whole Jewish History: At least it contains an Enumeration of many signal and extraordinary Blessings the Israelites had received from GOD, and also the Improvement they were in Duty bound to make of them, viz. to observe his Statutes and keep his Laws.

To run through all the Particulars of the Psalm, or draw a Parallel (which might with great ease and justice be done) between God's dealings with us and the Israelites of old—To e­numerate all the national Mercies bestow'd upon, and remarkable Deliverances wrought out for the Kingdoms of Great-Britain, from the Infant State of WILLIAM the Con­queror, to their present Manhood, and more than Augustan Maturity, under the auspicious [Page 6] Reign of our dread and rightful Sovereign KING GEORGE the Second; howsoever pleasing and profitable it might be at any other time, would, at this Juncture, prove, if not an irksome, yet an unseasonable Undertaking.——

The Occasion of the late Solemnity, I mean the Suppression of a most horrid and unnatural Rebel­lion, will afford more than sufficient Matter for a Discourse of this Nature, and furnish us with abundant Motives to love and obey that glori­ous Jehovah, who giveth SALVATION unto KINGS, and delivers His People from the hurtful Sword.

Need I make an Apology, before this Audi­tory, if, in order to see the Greatness of our late Deliverance, I should remind you of the many unspeakable Blessings which we have for a Course of Years enjoy'd, during the Reign of His pre­sent MAJESTY, and the gentle mild Admini­stration under which we live?—Without justly incurring the Censure of giving flattering Titles I believe all who have Eyes to see, and Ears to hear, and are but a little acquainted with our publick Affairs, must acknowledge, that we have one of the best of KINGS.—It is now above Nineteen Years since he began to reign o­ver Us—And yet, was he to be seated on a Royal Throne, and were all his Subjects placed before him. Was he to address them as Samuel once addressed the Israelites, ‘Behold here I am, Old and Greyheaded, witness against me before the Lord, whose Ox have I taken? Or whose [Page 7] Ass have I taken? Or whom have I defraud­ed? Whom have I oppressed?’ They must, if they would do him Justice, make the same Answer as was given to Samuel, ‘Thou hast not defrauded us, nor oppressed us.’ What Tertullus, by way of Flattery, said to Felix, may with the strictest Justice be applied to our Sovereign, ‘By thee we enjoy great Quietness, and very worthy Deeds have been done unto our Nation by thy Providence.’—He has been indeed Pater Patriae, a Father to our Country, and, tho' old and greyheaded, has jeoparded his precious Life for us in the High Places of the Field.—Nor has he less deserved that great and glorious Title which the Lord promises KINGS should sustain in the latter Days, I mean, a nursing Father of the Church.—For not only the Church of England, as by Law established, but Christians of every Denomination whatsoever have enjoyed their re­ligious, as well as civil, Liberties.—As there has been no authorized Oppression in the State, so there has been no publickly allowed Persecuti­on in the Church—We breathe indeed in a free Air; as free (if not freer) both as to temporals and spirituals, as any Nation under Heaven.—Nor is the Prospect likely to terminate in his MAJES­TY's Death, which I pray GOD long to defer. —Our Princesses are disposed of to Protestant Powers—And we have great Reason to be assur­ed that the present Heir Apparent, and His Con­sort, are like minded with their Royal Father.— [Page 8] And I cannot help thinking, that it is a peculiar Blessing vouchsafed us by the KING of KINGS, that his present MAJESTY has been continued so long among us—For now His immediate Successor (though his present Situa­tion obliges him, as it were, to lie dormant) has great and glorious. Opportunities, which we have Reason to think he daily improves, of ob­serving and weighing the national Affairs, con­sidering the various Steps and Turns of Go­vernment, and consequently of laying in a large Fund of Experience to make him a wise and great Prince, if ever GOD should call him to sway the British Sceptre—Happy art thou, O England! Happy art thou, O America, who on every side are thus highly favoured!

