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That float upon them? Yea, for what they get
They offer sacrifices to their net.
This is your manner, thus to work you go :
Confefs the naked truth ; is't not fo?
This net was wisely caft, 'tis full, 'tis full:
well done mates, this is a gallant pull.

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Thus what is due to God, you do apply
Unto yourselves most facrilegiously,
I cannot wonder such come empty home,
That are so full of self and fm: Yet fome
I hope look higher, and on God reflect
Due praise. A blelung such may well expect.

CHAP XXII.

Whilst thou by art the filly fifo doft lill,
Perchance the devil's hook sticks in thy gill.

OBSERVATION.
PHERE is skill in fishing; they that go to fea in a fishing

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fitly call it) without which they can do nothing. They have their lines, hooks of several sizes, and their bait. They care fully observe their seasons ; when the fifh fall inly then they pig their business day and night.

APPLICATION. But how much more skilful and induftrious is Satan to enInare and destroy souls? The devil makes a voyage as well as you; he hath his baits for you, as you have for the fish: He hath his devices and wiles to cateh fouls, 2 Cor. ii. lt. Ephef. vi. 11. He is a serpent, an old serpent, Rev. xii. 9. Too crafry for man in his perfection, much more in his collapsed and degenerated state, his understanding being cracked by the fall, and all his faculties poisoned, and perverted.

Divines observe four steps, or degrees of Satan's tempting power :

First, He can find out the constitution-evils of men; he knows to what sin their natures are more especially prone, and inclinable.

Secondly, He can propound suitable objects to those lufts, he can exactly and fully hit every man's humour ; as Agrippina mixed her poison in that meat her husband loved beft.

Thirdly, He can inject and caft motions into the minds to

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diose with those tempting objects; as it is said of Judas, John xiii. 2.,“. The devil put it into his heart.”

Fourthly, He can follicit, irritate, and provoke the heart, and by those continual restless sollicitations weary it; and here: by he often draws men to commit such things as startled them in the first motion.

All this he can do, if he finds the work sticks, and meets with rubs and difficulties; yet doth he not act to the utmost of his skill and power, at all times, and with all persons; neither indeed need he do so, the very propounding of an object is e. nough to some, without any further follicitation ; the devil makes an easy conquest of them.

And, beside all this, his policy much appears in the election of place, time, and instruments to tempt by: And thus are poor souls caught, “as fifhes in an evil net," Ecclef. ix. 12. The carnal man is led by sense, as the beast; and Satan handles and fits him accordingly. He useth all sorts of motives, not on. ly internal and intellective, but external and fenfitive also; as the sparkling of the wine, when it gives its colour in the glass; the harlot's beauty, whose eye-lids are fnares, hiding always the hook, and cencealing the iffue from them. He promises them gain and profit, pleafure and delight, and all that is tempting, with assurance of secrely: By these he fastens the fatal hook in their jaws, and thus they are led captive by him at his will.

REFLECTION. And is Satan so subtil and industrious to entice souls to fin? Doth he thus cast out his golden baits, and allure souls with pleasure to their ruin? Then how dath it behove thee, O.my soul, to be jealous and wary! how frict a guard hould I set upon every sense! Ah, let me not so much regard how sin comes towards me in the temptation, as how it goes off at last.

. The day in which Sodom was deftroyed, began with a pleasant fun-fhine, but ended in fire and brimstone. I may promise myfelf much content in the satisfaction of my lusts : But O how certainly will it end in my ruin? Ahab doubtless promised himself much content in the vineyard of Naboth, but his blood paid for it in the portion of Jezreel

. The harlot's bed was perfumed, to entice the fimple young man, Prov. vii. 17. But those chambers of delight proved the chambers of death, and her house the way to hell. Ah! with what a smiling face doth sin come on towards me in its temptationis ? how doth.it rickle the carnal fancy, and please the deceived heart? But what a dreadful catastrophe and upshot hath it? The delight is quickly gone ; but the guilt thereof remains to amaze and terrify the foul with ghastly forms, and dreadful representations of the wrath of God. As fin hath its delights attending it to enter and fasten it, so it hath its horrors and stings to torment and wound : And as certainly as I see those go before it ta make a way, fo certainly shall I find these follow after, and tread upon its heels. No foonet is the conscience awakened, but all those delights vanish as a night-viGon, or as a dream when one awakes ; and then. I fhall cry, here is the hook, but where is the bait? Here is the guilt and horror, but whert the delight that I was promised ? And I, whither shall I now go? Ah, my deceitful lufts ! you have enticed and left me in the midst of all miferies.

The PO EM:
Here's skill in fishing, that the devil knows;

For when for fouls Satan a fishing goes,
He angles cunningly; he knows he must
Exactly fit the bait unto the luft.
He studies constitution, place and time,
He guesses what is his delight, what thine :
And so accordingly prepares the bait,
Whilft he himself lies closely hid, to wait
When thou wilt nibble at it. Doft incline
To drunken meetings ? then he baits with wine :
Is this the way? If into this he'll smell,
He'll shortly pledge a cup of wrath in hell.
To pride or luft is thy vile nature bent ?
An object suitable he will prefent.
O think on this ! when you caft in the hook,
Say, Thus for my poor soul doch Satan look.
O play not with temptations, do not swallow
The fugar'd bait, consider what will follow.
If once he hitch thee, then away he draws
Thy captive foul clofa pris'ner in his paws.

