Joseph Stennett.

The Works of the late Reverend and Learned Mr. Joseph Stennett : in five volumes ; to which is prefix'd some account of his life (Volume 1) online

. (page 18 of 28)
Online LibraryJoseph StennettThe Works of the late Reverend and Learned Mr. Joseph Stennett : in five volumes ; to which is prefix'd some account of his life (Volume 1) → online text (page 18 of 28)
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hath dajhed in pieces the enemy ; and in the
greatnefs of thy excellency thou hofi overthrown
them that rofe up againji thee : thou fentefl
forth thy wrath, which confumed them as ftub-
ble f. The enemy faid, I will purfue, I will
overtake, I will divide the fpoil : my hijl fhall
be fatisfied upon them ; I will draw my [word,
my hand Jhall dejiroy them. Thou didjl blow
with thy wind, the fea covered them : they
fank as lead in the mighty waters. Who is like
unto thee, O hord, among the gods ? who is
like unto thee, glorious in holinefs, fearful in
praifes, doing wonders ^ ? &c. And elfewhere,
/ will publifi, fays Mofes, the name of the
Lord : afcribe ye greatnefs to our God. He is
the rock, his work is perfect : for all his ways
are judgment : a God of truth, and without
iniquity, juft and right is he ^. Let us fing
ill the words of the pfalmift, het the righ-
teous be glad, let them rejoice before God ; yea,
let them exceedifigly rejoice. Sing unto God,
fing praifes to his fiame : extol him that rideih

^ Exod. 15. 1— -7. I h Deut. 32. 3, 4.

8 Ver. 9, 10, 11. I


Serm. V. for the viEiory at Hocbftet. 253

up07i the heavens by his name Jah^ a?td rejoice
before him '\ 'The Lord gave the word, great
nvas the compa?iy of thofe that publijhed it.
Kings of armies did fee apace : a7id floe that
tarried at home divided the fpoil ^, Bleffed be
the Lordy who daily loadeth us with benefitSy
even the God of our falvation. Selah, He that
is our Gody is the God of falvation : and unto
God the Lord belong the iffues from death.
But God floall wound the head of his enemies y
and the hairy fc alp offuch a one as goeth onjiill
in his trefpajfes ^ Blefs ye Gody in the congre-
gationSy even the Lordy from the fountain of
Ifrael "". Thy God hath cofnmanded thy
Jirength : firengtheny O Gody that which thou
haji wrought for us ". — Scatter thou the
people that delight in war. Sing unto God^
ye kingdoms of the earth : O fng praifes unto
the Lord. Selah °. Afcribe ye Jirength unto
God : his excellency is over Ifrael, and his
Jirength is in the clouds. O Gody thou art ter-
rible out of thy holy places : the God of Ifrael
is he, that giveth ftrength and power utito his
people. Blejfed be God p. And elfewhere : O
fng unto the Lord a newfong, for he hath done
marvellous things : his right hand and his holy
arm hath gotten him the victory ^.

But what fld all we render to the Lord for all
his benefits ? Wherewith Jhall we come before

' Pfal.^S. 3,4.

n Ver. 76.

^ Ver, II, li.

" Ver. 30, 31,

' Ver. 19, 10, a I,

P Ver. 34,35.

«n Ver. 26.

^ Pfal 98. 1.


254 ^ thank/gtving fermon

the Lord, and bow ourfehes before the high
God ? Shall we come before him with burnt-
offerings, with calves of a year old ? Will the
Lord be pleafed with thoufands of rams, or
with ten thoufands of rivers of oil ' P No :
tho the thankigiving of his people was for-
merly expreffed by thefe offerings, which
are not required of us, fince the oblation
our Saviour made of himfelf once for all on
the crofs ; yet God expe Ver. lo. I "^ Mat. 25. 35, 36.

^ Pfal. U. z. If Ver. 40.


