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What a delightful prospect 'is here! the joy of the husbandman and hope of the poor; even a field of springing corni.
Truly grateful to the eye is the blade newly come from the teeming earth, the sight of which inspires with gratitude, and creates throughout all the soul a pleasant sensation.
Best of vegetables, and staff of life!.my contemplations be on thee. As it is delightful to behold this corn in the blade, growing up to perfection under the influence of the natural heavens, it is certainly still more so to feel and see the seeds of grace springing up in the heart and life, under the influence of the God of heaven.
As showers of rain are necessary to refresh, cherish, and promote the growth of the blade; so are the showers of blessing, which come down in the ordinances of God's grace, absolutely necessary for cherishing and promoting the growth of the good seed.
After a long drought, how does the hus, bandman rejoice at the appearance of rain, when he sees it come down on the blade! Then it is, to use the language of the Psalmist, “ the vallies shout for joy, they also
'sing,” Psalm lxv. 13. And is the husbandman so glad at the showers of temporal blessing, and do the vallies themselves thus rejoice ? Far more so do those hearts which are sown with the good seed (in the dry and parched land of the world, wherein there is no water, Psalm Ixiii. 1.) at the showers of spiritual blessings : then indeed these thirsty vallies shout and sing for joy in the ordinances which the great Husbandman maketh use of to water them with, and he himself rejoiceth at their good.
The seed does not lie long hid in the earth, but soon springs up to view. In like manner, the good seed will not lie long hid in that heart where it is
in the man or woman's life and conversation.
I observe in some places of this field the blade farther advanced than in other some; ? here it is pretty long, there it is but just coming through the mould; and this is not owing to any fault in the seed, but to the difference of the soil. Just so is it in respect to the infant state of grace in the heart : in some of the faculties of the soul, for a time, it is more readily observed by the believer himself, than in others ; as for instance, it may more easily be perceived in the will, conscience, and affections, than in the understanding and memory; and this is not owing to any fault in the good seed itself, but wholly to the soil where it is sown ; for that mind which before was very ignorant, and had
but a small speculative knowledge of the matters of religion, and that memory which is naturally very weak; enlightening and sanctifying grace will not so soon be observed in them as in that understanding and memory, which formerly were more naturally enlightened with a greater degree of speculative knowledge in these things, and more retentive.
But, in another part of this field, I observe the blade has been pretty far advanced, even much farther than any where else, but is now going back again and withering away. Ah! this is the stony ground which our Lord telleth us of in the parable, where the seed sprang up quickly, and because it had not much root, when the sun arose it withered. Hear the beautiful inference which he maketh : “ But “ he that received the seed into stony places, “the same is he that heareth the word, and
anon with joy receiveth it ; yet hath he not root in himself; but dureth for a while, for
when tribulation or persecution ariseth, “because of the word, by and by he is of“ fended.” Matt. xiii. 20, 21.
At the end of this ridge grow a few pernicious thorns, among which I perceive some of the seed has fallen, for there is some of the blade springing up; this too will soon be choked and rendered unfruitful, by these destructive neighbours among which it is involved, agreeably to our Lord and Saviour's description in the above parable. Note the striking inference: “He also that received "seed among the thorns, is he that heareth
the word, and the cares of this world, and “ the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, “ and he becometh unfruitful.” Matt. xiii. 22.
As for those seeds which the husbandman let fall by the way-side when coming hither to sow, they are no doubt picked up by the fowls some time ago; but the inference which our Lord maketh of this part of the parable still abideth for our instruction.
heareth the word of the kingdom, and un“ derstandeth it not, then cometh the wicked
one and catcheth away that which was sown “ in his heart : this is he which received seed “ by the way-side.” Matt. xiii. 19.
66 When any one