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not possible for a state long to subsist in splen- says, “ healed the hurt of his people slightly,
vi. 14; and who were so far from suppressing
, by the refinement of my wisdom, 1 O Juda, thy gods are as many as thy cities,”
. 28; iii. 2. It would be requisite to speak of denunciations. God is indeed an Almighty that paucity of righteous men, which occasionBeing whose pleasure has a necessary connex-ed God himself to say, "Run ye to and fro ion with its execution; he has bat to blow with through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now his wind on a nation, and behold it yanishes and know, and seek ye in the broad places away; but I will oppose power to power; I will thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any force his strength;* and by my fleets, my armies, that executeth judgment, that seeketh truth, my fortress, I will elude all those ministers of and I will pardon it,” v. i. vengeance. God has indeed declared, that he But instead of retracing those awful recolis jealous of his glory; that soon or late he will lections, and deducing from them the just exterminate incorrigible nations; and that if application of which they are susceptible, from the nature of their vices there proceed it would be better to comprise them in that not a sufficiency of calamities to extirpate general confession, and to acknowledge when them from the earth, he will superadd those speaking of your calamities what the Jews unrelenting strokes of vengeance which shall confessed when speaking of theirs: “The Lord justify his Providence; but the state, over is righteous, for I have rebelled against him. which I preside, shall be too small, or perhaps Certainly, thou art righteous in all the things too great to be absorbed in the vortex of his that have happened, for thou hast acted in commanding sway. It shall be reserved of truth, but we have done wickedly. Neither Providence as an exception to this general rule, have our kings, our princes, our priests, nor and made to subsist in favour of those very our fathers, kept thy law, nor hearkened unto vices, which have occasioned the sackage of thy commandments, and to thy testimonies other nations. My brethren, there is, if I may wherewith thou didst testify against them," presume so to speak, but a front of iron and Lam. i. 18; Neh. ix. 34. brass that can digest propositions so daring, III. But it is time to present you with oband prefer the system of Hobbs and of Ma- jects more attractive and assortable with the chiavel to that of David and of Solomon. solemnities of this day. The calamities which
But what awful objects should we present to fell upon the Jews, and those which have fallen your view, were we wishful to enter on a de- on us; those calamities which had a character tail of the proofs concerning the equity of the of justice; yea, even a character of horror, strokes with which God afflicted the Jews; had also a character of mercy; and this is what and especially were we wishful to illustrate the is promised the Jews in the words of my text: conformity found in this second head, between Although I have cast them far off among the the desolations of those ancient people, and heathen, and among the countries; yet I will those of our own churches?
be to them as a little sanctuary in the countries To justify what we have advanced on the where they are come."
." Whether you give first head, it would be requisite to investigate these words, “as a little sanctuary," a vague, many of their kings, who were monsters rather or a limited signification, all resolves to the than men; it would be requisite to describe the same sense. If you give them a limited imhardness of the people who were wishful that port, they refer to the temple of Jerusalem, the ministers of the living God, sent to rebuke which the Chaldeans had destroyed, and which their crimes, might contribute to confirm them was the emblem of God's presence in the therein; and who, according to the expression midst of his people. “I have dispersed them of Isaiah," said to the seer, see not; and to among the heathen;" I have deprived them of those who had visions, see no more visions of their temple, but I will grant them supernatuuprightness; speak unto us smooth things, rally the favours I accorded to their prayers prophecy deceit. Get you out of the way, once offered up in the house, of which they turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One have been deprived. In this sense St. John of Israel to cease from before us,” xxx. 10, 11. said, that he "saw no temple in the new JeIt would be requisite to exhibit the connivance rusalem, because God and the Lamb were the of many of their pastors, who, as Jeremiah temple thereof,” Rev. xxi. 22. If you give
these words an extended import, they allude * The versions vary very much in reading; Isaiah to the dispersion.“ Although I have cast them Ixvii. 5. Vide Pol Synopsis Crit. in loc.
