Dr. Chauncy's SERMON Occasioned by the late EARTHQUAKES.


The EARTH delivered from the CURSE to which it is, at present, subjected. A SERMON Occasioned by the late EARTH­QUAKES in Spain and Portu­gal, as well as New-England; AND Preached at the BOSTON-Thursday-Lecture, January 22, 1756.

Published by the general Desire of the Hearers.

By Charles Chauncy, D. D. One of the Pastors of the first Church in BOSTON.

The Day of the Lord will come,in the which the HEAVENS shall pass away with a great Noise;the EARTH also, and the Works that are therein, shall be burnt up.Nevertheless, we (according to his Promise) look for NEW HEAVENS, and a NEW EARTH, wherein dwelleth Righteousness. Apostle PETER.
And I saw a new Heaven, and a new Earth; for the first Heaven, and the first Earth, were passed away. Apostle JOHN.

BOSTON: N. E. Printed and Sold by Edes & Gill, at their Printing-Office, next to the Prison, in Queen-Street, M,DCC,LVI.

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The World in which there is NO CURSE.

Rev. xxii. 3.And there shall be no more CURSE.—’

MY text falls in that part of the revelation of God to his servant John, by Jesus Christ, which relates to the resurrection-world; and among the characteristicks here given of this world, that is an obser­vable one, no more CURSE shall be there.

The words evidently allude to that Curse, which the righteous God, in the days of Adam, and for his sin in eating of the forbidden tree, fastened on the earth; changing it from its paradisaick state, to one that was adapted to be an occasion of toil, and sorrow, and death, not only to him, but to his posterity, throughout all generations.

I cannot therefore give you a more just or lively idea of the resurrection-world, as described in my text, than by dilating upon the state of our present earth, by reason of the primitive curse; for one of the dis­tinguishing marks here given of that world is, that it has no such CURSE cleaving to it.

[Page 6] Tis both seen, and felt, by unhappy experience, that the earth, in its present state, is such, as that it is impossible for any son or daughter of Adam to possess life on it, but in suffering circumstances, in a less or greater degree. As the scripture speaks, Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble: He is born to trouble as the sparks fly upwards. And such indeed are the inconveniencies and tryals, such the labors and sorrows, we are all subjected to, by the very constitution of the earth we live upon, so various in their Kind, and so unavoidable in their nature, that the present state of existence may properly be considered as a scene of vanity, suffering, and death; and the longer we any of us continue in it, the more thorough­ly we are convinced, that this is the real truth of the case. Some, perhaps, suffer more evil than they en­joy good; and if any enjoy more good than they suffer evil, tis but in a small degree. The same earth that is fitted to give us pleasure, is fitted also to give us pain; and every convenience is so attended with some opposite inconvenience, that tis hard to say, in many cases, on which side the ballance most commonly turns. At the best, our condition here is so chequered with interchangeable evil and good, that we may all take to our selves words, and with accurate truth say, vanity of vanities, all is vanity, and vexation of spirit.

And was this the state, in which God created the first of our race? The scripture says no such thing; but quite the reverse: Informing us, that, upon man's becoming a living soul, that is, a being capable of com­munication with material nature, in a way of perception and enjoyment, he found it every way adapted to his convenience and delight, as well as support in life. The earth was endow'd with prolifick virtue, and caused to bring forth every kind of fruit, pleasant to his sight, and good for food. And as to death, he was guarded [Page 7] from its touch by the tree of life, planted in the midst of the paradise of God: Nor was there, in this happy place, any of those occasions of pain, and sorrow, and tears, which we now groan under. It was owing to the disobedience of the one man Adam, in the special article wherein he was tried, and the CURSE of God thereby bro't on the earth, that death entered into the world, with its forerunners, and appendages, in all their frightful and tormenting forms; and has reigned ever since, and even over those, who sinned not after the simi­litude of his trasgression.

Tis plain from revelation, however undiscoverable any other way, that the state of the earth, and the circum­stances of mankind, as living on it, are vastly different from what they would have been, had not Adam fell by transgression. The Curse inflicted on the earth, by reason of his sin, can be explained in no intelligible sense, upon any other supposition.

