George Whitefield Sermon 6

Britain's Mercies, and Britain's Duty.

Preached at Philadelphia, on Sunday, August 14, 1746

and occasioned by the suppression of the late unnatural rebellion.

Psalm 55:45 "That they might observe his statutes and keep his laws."

Men, brethren, and fathers, and all ye to whom I am about to preach

the kingdom of God, I suppose you need not be informed, that being

indispensably obliged to be absent on your late thanksgiving day, I could

not show my obedience to the governor's proclamation, as my own inclination

led me, or as might justly be expected from, and demanded of me. But as the

occasion of that day's thanksgiving is yet, and I trust ever will be, fresh

in our memory, I cannot think that a discourse on that subject can even now

be altogether unseasonable. I take it for granted, further, that you need

not be informed, that among the various motives which are generally urged

to enforce obedience to the divine commands, that of love is the most

powerful and cogent. The terrors of the law ma affright and awe, but love

dissolves and melts the heart. "The love of Christ," says the great apostle

of the Gentiles, "constraineth us." Nay, love is so absolutely necessary

for those that name the name of Christ, that without it, their obedience

cannot truly be stiled evangelical, or be acceptable in the sight of God.

"Although, (says the apostle) I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and

though I give my body to be burnt, and have not charity," (i.e. unless

unfeigned love to God, and to mankind for his great name's sake, be the

principle of such actions, howsoever it may benefit others) it profiteth me

nothing." This is the constant language of the lively oracles of God. And,

from them it is equally plain, that nothing has a greater tendency to beget

and excite such an obediential love in us, than a serious and frequent

consideration of the manifold mercies we receive time after time from the

bands of our heavenly Father. The royal psalmist, who had the honor of

being stiled, "the man after God's own heart," had an abundant experience

of this. Hence it is, that whilst he is musing on the divine goodness, the

fire of divine love kindles in his soul; and, out of the abundance of his

heart, his mouth speaketh such grateful and ecstatic language as this,

"What shall I render unto the Lord for all his mercies? Bless the Lord, O

my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name." And why? "who

forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases, who redeemeth

thy life from destruction, who crowneth thee with loving kindness and

tender mercies." And when the same holy man of God had a mind to stir up

the people of the Jews to set about a national reformation, as the most

weighty and prevailing argument he could make use of for that purpose, he

lays before them, as it were, in a draught, many national mercies, and

distinguishing deliverances, which have been conferred upon and wrought out

for them, by the most high God. The psalm to which the words of our text

belong, is a pregnant proof of this; it being a kind of epitome or

compendium of the whole Jewish history: at least it contains an enumeration

of man signal and extraordinary blessings the Israelites had received from

God, and also the improvement they were in duty bound to make of them,

"Observe his statues and keep his laws."

To run through all the particulars of the psalm, or draw a parallel

(which might with great ease and justice be done) between God's dealings

with us and the Israelites of old; To enumerate all the national mercies

bestowed upon, and remarkable deliverances wrought out for the kingdoms of

Great Britain and Ireland, from the infant state of William the Norman to

their present manhood, and more than Augustan ____ [unreadable even on

micor-fiche!], under the auspicious reign of our rightful Sovereign King

George the second; howsoever pleasing and profitable it might be at any

other time, would, at this juncture, prove, if not an irksome, yet an

unreasonable undertaking.

The occasion of the late solemnity, I mean the suppression of a most

horrid and unnatural rebellion, will afford more than sufficient matter for

a discourse of this nature, and furnish us with abundant motives to love

and obey that glorious Jehovah, who giveth salvation unto kings, and

delivers his people from the hurtful sword.

