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fold with the same joy as if they had been going up the rounds of Jacob's ladder? And, have not some striplings on a death-bed had such a double portion of communion, that they could look on dissolution with delight, forbid their friends to pray for their recovery, and could meet their fatal moments with the same alacrity as a young prince going to the grand solemnity of his own coronation ?
ON THE BLOWING UP OF A SHIP.
*MANY are the appearances which death puts on, and in every one of them he is terrible. Sometimes his commission bears him to lay siege to the clay-walls for a long time, and to waste them away with a lingering consumption; and then he steals on them so insensibly, that they still entertain hopes of recovery, and believe themselves better a day or two before death. Atone time he comes in Aames of fire, at another time in swelling floods; and at another time, by a sudden stroke, he sweeps the man at once off the stage.
Though fire is terrible any where, yet much more so when the burning pile is surrounded by a boundless
It is, no doubt, a moving sight, to see a naked family, with wringing hands, and weeping eyes, deplore their all in flames! A family, just alarmed out of their midnight sleep, by the doleful cries of affrighted spectators, with no more than time to escape the burning blaze ! However, by the assistance of waterengines, and a thousand friendly hands, the fire is got under, and half the house is saved ; or, should all be copsumed, they are still happy in the possession of
and the charity of well disposed Christians. But ve onome alters at sea, and is much more dismal, as per ship I speak of felt. Strong and well equipped, the slory of the fleet, she spread the pompous sails, suspended by the lofty masts, divided the rolling billows with the nimble keel, was rich in men and officers, and waved the honorary flag from the highest top; but, all at once, while no danger is dreamed of, and at noon, a fire bewrays itself below, too far advanced to be got under, too terrible to be beheld without trembling. It kindles fear in every breast, and nothing can be done. Signals of distress are fired, but only a poor merchantman comes to her assistance ; yet dares not come too
for fear of sinking by the wreck. The fire rages still, and it is strange, in the midst of water, to perish by fire. Were the oceans a plain, with what cheerfulness would they come down, and see the last plank in flames ! But, death, gaping from the hollow waves, forbids them to descend, and every moment they expect to be blown into the air, and strewed in mangled legs and arms along the briny deep. What confused counsels! what feeble hands! what faipting hearts ! what struggling thoughts ! what staring eyes! what screams and cries! the ship's sides are lined with expectants of deliverance. They look every way, but in vain, for relief. One boat only appears, which dares not come along-side ; yet many take the desperatelcap, and falling short of the boat, plunge into the sea, and are seen no more, a terrifying sight to all behind ! Still the fire increases, till anon the guns, loaded for action, sweep the crowded sides of the ship, of these very men they were designed to defend. Death is in the waters, death is in the fires; it pursues behind, attacks before, and hedges in on every side! Old and
who had survived the day of battle, are, in this
melancholy manner, and on so short a warning, hurried into another world. The flames grow more furious, and on all sides lifeless bodies float around, a sad sight to surviving friends! Her own boats carry off a few men, but find not the way back again. At length, the masts break down, destroying numbers as they fall, and officers die undistinguished in the throng ; while the admiral, stript of his uniform, hanging by an oar, struggles for life on the liquid wave, till taken up. Many attempt to save themselves on pieces of the wreck, while the remains of the ship sink out of sight; but the angry waves wash them off their last relief, and they perish in the deep waters. Yet, mercy shines in ihe midst of shipwreck and death, for many escape with their life, though deprived of every thing else.*
O! strange to tell, will we quit with all that we have, for a few days, or a few years of our natural life, and yet quit with nothing at all for eternal life and endless glory? And, if fire that can be extinguished with water, or burn away to lifeless ashes, be so terrible, what must the fire of infinite wrath be, that shall burn up the wicked for ever? Finally,
situation is the same, may I study to prepare for death at any time, and in any shape; then I shall face the flames, yea, fall into them, knowing, that my
immortal soul, from these calcining fires, more fragrant than the spices of the east, shall rise a celestial phoenix, to live the many thousands of eternity, and never, never die.
* The ship alluded to, was Admiral Broderick's, which blew up in the Straits of Gibraltar.
SOME SLAIN BY MERCIES, AS WELL AS BY
Shithead, May 22, 1758.
GRACE, and grace alone, can conquer the heart of man; for, have I not seen one, who had all manner of misfortunes in his family, substance, relations, character, and person ; his family carried off by strange deaths, his substance reduced to nothing, his pomp blown away like a cloud of smoke, his friends falling into grievous calamities, his character suffering by every tongue, the heavens revealing his iniquity, and the earth rising up against him, and his body long the dwelling place of loathsome disease, till death has sent his stinking carcase to the rotten grave; and yet the man remains a sinner to the last ? Also, have I not seen the soldier, and the sailor, who in the day of battle had lost a leg, an arm, an eye, a piece of the scull, and some of their senses, have been made prisoners of war, and worn out with long confinement, and cruel usage, and yet these men remain proof against every judgment; incorrigible, though often corrected; stubborn under the strokes of heaven, inattentive to the language of the rod, and daringly brave an angry God? On the other hand, have I not seen a man, who had a flourishing family, growing up to maturity, like trees by a wall; bathing in pleasures,held in common esteem, seeing his children's children, riches, with little industry, pouring in on him from every quarter, himself, though full of days, and covered with hoar hairs, yet possessing the vigour of youth, and his bones full of marrow, and yet this very man walk in a stated contradiction to the Author of all his blessings? Have I not also seen the man, who, when exposed on the thundering fields of war, or in the more terrible sea-engagement, has yet stood safe amidst surrounding dangers, and received not a single wound, while some were losing limbs, or falling down dead on every hand; or when perhaps the ship sunk, or a fire kindled in her bowels, that consumes the miserable crew, yet escaped the flames, survives the wreck, and lives to tell the astonishing story of his deliverance in the field, or on the flood ? One would think that such a man would be melted down into gratitude, and live to his glory, who had been his help in the day of distress, and had covered his head in the day of war; yet he walks in a stated opposition to the Most High, and boldly offends the God of all his mercies. Thus we see one that is disappointed in every undertaking, crushed at every hand, yet remain impenitent under judgments; and we see another that succeeds in every wish, swims in created bliss, and walks in the clear noon of prosperity, yet remain obdurate under love, and chargeable with an ingratitude towards Heaven, that would be accursed among men.. To be slain by mercies, or by judgments, is a terrible death; it is the death of the uncircumcised in heart. When they are not improved, they give fury to the falling storm, and make the thunderbolts of wrath break with dreadful vengeance on their guilty heads through an endless evermore! O! then to be corrected in love, and to have my heart bettered by the sadness of my countenance; and, on the other hand, to have blessings with a blessing, and all my mercies sweetly drawing my soul out to God,