The words of Moses are express in declaring, that it was for man's sake, that is, for his sin; and that he might be subjected to a state of labor, and sorrow, and death, that the earth was cursed. But, in what con­conceivable sense, could God's cursing the earth be a means of subjecting man to these disadvantages, if the earth was not thereby changed into a worse state than it was in before his fall, that is, a state less fitted to give him pleasure, and more adapted to be an occasion of grief, and to bring on death? It should seem certain, if the earth, in its original state, was similar to what it is in its present condition, there would have been no need of a curse from God in order to its bringing forth thorns and thistles, and being an occasion of toil and sorrow. And as God cursed the earth upon this ex­press design, that it might be adapted to these ends, tis from hence demonstrable, that its condition, before the lapse (so far as we regard revelation) was not the same [Page 8] it has been since. If it was, what is the meaning of the curse? What signification, carrying in it any im­portant sense, can be put upon it?

The plain truth is, We, the posterity of Adam, come into existence since his lapse, and live on this earth in consequence of it, not as it was in its pristine state, but as it lies under the actual curse of God, that is, adapted to render life, as long as it lasts, a scene of labor, vanity, and sorrow.

The Apostle Paul certainly viewed the matter in this light. For he says, Rom. 8. 20, The creature is made subject to vanity. And again, v. 22, The whole creation groaneth, and travaileth together in pain until now. And when it is said, in my text, by the Apostle John, in his description of the resurrection-world, that there is no more curse there, the propriety of this cha­racteristick is evidently founded on those numerous occasions of sorrow, mankind, at present, are subjected to, by reason of the curse that is on the earth. But if the state of the earth now is, and all along has been, the same it was before the fall, how can it be said to be under a curse? It must be a strange sort of curse, that would leave the earth just as it found it. It can have no meaning, if it did not so change the earth as to make it less advantagious to man, less fitted to be a place of happiness. Besides, if the curse did not greatly change the earth for the worse, how shall we account for those scripture passages, which speak of the state of good men, in the other world, under the em­blem of a paradisaick one? Our Saviour declared to the penitent thief on the cross, This day thou shalt be with me in paradise. The Apostle Paul says of him­self, I was caught up to paradise. And, in the book of the revelation, the promise to him that overcometh is, that he shall eat of the tree of life in the midst of the paradise of God. The happy state described, in [Page 9] these texts, under the resemblance of paradise, is, be­yond all controversy, greater than can be enjoyed on this earth, as it is constituted at present; and conse­quently the ancient paradise, from whence the allusion is borrowed, must have been vastly different from our earth, in its present condition. The ancient paradise, it is true, was a particular spot of the earth, selected by God for the habitation of man in innocency: But there is no reason to think, there was any considerable difference between that spot of earth, and the earth in common. To be sure, if the rest of the earth, in that day, was similar to the earth in this, there would have been no need of a Curse from God in order to its being an occasion of toil and sorrow. A meer expulsion from paradise would, in this case, have answered all the ends of the curse, rendering it quite needless. So that it should seem a point beyond all controversy, among those who profess faith in the revelations of scripture, that this earth, by means of the curse for Adam's sin, has been changed from its first state; and so changed as to be the unavoidable occasion of vanity, labor, sorrow, and death, in a multiplied variety of forms, to all who have lived on it since the lapse.

If any should here ask, What the change is, in par­ticular, that the curse has bro't upon the earth, less fitting it for happiness, and more adapting it to be an occasion of sorrow and suffering?

