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A SERMON, &c.
XLIX CHAP. of JEREMIAH, the 19th Verse.
Behold, he shall come up like a lion from the swelling of Jordan against the habitation of the strong, but I will suddenly make him run away from her.
CHRISTIANS, Soldiers, and Countrymen!
events are with God: the observation and improvement of them with.us. But a very short period has elapsed, since the occasion of our assembling in this church was as joyous as it is now distressing. It was then my honour and happiness publicly to congratulate you upon the return of peace. We then flattered ourselves, not indeed without some apprehensions, that her reign would be lasting and her blessings abundant.
But our present solemnity proves how fallacious our hopes were! for it is now my mournful office, to deplore with you the cause, and deprecate with you the aggravated renewal of our national calamities. Thanksgiving was then our theme, the voice of joy, and the song of praise resounded in our churches. Now sorrow becomes our assembly-sorrow, the sure, the constant, the necessary companion of sin.
Without entering into any critical remarks upon the words selected for our improvement, in their original connexion and reference, we shall endeavour to accommodate them to our present purpose, by considering what there is in them,-descriptive of the character of the enemy, his sentiments towards us, and the manner of his approach-what, illustrative of our motives and means of defence, together with our actual strength-and what, conditionally prophetical of our deliverance and the confusion and overthrow of our adversary.
Invective is not the province of a Christian minister. "Love your enemies," is the precept of his Master and the rule of his feelings. Whatever therefore may be said with respect to the character,
character, designs, or views of the enemy of our country, proceeds not upon a principle of malice towards him, but upon a principle of affection towards you, towards myself, towards my country, towards my God. It is to create within you a just abhorrence not of your foe, but of his proceedings-that you may resist his principles in his person-that you may preserve not in the field of battle only, should you be called forth, but that you may preserve in your spirits a firm, determined, resolute opposition, (which it is but just you should preserve,) against an enemy, who unsatiated with the ravages of other nations, impiously threatens to set his foot on British shores-to erect the standard of infidility and atheism in our churches- to stain the altars of our God with the blood of our wives and children-to raise and demolish the venerable edifices and temples of piety, where our fathers have worshipped,—and to bury humanity, freedom, order, religion, virtue, and our country in one common grave. Behold! he shall come up like a lion from the swellings of Jordan, fierce, swift, cruel, terrible, roaring out his blasphemies against the God of Heaven and the God of order.
When the immense snows on the summit of Lebanon dissolved, it occasioned such a swelling of the Jordan, that it overflowed its banks, and dislodged the lions that infested it, from their thickets. They fled terrified and enraged, spreading consternation and destruction, where they fled. In like manner, as we gather from the context, the Chaldeans invaded the countries around and these afterwards in their turn were similarly attacked by the Medes. Just so with the same rage, violence, and ferocity, the merciless foe threatens us-desparately driven by the swellings of a proud, envious, unjust, ambitious indignation.
What we may expect from such an evil unprincipled resentment is not left for our reason. or conjecture to determine. Fact speaks, we hear the groans of desolated countries! The blood of Switzerland, the inoffensive seat of freedom, contentment and independence cries in our ears! With unsuspecting confidence, Italy received him into her fruitful bosom, as a friend, as a brother. He betrayed her sons with promises of deceit. They became an easy prey of his treachery. Their credulity issued in their ruin. He abrogated their laws. He plundered
their temples. He seized their public funds. He levied enormous contributions on their private property. He robbed inhumanly their charitable foundations-their seminaries of science, their receptacles of poverty and age-their hospitals of sick and diseased. He spread universal confusion, universal misery. He spared neither sex nor age, neither rich nor poor, neither rank nor royalty. He sacrificed their towns and villages to the fire and the sword, military tyranny was substituted for civil government, and opposition to his detested banditti, whatever crimes of barbarity they might perpetrate, was by his sanction and command, followed with immediate and violent death.
Facts overwhelm us! the dispositions and designs of the enemy are fully and awfully substantiated. In Egypt, in Germany, in Holland, wherever these modern vandals have penetrated, they have made their irruptions with unremitted, implacable fury. Fire and sword, rapine and injustice, treachery and cruelty, have been their stedfast adherents. Their desolating steps have been marked with blood, and illumined with conflagrations.