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I am to enrich my soul with solid and everlasting treasure ? O that ever a sensual luft should be more operative in them than the love of God in me! O my soul, thou doft not lay out thy ftrength and earneftness 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 are acted. What they do for the world, they do it with all their night; 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 lufts? Olet me once find it lo.
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, especialy 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 Hushai of Abithophel's counsel, “ It is not good at this time."
O that niy spirit were raised above them, and my conversation more in heaven! O that like that angel, Rev. x. I, 2. 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 excellencies and glory!
| To set thy heart on what beasts fet their feet?
Or like the filly bird that to her nest
1 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 run-away prophet. And Pfal. cxlvii. 8. The stormy winds are said to fulfil his word; 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. I. and a stormy wind in God's fury, Ezek. xiii. 13.
APPLICATION. If these be the executioners of God's threatenings, how sad then is their condition that put forth to sea under the guilt of all their fins ? 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 fin, but metonymically, because they render the finner obnoxious to God's judgments, even as pecuniary debts oblige hinu that bath not wherewith to pay, to suffer punishment. All finners 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 furety, 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 furety, hath his difcharge, bis quietus eft, 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 finner, thy debt remains upon thine own score, « And be sure thy sin will find thee out, wherever thou goest," Numb. xxxii. 23. i. e. God's revenging hand for fin will be upon thee: Thou mayest lose the light and memory of thy sins, but they lose not the sight of thee; they follow after, as the hound doth the fleeting game upon the sçent, 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. 8. 31. How foon nay a storm arrest, and bring thee before the bar of God ?
i REFLECTION. . O my soul, what a case art thou in, if this be so ? Are not all thy fins yet upon thine own score? Hast not thou made light of Christ, and that precious blood of his, and hitherto perfifted in thy rebellion against him? And what can the issue of this be at last, but ruin? There is abundant mercy indeed for returning finners; but the gospel speaks of none for persisting and impenitent sinners. And though many who are going on in their fins are overtaken by grace, yet there is no grace promised to such as go on in fin. O! if God Mould 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 bell to all eternity; for I can never pay the debt ; nay, all the angels in heaven cannot satisfy for it. Being chriftless, 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 soul, make haste to this Christ, thy refuge city ; thou knoweft not how soon the avenger of blood may overtake thee.
I Canst tell, poor wretch, to what thy debts amount?
The sum is great, but if a Chtist thou get, .
OBSERVATION. TN storms and distreffes at fea, the richest commodities are cast I 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 foever men prize such commodities, yet reason tells them, it were better these should perish, than life. Satan himself could say, Job i. “ Skin for skin, and all that a man hath will he give for his life.”
APPLICATION. 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 souls 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, Ecclef. ix. 4. That “ a living dog is better than u a dead lion.” And we find men willing to part with their eftates, limbs, or any outward comfort for the preservation of it. The woman in the gospel spent all the bad on the physicians for her health, 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 faves it, shall lose. Now if lite be so much worth, what then is the soul worth ? Alas! life is but a “ vapour, which appeareth for a “ üttle 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 Tould teach you to value the second much higher, Matth. xix. 20. Now here is the case: Either you must part with your fins, or with your souls ; if there be not cast out, both must fink 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 Benhadad, 1 Kings xx. 42. “ Because thou haił 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 Jonala did, if not cast out.
REFLECTION. And must fin or the soul perilh ? Must my life, yea, my eternal life go for it if I spare it ? O then let me not be cruel to mine own foul in sparing my fin; O my soul, this foolisa pity and cruel indul. gence will be thy ruin : If I spare it, God hath said, “ He will not “ fpare me,” Deut. xxvi. 20. It is true the pains of mortification are iharp, 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 soul 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 perilh, 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 preferve life: And ihall I be willing to endure no difficulties for my soul? Chrift reckoned fouls worth his blood: ind is it not worth my selfdenial? Lord, let me not warm a snake in my bosom, that will at last sting me to the heart.
1 God's judgments, stormy winds, and dang'rous gufts; Conscience the master; but the stubborn will
Goes fupra carg, and doth keep the bill: · Affections are the men. The winds do rile,
The storm increases : Conscience gives advice
The veffel, which else cannot keep the feas.