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introduce Love and Concord in their Place :SER M.
Which God grant, &c.
SER MON XXII.
Preached at St. Peter's Poor, on the publick
DEUTERON. xxxii. 29.
O that They were wise, that They understood this,
that They would consider their latter End!
SERM. HE Words, I have now read to you,
are the pathetical and moving Wish
of God himself, about the People of Israel. O that They were wise, that They understood this, that They would consider their latter End! Some Interpreters, indeed, understand them to refer to the Enemies of Israel, who were spoken of, in the Verse before. But it seems to me much more probable, that these, and the following Words also, belong to the Children of Israel; and express, (agreeably to
the main Design of this whole Song, of which s ERM. they are a Part,) the great Desire that Al- XXII. mighty God had, to make them an happy and m glorious Nation; and likewise, what it was that He expected from Them themselves, in order to this. » That they refer to the Interest of a whole Nation, is certain : and therefore, tho' the Death of particular Persons may
be called their latter End, and often expressed, in the common way of Speaking, by that Phrase; and, tho’ this Text may be applied to That, confidered by itself, and separated from the rest of this Chapter : yet, it is plain that it has no Relation, as it stands here, to the Death of
para ticular Persons, but refers wholly to the latter End of Nations, or the final Ruine of whole Societies. Almighty God therefore doth, in this Verse (after the most pathetical Manner, amongst Men, of expressing the Desires of their Hearts.) with that the People of Israel were wise, i, e. That they had such a Wisdom, as would direct and move them to Every thing proper and necessary, in order to their own Preservation and Happiness. He wilhes that they understood this; which seems to mean the Method in which he deals with Nations ; and, in other words, that they would consider their latter End, or, how certain their End will be, if They will not behave themselves as
SERM, the great Governour of the World expects ; xxii, and that they would so consider this, as to be
moved, by this Consideration, to the Performance of all those Conditions which are necefsary, on their own Part, to the preventing their Ruine, and establishing their Prosperity. And then it follows, (Verse 30.) How should One chase a Thousand, and Two put Ten thoufand to flight, except their Rock bad fold them, and the Lord had shut them up; - i. e. What a glorious Current of Success should they have, in all their lawful Enterprizes against their Enemies, unless God Tould put a stop to it himself; and fell them into their Enemies Hands, and into a base Captivity, for the sake of their foolish and wicked Behaviour, and their ungrateful Returns for all those extraordinary Favours bestowed upon them by Him, and by his peculiar Providence ?
These Words, thus explained, you see, direct every Man, who is a Member of any Nation, or Society, to consider himself as such: not always to regard only his own private and perfonal Concerns; but often to have in his Thoughts the Relation he bears to other's around him, and what is required of him, as he is a part of that Whole, in the Welfare of which, He himself, and all his own Pofterity, and that of all around Him, are nearly concerned.
This, I say, it becomes us all' frequently to SER M. confider, and especially upon such Occafions, XXII. as That which has now called us together. And m to this End, the Words before us are very proper, as they naturally lead us to the following Observations :
1. That God doth truly desire the Prosperity and Happiness of Nations and Societies of Men.
II. That his Desire of their Prosperity doth not induce Him to make them happy, without their own joint Assistance; but that He expects their own Wisdom, and their best Endeavours, to concur with Him. And,
III. That the Consideration of that latter End, and Dissolution, which Nations must expect, if they go on to displease God; and of those Rules by which he acts, in his Dealings with Societies, ought to be of great Force to engage Us to consult our own Security and Prosperity, in those Methods which He has laid before Us; particularly, by forsaking those Vices, which otherwise must be our Ruine.,
1. Let us obferve, for our own great Satisfaction, that Almighty God is truly concerned for the Welfare of all public Societies and Nations. Far be it from us to suppose, that He