Obrazy na stronie


mised it shall perfevere, and therefore I need not be fo follicitous to preserve it; for as this inference is quite opposite to the nature of true grace and affurance, which never encourage to carelesness, but provoke the foul to an industrious use of means to preserve it; so it is in itself an irrational and senseless conclusion, which will never follow from any fcripture-promise: for although it is readily granted, that God hath made many comfortable and sweet promises to the grace of his people, yet we must expect to enjoy the benefits and blessings of all those promises, in that way.and order in which God hath promised them; and that is in the careful and diligent use of those means which he hath prescribed, Ezek. xxxvi. 36, 37. For promises do not exclude, but imply the use of means, Acts xxvii. 31. I know my life is determined to a day, to an hour, and I shall live out every mingite God hath appointed; but yet, I am bound to provide food, raiment and physic to preserve it, To conclude, let all doubting Christians

The doubting refiect seriously upon this truth, and fuck narrow and fatness cut of it to strengthen fouls reflektions. and establish them against all their fears: your life, your fpiritual life hath for many years hanged in suspence before you ; and you have often said with David, I shall one day fall by the hand of Saul. Despouding, trembling soul! lift up thine eyes, and look upon the fields; the corn lives ftill, and grows up, though birds have watched to devour it; snows have covered it, beasts have cropped it, weeds have almost choaked it, yet it is preserved. And hath not God more care of that precious feed of his own Spirit in thee, than any husbandman hath of his corn? Hath he not faid, “That having begun the good « work in thee, he will perfect it to the day of Christ ?” Phil. i. 6. Hath he not faid, I give unto them eternal life, and they Thall never perish, John.x. 28. Haft thou noti many times said, and thought of it, as thou dost now, and yet it lives? O what matter of unspeakable joy and comfort in this to upright fouls! Well then, be not discouraged, for thou doft not run as one uncertain, nor fight as one that beats the air, 1 Cor. ix. 26. But the foundation of God stands fure, having this seal, the Lord knows who are his, 2 Tim. ij. 19. Though thy grace be weak, thy God is strong; though the stream feem lometimes to fail, yet 'uis fed by an ever-flowing fountain,

The POE M.
IS justly wondered that an ear of corn

Should come at last in safety to the barn :



[ocr errors]

It runs through many hazards, threatning harms,
Betwixt the lower's hands, and reaper's arms.
The earth no sooner takes it from the fack,
But you may fee behind the fower's back
A troop of thieves, which would at once destroy
That seed in which lies hid the seed of joy.
This dangerous period past, it foon doth fall
Into a second, no less critical.
It shooteth forth the tender blade, and then
The noxious weeds endanger it again.
These clasp about it till they kindly choak
The corn, as flatt'ring ivy doth the oak.
Are weeds destroy'd, and all that danger past
Lo, now another coines, the wordt at last :
For when i' th' ear it blows, begins to kern,
A mildew smites it, which you can't discern,
Nor any way prevent, till all be loft,
The corn destroy'd, with all your hopes and coft.
Thus saving grace, that precious seed of joy,
Which hell and nature plot how to destroy,
Escapes ten thousand dangers, first and latt,
O who can say, now all the danger's past?
'Tis like a crazy bark tofs’d in a storm,
Or like a taper which is strangely born
Without a lanthorn in a bluftsing night,
Or like to glimmering sparks, whose dying light
is still preserv'd: the roaring waves swell high,
Like moving mountains in the darken'd sky:
On their proud backs, the little bark is even
Mounted unto the battlements of heaven ;
From thence dismounted, to the deeps doth slide,
Receiving water upon every fide;
Yet he, whofe voice the proudeft waves obey,
Brings it at last into the quiet key :
The bluftring winds strive, with a fatal puff,
To bring the taper to a stinking fnuff:
Their churlish blasts extinguish it, and then
Our gentle breath recovers it again :
The fainting sparks beneath the ashes lie,
Where, choak'd and fmother'd, they begin to die
But these collected, we do gently blow,
Till from faint sparks to lively flames they grow.
Even thus is grace preserv'd, thus kept alive;
By constant wonders, grace doth live and thrive.


[ocr errors]


Upon the Patience of the Husbandman for the Harvest.

Our husbandmen for harvest wait and say:
Olet sot any faint do lefs than they !

[ocr errors]


HE expectation of a good harvest at last, makes the

husbandman, with untired patience, to digest all his labours. He that plows, plows in hope, 1 Cor. vi. 19. And they are not so irrational, to think they shall presently be partakers of their hope; nor, so foolish to anticipate the har vest, by cutting down their corn before it be fully ripened: but are content to plow, sow and weed it; and when it is fully ripe, then they go forth into their fields, and reap it down with joy:

A N a little corn cause men to digest so many difficult

labours, and make them wait with invincible patience till the reaping time come? Much more should the expectation of eternal glory steel and fortify my spirit against all intercurrent hardships and difficulties. It leatt of all becomes a Christian to be olan hasty and impatient spirit. « Light is sown for

“ “ the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart," Psal. xcii. 11. u Behold the husbandman waiteth," &c. Jam. v. 7. “ Be patient therefore, my brethren, for the coming of the « Lord draws near.” There are three great arguments to persuade Christians to a long-suffering and patient frame under sufferings. (1.) The example of Christ, Ifa. liii. 7. To think how quierly he suffered all injuries and difficulties with invincible patience, is sufficient to shame the best of Christians, who are of such short spirits. I have read of one Elezari.