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away" from the place of their habitation; yet | Scripture seems to favour this notion; and I will be myself their refuge. Much the same though Tertullian and Eusebius presume to is said by the author of the xcth psalm; Lord, say that Esdras had retained the sacred books “ thou hast been our retreat, or refuge, from in memory, and wrote them in the order in one generation to another.” But without a which they now stand; notwithstanding all minute scrutiny of the words, let us justify the this, we think ourselves able to prove that the thing:
sacred trust never was out of their hands. It I. Even amid the carnage which ensued on appears that Daniel read the prophets. The the taking of Jerusalem, many of the princi- end of the second book of Chronicles, which pal people were spared. It appears from the has induced some to conclude that Cyrus was sacred history, that Jeremiah was allowed to a proselyte, leaves not a doubt that this prince choose what retreat he pleased, either to re- must have read the xlivth and xlvth chapters main in Babylon,* or to return to his country. of Isaiah, where he is expressly named, and to He chose the latter; he loved the foundations this knowledge alone we can attribute the of Jerusalem, and of his temple, more than extraordinary expressions of his first edict. the superb city; and it was at the sight of “ The Lord God of heaven hath given me all those mournful ruins, that he composed those the kingdoms of the earth; and he has charged Lamentations, from which we have made me to build him a temple in Jerusalem," many extracts, and in which he has painted in 2 Chron. xxxvi. 23. the deepest tints, and described in the most 5. God wrought prodigies for the Jews, pathetic manner, the miseries of his nation. which made them venerable in the eyes of
2. While some of the Jewish captives had their greatest enemies. Though exiles; though liberty to return to their country, others were captives; though slaves of the Chaldeans, they promoted in Babylon to the most eminent of- were distinguished as the favourites of the fices in the empire. The author of the second Sovereign of the universe. They made the Book of Kings says, that Evil-merodach "lifted God of Abraham to triumph even in the midst up the head of Jehoiachin out of prison—and of idols; and aided by the prophetic Spirit, set his throne above the throne of the kings they pronounced the destiny of those very that were with him in Babylon.” Jeremiah kingdoms in the midst of which they were disrepeats the same expression of this author, persed. Like the captive Ark, they hallowed 2 Kings xxv. 28; Jer. lii. 32; and learned men the humiliations of their captivity by symbols have thence concluded, “that Jehoiachin of terror. Witness the flames which conreigned in Babylon over his own dispersed sumed their executioners. Witness the dreams subjects.” Of Daniel we may say the same; of Nebuchadnezzar, and of Belshazzar interhe was made governor of the province of Baby- preted by Daniel, and realized by Providence: lon by Nebuchadnezzar, “and chief of the witness the praises rendered to God by idolagovernors over all the wise men,” Dan. ii. 48. trous kings: witness the preservation of Daniel Darius conferred many years afterward the from the fury of the lions; and his enemies same dignities on this prophet; and Nehemiah thrown to assuage the appetites of those ferowas cupbearer to Artaxerxes.
