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for ever and ever-then must we lament, that, though the battle was fought and gained, yet the victory was lost for ever!
But the Scriptures speak to our case. They declare to us that God is the Lord, which sheweth us light in this desparate condition of human nature. They teach us how to say, Thanks be unto God who giveth us The victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. They teach us to understand the text in a more enlarged sense : God is the Lord, which hath shewed us light; in sending Christ to be the light of the world; and in promising, that he, that followeth him, shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. The word of God teaches us, that, now life and immortality are brought to light by the Gospel ; and that the light shall be made to shine into our hearts, manifesting the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
If you wish to enquire whether this is the accommodated, or the actual sense of the passage; whether God here intended temporal victory, or that victory which shall be obtained through his Son; you have only to turn to the xxist chapter of St. Matthew, and the ivth chapter of the Acts, where you will find this very Psalm applied to Christ, the light of the world. We may say, therefore, with Zacharias, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he hath visited and redeemed his people, and hath raised up a horn of salvation for
us in the house of his servant David. We are now authorised to say, whatever may be the condition of human nature, Arise, shine: for thy light is come-or, as it may be rendered, Be thou enlightened-the glory of the Lord is risen upon theeGod is the Lord, which hath shewed us light.
It is melancholy to behold, what must be daily seen by every discerning eye-multitudes carried away with any recent event of a temporal nature, yet wholly insensible to that subject, which is of infinitely greater importance to them :-“ An amazing victory has been atchieved! Are not you astonished at what has been done? What a glory it casts on this nation! What a hero was Lord Nelson! There ought to be statues erected in every place to his memory! What a grand event! What a glorious period will this form in English history!" All this is very true: but—there is a matter of infinitely greater importance that is quite forgotten: nay-it is even offensive to mention it at such a time! What a picture of deep depravity! What a mean, sordid, stupid heart is here! What comparison can be drawn between temporal events and eternal concerns ?
What is life itself? I cannot see a more striking answer to that question than in the man who went out to fight your battles-- There the man stands : and the eyes of the nation are upon him !-the , bulwark of the land !--the hope of Britain !- the
terror of our enemies !_his very name a host!. A single bullet lays him dead! and the next we see of him, is his corpse carried in procession through the streets to his long home! What is life?
What is your great man !--your mighty man! If, indeed, he be a wicked man, you have only to read one part of the book of Revelations to seeAnd the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of his wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand? Here were men who were able to stand the conflicts of hosts, and to stand like a rock amid storms; but they had not prepared for eternity!
Brethren! let us return to the text: God is the Lord, which hath shewed us light in all these cases and events; and it is this light, that brings forward eternal things in comparison with temporal things, and teaches us how to meet the Lamb upon the throne, when he comes to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe, when these great men and mighty men are calling to the rocks and mountains to hide them from his presence!
II. We shall proceed to consider, that Special Deliverances demand SPECIAL ACKNOWLEDGMENTS. .
Let us consider this part of the subject the demand of special acknowledgments :- Bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar. Bind them with cords, and lay them upon it, for a thank-offering to God: for he has done this.
Thanksgiving is the duty of every individual of this nation : for the crane and the swallow know the time of their coming : and in how wretched a state is that man, who knows not his obligations to Him who has done great things for him! A mere outward expression, in attending the services appointed for the day, is not, however, sufficient: and much less does it become the man, who, consecrates the day, which he calls a Day of Thanksgiving, to festivity and boasting in an arm of flesh ; who forgets God, in rioting and drunk, enness; who loses sight of eternal things and eternal obligations, in some temporal event, however glorious and however important, The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but such a man considereth not, nor speaketh aright: his taste and sentiment are wrong: his heart is earthly and sensual. !To you, my Dear Hearers, I would address the Apostle's advice: I beseech you, Brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a
living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. If there be a reasonable service on earth, it is the service of this dayrightly performed. In the text a sacrifice is énjoined: it was a typical one to the Jews, laid upon a brazen altar: it is a spiritual service, a more excellent sacrifice, that is recommended to the Christian-offered through Jesus Christ, who is both the altar and priest. As members of the Church of England, you express this as part of your service: you say, “ Here we offer and present unto thee, O Lord, ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and lively sacrifice unto thee:” and if a man presents himself, we may be assured that every thing which that man has is presented also: if you take hold of the heart of a man, you take the whole of the man, and all that he has. Such a man is prepared for the Apostle's Exhortation, Heb. XIII. 15, 16. By him let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not; for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
Let us consider the duties arising out of this subject, as it respects God, our Neighbour, and Ourselves.
1. With respect to OURSELVES.