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THE GREAT BLESSING OF STABLE TIMES, TOGETHER WITH THE MEANS OF PROCURING IT. A SERMON PREACHED AT KING's CHAPEL IN BOSTON, AUGUST 11. 1763. BEING A DAY OF THANKSGIVING APPOINTED BY PUBLIC AUTHORITY ON OCCASION OF THE GENERAL PEACE.

BY HENRY CANER, M. A. MINISTER OF SAID CHAPEL.

Sapientiam esse rerum divinarum, et humanarum scientiam, cognitionem (que) quae cujus (que) rei causa fit; ex quo efficitur, ut divina imitetur, humana omnia inferiora virtute ducat. CIC. TUSC. QU. LIB. 4.
Quid est per deos, optabilius sapientia? quid praestantius? quid homini melius? quid homine dignius? CIC. de Offic. Lib. 2.

BOSTON: PRINTED BY THOMAS AND JOHN FLEET, AT THE HEART & CROWN IN CORNHILL. MDCCLXIII.

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TO HIS EXCELLENCY FRANCIS BERNARD, Esq Captain-General and Governor in Chief of his Majesty's Province of the MASSACHUSETTS-BAY in NEW-ENGLAND, &c.

SIR,

WHEN I received your commands to publish the following plain discourse, I could not flatter myself that your Excellency had any other motive than that of giving a sanction to my honest endeavours, to excite in those that heard me a spirit of Gratitude to God, for his distinguishing favours to this nation and land; and to promote that loyalty and obedience to government on which the stability of our present happi­ness doth so much depend.

NEITHER my station nor abilities, per­mit me to enter into the policy's of [Page ii] state, or to determine whether the late peace secured all the advantages which the nation had just reason to expect from its acknowledged superiority. I am wil­ling to believe, and I would have others also suppose, that all things considered, the public affairs have been conducted (human errors excepted) with as much wisdom, and to as good effect as the condition of things would well admit.—Whether this be so or not, it is at least evident that the nation has acquired a large addition to its territory, and perhaps no inconsiderable improvement of its commercial interest.

THESE things certainly deserve the acknowledgment of every good subject, and should fill our hearts with gratitude to the Supreme Disposer of all, to whose gracious favour it is owing, and not to any merit of ours, that we have so many blessings to thank him for.

[Page iii] I SUPPOSE it will be allowed me, that things might have been worse; and God grant that they may not prove so yet. If a spirit of murmuring and discontent should get the better of our gratitude, I see not but that internal discord may accomplish that which external violence was not able to effect; rob [...] (I mean) of those blessings which we do con­fessedly enjoy. If any thing in the following discourse has a tendency to prevent so unfortunate a consequence, I shall not repent me of the present pub­lication. God is able to give efficacy to the most inconsiderable means, where there is an honest intention to promote his glory: Conscious of such an inten­tion, and humbly begging the divine blessing upon it, It is submitted to your Excellency's pleasure by

Your Excellency's dutiful and obedient Servant, H. CANER.
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A Short Prayer before Sermon.

ETERNALLY great and glorious Lord God, the creator of all things, and the supreme ruler of all. We adore the wisdom of thy providence in ordering and governing the affairs of this world in jus­tice and mercy. We praise and magnify thy great and glorious name, as for all other thy mercies and favours towards us, so particularly for that disposition of thy providence, which has awakened the long contending nations, to put a stop to war and violence, and to hearken to the voice of peace. We bless thee herein for thy merciful regard to the interests of this land and nation, for thy gracious influence and direction of our counsels, and for the hopes we have of the stability and continuance of these blessings. May we [Page v] never forfeit thy favours by a wanton abuse, or by an unthankful use of them.

Fill our hearts with a deep sense of thy past and present mercies to this nation, that we may never forget how remarkably thou hast appeared for us, and how pow­erfully thou hast maintained our cause. Enable us, O God, thankfully [...] acknow­ledge thy presence in all this, and in con-conducting all to the present joyful. Assist us, O Lord, in the sincerest resolutions to live worthy of thy great goodness, which hath abounded towards us, beyond all our deserts, and beyond all our expectations.

