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condemned in that day? What shall I anfwer, when the Lord fall fay, Thou couldest forefee a winter, and seafonably provide for it, yea, thou hadst fo much care of thy very beasts, to provide for their necessities : and why tookeft thou no care for thy soul? Was that only not worth the caring for?
2. Is it so dangerous to neglect a present proper season of grace? What then have I. The prefumptudone, who have suffered many such seasons ous joul's reflecto die away in my hand, upon a groundless. tion. hope of future opportunities ? Al deluded wretch! what if that supposition fail? Where an I then? I am not the lord of time, neither am I sure, that he who is, will ever vouchsafe an hour of grace in old age, to him that hath neglected many such hours in youthr; neither indeed is it ordinary for God so to do. It is storied: of Caius Marius Victorious, who lived about three hundred years after Chrift, and to his old age continued a Pagan; but at last being convinced of the Christiar. verity, he came to Simplieianus, and told him, he would be a Christian ; but neither he, por the church could believe it, it being so rare an example for any to be converted at his age: but at last, seeing it was real, there was a shouting and gladnefs, and singing of pfalms.in all churches ; the people crying, Caius Marius Victorius is become a Christi. an! This was written for a wonder : and what ground' have I to think, that God will work fuch wonders for mac, who have neglected his ordinary means of salvation ?
3. Bless the Lord, O my soul ! who gave the industrious
The PO E M.
How in the hottest day
About his corn and hay:
And gather in his store,
How should he live, when, for the snow,
He can't more out of door?
By nature's instinct led,
For winter furnished.
Is almost past and gone;
In stock to spend upon ?
For temporal life, much rather Grace should provoke to greater care,
Soul-food in time to gather.
Are hasting on apace ;
How fad will be my case!
Who for that foul of thine,
Do for their very kine.
Your mows of corn and hay,
To you another day :
Nor break an hour's rest
So often for a beast.
Betwixt eternal things,
That fly with eagle's wings.
C H A P. XVII.
Upon reaping the same we fow. When from tare-feeds you see choice wheat to grow, Then from your lufts may joy and comfort flow.
OBS E R V A TI O N.
first he created every tree and herb of the field, having
its feed in itself, for the conservation of their species, and they all inviolably observe the law of their creation. All fruits na. turally rise out of the seeds and roots proper to them : “Men “ do not gather grapes of thorns, nor figs of thistles:" such productions would be monstrous in nature ; and although the juice or sap of the earth be the common matter of all kind of fruits, yet it is specificated according to the different forts of plants and seeds it nourishes. Where wheat is sown, it is turn ed into wheat; in an apple-tree, it becomes an apple; and so in every sort of plants or seeds, it is concocted into fruit proper to the kind.
Α Ρ Ρ L Ι C Α Τ Ι Ο Ν.
ed forth by it, is fully expreffed by the apostle, Gal. vi. 7. “What a man sows, that shall he reap : They that fow to 6 the Aesh, fhall of the flesh reap corruption ; and they that “ fow to the spirit, shall of the spirit reap life everlasting." And as sure as the harvest follows the feed-time, so sure shall such fruits and effects result from the seeds of such actions. “ He that soweth iniquity, shall reap vanity," Prov. xxii. 8. " And they that now go forth weeping, and bearing precious “ seed, shall doubtless come again rejoicing, bringing their
fheaves with them," Psalm cxxvi. 6. The sum of all this is, that our present actions have the same respect and relation to future rewards and punishments, as the seed we fow in our fields hath to the harveft we reap from it. Every gracious action is the feed of joy; and every sinful action, the feed of anguish and sorrow to the soul that soweth it. Two things are sensibly presented to us in this fimilitude.
1. That as the feed sown is presently covered from our fight under the clods, and for some time after we see no more of it, and yet at laft it appears again ; by which it is evident to us, that it is not finally loft: So our present actions, though physically transient, and perhaps forgotten, yet are not lofts but after a time shall appear again, in order to a retribution.
If this were not so, all good and holy actions would be to she loss of him that performed them. All the self-denial, spending duties and sharp sufferings of the people of God, would turn to their damage, though not in point of honesty, yet in point of personal utility; and then also, what difference would there be betwixt the actions of a man and a beast, with respect to future good or evil ? Yea, man would then be more feared and obeyed than God, and all souls be swayed in their motions; only by the influence of present things : And where then would religion be found in the world ? It is an excellent note of • Drexellius; Our works (faith he) do not pass away as foon 4 as they are done, but as feed fown, fhall, after a time, rise up
to all eternity: Whatever we think, speak, or de, once < fpoken, thought, or done, is eternal, and abides for ever.”
