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can your salvation come! and being thus disposed, then you will follow them in the text, “who cried unto the « Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them out of " their distresses."
This is the second part of the beautiful painting in the text. Happy was the affliction which made them seek help from God : for while the world smiled on them, they were apt to forget heaven. But when affliction pressed sore upon them, and no human relief offered, the most stupid and hardened singers were then ready to ask relief from God, and to seek him in their distress, although they had forgotten and despised him in their prosperity. But no affliction works this happy effect more certainly, than the dangers of the sea, which are so great, and in a storm so far out of the reach of any succour, that there are very few, in such a case, who do not cry unto God for help. And hence comes the common saying " that they, who know not how to pray, should go to sea to learn." A storm is an excellent teacher, it forces men to pray, it makes the most profane and irreligious look up to heaven, and if they once look up with the prayer of the heart, our God, out of his infinite love, immediately hears and answers. “Call upon me, says he, in the day of trouble, " so will I hear thee. And it shall come to pass, that “ before they call I will answer, and while they are yet “ speaking, I will hear.” Thus prayer engages the almighty on their side, and then nothing is impossible to it. Prayer commands the elements---changes the sea$ons-stops the sun in its coursequenches the violence of fire--and calms the most tempestuous sea. You saw these poor mariners in distress, they had exerted all their skill, and toiled so long as their strength lasted, but to no purpose : the storm still raged, and grew more violent, so that all efforts being in vain they give up their vessel to the fury of the winds and waves, and then at last betake themselves to their prayers, and the prayer of faith did for them, what the united skill and strength of all the men in the world could never have effected. It calmed the wind, it quieted the waves, it smoothed the sea, and carried the shattered vessel safe to the desired haven: for upon their crying to him, “ he maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves there“ of are still, then are they glad, because they be quiet, 66 and so he bringeth them unto their desired haven." And this deliverance is to them a matter of great gladness. The past danger inhances the present safety the storm which they have escaped now increases their enjoyment of the desired haven: for it is certain we relish prosperity better after adversity, peace after war, and health after sickness. A calm is never so pleasant as after a storm. And while we are tasting the pleasures of it, how can we avoid acknowledging our deliverance with gratitude.
This is the third part of the painting in the text. So soon as these mariners are delivered, they instantly offer up their sacrifice of thanksgiving—Ó that men " would therefore praise the Lord for his goodness, and « declare the wonders that he doeth for the children of 66 men.” The wonders, which he had wrought, deserved their best thanks, not only in private, but also in public, not only in the closet, but also in the great congregation. And the holy Spirit in the last words calls upon them to exalt their deliverer in the congregation of the people, and to praise him in the assembly of the elders, i. e. openly, in the face of the church, and if they should neglect this, I appeal unto you all, whether such ungrateful wretches did not deserve to have perished unregarded in the storm.
I have now considered the paraphrase upon the words, and have set before you the lively painting of our natural state, which they contain, and I come, secondly, to the spiritual use and application of them.
The image is this. Mankind before they are redeemed, are like a ship in a stormy sea, agitated with passions, tossed up and down with cares, and so blown about with various temptations, that they are never at rest. This is their calmest state in the smiling day of smooth prosperity: but afflictions will come, the afflictions of sin, and Satan, and the world, will raise a violent storm, which all the wit and strength of man cannot escape. He will soon be swallowed up of the devouring waves ; unless that saine God who created the sea, speak to it, 6 peace, be still.” We are all in the same situation the apostles were, when they were alone in the evening in the midst of the sea, and the wind and the waves were contrary ; against which they toiled rowing in vain, until Christ came to them walking upon the sea, and commanded the winds to cease, and the waves to be still. Upon which there was a great calm : for they knew his voice who had spoken them into being, and they obeyed. His word is almighty to compose and still the raging war of the most furious elements. And he is as almighty in the spiritual world, as he is in the natural. Into whatever soul he enters, he commands all the jarring passions to be still, and there is indeed a blessed calm. O may the almighty Saviour speak thus unto you all, that you may sail on a smooth unruffled sea, until you arrive safe at the desired haven of eternal rest!