. us, a nobleman, that when his wife wondered at his exceeding great patience in bearing injuries, he thus answered her: You know sometimes my heart is ready to rise with indignation against such as wrong me; but I presently begin to think of the wrongs that Christ suffered ; and say thus to myself; Although thy servant should pluck thy beard, and smite thee on thy face, this were nothing to what the Lord suffered : he suffered more and greater things; and afsure yourself, wife, I never leave off thinking on the injuries done to my Saviour, till such time as

[ocr errors]




[ocr errors]

my mind be still and quiet. To this purpose it was well note ed by Bernard, speaking of Christ's humiliation, Was Christ the Lord of glory thus humbled and emptied of his fulness of glory? And dhall such a worm as I swell? (2.) The desert of fin, Lam. iii. 39. “Why doth the living man complain?" It was a good saying of the bleffed Greenham ; when fin lies heavy, affliction lies light. * And it is a famous instance which Dr. Taylor gives us of the duke of Conde. I have read, (faith he) when the duke of Conde had voluntarily entered into the incommodities of a religious poverty and retirement; he was one day spied and pitied by a lord of Italy, who, out of tenderness wished him to be more careful and nutritive of his perfon. The good duke answered, Sir, bé not troubled, and think not that I am ill provided of conveniencies ; for I send an harbinger before that makes ready my lodgings, and takes care that I be royally entertained. 'The lord asked him who was his hårbinger? He answered, the knowledge of my self, and theconsideration of what I deserve for my fins, which is eternal torments; and when with this knowledge I arrive at my lodgings, how unprovided foever I find it, methinks it is ever better than I deserve. (3.) And as the sense of sin, which merits hell, sweetens present difficulties, fo (to come home to the present fimilitude) do the expectations and hopes of a bleffed harveft and reward in heaven. This made Abraham willing to wander up and down many years as a stranger in the world; for he looked for a city that hath foundations, whofe builder and maker is God. The hopes of fuch a harvest is encouragement enough to work hard, and wait long : Yet some Christians are so impatient of it, that they would fain be reaping before the time': but as God hath, by an unalterable law of nature appointed both the seasons of feed-time and harvest (which are therefore called the appointed weeks of the harvest) Jer. v. 24. and these cannot be hastened; but when we have done all that we can on our part, must wait till God fend the former and the latter rain, and give every natural caufe its effect : fo is it in reference to our spiritual harvest; we are appointed to sweat in the use of all God's appointments; and when we have done all, must patiently wait till the divine decrees be accomplished, and the time of the promise be fully come; “ In due time we “ fhall reap, if we faint not.” To which patient expectation, and quiet waiting for the glory to come, these following confiderations are of excellent use.


* Dr, Taylor's great Exemplar, p. 103,

Heb. X. 37

1. As the husbandman knows when the feed-time is past, it will not be long to the barvest; and the longer he waits, the nearer still it is : fo the Christian knows, “ It is but yet a little “ while, and he that shall come, will come, and will not tarry,"

“ And that now his salvation is nearer than when “ he first believed,” Rom. xiii. 11. What a small point of time is our waiting-time, compared with eternity? Yet a few days more, and then comes the long expected and welcome harveft.

2, The husbandman can find other work to do, before the teaping-time come; he need not stand idle, though he cannot yet reap. And cannot a Christian find any work to do for God, till he come to heaven? O there is much work to do, and fuch work as is only proper to this season! You may now reprove fin, exhort to duty, fuccour the distressed; this is good work, and this is your only time for such work; the whole of eternity will be taken up in other employments. “I think it meet « (faith Peter) as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir up “ your minds, knowing fhortly that I must put off this tabera

nacle,” 2 Pet. i. 13, 14. q. d. I know I have but a little time to work among you; I am almost at heaven; and therefore am willing to husband this present moment as well as I can for you.

O Christians ! you need not stand idle ; look round about you upon

the multitude of forlorn finners; speak now to them for God; speak now to God for them; for shortly you fhall fo fpeak no more ; you shall see them no more till you see them at Christ's bar; God leaves you here for tặeit fakes, up

and be doing : if you had done all you were to do for yourfelves and them, he would have you to heaven immediately; you should not wait a moment longer for your glory.

3. Husbandmen know, though they cannot yet gather in the precious fruits of the earth, yet all this while they are ripening and preparing for the harvest; they would not house it green, or take it before its time. And is not this also my preparationtime for glory? As God prepared heaven for his people, by an eternal decree ; Mat. xxv. 34. by an act of creation, Heb. xi. 10. by the death of Christ, which made a purchase of it, Heb. X. 19, 20. and by his ascension into it, John xiv. 2, 3. So the reason why we are kept here, is in order to our fitting for it. Heaven is ready, but we are not fully ready; the barn is fit to teceive the corn, but the corn is not fit to be gathered into it. 5 But for this felf-same thing God is now working us,” 2 Cor. 1. 5. he is every day at work, by ordinances, and by providences, to perfect his work in us; and as foon as that is finished,

« PoprzedniaDalej »