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In Times of War
By Samuel Davies, Hanover, Virginia; July 20, 1755.
"An oracle concerning the Valley of Vision: What troubles you now, that you have all gone up on the roofs, O town full of commotion, O city of tumult and revelry? Your slain were not killed by the sword, nor did they die in battle. All your leaders have fled together; they have been captured without using the bow. All you who were caught were taken prisoner together, having fled while the enemy was still far away. Therefore I said, 'Turn away from me; let me weep bitterly. Do not try to console me over the destruction of my people.' The Lord, the LORD Almighty, has a day of tumult and trampling and terror in the Valley of Vision, a day of battering down walls and of crying out to the mountains!" Isaiah 22:1-5
"The Lord, the LORD Almighty, called you to weep and mourn. He told you to shave your heads in sorrow for your sins and to wear clothes of sackcloth to show your remorse. But instead, you dance and play; you slaughter sacrificial animals, feast on meat, and drink wine.
'Let's eat, drink, and be merry,' you say. 'What's the difference, for tomorrow we die!'
The LORD Almighty has revealed to me that this sin will never be forgiven you until the day you die! That is the judgment of the Lord, the LORD Almighty." Isaiah 22:12-14
The heavy burden of this tragic prophecy falls upon the Valley of Vision, that is, upon Jerusalem, the metropolis of the Jews. It was called the Valley of Vision because it was enlightened by the visions of the prophets, enjoyed the advantages of revelation, and the privileges of the church of God. But though it was thus graciously distinguished by God, it was not safe from danger. The Assyrians were preparing a powerful army to invade the holy land, and the holy city, because it was degenerated into a land of guilt and a city full of wickedness.
The prophet Isaiah, at the foresight of this, feels all the generous and mournful passions of a patriot, a lover of his country, of liberty, and religion. However others were sunk into a stupid security all around him, and indulged themselves in mirth and luxury; he is alarmed and mourns for his country! "Turn away from me!" says he. Do not put my bursting grief under the restraints of modesty--by your presence! I will weep bitterly, labor not to comfort me; for the case requires the full indulgence of sorrow; and it is remediless. "Do not try to console me over the destruction of my people." Thus was Isaiah affected with the danger of Jerusalem, and his native country.
And, O Virginia! O my country! shall I not lament for you? You are a Valley of Vision, favored with the light of revelation from heaven, and the gospel of Jesus: you have long been the region of peace and tranquility; the land of ease, plenty, and liberty. But what do I now see? What do I now hear? I see your brazen skies, your parched soil, your withering fields, your dried springs, and your scanty harvests. Methinks I also hear the sound of the war trumpet, and see garments rolled in blood; your frontiers ravaged by revengeful savages; your territories invaded by French betrayal and violence. Methinks I see slaughtered families, the hairy scalps clotted with gore--the horrid arts of Indian and popish torture!
And, alas! in the midst of all these alarms--I see your inhabitants generally asleep, and careless of your fate! I see vice braving the skies; true religion neglected and insulted; mirth and folly have still their places of rendezvous. Let our country, let religion, liberty, property, and all be lost--yet still they will have their diversions! Luxury still spreads her feast, and unmans her effeminate guests. In spite of laws, in spite of proclamations, in spite of the principle of self-preservation, your officers are generally inactive, your militia neglected and undisciplined, your inhabitants unprovided with arms; everything in a defenseless posture; but few Abrahams to intercede for you; but few to stand in the gap, and make up the breach, to prevent the eruption of vengeance; but few mourning for the sins of the land!
"The Lord, the LORD Almighty, called you to weep and mourn. He told you to shave your heads in sorrow for your sins and to wear clothes of sackcloth to show your remorse. But instead, you dance and play; you slaughter sacrificial animals, feast on meat, and drink wine.
'Let's eat, drink, and be merry!' you say. 'What's the difference, for tomorrow we die!" And shall I not weep for you, O my country? Yes! when I forget you, O Virginia, "let my right hand forget her cunning, and my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth." Psalm 137:5. "Oh, my anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain. Oh, the agony of my heart! My heart pounds within me, I cannot keep silent. For I have heard the sound of the trumpet; I have heard the battle cry!" Jeremiah 4:19.
