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That float upon them? Yea, for what they get
This is your manner, thus to work you go:
This net was wifely caft, 'tis full, 'tis full:
Whilst thou by art the filly fifh doft kill,
HERE is fkill in fifhing; they that go to fea in a fifhing voyage, ufe to go provided with their craft (as they very fitly call it) without which they can do nothing. They have their lines, hooks of several sizes, and their bait. They carefully obferve their feafons; when the fifh fall in, then they piy their business day and night.
But how much more fkilful and induftrious is Satan to enfnare and deftroy fouls? 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 catch fouls, 2 Cor. ii. 11. Ephef. vi. 11. He is a ferpent, an old ferpent, Rev. xii. 9. Too craf ry for man in his perfection, much more in his collapfed and degenerated state, his understanding being cracked by the fall, and all his faculties poifoned, and perverted.
Divines obferve four steps, or degrees of Satan's tempting power:
First, He can find out the conftitution-evils of men; he knows to what fin their natures are more efpecially prone, and inclinable.
Secondly, He can propound fuitable objects to thofe lufts, he can exactly and fully hit every man's humour; as Agrippina, mixed her poifon in that meat her husband loved best.
Thirdly, He can inject and cast motions into the mind, to
Ciofe with those tempting objects; as it is faid 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 follicitations weary it; and here by he often draws men to commit fuch 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 perfons; neither indeed need he do fo, the very propounding of an object is enough to some, without any further follicitation; the devil makes an eafy conqueft of them.
And, befide all this, his policy much appears in the election of place, time, and inftruments to tempt by: And thus are poor fouls caught, "as fifhes in an evil net," Ecclef. ix. 12. The carnal man is led by fenfe, as the beaft; and Satan handles and fits him accordingly. He ufeth all forts of motives, not only internal and intellective; but external and fenfitive alfo; as the sparkling of the wine, when it gives its colour in the glafs; the harlot's beauty, whofe eye-lids are fnares, hiding always the hook, and concealing the iffue from them. He promifes them gain and profit, pleafure and delight, and all that is tempting, with affurance of fecrefy: By thefe he faftens the fatal hook in their jaws, and thus they are led captive by him at
And is Satan so fubtil and industrious to entice fouls to fin? Doth he thus caft out his golden baits, and allure fouls with pleasure to their ruin? Then how doth it behove thee, O my foul, to be jealous and wary! how strict a guard should I fet upon every fenfe! Ah, let me not fo much regard how fin comes towards me in the temptation, as how it goes off at laft. The day in which Sodom was destroyed, began with a pleasant fun-fhine, but ended in fire and brimftone. I may promise myfelf much content in the fatisfaction of my lufts: 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 fin come on towards me in its temptations? how doth it tickle the carnal fancy, and please the deceived heart? But
Or, what a dreadful catastrophe and upfhot hath it? The delight: is quickly gone; but the guilt thereof remains to amaze and terrify the foul with ghaftly 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 fee thofe go before it ta make a way, fo certainly fhall I find thefe follow after, and tread upon its heels. No fooner is the confcience awakened, but all thofe delights vanish as a night-vision, 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 where the delight that I was promised? And I, whither fhall I now go? Ah, my deceitful lufts! you have enticed and left me in the midft of all miferies.
Here's fkill in fishing, that the devil knows ;
He angles cunningly; he knows he muft
He studies conftitution, place and time,
O think on this! when you caft in the hook,
CHA P. XXIII.
Doth trading fail, and voyages prove bad?
HERE are many fad complaints abroad (and, I think, not without cause) that trade fails, nothing turns to
account. And though all countries are open and free for traffic, a general peace with all nations, yet there feems to be a dearth, a fecret curfe upon trading. You run from country to country, and come lofers home. Men can hardly render a reafon of it; few hit the right caufe of this judgment.
That profperity and fuccefs in trade is from the bleffing of God, I fuppofe few are so atheistical, as once to deny, or queftion. The devil himself acknowledges it, Job i. 10. "Thou haft "bleffed the work of his hands, and his fubftance is increased "in the land." It is not in the power of any man to get riches, Deut. viii. 18, “Thou fhalt remember the Lord thy God, for
it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth." It is his bleffing that makes good men rich, and his permiffion 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 eaft "or the west," Pf.lm lxxvi. 6, 7:
This being acknowledged, it is evident, that in all disappointments, and want of fuccefs in our callings, we ought not to ftick in fecond causes, but to look higher, even to the hand and difpofal of God: For whofe it is to give the bleffing. 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 "fings," Mal. ii. 3.
This God doth as a punishment for fin, and the abuse of mercies; and therefore in fuch cases we ought not to reft in general complaints to, or of one another, but search what thofe fins are that provoke the Lord to inflict fuch judgments.
And here I muft requeft your patience, to bear a plain, and close word of conviction. My brethren, I am persuaded these are the fins, among many others, that provoke the Lord to blaft all your employments.
1. Our undertaking defigns without prayer. Alas! how few of us begin with God! intereft him in our dealings, and afk counfel and direction at his mouth. Prayer is that which fanetifies all employments and enjoyments, 1 Tim. iv. 5. The very. heathen could fay, A Jove principium, They must begin with God. O that we had more prayers, and fewer oaths!
2. Injuftice and fraud in our dealings. A fin to which mer chants are prone, as appears by that expreffion, Hof. xii. 7. This is that which will blaft all our enjoyments.
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 fouls 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 fo worn out with inceffant labours, that that precious time is spent either in fleep or idleness. It is no won der God gives you more reft than you would have, fince that day of reft hath been no better improved. This over-doing hath not been the leaft caufe of our undoing.
Laftly, Our abuse of profperity, when God gave it, making God's mercies the food and fuel of our lufts. When we had an affluence and confluence of outward bleffings, "this made us kick against God," as, Deut. xxxiii. 15. “forget God," Deut. iv. 14. yea, grow proud of our ftrength and riches, Ezek. xvi. 13. and Jer, ii. 31. Ah! how few of us in the days of our prosperity, behaved ourselves as good Jehofaphat did? 2 Chron. xvii. 5, 6. "He had filver and gold in abundance, "and his heart was lifted in the way of God's command<6 ments;" not in pride and infolence.
Are these the fins that blaft our bleffings, and wither our mercies? O then let me cease to wonder it is no better, and rather admire 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, O that these disappointments might convince me of the creature's vanity, and cause me to drive on another trade for heaven! then fhall I adore thy wisdom in rending from me those idolized enjoyments. Ah, Lord! When I had them, my heart was a perpetual drudge to them: how did I then forget God, neglect my duty, and not mind my eterual concernments! Oh, if these had not perished, in all probability I had perished. My God, let my foul profper, and then a small portion of these things fhall afford me more comfort than ever I had in their greatest abundance. " A little that a righteous man hath, " is better than the riches of many wicked," Pfal. xxxvii. 16.. The PO È M.
HERE's great complaint abroad that trading's bad,