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answers the highest expectation of the homeward bound ship. No shipmaster could ever expect, under his bare poles, to make the desired haven, though favored with a very fresh gale. If he did not both unfurl and stretch his sails in the best direction for the wind, he would look more like a madman than a mariner. So he that attends on no ordinances, attempts the performance of no duty, reads not the scriptures of truth, and prays not to the God of all grace, is not in the way of the heavenly gale that wafts the saints to glory.
Again, the sails, fore and aft, may all be unfurled, by a skilful hand, and spread out to the wind, and yet the ship for a time make little way, because scarcely favored with a breath of wind. So the influences of the Spirit may be restrained for a time, and the saints, even in the use of every mean, may make but little progress in their Christian course.
But as the experienced seaman, in such a case, crowds on all his sails, adds a top-gallant sail, and appends studding sails ; so we, with the spouse, should rouse up ourselves, rise from our sloth, ask anxiously after him, be earnest. and importunate in every duty, till we find him whom our soul loveth.
Nothing can be a more pleasant sight at sea than a fleet of ships, richly laden, with a moderate gale, steering a straight course to the port, at which they have long been expected, and which they have long desired to see. But a company of saints travelling Zionwards, rich in heavenly graces and the hopes of eternal glory; and, under the influences of the Holy Ghost, steering
ht course to the church of the first-born, where been long expected by the souls under the hich they have long desired to see, is a ht.
Finally, as the ship never takes in her sails till arrived at her desired haven, so we should be always on our guard, keep every grace in vigour, never be weary in well doing, but press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, till we make the haven of bliss, the harbour of glory.
ON THE COMPASS AND HELM.
Spithead, May 6, 1758. ANCHORS and sails are both useful ; but without something more, the mariner must steer an unsteady course, and traverse the ocean to little purpose, not knowing where he is, nor whither he goes. These handmaids of navigation are, the compass, the quadrant, and the helm. Without the compass, he durst never venture from the coast, because he would sail he knows not whither; without the quadrant, he must mistake his latitude ; and without his helm, he might be driven whither he would not. Even so all these in a spiritual sense are absolutely necessary to every one who would have a safe passage to the other world. Therefore, seeing I am on a long, but interesting voyage to eternity, much care should be taken what course I steer, since one point wrong, so to speak, instead of landing me safe in glory, will run me among the rocks of irretrievable ruin. Did not they seem to bid fair for a prosperous voyage, and for making the very harbour, who could boast to Christ himself, “ Lord, Lord, have we not prophecied in thy name, and in thy name cast out devils, and done many wonderful works?" and yet he professes to them that he never knew them.
Now, I must direct the course of my life, and the end of my actions, by the sacred compass of divine reyelation. This should be a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path; my counsellor in all difficulties, and my song in the house of my pilgrimage ; yea, my daily and delicious food.
Here I must observe, that if the most skilful pilot cannot; without the compass, sail from England to the Indies; so the heathen, for all the blaze of natural parts, for all their refined manners, or excellent morals, yet, wanting the word of God, the volume of inspiration, can never reach the shore of happiness; for " how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard ! and how shall they hear without a preacher ? and how shall they preach except they be sent?"
Again, like the spiritual mariner, I should take my altitude, and see what length I have run, what progress I have made in my course heavenward. Now, this is known by the height of the Sun of righteousness in my sky. If he enlighten the whole inner *man, shine into my heart, irradiate every power of mind, cover me with his healing beams, fill my rayished eye, engage my attention, and excite me daily to adore and bask beneath my Saviour's gracious rays, surely I am well on to the meredian, well on to the land of rest.
Again, I should steer the helm by the compass of divine truth, guard against running out of my latitude, but be attentive to my life according to thy word, and have a zeal according to knowledge. Thus shall I at last, under a full sail, in a triumphant manner, have an abundant entrance ministered to me into the kingdom of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,
PROVISIONS AND STORES.
THE ship must not only be well supplied with every thing necessary for navigation, but with food for the seamen on their voyage. If they have not laid in both bread and water, they shall soon be in a starving condition, reduced to eat one another, or die, and never see the country for which they set out. if we do not live on a crucified Jesus, if he be not the food of our souls, and in us the hope of glory: If we cannot make a spiritual meal, a spiritual feast on the promises, we shall be consumed of famine, and perish in our passage.
Again, as this day's allowance will not support us to-morrow, so it is not by grace received that we must pursue our Christian journey; for we must be strong only in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and daily receive out of his fulness.
Further, the provision which we carry to sea must be prepared in another manner than what is used at land, otherwise it will corrupt, and become altogether useless. Even so, a form of godiiness, and counterfeit graces, a cradle-faith, and a family-piety, will not support us in our passage to the world of spirits.
Besides, in a scarcity of provisions, the vermin, rats to wit, will attempt to knaw the flesh of the poor sail
Even so, when grace is languid or withheld, what lusts prey on the vitals of the soul ! O, then, for a full meal on the bread of life, that I may be safe from sin and satan, carth and hell!
Our provisions, whien long at sea, are apt to breed maggots, worms, and insects; yet, if wholesome
when put aboard, will support us till we accomplish our voyage. So, it is no wonder though, amidst so many snares, so many temptations, and in such a vari. ety of circumstances and occurrences, the graces necessary to the Christian life, be more or less languid at times, and sometimes appear so much disposed to putrefaction, that spiritual death is dreaded to be at hand; but, if true grace be first implanted, the Christian shall not perish by the way, but have the bread and water of life bestuwed upon him, till he come to the banquet above.
Moreover, if a supply of provisions, suitable to the length of the voyage, or of the time designed to be at sea, is neglected, a scarcity will ensue, that will ruin the ship. So, how sad to sail through life, with nothing but vanity and wind to feed on! The soul must starve all his life-long, and die at last of spiritual famine, the most terrible of all deaths. A ship, indeed, short of provisions, may meet another at sea, and obtain a liberal supply; but this is not the case with a graceless soul; no other can help, none can spare of his own stores to supply others.
No private person, yea, nothing less than majesty, could afford so many persons as are in the navy, this ample provision. So, neither from saints nor angels is the poor sinner to expect righteousness or grace ;
all are beggars or bankrupts themselves, and so can give no ransom for their brother's soul. But how rich the King of heaven ! that gives both grace and glory to his angels and saints, and yet remains an overflowing ocean of goodness!
In a long voyage, it may be sometimes necessary to put the whole ship's company on short allowance, but death never follows this. So, the saints, in their way heavenward, may find themselves for a time deprived