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I am to enrich my soul with solid and everlasting treasure? O that ever a sensual lust should be more operative in them than the love of God in me! O my soul, thou dost not lay out thy strength and earnestness for heaven with any proportion to what they do for the world. I have indeed higher motives, and a surer reward than they; but as I have an advantage above them herein, so they have an advantage above me in the strength and entireness of the principle by which they arc acted. "What they do for the world, they do it with all their might; they have no contrary principle to oppose them ; their thoughts, strength, and affections are entirely carried in one channel; but I find "a law in my members warring against the law of «« my mind;" I must strive, through a thousand difficulties and contradictions to the discharge of a duty. O my God! shall not my heart be more enlarged in zeal, love, and delight in thee, than theirs are after their lusts? O let me once find it so.
Again, is the creature so vain and unstable? Then why are my affections so hot and eager after it? And why am I so apt to doat upon its beauty, especially when God is staining all its pride and glory! Jer. xlv. 5, 6. Surely it is unbecoming the spirit of a Christitian at any time, but at such a time we may say of it, as Hufhai of Ahithophel's counsel, " It is not good at this time."
O that my spirits were raised above them, and my conversation more in heaven! O that like that angel, Rev. x. 1, 3. which came down from heaven, and set one foot upon the sea, and another upon the earth, having a crown upon his head, so I might set one foot upon all the cares, fears, and terrors of the world, and another upon all the tempting splendor and glory of the world, treading both underfoot in the dust, and crowning myself with nothing but spiritual excelr Iencies and glory!
JUDGE in thyself, O Christian! is it meet
Or like the silly bird that to her nest
Like hungry lions, waves forsinners gape;
THE waves of the sea are sometimes raised by God's commission, to be executioners of his threatenings upon sinners. When Jonah fled from the presence of the Lord to Tarshish, the text faith, "The Lord sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty "tempest, so that the ship was like to be broken," Jonah i. 4. These were God's bailiffs to arrest the runaway prophet. And Psal. cxlviii. 8. The stormy winds are said to fulfil his words not only his word of command, in rising when God bids them, but his word of threatening also. And hence it is called a destroying wind, Jer. li. 1. and ijlormy wind in God's fury, Ezek. xiii. 13.
If these be the executioners of God's threatenings, how fad then is their condition that put forth to sea under the guilt of all their sins? O, if God should commissionate the winds to go after and arrest thee for all thou owest him, where art thou then? How dare you put forth under the power of a divine threat, before all be cleared betwixt God and thee ? Sins in scripture are called debts, Matth. vi. 12. They are debts to God; not that we owe them to him, or ought to sin, but metonymically, because they render the sinner obnoxious to God's judgments, even as pecuniary debts oblige him that hath not wherewith to pay, to suffer punishment. All sinners must undergo the curse, either in their own person, according to the express letter of the law, Gen. ii. 17. Gal. iii. 10. or their safety, according to the tacit intent of the law, manifested to be the mind of the lawgiver, Gen. iii. 13, 14.
Now he that by faith hath interest in this surety, hath his discharge, his quietus est, sealed in the blood of Christ; all process at law, or from the law, is stopt, Rom. viii. 1. But if thou be an impenitent, persisting sinner, thy debt remains upon thine own score, « And be sure thy sin will find thee out, wherever thou gocst," Numb, xxxii. 23. i. e. God's revenging hand for sin will be upon thee: Thou mayest lose the fight and memory of thy fins, but they lose not the sight of thee; they follow after, as the hound doth the fleeting game upon the scent, till they have fetched thee up: And then consider, «« How fearful a thing it is to fall into the hands of the "living God," Heb. x. 31. How soon may a storm arrest, and bring thee before the bar of God?
O my soul, what a cafe art thou in, if this be so? Are not all thy sins, yet upon thine own score? Hast not thou made light of Christ, and that precious blood of his, and hitherto persisted in thy rebellion against him? A nd what can the issue of this be at last, but ruin? There is abundant mercy indeed for returning sinners; but the gospel speaks of none for persisting and impenitent sinners. And though many who are going on in their sins are overtaken by grace, yet there is no grace promised to such as go on in sin. O! if God should arrest me by the next storm, and call me to an account for all that I owe him, I must then lie in the prison of hell to all eternity; for lean never pay the debt; nay, all the angels in heaven cannot satisfy for it. Being christless, I am under all the curses in the book of God; a child of Hagar. Lord pity and spare me a little longer! O discover thy Christ unto me, and give me faith in his blood, and then thou art fully satisfied at once, and I discharged for ever. o require not the debt at my hand, for then thou wilt never be satisfied, nor I acquitted. What profit, Lord, is there in my blood! O my foul, make haste to this Christ, thy refuge city; thou knowest not how soon the avenger of blood may overtake thee.