But, alas! how soon would this happy Scene have shifted, and a melancholly gloomy Prospect have succeeded in its room, had the Rebels gained their Point, and a Popish abjured Pretender been forced upon the British Throne!—For, suppo­sing his Birth not to be spurious, (as we have great Reason to think it really was) what could we expect from one, descended from a Fa­ther, who, when Duke of York, put all Scotland into Confusion, and afterwards, when crowned KING of England, for his Arbitrary and tyran­nical Government both in Church and State, was justly obliged to abdicate the Throne, by the Assertors of British Liberty? Or, suppos­ing the horrid Plot first hatched in Hell, and [Page 9] afterwards nursed at Rome, had taken Place; supposing, I say, the old Pretender should have exchanged his Cardinal's Cap for a Triple Crown, and have transferred his pretended Title (as it is reported he has done) to his Eldest Son, what was all this for, but that, by being advanc­ed to the Popedom, he might rule both Son and Subjects with less controul, and, by their united Interest, keep the three Kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland, in greater Vassalage to the See of Rome? Ever since this unnatural Rebellion broke out, I have looked up­on the young Pretender as the Phaeton of the pre­sent Age.—He is ambitiously and presumptuous­ly aiming to seat himself in the Throne of our rightful Sovereign KING GEORGE, which he is no more capable of maintaining than PHAETON was to guide the Chariot of the Sun; and had he succeeded in his Attempt, like him, would only have set the World on Fire.—It is true, to do him Justice, he has deserved well of the Church of Rome, and, in all probability, will hereafter be canonized amongst the noble Order of their fictitious Saints—But, with what an I­ron Rod we might expect to have been bruized, had his Troops been Victorious, may easily be imagin'd from those cruel Orders, found in the Pockets of some of his Officers, "Give no Quarter to the Elector's Troops."—Add to this, that there was great Reason to suspect, that, upon the first News of the Success of the Re­bels, [Page 10] a general Massacre was intended—So that if the Lord had not been on our side, Great-Britain, not to say America, would, in a few Weeks, or Months, have been an Accidama, a Field of Blood.—Besides, was a Popish Pretender to rule over us, instead of being represented by a free Parliament, and governed by Laws made by their Consent, as we now are, we should shortly have had only the Shadow of one, and, it may be, no Parliament at all.—This is the na­tive Product of a Popish Government, and what the unhappy Family, from which this YOUNG ADVENTURER pretends to be descended, has al­ways aimed at.—Arbitrary Principles he has sucked in with his Mother's Milk; and if he had been so honest, instead of that immature Motto upon his Standard, Tandem triumphans, only to have put, Stet pro Ratione Voluntas, he had given us a short, but true, Portraiture of the Na­ture of his intended, but, blessed be GOD, now defeated Reign.—And, why should I mention, that the Loss of the national Debt, and the Dis­solution of the present happy Union between the two Kingdoms, would have been the imme­diate Consequences of his Success, as he himself declares in his second Manifesto, dated from Holy­rood House? These are Evils, and great ones too; but then they are only Evils of a tempo­rary Nature—They chiefly concern the Body, and must necessarily terminate in the Grave— But, alas! What an Inundation of spiritual [Page 11] Mischiefs would soon have overflowed the Church, and what unspeakable Danger should we and our Posterity have been reduced to in respect to our better Parts, our precious and immortal Souls? How soon would whole swarms of Monks, Dominicans and Friars, like so many Locusts, have overspread and plagued the Nati­on?—With what winged speed would foreign titular Bishops have posted over in order to take Possession of their respective Sees?—How quickly would our Universities have been filled with Youths who have been sent abroad by their Popish Parents, in order to drink in all the Superstitions of the Church of Rome?—What a speedy Period would have been put to Socie­ties of all Kinds, for promoting Christian Know­ledge, and propagating the Gospel in foreign Parts? How soon would our Pulpits have every where been filled with those old antichristian Doctrines, Freewill, Meriting by Works, Transubstantiation, Purgatory, Works of Supererogation, Passive Obedience, Non-resistance, and all the other A­bominations of the Whore of Babylon?—How soon would our Protestant Charity-Schools in England, Scotland and Ireland, have been pulled down, our BIBLES forcibly taken from us, and Ignorance every where set up as the Mother of Devotion?—How soon should we have been de­priv'd of that invaluable Blessing, LIBERTY OF CONSCIENCE, and been obliged to com­mence (what they falsely call) Catholicks, or [Page 12] submit to all the Tortures which a biggotted Zeal, guided by the most cruel Principles, could possibly invent?—How soon would that Mother of Harlots have made herself once more drunk with the Blood of the Saints, and the whole Tribe even of Free-thinkers them­selves, been brought to this Dilemma, either to die Martyrs for, (tho' I never yet heard of one that did so) or, contrary to all their most avow­ed Principles, renounce their great Diana, un­assisted, unenlightened Reason?—But I must have done,—lest while I am speaking against Antichrist, I should unawares fall myself, and lead my Hearers into an antichristian Spirit.— True and undefiled Religion will regulate our Zeal, and teach us to treat even the Man of Sin, with no harsher Language than that which the Angel gave his grand employer Satan, The Lord rebuke thee.

