ON THE DEFEAT OF GENERAL BRADDOCK, GOING TO FORTE. DE-QUESNE.
Isaiah Xxii. 12—14. And in that day did the Lord God of halt call to weeping, and to mourning, and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth : and behold, joy and gladness, slaying oxen, and killing sheep, eating flesh, and drinking wine; let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we shall die. And it was revealed in mine ears by the Lord of hosts, surely this iniquity shall not be purged from you till ye die, saith the Lord God of Hosts.*
THE heavy burden of this tragical prophecy falls upon the valley of vision, that is, upon Jerusalem, the metropolis of the Jews. It was called the valley of vision because it was enlightened by the visions of the prophets, enjoyed the advantages of revelation, and the privileges of the church of God. But though it was thus graciously distinguished by heaven, it was not safe from danger. The Assyrians were preparing a powerful army to invade the holy land, and the holy city, because it was degenerated into a land of guilt, and a city full of wickedness.
The prophet Isaiah, at the foresight of this, feels all the generous and mournful passions of a patriot, a lover of his country, of liberty and religion. However others were sunk into a stupid security all around him, and indulged themselves in mirth and luxury ; he is alarmed and mourns for his country. Look away from me, says he, do not put my bursting grief under the restraints of modesty, by your presence: I will weep bitterly, labour not to comfort me; for the case requires the full indulgence of sorrow; and it is remediless "because of the spoiling of the daughter of my people."t Thus was Isaiah affected with the danger of Jerusalem, and his native country. ,
And, oh Virginia! oh my country! shall I not lament for thee? Thou art a valley of vision, favoured with the light of revelation from heaven, and the gospel of Jesus : thou hast long
Hanover, July 20, 1755.
'\ Verse iv.
been the region of peace and tranquillity; the land of ease, plenty and liberty. But what do I now see? What do I now hear? 1 see thy brazen skies, thy parched soil, thy withering fields, thy hopeless springs, and thy scanty harvests. Methinks I also hear the sound of the trumpet, and see garments rolled in blood—thy frontiers ravaged by revengeful savages; thy territories invaded by French perfidy and violence. Methinks I see slaughtered families, the hairy scalps clotted with gore; the horrid arts of Indian and popish torture. And, alas! in the midst of all these alarms, I see thy inhabitants generally asleep, and careless of thy fate. I see vice braving the skies; religion neglected and insulted; mirth and folly have still their places of rendezvous. Let our country, let religion, liberty, property and all be lost: yet still they will have their diversions; luxury spreads her feast, and unmans her effeminate guests. In spite of laws, in spite of proclamations, in spite of the principle of self-preservation, thy officers are generally inactive, thy militia neglected and undisciplined, thy inhabitants unprovided with arms ; every thing in a defenceless posture: but few Abrahams to intercede for thee; but few to stand in the gap, and make up the breach, to prevent the irruption of vengeance; but few mourning for the sins of the land !" The Lord God of hosts, and every thing around thee, call thee to weeping and mourning, and girding with sackcloth i hut, instead of this, behold joy and gladness, eating flesh, and drinking wine; let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die." And shall I not weep for thee, O my country? Yes; when I forget thee, O Virginia, "let my right hand forget her cunning, and my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth.* My bowels! my bowels ! I am pained at the very heart; I cannot hold my peace; because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, and the alarm of war."t And now, to whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear ?" Behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken—I hearkened, and heard ; but they spake not aright; no man repented him of his wickedness, saying, what have I done? Every one turneth to his course, as the horse rusheth into the battle. Yea, the stork in the heavens knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle, and the crane, and swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the Lord,"^ nor discern the signs of the times. What then can I do for thee, O my
* Psa. cxuxvii. 5. f Jer. iv. 19. * Jer. viii. 6, 7.
country? What but weep over thee, pray for thee, and warn thy careless children? To give this seasonable warning is my present design.
There are two things mentioned in this chapter, as glaringly absurd, and highly provoking to God. The one is, that in the military preparations which the Jews made, they had no proper regard to the Supreme Ruler of the world. The other is, that instead of making proper preparations for their own defence, and humbling themselves before God, they were sunk in security, luxury, and wickedness.
