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of the Beast; to be a monument of his grace and mercy? Did He separate it from among them, and dissipate the mists of ignoránce and error in which it was enveloped, and impart to it a clearer light and a půrer faith? Did He sustain it amidst all the outward and inward conflicts to which this change of principles exposed it; and, at length, did He establish it in safety and security, the bulwark and the glory of the Reformt:' and Protestant Churches ? Did He subsequ'ntly bear with its ungrateful return for these tlistinguished mercies ; with its declension in religion, with its deterioration in morals; and, even during this aweful degeneracy, did He not only keep alive the fire of pure Christianity, but at different times, and in different places, revive and fan it into a flame ? Did He still continue to manifest his peculiar favour to England in the tremendous Crisis which marked the French Revolution ? Did He not only preserve it, first from the demoralising influence of revolutionary principles, and afterwards from the desolating miseries of revolutionary war; but did He also make this very season of trial and tribulation the season of his special love and favour, by accompanying it with a more manifest effusion of his Spirit, and making it even the occasion of a renewed and more extensive revival of religious know
ledge, feeling, and practice ? Has He persisted, even to the present day, in these his gracious dealings with this country ? Has He carried it in safety through scenes of unusual difficulty? Has He raised it to an eminence of political strength and glory which it has never before attained ? Has He, at the same time, enabled it progressively to advance in religious and moral improvement? Has He set it as a city on a hill ? Has He caused its light to rhine forth into all lands ? Is He, at this mon ent, employing it as a favoured and honoured instrument for disseminating his Gospel into the remotest regions of the earth ? Is He upholding it as the great stay and support of the Protestant cause? Is He placing it at a greater distance than ever in principles and habits, in faith and practice, in religion and morals, from all those Papal nations with which it was once so intimately connected, and in whose corruptions it so largely participated ? Has the Almighty done all these things for England, and will He now do nothing more? Will He now, at once, withdraw all his favour · and mercy from it, and will He finally and suddenly overwhelm it with those exterminating judgments, which He has professedly reserved for the nations that still adhere to the abominations and practices which this country has so long condemned, renounced, and opposed ?
Surely there is no ground for such a conclusion. May we not, rather, hence encourage the hope, which his own Word permits us humbly to indulge, that he will still spare it in the approaching season of trouble? May we not, rather, without presumption, infer, that when He visits these nations for their iniquities, according to his Word, He will not involve in their visitation that country which, by a special exercise of his favour, He has so long separated from them, has caused so widely to differ from them, and has taught and enabled to purify itself from those corruptions, which are avowedly the exclusive objects of this dispensation of his wrath? Nay, may we not be permitted to cherish even a still more favourable presumption ? May we not venture to hope, that He will make even a farther distinction in behalf of this country;
that while He exempts it from those predicted judgments, or at least inflicts on it no heavier a visitation than such as its own correction and spiritual improvement may require, He may still continue to make, as He has hitherto so graciously made it, the seat and asylum of pure Christianity; a sanctuary, in which, while the storm is raging around, true religion may find a shelter and a refuge, may be nourished and cherished, and purified from every corruption; a citadel, in which it may not only experience protection and
defence, but from whence it may carry on its spiritual warfare against the kingdom of Papal darkness, and may go forth “ conquering and to conquer,” among all the nations of the earth ? * - Surely, there is nothing in reason or in Scripture to preclude or discountenar.ce the hope of such à dispensation ; while there is much, as we have seen in the intimations of prophecy, in the retrospect of past occurrences, and in the view of present appearances, to encourage and support it. So far, indeed, as England is concerned, the subject is most momentous; and no one, who feels in his bosom, a spark of real patriotism, can be indifferent to it. The speculation, in which we have been engaged, is of the most interesting nature; but let us also remember, that it is one of a most instructive tendency. The hope which it inspires is a truly practical hope. For if the near approach of the time of unprecedented trouble should lead every real Christian to “ watch and keep his garments;" in like manner, the hope that England may possibly escape destruction in that aweful day, should induce every real lover of his country to adopt and follow such a course, as may most probably ensure the accomplishment of
1 This is
no new hypothesis founded on interpretation of prophecy. Bishop Horsley, and some other modern expositors of Scripture adopting his view of the prediction contained in Isaiah, xviii., have already intimated at least their opinion, that England may not improbably be that great maritime nation which will be employed as the instrument in aiding the restoration of the Jews, and in conveying some portion of that people to the shores of Palestine.
It is plain what this course must be. It must be the course which duty prescribes. The Almighty, indeed, dispenses his favours and mercies according to His will; neither is He accountable to us for the disposal of His gifts. But we cannot expect or reasonably look for them but in the way of duty. This is the path in which we must wait for the loving-kindness of the Lord; and the path, in which we may humbly hope to experience it.
What, then, is our duty, as Christians and Englishmen, in the present Crisis ? — If we would avert from our country those judgments which are coming on the earth, if we would secure to it the Divine favour and protection in the approaching day of unprecedented trouble, let us bear in mind the purposes for which this nation was originally separated, and still is so strikingly distinguished from the Papal kingdoms; and let us see that we faithfully fulfil them. Let us continue with unabated zeal to protest against those abominations and corruptions which characterise the apostate church,