Appleton, Nathaniel. A Thanksgiving Sermon on the Total Repeal of the Stamp- Act. Boston: Edes and Gill, 1766. [Excerpts]
PSAL. XXX 11, 12
Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: Thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness: To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent; O Lord my God, I will give thanks unto thee forever.
This is a psalm or song of praise to God, composed (as the title of the psalm expresses it) by David at the dedication of his house: But the psalm is taken up in the recounting the troubles and fears, difficulties and dangers he has been in; and the merciful interposition of divine providence for his deliverance out of them. and if we would have our hearts truly and thoro’ly affected with divine goodness, and our lips opened wide in devout praises to God, we must look back to the troubles, the fears, the dangers and distress we have been in , and from which God has delivered us: For the greatness of a mercy is according to the degree of evil, misery or calamity we are delivered from. –This was the way by which the psalmist’s soul was elevated in high devotion, his heart inlarged [sic] in gratitude, and his lips opened wide in praise to God. –It should seem he had not only been under great difficulties and hazards, by his enemies, and by the hand of Saul, who from envy and jealousy fought his life; but that he had been brought low, and upon the borders of the grave by sickness: But he cried unto the Lord, and he head him, and kept him alive that he should not go down into the pit; and he praises God, that his anger endured for so little a while, but for a moment, and then visited with his favour which is life: weeping endured for a night; but joy came in the morning, 5th v. of the context. In the verses of our text he observes, how wonderful the loving kindness of God had been to him in this respect; that he had scattered the clouds, changed the dark and gloomy scenes that had been before him, and had opened such new scenes of joy and gladness as called for the most enlarged gratitude and exalted praises – Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: ….
And what a sorrowful, disturbed and tumultuous state have all the British colonies of America been in, when by a late parliamentary act, many of the privileges and liberties we had been in the quiet possession of, were cut short; and should the act have continued, we should not have been the free people that once we were, and should have been subject to such oppressions as our fathers knew nothing of; and which neither we nor our children would have been able to bear.
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And how is God now turning our mourning into dancing, putting off our sackcloth and girding us with gladness, by the joyful and well attested news from that far, but mother county, which assures us that the grievous and bitter ACT which put us into mourning, covered us with sackcloth, and threw us all into confusion, is now REPEALED, totally repealed, made null and void, by the KING, LORDS, and COMMONS, in parliament assembled; so as to be as if it had never been!
Oh! with hat joy and gladness does it gird every true-born Englishman, every friend to liberty, and every true lover of his country, his mother country or these British colonies! what joy does now fill every breast, what gladness appears in every face and feature! and how does every one feel himself ready to burst forth in loud acclamations of joy!
But to exhilerate [sic] your spirits, and excite your joys in a rational manner, and as becomes men of thought and judgment; who would always govern this very passion of the foul by solid and substantial reason; I say, in order to this, let us only consider the deplorable condition the nation and all these colonies must have been in; if the government at home had established the ACT, and proceeded to the inforcement [sic] of the same. If these had been the heavy tidings from home, that the parliament insisted upon the rigorous execution of this act in all the American plantations, and that in order to it fleets were forming, forces raising, and a grand armament preparing, to inforce [sic] obedience to the ACT. I say if there had been the doleful tidings, Oh what grief, what fear, what consternation, and confusion, should we have been put into! what [sic] anger and wrath, what resolution, what opposition, what force, what violence would this irritated people have gone into! what desolation, what slaughter, and bloodshed might have been expected! -- And what an unspeakable hurt must it have brought upon us, and upon our mother country! what an alienation of affection, what an interruption of mutual trade and commerce destructive to them as well as to us!