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panions were diawn away from them, one after another, all the interruption it gave the reit, was only for a minute or two, whilft they stood peeping into that hole through which their companions were drawn, and then fell to their meat again as bufily as before ; I could not chufe but say, 'Even thus fure « prizingly doth death steal upon the children of men, whilft
they are wholly intent upon the cares and pleasures of < this life, not at all suspecting its so near approach. These birds faw not the hand that ensnared them, nor do they see the hand of death plucking them one after another into the grave,
56 Death's steps as swift, and yet no noise it makes ;
And even as the surviving birds for a little time seemed to Itand affrighted, peeping after their companions, and then as busy as ever to their meat again: juft so it fares with the care, less, inconsiderate world, who fee others daily dropping into eternity round about them, and for the present are a little startled, and will look into the grave after their neighbours, and then fall as busily to their earthly employments and pleasures again, as ever, till their own turn comesa
I know, my God, that I must die as well as others; but o let me not die as others do, let me see death before I feel it, conquer
it before it kill me ; let it not come as an enemy upon my back, but rather let me meet it as a friend, half way. Die I must, but let me lay up that good treasure before I
go, Matth. vi. 19. Carry with me a good conscience when I go, 2 Tim. iy. 6, 7. and leave behind me a good example when I am gone, and then let death come, and welcome.
MEDITATIONS upon BEASTS.
MED IT. I.
within his own bounds, his owner had never put such an heavy clog upon his neck; but I fee the prudent husbanda man chuses rather to keep him with this clog, than lose him for want of one. What this clog is to him, that is affliction and trouble to me; had my soul kept close with God in liberty and prosperity, he would never thus have clogged me with advera
† Omribus obfcuras injecit illa manús. Ovid.
ty; yea, and happy were it for me, if I might stray from God no more, who hath thus clogged me with preventive afflictions. If, with David, I might fay, “ Before I was afflicted I went a« ftray, but now I have kept thy word,” Pfalm cxix. 67. O my soul ! it is better for thee to have thy pride clogged with poverty, thy ambition with reproach, thy carnal expectancies with constant disappointments, than to be at liberty to run from God and duty.
It is true, I am sometimes as weary of these troubles, as this poor beast is of the clog he draws after him, and often wish my felf rid of them ; but yet, if God should take them off, for ought I know, I might have cause to wish them on again, to prevent a greater mischief. It is storied of Basil, that for many years he was forely afflicted with an inveterate head-ach, (that was his clog) he often prayed for the removal of it ; at laft God removed it, but instead thereof he was forely exercised with the motions and temptations of luft, which when he perceived, he as earnestly desired his head-ach again, to prevent a greater evil. Lord ! if my corruptions may be prevented by my afflictions, I refuse not to be clogged with them ; but my foul rather desires thou wouldst haften the time when I shall be for ever freed from them both.
Upon the love of a dog to bis master, ow many a weary step, through mire and dirt, hath
this poor dog followed my horse's heels to day, and all this for a very poor reward? for all he gets by it at night, is but þones and blows, yet will he not leave my company, but is content upon
such hard terms, to travel with me from day to day. O my foul! what conviction and shame may this leave upor thee, who art oftentimes even weary of following thy master, Chrift, whose rewards and encouragements of obedience are so incomparably sweet and sure! I cannot beat back this dog from following me, but every inconsiderable trouble is enough to discourage me in the way of my duty. Ready I am to resolve as that scribe did, Matth. viii. 19. “ Mafter, I wilt follow thee “ whithersoever thou goeft;" but how doth my heart faulter, when I must encounter with the difficulties of the way? Oh! let me make a whole heart-choice of Christ for my portion and happiness! and then I shall never leave him, nor turn back from following him, though the present difficulties were much more, and the present encouragements much less.
Upon the fighting of two rams.
are mild and gentle, did yet, like bulls, push each other, taking their advantage by going back to meet with a greater rage and fury: methought I saw in this a plain emblem of the anchristian conteits and animofities which fall out amongst them that call themselves the people of God, who are in fcripture also stiled sheep, for their meekness and innocency; and yet, through the remaining corruptions that are in then, thus do they do push each other; as one long since complained, non fecus acs
Cum duo converfis inimica in praelia tauri,
The fighting of these fheep doth in two respects notably comport with the sinful practices of contending Christians, 1. That in this fight they engage with their heads one against an nother : and what are they, but those head-notions, or oppohtian of sciences, falfely so called, that have made so many broils and uproars in the Christian world? O! what clashings have these heady opinions caused in the churches ! First heads, and then hearts, have clashed. Christians have not distinguished betwixt adverfarius litis, et perfonae ; an adversary to the opinion, and to the perfon; but dipt their tongues and pens in vinegar and gall, shamefully aspersing and reproaching one another, because their understandings were not cast into one mould, and their heads all of a bigness. But, 2. That whic hcountry-men observe from the fighting of theep, That itpresages foul and formy weather, is much more certainly confequent upon the fighting of Christ's sheep. Do these clafh and puth? Surely it is an infallible prognostic of an ensuing
storm, Mal. iv. 6.
