« PoprzedniaDalej »
turn. Ah, what a miserable state am I in! Every step I go is a ftep towards hell; my soul, with the prodigal, is ready to perith in a strange country: but I have no mind, with him, to return home. Wretched foul! what will the end of this be? If God have lost thee, the devil hath found thee ; he takes up all strayers from God: yea, death and hell will shortly find thee, if Christ do not ; and then thy recovery, O my soul! will be im. possible! Why fit I here perishing and dying? I am not yet as irrecoverably loft as the damned are. O'let ne delay no longer, left I be loft for ever!
2. Omy foul! for ever bless and admire A reflection for the love of Jesus Christ, who came from one that was lost, heaven to feek and save fuch a loft foul as I but is found.
Lord, how marvellous! how match
Iefs is thy love! I was loft, and am found : 1 am found, and did not seek; nay, I am found by him from whom I Aled. Thy love, O my Saviour ! was a preventing love, a wonderful love.; thou lovedit me much more than I loved myfelf; I was cruel to my own foul, but thou wast kind; thou foughteft for me, a loft finner, and hot for loft angels ; thy hand of grace caught hold of me, and hath let go thousands, and ten thousands, as good as myself by nature : like another David, thou didit rescue my poor loft foul out of the mouth of the destroyer ; yea, more than so, thoá didft lose thine own life to find mine : And now, dear Jefus, fince I am thus marvellously recovered, shall I ever ftraggle again from thee? O let it for ever be a warning to me, how I turn aside into by-paths of fin any more.
The PO E M.
And you to feek them through the country ride ; Enquiring for them all
along the way, Tracking their foot-fteps where the, turn'd afide ; One servant this way fent, another that,
Searching the fields and country tound about ; This meditation now falls in fo pat,
As if God fent it to enquire you out : My beafts are loft, and fo am I by fin;
My wretched foul from God thus wandring went ; As I feek them, so was I fought by him,
Who from the Father's borom forth was fent. Parfu'd by fermons, follow'd close by grace,
And strong convictions, Chrift hath fought for me;
Yea, though I fhun him, fill he gives me chafe,
As if refolv'd I should not damned be. When angels loft themselves, it was not so ;
God did not feek or once for themi enquire ;
I'll plague them for it with eternal fire.
And fill seek after fuch a wretch as I ?
As if, in spight thereof, resolved to die.
Should I avoid thee thus ? Thou doft not chafe.
Should fly à Saviout that's fo full of grace ! Long halt thou fought me, Lord, I now return,
O let thy bowels of compallion found; For my departure I fincerely mourn,
And let this day thy wandring iheep be found.
CHA P. IV.
Upon the Feeding of fat Cattle.
OBSERVATION. T is a good observation of a Father, and well applied ; Vituli
triturantes quotidie ligantur, vituli mactandi quotidie in pascuis libere relinquuntur : Oxen for use are daily yoked and kept fhort, whilft thofe that are designed for the shambles, are ket loose in green pastures to feed at pleasure. Store beafts fare hard, and are kept lean and low, feeding beasts are excused from the yoke, whilft others are laboured and wrought hard every day; the one hath more than he can eat, the other would eat more if he had it.
he defigns for glory; and with the wicked, who are preparing for the day of wrath : thus are they filled with earthly profperity, and creature-enjoyments, like rusty and, wanton beafts turned out at liberty in a fat pasture, whilst poor saints are kept hard and short; Amos iv. 1. - Hear this word, ye " kine of Bashan, that are in the mountains of Samaria, which * oppress the poor, cuth the needy." These metaphorical
kine are the prosperous oppressors of the world, full fed, and wanton wicked men. It is true, heaven hath not all the poor, nor hell all the rich; but it is a very common dispensation of providence, to bestow most of the things of this world upon them that have no portion in heaven ; and to keep them short on earth, for whom that kingdom is provided. Let me draw forth the fimilitude in a few particulars.
1. The beasts of Naughter have the fatteft pastures ; so have the ungodly in the world; “ Their eyes stand out with fate ness: they have more than heart could wish," Pfal. lxxiii. 7. Their hearts are as fat as grease, Psal. cxix. 70. These be they that feet off the cream of earthly enjoyments, « whose bellies are filled with hidden treasures,” Psal. xvii. 14. « The earth is given into the hand of the wicked," Job ix. 24. O what full estates ! what an affluence of earthly delights hath God cast in upon fome wicked men! There is much wantonness, but no want in their dwellings : fome that knov not which
way to turn themselves in hell, once knew not where to bestow their goods on earth.