cious beasts. 3. How dark, how impenetrable soever the 6. In a word, the mercy of God appeared history of the seventy years may be, during so distinguished in the deliverance accorded to which time the Jews were captive in Babylon, these same Jews, as to convince the most init is extremely obvious, that they had during credulous, that the same God who had deterthat period some form of government. We mined their captivity, was he also who had have explained ourselves elsewhere concern- prescribed its bounds. He moved in their ing what is meant by the Echmalotarks; that behalf the hearts of pagan princes! We see is, the chiefs or princes of the captivity. We Darius, and Cyrus, and Artaxerxes, become, ought also to pay some attention to the book by the sovereignty of Heaven over the heart of Susanna: I know that this work bears va- of kings, the restorers of Jerusalem, and the rious marks of reprobation, and that St. Je- builders of its temple! Xenophon reports, rome, in particular, regarded it with so much that when Cyrus took Babylon, he command. contempt as to assure us, in some sort, that it ed his soldiers to spare all who spake the Sywould never have been put in the sacred ca- rian tongue; that is to say, the Hebrew nation; non had it not been to gratify a brutish people. and no one can be ignorant of the edicts isMeanwhile, we ought not to slight what this sued in favour of this people. book records concerning the general history of Now, my brethren, nothing but an excess of the Jews: now we there see, that during the blindness and ingratitude can prevent the seecaptivity, they had elders, judges, and sena- ing and feeling in our own dispersion those tors; and if we may credit Origen, too much marks of mercy, which shone so bright in the prejudiced in favour of the book of Susanna, dispersion of the Jews. How else could we it was solely to hide the shame of the princes have eluded the troops stationed on the fronof their nation that the Jews had suppressed it. tiers of our country, to retain us in it by force,
4. God always preserved among them the and to make us either martyrs or apostates: ministry, and the ministers. It is indubitable What else could excite the zeal of some Prothat there were always prophets during the testant countries, whose inhabitants you saw captivity; though some of the learned have going to meet your fugitives, guiding them in maintained, that the sacred books were lost the private roads, and disputing with one anoduring the captivity; though one text of ther who should entertain them; and saying,
"Como, come into our houses, ye blessed of * It appears, below, that Saurin thought Jeremiah and the Lord?" Gen. xxiv. 31. others returned from Babylon!
Whence proceeds so much success in our
trade; so much promotion in the army; so plishment of that which follows. "I will gather much progress in the sciences; and so much you from among the people, and assemble you prosperity in the several professions of many of from the countries where ye have been scatterus, who, according to the world, are more hap- ed.” When is it that so many Christians, who py in the land of their exile, than they were in degenerate as they are, still love religion; when their own country?
is it that they shall repair the insults they have Why has God been pleased to signalize his offered to it When is it, that so many chilfavours to certain individuals of the nations, and dren who have been torn froin their fathers, have extended to us a protecting arm? Why, shall be restored; or rather, when shall we see when indigence and exiles seemed to enter their them restored to the church, from whose bosom houses together, have we seen affluence, bene- they have been plucked? When is it that we diction, and riches emanate, if we may so speak, shall see in our country what we see at this from the bosom of charity and beneficence? day, Christians emulous to build churches, to
By what miracle have so great a number of consecrate them, there to render God the early our confessors and martyrs been liberated from homage due to his Majesty, and to participate their tortures and their chains?
in the first favours he there accords? "Oh! From what principle proceeds the extraordi- ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not nary difference, God has put between those silence; give him no rest till he establish, and of our countrymen, who, without consulting till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth," “flesh and blood, have followed Jesus Christ Isa. Ixii. 5, 6. “Give ear, O Shepherd of without the camp, bearing his reproach," and Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock, those who have wished to join the interests of thou that dwellest between the cherubim shine mammon with those of heaven? Gal. i. 16; forth. Before Ephraim and Benjamin, and Heb. xiii. 13.
Manasseh, stir up thy strength, and come and We are masters of whatever property with save us,” Ps. lxxx. 1, 2. "O Lord God of which it pleased Providence to invest us on our hosts, how long wilt thou be angry against departure; but our brethren cannot dispose of the prayer of thy people?" ver. 4. " Thou theirs but with vexatious restrictions and im- shalt arise, and have mercy on Zion: for the posts.
time to favour her, yea, the set time is come. We have over our children the rights which For thy servants take pleasure in stones, and nature, society, and religion have given us; we favour the dust thereof. Then the heathen can promise both to ourselves and to them the shall fear the name of the Lord, and all the protection of the laws, while we shall continue kings of the earth thy glory. When the Lord to respect the laws, which we teach them to shall build up Zion; when he shall regard the do. But our countrymen, on leaving their prayer of the destitute, this shall be written houses for a few hours, know not on their re- for the generation to come; and the people turn, whether they shall find those dear parts which shall be created shall praise the Lord; of themselves, or whether they shall be dragged for he hath looked down from the height of away to confinement in a convent, or thrown his sanctuary," Ps. cii. 13, &c. May this be into a jail.
