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are wrought upon. How many young persons are called to one ob-
The trire convert's Mould send forth his word and Spirit to plow upmy hard and stony heart! yea, mine, when he rejection bath left so many of more tender, ingenuous, sweet, and melting tempers without any culture or means of grace. O bleiled gospel, heart-diffolving voice! I have felt thine efficacy, I have experienced thy divine and irresistible power; thou art indeed sharper than any two-edged sword, and woundest to the heart ; but thy wounds are the wounds of a friend : All the wounds thou hast made in my soul, were so many doors opened to let in Christ : all the blows thou gavest my conscience, were but to beat off my soul from fin, which I embraced, and had retained to my everlasting ruin, had it thou not separated them and me. I wise and merciful Physician! thou didit indeed bind me with cords of conviction and sorrow, but it was only to cut out that stone in my heart, which had killed me if it had continued there. O how did I struggle and oppose thee, as if thou hadft come with the sword of an enemy, rather than the lance and probe of a skilful and tender-hearted physician ? Blessed be the day wherein my sin was discovered and embittered! O happy sorrows, which prepared for such matchless joys! O blessed hand, which turned my falt waters into pleasant wine and after many pangs and sorrows of soul, didít, at length, bring forth deliverance and peace.
2. But what a rock of adamant is this heart of mine ! that never yet was wounded, and savingly The stubborn pierced for fin by the terrors of the law, or melt- heart's reflection. ing voice of the gospel ! long have I sat under the . word, but when did I feel a relenting pang ? O my soul! my stupified soul! thou hast got an antidote against repentance, but hait thou any against hell? Thou canst keep out the sense of fin now, but art thou able to keep out the terrors of the Lord hereafter ? If thou couldst turn a deaf ear to the sentence of Christ in the day of judge ment, as easily as thou dost to the entreaties of Christ in the day of grace, it were somewhat; but surely there is no defence against that.
Ah! fool that I am, to quench there convictions, imless I knew how ! to quench those flames they warn me of.
3. And may not I challenge the first place among all the mourners in the world, who have all loft The miscarrying thofe convictions which at several times came up foul's reflection. on me under the word? I have been often awa
kened by it, and filled withi terrors and treniblings under it; but those troubles have soon worn off again, and my heart (like water res moved from the fire) returned to its native coldness. Lord! what i dismal cafe am I in! many convictions have I choaked and strangled, which, it may be, shall never more be revived, until thou revive thein against me in judgment. I have been in pangs, and brought forth nothing but wind; my troubles have wrought no deliverance, neither have my luits fallen before them? My conscience, indeed, hath been sometimes fick with fin, yea, so fick as to vomit them up by an external, partial reformation ; but then, with the dog, have I turned again to my vomit, and now I doubt I am given over to an heart that cannot repent. O that these travelling pangs could be quickened again! but alas! they are ceafed. I am like a prisoner escaped, and again recovered, wlrom the gpoler loads with double irons. Surely, O my soul ! if thy spiritual troubles return not again, they are but gone back to bring eternal troubles. It is with thee, o my soul! as with a man whofe bones liave been broken, and not well fet ; who must, (how terrible foever it appear to him) endure the pain of breaking and setting them again, if ever he be made a found man. O that I might rather chufe to be the object of thy wounding mercy, than of thy sparing cruelty ! if thou plow not up my heart again by compunction, I know it must be rent in pieces at last by desperation.
THERE's kill in plowing, that the plowman knows,
1 For if too hallow, or too deep he goes,
The rest uncover'd lies, which fowls devour...
Upon the Seed-Corn.
The choicest wheat is still referu'd for feed,
T TUSBANDMEN are very careful and curious about their feed11 corn, that it may not only be clean and pure, but the best and most excellent of its kind. Ifa. xxviii. 25. “ He casteth in the prin“ cipal wheat,” If any be more full and weighty than other, that is reserved for feed. It is usual with husbandmen to pick and lease their feed-corn by hand, that they may separate the cockel and darnel, and all the lighter and hollow grains from it, wherein they manifect their discretion ; for, according to the vigour and goodness of the seed, the fruit and production are like to be..
APPLICATION. THE choice and principal feed-corn, with which the fields are
1 lowed, after they are prepared for it, doth admirably shadow Torth those excellent principles of grace infused into the regenerate
'. Their agreement, as they are both seed, is obvious, 'in the ten bollowing particulars; and their excellency above other principles in se
1:. The earth at first naturally brought forth corn, and every seed yielding fruit, without human industry; but since the curse came up
VOL. 7, No. 39.
on it, it must be plowed and fowed, or no fruit can be expected. So man, at first, had all the principles of holiness in his nature, but now they must be infused by regeneration, or else his nature is as void of holiness as the barren and untilled desert is of corn.
