« ПретходнаНастави »
as they would wish to be done to themselves if in these circumstances.
2. To mind that an example and admonition to others is costly when at the life of an individual. 3. To pass no other sentence on the meanest than they would do on the highest for the same fault.
4. To consult how they can answer to their conscience and to God for their decisions, deaf to every thing but justice and humanity.
5. To incline rather to the side of mercy than severity; and thus to imitate God in his most amiable perfection.
6. To reflect, if they are as strict in punishing sins against God, as desertion against their Sovereign, and offences against themselves; and to consider whose honour should be most attend. ed to. And,
7. To fix it in their mind, that in a little they must stand before the tremendous bar of God, where all distinctions cease. No more the sovereign and the subject, the admiral and the seaman, the captain and the soldier, the judge and the pannel.
But from the proceedings of these courts I may learn instruction; for if earthly kings so punish deserters, will not the King of glory deal awfully with the backsliders in heart? Those he has vouchsafed to know, and taken into his honourable service, shall suffer severely if they fall away from him. Sinners in the Christian world shall have the hottest hell; and of all sinners, those who once tasted of the powers of the world to come, shall suffer the most excruciating torments..
Again, this may remind me of that day, when not only actions shall be tried, but even my inmost thoughts examined, and not one concealed.
The sentence of this court only respects the body, and must be executed in time, though in the execution thereof it should finish time to the crimi nal; but the sentence of that tribunal reaches my soul in all her powers, and stands in force, and is put in execution, through the endless ages of eternity. O that it may be a sentence of absolution and peace!
ON SOME WHO WERE BURNT BY A QUANTITY OF
Under sail, August 29. 1759.
MATERIAL fire sometimes in its effects is terrible. What can be quicker and more transient than the explosion of gun-powder! yet what direful effects has it had on these poor men whom it only seemed to touch as it flew along! So dismal, that even those who have lost their limbs are objects of delight in comparison of them whose visage is blacker than a coal; whose beauty is marred, and whose countenance cannot be known; whose skin is parched, and falleth off from their flesh; and, to sum up the whole, whose pain, though external, has kindled such a fever within, that the frame of nature suffers; they rave and pine away, till the scene is finished in death.
Now, can I look on these miserable patients
* Six men were miserably burnt at one gun during the engagement, August 17. some of whom died.
without letting my reflections shoot away, and fix on the world of spirits, on such of them as are suffering the vengeance of eternal fire? Ah! what a shocking sight is a tormented soul, and what miserable spectacles will the damned be, when soul and body are united, to suffer in the fire that shall not be quenched, and by the worm that never dies! The most lovely person will be a loathing, and the most beautiful an abhorring, to all flesh. When a passing flame, that goes but skin-deep, produces such dismal effects, what soul can apprehend the torments of those that are sentenced to the flames of hell? Who can dwell with devouring fire? (think on this, my soul, and study to escape), how with everlasting burnings? If the productions of nature and human art can be so destructive, how much more fierce must that fire be that is not blown, that flame that is not kindled, by created invention?
There are some antidotes against the scorchings of material fire, but none against the burnings of devouring wrath. Here the poor patients are perpetually sipping some cooling liquid to allay their thirst within, but there not one drop of water can be had to cool their scorched tongue, who swim in seas of fire mingled with brimstone, which go into their very souls, tormenting every part, agonizing every power. Here, in these poor men one part suffers, and the rest sympathise; but there every part, every power suffers, and none can sympa thise. Surely, were the covering taken off hell, and the world allowed to look into the burning lake, they would drop down dead in a moment; the saints in a transport of joy, that they are to escape the flames; and sinners in the anguish of despair, that they are to plunge into them at their
departing moments. Now, seeing these things are not dreams, why will not we awaken to our danger and our duty, and be wise before it be too late?
ON A SEA-ENGAGEMENT, FOUght aug. 17 *.
August 22. 1759.
SIN is the source of all human miseries, mak ing men, who should like brethren live together, devour one another like the wild beasts of the field. The ocean, which is the boundary of kingdoms, by their invention, is made the seat of war: hence the briny wave is tinged with human blood; and dangers, unknown to the land, surround us, for we may be blown up in a moment, or in the twinkling of an eye go down to the chambers of the deep. Besides, what can be a more terrible scene, than so many great guns thundering mutual destruction, darkening all with smoke, and spue ing out fire and death? The loss of officers, the groans of the wounded, cause no intermission, till the vanquished yield, and strike to the conquerors. Now, if the wrath of men, who themselves are
*The engagement referred to is that of Admiral Boscawen with the Toulon fleet, commanded by M. de la Clue. It was fought a little without the Straits, and lasted five hours. Three of the enemy's ships were taken, and two burnt. The Portland, on board of which the author was, engaged the French Admiral for nearly an hour before she received assistance. Her loss was very considerable; yet during the first hour's fighting not one was even wounded.
crushed before the moth, be so fierce, and if it be terrible to meet an enemy, though formed of the clay, how much more so to meet the God of forces, the Lord of Sabaoth, in his burning wrath! How awful, ineffable, and tremendous beyond conception, must be the thunders of his incensed righthand! When the hour of patience is past, the thunderings shall begin, but who shall be able to stand before them through eternity; compared with whose bolts, the broadsides of a first-rate are but the falling drops of morning dew; for who knows the power of his wrath, the terror of his vengeance?
But, again, the sons of men reprove the expectants of a future world. When they see they neither can escape nor overcome, but must perish unless they strike their colours, anon they yield them. selves prisoners, and live: but sinners are obstinate to the very last, though they can never fly out of his hand; yea, the rebellion of their heart remains, though the Lord God of recompences punishes them through eternity.
Again, what a lively representation of our uncertain departure is here! One who is now well is in a moment no more, and is taken away from the midst of his companions into the world of spirits, unconscious of the stroke that finishes him, till felt! When the engagement began, many might hope to share the honour of the victory, and to divide the spoil, who, by a sudden death, are disappointed of all; so, many in the prime of life, when projecting great schemes, are cut off by a fever, or a fall, and must leave his affairs in extreme confusion. How great is the folly of man! Though nothing concerns him so much as death,