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scattered into all nations, and the LORD hath indeed "commanded the clouds to rain no rain upon them," even to this day. Thus they are left to be reluctant preachers to the nations professing christianity, of the truth of their holy religion, and the dreadful consequences of neglecting it.
Now should it be enquired, what people is the Israel of the Christian dispensation? I could not hesitate in answering, Britain, both in respect of advan. tages, and a rebellious ungrateful abuse of them. This may suffice to introduce our subject, and to warrant an entire application of the passage before us to our
Let us then consider,
I. The peculiar favours with which Providence has distinguished our native land.
II. The improvement which we ought to have made of them.
III. The wild grapes, which the LORD finds in this his vineyard.
IV. The The consequence that may be expected, unless something effectual be done to prevent it.
V. To what we may attribute our preservation hitherto. And,
VI. What the duties are, to which we are now called, according to our different stations in the church and the community.
I. Then, We consider the peculiar favours with which Providence hath distinguished our native land.
We have long been exempted from the calamities. of war, that tremendous scourge of a righteous God. Few of us know more of war than we have learned from the publick papers, or the page of history. We feel it indeed, but how? Trade suffers a temporary check, and additional taxes are demanded; a number, often of not very useful members of the community, are furnished with a perilous or fatal employment, and a few more valuable persons are exposed to the same dangers. But we have scarcely any other idea of war, as it respects ourselves: and this has often a very bad effect on the minds of men; for they consider war no otherwise than as it effects their property, and are therefore prone to engage in it too lightly, when it yields a prospect of temporal advantage; without reflecting on its consequences on the lives and souls of their fellow-creatures, or on those regions that are exposed to its tremendous ravages.
Our situation happily renders us incapable even of conceiving those scenes, which are really exhibited on the theatre of war; the devastations of the open country, with all its productions, rendering abortive the labours, and disappointing the expectation, of the husbandman, and destroying the bounty of Providence: the burning of cities; the cries of widows and orphans; the reeking blood and mangled bodies of the slaughtered; the groans, and ghastly appearance of the wounded and dying; the penury and pining want of the survivors; the terrors of the night, and the horrors of the day, must baffle all description. So that the hu mane mind must weep over, not only the most splen
did, but even the most needful victories; and war, in every case, must be regarded as the triumph or the harvest of the first great murderer, the devil. How great is our obligation then, for exemption from this dire evil, during a term of years, beyond what has been experienced by almost any other nation!
We have also been equally preserved from the dire judgments of famine, pestilence, earthquakes, and desolating hurricanes: plenty, health, and a serene and temperate climate have been vouchsafed us: a land abounding with all the blessings that we can desire, and exempted from most of the calamities to which other lands are exposed, hath fallen to our lot: and let us not so regard second causes, as to forget the first great Cause of all, who "doeth what he will in the armies "of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth.".
We might here enlarge on the blessings of our excellent constitution and equal laws; by which the personal liberty and property of every individual are secured, if not to the greatest degree which is possible in the present state of human nature, yet, at least, beyond what hath hitherto been reduced to practice, for a length of time, in any nation of the earth. A great deal is often said of Grecian and Roman liberty: but it is well known that a very large proportion of the people, in those admired nations, were slaves, the property of their masters; and equal freedom was not possessed among them, in any measure comparable to what it is in Britain.*
At Athens, when there were no more than twenty thou sand citizens and ten thousand strangers; there were four hun
But these are comparatively inferior considerations: our religious advantages are principally to be valued. When the Son of GoD was manifested to destroy "the works of the devil," this land was inveloped in the grossest idolatry, barbarity, and ignorance; yet it was not long before the Sun of Righteousness, which arose at so great a distance, visited it with his sacred beams of life and salvation. After a time, the superstitions and usurpations of the Romish church, like a dark cloud, obscured this heavenly light; but the first dawning of the blessed reformation extended its influence into this island, and our progenitors were numbered among those favoured nations which were first emancipated from that slavery, and deliver
that gross darkness that had long oppressed ten world. Others, after an ineffectual strug much bloodshed, were again reduced to bondage, un der the persecuting tyranny of the pontiff and hiss sociates; this land, in the reign of bloody Mary, was in peculiar danger of falling again under the same yoke; but GoD preserved his light among us by removing her, and advancing Elizabeth to the throne; and, after defeating the subtle and powerful machinations of our enemies, in various instances, he at length, by a happy revolution at the close of the last century, established among us a degree of civil and religious
dred thousand slaves! (Harwood, p. 19.) It would be as rational to extol West-Indian liberty, as the liberty of Greece; for at Lacedemon, the number of freemen was more disproportionate. and the slaves more cruelly used.
liberty, which hath rendered us the admiration or envy of all our neighbours.
Whilst, therefore, the nations, to which the gospel was first vouchsafcd, are reduced to the most deplo. rable ignorance, this distant region is enlightened with the beams of heavenly truth. An excellent translation of the sacred Scriptures into our own language, is put inte our hands, and we are allowed, invited, and ento read it. Copies of the Bible are so commonar cheap, that almost every person may afford top se one; and if any cannot, or will not, spare for this purpose, blessed be GoD, there are disposed to give it to them; nay, if any know to read the Word of Life; there are those who dy to pay for their instruction, provided they le willing to learn. So that none can plead that there wholly destitute of the means of being made
tanto eternal salvation. At the dawning of the rebation, our ancestors were thankful for a few leaves
e holy Scriptures in an imperfect English transon, and read them with the greatest avidity. When Bibles were first placed in the churches, the people thronged to hear them read, with an eagerness of which we have little conception; and in some parts of Wales, at present, Bibles in the Welsh language are so scarce, that frequently several families jointly pos sess one, and have it a week. at a time in rotation This should teach us to value our privileges, th scarcity may not make the word of GOD precious us. A great variety also of other pious books are ci culated at very low prices, and even gratis, which