I answer;—It seems to me very evident, it is this that has changed the seasons; making them, instead of equable, and gently distinguished from each other, subject to those extreams of heat and cold, and sudden turns from one to t'other, we now experience, to our being expos'd to manifest inconveniencies, and, many times, great hardships and sufferings.—It is this that has changed the fitness of the ground for the purpose of vegetation; causing it to bring forth its fruit, in all [Page 10] its various kinds, with less perfection, and consequently with less virtue to nutrifie; which must, conformably to the establish'd connections of nature, affect our bodies, rendering them less perfect, and therefore less suted to be the instruments of our souls in the exertment of their several active pow­ers: Besides which, it now invigorates those thorns, and thistles, and weeds, which are the occasion of infi­nite toil to the sons of men.—It is this that has chang­ed the air from its former purity, subtilty, and perfect adaptation to the purpose of breathing, and its other uses in the animal and vegetable kingdom; subjecting it to those steams, exhalations, and heterogeneous mix­tures, which are the causes, under God, of those storms and tempests, of those thunderings and lightings, of those droughts and rains, and, in a word, of those vari­ous pestilential affluvia, which has done so much hurt in all ages.—It is this that has filled the bowels of the earth with those materials, whatever they are, that are the secondary causes of that terrible phaenomenon we mean by an earthquake: And its bowels, in all its quarters, are stored with these materials for the pro­duction of this awful event, either for warning, or de­struction, in a less or greater extent, as God pleases.—In a word, it is this that has so changed the whole ex­ternal constitution of nature, as that, instead of tending to render the earth a paradisaick one, it conspires to make it a place of vanity and sorrow, suffering and death.

One that has wrote a very learned and ingenious Theory of the earth has endeavoured to assign the mechanical causes of this change of the earth from its paradisaick, to its present state. I will not affirm, that they are the true ones, of those God was pleased, in fact, to co-operate with in order to effect this change. But thus much I will venture to say, that this change, [Page 11] as owing to these causes, is both intelligible, and credi­ble, upon the strictest phylosophical reasoning; and that we have therefrom a clear and just account, how the curse, the scripture speaks of, might come upon the earth in consequence of the sin of the first parents of men, and change it from its former state; making it, in the natural course of things, an occasion of all those inconveniencies, difficulties, fears, sorrows, suffer­ings, and deaths, we are now subjected to, and so ear­nestly groan to be delivered from.

I may pertinently add here, it is highly probable, that the alwise righteous God so adjusted all second Causes, when, by his curse he changed the external state of nature, as that they should operate, in all ages, and in all places, as might best answer his designs in the moral government of the creature. What I mean is, He might settle such laws with respect to natural causes, so proportion their force, sphere of action, man­ner and degree of operation, as that, under his all-powerful and alwise concurring influence, they should conspire together to produce those effects, at such times, and in such places, as were best fitted to their moral state, and might serve for warning and correction, or total desolation and ruin, as he should judge expedient. And in consequence of this settlement of the course of nature, taking rise from the sin of the one man Adam, it may come to pass, that his posterity, in all after-ages, as they forsake God, are involved in those calamities, which either warn and discipline them, or totally de­stroy them from off the face of the earth, as the ends of government make the one, or the other, fit and proper.

We see, in fact, that the heavens over us, and the earth under us, are charged with materials that are fitted, whenever God pleases, in a variety of ways, to awaken the attention of a careless world, and call them [Page 12] to the faith, and fear, and service of the great sove­reign of the universe; or to put a period to their ex­istence here, if they are incurably turned to infidelity and wickedness. It is from these materials in nature, that tempests, famines, pestilences, earthquakes, and the like, take their rise. And these are the great instru­ments of providence. It is by these, that God keeps our degenerate world under restraint. Were it not for the displays he makes, at proper times, and in pro­per places, of his being, and perfection, and governing providence, in these ways of terror, mankind might, at length, forget there was a God, or live as tho' there was none.

The final cause therefore of God's cursing the earth, and fitting it for the production of so much evil, in the course of providence, might be the good of mankind. Such a world as this now is, and by the curse of God too, may be the most sutable one for such creatures as we are since the lapse: Had the earth remained in its paradisaick state, giving no room to expect death, or those occasions of sorrow, and fear, and suffering, we are now subjected to, it might have been an abode altogether unadapted to the business of training us up for the enjoyment of God, the supreme Good. It was, perhaps, highly expedient, if not absolutely ne­cessary, that we should live in a world of discipline; a world that would, in the natural course of things, be the occasion of many difficulties, inconveniencies, and tryals, by means of which, we might be formed to a meekness for another world, in which we should be totally freed from them. An interrupted state of ease and pleasure would, morally speaking, be the ruin of mankind. We need a mixture of evil with good, to check our pride; to restrain our bodily appetites; to take off our affections from the things of the earth; and to excite in us a just sense of our dependence on [Page 13] God. And we need also, every now and then, to be alarmed by this or that dispensation, that shall speak with a voice more loud and awful than is common and ordinary. The inhabitants of the world in general, and the inhabitants in this or the other place in special, are sometimes sunk into a state of such carelessness and stupidity, have so little faith in God, and are so given up to commit all iniquity with greediness, that, humanly speaking, there is no room to expect their reformation and amendment, but by such manifestations of the power, and greatness, and majesty of God, as will even force a faith in him, and a serious attention to his cha­racter as the moral governor of the world.