Serm. V. for the viEiory at Hochftet. 257

fmg of him that .was ready to perijh may come
upo?i you ; and that you may caufe the widow's
heart to Jing for joy s ; for, to life the words
of the apoftle, the adminijiration of this fer-
•vice not only fuppUes the want of the faints^
hut is abundant afo bv ma?iy thankfgivings imto
God \

Need I add any thing to excite you to
praife the God of our mercies, after I have
reprefented to you how much an unworthy
■ and finful nation has been the care of his
providence, and how much we owe him for
that important change he has made in the
ftate of affairs in Europe, in favour of the
proteftant interefl: ? The duty of thanks-
giving is reafonable, neceflary, and pleafant ;
'tis the buiinefs and pleafure of the higheft
order of rational creatures, the holy a?igels
that always behold the face of our heavenly
father '. We cannot negle(5t this duty with-
out contracting the guilt of the blackeft in-
gratitude, and incurring the difpleafure of a
jealous God. As his temple is called the
houfe of prayer, fo it is termed the praifes
of Ifrael ^, to fhew that praife is an eflential
part of his worfhip as well as prayer. 'Tis
an eafe and pleafure to a grateful mind, to
acknowledge the obligations which it can
never difcharge. 'Tis very acceptable to
God, as well as agreeable to every ingenuous
foul ; and on that account we may apply to

8 Job 19. 13. j i Mat. 18. 10.

* 2 Cor. 9. 12. I ^ Pfal. 22. 2.

Vol. L S k

2^8 ^ thankfgiving fcrmon^ &c.

^t what Jotham in his parable fays of the
fruit of the vine, that it chears both God and
man '. 'Tis a pleafing facrifice to him, and
a pleafant duty to all that fmcerely perform
it : Praife ye the Lord, fays the pfalmift,
for it is good to fing praifes unto our God, for
it is pleafant ; and praife is comely '". But we
muft always remember, that our lives are
to praife him as well as our lips : and if his
goodnefs has that influence upon us, as effec-
tually to lead us to repentance ", we fhall be
fecure of the divine favour, and have more
of thefe occafions to enter into his gates with
thankfgiving, and into his courts with praife °.
For who Jhall harm us, if we be followers of
that which is good p ? And if God be for us,
who can be againft us ? If he arife, his ene-
mies will be fcattered -, and thoje that hate
him Jhall fee before him ^.

» Judg. 5. 13. I ° ^^^'- i°0' 4«

m pfal. 147. I. "I P^f- 3- 13-

• Rom. 2.4., I "iP^al. 68.1.


( ^5P )

A fermon preach'd on Thttrfday the
27th of Jime^ 1/0(5. being the
day appointed by her majefty for
a folemn thankfgiving to almighty
God for the late glorious progrefs
of her majeily's arms, and thofe
of her allies, in Flanders and


Deut. xxxiii. 2^*

Happy art thou, O Ifraell Who is like
unto thee, O people, faved by the Lord I
the Jhield of thy help, and 'uvho is the
fword of thy excellency ! And thine ene-
mies jhall be found liars unto thee %
and thou /halt tread upon their high

|HEN Mofes the law-giver and
judge of Ifrael, and the greateft
prophet under the old teflament,
"^ was admonifli'd of his approach-
ing death j the very day he re-
ceives an order from heaven to afcend mount
Nebo and die there, he takes his folemn
S 2, leave

26o A thank/giving fermon for the

leave of that people, whom he had brought
out of Egypt, and conduced thro' the wil-
dernefs to the borders of Canaan ' : and this
he does firft by a prophetick fong in the fore-
going chapter, which contains an account
of the great bleflings God would beftow on
them in cafe of their obedience to his com-
mands, and of the terrible judgments that
would purfue them, if they fhould revolt
from the true religion ; and then by pro-
nouncing particular bleflings on the feveral
tribes of Ifrael in this chapter, which he
concludes with a general blefling on the
whole nation.

'Tis true, the name of Simeon is not here
mentioned among the reft of the tribes, who
are diftinguifhed by the names of their fa-
thers ; but fome Greek copies of the Septua-
gint make the tribe of Simeon, who was
next in order of birth to Reuben, {hare with
his pofterity the blefling contained in the 6th
verl'e, which they thus render : Let Reuben
live, atid not die ; a?jd let Simeon he tnany in
number : tho fome interpreters are better
pleafed with the Targum of Jonathan, which
finds a place for Simeon in the blefling of
Judah J becaufe when the land of promife
came to be divided, the facred text fays, their
inheritance was within the inheritance of the
childrtn of Judah ^ : and therefore the expe-
ditions made by this tribe againft the Ca-

' Chap. jt. 48, 4 J. \ < Jo(h. 19. I.


