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Thus souls for ruin are prepar’d.
Which are attended with the richest gains.
Whereas one hour spent with God brings in
CH A P. III.
them? It is very delightful to hear the melody they make, by whistling, as they follow the plow; yea, the very horses have their bells, which make a pleasant noise. Horses (faith Mr. Fuller) will do more for a whistle than a whip; and their bells do, as it were, gingle away their weariness. I have been of
, ten delighted with this country music, whereby they sweeten their hard labours with an innocent pleasure, and verify the faying of the poet';
Tempus in agrorum cultu confumere dulce eft. Ovid.
Time steals away with pleasure and delight.
address themselves unto his work with all chearfulness of lpirit? And, indeed, so far as the heart is spiritual, it de. lights in its duties. 'Tis true, the work of a Chriftian is pain ful, and much more spending, than the husbandman's (as was opened chapı 1.) but then it as much exceeds in the delights and pleasures that attend it. What is the Christian's work, but « with joy to draw water out of the wells of salvation ?". Ifa. xii. 3. You may fee what a pleasant path the path of duty is,
. by the chearfulness of those that have walked in them, Pfal, cxix. 14. “I have rejoiced in the way of thy judgments,
as much as in all riches.' And by the promises that are made to such, Pfal. cxxxviii. 5. " Yea, they shall fing in the « ways of the Lord, for great is the glory of the Lord.” And again, “ You shall have a fong as in the night, when an “ holy solemnity is kept, and gladness of heart, as when one s goeth with a pipe, to come to the mountain of the Lord, to s the mighty one of Ifrael,” Ifa. xxx. 29.
And, lastly, by the many commands, whereby joy in the way of the Lord is made the duty of the saints. " Rejoice in " the Lord, ye righteous, for praise is comely for the upright,” Psal. xcvii. 12. “Rejoice, and again I say rejoice," Phil. iv. 4. where the command is doubled, yea, not only simple rejoicing, but the highest degree of that duty comes within the command. Psal. cxxxii. 9, 16. “ Shout for joy, all ye that are upright in “ heart.” And Luke vii. 22, 23. they that are bid to leap for joy, when about the difficultest part of their work. And that you may see there is a sufficient ground for it, and that it is not like the mad mirth of finners, be pleafed to consider,
1. The nature of the work about which they are employed : It is the most excellent, and heavenly employment, that ever souls were acquainted with. O what a ravishing, and delightful thing it is, to walk with God! And yet by this, the whole work of a Christian is expressed, Gen. xvii. 1. Can any life compare with this, for pleasure? Can they be chill that walk in the sun-fhine? Or sad, that abide in the fountain of all delights; and walk with him whose name is the God of all comfort, 2 Cor. i. 3. “In whose presence is the fulness of joy, " Pfal. xvi. II.
O what an angelical life doth a Christian then' live ?
Or, 2dly, If we consider the variety of spiritual employ. ments, Varietas delectat. Change of employment takes off
the tedioufness of labour. Variety of voices pleases the ear, variety of colours delight the eye, the fame meat prepared feveral ways, pleases the palate more, and clogs it less. But O the variety of choice dishes wherewith God entertains his people in a Sabbath! as the word, prayer, facraments, doc. Ifa. Iviii.
а 13. If thou call the Sabbath thy delights; or, as Tremellius renders it, thy delicate things. « My soul (faith David) shall “ be satisfied, as with marrow and fatness," Pfalm lxiii. 5.
3dly, Or lastly, If we consider the suitableness of this work to a regenerate toul. Is it any pain for a bird to fly? Or a fish to swim? Is the eye tired with beautiful objects? Or the ear with melodious sounds ? As little can a spiritual soul be wearied with spiritual and heavenly exercises. Rom. vii. 22. “I de.
light in the law of God after the inner man.' Gravia non gravitant in
eorum loco, (faith the philosopher) weighty things are not heavy in their own element, or center. And furely God is the center of all gracious spirits. A saint can fit from morning to night to hear discourses of the love and loveliness of Jesus Christ. The light of your thriving flocks, and flourishing fields, cannot yield you that pleasure which an upright foul can find in one quarter of an hour's communion. with God. “They that are after the flesh, (saith the apostle, " Rom. viii 5.) do mind the things of the flesh, and they that
are after the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.” But then look how much heavenly objects transcend earthly ones, and how much the soul is more capable of delight in those objects, than the gross and duller senses are in theirs; so much doth the pleasure arising from the duty excel all sensitive delights on earth.
REFLECTION S. How am I cast and condemned by The carnal heart's this, may I say; who never savoured this refletion. spiritual delight in holy duties. When I am about my earthly employments, I can go on unweariedly from day to day; all the way is down-hill to my nature, and the wheels of my affections being oiled with carnal delight, tuu so fast, that they have need most times of trigging. Here I rather need the curb, than the fpur. O how fleet and nimble
O are my fpirits in these their pursuits! but what a flug am I in religious duties ! sure if my heart were renewed by grace, I should delight in the law of God, Rom. vii. 22. All the world is alive in their ways, every creature enjoys his proper pleasure ; and is there no delight to be found in the paths of Vol. VI.
holiness ? Is godliness only a dry root, that bears no pleafart fruits ? No, no, there are doubtless, incomparable pleasures to be found therein; but such a carnal heart as mine favours them not.
I cannot fay but I have found delight in reThe hypocrite's ligious duties, but they have been only such as reflection. rather sprang from the oftentation of gifts
and applauses of men, than any sweet and real communion I have had with God through them ; they have rather proved food, and fuel to my pride, than food to my soul. . Like the nightingale, I can fing sweetly, when I obferve others to listen to me, and be affected with my music. O false, deceitful heart, such delight as this will end'in howling! were
spirit right, it would as much delight in retirements for the enjoyment of God, as it doth in those duties that are most exposed to the observation of man. Will such a spring as this maintain a stream of affections, when carnal motives fail? What wilt thou answer, O my soul ! to that question ? Job xxvii. 9, 10. " Will God hear his cry when trouble comes
upon him ? Will be delight himself in the Almighty ? “ Will he always call upon God?” What wilt thou reply to this question? Deceive not thou thyself, O my foul ! thou wilt doubtless be easily perfuaded to let go that thou never delighteft in, and, from an hypocrite in religion, quickly become an apoftate from religion. The upright heart's
From all this, the upright heart takes reflection.
advantage to rouze up its delight in God,
and thus it expostulateth with itself: Doth the plowmán fing amidit his drudging labours, and whistle away his weariness in the fields; and thall I droop amidst such heavenly employment ? O my soul, what wanteit thou here, to provoke thy delight ? If there be such an affection as delight in thee, methinks such an object as the bleffed face of God in ordinances, should excite it. Ah! how would this ennoble all my services, and make them angel-like! how glad are those blessed creatures to be employed for God? No sooner, were they created, but they sang together, and shouted for joy, Job, xxxviii
. 7. How did they fill the air with heavenly melody, when fent to bring the joyful tidings of a Saviour to the world? Afcribing glory to God in the highest, even to the highest of their powers; yea, this delight would make all my duties Christ-like; and the nearer that pattern, the more exu cellent: he delighted to do his father's will, it was to him meat and drink, Pfalm xl. 7. John iv. 32, 34.