Need I make an apology, before this auditory, if, in order to see the

greatness of our late deliverance, I should remind you of the many

unspeakable blessings which we have for a course of years enjoyed, during

the reign of his present Majesty, and the gentle, mile administration under

which we live? Without justly incurring the censure of giving flattering

titles, I believe all who have eyes to see, and ears to hear, and are but a

little acquainted with our public affairs, must acknowledge, that we have

one of the best of Kings. It is now above nineteen years since he began to

reign over us. And yet, was he seated on a royal throne, and were all his

subjects placed before him, was he to address them as Samuel once addressed

the Israelites, "Behold here I am, old and gray-headed, witness against me

before the Lord, whose ox have I taken? Or whose ass have I taken? Or whom

have I defrauded? Whom have I oppressed?" They must, if they would do him

justice, make the same answer as was given to Samuel, "Thou hast not

defrauded us, nor oppressed us." What Tertulius, by way of flattery, said

to Felix, may with the strictest justice be applied to our sovereign, "By

thee we enjoy great quietness, and very worthy deeds have been done unto

our nation by thy providence." He has been indeed Peter Patria, a father to

our country, and though old and gray-headed, has jeopardized his precious

life for us in the high places of the field. Nor has he less deserved the

great and glorious title, which the Lord promises, that kings should

sustain in the latter days, I mean, "a nursing father of the church." For

not only the Church of England, as by law established, but all

denominations of Christians whatsoever, have enjoyed their religious as

well as civil liberties. As there has been no authorized oppression in the

state, so there has been no publicly allowed persecution in the church. We

breathe indeed in free air? As free (if not better) both as to temporals

and spirituals, as any nation under heaven. Nor is the prospect likely to

terminate in his majesty's death, which I pray God to defer. Our princesses

are disposed of to Protestant powers. And we have great reason to be

assured, that the present heir apparent, and his consort, are like minded

with their royal father. And I cannot help thinking, that it is a peculiar

blessing vouchsafed us by the King of kings, that his present Majesty has

been continued so long among us. For now, his immediate successor (though

his present situation obliges him, as it were, to lie dormant) has great

and glorious opportunities, which we have reason to think he daily

improves, of observing and weighing the national affairs, considering the

various steps and turns of government, and consequently of laying in a

large fund of experience, to make him a wise and great prince, if ever God

should call him to sway the British scepter. Happy art thou, O England!

Happy art thou, O America, who on every side art thus highly favored!

But, alas! How soon would this happy scene have shifted, and a

melancholy gloomy prospect have succeeded in its room, had the revels

gained their point, and a popish abjured pretender been forced upon the

British throne! For, supposing his birth not to be spurious, (as we have

great reason to think it really was) what could we expect from one,

descended from a father, who, when Duke of York, put all Scotland into

confusion; and afterwards, when crowned King of England, for his arbitrary

and tyrannical government, both in church and state, was justly obliged to

abdicate the throne, by the assertors of British liberty? Or, supposing the

horrid plot, first hatched in hell, and afterwards nursed at Rome, had

taken place? Supposing, I say, the old Pretender should have obtained the

triple crown, and have transferred his pretended title (as it is reported

he has done) to his eldest son, what was all this for, but that, by being

advanced to the popedom, he might rule both son and subjects with less

control, and by their united interest, keep the three kingdoms of England,

Scotland, and Ireland, in greater vassalage to the see of Rome? Ever since

this unnatural rebellion broke out, I have looked upon the young Pretender

as the phaeton (vehicle) of the present age. He is ambitiously and

presumptuously aiming to seat himself in the throne of our rightful

sovereign King George, which he is no more capable of keeping, than Phaetan

was to guide the chariot of the sun; and had he succeeded in his attempt,

like him, would only have set the world on fire. It is true, to do him

justice, he has deserved well of the Church of Rome, and, in all

probability, will hereafter be canonized amongst the noble order of their

fictitious saints. But, with what an iron rod we might expect to have been

bruised, had his troops been victorious, may easily be gathered from these

cruel orders said to be found in the pockets of some of his officers, "Give

no quarters to the Elector's troops." Add to this, that there was great

reason to suspect, that, upon the first news of the success of the rebels,

a general massacre was intended. So that if the Lord had not been on our

side, Great Britain, not to say America, would, in a few weeks or months,

have been an Akeldama, a field of blood.

Besides, was a Popish pretender to rule over us, instead of being

represented by a free parliament, and governed by laws made by their

consent, as we now are; we should shortly have had only the shadow of one,

and it may be no parliament at all. This is the native product of a Popish

government, and what the unhappy family, from which this young adventurer

pretends he descended, has always aimed at. Arbitrary principles he has

sucked in with his mother's milk, and if he had been so honest, instead of

that immature motto upon his standard, Tandem triumphant, only to have put,

Sret pro ratient Vahmitat, he had given us a short, but true portrait of

the nature of his intended, but blessed be God, now defeated reign. And why

should I mention, that the sinking of the national debt, or rending away

the funded property of the people, and the dissolution of the present happy

union between the two kingdoms, would have been the immediate consequences

of his success, as he himself declares in his second manifesto, dated from

Holy-read House? These are evils, and great ones too; but then they are

only evils of a temporary nature. They chiefly concern the body, and must

necessarily terminate in the grave.

