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Merchants lay out their ftock, feamen their pains,
And in their eye they both may put their gains.
Your fishing fails, you wonder why 'tis fo,
'Tis this (faith one) or that; but I fay no;
"Twill ne'er be well, till you confess and say,
It is our fin that frights the fish away.
No wonder all goes into bags with holes,
Since fo the gofpel hath been in your fouls.
We kick'd like Jefurun, when the flowing tide
Of wealth came tumbling in, this nourish'd pride.
"Twixt foul and body, now I wish it may
Fare, as betwixt the Jews and us this day.
O that our outward want and lofs may be
To us a foul-enriching poverty!

If difappointments here advance the trade
For heaven, then complain not; you have made
The richeft voyage, and your empty ships
Return deep laden with foul-benefits.

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In feas the greater fifb the lefs devour :
So fome men crufb all thofe within their pow'r.



Here are fishes of prey in the fea, as well as birds and beafts of prey on the land. Our feamen tell us, how the devouring whales, fharks, dolphins, and other fishes, fol-low the caplein, and other smaller fish, and devour multitudes of them. It is frequent with us, in our own feas, to find feveral smaller fishes in the bellies of the greater ones, yea, I have often heard feamen fay, that the poor little fry, when pursued, are so sensible of the danger, that they have fometimes feen multitudes of them caft themselves upon the fhore, and perish there, to avoid the danger of being devoured by them.


Thus cruel, mercilefs, and oppreffive, are wicked men, whose " “ tender mercies are cruelty," Prov xxii. 10. We fee the like cruelty in our extortioners, and over-reaching sharks afhore, who grind the faces of the poor, and regard not the cries of the fatherlefs and widows, but fill their houses with the gain of oppreffion. Thefe are, by the holy Ghost, compared to the fishes of the fea, Hab. i. 13, 14. This is a crying fin, yea, it fends up a loud cry to heaven for vengeance, Exod.


xxii. 23. "If thou afflict the widow and the fatherlefs, and they 66 cry unto me, I will furely hear their cry." And ver. 27. "I will hear his cry, for I am gracious." Nay, God will not only hear their cry, but avenge their quarrel. That is a remarkable text, i Thef. iv. 6. "That no man go beyond " and defraud his brother in any matter, because that the Lord "is the [avenger] of all fuch." This word avenger, is but once more used in the New Testament, Rom. xiii. 4. and there it is applied to the civil magiftrate, who is to fee execution done upon offenders. But now this is a fin that fometimes may be out of the reach of man's justice, and therefore God hiinfelf will be their avenger. You may over-power the poor in this world, and it may be they cannot contend with you at man's bar, therefore God will bring it before his bar.

Believe it, firs, it is a fin fo provoking to God, that he will not let it escape without fevere punishment, fooner or later. The prophet Habbakuk, chap. 1. ver. 13. wondered how the holy God could forbear fuch till the general day of reckoning, and that he did not take exemplary vengeance on them in this life. "Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canft "not look upon iniquity: wherefore then lookeft thou upon "them that deal treacherously, and holdeft thy tongue when "the wicked'devoureth the man that is more righteous than "he?" And Prov. xxiii. 10, 14. "Enter not into the fields of "the fatherless," (i. e.) of the poor and helpless. But why is it more dangerous violently to invade their right, than another's? The reafon is added, "for their redeemer is mighty, and he fhall plead their cause with thee." It may be they are not able to retain a council to plead their cause here; therefore God will plead their caufe for them.

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Turn in upon thyself (O my foul) and confider, haft thou not been guilty of this crying fin? Have I not (when a fervant) over-reached and defrauded others, and filled my mafter's houfe with violence and deceit ? and fo brought myself under that dreadful threatning, Zeph. i. 9. Or fince I came to trade and deal upon mine own account, have not the balances of deceit been in my hand; I have (it may be) kept many my service and employment; have not I used their labours without reward, and so am under that woe? Jer. xxii. 13. or not given them wages proportionable to their work? Ifa. Iviii. 3. or by bad payment, and unjuft deductions and allowances, de


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frauded them of a part of their due? Mal. iii. 5. or at least delayed payment, out of a covetous difpofition to gain by it whilft their neceflities in the mean time cried aloud for it; and fo finned againft God's exprefs commands, Deut. xxiv. 14, 15. Lev. xix. 30. or have I not perfecuted fuch as God hath fmitten? Pfalm lxix. 26. and rigorously exacted the utmost of my due, though the hand of God hath gone out against them, breaking their eftates? O my foul, examine thyfelf upon these particulars: reft not quiet, until this guilt be removed by the application of the blood of fprinkling. Hath not the Lord faid, Jam. ii. 13. "That they fhall have judgment without mercy, that have fhewed no mercy? And is it not a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God, who hath faid, He << will take vengeance for these things?"