And now to whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear? Behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken, "I have listened attentively, but they do not say what is right. No one repents of his wickedness, saying, 'What have I done?' Each pursues his own course like a horse charging into battle. Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons, and the dove, the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration. But my people do not know the requirements of the LORD!" Jeremiah 8:6, 7. Nor do they discern the signs of the times. What, then, can I do for you, O my country? What but weep over you, pray for you, and warn your careless children? To give this seasonable warning is my present design.
There are two things mentioned in this chapter, as glaringly absurd, and highly provoking to God:
The one is, that in the military preparations which the Jews made, they had no proper regard to the Supreme Ruler of the world.
The other is, that instead of making proper preparations for their own defense, and humbling themselves before God, they were sunk into security, luxury, and wickedness.
They had made some military preparations. Thus far had I studied my discourse, before I was alarmed with the melancholy news that struck my ears last Thursday. Now every heart may meditate terror indeed: now every face may gather blackness; now I may mingle darker horrors in the picture I intended to draw of the state of my country. For what do I now hear? I hear that our army is defeated; our general killed; our sole defense demolished; and what shall we now do? Whence shall we derive our hope? Our militia has hitherto been a mere farce, and most of the inhabitants know little or nothing of the art of war: they are generally unfurnished with arms. What effect the present alarm will have upon them, I cannot yet determine; but I am afraid they are armored against even this, and will still dream on in security.
They seem to have this brand upon them, of a people given up to destruction; they cannot realize a danger at the distance of two or three hundred miles, though it is making quick approaches towards them; or, if they are alarmed at length, it will be apt to throw them into an inactive kind of consternation and terror; for it is natural to the presumptuous and secure to fall into this opposite extreme, when the danger they would not fear comes upon them, and this throws them into such hurry and confusion, that they can neither contrive nor prosecute measures for their own defense; so that we have little ground to hope for relief from ourselves--as for the neighboring colonies, they can do no more at best than provide for themselves.
Our mother-country is at a great distance, and before we can receive help from thence, our country may be overrun, and fall a helpless prey to our enemies. Our mother-country may also be engaged in war at home; and consequently unable to spare us much assistance so far abroad. To all this, I may add, that we are prodigiously weakened, and our enemies strengthened, by the loss of our fine train of artillery; and the Indians will probably break off their alliance with the English and join the victorious party; and what barbarities we may expect from these treacherous and revengeful savages, I cannot think of without horror.
Now what shall we do in these dangerous circumstances? May we not address the throne of grace in the language of Jehoshaphat: "We have no might against this multitude; neither know we what to do--but our eyes are upon you!" 2 Chron. 20:12. A guilty, obnoxious people cry to you in helpless distress, O you Ruler of heaven and earth! Spare us a little longer, and surround us with your salvation as with walls and bulwarks. We ought not indeed to content ourselves with lazy prayers; it is our duty also to take all the measures in our power to prevent or escape the impending ruin of our country; but it is certainly our duty to humble ourselves before that God whom we have offended, and to cry mightily to him, if perhaps, he may yet have mercy upon us that we do not perish.
After this digression, occasioned by so melancholy a report, I shall return to, and prosecute, my intended method.
I was observing, that the Jews had made some preparations for their own defense. They had furnished themselves with weapons out of the armory called the house of the forest. Isaiah 22:8. They had broken down the houses of Jerusalem, that with their materials they might fortify the wall, and stop its breaches. Isaiah 22:10. They had made ditches to convey the waters of two pools into the city, to furnish them with drink in the siege. Isaiah 22:9, 11. These preparations they made; and on these they depended, and not on the Lord God Almighty. "You did look in that day to the armor of the house of the forest; but you have not looked unto the Maker thereof, neither had respect unto him that fashioned it long ago." Isaiah 22:8, 11. And hence all their preparations were in vain.
