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To mend what is amifs. The gracious Lord,
CH A P. VIII.
T , make
bare Gde wind, by his skill ia shifting and managing the fails, will serve his turo : He will not lose the advantage of one breath, or gale, that may be useful to him. I have many times wondered to see two ships failing in a direct counter motion, by one and the same wind : Their skill and wisdom hereio is admirable.
APPLICATION. Thus prudent and skilful are men in fecular and lower mat. ters, and yet how ignorant and unskilful in the great and everlasting affairs of their fouls! All their invention, judgment, wit, and memory, seem to be pressed for the service of the flesh. They can learo an art quickly, and arrive to a great deal of exactness in it; but in foul-matters, no koowledge at all. They can can understand the Equator, Meridian, and Horizon ; by the first they can tell the latitude of any place, south, or porth, measuring it by the degrees in the Meridian ; by the second they can tell you the longitude of a placi, caft and welt, from the Meridian, measuring it by the degrees of the Equator ; and by the third they can discern the divers iisiags and settings of the stars. And so in other arts and sciences, we find men endowed with rare abilities, and fingular fagacity. Some bave piercing apprehensions, folid judgments, stupendous memories, rare invention, and excellent elocution; but put them upon any fpiritual fupernatural matter, and the weakeft Christian, even a babe in Christ, shall excel them therein, and give a far better account of regeneration, the work of grace, the life of faith, thao chele can. 1 Cor. i. 26." Not many wife “ men after the flesh, Sc. But God hath chofen the foolilu things of this world," &c.
REFLECTION. How inexcusable, theo, art thou, O my fout! and how mute and confounded most thou Deeds stand before the bar of God, in that great day? Thou hadtt a talent of natural parts com mitted to thee, but wbich way have they been improved? I had an understanding, indeed, but it was not fan&tified; a me mory, but it was like a sieve, that let go the corn, and retaia. ed oothing but husks and chaff; wit and invention, but, alas! noac to do myself good. Ah ! how will these rise in judgment agaia mc, and stop my mouth? What account shall I give for them in that day ?
Again, are men (otherwise prudent and skilful) fuch fots and fools in fpiritual things? Then let the poor, weak Christian, whose patural parts are bluat and dull, admire the riches of Gud's free grace to him. O what an astonishing confideration is this! that God fhould pass by men of the profouodeft aaEural parts, aod chuse me, even poor me, whose gatural facul. ties and endowments, compared with theirs, are but as lead to gold! Thus under the law he passed by the lion and eagle, and chose the lamb and dove. O how should it make me to advance grace, as Christ doth upon the fame account, Matth. xi. 25. 6. I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thoa as halt hid these things from the wife and prudeot, and reveals 66 ed them to babes." And let it ever be an humbliogconfi. deration to me ; tor who made me to differ? Is not this one priacipal thing God aims at, in calling such as I am ; that boalli ing may be excluded, and himself alone exalted ?
The PO E M.
To see the seamap husband ev'ry wind;
And will not this one day in judgment rise
In smaller matters; what, and yet not know
They move you got, por cause you to releat;
If fearen lose a gale, there they may lie ;
and cide, kød it much conceras them so to be; the peglect pt a few hours, sometimes, loses them their pallage, and proves a great derrimeat to them. They know the wind is ap pncertain, variable thing; they must take it when they may : they are unwilling to lole one fow, or breach, that may be serviceable so them. If a prosperous gale offers, and they got ready, i repedts them to lose it, as much as it would repeot.us to see á veffel of good wine, or beer, tapped and run to waste.
APPLICATION. There are also seafoas, and gales of grace, for our souls, golden opportunities of salvation afforded to men, the Deglect of which proves the lass and quio of souls, God hath given upto mal a day of visitation, which he hath limited, Hab. iv. 7. and keeps an exact account of every year, month, aod day, that we have enjoyed it, Luke xiii. 7. Jer. XXV. 3. Luke xix. 42. The longe date of it can be but the time of this life; this is our day to work in, Job ix. 4. and upon this small wire the weight of eternity hangs. But sometimes the season of grace is eaded, before the night of death comes; the accepted time is gone, men frequently out-live it, Luke xix. 44. 2 Cor. vi. 2. Or, if the outward means of salvation be contioued, yet the (pirit many times withdraws from those means, and ceases any more to Atrive with men ; and then the blessing, power, and efficacy is gone from them, and instead thereof a curfe seizech the foul, Heb. vi. 7, 8. and Jer. vi. 29.
* Therefore it is a matter of high importance to our souls to apprehend these feasons. How pathetically dath Christ bewail Jerufalem upon this account! Luke xix. 42. “ that thou VOL. VI.
“ hadAt knowo, at least in this thy day, the things of thy peace ! “ but now they are hid from thioe eyes.” If a company of seameo are set a-shore upon some remote, upinhabited ifland, with this advice, to be aboard agaio exactly at such an hour, else they must be left behind; how doth it concern them to be punctual to their time? The lives of thofe men depend upon & quarter of ad hour. Many a foul hath perished eternally, the goipel leaving them behind in their fias, because they kaew got the time of their visitation.
REFLECTION. What golden fcafons for salvation halt thou enjoyed, O my foul ? what halcyon days of gospel- light and grace haft thou had! How have the precious gales of grace blowe to go pure pose upon thee I and the Spirit waited and striven with thee in vain ? “ The kingdom of heaven, (being opened in the gof" pel dispensation) hath suffered violence." Multitudes have been presling into it in my days, and I myself have fometimes been almost perfuaded; aod Dot far from the kingdom of God: I have gone as far as conviction for fio and mifery, yea, I have been carried by the power of the gospel, to resolve and purpose to turn to God, and become a new creature; But fia hath been too subtle and deceitful for me: I fee, my refolutions were but as an early cloud, or morning dew; and now my heart is cold and dead agaio, settled upon its lees. Ah! I have cause to fear and tremble, l'ent God hath; left me under that curfe, Rev. XX. 11. " Let him that is filthy, be filthy Ailh." I fear I am become as that miry place, Ezek. xlvii. i f. That (hall Bot be healed by the Itreams of the gospel, but given to fakt, and curfed into perpetual barrenders. Ah Lord I wilt thou leave me for and thalt thy Spirit strive no more with me? Then it had been good for me that I had never beeo boja. Ah ! if I have tried out this feason, and irrecoverably lett it, then I may take up that lamentation, Jer. viii. 20. and say, “ My harvest is past, my lommer 6 is ended, and I am not saved."
Every creature knows its time, even the turtle, crane, and swallow, koow the time of their coming, Jer. viii. 7. Howe brutish am I, that have not known the time of my visitation! O thou, that art the Lord of life and time, command gracious season more for me, and make it effectual to me, before I go hence, and be seen no more !
The PO E M.
had wait the feaman's leisure. :. Well, to morrow
veral oations of the world, that one standing in need of another's commodities, there might be a sociable commerce and traffick maintained amongit them all, and all combioing in a common league, may, by the help of navigation, exhibit mutual succours to each other. The staple commodities proper to each country, I find expressed by the poet, Bart. Col.
Hence comes our fagars from Canary Isles;