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Before, then, you meet the fulfilment of this decree, the decree of him who has declared that the wicked shall be turned into hell, instead of calling on yourselves to hope, I pray you to ask, “Why am I lifted up? Let me turn to God, and I cannot raise my hopes too high: I shall be blessed indeed. But my present hope will lead me down to the chambers of death." I pray that the vain thoughts of thy heart may be forgiven thee; and that thou mayest thus awake in time, before thou sleepest the sleep of death.
But let us learn, Brethren !-I speak to my FellowChristians-let us learn never to cast away our confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. Never let Satan rob you of your precious jewelHope in God: for that has been the honour of the true servants of God, in all ages of the world. By whatever name they may have been called, their character is found here: “Seeing,' then, that we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and linisher of our faith. And, among other things for which we are too look to him, is this, that we may lea to run: and how did he run? “Who, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame. Consider him,' therefore, says the Apostle, that endureth such contradiction of sinners against himself.'
I would, finally, leave a few CAUTIONS on your minds.
1. While you are hoping, and not casting away your confidence, you must OFTEN HOPE THROUGH AN INEXPLICABLE PROVIDENCE, AND DEPEND ON GOD IN
THE ORDER OF HIS DISPENSATIONS.
He knows his own purposes, though you know them not. “I turn to the right hand,' says Job, ' and see him not; and to the left, but cannot perceive him :
yet he knoweth the way that I take.' We must not wish the wheels of providence to turn from their course ;
but must hope in that way. 2. EXERCISE HOPE IN THE PATH OF DUTY.
Turn not aside because the way is rough. Trust through the storm. Trust in the Lord with all thy heart, and lean not to thine own understanding: In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy
3. EXERCISE YOUR CONFIDENCE WITH RESPECT TO YOUR BEST INTERESTS.
That is best for the man which is best for his soul. God does not consult your ease, but your profit: as a wise schoolmaster consults not the ease of his scholars, but their advancement. The Christian must meet God in this way: he must have confidence in him, as promoting his best interests, and doing him good in his latter end. God hath “confirmed his counsel by an oath, that, by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: which hope we have as an anchor of the soul.' The waves may beat: storms will come : we must expect bad weather; but—the anchor !—the anchor! “which hope we have as an anchor of the soul.'
Here it is that we must lie at anchor. Let God do what he please! He cannot deny himself! He abideth faithful ; and by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for him to lie, he giveth strong consolation to those who flee to him.'
THANKSGIVING ON THE VICTORY OF TRAFALGAR.
PSALM CXVIII, 27. God is the Lord, which hath showed us light: bind the sacrifice
with cords, even unto the horns of the altar. Nothing is more abhorred, of God or man, than ingratitude: nothing more acceptable, nothing more expected, after the imparting of any benefit, than gratitude. Gratitude implies sensibility, generosity, and a feeling of obligation.
This and the two preceding Psalms are full of expressions of gratitude; and no doubt relate to some signal deliverance or prosperity, which God had afforded. “I will praise thee,' says the Psalmist; ‘for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation. The stone which the builders refused, is become the head-stone of the corner. This is the Lord's doing, and it is-marvellous in our eyes. God is the Lord, which hath showed us light; bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar.'
Light is put for deliverance and prosperity ; in contradistinction to the use of the word darkness, which signifies affliction. God is the Lord which hath showed us light—some signal deliverance. “Bind ye the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar:' Every acknowledgment was termed a sacrifice, some of thanksgiving, some of expiation. Bring a sacrifice, an offering : God has done it. Bring such a number of them, as a learned man reads it, that they shall reach even to the horns of the altar. The sen
timent is evident. It is as if he had said, “God alone hath wrought this deliverance for us : 'let us yield the strongest expression of our gratitude on the occasion.”
From the words of the text thus explained, I shall raise this doctrinal proposition, and apply it to the present occasion :
I. Let us consider SPECIAL DELIVERANCES.
Is there any one present, who needs information or conviction, with regard to the special deliverances lately received by this nation? There is scarcely a man among you who could not detail them better than myself: for, living in the world, in business and in public affairs, you hear and know more than a recluse like myself can possibly do.
I would ask you then, on the knowledge which you have of what has lately passed with respect to this country, Can you find any language that more meets the case than that which the Psalmist employs throughout this Psalm? For instance-- They compassed me about, like bees: they are quenched as the fire of thorns. Thou hast thrust sore at me, that I might fall : but the Lord helped me. The Lord is my strength and song, and is become my salvation. The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous: the right-hand of the Lord doeth valiantly: the right-hand of the Lord is exalted; the right-hand of the Lord doeth valiantly. I shall not die but live; and declare the works of the Lord. The Lord hath chastened me sore, but he hath not given me over unto death.God is the Lord, who hath showed us light: bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar.' Bring every expression of your acknowledgment on such an occasion.
If any person present should question the greatness of the victory which we commemorate this day, or the merit of the departed victor, I would send him from
this pulpit to learn of a seaman. I would bid him read Lord Collingwood's Despatches, where the true state of the case is displayed; and displayed in a language of such intelligence and evangelical simplicity and signification, that nothing can be added to it.
Yet while most men among us acknowledge this, they have not perhaps sufficiently regarded the particular state of things which enhance the importance of the victory. They may not have observed, for instance, the peculiarity of the time; when the men of might, of other nations, do not seem to have found their hands : yet, in respect to us, it is as if the Almighty should say, 'How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? How shall I deliver thee, Israel ?: How shall I make thee as Admah ? How shall I set thee as Zeboim ? I will say concerning thine enemies, ‘Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further. Consider the peculiar circumstance of a calm afforded on the occasion, just before the storm which followed the battle came on ; as if the waters were bid to stand still, that the victory might be obtained. Consider the disproportion in numbers, both of men and guns; which was so great, that, if the Lord had not been on our side, nothwithstanding the prowess of our sailors, they must have swallowed us up. Consider, that, while so many of our enemies' ships were lost in the subsequent storm, not a single British ship perished. Consider, that hereby an additional defence is added to our country, and drawn nearer round us; now no longer necessary for a blockade : and this at a time when we were threatened with all that an enraged enemy could effect against us. Consider, too, the letter which God put into the heart of our admiral to send. Behold the answer, also, to prayer: while we were praying that God would disappoint the devices of our enemies, and give victory to our fleets and armies, the victory was gained.
These considerations, without going further into