But, alas! What an inundation of spiritual mischiefs, would soon have

overflowed the Church, and what unspeakable danger should we and our

posterity have been reduced to in respect to our better parts, our precious

and immortal souls? How soon would whole swarms of monks, dominicans and

friars, like so many locusts, have overspread and plagued the nation; with

what winged speed would foreign titular bishops have posted over, in order

to take possession of their respective fees? How quickly would our

universities have been filled with youths who have been sent abroad by

their Popish parents, in order to drink in all the superstitions of the

church of Rome? What a speedy period would have been put to societies of

all kinds, for promoting Christian knowledge, and propagating the gospel in

foreign parts? How soon would have our pulpits have every where been filled

with these old antichristian doctrines, free-will, meriting by works,

transubstantiation, purgatory, works of supererogation, passive-obedience,

non-resistance, and all the other abominations of the whore of Babylon? How

soon would our Protestant charity schools in England, Scotland and Ireland,

have been pulled down, our Bibles forcibly taken from us, and ignorance

every where set up as the mother of devotion? How soon should we have been

deprived of that invaluable blessing, liberty of conscience, and been

obliged to commence (what they falsely call) catholics, or submit to all

the tortures which a bigoted zeal, guided by the most cruel principles,

could possibly invent? How soon would that mother of harlots have made

herself once more drunk with the blood of the saints? And the whole tribe

even of free-thinkers themselves, been brought to this dilemma, either to

die martyrs for (although I never yet heard of one that did so) or,

contrary to all their most avowed principles, renounce their great Diana,

unassisted, unenlightened reason? But I must have done, lest while I am

speaking against antichrist, I should unawares fall myself, and lead my

hearers into an antichristian spirit. True and undefiled religion will

regulate our zeal, and teach us to treat even the man of sin with no

harsher language than that which the angel gave to his grand employer

Satan, "The Lord rebuke thee."

Glory be to God's great name! The Lord has rebuked him; and that too

at a time when we had little reason to expect such a blessing at God's

hands. My dear hearers, neither the present frame of my heart, nor the

occasion of your late solemn meeting, lead me to give you a detail of our

public vices. Though, alas! They are so many, so notorious, and withal of

such a crimson-dye, that a gospel minister would not be altogether

inexcusable, was he, even on such a joyful occasion, to lift up his voice

like a trumpet, to show the British nation their transgression, and the

people of America their sin. However, though I would not cast a dismal

shade upon the pleasing picture the cause of our late rejoicings set before

us; yet thus much may, and ought to be said, that as God has not dealt so

bountifully with any people as with us, so no nation under heaven has dealt

more ungratefully with Him. We have been like Capernaum, lifted up to

heaven in privileges, and for the abuse of them, like her, have deserved to

be thrust down into hell. How well soever it may be with us, in respect to

our civil and ecclesiastical constitution, yet in regard to our morals,

Isaiah's description of the Jewish polity is too applicable, "The whole

head is sick, the whole heart is faint; from the crown of the head to the

sole of our feet, we are full of wounds and bruises, and putrifying sores."

We have, Jeshurun-like, waxed fat and kicked. WE have played the harlot

against God, both in regard to principles and practices. "Our gold is

become dim, and our fine gold changed." We have crucified the Son of God

afresh, and put him to an open shame. Nay, Christ has been wounded in the

house of his friends. And every thing long ago seemed to threaten an

immediate storm. But, O the long-suffering and goodness of God to us-ward!

When all things seemed ripe for destruction, and matters were come to such

a crisis, that God's praying people began to think, that though Noah,

Daniel and Job, were living, they would only deliver their own souls; yet

then in the midst of judgment the Most High remembered mercy, and when a

popish enemy was breaking in upon us like a flood, the Lord himself

graciously lifted up a standard.

This to me does not seem to be one of the most unfavorable

circumstances which have attended this mighty deliverance; nor do I think

you will look upon it as a circumstance altogether unworthy your

observation. Had this cockatrice indeed been crushed in the egg, and the

young Pretender driven back upon his first arrival, it would undoubtedly

have been a great blessing. But not so great as that for which you lately

assembled to give God thanks; for then his Majesty would not have had so

good an opportunity of knowing his enemies, or trying his friends. The

British subjects would in a manner have lost the fairest occasion that ever

offered to express their loyalty and gratitude to the rightful sovereign.

