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Farewel, dear Sir, I take my leave, and now Will say no more than this, God speed the plow.



The EPISTLE, to the intelligent Country READER. "HOU haft here the fruit of some of my spare hours,

which were thus employed, when, by a sad providence, I was thrust from the society of many dear friends, into a solitary country dwelling. I hope none will envy me these inno. cent delights, which I made out of my lonely walks, whereby the Lord sweetened my folitudes there. It is like thou wilt find some passages here, that are harmlefly pleasant; yet, I assure thee, I know of none that the most Cynical Reader can censure, as finfully light and vain. I must acknowledge, to the praise of God, that I have found some of those (which possibly some of my readers will call the slightest, and most trifling subjects of meditation) to be the ordinances for instruction, caution, and consolation to my own soul : yea, such a degree of comfort, I do profess to have found by these things, as hath much indeared the country-life to me, and made me much better to understand that saying of Horace, tharı when I learned it at school,

Novistine locum potiorem rure beato?
Eft ubi plus tepeant hyems ? Ubi gratior aura ?
O rus, quando égo te adspiciam ? Quandoque licebit
Nunc veterum libris, nunc fomno, et inertibus hortis
Ducere solicitae jucunda oblivio vitae. li.e.)

What life can with the country life compare ?
Where breathes the purest, and moft healthful air.
Where, undisturb’d, my study I pursue,

And, when I feep, bid all my cares adieu. Hor. Sat. 6. And what I have found so beneficial to myself, I cannot but think may

be fo to others. I assure thee, reader, I am not fond of any of these conceptions; and yet I think I may modestly enough say, That the emptieft leaf in this book may serve for more, and better uses, than a mere diversion, when thou canst find leisure to peruse it. I know, your troubles and cares are many; and though your condition of life hath many innocent comforts, and outward mercies to sweeten it, yet I believe most of you have found that ancient saying of Anacreon experimentally true: Εχει τι πικρον της λεoργίας γλυκυ.

Some bitter troubles countrymen do meet,
Wherewith the Lord doth intermix their sweet.'

to you,

The cares of your minds are commonly no less than t pains of your bodies; it concerns you, therefore, to fweet what you cannot avoid; and I know no better way for tha than what is here directed to. O friends! what advantage have you for a spiritual life? Why may you not have two har vests every year? One for your souls, another for your bodies if you could thus learn to husband your husbandry. Methinks spiritual meditations do even put themselves upon yon. Hur bandmen of old were generally presumed to be honest and good men ; what else means that saying of Menander, Anpassas etrais πρισποινή πονερος ων. 6. Profess thyself an husbandman,

And wicked too! believe't that can.' What you are, godly or wicked, is not for me (that am a stranger to most of you) to determine ; but if you are not godly, it is my desire and design to make you fo: and I could not think on a more probable means to accomplish this honest design, than what I have here used. Methinks it should be a pleasure

when you come weary out of the fields from plow, or any other labour, to fit down in the evening, and read that chapter which concerns that particular business, and refresh your souls, even from that which hath wearied your

bodies. Were your hearts but heavenly, and more time allowed for spiritual husbandry, your inward comforts would be much more, and your outward gains not a jot less; for if the success of all your civil labours, and employments, depend upon the pleasure and will of God (as all that are not Atheifts do acknowledge) then, certainly, your business can succeed never the worse for your endeavours to please him, upon whose pleasure it so entirely depends. I have many times lifted up my heart to heaven, whilft these papers were under my hand, for a special blessing to accompany them, when they should be in yours. If the Lord accomplish my desires by them upąn your

fouls, you shall enjoy two heavens, one here, and another hereafter. Would not that be sweet? The historian tells us, that Altitus Serarius was fowing corn in the field, when Q. Cincinnatus came to hinn bare-headed, with letters from the fenate, signifying, that he was chosen to the dictatorship. I hope the Lord will to blefs, and fucceed thefe labours, that many of you will be called from holding the plow on earth, to wear the crown of glory in heaven; which is the sincere desire of

Your hearty well-wisher, ,


I'll thew you

Yome you, whose list'ning ears do ever itch
To hear the way prescrib'd of growing rich;

how to make your tenements
Ten thousand times more worth, and yet your rents
Not rais'd a farthing ; here my reader sees

to make his dead and barren trees
Yield precious fruit; his sheep, though ne'er so bad,
Bear golden fleeces, such ne'er Jason had :
In ev'ry thing your gain fhall more than double,
And all this had with far less toil and trouble.
Methinks I hear thee fay, this cannot be,
I'll ne'er believe it. Well, read on, and fee.