had much scope, but little grass, how gentle and traco table was he then ? He would not only stand quiet to be taken, but come to hand of his own accord, and follow me up and down the field for a crust of bread, or handful of oats ; but
since I turned him into this fat pasture, he comes no more to me, nor will suffer me to come near him, but throws up his heels wantonly against me, and flies from me, as if I were rather his enemy than benefactor. In this I behold the carriage of my owa heart towards God, who the more he hath done for me, the feldomer doth he hear from me; in a low and afflicted state, how tractable is my heart to duty ? Then it comes to the foot of God voluntarily. But in an exalted condition, how wildly doth my heart run from God and duty ? With this ungrateful requital God faulted his owu people, Jer. iii. jl. teachable and tractable in the wilderness, but when fatted in that rich pasture of Canaan, “ Then we are lords, we will come no & more to thee.” How soon are all God's former benefits forgotten ? And how often is that ancient observation * verified, even in his own people ?
“ No sooner do we gifts on some bestow,
But that is a bad tenant, that will maintain a suit at law against his landlord with his own rent; and a bad heart, that will fight against God with his own mercies. I wish it may be with my heart, as it is reported to be with the waters in the kingdom of Congo, that are never so sweet to the taste, as when the tide is at the highest.
Upon the hunting of a deer. DHE full-mouthed cry of these dogs, which from the
morning have hunted this poor tired deer, which is now no longer able to stand before them, but is compaffed round with them, who thirst for, and will presently fuck her blood; brings to my thoughts the condition and state of Jesus Christ, in the days of his flesh, who was thus hunted from place to place by blood-thirsty enemies. Upon this very account, the 22d Plalm, which treats of his death, is inscribed with the title of Aijeleth Shahar, which signifies the hind of the morning, and fully imports the same notion which this occasion presented me with ; for look, as the hind or deer, which is intended to be run down that day, is-rouzed by the dogs early in the morning, fo was Christ, in the very morning of his infancy, by bloody Herod, and that cruel pack confederated with him. Thus was
* Μετα τδοσιν ταχισα γκραστει χας. Poft munera cite confenefcit gratia.
217 he chased from place to place, till that was fulfilled which was prophetically written of him in ver. 16. of the forecited Pfalm: * For dogs have compatięd me about, the affembly of the wick.
ed have inclosed me; they pierced my hands and my feet."
And canst thou expect, O my soul ! to fare better than he did, or escape the rage of bloody men ? Surely, if the Spirit of Christ dwell in thee, if his holiness have favoured thee, these dogs will wind it, and give thee chafe too; they go upon the scent of holiness still, and would hunt to destruction every one, in whom there is aliquid Chrifti, any thing of Christ, if the gracious providence of the Lord did not fometimes rate them off: for it is no less a pleafure which fome wicked ones take in hunting the people of God, than what † Claudian the poet obferves men use to take in hunting wild beasts.
« Whilst weary huntsmen in the night do sleep,
Lord I should I with the bypocrite decline the profession and practice of holiness, to escape the rage of persecuting enemies, at what time they cease, my own conscience would begin to hunt ine like a blood-hound, let me rather chuse to be chased by men than God, to flee before pursuing enemies, than be dogged from day to day with a guilty conscience.
insistiansaninaisiaananananaroncinio MEDITATIONS upon TREES.
ME DI T. .1.
beautiful blossoms of various colours, which breathed forth their delicious odours into the circumambient air, and adorned the branches on which they grew, like so many rich jewels, or glitteri: . pendents; and further observing, how these perfumed blossoms dropt off, being bitten with the frost, and discoloured all the ground, as if a shower of snow had fallen; I said within myself, these sweet and early blofsoms are not unlike my sweet and early affections to the Lord, in the days of my first acquaintance with him. O what fervent love, panting desires, and heavenly delights beautified my soul in those days! The odoriferous scent of the sweetest blofsoms, the + Venator defeffa thero quum membra reponit,
Mens tamen ad sylvas, et fua luftra redit. Claud