Glory be to His great NAME, the LORD has rebuked him, and that too at a Time when we had little reason to expect such a BLESSING at GOD's Hands.—My dear Hearers, neither the present Frame of my Heart, nor the Occasion of your late solemn Meeting, lead me to give you a Detail of our Publick Vices—Tho' alas! they are so many, so notorious, and withal of such a Crimson-dye, that a Gospel Minister would not be altogether inexcusable, was he, even on such a joyful Occasion, to lift up his Voice like a Trumpet, to shew the British Nation [Page 13] their Transgression, and the People of America their Sin.—However, tho' I would not cast a dismal Shade upon the pleasing Picture the Cause of our late rejoycings set before us; yet thus much may, and ought to be said, viz. that, as GOD has not dealt so bountifully with any People as with us, so no Nation under Heaven has dealt more ungratefully with Him.—We have been, like Capernaum, lifted up to Hea­ven in Priviledges, and, for the Abuse of them, like her, have deserved to be thrust down into Hell.—How well soever it may be with us, in respect to our civil and ecclesiastick Constituti­on, yet, in regard to our Morals, Isaiah's De­scription of the Jewish Polity is too too ap­plicable, ‘The whole Head is sick, the whole Heart is faint, from the Crown of the Head to the Sole of our Feet, we are full of Wounds and Bruises, and putrifying Sores.’ We have, Jeshurun like, waxed fat and kicked.—We have played the Harlot against GOD, both in regard to Principles and Practice.—Our Gold is become dim, and our fine Gold changed.—We have crucified the Son of GOD afresh, and put him to an open shame—Nay, CHRIST has been wounded in the House of his Friends—And every thing long ago seemed to threaten an im­mediate Storm.—But, Oh the Long-suffering and Goodness of GOD to-us-ward! When all Things seemed ripe for Destruction, and Mat­ters were come to such a Crisis, that GOD's [Page 14] praying People began to think, that tho' Noah, Daniel and Job were living, they would only deliver their own Souls; yet then, in the midst of Judgment, the most High remembred Mercy, and when a Popish Enemy was breaking in upon us like a Flood, the Lord himself graciously lifted up a Standard.

