Imágenes de páginas





Confifting of XXXI. POINTS;


Profitable APPLICATIONS, and

All concluded with so many Spiritual POE M 6.

What good might seamen get, if once they were
But heavenly minded? If they could but steer
The Christian's course, the foul might then enjoy
Sweet peace, they might like feas o'crflow with jaya
Weré God our all, how would our comforts double
Upon us! thus the seas of all our trouble
Would be divinely sweet : men sbould endeavour
To see God now, and be with bim for ever.

To all Masters, Mariners, and Seamen ; especially such as be

long to the Borough of Clifton, Dartmouth, and Hardness, in the county of Devon. SIRS, Find it storied of Anacharfis, that when one asked him


this answer, You must first tell me (faith he) in which num. « ber I must place feamen : Intimating thereby, that seamen are, as it were, a third sort of persons, to be pumbered neither with the living nor the dead; their lives hanging continually

1 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.

That I remained one day without a will, 3. That ever I went to any place by sea, whither




[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

I might have gone by land. Nothing (faith another) is more miserable, than to see a virtuous and worthy perfon

upon the sea.' And although custom, and the great improvement of the art of navigation, have made it less formidas ble now, yet are you no further from death than


are from the waters, which is but 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 seriousness : 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 sea. But we may fay now, (alas ! that we may fay so in times of greater light) he that would learn to be

profane, to drink and swear, and dishonour God, let him go to fen. 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 food in a place of great danger; and when one that 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 (saith he) it is the ! schoolmaster of all vice and dishonesty.' Sirs ! it is a very sad consideration 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 che sea, but of hell also, whither divine vengeance hath pursue ed them: That you, I say, who daily float, and hover over them, and have the roaring waves and billows that swallowed them

you as the next prey, should be no more affects 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 pot shake your 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, Plaim cxxxviii. 3. and if

many thousand

up, gaping for

it cannot awaken you, it is no wonder you remain secure and dead, when the Lord utters his voice in the moft dreadful forins and tempests. But if neither the voice of God uttered in his dreadful works, or in his glorious gospel, can effectualdy awaken and rouze, there is an Euroclydon, a fearful storm coming, which will so awaken your fouls, as that they shall never sleep any more, Plal. xi. 6. “Upon the wicked he shall « rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: “ This is the portion of their cup." You that have been at fea in the most violent storms, never felt such a ftorm as this, and the Lord grant you never may; no calm Hall follow this form. 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 profeffion; who drive a trade for heaven, and are diligent to secure the happinefs

а 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 consider 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 tossed upon the ocean, to descry land? And how yare and eagerly do you look out for it, who yet never trad 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 O Sirs! I beg of you, if you have any regard to those preci

, ous, 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 prefent you with the fruit of a few spare hours, redeemed for your fakes, from my other studies and employ.


Tents, which I have put into a new dress and mode. I have ndeavoured to cloath spiritual matters in your own dialect and hrases, that they might be the more intelligible to you ; and dded some pious poems, with which the several chapters are oncluded, trying by all means to aflault your several affections, ad as the apoftle speaks, “to catch you with guile.” I can ay nothing of it; I know it cannot be without its manifold mperfections, fince I am conscious of so many in myself; only this I will adventure to say of it, that how defective or empty soever it be in other respects, yet it is stuffed and filled with much true love to, and earnest delires after the falvation 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 eflay that I ever made in this kind, wherein I find no precedent: and it was haftned for your fakes, too foon out of my hands, that it might be ready to wait upon you, when you undertake your next voyage : fo 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 bleís 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 Thake hands with you, when you go abroad, were we persuaded ,

, your fouls were interested in Christ, and secured from perishing, in the new covenant ? What life would it put into

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 fafe arrival in that land of reft.



So prays

Your most affectionate friend to serve
you in foul concernments,


To every SEAMAN failiag Heaven-ward.

Ingenious Seaman,
HE art of navigation, by wh ch islands especially are et.

[ocr errors]

and the wonderful works of God in the great deep, and foreign nations, are most delightfully and fully beheld, &c. 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 unstable as water, and hath the fame brinish taste and falt guft which the waters of the fea have) safe to heaven (the best ha. ven) so as to avoid splitting upon any foul-linking rocks, or striking upon any foul-drowning fands. The art of natural navigation is a very great mystery; but the art of spiritual navigation 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 truth is, divinity (the doctrine of living to God) is nothing else but the art of foul-navigation, revealed from heaveri. A mere tan can carry a fhip to any desired port in all the world, bur no mere man can carry a foul to heaven. He must be a faint, he must be a divine (fo all faints are) that can be a pilot to carry a foul to the fair haven in Emanuel's land. The art of natural navigation is wonderfully improved since the coming of Christ, before which time (if there be truth in hiftory) the use of the loadstone was never known in the world ; and before the virs tue of that was revealed unto the mariner, it is unspeakable with what uncertain wanderings feamen 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 com ing of Christ; 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 there.. of are dispersed up and down therein. The collecting and methodizing of the same cannot but be a work very useful unto fouls: though, when all is done, there is an absolute necessity of



« AnteriorContinuar »