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How faithless and dittrulful halt thou been,
Altho' his care and love thou oft haft seen ?
Thus in a fagle dich you have a feast,
Your first and second course, the lalt the best.

c H A P. XIV.
Sea-waters drained through the earth, are sweet ;
So are th' afflictions which God's people meet.

THE waters of the sea, in themselves, are brackish, and do-

pleasant, yet being exhaled by the fua, and coodensed into clouds, they fall down into pleasant showers; or if drained through the earth, their property is thereby altered, and that which was so falt in the sea, becomes exceeding sweet and pleafapt in the springs. This we find by constant experience, the {weetest crystal spring came from the sea, Ecclef. i. 7.

APPLICATION. Aflictions in themselves are evil, Amos ii. 6. very bitter and unpleasant. See Heb. xii. 11. Yet not morally and intritically evil

, as lin is ; for if so, the holy God would never own it for his owa act as he doth, Mic. iii. 2. but always disclaimeth fia, Jam. i. 3. Besides, if it were so evil, it could, io no cafe, or respect, be the object of our ele&tion and defire, as in some cases it ought to be, Heb. xi. 25. but it is evil, as it is the fruit of fia, and grievous unto fenfe, Heb. xiv. 11. But though it be thus brackich, and uopleafaot in itself, yet, passiog through Christ and the covenant, it loses that ungrateful property, and becomes pleasant in the fruits and effects thereof uoto believers, Heb. xii. 11.

Yea, such are the blessed fruits thereof, that they are to ac. covat it all joy, when they fall into divers afflictions, Jam. i. 2. David could bless God that he was afflicted, and many a faint hath done the like. A good woman once compared her afflictions to her children : For, (faith (he) they put me in pain ia 6 bearing them; yet as I know aột which child, so peither • which affliction, I could be without."

Sometimes the Lord fanctifies afflictions, to discover the corTuption that is in the heart, Deut. viii. 2. it is a furnace to Thew the dross. Ah! when a sharp affliction comes, then the pride, impatience, and unbelief of the heart appears : Matura vexatio prodit seipsam. When the water is stirred, theo the inud and filthy sediment, that lay at the bottom, rises. Little, faith the afflicted foul, did I think, there had been in me that

pride, felf-love, distrust of God, caroal fear, and unbelief, as i now find. O where is my patience, my faith, my glory in tribulation ? I could not have imagined the fight of death would have lo appalled me, the loss of outward things have fo pierced me. Now what a blessed thing is this, to have the heart thus discovered.

Again, fanctified afflictions discover the emptioess and vanity of the creature. Now, the Lord hath stained its pride, and veiled its tempting fplendor, by this or that affliction; and the foul sees what an empty, shallow, deceitful thing it is. The world (as one hath truly observed) is then only great in our eyes, when we are full of sense and self: but now affliction makes us more fpiritual, and then it is nothing. It drives them nearer to God, makes them fee the neceffity of the life of faith, with multitudes of other benefits.

But yet these sweet fruits of afflictions do not naturally, and of their own accord, spring from it; no, we may as well look for grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles, as for such fruits from affliction, till Christ's fanctifying hand and art have passed

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The reason why they become thus sweet and pleasant (as 1 moted before) is, because they ruo aow into another channel ; Jesus Chrift hath removed them from mouat Ebal to Gerezim ; they are no more the effects of vindi&tive wrath, but paternal chastisement. And, as *. Mr Case well potes,

a teaching afo • Biction is to the faints, the result of all the offices of Jesus • Christ. As a king, he chaftens; as a prophet, he teacheth, . viz. by chastening; and, as a priest, he hath purchafed this

grace of the Father, that the dry rod might bloffom, and • bear fruit.' Behold, then, a fanctified affliction is a cup, whereinto Jelus Christ bath woung and prefled the juice and virtue of all his mediatory offices. Surely, that must be a cup of generous, royal wine, like that in the supper, a cup of blei fing to the people of God.

REFLECTION. Hence may the upsanétified foul draw matter of fear and trouble, even from its unfanctified troubles. And thus it may seffect upon itself: O my soul ! what good halt thou gotten by all, or any of thy afflictions? God's rod hath been dumb to thee, or thou deaf to it. I have not learned one holy inftruc. sion from it ; my troubles have left me the same, or worse than they found me; my heart was proud, earthly, and vain before,

* Correction, Instruction, p. 82.

and so it remaios ftill ; they have not purged out, but only given vept to the pride, murmur, aod atheism of my heart. 1 have been in my afflictions, as that wicked Ahaz was in his 2 Chron. xxviii. 22. who, “in the midft of his distress, yet

frefpassed more and more agaiost the Lord.”. Wheo I have been in storms at fea, or troubles at home, my foul within me tatb bicen as a raging 'fea, calling up mire and dirt. Surely this rod is not the rod of God's childreo; I have proved but drofs in the furnace, and I fear the Lord will put me away as dross, as he threatens to do to the wicked, Psal. cxix. 119.

Hence alfo fhould gracious fuuls draw much encouragement and comfort amidst all their troubles. Oithefe are the truits of God's fatherly love to me! why should I fear in the day of evil! or tremble any more at affliction? Though they seem as a ferpent at a distance, yet are they a rod in the hand blessed be that skilful and gracious hand, that makes the rod, the dry rod to blossom, aad bear such precious fruit.

