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NAVIGATION S PIRI TV A LI D:
Or, A NEW COMPASS for SE A MEN,
Confifting of XXXII. POINTS;
All concluded with so many Spiritual POE M 6.
TV hat good might feamen get, if once they were
minded? If they could but steer
To all Masters, Mariners, and Seamen ; especially such as bea
long to the Borough of Clifton, Dartmouth, and Hardness, in the county of Devon. SIRS, Find it ftoried of Anacharfis, that when one asked him
whether the living or the dead were more ? He returned this answer, You must first tell me (faith he) in which num. • ber I must place seamen : Intimating thereby, that seamen are, as it were, a third sort of persons, to be numbered neither with the living nor the dead; their lives hanging continually in suspense before them. And it was anciently accounted the most desperate employment, and they little better than loft men that used the seas. Through all my life (faith Aristotle) three
things do especially repent me: 1. That ever I revealed a 6 secret to a woman. 2. That ever I remained one day with
out a will, 3. That ever I went to any place by fea, whither I might have gone by land.' Nothing (faith another) is * more miserable, than to see a virtuous and worrby perfon
upon the sea.' And although custom, and the great improvement of the art of navigation, have made it less formidable now, yet are you no further from death than you are from the waters, which is byt a remove of two or three inches. Now you that border so nigh upon the confines of death and eternity every moment, may be well supposed to be men of fingular piety and scriousness: For nothing more composes the heart to such a frame, than the lively apprehensions of eternity do, and none have greater external advantages for that, than you have. But, alas ! for the generality, what sort of men are more ungodly, and stupidly insensible of eternal concernments ? living, for the most part, as if they had made a covenant with death, and with hell were at agreement. It was an ancient saying, Qui nescit orare, discat navigare, He that knows not how to pray, let him go to fea. But we may say now, (alas ! that we may kay so in times of greater light) he that would learn to
proe fane, to drink and swear, and dishonour God, let him go to len. As for prayer, it is a rare thing among seamen, they count that a needless business: they see the profane and vile delivered as well as others; and therefore, what profit is there if they pray unto him ? Mal. iii. 4. As I remember, I have read of a profane soldier, who was heard swearing, though he stood in a place of great danger; and when one chat stood by him warned him, faying, Fellow-soldier, do not swear, the bullets fly;' he anfwered, "They that swear come off as well as they that pray.' Soon after a shot hit him, and down he fell. Plato diligently admonished all men to avoid the sea ; For (faith he) it is the ! schoolmaster of all vice and dishonesty.' Sirs ! it is a very
sad confideration to me, that you who float upon the great deeps, in whose bottom fo
miserable creatures lie, whose fins have funk them down, not only into the bottom of the sea, but of hell also, whither divine vengeance hath pursu. ed them: That you, I say, who daily float, and hover over them, and have the roaring waves and billows that swallowed them up, gaping
for you as the next prey, should be no more affect ed with these things. Oh what a terrible voice doth God utter in the storms ! « It breaks the cedars, shakes the wilder“ ness, makes the hinds to calve," Psal. xxix. 5. And can it
hearts? This voice of the Lord is full of majesty, but his voice in the word is more efficacious and powerful, Heb. iv. 12. to convince and rip up the heart. This word is exalted above all his name, Psalm cxxxviii. 3. and if
it cannot awaken you, it is no wonder you remain secure and dead, when the Lord utters his voice in the moft dreadful forms and tempests. But if neither the voice of God uttered in his dreadful works, or in his glorious gospel, can effectualJy awaken and rouze, there is an Euroclydon, a fearful storm coming, which will fo awaken your souls, as that they shall never fleep any more, Plal. xi. 6. “Upon the wicked he shall “ rain Inares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: “ This is the portion of their cup." You that have been at sea in the most violent storms, never felt such a storm as this, and the Lord grant you never may; no calm fall follow this ftorm. There are some among you, that, I am persuaded, do truly fear that God in whose hand their life and breath is; men that fear an oath, and are an honour to their profeflion; who drive a trade for heaven, and are diligent to secure the happiness of their immortal fouls, in the insurance-office above; but for the generality, alas ! they mind none of these things. How many of you are coasting to and fro, from one country to another? But never think of that heavenly country above, nor how you may get the merchandize thereof, which is better than the gold of Ophir. How oft do you tremble to see the foaming waves dance about you, and wash over you? Yet confider not how terrible it will be to have all the waves and billows of God's wrath to go over your souls, and that for ever.
How glad are you after you have been long toffed upon the ocean, to descry fand? And how yare and eagerly do you look out for it, whọ yet never had your hearts warmed with the confideration of that joy which shall be among the saints, when they arrive at the heavenly Arand, and set foot upon the shore of glory.
