Слике страница
PDF
ePub

happy passage. However it was, his terrified disciples awoke him, and his word makes the fierce winds fall asleep, and his presence in a little makes fiercer fiends cry out, when turned out of their long possession. O how pleasant to think, that he who came from heaven to earth to save sinners, goes over a lake to save a soul or two; and though he comes in love unsent for, yet he goes not away till desired to depart!

Again, our great Lord, after feeding the multitude with spiritual and earthly bread, constrains his diciples, who, it seems, were loth to move a foot without his presence, to go into a ship, while he sent the multitude away; after which he retires unto a mountain to pray; but, by this time, they are tossed with a double tempest, one beating their ship without, and another disquieting their soul within. It appears they had entered the ship be tween six and nine in the afternoon, and were tossed on the waters till between three and six in the morning, a long time indeed to the trembling disciples. The scene is altered now, for before they had no more to do but awake their Lord, to make the tempest fall asleep; but, though they saw not their dear Master, yet he saw their distress; and, after letting it heighten to an extremity, to sweeten their deliverance, he comes a-foot upon the flood, and journeys straight to their vessel. The disciples (no doubt in the morning-watch looking out for land) saw him, and, supposing it had been a spirit commissioned to overset them altogether, it added So much anguish to their anxiety, and terror to their trouble, that they cried out. But how soon does his kind reply check their fears, It is I, be not afraid? Peter, after asking liberty, comes down to welcome him on the watery element; but winds

above, and waves beneath, make Peter's faith stag ger so much, that our kind Lord must stretch forth his hand and save him. No sooner did he enter the ship, than nature is composed; nor needs he speak a word, his very presence calms the tempest, and the winds immediately forbear to blow upon the barge, where their Creator is a passenger. How happy, then, the soul where he abides for ever! This sudden change in the storm effected a no less sudden, but much more momentous change in the minds of the astonished spectators, who are all at once brought over to a belief of his divinity: "Of a truth thou art the Son of God."

How often might the observing mariner say of him who did ride through the sea with his horses, through the heaps of great waters, that he hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet! How often sends he out the storm that puts us to our wit's end, and. again calms the dreadful hurricane, to our great comfort! "O that men would praise the Lord. for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men !"

MEDITATION XXXII.

A MEMORANDUM FOR HIM THAT GOES ABROAD..

June 28. 1758.

SOMETIMES the call of Providence, sometimes a covetous heart to amass riches, carry men abroad.. If a man cannot exercise his religion with liberty in his native country, which he can find in another

land, then he may be said, instead of going abroad, only to go home. But, on the contrary, he that wanders from the place where God delights to dwell, and relinquishes Zion, which God has called his rest, may indeed be said to go abroad; and unless his reasons are valid, when impartially weighed, he ought not to go. On no account shouldst thou go with a design to remain, unless the gospel gladden the distant region; but when thou art away, remember a few things, that thou mayest not forget thyself.

1. Be always under the impression of God's omnipresence and omniscience. Thou canst never wander out of the hollow of his hand, or swim beyond his ken.

2. Mind the terrible tribunal, where the complete register of all thine actions shall be brought forth; such and such a sin abroad, with such and such aggravations.

3. Know, it is better to stand alone, than fall with many. It will not excuse thy wickedness, that thou wast among the wicked, for sinners shall be bound in bundles, that they may burn the fiercer. 4. Think much on death, that thou mayest not be too much charmed with the vanities of life.

5. Oppose sin in others with courage, for the righteous should be bold as a lion; though the wicked flees when none pursues.

6. Remember the deceitfulness and uncertainty of riches; so shalt thou neither be puffed up with the possession, nor pained at the loss of them.

7. Be not jeered out of thy religion, or flouted out of thy devotion; better be the object of man's ridicule, than the subject of God's wrath.

8. Set not thy heart on any intended acquisition

abroad, and so thou shalt not return home disappointed.

9. Remark providences, and thou shalt never want them to remark.

10. Let Zion and the people of God have a place in thy prayers, and thou shalt again have a place in Zion among the people of God.

11. Since thou canst not have God in his public ordinances, seek the God of ordinances in private daily; and, when deprived of the preached word, esteem and peruse the written word the

more.

12. Be not hasty in making acquaintance, nor rash in chusing thy friends.

13 Meditate often; a secret good rises from this secret exercise.

14 Examine thy condition often; it is the sign of a bankrupt never to open his books, nor look into his accounts.

15. Let prayer be thy daily pleasure and employ. To be much in the presence of an earthly king makes a courtier; but the presence of the King of kings makes a Christian, an angel.

16. Think much on the unseen world, and let the certainty of that which is to come dispel the delusion of the present, which passeth away.

17. As thou mayest never again see thy native country, and thy father's house, let heaven be thy native country, and then death shall bring thee to thy better home.

18. Eye God's glory in all, and prefer the approbation of God and thine own conscience, to the applause of men.

19. Double thy diligence. Satan will double his temptations, sins and snares will multiply around

thee; therefore multiply thy cries to God, keep in thy strong-hold, and act faith on him at all times.

20. Remember that the Sabbath is alike holy in all latitudes, and should be sanctified with the same sincerity in Britain and Japan: for, though Christendom for a while may be absented, Christianity is never to be abandoned.

21. Beware that thou live not to thyself, the world, or for time; but live above the world, for eternity, and to God.

MEDITATION XXXIII.

HOW THE SABBATH, OR LORD'S DAY, IS To be

SANCTIFIED.

Spithead, July 15. 1758.

WHILE my situation is in a place where the Sabbath seems to be forgot, what can be more proper than to ask myself, How the Sabbath is to be sanctified? Then, the Sabbath is to be sanctified by all men, in all places, throughout the whole world, and during the whole day ;-is to be sanctified by breaking off from sins, abstaining from pleasures at other timesallowed, and laying aside callings on other days lawful;-is to be kept holy, outwardly by the man, and his actions; inwardly, by the mind, and its thoughts: But we may be employed in works of necessity and mercy, by defending ourselves and others, our cattle and substance, from fire and water, from wild beasts and mad dogs; by feeding the poor, comforting the afflicted, and shewing mercy to all in distress. But, on the other hand, this day is profaned by men of every rank; in the palace, by unnecessary levees, by in

« ПретходнаНастави »