Page images
PDF
EPUB

is the smallest hope of being again blest: with his beams, or the least desire after this, it is a sign the case is not desperate : the Sun of righteousness as to them is not totally gone down; for the Lord is good to them that seek him, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; for he satisfieth the longing soul---will be found of them that seek him, and accomplish the desire of them that fear him ; at evening time it shall be light, Lam. iii. 25. Psal. xxxiii. 18. Psal. cvii. 9. i Chron. xxviii. 9. Jer. xxix. 13, 14. Matt. vii. 7. Psal. cxlv. 19. Zech.

“ Thou hast ravished my heart “ with one of thine eyes, with one chain of

thy neck," saith Christ, Cant. iv. 9. But, on the contrary, when sinners have not the smallest hope of, nor the least desire of seeing and being blest with his beams again, after having been once enlightened by him, and tasted of the powers of the world to come, Heb. vi. 4, 5, 6. It is a certain sign to them that their day of grace is ended. In this twilight of mercy, as it were, which is protracted to them for a time, they indulge their lusts with freedom, and the wild

xiv. 7.

[ocr errors]

beasts of error and corruption walk through their souls without restraint, and make a prey of any good that was there remaining; till at length they are enveloped in the horrible darkness of eternal night, misery, and woe.

89

CONTEMPLATION V.

ON PLOUGHING.

YONDER rustic swain, somewhat aged, driving his lusty team out to plough, calleth to my remembrance Adam driven from the garden, and sent to till the ground, which was cursed for his sake; and happy had it been for. his hapless posterity had that been all ; but alas ! by his rebellion he and they were all laid under the eternal wrath and curse of God, which rendered their hearts more hard and barren than that of the ground.

This man is now got to his labour, and a painful one it is, but there is no help for it, bread cannot be obtained without it; man was to eat bread in the sweat of his face until he returned into the ground, for out of it was he taken, Gen. iii, 19.

By this man's appearance, I judge he is only a servant to some neighbouring husbandman, but a very faithful one: what pains he is taking in breaking the stubborn glebe ! now he lets the plough lightly in, making the furrow shallow, because the soil requires it; again he sets her deeper, because the soil will bear it. So the law of God, as a servant to the great Husbandman, is faithful to his trust, in dealing with hardened sinners : in some, as it were, it plougheth by means of the word, with a less sharp coulter of conviction, and lighter sock of contrition than in others; some, according as the great Husbandran in his infinite wisdom hath seen it necessary.

This ploughman, I observe, is very attentive that he miss none of the ground, but till it all as he goes along. So the law, in ploughing the fallow ground of a sinner's heart, breaketh it all up, not the smallest green balk of self-confidence is left unturned over.

I perceive this man with his plough turns up large quantities of filthy noxious weeds, and poisonous roots, which before lay un

[ocr errors]

discovered in the heart of the earth. - In like manner, the law by its ploughing turneth up large quantities of vile weeds of corruption, and bitter roots of sin, that lay deep hid in the sinner's heart before, which till then he could never properly discover, but now he seeth them all clearly, and they are truly loathsome to his view ; whereas he thought himself «

rich, and encreased with goods, having need of nothing ;” now he knoweth himself to be only “ wretched, and mi“serable, and

poor,

and blind, and naked," Rev. iii. 17., all filthy, and obnoxious to di-. vine wrath.

This heath, in its uncultivated state, was good for nothing but casting for fuel : the . wild fowls hatched in it; there the poisonous adder and snake lay basking themselves in the sun; without being disturbed, while the wild beasts pastured upon it at their pleasure; thus it was unfit to bear corn for the master's use; but now that the plough has entered, it is a favourable sign, the owner designs it for that good purpose. In like manner, before the fallow ground of the sinner's heart began to be cultivated, it was good for nothing but to be cast into eternal

« PreviousContinue »