This to me does not seem to be one of the most unfavourable Circumstances, which have attended this MIGHTY DELIVERANCE; nor do I think you will look upon it as altogether unworthy Your Observation— Had this Cockatrice indeed been crushed in the Egg, and the Young Pretender driven back up­on his first Arrival, it would undoubtedly have been a great Blessing.—But not so great as that for which you lately assembled to give GOD THANKS: For then His MAJESTY would not have had so good an Opportunity of know­ing his Enemies, or trying his Friends.—The British Subjects would, in a Manner, have lost the fairest Occasion that ever offered to express their Loyalty and Gratitude to their RIGHTFUL SOVEREIGN.—France would not have been so greatly humbled; nor such an effectual Stop have been put, as we trust there now is, to any such further Popish Plot, to rob us of all that is near and dear to us.—Out of the Eater therefore hath come forth Meat, and out of the Strong hath come forth Sweetness.—The Pretender's Eldest Son is suffered not only to land in the North-West [Page 15] Highlands in Scotland, but in a little while to become a great Band.—This for a Time is not believed, but treated as a Thing altogether in­credible.—The Friends of the Government in those Parts, not for want of Loyalty, but of sufficient Authority to take up Arms, could not resist him—He is permitted to pass on with his terrible Banditti, and, like the Comet that was lately seen (a Presage it may be of this ve­ry Thing) spreads his baleful Influences all a­round him.—He is likewise permitted to gain a short liv'd Triumph by a Victory over a Bo­dy of our Troops at Preston-Pans, and to take a temporary Possession of the Metropolis of Scotland.—Of this he makes his Boast, and in­forms the Publick (they are his own Words) that ‘Providence had hitherto favoured him with wonderful Success, led him in the Way to Victory, and to the Capital of the ancient Kingdom, though he came without foreign Aid.’ —Nay he is further permitted to press into the very Heart of England.—But now the Almighty interposes,—Hitherto he was to go, and no further. —Here were his malicious Designs to be staid— His Troops of a sudden are driven back—Away they post to the Highlands, and there they are suffered not only to increase, but also to collect themselves into a large Body, that having, as it were, what Caligula once wish'd Rome had, but one Neck, they might be cut off with one Blow.

[Page 16]The Time, Nature, and Instrument of this Victory deserve our Notice.—It was on a gene­ral FAST-DAY, when the Clergy and good Peo-of Scotland were lamenting the Disloyalty of their perfidious Countrymen, and like Moses lifting up their Hands, that Amaleck might not prevail—The Victory was total and decisive— Little Blood was spilt on the Side of the Roy­alists—And to crown all, DUKE WILLIAM, His MAJESTY's YOUNGEST SON, has the Ho­nour of first driving back, and then defeating the Rebel Army—A PRINCE, who in his In­fancy and Nonage, gave early Proofs of an un­common Bravery, and Nobleness of Mind.—A PRINCE, whose Courage has encreased with his Years; who returned Wounded from the Battle of Dettingen, behav'd with surprizing Bravery at Fontenoy, and now, by a Conduct and Mag­nanimity becoming the high Office he sustains, like his glorious Predecessor the Prince of O­range, has once more delivered three Kingdoms from the Dread of Popish Cruelty, and arbitra­ry Power—What renders it still more remarka­ble is this—The Day on which His Highness gained this Victory was the Day after his BIRTH-DAY, when he was entering on the Twenty Sixth Year of his Age;—And when Sullivan, one of the Pretender's Privy Council, like another Ahitophel, advised the Rebels to give our Soldiers Battle, presuming they were surfeited and overcharged with their Yesterday's [Page 17] Rejoycings, and consequently unfit to make any great Stand against them—But Glory be to GOD, who catches the Wise in their own Craftiness! His Counsel, like Ahitophel's, proves abortive—Both General and Soldiers were prepared to meet them—God taught their Hands to war, and their Fingers to fight, and brought the DUKE, after a bloody and deserved Slaughter of some thousands of the Rebels, with most of his brave Soldiers, victorious from the field.

Were we to take a distinct view of this nota­ble Transaction, and trace it in all the particu­lar Circumstances that have attended it, I believe we must with one Heart and Voice con­fess, that if it be a Mercy for a State to be delivered from a worse than a Catiline's Con­spiracy; or a Church to be rescued from a hotter than a Dioclesian Persecution—If it be a Mercy to be delivered from a Religion that turns Plow-shares into Swords and Pruning-Hooks into Spears, and makes it meritorious to shed Protestant Blood—If it be a Mercy to have all our present invaluable Priviledges, both in Church and State, secured to us more than ever—If it be a Mercy to have these GREAT THINGS done for us at a Season when, for our crying Sins both Church and State justly deserved to be overturned;—And if it be a Mercy to have all this brought about for us, under GOD, by one of the BLOOD [Page 18] ROYAL, a Prince acting with an Experience far above his Years.—If any or all of these are Mercies, then have you lately commemorated one of the greatest Mercies that ever the glo­rious GOD vouchsaf'd the British Nation.—

