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Fiery furnace, or Daniel in the den of lions, For there is as strong a propension in Satan, and wicked men, to destroy the, faints, as in the fire to børn, or a lion to devour. O! then, let ne chearfully address myself to the faithful discharge of my duty, and stand no longer iq a Navilh fear of creatures, who can have no power againit me, but what is given them from above, Joho xix. 11. And no more shall be given than fhall. turn to the glory of God, Plal. lxxvi. 10. and the advantage of my foul, Rom. viii. 28.
The PO E M.
Bears, wolves, and lions, range and seek their prey :
с н А Р.
OBSERV A TI O N.
dare not venture far into the ocean without it; it is their guide, and directs and shapes their course for them : and if by the violeace of wind and weather they are driven beside their due course, yet by the help of this they are reduced, and brought to rights again. It is wonderful to consider, how, by the help of this guide, they can run in a direct line many hundred leagues, and at last fall right with the fmallest island; which • and mercy.”
is in the ocean, comparatively, but as the head of a small pin upon a table.
APPLICATION What the compass, and all other mathematical instruments are to the navigator, that, and much more, is the word of God to us in our course to heaven. This is our compass to steet our course by, and it is truly touched; he that arders his conversation by it, shall safely arrive in heaven at laft. Gal. vi. 16.
As many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them,
This word is as necessary to us in our way to glory, as a lamp or lagthorn is in a dark night, Psal. cxix. 105. that is a light (hiding in a dark place, till the day dawn, and the dayItar arise in our hearts, 2 Pet. i. 19. If any that profess to know it, and own it as a role, mils heavep at laft, let them not blame the word for misguiding them, but their own negligeat and deceitful hearts, that lufte in and out, and shape not their course and conversation according to its prescriptions.
What blame can you lay upon the compass, if you seer dot exactly by it? How many are there, that neglecting this rule, will coast it to heaven by their own reafon : No wonder such fall short, and perish in the way. This is a faithful guide, and brings all that follow it to a blessed end; "'Thou shalt guide “ me with thy coupfel, and afterwards receive me to glory," Plal. lxxiii. 24. The whole hundred and nineteenth palm is spent in commendation of its transcendent excellency and usefuloels. Luther professed that he prized it so highly, that he would not take the whole world in exchange, for one leaf of it. Lay buç this rule before you, and walk accurately by it, and you cannot be out of your way to heaven, Pfalm cxix. 30.
I have chosen the way of eroth, (or the true pay;) thy, " judgments have I laid before me." Some indeed have opca ed their detracting blasphemous mouths againit it; as Julian, that vile apostate, who feared not to say, there was as good matter in Phocillides as in Solomon, in Pindarus’s odes, ás im
And the papists generally flight it, making it a lame, imper: fect rule ; yea, making their own traditions the touchstone of doctrines, and foundation of faith." Montanus tells us, that although the apostle would have
fermons and service celebrated ig a known tongue, yet the church, for very good cause, hath otherwise ordered it. Gilford called it the mother of heresies.
Booper's chaplain judged it worthy to be burat as a strange doctrine. They fe up their invequicas above it, and frequently
Egme in with a non obftante against Christ's institutions. And bus do they make it void, or, as the word avatulontos signifies, Matth. xv. 6. unlord it, and take away its authority as a rule. But those that have thus sighted it, and followed the by paths Dpto which their corrupt hearts have led them, they take noç hold of the paths of life, and are now in the depths of hell. All other lights, to which men pretend, in the neglect of this, are buc falle fires, that will lead men into the pits and bogs of de traction at lakt.
