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E are met together in obedience to public authori

ty, to keep a day of folemn thanksgiving to God, for the goodness of his providence to the United States of America, in the course of a war which has now lasted seven years, with a powerful and formidable nation. We are particularly called upon to give thanks for the signal fuc. cesses with which it bath pleased him to bless our arms and those of our allies, in the course of the last year, and the campaign which is now drawing to a close. I need say nothing of the importance of the great conteft in which we have been so long engaged or the interesting alternative which depends upon the issue, as these seem to have been felt in the fullest manner by all ranks in this country from the beginning. The language even of the common people will convince every man of reflection that they are universally fenfible how much is at stake. My proper business therefore is to engage every pious hearer to adore the providence of God in general, to offer with sincerity and gratitude the facrifice of praise for his many mercies, and to make a wise and just improvement of the present promising situation of public affairs.

Many who now hear me are witnesses, that it has never been my practice, for reasons which appear to me to be good, to intermix politics with the ordinary service of ihe sanctuary, on the weekly returns of the cliristian fabbath, further than fervent supplications to the Throne of Grace for divine direction to the public counsels, and assistance to those who are employed in the public service. But on days of this kind it becomes part of a minister's duty to di. rect the attention of the hearers to events of a public naturë. This you know I did with great concern and at considerable length fix years ago on a public Fast Day. I would therefore willingly in this more advanced period, take a view of what is past, and endeavor to direct you in what remains, of your duty to God, to your country, and to yourselves.

For this purpose I have chosen the words of the Pfalmist David now read; which are part of a psalm generally thought to have been composed by the royal author before the war with Absalom his unnatural son, was wholly finished, but when he had such presages of success as made him. Speak 'the language of faith and confidence.

" I laid as me down and Nept: I awaked, for the Lord fustained “ me. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people that “ have set themselves against me round about. Arise 0 Lord, save me, O my God; for thou hast smitten all “ mine enemies upon the cheek-bone : thou hast broken " the teeth of the ungodly. • Salvation belongeth unto the “ Lord; thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah.”

In discoursing upon this subject, I propose, through the affistance of divine grace,

1. To explain and state the proper meaning of this expresion or sentiment of the inspired pfalmist,“ salvation " belongeth unto the Lord."

II. To lay before you a succinct view of what the United States of America owe to Divine Providence in the course of the present war,

III. To make a practical improvement of the subject for your instruction and direction.

First then, I am to explain and state the proper meaning of this expression or fentiment of the inspired pfalmift, “ falvation belongeth unto the Lord.” This I mean to do by adhering strictly to what appears to be the mind of the spirit of God, in the passage before us, as well as in a manner agreeable to the analogy of faith. As religion is the same in substance in every age, the reflections of pious persons in the course of providence arise from the fame examples, and lead to the fame end. The words may justly be supposed to contain the Psalmist's thankful acknowledgment of the past mercies of God, as well as the foundation of his future fecurity. They carry in them a general confession of the influence of divine providence upon every event, and in particular with respect to salvation, or deliverance from impending danger. In this view when he says, “ salvation belongeth unto the Lord,” it seems to imply the three foilowing things.

1. That“ salvation belongeth unto the Lord,” as distinguished from human or created help, and therefore all confidence in man ftands opposed to the sentiment exprefled by the holy Pfalmift in the text. It is not opposed to the use or application of, but to an excelsive or undue reliance on human means, or second causes of any kind.

It im. plies, that success in any attempt is to be ultimately attributed to God. That it is he who by his providence provides outward means, who raises up friends to his people, or causes their enemies to be at peace with them. That it is he who in cales of difficulty and danger, directs their hands to war and their fingers to fight, and finally crowns their endeavors with success. Whether therefore the outward advantages are great or small, whether the expectation or the probability of success has been strong or weak, he who confefles that falvation belongeth unto God, will finally give the glory to him. Confidence before, and boafting after the event, are alike contrary to this difpofition. If any person desires to have his faith in this truth, confirined or improved, let him read the history of mankind, in a cool and considerate manner, and with a ferious frame of fpirit. He will then perceive that every page will add to his conviction. He will find that the most important events have feemed to turn upon circumftances the most trivial and the most out of the reach of human direction. A blaft of wind, a shower of rain, a random shot, a private quarrel, the neglect of a servant, a motion without intention, or a word spoken by accident and misunderstood, has been the cause of a victory or defeat which has decided the fate of empires. Whoever with these facts in his view, believes the constant influence and over-ruling power of Divine Providence, will know what the Psalmiit means when he says, 6 Salvation belongeth unto the Lord.”

2. In this sentiment, the Psalmist seems to have had in view the omnipotence of Providence ; that nothing is impoflible with God; that there is no state so dangerous, no enemy so formidable, but he is able to work deliver: ance. He has not only the direction and government of means and second caules, but is himself fuperior to all means. The word salvation, when it is applied in scripture to tensporal danger, generally signifies a great and distinguilhed deliverance. Thus it is used by Moses, Exo. dus xiv. 13. “ Stand still and see the falvation of God ;” and in the same manner, 1 Sam. xiv. 45. “Shall Jona. " than die, who hath wrought this great falvation in Ifrael?” When, therefore, a person or people are threat. ened with evils of the most dreadful kind; when they are engaged in a conflict very unequal; when they are driven to extremity, and have no resource left as means of de. fence : then if the cause in which they are engaged is righteous and just, they may cry to God for relief. The fentiment expressed by the Pfalmist ought to bear them up against despair; and they may fay as the angel to the father of the faithful, “ Is there any thing too hard for the Lord?” There are many instances in fcripture of signal deliverance granted to the servants of God, some of them even wholly miraculous, which teach us to set our hope in bis mercy, and not to suffer his mighty works to flip out of our minds. This is the exercise of faith in an un. changeable God" the fame yesterday, to-day, and for

3. This sentiment has respect to the mercy and goodness of God, or his readiness to hear the cry of the oppressed, and send deliverance to his people. This circum. stance is necessary to be taken in, to make him the proper object of faith and trust; and it must be combined with the other, to give us a complete view of the influence of Providence. Power and wisdom alone, give an imperfect display of the divine character. It would give little fupport under the pressure of affliction, to have a general or theoretical persuasion, that all things are posible with God: but if we believe his readiness to interpose, and see our title clear to implore his help, we have that hope which is justly called, “ the anchor of the soul, sure and stedfast.” In this sense, salvation belongeth unto God; it is his prerogative; it is his glory. The promise so often repeated in the same or similar terms, is addressed both to nations and particular persons. “He shall call upon me, and I “ will answer him. I will be with him in trouble, to deli.

ver him, and to honor him. The righteous cry, and " the Lord heareth, and delivereth him out of all his trou. " bles. Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the " Lord delivereth him out of them all."

Having briefly stated these known and general truths, I proceed to the second and principal thing proposed, which was to lay before you a succinct view of what the United States of America owe to Divine Providence, in the course of the present war. On considering this part of the fubject, a difficulty presents itself as to the manner of handling it. I am desirous of doing it fome measure of justice, and at the same tinie of avoiding excessive prolixity, or a tedious enumeration of particular facts. To unite these two purpofes as much as possible, I will divide what I have to say into distinct branches; and after a few words of il. lustration on each of them, leave it to every hearer to add such further examples as may have fallen within his own abservation. The branches I would separately consider, are the following: 1. Signal successes or particular and providential favors to us in the course of the war. 2. Pre

. servation from difficulties and evils which seemed to be in

Vol. II.

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