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U PON THE SPINGING UP OF THE SEED.

succeed, let the Lord have his homage paid : if, some obstruction appear to hinder the work rest not till it be removed : if thou meet God in his ordinance, bless his name for it: if he absent himself, let no duty please thee; rest not till thou hast recovered sight of him. As for the resurrection, call not that in question which is so clearly held forth in his word; heaven and earth shall pass, but his word shall not pass, till it be fulfilled, Matt. xxiv. 35. What is too hard for an Omnipotent arm? He that made all things of nothing, and every year raises a crop from dead seed, why should we think it impossible for him to gather together our ashes, however scattered, and raise again our dead bodies to life? It is thy great concern to live holily, that thou mayest die happily, and live with God eternally.

O my God, enable me to commit all my concerns for soul and for body to thee; and let me not murmur under any dark dispensation of providence. However thou deal with me in reference to the body, or these worldly enjoyments, yet deal well with me in reference to my soul, and in reference to eternity; let the seed of grace grow and Aourish, let the weeds of sin be rooted out, and let my soul, like the good ground, bring forth an hundred-fold; then shall I glorify thee when I bring forth much fruit.

Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me, shall never die, John xi.

25, 26,

XVII.-UPON A SUDDEN DROUGHT.

When I had digged, manured, sown, and fenced my garden, and done all that I could do, and began, from the hopeful springing up of the seed, to have comfortable hopes of a plentiful increase, and to rejoice in the works of my hands; behold, an unexpected judgment fell upon it: for God restrained the influence of heaven, and caused that it should not rain

the earth ; and the clouds which were wont to drop fatness, and by which God was used to open his treasure, and to give a blessing to his people, Deut. xxviii. 12, now proved empty clouds, promising much, but paying nothing. Hereupon the earth languished, and could not nourish what she had produced, so that herbs and flowers, yea, the grass of the field, languished, hung their heads, withered, and died, and their beauty faded away. This providence made me consider how vain and fruitless all our endeavours are, either for this life or that to come, if God succeed them not with his blessing; and that all the men who ever lived upon the face of the earth, had they joined with their united counsels, with policy and power, could not have removed this judgment, not even if they had prayed to all the gods of the heathens to assist them : Can any of the vanities of the Gentiles give rain ? Jer. xiv. 22. It is in vain to

upon

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56 hope for salvation from the hills, or from the mountains; “ in the Lord our God is the salvation of Israel,” Jer. iii. 23. When God blows upon our creature comforts, they vanish and prove unsatisfying ; “ Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink ; ye clothe you, but there is none warm ; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes," Hag. i. 6, 9. The earth cannot bring forth without the influences of heaven, and these cannot be had without a commission from God; “ Can the heavens give showers ? art not thou he, O Lord our God ? therefore we will wait upon thee : for thou hast made all these things,” Jer. xiv. 22. It is he that clotheth the heavens with blackness, Isa. 1. 3. “ I will hear the heavens,” God is represented as saying, “ and they shall hear the earth; and the earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil; and they shall hear Jezreel,” Hos. ii. 21, 22. But when God refuseth to hear, all others cry in vain; they may all say, as the king of Israel to the woman that cried to him, “ If the Lord do not help thee, whence shall I help thee? out of the barn-floor, or out of the wine-press?" 2 Kings vi. 27. Yet how does vain man miscalculate, and promise himself a plentiful increase, and much happiness in the enjoyment of it, like the fool in the gospel, Luke xii. 16-20, when the event ofttimes proves otherwise. Even if their design succeed, as some

UPON A SUDDEN DROUGHT.

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my

times it does, (for all things fall alike to all, as to the good so to the bad, Eccl. ix. 2; the sun shines upon the just and the unjust,) they give not the glory to God, but sacrifice to their own nets, and burn incense to their drags, Hab. i. 16; they think their own arm saveth them, and their own wisdom and endeavours enriches them. They are like the king of Assyria, who said, “By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by wisdom;

for I am prudent,” Isa. x. 13. But what had all my labour profited me, or what good would theirs have done them, if God had not given rain ?

I went yet further in my consideration of the great mercy and benefit of water, without which it were impossible that man or beast, fish or fowl, herb or plant, or any other creature sensitive or vegetable, should live or prosper ; and wondered at my own and others stupidity, that we took so little notice of the mercy, and gave God so little thanks for it. was more prized in former times—by Israel in the wilderness, by Jacob, yea, by Abab; And Ahab said unto Obadiah, Go into the land, unto all fountains of water, and unto all brooks : peradventure we may find grass to save the horses and mules alive. So they divided the land between them,” 1 Kings xviii. 5, 6.

When I had a while considered these things, I raised my meditation a little higher, and considered, If rain were so refreshing to the thirsty earth, and so necessary for the fruits thereof, what was the dew of heaven to the poor soul ! Without it all the ordinances would prove of little

This mercy

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use, and all the sowing, planting, and manuring, would signify little : the soul, under those enjoyments, would be like the heath of the desert, that sees not when good comes, Jer. xvii. 6. What cause then have we to depend upon God for the one and for the other.

O my soul, are thy endeavours crossed, and thy labour lost ? Learn to depend upon God for the time to come; concern not thyself overmuch in the world. If it smile upon thee, let it not steal away thy affection : if it frown on thee, be not troubled at it; for these things are at the disposal of thy Father, and he minds thy good. Use diligence and providence, because they are commanded duties ; but beware of murmuring and repining, because they are forbidden sins. When thou hast gone as far as thou canst, leave the success to God, and whatever the issue be, acquiesce in his will. If thy endeavours be blasted, think it was best they should be so, because God thought thus; if he succeed them, bless him ; if he cross them, bless him also ; “ The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away,” saith Job ; so blessed be the name of the Lord,” Job i. 21. Seek not great things in the world; expect no more than God hath promised, lest if they fall short of expectation, thoy be discouraged. Hast thou neither poverty nor riches, but food convenient; this was Agur's petition, Prov. xxx. 8. Hast thou food and raiment ? the apostle was therewith content, 1 Tim. vi. 8. On the other hand, in respect to the soul, thou must not take up with a small portion, but labour after the highest pitch of godliness, and be as covetous

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