They had made some military preparations—Thus far had I studied my discourse, before I was alarmed with the melancholy news that struck my ears last Thursday. Now every heart may meditate terror indeed: now, every face may gather blackness : now I may mingle darker horrors in the picture I intended to draw of the state of my country. For what do I now hear ?—I hear our army is defeated; our general killed—our sole defence demolished ;* and what shall we now do ? Whence shall we derive our hope? Our militia has hitherto been a mere farce, and most of the inhabitants know little or nothing of the art of war—they are generally unfurnished with arms. What effect the present alarm will have upon them, I cannot yet determine: but I am afraid they are proof against even this, and will still dream on insecurity. They seem to have this brand upon them, of a people given up to destruction;' they cannot realize a danger at the distance of two or three hundred miles, though it be making quick approaches towards them ; or, if they be alarmed at length, it will be apt to throw them into an inactive kind of consternation and terror; for it is natural to the presumptuous and secure to fall into this opposite extreme, when the danger they would not fear, comes upon them, and this throws them into such hurry and confusion, that they can neither contrive nor prosecute measures for their own defence; so that we have little ground to
* What truth may be in the report, is, as yet, unknown; and while it is uncertain, the fate of our country must lie in an anxious uncertainty too. This alarm, however, has served to shew me into what a consternation the visible approach of danger will cast the presumptuous, and how naturally they fall from the extreme of security to confusion and despondency. If this alarm awaken us to proper activity, I shall account it» happy stratagem of divine Providence. Be this report true or false, it is sufficient to drive us to the throne of grace, with Jehoshaphat's prayer in our mouth; 2 Chron. xx. 12..
hope for relief from ourselves—-as for the neighbouring colonies, they can do no more at best than provide for themselves. Our mother-country is at a great distance, and before we can receive help from thence, our country may be overrun, and fall a helpless prey to our enemies. Our mother-country may also be engaged in war at home; and consequently, unable to spare us much assistance so far abroad. To all this, I may add, that we are prodigiously weakened, and our enemies strengthened by the loss of our fine train of artillery; and the Indians will now probably break off their alliance with the English, and join the victorious party ; and what barbarities we may expect from these treacherous and revengeful savages, I cannot think of without horror. Now what shall we do in these dangerous circumstances? May we not address the, throne of grace in the language of Jehoshaphat: "We have no strength against this multitude; neither know we what to do; but our eyes are upon thee ?"* A guilty, obnoxious people, cry to thee in helpless distress, O thou Ruler of heaven and earth! Spare us a little longer, and surround us with thy salvation as with walls and bulwarks. We ought not indeed to content ourselves with lazy prayers; it is our duty also to take all the measures in our power to prevent or escape the impending ruin of our country ; but it is certainly our duty to humble ourselves before that God whom we have offended, and to cry mightily to him, if peradventure, he may yet have mercy upon us that we perish not. After this digression, occasioned by so melancholy a report, I shall return to, and prosecute my intended method.
1 was observing, that the Jews had made some preparations for their own defence. They had furnished themselves with weapons out of the armoury, called the house of the forest.t They had broken down the houses of Jerusalem, that with their materials they might fortify the wall, and stop its breaches. ^. They had made ditches to convey the water of two pools into the city, to furnish them with drink in the siege.§ These preparations they made ; and on these they depended, and not on the Lord God of hosts. "Thou didst look in that day to the armour of the house of the forest ; but ye have not looked unto the maker thereof, neither had respect unto him that fashioned it long ago."|| And hence all their preparations were in vain.
• 2 Chron. xx. 12. f Isa. xxii. .8. * Verse ix. 11.
§ Verse 10. n Verse viii. 11.
I leave it to be considered, whether we and our country have not been guilty of this piece of practical atheism—whether we have not incurred the curse of the man that trusteth in man, and maketh the arm of flesh his confidence—whether we have not boasted and vapoured of our experienced officers, our veteran soldiers, and our fine train of artillery, and had little or no regard to the Lord of hosts. It is he, my brethren, that manages the affairs of men. This world is a territory of Jehovah's uersal empire: and not a sparrow can fall to the ground in it without him. He does what he pleases among the inhabitants of the earth ; and they shall all know it, sooner or later—they shall know it to their cost, if they cannot be made sensible of it by gentler measures.