the first subject of the prayers we shall this Whenever the sabbaths and festivals of the day offer to God in this holy place. church arrive, we go with our families to render But asking of him favours so precious, let homage to the Supreme; we rise up in a throng us ask with sentiments which ensure success. with a song of triumph in the house of our | May the purity of the worship we render to God; we make it resound with hymns; we bear, God in the churches he has preserved, and in the Scriptures; we offer up our prayers; we par- those he has also allowed to build, obtain reticipate of his sacraments; we anticipate the edification of those that have been demolished. eternal felicities. But our countrymen have May our charity to brethren, the companions no part in the joy of our feasts; they are to of our exile, obtain a re-union with the brethren, them days of mourning; it is with difficulty in from whom we have been separated by the caan obscure part of their house, and in the lamities of the times. And while God shall still mortal fear of detection, that they celebrate retard this happy period, may our respect for some hasty act of piety and religion.
our rulers, may our zeal for the public good, We, when conceiving ourselves to be extend- may our punctuality in paying the taxes, may ed on the bed of death, can call our ministers, our gratitude for the many favours we have and open to them our hearts, listen to their received in these provinces, which equalize us gracious words, and drink in the sources of with its natural subjects; and compressing in their comfort. But our countrymen are pur- my exhortations and prayers, not only my sued to the last moments of their life by their countrymen, but all who compose this assembly, enemies, and having lived mporizing, they may the manner in which we shall serve God die temporizing.
amid the infirmities and miseries inseparable We find then as the captive Jews, the ac- from this valley of lears, ensure to us, my brecomplishment of the prophecy of my text; and thren, that after having joined our voices to we enjoy, during the years of our dispersion, those choirs which compose the militant church, favours similar to those which soothed the Jews we shall be joined to those that form the church during their captivity.
triumphant, and sing eternally with the angels, But can we promise ourselves that ours shall and with the multitude of the redeemed of all come to a similar close? The mercy of God on nations, and languages, the praises of the our behalf has already accomplished the pro- Creator. God grant us the grace. To whom mise in the text, “I will be to them as a little be honour and glory henceforth and for ever, sanctuary in the countries where they are. Amen. come." But when shall we see the accom- !
those lamentations heard in one part of the SERMON XCV.
church for forty years, and which awful melody has latterly been renewed, if we sung our sa
cred hymns with a devotion that the praises of ON FESTIVALS, AND PARTICULARLY the Creator require of the creature? "O Lord, ON THE SABBATH-DAY. righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us
confusion of faces. The Lord is righteous, Isaiau lviii. 13, 14.
though we have rebelled against him,” Dan.
