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seen. They may be the joyful instruments of prepar. ing the way for the advancement of this Kingdom. And their souls will hence be prepared for the most perfect enjoyment of it in heaven. For if there is joy in heaven, over one sinner that repenteth; how much greater will be the addition of heavenly joy, when all on earth shall be penitent, and the earth be full of the knowledge and glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the seas?
The motives of joy and animation then, to the present people of God, from the view of the approach of the millennial Kingdom, are great and sublime.
In which some duties are suggested, which seem culcu
lated to withstand the infidelity of our times. I have now finished my arguments and proofs in favor of the points proposed in this dissertation. Concerning the weight of the evidence, the reader will judge. But proceeding on the ground, that the points proposed are substantiated; what have the friends of Zion to do, to withstand the Infidelity of this period? They have much to do; much with iheir own hearts; much with their families; and much with their fellow men. The Divine precepts, now emphatically applicable, are many, and most weighty. One important direction we find prefixed to the prophetic description of the rise of Antichrist in Jude. The Apostle exhorts, that we contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints. The duty here enjoined implies, in addition to a faithful support of the scheme of Gospel grace, the diligent use of all proper remedies against the insidious attacks of all who aid the cause of Antichrist. As these attacks are concealed, oblique, and subtile; so the means of withstanding them must be extensive; and must consist much in guarding those principles, on the subversion of which the enemies make their highest calculations. These means ought to be wisely ascertained, and vigilantly applied.
For this purpose, I shall now suggest some things, which may be esteemed important.
1. Repentance and reformation.
If these be neglected, all other means will be of but little avail. For God will wound the head of kis enemies, and the hairy scalp of such an one as goeth on still in his trespasses. This will hold true of nations, as well às of individuals. However blamable may be the instru:
mental causes of our calamities, or public dangers; yet, they are a just punishment for our sins. Nothing but sin could betray us into the hands of the agents of Infidelity and disorganization. Our nation is deeply defiled with sin. We are guilty of ingratitude and impiety toward God; of undervaluing the Gospel of his Son; and of much contempt of his authority. Almost every species of vice and profanity is abounding.
It is thought this nation has made unprecedented progress in wickedness; and this, notwithstanding our most signal Divine blessings, and our great obligations to God.
It has been but a short time since the first fathers of New England arrived in this western hemisphere, then a wilderness of savages and beasts. Their sole object in the perilous adventure was, the enjoyment of the liberty of conscience, and the mantaining and enjoy• ment of the Institutions of grace in their purity. Great things God did for them, in sustaining them under pressing calamities and dangers. And great things God has since done, in building us up into a great, independent and flourishing nation. Our obligations to God to be a virtuous people, are proportionably great. But alas! how have they been violated! When we compare the spirit and manners of our nation with those of our pious ancestors, the contrast is dismal. And it evinces that our degeneracy has been rapid and great:
God is angry with this nation. And justly may he exhibit his displeasure, by suffering the spirit of Antichrist to propagate his impositions in so guilty a land. But how dismal must be our prospects, should Antichristian influence find a permanent residence here! Our national judgments in that 'case would not linger; but we should be involved in the plagues of the infidel Power of the last days.
Permit me to enlarge a little upon this particular. To subvert this nation, this new world, this last and only republic on earth, and bring it under the grasp of the military Despot of the age, has certainly engaged the deepest intrigue and exertions of that enormous Power; and it is no doubt a prime object of the kingdom of darkness. And considering the character and circumstances of our nation, nothing can prevent our falling before such an insidious host of dangers, but the omnipotent interposition of the God of our fathers.
But should that infernal influence, that dark and crooked policy, that deep system of imposition, here prevail; dreadful would be the consequences! We should receive of Babylon's plagues, and sink with her into perdition. This God decides, when he warns, “Deliver thyself, O Zion, that dwellest with the daugh: ters of Babylon." "Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” “If any man worship the Beast, and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture.” “Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them, to whom this people shall say, A confederacy.” “Woe to them that go down to Egypt, or stay on Assyria.” Such sacred passages more than whisper our danger, and our duty.
An alliance with Antichrist is ruin, and inevitable death! And the deepest intrigues of the Kingdom of darkness are in the utmost exertion, to effect so fatal a union. Every word spoken or step taken toward such a union, is so much done toward our inevitable destruction. Would to God all people were sensible of this, as they will be sensible of it, sooner or later! The charms of delusion, ai this period, are powerful, and of unspeakable danger. God alone can save from falling before them.
Every thing then, calls for repentance and reformation. The word of God, and the signs of the times, enforce on us the following paternal language of hearen; “Amend your ways and your doings; and I will 'cause you to dwell in this place. Return unto me; "and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts. But "Sf ye will walk contrary unto me, I will walk contra"ry unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for "your sins. Return ve backsliding children, and I will "heal your backslidings. If ye be willing and obedient, "ye shall eat the good of the land. But if ye refuse "and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword; for "the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it." Should such admonitions of Heaven be disregarded, we have reason to tremble at such judgments as the following; “And as they did not like to retain God in their knowl. "edge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do “those things, which are not convenient. Because that “when they knew God, they glorified him not as “God, neither were they thankful; but became vain in "their imagination, and their foolish hearts were darken. "ed. Professing themselves to be wise they became “fools.". These, and the many similar warnings of Inspiration derive the greatest emphasis, (as they respect us) from our national blessings, our Gospel privileges, and our signal obligations to God. And nothing can exempt us from their terrors, but repentance and reformation.
National sins are provoking to the God of nations, This has ever been the case. And surely it cannot be less so now, under the peculiar light and advantages of this period. It was said of old, Righteousness exalteth a nation; but sin is a reproach to any people. Civil communities are punishable for their public sins, only in this world. If sinful individuals continue to enjoy prosperity in this world, it is not unaccountable. They will be punished in the next. But if sinful communities escape Divine judgment here, one would be apt to inquire, Where is the God of judgment? Is not God to be known by the judgments, which he executeth? Terrible things were implied against an ungrateful and wicked people of old, when we read; Fear O heavens, and give ear O earth; for the Lord hath spoken. I have nourished and brought up children, and they lave rebelled against me.
The ox knoweth his own. er, and the ass his master's crib; bit Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.
Perseverance in sin, under signal calls of Providence, is peculiarly provoking to God; and dangerous to an incorrigible people. In that day did the Lord God call . to weeping and to mourning, and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth; and behold joy, and gladness,