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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. THE full-mouthed cry of these dogs, which from the morning
I have hunted this poor tired deer, which is now no longer able to stand before them, but is compailed round with them, who thirst for, and will prefently 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 Psalm, which treats of his death, is inscribed with the title of Ajieleth Shahar, which signifies the kind 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, so was Christ, in the very morning of his infancy, by bloody Herod, and that cruel pack confederated with him. Thus was he chased from place to place, till that was fulfilled which was prophetically written of him in ver. 16. of the forecited Psalm : “ For dogs have compaired me about, the « affembly of the wicked have inclofed 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 chase 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 sometimes rate them off : for it is no less a pleasure which fome wicked ones take in hunting the people of God, than what * Claudian the poet observes men use to take ia hunting wild beasts.
" Whilft every huntsmen in the night do fleep,
« Their fancies in tbe woods still hunting keep." Lord ! should I with the hypocrite decline the profesiion and practice of holiness, to escape the rage of persecuting enemies, at what time they cease, my own conscience would begin to hunt me like a bloodbound ; let me rather chuse to be chased by men than God, to flee Vol. V. No. 41.
• Venator defeffa thero quum membra reponit,
before pursuing enemies, than be dogged from day to day with a guilty conscience.
MEDITATIONs upon Trees.
MEDIT. 1. .. Upon the fall of Blojoms, nipt by a frosty morning. D EHOLDING in an early spring. fruit-trees embossed with beauD tiful 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 glittering 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 faid within myself, these sweet and early blossoms 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 beavenly delights beautified my soul in those days! The odoriferous scent of the sweetest blossoms, the morning breath of the most fragrant flowers, hath not half that sweetness with which those my first affcctions were enriched. O! happy time, thrice pleasant spring! My soul hath it still in remembrance, and is humbled within me; for these also were but bloffoms which now are nipt and faded, that first fourish is gone; my heart is like the winter's earth, because thy face, Lord, is to me like a winter fun. “ Awake, O north wind ! os and come, fouth wind, blow upon my garden, that the spices there.
of may flow out, then let my beloved come into his garden, aud " eat his pleasant fruit !".
Upon the knitting, or setting of Fruit. . T HAVE often observed, that when the bloffoms of a tree fet and
I knit, 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 paft 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 turn• ed 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 mutions of the Spi
rit been thus knit and fixed in thee. Oh, how have mine affections blown and budded under the warm beanis of the gospel ! But a chill blaft from the cares, troubles, and delights of the world without, and the vanity and deadness of the heart within, have blafted all; my goodness hath been but as a morning-due, or early cloud, that va. nilheth away. And even of divine ordinances, I may say what is said of human ordinances, « They have perished in the using.” A blossom is but fructus imperfectus, 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 primus 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 miscarring womb, or dry breasts.
MEDIT. II. ; Upon the fight of a fuir spreading Oak. (ITHAT a lofty flourishing tree is here! It seems rather to be
V 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 flip, 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 despite the day of fmall things, nor despair of arriving to an eminency of grace, though at pretent it be but as a bruised 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 insensible degrees. The famous and heroical acts of the most renowned believers were such as themselves could not once perform; or it may be think they ever lhould. Great things, both in nature and grace, come from small and contemptible beginnings.
Upon the fight of many ficks lodged in the branches of a choice
Fruit-tree. ITOW is this tree battered with stones, and loaded with sticks,
I that have been thrown at it, whilst those that grow about it, being barren, or bearing harsher fruit, escape untouched! Surely if its fruit had not been so good, its usage had not been so bad. And yet it is affirmed, that fome 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 more holy, the more envied and perfecuted ; every one that passes 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 his arms of power, like so many boys about an orchard, whole lips water to have a fling at them. But God turns all the ftones of reproach into precious stones to his people ; they bear the better for being thus battered. And in them is that ancient *observation verified.
« The palms and crowns of virtue thus increase;
« Thus perfecution's turned into peace.” Let me but be fruitful to God in holiness, and ever abounding in the work of the Lord, and then whilft devils and men are fiinging at me, either by hand or tongue persecutions, I will sing amidit them all with the divine poet ;
“ What open force, or hidden charm,
Herb. Poem, p. 125,
MEDIT. v. Upon the gathering of choice fruit from a scrubbed, unpromising Tree. TITOULD any man think to find such rare delicious fruit upon
V such an unworthy tree to appearance as this is? I thould rather have expeéted the most delicious fruit from the most hand. some and flourishing trees; but I see I must neither judge the worth of trees or men by their external form and appcarance. 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 fome other fair, but barren trees, serve 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 pro fale; their souls are but salt to their bodies. Or thus,
The only use to which their souls do serve,
Is but like salt, their bodies to preserve. If God have given me a sound soul in a round body, I have a double mercy to bliss him for; but whether my body bę vigorous and
* Crefunt virtutum palme, cresiunigre coronæ Mutantur mundi prælia, pace Diie
beautiful, or not, yet let my soul be fo: for as the esteem of this tree, so the esteem and true honour of every man, rise rather from his fruitfulness and usefulness, than from his shape and form.
Upon an excellent, but irregular Tree. CEEING a tree grow somewhat irregular, in a very neat orchard, D I told the owner it was pity that tree Thould itand there ; and that if it were mine I would root it up, and thereby reduce the orchand 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 preponderated by a more considerable advantage. This tree, said he, which you would root up, hath yielded me more fruit than many of those trees which have nothing else to commend them but their regular firuation. I could not but yield to the reason of this answer; and could wish it had been spoken so loud, that all our uniformity-men had heard it, who will not stick to root up many hundred of the belt bearers in the Lord's orchard, because they stand not in an exact order with other more conformable, but less beneficial trees, w.ho perdunt substantiam propter accidentia, destroy the fruit to preserve the form.
Not much unlike, such foolih men are those,
· MEDITATIONS upon a GARDEN.,
Upon the new-modelling of a Garden. Gentlewoman who had lately seen a neat and curious garden, A returns to her own with a greater dislike of it than ever ; resolves to new-model the whole plat, and reduce it to a better form. She 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 neighbour's, she is now restless till The fees 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 with 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