Imágenes de páginas

be hired ? Will riches do nothing ? No, neither riches nor policy can then avail.

4. The fide to which the tree leaned most while it stood, that way it will fall when it is cut down; and as it falls, so it lies, whether to the south or north, Eccl. xi. 3. So it fares with these mystical trees, I mean fruitless professors: Had their hearts and affections inclined and bended heaven-ward whilft they lived, that way, no doubt, they had fallen at their death; but as their hearts inclined to sing and even bended to the world, so when God gives the fatal stroke, they must fall hellward and wrath-ward: And, how dreadful will such a fall .be !

s. When the dead tree is carried out of the orchard, it shall never be among the living trees of the orchard any more; many years it grew among them, but now it shall never have a place there again. And when the barren professor is carried out of the world by death, he shall never be associated with the saints any more : He may, then fay, farewel all ye faints, among whom I lived, and with whom I so often heard; fafted, şand prayed : I shall never fee your face more ; Matth. viii. 11, 12. “ I say unto you, that many shall come from the east, and “ west, and north, and fouth, and shall sit down with Abra: .“ ham, Ifaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven; but the “ children of the kingdom shall be cast forth into utter darkness, " there shall be weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth.”

6. When the dead tree is carried out of the orchard, the . husbandman cuts off its branches, and rives it asunder with his wedges. This also is the lot of barren professors : “ The « Lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not « for him, and will cut him afunder;" he shall be diffected, or cut abroad, Luke xii. 46.

Now therefore " consider this, ye that forget God, left I tear “(or rend) you in pieces,” Psalm 1.22. O direful day! when the fame hand that planted, pruned, and watered thee so long, and so tenderly, shall now strike mortal.strokes at thee, and that without pity!' " For, he that made them, will not have mer

cy on them; and he that formed them, will shew them no “ favour," Ifa. xxvii. 11. For the day of mercy is over ; and the day of liis wrath is fully come.

7. When this tree is cleaved abroad, then its rotten hollow inside appears, which was the cause of its barrenness; it looked like a fair and sound-bodied tree, but now all may see how sotten it is at the heart ; so will God in that day, when he shall silleet the barren profeffor, discover the rottenness of his heart,

and unsoundness of his principles and ends : Then they who never suspected him before, shall see what a hollow and rotten hearted profeffor he was.

8. Lastly; The fruitless tree is caft into the fire. This allo is the end and fad iffue of formality, John xv. 6. “ He is caft « forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, “ and cast them into the fire ; and they are burned.” This is an undoubted truth, that there is no plant in God's vineyard, but he will have glory from it, by bearing fruit; or glory on it, by burning in the fire. In this fire thall they lie “ gnathing « their teeth," Luke xiï. 38. and that both in indignation against the saints, whom they shall see in glory; and against JeIus Christ, who would not save them and againft themselves, for losing so foolishly the opportunities of salvation. Do you behold, when you sit by the fue, the froth that boils out of those flaming logs? O think of that foam and rage of those undone creatures, foaming and gnashring their teeth in that fire which is not quenched! Mark ix. 14.

REFLECTION. A reflection for a How often have I passed by fuch barret formal hypocrite. trees, with a more barren heart, as little

thinking such a tree to be the emblem of myself, as Nebuchadnezzar did, when he saw that tree in a dream, which represented himself, and fhadowed forth to him his ensuing misery, Dan. iv. 13. But, O my consciencel my drousy, sleepy conscience I wert thou but tender, and faithful to me, thou wouldft make as round and terrible an application of such a spectacle to me, as the faithful prophet did to him, ver. 22. And thus wouldft thou; O my foul, bemoan thy candition.

Poor wretch ! here I grow, for a little time, among the trees of righteousness, the plants of renown, but I am none of them; I was never planted a right feed; some green and flourishing leaves of profession, indeed, I have, which deceive others, but God cannot be deceived; he sees I am fruitless and rotten at the heart. Poor soul! what will thine end be but burning? Behold, the ax ļieth by thy root; and wonder it is, that there it thould lie so long, and I yet standing ! Sțill mercy pleads for a fruitless creature: Lord, spare it one year longer. Alas ! he need ftrike no gieat blow to ruin me; his very

breath blows to destruction, Job iv. 9. A frown of his face can blast and ruin me, Pfalm lxxx. 6. He is daily follicited by his justice to hew me down, and yet I stand. Lord, cure my barrennek! I know thou hadît rather see the fruit than fire upon me.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