Accordingly, the course of nature, since the lapse, and in consequence of it, is wisely and mercifully a­dapted to both these ends: Giving occasion, at all times, for disciplinary tryals; and bringing on also, at certain intervals, such tremendous events as either alarm the fears of men, and solemnly call them to repentance, or destroy them from off the earth by hundreds and thou­sands, having filled up the measure of their iniquities. And this course of nature will continue, and operate to these ends, producing both ordinary and extraordinary evils, more or less extensive and fatal, as the state of mankind shall make them necessary, till the world is ripe for that dissolution by fire, of which we are parti­cularly forewarned by the Apostle Peter, in the 3d chapter of his 2d epistle; the provisions for which were all, doubtless, laid in store, when God cursed the earth, and so adjusted, as that they should all unite and ope­rate at the time set therefor in the counsels of God: Tho' it ought to be remembered here, the fire of this Day of God's wrath, which is reserved for the perdi­tion of ungodly men, will be so far from finally ruining this world, as that it shall be a mean, under the govern­ment of the all-powerful and all-wise God, of taking [Page 14] off the curse from the earth, and reducing it to its para­disaick state, or one that is much better.

Blessed be God, we have good reason from the re­velations of his word, to expect such a state as this; tho' the present heaven and earth shall be dissolved by the fire of the great day. Our Saviour, speaking of those who had followed him, says, that, in the regeneration, they shall set upon twelve thrones, Matt. 19. 28. The word here translated regeneration, is the very one (as Dr. Burnet observes) that is used, both by the greek philosophers, and the greek christian fathers, for the renovation of the world. And, doubtless, the new form of existence that is to be given to all things, their being, as it were, born again to another and better state, is what our saviour has here in view. In the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 3. ver. 21, The heaven is said to receive Christ, UNTIL THE TIMES OF THE RESTITUTION OF ALL THINGS. The Apostle Peter, in agreement with this tho't, bespeaks the christians he wrote to in such language as that, 2 Epistle, 3 chap. ver. 13, We, according to his promise, look for new heavens, and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. The Apo­stle John also, in his vision, saw this present earth and heavens, flee away, so as that there was no more place found for them, Rev. 20. 11. And when the earth and heavens, that now are, were passed away, he saw a new heavens, and a new earth, rise up in their room, Chap. 21. 1. And it is in consequence of these visions, that he introduces him that sat on the throne, saying, as in the 5th ver. of this chapter, Behold, I make all things new.

Some have tho't, that these new heavens and earth will be formed before the general resurrection and judgment; but 'tis with me beyond all doubt, that they are herein mistaken. For the dissolution of the present earth and heavens, which the Apostle Peter speaks of; [Page 15] and the passing away of the earth and heavens, which is spoken of by the Apostle John, mean one and the same thing. And tis remarkable, the Apostle John saw the dead, both small and great, arise, and come forth to judgment, before he saw the erection of a new earth and heavens, in the room of the old which had passed away.

It should seem therefore very plain, that the new heavens and new earth, so particularly spoken of, both by the Apostle Peter, and the Apostle John, are this world of our's bro't back to its paradisaick state, or one that is better; and that the very world we now live in, thus changed and made new, is the place, where good men, after the resurrection, and judgment, shall live and reign with Christ forever and ever.

And in truth, where else should be the place of the abode of good men, in the resurrection-state? As one expresses it, ‘In the boundless space that surrounds us, we know of nothing but suns, or fixed stars, earths, and moons, and comets. Neither of these, except the earths, can be tho't fit to be the habitation of good men in the future state. In such a place, in the new earth, the Apostles Peter, and John say, good men shall dwell. Why then should we seek for another unknown place, of which the scripture never speaks.’ a Especially, when the promise of [Page 16] our Saviour to those who finally overcome is, that they shall reign with him on earth.

