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morning breath of the most fragrant flowers, hath not half that sweetness with which those my first affections were en: riched. O! happy time, thrice pleasant spring! My soul hath it still in remembrance, and is humbled within me; for these also were bụt blossoms which now are nipt and faded, that first flourish is gone ; my heart is like the winter's earth, because thy face, Lord, is to me like a winter sun. “Awake, O 's north wind! and come, fouth-wind, blow upon my garden, «that the spices thereof may flow out, then let my beloved * come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruit !".
ME DI T. II.
and kpit, though the flourish thereof be gone, and nothing but the bare rudiment of the expected fruit be left ; yet then the fruit is much better secured from the danger of frosts and . winds, than whilft it remained in the flower or blossom ; for now it hath past one of those critical periods, in which so many trees miscarry and lose their fruit. And methought this natural observation fairly led me to this theological proposition, • That good motions, and holy purposes in the soul, are never
secured, and past their most dangerous crisis, till they be turned into fixed resolutions, and answerable executions, • which is as the knitting and setting of them.'
Upon this proposition my melting thoughts thus dilated : happy had it been for thee, my soul! had all the blessed motions of the Spirit been thus knit and fixed in thee. Oh, how have mine affections blown and budded under the warm beams of the gospel ! But a chill blast from the cares, troubles and delights of the world without, and the vanity and deadness of the heart within, have blasted all; my goodness hath been but as a morning-dew, or early cloud, thát vanisheth away. And even of divine ordinances, I may fay, whac is said of human ordinances, “ They have perished in the using." A blofsom is but fruélus imperfeftus, et ordinabilis, an imperfect thing in itself, and something in order to fruit; a good motion and holy purpose is but opus imperfectum, et ordinabile, an imperfect work, in order to a complete work of the Spirit; when that primu:s impetus, those first motions were strong upon my heart, had I then pursued them in the force and vigour of them, how many difficulties might I have overcome ? Revive thy work, O Lord, and give not to my foul a miscarrying womb, or dry breasts.
M E DI T. III.
to be a little wood, than a single tree, every limb thereof having the dimensions and branches of a tree in it; and yet as great as it is, it was once but a little slip, which one might pull up with two fingers; this vast body was contained virtually and potentially in a small acorn. Well then, I will never despise the day of small things, nor despair of arriving to an eminency of grace, though at present it be but as a bruised
а reed, and the things that are in me be ready to die. As things in nature, so the things of the Spirit, grow up to their fulness and perfection by flow and infenfible degrees. The famous and heroical acts of the most renowned believers were fuch as themselves could not once perform, or it may be think they ever should. Great things, both in nature and grace, come from small and contemptible beginnings.
ME DI T. IV. Upon the fight of many sticks lodged in the branches of a choice
fruit-tree, HOW is this tree battered with stones, and loaded with
sticks, that have been thrown at it, whilst those that grow about it, being barren, or bearing harsher fruit, elope un touched! Surely if its fruit had not been so good, its usage had not been so bad. And yet it is affirmed, that some trees, as the walnut, &c. bear the better for being thus bruised and battered.
Even thus it fares in both respects with the best of men; the the more holy, the more envied and persecuted ; every one that paffes by will have a fling at them. Methinks I see how devils and wicked men walk round about the people of God, whom he hath inclosed in bis arms of power, like so many boys about an orchard, whose lips water to have a fling at them. But God turns all the stones of reproach into precious stones to his people ; they bear the better for being thus battered. And in them is that ancient * obfervation verified.