Another sin charged upon the Jews was this, that instead of making proper preparations for their own defence, and humbling themselves before God, they were sunk in security, luxury, and wickedness. Weeping, mourning, baldness and girding with sackcloth, were the usual signs and ceremonies of fasting and deep humiliation under the law of Moses, and they are naturally expressive of great distress, sorrow, and lamentation. To such humiliation, repentance, and sorrow, God called them by his prophets, and by the threatening posture of their affairs. But, alas ! instead of this, you see what we have been grieved to see in our country, nothing but feasting and diversion, luxury and pleasure. "Behold, joy and gladness, slaying oxen, and killing sheep, eating flesh, and drinking wine." What audacious conduct is this! what is it but to insult Jehovah, and defy all his threatenings? They acted upon that epicurean maxim, "let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we shall die;" let us take our pleasure, while we may ; for there will soon be an end of us ! This may be looked upon either as the language of despair; let us be merry now for we expect shortly to be cut off by our enemies: or, as a sneer upon the threatenings of God by his prophet, as 11 they had said, • We are to die, it seems, to-morrow, according to the denunciation of this precise fellow; let us then enjoy lifo while we can, regardless of the consequence. Shall this melancholy, timorous creature, frighten us.out of our pleasures ? No, let him say what he will, we will eat and drink, and be merry.
What effect the present near approach of danger may have upon the inhabitants of our guilty land, I have not yet had time to know : but I am sure, (and it has often sunk my spirits, ana alarmed my fears,) this has been the general conduct through our country under all the past threatenings of divine Providence; and if this still continue, I shall give thee up, O my beloved land! I must give thee up for lost! Heaven cannot always bear with such daring impiety, in us, any more than in the Jews. "It was revealed in mine ear by the Lord of hosts," saith the prophet, this dreadful secret was communicated to me: "Surely this iniquity of despising my threatenings, and refusing to humble yourselves before me, shall not be purged from you until ye die, until ye be cut off by your enemies, saith the Lord of hosts."* How much reason we have to fear such a doom, I need not tell you— your own hearts suggest it to you from the present aspect of your aifairs.
My design in the prosecution and improvement of this subject is, to point out the causes of the present danger, and the most promising methods to prevent or escape it.
I shall mention but two causes of the present danger—the sins of the land, and our security and inactivity in times past.
I must begin with mentioning the sins of the land, as the first and principal cause of our calamity and danger.
Of this I have often warned you with weeping eyes and an aching heart. Some of you, I hope, have regarded the warning, and forsaken your sins; but to many I have seemed as one that mocketh, or an officious disturber of their security and pleasure. But now, when they are likely to have such dreadful confirmations of this melancholy truth ; now, when God seems about to make good the charge against you by the terrors of his judgments, now I hope for a solemn hearing without contempt or ridicule.
The Lord of hosts (I repeat it again) is the supreme Ruler of the kingdoms of the earth, and by an irresistible, though invisible hand, he manages them according to his righteous pleasure. It belongs to him in that character to punish guilty, impenitent nations in this life: I say, in this life; for in the world to come, men do not subsist in a civil capacity as societies cr nations, but are rewarded or punished as individuals, according to their personal works. But in this world, there are various connections and relations between them as members of civil society; and when in that capacity they become ripe for temporal punishment, and their iniquities are full, it is the usual method of Providence to chastise them severely, or entirely cut them off. * Isaiah xxii. 14.
And where is there a more sinful, obnoxious spot upon our guilty globe than our country? It is the remark of strangers, and of those who have an extensive knowledge of Virginia, that this county is distinguished from the rest by the appearance of religion and good morals. But, ah! what ground have we of complaint and lamentation. And if this is the best part of our country, alas! what shall we say of the rest?