But be the place of the abode of good men, after the resurrection, where it will, whether on this earth made new, or any other globe in heaven, that is one of the essential characteristicks of it, No curse shall be there.

We may then form some clear and just idea of the future state of good men, by comparing it with the present, and leaving out, in the comparison, all the in­conveniencies and evils, the curse has subjected it to.

Our life on earth, in consequence of the curse, is a continual labor; the business of it, in great part, a [Page 17] sore travel which God hath given the sons of men to be exercised with. We must toil at our several occupa­tions for the support of our selves, and those who have their dependance on us; for that is the appointment of heaven, in the sweat of thy face thou shalt eat bread, till thou return to the ground. But, in the resurrection-world, good men shall be eternally freed from these cares and labors. The constitution of things there is such, as that they will no more have occasion for food, or raiment, or habitations. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, or any heat, or cold, or storm; for these, and all such occasions of anxious thoughtfulness, and toil­some care, are removed away.

Our bodies, since the lapse, and the curse in conse­quence of it, are liable to weakness and weariness, to diseases and pains, to accidents and harms; and, at length, must, in one way or another, be destroyed by death. But, in the resurrection world, there is neither sorrow nor pain: Neither shall there be any more death. Our corruption shall put on incorruption, our mortal shall put on immortality, and death be swallowed up of life.

The earth we now live upon is, by the curse, be­come a place of discipline and tryal; giving frequent opportunity for the excitement and exercise of pa­tience, self-denial, silence and submission to the sove­reign pleasure of God. But good men, in the resur­rection world, shall be no more subjected to any tryals of this kind. Their warfare is accomplished, their time of discipline is over; and they are now in a world which is so form'd, as to give no more occasion for ever for any inconvenience, for any suffering, in any kind or degree, to try their faith and patience.

The earth, by the curse, has been furnished with materials to produce those events, which are fitted to alarm our fears, and awaken us to call on God; or, [Page 18] if we are obdurate and incorrigible, to punish us with sudden and awful destruction. But good men, in the resurrection-world, are no more in danger of forgetting God, or neglecting to pay him the homage that is his due. They cease not day, nor night, ascribing blessing, and glory, and honor, to him that sitteth on the throne, and to the lamb. They are therefore placed in a world, where they shall no more be broken with storms, nor persecuted with tempests; where they shall no more be afraid for the terror by day, or the arrow that flieth by night; for the pestilence that walketh in darkness, or destruction that wasteth at noon-day. God's voice now shaketh the earth, and the people tremble; but they are then in a kingdom that cannot be moved; for its foun­der is the Lord; and he dwells in the midst of it as its King and God.

In a word, good men, in the resurrection-world, shall neither feel nor fear evil any more. Death shall be turned into life, pain into pleasure; and, instead of those calamitous events which now occasion fear and distress, they shall uninterruptedly rejoice in the tokens of the divine savor; for the lamb, who is in the midst of the throne, shall lead them to fountains of living waters, and eternally wipe away all tears from their eyes.

There are other discriptions, in the sacred writings, of the resurrection-world; such as given us an idea of its fitness to make good men positively and perfectly happy:—But my text considers this world only in the view I have given of it, as having no Curse; the meaning of which, so far as we are capable of taking in a full idea of it, I have endeavoured to explain to you.

And the reflections, naturally deduceable from what has been said, are these that follow.

1. We may herefrom learn to think justly of the heinous guilt of the first sin, the sin of the first parents [Page 19] of men, in eating of the forbidden tree. For it was this that bro't down a curse from God, that changed the earth from the state in which it was created, to that which has fitted it to be an occasion of much tryal and sorrow to the sons of men ever since. Abstracted from those inconveniencies and sufferings, which are owing to the personal vices of mankind, there are others, and many too, that are unavoidable from the present constitution of nature. Toil, sickness, and death, in a variety of forms, we are all subjected to, be our personal character what it will. And these evils are a standing demonstration of the great guilt of the first transgression; for they took rise from it, and are the effect of the curse of God for it. And it might be an instance, not only of justice, but of wisdom and goodness in God, thus to testify against this sin; for the evil effects occasioned by it may reasonably be looked upon as so many moral admonitions, in the go­vernment of providence, powerfully fitted to teach mankind the necessity of an obediential regard to the authority of him, who is our Law-giver, King & Judge.