O Sirs ! I beg of you, if you have any regard to those precious, immortal souls of yours, which are also imbarked for eternity, whither all winds blow them, and will quickly be at their port of heaven or hell, that you will seriously mind these things, and learn to steer your course to heaven, and improve all winds (I mean opportunities and means) to waft you thither.
Here you venture life and liberty, run through many difficulties and dangers, and all to compass a perishing treasure; yet how often do you return disappointed in your design? Or if not, yet it is but a fading short-lived inheritance, which like the flowing tide, for a while, covers the shore, and then returns, and leaves it naked and dry again : and are not everlasting treasures worth venturing for ? Good fouls be wise for eternity: I here present you with the fruit of a few spare hours, redeemed for your fakes, from my other studies and employe
ments, which I have put into a new dress and mode. I have endeavoured to cloath spiritual matters in your own dialect and phrases, that they might be the more intelligible to you ; and added some pious poems, with which the several chapters are concluded, trying by all means to aflault your several affections, and as the apostle speaks, “to catch you with guile.” I can say nothing of it; I know it cannot be without its manifold imperfections, fince I am conscious of so many in myself; only this I will adventure to say of it, that how defective or empty foever it be in other respects, yet it is stuffed and filled with much true love to, and earnest desires after the salvation and prosperity of your souls. And for the other defects that attend it, I have only two things to offer, in way of excuse; it is the first eslay that I ever made in this kind, wherein I find no precedent: and it was hastned for your fakes, too soon out of my hands, that it might be ready to wait upon you, when you undertake your next voyage : so that I could not revise and polish it. Nor indeed was I solicitous about the stile; I consider, I write not for critical and learned persons; my design is not to please your fancies any further than I might thereby get advantage to profit your souls. I will not once question your welcome reception of it: if God thall bless these meditations to the conversion of any among you, you will be the gainers, and my heart shall rejoice, even mine. How comfortably fhould we fhake hands with you, when you go abroad, were we persuaded your souls were interested in Christ, and secured from perishing, in the new covenant ? What life would it put into our prayers for you, when you are abroad, to confider that Jesus Christ is interceding for you in heaven, whilst we are your remembrancers here on earth ? How quiet would our hearts be, when you are abroad in storms, did we know you had a special interest in him whom winds and seas obey ? To conclude, what joy would it be to your godly relations, to see you return new creatures ? Doubtless more than if you came home laden with the riches of both Indies.
Come, Sirs ! set the heavenly Jerufalem upon the point of your new compass; make all the fail you can for it, and the Lord give you a prosperous gale, and a safe arrival in that land of reft.
Your most affectionate friend to serve
JOHN FLA VEL
To every SEAMAN failiag Heaven-ward
HE art of navigation, by which iflands especially are et. and the wonderful works of God in the great deep, and foreign nations, are most delightfully and fully beheld, óc. is an art of exquisite excellency, ingenuity, rarity, and mirability : but the art of spiritual navigation is the art of arts. It is a gallant thing to be able to carry a ship richly laden round the world; but it is much more gallant to carry a foul (that rich loading, a pearl of more worth than all the merchandize of the world) in a body (that is as liable to leaks and bruises as any ship is) through the sea of this world (which is as unftable as water, and hath the fame brinith taste and falt guft which the waters of the fea have) fafe to heaven (the best ha. ven) so as to avoid splitting upon any foul-finking rocks, or striking upon any foul-drowning fands. The art of natural navigation is a very great mystery; but the art of spiritual naviga. tion is by much a greater mystery. Human wisdom may teach us to carry a fhip to the Indies; but the wisdom only that is from above can teach us to steer our course aright to the haven of happinefs. This art is purely of divine revelation. The Fruth is, divinity (the doctrine of living to God) is nothing else but the art of foul-navigation, revealed from heaveri. A mere man can carry a ship to any desired port in all the world, but no mere man can carry a foul to heaven. He must be a faint, he must be a divine (so all faints are) that can be a pilot to carry a foul to the fair haven in Emanuels land. The art of natural navigation is wonderfully improved since the coming of Christ, before which time (if there be truth in history) the use of the loadstone was never known in the world; and before the vir: tue of that was revealed unto the mariner, it is unspeakable with what uncertain wanderings seamen floated here and there, rather thau failed the right and direct way. Sure I am, the art of fpiritual navigation is wonderfully improved since the coming of Chrift; it oweth its clearest and fullest discovery to the coming of Christ. This art of arts is now perfectly revealed in the scriptures of the old and new testament, but the rules thereof are dispersed up and down therein. The collecting and methodizing of the fame cannot but be a work very useful unto souls: though, when all is done, there is an absolute necessity of