And shall we not REJOYCE and give THANKS? Should we refuse, would not the Stones cry out against us?—Rejoyce then we may and ought: But, Oh! let our Rejoicing be in the LORD, and run in a religious Channel. This we find has been the Practice of GOD's People in all Ages.—When he was pleased, with a mighty Hand and outstretched Arm to lead the Israelites through the Red Sea, as on dry Ground. ‘Then sang Moses and the Children of Israel; and Mi­riam the Prophetess, the Sister of Aaron, took a Timbrel in her Hand, and all the Women went out after her. And Miriam answered them, sing ye to the LORD; for he hath triumphed gloriously.’ When GOD subdued Jabin the King of Canaan before the Children of Israel, ‘Then sang Deborah and Barak on that Day, saying, Praise ye the LORD for the avenging of Israel. When the Ark was brought back out of the Hands of the Philistines, David, tho' a King, danced before it.—And, to mention but one Instance more, which may serve as a general Directory to us on this and such like Oc­casions; When the great Head of the Church, had rescued his People from the general Mas­sacre intended to be executed upon them by a [Page 19] cruel and ambitious Haman, Mordecai sent ‘Let­ters unto all the Jews that were in all the Pro­vinces of the King Ahasuerus, both nigh and far, to establish among them, that they should keep the Fourteenth Day of the Month Adar, and the Fifteenth Day of the same yearly, as the Days wherein the Jews rested from their Enemies, and the Month which was turned un­to them from Sorrow unto Joy, and from Mourning into a good Day: That they should make them Days of Feasting and Joy, and of sending Portions one to another, and Gifts to the Poor?’ And why should not we go and do likewise?

And shall we forget, on such an Occasion, to express our Gratitude to, and make honourable mention of, those Worthies, who have signaliz'd themselves, and been ready to sacrifice both Lives and Fortunes at this critical Juncture?— This would be to act the Part of those un­grateful Israelites, who are branded in the Book of GOD, for not shewing Kindness to the House of Jerubbaal, a [...]ely Gideon, according to all the Goodness which he shewed unto Israel.’ Even a Pharoah could prefer a deserving Joseph, Ahasuerus a Mordecai, and Nebuchadnezar a Daniel, when made Instruments of signal Ser­vice to themselves and People.—‘My Heart, says Deborah, is towards (i. e. I have a particular Veneration and Regard for) the Governors of Israel, that offered themselves willingly.—And [Page 20] Blessed, adds she, above Women shall Jael the Wife of Heber the Kenite be: For she put her Hand to the Nail, and her right Hand to the Workman's Hammer, and with the Ham­mer she smote Sisera, she smote off his Head, when she had pierced and stricken thro' his Temples.’ And shall not we say, "Blessed, above Men, let His Royal Highness the DUKE OF CUMBERLAND be: For, thro' his instrumen­tality, the great and glorious JEHOVAH hath brought mighty Things to pass?"—Should not our Hearts be towards the worthy Archbishop of York, the Royal Hunters, and those other Eng­lish Heroes, who offered themselves so willingly? —Let the Names of BLAKENEY, BLAND and REA, and all those who waxed valiant in Fight, on this important Occasion, live for ever in the British Annals. —Let that worthy Clergy­man who endured Five hundred Lashes from the cruel Enemy, (every one of which the gene­rous DUKE said, he felt himself) be never for­gotten by the Ministers of CHRIST in parti­cular......And let the Name of that great that incomparably brave Soldier of the KING, and good Soldier of JESUS CHRIST, Colonel GARDINER, (excuse me if I here vent a Sigh, —He was my intimate Friend) let his Name, I say, be had in everlasting Remembrance— His Majesty has led us an Example of Grati­tude Acting like himself, upon the first News of this brave Man's Death, he sent immediate [Page 21] Orders that his Family should be taken Care of.—The noble DUKE gave a Commission im­mediately to his eldest Son.—And the sympa­thizing Prince of Hesse paid a Visit of Condo­lance to his sorrowful elect and worthy Lady— The British Parliament have made a publick Acknowledgement of the Obligation the Na­tion lies under to His Royal Highness.—And surely the least we can do, is to make a pub­lick and grateful Mention of their Names, to whom under God, we owe so much Gratitude and Thanks.

