« AnteriorContinuar »
Tomend what is amiss. The gracious Lord,
CH A P. VIII.
OBSERV A TI O N.
veral wiods, and make them serviceable to his end ; a bare Gde wind, by his skill in thifting and managing the fails, will serve his turo : He will not lose the advantage of one breath, or gale, that may be useful to him. I have many times woudered to fee two ships failing in a direct counter motion, by one and the same wind : Their skill and wisdom hereio is admirable.
APPLICATION. Thus prudent and skilful are men in secular and lower wat ters, and yet how ignorant and unskilful in the great and everlasting affairs of their souls! All their invention, judgment, wit and memory, seem to be pressed for the service of the flesh. They can learn an art quickly, and arrive to a great deal of exactness in it; but in foul-matters, no knowledge at all. They can can understand the Equator, Meridian, and Horizon ; by the first they can tell the latitude of any place, south, or aorth, measuring it by the degrees in the Meridian ; by the second they can tell you the longitude of a placi, caft and welt, from the Meridian, measuring it by the degrees of the Equator , and by the third they can discern the diversifiags and settings of the lars. And so in other arts and sciences, we find men endowed with rare abilities, and fingular fagacity. Some bave piercing apprehensions, folid judgments, ftupendous memories, rare invention, and excellent elocution ; buc put them upon aay fpiritual supernatural matter, and the weakeft Christian, even a babe in Chrift, fhall excel them therein, and give a far better account of regeneration, the work of grace, the life of faith, than these can. 1 Cor. i. 30. “ Not many
" men after the flesh, dc. But God hath chosen the fooliku " things of this world," c.
REFLECTION. How inexcusable, theo, art thou, O my fout! and how mute and confounded most thou needs stand before the bar of God, in that great day? Thou hadtt a talent of natural parts com mitted to them, but which way have they been improved ? I had an understanding, indeed, but it was out fanctified; a me mory, but it was like a sieve, that let go the corn, and retaio. ed nothing but husks and chaff; wit and inveotion, but, alas! none to do myself good. Ah ! how will these rise in judgment against ac, and stop my mouth? What account shall I give for them in that day?
Again, are med (otherwise prudent and skilful) such fots and fools in spiritual things? Then let the poor, weak Christian, whose natural parts are bluat and dull, admire the riches of God's free grace to him. O what an aftonishing confideration is this! that God thould pass by mea of the profouodeft oatural parts, and chule me, even poor me, whole natural facul. ries and endowments, compared with theirs, are but as lead to gold! Thus under the law he passed: by the lion and eagle, and chose the lamb and dove. O how should it make me to advance grace, as Christ doth upon the fame account, Matth. xi. 25.
I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that choa " halt hid these things from the wife and prudeot, and reveals 66 ed them to babes.' And let it ever be ao hombliog confi. deration to me ; for who made m to differ? Is got this one priacipal thing God aims at, in calliog such as I ara ; that boall? ing may be excluded, and himself alone exalted ?
The PO E M.
To see the seaman husband ev'ry wind;
And will aot this one day in judgment rise
In Imaller matters; what, and yet not know
They move you got, nor cause you to relent;
CHA P. IX.
and cide, and it much conceros them fo to be; the peglect of a few hours, sometimes, loses them their passage, aod proves a great devrimeat to them. They know the wind is an pncer. tain, pariable thing; they must take it when they may : they are unwilling to lose one flow, or breach, chat may be serviceable to them. If a prosperous gale offers, and they act ready,
a it repents them to lose it, as much as it would repeot.us to see á veffel of good wine, or beer, tapped and run to waste.
APPLICATION. There are also seafoas, aod gales of grace, for our sopls, golden opportunnies of salvation afforded to men, the Beglect of which proves the loss and quio of souls, God hath given upto mag a day of visitation, which he hath limited, Hab. iv. 7. and keeps an exact account of every year, month, aod day, that we have enjoyed it, Luke xij. 7. Jer. XXV. 3. Luke xix. 42. The longe date of it can be but the time of this life; this is our day to work in, Job ix. 4. and upon this small wire the weight of eternity hangs. But sometimes the season of grace is eaded, before the night of death comes; the accepted time is gone, med frequently our live it, Luke xix. 44. 2 Cor. vi. 2. Or, if the outward means of salvation be continued, yet the spirit many times withdraws from those means, and ceases agy more to Nrive with men ; and then the blessing, power, and efficacy is gone from them, and instead thereof a curfe feizech the foul, Heb. vi. 7, 8. and Jer. vi. 29.
Therefore it is a matier of high importance to our souls to appreheod these feasons. How pathetically doth Christ bewail Jerusalem opon this account! Luke xix. 42. " that thoa
“ hadAt known, at least in this thy day, the things of thy peace ! “ but now they are hid from thioe eyes.” If a company of seames are set a-shore upon fome remote, upinhabited ifland, with this advice, to be aboard again exactly at such an hour, else they must bę left behiod; how doth it concere them to be puoctual to their time? The lives of thcfe men depeod upon & quarter of ad hour. Many a soul hath perished eternally, the goipel leaving them behind in their fios, because they knew 20 the time of their visitation.
REFLECTION. What golden feasons for salvation halt thou enjoyed, O my foul? what halcyon days of gospel- light and grace hast thou had ? How have the precious gales of grace blowe to no puro pole upon theel and the Spirit waited and striven with thee in vaip? “ The kingdom of heaven, (being opened in the gof" pel dispensation) hath suffered violence." Multitudes have been presling into it in my days, and I myself have fometimes been almost persuaded, and not far from the kingdom of God: I have gone as far as conviction for lia and mifery, yea, I have been carried by the power of the gospel, to resolve and purpose to turn to God, and become a new creature'; but fia hath been too fubtle and deceitful for me: I fee, my refolutions were but as an early cloud, or morning dew; and now my heart is cold 20d dead again, fettled upon its lees. Ah ! I have cause to fear and tremble, lent God hath left me under that curfe, Rev. XX. 11. “ Let him that is filthy, be filthy Ailh." I fear I am become as that miry place, Ezek. xlvii. 1 r. that (hrall not be healed by the streams of the gofpel, but given to fakt, and curfed into perpetual barrendess. Ah Lord I wilt thou leave me for and thalt thy Spirit ftrive no more with me! Then it had been good for me that I had aever been bosa. Ah ! if I have trilled out this feason, and irrecoverably lett it, then I may take up that lamen tation, Jer. viii. 20. aod say, “My harvest is paft, my fommer “ is ended, and I am not saved."
Every creature knows its time, even the curtle, crane, and swallow, koow the time of their comiog, Jer.viii. 7. How brutisa am I, that have not known the time of my visitation ! O thou, that art the Lord of life aod time, command onc gracious season more for me, and make it effectual to me, before I go hence, and be seen no more!
The PO E M.
dad wait the feaman's leifure, Well, to morrow
Eternity's before him, but thereia
When these are pass’d away, then you shall find
féveral pations of the world, that one standing in need of another's commodities, there might be a sociable commerce and traffick maintained amongst them all, and all combining in a common league, may, by the help of navigation, exhibit mutual succours to each other. The staple commodities proper to each country, I find expressed by the poet, Bart. Coll.
Hence comes our fagars from Canary ifles;