ix. 7. 9. Happy those wbo groan under the If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, strokes for the sins they have committed, pro
from doing thy pleasure on my holy day, and vided the school of adversity make thein wise. call the Sabbath a delight; the holy of the Lord, Happy those of you, my brethren, who are honourable; and shali honour him, not doing simply the spectators of those calamities, prothy own ways, nor finding thy own pleasure, vided you abstain from the sins which have nor speaking thine own words; then thou shalt occasioned them, and become wise at the exdelight thyself in the Lord, and I will cause pense of others. thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, This is the design of my discourse, in which and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy fa- I am to address you on the respect due to the ther; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. solemn feasts, and to the sabbath-day in par
“When will the new moon be gone, that we ticular, leaving conscience to decide whether may sell corn and the sabbath, that we may it be caprice, or necessity, which prompts us set forth wheat?” This was the language that to choice; whether it be inconsideration, or the prophet Amos put into the mouth of the mere accident; or whether it has been compulprofane men in his own time. It is less ex- sion, through the dreadful enormities into pressive of their presumptive speeches, than of which we are plunged, in regard of the profathe latent wickedness which festered in their nation of religious festivals, and of the sabbathhearts. Religion and politics were closely con- day in particular, that people have for so long nected in the Hebrew nation. The laws in- a time justly branded us with reproach: proflicted the severest penalties on those that vio- faneness alone, unless we make efforts to reform lated the exterior of religion. The execrable it, is sufficient to bring down the wrath of men, of whom the prophet speaks, could not God on these provinces. May Heaven deign absent themselves from the solemn festivals to avert those awful presages! May the Alwith impunity; but they worshipped with con- mighty engrave on our hearts the divine prestraint; they regretted the loss of their time; cept inculcated to-day, that we may happily they reproached God with every moment inherit the favours he has promised! May be wasted in his house; they ardently wished the enable us so to make the sabbaths our de feasts to be gone, that they might return, not light,” that we may be made partakers of the only to their avocations, but also to their heritage of Jacob;' I would that of "the crimes; they said in their hearts, “When will finisher of our faith. Amen." the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? “If thou turn away thy foot from the saband the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat?” bath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day, Amos viii. 5.
and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Against this disposition of mind, God has Lord, honourable, and shalt honour him, not denounced by the ministry of this same pro- doing thy ways, nor finding thine own pleaphet, those very awful judgments, which he sure, nor speaking thine words; then thou shalt has painted in the deepest shades. The Lord delight thyself in the Lord, and I will cause hath sworn:-“I will turn your feasts into thee to ride on the high places of the earth, mourning, and all your songs into lamentation. and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy Behold the day cometh, saith the Lord God, father, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken that I will send a famine in the land; not a it.” This is our text, and here is our design. famine of bread, not a thirst of water, but of We shall consider the words, hearing the words of the Lord. And they I. With regard to the Jewish church; shall wander from sea to sea, and from the 11. With regard to the Christian church; or north even to the east; they shall run to and to be more explicit, God has made two very fro to hear the word of the Lord, and shall not different worlds, the world of nature, and the find it.”
Both these are the heritage of My brethren, are you not persuaded, that the faithful, but in a very different way. The the impious men, of whom the prophet speaks, Jews contemplating the world of grace as a dishave had imitators in succeeding times whence tant object, had their imagination principally is it then that some among us have been struck impressed with the kingdom of nature. Hence, precisely with the same strokes, if they have in their form of thanksgiving, they said, "Blessnot been partakers of the same crimes whence ed be God who hath created the wheat; blessed comes this famine of God's word, my dear be God who hath created the fruit of the vine.” countrymen, with which we have been aftlicted? Christians, on the contrary, accounting themWhence comes the necessity imposed upon us selves but strangers in this world, place all their to wander from sea to sea, to recover this di- glory in seeing the marvels of the world of grace. vine pasture, if we have not slighted it in places Hence it is the common theme of their thankswhere it existed in so much abundance and givings to say, "Blessed be the God and Father unction? Whence comes those awful catas- of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his trophes that have changed our solemn feasts abundant mercy, hath begotten us again unto into mourning, if we celebrated them, when it a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ was in our power, with joy? Whence comes from the dead," 1 Pet. j. 3, 4. Thus it was in
world of grace.
a point of order that the difference of dispensa- moon, to whom they gave the name of Isis.”
in the fifth chapter of Deuteronomy. 1. We shall consider the words of the text member that thou wast a servant in the land of with regard to the Jews. With that view we Egypt, and the Lord thy God brought thee out, shall state, 1. The reasons of the institution of therefore he commandeth thee to keep his sabthe Sabbath; 2. The manner in which the pro- bath." phet required it to be celebrated; 3. The pro- We must consequently regard the sabbathinises made to those who worthily hallow the day as a high avowal of the Jews of their desabbath-day.
