Obrazy na stronie

feníes and members are guarded against fin: but it is quite contrary with the wicked; there is no principle of holiucis in them, to oppofe or expel corruption It lies in their hearts as mud in

a lake or well, which fettles and corrupts more and more. Hence Ezek. xlvii. 11. their hearts are compared to miry or marshy places, which cannot be healed, but are given to falt: the meaning is, that the pureft ftreams of the golpel, which cleanse others, make them worfe than before, as abundance of rain will a miry place. The reafon is, because it meets with an obstacle in their fouls; fo that it cannot run through them and be glorified, as it doth in gracious fouls. All the means and endeavours used to cleanse them are in vain; all the grace of God they receive in vain, "they hold faft deceit, they refuse to let "it go," Jer. viii. 5. Sin is not in them as floating weeds upon the fea, which it ftrives to expel and purge out, but as spots in the leopard's skin, Jer. xiii. 21. or letters fashioned and engraven in the very substance of marble or brafs, with a pen of iron, and point of a diamond, Jer. xvii. 1. Or as ivy in an old wall, that hath gotten root into its very entrails. "Wicked"nefs is fweet to their mouths, they roll it under their tongues," Job xx. 12. No'threats nor promifes can divorce them from it. REFLECTION.

Lord! this is the very frame of my heart, may the graceless foul fay. My corruptions quietly fettle in me, my heart labours nor against it: I am a ftranger to that conflict which is daily maintained in all the faculties of the regenerate foul. Glorified fouls have no fach conflict, because grace in them ftands alone, and is perfectly triumphant over all its oppofites; and gracelefs fouls can have no fuch conflict, becaufe in them corruption ftands alone, and hath no other principle to make oppofition to it. And this is my cafe, O Lord! I am full of vain hopes indeed, but had a living and well grounded hope to dwell for ever with fo holy a God, I could not but be daily purifying myself. But O! what will the end of this be? I have caufe to tremble at that last and dreadfulleft curfe in the book of God, Rev. xxii. 11. "Let him that is filthy be filthy ftill." Is it not as much as if God fhould fay, Let them alone, I will spend no more rods upon them, no more means fhall be used about them; but I will reckon with them for all together in another world? O my foul! what a difmal reckoning will that be! Ponder with thyfelf in the mean while, thofe terrible and awakening texts, that, if poffible, this fatal iffue may be prevented. See Ifa. i. 5. Hof. iv. 14. Jer. vi. 29, 30. Heb. vi. 8.

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The POE M.

Y heart's no fountain, but a flanding lake
Of putrid waters; if therein I rake,
By furious fearch, O! what a noisome smell,
Like exhalations rifing out of hell;

The flinking waters pump'd up from the hold,
Are as perfumes to feamen: but my foul
Upon the fame account that they are glad,
(Its long continuance there) is therefore fad.
The fcripture faith, "No foul God's face fhall fee,"
Till from fuch filthy lufts it cleansed be.
Yet though unclean, it may that way be rid,
As Herculus the Augean ftable did.

Lord turn into my foul that cleansing blood,
Which from my Saviour's fide flow'd as a flood.
Flow, facred fountain, brim my banks; and flow
Till you have made my foul as white as fnow.

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HOW watchful and quick fighted are feamen, to prevent dangers! if the wind die away, and then fresh up foutherly; or if they fee the sky hazy, they provide for a storm: if by the prospective glafs they know a Pyrate at the greatest dif tance, they clear the gun-room, prepare for fight, and bear up, if able to deal with him; if not, they keep close by the wind, make all the fail they can, and bear away. If they suppose themselves, by their reckoning, near land, how often do they found And if upon a coaft with which they are unacquainted, how careful are they to get a pilot that knows, and is acquainted with it?


Thus watchful and fufpicious ought we to be in fpiritual concernments. We should study, and be acquainted with Satan's wiles, and policy. The apostle takes it for granted, that Christians are not ignorant of his devices. 2 Cor. ii. 11. "The


ferpent's eye (as one faith) would do well in the dove's head." The devil is a cunning pyrate, he puts out falfe colours, and or. dinarily comes up to the Chriftian in the disguise of a friend.

O the manifold depths and ftratagems of Satan, to destroy fouls! though he have no wisdom to do himself good, yet he

hath policy enough to do us mifchief. He lies in ambush bebind our lawful comforts and employments; yet, for the generality of men, how fupine and careless are they, fufpecting no danger? Their fouls, like Laith, dwell carelessly, their fenfes unguarded: O what an eafy prize, and conqueft, doth the devil make of them!

Indeed, if it were with us as with Adam in innocency, or as it was with Christ in the days of his flesh (who by reafon of that overflowing fullnels of grace that dwelt in him, the purity of his person, and the hypoftatical union, was fecured from the danger of all temptations) the cafe then were otherwise; but we have a traitor within, Jam. i. 14, 15. as well as a tempter without. Pet. v. 8. "Our adverfary the devil goes about as a

roaring lion, fecking whom he may devour." And, like the beafts of the forefts, poor fouls lie down before him, and become his prey. All the fagacity, wit, policy, and forefight of fome men, is fummoned in to ferve their bodies, and fecure their fleshly enjoyments.