I leave it to be considered, whether we and our country have not been guilty of this piece of practical atheism-- whether we have not incurred the curse of those who trusts in man, and makes the arm of flesh his confidence --whether we have not boasted and trusted in our experienced officers, our veteran soldiers, and our fine train of artillery, and had little or no regard to the Lord Almighty. It is he, my friends, who manages the affairs of men. This world is a territory of Jehovah's universal empire; and not a sparrow can fall to the ground in it without him. He does what he pleases among the inhabitants of the earth; and they shall all know it, sooner or later--they shall know it to their cost, if they cannot be made sensible of it by gentler measures.
Another sin charged upon the Jews was this, that, instead of making proper preparations for their own defense, and humbling themselves before God, they were sunk in security, luxury, and wickedness. Weeping, mourning, baldness, and girding with sackcloth, were the usual signs and ceremonies of fasting and deep humiliation under the law of Moses, and they are naturally expressive of great distress, sorrow, and lamentation. To such humiliation, repentance, and sorrow, God called them by his prophets, and by the threatening posture of their affairs. But, alas! instead of this--you see what we have been grieved to see in our country, nothing but feasting and diversion, luxury, and pleasure! "But instead, you dance and play; you slaughter sacrificial animals, feast on meat, and drink wine!" What audacious conduct is this! What is it but to insult Jehovah, and defy all his threatenings!
They acted upon that epicurean maxim, "Let us eat and drink--for tomorrow we shall die!" Let us take our pleasure while we may, for there will soon be an end of us! This may be looked upon either as the language of despair--let us be merry now, for we expect shortly to be cut off by our enemies. Or it may be a sneer upon the threatenings of God by his prophet, as if they had said, "We are to die, it seems, tomorrow, according to the denunciation of this precise fellow; let us then enjoy life when we can, regardless of the consequence. Shall this melancholy, timorous creature frighten us out of our pleasures? No! let him say what he will, we will eat, and drink, and be merry!"
What effect the present near approach of danger may have upon the inhabitants of our guilty land, I have not yet had time to know; but I am sure, (and it has often sunk my spirits, and alarmed my fears,) this has been the general conduct through our country under all the past threatenings of divine providence; and if this still continues--I must give you up, O my beloved land! I must give you up for lost! God cannot always bear with such daring impiety in us, any more than in the Jews. It was revealed to me by the Lord Almighty, says the prophet--this dreadful secret was communicated to me: Surely, this iniquity of despising my threatenings, and refusing to humble yourselves before me, shall not be purged from you until you die, until you are cut off by your enemies, says the Lord Almighty. Isaiah 22:14. How much reason we have to fear such a doom, I need not tell you--your own hearts suggest it to you from the present aspect of your affairs.
My design in the prosecution and improvement of this subject is, to
point out the causes of the present danger, and
the most promising methods to prevent or escape it.
I. I shall mention but two CAUSES of the present danger:
the sins of the land,
our security and inactivity in times past.
1. I must begin with mentioning the SINS of the land, as the first and principal cause of our calamity and danger.
Of this I have often warned you with weeping eyes and an aching heart. Some of you, I hope, have regarded the warning, and forsaken your sins; but to many, I have seemed as one that mocks, or an officious disturber of their security and pleasure. But now, when they are likely to have such dreadful confirmations of this melancholy truth; now, when God seems about to make good the charge against you by the terrors of his judgments, now I hope for a solemn hearing without contempt or ridicule.
The Lord Almighty (I repeat it again) is the supreme Ruler of the kingdoms of the earth, and by an irresistible, though invisible hand, he manages them according to his righteous pleasure. It belongs to him in that character to punish guilty, impenitent nations in this life; I say in this life; for in the world to come, men do not exist in a civil capacity as societies or nations--but are rewarded or punished as individuals according to their personal works. But in this world there are various connections and relations between them as members of civil society; and when, in that capacity, they become ripe for temporal punishment, and their iniquities are full--it is the usual method of Divine Providence to chastise them severely, or entirely cut them off.
And where is there a more sinful, obnoxious spot upon our guilty globe--than our country? It is the remark of strangers, and of those who have an extensive knowledge of Virginia, that this county is distinguished from the rest by the appearance of religion and good morals. But, ah! what ground have we of complaint and lamentation. And if this is the best part of our country, alas! what shall we say of the rest!
