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has appointed salvation itself for walls and bulwarks*. But still be sure that you maintain that active zeal, and continued watchfulness, which suits your obligations to God, and your expectations from him ; and Seeing that you look for such things, be diligent, that you may be found of him in peace t. In the mean time, Encourage yourselves in the Lord your God I, well knowing, that if the foundations of the earth were to shake and the arches of heaven to burst asunder, it becomes the soul, that is supported by its God, to stand the shock with intrepid courage ; as being assured, that nothing can finally crush and overwhelm him, who is covered by the shield of the Almighty ; and That the trial of the good man's faith, which is far more precious than that of gold which perishes, though tried in the fire, will certainly be found to honour and joy at last s.
Such may the event of all your trials be! So may divine grace animate every heart that hears me! So may it visit all who have been sufferers by the loss, or shared in the alarm, though they share not with us in the devotions of this day! May the compassionate eye of God regard you, and your habitations! may his providence cement, strengthen, and adorn them ; for Except the Lord build the city; they labour in vain that build it || ! May The candle of the Lord shine on your tabernacle 1, and his Spirit enlighten and renew your souls! May peace and prosperity, friendship and religion, always flourish in this town and neighbourhood! And in a word, may God so compassionate your calamity, as to give you Joy for mourning, and beauty for ashes ** ; that those who have lamented over you, may rejoice with you ; and that at length you may share the security and joy of The city of God even the heavenly Jerusalem ++, where no fames shall be felt, but those of love, and no sound heard, but the accents of everlasting triumph and praise ! Amen.
* Isa. xxvi. 1.
+ 2 Pet. ïïi. 14.
I 1 Sam. xxx. 6.
1 Pet.i. 7.
The following Hymn, though not considerable on any other account, was judged so suitable to the occasion, that many of my friends united in their request, that it might be printed with the sermon, after which it was sung: I was the more willing to comply with it, lest the multiplication of incorrect copies should make it yet more imperfect than it is. But hardly any thing was ever farther from my thoughts, than the publication, either of this, or of the discourse itself.
Low in thy presence bow:
Do like a deluge pour ;
Destruction rears its head;
Through all our streets are spread.
Deep in our dust we lay us down,
And mourn thy righteous ire;
Like dross were perish'd there;
That last tremendous day,
In flames shall melt away!
TO A SERMON ON A DAY OF PUBLIC HUMILIATION.
I Am far from thinking, that I pay any part of the debt which I owe to your most engaging friendship, by presenting you with this plain discourse ; on the contrary, I am sensible, that by your permitting me to inscribe it to you, that debt is increased : but obligations to so much goodness as I have experienced in you, sit so easily and so pleasantly upon me, that no objection arises from that quarter. And it has this claim to your patronage, that many of the thoughts are as much yours as mine; having been talked over between us with a great deal of freedom. I know, Sir, they are such as make a very deep impression on your heart, and such as you strenuously labour to promote among those who have the happiness of being under your command ; and I am confident you will think it no reproach to you to avow them in the most public manner, as your whole life always speaks your steady regard to those principles on which they are built.
I heartily congratulate you, Sir, and I congratulate the public, on the visible effects of your resolute and courageous zeal for religion, in the remarkable sobriety and regularity of those to whom your influence most directly extends; and I doubt not, but it has extended much farther than the company, or even the regiment, to which you stand peculiarly related. Were our officers and our soldiers in general such, I am persuaded it would soon appear, how much righteousness exalteth a nation; and that he who is wisdam to the pious counseller, would also be strength to them that turn the battle from our gates to those of the enemy: so that our commanders, like the hero who has furnished me with my motto, might well give it for their word, God our ally and our general.
To all the prayers which I have been offering for my country in the progress of that discourse of which I now beg your acceptance, permit me to add this one more, that to whatever services you may be called in its defence, that God, whom you serve, in all inay continually watch over you for good, and prolong to many future most honourable and important years, a life so faithfully devoted to him. My heart reveres you too much, to permit me to tell the world, so immediately in your presence, the high sentiments it entertains of you; and I am (with an affection, which is, perhaps, too ready to forget the formalities of a public address, in the tenderness of private friendship,)
My dear Colonel,
P. DODDRIDGE. Northampton, Feb. 25, 1739-40.
ON A DAY OF PUBLIC HUMILIATION.
Deut. xxiii, 9. When the Host goeth forth against thine Enemies, then keep
thee from every wicked Thing.
| HE acknowledgment of that God, in whose hand our breath is, and whose are all our ways *, is a duty in its obligation so evidently reasonable, in its exercise so delightful, and in its natural consequences so variously advantageous, that one would hope it should be the prevailing temper among men ; a temper which should run through the most agreeable and secure scenes of life, since that agreeableness and security is the effect of divine care and goodness. Nevertheless we too generally see, that in this respect men are lulled asleep by those gentle gales of prosperity, which waft them on towards a haven they desire ; but when cross and contrary winds arise, and beat upon them, the noise, the motion, the danger of the tempest often awakes them, and engages them, like the Mariners in the ship with Jonah, to call every one upon his God t. I would hope indeed, that I am now addressing many, who have nade prayer the business and the joy of their prosperous days; and such may with peculiar pleasure and confidence have recourse to it in circumstances of extremity, if God should be pleased to lead us in such circumstances. In the mean time, I doubt not, but it is with great readiness that such numbers of you have obeyed the wise and pious call of our sovereign, to assemble this day, “ That we may humble ourselves before almighty God, in order to obtain pardon of our sins; and may in a most devout and solemn manner send up our prayers and supplications to the divine Majesty, for averting those heavy judgments which our manifold sins and provocations have most justly deserved, imploring his blessing and assistance on our arms, and for restoring and perpetuating peace, safety, and prosperity to us."
* Dan. v. 23.
+ Jonah i. 5.
Christian princes have seldom omitted on such occasions as these, to give such calls to their subjects; and they have instructive precedents for it in scripture. They might learn it from the conduct of pious Jchoshaphat, who, when numerous nations were conspiring against him, set himself to seek the
Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah, that they might gather themselves together, to ask help from him *. Yea, the hint might be taken even from the behaviour of the King of Ninevah, who, when the prophet had so solemnly declared in the name of God, that this country should be destroyed, rose from his throne, and laid aside his robe, and covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes, at the same time causing a most rigorous fast to be proclaimed through Ninevah, by his own decree, and that of his nobles ; an abstinence, in which, the more forcibly to impress the minds of men, the beasts were also to share, and neither to feed, nor drink water; and those of them which had appeared in that luxurious city in the most sumptuous trappings and decorations, were in the sad procession, like their masters, to be covered with sackcloth. With such low prostration was the whole nation, as one man, to cry mightily unto God, to avert his displeasure : but it is worthy of our remark, that the light of nature and reason taught that prince also to add, in his royal mandate for a general humiliation, Let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands t.
Now as obedience to the government, and love to the public, must engage every faithful minister to labour to address his people this day, on such a subject, and in such a manner, as he judges most suitable to its great design ; I thought it my duty to fix my own meditations and yours, on the absolute necessity of national and personal reformation, in order to a wellgrounded expectation of success in war. This the king of Ninevah inculcated, as you have heard ; and Moses also had long before solemnly urged it, in the words of my text; when the host goeth forth against thine enemies, then keep thee from every wicked thing. And surely every one's conscience will tell him, how fit it is, that, after we have been pouring out our confessions and our supplications before God, we should attentively reflect upon such a charge as this, lest future iniquities, aggravated even by the humiliation of this day, should prove our speedy, and our final destruction.
You see the words contain a very plain and intelligible ad.
* 2 Chron. XX. 3, 4.