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full well that when we waxed fat, we kicked the ar
back, and forgot the Rock of our salvation. And you know as well, from what you have seen, that many of the very inhabitants who fled on account of the yellow fever,
whilst they were abroad, displayed the most aliye brutal indifference to the sufferings of their
fellow-citizens, indulging in riot and folly ; and when they returned hied with increased eagerness to the theatre—the haunts of revelry, to make up for lost time, and without delay to assure the god of their devotion that the judgments of Jehovah had not had any effect upon them. We have in this country, richly as God has blessed us, done. comparatively little for him. Immense sums have been expended on schemes for the accumulation of property ; but how small a portion has been given for the promotion of Christ's cause? Our prosperity produced a taste for dissipation. It increased habits of intemperance, and the number of amusements. We had, in a word, become a vain, selfish, and luxurious people.
4. The manner in which we have regarded God's judgments to the nations of Europe,
for the last twenty years, and his present mercies to them, is another national sin.
We are chargeable with carelessness and indifference about them, as well as blindness about their nature. Our conduct has been similar to that described by the prophet Zephaniah, “ I have cut off “ the nations, (God speaks); their towers " are desolate: I made their streets waste “ that none passeth by : their cities are des“ troyed, so that there is no man, that there “ is none inhabitant I said, Surely thou wilt “ fear me, thou wilt receive instruction : so “ their dwelling should not be cut off: how5 soever I punished them. But they rose so early, and corrupted all their doings.” Thus have we perverted the right ways of the Lord. We have considered the nations of Europe greater sinners than we were, and have persisted obstinately in disregarding his monitory voice. The great national inquiry, as it respected our practice, was, how shall we improve these judgments to our commercial advantage ? In what way can we, by reason of the distress of others, make the most money for ourselves? The idol at whose
h Zephan. iii. 6, 7.
shrine we have sacrificed is Mammon; he has blinded us as to our danger, and hardened our hearts whilst our European brethren were bleeding and dying.
I proceed to
II. Our national judgments. They are suited to our national sins, and spring from them. : 1. The first great judgment is the disregard universally displayed to the sanctity of the oath, the disposition to evade the laws of our country, though constitutionally enacted, and the profanation of the Sabbath.
I have connected these things under one head, which may very properly be called the deterioration of our morals and religion. Perhaps you may be surprized that this should be considered as a judgment of God upon us, rather than one of our national sins. The surprize, however, will cease, when we reflect for a moment upon the character and conduct of the people of this country, previous to the revolutionary war, and after its termination, until the two great political parties were organized, and introduced their antichristian standard for the choice of officers VOL. II.
to administer the government. As that standard has become more and more the test of eligibility to offices, a disregard to the great and essential principles of pure morals and sound religion has become more and more prevalent. Time was when there was little temptation to perjury, or the evasion of laws; but that time is past by. Time was when open infractions of the Lord's day, by men in authority, were rare; for public opinion restrained them from such infractions. I do not mean to say that the Lord's day was not profaned; would to God I could say this! but the profanation was not connected with an unnecessary public insult upon the feelings of the Christian community. Nor do I wish to be understood that there were no cases of perjury, or evasions of law. That they did occur, is true; but it is as true, that they were few, and did not invite general observation by their commonness and publicity. Now, however, our land mourneth by reason of the multitude and aggravations of these crying sins. At no time since the first settlement of the country has there been so much deliberate ingenuity
exercised in evading the laws of the land, as for the last ten years. Such conduct, besides its own immorality, is necessarily connected with other and more gross transgressions, such as deceits, falsehoods, perjuries. And these transgressions are not confined to a corner: but they glare upon the public eye in every direction. They who commit them, instead of being ashamed on account of them, appear rather to glory in them.
Ever since the adoption of the federal constitution the Lord's day has been profaned by the carriage and opening of the mail. But now, in the day of our sorrow, as if to provoke the Highest to more displeasure, that holy day is profaned by the gross insult of Christian feeling, and the flagrant violation of Christian principle, on the part of men in authority, by reviewing troops for mere parade. To have men for rulers who thus transgress God's Word, is a judgment, a righteous judgment, upon the nation; for the national sin of making political opinions the test of eligibility to office. Men who are governed by no fear of God, will violate his law when it suits them. A Christian people, electing