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hath supplied us with an excellent help, for the spiritualiz of the providential works of God in natural things, by go meditations; we chiefly want the help of the holy Spirit (wit out which all other helps and helpers are altogether insufficien to frame and wind up our hearts, for this both profitable an delightful duty; yet the help which the Lord is pleased to giv us for our direction in it, by the ministry of man, is not only not to be refused, but thankfully received and improved; and all little enough to bring our minds to, or keep them at this work: The best of faints (on this fide heaven) have (though they are not only earthly-minded) much earth in their minds; which like a heavy clog at their heels, or a weight at their hearts, preffèth them down when they would make an efsay to mount upward in meditation. We find it no eafy matter to keep of earthly thoughts, when we are most seriously engag. ed in heavenly work; how hard it is then to get in, and be fixed upon heavenly thoughts, while we are engaged about earthly work; yea, are (for so is the husbandman) working the very earth, and raking in the bowels of it. 'Tis a great part of our holiness to be fpiritually-minded, while we are conversing with God through Jesus Christ in spiritual duties; but to be spiritually-minded, and to mind spiritual things, when we are conversing with the clods of the earth, and the
furrows of the field; when we have to do with corn and grass, with trees and plants, with sheep and oxen ; when we behold the birds and fowls of the air, the worms, and all that creep upon the ground; then (I fay) to be spiritually-minded, and thence to have our thoughts ascending, and foaring up to God, in heart affecting and quickening contemplations, witnesseth an high degree of holiness, and of gracious attainments
. To make a ladder out of earthly materials, for the raising of ourselves in spirit up to heaven, is the art of arts. Holy and happy indeed are they who (being taught of God) have learned this art, and live in daily practice of it. Earthly objects usually hinder us in our way, sometimes turn us quite out of our way to heaven. Many plow and low, dig and delve the earth, till their hearts become as earthly as the earth itself: Many deal about the beasts of the field, till themselves become even brutish. Is it not then a blessed design which this Author aims and drives at, fo to spiritualize all forts, or the whole compals of earthly husbandry, that all sorts of husbandmen may become spiritual and heavenly? It seems to me a token for good, that God hath an intendment of some special good to the souls of Tuch as are by profession proper husbandmen, seeing he hath
lately put it into the hearts of two faithful
Mr. Richard Steel, ministers (who with all of that profession, are husbandmen in a figure) to under and this Author. take, tho’in a different way, this subject, and to publish their labours in print, that they may be of use, not only for the prefent age, but for pofterity.
And that the husbandman may be pleased as well as profited, in perusing the labours of this author; he hath, with fingular aptness, and acuteness, contrived and contracted the fum and scope of every chapter into an elegant distich, or pair of verses, placed at the head of it, and concluded it with a choice melodious poem, suitable to, and dilating upon the whole matter of it. These the husbandman, who can but read, may quickly learn and fing for his folace, instead of those vain ballads, and corrupting rhimes, which many of that rank are apt to buy, and solace themselves withal, without any benefit, yea, much to their hurt, making their hearts more corrupt, carnal, and yain thereby
Let me add one word more to the reader. This book of Husbandry Spiritualized, is not calculated only for the common husbandman; persons of any calling, or condition, may find the author working out fuch searching reflections and strong convictions, from almost every part and particular of the husbandman's work, as may prove, if faithfully improved, very useful to them; to some for their awakening, to consider the state of their souls, whether in grace, or in nature ; to others for their instruction, consolation, and encouragement in the ways of grace, as also for their proficiency and growth in those ways. That the blessing of the Lord, and the breathings of his good Spirit may go out with it, for all those gracious purposes, is the heart's desire, and prayer of him, who is, Christian Reader, a sincere well-wisher to thy precious and immortal foul,
To his Reverend and Learned Friend, Mr. John Flavel, on his
Spiritual Navigation and Husbandry.
ETTERS of mark to his dear servant given,
By him that fists the ruffling winds of heaven:
T attack the vaffals of Leviathan.
he hails ;
rare Amphibion loves not to be pent Within the bounds of one
Industrious spirit; to what a rich account
In Authoris O PER A.
No more ride triumph on the wings of fame.
Spiritualizeth sea-affairs; again,
Sic raptim conit,
DAN. COND Ye
To his Reverend and Invaluable Friend, Mr. J. F. upon his
Are you come from the pulpit to the plow?
unto the saints,
Which, in some measure, leffens our complaints.