Imágenes de páginas

person it may be coequently usur


to serve or punish; to defend or destroy a good
or perverse race of mortals.
· An instance or two, in both respects, may
suffice. .
: I would willingly avoid the least suspicion of
trespassing upon the honour and chastity of
the Christian religion, therefore shall decline
taking notice of apparitions sent to particular
persons on secret and special messages; be-
cause, it may be objected, that enthusiasm and
superstition too frequently usurp the throne of
reason; the one keeping the soul under the
bondage of implicit faith; the other of fantas-
tical fear. I shall, therefore, only remark where
those divine messengers were sent on great and
astonishing occasions.

As, first, it was an angel, at the command of the Lord, that at midnight smote all the first born of the Egyptians ; from the first born of Pharaoh that sat on the throne, unto the first born of the captive that was in the dungeon ; and likeroise all the first born of cattle.

Again, when the Lord was offended at David for numbering the people, and was determined to punish him either with the famine, sword, or pestilence : after David had made choice of the pestilence, we are told, that God sent an angel to Jerusalem to destroy it; and as he was destroying, the Lord beheld and repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed, 'tis enough, stay now thine hand ; and the angel of the Lord stood at the threshing flour of Ornan the Jebusite. And David lift up his eyes, and saw the angel of the Lord, stand between the

earth and the heaven, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched forth over Jerusalem.

It was an angel that guarded the passage of Eden after Adam and Eve were turned out for their transgression. And they were the same heavenly messengers who were sent to Lot, to acquaint him with the design of God to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. In short, numberless instanoes might be given, of the agency of good angels who are commissioned, by their glorious Lord, to transact many awful passages in the course of Providence. And it should be a great comfort to good men to reflect, that they are under the tuition and guardianship of these invisible friends from their entrance into the world 'till their arrival in glory. Take heed, says Christ, that ye despise not one of these little ones ; for I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. They kindly watch over us night and day, sleeping or waking, at times and seasons that we are not aware of : for we are told that the angel of the Lord encamped round about then that fear him, and delivereth them. And at the close of this frail life, they give their faithful and friendly attendance on our dissolution, to conduct our naked spirits, through regions unknown to us, unto the heavenly mansions : for, when Lazarus died, he was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom.

And as there are good, so there are also evil angels moving to and fro upon the earth and the air, whose daily study is to annoy and ruin mankind.

The devil is called the prince of the power of the air; and we find, that having obtained leare of the Lord to affliet Job, one way among divers others that he took, was to raise a storm of wind, and send a violent gust from the wilderness, which smote the four corners of the house where the sons and daughters of Job were åssembled, so that it fell and buried them in the ruins.

In a word, this world is a common theatre, where good and bad men, good and evil angels, act their respective parts according as they are permitted or restrained by the sovereign will and power of God. For whether good angels are directed, or evil angels permitted, to bring about the several incidents of life, yet still it is the Almighty Sorereign that either issues out the order, or grants the permission. Nor is it any diminution of his glory that such mighty things should be done by the angelio power; it rather redounds more to the honour of God that he hath made such creatures, and endowed them with faculties capable of producing such events.

But not only these aerial beings, but the celestial luminaries are under the dominion and direction of God; and of this the Lord gave à signal demonstration in the days of Joshua, when the sun and moon stood still and ceased for a time, to pursue the course set them by their awful Creator.

And, as the angels and heavenly orbs, so the globe of this earth, and the air that fills the vast space between us and the firmament, are under the divine influence and direction.

One instance may serve for all to give us satisfaction in this point; and that is the me, morable deluge (whether partial or universal is not material) in the days of Noah, when God broke up the bounds of the sea, and opened the flood-gates of heaven to destroy a wicked race of men.

But Job gives us a most lofty and elegant description of the power and providence of the Creator. He stretched out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing. He bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds, and the cloud is not rent under them. The pillars of heaven tremble, and are astonished at his reproof. Lo! these are parts of his ways, but how little a portion is heard of him? But the thunder of his power who can understand? And, speaking after the manner of men, the Lord is represented as bringing the wind out of his treasuries, as if it had been laid up in store, only to be brought out upon some special occasions.

Thus have I laid before you God's active and perniissive providence, as running through the whole universe, from the highest rank of beings to the lowest and meanest things that are therein.

Give me a little more of your patience and attention whilst I apply what has been said to the occasion of the present solemnity, whichis to commemorate an astonishing storm of wind, which fell 54 years ago, on the morning of this day. It is not the design of this solemnity to represent the ruin and desolation that then threatened the inhabitants of

jes to Pin his name the port it to

this Island ;* or to fill your minds with that liorror and amazement which made the stoutest hearts tremble; and, I dare say, caused many profligaie wretches to pray unto the Lord, who were not used to call upon his name.

Such a representation is out of the power of art to describe; nothing can truly paint it to you but such another dreadful sight, which it is the design of this day to implore the Almighty to avert from us. May the Lord God hear our prayer, and grant that none of us may ever feel the dreadful power of such a tempestuous wind!

The observance is of great use to keep up a lively sense of such judgments upon our. minds, which became the subject of reason, of cool thoughts, and wise consideration, when the terror of it was over.

Judgments (and such I call all calamities of this nature) could never make a lasting reformation in the world, were we concerned to remember them no longer than we feel the smart of them. And whenever they happen (whether the cause be natural or supernatural) the punishment is the same, and is attended with the same moral inferences or instructions.

Punishment ends with the smart, and puts an end to all whining and tragical complaints. But this alone is the discipline of fools and brutes. The instruction is for men, and is to last as long as memory, thought, and reason exist. What could this storm teach those who saw and felt it, which it doth not

* Jamaica.

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