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kings manifest such bounty, and pardon such crimes as are never pardoned afterwards. Besides, God was then in a way of working miracles; then he rent the rocks, opened the graves, raised the dead, and converted this thief; but God is now out of that way.
REFLECTIONS. The carelofs faul's. 1. I have indeed been a good husband for reflection.
the world : with what care and providence have
I looked out for myself and family, to provide food to nourish them, and clothes to defend them against the alperities of winter? mean while, neglecting to make provision for eternity, or take care for my soul. O my deftitute foul ! how much have I slighted and undervalued thee? I have taken more care for an horse, or an ox, than for thee : a well-stored barn, but an empty foul. Will it not shortly be with me, as with that careless mother, who, when her house was on fire, busily bestirred herfelf to lave the goods, but forgot the child (though it were faved by another hand) ? and then minding her child, ran up and down like one distracted, wringing her hands, and crying, O my child ! my child ! I have saved my goods, and lost my child! Such will be the case of thee my foui, Matth. xvi. 26. Besides, how easy will my convi&tion be at the bar of Christ? Will-not my providence and care for the things of this life, leave me speechless and self-condemned in that day? What shall I answer, when the Lord shall say, Thou couldest foresee a winter, and seasonably provide for it; yea, thou had it so much care of thy very beasts, to provide for their necessities : and why tookeft thou no care for thy soul? Was that only not worth the caring for? The presumptuous
2. Is it so dangerous to neglect a present proper
bow season of grace? What then have' I done, who Jours regionello have suffered many such reasons to die away in my hand, upon a groundless bope of future opportunities? Ab deluded wretch ! what if that supposition fail? Where am I then? I am not the lord of time, neither am I sure, that he who is, will ever vouchsafe an hour of grace in old age, to him that hath neglected many such hours in youth ; neither indeed is it ordinary for God so to do. It is storied of Caius Marius Victorius, who lived about three hundred years after Christ, and to his old age continued a Pagan; but at last being convinced of the Christian verity, he canıe to Simplicianus, and told him he would be a Chriftian ; but neither he nor the church could believe it, it being so rare an example for any to be converted at his age : but at last, seeing it was real, there was a shouting and gladness, and singing of psalms in all churches; the people crying, Caius Marius Victorius is become a Christian ! This was written for a wonder : and what ground have I to think, that God will work such wonders for me, who have neglected his ordinary means of salvation ?
wintby very bear thy soul it fo danger what theions to die ano delud
they are have noe for dit fare in sught; yet improve that feat
3. Bless the Lord, O my foul! who gave thee o a season, a day for eternal life, which is more than
The industrious he hath afforded for thousands ; yea, bless the jours
oufands; vea. blefs the foul's reflection. Lord for giving thee an heart to understand and improve that season. I confess I have nor improved it as I ought; yet this I can (through mercy) lay, that however it fare in future times with my outward man, though I have no treasures or stores laid up on earth, or if I have, they are but corruptible, yet I have a blessed hope laid up in heaven, Col. i. 5. I have bags that wax not old. Whilft worldlings rejoice in their stores and heaps, I rejoice in these eternal treasures.
How in the hottest day
About his corn and hay:
And gather in his stores,
He can't move out of doors ?
By nature's instinct led,
For winter furnished.
Is almoft past and gone;
In stock to spend upon?
For temporal life, much rather
Soul-food in time to gather.
Are hasting on apace;
How fad will be my case!
Who for that soul of thine,
Do for their very kine.
Your mows of corn and hay,
To you another day :
Nor brake an hour's rest
For your poor souls, as you have done
So often for a beast.
Betwixt eternal things,
That fly with eagle's wings.
| CH A P. XVII.
Upon reaping the same we fow.
OBSERVATION. M OD gives to every feed its own body, i Cor. xv. 38. At first
J he created every tree and herb of the field, having its feed in itself, for the conservation of their species, and they all inviolably obferve the law of their creation. All fruits naturally rise out of the feeds and roots proper to them. “ Men do not gather grapes of « thorns, nor figs of thistles :" such productions would be monstrous in nature; and although the juice or sap of the earth be the common matter of all kind of fruits, yet it is specificated according to the different sorts of plants and feeds it nourishes. Where wheat is fown, it is turned into wheat; in an apple-tree, it becomes an apple, and so in every sort of plants or feeds, it is concocted into fruit proper to the kind.
APPLICATION. TRANSLATE this into spirituals, and the proposition shadowed
I forth by it, is fully expressed by the apostle, Gal. vi. 7. « What a man fows, that shall he reap: They that fow to the flesh, « shall of the flesh reap corruption; and they that sow to the spirit, « shall of the spirit reap life everlasting." And as sure as the harvest follows the feed-time, fo sure shall such fruits and effects result from the feeds of such actions. “He that soweth iniquity shall reap vapi" ty,” Prov. xxi. 8. “And they that now go forth weeping, and bear« ing precious feed, thall doubtless come again rejoicing, bringing their «« sneaves with them,” Psal. cxxyi. 6. The sum of all this is, that our present actions have the same respect and relation to future rewards and punishments, as the seed we sow in our fields hath to the harvest we reap from it. Every gracious action is the seed of joy; and every sinful action the seed of anguilh and sorrow to the soul that soweth it. Two things are fenfibly prelented to us in this fimilitude.