Serm. VI. vi&orj/ at Kamillks, ^c. 261

naanites, were in concert with the tribe of
Simeon '.

But whatever difficulty there may feem
in afligning them a diftind bleffing in this
chapter, there is no room to doubt of their
intereft in that general and comprehenfive
one which clofes it.

As it was the ufual pradice of the antient
patriarchs to blefs their children a little be-
fore their death, as appears in the inftance of
Ifaac, who, when he was dim with age, and
in the daily expedtation of death, pronounced
a bleffing on his two fons * ; and of Jacob,
who, l^y faith when he was dyings bleffed both
the fons of fofeph, and then all his own fons,
who were the heads of the tribes of Ifrael " 5
fo Mofes, who was king in Jeffiurun "", as
the common father of this people, pioufly
recommends them to the care of heaven, and
predi(5ls the great favours and privileges
with which God defign'd to honour them, as
the beginning of the chapter affiires us : And
this is the blefjing wherewith Mofes, the man
of God, blejjed the children of Ifrael before his
death ^.

After the particular bleffings pronounced
on the different tribes, he foretels the prof-
perity of the whole body of that people, who
were under the fpecial protection of the true
God whom they worfhipped, and going to

^ Judg. 1. }, I chap. 49.

» Gen. 27. J » Deut. j j. 5.

« Heb. 1 1. 21. Gen. 48, and I " Ver. i.

S3 be

'%6i A thankf giving fermon for the

be introduced by his power into the poflef^
fion of a very pleafant and fruitful country.
The terms he ufes on this occaiion are very
lofty, and exprefs a very fenfible pleafure in
the mind of him who uttered them : T^here
is none like unto the God of 'JeJInirun^ ivho ri-
deth upon the heaven for thy helpy and in his
excellency on the sky. The eternal God is thy
refuge^ and underneath are the everlafllng
arms : and he fiall thrujl out the enemy from
before thee y and fhall fa)\ Deft roy them. If
rael then f jail dwell in fafety alone : the foun-
tain of 'Jacob fall be upon a land of corn and
wine ; alfo his heavens fall drop down dew ^.

And now the review he takes of the great
things God had already done for them, toge-
ther with the profpedl he has of the new
miracles the Almighty was about to perform
in their favour, throws him into a tranfporc
of joy and wonder, and makes him celebrate
their happinefs after a very elegant manner
in our text : Happy art thou, O Ifrael ! Who
is like unto thee, O people, faved by the Lord !
the field of thy help, and who is the fword of
thy excellency ! A?id thine enemies fall be
found liars unto thee ; and thou fait tread
upon their high places.

In which words the prophet,

I/?, Admires the happy ftate of the Ifra-^
elites above all other nations ; Happy art
thou, O Ifrael ! Who is like unto thee /
» Vcr. r6, Z7, i8.


Serm. VI. vi^ory at Ramillies, ^c. 2^3

2dly, Declares wherein their happinefs
confifted, viz. in the favour of God, by
whoa! they were defended from their ene-
mies, and made to triumph over them ;
which is expreffed in thefe terms : O people,
faved by the Lord ! the Jhield of thy help, and
who is the /word of thy excellency ! A?td thy
enemies jh all be found liars unto thee j and thou
Jhalt tread upon their high places.

I. As to the terms in which Mofes ad-
. mires the peculiar happinefs of Ifrael, they
have a great deal of force in them in the
original. The word here tranllated happy^
is the fame that is frequently ufed by the
pfalmift, to fignify the great happinefs that
attends a religious courfe of life : Blejfed is
the man, fays he, who walketh not in the coun-
fel of the ungodly ^, &c. Blejfed are the unde^
fled in the way, who walk in the law of the
Lord. Blejfed are they who keep his tejlimo-
nies ^. Bleffed is every one that feareth the
Lord ^. In all which places the word bleffed
might be rendered the bleflednefs or happi-
nefs, or, if our language would bear it, hap-
pineffes, according to the Hebrew idiom ;
and imports as much as when we fay in En-
glifh, O the happinefs of a pious man ! O
the many bleflings that accompany the ex-
ercife of holinefs and religion ! The fame
emphafis is in our text, where the fame word
is employed : Happy art thou, O Ifrael ! or

y P^al. I. I. la pfal. ii8. I.