Evouring whales, and rav'nous fharks, do follow
The leffer fry, at one gulp do fwallow
Some hundreds of them, as our feamen fay:
But we can tell far ftranger things than they.
For we have fharks afhore on ev'ry creek,
That to devour poor men do hunt and feek.
No pity, fenfe, or bowels, in them be,
Nay, have they not put off humanity?
Extortioners, and cheaters, whom God hates
Have dreadful open mouths, and thro' thofe gates
Brave perfons with their heritages pafs
In fun'ral ftate, friends crying out, alas!
O give me Agur's wifh, that I may never
Be fuch myself, or feel the hands of either.
And as for those that in their paws are grip'd,
Pity and rescue, Lord, from that fad plight.
When I behold the fqueaking lark, that's borne
In faulcon's talons, crying, bleeding, torn;
I pity its fad cafe, and would relieve
The prifoner, if I could, as well as grieve.
Fountain of pity! hear the piteous moans
Of all thy captive and oppreffed ones.

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In ftorms to spread much fail endangers all:
So carnal mirth, if God for mourning call.


N ftorms at fea, the wife navigator will not fpread much fail; that is the way to lofe mafts and all. They use then to furl up the fails, and lie a hull, when not able to bear a knot of fail, or elfe to lie a try, or feud before the wind and feas. It is no time then to hoift up the top and top-gallant, and fhew their bravery.


When the judgments of God are abroad in the earth, it is no time then to make mirth, Ezek. xxi. 10. "Should we "[then] make mirth? It contemneth the rod of my fon as e66 very tree." (i. e.) As if it were a common rod, and ordinary affliction: whereas the rod of my fon is not fuch as may be had of every tree; but it is an iron rod to fuch as defpife it, Pfalm ii. 9. O it is a provoking evil, and commonly God feverely punishes it. Of all perfons fuch speed worst in the common calamity. Amos vi. 1. "Woe to them that are at ease "in Sion, that are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph,' as ver. 6. It may be (as one obferves upon the text) they did not laugh at him, or break jefts upon him; but they did not condole witlf him. And what fall be their punishment! fee verfe 7. "Therefore now fhall they go captive with the first "that go captive:" God will begin with them first. Solomon tells us, Ecclef. iii. 4. "There is a time to weep, and a "time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance?" • Only (as mafter Trap notes upon the text) we must not invert the order, but weep with men, that we may laugh with angels.' To be merry and frolic in a day of tribulation, is to disturb the order of seasons. That is a terrible text, Ifa. xxii. 12. which should make the hearts of fuchs are guilty in this kind to tremble: "In that day did the Lord of hofts call "to mourning, and to girding with fackloth; and behold, joy "and gladness, flaying oxen, killing fheep, drinking wine," &c. Well, what is the iffue of this? Surely, this iniquity fhall not be purged from you till ye die." O'dreadful word! furely (my brethren) fympathy is a debt we owe to Chrift myftical. Whatever our conftitution, condition, or perfonal mmunities be, yet when God calls for mourning, we must

hear and obey that call. David was a king, an expert musician,. a man of a fanguine, and chearful conftitution; yet who more fenfible of the evil of thofe times than he? Rivers of water ran down his eyes at the confideration of them. Melancthon was fo affected with the miferies of the church in his days, that he seemed to take little or no notice of the death of his child, whom he entirely loved. At fuch a time we may "fay "of laughter, thou art mad, and of mirth, what doth it."


Blush then, O my foul! for thy levity and infenfibility under God's angry difpenfations. How many of the precious fons and daughters of Sion, lie in tears abroad, while I have been "nourishing my heart, as in a day of flaughter? The "voice of God hath cried to the city, and men of understand❝ing have heard its voice," Micah vi. 9. But I have been deaf to that cry. How loth (my God) have I been to urge my fenfual heart to acts of forrow and mourning! Thou haft bid me weep with them that weep, but my vain heart cannot comply with fuch commands. Ak, Lord! If I mourn not with Sion, neither shall I rejoice with her.

O, were mine eyes opened, and my heart fenfible and tender, I might fee caufe enough to melt into tears! and like that Christian Niobe, Luke vii. 38, to lie weeping at the feet of Christ. Lord, what ftupidity is this! fhall Ilaugh, when thou art angry, and thy children weeping and trembling? Then I may justly fear, left "when they fhall fing for joy of heart, I

fhall howl for vexation of spirit," Ifa. lxv. 13, 14. Surely, O my foul! fuch laughter will be tarned into mourning, either here or hereafter.



N troublous times, mirth in the finner's face

Is like a mourning-cloak with filver-lace.
The lion's roaring makes the beafts to quake:
God's roaring judgments cannot make us shake,
What belluine contempt is this of God,
To laugh in's face, when he takes up the rod ?
Such laughter God in tears will furely drown,
(Unless he hate thee) e'er he lay it down.
These rods have voices, if thou hear them well;
If not, another rod's prepar'd in hell:

And when the arm of God fhall lay it on,

Laugh if thou canft; no, then thy mirth is gone.

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