1. That as the feed fown is presently covered from our sight under
the clods, and for some time after we fee no more of it, and yet at last it appears again; by which it is evident to us that it is not finally loft : So our present actions, though physically transient, and perhaps forgotten, yet are not loft, but after a time Thall appear again, in order to a retribution,
If this were not so, all good and holy actions would be to the loss of him that performed them. All the self-denial, spending duties, and sharp sufferings of the people of God, would turn to their damage, though not in point of honesty, yet in point of personal utility; and then also, what difference would there be betwixt the actions of a man and a beast, with respect to future good or evil ? Yea, man would then be more feared and obeyed than God, and all souls be swayed in their motions, only by the influence of present things : And where then would religion be found in the world ? It is an excellent note of Drexellius ; Our works (faith he) do not pass away as soon
as they are done, but as feed fown, shall, after a time, rise up to all " eternity : Whatever we think, speak, or do, once spoken, thought, ror done, is eternal, and abides for ever.'
What Zeuges, the famous limner, said of his work, may be truly said of all our works; Eternitati pingo, I paint for eternity. O, how careful should men be of what they speak and do whilst they are commanded fo to speak and so to do, as those that shall be judged by the perfect law of liberty ! James ii. 12. What more tranfient than a vain word ? And yet for such words men shall give an account in the day of judgment, Matth. xii. 36. That is the first thing : Actions, like feed, shall rise and appear again in order to a retribution.
2. The other thing held forth in this similitude is, that according to the nature of our actions now, will be the fruit and reward of them then. Though the fruit or consequence of holy actions, for the present may seem bitter, and the fruit of sinful actions, sweet and pleasant; yet there is nothing more certain than that their future fruits shall be according to their present nature and quality, 2 Cor. V. 10. Then Dionyfius shall retract that saying, Ecce quam prospera navigatio a Deo datur facrilegis, Behold how God favours our facrileges! Sometimes indeed (though but rarely) God causes finners to reap in this world the same that they have sown ; as hath been their fin, such hath been their punishment. It was openly confefed by Adonibezek, Judg. i. 7. “ As I have done, so hath God re« quited me."
Socrates, in his church history, furnishes us with a pertinent pasfage to this purpose, concerning Valens the Emperor, who was an Arian, and a bitter persecutor of the Christians : This man, when eighty of the orthodox Christians failed from Constantinople to Nicomeda, to treat with him about the points of itrianitin, and to itiile VOL. V.
• Drexe!lius de aternitate pro; cfirem.
the matter by way of dispute; the emperor hearing of their arrival, while they were yet in the harbour, and not a man landed, caused the ships to be fired wherein they were, and so consumed them all. Not long after, in his wars again it the Goths, he was overthrown; and hiding himself in a little cottage, the enemy coming by, burotit and him together. Thus this wretch reaped what he fowed, burning for burning, the very fame in kind paid him again. It is not al. ways so in this world; but so it ihall be in that to come : The tables shall then be turned, and the scene altered; for shall not the Judge of all the world do righteously? * Diogenes was tempted to think, that God had cast off the government of the world when he saw the wicked prosper in their wickedness. On the same ground many have been tempted to Atheism ; but then the world thall see distributive justice fhining out in its glory, “ Tribulation, anguish, and wrath to every « foul of man that doth evil; but glory, honour, and peace to every « man that worketh good,” Rom. ii. 9, 10. Then it will appear what feed we sowed, what lives we lived; “ For God shall bring “ every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good or evil,” Ecclef. xii. 14.
The profane person's 1. This meditation may be to me what the reflection. hand-writing upon the wall was to that profane
prince. Dan. v. 5, 6. and a like effect it should have upon me; for if all the actions of this life be seed sown for the next, Lord, what a crop, what a dreadful harvest am I like to have ! How many oaths and cursos, lies and vain words have I fown with my tongue ! How have I wronged, oppressed, and over-reached in my dealings ! Rushed into all profaneness, drunkenness, unclcannefs, fabbath-breaking, &c. “ as the horse rusheth into the battle !” And what shall I reap from such feed as this but vengeance and fury! These fins seemed pleasant in the commission, but, oh! how bitter will it be on their account? « What shall I do when God rifeth up;
and when he visiteth, what shall I answer him?” Job xxxi. 14. Is it not reasonable and just, O my soul! that thou shouldest eat the fruit of thine own planting, and reap what thou haft sown ? I thought nothing but profit and pleasure would spring from my luít; but now I see it is a root bearing gall and wormwood, Deut. xxix. 18. Wretched soul! what shall I do? By these actions I am undone. I have been the author of mine own ruin, twisted an halter with mine own fingers for the execution of mine own foul: Oh! let me rather taste the bitternefs of sin, by repentance now, than enjoy its present plealures which betray the soul to endless wiath !
* Cum video mala fata bonis, ignoscite quafo : Sollicitor nullos effe putare Deos. Ovid.