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What a large capacity to man! Alas, they are only capable of a little sensitive pleasure ; as you shall see sometimes, how they will frisk in a green pasture; this is all they be capable of, and this death puts an end to: but how comprehensive are our souls in their capacities! We are made in the image of God; we can look beyond present things, and are capable of the highest happiness, and that to all eternity: the soul of a beast is but a material form, which, wholly depending upon, must needs die with the body; but our souls are a divine spark or blaft; and when the body dies, it dies not with it, but fublifts even in its feparated state.
1. How great a fin is ingratitude to God, for A reflection such a common, but choice mercy of creation and for an IN- provision for me in this world? There is no thankful fin- creature made worse by kindness, but man.
There is a kind of gratitude which I may observe
even in these brute beasts"; they do in their way acknowledge their benefactors; “ The ox knows his owner, « and the ass his master's crib.” How ready are they to serve" such as feed and cherish them? But I have been both unthank. ful and unferviceable to my Creator and Benefactor, that hath done me good all my days ; those poor creatures that sweat and groan under the load that I lay upon them, never finned against God, nor transgressed the laws of their creation, as I have done; and yet God hath dealt better with me than with them. O that the bounty of God, and his distinguishing mercy between me and the beafts that perish, might move and melt my heart into thankfulness! O that I might confider ferioufly what the higher and more excellent end of my creation is, and might more endeavour to answer and live up to it! Or elle, O my soul! it will be worse with thee than the beasts : it is true, they are under bondage and misery; but it is but for a little time; death will end all their pains, and ease them of all their heavy loads ; but I shall groan to all eternity, under a heavier burden than ever they felt; they have no account to give, but fo have I. What comfort is it that I have a larger capacity than a beaft hath? That God hath endowed me with reafon, which is denied to them? Alas! this will but augment my misery, and enlarge me to takein a greater measure of anguish.
2. But how many ftepe, O my foult mayst A reflettion thou ascend in the praises of thy God, when thou for an ele&t considerelt the mercies that God hath bestowed foul. upon thee; not only in that he made thee nut a stone or tree without sense, or an horse or dog without reason, but that thou art not an infidel without light, or an unregenerate person without grace? What! to have fenfc, and all the delights of it, which ftones have not ! Reason, with the nière high and noble pleasures of it, which beasts have not, the light and knowledge of the great things of the gospel, which the heathens have not! and fuch an expectation and hope of unconceivable glory and felicity, which the unfanctified have not ! O my foul ! how rich, how bountiful hath thy God been to thee! There are the overflowings of his love te thee who wast moulded out of the same lump with the beasts that groan on earth, yea, with the damned that howl in hell: well may I fay that God hath been a good God to me !
The PO E M.
With whip and spur, till all his strength be gone ;
What hath this creature done, that he should be
horfe to me:
To fpiritualize it, and improve it thus ;
Upon the seeking of loft Cattle.“
yse all care and diligence to recover them again ; tracing their footsteps, crying them in the market-towns, fending your servants abroad, and enquiring yourselves of all that you think can give news of thein. What care and pains men will take in such cases, was exeinplified in Saul, 1 Sam. ix. 4, 5. who with his servant, passed through mount Ephraim, to seek she asses that were strayed from his father, and througa the land of Shalisha, and through the land of Shalim, and they were not there, and through the land of the Benjamites, but found them not.
carries a fweet and lively representation of the love of Jesus Christ, in the recovery of loft finners. Jesus Chrift came on purpose from heaven upon a like errand, to seek and to save that which was loft, Matth. xviii. 11. There are several particulars in which this glorious design of Chrift, in seek. ing and faving lost man, and the care and pains of husbandmen in recovering their loit cattle, do meet and touch, though there be as many particulars also in which they differ: all which I Thall open under the following heads.
1. We sometimes find that cattle will break out of those very fields where they have been bred; and where they want nothing that is needful for them. Just thus loft man departed from his God, brake out of that pleasant enclofure where he was abundantly provided for, both as to foul and body; yet then he brake over the hedge of the command, and went aAray, Reclef. vii. 29. “ Lo, this only have I found, that God " made man upright, but he fought out to himself many in“ ventions :" He was not content and satisfied with that blerVol. VI.
sed state God had put him into, but would be trying new conslusions, to the loss and ruin both of himself and his pofterity.
