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countrymen, to teach the ignorant, and publish to the miserable, the blessed truths of the gospel.
Through the ocean likewise, the sons of commerce are able, with comparative ease, to collect the varied and useful treasures of the earth; but none of these things could be satisfactorily effected, if there were no sea; and without it, all our plans, however pure and disinterested, would be rendered almost abortive. We see, then, the goodness of God, in constituting our globe with more water than land; and it should lead us to pray to him for wisdom, to make a good use of it.
One of the properties of the ocean is, that of resisting putrefaction. Lakes, and other inland bodies of water, often become stagnant, and throw off much contaminated effluvia, which produce
violent diseases; but this is not the case with the sea, because it contains an amazing quantity of salt in solution, which preserves it wholesome and pure. Another property of the ocean is its strength. Many persons when they behold a large ship on the water, feel surprised at its floating so securely, and wonder what power preserves it from sinking. It is the specific gravity of the sea, which renders it capable of supporting a wonderful weight in a limited circle.
These few observations show us, that "the great and wide sea" is not that monotonous and uninteresting part of creation which our sinful indifference to it leads us to imagine. Plato declared that it produced nothing memorable; but the most unlearned are able to refute the unwise remark of the heathen philosopher. It abounds in many rich and wonderful things, "both
small and great," and God has given it for most important purposes. He has also bestowed upon it properties, eminently calculated to promote its usefulness, and subjected it to laws which greatly enhance its benefits. The tides advance and recede, and all the waters though they roar in greatest fury, pass not the boundaries established by infinite Goodness. "Thus far shalt thou go, and no further," is the perpetual decree of Jehovah. Year after year rolls on, and we see it observed: the ocean still flows in all its grandeur; man holds his possessions in peace; the sea neither disturbs his abode, nor frightens him by its encroach, for the Lord rules in every wave.
"Oh! wherefore do the incurious say,
No change presents from day to day,
Show them its bounteous breasts bestows,
In every wave that circling flows,
Beauty, and use, and harmony:
Works of the Power Supreme, who pour'd the flood Round the green peopled earth, and call'd it good."
How immense is the ocean! it encompasses our globe, and in many parts is unfathomable. But, oh! how incomparable is it to the vast ocean of God's everlasting love! This has eternity for its bounds, and an extent only known to the adorable Being from whose compassionate bosom it had its rise. In it are heights and depths, which pass knowledge: angels and redeemed souls ever desire to become acquainted with its glories, and are lost in exploring its mysteries. "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man to
conceive," all the blessed properties of this mighty ocean. In its operation it knows no bounds; but flows fully and freely, towards the lost and miserable. It overcomes every thing, and saves millions from sinking into the regions of despair, while it glories in conducting poor wretched sinners to that happy shore where they will for ever sing its glorious triumphs.
What a rich and boundless deep is the ocean of Jesus' blood! How vast are its uses, how blessed its properties! Its virtues are incomparable, its effects mighty. This glorious ocean possesses the invaluable property of cleansing all sin, and removing all guilt. The blood of Jesus, saith the apostle, cleanseth not from one sin, a few sins, or particular sorts of sin, but from all, yea, all sin: