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cast forth in the open field of the world, to the loathing of my person, devoid of any shelter to cover me from the wrath of God; without any eye to pity, or a hand to do any of these things to me. And while I was thus polluted in my blood, did I experience the Lord's spreading his skirt over me ? covering my nakedness, interesting me in the righteousness of his Son Jesus Christ, and taking me into covenant with himself through him? Then I may say my time was the time of love, Ezekiel xvi. 4, 5,6,8.
Secondly, where corn is sown it renews the face of that part of the earth, agreeably to Psalm civ. 30. Now, have I felt myself renewed in the whole man after the image of God? Is my understanding, which before was dark, now enlightened in the knowledge of Jesus Christ ? Doth my will, which made choice of the things which were contrary to God's will, now choose those that are agreeable to it? Are my affections, which formerly were placed on this earth and carnal things, now set on heaven and spiritual enjoyments ? Is my conscience, which in times past was seared as it were with a hot iron, 1 Tim. iv. 2., now faithful to its trust, quick in admonishing me of what is wrong, and sanctioning what is right? And my memory, that before was treacherous to that which is good, and retentive of evil, now made to delight in recording the doings of the Lord, and the things that make for his glory? Doth my tongue, which before was given to delight in vain and idle discourse, now take pleasure in extolling its Creator, recommending him to others, and speaking on profitable subjects? Do my ears, that were wont to delight with the Athenians, Acts xvii. 21., in hearing new and idle tales, and things that pleased the flesh; receive no satisfaction, but in hearing those things which are glorifying to God, and profiting to the soul? Do my eyes, that used to solace themselves in gazing on the pomp and vanities of this world, now take pleasure in looking into the word of God, as revealed in the Scriptures ? Are my hands, instead of being engaged in unlawful works, now employed in honest labours, and in ministering to the necessities of the poor saints, and supplying the wants of the needy; according to the ability God hath given me? And are my feet, which were swift in running to mischief, and walking in for. bidden paths, carrying me after vanities, now directed to noble purposes, entirely opposite to those, even to carry me to the house and ordinances of God, and upon errands to do good to my fellow men, set and made to walk in the ways of righteousness.
Thirdly, a field of corn, in time of a drought, wears a languid appearance, but greatly revives when the showers descend ; then, in the language of the king of Israel, that great contemplator of the works of God, “ The valleys shout! they also sing,” as was formerly observed. Now, have I felt disagreeable, when, through some means or other I have been kept back from the ordinances of God, and longed with the sweet singer of Israel, vehemently to enjoy again these privileges; saying, “ O God, thou art “ my God; early will I seek thee: my soul “ thirsteth for thee in a dry and thirsty land “ where no water is,-to see thy power and
" thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the i“ sanctuary,” Psal. lxiii. 1, 2.
And when I have been restored to these privileges again, can I, in the sight and hear
ing of the searcher of hearts, sing with David, “I was glad when they said unto me, “ Let us go into the house of the Lord," Psal. cxxii. 1., and “ I have rejoiced in the “ way of thy testimonies, as much as in all “ riches,” Psal cxix. 14., and “ thy testimo“ nies also are my delight,” Psal. cxix. 24.
Fourthly, where a field of corn is, care is taken to preserve it from the ravages of beasts. Now, have I been taking care to preserve my heart from the ravages of sin and Satan? Am I careful to guard and keep out of it every dishonouring thought of God and his law? every inclination to sin ? every high thought of myself, with respect to my own spiritual abilities ? every revengeful wish against any that may have offended me; and, in short, every thing that is contrary to the will of God.
Now, if I can call God to witness, that I have had, or have all, or any of these evidences in reality, it is a sign that the good seed hath been sown in my heart: and to prove that it bath not fallen upon stony ground, neither among thorns, with respect to me, let me persevere to the end, and root