But, after all, is there not an infinitely greater Debt of Gratitude and Praise due from us, on this Occasion, to him that is Higher than the Highest, even the KING of KINGS and LORD of LORDS, the Blessed and only PO­TENTATE? Is it not his Arm, his strong and mighty Arm, (what Instruments soever may have been made use of) that hath brought us THIS Salvation? And may I not therefore address you, in the exulting Language of the Beginning of this Psalm, from which we have taken our Text? ‘O give Thanks unto the Lord; call upon his Name, make known his Deeds among the People. —Sing unto him—Sing Psalms unto him:—Talk ye of all his wondrous Works—Glory ye in his holy Name—Remem­ber this marvellous Work which he hath done.’

But shall we put off our good and gracious Be­nefactor, with a mere Lip-Service? GOD forbid. [Page 22] —Your worthy GOVERNOR has honoured GOD in his late excellent Proclamation, and GOD will honour him—But shall our Thanks ter­minate with the Day?—No, in no wise—Our Text reminds us of a more noble Sacrifice, and points out to us the great End the Almighty JEHOVAH proposes, in bestowing such sig­nal Favours upon a People, viz. That they should observe his Statutes and keep his Laws......

This is the Return we are all taught to pray that we may make to the most High GOD, the Father of Mercies, in the daily Office of our Church, viz. ‘That our Hearts may be unfeign­edly Thankful, and that we may shew forth his Praise, not only with our Lips but in our Lives, by giving up our selves to his Service, and by walking before him in Holiness and Righteous­ness all our Days.’—Oh that these Words were the real Language of all that use them! Oh that there was in us such a Mind!—How soon would our Enemies then flee before us, and GOD, even our own GOD, yet give us more abundant Blessings!—

And, why should we not observe GOD's Sta­tutes and keep his Laws?—Dare any say that any of his Commands are grievous?—Is not CHRIST's Yoak, to a renewed Soul, as far as renewed, easy; and his Burden comparatively light?—May I not appeal to the most refined Reasoner, whether the Religion of JESUS CHRIST be not a social Religion?—Whether [Page 23] the moral Law, as explained by the Lord JESUS in the Gospel, has not a natural Ten­dency to promote the present Good and Happi­ness of a whole Common-Wealth, supposing they were obedient to [...], as well as the Happiness of every individual?—From whence come Wars and Fightings amongst us? From what Fountain do all those Evils, which the present and past Ages have groaned under, flow, but from a Neglect of the Laws and Statutes of our great and all-wise Law-giver JESUS of Nazareth?—Tell me, ye Men of Letters, whether Lycurgus or Solon, Pythagoras or Plato, Aristotle, Seneca, Cicero, or all the ancient Law-givers and Heathen Moralists, put them alltoge­ther, ever published a System of Ethicks, any way worthy to be compared with the glorious System laid down in that much despised Book, (to use Sir Richard Steele's Expression) emphati­cally called the Scriptures? Is not the Divine Image, and Superscription written upon every Precept of the Gospel? Do they not shine with a native intrinsick Lustre? And, tho' many Things in them are above, yet, is there any thing contrary to the strictest Laws of right Reason?—Is not JESUS CHRIST, in Scrip­ture, stiled the Word, the [...] the Reason? And is not his Service justly stiled [...] a rea­sonable Service?—What if there be Mysteries in his Religion?—Are they not without all Controversy great and glorious?—Are they not Mysteries of [Page 24] Godliness, and worthy that GOD who reveals them?—Nay, is it not the greatest Mystery that Men who pretend to Reason, and call them­selves Philosophers, who search into the Arcana Naturae, and consequently find a Mystery in every Blade of Grass, should yet be so irratio­nal as to decry all Mysteries in Religion?— Where is the Scribe? Where is the Wise? Where is the Disputer against the Christian Re­velation?—Does not every thing without and within us conspire to prove its divine Original? And would not Self-Interest, if there was no other Motive, excite us to observe GOD's Statutes and keep his Laws?

