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THE MORE WE SEE OF SIN, THE MORE WE SHOULD HATE SIN.
WHEN Israel was in their own land, they were mad on idolatry; but, when forced to sacrifice at Babylon to idols, which they knew not, they got such a surfeit of that sin, that they loathed it ever after. How, then, should I henceforth hate sin, when I see how naked it makes the soul, how it debases even unto hell, how the longer the captive lies in chains, the fetters grow stronger, and the captive weaker; how it kindles hell, scatters brimstone over the tabernacle, makes the language of the pit spue from the tongue, and makes restless in the pursuit of sin; in a word, contemns divine things, proclaims rebellion against Heaven, and wages war against God!
KNOWING A SIN TO BE COMMITTED.
Spithead, May 15. 1758.
In vain, O foolish man! in vain thou hidest thyself, for "there is no darkness nor shadow of death where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves." Hast thou chosen the gloom of night? Well, but night is to God as day, and darkness as D
the light. Thou didst premeditate the perpetration of thy wickedness, and God is preparing the punishment of thy crimes.
Lord! thy judgements are a great deep, and thy justice shall shine in the punishment of sinners, who shall confess the equity of thy burning indignation. Thus, they who unweariedly blaspheme in pastime and in sport, shall eternally blaspheme in agony and pain. Thus, the unclean wretch, who burns in impure desires, and satisfies his lusts in an unlawful way, shall be delivered to the flames, where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. He who will not hearken to God's reproof, in the time of his long suffering, shall hear when vengeance shall be his garment, and his fury shall uphold him. Thus, the companions of sin shall be the companions of suffering, being bound in bundles to be burnt together. Thus, the adul terers, who know no shame, shall be ashamed, and covered with confusion in that day. And such as now expose their wickedness to some, with impunity, shall be exposed before the great congregation, and shall not be able to hold up their face before the spotless throne.
Then thou, O sinner! shalt be there, and I shall be there. Here I know thy sin, and, if mercy prevent not now, there I shall see thy punishment. How shalt thou wish this day, this night, out of the number of the days of thy years, and not added to thy months! How wilt thou wish darkness to cover it, and a cloud of oblivion to dwell upon it! How wilt thou curse it, when ready to raise up thine everlasting mourning! When thou wast a child, thou couldst not commit this wickedness, and when thou art a man, thou shouldst not; therefore, how shalt thou curse thy manhood,
and bewail thy riper years; yea, wish that thou hadst been an untimely birth, an infant that never saw the sun! Thy sin is marked in thy mournful meditation, in thy conscience which is at work se cretly, and in the omniscience of thy tremendous Judge. There will be no want of proof against thee in the day of thy cause; the companion of thy wickedness shall be present, I shall be present, conscience shall be present, when thou appearest before thy Judge, who, being every where present, is the greatest witness of all. There will be no casting of witnesses there; for no false witness can appear at that tribunal, yea, thou thyself shalt never presume to plead not guilty. As sure as thou hast committed this sin, shall these events take place! And yet, O man! thou art merry in the midst of all thy misery, and observest not the impending thunders that are about to break on thy devoted head. Sin is that poison that makes a man go laughing to death, and dancing to destruction. Then, let my soul weep in secret places for those that cannot pity themselves, nor shew compassion on their own souls, but live in a dream, die in darkness, and plunge into despair.
A MAN OF WAR.
May 16. 1758.
THERE is a great difference between a tradingship and a man of war. The one goes out for private gain, the other for the public good. That
neither intends to attack, nor is prepared to resist, if attacked in her voyage; but this spreads the sails, and sweeps the sea, to find and fight the foe, and therefore carries along with her weapons of every kind, and instruments of death.
Even so, the Christian has another course of life to lead than the worldling, even while sojourning. in the world. And, as the ship of war must not traffic from port to port, having more noble things in view, life and liberty to defend, and enemies to subdue; so, "no man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who has chosen him to be a soldier."
We are never out of danger while at sea; for, though it be a time of peace, we may be overtaken with a tempest, wrecked on a rock, or sit down on a sand-bank: But, in these disquieted times, we may be shattered by an engagement, sunk by the foe, or blown up by accident; or, should we escape all these, we may have a mutiny within. Just so, whatever be the situation of the sons of men, still the children of grace have a war to maintain; not only a sea full of storms to struggle through, but a field of foes to fight through. It is through fire and water, through severe trials, and heavy afflictions, that all spiritual champions have to force their way. Satan knows well how to act; when faith would look to the bright side of every event, Satan turns up the black side, to drive the soul to despair; and, on the other hand, when grace looks to the blackness of sin, he turns up the beautiful side of pleasure. In adversity, I am ready to dash against the rocks of discontent; and, in prosperity, to fall among the quicksands of worldly cares and temporal concerns. We have foes on every hand to fight, temptations from every quarter to
resist, all the powers of darkness, all the principa lities of the pit, to combat with; nor is peace to be expected while an enemy is on the field; neither must we lay aside our armour, the weapons of our warfare, till we lay down the body of death.
Again, though for a time we have no foe to affright us, no tempest to trouble us, no rock to endanger us, yet a mutiny may rise within, than which nothing can be more terrible; and it is always the dregs of the crew that are chiefly concerned in it, while the officers are sure either to be cut off, or confined. Just so, there may be a tumult raised in the soul, a war in the very mind, when rascally corruptions, headed by unbelief, claim the command; when graces, faith, love, patience, resignation, spirituality, &c. are wounded, and put under confinement: Thus, one complained of old, "I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin, which is in my members." Now, as no scene can be more melancholy than a mutiny till it be suppressed, and order restored; so nothing can be more melancholy than a soul suffering all the calamities of a war within, coruption rampant, and grace bleeding.
But, how happy is the ship, when peace is restored, and the mutineers secured in irons, and what a strict eye is kept on them during the voyage! So it is with the soul; what joy, what exultation and triumph, prevail, when sin is subdued, and the love of God, and peace of conscience, are shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost!
This is known, that when the mutineers get the ascendant, and compel the rest of the ship's company to join them, they turn pirates, are resolute in battle, bloody in their conquests, desperate in