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· JOHN v. 14. Afterward. Jesus findeth him in the
Temple, and said unto him, Bebold, thou art made whole : Sin no more, left a worse thing come unto thee. A FTER seven yearly Fasts, we have
now through God's Mercy, before
we have deserved it, one Day of general Thanksgiving: and surely our Concern is to employ it so, that we may hope for more. Now there can be no wiser or kinder Direction for this purpose, than that of our Lord in the Text. He had just healed the Person to whom he speaks, and therefore certainly did not mean to use him harshly in these Words: but indeed to shew him still greater Goodness, than he had done already; as much greater, as Spiritual and Eternal Welfare is than Temporal. His Cure had been the heaviest' of Misfortunes to him, had he behaved improperly upon it. But Jefus found him in the Temple, whither probably he went with a
168 SERMON VII. devout Heart, to give God Praise, This mised well concerning him: yet by na mex rendered a strong Warning to him superfluo Permit me therefore, finding You, and Go be thanked that I find so many of you, in the Temple on a like Occasion, to treat you in a like Manner. And think it not strange, I befeech you, if at present you hear not folely the Voice of Joy, though never was a juster Occafion for it, but are exhorted, even now, to serve the Lord in Fear, and rejoice unto him with Reverence *. I hope many Teachers of his Word will dwell this Day on the same Subject: for the Advice, here given by our gracious Master, comprehends every thing that our Condition requires. I. A thankful Sense of the Blessing, which we
have received. Behold, thou art made whole. II. A firm Resolution of virtuous Obedience
in Return for it. Sin no more. III. A prudent Consideration of the Danger
of behaving otherwise. Left a worse thing ... come unto thee.
I. A thankful Sense of the Blessing, which we have received. Behold, thou art made whole. ;
.Pfalm ii. 11.
. 't this Time last Year, and for many
iths after, we had a very afflicting Sense of
Judgments, that threatened us : the whole, -vation had it, and with the utmost Cause. Our Religion, our Liberties, our Lives, our public Independence, our private Properties, were all at Stake. Our Forces were few, unsuccessful, and disheartened: the Rebels were numerous, fushed with Victory, and increasing. Then, befides what appeared, we knew not how much more Evil we had to apprehend, from abroad or at home, from the Fury of our Enemies, from the Coldness of our Friends. The Danger too was no less imminent than great: and must soon cruth us, if not soon averted. We saw, and felt, and trembled at it; we exerted: ourselves against it with a Spirit, never known amongst us before: and God forbid we should have forgotten, God forbid we Mhould ever forget, the Impressions that we had so lately, first of the Terrors impending over us, then of the Felicity of their sudden Dispersion.
It is true, we are not yet perfectly whole. Far from it, Heaven knows. But what would we have given once for so happy an Approach towards it, as we how poffess ? Our domestic
Foes are fallen in Battle, or cut off by Justice, or driven into other Lands, or absconding in Cor-' ners of their own, impoverished and disarmed, and taught by Experience neither to rely on themselves, nor their faithless Allies. Our Soldiery have recovered their ancient Courage and Character. The Nation in general hath united in active Loyalty : we are known and trusted one by another ; known and dreaded by our Adversaries, who had strangely miltaken our intestine Divisions, bad as they were,
for something much worse. Our Diftemper is v at least expelled from our Vitals, and driven to
the extreme Parts. We have Notice, we have Time, to provide against a Return of it: and poffibly at present France may be feeling from us, in her own Dominions, a small Share of the Sufferings, which she projected for Ours, while We are enjoying in Peace all that we feared to lose. Whatever we may want therefore to make our Happiness complete, we ought to be most deeply sensible, that our Portion of it is remarkably large : fo large, that there is not surely a Nation upon Earth, with which any one of us, in the midst of all that we have to complain of and lament, would be willing on the whole to change Conditions.