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CHA P. XXIII.

Dóth trading fail, and voyages prove bad?
If yoụ cannot discern the cause, 'tis fad.

Ο Β S Ε R V Α Τ Ι Ο Ν.
HERE are many fad coinplaints abroad (and, I think,

not without cause) that trade fails, nothing turns to

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account.

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And though all countries are open and free for traffic, a general peace with all nations, yet there seems to be a dearth, a secret curse upon trading. You run from country to country; and come losers home, Men can hardly render a reafon.of it; few hit the right cause of this judgment.

APPLICATION. That prosperity and success in trade is from the bleffing of God, I suppose few are so atheisticals as once to deny, or ques. tion. The devil himself acknowledges it, Job.i. 10.“Thou haft s blefied the work of his hands, and his substance is increased " in the land.” It is not in the power of any mair to get riches, Deut. viii, 18, " Thou shalt remember the Lord thy God, for ♡ it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth.” It is his blessing that makes good men rich, and his permission that makes wicked men rich. That maxim came from hell, Quifque fortuna fuae faber: Every man is the contriver of his own condition. Certainly, “ The good of man is not in his own “ hand,” Job xxi. 16,“ Promotion cometh not from the east " or the west,Pf.Im lxxvi. 6, 7,

This being acknowledged, it is evident, that in all disappointments, and want of success in our callings, we ought not to stick in second causes, but to look higher, even to the hand and disposal of God: For whose it is to give the blefing, his also it is to with-hold it. And this is as clear in fcripture, as the other : It is the Lord that takes away the fishes of the fea, Hof. iv. 3. Zeph. i. 3. " It is he that curseth our bles^ lngs," Mal. ii. 3.

This God doth as à punishment for sin, and the abuse of mercies ; and therefore in such cases we ought not to rest in general complaints to, or of one another, but search what thofe fins are that provoke the Lord to inflict such judgments. And here I must request your patience, to bear

a plain, and clofe word of conviction. My brethren, I am persuaded thefę are the fins, among many others, that provoke the Lord to blaft all your employments.

1. Our undertaking designs without prayer. Alas! how few of us begin with God! intereft him in our dealings, and alk counfel and direction at his mouth. Prayer is that which fang. tifies all employments and enjoyments, 1 Tim. iv. 5. The vesy heathen could say, A Jove principium, They must begin with God. O that we had more prayers, and fewer oaths!

2. Injustice and fraud in our dealings. A fin to which mer. chants are prone, as appears by that expression, Hof. xii. 7. This is that which will blast all our enjoyments.

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3.

An over-earneft endeavour after the world. Men make this their business, they will be rich : and hence it is, they are not only unmerciful to themselves, in wearing and wasting their own fpirits with carking cares, but to fuch also as they employ; neither regarding the souls or bodies of men: scarce affording them the liberty of the Lord's day, (as hath been too common in our Newfoundland employments) or if they have it, yet they are so worn out with incessant labours, that that precious time is spent either in fleep or idleness. It is no wonder God gives you more rest than you would have, fince that day of rest hath been no better improved. Tbis over-doing hath not been the least cause of our undoing.

Lastly, Our abuse of prosperity, when God gave it, making God's mercies the food and fuel of our lusts. When we had an affluence and confluence of outward bleflings, “this made

us kick against God,” as, Deut. xxxiii. 15. 5. forget God," Deut. iv. 14. yea, grow proud of our strength and riches, Ezek. xvi. 13. and Jer, ii. 35. Ah ! how few of us in the days of our prosperity, behaved ourselves as good Jehofaphat did? 2 Chron. xvii. 5. 6. 6 He had silver and gold in abundance, « and his heart was lifted in the way of God's commandments ;” not in pride and infolence.

REFLECTION. Are these the fins that blaft our blessings, and wither our mercies? then let me ceafe to wonder it is no better, and rather admirc that it is no worfe with me; that my neglect of prayer, injustice in dealings, earthly-mindedness, and abufe of former mercies, have not provoked God to ftrip me naked of all my enjoyments. Let me humbly accept from the Lord the punishment of my iniquities, and lay my hand upon my mouth. And, that these disappointments might convince me of the creature's vanity, and cause me to drive on another trade for heaven! then shall I adore thy wisdom in rending from me those idolized enjoyments. Ah, Lord! When I had them, my heart ws a perpetual drudge to them : how did I then for get God, negled my duty, and not mind my eterual concernments ! Oh, if these had not perished, in all probability I hał perished. My God, let my soul prosper, and then a small portion of these things shall afford me more comfort than ever I had in their greatest abundance. “ A little that a righteous man hath, or is better than the riches of many wicked,” Pfal. xxxvii. 16..

The PO É M.
HERE's great complaint abroad that trading's bad,
T
You shake your head, and cry, "Fis sad, 'tis fad.

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