Recollect what you have known of your own conduct, and the conduct of the generality, and take a survey of the practice of the inhabitants; and what a dismal scene opens to your eyes! What numbers of drunkards, swearers, liars, immoral wretches, and such like, burden our land! Nay, how few comparatively are they who do not, at least occasionally, fall into one or other of these gross vices? What vanity, luxury, and extravagance, in gaming and other foolish or sinful diversions and pleasures, appear among people of high life and affluent fortunes? And is it not fit that they should now feel the lack of these mercies which they squandered away? What carelessness and unfaithfulness; what ignorance and laziness; nay, what gross vice and impiety, in sundry of the clergy, whose office it is to teach and reform the world! I must speak out in the present situation of my country, however unwilling I am to touch the sacred character.
O Virginia! your ministers have ruined you! I speak not of all; some of them, I hope, are an ornament to their profession, and a blessing to their country. But can the most generous charity, pretend they are all such? And those who are faithful, are considered the pests of society. Can religion flourish, when inculcated by such unclean lips? Can the world be reformed by such as so much lack reformation themselves!
There are some, indeed, who make it the great business of their lives to make men virtuous and godly; but alas! we have all been too cold and inactive in this noble work; and we desire to join in the general repentance on this account. How is the house of God forsaken! and what carelessness, vanity, and worldly conversation appear in those that attend! Alas! are these assemblies met to worship the great God, and prepare themselves for their everlasting state? But who would suspect it from their conduct? How is the table of the Lord, the memorial of our dear dying Redeemer, neglected by multitudes, or profaned by daring, profligate sinners? What a general neglect of family-religion prevails through our country? How few are the houses that devoutly call upon God!
But, alas! I cannot enumerate particulars. I may say all in a word. "There is but little, very little, practical piety to be seen in our land." Do but form an idea of Christianity from your Bible, and compare with that rule the professors of that religion; and how few can you pronounce real Christians? I speak this in the anguish of my heart; and you may be sure it is extorted from me; for in the whole course of my ministry among you, you have never heard so much of this kind of speech from me before.
Deism and infidelity have also of late made inroads upon us. Men do not like such a holy religion as that which Christ has instituted, and therefore they cavil at it, and go about to patch up another of their own, more favorable to their lusts and pleasures. Perhaps it may be put to trial in the general ruin of our country, whether any religion can support a sinking soul like the religion of Jesus. Then it may appear that "their rock is not as our Rock, our enemies themselves being judges." Deuteronomy 32:31. Then you who are lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God; you who make mammon your god, you who adore the glimmering light of reason instead of the Sun of Righteousness; then "go and cry to the gods you have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation!" Judges 10:14.
Now, if the outward conduct of men is generally so bad, alas! what shall we think of their hearts, the secret springs of action within? Oh! what lusts make their dens there! How many cold, hard, disloyal hearts towards God and his Son are to be found in our land! How many impenitent souls--who never have been broken into deep repentance! How many worldly, sensual minds--who grovel in the earth, and have little or no thought of God, of divine things, or of their everlasting state! How many secret neglecters of Christ and salvation through him! Alas! how few hearts long and languish for him! How few are acquainted with the experiences of true, vital Christianity! How few are earnestly striving to enter in at the strait gate, and laboring to be holy in all manner of conversation! How few are mourning for their own sins, and those of the land, and pouring out their prayers night and day in behalf of their country!
What practical atheism prevails among us as to the dispensations of Providence! Multitudes do not live in the world as though it were under the Divine government. They seem not "to regard the work of the Lord, nor the operation of his hands," Psalm 28:5, in drought and rains, in war and peace, or in any of the blessings or calamities of life; but they look to secondary causes only, as the instruments of divine Providence; and what is this but practically to abjure and renounce Jehovah from being the ruler of the world he has made! And can he tolerate such rebellion in his subjects? Is it not fit that he should convince them of his supreme government, by terrible things in righteousness, and make them know that he is the Lord--and that they are but men?
