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All Sion's children will lament and cry,
A little leak negleted, dangerous proves :
enough to fink a fhip of the greatest burden: Therefore seamen are wont frequently to try what water is in the hold; and if they find it fresh, and increasing upon them, they ply the pump, and presently set the carpenters to search for it and stop it ; and till it be found they cannot be quiet.
APPLICATION. What such a leak iš to a ship, that is the finalleft fin neglec: ted to the soul ; it is enough to ruin it eternally. For as the greatest fin, discovered, lamented, and mourned over by a believer, cannot ruin him; so the least fin indulged, covered, and connived at, will certainly prove the destruclion of the finner. No fin, though never fo small, is tolerated by the pure and perfect law of God, Psalm cxix. 96. The command is exceeding broad; not as if it gave men a latitude to walk as they please, but broad, (i. e.) extending itself to all our words, thoughts, actions, and affections: Laying a law upon them all; conniv- . ing at no evil in any man, i Pet. ii. 1.
And as the word gives no allowance for the least fin, so it is the very nature of fincerity and uprightness, to set the heart against [every] way of wickedness, Psalm cxxxix. 23, 24. Job xxxi. 13. and especially against that fin which was its dar. ling in the days of his vanity, Pfalm xviii. 23. True hatred (as the philosopher observes) is of the whole * kind; He that hates fin, as sin, and so doth every upright foul, hateş all sins as well as some.
Again, the soul that hath had a faving light of Jesus Christ, and a true discovery of the evil of fin, in the glafs both of the law and gospel, can account no sin small. He knows the de. merit of the smallest fin is God's eternal wrath, and that not the least sin can be remitted, without the shedding and applica.
tion of the blood of Christ, Heb. ix. 22. which blood is of infinite value and price, 1 Pet. i. 19,
To conclude, God's people know, that little as well as great fins, are dangerous, deadly, and destructive in their own nas ture; a little poison will destroy a man. Adrian was choaked with a gnat,
Caefar stabbed with bodkins. A man would think Adam's fin had been no great matter, yet what dreadful work did it make! It was not as a single bullet, to kill himself only; but as a chain-lhot, which cut off all his poor, miserable pofterity. Indeed, no fin can be little, because its object, against whom it is committed, is so great, whence it receives a kind of infiniteness in itself, and because the price paid to redeemt us from it is fo invaluable.
REFLECTION. And is the smallest sin not only damning in its own nature, but will certainly prove the ruin of that soul that hides and covers it ; O then let my spịrit accomplish a diligent search. Look to it, O my soul ! that no lin be indulged by thee; set these confiderations as so many flaming swords in the way of thy carnal delights and lusts : Let me never fay of any fin, as Lot did of Zoar, “ It is a little one, spare it.” Shall I fpare thạt which cost the blood of Jesus Chrift? The Lord would not spare him, ” When he made his soul an offering for fin,” Rom. viii. 32. Neither will he spare me, if I defend and hide it, Deut. xxix. 20. Ah! if my heart were right, and my conversation sound, that lust, whatever it be, that is so favoured by me, would especially be abhorred, and hated, Isa. ii. 20. and XXX. 22. Whatever my convictions and reformations have been, yet if there be but one fin retained, and delighted in, this keeps the devil's interest still in my soul. And though for a time he seem to depart, yet at last he will return with seven worse spirits, and this is the sin that will open the door to him, and deliver up my foul, Matth. xii. 43, 44. Lord, let me make thorough work of it; let me cut it off, and pluck it out, though it be as a right hand, or eye. Ah! Thall I come so near the kingdom of God, and make such a fair offer for Christ, and yet stick at a small matter, and'lose all for want of one thing? Lord, let me shed the blood of the dearest lust, for his fake that, shed his dearest blood for me !
The P O E M.
For sparing fin, because a little one.
That wounds so great a God, lo dear a foul.
CHA P. XXVI.
