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teach a wise man still? And what thoughts and devout passions were proper then, which are not on this day a suitable expression and motive to our devotion? For is not God the same still? A just, a righteous Judge, who is angry with the wicked every day, though he does not every day bend his bow, and let fly his arrows?
Though he does not every day appear in his terrible majesty, riding upon the cherubims, and flying upon the wings of the wind. Yet, I think, one such example might serve us for some ages, without expecting or desiring to be led to our duty by a repetition of such dreadful terrors. . . But I really believe that the intention of our law givers, in appointing these solemn assemblies, would be more effectually answered, were it not for a confused and uncertain kind of infidelity, which ascribes all such calamities to the disasters of nature, and leads men to be more intent upon the weapon than upon him that strikes. But Nature, taken in the abstract, is an expression for the Deity; and the course of Nature, as it is commonly called, means no more than the regularity of his works who made and governs all things. And whatever unintelligent natural causes may seem to effect, it is not, in reality, done by them at all, but by the providence of God.
That the sun runs its course every day is as strictly and properly the hand of God, as that it stood still at the desire of Joshua; and, therefore, if we must have Nature to be something different from the Ruler of the Universe, when
ever we see earthquakes, storins, and floods, in volve a whole community in one general ruin, we must not think that it is Nature working perversely or erroneously, but overpowered by a superior rival, asd by the justly conquering force of another nature.
All natural causes are effects produced by the governing providence of the Supreme Being, who often causes his judgments to fall upon sinners, that they may thereby learn righteousness. Let not the libertine, then, depend so far upon his power and wealth, as to think they are able to shield him from the avenging arm of the Almighty; neither let him think that any darkness (even the shadow of death) can screen him from the all-seeing eye of God! And let all those who are projecting schemes of worldly wealth, adding house to house, and field to field, calling them by their own names, endeavouring thereby to perpetuate their memory, neglecting at the same time the weighty concerns of the soul : let such, I say, consider how easily a powerful God can bury them in their houses, or entomb them in that earth upon which they had fixed their hearts and names.'
But to compare small things with great for a moment, let us consider, that if the storm of wind (which we now commemorate) was so dreadful as to fill all those who saw it with horror and astonishment, think how dreadful that scene must be, when all things shall be dissolved ; the heavens pass away with a great noise, and the elements melt with fervent heut, the earth, and the things that are therein, burnt up! What horror must seize the souls of sinners, when the archangel, with the trump of God, shall shake the whole creation; when they shall call upon the rocks and mountains to fall upon them to hide them from the wrath of God, and the lamb ! Then they will see (alas too late!) their extreme folly and madness in trusting to the perishing enjoyments of a world, the fashion of yyhich so soon passeth away.
But to a good man it is matter of great joy and comfort, ihat God is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness. He delights much to display his glory in acts of goodness and bounty to his creatures.
Judgments are his strange work, which makes the signal execution of them so very rare and extraordinary. And the way to have them rare is not to forget them; to learn righteousness by the calamities of others; to fear and tremble before that God who is terrible in his anger, and has all the ministers of destruction at his command.
God grant that this, and every other day's humiliation of the well-disposed in this Ísland, may so effectually prevail upon the Almighty, that he may take the whole into his protection, for the sake of the few righteous that are amongst us. In the confident expectation of which, let us join with the Psalmist, first in turning to God; and then sing with him, God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble ; therefore we need not fear though the earth be moved: and though the hills be carried into the midst of the sea. Amen.