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wants of his family supplied by the overseer, he begins to withdraw a part of his wages from the domestic supply, and to frequent the taproom of the alehouse. And what are our statesmen doing in the mean time? They, too, have forsaken God. He is not in their thoughts, nor in their speeches, nor in their acts. Nay, some of their acts are against him; as the holding of audiences, or cabinet-councils, respecting the business of man, on the Lord's holy Sabbath. They make religion a very little thing in the public assemblies, and the voice of any thing like the gospel of the grace of God is a strange voice among them, a voice from which they shrink as from something vulgar and antiquated, fit for old state papers, but altogether unfit for modern fine gentlemen. The wisdom of man, the foresight of man, the talent of man, the calculation of man-these, and such as these, are the themes which, when handled skilfully, lead the hearers captive, and cause the speakers to be extolled: but God is forgotten; and no wonder, then, that he pours contempt upon the wisdom of the wise. Every department of the vessel of the state is attended to, except the helm; and no wonder, therefore, that although the hulk be well made, the rigging all sound and suitable, and the crew all activity-no wonder, we repeat, that the vessel reels, and tosses, and trembles. It is the
siding management of the hand at the helm that gives smoothness in the storm; and that hand being neglected, the unweildy bark totters like a drunken 'man, the sailors are infatuated, and the ignorant passengers are at their wit's end. And where is the remedy sought for? From the men at the pumps, so to speak, labouring in vain to lessen the evil; from the men at the ropes, drawing and redrawing to see where the mischief lies; from the men in the rigging, our master spirits at the head of affairs, who sit in judgment upon the ropes, and write pamphlets which atheists might write. I say not that the writers are atheists, but that men who are atheists might be the writers. Thus is help sought for every where, except from the great God at the helm, who alone can rebuke the winds and the seas, and make a great calm.
Behold now the hand of God has been made bare, and stretched out over a people that will not see : but they shall see. The great idol of this country has been shaken upon its pedestal in the sight of all its worshippers. The king from his throne, and the prime minister from his place did homage to it, proclaiming our commercial prosperity, and the permanency of our monied system; but God smote it, and within six months from the day when the proud boast was uttered, we were within three days (I believe I might say, without exaggeration, and on the authority of all the bankers who spoke upon the subject in the House of Commons, within one day) of a national bankruptcy.
God is slow to anger, he gives a warning, and withdraws his hand, that we may
space to repent. Through the apparently natural operation of second causes, he gives his warnings, and therefore the world seeth him not, neither regardeth him. His voice, which sounded from the exchange, is now sounding from the workman's cottage, and the distresses of our manufacturing districts, having outlived the relief supplied by private benevolence, are again becoming clamorous.
This will, probably, lead to certain legislative measures, through which God will transfer his warning hand to our agricultural classes, great and small. And when he has thus, in long suffering mercy, gone the round of the whole covetous nation, what remains ? Be not deceived, God will not be mocked; behold, except ye repent, this must be the awful process. God punishes a slighted warning by an angry permission to repeat the sin, as in the history of Balaam; then he punishes repeated sin, by the contraction of an evil habit; then he punishes evil habits by inducing hardness of heart; this leads to obstinacy, (remember Pharaoh !) obstinacy to final impenitence, and final impenitence to everlasting damnation.
Repent, therefore, my Lords and brethren. Let each of us, as an individual, turn with purpose of heart to the Lord our God, and cry mightily unto him, first for our own sins, and then for the sins of our fellow countrymen. Let the King proclaim a fast; let the bishops draw up a form of prayer for national humiliation; and let the priests, the ministers of God, attract the attention of the whole nation to the warning hand and voice of Jehovah. Let them declare also his revealed will concerning Babylon ; and let England be assured that if she make common cause with the beast, renouncing her fidelity to her Lord, and admitting to the bosom of her counsels the idolatrous children of the great mother of harlots; let England be assured, from the clear word of prophecy, that if she adopt this course, the vial of wrath, which is now ready to burst upon the papal kingdoms, will extend also to her, and overwhelm her in the common ruin.
To conclude, (in the words of Latimer, which I again most cordially adopt,) “ England cannot abide this geer, it cannot hear God's minister, and his threatening against sin. Though the sermon be never so good, and never so true, strait he is a seditious fellow, he maketh trouble and rebellion in the realm, he lacketh discretion. The Ninevites rebuked not Jonas, that he lacked discretion, or that he spake out of time. But in England, if God's preacher be any thing quick, or speak sharply, then he is a foolish fellow, and lacketh discretion. Now a-days, if they cannot reprove the doctrine, they will reprove the preacher : What, preach such things now! He should have respect to the time and the state of things.' It rejoiceth me when my friends tell me that people find fault with my discretion ; for by likelihood, think I, the doctrine is true; for if they could find fault with the doctrine, they would not charge me with the lack of discretion, or the inconveniency of the time. I will ask you a question : I pray you when should Jonas have preached against the covetousness of Nineveh, if the covetous men should have appointed him his time? I know that preachers ought to have discretion in their preaching; and that they ought to have a consideration and respect to the place and the time where and when they preach; and I say here, what I would not say in the country, for no good.”