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SERMON THE PRESENT WAR; DAY OF THE NATIONAL FAST. THOMAS WARDROPE. REV. BY REQUEST. UBLISHED [SECOND THOUSAND.

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THE PRESENT WAR; SERMON PREACHED IN THE FREE CHURCH, OTTAWA, ON WEDNESDAY, 18th APRIL, BEING THE DAY OF THE NATIONAL FAST. REV. BY THE THOMAS WARDROPE. UBLISHED BY REQUEST. [SECOND THOUSAND. PRINTED AT
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THE PRESENT WAR; SERMON PREACHED IN THE FREE CHURCH, OTTAWA, ON WEDNESDAY, 18th APRIL, BEING THE DAY OF THE NATIONAL FAST. REV. BY THE THOMAS WARDROPE. UBLISHED BY REQUEST. [SECOND THOUSAND. PRINTED AT THE OFFICE OF THE OTTAWA CITIZEN. ICthrarg KINGSTON, ONTARIO THE PRESENT WAR: SERMON BREACHED IN THE FREE CHURCH, OTTAWA, ON WEDNESDAY ISth APRIL, BEING THE DAY OF THE NATIONAL FAST. RET. BY THE THOMAS WARDROPE. PUBLISHED I3Y REQUEST. [SECOND THOUSAND PRINTED AT THE OFFICE OF THE OTTAWA CITIZEN PROCLAMATION. THE MAYOR of the CITY OF OTTAWA, calls the attention of th«citizens to the ROYAL PROCLAMATION (a copy of which is hereunder written) appointing Wednesday, the Eighteenth day of April, 1855, as a day of General Fast and Humiliation, and of Prayer to Almighty God, for the success of the Allied Arms in the present War, and requests the Citiseos to observe the same accordingly. Ottawa, I6lh April, 1855.? oi25a. * I EDMUND MEAD. VICTORIA, i,y the Grace af God, cf the United Kingdom of Great Britain To all and Ii eland, Queen, Defender of the Faith, fyc. fyc. c. Our Loving Subjects in oar Province of Canada, Greeting; A PR O CLAMA Tl ON. L. T. Drummoud. Att'y Genl. '* ENOW YE, that taking into most serious consideration the grcst struggle in M tfrtucli \\e are now eii^ged tor the tteience of the liberties oi Our people and nf the civilized nations of Europe^ and considering the propriety of setting M Spart a day to be obs rved throughout our said Province as a day of humilia- '' tion and solemn prayer to Almighty God for the success of Cur Arms in the ' present war, and for the speedy attainment of a favorable and lasting peace, We have thought fit, by the advice of Cur Executive Council for our s«'' '. c Province, to issue you tins Our Proclamation appointing, am' we do hereby appoint ay, the Eighteenth day of April, 1856, to be observed ** throughout our said Province as a Day of General Fast and Humiliation and ** of Prayer to Almighty God for the success of Cur Arms in the said War. * ' And we do hereby earnestly exhort all Cur loving subjects in our said Pro- vince reverentially and devoutly to observe the same as a day of general fast, humiliation and prayer. The Fast Day. Wednesday was observed in this city with all the. ik-isc* and solemnity of the Sabbath. All the churches were open., and all the places of business were closed.-* 5 Ottawa Citizen, April 21, Digitized by the Internet Archive in 2012 with funding from Queen's University - University of Toronto Libraries J»HJEMIAH, iv. 19- Thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war. Vkhse 21 : ' How long shall I see the standard, and hear the sound of the trumpet?'* We are met together this morning, my hearers, in circumstances of more than ordinary solemnity. From Sabbath to Sabbath we assemble here, as it is regularly said to us, Let us go into the hou.ve of the Lord. Hither, as to other places of worship, the tribes come up, the tribes of the Lord, unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the Lord. We meet on such ordinary occasions, because God has instituted the ordinances of public worship to be devoutly observed throughout all generations. We meet because He has commanded us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. We meet to unite in the worship of Him who created us, who sustains us in being, who wards off the dangers by which we are daily beset and heals the diseases by which we are many a time enfeebled, who makes the outgoings of the morning and the evening to rejoice, and crowns us with loving kindness and tender mercies. We meet to attend to the counsels of heavenly wisdom, to hear what God the Lord will speak, to be reminded of the shortness and uncertainty of our time upon earth, to be told of a Saviour's love, to be admonished of the necessity of securing a personal interest in it before this mortal life shall have come to a close, and to be warned of the danger of neglecting so great salvation. Our meeting together must thus of necessity be at all limes a solemn service, if we bear in mind the greatness and momentousness of the objects in view if we are really convinced that we are responsible beings possessed of souls that will never die, that we shall one day have to render in our account to God, that the welfare of the soul is of more importance than the present welfare of the body, that heaven is better than earth, and eternity longer than time. 6 But, as has already been observed, our present meeting is one? of even more than ordinary solemnity. Our present meeting, taken in connexion with other similar assemblies throughout the laud, is to be regarded