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JONAH i. 6.
What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God.
TO SEA-FARING MEN*.
IN a country like Great Britain, whose prosperity in peace and success in war greatly depend upon the numbers and virtue of its sea-faring men, it is surely the duty of every good citizen to contribute all in his power to the increase of virtue among that class of his fellow subjects: and it is, in a particular manner, the duty of every minister of the gospel, to consider and attempt every probable mean of impressing the minds of all under his charge with a due sense of religion, which exalts and supports both nations and individuals.
This, it is hoped, will sufficiently evince the propriety of my addressing a discourse to my
*This Sermon was delivered in the church of South Leith.
hearers of that profession. In so doing I would humbly presume to flatter myself, that I shall render an important service to a very important part of that flock over which God in his good providence has placed me in the pastoral office; and at the same time have an opportunity of advancing my mite toward the happiness and security of my dear native country.
Since, therefore, my brethren, I have seen it to be my duty to compose and deliver a sermon, with a particular view to your improvement in goodness, and consequently in true felicity, I hope you will consider it as your duty to listen to it with particular attention.
A wise and gracious providence has surrounded our happy island with the strongest of ramparts, the SEA, and has given much additional strength to this natural bulwark, in our almost numberless naval squadrons, which national pride not unjustly accounts the glory of the whole earth. Were but the conductors of these squadrons universally actuated by the noble principles of religion and patriotism, what people under heaven could pretend to rival us, in strength, in glory, and in happiness?-And, in this, my very dear friends, every one of you has the deepest
concern, none of you is unimportant to his country, none of you but may in a greater or less degree contribute to its great interests; endeavour then to feel your own importance, and be assured that every accession to your personal virtue is an accession of safety and honour to the great whole, whereof every individual, however mean and obscure, is a part. I cannot help sometimes considering our national force in the light of Samson's invincible locks, to which each particular hair lends its proportion of strength, and of course possesses its proportion of value and ye are that to the body politic, which Samson's celebrated hairs were to him, at once its glory and its strength.
But your importance, great as it is, may be increased a thousand fold: if, as Britons you have hitherto been invincible, as christians you should ever be so; if as men and sailors, you are already become a wall of iron and brass to your native land, O were it our happiness to see a spirit of true godliness diffused over you, these walls would be rendered more impenetrable than the adamantine rock, and devouring as a wall of fire, should emit destruction upon every enemy of our religion and liberties; God himself should then be
wise and affectionate father, and the tears and intreaties of a tender anxious mother. Dost thou not remember, my young friend, what a severe struggle it cost them to part with thee; how their bowels yearned over thee; how their hearts, and lips, and eyes overflowed with tenderness and grief? It may be thou art the son, the only son of thy mother, and her a widowthe expected prop and comfort of her solitary old-age-and hast thou already forgot a mother's parting prayers, and blessings, and requests?—I hear, I see her thus expressing the anguish of her melting soul, at the killing moment of separation" And wilt thou then leave me, son of my
care, son of my hope, son of my love? Wilt "thou thus bereave me of the only remaining
pledge of an ever-to-be regretted husband's "love? Wilt thou thus tear thee from these "arms, which so often ached under thee in thy helpless infancy, which never declined the delightful burden, which would enfold thee for "ever? Must thou now become the author of my
sorrow, who hast hitherto been the spring of "my joy? must I give up so soon, what my fond "heart would not be separated from for a sin
gle moment? and O! hadst thou no way but "this to crush a mother's sinking spirit? thy de
parture and thy death are the same thing to
66 me; for I shall never, never behold thee more. Tempestuous seas, barbarous men, unwholesome climates, all conspire to rob me of my soul's darling. I see thee smitten with disease in a "strange land, no fond parent nigh thee to "soothe thy pains, to tend thy bed, to watch thy "slumbers, to bear all thy troubles, to sweeten "the bitterness of death with maternal sym<< pathy, to close thy eyes, and die beside "thee.
"O! that thou couldst yet relent! O! that "this last entreaty might prevail! O! that thou "wouldst yet take pity on her who loves thee as "her own soul, who would cheerfully go to death, if it could make thee happy! Ah no! "I see with horror how fixed thy purpose is "thou art then determined to bring down my
grey hairs with sorrow to the grave: and what "sorrow is equal to my sorrow?-Parting with "thee now, parting with thee for life, is not the "thousandth part of my grief, and of my terror.. "Could I but hope thou wert one of God's chilen, an heir of eternal life, how cheerfully "would I resign thee, how cheerfully submit to "this determination of the divine will!-But "when I consider, dreadful thought! my soul "shrinks back, it is dissolved within me-my