2. The earlier the feed is sown, the better it is rooted, and enabled to endure the afperities of the winter; so when grace is early infused, when nature is fanctified in the bud, grace is thereby exceedingly advantaged. It was Timothy's singular advantage, that he knew the Scriptures from a child.
3. Frosts and snows conduce very much to the well-rooting of the feed, and make it spread and take root much the better. So do sanctified afflictions, which usually the people of God meet with after their calling, and often in their very feed time. Thef. i. 6. “ And « you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the « word in much affliction.” But if they have fair weather then, to be sure they shall meet with weather hard enough afterwards. Heb. X. 32. “ But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye. « were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions."
4. When the seed is cast into the earth, it must be covered up by the harrow, the use whereof in husbandry, is not only to lay a plain floor (as they speak) but to open and let in the corn to the bofom of the earth, and there cover it up for its security from birds that would devour it. Thus doth the most wise God provide for the security of that grace which he at first diffeminated in the hearts of his people. He is as well the finisher as the author of their grace, Heb. xii. 2. and of this they may be confident, that he that hath begun a good work in them will perform it unto the day of Christ. The care of God over the graces of his people, is like the covering of the seed for security. .
5. Seed-corn is in its own nature of much more value and worth than other corn; the husbandman casts in the principal wheat. So are the seeds of grace sown in the renewed soul, for it is called the feed of God, 1.John iii. 9. The divine nature, 2 Pet. i. 4. One dram of grace is far beyond all the glory of this world ; it is more precious than gold which perishes. 1 Pet. i. 7. “ The price of it is above ru« bies, and all that thou canst desire is not to be compared with it," Prov. iji. 15.
6. There is a great deal of spirit and vigour in a little feed; though it be small in bulk, yet it is great in virtue and efficacy. Gracious habits are also vigorous and efficacious things. Such is their escacy that they overcome the world, 1 John v.4. «Whatsoever is born of « God overcometh the world.” They totally alter and change the person in whom they are. «He that persecuted us in times past, now « preacheth the faith which he once destroyed." They enable the soul to do and suffer great things for God, Heb. xi. 33, 34, 35.
7. The stalk and ear are potentially and virtually in a small grain • of corn. So are all the fruits of obedience which believers afterwards
bring forth to God, virtually contained in those habits or feeds of grace. It is strange to consider, that from a mustard-feed, (which, as Christ faith, is the least of all feeds) should grow tuch great branches that the birds of the air may build their nests in them. Surely, the heroical and famous acts and archievements of the most renowned believers sprang from finall beginnings at first, to that eminency and glory.
8. The fruitfulness of the feed depends upon the sun and rain, by which they are quickened, as opened largely in the next chapter, And the principles of grace in us have as necessary a dependence upon the affisting and exciting grace without us. For though it be true, they are immortal feed; yet that is not so much from their own strength as from the promises made to them, and that constant inti:ix from above, by which they are revived and preserved from time to time.
9. The feed is fruitful in some foils more than in others, prospers much better, and comes sooner to maturity. So do graces thrive better and grow faster in fome persons than in others. “Your faith « groweth exceedingly," 2 Thef i. 3. « Whilst the things that are " in others are ready to die," Rev. iii. 2. Though no man's heart be naturally a kind foil to grace, yet doubtless grace is more advantaged in some dispositions than in others.
10. And lastly, their agreement, as feed, appears in this, the secd. corn is scattered into all parts of the field, as proportionably and equal. ly as may be. So is grace diffused into all the faculties : the judgment, will, and all the affections are sowed with these new principles. “• The " God of peace fanctify you wholly,” i Thes. v. 23.
And thus you see why principles of grace are called seed. Now, in the next place, (which is the second thing promised, and mainly defigned in this chapter) to Thew you the choiceness and excellency of these holy principles with which fanctified souls are einbeilished and adorned ; and to convince you that true grace excels all other principles by which other persons are acted, even as the principal wheat doth the chaff, and refuse stuff, I shall here institute a comparison betwixt grace and the most fplendid, common gifts in the world; ind its transcendent excellency above them all, will evidently appear in the feven following particulars.
1. The most excellent common gifts come out of the common treafury of God's bounty, and that in a natural way. They are but the improvement of a man's natural abilities, (or as one calls them) the sparks of nature blown up by the wind of a more benign and liberal education ; but principles of grace are of a divine and heavenly original and extraction, not induced or raised from nature, but fupernaturally infused by the Spirit from on high, John iii. 6. « That which " is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is “ spirit.” When a soul is sanctified by them, “ he partakes of the “ divine nature," 2 Pet. i. 4. “ Is born not of flesh, nor of blood,