Continue, we beseech thee, thy favour to our sovereign lord King George, and all that are employed under him, whether in church or state. Let no unhappy di­visions disquiet his reign, or interrupt the internal harmony of his government.—Guide and direct the affairs of this pro­vince, bless the Chief Ruler of it, and all subordinate magistrates among us. Inspire [Page vi] each and every of these with such a mea­sure of wisdom and grace, that they may discharge the duties of their respective stations to the advancement of thy glory, and the happiness of this thy people.

Hear, O Lord, the supplications and prayers which have this day been offered before thee for all estates and conditions of men: Give them and us all to partake plentifully of thy grace here, that we may be admitted to glory hereafter, thro' the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ. In whose holy name and words we humbly comprehend all our requests.

OUR Father which art in Heaven! Hallowed be thy name: Thy kingdom come: Thy will be done in Earth, as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread: And forgive us our tres­passes, as we forgive them that trespass against us: And lead us not into temp­tation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. AMEN.

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The great Blessing of stable Times, with the Means of procuring it.

ISAIAH XXXIII. 6‘Wisdom and Knowledge shall be the stability of thy Times.’

THE words are part of a triumphant ode, occasioned by a prophetick view of the destruction of the Assyrian army and power. By superior strength and numerous forces, this invader of nations, this natural enemy of the Jews, thought to have swallowed up that people, to have slain, or carried them captive into his own land.—But God had otherwise determined—and revealed his deter­mination to his prophet, who represents the several scenes of that transaction, in all the force and sublimity of language, and with all the beauties of a poetical description.

[Page 2] AT the first verse he prophetically relates the destruction and spoil of the enemy, whom he characterises as guilty of great injustice, violently and treacherously entring upon the territory of their neighbours, without any provocation. Wo to thee that spoilest, and thou wast not spoiled, and dealest treacherously, and they dealt not treacherously with thee.

AT the second verse the prophet represents, what might naturally be expected from any people in distress, but especially from a religious and covenant people, their humble address and supplication to God for protection and deli­verance. O Lord be gracious unto us; we have waited for thee: be thou their arm every morn­ing; our salvation also in the time of trouble.

AT the third and fourth verses he describes the terror, confusion and destruction of this haughty and treacherous enemy, and the signal interposition of divine providence in that event. At the noise of the tumult the people fled; at the listing up of thy self the nations were scattered. And your spoil shall be gathered, like the gathering of the caterpillar; as the running to and fro of locusts shall he run upon them.

[Page 3] AT the fifth verse, the Almighty is intro­duced in great Majesty, as it were surveying with complacency the justice of his own award, and the protection and security he had given to his people. The Lord is exalted; for he dwelleth on high; he hath filled Zion with judgment and righteousness.

FROM hence he proceeds in the text to de­clare what sort of conduct in his people, would be sure to establish the blessing of peace and security which God had thus procured them. Wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times; and strength of salvation: the fear of the Lord is his treasure.

THIS prediction or description of the prophet was afterwards within about three years, lite­rally fulfilled in the unjust and treacherous attempt of the Assyrian, and in his confusion and defeat, by the hand of divine providence.

AND may we not almost say that the same or a like scene has been repeated in our times? Had we not been deceitfully and unjustly en­croached upon by a powerful and treacherous neighbour? Did he not attempt an invasion? [Page 4] Did he not seek and labour the destruction of this nation, and especially of this land? And to this end, did he not form alliances, and stir up the nations round about, even the barbarous sa­vages to plunder and destroy? And did we not address, repeatedly address the Almighty to save us from these violent attempts and unjust en­croachments? We certainly did so—and I hope we did it seriously and in good earnest, from a [...] sense of our danger, and of the necessity of God's help and protection. At least it is certain that God has visibly appeared in our favour, in the many instances of success and triumph we have experienced; he has defeated the counsels, impaired the strength, and humbled our haughty enemy beyond the example of any former time.—And then as to the consequences of this divine assistance; we have not only obtained a glorious and honoura­ble peace, but have the fairest prospect of its stability or continuance both in our times, and to succeeding generations. I speak here my own sense of the matter, and I trust also the opinion of most that hear me: Nay it is the public sense likewise, unless we mean to affront Almighty God, to mock him with pre­tended thanks, for what we really are not thankful; for to what purpose is it that we are now assembled together? Is it not to bless and praise God, not only for his holy protection [Page 5] over us, and his gracious assistance of us, during a long, expensive and bloody war, but chiefly for disposing contending monarchs and nations to hearken to the voice of peace; and that too upon such terms in regard to us, as some time since we could scarce have hoped for, without the most ungrounded partiality in our own favour.