What Zeuxes, the famous limner faid of his work, may be truly faid of all our works ; Aeternitati pingo, I paint for eternity. O, how careful should men be of what they speak and do whilft they are commanded fo to speak and so to do, as those that shall be judged by the perfect law of liberty! James ii. 12. What more transient than a vain word ? And yet for such words, men shall give an account in the day of judgment, Matth. xii. 36. That's the first thing : Actions, like leed, shall rise and appear again in order to a retribution.
2. The other thing held forth in this fimilitude is, that according to the nature of our actions now, will be the fruit and reward of them then. Though the fruit or consequence of holy actions, for the present may seem bitter, and the fruit of finful actions, fweet and pleafarit ; yet there is nothing more certain, than that their future fruits shall be according to their prefent nature and quality, 2 Cor. V. 10. Then Dionyfius fhall retract that saying, Ecce quam profpera navigatio a Dee datur Jacrilegis, Behold how God favours our facrileges ! Sometimes indeed (though but rarely) God causes finners to reap, in this world, the fame that they have sown ; as hath been their sin, fuch hath been their punithment. It was openly confefsed by Adonibezek, Judg. i. 7." As I have done, fo hath God requit6 'ed me.”
Socrates, in his church history, furnishes us with a pertinent passage to this purpose, concerning Valens the Emperor, who was an Arian, and a bitter persecutor of the Christians This man, when eighty of the orthodox Christians failed from Conftantinople to Nicomedia, to treat with him about the points of Arianism, and to settle the matter by way of difpute; the Emperor hearing of their arrival, while they were yet in the harbour, and not a man landed, caused the fhips to be fired wherein they were, and so co:rfumed them all. Not long after, in his wars against the Goths, he was overthrown; and hiding himself in a little cottage, the enemy coming by, burnt it and him together. Thus this wretch reaped what he fowed, burning for burning, the very fame in kind paid him again. It is not always so in this world; but fo it thall be in
* Drexellius de aeternitate prope finem.
that to come: The tables shall then be turned, and the scene altered; for shall not the Judge of all the world do,righteoufly? * Diogenes was tempted to think, that God bad cast off the government of the world, when he faw the wicked profper in their wickedness. On the same ground many have been tempted to Atheism; but then the world shall fee distributive justice shining out in its glory, "Tribulation, anguish and wrath * to every foul of man that doth evil; but glory, honour and "peace to every man that worketh good," Rom. ii.-9, 10. Then 'twill appear what feed we lowed, what lives we lived ; « For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every 6 secret thing, whether it be good or evil,” Ecclef. xii. 14.
REFLECTIONS. 1. This meditation may be to me what the
The profane hand-writing upon the wall was to that profane prince, Dan. v. 5, 6. and a like effect it person's reflec
tion. fhould have upon me; for if all the actions of this life be feed fown for the next, Lord, what a crop, what a dreadful harvest am I like to have! How many oaths and curses, lies and vain words, have I fown with my tongue ! How have I wronged, opprefled, and over-reached in my dealings ! Rushed into all profaneness, drunkennefs, uncleanness, sabbathbreaking, br. “ as the horfe rusheth into the battle !" And what thall I reap from such feed as this, but vengeance and fury? Thefe fins seemed pleasant in the commission, but, oh! how bitter will it be in their account ? « What shall I do when « God riseth up; and when he visiteth, what Thalí I answer « him ?” Job xxxi. 14. Is it not reasonable and just, O my foul! that thou shouldest eat the fruit of thine own planting, and reap what thou haft sown ? I thought nothing but profit and pleasure would spring from my luft; but now I see it is a root bearing gall and wormwood, Deut. xxix. 18. Wretched foul! what fhall I do? By these actions am I undone. I have been the author of mine own ruin, twisted an halter with mine own fingers for the execution of mine own soul O! let me rather taste the bitterness of fin, by repentance now, than enjoy its present pleasures, which betray the foul to endless wrath! 2. How have I also been deceived in this
The moral man's matter? I verily thought that glory and immortality would have been the fruit and
* Cum video mala fata bonis, ignoscite quæfo :
Sollicilor nullos effe putare Deori Ovid. VOL. VE.