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edbodies. With your fou chapter which the
fire and design to make you fo : and I could not think on a more probable mean to accomplish this honelt design, than what I have here used. Methinks it should be a pleature to you, when you come weary out of the fields from plow, or any other labour to fit down in the evening, and read that chapter which concerns that particular business, and refresh your souls, even from that which hath wearied your bodies. Were your hearts but beavenly, and more time allowed for spiritual husbandry, your inward comforts would be much more, and your outward gains not a jot less; for if the fuccess of all your civil labours and employinents depend upon the pleasure and will of God, (as all that are not atheist's do acknowledge) then, cera tainly, your business can succeed never the worfe for your endeavours to please him, upon whofe pleasure it fo entirely depends. I have many times lifted up my heart to heaven, whilst these papers were under my hand, for a special blefiing to accompany them, when they should be in yours. If the Lord accomplith my detires by them upon your souls you thall enjoy two heavens, one here, and another hereafter. Would not that be sweet? The historian tells us, that Altitius Serarius was fowing corn in the field, when Q. Cincinnatus came to him bare-headed with letters from the fenate, signifying, that he was chosen to the diétatorship. I hope the Lord will so bless and succeed these labouss, that many of you will be called from holding the plow on earth, to wear the crown of glory in heaven ; which is the sincere defire of
Your heariy well-wijber,
The AUTHOR to the READER,
'Tis fo indeed; thou wouldst not go thy way
umaia arrancabaranaraaranasan asianosaisios
The PRO E M.
I Cor. iii. 9. Ye are God's Husbandry. THE scope and Jesign of the following chapters, being the fpi
ritual improvement of husbandry, it will be necessary, by way of proem, to acquaint the reader with the foundation, and general rules of this art in the scriptures, thereby to procure greater respect unto, and prevent prejudices against composures of this kind.
To this end, I shall entertain the reader a little while upon what this scripture affords, which will give a fair introduction to the following discourse.
The apostle's scope in the context being to check and repress the vain glory and emulation of the Corinthians, who, instead of thankfulnets for, and an humble and diligent improvement of the excel. lent blessings of the ministry, turned all into vain oftentation and emulation, one preferring Paul, and another Apollos; in the mean time depriving themselves of the choice blessings they might have received from them both.
To cure this growing mischief in the churches, he checks their vanity, and discovers the evil of such practices by several arguments, amongst which this is one,
Ye are God's Husbandry, q. d. What are ye, but a field or plot of ground, to be manured and cultivated for God? And what are Paul, Apollos, and Cephas, but so many workmen and labourers, employed by God, the great Hufbandman, to plant and water you all ?
If, then, you finall glory in fome, and despise others, you take the ready way to deprive yourselves of the benefits and mercies you might receive from the joint ministry of them all. God hath ufed me to plant you, and Apollos to water you; you are obliged to bless him for
the miuiftry of both, and it will be your sin if you despise either. If
1. Which the churches have to God.
1. The relation betwixt God and them is like that of an husbandman to his ground or tillage. The Greek word fignifies God's *arable, or that plot of ground which God manures by the ministry of pastors and teachers.
2. It serves to illustrate the relation that the ministers of Christ sustain to the churches, which is like that of the husbandman's fervants to him and his fields ; which excellent notion carries in it the perpetual neceffity of a gospel ministry. (For what fruit can be expected, where there are none to till the ground ?) As also the diligence, accountableness, and rewards which these labourers are to give to, and receive from God, the great Husbandman. All runs into this, That the life and employment of an husbandman, excellently sha
dows forth the relation betwixt God and his church, and the
Or more briefly thus :
employed. I shall not here observe my usual method, (intending no more but a preface to the following discourse) but only open the particulars wherein the resemblance consists; and then draw some Corollaries from the whole. The first I shall dispatch in these twenty particulars following:
1. Prop. The husbandman purchases his fields, and gives a raluable consideration for them, Jer. xxxii. 9, 10.
Reddit. So hath God purchased his church with a full valuable price, even the precious blood of his own Son, Acts xx. 28. « Feed « the church of God which he hath purchased, or acquired with his « own blood.” .0 dear-bought inheritance! how much doth this bespeak its worth! Or rather, the high esteem God hath of it, to pay down blood, and such blood for it; never was any inheritance bought at such a rate : every particular elect person, and none but such are comprehended in this purchase; the rest still remain in the devil's right. Sin made a forfeiture of all to justice, upon wbich Satan entered, and took poffeffion, and, as the strong man armed, still keeps it in them, Luke xi. 21. but upon payment of this sum to juftice, the elect (who only are intended in this purchase) pass over into God's right and property, and now are neither Satan's, Acts xxvi, 18.
The faithful (or believers) are called God's husbandry, (yeneylov, georgean) because God cultivates them as land by means of spiritual teachers (or pastors) Rav.
nor their own, i Cor. vi. 19. but the Lord's peculiar, 1 Pet. ïi. 6. And to fhew how much they are his own, you have two poljeflives in one verse. Cant. viii, 12. « My vineyard, which is ooine, is before ri me, mine, which is mine."
2 Prop. Husbandmen divide and separate their own lands from other men's, they have their land-marks and boundaries, by which property is preserved, Deut. xxvii. 17. Prov. xxii. 28.
'Reddit. So are the people of God wonderfully feparated and disa tinguished from all the people of the earth. Pfal. iv. 3. « The Lord « hath set apart him that is godly for himself. And the Lord knoweth “ who are his,” 2 Tim. ii. 19. It is a special act of grace, to be inclosed by God out of the waste howling wilderness of the world, Deut. xxxij. 16. This did God intentionally, in the decree before the world was; which decree is executed in their fanctification and adoption.
3. Prop. Corn-fields are carefully fenced by the husbandman with hedges and ditches, to preserve their fruits from beasts that would oilierwise over-run and destroy them— Non minor eft virtus quam quærere parta tueri. It is as good husbandry to keep what we have, as to acquire more than we had.
Recidit, « My well-beloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill, and he fenced it,” Ifa. v. 1, 2. No inheritance is better defended and fecured, than the Lord's inheritance, Psal. cxxv. 2. “ As the « mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about « his people.” So careful is he for their fafety " that he createth " upon every dwelling-place of mount Sion, and upon her affem• blies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire « by night : for upon all the glory shall be a defence,” Isa. iv. 5. Not a particular saint, but is hedged about and inclosed in arms of power and love, Jobi. 10. « Thou hast made a hedge about him," The devil fain would, but by his own confeflion could not break over the hedge to touch Job, till God's permillion made a gap for him : vea, he not only made an hedge, but a wall about them, and that of fire, Zech. ii. s. Sets a guard of angels “ to encamp round "s about them that fear him," Pfal. xxxiv. 7. And will not trust them with a single guard of angels neither, though their power be great, and love to the saints as great; but watches over them himself also, Isa. xxvii. 2, 3. “Sing ye unto her, a vineyard of red wine, « I the Lord do keep it, I will water it every moment; left any “ hurt it, I will keep it night and day.”
4. Prop. Husbandmen carry out their compost, to fertilize their arable ground, they dung it, dress it, and keep it in beart; and in there western parts are at great charges to bring lime, and salt-water-sand to quicken their thin and cold soil.
Reddit. « Lord, let it alone this year aiso, till I shall dig about it, " and dung it, and if it bear fruit, well, if not, cut it down,” Luke xü. 8. O the rich dresling which God bestows upon his churches !
they are coftly fields indeed, dress’d and fertilized, not only by pre-
5. Prop. The husbandman builds his house, where he makes his purchase, dwells upon his land, and frequently visits it ; he knows that such as dwell far from their lands, are not far from lofs.
Reddit. So doth God; wherever he plants a church, there doth he fix his habitation, intending there to dwell, Psalm xlvi. 5. “God « is in the midst of her,” she shall not be moved. Thus God came to dwell upon his own fee and inheritance, in Judea, Lev. xxvi. 11, 12. “ And I will set my tabernacle amongst you, and will be your " God, and ye shall be my people.” Which promise is again renewed to his churches of the New Testament, 2 Cor. vi. 16. And when the churches shall be in their greatest flourish and purity, then Thall there be the fullest and most glorious manifestation of the divine presence among them, Rev. xxi. 3. “ And I heard a great voice out " of heaven, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and “ he will dwell with them, and be their God.” Hence the asseniblies are called, the places of his feet- And there they “ behold " the beauty of the Lord,” Pfalm xxvii.
6. Prop Husbandmen grudge not at the cost they are at for their tillage ; but as they lay out vast sums upon it, so they do it cheer
Reddit. “ And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Ju“ dah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard ; what could “ have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? And as he bestows upon his heritage the choicest mercies, so he doth it with the greatest cheerfulness; for he faith, Jer. xxxii. 41. “ I “ will rejoice over them to do them good; and I will plant them in " this land assuredly, with my whole heart, and with my whole « foul.” It is not the giving out of mercy (faith one) that grieveth God, but the recoiling of his mercy back again upon him by the creature's ingratitude.
7. Prop. When husbandmen have been at cost and pains about their husbandry, they expect fruit from it, answerable to their pains and expences about it: “Behold (laid James) the husbandman waiteth 66 for the precious fruits of the earth,” Jam. v. 7. : Reddit. “ And he looked that it should bring forth fruit,” Ifa. v. VOL. V.