The PO E M.
F, after pains and patience, you can see

No hopes of fruit, down goes the barrren trees
You will not suffer trees that are unsound,
And barren too, to cumber useful ground.
The fatal ax is laid unto the root :
'Tis fit for fire, when unfit for fruit.
But, though this be a dead and barren tree,
Reader, I would not have it fo to thee :
May it to thee this ferious thought suggest,
In all the orchard this dead tree's the best ;
Think on it fadly, lay it close to heart,
This is the cafe in which thou waft, or art
I fo thou wast, but now doft live and grow,
And bring forth fruit, what praise and thanks doft owe
To that wise husbandman that made thee fo?

think, when justíce lifted up its hand,
How mercy did then interceeding stand!
How pity did on thy behalf appear,
To beg reprieval for another year.
Stop, Lord! forbear him; all hope is not past;
He can but be for fire at the last.
Though many fermons, many a gracious call
He hath resisted like a brazen wall,
The next may win him; when thy grace fhall raise
Unto itself a monument of praise.
How should this meditation thaw and melt
The heart of him that hath fuch mercy felt ?
But, if thou still reinain a barren tree,
Then here, as-in a mirror, thou may'st see
Thy wretched ftate, when justice, at a blow,
Requites God's patience in thine overthrow.
And canst thou bear it? Can thy heart endure
To think of everlasting burnings? Sure,
This muft thy lot, thy fearful portion be,
F thou continue ftil á barren tree.



• To the THIRD PART of

TOW, from the pleasant orchard let us walk

A turn i'th' fields, and there converse and talk
With cows and horses; they can teach us some
Choice leffons, though irrational and dumb.
My reader's weary; yet I do not fear
To be forfaken by one reader here:
He'll doubtless stay to hear what questions I
Propound to beasts, and how they make reply.
The fatted ox, and pamper'd horse you ride ;
Their careless master for his care thus chide.

Upon the Husbandman's Care for his Cattle.
More care for horse and oxen many takeg.:
Than for their souls, or" dearest childrens sake.

ANY husbandmen are excessively careful about their


to rite betimes, to provender and dress them. Much time is spent in some countries, in trimming and adorning their horfes with curious trappings and plumes of feathers, and if at any time their beasts be lick, what care is taken to recover and heal them : you will be sure they shall want nothing that is necefsary for them ; yea, many will chuse rather to want thenkfelves, than suffer their horses so to do; and take


deal of comfort to see them thrive and prosper under their hands.

HAT one faid of bloody Herod, who flew so many

children at Bethlehem, That it were better to be his fwine than his son, may truly enough be applied to some pa. rents and masters, who take less care for the saving the souls of


[ocr errors]

their children and servants, than they do for the bodies of those beasts which daily feed at their italls and cribs. Many there be who do in reference to their fouls, as Jacob did with refpect to the preservation of their bodies, when he put all the herds of cattle before, and his wives and little ones behind, as he went to meet his brother Efau. It is a weighty faying of a grave * author ; 'It is vile ingratitude to rejoice when cattle

multiply, and repine when children increase ; it is heathen<ifh distrustfulnets, to fear that he who provides for your beasts, s will not provide for your children, and it is no less than un« natural cruelty, to be careful of the bodies of beasts, and < careless of the souls of children.' Let us but a little compare your care and diligence in both respects, and see, in a few parriculars, whether you do indeed value your own, or your chil, dren and fervants fouls, as you do the life and health of a beast.

1. Your care for your very horses is expressed early, whilst they are but colts, and not come to do you any service ; you are willing to be at pains and coft, to have them broken and brought to their way. This is more than ever many of them did for their children ; they can see them wild and profane, naturally taking a stroke or way of wickedness, but yet never were at any pains or coast to break them, these must be fondled and cockered up in the natural way of their own corruption and wickedness, and not a tod or reproof used to break them of it.

It is observed of the Perfians, + that they put out their children to school, as soon as they can speak, and will not see them in seven years after, lest their indulgence should do them hurt.

2. You keep your constant set times, morning and evening, to feed, water, and dress your cattle, and will by no means neglect it once : but how many times have you neglected morning and evening-duties in your families ? 'Yea, how many be there, whose very tables, in respect of any worship God hath there, do very little differ from the very cribs and mangers at which their hortes feed? As soon as you are up in a morning, you are with your beasts, before you have been with your God. How little do such differ from beasts? And happy were it, if they were no mote accouatable to God than their beasts are,

The end of your care, colt, and pains about your cattle is, that they may be strong for labour, and the more ferviceable to you: thus you comply with the end of their beings. But how

* ferk, on Jude, part 2. p. 170.
Vol. VI.


+ Clark's Mir, p. 506.

« AnteriorContinuar »