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turpitude of modern times? Ye horrid crimes, ye frightful actions, ye perfidious outrages, more fit for the hearts of infernal furies than for the bosoms of mankind, depart into eternal silence, and never shew your ghastly features again! Never were propositions more unwarrantable than these; The vulgar only ought to be afraid of certain crimes. Kings and statesmen will be judged by a particular law. The greatness of the motive, that inclined them to manage some affairs, will plead their excuse, and secure them from divine vengeance.
Why were so many commands given to princes concerning administration of justice, breaches of peace, and declarations of war? To what purpose have so many Pharoahs been drowned, Nebuchadnezzars reduced to the condition of beasts, Herods devoured by worms, and strokes of divine vengeance fallen upon the proudest heads, except to teach us, that no creature is so august, no throne so magnificent, no dominion so invincible as to free a creature from the necessity of obeying his Creator? What means that law, which God formerly gave by the mouth of Moses? When thou shalt set a king over thee, he shall not multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away, Deut. xvii. 14, &c. He shall not amass for himself silver and gold. And it shall be when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write himself a copy of this law in a book, and it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law, and these statutes to do them; that his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment to the right hand or to the left. What mean these thundering words? Thou profane wicked prince of Israel thy day is come, thine
iniquity shall have an end. Thus saith the Lord God, Remove the diadem, and take off the crown ; I will overturn it, and it shall be no more, Ezek. xxi. 25-27. In one word, what doth St. John mean by the words of my text? All liars and poisoners, murderers and abominable shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone.
It would be difficult, my brethren, for men, who never saw any thing greater than the courts of princes, a sort of earthly gods, to imagine a more pompous and venerable image than that, which St. John exhibits here to our view. He brings forward the terrible day, in which the supreme lawgiver will bring earthly judges to account for that power, with which he intrusted them, and of which most of them have made a very criminal use. There, all their flattering titles will be laid aside, no more Emperors, Monarchs, Arbiters of peace and war; or rather, there will these titles be repeated to mortify the pride, and to abate the insolence of every one, who abused them. There, pale, trembling, and afraid, will appear those tyrants, those scourges of Almighty God, those disturbers of mankind, who once made the earth tremble with a single cast of their eyes. Then will be produced the vexations they have caused, the unjust decrees they have pronounced, the families they have impoverished, the houses, the cities, the kingdoms, which they have burnt to ashes. Then will be judged the famous quarrels of Alexander and Darius, Cyrus and Croesus, Pyrrhus and Fabricius, Hannibal and Scipio, Cæsar and Pompey, ill decided, in Cato's opinion, by the gods themselves in the battle of Pharsalia. And you, you who holds the reigns of this republic, you, in regard to whom we so often say to this people, Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers; the powers that be
are ordained of God; whosoever resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God, and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation, Rom. xiii. 1. 2. you, our governors and lords, what appearances will you make in that great day, and what sentence will you then receive? Ah! if it be possible for you to be so intoxicated with your own grandeur as to forget the majesty of that God, who placed you at the head of this people, and so neglect the duties of your station; if it be possible for the cries of the oppressed to sound in vain in your ears, and bribes to blind your eyes; if it be possible for you to bestow the rewards due to fidelity and courage upon solicitation and intrigue, to sacrifice the public interest to private views; if a personal pique dissolve a union essential to the good of the state; if love of pleasure consume time devoted to the administration of justice; if the tears of Sion in distress be not tenderly wiped away; if religion and good manners be decried, and trampled on with impunity; if Lord's days, and public solemnities be openly prophaned; if, in a word, christianity be sacrificed to worldly policy, what will your condition be!
God grant, this people may always be as happy in the character of their governors as in the gentle constitution of their government! May a visible and bountiful benediction rest upon those who, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, shine as lights in the world! Phil. ii. 15. Never, never may any be at the head of the state, who are unworthy of being members of the church! God grant, we may behold you, who are intrusted with the public welfare, models worthy of our imitation; and by imitating your conduct in this life, may we follow you into the world of glory! Amen. To God be honor and glory for ever. Amen.
GOD'S CONTROVERSY WITH ISRAEL.
Micah vi. 1, 2, 3.
Hear ye now what the Lord saith. Arise, contend before the mountains, and let the hills hear thy voice. Hear ye, O mountains, the Lord's controversy, and ye strong foundations of the earth; for the Lord hath a controversy with his people, and he will plead with Israel. O my people, what have I done unto thee ? and wherein have I wearied thee? testify against me.
HE wickedness of Sodom was so abominable,
when God was about to consume it by fire, that we can never remark without astonishment his condescension to Abraham, when he gave him leave to plead for that detestable city. Abraham himself was amazed at it. He was afraid of inflaming that anger, which he endeavored to abate. Oh! said he, let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak. Behold now! I, who am but dust and ashes, have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, Gen. xviii. 30. 27. Yet God heard him, and answered him, and agreed to spare Sodom, and to pardon an innumerable multitude of guilty persons, on condition a small number of righteous people could be found among them. Abraham asked, Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city, wilt thou not spare the place, for the fifty righteous that are
*This Sermon was preached on a fast-day, at the opening of a campaign in the year 1706.
in the sentence of our apostle, and they deserve to The unbelieving shall have which burneth with fire and
feel its utmost rigor. their part in the lake, brimstone.
IV. Let us advert to the fourth prejudice. Religions are indifferent. We will not go through the various sects of christianity, and decide these litigious questions, Which of these religions are compatible with salvation? Which of these religions are destructive of it? We will affirm only with our apostle, that Idolaters shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone. We intend particularly to wipe off that imputation which the church of Rome constantly casts on our doctrine. Under pretence that we have never been willing to denounce a sentence of eternal damnation against members of the most impure sects, they affirm that, in our own opinion, people may be saved in their community, and this, they say, is one of the articles of our faith.
This is a sophism, which you have often heard attributed to a prince, who had united, as far as two such different things could be united, the qualities of a great king with those of a bad christian. Having a long time hesitated between the peaceable possession of an earthly crown, and the steadfast hope of a heavenly crown, his historians tell us, he assembled some doctors of the Roman communion, and some of ours. He asked the first, Whether it were possible to be saved in the Protestant communion? They answered, no. He then asked the second, Whether it were possible to be saved in the Roman communion? they replied, they durst not decide the question. On this, the prince reasoned in this manner. "The Roman catholic doctors assure me, there is no salvation in