Lord, whata mystery of love lies in this dispensation ! that Go, which firft brought afflictions into the world, is now itself carried out of the world by affliction, Rom. Vi 12. Ila. vii. 9 O what can frustrate my salvation, 'when those very thiogs that feem molt to oppole it, are made fubferuient toit, aad, contri Ig to their owa inature, do promote and further in?

The POE M.
IS Orange to hear what diff'rent ceafures fall

Upon the same affliction ; fome do call
Their troubles sweet, fome bitter ;-others meet
Them both mid-way, and call them bitter sweet.
But here's the question fill, 1»fain would fee,
Why sweet to him, and bitter onto me ?
Thou drink'ltahem, dregs and all, but others find
Their troubles lavcet, because to them refia'd,
And sanctify'd ; which difference is best,
By fuch apt fimilies as these exprest :
From salt and brackish seas fumes rise and fly,
Which, into clouds condens'd, obscure the sky;
Their property there alter'd, in few hours,
Those brackish fumes fall down in pleasant show'rsa
Or as the dregs of wine and beer, distillid
By limbcc, with ingredients, doth yield
A cordial water, tho' the lees were bitter,
From whence the chymist did extract such liquor.
Then marvel dot, that one can kils that rod,
Which makes another to blasphere his God,

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get yonr troubles fwecten'd, and refip'd,
Or else they'll leave bitter effects behind.
Saiats troubles are à cord, let down by love,
To pully up their hearts to things above.

Ċ Ħ À P. . XV.
The jeas within their bounds the Lord contains :
He also men and devils holds in chains.

† is á sonderful work of God, to limit and bound such a

vast and furious creature as the sea, which, according to the judgment of many learned then, is higher than the earth; and that it hath à propen lion to overflow it, is evident both from its nature and motion : where it dot that the great God had laid his law upon it. And this is a work wherein the Lord glories, aod will be admired. Plal. civ. 9: " Thou hast set a “ bound that they may dot pass over, that they turo dut again

to cover the earth.” Which it is clear they would do, were they dot thus limited: So Job xxxviii. 8, 10, 11, “ Who to shut up the fea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had " issued out of the womb bråke up for it my decreed * place, and set bars ånd doors, and said, Hitherto Calt thou

come, but no further; and here fhall thy proud waves be

* stayed."

A P P LICATION. And no less is the glorious power and mercy of God discovered in bridling the rage and fury of Satan and his inftruments, that they break not in upon the inheritance of the Lord, and destroy it." Surely the wrath of man thall praise thee, and the remain“ der of wrath thou shalt restrain," Pfal. Ixxvi. 10. By which It is more than hioted, chat there is a world of rage and malice in the hearts of wicked men, which fain would, but caddot tent itself, because the Lord restrains, or, as in the Hebrew, girds it up. Satan is the envious ode, and his rage is great against the people of God, Rev. xii. 12. But God holds him, and all his instruments, ia a chain of providence; and it is well for God's people that it is so.

They are limited as the sea, and so the Lord in a providential way speaks to them, “ Hitherto Thall ye come, and oo further.” Sometimes he ties them up fo short, that they cannot touch his people, though they have the greatest opportunities and advantages. Plal. CP. 12, 13, 14, 15. " When they were but a few

Vot. VI.


“ men in number; yea, very few, and strangers in it; when " they went from one nation to another, from one kingdom to “ another people, he suffered oo man to do them wrong; pea, “ he reproved kings for their fakes, saying, touch not mine a“ goioted, and do my prophets no harm." And sometimes he permits them to touch and trouble his people, but then fers bounds and limits to them, beyond which they muft not pass. That is a pregnant text to this purpose, Rev. ii. 10. " Behold “ the devil shall cart lome of you into prison, that ye may be “ tried, and ye fhall have tribulation ten days."

Here are four remarkable limitatioos upon Satan and his agens, in reference to the people of God: a limitation as to the perfons, not all, but some; a limitation of the punishment, a prison, cot a grave, 'not hell; a limitation upon them as to the ends for trial, oot ruin; and lastly, as to the duration, not as long as theġ please, but ten days.

REFLECTION. O my sou!! what marrow and faroess, comfort and copfola. tion mayest thon fuck from the breat of this truth, in the darkest day of trouble? Thou leeft how the flowing fea drives to overwhelin, the earth. Who has arrested it in its course, and Nopt its violence ? who has confined it to its place ! Certainly none other but the Lord. When I see it threaten the lhore with its proud, furious, and insultiog waves, I wonder it doth not swallow up all : but I see it. Do sooner touch the sands, which God hath made its bounds, but it retires, and, as it were, with a kind of submission, refpects those limits which God hath set it.

Thus the fiercest element is repressed by the feeblest things : thou seeft also how full of wrath and fury wicked med are, how they rage like the troubled sea, and threaten to overwhelm * thee, and all the Lord's inheritance : and thea the floods of ungodly, men make thee afraid ; yet are they restrained by an invisible, gracious hand, that they cannot execute their purpose, Aor perform their enterprize. How full of devils, and devilized men, is this lower world? Yet, in the midst of them all, haft thou hitherto been preserved. O! my soul, admire and adore that glorious power of God, by which thou art kept onto falvation is not the preservation of a faint in the midst of such hosts of enemies, as great a miracle, though not so sensible, as the preservation of those three noble Jews, in the midst of the See the Turk's letter to the emperor of Germany, lately publiska

ed by authority

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