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hothing upon the terms of justice, but applies solely to the mercy and free favour of God. “Do good,” saith he,“ in thy good " pleasure, unto Zion."
This expression may be further considera ed, as denoting that submissive and resigned frame of spirit with which he put up his requests both for Zion and Jerusalem. He did not presume to limit the Holy One of Israel; but left it entirely to his own wisdom and goodness, to grant the matter of his prayer at what time, and in what manner, or by what means, he should choose.. .
In all these respects, he presents to our view an approved example for our imitation in similar, circumstances. • It now only remains, that I should inquire what is incumbent on those who adopt the Psalmist's prayer, in order to prove the uprightness of their hearts, and that they sıncerely wish to obtain what they ask.
I observed, in the introduction to this discourse, that every request which we make to God, is not only an explicit declaration, that we highly csteem, and ardently desire, the benefits which we pray for, but doth VOL. III.
likewise imply an, obligation and promise on our part to use all the means in our power to obtain them.
As to what concerns the public state of the nation, and the means of building up and cementing the walls of our Jerusalem, these matters I leave to those who have the constitutional charge of them. The best aid I can contribute in my sphere, is to pray for wisdom to direct the public counsels, and to do what I can for the good of Zion; and in this you all may and ought to be workers together with me. If, then, we have any love for our country, or any sincere defire of saving her from impending calamity, let us now form hearty and vigorous resolutions of correcting and amending our ways. Let our reformation begin in those points from which our corruption may be traced. Remember, that piety towards God is the best support of all those virtues which form the good man or the useful citizen. Legislators may devise what regulations they please; but if there is no sense of a God or of a providence among the subjects, they will never be able
tS execute their plans, or to attain their ends. Let personal reformation, therefore, be our first care ; and having given all diligence to make our own calling and election sure, let us, in our respective stations, join heart and hand to discourage vice in every form, and to promote the interests of pure and undefiled religion in our land.—Unless we do this, our national fast, instead of af cending to God with acceptance, will finik down into the measure of national guilt, and will only hasten the execution of that fatal fentence, “ Put ye in the fickle, for the hara “ vest is ripe, the press is full, and the fat “ overflows, for their wickedness is great.”
- On the other hand, by turning to God through Jesus Christ, and bringing forth fruits ineet for repentance, we may not only avert those heavy judgements with which we are threatened, but on scriptural grounds may take 'encouragement to hope, that God will return in mercy to Zion, and will yet make our Jerusalem a praise' in the earth. Amen.
Who maketh thee to differ from another ? and
what hast thou that thou didst not receive ?
TT is not to be fupposed, that any person I endowed with reason can be in suspense for a moment about an anfwer to these questions. I am confident, that there is not one in this assembly who is not ready to reply,— It is God alone who maketh me to differ from any other; and I have nothing which I did not receive from his bountiful hand. No man who believes that God is, will hesitate to confess, with the Apostle James, that “every good gift, " and every perfect gift, is from above, and “ cometh down from the Father of lights."
- * Preached before the Managers of the Orphan Hospital of Edinburgh, August 7. 1775.
Yet so little attention is paid by the bulk of mankind to the consequences of this com. monly, acknowledged truth, that I shall make no apology, for employing the first part of my discourse, in reminding you of the evidence by which it is supported :I shall then lay before you some of those practical lessons; equally obvious and important, which with ease and certainty may be deduced from it:--And conclude with that improvement of the subject which hath a more immediate reference to the occasion of our present meeting together at this time.
First, I begin with reminding you, that every blessing we poffese is the gift of God, and that we have nothing which we did not receive from him,
That this is the case with respect to natural endowments, will readily be admitted. Men are apt enough to boast of the improvement of their faculties ; but the faculties themselves are universally acknowledged to be the gifts of God. “ There is a pirit in man,” said Elihu in the book of
T 3 : , Jobe.