(Excerpted and abridged from Samuel Davies’ sermon, “The Justice of God—and the Sins of Our Country” (1755) in which he addressed the question, “When disaster comes to a city–has not the LORD caused it?” Amos 3:6) 

It concerns us all to seriously reflect upon our own sins and the sins of our land, which have brought these calamities upon us.

We and our countrymen are sinners, aggravated sinners! God proclaims that we are such by His judgments now upon us, by withering fields and scanty harvests, and by the sound of the trumpet and the alarm of war!

O my country, is not your wickedness great, and your iniquities infinite? Where is there a more sinful spot to be found upon our guilty globe? Pass over the land, take a survey of the inhabitants, and inspect their conduct.

What Do You See?

  • Gigantic forms of vice bidding defiance to the God of Heaven–while true religion and virtue are forced to retire to avoid public contempt and insult!
  • Herds of drunkards swilling down their cups, and drowning all morality within them!
  • Avarice hoarding up her useless treasures,
  • Dishonest craft planning her schemes of unlawful gain
  • Oppression unmercifully grinding the face of the poor!
  • Prodigality squandering her stores
  • Luxury spreading her table!
  • Vanity laughing aloud and dissolving in empty, unthinking mirth–regardless of God, of time and eternity!
  • Sensuality wallowing in carnal pleasures, and aspiring, with perverted ambition–to sink as low as her four-footed brethren in the stalls!
  • Cards more in use than the Bible 
  • The backgammon table more frequented than the table of the Lord
  • Novels and romances more read–than the history of the blessed Jesus!
  • Trifling, and even evil diversions and amusements, become a gigantic business!
  • A horse-race is more anxiously attended to–than the concerns of eternity!

And where these grosser forms of vice do not shock your senses–you often meet with the appearances of a more refined impiety, which is equally dangerous!

What Do You Hear?

You hear the conversation of reasonable creatures, of candidates for eternity–engrossed by trifles, or vainly wasted on the affairs of time! These are their important subjects of conversation, even at the threshold of the house of God!

You hear the swearer venting his fury against God–trifling with that Name which prostrate angels adore, and invoking that damnation under which the hardiest devil in Hell trembles and groans!

You Also See…

  • swarms of prayerless families all over our land!
  • ignorant, wicked children, unrestrained and untaught by those to whom God and nature have entrusted their souls!
  • the holy religion of Jesus–abused, neglected, disobeyed, and dishonored by its professors!
  • crowds of professed believers, who are in reality practical atheists, nominal Christians!
  • multitudes lying in a deep sleep in sin all around us, eager in the pursuits of the vanities of time–but stupidly unconcerned about the important realities of the eternal world!

What To Do?

O blessed Redeemer! what little necessity, what little use do the sinners of our country find for you in their religion! How many discourses are delivered, how many prayers offered, how many good works are performed—in which there is scarce anything of Christ! And this defect renders them all—but ‘shining sins’, ‘glittering crimes’! How few pant and languish for you, blessed Jesus! and pledge never be contented with their reformation, with their morality, with their good works—until they obtain a saving interest in your righteousness, to sanctify all, to render all acceptable!

May it not be said of the people of our country, “Now the men of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the LORD!” And thus, alas! it has been for a long time! Our country has sinned for over 150 years; and each generation has increased the vices of the previous one! And can a land always bear up under such a load of accumulated wickedness! Can God always allow such a race of sinners to go unpunished, from generation to generation!

Is there no relief for a sinking country?

Is our wound so incurable, that it cannot be healed? No!

If you now turn every one of you from your evil ways, if you mourn over your sins, and turn to the Lord with your whole hearts—then your country will yet recover. God will appear for us, and give a prosperous turn to our affairs. He has assured us of this in his own word, “If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil—then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned!” Jeremiah 18:7-8.

Therefore, my friends, as we have all rebelled—let us all join in unanimous repentance and a thorough reformation. If you would preserve yourselves, your families, your posterity—from poverty, from slavery, ignorance, idolatry, torture, and death; in short, if you would avoid all that is terrible, and enjoy everything that is dear and valuable—then you must repent and turn to the Lord. This is the only cure for our wounded country; and if you refuse to repent in time—then prepare to perish in its ruins.

Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith... Heb 12:1-2

Words of Wisdom from the Cloud of Witnesses: The Cloud of Witnesses is a reference to Christians in Heaven who have run their races and are now with the Lord. Their words of wisdom, encouragement, hope, and joy live on and inspire us to know Jesus better, to love Him more, and to run our race to the finish line. Their words strengthen our souls, equip our minds, encourage our hearts, and empower us to stand firm in our faith and be motivated, ready, and willing to share the hope we have in Jesus.

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