On May 9th, 1798, Rev. James Abercrombie, A.M., Assistant Minister of Christ Church (circa 1695), and St. Peter’s Church (circa 1761), Philadelphia, preached a Sermon commencing with the following Scripture: Joel, Chapter 2: 15, 16, 17, and 18th verses,
Joel, Chapter 2:15, 16, 17 and 18th verses.
Blow the Trumpet in Zion, sanctify a Fast, call a Solemn Assembly. Gather the people; sanctify the congregation: assemble the elders; gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. Let the priests the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: Wherefore should they say among the people, where is their God? Then will the Lord be jealous for His land, and pity His people.
Rev. Abercrombie prefaces his sermon with the prayer:
I pray God to influence the hearts of both sides to good-will, moderation, and peace: to grant to our enemy grace to return to a due sense of piety, and a belief in uncorrupted Christianity; and to impress our own minds with a serious sense of the necessity of so repenting of our sins, and so reforming of our lives, as may enable us to hope for His protection against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
This Minister of the Gospel at Christ Church, and St. Peter’s Church – both churches having served as places of worship for the first and second U.S. Presidents, – concludes his Sermon thus:
“This is indeed a day of unusual solemnity. As the Jews of old were solemnly required by their divinely inspired prophet Joel, to prostrate themselves before the High and Mighty Ruler of the Universe, and implore His remission of the penalty denounced against their guilt; we are in like manner now called upon by THE FATHER AND GUARDIAN OF OUR COUNTRY, who, as he hath hitherto been, so I trust he will continue to be, “the minister of God to us for good” (Romans 13:4). Justly elevated, by the gratitude of his country, under the indulgent guidance of a superintending Providence, to the honorable station of CHIEF MAGISTRATE, the reiterated tributes of applause, which now resound thro’our immense Continent, incontestably prove, that during his administration of the adopted government, “he hath done all things well” (Mark 7:37). And certainly, in no instance have the wisdom, piety, and patriotism of his character been more conspicuous, than in his present appeal to Heaven, and to the sincerity and efficacy of our Christian profession.
May God, therefore, grant, that you may avail yourselves of the advantages of time and opportunity, and that you may ‘see and pursue the things which belong to your eternal peace, before they are forever hid from your eyes” (Luke 19:42).’
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