Page images
PDF
EPUB

2. How have I also been deceived in this matter? I verily thought that glory and im- The moral man's mortality would have been the fruit and product reflection. of my moral honesty and righteousness; that joy and peace had been feminally contained in those actions; but now I see such fruit can spring from no other root but special grace. Glory is disciofed from no other bud but holiness, Alas ! all my planting and fowing was to little purpose, because I fowed not the right kind of seed; the best fruit I can expect from this is but a lesser degree of damnation.

Deluded soul! thy feed is no better than what the moral heathens fowed : And do I expect better fruit than what they reaped ? Civility without Chrift, is but a freer slavery; and Satan holds me as fast in captivity by this, as he doth the profane by the pleasure of their lusts : Either I must fow better feed, or look to reap bitter fruit.

3. Mean while, bless the Lord, O my soul ! who enabled thee to fow better feed; who kept The holy soul's thee watching, humbling thyself, and praying, reflection. whilst others have been swearing, drinking and blaspheming. This will yield thee fruit of joy in the world to come; yea, it yields present peace to thy conscience. These revenues, are better than gold, sweeter than the honey, and the honey-comb; not that such fruits are meritoriously contained in these actions ; I fow to myself in righteousness, but I reap in mercy, Hof. x. 12. This is the way in which God will save and glorify me. O then, let me be ever abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that my labour shall not be in vain in the Lord.

THE POEM.

'T

WOULD be a strange and monstrous thing to see

Cherries or plumbs grow on an apple-tree.
Whoever gather'd from the thistle figs?
Or fruitless

grapes

from off the worthless twigs Of pricking thorns ? In nature still we find All its productions answering to their kind. As are the plants we set, or feeds we sow, Such is the fruit we shake, and corn we mow : And canit thou think, thar from corruption's root Thy soul shall pluck the sweet and pleasant fruit Offpiritual peace! Whoever that was wise, Abus'd himself with such abfurdities? Look what you fow, the very fame you'll reap, The fruit of what you plant, be sure you'll eat. How are they baffled by a subtile devil, Who hope for heaven, whilft their ways are evil? Such reasonings here their credi'lous souls beguile, At which, in other things, then felves would smile.

Our present acts, though Nightly passed by,
Are so much feed fown for eternity.
The seeds of prayers, secret groans and tears,
Will shoot at last into the full-blown ears
Of peace and joy. Blessed are they that sow
Besides these walers, yea, thrice bless’d, that go
Bearing such precious seed: Though now they mourn,
With joyful theaves they shortly shall return.
Needs mult the full-ripe fruits in heaven be good,
When as the seed was glory in the bud.
But, oh! the bitier, baneful fruits of sin,
When all the pleasures (inners have therein,
Like faded blossoms to the ground shall fall

,
Then they will talte the wormwood and the gall!
What God and confcience now of sin report,
You flight, and with their dreadful threat’nings sport :
But he'll convince you then your ways are naughi,
As Gideon the men of Succoth taught.
If sermons cannot, fire and brimstone must
Teach men how good it is to pamper lutt.
When conscience takes thee by the throat, and cries
Now wretch! now finner! thou that didit despise
My warnings; learn, and ever learning be
That ieo which thou ne'er would learn of me.
The flout it finner then would howl and roar,
On I ne:er saw thy face before.
Is this the fruit of sin? Is this the place
Where I mult lie? Is this indeed the case
Of my poor soul! muft i be bound in chains
With these con panions? Oh! are tlies the gains
I get by fin ? Poor wretch! I that would never
See this beforc, am now undone for ever!

CHAP. XVIII.

Upon the Joy of Harvest-men.

Great is the joy of harvesi-men: zet lefs
Than theirs whcin God doth with his favour bless.

OBSERVATION.