IT is true, there may be some who appear dissatisfied with the terms upon which it is founded; but so perhaps they would if any other terms had been obtained. Dissatisfaction with any public administration doth not always arise from what is truly exceptionable in it, but often from quite different motives, more or less laudable in proportion to the ability, knowledge and integrity of those that are in the opposition—Some are deficient in judg­ment, others are unacquainted with the true springs of government; some are influenced by ambition or vanity, others by interest or envy: But without inquiring into the motives of dissatisfaction which individuals have entertain­ed; it is both determined by public authority, and appears to be the general voice of the nation, that we have a glorious peace, such as reflects lustre upon the British counsels, and loudly calls for a universal and devout acknowledgment to the supreme disposer of all events. But because [Page 6] even this great blessing would yield but little satisfaction, without a reasonable prospect of its continuance. It may be proper to inquire,

  • I. WHEREIN that stability consists, which was promised to the Jews, and which now opens a happy prospect to us. And,
  • II. HOW this blessing may be obtained and secured.

Now the stability of times seems to suppose a previous state of quietness and peace, and that such a peace as is generally acceptable; wherein the dignity of the crown, and the honour of the nation is secured, the full extent of its dominion maintained, and perhaps en­larged, so far at least as may be a reasonable security against future encroachments—The sources of its wealth, its trade and commerce, preserved and extended, and in general every just right or claim ascertained with so much precision, as if possible to leave no room either to casual or wilful misconstruction. And this by the blessing of Almighty God is suppos'd to be our present case, and is what we are this day assembled to bless God for.—But if in­stead of this we could suppose a peace to be rashly or hastily concluded, without judgment [Page 7] or deliberation, without a proper attention and resolution precisely to fix and determine every claim which former allowed rights, and the superiority of arms give just reason to demand; especially if any thing grievous and unaccepta­ble to the body of the nation, or to great numbers of the people in it, should be left unadjusted, in such a case as this, I say, it is impossible that the times should be stable or quiet; the nation will be under perpetual apprehensions of some new attack, or foreign invasion, while they are sensible that their treaties have been but loosly constructed, or weakly guarded.

STABILITY of times then you see implies a previous state of peace, founded upon terms that are honourable, and generally satisfactory. A peace that promises all reasonable security against foreign violence, and that leaves no just occasion to faction or dissention at home. In regard to the former perhaps no treaties can be so far relied on, as to dispense with a constant state of preparation, or to neglect securing the most suitable and natural alliances. And in respect to the latter, an impartial administration of justice, and a disinterested distribution of rewards, will go a great way in preventing any inbred disturbance; at least they will so far suppress the seeds of faction and disorder, that [Page 8] they will not come to maturity, or acquire strength enough to endanger the peace and quiet of the state. These two things therefore seem to be so absolutely necessary to the peace and tranquility of any nation, that there does not appear, in a human view, any room to hope for stability without their concurrence. For whenever the people have an ill opinion of their treaties, they lose all confidence in that kind of security, and deliver themselves up to perpetual apprehensions of violence from a­broad, and this also naturally produces factions and disturbance at home; so that there can be no such thing as stability of times, where a peace is not deem'd honourable, and where it is not generally acceptable.

IT is our present happiness in regard to the first of these (I mean foreign violence) to have all the security that human means can give by the late honourable peace, which since we had the opportunity of making upon our own terms, must be supposed to contain every thing that we could reasonably demand. This in­deed is a matter that lies entirely with our superiors, and every good subject will be cau­tious of censuring their proceedings, although he should not perfectly comprehend all the advantages that are said to arise from it.

[Page 9] BUT then, as to the other thing necessary to a permanent peace, the guarding against mur­muring and faction at home, this will very much, if not wholly depend upon ourselves, and pro­vided we are but careful not to give way to a turbulent disposition, to faction and discontent, we may so far conside in the wisdom of our superiors as to be under very little apprehension of foreign dangers.

