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2 Cor. i. 9, 10. But we had the Sentence of Death in
ourselves, that we sould not trust in ourselves, but in God which raisetb
the Dead : Who delivered us from so great a
Death, and doth deliver; in whom. we trust, that he will get deliver us.
UR gracious Sovereign having appointed, of his own mere Motion
and Personal Piety, a solemn Acknowledgment to Heaven, for our late Victory over the Rebels, to be inserted in the Prayers of this Day, permit me, as far as I am able, to be a Helper of your Foy * on that happy Occasion. And may God effectually dispose us all to rejoice before Him of in so wise and religious a Manner, as may lay 2. fure Foundation for his rejoicing over Us to
* Verse 24. : + Deut. xü. 12. .
do us Good*; for his going on to comfort us again, after the Time that he hath aflicted Us, the Years wherein we have suffered Adverfity t. . . .
I hope it may promote this Blessed End, if we consider our Condition in the same Views in which the Text places before us that of the Apostle St. Paul, comprehending an Account, 1. Of his Danger: A great Death, of which
be had the Sentence within himself. II. 'Of his Defender from it: God, who had i delivered, and did fill deliver him. . . III. Of the Reasons, for which he was first
permitted to fall into this Danger, then . brought out of it: that he might not trust in
Himself, but might trust in God, which raiseth
the Dead: as accordingly he declares he · doth, for Deliverances yet future. . i
I. His Danger: A great Death, of which he had the Sentence within himself. Death, being the Extremity of temporal Sufferings, in the Hebrew Idiom, which expresses "every thing strongly, fignifies any very dreadful Evil or Hazard. Thus Pharaoh, on the Plague of Locusts, begs of Moses: Entreat the Lord your
* Jer. xxxii. 41. , + Pfalm xc. 15. ? .,
God, that he may take away from me this Death only * But more especially Hazard of Life goes under that Name. Whence David speaks of himself, as counted with them that go down into the Pit; free among the Dead, like the Slain that-lie in the Grave t Now St. Paul, to use his own Phrase towards the latter End of this Epistle, had been in Deaths often 1. And therefore the Term, so great a Death, must denote, that on the Occasion, to which he refers, his Peril was imminent, peculiarly terrible, and, humanly speaking, unavoidable. His own Words are, we were pressed out of measure, above Strength, insomuch that we deSpaired even of Life §. Farther Particulars cannot now be discovered, excepting one, which he adds, of small Consequence to Us, that this Trouble came to him in Aha. But by his Manner of notifying it, and the Warmth of his Description, it must have been recent, since he wrote the former Epistle.
How lately we have been in like Distress, you all know. How great a Death we must have suffered, had our Enemies prevailed; how total a Destruction of every thing valuable to us on Earth, that can be destroyed by Man; I endeavoured to Thew you at the very Beginning of their Attempt: and the whole Body of the Nation, God be thanked, have expressed the strongest Detestation of it. May neither the Horror of the impending Ruin, nor the frightful Probability there was of its overwhelming us, ever be forgot. Recollect, I entreat you, what your successive Apprehenfions have been for many Months paft: on the early and intire, and easy Defeat of our Forces by the Rebels ; on the defenceless Condition in which the Island then was; on their paffing afterwards, unhurt, by two Armies posted to intercept them, and approaching towards this Capital ; on the Prospect of powerful Affiftance to them from abroad; on the credible, though happily false, Intelligence of our being actually invaded; on the safe Retreat of our domestic Enemies into the North, to join, as it was affirmed and believed, with foreign Succours there; on our second Disappointment in Battle, a fatal one it might have proved; on the continual Dangers, to which that heroic Prince was exposed, whose Presence and Conduct, and Courage and Activity, were so effentially necessary for animating our dispirited
* Exodus x. 17.
f Psalm lxxxviii. 4, 5.
'roops ; on the reafsembling and Successes of
r Foes, after a seeming Despondency and - ispersion; on the Largeness of their NumJ :rs, the Advantages of their Situation ; and
tly, on the strong Report of what was but s o possible, a complete Victory obtained by
m, when indeed one had been obtained e r them, of which we were ignorant. Had
not often, during this period, the Sentence and Death within ourselves? Were we not trou
bled on every Side ; without were Fightings, within were Fears *; Mens Hearts failing them for Fear; and for looking after those Things which were coming on the Earth £? And had we been asked, at some Junctures especially, as the Prophet was; in Language akin to that of the Text, Can these dry. Bones live? Can this exhausted Nation rise up again, and shake off the Pressures; from every Quarter, under which it labours ? What other Reply, at best, could we have made, than this ? O Lord God, thou knowejt I. For surely the wisest of Men did not know: nor could the bravest answer for the Event, after it had been so frequently