Recollect what you have known of your own, and the conduct of the generality, and take a survey of the practice of the inhabitants; and what a dismal scene opens to your eyes! What numbers of drunkards, swearers, liars, unclean wretches, and such like, burden our land? Nay, how few comparatively are they who do not, at least occasionally, fall into one or other of these gross vices? What vanity, luxury, and extravagance, in gaming and other foolish or criminal diversions and pleasures, appear among people of high life and affluent fortunes? And is it not fit they should now feel the want of these mercies which they squandered away? What carelessness and unfaithfulness : what ignorance and laziness ; nay, what gross vice and impiety, in sundry of the clergy, whose office it is to teach and reform the World? I must speak out in the present situation of my country, however unwilling I am to touch the sacred character. O Virginia! thy prophets, thy ministers have ruined thee. I speak not of all; some of them, I hope, are an ornament to their character, and a blessing to their country. But can the most generous charity, can even a party-spirit, pretend, they are all such I And they who are not such, are the lumber, or rather, the pests of society. Can religion flourish, when inculcated by such unclean lips? Can the world be reformed by such as so much want reformation themselves? There are some, indeed, who make it the great business of their lives to make men virtuous and good; but, alas! we have all been too cold and inactive in this noble work; and we desire to join in the general repentance on this account. How is the house of God forsaken? and what carelessness, vanity, and worldly conversation appear in those that attend? Alas! are these assemblies met to worship the great God, and prepare themselves for their everlasting state? Who would suspect it from their conduct ? How is the table of the Lord, the memorial of our dear .dying Redeemer, neglected by multitudes, or profaned by daring, profligate sinners? What a general neglect of familyrreligion prevails through our country? How few are the houses that devoutly call upon God? But, alas! I cannot enumerate particulars. I may say all in a word. 'There is but little, very little practical religion to be seen in our land.' Do but form an idea of Christianity from your bible, and compare with that rule the professors of that religion ; and how few can you pronounce real christians! I speak this in the anguish of my heart; and you may be sure it is extorted from me; for in the whole course of my ministry among you, you have never heard so much of this kind from me before.
Deism and infidelity have also of late made inroads upon us. Men do not like such a holy religion as that which Christ has instituted, and therefore they cavil at it, and go about to patch up another of their own, more favourable to their lusts and pleasures. Perhaps it may be put to trial in the general ruin of our country, whether any religion can support a sinking soul like the religion of Jesus. Then it may appear that "their rock is not as our rock, our enemies themselves being judges."* Then ye that are lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God, ye that make mammon your god, ye that adore the glimmering light of reason instead of the Sun of Righteousness; then, "go and cry to the gods ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your
Now if the outward conduct of men be generally so bad, alas! what shall we think of their hearts—the secret springs of action within? O! what lusts make their dens there! How many cold, hard, disloyal hearts towards God and his Son are to be found on our land! How many impenitent souls, that never have been broken into deep repentance! How many worldly, sensual minds, that grovel in the earth, and have little or no thought of God, of divine things, or of their everlasting state ! How many secret neglectors of Christ and salvation through him! Alas! how few hearts long and languish for him! How few are acquainted with the experiences of true, vital Christianity ! How few are earnestly striving to enter in at the strait gate, and labouring to be holy in all manner of conversation ! How few are mourning for their own sins, and those of the land, and pouring out their prayers night and day in behalf of their country! What practical atheism prevails among us as to the dispensations of Providence. Multitudes do not live in the world, as though it were under the divine government. They seem not " to regard
* Deut. xxxii. 31. f Judg. x. 14.
the work of the Lord, nor consider the operation of his hands,"* in drought and rains, in war and peace, or in any of the blessings or calamities of life; but they look to secondary causes only, and the instruments of divine Providence; and what is this but practically to abjure and renounce Jehovah from being the ruler of the world he has made? And can he tolerate such rebellion in his subjects? Is it not fit that he should convince them of his supreme government by terrible things in righteousness, and make them know that he is the Lord, and that they are but men ? But I am weary of this melancholy history; and I own I am not able to paint it in colours gloomy enough. "We are a sinful nation; a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evil doers, children that are corrupters."t We are abusers of mercy, and despisers of chastisements; we are transgressors of the law of God, and neglectors of the gospel of Christ; we have all sinned from the highest to the lowest. This is the fruitful source of all our calamities, and the most threatening circumstance that attends us; though there is another very discouraging, and that is,
Secondly, Our security and inactivity in times past. Our enemies have not come upon us unawares. We had time enough to learn the art of war, and to furnish ourselves with arms, but we would not realize the danger; and now when we begin to be apprehensive of it, the hurry and consternation will not allow us to make such preparations as we otherwise might. God has also given us space for repentance ; and this is certainly an important preparative; but, alas! how has it been neglected! What a thoughtless, impenitent people have we been ! and how justly may God give us up to the common fate of the presumptuous and secure: for, when "they shall say peace and safety, then sudden destruction shall come upon them as travail upon a woman with child, and they shall not escape."^
The rumour of war, and the call of Heaven to repentance, have been the more alarming, as we have been punished with so severe a drought, which alone is no small calamity; and the next yeart which will feel its consequences, will make us sensible of it.
