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of public ordinances, which should nourish the soul (it is our sin, without urgent causes, to deprive ourselves of them) yea, may find the communications of grace more sparingly bestowed, or, to their sense, for a season withheld; but still grace in the soul, and the soui itself, shall by faith be kept alive, till they land in glory, where they shall fcast on the plentitude of all divine goodness.
Again, we must not only have the ship thoroughly equipped, but we must have spare anchors, spare sails, and spare masts; else in a storm, when we may be driven from our anchors, or at sea, when our sails may be blown to pieces, and our masts brought by the board, we musi remain at the mercy of wind and wave, and perish in our distress. So, it is proper
every Christian lay up in his mind the promises, the word on whith God has caused him to hope ; that in the day of darkness and tempest, when like to sink in the migîty wayés, he may have recourse to them, as holding forth an unchangeable love, and call to mind his past experience of divine goodness; like the psalmist, “ I will remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar.” Thus shall he weather out the storm, and have a safe passa sage to the land of promise.
Spithead, May 8, 1758.
NOTWITHSTANDING all this nice apparatus, and royal provision made for the vessel designed for foreign climes, there is one thing absolutely necessary for her safety in the main ocean, among roaring winds, and that is a due weight of ballast. To see sucli a quantity of gravel, sand, stones, pegs of iron, &c. thrown into the ship’s hold, would make an ignorant person apt to conclude, that it must sink the ship, and not conduce to her safety ; but, if she were not sunk to a proper depth, she would buoy up on the surface of the water, and be overset by every gale the blows. Just so, a pressure of affliction is absolutely necessary for the saint in his passage heavenward. thing went prosperously on, spiritual pride might buoy up the soul, and expose her to be overset by every wind of temptation; and such winds the people of God may expect below. Indeed, there are causes, manifold causes of humility cleaving to the best; but, before God suffers his saints to be exalted above mea. sure, even through the manifestation of the divine favour, he will let loose the messenger of satan to buffet them, as he dealt with Paul of old.
As the ship sails more safely thus ballasted, though it has a greater depth of water to cut through ; so it is safer for the soul to be kept in a due poise of humility and lowness of mind, than to float on the surface, and catch every gale. Again, it
sometimes to shift the fore or aft, as the ship goes more or less up
may be necessary
right, to alter her position. Even so, according to our necessity, our afflictions may be removed from one thing, and laid upon another that is dear to us. We may suffer in our estate, or good name; trouble, disease, or death, may be laid on our children, or the wife of our bosom; and we may be afflicted in our bodies, or in our minds, as Infinite Wisdom sees meet; which should silence us under all.
Again, the food that we eat, and the water that we drink, is part of the ballast, and keeps us deep in the water. Just so, our best comforts, at least what we thought best, are often made bitter with some cross. Thus, have not some husbands sharp sorrow from her that lieth in their bosom? Have not some parents much vexation from those whom they have swaddled, and brought up? Therefore, to expect little from the creature, and all from God, is the way never to be disappointed, but always at rest.
Finally, here is the crowning comfort, that, as the ballast is turned out, when the ship goes into dock, so, when I arrive at my much-desired haven, affliction shall no more have place in me; then shall I obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall for ev
er flee away.
THE MORE WE SEE OF SIN, THE MORE WE SHOULD
WHEN Israel was in their own land, they were mad on idolatry ; but, when forced to sacrifice at Babylon to idols which they knew not, they got such a surfeit of that sin, that they loathed it ever after. How, then, should I henceforth hate sin, when I see how naked it makes the soul, how it debases even unto hell, how the longer the captive lies in chains, the fetters grow stronger, and the captive weaker; how it kindles hell, scatters brimstone over the tabernacle, makes the language of the pit spue from the tongue, and makes restless in the pursuit of sin; in a word, contemns divine things, proclaims rebellion against Heaven, and wages war against God!
KNOWING A SIN TO BE COMMITTED.
Spithead, May 15, 1758. IN vain, O foolish man! in vain thou hidest thyself, for “ there is no darkness nor shadow of death where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves.” Hast thou chosen the gloom of night? Well, but night is to God as day, and darkness as the light. Thou didst premcditate the perpetration of thy wickedness, and God is preparing the punishment of thy crimes.
Lord! thy judgments are a great deep, and thy justice shall shine in the punishment of sinners, who shall confess the equity of thy burning indignation, Thus, they who unweariedly blaspheme in pastime and in sport, shall eternally blaspheme in agony and pain. Thus, the unclean wretch, who burns in impure desires, and satisfies his lusts in an unlawful way, shall Pe delivered to the flames, where the worm dieth not,
the fire is not quenched. He who will not hear
Cod's reproof, in the time of his long-suffering,
shall hear when vengeance shall be his garment, and his fury shall uphold him. Thus, the companions of sin shall be the companions of suffering, being bound in bundles to be burnt together. Thus, the adulterers, who know no shame, shall be ashamed, and covered with confusion in that day. And such as now expose their wickedness to some, with impunity, shall be exposed before the great congregation, and shall not be able to hold up their face before the spotless throne.
Then thou, O sinner! shalt be there, and I shall be there. Here I know thy sin, and, if mercy prevent not now, there I shall see thy punishment. How shalt thou wish this day, this night, out of the number of the days of thy years, and not added to thy months! How wilt thou wish darkness to cover it, and a cloud of oblivion to dwell upon it! How wilt thou curse it, when ready to raise up thine everlasting mourning! When thou wast a child, thou couldst not commit this wickedness, and when thou art a man, thou shouldst not ; therefore, how shalt thou curse thy manhood, and be wail the riper years ; yea, wish that thou hadst been an untimely birth, an infant that never saw the sun ! Thy sin is marked in my mournful meditation, in thy conscience which is ut work secretly, and in the omniscience of thy tremendous Judge. There will be no want of proof against thee in the day of thy cause; the companion of thy wickedness shall be present, I shall be present, conscience shall be present, when thou appearest before thy Judge, who, being every where present, is the greatest witness of all. There will be no casting of witnesses there ; for no false witness can appear at that tribunal, yea, thou thyself shalt never presume to plead not guilty. As sure as thou hast committed