Annotated Document

Hover over underlined words to view their definitions.


Prayer Before Sermon

The American Vine Annotations
O THOU eternal and exhaustless source of light, and life, and love! In thee we live and move and have our being! Every moment deals to us a portion of thy bounty, and demands the tribute of unceasing praise! Thy name is LOVE! And LOVE the essence of thy nature! The religion thou hast taught us is a religion of love! And love is the principle and end of all thy dispensations! The author is beginning the sermon by indicating that God’s true nature is love, and that His love can be seen in every moment of life
NEVER dost thou send thy judgements abroad into the world, never dost thou suffer thy chastising hand to fall heavy upon thy children, but when they become insensible of that endearing relation, in which they stand to thee, and to each other, and thus violate thy eternal living law of love!WE acknowledge, therefore, and adore thy wisdom and goodness in the infliction of national punishments upon national guilt! Our eyes must be blinded, and our hearts hardened indeed, if we do not see and feel, under our present visitation, the manifest tokens of thy divine displeasure! Duché notes that God does not send his judgement and chastising hand upon His flock unless they have done something against His will, and notes that they acknowledge their wrong doings.
WE own and lament, that the dark cloud of judgement, which now hangs over our heads, hath risen from our unnumbered sins and rebellions against thee! Against thee only have we sinned! To thee only have we been disobedient and ungrateful, slighted they past loving-kindnesses. Our prosperity hath rendered us forgetful of thee our GOD, regardless of thine holy ordinances, inattentive to the precepts of thy gospel!But yet, spare us, good LORD, spare thy people, who thou hast redeemed, and let not thine heritage be brought to confusion! Recall thy ministers of vengeance! And put a stop to the unnatural effusion of Christian blood! Duché tells his audience that they have a dark cloud of judgement hanging over them due to their collective sinning and rebellions against God, blaming in part their prosperities as a distraction from the gospel and proper behavior.
FROM our present grievous calamities, not our merits, but thy mercy, not our foresight but thy providence alone can deliver us. Accept, therefore, the prayers and supplications, that have this day been offered at the foot-stool of thy throne! Accept, for thy WELL-BELOVED’s sake, our public acts of penitence and humiliation! GIVE us grace seriously to lay to heart the great danger we are in from our present unhappy divisions! Take away all hatred, bitterness and resentment from our breasts. Enable us to forgive our offending BRETHREN, even as we ourselves look for forgiveness at the hands of our offended God! Duché is begging God to forgive the colonists of their collective sinning, and is noting that only God’s providence and mercy can save them from their turmoil – in this case, the conflict arising between the colonies and the British. Duché also asks God to grant them the ability to forgive one another for sins that may have contributed to their current situation.
AND O thou, who alone canst make men to be of one mind in an house! Restore that brotherly union and concord, which ought ever to subsist inviolate in the great family to which we belong! And as there is but one body, and one spirit, and one hope of our calling, one LORD, one faith, one baptism, one GOD and FATHER of us all, so we may henceforth be all of one heart and of one soul, united in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and charity! Duché asks God to allow the colonists to forgive and get along with one another once more, so that they may stop sinning individually and collectively and may regain God’s providence over them.
FOR this purpose we pray, that thou wouldst give thy blessing to a preached gospel! Enable thy ministring servants of every denomination to be instant in season and out of season, in promoting the great work of christian love: And whilst they are faithfully employed in planting and watering, do thou, LORD of the harvest! crown their labours with a blessed increase!ALL this we ask for the sake and through the merits of thy well-beloved son JESUS CHRIST our LORD, in and through whom we have the high and inestimable privilege of addressing Thee, as Our Father which art in Heaven, &c. Duché offers a final prayer before beginning his sermon asking God to bless ministers of every Christian denomination with the ability to preach the gospel well and to promote the work of Christian love amongst their congregations.

