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mised it shall perfevere, and therefore I need not be fo follicitous to preserve it; for as this inference is quite opposite to the nature of true grace and assurance, which neyer encourage to carelesness, but provoke the foul to an industrious use of means to preserve it; so it is in itself an irrational and senseless conclusion, which will never follow from any scripture-promise: for although it is readily granted, that God bath made many comfortable and sweet promises to the grace of his people, yet we must expect to enjoy the benefits and blessings of all those promises, in that way.and order in which God hath promised them; and that is in the careful and diligent use of those means which he hath prescribed, Ezek. xxxvi. 36, 37. For promises do not exclude, but imply the use of means, Acts xxvii. 31. I know
my life is determined to a day, to an hour, and I shall live out every minute God hath appointed; but yet, I am bound to provide food, rạiment and physic to preserve it. To conclude, let all doubting Christians
The doubting refiect seriously upon this truth, and suck
soul's reflections. niarrow and fatness cut of it to strengthen and establish them against all their fears : your life, your fpiritual life hath for many years hanged in suspence before you ; and
you have often said with David, I shall one day fall by the hand of Saul. Defponding, trembling sou!! lift up thine eyes, and look upon the fields; the corn lives ftill, and grows up, though birds have watched to devour it; fnows have covered it, beasts have cropped it, weeds have almost choaked it, yet it is preserved. And hath not God more care of that precious feed of his own Spirit in thee, than any husbandmati hath of his corn? Hath he not faid, “That having begun the good « work in thee, he will perfect it to the day of Christ ?" Phil. i. 6. Hath he not faid, I give unto them eternal life, and they thall never perish, John.x. 28. Haft thou noti many times faid, and thought of it, as thou dost now, and yet it lives? O what matter of unspeakable joy and comfort in this to upright fouls! Well then, be not discouraged, for thou dost not run as one uncertain, nor fight as one that beats the air, 1 Cor. ix. 26. But the foundation of God ftands lure, having this feal, the Lord knows who are his, 2 Tim. ij. 19. Though thy grace be weak, thy God is strong; though the stream feem sometimes to fail, yet 'tis fed by an ever-flowing fountain,
The POE M.
Should come at last in safety to the barn:
It runs through many hazards, threatning harmsy
CH A P. XIV.
Upon the Patience of the Husbandman for the Harvest.
Our husbandmen for harvest wait and stay:
husbandman, with untised patience, to digest all his labours. He that plows, plows in hope, 1 Cor. vi. 19. And they are not so irrational, to think they shall presently be partakers of their hope; nor, so foolish to anticipate the har vest, by cutting down their corn before it be fully ripened : but are content to plow, sow and weed it; and when it is fully ripe, then they go forth into their fields, and reap it down with joy:
A PP LICA TI O N. ,
till the reaping time come? Much more should the expectation of eternal glory steel and fortify my spirit against all intercurrent hardships and difficulties. It least of all becomes a ChriStian to be of an balty and impatient spirit. « Light is sown for “ the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart," Psal. xcii. 11. “Behold the husbandman waiteth,” &c. Jam. v. 7. “ Be patient therefore, my brethren, for the corning of the « Lord draws near." There are three great arguments to persuade Christians to a long-suffering and patient frame under sufferings. (1.) The example of Christ, Ifa. liii. To think how quierly he suffered all injuries and difficulties with invincible patience, is sufficient to shame the best of Christians, who are of such short spirits. I have read of one Elezari. us, a nobleman, that when his wife wondered at his exceeding great patience in bearing injuries, he thus answered her: You know sometimes my heart is ready to rise with indignation against such as wrong me; but I presently begin to think of the wrongs that Christ suffered ; and say thus to myself; Although thy servant should pluck thy beard, and smite thee on thy face, this were nothing to what the Lord suffered : he suffered more and greater things; and assure yourself, wife, I never leave off thinking on the injuries done to my Saviour, till such time as