No man of the least reflection can be insensi­ble what great advantages that nation enjoys, which is not only in a state of perfect peace with its neighbours, but possesses uninterrupted quiet and tranquility at home, which is neither threatned with foreign insult, nor molested by inbred commotions, which generally speaking, are far more dangerous than the other, at least, when they rise to any considerable heighth. It has indeed been said, that ‘small disturbances do the same service in the state that the winds do in the air, by motion to keep it from stag­nation and putrefaction: but when once the winds are raised, no one can tell when they will be laid, or how strong they will grow; and that which was wantonly raised to serve a pre­sent turn, may in time come to overturn a con­stitution.

[Page 10] WE must not indeed suppose, that every small inquietude, that every little party or faction that happens to take place, will be able to accomplish such extraordinary and pernicious events, yet certainly it will not be disputed, but that they are liable to produce many fatal and destructive consequences, which tho' not always immediate­ly apparent, will yet in time become sufficiently manifest, in a general corruption of manners, in breaking loose from all proper restraint, in pro­moting a partial distribution not only of favours but rewards, directed solely or chiefly by mo­tives of prejudice, party or undue affection, thereby stirring up a bitterness of resentment, and all the ill effects of envy, anger and malice. By this means the very principles of justice and charity will be extinguished, and each man in support of his own party will be liable to in­dulge himself in slander and detraction, and every vice that is dishonourable to human na­ture. Now when this sort of corruption be­comes general, it greatly diminishes if it does not totally eradicate, every sentiment of honour, every principle of obedience, and all concern for the public good and safety, which hence­forward, without hesitation or remorse are made a sacrifice to party designs, to ambition or vani­ty, to interest, envy or resentment. When such a temper as this prevails it must greatly perplex the wisest administration, the public counsels [Page 11] and resolutions not being properly supported must be various and fluctuating, utterly destructive to the public credit and reputation, unworthy the confidence of any neighbouring power, and consequently neither feared nor sought to.

I HAVE not mentioned half the disadvantages that must arise from such a state of instability▪ Every honest and peaceably disposed subject must sensibly feel the inconvenienci [...] of such unquiet and disorderly times, as well as those who are the chief promoters of them. Could you boast the richest soil, the happiest climate, the greatest flow of wealth that your hearts could wish; tho' the laws of your country promise the utmost care of your wealth and liberty and life and honour, yet if you are apprehensive that these may be given up, and made a sacrifice to dissention and discord, what satisfaction can arise from such a state? What consolation is there in reflecting that you are this day happy, in every enjoyment of life, while you are haunted with the fears of losing all tomorrow? Such apprehensions for some years past were not utterly without grounds, while we were engaged with numerous and powerful enemies; and now since we are de­livered from these fears by the invaluable bles­sing of peace, God grant that we may not by internal discord and infatuation [...] all the good effects of that peace, which [...] the course of his providence he hath graciously bestowed upon us.

[Page 12] SOME may possibly imagine that these re­flections do but little concern us, in these remote parts of the British dominions: But such people do not seem to consider, that our happiness and prosperity are so intimately con­nected with that of the nation in general, that they must stand or fall together. We have the happiness to be a part, and begin really to be considered as an interesting part of this great na­tion, and therefore must look upon ourselves as deeply concerned in every thing that befalls her, whether it be prosperous or adverse. You cannot but remember that the late war was at first undertaken in defence of these remote colonies, and to repel the encroachments that were made upon us by a restless enemy; these ends being now obtained, gratitude as well as duty and interest, invite us to rejoice in the common happiness, to contribute as far as in us lies in our several stations, to promote the internal peace order and stability of that go­verment, from whence our safety and felicity, under God, are derived. For should a spirit of unquietness and disturbance at home, defeat the great ends and blessing of peace, and render the times unstable, it will be in vain for us to look for stability in this land, how distant soever it be from the root or source of such evils.

SHOULD it be thought that such a reflection as this, is foreign to the business of a day dedicated to joy and gratitude; I shall only [Page 13] say, that it was designed as a contrast to repre­sent the blessings of peace and stability, in a fuller and stronger light, and by that means to excite you to use all your power and influence, each one in his respective station, to preserve the blessing which God has graciously put into your hands, and not to despise or undervalue it, because possibly it may not contain every advan­tage that some sanguine people might expect.