The American Vine Sermon

IF we could retire awhile, my brethren, from the sphere of political tumult, contemplate at leisure the system of the universe, and look beyond second causes for the springs and principles of motion, we should doubtless be able to discern in almost every human event, the marks of Sovereign Wisdom, the energy of Infinite Power, and the prevalence of Almighty Goodness; and should thereby be led to acknowledge the immediate influence and operation of the great moral Governor. Duché calls for the colonists to look away from the political tumult of the time and look at how God’s wisdom, power and goodness are everywhere and should be acknowledged as the driving force of the universe
NOT only the course of all public transactions, the rise and fall of empires and kingdoms appear to be directed by his omnipotent hand; but his providence is known to extend to the concerns of individuals, to things of the minutest nature, so that, according to the language of inspiration, NOT A SPARROW FALLS TO THE GROUND WITHOUT HIS KNOWLEDGE, AND THE VERY HAIRS OF OUR HEADS ARE NUMBERED. God controls the big events of human history but is also directly involved in the lives of His individual followers and knows all that occurs.
WHAT a scene of disorder, ruin and desolation would soon be exhibited upon the theatre of the world, was the ALMIGHTY to withdraw his overruling influence! Men, savage in some degree by nature, and more savage by the growth and indulgence of their evil lusts and passions, would soon fall upon each other with a violence and ferocity equal to that of beasts of prey. Ambition, tyranny and vengeance would rage without controul, and the whole world would, ere long, be deluged in blood. If God were to withdraw his influence over world events and individual lives, men would destroy themselves with lust, passion, violence and ferocity – ambition, tyranny and vengeance would destroy mankind.
HAPPY, however, for mankind, this is not the case. An all-wise and all-powerful Being sits at the helm. He presides, unseen, in the councils of Princes. He prospers or disappoints them in their projects and undertakings; and renders all the thoughts, intentions and actions of men subservient to the completion of his own most wise and benevolent purposes. Thankfully for mankind, God presides over all things and attempts to steer the actions of men for the completion of His greater purposes.
CONQUEST and defeat, the shouts of the victor, and the cries of the vanquished are from him. The prosperity of nations and the happiness of individuals, public misfortunes and private distresses, plentiful harvests and years of famine, the ravages of war, and the smiles of peace, are all dealt forth by him to the sons of men, at such times and in such degrees, as in his wisdom and goodness he finds expedient for their real welfare. Happy, therefore, that people, who, (amid all the variety of changes to which governments as well as individuals are exposed) have placed their sole dependence upon the KING OF KINGS! Everything that happens, both good and bad, is because of God, and those who have placed their trust in Him will benefit from his kindness and mercy.
WITH these principles in our hearts, and with a sincere purpose of HUMBLING OURSELVES UNDER THE MIGHTY HAND OF GOD, and imploring his gracious interposition under our present public distresses, I would fain hope, that we have all THIS DAY ENTERED THE COURTS OF THE LORD’S HOUSE.THE trumpet is sounded in Zion. A fast is proclaimed. A solemn assembly convened. The numerous inhabitants of our extensive colonies, are now prostrate with us before the Throne of Grace, and jointly lifting up their hands and hearts to heaven in some such supplicatory address as this: RETURN, WE BESEECH THEE, O GOD OF HOSTS! LOOK DOWN FROM HEAVEN, AND BEHOLD AND VISIT THIS VINE! And would to God! that our united prayers and supplications might prevail, that the Lord of mercy would incline his ear, and say to the destroying Angel: IT IS ENOUGH–STAY NOW THINE HAND. Duché first employs the imagery of the divine vine planted by God as a metaphor for the American colonies, and calls for all of the colonists to join in prayer to God as one unified group in an attempt to win back God’s favor.
