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greatest strength, and choicest hours ? O that I could once confider, what a good Master Christians serve, who will not only abundantly reward them at night, but brings them their food into the fields to encourage them in their labour! What pity is it, that so good a Master should be so badly served as he hath been by me ! Hark how he pleads to gain my heart :
For what ere long will not be thine ?
· That are so dear, to want expose ! VOL. V. .
Come fee, the saints, for all their brags,
NTONE will deny but those are blessed pains
Which are attended with the richest gains. Grant this, and then most clearly 'tis inferr'd, Soul-work to all deserves to be preferr'd. This is an unknown trade : O who can count To what the gains of godliness amount ? For one poor shilling, O what risks some run? Some toiling as i'th' fire, from sun to sun. Whereas one hour spent with God brings in Such heavenly treasures, that poor fouls have been Enrich'd for ever. Even as you see A prince's favourite, upon the knee, Can in an hour's time more wealth obtain, Than all your lives by labour you can gain. Pray’r-gains are great, and quick returns are made, Sure then the Christian drives the richest trade. 'Tis true the hypocrite that never drove A serious trade for heaven may bankrupt prove : But holy fouls, who mind, and closely ply · Their bus'ness, greatly are enrich'd thereby :
The diff'rence 'twixt the one, and th other's best
reeps is the best of his moringno
The plowman fings, and whistles, though he sweat, · Shall Christians droop, because their work is great ?
OBSERVATION. THOUGH the labours of the husbandman are very great and
I toilfome, yet with what cheerfulness do they go through 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 whifa tle than a whip; and their bells do, as it were, gingle away their weariness. I have been often delighted with this country music, whereby they sweeten their hard labours with an innocent pleasure, and verify the saying of the poet :
Tempus in agrorum cultu consumere dulce eft. Ovid.
APPLICATION. DUT how much greater cause have the people of God to address
themselves unto his work with all cheerfulness of spirit ? And, indeed, so far as the heart is fpiritual, it delights in its duties. It is true, the work of a Chriftian is painful, and much more spending than the husbandman's, (as was opened, Chap. 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 see what a pleasant path the paths of duty is, by the cheerfulness of those that have walked in.
In is paced, Chapatend it. of the weh the
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 fing in the ways of the Lord, “ for great is the glory of the Lord.” And again, “ You shall have « a song as in the night, when an holy folemnity is kept, and glad“ ness of heart, as when one goeth with a pipe, to come to the « mountain of the Lord, to the Mighty One of Israel,” Isa. Xxx.
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 fimple 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 ar: 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 pleased to congder,
18. The nature of the work about which they are employed : It is the most excellent and heavenly employment that ever fouls 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 Chriftian is expressed, Gen. xvii. 1. Can any life compare with this, for pleafure? 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 wliose presence is the “ fulness of joy,” Psal. xvi. '11. O what an angelical life doth a Christian then live? .
Or, 2dly, If we consider the variety of spiritual employments, Varietas deleétat. Change of employment takes off the tediousness of labour. Variety of voices pleases the ear, variety of colours delights the eye, the same meat prepared several ways, pleases the palate more, and clogs it less. But on the variety of choice diflies wherewith God entertains his people in a Sabbath! as the word, prayer, sacraments, &c. Ita lviii. 13. If thou call the Sabbath thy delights; or, as Tremellius renders it, thy delicate things “My soul (saith David) shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness,” Pfal. lxiii. 5.
zály. or luftly If we consider the suitableness of this work to a regenerate foul. 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 delight in the law of God af. ter the inner man.” Gravia non gravitant in eorum loco, (saith the philofooher) weighty things are not heavy in their own element, or centre. And surely God is the centre of all gracious spirits. A saint can fit from morning to night to hear discourses of the love and loveliness of Jesus Christ. The fight of your thriving flocks and fourishing fields, cannot yield you that pleasure which an upright soul can find in one quarter of an hour's communion with God. “ They that are after the flesh, (faith the apostle, Rom. viij. 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 duty excel all sensitive delights on earth.
How am I cast and condemned by this, may I say, who never favoured this spiritual delight in holy duties! Ti When I am about my earthly cmployments, I. can go on unweariedly from day to day; all the 'y way is down-hill to my nature, and the wheels of my affections being oiled with carnal delight, run so fast, that they have need most times of trigging. Here I rather need the curb than the fpur. O how feet and nimble are my spirits in these their pursuits ! but O 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 holiness ? Is godliness only a dry root that bears no pleasant fruits ? No, there are doubtless incomparable pleasures to be found therein; but such a carnal heart as mine favours them not.
I cannot say but I have found delight in religious duties, but they have been only such as rather sprang from the of- tu
The hypocrite's retentation of gifts and applauses of men, than any sweet and real communion I have had with God juccion. 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 observe others to listen to me, and be affected with my music. O faise, deceitful heart, such delight as this will end in howling! were my 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 anfwer, O my soul ! to that question ? Job xxvii. 9, 10. « Will God “ hear his cry when trouble comes upon him ? Will he delight him« self 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 persuaded to let go that thou never delightedft in, and, from an hypocrite in religion, quickly become an apostate from religion.