Reader, hadst thou but senses exercis'd
To judge aright; were spiritual things but priz'd
At their juft value, thou wouldit quickly fay,
”Tis fo indeed, thou would not go thy way

Like one that's disappointed, and so fling
The book aside. I thought 'twas some such thing.
Time was when country Christians did afford
More hours and pains about God's holy word:
Witness the man who did most gladly pay
For some few leaves his whole cart-load of hay.
And time shall be, when heav'nly truth that warms
The heart, shall be preferr'd before your farms;
When holiness, as facred feripture tells,
Shall be engraven on the horses bells.
Lord, haften on those much desired times,
And, to that purpose, bless these rural rhimes.

THE P R ο Ε Μ.

1 Cor. iii. 9. Te are God's Husbandry.


H E scope and design of the following chapters, being the

spiritual improvement of husbandry, it will be necefsary, by way of proem, to acquaint the reader with the foundation, and general rules of this art in the scriptures, thereby to procure greater respect unto, and prevent prejudice against composures of this kind.

To this end, I shall entertain the reader a little while upon fo

what this scripture affords us, which will give a fair intre duction to the following discourse.

The apostle's fcope in the context being to check and re press the vain glory and emulation of the Corinthians, who inftead of thankfulness for, and an humble and diligent im provement of the excellent blessings of the ministry, turned all into vain ostentation and emulation, one preferring Paul, and another Apollos; in the mean time depriving themselves of the choice blessings they might have received from them both.

To cure this growing mischief in the churches, he checks their vanity, and discovers the evil of such practices by several arguments, amongst which this is one.

re are God's Husbandry, q. d. What are ye, but a field, or plot of ground, to be manured and cultivated for God? And what are Paul, Apollos, and Cephas, but so many workmen and labourers, employed by God, the great husbandman, to plant and water you all?

If, then, you shall glory in some, and despise others, you take the ready way to deprive yourselves of the benefits and mercies you might receive from the joint ministry of them all. God hath used me to plant you, and Apollo to water you ; you are obliged to bless him for the ministry of both, and it will be your fin if you despise either. If the workmen be discouraged in their labours, it is the field that loses and suffers by it; so that the words are a fimilitude, serving to illustrate the relation,

1. Which the churches have to God.
2. Which God's ministers have to the churches.

1. The relation betwixt God and them is like that of an husbandman to his ground or tillage. The Greek word fignifies God's t arable, or that plot of ground which God manures by the ministry of pastors and teachers.

2. It serves to illustrate the relation that the ministers of Christ sustain to the churches, which is like that of the husband's fervants to him, and his fields; which excellent notion carries in it the perpetual necessity of a gospel-ministry. (For wha fruit can be expected, where there are none to till the ground ?) As also the diligence, accountableness, and rewards which thefe labourers are to give to, and receive from God, the great

hulbandman. All runs into this,

* The faithful (or believers) are called God's husbandry (swepying georgeon) because Cod cultivates them as land by means of spirual teachers (or pastors.) Rav.

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That the life and employment of an husbandman, excellently

shadows forth the relation betwixt God and his church,
and the relative duties betwixt its ministers and members.

Or more briefly thus:
The church is God's husbandry, about which his ministers

are employed.
I shall not here observe my usual method, (intending no
more but a preface to the following discourse) but only open
the particulars wherein the resemblance confifts; and then draw
fome Corollaries from the whole. The first I shall dispatch in
these twenty particulars following:

1. Prop. The husbandman purchases his fields, and gives a valuable consideration for them, Jer. xxxii. 9, 10.

Reddit. So hath God purchased his church with a full va. ļuable price, even the precious blood of his own Son, Acts xx. 28. “ Feed the church of God, which he hath purchased, or, " acquired with his own blood.” O dear-bought inheritance, how much doth this bespeak its worth? Or rather, the high esteem God hath of it, to pay down blood, and such blood for it; never was any inheritance bought at such a rate : every particular elect person, and none but such, are comprehended in this purchase the rest still remain in the devil's right. Sin made a forfeiture of all to justice, upon which Satan entered, and took possession, and, as a strong man armed, still keeps it in them, Luke xi. 21. but upon payment of this sum to justice, the elect (who only are intended in this purchase) pass over into God's right and property, and now are neither Satan's, Acts xxvi. 18. nor their own, 1 Cor, vi. 19. but the Lord's peculiar, 1 Pet. ii. 6. And to fhew how much they are his own, you have two pollelives in one verse, Cant. viii. 12.

My vineyard, which is mine, is before me, mine, which is " mine."

2. Prop. Husbandmen divide and separate their own lands from other men's, they have their land-marks and boundaries, by which propriety is preferved, Deut, xxvii. 17. Prov. xxii. 28.

Reddit. So are the people of God wonderfully separated and distinguished from all the people of the earth. Psal. iv. 3. “The “ Lord hath fet apart him that is godly for himself. And the

Lord knoweth who are his," 2 Tim. ii. 19. It is a special act of grace, to be inclofed by God out of the waste howling wildernefs of the world, Deut. xxxiij. 16. This did God in, VOL. VI.



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