Слике страница

troducing strangers, noblemen, and ambassadors into the royal presence, and by holding privy-councils without urgent necessity. Abroad the world, this blessed day is profaned by gaming, riding for recreation, taking unnecessary journies, visits, banquetings, and marriages; taking too much time up in dressing our bodies, allowing ourselves to sleep longer in the morning, and go sooner to bed, that day, than on any other; cloying our spirits, that should be active in spiritual exercises, by living sumptuously, and above our ordinary method, on that day; by frequenting vain company, or using carnal discourse, for, as the prophet observes, where he forbids to "speak words," that because we on the Sabbath can speak little to advantage, it would be much to our advantage to speak little; -by traversing the streets after sermon, or walking in crowds to fields, gardens, and such-like places, though, Isaac-like, we may go alone to meditate in the field;-by having roving looks in church, or allowing ourselves or others to sleep; -by diverting our eyes out at doors, or windows, with every thing that passes by ;-by wandering thoughts, and idle themes;-by going to publichouses, coffee-houses, and such-like places, reading histories or newspapers, telling news or idle stories; -by jesting, laughing, or too much mirth, and not having a composure of spirit becoming the dig nity of the day;-by carrying on love-suits, or gallanting sweethearts on that sacred day, designed for nobler entertainment ;-by buying, selling, or exchanging goods of any kind, laying wagers, shav ing, cleaning houses or kitchen-furniture on that day;- by flocking to harbours to see ships set sail, bringing stores and provisions on board on that day;-by washing decks, making and mending

ropes, scraping births, sewing cloths, writing letters to friends, journals, and log-books, which may be done the ensuing day;-by whistling, singing profane songs, and playing on musical instruments; -by building bridges, ships, boats, and other such vessels;-by viewing our fields, plantations, orchards, gardens, corns, and cattle, to see if all be in a flourishing condition;-by surveying new houses and inclosures, or any thing that occurs to us by the way, in going to or coming from church; -by needless compliments, and useless congratulations, multiplied to excess, when friends fall in our way;-by postponing operations at hospitals and infirmaries till this day ;-and by every thing whereby the glory of God, the edification of others, and the good of our own souls, is not pursued and promoted.

This heavenly day is wholly to be employed in public, private, and secret devotion, in the congregation, with our families, and by ourselves alone; setting our affections on things on high, and studying to have our conversation in heaven, shewing a proper concern for the great salvation, and preparing for the world to come. Alas! then, I see how little I know of Sabbath sanctification, and of being in the spirit on the Lord's day! And, alas! how is this day profaned, by land and sea! at home and abroad! in our fleets, and in our armies! in country, and in town! by people of all ranks, and by persons of all professions!




Cancal Bay, June 21. 1758.

Now we are not far from land, but, however fierce the storm, we must not set a foot on shore, else we should soon find ourselves in the power and at the mercy of our enemies. Even so it fares with the wicked, who are at war with the God of the whole earth. Now, in the day of patience, they can put off without making friendship with God; but what will they do in their last extremity, in the day of visitation, and in the desolation that shall come from far? To whom will they flee for help, seeing they will not lay claim to one promise, and haveno interest in Him that made the promises? How will they stand when the storm pursues behind, and no shelter presents itself before? And how will it gall them, to see the saints in quiet resting-places, and themselves exposed for ever to the tempest?

But, although we may not land here, yet we may return to our own king's dominions, where we shall be joyfully received. But it is not so with the sinner, who is in rebellion against Heaven. Whither shall he flee from God, or where can he hide himself from his omniscient eye? How shall he get without the reach of his all-present arm, or escape the stroke of angry Omnipotence? God he has disobeyed, Christ he has rejected, the proise he has despised, sinned away the day of grace,

and trampled on the patience of Heaven: So, when the Judge shall come in flames, and it shall be very tempestuous round about, what will he do? To what God can he go? To what Saviour can he cry? To what hand can he turn,-to whom shall he deplore himself, and in what ear make his moan? What promise can he plead, or to which of the saints can he turn? Ah! God is his inexorable Judge, and the Saviour is no more his friend; all hopes perish, all helps fail, all friends forsake, pity has no ear to his complaint, and mercy no compassion on his moan! O how miserable are the wicked, then, who thus, on oceans of burning brimstone, shall be exposed to the storms and tempests of eternal wrath, and never, never see a shore!

But, on the other hand, how happy art thou, O saint! Every land is the property of Him who in all his vast possessions is thine by promise. He is thine who can make enemies intreat thee well in adversity he is thine who is not only the God of the whole earth, but the possessor of heaven and glory; who is not only the Prince of the kings of the earth, but the Father of eternity, who holds the waters in the hollow of his hand. Thou art safe, therefore, upon the depths; and though thou shouldst never see thy native country, yet thou shalt make, when thy course is finished, the land that lies afar off.





Under sail, 1758.

SINCE the foolish sons of men fell a-building their own confusion, what a difference of tongues has taken place! Hence, though I was ashore on that land, I could neither understand, nor be understood but by an interpreter. But, since defection entered the Christian church, how, in some lands, is all gone to confusion!

Still the Christian name continues, but primitive Christianity is rooted out there, where a pretended successor of Peter is the fulfilment of that prediction, which mentions the coming of the man of sin, and which to me confirms the truth of the scriptures. They have turned the purity of religion into the pomp of superstition; the simplicity of the gospel, into mumbling and muttering of prayers in an unknown tongue; and the spiritual rule over the flock of God, into a temporal dominion over the kingdoms. They have let go the kernel and substance of religion, for the shell and show; hence, such adorning of churches, and such abundance of altars and images. There the man of sin sways his midnight sceptre, for filthy lucre forgiving sins which God will never acquit, because in a way God never appointed, nor will approve of; and, trampling on the divine command, prostitutes sacred things; hence baptising of bells, consecra

« ПретходнаНастави »