as a special notional recognition of God as the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe. This is not one of our ordinary holy days on which, as a matter of course, we assemble in the house of God. This is a day on which, but for special circumstances, we should have been otherwise engaged, some being occupied about their farms, and others about their merchandize. But secular business is suspended, commerce has closed her marts, mechanics have laid aside the implements of their trade, agriculturists have paused in their preparations for the work of the opening spring, and we are with one consent met as a people to humble ourselves before God. And this, not by the ortier, of a bishop, not by the admonition of a presbytery nor by the injunction of a synod, but in compliance with a call addressed to us by our civil rulers who, in that very call, recognize and acknowledge a higher than they, a Ruler above all the rulers of this world, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. For God, in whose presence we are this dr-y assembled, whose aid and blessing we this day implore, before whom we would this day humble ourselves, not merely by the outward prostration of our bodies, but by the bowing down of the innerman of our hearts, has been making bare His holy arm in righteou* j idgnient, so as to arrest the attention and command the reverence even i of many who do not usually regard the work of the Lord, nor consider the operation of His hands. He has been showing us as a nation that,, wit} i all our fancied greatness and w T ith all our fancied stability, Hi? has only to withhold His countenance and protection, and we totter oar fall. He has been showing us that, as the Assyrian, and the Grecian, and the Roman, so also the British Empire may v speedily cease l.o be an Empire, if He to whom belong the shields of the earth?' v/il Is it that her sceptre should depart. He has been showing us, ia events that have recently transpired, terrible things in righteousness^' and causing us to drink the wine of astonishment. He ha* been saying to us as a nation, Be still, and know that I am God. Aro these to be regarded as exaggerated statements, or too highly coloured representations? Are they to be regarded as words, proper enough to be uttered on a day of general fasting, humiliation, and prayer, but with more, after all, of sound merely, than of real sense and significance? Are they to be regarded as words which, although fit and becoming to be spoken in the House of God, would convey nomeaning if addressed to men on the street, or in the market place, engaged in the matter-of-fact transactions of every day life? Or ar they to be regarded as the statement of sober truths and of melancholy realities? Let the general prevalence of commercial stagnation, let the failure of well-established houses which hardly ever contemplated it as even a possible thing that they should be unable to meet fchei* to* liabilities, let the dearth of the necessaries of life, placing them almost beyond the reach of the poor, and threatening thtm at least with starvation, if not the nation at large with famine, let numerous and well-equipped armies, not indeed foiled by other opposing armies, but dying, as it might be stated in the verdict of an inquest, by the visitation of God, let sagacious statesmen at their wits' end, not knowing what measures to devise either for the restoration of peace, or fjr the successful prosecution of war, let all these complicated calamities furnish an answer. These are calamities which cannot be overlooked nor spoken lightly of, even by those who might be little affected by hearing of evils of another kind, by hearing, for example, of the spiritual decay of churches, of the scarcity of candidates for the Gospel ministry, of the unanswered cry of perishing multitudes saying, Come over and help us, of the withholding of the gracious influences of God's Holy Spirit. And, in view of such calamities, are we to think it a strange thing if men should be constrained to pause and ponder? Ought we sceptically to say that, in such circumstances, a day of fasting and prayer may after all be followed by no good result? Ought we, putting away guilt from ourselves and rolling it upon others, to allege that our rulers may have been influenced by no pure and proper motives in the appointment of such a day? Ought we not rather to pray that, as the judgments of God are abroad in the land, the inhabitants thereof generally we and our rulers may learn righteousness? And ought we not to be thankful that a call has been addressed to us from a quarter whence such a call has been too aeldom heard, to humble ourselves before God in fasting and prayer? The tendency of the times has of late years been such that, but for some signal judgment poured out upon, or suspended over our land, a national fast was likely to become a thing unknown. No very 3ong period has elapsed since a leading statesman of our day propounded in a public document sentiments which, whether or not lie intended them to be so understood, were eagerly interpreted by infidels