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with a diligence answerable to the weight thereof; for it is no vain work concerning thee, it is thy life.
The POE M.
When advanc'd in pow'r,
To cheer us in our way;
Do the best we can ?
To get a small reward ?
Turn flugs, and loyter thus? O that
Their zeal might quicken us ! Why are our Hands, and feet fo flow, When we
Unto our business go?
Then Christ's pay expect,
They could these two divide, 'Twould
Please them well, with Christ to fide! But if they
May not, then it were As good
Cease pleading, they'll not hear.
From floth, my soul betake Thee to thy
Work, no cavils make. O ftrive,
And try! Saints say that even, The pain they Take, hath much of heaven.
Their best wine's kept till last, Their reft, and Ease comes all so fast.
CH A P. II.
OBS E R V A TI O N.
the world. The earth must be manured, or its increase is in vain expected; Qui fugit molam, fugit farinam ; He that refuses the mill, refuses the meal, (faith the proverb.) “ The Vol. VI.
“ diligent soul shall be made fat." Solomon hath two proverbs concerning thriftiness and increase in the world. In Prov. x. 4. he saith, “ The hand of the diligent maketh rich.” And in ver. 22. he faith, “The blessing of the Lord maketh rich." These are not contradiétory, but confirmatory each of other ; one speaks of the principal, the other of the instrumental cause. Diligence without God's blessing will not do it; and that blesling cannot be expected without diligence ; therefore hufbandmen ply their business with unwearied pains, they do even lodge in the midst of their labours as that good husband Boaz did, Ruth ii. 3. They are parfimonious of their time, but prodigal of their sweat and strength, because they find this to be the thriving way
APPLICATION. As nature opens her treasures to none but the diligent, so neither doth grace. He that will be rich, must be a painful Christian ; and whosoever will closely ply the trade of godliness, shall comfortably, and quickly find, “ That in keeping “ God's commands, there is great reward,” Pfalm xix, 11. God is a “ bountiful rewarder of such as diligently seek him," Heb. xi. 6. They must not indeed work for wages,
nor yet will God suffer their work to go unrewarded ; yea, it fufficiently rewards itself, i Tim. vi. 6. And its reward is twofold ; (1.) Present, and in part; (2.) Future, and in full, Mark x. 29, 30. Now in this time an hundred-fold, even from fuffering, which seems the most unprofitable part of the work, and in the world to come life everlasting. If you ask what present advantage Christians have by their diligence ? I answer, as much and more than the husbandman hath from all his toils, and labours. Let us compare the particulars, and see what the husbandman gets that the christian gets not also. Compare your gains, and you will quickly see the odds.
1. You get credit and reputation by your diligence; it is a commendation and honour to you, to be active and stirring men : But how much more honour doth God put upon his loborious fervants ? It is the highest honour of a creature, to be active and useful for its God. Saints are called vessels of honour, as they are fitted for the master's use, 2 Tim. ii. 21. Wherein confifts the honour of angels but in this, that they are ministring spirits, serviceable creatures ? And all the apostlesgloried in the title of servants. The lowest office in which a man can serve God, even that of Nethinim, or door-keeper,
* Non mercenarii fed operariis
which was the lowest order or rank of officers in the house of God, Ezek. xliv. 10, 11. is yet preferred by David before the service of the greatest prince on earth, Pfalm lxxxiv. 10. It is 'no small honour to be active for God.
2. You have this benefit by your labour, that thereby you avoid loose and evil company, which would draw you into mischief. By diligence for God, the Christian also is secured from temptation; “ God is with them, while they are with « him," 2 Chron. xv. 2. Communion with God in the
of duty, is a great preservative against temptations. The schoolmen put the question, how the angels and glorified saints become impeccant ? And refolve it thus : That they are secured from fin, by the beatifical vision; and fure I am that the visions of God, not only in glory, but now also in duty, are Inarvellous defences, against lin; and they who are most active for God, have the fullest and clearest visions of God, John
3. You have this benefit by your labour, that it tends much to the health of your bodies. The Christian hath this benefit by his labour, that it tends to a healthful state of soul ;
" The “ way of the Lord is strength to the upright,” Prov. I. 29. As those that follow their daily labours in the field, have much. more health than citizens that live idly, or scholars that live a fedentary life: So the active Christian enjoys more spiritual health, and is troubled with fewer complaints than others.
