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they are laid up « in heaven, where nei“ther moth nor rust doth corrupt, and “.where thieves do not break through nor “ steal,” Matth. vi. 20. All that they do, by taking away their lives here, is only putting them out of that which is chequered with many miseries, into an eternal life of joy and happiness, and the full enjoyment of their heavenly inheritance : therefore such enemies, instead of doing them material injury, as they intend, do them unspeakable and eternal service, which they intend not.
Samson having gone down to Timnath, came to the vineyards thereof, where, behold a young lion roared against him, and he rent him as he would have rent a kid; the carcase of which, as he on a time returned thither again, he went to see, wherein was a swarm of bees, and honey, that afforded him matter of an excellent riddle, which he put forth to his wedding guests, saying, “ Out of the eater came forth meat, and out “ of the strong came forth sweetness, Judgxiv. 5, 6, 8, 12, 14. With how much more propriety may believers say of Christ Jesus, --- who came down to this world, and
in the garden of Gethsemane and cross of Calvary, bruised the head of the old serpent the devil, that roaring lion, 1 Pet. v. 8. and spoiled principalities and powers, making a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it, Col. ii. 15.---that he hath out of the eater brought forth meat, and out of the strong, sweetness to his people.
He hath done great things for us, Psalm cxxvi. 3.; he hath not spoiled principalities and powers only, but made all the evils of life, persecutions, afflictions, temptations, and death itself, --- nay, all things, to work together for good to them that love God, Rom. viii. 28.
A strange riddle, indeed! that saints should receive benefit from the persecutions and temptations of men and devils; yet it is certainly true, and affordeth incomparably more sweetness to the soul of a believer, than the honey which Samson found in the carcase of the lion did to him. Satan's sifting Peter as wheat, Luke xxii. 31. only blew away the chaff of self-confidence from him ever after. Satan's messenger buffeting Paul, kept him a humble dependant on the suffi
ciency of God's grace, 2 Cor. xii. 7---D. The persecutions of Joseph's brethren sent him to Egypt for good ; and, to hasten his great preferment with Pharaoh, the lewd adultress got him cast into prison. And Moses was obliged by Pharaoh, who sought his life, to fly from Egypt to Horeb, where he met with God, from which time he became God's vicegerent, Exod. iv. 16. and the redeemer of Israel from Egyptian bondage. Saul's persecution of David prepared him for relishing more the crown which he afterwards wore : And John was banished from the society of men to the island of Patmos, that he might receive a glorious revelation from God.
These works of the roaring lion proved in the end sweet honey-combs of comfort to all those worthies; and so will trials, temptations, persecutions, afflictions, and death, prove in the end to all the people of God.
I perceive there are many of the gayest flowers which these busy insects pass over, while they alight with apparent pleasure on others much less esteemed for their beauty,
Just so is it with true believers ; not those empty shews which the men of the world take pleasure in, are their delight; these, like the skilful bee, they slightly pass over, knowing well there is no substantial good to be found in them ; while they soar on the pinions of faith, far above carnal enjoyments, and alight, with sweet contemplation, on the things which are above : on these are their affections set, and from them they gather honey, even spiritual joys and comforts, far more precious to the soul than honey, or the honey-comb: while they look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen : for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal, 2 Cor. iv. 18.
All the spring and summer season, bees delight in and are busied in ransacking flowers and herbs for the delicious sweets; but especially do they bestir themselves to activity, that part of the season when the honey dews are to be found : Before, they contented themselves with feeding and loading from herbs and flowers, but now they perch on the trees in swarms together, loudly buzzing
their joys, while they gather honey in abundance.
any should impede them in their aerial journeys to or from the trees enriched with such dews, how should they be made to smart by their keen stings for such interruptions. In like manner, the saints delight in, and constantly attend on the stated ordinances of grace, but especially do they take pleasure in the more solemn ordinances of the gospel, even in the holy sacraments, these peculiar memorials of Christ's love and death : In these precious seasons, heavenly dews fall abundantly for the refreshment of his people ; then it is believers call forth every grace, in lively exercise: before, they contented themselves with the ordinary institutions of the gospel, these salutary herbs and flowers planted in the church, but now they soar higher on the wings of faith and love, and feast on Christ himself, the tree of life, who inviteth them, saying, “ Eat, O
friends ; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved," Cant. v. 1.
When such showers of blessing are falling, were the world, the devil, or the flesh,