Page images
PDF
EPUB

Even Peter's, too, held very fast about the edges of the brook Kedron, but dragged shamefully, and had almost

gone

in pieces in the high priest's hall. So we see the best way of knowing the weakness or strength of the anchor of faith, is not by examining how it holdeth in still weather, but in a tempest,

But how have I made this sudden excursion from the land to the ocean! Let me return again a while longer to contemplate this field, which in a few months will be loaden with full ears, white over for harvest, inyiting the husbandman to thrust in his sickle, and reap it for himself: "ith joy then will he do so, and, after he has left the sheaves a little to deaden in the field, with gladness will gather them home to his barns. So the believer, when he is fully ripe for heaven, the great Husbandman will thrust in the sickle of death, and reap him for himself: then shall he come to his grave in a full age, as a shock of corn cometh in his season, Job v. 26.

And as the corn is left in the field a little to deaden ; so will he, with respect to his bo:

dy, be left to corrupt in the grave till the resurrection of the just, when the great Husbandman will house both soul and body in his heavenly garner for ever and ever.

It certainly now concerneth me to know whether the good seed have been sown in my heart, and to comply with the apostle's injunction, which is,

· Examine yourselves " whether

ye

be in the faith; prove your " ownselves : Know

your ownselves, o how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates,” 2 Cor. xiii. 5. To begin then :

ye not

Good seed is never sown but in broken cultured ground. Hath my heart then been made broken, contrite, and humble, on account of the sin of my nature, as well as that of my life?

life? Have I ever seen myself in the deplorable case of that infant described in the prophecies of Ezekiel, with my navel uncut, original sin hanging about me; not washed in the laver of regeneration to supple me from the stiffness of that rebellion, and cleanse' me from its guilt; nor salted at all, nor swaddled at all, with purifying, renewing, preserving and strengthening grace;

1

cast forth in the open field of the world, to
the loathing of my person, devoid of any
shelter to cover me from the wrath of God;
without any eye' to pity, or a hand to do
any of these things to me. And while I
was thus polluted in my blood, did I expe-
rience the Lord's spreading his skirt over
me? covering my nakedness, interesting me
in the righteousness of his Son Jesus Christ,
and taking me into covenant with himself
through him? Then I may say my time
was the time of love, Ezekiel xvi. 4, 5, 6, 8.

1

[ocr errors][merged small]

Secondly, where corn is sown it renews the face of that part of the earth, agreeably to Psalm civ. 30. Now, have I felt myself renewed in the whole man after the image of God? Is

my understanding, which before was dark, now enlightened in the knowledge of Jesus Christ ? Doth my will, which made choice of the things which were contrary to God's will, now choose those that are agreeable to it? Are my affections, which formerly were placed on this earth and carnal things, now set on heaven and spiritual enjoyments ? Is my conscience, which in times past was seared as it were with a hot iron, 1 Tim. iv. 2., now faithful to its

trust, quick in admonishing me of what is wrong, and sanctioning what is right? And my memory, that before was treacherous to that which is good, and retentive of evil, now made to delight in recording the doings of the Lord, and the things that make for his glory? Doth my tongue, which before was given to delight in vain and idle discourse, now take pleasure in extolling its Creator, recommending him to others, and speaking on profitable subjects? Do my ears, that were wont to delight with the Athenians, Acts xvii. 21., in hearing new and idle tales, and things that pleased the flesh; receive no satisfaction, but in hearing those things which are glorifying to God, and profiting to the soul? Do my eyes, that used to solace themselves in gazing on the pomp and vanities of this world, now take pleasure in looking into the word of God, as revealed in the Scriptures ? Are my hands, instead of being engaged in unlawful works, now employed in honest labours, and in ministering to the necessities of the poor saints, and supplying the wants of the needy, according to the ability God hath given me? And are my feet, which were swift in running to mischief, and walking in forbidden paths, carrying me after vanities, now directed to noble purposes, entirely opposite to those, even to carry, me to the house and ordinances of God, and upon errands to do good to my fellow men, set and made to walk in the ways of righteous

ness.

Thirdly, a field of corn, in time of a drought, wears a languid appearance, but greatly revives when the showers descend; then, in the language of the king of Israel, that great contemplator of the works of God, “ The valleys shout! they also sing,” as was formerly observed. Now, have I felt disagreeable, when, through some means or other I have been kept back from the ordinances of God, and longed with the sweet singer of Israel, vehemently to enjoy again these privileges; saying, O God, thou art

my God; early will I seek thee: my soul “ thirsteth for thee in a dry and thirsty land “ where no water is,—to see thy power and

thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary," Psal. lxiii. 1, 2.

And when I have been restored to these privileges again, can I, in the sight and hear

« PreviousContinue »