Ships make much way when they a trade-wird get ;
and sometimes blow from every point of the compass, by reason whereof, failing is flow, and dangerous ; yet about the Equinoctial, seamen meet with a trade-wind, blowing, for the most part, one way; and there they fail jocund before it, and scarce need to lower a top-fail for some hundreds of leagues.
APPLICATION. Although the people of God meet with many feeming rubs and set-backs in their way to heaven, which are like contrary winds to a thip; yet are they from the day of their conversion, to the day of their complete falvation, never out of a tradewind's
to heaven. Rom. viii. 21. " We know that all “ things work together for good, to them that love God, to " them that are called according to his purpose.” This is a most precious scripture, pregnant with its consolation to all believers in all conditions, a pillar of comfort to all distrefled faints : Let us look a little nearer to it.
(We know) Mark the certainty and evidence of the propofition, which is not built upon a guess or remote probability, but upon the knowledge of the saints ; we know it, and thatjpartly by divine revelation, God has told us fo; and partly by our own experience, we find it so.
(That all things) Not only things that lie in a natural angle
direct tendency to our good; as ordinances, promises, blefings, c. but even such things as have no natural fitness and tendency to such an end; as afflictions, temptations, corruptions, defertions, &c. all these help onward. They
(Work together.) Not all of them directly, and of their own nature and inclination; but by being over-ruled, and determined to such an issue by the gracious hand of God: Nor yet do they work out such good to the faints, fingly, and apart, but as adjuvant causes or helps, standing under, and working in subordination to the supreme and principal cause of their happiness.
Now, the most seeming opposite things, yea, fin in itself, which in its own nature is really opposite to their good, yet eventually contributes to it. Afflictions and desertions seem to work against us, but being once put into the rank and order of causes, they work together with such blessed instruments, as word and prayer, to an happy iffue. And though the faces of these things, that so agree and work together, look contrary ways; yet there are, as it were, secret chains and connexions of providence betwixt them, to unite them in their issue. There may be many instruments employed about one work, and yet not communicate counsels, or hold intelligence with each other. Joseph's brethren, the Midianites, Potiphar, &c. knew not one another's mind, nor aimed at one end, (much less the end that God brought about by them) one acts out of revenge, another for gain, a third out of policy; yet all meet together at laft, in that issue God had designed to bring about by them, even Joseph's advancement. Even so it is here, Christian, there are more inftruments at work for thine eternal good, than thou art aware of.
REFLECTION. Chear up then, O my soul, and lean upon this pillar of comfort in all diftreffes. Here is a promise for me, if I am a called one; that, like the philofopher's stone, turns all into gold it toucheth. This promise is my security; however things go in the world, my God " will do me no hurt,” Jer. xxv. 6. Nay, he will do me good by every difpenfation. « that I had but “ an heart to make all things work for his glory, that thus “ causeth every thing to work for my good." My God, dost thou turn every thing to my advantage ? O let me return all to thy praise ; and if by every thing thou work my eternal good, then let me in every thing give thanks.
But ah! how foolish and ignorant have I been ? even as a beast before thee. How hath my heart been disquieted, and apt to repine at thy dispensations, when they have crossed my will? not considering that my God faithfully pursues my good, even in those things that cross, as well as in that which pleases me.
Blefied Lord! what a blessed condition are all thy people in, who are within the line of this promise ? All things friendly and beneficial to them ; friends helpful; enemies helpful; every thing conspiring, and conducing to their happiness. With others it is not fo; nothing works for their good; 'nay, every thing works against it: their very mercies are snares, and their prosperity destroys them ; Prov. i. 32. even the blessed gospel itself is a favour of death to them : when evil befals them, “it is “ an only evil,” Ezek. vii. 5. that is, not turned into good to them; and as their evils are not turned into good, fo all their good is turned into evil. As this promise hath an influence into all that concerns the people of God, so the curse hath an influence into all the enjoyments of the wicked. O my soul, bless the Lord, who hath cast thy lot into such a pleasant place, and given thee such a glorious heritage, as this promise is.
The PO E M.
HEN once the dog star rises, many fay,
Corn ripens then apace, both night and day.