I might mention sundry other causes of our present danger; as, the unhappy factions about trifles between the branches of the legislature-—the disunited state of the sundry British colonies—our criminal neglect of proper measures to christianize the
* Psa. xxviii. 5. \ Isaiah i. 4. +1 Thess. v. 3.
Indians, and conciliate them to us in that surest bond—our suffering abandoned traders to intoxicate them with strong drink, and defraud them of their property—our neglecting to keep garrisons on our frontiers, &c. But I must hasten to our second general head—to point out the most promising measures to prevent or escape the danger and ruin of our country.
And my first advice, (and oh! that my voice could sound it lo the remotest parts of the country) is this: Repent I oh! my countrymen, Repent! Sin is the cause of our danger; sin is the bane of our land: and this cause cannot be removed but by repentance. "Search and try your ways, and turn unto the Lord."* Recollect your own sins in heart and life; and mourn over them, hate them, forsake them, proclaim eternal war against these enemies of your country, and of your souls. As much sin as every one of you has been guilty of, so much has every one of you contributed to the destruction of your country. Therefore, let there be a great mourning among you; let every one of you mourn "apart, and your wives apart."t Down on your knees before your injured Sovereign ; confess you have been ungrateful rebels; acknowledge the justice of the punishment, even though he should cut you off. Vow and resolve, if you have done iniquity, to do it no more. Take a survey also of the sins of your xountry, and lament over them as your own. And to your repentance, join fasting, as a proper expression of it. I cannot give you a more proper direction than what I shall read to you out of the prophecy of Joel, which was addressed! to a people in the like dangerous circumstances; and see what encouragement is given to such humiliation: "Therefore, also, now saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning. And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God; for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. Who knoweth » he will return, and repent, and leave a blessing behind hiim; "en a meat offering, and a drink offering unto the Lord your God."^ Join earnest prayer to your repentance and fasting. try aloud to God for your country; for your liberty, your property, your religion, your lives, your all—cry to God in secret, in your families, in public; and form yourselves into Utile societies here and there for prayer. Ye prayerless families,
* Lam. iii. 40. -j-Zach. xii. 12. i Chap. il. 12—27.
now begin to worship the God that preserves you, lest he "pour out his fury upon you with the heathen, and the families that call not upon his name."* In this way the weak and timorous, even women and children, may fight for their country; and from this assistance, which you may give in a peaceful corner, our army may derive their victory; for the "effectual fervent prayer of the righteous man availeth much."t
If the present threatening circumstances of our country should take this happy turn; oh! if it should bring the thoughtless inhabitants to repentance and reformation, I should count it the most blessed event mine eyes have ever seen. Let each of us labour to promote so happy an effect.
Secondly, Let me earnestly recommend it to you to furnish yourselves with arms, and to put yourselves in a posture of defence. I hope your officers will not omit their duty; and were any of them present, I should humbly address them, "Gentlemen, I presume you look upon your commissions not as empty titles of honour, but as peculiar obligations upon you to defend your country. Upon your activity, zeal, and good management, much depends. You may teach your respective companies the art of war; you may require them to furnish themselves with arms: you may and ought to put the laws in execution against the careless and disobedient; you may endeavour to make them sensible of their danger, and the necessity of such preparations. These things, gentlemen, are incumbent upon you; and, I hope^I may take upon me to speak as the mouth of this congregation, that we are willing to observe your orders. But, my brethren, if your officers should be negligent in their part, let your conscience prompt you to do your duty; shew that it is a regard to your country, and not a servile fear of the law, that has most influence upon you. Christians should be patriots. What is that religion good for that leaves men cowards upon the appearance of danger? And, permit me to say, that I am particularly solicitous that you, my brethren of the dissenters, should act with honour and spirit in this juncture, as it becomes loyal subjects, lovers of your country, and courageous christians. That is a mean, sordid, cowardly soul, that would abandon his country, and shift for his own little self, when there is any pr°b" ability of defending it. To give the greater weight to what say, I may take the liberty to tell you I have as little personal m
* Jer. x. 25. f James v. 16.