In the Psalm from whence my text is taken, the Royal Author, after having enumerated the many distinguishing favours, with which Heaven had heretofore blessed his church and nation, proceeds in the most earnest manner to deprecate some grievous calamities with which they were at that time oppressed: The Royal Author is King David and the psalm is psalm 80.In the Psalm, David first lists the blessings the church has experienced and then writes about the hardships and tragedies they have been experiencing
Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherbims, shine forth! Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen and planted it; thou preparest room for it, and didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land. The hills were covered with the shadow of it, and the boughs thereof were like the goodly cedars. She sent out her boughs unto the sea, and her branches unto the river. Why hast thou then broken down her hedges, so that all they that pass by the way do pluck her. The wild boar out of the wood doth waste it, and the wild beast of the field doth devour it. Return, we beseech thee, O God of Hosts! Look down from Heaven, and behold and visit this vine! Hear us, God, you led Joseph; you who lives among the angels, shine forth! You have brought a vine out of Egypt; you have cast out the pagans and planted it; you prepared room for it and caused it to take deep root, and it filled the land. The hills were covered with the shadow of it, and its branches were like cedars. She (the vine) sent her branches out into the sea and into the river. Why have you then broken down her hedges, so that all who pass by pluck her. The wild boar out of the wood wastes it, and the wild beast of the field devours it. Return, we ask you, O God of Hosts! Look down from Heaven and behold and visit this vine!
In applying this passage of scripture to the present solemnity, my observations will turn chiefly upon the blessings by which we have hitherto been distinguished, the ungrateful returns we have made to the God of Heaven, for his unmerited goodness and the only means by which, as a people, we can be re-instated in his favour. Duché says he will mirror the structure of Psalm 80 by first focusing on the blessings that God has given them, and by emphasizing that only God’s goodness can allow the colonies to return to His favor.
I. Great and astonishing have been the blessings of Providence, by which these American colonies have been distinguished from their very first settlements to the present period. They have indeed been a VINEYARD PLANTED BY THE LORD’S RIGHT HAND. And though some gloomy scenes have now and then shaded the brightness of the prospect, yet even these have greatly contributed to their prosperity and enlargement. Duché asserts that the colonies are a vineyard planted by God. The blessings God has given the colonists have been amazing and are the reason the colonies have progressed to their current state today, and even bad occurrences have made the colonies stronger and better.
If we look back a little into the annals of America, we shall find, that this very spot, on which our large and populous city now stands, was less than a century ago, a wild uncultivated desart. The arts and customs of civilized life were here unknown. Nought else was visible, but the sad effects of ignorance, superstition, and idolatry. The untutor’d savage roamed the wood, like a beast of prey, stranger to comforts and advantages of mental culture, involved in Pagan darkness, with scarcely one ray of heavenly truth to irradiate the gloom of nature. If we look back into the history of America, less than one hundred years ago this land was a desert without the arts and customs of civilization. For Duché, “ignorance, superstition and idolatry” represent the Native Americans. This passage shows the conflict between the colonists and the Native Americans that existed for some time.
Such was the dark and dreary prospect, when Providence conducted our Forefathers to this new world. He took the tender slip from the PARENT VINE. HE CAST OUT THE HEATHEN AND PLANTED IT. THE HILLS WERE SOON COVERED WITH THE SHADOW OF IT, AND THE BOUGHS THEREOF WERE LIKE THE GOODLY CEDARS. SHE SENT OUT HER BOUGHS UNTO THE SEA, AND HER BRANCHES UNTO THE RIVER. From North to South he stretched the extensive line. From East to West he had the prospect open. THE WILDERNESS AND SOLITARY PLACE WERE MADE GLAD, AND THE DESART REJOICED AND BLOSSOMED LIKE THE ROSE. “Dark and dreary prospect”: uncivilized desert of yet to be colonial AmericaGod led the early colonists to America to fulfill a divine plan, and this idea is supported by the imagery of a thriving vine growing across the continent (similar to the idea of manifest destiny).
OUR sober Ancestors bought over with them, not only the several useful arts and improvements, of which the natives were ignorant, but a treasure of infinitely greater value, even the charter of TEMPORAL FREEDOM, and the records of ETERNAL TRUTH. The banners of CHRISTIAN and BRITISH Liberty were at once unfolded, and these remote parts of the earth were thereby added to the MESSIAH’S kingdom. The ancestors of the present colonists brought over arts and technological advancements from England to the colonies, as well as their religion – Duché asserts that the current ideas of liberty and freedom stem from religious beliefs of the early colonists.