my mind be still and quiet. To this purpose it was well not ed by Bernard, speaking of Christ's humiliation, Was Chrift the Lord of glory thus humbled and emptied of his fulness of glory? And dhall such a worm as I swell? (2.) The defert of lin, Lam. iii. 39. “Why doth the living man complain ?” It was a good saying of the bleffed Greenham ; when sin lies heavy, affliction lies light. * And it is a famous instance which Dr. Taylor gives us of the duke of Conde. I have read, (faith he) when the duke of Conde had voluntarily entered into the incommodities of a religious poverty and retirement; he was one day spied and pitied by a lord of Italy, who, out of tenderness wished him to be more careful and nutritive of his perfon. The good duke answered, Sir, be not troubled, and think not that I am ill provided of conveniencies ; for I send an harbinger before me, that makes ready my lodgings, and takes care that I be royally entertained. "The lord asked him who was his harbinger? Heanswered, the knowledge of my self, and the confideration of what I deserve for my fins, which is eternal torments ; and when with this knowledge I arrive at my lodgings, how unprovided soever I find it, methinks it is ever better than I deserve. (3.) And as the sense of fin, which merits hell, sweetens present difficulties, fo (to come home to the present fimilitude) do the expectations and hopes of a bleffed harvest and reward in heaven. This made Abraham willing to wander up and down many years as a stranger in the world; for he looked for a city that hath foundations, whofe builder and maker is God. The hopes of fuch a harvest is encouragement enough to work hard, and wait long : Yet some Chriftians are so impatient of it, tliat they would fain be reaping before the time': but as God hath, by an unalterable law of nature appointed both the seasons of seed-time and harvest (which are therefore called the appointed weeks of the harvest) Jer. v. 24. and these cannot be haftened; but when we have done all that we can on our part, muft wait till God fend the former and the latter rain, and give every natural cause its effect : fo is it in reference to our spiritual harvest; we are appointed to sweat in the use of all God's appointments; and when we have done all, must patiently wait till the divine decrees be accomplished, and the time of the promise be fully come;
6 In due time we “ shall reap, if we faint not.” To which patient expectation, and quiet waiting for the glory to come, these following confiderations are of excellent use.
* Dr. Taylor's great Exemplar, p. 103,
1. As the husbandman knows when the feed-time is paft, it will not be long to the harvest; and the longer he waits, the nearer still it is : fo the Christian knows, “ It is but yet a little “ while, and he that shall come, will come, and will not tarry," Heb. X. 37. “ And that now his salvation is nearer than when " he first believed,” Rom. xiii. 11. What a small point of time is our waiting-time, compared with eternity? Yet a few days more, and then comes the long expected and welcome harvest.
2, The husbandman can find other work to do, before the teaping-time come; he need not stand idle, though he cannot yet reap. And cannot a Christian find any work to do for God, till he come to heaven? O there is much work to do, and such work as is only proper to this season! You may now reprove fin, exhort to duty, succour the distressed ; this is good work, and this is your only time for such work; the whole of eterni. ty will be taken up in other employments. "I think it meet « (faith Peter) as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir up “ your minds, knowing fhortly that I must put off this taber:
nacle,” 2 Pet. i. 13, 14. q. d. I know I have but a little time to work among you ; I am almost at heaven ; and therefore am willing to husband this present moment as well as I can for you. O Christians ! you need not stand idle ; look round about you upon the multitude of forlorn finners ; speak now to them for God; speak now to God for them ; for shortly you shall fo fpeak no more ; you shall see them no more till you see them at Christ's bar; God leaves you here for their fakes, up and be doing : if you had done all you were to do for yourselves and them, he would have you to heaven immediateİy; you should not wait a moment longer for your glory.
3. Husbandmen know, though they cannot yet gather in the precious fruits of the earth, yet all this while they are ripening and preparing for the harvest; they would not house it green, or take it before its time. And is not this also my preparationtime for glory? As God prepared heaven for his people, by an eternal decree ; Mat. xxv. 34. by an act of creation, Heb. xi. 10. by the death of Christ, which made a purchase of it, Heb. X. 19, 20. and by his ascension into it, John xiv. 2, 3. So the reason why we are kept here, is in order to our fitting for it. Heaven is ready, but we are not fully ready; the barn is fit to receive the corn, but the corn is not fit to be gathered into it. " But for this self-Came thing God is now working us,” 2 Cor. V. 5. he is every day at work, by ordinances, and by providenges, to perfect his work in us; and as foon as that is finished,