2. Feeding beasts grow wanton in their full pastures; there you shall see them tumble and frisk, and kick up their heels. The fame effect hath the prosperity of the wicked; it makes them wanton; their life is but a diversion from one pleasure to another, Job xxi. 11, 12, 13, « They send forth their little
like a flock, and their children dance : they take the tim« breland harp, and rejoice at the sound of the organ: they « fpend their days in wealth, and in a moment go down to the “ grave.” The same chaü.cter doth the prophet Amos give of them, Amos vi. 4, 5, 6. “ They stretch themselves upon **«. beds of ivory, drink wine in bowls," &c. and no forrow goes to their hearts. These are they that live in pleasures upon earth, as a fish in the water, Jam. v. 5.
3. These fat pastures do but the sooner haften the death of these cattle: the sooner they are fatted, the sooner they are dlaughtered, and the prosperity of the wicked serves to the same end: the prosperity of fools fhall destroy them ; i. e. it shall be the means and instrument of heating and heightening their Justs, and thereby fitting them for deftruction ; their prosperity is food and fewel to their corruptions. Many wicked men had not been so soon ripe for hell, had they not grown in the sunInine of prosperity.
4. Fatted beaits do not in the least understand the intent and meaning of the husbandman, in allowing them fuch large and fat pastures, which he denies to his other cattle, and as little
as beasts, do wicked men understand the scope and end of God's providences, in casting prosperity and wealth upon them ;, little do they think their tables are a snare, a gin, and a trap for their fouls ; they only, like beasts, mind what is before them, but do not at all understand the tendency and end of these their fensual delights.
5. Though the husbandman keeps his store-cattle in short commons, yet he intends to preferve them: thefe fhall remain with him, where the others are driven to the daughter.
Such a design of preservation is carried on in all thofe out ward straits, wants, and hardships which the Lord expofes his people to. I confess, such dispensations, for the present, are very stumbling and puzzling things, even to gracious and wise persons. To fee wicked men, not only exempted from their troubles, but even oppreffed with prosperity: to see a godly man in wants and straits, and a wicked man have more than his heart can wish, is a cafe that poses the wifeft Chriftian, till he considers the defigns and iffues of both those providences, and then he acquiesces in the wisdom of God fo ordering it, Pfal. lxxiii. 5, 14, 18, 23
R E F LECTION S. 1. Doth my profperity fat me up for hell,
A reflection for and prepare me for the day of ffaughter ? Little cause have I then to glory in it, and lift
up my heart upon these things. Indeed, God
worldling hath given (I cannot say blessed me with) a fulness of creatureenjoyments ; upon these my carnal heart feizeth greedily and fecurely, not at all suspecting a snare lying in these things for the ruin of my soul. What are all these charming pleasures, but so many rattles to quiet my foul, whilft its damnation steals infenfibly upon it? What are all my busineffes and imployments in the world, but fo
diversions from the businefs of life? There are but two differences betwixt me, and the poorest have the devil hath on earth ; such are whipped on to hell by outward miseries, and I am coached to hell in a little more pomp and honour; these will have a lefs, and I a greater account in the day of reckoning. Othat I had never known prosperity! I am now tumbling in a green pasture, and shortly shall be hanging up in the shambles in hell; if this be the best fruit of my prosperity, if I were taken captive by cruel canibals, and fed with the richeft fare, but withal underftood, that the design of it were to fat me up like a beast for them to feed upon, how little ftomach should I have to their dainties? O my foul! it were much better for thee to have a fanctified poverty,
which is the portion of many faints, than an enfparing profpe. rity, set as a trap to ruin thee for ever.
2. The wisdom of my God hath allotted A reflection for
me but short commons here; his providence a poor Christian.
feeds me but from hand to mouth; but I am, and well may be, contented with my present state ; that which fwegtens it is, that I am one of the Lord's preserved. How much better is a morsel of bread, and a draught of water here with an expectency of glory hereafter, than a faf palture given in, and a fitting for the wrath to come? Well lince the case stands thus, blefled be God for my present lot! Though I have but a little in hand, I have much in hope ; my present troubles will serve to sweeten my future joys; and the forrows of this life will give a lustre to the glory of the next : that which is now hard to suffer, will then be sweet to remember; my fongs will then be louder than my groans now arc.
The PO E M.
In fragrant flow'ry meadows you fhall find,
in commons thin and bare :
up their wanton heels against the heaven ;