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judged right in obeying God, rather than humouring the prejudices and caprices of men. The successful and triumphant manner in which the Gospel made its way, notwithstanding it went bearing the cross of its divine Author, and had all the power, and wealth, and eloquence of the world to oppose it, was an irresistible proof, that it was the design of Providence, not "by the enticing words of man's wisdom, but by demonstration of the Spirit, and of power, to save them that believe; and, by what was called the foolishness of the cross, to destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent*"
* 1 Cor. ii. 4. and i. 19.
JEREMIAH xviii. Part of 11th Verse.
SAITH THE LORD;
FRAME EVIL AGAINST YOU. RE-
WE E are now once more assembled together, to humble ourselves before Almighty God*: and, since we first met here for that purpose, a most awful and alarming change has taken place in the situation of our affairs. A few successes in the beginning have been followed by a series of misfortunes. Our dangers and distresses have multiplied on every side. All our efforts to extricate ourselves from the difficulties with which we are surrounded,
* On the general fast in 1779.
have proved ineffectual. And the prospect before us is upon the whole sufficiently dark and uncomfortable.
Let us turn our eyes from it to another object; to ourselves I mean, to our own conduct. Will that afford us any consolation? "When the judgments of the Lord 66 are in the earth," we are told that “the "inhabitants of the world will learn righ66 teousness * Have those judgments which now press so heavy upon us, taught us this most useful lesson? In proportion as our calamities have multiplied, has the warmth of our piety increased, and our sins and our follies melted away before it? Twice already have we, in this place, and on this very occasion, addressed ourselves to the Throne of Grace; have, with every appearance of sorrow and contrition, confessed our sins, and acknowledged that they have most deservedly brought down upon us the heaviest marks of God's displeasure. We have entreated pardon, we have be
sought compassion, we have implored assistance and protection; and in return have, in the most solemn manner, vowed
* Isaiah xxvi. 9.
repentance and reformation. Have that repentance and reformation followed? Has one single article of luxury been retrenched (retrenched, I mean, from principle) one favourite vice renounced, one place of amusement, one school of debauchery or of gaming, shut up? Do we keep a stricter guard upon all our irregular appetites and desires, and restrain them within the bounds of temperance, decency, and duty? Are the obligations of the nuptial vow more faithfully observed, and fewer applications made to the legislature for the dissolution of that sacred bond? Is there a more plain and marked difference in our behaviour towards the virtuous and the profligate; and have we set ourselves with greater earnestness to repress the bold effrontery of vice, by treating it, wherever it is found, with the indignation and contempt which it deserves? Are webecome in any degree more religious, more devout, more disengaged from this world, more intent upon the next? Are our hearts tou hed with a livelier apprehension of heavenly things, with warmer sentiments of love and reverence for our Maker; and do we demonstrate the sincerity of that