2. We should learn, from what has been said, a fear of sinning after the similitude of Adam's transgression, lest the heavens and earth, being furnish'd with mate­rials therefor, should conspire, in one way or another, under the agency of a provoked Deity, to make us know and feel how evil and bitter a thing it is to sin against the Lord. It was principally with a view to serve the ends of moral Government, that material na­ture was so changed by the curse, as to be made capa­ble of bringing on those events, that might warn, distress, and destroy the inhabitants of the world: And to serve these ends, that is, to restrain mankind from wickedness, or, when they are grown wicked, to cor­rect them for it, the alwise Governor of the universe will make use of these provisions in nature in a way of [Page 20] judgment. Thus he has done all along from the beginning of the world. Which of those calamitous evils, nature is endow'd with a power, under the divine direction, to bring upon sinful nations, and provinces, and cities, have not in fact been bro't upon them? How have they, in all ages, and in all places, been sorely affrightened, distressed, and, in a less or greater degree, destroyed, by the sword, by the pestilence, by tempests, by fires, by inundations, and the like? And what awful desolations has that terrible evil, in particular, the earthquake, made in the earth? It has, at one time and another, in this part of the world or that, fearfully de­stroyed cities, and towns, and villages; shaking down their houses, and burying the inhabitants in their ruins; or opening such wide chasms in the ground as have swallowed them up in one fatal minute? Hundreds and thousands have, in this way, been suddenly and surprizingly buried in one common grave, at one and the same time! And if the inhabitants of the world, instead of learning righteousness by these judgments of God, grow forgetful of him, and senseless of their obligati­ons to him, taking no care to pay him that fear, and worship, and obedience, which are his due, there is no reason to think, but he will employ those natural causes he has arm'd with power for this purpose, to chastise them, and, if they obstinately persist in their wicked ways, to destroy them.

Would we, the inhabitants of this Town, and Land, know our deserts, and learn what we may expect, if we continue in our sins, and will not forsake them, let us, in our serious contemplations, go to Cadiz, a and [Page 21] Seville, a and St. Ubes, b and Lisbon, and see what God has done to those places, for the wickedness of his people. This tremendous dealing of God, espe­cially with the great, rich, and populous city of Lisbon c, [Page 22] may be a more immediate warning to the nation of which it is a part, and to the nations round about, call­ing upon them to give glory to the supreme Governor of the world, by repenting of their sins: But it may reasonably be looked upon as a call to us also; and the rather, as we were visited in the same month, by a like shaking of the earth, and to a more terrible degree than was ever known in the country before. Surely, the voice of providence loudly bespeaks us, in the lan­guage of our Saviour to the men of Jerusalem, upon occasion of the destruction of a number of them, by the falling of the tower of Siloam, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. What reason have we to expect any other? Don't we deserve a like destructi­on? We are certainly a very sinful people. Our ini­quities are increased over our heads, and our trespasses have reached unto the heavens. And how soon they may pull down the divine vengeance upon us, we know not. God has other judgments besides that of an earth­quake. [Page 23] And if he should not destroy us in this way, he may in some other. And how far he may make use of our French neighbours, and the Indian-natives in their interest, to impoverish, weaken, and gradually depopulate us, is more than we can any of us say at present. The face of our affairs, in military respects, looks dark. What a vast sum of national money has been worse than thrown away upon the southern expe­dition, as it has turned out a fruitless one? Nor is this the worst of that unhappy enterprise. The horrible slaughter of British troops, near the Monongehala, and the shameful defeat occasioned thereby, has exposed the southern colonies to more and greater barbarities, within a few months, than from their first settlement to this day.—And what have we, in New-England, got by our Crown-point-expedition? Our troops, it is owned, have gained, under the blessing of heaven, a glorious victory over a numerous army of French and Indians, near Lake-George. But then, it must be added, this victory was far less glorious than it would have been, humanly speaking, if it had been wisely and resolutely pursued. Why it was not, is matter of just wonder! Espe­cially to those who have heard, that the private soldiers would gladly have pursued, but were restrained. And it must be added yet further, there would have been no opportunity for gaining even this less glorious vic­tory, had it not been for that over-ruling providence of God, which brings things to pass beyond the design of man. It was not by our counsel, but by the enemy's thrusting themselves in our way, that this battle was fought; and had it not been for their officiousness in coming to us, it now appears that our army would have been disbanded without doing any thing worth menti­oning. Tis certain, notwithstanding the advantage gained against them, our troops were never carried one step further towards Fort-Frederick; and tis as certain, [Page 24] that the true design of the New-England-Governments, in raising, and sending, and subsisting so great an arma­ment, was thereby intirely defeated: And the defeat is followed with a burden of charge very grievous to bear; and the more so, as we are in far worse circum­stances, with respect to the taking of this place, than before we were involved in this heavy charge, which now lies upon us as a dead weight we groan to be de­livered from. What future expeditions may be pro­jected, or how they will be managed, must be left to time to discover: But it is, at present, manifest, that we are under the scourge of God, and loudly called upon to consider our ways, and repent, and reform: And till we are bro't to this, we lie continually exposed, not only to this rod of his anger, but to all the judg­ments this Earth is capable of being used as the secon­dary cause, under God, of bringing upon us. The plain truth is, there is no safety, no security for us, whether as particular persons, or a people, on this earth, which, by the curse, is stored, in all places, with materials for correction, or destruction, as God pleases, but by making him our friend thro' Jesus Christ; which can't be done but by putting away our iniquities, or in other words, by getting that moral change introduced in us, which will render us meet objects of the divine fa­favor: And we should make haste, and delay not, in so interesting and important a matter.