THY sins are debts, God puts them to account;
The sum is great, but if a Christ thou get,
Fear not, a prince can pay a beggar's debt.
Now if the storm should rise, thou needst not fear;
Thou art, but the delinquent is not there.
A pard'ned soul to sea may boldly go:
He fears not bailiffs, that doth nothing owe.
To save thejhip, rich lading's cast away
IN storms and distresses at sea, the richest commodities are cast overboard; they stand not upon it, when life and all is in jeopardy and hazard, Jonah i. 5. The mariners cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it. And, Acts xxvii. 18, 19. they cast out the very tacklings of the ship. How highly soever men prize such commodities, yet reason tells them, it were better these should perish, than life. Satan himself could say, Job i. "Skin for stein, and all that a man hath will he give for his life."
And surely, it is every way as highly reasonable, that men should mortify, cast out, and cut off their dearest lusts, rather than their immortal fouls should fink and perish in the storm of God's wrath. Life indeed is a precious treasure, and highly valued by men: You know what Solomon faith, Eccles. ix. 4. That "a living dog is better than "a dead lion." And we find men willing to part with their estates, limbs, or any outward comfort for the preservation of it. The woman in the gospel spent allshehadonthephysicians for herhealth, a degree below life. Some men indeed do much overvalue their lives, and part with Christ and peace of conscience for it; but he that thus saves it, shall lose. Now if lite be so much worth, what then is the foul worth? Alas! life is but a " vapour, which appeareth for a "little while, and then vanisheth away," Jam. iv. 14.
Life indeed is more worth than all the world, but my soul is more worth than ten thousand lives. Nature teacheth you to value the first so high, and grace should teach you to value the second much higher, Matth. xix. 20. Now here is the cafe: Either you must part with your sins, or with your souls; if these be not cast out, both must link together. "If ye live after the flesh, ye must die," Rom. viii. 13. God faith to you in this case, as to Ahab, when he spared Benbadad, 1 Kings xx. 42. "Because thou hast let go a man whom God "hath appointed to destruction, therefore thy life shall go for his "life." Guilt will raise a storm of wrath, as Jonah did, if not cast out.
And must fin or the foul perish? Mail my life, yea, nvy eternal life go for it if I spare it? O then let me not be cruel to mine own soul in sparing my fin; O my soul, this foolish pity and cruel indulgence will be thy ruin: If I spare it, God hath said, " He will not •« spare me," Deut. xxvi. 20. It is true the pains of mortification are sharp, but yet is easier than the pains of hell. To cut off a right hand, or pluck out a right eye is hard; but to have my foul cut off eternally from God is harder. Is it as easy (O my soul!) to burn for them in hell, as to mortify them on earth? Surely, it is "profita*• ble for me, that one member perish, rather than that all be cast in— ** to hell," Matth. v. 24. I see the merchant willing to part with rich wares if embarked with them in a storm: And those that have gangrened legs or arms, willingly stretch them out to be cut off to preserve life: And shall I be willing to endure no difficulties for my foul? Christ reckoned fouls worth his blood: And is it not worth my selfdenial ? Xdrd, let me not warm a snake in my bosom, that will at last sting me to the heart.
God's judgments, stormy winds, and dang'rous gusts;
Conscience, the master', but the stubborn will
Goes supra cargo, and doth keep the bill:
Affections are the men. The winds do rife,
The storm increases: Conscience gives advice
To throw those lusts o'erboard, and so to ease .
The vessel, which else cannot keep the seas.
The will opposes, and th' affections fay,
The masters counsel they will not obey.
The case is dang'rous, that no man can doubt,
Who fees the storm within, and that without.
Lusts and affections cannot part; no, rather,
They are resolv'd to swim or sink together.
Conscience still strives, but they cannot abide
That it or reason should the case decide.
Lust knows that reason, in like cases, still
Determines well: Then chuse ye whom ye will.
Shall make the devil judge? This case has been
Before him, and he judg'd, that skin for skin,
And all men have, they'll part with for their life.
Then how unreasonable is this strife?
They that their sins do with their persons ship.
Do for their souls prepare a dreadful whip.