NUMBERLESS, indeed, were the toils, difficulties, and dangers, to which the first founders of these colonies, as well as their successors were exposed, before they arrived at their present height of opulence and splendor. So remarkable, however, were the interposition of Providence, that the most inattentive mind must have frequently discerned them. The founders of the colonies encountered many challenges before the colonies rose to greater success at the time of Duché’s sermon.Providence – God’s guiding hand in history – played a major part in the history of the colonies.
SCARCELY is there recorded in the annals of history a more rapid series of successes of every kind in the settlement and population of any country on the globe. Wilst favoured with the nurturing care and protection of the mother country, whose fleets and armies, in conjunction with our own, have ever been faithfully and successfully employed in our defence, our common enemies have look with astonishment and envy upon our rising glory, nor have dared for years to interrupt a repose, purchased, under the smiles of Heaven, by virtue, industry, and the British and American valour. Duche claims the American colonies rose to prominence much faster than any other civilization in recorded history, and succeeded because of the virtue, hard work and bravery of the British and colonial citizens. The unity between Britain and the colonies was also important, as was the protection that the colonies benefitted from.
And happy, my dear brethren, should we still remain, if the parent would be satisfied with such returns from the children, as filial duty would always prompt them to pay, and not exact such an illegal and unrighteous tribute, as by weakening and distressing them, must in the end weaken and distress the parent too. Parent: Britain; Child: American coloniesThe colonies would be happy if Britain would appreciate the economic success of the colonies without swooping in to gain on it through additional taxes. By weakening and distressing the colonies through taxation, Britain only weakens and distresses itself.
Here then our present calamities commence. Our morning joys are past – and a night of heaviness succeeds – the hedges of Liberty, by which we hoped our VINEYARD was secured, ARE BROKEN DOWN, and THEY THAT PASS BY THE WAY, ARE seeking to PLUCK OUR GRAPES. The friction between Britain and the colonies has led to the present state, and Duché uses the symbolism found in Psalm 80 to describe what’s happening – the hedges protecting the colonies have been broken, and the British are trying to ‘pluck the grapes’, or pillage the goods, of the colonies.
Tis not indeed the wild boar out of the wood, or they wild beast of the field, that are ready to WASTE AND DEVOUR IT. ‘Tis not now a foreign enemy, or the savages of our own wilderness, that have made the cruel and unrighteous assault – but it is even thou, BRITAIN, that with merciless and unhallowed hands, wouldst cut down and destroy this BRANCH of thine own VINE, the very BRANCH, which Providence HATH MADE STRONG even FOR THYSELF! Animals and foreign enemies are not what’s attacking the colonies, but Britain itself. Duché condemns Britain as cruel and sinful and claims that by destroying its bond with the colonies Britain is going against Divine Providence.
II. Injured and oppressed as we are, unmeriting the harsh and rigorous treatment, which we have received from such an unexpected quarter, let us, however, look up to a higher cause for the awful infliction; and whilst we are faithfully persevering in the defence of our TEMPORAL RIGHTS, let us humble ourselves before God, lay our hands upon our hearts, and seriously and impartially enquire, what returns we have made to heaven for its past favours, and whether its present chastisements have not been drawn down upon us by a gross neglect of our SPIRITUAL PRIVILEDGES. Duché tells the people that they must look to God for aid and asks if the sin of the people caused their hardships, blaming the conflict with Britain on the “neglect of spiritual privileges” of the colonists.
HATH OUR RIGHTEOUNESS, then, SHONE FORTH AS THE LIGHT, AND OUR JUST DEALINGS AS THE NOON DAY? – Hath a sense of God’s unnumbered and unmerited mercies awakened in our souls an ardent affection for our divine Benefactor? Have we been more zealous for the honour of his government and the observance of his laws? Have we testified our zeal by a correspondent practice? By works of piety, beneficence, and public virtue? Have our heads of families been careful to set good examples to their children and servants, by a punctual attendance at the house of GOD, by a decent and devout behavior in our solemn assemblies, and by regular, daily, grateful addresses to their heavenly Father in their closets at home? Duché asks the congregation if they have felt a deep love for God, been devoted to the honor of the government and observance of laws, and put their faith into practice, and he also stresses the importance of families and learned behaviors that are passed down from parent to child.