3. What has been discoursed opens to our view the folly of those who depend on this world for happiness. Thus it is with a great many. This world is the chief object of their desire, and pursuit. It engrosses their affections, and engages all their endeavours. They look for happiness from earthly good things; imagining they might sit down contented and satisfied, could they once come to the obtainment of them. But they are herein chargeable with great folly. For the [Page 25] world we live in is not, in its present state, fitted to be a place of happiness; and this we know, or easily may know, from observation and experience in thou­sands of instances. Who indeed, among the multitudes, that have searched for happiness among the things under the sun, have ever found it? Not a single man! No one, perhaps, that ever lived was better qualified, or situated, for such a search than Solomon, the son of David, and King over Israel; and yet, after all his searches and researches, and this among all the objects of earthly pleasure and delight, that is his conclusion, Behold, all is vanity, and vexation of spirit, and there is no profit under the sun, Eccles. 2. 11. And we may depend, tis a just determination upon the case. Most men indeed are dispos'd to imagine otherwise. Instead of trusting to Solomon's experience, they are for making tryal themselves; hoping that they shall meet with happiness, tho' he fail'd in the attempt. And how often, from this vain expectation, have the same ex­periments been repeated over and over again, in pro­portion to men's advantages and opportunities? And what has been the effect? They have always ended in emptiness and disappointment. And how could it possibly have been otherwise, when the earth they live upon is under a Curse from heaven, which has fitted it to be an occasion of toil and sorrow, in numberless cases? The short of the matter is, God never intend­ed that this world, since the lapse, should be capable of yielding pleasure without pain, good without the mixture of evil. The present constitution of nature is incompatible with unmingled happiness; and if any look for the enjoyment of such happiness, they do but deceive thamselves: they imagine a vain thing; and will surely meet with disappointment. The present heaven & earth must pass away, and a new heaven and earth rise up in their room, before any son or daugh­ter [Page 26] of Adam can possess life without passing through a multiplied variety of inconveniencies, disappointments, vexations, and sorrows, all trying to their patience, and not to be endured without greatly alloying their comforts in other respects.

And tis best it should be thus. Instead of com­plaining against God for mixing so many grievances with every state of life we can be in, we have reason rather to thank him for his wise goodness. For here­by the temptations that may arise from worldly good things are lessened in their strength, and our danger of being ruined by being too much attached to them, in the same proportion, prevented. We are, in this pre­sent state, under discipline, in a school, as it were, to be trained up for another and better world: And it is for our real benefit, that this earth, and the things of it, are no more tempting to us. We should say within ourselves, were that the case, it is good to be always here; and the hazard would be awfully great, lest our ruin would thereby be procured.

