Page images
PDF
EPUB

a

duct of my moral honesty and righteousness; that joy and peace had been seminally contained

in those actions ; but now I see fuch fruit can spring from no other root but special grace. Glory is disclosed from no other bud but holiness. Alas! all my planting and fowing was to little purpose, because I lowed not the right kind of feed; 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 sowed : And do I expect, better fruit than what they reaped ? Civility without Chrifts

, is but a freer slavery ;, and Satan holds me as fast in captivity by this, as he doth the prophane by the pleasure of their lufts: Either I must sow better seed, or look to reap bitter fruit. The holy souls

3. Mean while, bless the Lord, O my foul!

who enabled thee to sow better seed; whos reflection.

kept thee watching, humbling thyself, and praying, whilst others have been swearing, drinking and blafpheming: This will yield thee fruit of joy in the world.to come; yea, it already 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 low to myself in righteousness, but I reap in, mercy, Hof. x. 12. This is the way in which God will fave 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 PO E Mi
Twould be a strange and monstrous thing, to fee:

.
Cherries or plumbs grow on an apple-tree.
Who ever gather'd from the thistle, figs?
Or fruitful grapes from off the worthless twigs
Of pricking thorns? In nature still we fiud
All its productions answering to their kind.
As are the plants we fet, or. seeds. we sow,
Such is the fruit we shake, and corn we mow :
And canst thou think, that from corruption's roote
Thy soul shall pluck the sweet and pleasant fruit
Of spiritual peace! Whoever, that was wife,
Abus'd himself with such absurdities?
Look what you fow, the very fame you'll reap,
The fruit of what you plant, be fure you'll eat.
How are they baffled by a subtile devil,
Who hope for heaven, whilft their ways are evil.

'T

[ocr errors]

Such reasonings here their credulous souls beguile,
At which, in other things, themselves would smile.
Our present acts, though lightly paffed by,
Are so much feed fown for eternity.
The feeds of prayers, secret groans and tears,
Will shoot at last into the full-blown ears
Of peace and joy. Bleffed are they that fow
Besides these waters, yea, thrice bless'd, that go
Bearing fuch precious feed: Though now they moun,
With joyful Pheaves they shortly fhall return.
Needs muft the full-ripe fruits in heaven be good,
When as the feed was glory in the bud.
But, oh! the bitter, baneful fruits of fin,
When all the pleafure finners have therein,
Like faded blossoms to the ground fhall fall,
Then they will taste the wormwood and the gall!
What God and conscience now of lin

report,
You flight, and with their dreadful threatnings sport:
But he'll convince you then your ways were naught,
As Gideon the men of Succouth taught.
If sermons cannot, fire and brimstone must
Teach men how good it is to pamper lust.
When conscience takes thee by the throat, and cries,
Now wretch! now finner! thou that didft despise
My warnings; learn, and ever learning be
That leffon which thou ne'er wouldit learn of me.
The stouteft finner then would bowl and roar,
O fin I never saw thy face before. ·
Is this the fruit of lin? Is this the place
Where I must lie? Is this indeed the case
Of my poor foul ? muft I be bound in chains
With these companions ? Oh! is this the gains
I get by fin ? Poor wretch! I that would never
See this before, am now undone for ever!

CH A P. XVIII.

Upon the Joy of Harveft-men.
Great is the joy of harvest-men; yet less
Than theirs whom God doth with his favour bless.

OBSERVATION.
Mong all earthly joys, these four forts are noted in fcrip-
ture, as the most excellent and remarkable. (1.) Nup-

A

tial 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 merey to moft, and a burden to fame, 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. (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 to “ the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the

The joy of harveft is no small joy ; Gaudium mehs eft mesjis 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 shouting, and loud acclamations.

« spoil.

a

APPLICATION.
THUS, and unspeakable more than thus, do faints rejoice

and shout 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 har. veft in heaven, or but the first-fruits of it on earth, yet rejoice, « with joy unspeakable and full of glory," 1 Pet. i. 8. “This « puts more gladness into their hearts, than when corn and wine « increase,” Psalm iv: 7. Carnal joys are but as foul-fevers, the agues of the inward man ; there is a great difference bee twixt the unnatural inflammations of a feverith body, which waste the spirits, and drink up the radical moisture, and the kindly well-tempered heart of an healthy body; and as much between the sweet, serene, and heavenly joy, which flow from the bofom of Christ in the hearts of believers, and those earthly delights which carnal hearts, in a sensual way, suck out of creature enjoyments. I will shew you the transcendency of spiritual joys, above the joy of harvest, in thefe 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. il. 17. Christ is the food of his soul, and his fiefh is meat indeed, and his blood

2

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

а

drink indeed, John V. 55. (.i.e.) the most real and excellent food. You read, Psalm lxxviji. 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 Chrift, 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 cloaths to keep you warm, and many other necessaries may be purchased by it: but yet it is not like Chrift, 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 Chrift is all in all to believers, and out of him their faith can fetch all supplies; he is their health in sickness, their strength in weakness, their ease in pain, their honour in reproach, their wealth in poverty, their friend in friendlesness, their habitation when harbourless, their enlargement in bonds, the ftrength of their hearts, and life of their life; O! he is a full Chrift! and whatever excellencies are scattered

among all the creatures, do meet all in him, and much more.

3. You rejoice when you have gotten in your harveft, because now you can free those engagements, and pay those 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 mens 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. 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 housed you

fear not the rain; but Christians rejoice, not because their corn is safe, but because their souls are so. All the while they abode in an unregenerate state, they were every moment in danger of the storms of wrath: but now, being in Chrift, that danger is over ; and what compare is there betwixt the safety of a little corn, and the security of an immortal soul?

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 na.

[ocr errors]

a

tions, even the most barbarous and wicked have store of it; but Christ is the portion but of a few, and those the dearly beloved of God. Luther said 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. Chrift 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 harvest, when you

leave your harvest; their confolation is everlasting.

7. God can separate your joy from these enjoyments, even while you have them, as well as when you leave them. 'Tis one thing for a man to have riches and full barns, and another thing to have comfort in them, Eccles. v. 19, 20. But now the joy of Christians is a thing inseparable from their enjoy. ment of Christ: indeed the sense of their interest may be lost, and so the acts of their joy intermitted : but they always have it in the feed, if not in the fruit, Psalm xcvii. 11. « Joy is fown « for the upright ;" he hath it still in the principle, and in the promise.

8. The joy of harvest-men, for the most part, is only in their harveft, and in fuch earthly 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 inuch more refined and sweet than yours; for they enjoy all these things in God, and his love in giving them, puts a sweetness into them, that you are unacquainted with. Thus you see, how far your joys fall short of theirs.

R E F L E CTIONS.

1. How have I rejoiced in a thing of nought, Areflection for one that and pleased myself with a vanity God hath

? hath a full

blefled me in my fields, and in my stores; but

not with spiritual blessings in heavenly places in barn, but no

Christ. My barns are full of corn, but my soul Chrift.

is empty of grace ; common bounty hath given me a fulness of the things of this life; but what if the meaning of it should be to fat me for the day of flaughter? What if this be the whole of my portion from the Lord? What if the lan

« PreviousContinue »