But I am weary of this melancholy history; and I own that I am not able to paint it in colors gloomy enough. We are a "sinful nation, a people loaded with guilt, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption! We have forsaken the LORD; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned our backs on him!" Isaiah 1:4. We are abusers of his mercy, and despisers of his chastisements; we are transgressors of his law, and neglecters of the gospel of Christ; we have all sinned--from the highest to the lowest. This is the fruitful source of all our calamities, and the most threatening circumstance that attends us; though there is another very discouraging, and that is--
2. Our SECURITY and inactivity in times past. Our enemies have not come upon us unawares. We had time enough to learn the art of war, and to furnish ourselves with arms--but we would not realize the danger! and now when we begin to be apprehensive of it, the hurry and the consternation will not allow us to make such preparations as we otherwise might. God has also given us space for repentance; and this is certainly an important preparative; but, alas! how has it been neglected! What a thoughtless, impenitent people have we been! and how justly may God give us up to the common fate of the presumptuous and secure: "for when they shall say 'peace and safety'--then sudden destruction shall come upon them as travail upon a woman with child, and they shall not escape!" 1 Thess. 5:3.
The rumor of war, and the call of God to repentance, have been the more alarming, as we have been punished with so severe a drought, which alone is no small calamity; and the next year, which will feel its consequences, will make us sensible of it.
I might mention sundry other causes of our present danger: as the unhappy factions about trifles between the branches of the legislature--the disunited state of the sundry British colonies--our criminal neglect of proper measures to Christianize the Indians, and conciliate them to us in that surest bond--our allowing abandoned traders to intoxicate them with strong drink, and defraud them of their property--our neglecting to keep garrisons on our frontiers, etc. But I must hasten to our second general head.
II. To point out the most promising measure to prevent or escape the danger and ruin of our country.
And my first advice, (and oh! that my voice could sound it to the remotest parts of the country) is this: Repent! O my countrymen, Repent! SIN is the cause of our danger! Sin is the bane of our land! And this cause cannot be removed, but by sincere repentance! Search and try your ways, and turn unto the Lord." Lam. 3:40. Recollect your own sins in heart and life; and mourn over them, hate them, forsake them, proclaim eternal war against these enemies of your country and of your souls. As much sin as every one of you have been guilty of--by so much has every one of you contributed to the destruction of your country. Therefore, let there be a great mourning among you; let every one of you mourn "by yourselves." Zech. 12:12. Down on your knees before your injured Sovereign; confess you have been ungrateful rebels; acknowledge the justice of the punishment, even though he should cut you off. Vow, and resolve, if you have done iniquity--to do it no more.
Take a survey also of the sins of your country, and lament over them as your own. And to your repentance, join fasting, as a proper expression of it. I cannot give you a more proper direction than what I shall read to you out of the prophecy of Joel, which was addressed to a people in the like dangerous circumstances; and see what encouragement is given to such humiliation: "Even now,' declares the LORD, 'return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning. Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. Who knows? He may turn and have pity and leave behind a blessing!" Joel 2:12-14.
Join earnest prayer to your repentance and fasting. Cry aloud to God for your country; for your liberty, your property, your religion, your lives, your all--cry to God in secret, in your families, in public; and form yourselves into little societies here and there for prayer. You prayerless families, now begin to worship the God who preserves you, lest he "pour out his fury upon you with the heathen, and the families that call not upon his name." Jeremiah 10:25. In this way the weak and timorous, even women and children, may fight for their country; and from this assistance, which you may give in a peaceful corner, our army may derive their victory; for the "effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much." James 5:16.
If the present threatening circumstances of our country should take this happy turn; oh! if it should bring the thoughtless inhabitants to repentance and reformation, I would count it the most blessed event my eyes have ever seen! Let each of us labor to promote so happy an effect.
If any of you are frightened about your everlasting state, and you would desire to live longer, to make all sure--to such of you I would say, that now you find the bad effects of your former negligence--had you given all diligence to make your calling and election sure--you would not have been left in such perplexity in the hour of difficulty. You have no other way now--but diligently to improve the time you have. As for such of you as are really unprepared for your latter end, and justly conscious of it; I have sundry things to say to you, and oh! that they may sink deep into your hearts.
