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fire, to manifest the justice of God: wild, blasphemous sinful thoughts were hatched in it; there the old serpent, as it were, lay basking himself, and the wild beasts of error and corruption ranged with freedom : in this state it was wholly unfit for being sown with the good seed, and bringing forth fruit unto eternal life; but when once the law hath begun to break it up by ploughing, as it were, therein, it is a favourable symptom that the great Husbandman meaneth to cultivate it thoroughly, and that it shall “ become as a 6 field which the Lord will bless," Gen. xxyii. 27.
This ground, now being tilled, wears a very different aspect to what it did but a little ago; then it was all one firm fair turf; now, through ploughing and cross-ploughing, it is quite mashed, confused, and black, and nothing in it can give pleasure to the eye.
Just so that heart where the law hath been working formeth a very opposite prospect in the man's eye to what it formerly
then it was all one whole, hard, uncul-.. tivated lump, and nothing in it that gave much disgust to the sinner himself; but now since that fallow ground hath been broken
soil turned up,
by the law, all mangled, and, as it were, torn in pieces, and the proper it appeareth full of confusion and deceit, loathsome and black as hell.
While attending this plough, I observe a kind of low groaning, formed betwixt the oppressed plough, and the harness of the team as it turns up the earth. In like manner, while the law is ploughing and turning up the corrupt natural soil of the sinner's heart, how doth he groan ! longing to be delivered from the grieving yoke.
But though this barrën heath which I now behold, be all ploughed andcross-tilled, yetifit be not sown and further cultivated, the weeds and poisonous plants will again take faster root, and grow more numerous than before, and it will in a very short time return to its former uncultivated state. So though the fallow ground of a sinner's heart have been broken up by the law, and the vile weeds of corruption, and bitter poisonous roots of sin turned up and loosened, yet if it be not sown with the good seed, and farther cultivated by the Holy Ghost,' those weeds and poisonous bitter roots will take faster hold of the ac
cursed soil, and spring up more vile and, numerous than ever, and very soon will it become as barren and hard as before, if not a great deal harder.
As the farmer may plough some of his ground, and yet, for reasons known to himself, leave it unsown ; so the great Husbandman may, and we cannot doubt but often doth, cause a law-work to take place in many hearts, which for wise reasons he never soweth with the good seed. How careful then ought I to be in examining myself, whether this law-work have taken place in my heart ! and if my fallow ground have thus been ploughed and broken up! if the Husbandman have ended his work with me there, or have cultivated my heart as a field for his own use, by sowing in it the good seed.
The husbandman fallows some of his ground, lets it rest a while; then fallows it over again, and lets it remain a while longer undisturbed, then ploughs it over and over again, till it become fit for being sown. So the
great Husbandman falloweth the heart of some sinners with the law, then abateth the work for some time, then reneweth it again, and so again and again, till it become fit for being sown with the good seed.
The husbandman, too, ploughs some of his ground early in the spring, other some of it when it is pretty far advanced, and some of it nigh the latter end of the year.
So the great Husbandman breaketh up the fallow ground of some in youth, of others in more advanced years, and of other some at the eleventh hour, when the season of life is well nigh ended, according as he in his infinite wisdom seeth best, “ and none can stay his hand, or say ss unto him, What doest thou ?” Dan. iv. 35,