And now, my brethren, after what has been said in this and the preceding lectures of man's fallen state, let me ask, what opinion you entertain of it? Do you really think, that the image which the holy Spirit has set before you this day is true, and drawn from nature? Do you indeed believe, that sin has thrown you'upon the wide and furious ocean, that the spirit of the world and the devil have raised a tempest against you, and that you are every moment in danger of being swallowed up by the merciless waves, and that there is no deliverer in heaven or earth, but the Lord Jesus? If you do not believe this truth, upon what principles do you deny it ? Not upon scripture principles ; for it is very common in scripture to describe the sinful state of man under this image. The book of Psalms is full of it. In the 18th, Christ, complaining of his enemies, says, “the floods of ungodly men made me afraid, but
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« God took me, he drew me out of many waters, he 6 delivered me from my strong enemies"-here the many waters and the strong enemies stand for the same persons. The 69th Psalm begins thus—“ save me, O God, for the waters are come in, even unto my soul, I “ am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow “ me;" and then in the 14th verse Christ prays for deliverance in these words, “ let me be delivered from 6 them that hate me, and out of the deep waters"_the same ungodly men who hated him are also called deep waters. He prays again in the 144th Psalm, verse 7. 6 send thine hand from above, rid me and de"liver me out of the great waters, and from the hand “s of strange children." And these strange children are compared to troubled waters throughout the Prophets, and even to the end of the New Testament. St. James likens the inconstant wavering man to a wave of the sea, driven with the wind and tossed, and St. Jude calls the ungodly infidels raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame. And St. John, in the 17th chapter of the Revelation, has given us a key to open all these scriptures; he was shewn in a vision the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters—and in the 15th verse, the angel explains the vision, and says, “ the waters which thou sawest, where “ the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and “nations, and tongues," all the unconverted race of mankind of every nation and tongue.
These scriptures are plain and express, and the meaning of them cannot be mistaken. If you deny the evidence which they give, you must deny the plainest matter of fact in the world : for if you look upon the troubled face of the sea, and then look into the working ‘of your own souls, you must observe the most striking likeness. The mind is as seldom serene and calm, as the face of the ocean is: various passions succeeding one another in perpetual fluctuation, forbid it to rest, they are always agitating and tossing it, opinions are continually changing, tempers ever fluctuating, as wave
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follows wave, fashions are never at a stand, not only in dress, but also in learning, one system still pushing out another, ebbing and flowing, like the tide, and even the moral relations, and the moral fitness of things, notwithstanding their metaphysical eternity, are always fluctuating and changing, and yet always restless. And it cannot be otherwise, because the mind of fallen man is the very picture of the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt, troubled like the sea, like it cannot rest, like it casting up the mire of corruption, and the dirt of sensuality, consequently there is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked. And is not this altogether the perfect likeness of the changeable inconstant world, whose tempers, passions, pursuits, and vices, are like the waves of the sea, suco ceeding one another in perpetual fluctuation and disorder ? :
Thus experience confirms the testimony of scripture, and by the mouth of these two witnesses the truth ought to be established. And what farther objection will you make to it? You will not say, that you do not find it to be a matter of fact by your own experience. Would to God none of you made this objection: for it does not prove that you are not in a storm, but only that you are seized with a sinful lethargy, and you doze and sleep on, while the vessel is sinking. Oʻmy brethren, this is the strongest delusion of sin, and for the love of God and your own souls, awake. You are indeed perishing, see, 'the waves are breaking in upon you, death is at hand, and will not your own safety induce you to shake of this lethargy? What a wonderful delusion is this ? Satan and the world have been crying unto you, peace, peace, when there is no peace; they have lulled conscience asleep, and probably have seared it with an hot iron, and rendered it past feeling. In this case you will not feel your danger, although you are just sinking; the waves will soon swal low you úp, and then you will find a storm, when the wrath of the almighty falls upon you, of which the