First, How may it shock you to think, that you who have lived so long in the world, should now need more time to turn to God, and prepare for eternity? Alas! what have you done with the ten, twenty, thirty, or forty years that God has given you for this purpose? Ah! are they all gone, without doing any of the great work you were sent into the world for? Have they all been wasted upon sin, the flesh, and the world, and sacrificed to the devil! Have you been destroying yourselves all this time! Oh! sirs, have I not told you of this--but in vain? Have I not often warned you of the danger of delays in turning to God? Will you now, at length, believe me? Will you now conclude that it is high time for you to regard the things that belong to your eternal peace?
Secondly, If the reason why you desire to preserve your lives longer, is that you may have time to turn to God, and prepare for eternity--then you are carefully improving the time you now have. It is a vain pretense that you want more time for this, if you do not use the time you have. And are you sincerely doing so? Are you seeking the Lord in earnest, and endeavoring to repent and turn to him? If not, you only want time to sin longer--to pursue the world and your pleasures longer! And can you expect God will indulge you in such a wicked desire?
Thirdly, it is not the lack of time--but the lack of a sincere heart, which keeps you unconverted. Paul was converted in three days, the jailer in a few hours, and Peter's hearers under one short sermon; and why may you not hope for the like blessing, if you exert yourselves in earnest?
Fourthly, to excite you to this, let me try an argument or two from a new topic. It is you, and such sinners as you--who have brought all these calamities upon your country. Impenitent sinners are the bane of society, and bring down the wrath of God upon it. Therefore, if you would serve your country--then you must repent and be converted. What a cutting thought may it now be to you, "I am one of the guilty creatures for whom my country is now suffering!"
Consider also, if the things you fear should come upon you--then how miserable would you be!
An angry God above you;
a withering, ravaged country, an aceldama, a field of blood around you;
a guilty conscience within you;
and a burning hell just before you!
Then you will borrow the despairing complaint of Saul. "The Philistines make war against me, and God has departed from me!" 1 Sam. 28:15. Then you will see the use of true religion, and bitterly lament your neglect of it. Therefore now make that your superlative concern.
I shall CONCLUDE with two or three remarks.
First, Let us not be too much discouraged. Our country is in danger of famine and the sword; but the case is not desperate. Do not, therefore, give it up as a lost case. Our inhabitants are numerous; some parts of the country have promising crops; our army, we hope, is not entirely cut off; the New England forces are likely to succeed in their expeditions; and we have a gracious, though a provoked God over all. Therefore, let us not despond, nor let us think it hard to suffer a little, in such a world as this. Let us not think it a mighty matter, that we who have forfeited every blessing, should fall into poverty. We may still have food and clothing somewhere or other--so why should we complain?
It is one character of a godly man, that "he is not afraid of evil tidings." Psalm 112:7. "Even though the fig trees," says Habakkuk, "have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vine; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty--yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!" Hab. 3:17, 18.
What a noble spirit appears in the forty-sixth Psalm. "God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear, even if earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!" Psalm 46:1-3
"The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it, and is safe!" Proverbs 18:10.
To have a Friend in heaven, a Friend who is the Lord Almighty, what a strong support is this! And what is that religion good for--which will not support a man under trials? It has been a kind of a gracious calamity to our land, that we have not had anything to try our religion, and to distinguish the chaff from the wheat. Now, perhaps the trying time is coming; and "he who endures to the end shall be saved." Matthew 10:22.
Let me address this in particular to such of you as sincerely fear the Lord. You are safe, come what will. Therefore, do not disgrace your religion, by unmanly, cowardly fears; but like David, when he had lost all--encourage yourselves in your God. 1 Sam. 30:6. But,
Secondly, Let us not be too presumptuous. "Be not high-minded--but fear." I am most afraid that you should fall into this extreme. We have many reasons to fear; we are a sinful land; we are but poorly provided against war or famine: it is fit we should in our turn experience the fate of other nations, that we may know what sort of a world we live in. It is certain many will be great sufferers by the drought; and many lives will be lost in our various expeditions; our poor friends in the frontier counties are slaughtered and scalped. In short, it is certain, be the final outcome what it will--that our country will suffer a great deal; therefore, be humble.
Thirdly, Be diligent in prayer for our army, for the unhappy families in our frontiers, etc. "And may the Lord Almighty be with us, and the God of Jacob be our refuge." Psalm 46:7.