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To behold the ebbing and flowing of the tide, is an amusement ever new. By this contrivance of infinite wisdom (whatever second causes are employed to produce the effect) the whole mass of sea water is kept in continual motion, which, together with the salt contained in it, preserves it from corrupting (as it would do if stagnant) and poisoning the world. At one part of the day, therefore, the ocean seems to be leaving us, and going to other more favoured coasts; but at the stated period, as if it had only paused to recover itself, it returns again, by gradual advances, till it be arrived to its former height. There is an ebb and a flow in all human affairs; and a turn of events may render him happy who is now miserable: the vessel which is stranded may yet be borne up on the waters, may put out again to sea, and be blessed with a prosperous voyage.

Nor is the sea more wonderful in itself, than it is beneficial to mankind.

From its surface vapours are continually arising, drawn upwards by the heat of the sun, which, by degrees formed into clouds, drop fatness on our fields and gardens, causing even the wilderness to smile, and the valleys, covered over with corn, to laugh and sing. Thus the prayers of the faithful servants of God, daily ascending from all parts of the earth, return in large effusions of grace and blessing

from heaven.

But we are indebted to the ocean not only for the vapours sent up from its surface, but likewise for many springs, which have their origin from the great deep beneath, with which the sea communicates.

These, arising in vapour through the lower parts of the earth, break forth, and issue in streams, many of which joined form rivers, and so go back again to the place from whence they came; as the blood in the human body flows in streams from the heart, through the arteries, and returns to it again in rivers by the veins, which grow larger as they approach and are about to empty themselves into the great reservoir. In the greater as well as the lesser world, there is a constant circulation maintained; the income is proportioned to the expense, and nothing is wasted. "All rivers," saith Solomon, "run to the sea,

yet the sea is not full," or, does not overflow; "to "the place from whence the rivers come, thither do

they return again;" but not till, by their innumerable turnings and windings, they have refreshed and enriched large tracts of country in their passage. So divine grace springs up in the heart of a Christian man, as water doth in a fountain, supplied from an invisible and inexhaustible storehouse; it flows forth in his words and actions, doing good to all around it in its course, and is finally swallowed up and lost in the boundless ocean of infinite perfection.

Barren and desolate as the sea appears to those who only look upon it and search not into it, yet within its bosom are contained creatures, exceeding in number those that walk and creep upon the land; insomuch that in the sacred language they have their name from a word which signifies to multiply. The ingenuity and industry of man have found means to draw forth these inhabitants of the waters from their deepest recesses; and while they afford to some an

agreeable variety of wholesome food, they support multitudes of others whose employment it is to procure them, an employment healthy, honest, carried on in peace and quietness, without tumult, noise, strife, and bloodshed, affording to those who are engaged in it continual opportunities of beholding "the "works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep." Persons of this occupation, men of plain sense and good hearts, were chosen by our blessed Lord to preach the word of life to the nations, to cast abroad the evangelical net, and to become, as he himself expresses it, "fishers of men."

By the invention of shipping, and the art of navigation, the sea is made in reality to join those nations which it appears to divide, the communication being often far more easy and expeditious by water than it would have been by land. The riches of both the Indies are wafted to our shores; we sit at home, and feast upon the productions of every country under heaven, while the superfluity of our own commodities is disposed of to advantage abroad. A friendly intercourse is opened between the most distant lands; savages are humanized, and become proficients in the arts and sciences; the Gospel is preached among them, and the light of truth made to shine upon those who sat in darkness and the shadow of death; they are taught the art of arts and the science of sciences, the art of holy living and the science of salvation, A large vessel, with all its conveniences, constructed in such a manner as to go upon the surface of the water, and to brave the fury of the winds and waves, is, perhaps, the master


piece of human contrivance; and the Psalmist, when contemplating the wonders of the ocean, cries out in admiration, as if placed in a situation like this of ours" There go the ships."

But while we meditate upon the advantages accruing to mankind from a part of the creation which, at first sight, might seem incapable of affording any, let us not be unmindful of the circumstance which brings us now together, and gives occasion to this discourse. Let the medicinal powers and salutary virtues with which the Almighty hath endued the waters of the sea, be always had in remembrance by those who have happily experienced them; let praise and glory be rendered to the great Physician, who hath made the ocean a magnificent mineral bath, in which, as formerly in the pool of Bethesda, the weak become strong, and the sick whole. And when we behold the mighty works thus wrought for the bodies of men, let us reflect upon that sovereign mercy which in like manner strengthens the infirmities, and heals the diseases of our minds; and let us be equally diligent in using the means appointed to restore them to vigour and purity, that so thus doubly benefited and blessed, we may express the gratitude of our hearts in those divine words of David-" Praise the "Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me praise "his holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and

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forget not all his benefits; who forgiveth all thy sin, “and healeth all thine infirmities; who saveth thy life "from destruction, and crowneth thee with loving "kindness and mercy; who satisfieth thy mouth with

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good things, so that thy life is renewed like the eagle's."

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The last use I shall mention which we are to make of the sea is that which the Holy Spirit himself hath so frequently made of it in the Scriptures, namely, to consider it as an emblem of the world and of what is passing therein. Under a smiling, deceitful surface, both conceal dangerous rocks and quicksands, on which the unskilful mariner will strike and be lost; both abound with creatures pursuing and devouring each other, the small and weak becoming a prey to the great and powerful; while in both there is a grand destroyer, a Leviathan taking his pastime,' and seeking the perdition of all. In the voyage of life, we may set out with a still sea and a fair sky; but, ere long, cares and sorrows, troubles and afflictions, overtake us. At God's word, either to punish us or to prove us, from some quarter or other, whence, perhaps, we least expected it, the stormy wind ariseth, and lifteth up the waves; we are carried sometimes up to heaven with hope, sometimes down to the deep with despair, and our soul melteth because of trouble. Then it is that our heavenly Father shows us what poor helpless creatures we are without him; and tribulation becomes the parent of devotion. If we cry unto the Lord in our trouble, he will deliver us out of our distress; if, with the disciples in the Gospel, we go to our Master, saying,

Lord, save us, we perish," he will, as he did then, arise, and rebuke the winds and the sea; there will be a calm; and we shall arrive in safety at the desir

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