=» Pfal. 119. I, 2. I

S 4 thy

2 ^4 -^ thankfgiving fermon for the

thy happinefs, O Ijrael I i. e. How great is
thy happinefs ! how numerous the bleflings
which attend thee, O Ifrael ! Thus the
queen of Sheba, charm'd with the order and
magnificence of Solomon's court, and with
the wifdom of his difcourfes, cries out in an
ecftafy of wonder, Happy are thy men^ Sec.
or, O the happinefs of thy men ! the happi-
nefs ofthefe thy jervants ! who ftand conti?Jually
before thee ; who hear thy wifdom '°.

Happy art thoit^ O Ijrael f Who is like unto
thee ! i. e. Who may compare with thee for
happinefs ! what nation can boaft of fo ma-
ny bleflings and privileges as are enjoyed by
thee ! 1 he prophet had juft before faid,
T^here is none like the God of Jefjurufi ^ j and
now he declares there is none like the people
who worfl-iipped him. What God fo great
as Jehovah ! what people fo happy as Ifrael !
He challenges the whole world to produce
the like infl:ance of a happy nation : O Tfrael,
who is like unto thee I Juft as he before ap-
peals to the judgment of their enemies, whe-
ther their idol deities were to be compared
to the God of Ifrael ? For their rock^ fays he,
is not as our rock^ even our enemies themfelves
being judges ^.

The happy condition of the Ifraelites above
all other people, and the greatnefs of their
God above other gods, is obfervcd by the
prophet David, when he commemorates

^ I Kings lo. 8, \ ^ Chap. 32. ji.

f Dciit. 33. 26. I


Serm. VI. viBory at 'RsimiWicSy ^c. 26$

their wonderful redemption from Egypt by the
hand of the great God, who had alfo made
known to them the true reUgion, and entred
into a folemn covenant with them : IVhere^
fore thou art great ^ fays he, O Lord God I
for there is none like thee, neither is there any
God be/ides thee — Atid what one nation in the
earth is like thy people, even like Ifrael, whom
iaod went to redeem for a people unto himfelf
and to make him a name, and to do for you
great things and terrible, for thy land, before
thy people which thou didji redeem to thee from
Egypt, from the nations and their gods ? For
thou haft confirmed to thyfelf thy people Ifrael^
to be a people to thee for ever ; and thou. Lord,
art become their God ^.

Their privilege in being entrufted with the
word of God, by which their duty in all the
parts of it was made known to them, is alfo
celebrated by the pfalmift as a very great and.
peculiar blefling ; He Jhews his word to fa-
cob, his fiatutes and judgments to Ifrael : he
hath not dealt fo with any nation ; and as for
his judgments, they have not known them.
Praife ye the Lord ^.

And Mofes excites them to a ftridl obfer-
vance of the laws of God, by reprefenting
to them how much this would raife their re-
putation among the heathen, who fhould be
forc'd to confefs that no nation under heaveji
was fo great, and wife, and happy as they,
for the excellency of their laws and confti-

^ 2 Sam. 7. 22, 23. j f Pfal. 147. 19, 20.

2 tutions,

266 A thankfgiving fermon for the

tutlons, and the greatnefs of their privileges,
efpecially that of offering their prayers to the
true God, and receiving favourable anfwers
from him : Keep therefore^ and do them, fays
he, fpeaking of the divine commands ; for
this is ycur wifdom and your under jianding, in
the fight of the nations which fiall hear all
thefe Jlatutes, and fay. Surely this great na-
tion is a nvife and under jlanding people ; for
what nation is there fo great, who hath God
fo nigh unto them as the Lord our God is in all
things that we call upon him for ? And what
nation is there fo great, that hath Jlatutes and
judgments fo righteous, as all this law which I
fet before you this day s ?