THE mention of this is a natural introduc­tion to the other thing I promised to speak to, and that was,

II. To shew how this great blessing may be obtained.

Now the text assures us that this is brought about by wisdom and knowledge. Wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times.

WISDOM is of two kinds, political and reli­gious, each of them is derived from God, who is the giver of every good and perfect gift. It is the latter of these which I apprehend to be in­tended in the text, and which [...] the knowledge and the fear of God, [...]able to that of Job, the fear of the [...] is wisdom, and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. [Page 14] Here then it is plain that to cultivate the duties of religion is the most effectual if not the only means of procuring stability of times, and con­sequently of obtaining a firm and lasting estab­ment of the peace lately settled. A serious care to encourage and propagate religion is certainly the best way to secure the peace and happiness of any nation. This is a truth which receives confirmation from the history of divine provi­dence [...] all ages and nations of the world.

BUT without entering into such an extensive enquiry, we may venture to affirm, that when­ever God is pleased to bestow even political wisdom upon those who have the conduct of the public affairs of any nation, it is to be ac­knowledged as the effect of his favour, and a reasonable presumption of that nation's stability. For peace and security are the natural effects of such wisdom, and may generally be depended upon to flow from it. I say generally, because when men grow conceited and presumptive upon it, and forgetful of the hand from whence their wisdom is derived; ascribe all their success and happiness to their own counsels; In such cases God is often known to oppose himself to this pride and self sufficiency, by confounding the wis­dom of the wise, and bringing to nought the un­derstanding of the prudent, to the intent that no [Page 15] flesh should glory in his presence. It is how­ever the more usual method of divine providence to give success to natural means, and where he favours a people with a wise administration, there also proportionably to bestow peace and security. And this may serve to take off the lazy pretences of those, who rely so unwarrant­ably upon divine providence as to expect they shall reap where they have not sown, and ga­ther where they have not strawed, and it the same time perfectly reconciles those scriptures, which in one place imputes riches to the bles­sing [Page 16] of God, and in another ascribes them to the hand of the diligent. In short, it is very evi­dent that this sort of wisdom, tho' we call it a natural endowment, is a gift and blessing that cometh from God. But when I speak of it as a divine gift, and naturally productive of peace and stability, I would not be understood to mean that deceit and cunning and disguise, that some­times usurps the name of wisdom; for this is productive of nothing but fraud and corruption, and will be so far from producing quiet and stability, that it tends to exasperate those who are deceived by it, to raise tumults and factions, and to throw every thing into confusion.

SUCH temporary expedients, when they are founded in deceit, are very precarious, and being once detected, will expose the unhappy contrivers of them, not only to be deserted by their friends, but to become the scorn and contempt of those who have been injured by them, and perhaps also made to feel their resentment.

BUT where truth and honour, where inte­grity and virtue are made the basis of an ad­ministration, and every measure is certainly, if not apparently directed with a view to public good, there we may discover the true plan of that wisdom which promises stability. And after all the vain efforts of falshood and dis­guise, no principle short of this will do honour [Page 17] to those who have the management of public af­fairs, or bring lasting peace and security to a country. ‘In short political wisdom should never be sepa­rated from that which is religious, and great men would do well never to let this maxim of eternal truth be absent from their minds, that God Almighty governs the world, and in consequence of it endeavour above all things so to conduct themselves, as to engage his favour and approbation in all their designs, and to look upon the encouragement of religion and piety as the only way to a lasting peace, or in the phrase of the text, to render the times stable.

NOR is it sufficient that those who have the management of public affairs, are endued with this religious wisdom, it must likewise extend to all orders and degrees of men among us, if we would secure to ourselves the blessing promised in the text. It would be very easy to show how necessary an influence this religious wisdom has, in securing the peace and establishing the happiness of a na­tion, by mentioning the virtues it recommends; such are the conscientious administration of justice in the rulers, and a quiet and peaceable submission and obedience in the people. For every man is instructed by it to keep within the bounds of his own station—to subdue every lust and passion, from whence public disorders arise—to put on a temper of meekness and love towards each other,—to be not only honest and just and upright, but to be kind and tender and charitable.—It leaves no room for pride or envy, for discontent or faction, for peevishness or murmuring, or any of those evil [Page 18] dispositions which interrupt the peace of society, and therefore wherever the voice of this wisdom is generally heard and obey'd, it is impossible but that the community must enjoy an uninterrupted tranquility.

