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if that had failed, we had been pushed down by open force, and our destruction had been inevitable.
The good consequences of that deliverance are such, that it seemed as if Gop had suffered our waters, like those of Bethesda, to be troubled, to make them afterwards more healing to us; since to the account of that day's blessing, we charge the enjoyment of every thing since, worth a freeman's living for,the revival of our liberty, our religion; the just rights of our kings,and the just rights of our people; and, along with all, that happy provision for their continu ance, for which we are returning thanks to GoD this day.
Let us do it, I beseech you, in the way which becomes wise men, by pursuing the intentions of his blessings, and making a better use of them than our forefathers, who sometimes seemed to grow weary of their own happiness:Let us rather thank GOD for the good land which he has given us; and when we begin to prosper in it, and have built goodly houses, and dwelt therein, and when our silver and our gold is multiplied, and all that we have is multiplied, let the instances of our virtue and benevolence be multiplied with them, that the great and almighty God, who is righteous in all his ways,and holy in all his works, may in the last day of accounting with us, judge us worthy of the mercies we have received.
In vain are days set apart to celebrate successful occurrences, unless they influence a nation's morals.—A sinful people never can be grateful to Gon, nor can they, properly speaking, be loyal to their prince;they cannot be grateful to the one, because they live not under a sense of his mercies;- nor can they be loyal to the
her, because they disengage the providence of GOD from taking his part,and then giving a heart to his adversaries to be intractable.
And therefore, what was said by some one, that every sin was a treason against the soul, may be applied here,—That every wicked man is a traitor to his king and his country. And, whatever statesmen may write of the causes of the rise and fall of nations; for the contrary reasons, a good man will ever be found to be the best patriot, and the best subject. And tho' an individual may say, What can my righteousness profit a nation of men? it may be answered, That if it should fail of a blessing here,it will have one advantage, at least, which is this,
It will save thy own soul; which, may GoD grant. Amen.
The History of Jacob considered.
And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage, are an hundred and thirty years: Few and evil have the days of the years of my life
HERE is not a man in history, whom I pity more, than the man who made this reply not because his days were short-but that they were long enough to have crowded into them so much evil as we find.
Of all the patriarchs, he was the most unhappy; for, bating the seven years he served Laban for Rachel," which seemed to him but a few days, for the love he had to her,"-strike those out of the number-all his other days were sorrow; and that, not from his faults, but from the ambition, the violences, and evil passions of others: A large portion of what man is born to, comes, you will say, from the same quarter :-It is true; -but still, in some men's lives, there seems a contexture of misery ;-one evil so rises out of another, and the whole plan and execution of the piece has so very melancholy an air, that a goodnatured man shall not be able to look upon it, but with tears on his cheeks.
I pity this patriarch still the more, because, from his first setting out in life, he had been led into an expectation of such different scenes :-He was told by Isaac his father, that "GoD should
bless him with the dew of heaven, and the fat"ness of the earth, and with plenty of corn and "wine That people were to serve him, and na"tions to bow down to him :-That he should be "lord over his brethren :-That blessed was every "one that blessed him, and cursed was every one "who cursed him,”
The simplicity of youth takes promises of happiness in the fullest latitude ;-and, as these were moreover confirmed to him by the GoD of his father's, on his way to Padan-aram,-it would leave no distrust of their accomplishment upon his mind Every fair and flattering object before him, which wore the face of joy, he would regard as a portion of his blessing;-he would pursue it- -he would grasp a shadow.
This, by the way, makes it necessary to suppose, that the blessings which were conveyed, had a view to blessings not altogether such as a carnal mind would expect ; but that they were, in a great measure, spiritual, and such as the prophetic soul of Isaac had principally before him, in the comprehensive idea of their future and happy establishment, when they were no longer to be strangers and pilgrims upon earth :...For, in fact, in the strict and literal sense of his father's grant,-Jacob enjoyed it not; and was so far from being a happy man, that, in the most interesting passages of his life, he met with nothing but disappointments and grievous afflictions.
Let us accompany him from the first treacherous hour of a mother's ambition; in consequence of which, he is driven forth from his country, and the protection of his house, to seek protection and an establishment in the house of Laban his kinsman.
In what manner this answered his expectations, we find from his own pathetic remonstrance to Laban, when he had pursued him seven days journey, and overtook him on mount Gilead.—I see him in the door of the tent, with the calm courage which innocence gives the oppressed, thus remonstrating to his father-in-law upon the cruelty of his treatment.
"These twenty years that I have been with thee, the ewes have not cast their young, and
"the rams of thy flock have I not eaten.
"which was torn of beasts, I brought not unto "thee,-I bare the loss of it; what was stolen by "day, or stolen by night, of my hands didst thou "require it. Thus I was :-In the day the drought "consumed me, and the frost by night, and my "sleep departed from my eyes. Thus have I been "twenty years in thy house :-I served thee four"teen years for thy two daughters, and six years "for thy cattle; and thou hast changed my wa"ges ten times."
Scarce had he recovered from these evils,when the ill conduct and vices of his children, wound his soul to death.-Reuben proves incestuous,➡ Judah adulterous, his daughter Dinah is dishonored,-Simeon and Levi dishonored themselves by treachery, two of his grandchildren are stricken with sudden death,-Rachel, his beloved wife, perishes, and in-circumstances which embittered his loss, his son Joseph, a most promising youth, is torn from him, by the envy of his brethren; and to close all, himself driven by famine, in his old age, to die amongst the Egyptians, a people who held it an abomination to eat bread with him.Unhappy patriarch!-well might be say, That few and evil had been his days. The answer, indeed, was extended beyond the monarch's inquiry, which was simply his age ;-but how could he look back upon the days of his pilgrimage, without thinking of the sorrows which those days had brought along with them ?-All that was more in the answer than in the demand, was the overflowings of a heart ready to bleed afresh at the recollection of what had befallen.
Unwillingly does the mind digest the evils prépared for it by others ;-for, those we prepare ourselves, we eat but the fruit which we have planted and watered ;-a shattered fortune-a shattered frame, so we have but the satisfaction of shattering them ourselves, pass naturally enough