“ The palms and crowns of virtue thus increase ;
I e 2
Let me be but fruitful to God in holiness, and ever de bounding in the work of the Lord, and then whilft devils and men are flinging at me, either by hand or tongue perfecutions, I will fing amidst them all with the divine poet :
« What open force, or hidden charm,
ME DI T. V. Upon the gathering of choice fruit from a scrubbed, unpranising
tree, Ould any man think to find such rare delicious fruit
upon such an unworthy tree to appearance as this is? I should rather have expected the most delicious fruit from the moft handfame and flourishing trees; but I fee I must neither judge the worth of trees or men by their external form and appearance. This is not the first time I have been deceived in judging by that rule ; under fair and promising outsides I have found nothing of worth ; and in many deformed despicable bodies, I have found precious and richly furnished souls. The fap and juice of this scrubbed tree is. concocted into rare and excellent fruits, whilst the juice and fap of some other fair, but baren trees, serves only to keep them from rotting, which is all the use that many souls which dwell in beautiful bodies serve for; they have, as one faith, animam pra fale; their fouls are but salt to their bodies. Or thus,
The only use to which their fouls do ferve,
Is but like salt, their bodies to preserve. If God have given me a found soul in a sound body, I have a double mercy to bless him for ; but whether my body be vis gorous and beautiful, or not, yet let my soul be fa: for as the esteem of this tree, so the esteem and true honour of every man, rises rather from his fruitfulness and ufefulness, than from his fhape and form,
chard, I told the owner it was pity that tree fhould stand there ; and that if it were mine I would root it up,
and thereby reduce the orchard to an exact uniformity. It was replied to this purpose, That he rather regarded the fruit than the form;" and that this flight inconveniency was abundantly preponderar
ed by a more considerable advantage. This tree, faid he, which
Not much unlike, such foolish men are those,
MEDITATIONS upon a GARDEN.
garden, returns to her own with a greater dislike of it than ever; resolves to rew-model the whole plat, and reduce it 10 a better form ; is now become so curious and neat, that not a weed or stone is suffered in it, but all must lie in exquisite order ; and whatever ornament she had observed in her neighbours, she is now restless till she sees it in her own.
Happy were it, thought I, if in an holy emulation every one would thus endeavour to rectify the disorders of their own conversation, by the excellent graces they behold in the more heavenly and regular lives of others. Some Christians there are (I wish their number were greater) whose actions lie in such a comely and beautiful order, that few of their neighbours can look upon their examples without felf-conviction and shame ; but few are so happy to be provoked into self-reformation by such rare patterns. I see it is much easier to pull up many weeds out of a garden, than one corruption out of the heart; and to procure an hundred flowers to adorn a knot, than one grace to beautify the soul. It is more natural to corrupt man to envy, than to imitate the spiritual excellencies of others.
Upon the pulling up of a leek. White head and a green tail ! How well doth this refemble an old wanton lover, whose green youthful lusts
are not extinguished, though his white head declares that na ture is almost so! Gray hairs should be always matched with grave deportments; and the sins of youth should rather be the griefs than pleafures of old age. It is sad when the fins of the foul, like the diseases of the body, grow stronger, as nature grows weaker: and it recals to my mind that ancient observas tion of * Menander :
« It is the worst of evils, to behold
“ Strong youthful lufts to rage in one that's old." It is a thousand pities, that those who have one foot in the grave, should live as if the other were in hell! that their lufts thould be so lively, when their bodies are three parts dead ! Such finful practices bring upon them more contempt and shame, than their huary heads, and reverend faces can procure them honour.
“ Gray hairs, and aged wrinkles, did of old
“ Procure more reverence than bags of gold t." But alas ! how little respect or reverence can the hoary head obtain amongst wife men, except it be found in the way of righteousness? I think the lowest esteem is too much for anold servant of the devil; and the highest honour little enough for an ancient and faithful fervant of Christ,
ME D IT. III.
was richly adorned with rare tulips, and other beautiful flowers; I was very careful to shun those flowers, which indeed had no other worth to commend them, but their exquisite colour; and unadvisedly trode upon and spoiled an excellent choice herb, which, though it grew obscurely, yet had rare phyfical virtues in it.
When I was made sensible of the involuntary trespass I had committed, I thought I could fcarcely make the owner a better compensation, than by telling him, that herein (though against my will) I did but tread in the footsteps of the greatest part of the world, who are very careful (as I was) to keep their due
Γιρων ερασης εσχάτη κακη Τυκη.
Senex amore captus, ultimum malum. # Magna fuit capitis quondam reverentia cani,
Inzue fuo pretio ruga senilis erat.
Ovid. 5 Fast.