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Sanctifier, one hope, one faith, and one inheritance, at last to be conferred on us all. If we love not one another, it is a proof that we love not God, and therefore have no title to the inheritance of the saints in light:“ for “ if we love not our brother whom we have
seen, how can we love God, whom we ® have not seen ?" i John iv. 20.
Neither ought our love to be confined to those saints only who are rich in this world, but extend also to those who are poor; for if we love the former only, it is the image of the world in them which attracts our love; but if also the latter, it is a sign it is the image of God in both which engageth our esteem. Neither ought the personal injuries of either committed against us, if we hope they are saints, to cool our love to them as such, but rather to draw forth our compassion to bewail these sad slips of theirs, while we pray for their recovery.
If Stephen prayed for the forgiveness of his enemies, when they were in the very act of stoning him ; and Christ for his bloody murderers on the cross, Acts vii. 60. Luke xxiii. 34., ought not we for those who are real friends in
Christ, though at times they be guilty of the actions of our enemies?
Neither should their favours to us be the main things which draw forth our love to them, although they may tend to heighten it; for if either the former retard our love, or the latter mainly attract it, such prove it not of the genuine kind, and therefore dangerous to be relied on as a mark that we are the children of God.
Here is a stately walnut tree, under the shade of which grow a few young ashes, which have unhappily been planted there by the wind; for, owing to his droppings, they make but little progress, nay, rather seem to be on the decline: So I may call him an oppressor. And how many among the children of men more justly merit this name; who, when they are advanced somewhat highly, and grown rich in this world's goods, , oppress those whom Providence hath placed under them? But this is their comfort that fear the Lord, he will arise for their oppression and sighing, and set them in safety from their oppressors, Psal. xii. 5. What a privilege is this which I enjoy in common
: with others ! that I can walk through the wood, approach to and contemplate. every tree with safety ; though justly, on the account of our first parents having not only approached to, but eaten of the forbidden tree, every tree in the world might have been made a Bohun-upas, or poison tree, that no man could have come within many miles of, without certain death; as it is reported of this tree, which is said to
in the island of Java in the East Indies, where for ten or twelve miles around, no tree, herb, grass, or any animal is seen to exist, and very few of the criminals who are compelled to visit it ever return *
What is this which makes the whole wood resound! It is repeated again and again. What an awful crash is that! Let me cautiously step back a little to that glade, and see if I can discover what it is. Ah!
now I perceive it hath been the hewer plying his axe, which has occasioned all I have :heard; for yonder is the lofty walnut tree which I was but lately contemplating laid low. Happy ashes! you are now deliver ed from your oppressor, and may grow up with freedom. Just so death at length will hew down every oppressor among men ; then shall the oppressed be delivered from their tyranny:
* See Appendix to Darwin's Botanical Garden, and the Universal Magazine for January 1784...
As the neighbouring trees were made to quake, while the hewer was cutting down that of the walnyt, so at the report of death having done his office on some of our neighbours, we are struck with awe, which almost as soon is over with us, as that vibra-' tion of the trees after their neighbour had fallen, and alas ! too often leaveth no salu
Here, in this rather marshy place, is an aged alder, in the trunk of which the nightowl has often shrieked, hatched, and brought forth her young; so brittle, twisted, and crooked, that it is good for nothing but to be cast into the fire. This is an emblem of a sinner who hạth lived perhaps threescore and ten, or fourscore years in the world, in whose heart Satan hath often, as it were, brooded and brought forth his horrid temptations; whose life and conversation all that time hath been crooked from the divine law: and such deriving no sap from Christ Jesus (not being ingrafted in him) are good for nothing, but being cast forth into hell fire.
"There are a few elms, straight and tall, which do no little honour to the skill of the woodman; not a dead branch nor superfluous bough encumbers them. By this care, together with the answerableness of the soil where they grow, their trunks are become comely and large; these in due time will be taken from the wood, and put to excellent uses.
So the righteous grow up as the planting of the Lord, Isa. Ixi. 3., being purged from and pruned of every thing that might hinder their growth in grace, with the potion of personal affliction, and sharp knife of outward crosses; they grow up
heavenward, strong in the Lord; and when they are cut out of the wood of the world, will be put to a noble use, even to glorify God, and to enjoy him through all eternity.
Here is the lofty bay proudly spreading his branches around, as if he were king of the wood, and valued none of his neighbours.