А

MONG all earthly joys, these four forts are noted in scripture,

as the most excellent and remarkable. (1.) Nuptial joys ; the day of espousals is the day of the gladness of a man's heart, Cant. iii. 11. (2.) The joy of children : Though now it seems but a common mercy to most, and a burden to fome, yet the people of God were wont to esteem it a choice mercy, and rejoiced greatly in it, John xvi. 21. there is joy that a man is born into the world.

TI

(3) The joy of conquests and victories, when men divide the spoil: And, lastly, The joy of harvest. These two we find put together, as principal matters of joy, Ifa. ix. 3. “ They joy before thee, according 56 to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.' The joy of harvest is no small joy; Gaudium meffis eft meffis gaudii; The joy of the harvest, is the harvest of their joy. It is usual with men, when they have reaped down their harvest (or cut the neck, as they call it) to demonstrate their joy by thouting, and loud acclamations.

APPLICATION. HUS, and unspeakably more than thus, do faints rejoice and

fout for joy, when they reap the favour and love of God, for which they laboured in many a weary duty. This joy of harvest, as great as it is, and as much as carnal hearts are lifted up with it, is but a trifle, a thing of nought, compared with yours; after they have fown to themselves in righteousness, and waited for the effects and returns of their duties with patience, and at last come to reap in mercy, either the full harvest in heaven, or but the first-fruits of it on earth, yet rejoice, “with joy unspeak« able and full of glory,” i Pet. i. 8. “ This puts more gladness “ into their hearts, than when corn and wine increase," Psal. iv. 7. Carnal joys are but as soul-fevers, the agues of the inward man ; there is a great difference betwixt the unnatural inflammations of a feverish body, which waste the spirits, and drink up the radical moisture, and the kindly well-tempered heat of an healthy body; and as much between the sweet, ferene, and heavenly joy, which flow from the bofom of Christ in the hearts of believers, and those earthly delights which carnal hearts, in a fenfual way, fuck out of creature enjoyments. I will shew you the transcendency of spiritual joys, above the joy of harvest, in these eight particulars following.

1. You that joy with the joy of the harvest, are glad, because now you have food for yourselves and families to live upon all the year; but the Christian rejoiceth, because he hath bread to eat that the world knows not of, Rev. ii. 17. Christ is the food of his soul, and his flesh is meat indeed, and his blood is drink indeed, John V. 55. i. e. the most real and excellent food. You read, Pfal. lxxviii, , 25. that men did eat angels food, i. e. Manna ; which was such excellent bread, that if angels did live upon material food, this would be chosen for them; and yet this is but a type and dark shadow of Jesus Christ, the food of believers.

2. You rejoice when your harvest is in, because corn is virtually many other things besides food ; you can turn it into clothes to keep you warm, and many other necessaries may be purchased by it: but yet it is not like Christ, the object of a saint's joy; though it answers many things, it doth not answer all things, as Christ doth; turn it into what you will, it hath but a limited and respective usefulness ; but Jesus Christ is all in all to believers, and out of him their faith can fetch all fupplies; he is their health in fickness, their strength in weakness, their ease in pain, their honour in reproach, their wealth in poverty, their friend in friendlesnefs, their habitation when harbourless, their enlargement in bonds, the strength of their hearts, and life of their life; () ! he is a full Christ! and wliatever excellencies are scattered anong all the creatures, do meet all in him, and much

morc.

3. You rejoice when you have gotten in your harvest, because now you can free those engagements, and pay thole debts which you have contracted. 'Tis a comfort to be out of debt; and you may lawfully rejoice that God gives you wherewith to quit your engagements, that you may owe no man'any thing but love; but still the joy of harvest falls short of the joy of the saints; for you rejoice that you are, or have wherewith to help yourselves out of men's debt: but they rejoice that they are out of God's debt; that his book is cancelled, and their fins pardoned : that by reason of the imputed righteousness of Christ, the law can demand nothing from them, Rom. viii. 1. O what matter of joy is this !