testation of idolatry, and of their ascribing to Four considerations gave occasion for the in God alone the origin of the universe. An exstitution of the sabbath-day. God was wishful pression of Ezekiel is to the same effect: he calls to perpetuate two original truths on which the the sabbath a sign between God and his people: whole evidence of religion devolves; the first is, “I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between that the world had a beginning; the second is, me and them, that they might know that I am that God is its author. You feel the force of the Lord that sanctify them,” Ezek. xx. 12. It both these points, without the aid of illustra- is for this very reason, that the prophets exclaim tion, because, if the world be eternal, there is so strongly against the violation of the sabbath: some being coeval with the godhead; and if it is for the same reason that God commanded there be any being cocval with the godhead, it to be observed with so high a sanction: it is there is a being which is independent of it, and for the same reason that the sabbath-breakers which is not indebted to God for its existence: were so rigorously punished; even that one for and if there be any being which is not depend- gathering a bundle of sticks, was stoned by the ant on God, I no longer see in him all the per- people. The law expressly enjoins that those fection which constitutes his essence: our devo- who profane the festival should be awfully anation is irregular; it ought to be divided between thematized. The passage is very remarkable. all the beings which participate of his perfec- “Ye shall therefore keep the sabbath; for it is tions.
holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall 2. But if the world have not God for its au- surely be put to death; for whosoever doeth any thor, it is requisite to establish the one or the work therein, that soul shall be cut off from other of these suppositions, either that the world amongst his people,” Exod. xxxi. 14. This exitself has a superintending intelligence, or that pression is appropriate to the great anathema, it was formed by chance. If you suppose the which was always followed by death. Whence world to have been governed by an intelligence should proceed so many cautions, so many ripeculiar to itself, you fall into the difficulty you gours, so many threatenings, so many promises? wish to avoid. You associate with God a be- | You cannot account for them, if the sabbath be ing, that, participating of his perfections, must placed among the ceremonial institutions of the participate also of his worship. On the con- Hebrew code. trary, if you suppose it was made by chance, 3. God was wishful to promote humanity. you not only renounce all the light of reason, With that view he prescribed repose to the serbut you sap the whole foundation of faith: for, vants and handmaids; that is, to domesties and if chance have derived us from nothing, it may slaves. Look on the situation of slaves: it is as reduce us to nothing again; and if our existence oppressive as that of the beasts. They saw no depend on the caprice of fortune, the immor- termination of their servitude but after the extality of the soul is destitute of proof, infidelity piration of seven years: and it might happen, obtains a triumph, religion becomes a pun, and that their masters seeing the servitude about to the hopes of a life to come are a chimera.-It expire, would become more rigorous, with a was therefore requisite, that there should re- view to indemnify themselves beforehand for main in the church this inonument of the cre- the services they were about to lose. It was ation of the universe.
requisite to remind them, that God interests The second reason was to prevent idolatry. himself for men whose condition was so abject This remark claims peculiar attention, many of and oppressive. This reminds me of a fine pasthe Mosaic precepts being founded on the situ- sage in Plato, who says, “that the gods, ation in which the Jews were placed. Let this moved by the unhappy situation of slaves, have general remark be applied to the subject in instituted the sacred festivals to procure them hand. The people, on leaving Egypt, were relaxation from labour."| And CICERO says, separated from a nation that worshipped the “ that the festivals are destined to suspend the sun, the moon, and the stars. might prove it | disputes between freemen, and the labours of by various documents of antiquity. A passage slaves." For the motives of humanity, it is of Diodorus of Sicily, shall suffice: "The an- subjoined in the precept, “Thou shalt do no cient Egyptians (he says,) struck with the beauty of the universe, thought it owed its ori- * It is to be regretted that several writers in our own gin to two eternal divinities, that presided over country have latterly attempted to class the sabbath among all the others: the one was the sun, to whom the ceremonial institutions, which is a perversion of its
design. they gave the name of Osiris; the other was the
De legibus lib. 2.