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in blood; by Jesus the Redeemer seated on his awful tribunal; by the last solemn sentence and an eternity to come-or if these glorious and important considerations will not work upon you, let me call upon you by your dread of punishment and fear of ruin; by all the examples of divine vengeance that have been laid before you; by a regard to your posterity yet unborn; by the sighs and distress of your captivated brethren; and by the groans and miseries of your bleeding country_REPENT; be converted from every sin; humble yourselves in the dust before the Lord; cry earnestly unto him for forgiveness through the blood of Jesus, and stedfastly purpose to walk before him for the future, “in holiness and righteousness all the days of your lives!”
Such a conduct as this will equally entitle you to the character of good Christians and good Citizens. For whatever we may boast of public spirit and love to our country, it appears from what has been said, that he, and he only, is the greatest patriot, and manifests the greatest public spirit, who supports the majesty of religion, reverences the laws of his country, and keeps a conscience void of offence towards God and towards man. And happy is he, of all others most happy, whether in a high or low station, who, in the present confusion of our affairs, can lay his hand on his heart, and pronounce that such has been the steady tenor of his proceedings. For him there will remain the recompense of the just, when all sublunary things shall have come to an end.
Grant, О heavenly Father! that such may be the future conduct, and such the final recompense of
every one of us here assembled before thee. Graciously accept this day's imperfect service and the humble offerings of our praise for all Thy unmerited merciés; and particularly for having saved us from the fury of those raging Earthquakes that have so lately whelmed thousands, perhaps less guilty than we, in one sudden ruin. Strengthen us with Thy grace for the performance of those vows of amendment, into which we have now solemnly entered. Continue to us the pure light of the everlasting gospel, which thy justice might well remove from us. Bring our civil discords and all erroneous doctrines to a speedy end. Hear the cries of our suffering and captivated brethren every where, and support them in thy faith and fear. Have pity on the general distress of this country; and Oh! Thou whose Almighty power can raise even the dead from the grave, raise up leaders and champions among us for our holy Zion, in this day of peril; that even the bones which Thou hast broken may hear of joy and gladness! Inspire us with a high and commanding sense of the immense value of what we are now called to defend; which will be the best foundation of true heroism and virtue. For could we be once so lost to goodness and wisdom as to apprehend the difference between one religion and another, one system of government and another, not worth the price of blood and treasure, the day of our desolation would not be far distant; and we and our posterity would soon be lost and blended among the nations around us that know not thee; from which unspeakable calamity good Lord deliver us to the latest generations, for the sake of our Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen.
A FAST SERMON
PREACHED AT ALL-SAINTS CHURCH,
IN THE COUNTY OF PHILADELPHIA,
JULY 20, 1775,
THE FIRST AMERICAN FAST
RECOMMENDED BY CONGRESS.
PRAYER, BEFORE SERMON.
FATHER and Lord of all! Creator, Preserver and Judge of the World! Thou First and Best of Beings! Glory, eternal Glory, be ascribed to Thee, who hast made us capable of knowing, seeking, and loving Thee calling us to fly to Thy mercy, as Children to a Father, for aid and direction in all our undertakings, and for strength and deliverance in all our dangers.
Lost, utterly lost, should we be to all sense of Gratitude, and Goodness, if we did not feel and adore Thy daily lovingkindness to the Children of Men-We feel, and we adore, these Thy transcendent attributes, 0! Thou King of Nations! Struck with the unspeakable majesty of thy Divine Perfections, conscious of our own unworthiness, and relying only on the worthiness of Thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ, we come this Day to prostrate ourselves at Thy Foot-stool; Fearing, yet Loving; Trembling, yet Adoring!
When we contemplate Thy Providence, we must confess that Thou hast done wonderful things for Us, and for our Fathers of old! Thou gavest them a goodly heritage, and the power of Thy goodness hath often supported them, and us, in
the days of danger! But our thankfulness has not followed Thy Mercies, and our transgressions have multiplied against Thy Goodness “ Thou hast visited us for these things, but we have not learned righteousness; and justly might Thy Soul be avenged on such a nation as this."* Justly mightest Thou remove our candlestic from us—the Light of Thy Countenance, and our precious Privileges, Civil and Religious.
But, spare us, Lord most holy! 0! God most merciful! cast us not wholly off. Although we have sinned against Thee, yet still we will trust in Thee—and we know in whom we trust! “ Thy hand is not shortened that it cannot save, neither thine ear heavy that it cannot heart" “ The bruised reed Thou wilt not break, nor quench the smoking flax."! Suffer us, therefore, O God, through the merits of Christ, to seek refuge at thy Mercy-seat ; humbled under Thy chastisements; confessing and bewailing our manifold offences, and stedfastly purposing, to amend our lives; and striving to revive (each in ourselves and in others, as far as our influence extends) a Spirit of Primitive Piety, Virtue, and Integrity.
As the true foundation of this, inspire us with an awful reverence of Thy glorious Majesty, with a prevailing Love, and deep Veneration of the pure Religion of Jesus, and that genuine Liberty, both Spiritual and Temporal, with which the Gospel makes us free. For the support of this Liberty, and this only, may all our efforts, public and private, be directed. By the true Spirit of it may we be guided; and, at its sacred uncorrupted call, may we follow, whether to life or to death!
In compassion to a bleeding land, and through the intercession of Thy blessed son, hear the fervent and sincere Prayers this day offered, or to be offered, unto Thee, for a speedy, just and happy termination of this unnatural Strife of Death among Brethren-Children of the same Parentage and Blood! May our hearts be again knit together in the mutual bands of Love, Virtue, and common Good; and may our gracious sovereignell as
• Jer. v. 9.
Isaiah, lix. 1. 1 Isaiah, xlii. 9. This Prayer was made, more than a year before the Declaration of Independence, when Prayers for the King, &c. were continued as usual, in
the Father of all his people, be endued with wisdom from Thes, to reconcile and establish their mutual rights upon the most permanent foundation ; regarding all his subjects with an equal eye, considering their joint happiness as his greatest glory; and after Thy Divine Example, placing his supreme delight in Mercy, Peace, Truth, Righteousness, and doing Good!
May all who exercise subordinate authority, whether derived from Prince or People, consider the account they must give to Thee; seeking, above all things, the maintenance of Religion as the true way of restoring our lost Peace, preventing the further effusion of Kindred-Blood, and healing our country's wounds, upon a true plan of Constitutional Liberty, which can only stand upon that just Subordination to the parent state, which is for the mutual interest both of parent and children. May every licentious thought, be removed from our hearts; and may we still consider that government is of the appointment of God, for the terror of evil-doers, and the praise of them that do well.
In mercy to a Nation, that has long been thy peculiar care in mercy to us their Children too-grant that we may all regard the Things that belong to our true Peace and Salvation, lest, for our Offences, they should be finally, and forever, hid from our eyes! Hasten that happy time, when, in Thy love and fear, we may all “ sit quietly under our vine, and under our Fig-tree, none making us afraid." May this day's Humiliation before Thee-our Godly Sorrow and Repentance, our Tears, our Prayers, our Praises, be acceptable in Thy sight, through the merits of Christ Jesus, in whose name we further pray-Our Father, &c.
all our churches; and when the People of America, by their Delegates in Congress, claimed only a Redress of Grievances; and expressed nothing but their former attachment to the Government of Great-Britain, and sought nothing but Reconciliation with the mother-country and their Brethren there, on the constitutional terms, of a Restoration to, and the continuance of, equal Rights and Privileges.