2. Strayers are evermore sufferers for it; all they get .by it,
to be pined and poinded: And what did man get by departîng from his God, but ruin and misery to foul and body? Will you have an abbreviate of his fufferings and loffes? The full account none can give you: Why, by straying from his God, he lost the rectitude and holiness of his nature; like a true ftrayer, he is all dirty and miry, overspread and besmeared both in foul and body with the odious filthiness of ln; he loft the liberty and freedom of his will to good, a precious jewel of inestimable value. This is a real mifery incurred by the fall, though some have so far lost their understandings and humility, as not to own it; he hath loft his God, his foul, his happiness, and his very bowels of compassion towards himself in this miferable ftate.
3. When your cattle are strayed, yea, though it be but one of the flock or herd, you leave all tħe rest, and go after that which is loft : So did Jesus Christ, who, in the forecited place, Matth. xvii. 12. compares himself to such a fhepherd; he left heaven itself, and at the bleffed angels there, to come into this world to feek lost man. O the precious esteem, and dear love that Christ had to poor man ! How did his bowels yearn towards us in our low state! How did he pity us in our misery! As if he had said, poor creatures, they have lost themfelves, and are become a prey to the devil in a perishing state; I will feek after them, and fave them. The Son of man is conie to feek and to save.
4. You are glad when you have found your ftrayers ; much more is Christ, when he hath found a loft soul. O it is a great fatisfaction to him to see the fruit of the travail of his foul, Ifa. liii. “ Yea, there is more joy in heaven over one finner that re“ penteth, than over ninety nine just perfons that need no re
pentance.” What demonftrations of joy and gladness did the father of the prodigal give, when he had found his son that was lost? Luke xv. 20.
5. When you have brought home your ftrayers, you fome times clog them, to prevent their wandering again, and stop up the gaps with thorns; and fo doth God oftentimes by such souls as are recovered and brought home to Christ; he hangs a clog of affliction to prevent their departure from Godi agaili, 2 Cor. xii. 7.
But then there are five particulars in which Christ's feeking toft fouls, and your seeking itit cattle differ..
1. Your cattle fometimes find the way home themselves, and return to you of their own accord; but loft man never did, nor can do fo; he was his own destroyer, but can never be his own saviour; it was possible for him not to have lost his God, but having once lost him, can never find him again of himself. Alas! his heart.is bent to backsliding, he hath no will to return. Hear how Christ complains, John v. 40. “Ye will not come « unto mę.” Man's recovery begins in God, not in himself.
2. Your servants can find, and bring back your lost cattle as well as you ; but so cannot Christ's servants : Ministers may discover, but:cannot recover them; they daily fee, but cannot fave them; lament them they can, but help them they cannot ; intreat and beg them to return they can, and do, but prevail with them they cannot. Melancthon thought, when he began to preach, to persuade all; but old Adam was too hard for young Melancthon.
3. "You seek all the cattle that are strayed from you, especially the best; but Jesus Christ only seeks poor" loft man. There were other creatures, and such as by nature were more excellent, that lost their God and themselves; I mean, the a. postate angels; but he came not to seek them: herein his line gular love to man appears.
4. When you have recovered and brought home your lost cattle, you may lose them the second time, and never recover them again; but fo.cannot Christ. Man once recovered is for ever secured by him. “ All that thou hast given me, I have 6 kept, and not one of them is loft, but the son of perdition;" and he was never savingly found, John xvii. 12.
5. Though you prize your cattle, yet you will not venture your life for the recovery of them ; rather let them go, than regain them with such an hazard; but Jesus Christ not only ventured, but actually laid down his life to recover, and save loft man: he redeemed them at the price of his own blood; he is that good shepherd that laid down his life for the sheep. o the surpalling love of Christ to lost souls-!
R E F LECTION S. 1. Lord, I am a lost creature! an undone foul! and herein lies my misery, that I have A reflection for a not only loft my 'God, but have no heart to loft foul. return to him : nay, I fly from Chrift, who is come on purpose from heaven to seek and to save me : his messengers are abroad, seeking for such as I am, but I avoid them, or at least refuse to obey their call and persuasions to re