4. You rejoice, because now your corn is out of danger ; all the while it was abroad, it was in hazard, but now it is houted you fear not the rain : but Christians rejoice, not because their corn is fafe, but because their souls are fo. All the while they abode in an unregenerate ftate, they were every moment in danger of the storms of wrath : but now, being in Christ, that danger is over ; and what compare is there betwixt the safety of a little corn, and the security of an im

mortal foul !

5. Your joy is but a gift of common providence. Turks and Heathens can rejoice with your joy ; but the joy of a Christian, is a peculiar favour and gift of God. Corn is given to all nations, even the moft barbarous and wicked have store of it; but Christ is the portion but of a few, and those the dearly beloved of God. Luther faid of the whole Turkish empire, (where is the best and greatest store of corn) that it is but a crumb which the master of the family throws to the dogs. He that had more corn than his barns could hold, now wants a drop of water to cool his tongue. Christ is a gift bestowed only upon God's elect.

6. Your joy will have an end; the time is coming, that when you have reaped down your harvests, yourselves must be reaped down by death, and then you shall rejoice in these things no more. But when your joy is ended, then is the joy of saints perfected; they reap their barvest, when you leave your harvest; their confolation is everlasting.

7. God can feparate your joy from these enjoyments, even while you have them, as well as when you leave them. It is one thing for a man to have riches and full barns, and another thing to have comfort in them, Eccl. v. 19, 20. But now the joy of Christians is a thing inseparable from their enjoyment of Chrift: indeed the sense of their interest may be lost, and so the acts of their joy intermitted ; but they always have it in the feel, if not in the fruit, Pfal. xcvii. 11. “ Joy is sown for the upright;" he hath it still in the principle, and in the promise.

8. The joy of harveft-men, for the most part, is only in their harvest, and in such carthly things ; take that away, and their joy ceases. Earthly hearts are acquainted with no higher comforts; but the people of God can joy in him, and take comfort in their earthly enjoyments too. And what comfort they take in these things, is much more refined and sweet than yours; for they enjoy all these things in God, and his love in giving thein, puts a sweetness into them, that you are unacquainted with. Thus you see, how far your joys fall fhort of theirs.

REFLECTIONS.

1. How have I rejoiced in a thing of nought,

A reflection for and pleased myself with a vanity ? God hath

one that hath a full blessed me in my fields, and in my stores; but barn, but no Chrift. not with spiritual bieslings in heavenly places in Chrift. My barns are full of corn, but my foul is empty of grace; common bounty hath given me a fulness of the things of this life; but what if the meaning of it snould be to fat me for the day of slaughter? What if this be the whole of my portion from the Lord? What if the language of his providences to my soul should be this; Lo! here I have given thee (with Ishmael) the fatness of the earth? Thou shalt not fay but thou hast tasted of thy Creator's bounty ; but make the most of it, for this is all that ever thou shalt have from me; there be others in the world, to whom I have denied these things, but for then. I have reserved better; for the most part they are poor in this world, but rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom. Is not this enough to damp all my carnal mirth ? Should my conscience give me such a meinento as Abraham, in the parable, gave to Dives; « Remeinber that thou in thy life-time receivedit thy good things." Ah! what a cut would that be to all my coinforts? A man in a fever hath a lively colour, but a dying heart. I have an appearance, a fhadow of comfort, but a sad state of foul. 2. « Blessed be the God and Father of

my

Lord “ Jesus Christ, who hath blessed me with all fpiri

A reflection for “ tualblefings in heavenly places in Christ,” Ephef.

that hati i. 3. Though he hath not seen fit to give me much

Chrijl, but of this world in hand, yet it hath pleated him to

barn. set:le a rich inheritance upon me by promise; the hopes and expectations whereof yield my foul more true comfort than all the prefent enjoyments of this world could have done. Bleed be the Lord, who hath not given me my portion in this life, that by keeping me from the enjoy není, liath alio preterved me from the shares of a prosperous estate?

one

« PreviousContinue »