4. We are directed, from what has been said, where to look for happiness, if we would not be disappointed, namely, in the resurrection-world; in which there are none of those occasions of fear and distress, which now disturb our grief, and try our patience. Blessed be God, such a world as this is opened to our view in the Gospel, thro' Jesus Christ; a world of freedom from toil and sorrow; a world in which there is neither sin, nor pain, nor death; a world in which there shall be no more any sighing or tears, but unmixed joys ever flowing from the right hand of God. Let us then give up all hope of happiness from this earth, or any thing in it; extending our views beyond the grave to the resurrection-world, as the only one that is suted to yield us intire satisfaction and delight. This is what we must come to first or last, if we would not be [Page 27] frustrated in our expectations. For solid and compleat happiness is to be had no where else. We may ima­gine otherwise, and seek for it in this or the other earthly enjoyment; but we shall certainly meet with disappointment. They will all say, upon tryal, it is not in us: Neither is it to be found any where but in that world, concerning which my text says, there is no Curse there.

What therefore remains, as the conclusion of all, but that we so live in this present state, as that we may [...] fail of being happy in that which is to come. In order whereto, we must moderate our regard to earthly things, and keep our desires, hopes, and pursuits, with reference to them, under the restraints of reason and religion. If we seek the Things that are on the earth, it must be in due subordination to the greater Things that are above. The better country, even the heavenly, should be principally in our eye; and the good things of it should have the first place in our hearts. We should make them the chief objects of our hopes and pursuits. And as there is no way in which we can be secure of an interest in them, but by doing the will of God, his will which requires faith in Jesus Christ; his will which requires our sanctification in spirit, soul, and body; his will which requires our active obedience to the precepts of his word, and a pa­tient submission to the disposals of his hand: I say, as the only way to obtain the blessedness of the resurrec­tion-world is by thus doing the will of God, this must be the great business of our lives. And if we frame our hearts, and order our conversation, by this rule of duty, we shall not fail of compleat satisfaction, perfect happiness, in the end.

We may, while in this world, have our evil things. They are, indeed, unavoidable attendants on us here. There is no living in a world, constituted as this is, [Page 28] without sufferings of one kind or another, in a less or greater degree. The greatest holiness we can attain to won't secure us from them: Nay, as we live in a world that lies in wickedness, we may be sufferers, even, by those tremendous judgments of God, that are sent upon the earth, in testimony of his just displeasure against the sins that are committed in it. But we have no reason for disquietude, be the evils, ordinary or extra­ordinary, what they will, we are called to suffer. For our hope is not here, but within the vail, whither the fore-runner is for us entered, even Jesus our high-priest; which hope should be as the anchor of our souls, to keep us steady amidst all the storms of fear and trou­ble we may be exposed to in this tempestuous world. The utmost that present evils can do, be the terror they are accompanied with what it will, is to kill our bodies, and send our souls into another state. And why should we be anxiously concerned about this? Is not this other state the great object of our faith, and hope, and de­sire? Can we be happy till we arrive at the Jerusalem that is above, this city that has foundations, whose build­er and maker is God?

Let us, my brethren, make religion the grand care of our lives, and we need not distress ourselves about any of the events of time; for they shall all work together for our good; and tho' not joyous for the present, but grievous, they shall in the end, yield unto us the peaceable fruits of righteousness. For it is a Gospel saying, and a faithful one, if we suffer with Christ here, we shall reign with him hereafter. The tryal of our faith and patience, being like that of gold which is tried in the fire, shall be found to praise, and honor, and glory, at the appearing of Jesus Christ; for we shall then receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him: And this crown will be bright & weighty, in proportion to the sorrows and sufferings we have been called to, and have born with humility, meekness, silence, and submission to the alwise righteous Governor of the universe.

Let us comfort ourselves, and one another, with these blessed hopes, that are opened to our view in the revelations of God by Jesus Christ, to whom be glory in the Church, throughout all ages.


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