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so his special care and saving providence are to be seen and thankfully acknowledged in preserving the souls of the elect from perishing by the latter.
And, as the storms at sea are occasioned by the four winds, east, west, north, and south, winds; $9 the spiritual storms which threaten and endanger the soul they proceed from, and are occasioned by a fourfold party.
First, The devil, who, ever since his apostacy, is become an implacable and irreconcileable enemy; as to the majesty of God, so also to the souls of men: who hath on this very account the names given him, both in Hebrew and Greek, which signify and import the same thing with his nature, viz. Destroyer. So the names of Abaddon in Hebrew, and Apollyon in Greek, signify, as the learned know. Rev. ix. ll.
Secondly, The world, I mean the wicked of the world, which is not only at enmity with God, but a real hater and persecutor of all that love God, and bear his blessed image. These the devil makes use of in his service. The devil makes use of these in his service, as they are his children and servants. “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do,” John viii. 44. " But as then he that was born after the flesh
persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even se it is now," Gal. iy. 29.
Thirdly, Corrupt nature, which is the worst enemy a man hath, and which is that which gives the devil the greatest advantage against a man's
self of any thing in the world. This corruption of nature lies in two things : first, the sad and wretched aversion of the heart to God, and all things spiritually good; and, secondly, the devil-like propensity of the heart and soul to what is hateful to God, and really destructive to the man's own self. Wereit not for this corruption of nature, the devil and his other auxiliary forces could do nothing which would
avail to ruin or undo a soul. But herein lies his great advantage, that lie hath within a man's self a party, or a principle, which, if the Spirit and grace of God prevent not, he can by his serpentine craft and lion-like fury stir up and draw forth to such a degree, as will cause the man to cry out, and say that his worst and most destructive enemy is within himself; and that, were it not for that, he need not value or fear all the storms and overwhelming hurricanes which all the legions of apostate angels in hell, and all the politic and malicious persecutors in the world, could possibly devise or raise against him. Were it not for the tinder of heart-corruption, the devil would soon grow weary of throwing into the soul the poisonous sparks of his infernal teinptations. “The prince of this world cometh,” saith Christ," and hath nothing in ine," John xiv. 30. No immorality in practice whereof to accuse him; neither any pollution or corruption in the assumed nature on which his temptations could possibly catch hold: and herein lay Christ's and the elect's advantage; for, had the
tempter found the least matter in Christ on which his temptations could have fastened, the elect, for whom Christ undertook as vademony and surety, would have been over and over miserable and wretched, to endless eternity. 1. The fourth party who hath a hand in those storms wherewith elect sinners do meet in this life, is God himself; who, by the methods his wise
providence takes with the elect, seems, to outward appearance, to design their utter ruin. This the devil frequently suggests to the soul, and this the poor bewildered sinner is easily persuaded to credit: and, when matters come to this pass, that, when the poor sinner is surrounded with perplexing trials on all hands, the billows and waves of all kind of temptations being ready even to cover his head, and swallow him up, he concludes that God himself is his enemy; it must needs be very
dismal with the poor sinner in such a condition.
There are four things especially, in respect whereof the poor sinner may be said to be in a storm: in each of which the four parties above mentioned may have a hand,
1. Extreme poverty and outward straits, which is a very sore trial; and a burden so heavy, especially to those who have sometimes enjoyed plenty and fulness, that many have sunk under its weight; some hanging themselves, some drowning themselves, and others cutting their own throats; not able to bear the reproach of outward poverty.
2. Black reproach upon the name and reputa
tion. This is a storm harder to go through than most men think till they come to be tried thereby. O, how doth the spirit that is in Adam's children lust to envy and revenge, when they meet with affronts in their good name and reputation! To be miscalled and misrepresented among men; to be accounted not fit or worthy to live among men; proud Nature cries out Flesh and blood cannot bear it. What! to be so and so abused! To have my good name taken away! I'll die before I will pocket or put up such an affront, such an abuse ! Either arrest the person in an action of slander, or peg him to the wall!' And, in case any peaceable friend dissuade from such revengeful practices, what is the reply? What! unman myself! Be accounted a coward! To be laughed at by every body! This is the language of the first Adam's, nature, James iv. 1, 5. But, where the work of renovation hath passed on a sinner, his note is changed; his unman myself is turned into undog myself, undevil myself.
Let but the experience of the most mortified believer be called in to speak to the point, and it will be readily acknowledged that reproach and slanders on the name and reputation are not easily gone through. It is a sharp and a trying storm. Reproach and contempt from men, especially from inferiors, was a part of Job's trials, Job xxx. 1; and, had he not been blessed with such an extraordinary stock of patience, he could never have borne it as he did. “ Reproach hath broken mine
heart,” said holy David, Psal. lxix. 20. others had trials of cruel mockings,” &c. Heb. xi. 36.
3. To be smitten in the body with sickness and wasting distempers, when the sad symptoms of death and mortality invade languishing nature. This
goes close to the very root; it being a stroke at the very being of nature, threatening its dissolution. This is a storm which will cause the face of the strongest and stoutest of Adam's children to gather paleness; and will put the sons of men into sorèr frights than any of the former storms, which were so uneasy, when Death, that all-conquering king of terrors, looks the dying man full in the face. It is a difficult thing to go through the
pangs and agonies of a dying hour.
4. Soul-desertion. When the clouds from above interpose between the sensible manifestations of God's love and favour and the benighted deserted soul; when the waves and billows from God are commissioned to pass over the poor soul, as if its utter ruin were designed by God; this is a storm indeed, and the hardest to be wrestled with, by the man who hath been frequently visited with the sweet and soul-ravīshing embraces of God's love.
Either of these four particulars, if it be sharp on a poor man, may be compared to a sharp storm at sea, occasioned by either of the four winds; which may set a man hard to it.
But, when all four come on a man at once, then