28 MARCH (PREACHED 25 MARCH 1787)
Left to ourselves, ruin is certain
‘Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.’ Proverbs 14:34
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Daniel 9:1–19
I think it undeniable that if this righteousness were diffused among all ranks and orders of men, there would be reason to say, happy are the people that are in such a state. Discord, envy, hatred, prodigality, covetousness, sensuality and a long train of evils which fill the world with woe, would be banished from among them. Each one in his sphere would contribute to the good of the whole, and God thus served, and thus honoured, would be their bulwark and shield, a wall of fire round about them and a glory in the midst of them. But where sin, the neglect of God and of his laws, prevail—it is a present reproach—it will prove them a foolish and unwise, an ungrateful and base spirited people. A want of public spirit in superiors, a readiness to sacrifice every valuable consideration to the selfish calls of ambition or interest—and, in the inferior [socially lower] classes, impatience of subordination, licentiousness under the pretence of liberty, the indulgence of hurtful passions—in general: dissensions, riots, weak counsels, rash enterprises, ruined fortunes and constitutions, distracted families, tyrannical masters, treacherous servants, bankruptcies, robberies, rapes and murders, crowded jails and places of worship almost empty, would mark the character of the nation and of the times. And these things would in their own nature, not only be a reproach, but tend to the ruin of the people.
FOR MEDITATION: God has sometimes shown his displeasure against sin by public and severe judgements—thus he brought a flood upon the old world and destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah with fire. But if he only leaves a people to themselves, their ruin will be equally certain, and perhaps equally terrible. He inflicted no heavier punishment than this upon the Jews after they had filled up the measure of their iniquities by crucifying the Son of God. He did not visit them with earthquakes or hurricanes, but he gave them up to the way of their own hearts. Their ruin quickly followed; they brought it upon themselves, with such a complicated concurrence of calamities as were never suffered by any other people upon earth.
SERMON: PROVERBS 14:34 [4/7] [FOR THE ANNUAL CHARITY SERMON]