France would not have been so greatly humbled; nor such an effectual stop

have been put, as we trust there now is, to any such further Popish plot,

to rob us of all that is near and dear to us. "Out of the eater therefore

hath come forth meat, and out of the strong hath come forth sweetness." The

Pretender's eldest son is suffered not only to land in the North-West

Highlands in Scotland, but in a little while he becomes a great band. This

for a time is not believed, but treated as a thing altogether incredible.

The friends of the government in those parts, not for want of loyalty, but

of sufficient authority to take up arms, could not resist him. He is

permitted to pass on with his terrible banditti, and, like the comet that

was lately seen, spreads his baleful influences all around him. He is

likewise permitted to gain a short-lived triumph by a victory over a body

of our troops at Prestan-Pans, and to take a temporary possession of the

metropolis of Scotland. Of this he makes his boast, and informs the public,

that "Providence had hitherto favored him with wonderful success, led him

in the way to victory, and to the capital of the ancient kingdom, though he

came without foreign aid." Nay, he is further permitted to press into the

very heart of England. But now the Almighty interposes. Hitherto he was to

go, and no further. Here were his malicious designs to be staid. His troops

of s sudden are driven back. Away they post to the Highlands, and there

they are suffered not only to increase, but also to collect themselves into

a large body, that having, as it were, what Caligula once wished Rome had,

but one neck, they might be cut off with one blow.

This time, manner, and instruments of this victory, deserves our

notice. It was on a general fast-day, when the clergy and good people of

Scotland were lamenting the disloyalty of their persidious countrymen, and,

like Moses, lifting up their hands, that Amalek might not prevail. The

victory was total and decisive. Little blood was spilt on the side of the

Royalists. And, to crown all, Duke William, his Majesty's youngest son, has

the honor of first driving back, and then defeating the rebel-army. A

prince, who in his infancy and youth, gave early proofs of an uncommon

bravery and nobleness of mind; a prince, whose courage has increased with

his years. Who returned wounded from the battle of Dettingen, behaved with

surprising bravery at Fontenoy, and now, by a conduct and magnanimity

becoming the high office he sustains, like his glorious predecessor the

Prince of Orange, has delivered three kingdoms from the dread of popish

cruelty, and arbitrary power. What renders it still more remarkable is, The

day on which his Highness gained this victory, was the day after his

birthday, when he was entering on the 26th year of his age; and when

Sullivan, one of the Pretender's privy-council, like another Abitaphel,

advised the rebels to give our soldiers battle, presuming they were

surfeited and over-charged with their yesterday's rejoicings, and

consequently unfit to make any great stand against them. But, glory be to

God, who catches the wise in their own craftiness! His counsel, like

Ahitaphel's, proves abortive. Both General and soldiers were prepared to

meet them. "God taught their hands to war, and their fingers to fight," and

brought the Duke, after a deserved slaughter of some thousands of the

rebels, with most of his brave soldiers, victorious from the field.

If we then take a distinct view of this notable transaction, and trace

it in all the particular circumstances that have attended it, I believe we

must with one heart and voice confess, that if it be a mercy for a state to

be delivered from a worse than a Catiline's conspiracy, or a church to be

rescued from a hotter than a Dioclestan persecution; if it be a mercy to be

delivered from a religion that turns plough-shares into swords, and

pruning-hooks into spears, and makes it meritorious to shed Protestant

blood; if it be a mercy to have all our present invaluable privileges, both

in church and state secured to us more than ever; if it be a mercy to have

these great things done for us, at a season, when for our crying sins, both

church and state justly deserved to be overturned; and if it be a mercy to

have all this brought about for us, under God, by one of the blood-royal, a

prince acting with an experience far above his years; if any, or all of

these are mercies, then have you lately commemorated one of the greatest

mercies that ever the glorious God vouchsafed to the British nation.