REFLECTION. And is thy word a compass, to direct my course to glory? O where am I then like to arrive at lalt, that in all have neglected it, aod steered according to the council of my own heart! Lord, I have pot made thy word the man of my counsel, bụt consulted with flesh and blood; I have got enquired at this oracle, por ftudied it, and made it the guide of ppy way, but walked after the right of my eyes, and the luft of my heart. Whither, Lord! can I come at laft, but to hell, after this way of reckoning? Some have flighted thy word professedly, and I have lighted it practically, I have a poor foul embarked for eternity, it is now floating on a dangerous occan, rocks and fands on every fide, and I go a-drift before every wind of temptation, and koow not where I am. Ah, Lord ! convince pe of the danger of this condition. O con: vioce me of my ignorance io thy word, and the fatal consequence and iffue thereof. Lord, let me now refolve to study,
prize, and obey it; hide it in my heart, that I may not fio ae gainst it. Open my understanding, that I may understand the
fcriptures ; opeo my heart to entertaio it in love. O thou that
Of Thips are under fail. Here you shall meet
For want of this, must run themselves a-ground,
CH A P. XVII.
and flowings; no fooder is it high water, but it begios to cbb again, and leave the shore naked and dry, which bot a lits tle before it covered and overflowed. And as its tides, so also its waves are the emblem of inconftancy, still rolling and tumbling, this way and that, Dever fixed and quiet. Inftabilis unda : as fickle as a wave, is common, to a proverb, See Jam. i. 6. * He that wavereth is like a wave of the fea, driven with the *wiod, and tossed." So Isa. Ivii. 20. “ It cannot relt.”
APPLICATION. Thus mutable and inconstant are all outward things, there is oo depending on them : Dothing of any substance, or any folid consilience in them. I Cor. vii. 31. “The fashion of this world
palleth away.” It is an high point of folly to depeod upon such vanities. Prov, xxiii. 5. Why wilt thou fet (or, as it is ia the “ Hebrew, cause) thine eyes to fly upon that which is Bot? For 6 riches certainly make themlelves wings, and fly away, as ad
cagle towards heaven." la flying to us, faith Augustine, they have, alas vix quidem pallerinas, scarce a sparrow's wings; but io flying froin us, wings as an eagle. And those wiogs they are faid to make to themselves, (i.c.) the cause of its tranåterigels is
ih itfelf; the creature is fuvjected to vanity by fin; they are fweet flowers, but withered prefearly, Jam.i. 10. “ As the flow.
er of the grafs, fo shall the rich man fade away." The man is like the stalk or grass, his riches are the flower of the grass ; his glory and outward beauty, the stalk, is foon withered, but the Hower much fooper. This is either withered upon, or blowa off from it, while the stalk abides. Maoy a man oatlives his estate and honour, aod stands in the world as a bare dry falk in the field, whose flower, beauty, and bravery are gone : one puff of wind blows it away, one churlish easterly blaft Ahrivels it up, i Pet. iv.
24. How mad a thing is it, then, for any man to be lifted up ia pride, upon such a vanity as this is ! to build fo lofty and overjetting a roof upon fuch a feeble, tottering fouadation ! We
a have feen meadows full of such curious flowers, mowu down and withered; men of great estates impoverithed suddenly ; and when, like a meadow that is mown they have begun to recover themselves again, (as the phrase is) the Lord hath sent “ grashoppers in the beginning of the shooting up of the latter “ growth,” Amos vii. 2. Just as the grafhoppers, and other creatures, devour the second tender herbage, as foon as the field begins to recover its verdure ; fo meu, after they have been depuded and blasted by Provideoce, they begin, after a while, to fourish again ; but then comes' some new affliction, and blasts all. None have more frequent experience of this, than you that are merchants and feamen, whose ellates are Agaring; and yet înch as have had the bighest security in the eye of reason, have, potwithstanding, experienced the vanity of these things Heory IV. a potent prince, was reduced to fuch a low.ebt, that he petitioned for a prebend's place in the church of Spire. Gallimer, king of the Vandals, was brought to low, that he fènt to his friend for a spuoge, a loaf of bread, and an harp: a fpunge to dry up his tears, a loaf of bread to maintain his life, and an harp to folace himself in his misery. The story of Bellisarius is very affecting : he was a' man fanious in his time, general of an army, yer having his eyes put out, and Atripped of all earthly comforts, was led about, crying, Date obolum Bellisario. Give one pepay to poor Bellisarius. Jostances in billory of this kind are infinite. Men of the greatest estates and honours, have nevertheless become the very ludihria fortunae, as one speaks, the very fcora of fortune.
Yea, and got only wicked men, that have gotten their estates, by rapide and oppreffion, have lived to see them thus fcattered by Providence : but sometimes godly mea have had their lates,