So that if we refer both to v^^hat Mofes
had obfprved to them before, and to what he
infifts on in our text, it muft be confeffed no
people might compare with Ifrael for hap-
pinefs, feeing they furpalTed all other nations
for the equity and perfedion of their laws,
and the purity of their worfhip, as well as
for their miraculous deliverances and furpri-
fmg victories. Yov having fiid, Happy art
thou, O Ifrael ! who is like unto thee ? he ex-
plains himfelf in the following words, O
people, faved by the Lord ! who is the field of
thy help, and the fivord of thy excellency ! And
thine enemies Jh a II be found liars unto thee j atid
thou fialt tread upon their high places. And
indeed the bleffings here mentioned fuppofe
ihofe recited before j for God exerted his

t Deut. 4. ^,7, 8.


Serm. VI; vl6fory at Ramillies, C^r. 2^7

power in their favour for the honour of his
name, and of the reUgion they profefTed ;
and the victories they obtain'd were the re-
ward of their piety and holinefs, or at leaft
the encouragement of their repentance.

This leads us therefore to confider,

2. The account given us wherein their
happinefs confided -, namely, in the favour
of God, who fecured them from the power
of their enemies, and made them triumph
over them. For this happy flate is,

Firft, Declared in general, and then more
particularly defcribed.

(i.) Their happinefs is exprefled in gene-
ral, in that they were a people faved by the
Lord y that is, delivered after an extraordi-
nary manner, fo as to diftinguifh them from
all other nations, who only enjoyed the com-
mon benefits of the divine providence, but
were not the objed:s of God's peculiar favour.
And to be faved by the Lord, not only fignifies
to be protected by him, but to be rendered
profperous and victorious by his power. The
Chaldee paraphrafe renders the words, O
people, whofe Jdhation is from the face of the
Lord, that is, by his fpecial favour ; and the
word falvation is of fo great extent in the
Hebrew tongue, that it feems fometimes to
comprize in it all forts of blellings ; there-
fore God himfelf is called our falvation \ and
the prophecies of the old teflament defcribe our
blefled Saviour by the fame title, which is

*■ Exod. 15. 2. Pfal. 2,7, I. and ii8. ai. Luke i. 30.

■ '•" . J alfo

2(58 A thankfgiving fermon for the

alfo given him in the new. And this term
is frequently ufed to fignify vi^flory ' as well
as defence, and is fometimes fo rendered in
our Engliih tranflation. But,

(2.) There is a more particular account
given us of the happinefs of Ifrael in the
terms that follow, which plainly denote both
their deliverances and vidlories, feeing God
is faid to be both the jhield of their help, and
the fword of their excellency : for a {hield is
an inflrument ufed for defence, as a fword is
for execution and flaughter.

As God is the protestor of his people, he
is often called their fhield : / am thy fiield ^,
fays God himfelf to Abraham > and fays the
pfalmift, Our foul waiteth for the Lord, he is
our help and our Jhield ' : which is the fame
thing with the fiield of their help in our text.
And 'tis to the fame purpofe that he is called
a rocky ^fortrefsy and high tower "" : for thefe
terms, which properly fignify places fortified
either by nature or art, elegantly reprefent
the fafety of thofe who are under the divine

T'he fword of thy excellency is rendered by
fome, the fword of thy lifting up ; and thought
to exprefs the aftion of a warrior, who raifes
his weapon high when he defigns to exert
his urmoll ftrength in a full blow on the head
of his enemy ; and fo may denote a compleat

i 2Sam. ij. 10. Pfal. 98. 1. j ' Pfal. J3. lo.
k Gen. 15. I. Sual[» Pfal. I ■> Pfal. 18, 1,

conquefl :

Serm. VI. vi&ory at Ramillies, ^c, 169

conquefl : which feems to be the fenfe of the
Chaldee interpreter, who renders this phrafe
the vi^ories of thy Jlrei2gth. Others tranflate
it, the /word of thy glory ; by which may be
fignified the honour God did them in bleffing
their arms with fo many glorious victories.
But the Septuagint turns it, the /word of thy
glorying or boafting ; which may refpedt the
pious acknowledgment they ought to make
to God as the author of all their vi

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Online LibraryJoseph StennettThe Works of the late Reverend and Learned Mr. Joseph Stennett : in five volumes ; to which is prefix'd some account of his life (Volume 1) → online text (page 18 of 28)