HAVE we been careful to check that overweening fondness of gaiety and pleasure, which frequently discovers itself in the dispositions of our children?-to check it did I say – yea, to endeavor to root it out of their hearts, and plant and nourish in its room the love of GOD and of goodness?- In a word, have we been industrious, in our several stations and according to our respective abilities, in propagating the gospel of JESUS CHRIST, as well in sound doctrine as in sound practice? Hath OUR LIGHT for this purpose so SHONE BEFORE MEN, THAT THEY SEEING OUR GOOD WORKS, have been led TO GLORIFY OUR FATHER WHICH IS IN HEAVEN? Duché continues to ask congregation whether they have let pleasure take over their lives and those of their children, asking if they’ve worked hard in spreading the gospel or done good things to help convert other people to Christianity.
ALAS! my brethren, have we not rather been so far carried away by the stream of prosperity, as to be forgetful of the source from whence it was derived? So elevated by the prospect, which peace and a successful commerce have opened to us, as to neglect those impressions of goodness, which former afflictions had left upon our hearts? Have not luxury and vice, the common attendants of wealth and grandeur, too soon made their appearance amongst us, and begun to spread a dangerous infection through our hitherto healthy and thriving state? Amid the hurry and tumult of thepassions, hath not conscience fallen asleep? Hath not a false security gained ground? And a worldly spirit too generally prevailed? Duché is rhetorically asking the men of congress if perhaps colonists have allowed themselves to be carried away by their worldly successes and prosperity, allowing their minds to “fall asleep” to or forget about the spiritual prosperities they should be focused on.
AND is it not for this, that the ALMIGHTY hath bared his arm against us?–Is it not for this, that he now speaks to us in thunder? And, as we would not be drawn by the cords of his love, that he is now chastising us with the rods of his wrath? Is it not for this, that the flames of an UNNATURAL WAR have burst forth in the very bowels of our native land? And that our garments have been already stained with kindred blood?–O MY GOD! let this suffice!–let MERCY interpose, and stay the avenging hand of JUSTICE! FOR behold! we now desire to TURN UNTO THEE WITH ALL OUR HEARTS, WITH FASTING, AND WITH WEEPING AND WITH MOURNING! We know, that MERCY is thy darling attribute, and that JUDGMENT is a STRANGE WORK to thee!–RETURN, then, WE BESEECH THEE, O GOD OF HOSTS! LOOK DOWN FROM HEAVEN! And once more BEHOLD AND VISIT THIS VINE! Because of the lack of attention to spiritual matters/consumption by worldly success and pleasures, God is punishing colonists through conflict with the British. Duché is calling for God to allow the suffering that the colonists have already endured to be enough, and is asking him to stop the “avenging hand of justice” that is currently over the colonists. Duché asks God to be merciful to a people who are turning back to God entirely and with acts of repentance, and repeats the cry for help in Psalm 80.
BUT wherewithal, my dear brethren, SHALL WE COME BEFORE THE LORD, AND BOW OURSELVES BEFORE THE HIGH GOD? With what sacrifice shall we approach this altar? With what language, or by what conduct shall we invite him to return? THE SACRIFICE OF GOD IS A BROKEN SPIRIT: A BROKEN AND A CONTRITE HEART, O GOD, THOU WILT NOT DESPISE. PRAYER and SUPPLICATION, is a language, which he will not refuse to hear: and REPENTANCE and REFORMATION of life, through the redeeming power of his EVER-BLESSED SON, is the only conduct, that will reinstate us in his favour. What can the colonists do to deserve God’s return to mercy over them? The way to receive God’s mercy and grace is to return to Him humbled and with prayers and repentance of sins and wrongdoing.