terest—as little to lose, in this colony, as most of you. If I consulted either my safety or my temporal interest, I should soon remove with my family to Great Britain or the northern colonies, where I have had very inviting offers. Nature has not formed me for a military life, nor furnished me with any great degree of fortitude and courage: and yet I must declare, that after the most calm and impartial deliberation, I am determined not to leave my country, while there is any prospect of defending it. But, should the case appear desperate, I would advise every man to shift for himself; and I would rather fly to the utmost end of the earth, than submit to French tyranny and Popish superstition. Certainly he does not deserve a place in any country, who is ready to run from it upon every appearance of danger. Let us then, my brethren, shew ourselves men, Britons, and christians, on this trying occasion. What! shall we resign so extensive and fiourishin g a country—a land of plenty and liberty—shall we tamely resign it to a parcel of perfidious, French and savage Indians? Shall slavery here clank her chain, or tyranny rage with lawless fury? Shall the house of God be turned' into a temple of idols? No, sirs; let us make a noble stand for the blessings we enjoy. What though we dissenters have been so unhappy as to lie under some restraints, which we apprehend unkind as well as illegal; let us balance these with the many privileges we enjoy, and they sink into nothing. I also hope, that our rulers .will find something else to do, in the present state of our country, than to harass and oppress a number of harmless dissenters, whose only crime it is to follow their conscience, and not the direction of their superiors in matters of religion. Nay, I am persuaded that many of them, upon farther acquaintance with us, will be disposed to more moderate measures by their own innate candour and a spirit of liberty. Let us therefore shew ourselves worthy of protection and encouragement, by our conduct on this occasion. The event of war is yet uncertain; but let us determine, that if the case should require it, we will courageously leave house and home, and take the field. I pity you, my friends, of the softer sex, under the distressing passions which these alarms must excite in you; and, indeed, I am not without apprehensions of danger from you. Your soft entreaties and flowing tears may unman the stronger sex, and restrain them from exerting themstlvesin so good a cause. But, pray let reason, let conscience, let religion, let a regard to yourselves and your children, prevail R
over your fond and foolish passions; otherwise, you may be accessary to the ruin of your country.
I would also address myself to you, negroes ; and, I hope, you will regard what I say, as you cannot but believe I am your friend. You know I have shewn a tender concern for your welfare, ever since I have been in the colony : and you may ask my own negroes whether I treat them kindly or no. Let not any of you think that it is all one to you, whether the French take the country or not, for you will, at worst, be but slaves still. You do not know what sort of people the French and Indians are ; but I will honestly tell you. They are a cruel, barbarous people ; and if you should disobey them, they would torment you, or put you to death in the most shocking manner. It will have weight with such of you as have any concern about religion, to be told, that if you should fall into the hands of the French, you must either give up your religion, or be tied to a stake, and burnt to ashes for it. Then you must pray in Latin, a language that you do not understand one word of—you must not look into your Bible, or try to read ; and instead of worshipping God through Jesus Christ, you must worship images and pictures made of stone, wood or canvass—you must pray to men and women, that were once sinners like yourselves; and instead of taking bread and wine in remembrance of Christ, you must believe that the bread is the real body of Christ, a piece of true flesh, and that the wine is changed into the real blood of Christ, by a priest muttering a few words over it—and they would allow you only the use of the bread, but the wine is all the priest's. Now, is not your nature shocked at such a thing as this, under the notion of religion? Do you think such a thing as this would please God, or carry you to heaven? It becomes you, therefore, to do all you can to keep yourselves and our country out of the hands of these fierce and cruel creatures. But to return.
Ifariyof you are frightened and intimidated from venturing your lives for your country, because you are full of fears about your everlasting state, and you would desire to live longer, to make all sure—to such of you I would say, now you find the bad effects of your former negligence—had you given all diligence to make your calling and election sure, you would not have been left in such perplexity in the hour of difficulty. You have no other way now, but diligently to improve the time you have; and if, after trial, you have even trembling hopes of your safe state for eternity, you may courageously venture, and leave the event to God; and your cowardly deserting the cause of your country, and seeking to prolong your lives by that means, will not be a likely way to remove your doubts and fears: you would always be haunted with a consciousness of guilt, and that will cast a gloom over your minds, and obscure the evidences of your hopes. P'oIIow the path of duty wherever it leads; for that will always be found the safest in the issue. 'I am one of the guilty creatures for whom my country is now suffering ?' Consider also, if the things you fear should come upon you, how miserable would you be '. An angry God above you; a withering, ravaged country, an aceldama, a field of blood, around you ; a guilty conscience within you, and a burning hell just before you! Then you will borrow the despairing complaint of Saul. " The Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me."* Then you will see the use of religion, and bitterly lament your neglect of it. Therefore now make that your concern.