WE find then at last that the continuance of our happiness, the stability here spoken of, is put into our own power, and made to depend upon our­selves. If we will but truly and sincerely cultivate the knowledge and the fear of God; if we will in good earnest obey the laws of that holy religion which we profess to believe; if we will seek after that wisdom which cometh from above, which is pure, peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of good fruits, without partiality and without hypo­crisy: Then will God delight in us to bless us; then will he confirm to us the blessing he hath lately bestowed, and if we continue in that good disposition will extend the same to our posterity.

I TAKE it for granted you see that peace, nay that the present peace, notwithstanding its suppos­ed imperfections, is a great and real blessing, and deserves the utmost returns of praise and gratitude to God, that we are capable of paying. I am sure we should have thought so, if this event could have been foreseen. Had there been a prophet among us, who had foretold the various success we have experienced in the course of the late war, together with the present happy issue of it, we should hardly have dared to credit such a flattering prophecy; but if we had done so, we should certainly have been ready to overflow with joy and thanksgiving at the [Page 19] happy prospect. We ought now therefore doubtless to entertain the same sentiments, and to look upon the present peace to be a singular blessing of hea­ven: Nor need I, in order to prove this, recall to your thoughts, the various calamities, distress and desolations of war—it would be improper on such a day as this, dedicated to the softer joys, and more amiable remembrance of peace—You cannot but know in general that war is one of God's [...] judgments, which he suffers to take place for chas­tising the guilty nations, and for correcting the follies of mankind. Nor can I suppose that you have been utterly insensible of his chastisements, witness the repeated humiliations, the many earnest prayers and intreaties you have sent up to heaven, that God would put a stop to the ravages and miseries of war, and restore peace and tranquility to the nations. God has at length heard your prayers, and granted your requests, he has with­drawn the sword, and commanded the nations to peace. How soon was that powerful voice obey'd? Like the irresistible word at the creation, which but commanded and it was done: Or like that authoritative rebuke of our Saviour to the winds and the sea—peace be still—and there was a calm; the winds were hush'd, and the sea obey'd. In like manner, in the midst of all the fury and re­newed preparation for war, God spake the word and it was done, he commanded and all the con­tending interests were hush'd to peace. Peace is the work of God, as war is his permissive scourge: Blind mortals indeed pursue their own resent­ments, but it is God who governs all, and conducts all to accomplish the wise ends of his providence.

[Page 20] GOD has, I say, answered your prayers, and given you the peace you so earnestly desired and prayed for, and you are taught by the prophet how to secure and make it lasting, and that is by a wise and religious improvement of it, to the honour and praise of God. Remember what was said to the Israelites after their conquest of the land of Canaan. Take good heed to yourselves, that ye love the Lord your God; else know for a certainty, that the Lord your God will reserve the remnant of these nations, the inhabitants of the land to be scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes. I shall make no other application of this passage than to remind you, that if you shall neglect that religious wisdom which is the only certain means of your security, how natural it is to suppose, that God should in like manner cause the barbarous savages of this land, to become scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes to afflict you. Such apprehensions as these, since they are not merely imaginary, should create in you seriousness in the midst of rejoicing, as not knowing what visitation God has further in store for you.

IN the mean time since we have the highest mo­tives to praise and thankfulness, let us acknowlege the blessings of God with a perfect heart; let us own him for our protector helper and mighty de­liverer, whose powerful hand and stretched out arm, hath wrought salvation for us, and success­fully conducted us through a long and dangerous contest, and at last hath given us to see and enjoy [Page 21] the blessing of peace. Let us be sure to entertain a deep sense of him upon the mind, and take care to express it by renewed measures of zeal for his service, by cleaving to him stedfastly with all our heart and soul and mind, and by endeavouring as far as in us lies, to promote his glory, and spread the knowledge of his gospel in the world.

