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plaints ; hence those augurs of disaster and ruin. To feel afflictions in this way, is a weakness of mind which disqualifies us for supporting the slightest reverses of life. It is an ingratitude which obstructs our acknowledging the favours of that God, who, “in the midst of wrath, remembers mercy,” and who never so far afflicts his creature, as to deprive him of reviving hope.

The insensibility we wish to prevent, is a vice directly opposed to that we have just decried. It is the insensibility of the man of pleasure. He must enjoy life : but nothing is more strikingly calculated to subvert the principle, and derange the system of present pleasure than this idea. The sovereign of the universe is irritated against us : his sword is suspended over our heads : his avenging arm is making awful havock around us : thousands have already fallen beneath his strokes on our right, and ten thousand on our left. Psal. xci. 7. We banish these ideas : but this being difficult to do, we repose behind entrenchments which they cannot penetrate ; and by augmenting the confusion of the passions, we endeavour to divert our attention from the calamities of the public.

The insensibility we wish to prevent, is a philosophical apathy. We brave adversity.

We brave adversity. We fortify ourselves with a stoical firmness. We account it wise to be unmoved by the greatest catastrophes. We enshroud the mind in an ill-named virtue; and we pique ourselves on the vain glory of being unmoved, though the universe were dissolved.

The insensibility we wish to prevent is that which arises from a stupid ignorance. Some men are naturally more difficult to be moved than the brutes destitute of reason. They are resolved to remain where they are, until extricated by an exterior cause; and these are the very men who resist that cause. They shut their eyes against the avenues of alarm; they harden their hearts against calamities by the mére dint of reason, or rather by the mere instinct of nature, because if seriously regarded, some efforts would be required to avert the visitation.

But whether God afflict us in love ; whether he afflict us in wrath; whether he afflict us for instruction ; or whether he afflict us for correction, our first duty under the rod is to acknowledge the equity of his hand.

Does he afflict us for the exercise of our resignation and our patience? To correspond with his de sign, we must acknowledge the equity of his hand. We must each sày, It is true, my fortune is afloat, my credit is injured, and my prospects are frustrated ; but it is the great Disposer of all events who has assorted my lot; it is my lord and ruler. O God, thy will be done, and not mine. I was dumb, and opened not my mouth ; because it was thy doing. Matt. xxvi. 89. Psal. xxxix. 9.

Does he afflict us in order to put our love to the proof? To correspond with his design, we must acknowledge the equity of his hand. We must learn to say, "I think that God has made us a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most


miserable.” O God! though thou slay me, yet will I trust in thee. 1 Cor. iv. 9. xv. 19. Job xiii. 15.

Does he afflict us in order to detach us from the world? To correspond with his design, we must acknowledge the equity of his hand. It is requisite that this son should die, who constitutes the sole enjoyment of our life ; it is requisite that we should feel the ànguish of the disease to which we are exposed ; it is requisite this health should fail, without which the association of every pleasure is insipid and obtrusive, that we may learn to place our happiness in the world to come, and not establish our hopes in this valley of tears.

Does he afflict us to make manifest the enormity of vice? To correspond with his design, we must acknowledge the equity of his hand. We must acknowledge the horrors of the objects our passions had painted with such beguiling tints. Amid the anguish consequent on crimes, we must put the question to ourselves St. Paul put to the Romans ; What fruits had you then in those things, whereof you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. Sensibility of the strokes God has already inflicted by his rod, was the first disposition of mind, which Micah, in his day, required of the Jews. If you

ask what those strokes were with which God afflicted the Israelites, it is not easy to give you satisfaction. The correctest researches of chronology do not mark the exact period in which Micah delivered the words of my text. . We know only that he exercised his ministry under the reign of three kings, under Jotham, under Ahaz, under Hezekiah ; and that under each of these kings, God afflicted the kingdom of Judah, and of Israel with severe strokes.--And the solemnities of the present day excuse me from the laws, binding to a commentator, of illustrating a text in all the original views of the author. We must neither divert our feelings, nor divide our attention, between the calamities God sent on Judah and Israel, and those he has sent on us. We exhort you to sensibility concerning the visitations of Providence : and four ministers of the God of vengeance, address you with a voice more loud and pathetic than mine. These ministers are the tempest ; the murrain ; the plague; and the spirit of indifference.

The first minister of the God of vengeance is the tempest. Estimate, if you are able, the devastations made by the tempests during the last ten years; the districts they have ravaged; the vessels they have wrecked; the inundations they have occasioned ; and the towns they have laid under water. Would not have thought that the earth was about to return to its original chaos ; that the sea had broke the bounds prescribed by the Creator ; and that the earth had ceased to be balanced on its poles ? Job xxxviii. 6.

The second minister of the God of vengeance, exciting alarm, is the mortality of our cattle. The mere approaches of this calamity filled us with terror, and became the sole subjects of conversation. Your sovereign appointed public prayers, and solemn humiliations to avert the scourge. Your preachers made extraordinary efforts, entreating you to enter into the design of God, who had sent it upon us. But to what may not men become accustomed? We

Would you sometimes wonder how they can enjoy the least repose in places where the earth often quakes ; where its dreadful jaws open ; where a black volume of smoke obscures the light of heaven ; where mountains of flame, from subterraneous caverns, rise to the highest clouds, and descend in liquid rivers on the houses, and on whole towns. Let us seek in ourselves the solution of a difficulty suggested by the insensibility of others. We are capable of accustoming ourselves to any thing. Were we to judge of the impressions future judgments would produce by the effects produced by those God has already sent, we should harden our hearts against both pestilence and famine : we should attend concerts, though the streets were thronged with the groans of dying men, and form parties of pleasure in presence of the destroying angel sent to exterminate the nation.

The third minister of God's vengeance, exciting us to sensibility, is the plague, which ravages a neighbouring kingdom. Your provinces do not subsist of themselves ; they have an intimate relation with all the states of Europe. And such is the nature of their constitution, that they not only suffer from the prosperity, but also from the adversity of their enemies. But what do I say? from their enemies ! The people whom God has now visited with this awful scourge, are not our enemies : they are our allies; they are our brethren ; they are our fellow-countrymen. The people on whom God has laid his hand in so terrible a manner, is the kingdom, which gave some of us birth, and which still contains persons to whom we are united by the tenderest ties. Every stroke this

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