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sexes kept under greater restraint;-good order and good hours were then kept up in most families; and, in a word, a greater strictness and sobriety of manners maintained throughout, amongst people of all ranks and conditions ;-so that vice, however secretly it might be practised, was ashamed to be seen.

But all this has insensibly been borne down, ever since the days of our forefathers trespass;when, to avoid one extreme, we began to run into another; so that, instead of any great religion amongst us, you see thousands who are tired even of the form of it, and who have at length thrown the mask of it aside,—as an useless incumbrance.

But this licentiousness, he would say, may be chiefly owing to a long course of prosperity, which is apt to corrupt men's minds-GoD has, since this, tried you with afflictions ;-you have been visited with a long and expensive war :— GOD has sent, moreover, a pestilence amongst your cattle, which has cut off the flock from the fold, and left no heard in the stalls. Surely, he will say, two such terrible scourges must have awakened the consciences of the most unthinking part of you, and forced the inhabitants of your land-from such abominations-though they failed with the Jews, to have learned righteousness for themselves.

I own this is the natural effect-and, one would hope, should always be the natural use and improvement, from such calamities; for we often find, that numbers, who, in prosperity, seem to forget GoD, do yet remember him in the day of trouble and distress.-Yet, consider this nationally -we see no such effect from it in fact, as one would be led to expect from the speculation.For instance, with all the devastation, bloodshed and expense which the war has occasioned,

-how many converts has it made to frugality,to virtue, or even to seriousness itself?-The pestilence amongst our cattle,-though it has distressed and utterly undone so many thousands, yet what one visible alteration has it made in the course of our lives?

And though one would imagine, that the necessary drains of taxes for the one,-and the loss of rents and property from the other, should, in some measure, have withdrawn the means of gratifying our passions, as we have done :-Yet what appearance is there amongst us that it is so?

What one fashionable folly or extravagance has been checked by it?-Is not there the same luxury and epicurism of entertainments at our tables? -do we not pursue with eagerness the same giddy round of trifling diversions?-is not the infection diffused amongst people of all ranks, and all ages?—And even grey hairs, whose sober example and manners ought to check the extravagant sallies of the thoughtless, gay, and unexperienced, too often totter under the same costly ornaments, and join the general riot. Where vanity, like this, governs the heart, even charity will allow us to suppose, that a consciousness of their inability to pursue greater excesses, is the only vexation of spirit.-In truth, the observation falls in with the main intention of the discourse,which is not framed to flatter your follies, but. plainly to point them out,-and show you the general corruption of manners, and want of religion, -which all men see,-and which the wise and good so much lament..

But the inquirer will naturally go on, and say, that though this representation does not answer his expectations, that undoubtedly we must have profited by these lessons in other respects ;-that though we have not approved our understanding in the sight of God, by a virtuous use of our mis

fortunes, to true wisdom,-that we must have improved them, however, to political wisdom :— So that he would say,-though the English do not appear to be a religious people, they are at least a loyal one :-They have so often felt the scourge of rebellion, and have tasted so much sharp fruit from it, as to have set their teeth on edge for ever. But, good GoD! how would he be astonished to find,-that though we have been so often tossed to and fro by our own tempestuous humors, that we were not yet sick of the storm! -that though we solemnly, on every return of this day, lament the guilt of our forefathers, in staining their hands in blood,-we never once think of our principles and practices, which tend the same way!-and though the providence of GOD has set bounds, that they do not work as much mischief as in days of distruction and desolation,--little reason have we to ascribe the merit thereof to our own wisdom :--So that, when the whole account is stated betwixt us,--there seems nothing to prevent the application of the words in the text,--That our iniquities are increased over our heads, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens. Since the days of our fathers, have we been in a great trespass unto this day ;- -and though it is fit and becoming that we weep for them, it is much more so, that we weep for ourselves, that we lament our own corruptions,— and the little advantages we have made of the mer. cies or chastisements of God, or from the sins and provocations of our forefathers.

This is the fruit.we are to gather, in a day of such humiliation ;-and unless it produces that for us, by a reformation of our manners, and by turning us from the error of our ways, the service of this day is, more a senseless insult upon the memories of our ancestors,--than an honest design to profit by their mistakes and misfortunes,

-and to become wiser and better from our reflections upon them.


Till this is done, it avails little, though we pray fervently to God not to lay their sins to our charge, .....whilst we have so many remaining of our own. ....... Unless we are touched for ourselves, how can we expect he should hear our cry? It is the wick, ed corruption of a people which they are to thank, for whatever natural calamities they feel :....This is the very state we are in,......which, by disengaging Providence from taking our part,.....will always leave a people exposed to the whole force of accidents, both from within and without ....And however statesmen may dispute about the causes of the growth or decay of kingdoms,......it is, for this cause, a matter of eternal truth,....that as virtue and religion are our only recommendation to GOD,.....that they are, consequently, the only true basis of our happiness and prosperity on earth ;..... and, however, we may shelter ourselves under distinction of party,.....that a wicked man is the worst enemy the state has ;.....and, for the contrary, it will always be found, that a virtuous man is the best patriot, and the best subject the king has. .....And though an individual may say, What will my righteousness profit a nation of men ?.......I an swer,.....If it fail of a blessing here, (which is not likely), it will have one advantage,.....it will save thy own soul, and give thee that peace at the last, which this world cannot take away.

Which God, of his infinite mercy grant us all. Amen.

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Despisest thou the riches of his goodness, and forbearance, and long-suffering,-not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

So says St. Paul, And,

ECCLES. viii. II.

Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.

Τ Tthing by the bargain.

AKE either as you like it, you will get no

It is a terrible character of the world, which Solomon is here accounting for,—that their hearts are fully set in them to do evil.-And the general outcry against the wickedness of the age, in every age, from Solomon's down to this, shows, but too lamentably, what grounds have all along been given for the complaint..


The disorder and confusion arising in the affairs of the world from the wickedness of it, being ever such, so evidently seen,-so severely felt, as naturally to induce every one who was a spectator or sufferer, to give the melancholy preference to the times he lived in; as if the corruptions of men's manners had not only exceeded the reports of former days, but the power almost of rising above the pitch to which the wickedness of the age was arrived. How far they may have been deceived in such calculations, I shall not inquire;—let it suffice, that mankind have ever been bad, considering what motives they have had to the better; and, taking this for granted, instead of declaiming against it, let us see whether a discourse may not be as serviceable, by endeavor.

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