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himself what the holy apostle says, He who come verteth a finner from the evil of his ways, fall save a foul from death, and Mall hide a multitude of fins,


Preached in the Time of great Dearth.

ISAIAH, xxvi. 9.


M OD'sjudgments, my brethren, are now abroad

U in the world. In many parts the calamities of war and pestilence are severely felt. God's judgments are severely felt also among ourselves. The critical state of our public affairs is a heavy judgment. The distress of the poor in this time of dearth; comes ftill nearer home. Let me then take up the prophet's words, and exhort you all, fronz the melancholy symptoms of the times, to learn righteousness. Let me first address you in general; and, secondly, the rich, and poor in particular. The admonition belongs to all. . 12


Let us then, first, my brethren, with gratitude to God, look back on happier times. Happier times we all have known; when God blessed us with peace and plenty:when provisions and labour kept pace with each other. Such times we all remember: but do we remember our behaviour under these blessings of Providence? Can we say, when God's blesñngs were abroad in the world, that we learned righteousness? I fear not. Were we thankful to God for his mercies? Did we receive them with that gratitude which leads to a religious life? or did not God's bountiful mercies increase our sins, and tempt us to turn plenty into licentiousness ?

As the kindness of Providence therefore hath had so little effect upon us, what should we naturally expect? -Let us answer ourselves. How should we treat a child, who continued to return our indulgence with disobedience? We should certainly, if kindness had no effect, try harsher measures.-And can we not in this, trace the Almighty's behaviour to us? If we will not learn righteousness from his blesings, 'we must surely expect his judgments. It is not justice merely; it is

the same kindness, which directs our own severity · to an undutiful child. Let it then, my brethren, 7 . . .


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have its effect. If we regard not God's mercies, let us at least stand in awe of his judgments---let them teach us to obey his laws—to trust in him for our support to consider this world, and all its afflictions, as our trial--and look up to heaven for our reward.

Thus far the text applies to us in general. We all want the judgments of God--or, at least, his correcting hand in some shape, to draw us to our duty. But now, my brethren, in this time of distress, there are particular, as well as general duties: the rich have their peculiar duties, and the poor have theirs. Let us first reason a little with the rich.

The first great question is, By what tenure do you hold your possessions ?

You answer, By the laws of the land. You have received your property by inheritance; or you have gained it by your own industry; and the laws of the land secure you in the poffeffion


of it.

It is true, my friend, the laws of the land fecure you from the violence of bad men. They leave you also at liberty to spend your property as you please. You may hoard it-or you may squander it. With all this the law does not interfere. But

you surely mistake the matter greatly, if you sup: pose the law of the land is the real tenure, by which you hold your poffeffions. You do not surely exclude God Almighty; but consider him as lord paramount. You must not therefore, in the pride of your heart, consider yourself as the real proprietor of what you poffefs. God knows, that at best you are only a poor tenant at will.You remember, perhaps, the story of the rich landlord, whose grounds brought forth plenteously. He filled his barns with their produce, and as corn did not yet bear a price that invited him to fell, he satisfied himself with glorying in his future profpects. He was fully secured by the laws of the land, which was all the security he wished, and thought of nothing now but of plenty and happiness. Poor wretch! having not taken the great Lord, under whom he held, into the question, he was suddenly dismissed from his poffeffions, with this short sentence, Thore fool! this night Mall thy soul be required of thee *.

This point then being acknowledged, that God Almighty is the great proprietor of all we enjoy, the next question is, on what terms do we hold

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