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Father of eternity who holds the waters in the hollow of his hand. Thou art safe, therefore, upon the depths; and though thou shouldest never see thy native country, yet thou shalt make, when thy course is finished, the land that lies afar off.
COASTING ON A COUNTRY OF ANOTHER RELIGION.
Under sail, 1758. SINCE the foolish sons of men fell a-building their own confusion, what a difference of tongues has taken place! Hence, though I was ashore on that land, I could neither understand, nor be understood, but by an interpreter. But, since defection entered the Christian church, how, in some lands, is all gone to confusion !
Still the Christian name continues, but primitive Christianity, is rooted out there, where a pretended successor of Peter is the fulfilment of that prediction, whicla mentions the coming of the man of sin, and which to me confirms the truth of the scriptures. They have turned the purity of religion into the pomp of superstition; the simplicity of the gospel, into mumbling and muttering of prayers, in an unknown tongue ; and the spiritual rule over the flock of God, into a temporal dominion over the kingdoms. They have let go the kernel and substance of religion, for the shell and show; hence, such adorning of churches, and such abundance of altars and images. There the man of sin sways his midnight sceptre, forfilthy lucre, forgiving sins which God will never acquit, because in a way God never appointed, nor will approve of? and, trampling on the divine command, prostitutes sacred things; hence baptising of bells, consecrating places, water, &c. It were irksome to repeat their impostures, and spiritual whoredoms, with which the nations are drunk; but, what a pity it is to see them, in the matters of religion, go hood-winked to hell! And men so polite, learned, and expert in other res. pects, so easily imposed upon in the concerns of their salvation! When shall the brightness of the coming of the Son of man, in the purity of the gospel, which is the sword that proceeds out of his mouth, make the kings, who now support, hate the whore, eat her flesh, and burn her with fire?
How great is the happiness, then, of a reformed land, where the glorious truths of Christianity are not concealed from any, where the poor have the gospel preached to them, and the scriptures loosed from their dark originals, in their mother tongue, and where the people are allowed, according to the primitive institution, to commemorate, in both kinds, the death and sufferings of our dearest Lord! Wo to them that dwell among a people that are terrified for Papal bulls; that put light for darkness, and darkness fur light, good works in the place of justifying righteousness, and the Pope in the seat of God; who, not having attained to the spiritual knowledge of the Redeemer, enflame their affections, and kindle their devotions, by gazing on sensible representations of a suffering Saviour, who can only be beheld savingly by the eye of faith. Though with our bodily eyes we could see Jesus expiring on the cross in deepest agony and pain, which were better than a thousand crucifixes, and lively pictures, it could only move pity in us to him as a tortured man, but could not beget in us the faith of his divinity; hence so many unconyerted spectators of
the awful scene; and hence still the lifeless devotions of the blinded Papists.
O! then, that the days of the Son of man would beam on the Christian Churches, such as Rome enjoyed when first obedient to the faith ; that they might cast off the yoke of the imperious whore that sits on many a bill, and deliver their souls that dwell in spiritual Babylon! O! then, that the Son of Righteousness would arise with healings in his wings, and with his glorious beams dispel the darkness from the nations, and the gross darkness from the people, that Rome, with the lesser Asia, may return to their former purity, to their first love, and over the revived uni. verse there may be but one Lord, and his name one.
At sea, June 25, 1758.
HOW do the stately masts thrust their head into the sky, and see the breaking billows far beneath thein ! Even so sovereigns and princes are exalted far above their subjects. But, for as high as the mast is raised above the hull, yet its safety is only by being sunk into the very body of the ship; so is the king's honour, and the prince's safety, in the multitude of their subjects.
Of what service could a ship without masts, or masts without a ship be? So in the body, political, spiritual, and natural, Infinite Wisdom has made every member subservient to another, that there may be no schism.
Without masts, which support the takle, and expanded sails, a ship could move no where, but would
lie like a wreck on the waters ; so without rulers, and subordination, must a people perish in tumult and confusion.
If the masts are exalted in the view of all, they are exposed to tempests from every quarter; so fares it with men of station and power, they are hated by one, and envied by another, reproached by a third, and undermined by a fourth.
In a storm, or tempest, it is sometimes necessary, in order to save the ship, to cut the masts by the board ; so, sometimes to save a state, or nation, it is , necessary to dethrone a cruel, an obstinate oppressor, and chase away a lyrant.
If the hull is rotten, and leaky, though the masts be never so strong and freslı, yet the vessel may perish in the deep waters; so, if the people be irreligious, and licentious, the prudent conduct and probity of the best king's eannot prevent their rushing into ruin.
It is only when a ship goes to sea, with her masts and top-masts in order, and all her sails unfurled, and filled by the gentle breeze, that she makes so grand an appearance to the peopled shores; for, stretching into the boundless ocean, she lessons gradually till she cary be seen no more: Even so, the men who now are famed over half the globe, shall in a little be lost tohuman eye, on the ocean of eternity, and have no more concern with time.
When the ship is grown old, and accounted no more fit for service, she is brought ashore, and broken up, and then the stately masts lie equally humble on the ground with the meaner planks, or very keel; even so, in death, shall all flesh return to dust, and the distinctions of a few days shall no more avail m, shall take place no more. May a belief of this influence me while I live below.
BEING PUT UNDER CONFINEMENT
Under sail, June 26, 1758.
TRULY we might be surprised to think that one could be closer confined in a ship at sea, than only to be in it; for, what is the vessel but a floating prison, where the closest confinement can only deprive a man of a few paces? Where can the man go, who has nothing over him but the canopy of the sky, or around him but the liquid ocean? Yet to be forbid to walk the very deck, to be locked in the cumbrous irons, and put under the care of the sentinel, and his naked sword, are marks of anger and restraint.
Even so, a man may be strạitened in himself, a prisoner at home, though he might range the whole globe, and find himself fettered with grief, and manacled with sorrow, pensive amidst his pleasures, and dejected among his friends.
Wherever these prisoners are permitted to go, they are always attended with the sentinels in arms; so the man whose conscience is awakened, shall find a constant .companion, and unwearied reprover, who will either reprove to purpose, or reproach for ever.
When a man has transgressed the martial law, neither money nor friends sometimes can prevent punishment; so nothing in the world can preserve trom, or enable to support a wounded spirit. If the stroke comes from above, so must the relief. How poor are all possessions to a person that has not peace within!