As for such of you as are really unprepared for your latter end, and justly conscious of it ; I have sundry things to say to you, and oh! that they may sink deep into your hearts.
First, How may it shock you to think, that you who have lived so long in the world, should now want more time to turn to God, and prepare for eternity? Alas! what have you done with the ten, twenty, thirty, or forty years that God has given you for this purpose? Ah! are they all gone, without doing any of the great work you were sent into the world for? Have they all been wasted upon sin, the flesh, and the world, and sacrificed to the devil? Have you been destroying yourselves all this time? Oh ! sirs, have I not told you of this, but in vain? Have I not often warned you of the danger of delays in turning to God? Will you now, at length, believe me? Will you now conclude it is high time for you to regard the things that belong to your peace? Secondly, If the reason why you desire to preserve your lives longer, be that you may have time to turn to God, and prepare for eternity, then you are carefully improving the time you now have. It is a vain pretence that you want more time for this, if you do not use the time you have. And are you doing so? Are you seeking the Lord in earnest, and endeavouring to repent and turn to him? If not, you only want time to sin longer—to pursue the world and your pleasures longer. And can you expect God will indulge you in such a wicked desire? Thirdly, It is not the want of time, but the want of a heart, that keeps you unconverted. St. Paul was converted in three days, the jailor in a few hours, and St. Peter's hearers under one short sermon ; and why may you not hope for the like blessing* if you exert yourselves in earnest? Fourthly, To excite you to this, let me try an argument or two from a new topic. It is you, and such sinners as you, that have brought all these calamities upon your country. Impenitent sinners are the bane of society, and bring down the wrath of God uPon it. Therefore, if you would save your country, repent and be converted. What a cutting thought may it now be to you,
I shall conclude with two or three remarks. First, let us not be too much discouraged. Our country is in danger of famine and the sword ; but the case is not desperate. Do not, therefore, give it up as a lost case. Our inhabitants are numerous; some parts of the country have promising crops; our army, we hope is not cut off; the New England forces are likely to succeed in their expeditions ; and we have a gracious, though a provoked God over all: therefore, let us not despond, nor let us think it hard to suffer a little in such a world as this. Let us not think it a mighty matter, that we who have forfeited every blessing, should fall into poverty. We may still have food and raiment somewhere or other; and why should we complain I It is one character of a good man, that " he is not afraid of evil tidings."t "Though the fig-tree," says Habakkuk, " should not blossom, neither fruit be on the vine, though the labour of the olive should fail, and the fields yield no meat—though the flock should be cut off from the fold, and there should be no herd in the stall ; yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation."^ What a noble spirit appears in the fortysixth Psalm. "We will not be afraid, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar, and be troubled ; though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. The name of the Lord is a strong tower ; the righteous fly to it and find safety.'^ To have a friend in heaven, a friend who is the Lord of armies, what a strong support is this? And what is that religion good for, that will not support a man under trials? It has been a kind of a gracious calamity to our land, that we have not had any thing to try our religion, and to distinguish the chaff from
* 1 Sam, xxviii. 15. f Psa. cxii. 7. * Hab. iii. 17, 18. (, Prov. xviii. 1Q.
the wheat. Now perhaps the trying time is coming ; and "he that endureth to the end shall be saved."*
Let me address this in particular to such of you as fear the Lord. You are safe, come what will. Therefore, do not disgrace your religion, by unmanly, cowardly fears ; but like David, when he had lost all, and even his wives and his concubines were taken captive, " strengthen yourselves jn your God."t But,
Secondly, Be not too presumptuous; 'be not highminded, but fear.' I am most afraid you should fall into this extreme. We have many reasons to fear; we are a sinful land; we are but poorly provided against war or famine: it is fit we should in our turn experience the fate of other nations, that we may know what sort of a world we live in. We are in danger from foreigners of a gloomy hue—in a state of servility among ourselves. (I speak in this style, that 1 may give no dangerous intimation to the persons concerned.) It is certain many wili be great sufferers by the drought; and many lives will be lost in our various expeditions: our poor brethren in Augusta, and other frontier countie's, are slaughtered and scalped. In short, it is certain, be the final issue what it will, that our country will suffer a great deal; therefore, be humble.
Thirdly, be diligent in prayer for our army, for the unhappy families in our frontiers, Sec. "And may the Lord of hosts be with us, and the God of Jacob be our refuge."^