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battle, which must in all human probability have proved fatal to them : But on the other hand, not to insist upon the possibility of another panic on our side, which, in circumstances like those in which we then appeared, we had, I hope, no just cause to apprehend, we may at least conclude, that many among them would have sold their lives dear when grown desperate, and have fought in the bitterness of their hearts. Now sure we must allow, that, after the deplorable losses we have already sustained since the war and the rebellion began, it is a very favourable circumstance, that the foe was defeated without a combat ; and especially at a time, when every brave soldier, and much more every valiant and experienced officer, is, as the prophet speaks, Mure precious than the gold of Ophir * Your own thoughts prevent me, I doubt not, in applying what I now speak, to that heroic and amiable branch of the royal family, who was to have led our forces to the field, and whose fafety is so emi. nently, and so justly, the public care. Had God permitted the hurtful sword to have approached him, and how many swords would have been pointed at him ! surely the joy of complete victory and national deliverance would hardly have been felt, and our shouts would have been turned into one universal groan. But God has preserved him from the hazards of the field, and given him to vanquish by the terror of his name t.
I hope, your hearts glow with gratitude, while you hear these imperfect hints of the many merciful circumstances, with which God hath adorned this great deliverance, and are secretly crying out, what shall we render to him for these accumulated benefits? I have not left myself time to enlarge on the answer ; but I would suggest it briefly under the other general head, where I am, Secondly, To represent and inforce the return, which God may
reasonably expect from us, and which the text hints at in the concluding part : That we might serve him without
* Isai. xii. 12. * Two small incidents contributed very much to this great event. One was, that Cameron of Locheil, the head of one of the chief clans, was wounded in the action at Falkirk, and obliged to go home ; on which all his tribe went off. The uther was yet more surprising : Mac Donald of Glengary, who, if I mistake not, commanded in the action at Preston-Pans, was since the battle killed accidentally by one of his own men; and all that clan going off on the loss of their head, a great desertion followed, which had, no doubt, a very great influence on that precipitation with which tbe rebel army fled: Though after all, it was the terror of his Royal Highness's name, that completed their consternation; so that, as a person of great eminence in those parts, from whom I had the favour to be informed of these particulars, justly observes, he might say more than Cæsar, Veni, non vidi, vici.
fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.
I may take a just and natural occasion from hence, to ex. hort you to consecrate yourselves to the service of God; to set yourselves to walk before him in holiness and righteousness; to pursue this course with cheerfulness
-and to persevere in it with unwearied constancy. 1. The deliverance which we are now receiving, calls upon us
all to consecrate ourselves to the service of God.
It calls upon us, to be truly religious ; to remember the blessed God as the great author of this, and every mercy ; and in consequence of this, not only to address some transient acknowledgment to him, but to serve himn : To make an unfeigned regard to him, the foundation of all our virtues, and the principle of all our actions. It particularly requires, that, conscious of our obligations to him, and our dependance upon him, we keep up a grateful commerce with him, as our Creator, our Redeemer, our Protector, and our Father; and daily address him in prayer and praise, as those who know that we are unto him a holy priesthood, and a peculiar people *. Let those therefore, who have neglected these important and delightful exercises, set themselves to approach the blessed God, through the great Mediator, and make a dedication of themselves to him, that their services may be accepted : Let those who have already done it, renew it with pleasure : And let us all, 2. Take care to approve the sincerity of such solemn acts, by
walking before him in holiness and righteousness.
As the God to whom we profess to devote ourselves, is holy, let us be holy in all manner of conversation t ; separating our. selves from every pollution both of the flesh and of the spiriti, and religiously observing righteousness in all its branches ; giving in the first place to the blessed God his due, and esteeming it an indispensable duty to abound in all the offices of justice and charity to our fellow-creatures. Thus let us behave ourselves, as before Him; remembering that we are continually in the venerable presence of that glorious being, from whom no artifice can conceal our actions, to whom no specious pretences can disguise them ; who sees our ways, and counts all our steps ş.
* 1 Pet. ï. 9. As the word Ac?pivov is used in the text, it evidently directs our thoughts to these views. t 1 Pet. i. 15. * 2 Cor. vii, 1.
$ Job xxxi. 40
This will give a firmness and a consistency to our conduct, which it could not otherwise have ; and will farther dispose us, as we are required in the text, 3. To pursue this course with a holy cheerfulness and alacrity of
spirit ; to serve him without fear.
The filial fear of God is so essential a part of true religion, that it is often put for the whole of it ; and the angel which John saw, flying through the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to them that dwell on the earth, demanded it aloud *. But there is a certain anxiety and servitude of spirit, which is beneath the genius of christianity; a gloomy and ungenerous conception of the Deity, which is a kind of heavy chain upon the mind; which makes all its operations unwieldy, and painful. This the gentle encouraging constitution of the gospel was intended to cure, by inspiring us with sentiments of gratitude, hope and love. Fear hath torment; and therefore that perfection of love, to which so gracious a dispensation was intended to bring us, casteth it out f. For we have not received the spirit of bondage, but of adoption ; and full of filial affection and confidence, under the influences of that spirit, we cry abba, Father I. Having laid hold on the covenant of grace and peace in Christ, having secured our everlasting concerns by committing our souls into his faithful hand, and listing under him as the great Captain of our Salvation, we ought not to be terrified, as if we every moment apprehended some fatal event ; but should march on with cheerful courage, as those that expect to be More than conquerors Ģ.