Lord! how doth the care, wisdom, and vigilance of men in temporal and external things, condemn my carelessness in the deep, and dear concernments of my precious foul! what care and labour is there to fecure a perifhing life, liberty, or treasure! when was I thus folicitous for my foul, though its value be incftimable, and its danger far greater? Self-prefervation is one of the deepest principles in nature. There is not the pooreft worm, or fly, but will fhun danger, if it can: yet I am so far from shunning thofe dangers to which my foul lies continually expofed, that I often run it upon temptations, and voluntarily expose it to its enemies. I fee, Lord, how watchful, jealous, and laborious thy people are; what prayers, tears, and groans, fearching of heart, mortification of lufts, guarding of fenses; and all accounted too little by them. Have not I a foul to fave or lofe eternally, as well as they? Yet I cannot deny one fleshly. luft, nor withstand one temptaion. O how I am convinced and condemned, not only by other's care and vigilance, but my own too, in leffer and lower matters ?


The POE M.

Am the hip, whofe bills of lading come
To more than man's or angel's art can fum,
Rich fraught with mercies, on the ocean, now
I float, the dang'rous ocean I do plow.
Storms rife, rocks threaten, and in ev'ry creek
Pyrates and pickeroons their prizes feek.

My foul fhould watch, look out, and use its glafs,
Prevent furprisals timely; but, alas!
Temptations give it chace, it's grappled fure,
And boarded, whilft it thinks itself secure.
1t fleeps, like Jonah, in the dreadfull'st storm,
Altho' it's cafe be dang'rous, and forlorn.
Lord, rouze my drowsy foul, left it fhould knock,
And split itfelf upon fome dang rous rock.
If it of faith and confcience fhipwreck make,
I am undone for ever; foul, awake!

Till thou arrive in heav'n, watch, and fear;
Thou may'ft not fay, till then, the coast is clear.


How fmall a matter turns a ship about?
Yet we, against our conscience, ftand it out.


Tis juft matter of admiration, to fee so great a body as a

wind, by which it is carried, as the clouds, with marvellous force and fpeed, yet to be commanded with eafe, by so small a thing as the helm is. The fcripture takes notice of it as a matter worthy of our confideration. Jam. iii. 4. "Behold alfo

the fhips, which though they be great, and driven of fierce "winds; yet they are turned about with a small helm, whi "therfoever the governor lifteth." Yea, * Ariftotle himself, that eagle-eyed philofopher, could not give a reafon of it, but looked upon it as a very marvellous and wonderful thing.


To the fame ufe and office has God defigned confcience in man, which being rectified and regulated by the word and fpirit of God, is to fteer and order his whole converfation. Con. fcience is as the oracle of God, the judge and determiner of our actions, whether they be good or evil? And it lays the strongeft obligations upon the creature to obey its dictates, that is imaginable for it binds under the reafon and confideration of the moft abfolute and fovereign will of the great God. So that as often as confcience from the word convinceth us of any Gio or duty, it lays fuch a bond upon us to obey it, as no power under heaven can relax or difperfe with. Angels cannot do it, nuch less man; for that would be to exalt themlelves above

* Ariftot. Secund. Mazavizov, c. 5.

God. Now therefore it is an high and dreadful way of finning, to oppose and rebel against conscience, when it convinces of fin and duty. Confcience fometimes reafons it out with men, and fhews them the neceffity of changing their way and courfe; arguing it from the clearest and most allowed maxims of right reason, as well as from the indifputable sovereignty of God.

As for inftance: it convinceth their very reafon that things of eternal duration are infinitely to be preferred to all momentary and perishing things, Rom. viii. 18. Heb. xi. 26. and it is our duty to chufe them, and make all fecular and temporary concernments to ftand afide, and give place to them. Yet though men be convinced of this, their stubborn will stands out, and will not yield up itfelf to the conviction.

Further, It argues from this acknowledged truth, that all the delight and pleasures in this world are but a miferable portion, and that it is the highest folly to adventure an immortal foul for them, Lake ix. 15. Alas! what remembrance is there of them in hell? They are as the waters that pass away. What have they left, of all their mirth and jollity, but a tormenting ting? It convinceth them clearly, alfo, that in matters of deep concerument it is an high point of wisdom, to apprehend and improve the right feafons and opportunities of them, Prov. x. 5. "He that gathers in fummer is a wife fon." Ecclef. ii. 5. "A wife man's heart discerns both time and judgment. "There is a feason to every purpose," Ecclef. iii. 1. viz. a nick of time, an happy juncture, when, if a man ftrikes in, he doth his work effectually, and with much facility fuch seasons confcience convinceth the foul of, and often whispers thus in its ear: Now, foul, ftrike in, clofe with this motion of the Spirit, and be happy for ever; thou mayest never have fuch a gale for beaven any more. Now, though these be allowed maxims of reason, and confcience enforce them ftrongly on the foul, yet candot it prevail; the proud, ftubborn will rebels, and will not be guided by it. See Eph. ii. 3. Job xxxiv. 37. Ilä. xlvi. 12. Ezek. ii. 4. Jer. xliv. 16.


Ah! Lord, fuch an heart have I had before thee; thus obstinate, thus rebellious, fo uncontroulable by confcience. Many a time hath conscience thus whispered in mine ear, many a time hath it flood in my way, as the angel did in Balaam's, or the cherubims that kept the way of the tree of life with flaming fwords turning every way. Thus hath it ftood to oppofe me in the way of my lufts. How often hath it calmly debated the VOL. VI.

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