LET us adore, then, the divine wisdom and goodness, for putting it into the hearts of that Honourable Assembly, now entrusted with the great cause of American Liberty, to call upon the whole people, whom they represent, in the most solemn and affectionate manner, to join in deprecating the Divine displeasure, by one general act of religious humiliation. Heaven be praised, that they have hereby shewn their attention and zeal for our eternal as well as temporal welfare. Duché is calling directly to the Continental Congress and identifying them as responsible for setting an example and for calling to the colonists for unification on this issue so they may return to God’s favor. The members of Congress are being held as representative of the colonists’ eternal and earthly well-being.
Go on, ye chosen band of Christian Patriots! Testify to the world, by your example as well as by your counsels, that ye are equally the foes of VICE and of SLAVERY–Banish the Syren LUXURY, with all her train of fascinating pleasures, idledissipation, and expensive amusements from our borders. Call upon honest industry, sober frugality, simplicity of manners, plain hospitality and christian benevolence to throw down the usurpers, and take possession of their seats. Recommend every species of reformation, that will have a tendency to promote the glory of GOD, the interest of the Gospel of JESUS, and all those private and public virtues, upon the basis of which alone, the superstructure of true Liberty can be erected. Calling colonists “Christian Patriots”, Duché is telling colonists to turn away from luxury and idolatry and return to virtuous and honest concerns like industry, frugality, hospitality and goodness. Duché also tells the colonists to show the world that they will not stand for the enslavement of their nation and virtues, a direct justification to stand up to the British and allow liberty to be upheld.
To second your virtuous attempts, let the MINISTERS of the everlasting gospel, the embassadors of JESUS CHRIST, step forth with fresh zeal and courage to their duty. Let them remember, that they are not only answerable for their own souls, but for the souls of those under their care. “They are set as watchmen over the house of Israel”–Let them, therefore, CRY ALOUD AND SPARE NOT: let them LIFT UP THEIR VOICE AS A TRUMPET, AND SHEW ISRAEL THEIR TRANSGRESSION, AND THE HOUSE OF JACOB THEIR SIN. Duché is addressing ministers in this section, reminding them of their responsibility of the souls of all the members of their congregations.
FROM these let the magistrates TAKE ALARM–Let them boldly rebuke vice–Let them punish immorality and profaneness without respect to rank or fortune–Let them become MINISTERS of the Gospel as well as MINISTERS OF JUSTICE–let them inculcate the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, as far as their influence and authority extends. WHEN MAGISTRATES and MINISTERS shall ardently conspire for such pious and benevolent purposes–Heaven will surely smile upon their labours of love; and the people committed to their charge will GROW IN GRACE, and become eminent examples of every divine and social virtue. Duché now turns to the justices, or magistrates, calling for them to be representatives of justice as well as the Gospel in their decisions, and to punish “immorality and profaneness” regardless of the social position or wealth of the criminal. Duché claims that when minister and magistrate work together, God will be pleased with their works and the colonists will “grow in Grace” and become an example of virtue for others, especially their British enemies.
WE cannot expect, my dear brethren, that the GOD OF HOSTS WILL RETURN, LOOK DOWN FROM HEAVEN, AND BEHOLD AND VISIT OUR VINE; that he will cause his sun to shine, and his refreshing dews and rains to shine upon it, unless we are careful to cultivate and improve the soil, and to root out every useless noxious weed, that will impede its growth. By neglecting this, we shall be in danger of incurring the dreadful sentence denounced against the barren fig-tree, CUT IT DOWN: WHY CUMBERETH IT THE GROUND? Duché tells his audience that the return of God’s grace and providence will not happen without considerable work and evokes the vine metaphor to help explain his point. Importantly, he points out that the colonists must “root out (dig up) every useless noxious weed that will impede its growth”, a clear reference again to the British who, in the view of the colonists, want to restrict their freedoms in various ways.