And shall we not rejoice and give thanks? Should we refuse, would not

the stones cry out against us? Rejoice then we may and ought: but, O let

our rejoicing be in the Lord, and run in a religious channel. This, we

find, has been the practice of God's people in all ages. When he was

pleased, with a mighty hand, and out-stretched arm to lead the Israelites

through the Red Sea, as on dry ground, "Then sang Moses and the children of

Israel; and Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in

her hand, and all the women went out after her. And Miriam answered them,

Sing ye to the Lord; for he hath triumphed gloriously." When God subdued

Jabin, the King of Canaan, before the children of Israel, "then sang

Deborah and Barak on that day, saying, "Praise ye the Lord for the avenging

of Israel." When the ark was brought back out of the hands of the

Philistines, David, though a king, danced before it. And, to mention but

one instance more, which may serve as a general directory to us on this and

such-like occasions: when the great Head of the church had rescued his

people from the general massacre intended to be executed upon them by a

cruel and ambitious Haman, "Mordecai sent letters unto all the Jews that

were in all the provinces of the King Ahaserus, both nigh and far, to

establish among them, that they should keep the fourteenth day of the month

Adar, and the fifteenth day of the same yearly, as the days wherein the

Jews rested from their enemies, and the month which was turned unto them

from sorrow unto joy, and from mourning into a good day: that they should

make them days of feasting and joy, and of sending portions one to another,

and gifts to the poor." And why should wee not to and do likewise?

And shall we not also, on such an occasion, express our gratitude to,

and make honorable mention of, those worthies who have signalized

themselves, and been ready to sacrifice both lives and fortunes at this

critical juncture?

This would be to act the part of those ungrateful Israelites, who are

branded in the book of God, for not showing kindness to the house of

"Jerub-Baal, namely Gideon, according to all the goodness which he showed

unto Israel." Even a Pharaoh could prefer a deserving Joseph, Ahasuerus a

Mordecai, and Nebuchadnezzar a Daniel, when made instruments of signal

service to themselves and people. "My heart, says Deborah, is towards (i.e.

I have a particular veneration and regard for) the Governors of Israel that

offered themselves willingly. And blessed above women shall Jael the wife

of Heber the Kenite be; for she put her hand to the nail, and her right

hand to the workman's hammer, and with the hammer she smote Sisera, she

smote off his head, when she had pierced and stricken through his temples."

And shall we not say, "Blessed above men let his Royal Highness the Duke of

Cumberland be; for through his instrumentality, the great and glorious

Jehovah hath brought might things to pass?" Should not our hearts be

towards the worthy Archbishop of Tirk, the Royal Hunters, and those other

English heroes who offered themselves so willingly? Let the names of

Blakeney, Bland and Rea, and all those who waxed valiant in fight on this

important occasion, live for ever in the British annals. And let the name

of that great, that incomparable brave soldier of the King, and a good

soldier of Jesus Christ, Colonel Gardiner, (excuse me if I here drop a

tear; he was my intimate friend) let his name, I say, be had in everlasting


But, after all, is there not an infinitely greater debt of gratitude

and praise due from us, on this occasion, to Him that is higher than the

highest, even the King of kings and Lord of Lords, the blessed and only

Potentate? Is not his arm, his strong and mighty arm, (what instruments

soever may have been made use of) that hath brought us this salvation? And

may I not therefore address you, in the exulting language of the beginning

of this psalm, from which we have taken our text? "O give thanks unto the

Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people. Sing unto

Him; sing psalms unto him; talk ye of all his wondrous works; glory ye in

his holy name; remember his marvelous work which he hath done."

But shall we put off our good and gracious benefactor with mere lip-

service? God forbid. Your worthy Governor has honored God in his late

excellent proclamation, and God will honor him. But shall our thanks

terminate with the day? No, in no wise. Our text reminds us of a more noble

sacrifice, and points out to us the great end the Almighty Jehovah

proposes, in bestowing such signal favors upon a people, "That they should

observe his statutes, and keep his laws."

This is the return we are all taught to pray, that we may make to the

Most High God, the Father of mercies, in the daily office or our church,

"That our hearts may be unfeignedly thankful, and that we may show forth

his praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up

ourselves to his service, and by walking before him in holiness and

righteousness all our days." O that these words were the real language of

all the use them! O that these were in us such a mind! How soon would our

enemies then flee before us? And God, even our own God, would yet give us

more abundant blessings!

And why should not we "observe God's statutes, and keep his laws?"

Dare we say, that any of his commands are grievous? Is not Christ's yoke,

to a renewed soul, as far as renewed, easy; and his burden comparatively

light? May I not appeal to the most refined reasoner whether the religion

of Jesus Christ be not a social religion? Whether the Moral Law, as

explained by the Lord Jesus in the gospel, has not a natural tendency to

promote the present good and happiness of a whole commonwealth, supposing

they were obedient to them, as well as the happiness of every individual?

