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Though this is an event that will certainly take place, yet we are all thoughtless and secure, merry and unconcerned, as if it were of no moment to change states, and enter into an invisible world. Ask us all, one by one, if we are afraid we shall die in battle? and all of us to a man, have the fond hopes that we shall escape without a wound. But it would look better, if each of us were saying, 'Perhaps it may be I, perhaps it may be I, that shall be slain.' Though my station be not so dangerous as that of some, yet, in my situation, some now and then are killed, and I rejoice that when I am in danger, I dare not trust the sides of the ship for my defence, but thy divine protection, which is better to me than a thousand bulwarks. Let me neither build on false hopes of life, nor be filled with slavish fears of death, but be prepared for all events. In the mean time, I plead that our fleets may be defended, our foes defeated, an honorable peace concluded, and an end put to the effusion of human blood. And I also plead, that thou wilt put a covering on my head in the day of battle, that I may praise thy power, and sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning.
ON OUR LORD'S DISPLAYING HIS DIVINITY ON THE
Spithead, May 26, 1758.
TILL now, 1 never observed that our Lord, in the days of his flesh, performed cures, and wrought miracles on the sea. At one time, from the surrounding multitude he steps into a ship, and teaches thou
sands attentive on the shore; and, after finishing his sermon, makes the unsuccessful fishers cast their nets again into the sea, who, catching a great draught of fishes, are also caught themselves, and made fishers of men.
Another time, he will go over to the country of the Gadarenes, for there was one there, the prey of the terrible, and captive of the strong, whom he is pleased to deliver. So he enters into a ship, and his disciples, the close attendants on their Master, go along with him; but, while his human nature, fatigued with the toils he daily underwent, is fast asleep, a tempest came down on the ship, either sent by Providence, that, in rebuking it, he might display his divinity, or perhaps. satan, who is the prince of the power of the air, was permitted to send out the fiercest storm which his hellish rage could effectuate, to make the affrighted boatmen row back again, and prevent the happy passage. However it was, his terrified disciples awoke him, and his word makes the fierce winds fall asleep, and his presence in a little makes fiercer fiends cry out, when turned out of their long possession. O how pleasant to think, that he who came from heaven to earth to save sinners, goes over a lake to save a soul or two; and though he comes in love unsent for, yet he goes not away, till desired to depart!
Again, our great Lord, after feeding the multitude with spiritual and earthly bread, constrains his disciples, who, it seems, were loth to move a foot without his presence, to go into a ship, while he sent the multitude away; after which he retires unto a mountain to pray; but, by this time, they are tossed with a double tempest, one beating their ship without, and another disquieting their soul within. It appears they had entered the ship between six and nine in the afternoon,
and were tossed on the waters till between three and six in the morning, a long time indeed to the trembling disciples. The scene is altered now, for before they had no more to do but awake their Lord, to make the tempest fall asleep; but, though they saw not their dear Master, yet he saw their distress; and, after letting it heighten to an extremity, to sweeten their deliverance, he comes a foot upon the flood, and journeys straight to their vessel. The disciples(no doubt, in the morning watch, looking out for land) saw him, and, supposing it had been a spirit commissioned to overset them altogether, it added so much anguish to their anxiety, and terror to their trouble, that they cried out. But how soon does his kind reply check their fears, It is I, be not afraid. Peter, after asking liberty, comes down to welcome him on the watery element; but winds above, and waves beneath, make Peter's faith stagger so much, that our kind Lord must stretch forth his hand and save him. No sooner did he enter the ship, than nature is composed; nor needs he speak a word, his very presence calms the tempest, and the winds immediately forbear to blow upon the barge, where their Creator is a passenger. How happy, then, the soul where he abides for ever! This sudden change in the storm effected a no less sudden, but much more momentous change in the minds of the astonished spectators, who are all at once brought over to a belief of his divinity: "Of a truth thou art the Son of God."
How often might the observing mariner say of him who did ride through the sea with his horses, through the heaps of great waters, that he hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet! How often sends he out the storm that puts us to our wit's end, and again calms the dreadful
hurricane, to our great comfort! "O that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men !"
A MEMORANDUM FOR HIM THAT GOES ABROAD.
June 28, 1757.
SOMETIMES the call of Providence, sometimes a covetous heart to amass riches, carry men abroad. If a man cannot exercise his religion with liberty in his native country, which he can find in another land, then he may be said, instead of going abroad, only to go home. But, on the contrary, he that wanders from the place where God delights to dwell, and relinquishes Zion, which God has called his rest, may indeed be said to go abroad; and unless his reasons are valid, when impartially weighed, he ought not to go. On no account shouldst thou go with a design to remain, unless the gospel gladden the distant region; but when thou art away, remember a few things, that thou mayest not forget thyself.
1. Be always under the impression of God's omnipresence and omniscience. Thou canst never wander out of the hollow of his hand, or swim beyond his ken.
2. Mind the terrible tribunal, where the complete register of all thine actions shall be brought forth; such and such a sin at home, such and such a sin abroad, with such and such aggravations.
3. Know, it is better to stand alone, than fall with many. It will not excuse thy wickedness, that thou
wast among the wicked, for sinners shall be bound in bundles, that they may burn the fiercer.
4. Think much on death, that thou mayest not be too much charmed with the vanities of life.
5. Oppose sin in others with courage, for the righteous shall be bold as lion; though the wicked flees when none pursues. ·
6. Remember the deceitfulness and uncertainty of riches; so shalt thou neither be puffed up with the possession, nor pained at the loss of them.
7. Be not jeered out of thy religion, or flouted out of thy devotion; better be the object of man's ridicule, than the subject of God's wrath.
8. Set not thy heart on any intended acquisition abroad, and so thou shalt not return home disappointed. 9. Remark providences, and thou shalt never want them to remark.
10. Let Zion and the people of God have a place in thy prayers, and thou shalt again have a place in Zion among the people of God.
11. Since thou canst not have God in his public ordinances, seek the God of ordinances in private daily; and, when deprived of the preached word, esteem and peruse the written word the more.
12. Be not hasty in making acquaintance, nor rash in chusing thy friends.
13. Meditate often; a secret good rises from this secret exercise.
14. Examine thy condition often; it is the sign of a bankrupt never to open his books, nor look into his accounts.
15. Let prayer be thy daily pleasure and employ. To be much in the presence of an earthly king makes