BUT whilst I am recommending in general those essential branches of a true reformation, piety and gratitude to GOD, repentance and humiliation for past neglects, together with the revival of every private and public virtue, which can adorn and dignify the citizen and the Christian, let me not forget to remind you, at this awful season in particular, of the great gospel duty of CHARITY, which will ever prompt us to sympathize with the distresses, and to relieve the wants of our brethren. While revival of virtue, repentance and humiliation are all important ways to fall under God’s favor once again, colonists must not neglect the act of charity which will help colonists identify with one another and help those in need during this especially difficult time. (Charity is particularly important to Duché).
WHILE prosperity stretches her silken banner over our heads, and administers a continual supply of the comforts and enjoyments of life, let us not be content to repose at ease beneath her friendly shade, and selfishly and solitarily reach forth our hands to take her cup of bliss, whilst thousands are suffering, neglected beside us, and ten thousands at our right-hand. In these calamitous times at least, let us deem it BETTER TO GO TO THE HOUSE OF MOURNING THAN TO THE HOUSE OF FEASTING. Let us cheerfully sacrifice our hours of entertainment and convivial mirth, and be willing to contract our usual expences, that we may have leisure to WEEP WITH THEM THAT WEEP, and have somewhat to spare for the relief of them that want. Duché is telling colonists once again not to get wrapped up in the easy life of prosperity but to pay attention to and help those in need, an act of Christian brotherhood that will also likely be pleasing to God and will strengthen colonial unity and morale. Duché’s insistence on charity is consistent with the societal idea that the wealthy in the society bear the responsibility of taking care of the poor.
  FOR, alas! if arms must decide the unnatural contest, and Heaven should even smile upon our righteous cause, our success cannot be purchased without many a tear, on the part of the victor as well as the vanquished. An anxious parent may be afflicted with the melancholy tidings of the death of the only Son–A fond wife may be plunged into all the bitterness of woe, upon reading the name of her affectionate spouse among the number of the slain–A beloved child may listen with an heart-felt anguish to the sad story of his father’s fall–And all this load of misery may be dreadfully accumulated by the languors of disease, and the frowns of poverty.  Reminding everyone that war comes at a cost for both the enemy and the justified.
OUR fasting and humiliation, therefore, will stand us in no stead, unless, whilst we are seeking to LOOSE THE BANDS OF WICKEDNESS in our own hearts, we endeavour likewise TO UNDO THE HEAVY BURDENS OF OTHERS, AND TO LET THE OPPRESSED GO FREE– unless we DEAL OUR BREAD TO THE HUNGRY, AND BRING THE POOR THAT ARE CAST OUT INTO OUR HOUSES–WHEN WE SEE THE NAKED, THAT WE COVER HIM, AND HIDE NOT OURSELVES FROM OUR OWN FLESH. IF our hearts and hands are employed in such deeds of beneficence and love, our LIGHT SHALL BREAK FORTH AS THE MORNING, AND OUR HEALTH SHALL SPRING FORTH SPEEDILY: OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS SHALL GO BEFORE US: THE GLORY OF THE LORD SHALL BE OUR REAR-WARD. Fasting and humiliation will not do anyone any good if not accompanied by trying to lift the burdens of others and perform selfless acts of giving and charity. If both matters of the heart and the hands are being fulfilled, God will bring the colonies back into His mercy and grace.
IN a word, if we would wish THE GOD OF HOSTS TO RETURN, TO LOOK DOWN FROM HEAVEN AND BEHOLD AND VISIT our American VINE, we must be prepared to meet him by such heavenly tempersand disposition, as alone can testify our vital union and communion with him. Happy, if we find him a reconciled GOD in JESUS CHRIST! Thrice happy, if our faith has fixed us to the ROCK OF AGES! Then indeed the rude winds may blow, the billows of public or private adversity may rise and rage: But we shall stand collected and secure, like the stately cedars of the mountain, amid the general storm. In conclusion, if the colonists return to God’s love and protection they must be willing to do all of the things outlined in this sermon to remain there “amid the general storm” and to protect their American Vine.