NOR ought we, while we are blessing God f [...] these favours, to be unmindful of those, whether of the cabinet or the field, who have shin'd in their respective stations, and whom God was pleased to make use of as his instruments for procuring these blessings for us. But especially never should we forget the memory, or neglect to mention with the sincerest honour and gratitude, those distinguished heroes, who gave their lives a sacrifice to the ho­nour and safety of their country.

UPON the whole let us all join heartily in bles­sing and praising God, for his powerful presence with us, and merciful dealings towards this un­worthy nation and land, in all our troubles and dis­tresses, for sundry years past; that he has conducted us through them all with honour to the English name, and at last hath established us in the enjoy­ment of a laudable and desirable peace.

[Page 22] IF therefore you are desirous of rendring this great blessing stable and lasting, be persuaded each of you according to your several stations and op­portunities to endeavour to make it so: First of all by cultivating the firmest allegiance to our gra­cious Sovereign, and a becoming concern for, and dutiful submission to, our excellent established go­vernment in church and state, which the divine goodness has still continued to us, not withstanding the perpetual restless attempts of our enemies to deprive us of it, and notwithstanding our own great unworthiness of this distinguishing mer­cy. And let us be particularly cautious not to fo­ment divisions, or give countenance to murmur­ing and discontent, to a turbulent and unruly tem­per, nor entertain groundless apprehensions as to the administration of affairs whether national or provincial.

BUT above all things let us take care to culti­vate that religious wisdom and knowledge which was mentioned before, and which is expressly re­commended in the text. This will ensure to us the countenance of heaven, and the favour of the most high, and will preserve us from every evil attempt or accident whether foreign or domestic. And to this end it will be necessary to acknowledge the manifold offences that are amongst us, and to put on serious resolutions of amendment, to be wail the infidelity that is in the land, and which spreads like a pestilence, as well as the coldness and indif­ference of those who are yet untainted with the infection, the great neglect of God, his word and [Page 23] worship and ordinances, together with that general dissolution and dissipation of virtue, honour and integrity which all the divine dispensations to­wards us, whether merciful or afflictive, have not been able to amend.

WOULD you be persuaded in good earnest to take up such serious resolutions as these, and im­ploring the divine assistance endeavour to put them in practice, you might then be assured of the con­tinuance of God's favour, and in consequence of that might stand entitled to the blessing promised in the text. But if you remain still careless and im­penitent, forgetful of God and negligent of reli­gion, your present happiness will swiftly pass away, and the sunshine of favour which you now enjoy, will soon be covered with clouds of darkness and sorrow. You may indeed be unmindful of God, but he will not be unmindful of you, his dispen­sations will still pursue you, either to procure your amendment, if mercy or chastisement will effect it, or to accomplish your final excision, if these are obstinately and perseveringly resisted. We are now by the blessing of God, at the summit perhaps of national happiness; let us take heed that we grow not giddy with the height: The danger is visible, and the fall may be irrecoverable. If on the one hand we grow intoxicated with present felicity, and thereby let go the fear of God, or on the other hand should we murmur that our happiness is incomplete, instead of thanking God for that measure of it we enjoy, in either case the event is to be dreaded. Our love will be found to wax cold, both to God and our country, and then a [Page 24] whole train of evils will break in upon us, pride and wantoness and luxury and idleness, and in con­sequence of these poverty and discontent, nay and our very liberty itself will in this case become a snare to us, and betray us into the hands of those who shall attempt either to purchase or subdue us.§

To prevent these or the like pernicious conse­quences, let us receive the blessings God hath be­stowed upon us with pious and grateful hearts. Let us praise the name of God with a song, and magnify it with thanksgiving. Let us testify the sense we have of his presence with us in all our past distress, and his gracious influence in the joy­ful event which we now celebrate, by devoting ourselves to his service, and by our humble suppli­cations to the throne of grace, that as he hath been pleased to hearken to our prayers, and give us this desirable blessing of peace, so he would vouchsafe to render the same stable and lasting, that it may continue from generation to generation.

THIS God Almighty grant for the sake of his Son Jesus Christ, to whom with the Holy Ghost be all honour and glory dominion and praise now and for evermore, Amen.

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