Besides, considered as a Protestant People, do we not lie under the greatest Obligations of any Nation under Heaven, to pay a chearful, unanimous, universal, persevering OBEDIENCE to the [...]ine Commands?

The wonderful and surprizing Manner of GOD's bringing about a Reformation, in the Reign of King HENRY the Eighth—His car­rying it on in the blessed Reign of King ED­WARD the Sixth— His delivering us out of the Bloody Hands of Queen Mary, and de­stroying the Spanish invincible Armada, under her immediate Protestant Successor Queen ELIZABETH—His Discovery of the Popish Plot under King JAMES—The glorious Revolution by King WILLIAM—And, to come nearer to our own Times, His driving away four Thousand [Page 25] five Hundred Spaniards, from a weak (tho' im­portant) Frontier Colony, when they had, in a Manner, actually taken Possession of it.—His giving us Louisbourg, one of the strengest For­tresses of our Enemies, contrary to all human Probability, but the other Day, into our Hands, (Which may encourage our Hopes of Success, supposing it carried on in a like Spirit, in our intended Canada Expedition)—These, I say, with the Victory which you have lately been commemorating, are such national Mercies, not to mention any more, as will render us ut­terly inexcusable, if they do not produce a national Reformation, and incite us all, with one Heart, to observe God's Statutes, and keep his Laws.

Need I remind you further, in order to excite in you a greater Diligence to comply with the Intent of the Text, that tho' the Storm, in a great Measure is abated by his Royal High­ness's late Success, yet we dare not say, it is altogether blown over?

The Clouds may again return after the Rain; and the few surviving Rebels (which I pray God avert) may yet be suffered to make Head against us—We are still engaged in a bloody, and in all probability, a tedious War, with two of the most inveterate Enemies to the Interests of Great-Britain—And, tho' I cannot help thinking, that their present Intentions are so Iniquitous, their Conduct so perfidious, and their [Page 26] Schemes so directly derogatory to the Honour of the most High God, that He will certainly Humble them in the End; yet, as all Things, in this Life, happen alike to all, they may for a Time be dreadful Instruments of scourging us— If not, God has other Arrows in his Quiver to smite us with, besides the French King, his Ca­tholick Majesty, or an abjured Pretender.—Not only the Sword, but Plague, Pestilence and Fa­mine are under the divine Command—Who knows, but he may say to them all, Pass through these Lands?—A fatal Murram has lately swept away abundance of Cattle at Home and abroad—A like epidemical Disease may have a Commission to seize our Persons as well as our Beasts— Thus GOD dealt with the Egyptians— Who dare say, He will not deal in the same Manner with us?—Has he not al­ready given some Symptoms of it?—What great Numbers upon the Continent have been lately taken off by the Bloody-Flux, Small-Pox, and Yellow Fever? Who can tell what further Judgments are yet in Store? However this is certain, the Rod is yet hanging over us;— And, I believe it will be granted, on all sides, that if such various Dispensations of Mercy and Judgment, do not teach the Inhabitants of any Land to learn Righteousness, they will only ripen them for a greater Ruin— Give me leave, therefore, to dismiss you at this Time with that solemn awful Warning and Exhortati­on [Page 27] with which the Prophet Samuel, on a Publick Occasion, took leave of the People of Israel. ‘Only fear the Lord and serve him, in Truth, with all your Heart: For consider, how great Things he hath done for you. But if ye shall still do wickedly, [I will not say as he did, you SHALL be consumed; but] ye know not but you may provoke him to consume both you and your King. Which GOD of his infinite Mercy prevent, for the Sake of JESUS CHRIST: To whom with the Father and the Holy Ghost, three Persons but one God, be all Ho­nour and Glory, now and forever more. Amen, Amen.


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