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Merchants lay out their stock, feamen their pains,
Cis chis (faith one) or that; but I say no;
The richest voyage, and your empty ships
In seas the greater fish the lefs de jour :
beasts of prey on the land. Our seamen tell us, how the devouring whales, sharks, 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 seas, 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 fo fensible of the danger, that they have sometimes seen multitudes of them cast themselves upon the shore, and perish there, to avoid the danger of being devoured by them.
APPLICATION. Thus cruel, merciless, 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 albore, who grind the faces of the poor, and regard not the cries of the fatherless and widows, but fill their houses with the gain of oppreffion. These are, by the holy Ghost, compared to the fishes of the sea, Hab. i. 13, 14. This is a crying fin, yea, it sends up a loud cry to heaven for vengeance, Exod.
xxii. 23. “ If thou afflict the widow and the fatherless, and they
cry unto me, I will surely 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 Thes. iv. Õ: “ That no man go beyond " and defraud his brother in any matter, because that the Lord « is the [avenger] of all such.". 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:lin that sometimes may be out of the reach of man's justice, and therefore God hinself 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'sin fo provoking to God, that he will not let it escape without severe punishment, sooner or later. The prophet Habbakuk, chap. 1. ver. 13. wondered how the holy God could forbear such 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 holdesi thy tongue when " the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than « he ?" And Prov. xxiii. 10, 11. “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 « shall 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 cause for them.
R E F L ECTION. Turn in upon thyself (O my soul and consider, hast thou not been guilty of this crying fin ? Have I not (when a fervant) over-reached and defrauded others, and filled my master's house with violence and deceit ? and so brought myself ander that dreadful threatning, Zeph. i. 9. Or since I came to trade and deal upon mine own accounts have not the balances of deceit been in my hand; I have (it may be) kept many in 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. lviii. 3. or by bad payment, and unjust deductions and allowances, de
frauded them of a part of their due ? Mal. iii. 5. or at least delayed payment, out of a covetous disposition to gain by it; whilst their necessities in the mean time cried aloud for it; and so finned against God's express commands, Deut. xxiv. 14, 15. Lev. xix. 30. or have I not persecuted such as God hath (mitten? Pfalm lxix. 26. and rigorously exacted the utmost of my due, though the hand of God hath gone out against them, breaking their estates? O my soul, examine thyself upon these particulars : rest not quiet, until this guilt be removed by the application of the blood of sprinkling. Hath not the Lord said, jam. ï. 13. “ That they shall have judgment without mercy, " that have shewed no mercy? And is it not a fearful thing « to fall into the hands of the living God, who hath said, He « will take vengeance for these things?”
The leffer fry, at one gulp do swallow
CH A P. XXV.
In storms to spread much fail endangers all :
OBSERVATION. N storms at sea, the wise navigator will not spread much sail; that is the
way to lose masts and all. They use theu to furl up the fails, and lie a hull, when not able to bear a knor of fail, or else to lie a try, or feud before the wind and seas. It is no time then to hoist up the top and top-gallant, and Ihow their bravery.
APPLICATION, 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
son as e“ very tree.” (i.e.) As if it were a common rod, and ordinary affliction: whereas the rod of niy fon is not such as may
be had of every tree ; but it is an iron rod to such as despise it, Psalm ii. 9. O it is a provoking evil, and commonly God severely punishes it. Of all persons such speed worst in the common calamity. Amos vi. I. «Woe to them that are at ease « in Sion, that are not grieved for the affiction of Joseph," as ver. 6. It may be (as one observes upon the texe) they did not laugh at him, or break jefts upon him ; bar they did not condole witlt him. And what fall be their punifhment! fee verfe 7. “ Therefore now shalt they go captive with the firft " that go captive:” God will begin with them first. Solomon tells us, Ecclef. iij. 4. « There is a cime to seep, and a “ time to laugh ; a time to mourn, and a time to dance :*
Only (as master Trap notes upon the text, we muft not in• vert 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 fuch vs 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 sheep, drinking wine, c. Well, what is the issue of this ? « Surely, this iniquity “ fhall not be purged from you till ye die." o dreadful word! surely (my brethren) sympathy is a debt we owe to Chrift mystical. . Whatever our conftitution, condition, or perfonal munities be, yet when God calls for mourning, we must
pear and obey that call. David was a king, an expert musician, a man of a fanguine, and chearful constitucion ; yet who more Cenable of the evil of those times than he? Rivers of water ran down his eyes at the confideration of them. Melancthon was so affected with the miseries 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 such a time we may of laughter, thou art mad, and of mirth, what doth it."
REFLECTION. Blush then, O my soul! for thy levity and insensibility under God's angry dispensations. How many of the precious fans 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 understandsc 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 sensual heart to acts of forrow and mourning! Thou haft bid me weep with them that weep, but my vain heart cannot comply with such commands. Ab, Lord! If I mourn not with Sion, neither shall I rejoice with her.
O, were mine eyes opened, and my heart sensible and tender, I might see cause enough to melt into tears ! and like that Christian Niobe, Luke vii. 38. to lie weeping at the feet of Christ. Lord, what fupidity is this! shall Ilaugh, when thou art angry, and thy children weeping and trembling? Then I may justly fear, lest " when they shall fing for joy of heart, I “ shall howl for vexation of spirit,” Ifa. Ixv. 13, 14. Surely, O my soul! such laughter will be tarned into mourning, either here or hereafter.
The POE M.
Is like a mourning-cloak with silver-lace.