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this sin, shall these events take place ! And yet, o man! thou art merry in the midst of all thy misery, and observest not the impending thunders that are about to break on thy devoted head. Sin is that poi. son that inakes a man go laughing to death, and dancing to destruction. Then, let
in secret places for those that cannot pity themselves, nor shew compassion on their own souls, but live in a dream, die in darkness, and plunge into despair.
A MAN OF WAR.
May 16, 1758. THERE is a great difference between a trading ship and a man of war. The one goes out for private gain, the other for the public good. That neither intends to attack, nor is prepared to resist, if attacked in her voyage ; but this spreads the sails, and sweeps the sea, to find and fight the foe; and, therefore, carries along with her weapons of every kind, and instruments of death.
Even so, the Christian has another course of life to lead than the worldling, even while sojourning in the world. And, as the ship of wai' must not traffic from port to port, having more noble things in view, life and liberty to defend, and enemies to subdue; so, that wareth, entangleth himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who hath chosen hiin to be a soldier."
We are never out of danger, while at sea ; for, though it be a time of peace, we may be overtaken with a tempest, wrecked on a rock, or sit down on a
sand-bank : But, in these disquieted times, we may be shattered by an engagement, sunk by the foe, or blown up by accident; or, should we escape all these, we may have a mutiny within. Just so, whatever be the situation of the sons of men, still the children of grace have a war to maintains not only a sea full of storms to struggle through, but a field of foes to fight through. It is through fire and water, through severe trials, and heavy afflictions, that all spiritual champions have to force their way. Satan knows well how to act; when faith would look to the bright side of every event, satan turns up the black side, to drive the soul to despair; and, on the other hand, when grace looks to the blackness of sin, he turns up the beautiful side of pleasure. In adversity, I am ready to dash against the rocks of discontent; and, in prosperity, to fall among the quicksands of worldly cares and temporal concerns. We have foes on every hand to fight, temptations from every quarter to resist, all the powers of darkness, all the principalities of the pit, to combat with ; nor is peace to be expected while an enemy is on the field; neither must we lay aside our armour, the weapons of our warfare, till we lay down the body of death.
Again, though for a time we have no foe to affright us, no tempest to trouble us, no rock to endanger us, yet a mutiny may rise within, than which nothing can be more terrible ;. and it is always the dregs of the crew that are chiefly concerned in it, while the officers are sure either to be cut off, or confined. Just so, there inay be a tumult raised in the scul, a war in the very mind, when rascally corruptions, headed by unbelief, claim the command; when graces, faith, love, patience, resignation, spirituality, &c. are wounded, and put under confinement: Thus, one complained of old, “I see another law in my members, waring against the
law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin, which is in my members." Now, as no scene can be more melancholy than a mutiny, till it be suppressed, and order restored; so nothing can be more melancholy than a soul suffering all the calamities of a war within, corruption rampant, and grace bleeding.
But, how happy is the ship, when peace is restored, and the mutineers secured in irons, and what a strict eye is kept on them during the voyage! So it is with the soul'; what joy, what exultation and triumph, prevail, when sin is subdued, and the love of God, and peace of conscience, are shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost !
This is known, that when the mutineers get the ascendance, and compel the rest of the ship's company to join them, they turn pirates, are resolute in battle, bloody in their conquests, desperate in all attacks, a terror to, and hated of every nation. Even so, he that sets out with a fair profession of religion, and on the way to heaven, but turns a black apostate, spues out malice against the ways of God, becomes the bitterest of all enemies, the most profligate of all offenders, and is hated of saint and sinner.
When a mutiny takes place, it is sometimes requisite for the safety of the ship, and for the honour of government, to cut off some otherwise very useful hands. Just so, we are to cut off lusts, thougla dear as our right eye, or useful as our right hand, that we perish not for ever.
Again, our being provided with what enables us to defend ourselves, and to distress our foes, has sometimes been the ruin of ships, while the fatal spark makes a terrible explosion, tears the vessel to pieces, and scatters the lifeless crew on the deep. So the best
of blessings, the choicest privileges, when not improved, entail the bitterest of curses. Thus Judas, who sat in his divine master's presence, heard his sermons, and witnessed his miracles, not improving these golden opportunities, turned traitor and hanged himself, in the anguish of despair. And Capernaum, that in privileges was exalted to heaven, is threatened to be thrust down to hell.
When war is over, peace proclaimed, ships on foreign stations called home, prize-money received, ships paid off, and laid up, and the crews discharged, and set at liberty ; how is all mirth and jocundity, festivity and joy! But, what tongue can tell the transports, the joy, the rapture, and delight, which the Christian shall feel when his warfare is finished, and he translated to the mansions of glory, to the presence of God!
Some poor creatures, who, though weary of the war, yet not knowing how to support themselves, or where to go after discharged from the ship, would be content to continue still in the service. And this reminds me of some saints, who, not being free of doubts with respect to their state in a future world, notwithstanding all their toils in life, and struggles against sin, cling to life, and startle at the thoughts of death.
But, there are some provident persons who have saved a little in the course of the war; and some so happy as to get on the half pay list, or obtain a pension from their prince : These cheerfully retire to live on their money, repeat their dangers, recount their conquests, and commend their king. Just so, the souls that are enriched by the King eternal, and blessed with the full assurance of celestial felicity, go triumphant, at the hour of death, to dwell in the courts of God ,on the treasures of glory, through an endless evermore.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE RIGHTEOUS AND
Lying off Normandy, June 14, 1758.
THOUGH, with respect to the outward man, there is no difference, as one Creator has fashioned them both alike in the womb; yet, with respect to the inner man, there is an amazing dissimilitude. In the darkest night, there are some rays of light; but, in these sons of vice, there is not the least vestige of holiness. Yea, that modesty, which one would think was inseparable from human nature, they have eradicated by a long practice of sinning
They seem to have stabbed their conscience, bound it hand and foot, and carried it forth to be buried, like a dead corpse, in the deep dug grave of oblivion, from whence it shall come forth upon them in a terrible resurrection.
What a wide difference, then, between the shining examples of piety, and the sons of profanity ? The affections of the one are refined, and their desires exalted; but the inclinations of the other are corrupt, and their desires grovelling. Sin has but a tottering standing, and a momentary stay in those ; but has fixed his throne, and taken up his eternal residence (if grace prevent not) in these. In the one, grace and sin struggle for sovereignty ; in the other sin domi. neers, and there is no disturbance. The one is wise for a world to come, the other minds not that there is a future state. The discourse of the one is always seasoned with salt; of the other, insipid and vain. The one has his hope fixed in God, the other has no fear of God before his eyes. Those use the world