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viour so dear : if so, I may conclude I am certainly sown with the good seed; which will never perish, but spring up to eternal life, John iv. 14,
ON A FIELD OF SPRINGING CORN.
What a delightful prospect is here! the joy of the husbandman and hope of the poor; even a field of springing corn.
Truly grateful to the eye is the blade newly come from the teeming earth, the sight of which inspires with gratitude, and creates throughout all the soul a pleasant sensation.
Best of vegetables, and staff of life ! my contemplations be on thee.---As it is delightful to behold this corn in the blade, growing up to perfection under the influence of the natural heavens: It is certainly still more so to feel and see the seeds of grace springing
in the heart and life, under the influence of the God of heaven.
As showers of rain are necessary to refresh, cherish, and promote the growth of the blade ; so are the showers of blessing, which come down in the ordinances of God's grace, absolutely necessary for cherishing and
promoting the growth of the good seed.
After a long drought, how does the husbandman rejoice at the appearance of rain, when he sees it come down on the blade? then it is, to use the language of the Psalmist, “ the vallies shout for joy, they also
sing,” Psalm lxv. 13. And is the husbandman so glad at the showers of temporal blessing, and do the vallies themselves thus rejoice ? Far more so do those hearts which are sown with the good seed (in the dry and parched land of the world wherein there is no water, Psalm lxiii. 1.) at the showers of spiritual blessings : then indeed these thirsty vallies shout and sing for joy in the ordinances which the great Husbandman maketh use of to water them with, and he himself rejoiceth at their good.
The seed does not lie long hid in the earth, but soon springs up to view. In like manner, the good seed will not lie long hid in that heart where it is sown, but soon appear in the man or woman's life and conversation.
I observe in some places of this field the blade farther advanced than in other some; here it is pretty long, there it is just but coming through the mould; and this is not owing to any fault in the seed, but to the difference of the soil. Just so is it in respect to the infant state of grace in the heart : in some of the faculties of the soul, for a time, it is more readily observed by the believer himself, than in other some; as for instance, it may more easily be perceived in the will, conscience, and affections, than in the understanding and memory; and this is not owing to any fault in the good seed itself, but wholly to the soil where it is sown; for that mind which before was very ignorant, and had but a small speculative knowledge of the matters of religion, and that memory which is naturally very weak; enlightening and sanctifying grace will not so soon be observed in them as in that under
standing and memory, which formerly were more naturally enlightened with a greater degree of speculative knowledge in these things, and more retentive.
But, in another part of this field, I observe the blade has been pretty far advanced, even much farther than any where else, but is now going back again and withering away. Ah! this is the stony ground which our Lord telleth us of in the parable, where the seed sprang up quickly, and because it had not much root, when the sun arose it withered. Hear the beautiful inference which he maketh : " But he that received “ the seed into stony places, the same is he “ that heareth the word, and anon with joy “ receiveth it; yet hath he not root in him“ self; but dureth for a while, for when “ tribulation or persecution ariseth, because “ of the word, by and by he is offended," Matt. xiii. 20, 21.
At the end of this ridge grow a few pernicious thorns, among which I perceive some of the seed has fallen, for there is some of the blade springing up; this too will be soon chocked and rendered unfruit