The Lord is my light, and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid ? Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear||. Renewed deliverance should encourage our hope and confidence in Him, and should forbid that anxiety of spirit, which seasons of public alarm are too ready to occasion. Let this therefore be our character and temper: And to conclude the exhortation, 4. Let us constantly persevere in it, and carry it through all the days of our life.
It was the unhappy character of Israel, that though under the first impressions of his merciful appearances for them they sang God's praise, they soon forgat his works 1. But we ought
* Rev, xiv. 6, 7,
Rom. viii. 37.
+ 1 John iv. 18.
Rom. viii. 15
to remember, that though this particular interposition and act of divine providence be a transient thing, the effects of it are solie and permanent. If (which I hope will be the case,) we enjoy future tranquility and liberty ; if our religious rights continue unmolested, even to the end of our lives; and our posterity rise up to the same blessings after us ; we are to ascribe it to this defeat of the common enemy. It ought therefore to be our care, to carry the substantial proofs of our gratitude through every remaining day of life; and, as far as in us lies, to transmit the impression to them that come after us; as it is the divine pleasure, that One generation should praise his works to another, and should declare his mighty acts *. And indeed, if the gracious hand of God in our deliverance be forgot ; if men either attempt no reformation at all, or soon return to their former indolence and wickedness; I fear, our case will be like that of the wicked dæmoniac in the parable, to whom the evil spirit, which had left him for a while, returned, with seven confederate spirits worse than himself, who rendered his last state more miserable than the former f.
But this naturally leads me to mention some considerations, by which I shall farther inforce the exhortation I have been addressing to you. And you will easily perceive, that they are very obvious ; and the importance of them is equally apparent. --We shall otherwise make a most ungrateful return to God ;we shall be condemned even by the tenor of our own prayers ;we may reasonably expect, that God should renew his chastisements with greater severity ;-or we may be assured, that to have alienated ourselves from his service after such a delive. rance, will be matter of dreadful account at last to every particular person, howeyer God may be pleased to deal with us as a nation, (1.) Let your own consciences judge, whether it were not a
most ungrateful return to the blessed God for all the benefits we have received from him, to neglect the temper and conduct to which we have been exhorted.
What can we imagine he intended by this train of providences; by the alarm and the rescue? Was it not to awaken us? Was it not to engage us to serve him ?- What other end could his wisdom and goodness propose in it? Or what SQ worthy end can we ascribe to him ? And shall we, so far as in us lies, frustrate this gracious design of providence ;
† Mat. xii. 43,
a design, which indeed so greatly inhances the value of the mercy itself? Shall we go on in our sins, and act as if we really imagined, that we were Delivered, on purpose to repeat and aggravate our abominations * ? Surely we should think of it with detestation. According to that just and lively reasoning of the pious Ezra t, After thou hast given us such a deliverance as this, should we again break thy commandments ? God forbid.—Were this to be our conduct, 2. We should be condemned by the tenor of our own prayers.
Let me on this occasion seriously remind you, of our late solemn assemblies, in public, and in private ; of the repeated and earnest supplications, which we have made it our professed business to pour out in the divine presence. And what was then the language of our lips, and of our hearts? Could we have presumed to say, “Lord, deliver us, that we may go on to offend thee! And lengthen out our tranquility, that our minds may be as vain, our passions as irregular, and our lives as unprofitable as before !” No, far from this, it was onr prayer, that God would by all this reform us! That he would reform us as a nation! And what vile hypocrisy, what profane contempt of the divine Being were it, to pretend to desire reformation as a nation, while we are unwilling to bear our part in it; nay, while we are throwing in the weight of our example, be it more or less, into the opposite scale! Alas, Sirs, you may forget your prayers, as soon as you have ended them; you may disregard the purport of them, even while you pretend by your bodily posture and appearance to be offering them to God : But they are all set down in the book of his remembrance ; and his eye, which can never be eluded or imposed upon, discerns the consistency or inconsistency of your actions, when compared with them. If therefore these reasonable and grateful returns be not made, it follows by a natural connection with the former consideration, 9. We may justly apprehend, that God will renew his chastise.
ments with greater severity.
Such is the tenor of that dreadful scripture, If ye will not be reformed by me by these things, saith the Lord, that is, by the calamities which had been spoken of before, but will still walk contrary to me; Then will I also walk contrary to you, and will punish you yet seven times more for your sins [. And
* Jer. vii. 10. + Ezra ix, 13, 14. Lev. xxvi. 23, 24. VOL, III.