24 SEPTEMBER (PREACHED 22 SEPTEMBER 1782)
A nation’s secret strength
‘Zebulun and Naphtali were a people that jeoparded their lives unto the death in the high places of the field.’ Judges 5:18
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Nehemiah 1:1–11
This war is complicated. Never before perhaps was the nation opposed by so powerful a combination of enemies—we feel the disparity and it is no dishonour in our situation to feel it. Except the Lord of hosts be on our side, there is but little hope of our standing long in so unequal a contest. We are brought to a crisis and our possessions, our civil and religious liberties, are all eminently at stake. Next to the prayers of those who fear God, our grand resource is in our fleets and armies. How desirable is it that the men to whom we commit our cause should be such as know to whom they should look for success. We may well wonder that the Lord of hosts should so often give us victory by such instruments as who, far from improving his blessing, or rendering him praise, disown his authority and in a manner defy him to his face. Could this insensibility and presumption be removed, we might hope that one might chase a thousand and five put ten thousand to flight—and that though millions were engaged against us, yet the Lord of hosts would be for us and preserve us. As things stand at present, they who really believe there is a God that governs the earth, can place but small dependence upon our warlike preparations when he is so little acknowledged either by those who plan our enterprises, or by those who undertake to carry them into execution. They know not what they do. Put the Bible into their hands, and who can tell but it may be in many instances the happy means of teaching them their sin, their dangers, their need of salvation and the worth of a Saviour. This would habituate them to obedience and subordination more than the strictest discipline without it. This will inspire them with a courage founded in principle; this would give strength to their arms and edge to their weapons, when lawfully called forth to plead the cause of their country.
We now of fleets and armies vaunt,
Yet, Lord, we hope thou hast prepared
And ships and men prepare;
A hidden few today;
But men like Moses most we want,
(The nation’s secret strength and guard)
To save the state by prayer.
To weep, and mourn, and pray.
SERMON: JUDGES 5:18 [3/4] [FOR THE BIBLE SOCIETY AT ALDGATE]