and so-called free-thinkers as meaning that if, on the apprehended approach of a pestilence, men would only sweep their streets, and whitewash their houses, and feed the poor in the crowded lanes of their cities, they might dispense with everything like special prayer to God for its removal. We regard it, not as affording occasion for any taunting retort, nor for any vain-glorious boasting, but certainly as a circumstance not a little significant, that, under the premiership of the same statesman, arid within a year after the publication of the document referred to, a solemn and earnest exhortation should have been addressed to all the loving subjects of our Queen, to humble themselves in fasting and prayer before that God at whose command the pestilence walks in darkness, and the destruction wastes at noon-day, and famine goes forth with its woes, and war spreads its disastrous and desolating influence over the world. 8 We have adverted to the tendency of the age, and to the likelihood of national fasts, or indeed any national recognition of God, becoming, bat for the out-pouring of terrible judgments, things unknown. And should the calamities with which we are now visited be averted, should the war be brought to a speedy termination, and peace established for a long series of years throughout all our borders, should commerce revive, and trade flourish, and success attend alt our speculations, and our land be filled with the finest of the wheat, and the minds and thoughts of our statesmen return to the channelsfrom which they have been temporarily diverted by the doubtful success of a protracted struggle, those among us who live to old age might, in the end of their days, have to speak of this day as the last day of national fasting and prayer observed in our country. This we should regard as a state of things deeply to be deplored. For, while we protest against the interference of civil governments in the internal affairs of churches, and repudiate the idea of men being made religious by any legislative enactment, we do hold it to be right and becoming that nations should, in their collective capacity, pray to God for national blessings required, and praise God for national blessings already bestowed. Just as we believe it to be imperative upon individuals, and1 families, and churches, in all these several capacities, reverently to. wait upon God, and to recognize His hand in all His dealings with them ; so do we affirm it to be imperative upon nations as suck, from time to time, as the indications of Providence may suggest the propriety of it, to humble themselves before God, and to kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and they perish from the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Such a time is the present ; and that at such a time we are called upon by those in authority over us, to unite in acknowledging the hand of God, we rejoice to find. In this, we may say our fears have been disappointed, our expectations exceeded. hardly expected such an exhortation, an exhortation so seasonable in itself, and expressed in terms so perfectly appropriate,* as that which has been addressed to us. But the King's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water : He turneth it whithersoever He will. ' Let us plead with God that from this day a new spirit may animate all our own efforts to promote His glory, and a new spirit pervade the councils of our nation. Such prayers offered in faith will be heard :: such prayers offered in faith will be answered in due time. We are not straitened in God : let us not be straitened in ourselves. Let ifc not be true of us, as it was long ago of a highly privileged community, let it not be true of us, that mighty works cannot be done among us, because of our unbelief. Let it not be true of us,. that we have not, because we ask not, or because asking, We we ask amiss, influenced by unworthy motives, or with low and selfish objects in view*. * See the Royal Proclamation on the third page.. 9 Let us not limit the Holy One of Israel. Our fathers trusted ira Him : they trusted, and He did deliver them : they cried unto Him, and were delivered : they trusted in Him, and were not confounded. He who, in the old time, raised up Daniel as a minister of state, can raise up other Daniels as ministers of state now. When in Germany, help for the church was required in the high places of civil power, the Elector of Saxony was brought forward in the Providence of God. When in Scotland, help was required in the high places of civil power, the Good Regent appeared. And, without even deposing any of those who are at present intrusted with the ordering of our nation's affairs, God can impart to them the grace which shall constrain them to rule in His fear, and to look to Him for the wisdom which He giveth liberally, and upbraideth not. The aspect of affairs might, by God's merciful interposition, be speedily and completely changed. The calamities of war might be succeeded by the blessings of peace. To the advancing tide of immorality might be addressed by God the irreeistible command, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no farther, and here shall thy proud waves be stayed. That righteousness which exalteth a nation might regulate all our affairs ; and that sin might be scrupulously avoided, which is the ruin and the reproach of any people. In all the departments of the government service, in all the operations of railroad, and steamboat, and other companies, in all the journeyings and in all the transactions of private individuals, regard might be had every day to the glory of God, and the Divine command might be reverently and conscientiously observed, Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. * Blessings temporal and spiritual might be * On such an occasion our first duty plainly was to confess our demerits ami humbly to acknowledge that the evils we endured and feared were not more than we had deserved. This nation had been highly favoured by God ; but had we so drunk the cup of prosperity as to make it profitable to the national health and the pood of mankind, or at least of those under our rule and within the sphere of our influence? Had we used our prosperity to increase the comforts and raise the moral character of the poorer classes of the community? Had we done all that we might have done to spread the knowledge of the blessed Gospel throughout our own dependencies and among distant heathen tribes? Had we made our worldwide commerce the pioneer of religion? Had there been exhibited a true selfdenying charitable spirit an exemplary practical confession of the sovereignty of God a ready and sincere homage to the cause of the Saviour on the part of those who gave the tone to public opinion and the complexion to the national character? Not to speak of the studied exclusion of religion from the ordinary transactions of modern society the absence ol all reference to the sovereignty of God and to the sanctions of His Gospel in the public acts of our Government except on extraordinary occasions not to speak of the perversions and prostitutions of genius and learning in the service of immorality and irrcligion not to enlarge on the luxury and extravagance that consumed the time and wasted the faculties of too many of the wealthier classes and crippled their means of doing good, he would suggest one topic of the last importance he meant the observance of the Sabbath. He deemed this a subject of the deepest interest ; and what, he would ask, had been the course of our Legislature regarding it 1 While there was a trong inclination on the part of a great number of the tradesmen of this metropolis to limit their worldly calling on that day, the Legislature of this Christian couutry refused them the protection which they desired ; and, more than this, we were threatened with measures of which, thank God, the danger was past for the 10 showered down upon us abundantly, for God is waiting to bestow them ; and He might, by a grateful people, be devoutly adored as the Giver of them all. Our sons might be as plants grown up in their youth, our daughters as corner stones polished after the similitude of a palace. Our garners might be full, affording all manner of store, and our sheep bring forth thousands and tens of thousands in our streets. Our oxen might be strong to labour; there might be no breaking in, nor going out, and no complaining in our streets. And the testimony of praise and admiration might be elicited by the contemplation of a scene so fair, Happy is that people that is in such a case : yea, happy is that people whose God is the Lord! But we must not, by the consideration of blessed results that might ensue from a sincere and general turning to the Lord, and the out-pouring upon our land of the influences of His Holy Spirit, be diverted from the object of our present meeting together. We have forgotten God our Rock, and the High God our Redeemer. And so the blessings of which we have spoken, as all in reserve and ready to be bestowed upon individuals and communities in the right spirit askingthem, are in the meantime withheld. The gracious and sanctifying influences of God's Spirit are restrained. Sin is extending its baneful and blighting influences over the country. Because of swearing, and lying, and drunkenness, and Sabbath-breaking, and general forgetfulness of God, the land mourneth. In temporal things, instead of that prosperity, during the continuance of which we said, Our mountain standeth strong, and we shall never be moved, we are tried by melancholy and perplexing reverses. Instead of that plenty, during the continuance of which we acknowledged not the bounty of Him who opened His hand, and supplied all our wants, we are now threatened and visited with scarcity. Instead of that peace, during the continuance of which we recognized not the merciful intervention of Him who *' ' made wars to cease unto the ends of the earth, broke the bow, cut the spear in sunder, and burned the chariot in the fire, we are, as a nation, involved in the horrors and calamities of war. I am pained at my very heart, every one of us may say
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