4. By diligence in your civil employments, you preserve your estates, and are kept from running behind-hand in the world. Bailiffs trouble not such mens doors; they usually have the forefoot of their neighbours. And by activity and diligence for God, souls, are kept from backsliding, and running back in their graces and comforts. Remissness and inter , mission in our duties, are the first steps and degrees by which a foul declines and wastes as to his spiritual estate.
5. Your pains and diligence in the fields, make your bed sweet to you at night, Eccles. v. 12. “ Rest is sweet to 'a labour
ing man, whether he eat little or much.” But the diligent life of a Christian makes the clods of the valley, his grave, tweet unto him, 2 Cor. i. 12. 2 Kings xx. 3. “ Remember
O « Lord, how I have walked before thee," doc. Think Christian, how sweet it will be for thee, when thou comest to die, to fay then as thy Redeemer did, when near his death, John xvii. 4, S.
“ I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do; *6 and now, O Father, glorify me with thine own self.”'
6. The expence of your sweat fills your purses, you get eftates by your diligence and labour; but what are your gains to the gains of Christians ? They can get in an hour, that which they will not part with for all the gold and silver on earth, Prov. iii. 14.
So that compare these labourers, as to all their advantages, and you fhall fee, that there is no trade like that which the diligent Christian drives.
1. Blufh then, O my soul, at the consideRefleftions of the ration of thy lasiness and floth, which is at Nothful foul. tended with so many spiritual wants ! And
can: I wonder at it, when I refuse the painful way of duty, in which the precious fruits of godliness, are only to be found ? If the fruits ly upon the furface of duty, or could be had with wishes, I should not want them; but to dig deep and take pains I cannot. My defires, like those of the flothful man, kill me, because my hands refuse to labour, Prov. -xxi. 25. If every duty were to be rewarded presently with gold, would I not have been more afliduous in them, than I have been ? And yet I know that a heart full of the grace and comfort of the Holy Ghost, is better than a house full of gold and silver. O what a composition of ftupidity and sloth am I! I have been all for the short cut to comfort, 'when constant experience teacheth, that the further way about, by painful duty, is the nearer way to it. What pains do husbandmen také ? What peril do seamen run for a little gain ? O sluggith heart! wilt thou do nothing for eternal treasures?
Secondly, If there be such great reward attending diligence in duty, then why art thou so apt, O my foul, 'to caft off duty, because thou findest not present comfort in it? How quickly am I discouraged, if I prefently find not what I expect in duty? Whereas the well is deep, and much pains must be taken to draw up those waters of joy, lfa. xii. 3. There is à golden vein in the mount' of duty, but it lies deep; and because I meet not with it as soon as I expect, my lazy heart throws by the shovel, and cries, dig I cannot.
Thirdly, If this be indeed the rich and thrivThe worldings ing trade, why do I puddle about the poor, reflection. low things of the world fo much, neglecting
the rich trade of godlinefs for it? O how much of my time and strength have these things devoured ? Had I employed that time in communion with God, would it not have turned to a better account? Thinkest thou in ear
neft, O my foul, that God hath endowed thee with fuch excellent faculties, capable of the most divine and heavenly employ. ments, or that Jesus Christ hath fhed his invaluable precious blood, or that he hath sent forth the gloriaus Spirit of holiness, and all this to fit men for no higher nor nobler employments than these?
Is this the end of ihy wonderful creation ? Doth God whirl about the heavens in endless revolutions, to beget time for this? Or doth he not rather expect that the weightiest work Thould engross thy greatest strength, and choicest hours ?. that I could once confider, what a good Master Christians ferve, who will not only abundantly reward them at night, but brings them their food into the fields to encourage them in their labour ! .What pity is its that so good a Mafter should be fo badly served as he hath been by me! Hark how he pleads to gain my heart :
The POEM, by way of Dialogue betwixt Christ and the
For what ere long will not be thine?