From when come wars and fighting amongst us? From what fountain do all

those evil, which the present and past ages have groaned under, flow, but

from a neglect of the laws and statues of our great and all-wise law-giver

Jesus of Nazareth? Tell me, ye men of letters, whether Lycurgus or Solon,

Pythagoras or Plato, Aristotle, Seneca, Cicero, or all the ancient

lawgivers and heathen moralists, put them all together, ever published a

system of ethics, any way worthy to be compared with the glorious system

laid down in that much despised book, (to use Sir Richard Steel's

expression) emphatically called, the Scriptures? Is not the divine image

and superscription written upon every precept of the gospel? Do they not

shine with a native intrinsic luster? And, though many things in them are

above, yet, is there any thing contrary to the strictest laws of right

reason? Is not Jesus Christ, in scripture, stiled the Word, the Logos, the

Reason? And is not his service a reasonable service? What if there be

mysteries in his religion? Are they not without all controversy great and

glorious? Are they n9ot mysteries of godliness, and worthy of that God who

reveals them? Nay, is it not the greatest mystery, that men, who pretend to

reason, and call themselves philosophers, who search into the arcana

natura, and consequently find a mystery in every blade of grass, should yet

be so irrational as to decry all mysteries in religion? Where is the

scribe? Where is the wise? Where is the disputer against the Christian

revelation? Does not every thing without and within us, conspire to prove

its divine original? And would not self-interest, if there was no other

motive, excite us to observe God's statutes, and keep his laws?

Besides, considered as a Protestant people, do we not lie under the

greatest obligations of any nation under heaven, to pay a cheerful,

unanimous, universal, persevering obedience to the divine commands.

The wonderful and surprising manner of God's bringing about a

Reformation, in the reign of King Henry the Eighth; his carrying it on in

the blessed reign of King Edward the Sixth; his delivering us out of the

bloody hands of Queen Mary, and destroying the Spanish invincible armads,

under her immediate Protestant successor Queen Elizabeth, his discovery of

the popish plot under King James; the glorious revolution by King William,

and, to come nearer to our own times, his driving away four thousand five

hundred Spaniards, from a weak (though important) frontier colony, when

they had, in a manner, actually taken possession of it; his giving us

Louisbourg, one of the strongest fortresses of our enemies, contrary to all

human probability, but the other day, into our hands: these, I say, with

the victory which you have lately been commemorating, are such national

mercies, not to mention any more, as will render us utterly inexcusable, if

they do not produce a national Reformation, and incite us all, with one

heart, to keep God's statutes, and observe his laws.

Need I remind you further, in order to excite in you a greater

diligence to comply with the intent of the text, that though the storm, in

a great measure, is abated by his Royal Highness's late success, yet we

dare not say, it is altogether blown over?

The clouds may again return after the rain; and the few surviving

rebels (which I pray God avert) may yet be suffered to make head against

us. We are still engaged in a bloody, and, in all probability, a tedious

war, with two of the most inveterate enemies to the interests of Great-

Britain. And, though I cannot help thinking, that their present intentions

are so iniquitous, their conduct so persidious, and their schemes so

directly derogatory to the honor of the Most High God, that he will

certainly humble them in the end, yet, as all things in this life happen

alike to all, they may for a time, be dreadful instruments of scourging us.

If not, God has other arrows in his quiver to smite us with, besides the

French King, his Catholic Majesty, or an abjured Pretender. Not only the

sword, but plague, pestilence, and famine, are under the divine command.

Who knows but he may say to them all, "Pass through these lands?" A fatal

murrain has lately swept away abundance of cattle at home and abroad. A

like epidemical disease may have a commission to seize our persons as well

as our beasts. Thus God dealt with the Egyptians: who dare say, he will not

deal so with us? Has he not already given some symptoms of it? What great

numbers upon the continent have been lately taken off by the bloody-flux,

small-pox, and yellow-fever? Who can tell what further judgments are yet in

store? However, this is certain, the rod is yet hanging over us: and I

believe it will be granted on all sides, that if such various dispensations

of mercy and judgment do not teach the inhabitants of any land to learn

righteousness, they will only ripen them for a greater ruin. Give my leave,

therefore, to dismiss you at this time with that solemn awful warning and

exhortation, with which the venerable Samuel, on a public occasion, took

leave of the people of Israel: "Only fear the Lord, and serve him in truth,

with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you.

But if ye shall still do wickedly, [I will not say as the Prophet did, You

shall be consumed; but] ye know not but you may provoke the Lord Almighty

to consume both you and your king." Which God of his infinite mercy

prevent, for the sake of Jesus Christ: to whom, with the Father, and the

Holy Ghost, three persons, but one God, be all honor and glory, now and for

evermore. Amen, Amen.